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Royal Navy Tracks Russian Subs Off Coast of Norway

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The Akula-class sub Vepr with HMS Portland (Royal Navy)

Published Jul 24, 2022 6:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last week, a Royal Navy warship picked up and tracked two Russian along the Norwegian coast. HMS Portland monitored the state-of-the-art Yasen-class missile sub Severodvinsk and the Akula-class attack sub Vepr as they headed southbound from Russia's Arctic bastion. 

The Type 23 frigate shadowed the submarines as they surfaced separately in the North Sea, northwest of Bergen, on July 16 and 19. NATO and NATO-applicant forces took over tracking duties as the subs continued to St Petersburg for Russian Navy Day celebrations, which will be held on July 31.

The Yasen-class sub Severodvinsk with HMS Portland. The Yasen-class is a modern design and is reportedly difficult to track (Royal Navy)

One of the Royal Air Force's new P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft worked closely with HMS Portland to hunt and track the submarines.  

“The cohesiveness of Royal Navy, RAF and our allies' capabilities ensures that we are capable of conducting and sustaining these types of anti-submarine operations in the North Atlantic," said HMS Portland CO Commander Tim Leeder.

Training under way

Back home, the Royal Navy is busily training up Ukrainian Navy personnel to get ready for mine warfare. Britain is sunsetting its minehunting fleet and going completely automated with unmanned minehunting systems, so its Sandown-class minehunters are no longer needed. Two of the previous-generation vessels will be sold to Ukraine, and 80 Ukrainian sailors have traveled to Britain to train to operate them. 

“The intensity with which the Ukrainian soldiers and sailors are training is something to behold. They work with the focus of troops who know they’ll be fighting in a war in just a few short weeks’ time," said UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey. “Delivering training that matches that intensity and focus is not straightforward. The Royal Navy and the British Army are working long hours and drawing on all their operational experience."

Around Britain, more than 1,000 UK service personnel are involved in training Ukraine's armed forces. In addition to specialized trainings for the crews for the Sandown-class, British Army units are providing basic training for thousands of recruits for the front lines.