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Stunning images as eight huge military vessels including Royal Navy warships skim UK coast


Plymouth Sound’s waters have been crossed by huge military vessels over the past few days. Among the ships spotted, there were US warships as well as European and Royal Navy vessels. Among those spotted by onlookers in or at the entrance to The Sound, there were HMS Explorer, HMS Lancaster, RFA Tiderace, Leopold I, RFA Argus, HMS Smiter, and HMS Archer.

Among these, the largest vessel is RFA Tiderace – a 200-metre-long ship weighing approximately 37,000 tons.

This vessel is a replenishment tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxilliary.

First ordered from the shipbuilding company Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in 2012, it was named four years later and accepted by the Ministry of Defence in June 2017.

The vessel entered service in August 2018.

Its home port is normally Southampton.

The HMS Echo, also among the vessels seen recently near Plymouth, is the first of two multi-role hydrographic survey ships commissioned by the Royal Navy.

Alongside its sister ship, HMS Enterprise, they form the class of survey vessels.  

This ship was built by Appledore Shipbuilders in 2002 and is the ninth Royal Navy vessel to bear this name. 

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Among the other Royal Navy ships to have recently graced Plymouth Sound’s waters there was the HMS Lancaster.

This vessel has been named after the Duke of Lancaster and is also known as The Queen’s Frigate.

Her Majesty officially launched this is a Duke-class Type 23 frigate in May 1990. 

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The ship has recently been installed with a new 3D radar and improved air-defence capabilities. 

Of the Navy vessels spotted in The Sound, RFA Argus is a casualty receiving ship.

Captained by Kevin Rimell RFA, it presents a fully-equipped 100-bed medical complex on board.

This ship, launched in 1980, acts as a floating hospital in wartime. 

Plymouth Live also reported residents spotting leaving the docks on Thursday the 193-metre-long cargo ship Hurst Point.

Notably, one of the ships bearing a foreign flag in Plymouth in recent days was the Belgian warship Leopold I.

This vessel weighs an impressive 2,800 tonnes and is 122-metre long.

It was launched in 1988 by the Royal Netherlands Navy – but later sold to Belgium in 2005. 

Earlier this week, on March 23, Plymouth Sound also hosted a German warship – the Schleswig-Holstein.

The Bradenburg-class frigate was in the process of completing a one day and 23-hour journey from Wilhemshaven, in Germany, to Devonport. 

Earlier this month an American warship was also seen in Plymouth – the USS Roosevelt, named after the 32nd US President.

The US destroyer stayed at Devonport’s dockyard prior to its trip to The Sound.

This ship carried 90 guided missiles including long-range, all-weather, jet-powered Tomahawks.



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