Ukraine will receive two British second-hand minesweepers

KYIV, BM, ($1= 26.99 Ukrainian Hryvnia) – The British Navy has decommissioned two Sandown minesweepers, which will later be handed over to the Ukrainian Navy, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. They will be the first ships of this class to be used to protect Ukrainian coastal waters from the dangers of mines.

Information about the possible surrender of two British minesweepers to the Ukrainian Navy appeared in June 2021 during the visit of the destroyer HMS Defender in Odesa. According to these reports on August 4 this year. Two Sandown class minesweepers HSM “Ramsey” (M110) and HMS “Blyth” (M111) were withdrawn from the Royal Navy. These parts were handed over to the Babcock shipyard, which will renovate them before being transferred to the Ukrainian Navy.

Russian media emphasize that Ukraine will receive two very old minesweepers, but this is not the correct classification. The Ukrainian navy will include two not-quite-obsolete destroyers, which also performed very well during combat missions. HMS “Ramsey, which has been in operation for more than twenty-one years, has sailed over 175,000 NM during that time, and HMS Blyth, which has been in operation for twenty years, has more than 185,000 NM.

At the time, these ships were securing British naval bases (including the Clyde Strategic Nuclear Submarine Base off the coast of Scotland), were part of NATO mine action teams, and guarding the Royal Navy and NATO operations in the Middle East.

The extent of the repair and modernization work carried out by Babcock on both withdrawn destroyers is unknown. However, it is assumed that only those systems that are sensitive to the interests of NATO and the United Kingdom will be removed. The bulk of the mine action system is likely to remain unchanged, thanks to which Ukrainians will have an excellent tool to protect their naval bases against the threat of a mine.

The British have extensive experience in this type of foreign transfer. Of the eight Sandown minesweepers introduced into the Royal Navy in 1993-2002, three have already been handed over to the Estonian Navy (eg HMS “Sandown”, formerly HMS “Inverness” and formerly HMS “Bridport”). In this case, the contract signed in 2006 was worth 51m euros. Also, please note that three Sandown-class destroyers were commissioned and built-in 1993 by Vosper Tornikoft for Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement signed with Britain, Ukraine will receive two minesweepers, 52.5 meters long, 10.9 meters wide, and with a displacement of 660 tons. They are equipped with retractable sonar type 2093, which shows the position of mine-like objects for submersible submarines or divers.

Britain, by slowly withdrawing its minesweeper, has no intention of building its successors. The role of this type of specialized ship should be taken over by more universal units equipped with remotely controlled or autonomous, unmanned anti-personnel mine systems. The new anti-mine strategy introduced in the Royal Navy also provides for the possibility of action from the shore, as currently implemented drone-based systems can be transported in containers by air, sea, and land.

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