Royal Navy warships show Americans their dazzling paint before Pacific voyage


Task Group 326.03 – made up of patrol ships HMS Tamar and Spey – sailed the US Navy’s main west coast base, bringing some glare to the Californian sun.

The distinctively painted duo – who adopted the wartime “dazzling paint” camouflage scheme to stand out – will spend a few days in the city, before crossing 2,600 miles of the Pacific for the first major leg of their deployment: Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Since leaving Portsmouth in early September, the ships have crossed the Atlantic together and briefly linked up with their twin HMS Medway who is on long-term duty in the Caribbean.

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HMS Tamar approaches the entrance to the Panama Canal. Photo: LPhot Rory Arnold

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Tamar then traveled to Curacao while Spey ventured to Cartagena, Colombia for a defense engagement event.

Sailors had the chance to experience life in the bustling port city – the first visiting shipping company to do so in Colombia since the start of the pandemic – and were invited to their host’s naval academy.

Collectively nicknamed “Speymar” by the 90 or so sailors aboard the ships, the sisters came together to take “the path between the seas” – the 50 mile passage through the Panama Canal between the Atlantic and their “new land. game ‘from the Pacific.

A sailor from Spey takes Tamar through the lock in the Panama Canal. Photo: LPhot Rory Arnold

Their patrol zone embraces the entire Indo-Pacific region, from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of the Americas.

Their mission is equally broad: from promoting the interests and security of the UK to fighting terrorism, crime and humanitarian aid in the aftermath of disasters.

“In many ways, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey represent the vanguard of the Royal Navy’s contribution to a global Britain and to promoting our country’s prosperity abroad,” said Commander Teilo Elliot-Smith, Task Force Commander HMS Tamar,

“I am incredibly proud of the combined efforts of our naval companies to generate this task force in record time, then take two brand new ships halfway around the world to operate away from our usual support networks.”

HMS Spey crosses the Panama Canal. Photo: LPhot Rory Arnold

Once in the Western Pacific, the duo will be the first permanent Navy presence in the region in a quarter of a century.

Since the closure of HMS Tamar – the base in Hong Kong – when the colony returned to China in 1997, the UK has not systematically operated warships in the Indo-Pacific region, although the newer ships do not have a specific base, instead using ports and ports. throughout the Pacific Rim for maintenance.

The duo are expected to be deployed for five to ten years, paving the way for similar operations by future Type 31 frigates currently under construction.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron


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