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Naval Operations February 2012.

Published: 10 Feb 2012

HMS Liverpool, a British warship, was dwarfed by a Russian aircraft carrier as it passed UK waters.

The destroyer sailed alongside the 50,000-tonne Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as it made its way north.

The Portsmouth-based Type 42 warship was acting as fleet escort as it followed a carrier-led Russian task group from the Channel off south-west England to the seas off south-west Ireland.

The task group of two warships and five support ships were making their way home to the northern and Baltic fleets of the Russian navy. The images were released by the Royal Navy.

HMS Liverpool's commanding officer, Commander Colin Williams, said: ''As an island nation, it is essential for the UK to maintain a military presence in our waters.

''HMS Liverpool is well-placed to carry out this duty after her extremely successful Operation Ellamy and Nato contributions off Libya last year.''

In December, the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS York was sent to shadow the Kuznetsov group as it sailed south from Russia - the closest that a Russian naval task group had been to the United Kingdom in 20 years.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: ''Liverpool is due to decommission at the end of March but has already gone through a maintenance period in Portsmouth and a visit to London, where thousands of members of the public stepped aboard.

''On leaving London she was activated as Fleet Ready Escort.

''When her escort duty finishes, HMS Liverpool will conduct training exercises in the UK and Norway, before a final visit to her home town of Liverpool. She decommissions on March 30 in Portsmouth.''

This item from the Daily Telegraph 7 February 2012. Image: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012.

HMS Liverpool escorting Russian Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

A second item of interest re-naval operations.

Britain had to plead with US to take part in Iran flotilla

Britain was forced to plead with the US to take part in the flotilla challenging Iranian power in the Gulf after American commanders decided the Royal Navy had nothing to contribute to the mission.

By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor of the Daily Telegraph.

Defence sources have revealed that the Americans only relented and allowed a Royal Navy frigate to join the mission following an intervention from Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.

The revelation that US defence chiefs saw little military value in UK participation will raise new questions about Britain’s international clout after Coalition defence cuts.

Amid rising tensions in the region, the Royal Navy last month deployed HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, to the Gulf.

The ship accompanied a US carrier strike group made up of an aircraft carrier with a full complement of fighters, a heavy cruiser and several destroyers.

A French frigate, the La Motte-Picquet, was also part of the flotilla which sailed through the Straits of Hormuz. Iran has staged wargames in the area and threatened to block the straits, a vital supply route for oil exports.

The US also has another carrier strike group in the Gulf and a third heading for the region.

The disparity in vessel numbers means the British and French presence in the flotilla was of greater diplomatic than military significance.

The question of allied participation in the naval operation is understood to have triggered concern in Whitehall and led to a sudden shift in Britain’s stance.

British ministers initially signalled they would accept the Washington’s conclusion that did not need allies to take part.

But the British position changed after Mr Sazkozy insisted to the US that a French warship must be present in the flotilla.

Sources said that Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, concluded that if the French were sending a ship, Britain must do so too. His decision to was then endorsed by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

Failing to take part when the French were doing so might have raised questions about the Special Relationship, which has come under doubt during Barack Obama’s presidency. Mr Obama last year described France as America’s closest ally.

A diplomatic source revealed that US commanders originally planned for an all-American naval operation, any only relented after protests from European leaders.

The source said: “The Americans originally planned to do it alone. They were clear that they saw no military advantage in having European ships taking part.

But after the President insisted that France had to be represented, ministers decided that “Britain must participate too, regardless of the military importance.”

The source described the approach of France and Britain as “classic willy-waving”, accusing the two countries of posturing to conceal their military irrelevance to the confrontation with Iran.

A Whitehall confirmed the sequence of events and described the international negotiations over the flotilla as “humiliating” for Britain.

After the French intervention, the UK Government “was basically forced to plead with Washington for the Navy to be allowed to tag along. “ said the source.

From the defence website 7 February 2012.

Reports that Britain 'pleaded' with the US to join naval exercise - The Daily Mirror and Telegraph report that Britain had to plead with the US to join the US carrier strike group that sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, challenging Iranian power in the Gulf, after American commanders decided the Royal Navy had nothing to contribute to the mission.

This is not true. Following discussions with our allies, the US welcomed HMS Argyll and a French vessel to transit the Strait alongside the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Group, sending a clear signal to Iran that the arteries of global trade are being kept free, open and running. This underlines the unwavering international commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law. The Royal Navy has had a constant presence in the Gulf since 1980 and UK frigates regularly pass through the Strait of Hormuz, operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.


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