Moment Royal Navy warship intercepts two Russian submarines in the North Sea

22 July 2022, 15:44 | Updated: 22 July 2022, 16:09

Two Russian submarines have been tracked by a Royal Navy warship
Two Russian submarines have been tracked by a Royal Navy warship. Picture: Royal Navy/MoD/Google Maps

By Emma Soteriou

This is the moment a Royal Navy warship faces off with two Russian submarines in the North Sea.

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This Ministry of Defence (MoD) photograph shows the moment HMS Portland intercepted the two subs as they surfaced off the coast off Norway.

The British submarine hunter ship tracked the cruise missile submarine Severodvinsk and Akula-class attack submarine Vepr after they appeared on 16 and 19 July.

Nato and Baltic forces took over duties as they continued to St Petersburg for Russian Navy Day celebrations, which are due to take place on July 31.

It comes as Royal Navy sailors are currently training personnel from Ukraine's navy to help in the ongoing fight against Russia.

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HMS Portland tracked the submarines
HMS Portland tracked the submarines. Picture: Ministry of Defence

A Navy spokesman said the two submarines were tracked as they made their underwater journey south along the Norwegian coast from the Arctic.

He said: "Portland and her specialist Merlin helicopter - both equipped with cutting-edge sonars, sensors and torpedoes for submarine-hunting operations - reported on the movements of the Russian Northern Fleet vessels.

"One of the RAF's new long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the P8 Poseidon, also worked closely with HMS Portland to hunt and track the submarines."

HMS Portland in Oslo on a short-notice visit following a busy time at sea
HMS Portland in Oslo on a short-notice visit following a busy time at sea. Picture: Twitter/British Embassy Oslo

HMS Portland's Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Leeder, said: "Our success on operations marks the culmination of many months of specialist training and exercises.

"Critically, 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.

"It is testament to my sailors' dedication and professionalism, alongside that of our allies, that we are able to conduct this strategically crucial role."

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Royal Navy sailors are training Ukrainians in operating two Sandown-class minehunters which are set to be sold to Ukraine.

Ukraine's deputy defence minister Volodymyr Havrylov met with UK armed forces minister James Heappey and parliamentarians in London before visiting soldiers and sailors training in Scotland.

The ministers spoke with trainees and the Royal Navy instructors, observing them practising key skills at sea, such as weapon drills and damage control, while learning to operate the machinery on the vessels.

Mr Heappey said: "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.

"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 to make sure their new Ukrainian friends are sent into combat with the best chance of victory."

The Sandown-class minehunters - introduced in the Royal Navy in the late 80s - specialise in finding and neutralising mines in deep waters.

The programme is part of training being provided by 1,000 UK service personnel at military sites around the country aimed at preparing volunteer recruits with the skills for frontline combat.

Three vessels go head-to-head:


  • Speed: 28 knots+
  • Weapons: 32 Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles, 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, naval gun, two 30mm guns, two miniguns
  • Crew: 185


  • Speed: 20 knots surfaced and 35 knots submerged max
  • Weapons: Kalibr cruise missiles
  • Crew: 90


  • Speed: 24 knots
  • Weapons: 40 torpedoes, naval mines, torpedo tube launched missiles
  • Crew: 62

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