Britain Tries to Scale Up NATO Provocation in the Black Sea
Reutersreported that “Ukraine and the United States will start a military exercise involving more than 30 countries in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine on Monday, despite Russian calls to cancel the drills” and Deutsche Welledetailed that “a total of 32 ships, 40 aircraft and helicopters and 5,000 soldiers from 24 countries are taking part in the exercises, which last through July 10. Participating countries include the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Germany, which has been involved in the past, is not taking part this year. It’s the largest manoeuvres in decades, after last year’s drills were shortened due to the pandemic. Various exercises are planned at sea, on land and in the air with the goal of bringing Ukraine up to NATO standards.”
Prime Minister Johnson desperately wants to develop “Global Britain”, and is using compliant NATO to help him in his attempts to cavort on the world stage. He won’t achieve “Global Britain” by ordering military confrontation, but he may well achieve military escalation, which is not the route to safety and prosperity. He is playing with fire.
There are workers of iniquity who bring on a great and dreadful Day, because they bring on The War. “Woe unto you that desire The Day of the “I AM”! to what end [is] it for you? The Day of the “I AM” [is] darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18).” Did you ever stop and think that Judgment Day is a Time Period, just as the Trumpets are Time Periods? This may mean that every single day of your body’s life (the one you’re in now) falls within The Day. The Day is growing darker; and a final judgement is approaching.
Sura 21:96 Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (their barrier – Iron Curtain), and they swiftly swarm from every hill. Sura 21:97 Then will the True promise draw nigh (of fulfillment): then behold! The eyes of the Unbelievers will fixedly stare in horror: “Ah! Woe to us! We were indeed heedless of this; nay, we truly did wrong!”
“We truly did wrong!” Did you hear that? So, yes, Putin, we are going to realize we did wrong.
What part does Gibraltar play in the context of Britain's "national" naval role?
Perhaps I could start by saying that the Commander-in-Chief Fleet said to me at a meeting only two weeks ago that if Gibraltar didn't exist we would have to invent it.
We see through here in a normal year most of the operational naval surface ships and submarines. They come here on their way to their operational stations, they use the exercise facilities around here for tuning up their weapons systems before they go off to what in some cases could be considered a “war zone.”
And we are 1,000 miles nearer the threat than England is. So the navy finds that very convenient. In addition to that, the exercise areas around here are probably the best in the world - so, more and more, our ships are coming down here to do their training because in the cluttered areas of the North Sea, the Channel or north of Scotland, it is less easy to carry out this exercise and training.
A Royal Air Force (RAF) F-35 jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday after the pilot safely ejected. It's the first incident reported for the UK's flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the crash in a statement, saying that a “British F-35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.”
The pilot was safely rescued and returned to the aircraft carrier and an investigation has been launched into the incident, with the Ministry of Defence saying it “would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
HMS Trent, which operates out of Gibraltar, is one of the Royal Navy ships, which together with British Army troops, and Royal Air force fighters is arriving on new deployments in eastern Europe to bolster NATO’s eastern front in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Trent is in the eastern Mediterranean, conducting NATO exercises with Merlin Helicopters and RAF P8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. They will be joined by HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer, which set sail from Portsmouth on Friday.
Challenger 2 tanks and armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh battlegroup have arrived in Estonia from Germany, with further equipment and around 1000 troops arriving over the coming days. This will double the UK presence in Estonia, where the UK leads a NATO battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence.
RAF Typhoon fighter jets have already completed their first air policing missions across the region, with an additional four aircraft based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Typhoons flying from bases in Cyprus and the UK are now patrolling NATO airspace over Romania and Poland alongside NATO allies with Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft in support.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP said:
“Our armed forces are once again being called upon in the service of our Nation and I salute the bravery and sense of duty shared by all our personnel who have been deployed to support NATO.
“Alongside our NATO Allies, these deployments constitute a credible deterrent to stop Russian aggression threatening the territorial sovereignty of member states.”
Yesterday, the Defence Secretary held a virtual donor conference with more than 25 countries, including the US and Canada and some countries outside NATO, coordinating their support to Ukraine. They will continue to give humanitarian and military support, which includes ammunition and anti-tank weapons, and the UK has offered to conduct logistics operations to support the delivery of donations.
NATO Allies are united in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and are collectively taking a range of measures to protect their security and deter further aggression. At a meeting of NATO Heads of State and government yesterday (25 February), all 30 member nations agreed that:
“We will make all deployments necessary to ensure strong and credible deterrence and defence across the Alliance, now and in the future. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory.”
11th March 2022
The Ministry of Defence is edging closer to a decision on whether to reactivate the King’s Lines fuel depot as part of wider plans to bolster Gibraltar’s ability to deliver logistical support to the UK’s Royal Navy and its allies.
The prospect of investing in the underground fuel depot at the northern end of the Rock was first signalled by Commodore Steve Dainton, the Commander British Forces, in an interview with the Chronicle in January 2021.
Just over a year later, the process of evaluation is still ongoing and a decision will be taken in the coming months.
“The feasibility study consists of three stages,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told the Chronicle.
“Stage two has now been completed [and] stage three has now commenced.”
“This entails design works which will take a couple of months to complete and, after that, a decision will be taken whether to continue.”
The King’s Lines fuel depot has been out of use for many years and any decision to reactivate it would first require significant investment, not just to restore the storage tanks inside the Rock but also the pipe network connecting it to the Naval Base.
But the strategic advantages for the UK Ministry of Defence of having fuel stored in Gibraltar are clear.
At the time of the January 2021 interview, Cdre Dainton said there were areas of military infrastructure on the Rock where “nobody could deny” investment was needed.
“For example, the ability to properly logistically support warships in terms of bunkering and fuelling and the like,” he said.
“And that is an area were actually we’re pushing really strongly as we move forward.”
Cdre Dainton said at the time that it was not clear whether the depot, which is in a rundown state, could be made operational again.
But he left no doubt that if it could, it would bolster Gibraltar’s offering as a military staging post overlooking one of the world’s busiest maritime chokepoints in a region of increasing geopolitical importance.
“There’s a feasibility study and we’ve got to determine whether that’s even possible and, if it is, is it affordable,” he said.
“But if it is, then actually that would be a real step forward and a real capability to put back into place to allow us to provide Royal Navy and allied warships with that type of fuel.”
After that interview last year, the UK published a strategic review of defence and security policy that placed great emphasis on the UK’s overseas military bases, including in Gibraltar.
The UK Government said it would invest in military infrastructure in Gibraltar and other “strategic hubs” around the world as it adopted a proactive “deterrence posture” in the face of growing threats from hostile states and non-state actors.
It said the UK must improve its ability to “disrupt, defend against and deter” the threats it faces in both the physical world and in cyberspace.
That would mean deploying more of the armed forces overseas more often and for longer periods, in an effort to deter state threats “below the threshold of war” through a strategy of “persistent engagement.”
The front-footed approach will place greater emphasis on the role of forward mounting bases such as Gibraltar.
The Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron has taken delivery of HMS Dagger, the final vessel purpose-built by Marine Specialised Technology to patrol the Rock’s territorial waters.
HMS Dagger will be based in HM Naval Base Gibraltar and used to patrol British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, support British exercises and operations in the area and keep close watch over Gibraltar’s shores.
HMS Dagger must first undergo a rigorous set of sea trials and safety checks until she can fly a White Ensign. These trials are due to be complete in mid- 2022.
The role of the Gibraltar Squadron is to conduct maritime operations in order to provide security in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, reassure the Gibraltarians and demonstrate UK sovereignty of Gibraltar.
Its crews also provide force protection to visiting warships, submarines and auxiliary units alongside their civilian counterparts in the Gibraltar Defence Police force. They perform this duty 365 days a year.
The ship’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Simon Holden, said: “The arrival of HMS Dagger to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron is the culmination of many months of hard work by our commercial partners, Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy.”
“This is an incredibly proud moment for everyone involved in the project and as her first Commanding Officer I am looking forward to putting HMS Dagger through her paces and getting her operational as soon as possible.”
“She is now going to conduct several sea trials prior to raising the White Ensign in mid- 2022.”
The UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation has awarded a £155m contract to UK-based Mitie for services in Ministry of Defence facilities in Gibraltar, in a move that will directly sustain 200 jobs on the Rock.
The contract will provide maintenance work, repairs, servicing, and hard facilities management to the MoD's estate in Gibraltar.
There are no redundancies expected in the current workforce as a result of the new contract, which is the first of a new suite of agreements to provide key services for the UK Armed Forces on overseas MoD bases.
The Gibraltar contract is for an initial period of seven years and will come into service in the autumn.
“DIO is committed to supporting people across the Armed Forces who depend on us to provide facilities and essential services which allow them to work safely and securely,” said the DIO’s Chief Operating Officer, David Brewer.
“This marks an important milestone in the OPC programme, as the first of the new contracts is awarded in Gibraltar.”
“This new contract builds on the successes of existing hard facilities management arrangements while taking on board recommendations for additional services and improvements, which will improve the quality of life for people in Gibraltar.”
“We look forward to working with Mitie to deliver for our Armed Forces overseas.”
The DIO’s new Overseas Prime Contracts programme will also see further contracts come into force at UK defence sites including Cyprus, Germany, the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island.
The next contract to be awarded will be for hard facilities management in Cyprus in early 2023.
The new contracts have been developed taking into account recommendations for improvements to the current arrangements and will mean a better service for military personnel based overseas, the DIO said in a statement.
Greater alignment to current industry standards will mean increased collaboration between DIO and its suppliers and allow for services to be better tailored to the requirements of specific sites.
A new, integrated software system will enable information to be shared more effectively.
The contracts have been designed to promote more efficient processes and the quicker delivery of high volume, lower value works, ensuring increased value for money.
Performance targets will encourage a high standard of repairs and reduce the need for repeat visits.
Commodore Steven Dainton, Commander British Forces Gibraltar, welcomed the announcement.
“I look forward to the new contract coming into effect later in the year and the benefits it will bring to our Armed Forces and staff here in Gibraltar,” he said.
“I’m pleased to hear of the improvements planned over the previous contract, which I believe will increase efficiency and the final standard of works provided, benefitting service personnel across our sites.”
Brian Talbot, Managing Director for Central Government & Defence at Mitie, added: “As proud supporters of the British Armed Forces, we are delighted to have been awarded the new Overseas Prime Contract for Gibraltar by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.”
“By providing these vital services, delivered by our exceptional colleagues and underpinned by our industry-leading technology, we look forward to working with the Armed Forces based in Gibraltar and supporting the smooth delivery of operations on site.”
The Gibraltar Squadron commissioned a modernised HMS Cutlass, the fastest vessel in the Royal Navy, in a landmark ceremony at the HM Naval Base on Wednesday morning.
It was the first ceremony of its kind in the history of Gibraltar, when the Red Ensign was lowered and the White Ensign was raised on the vessel.
Justine Picardo was appointed sponsor of the vessel and is the first person outside of the British Royal Family or the relatives of senior naval officers who has been appointed sponsor of a Royal Navy ship.
She is also the first person resident outside the United Kingdom who has been singled out for such a distinguished honour.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Mrs Picardo reflected on the role of the Gibraltar Squadron and other agencies who operate at sea to protect the integrity of British territorial waters around the Rock.
And she said she "could not be prouder” to be the new vessel’s sponsor.
“The honour bestowed on me today is therefore not just a personal honour, although it is that in spades,” she said.
“But I know that my fellow Gibraltarians will, in fact, consider that this honour is particularly poignant for all of Gibraltar.”
“A demonstration also of the depth of the relationship between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar in the British family of nations.”
Mrs Picardo said that as sponsor, she would remain “acutely aware” of the vessel’s activities in the future.
“I will forever take a keen interest in the life of this vessel and the brave sailors and members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment who will sail in her each day,” she said.
The Commander British Forces Gibraltar, Commodore Steve Dainton, also addressed guests and said: "The commissioning of HMS Cutlass into Her Majesty's Fleet is a major milestone for Gibraltar and one that will mark a significant increase in capability for the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.”
“HMS Cutlass is superbly fast, highly manoeuvrable and equipped with a modern and innovative Command system that will enable a new level of excellence out on the waters around the Rock."
“Bringing a 'First of Class' ship into operational profile is always a challenge and, over the last few months, the RNGS officers and sailors have been required to achieve a comprehensive set of acceptance trials for HMS Cutlass jointly with the continuation of the delivery of wider maritime operations.”
“They have achieved this with incredible professionalism, fortitude and good humour and I am exceptionally proud of their success.”
HMS Cutlass will be used to patrol British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, support British exercises and operations in the area and keep close watch over Gibraltar’s shores.
The vessel can reach 40 knots compared to the previous 20 knots from HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer but, during trials, it were able to reach 46 knots.
“Cutlass has modern optical and infra-red systems, enabling her to identify and track other vessels at range,” said the Commanding Officer for HMS Cutlass, Lieutenant Commander Adam Colman.
“Unlike Dasher and Pursuer many of the systems on board are automated which aids the crew in her operation, maintenance and response to any unforeseen incidents.”
The Cutlass Class Ships have been specifically designed for the unique demands of operating in Gibraltar. Commander Colman explains that the increases in speed and optical range mean the Squadron is able to react quicker whilst increasing its ability to detect, identify and target at a greater range.
As with all vessels, it will have undertaken trails. Commander Colman stated these have been very successful and that they have correctly pushed each vessel to their limit.
“We’ve worked alongside our partners in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and Marine Specialised Technology Limited (MST) to ensure Cutlass is ready to assume operations in a timely fashion,” he said.
While the vessel was commissioned on Wednesday, she will not yet be out on patrol.
“When the duty watch handover [takes place] at the beginning of next week, we will expect HMS Cutlass to assume operations and be out on patrol,” said Commander Colman.
HMS Cutlass will patrol BGTW alongside HMS Dagger, which was received by the Gibraltar Squadron in March, and is presently undergoing sea trials which are expected to be completed by mid-2022.
The role of the Gibraltar Squadron is to conduct maritime operations in order to provide security in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and demonstrate UK sovereignty of Gibraltar.
Its crews also provide force protection to visiting warships, submarines and auxiliary units alongside their civilian counterparts in the Gibraltar Defence Police force.
HMS Penzance has arrived at the Naval Base for a routine logistical visit that will also include survey and diving operations.
Following her arrival a notice to mariners was published by the Gibraltar Port advising all mariners, owners, agents and charterers that the vessel would be carrying out these operations from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
On Tuesday the operations will commence within BGTW from 8am to will conclude at 9pm on Thursday. The southern entrance will be closed from 8am until 5pm on Tuesday.
HMS Penzance is a Sandown-class minehunter and was commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1998. She is named after the seaside town of Penzance in Cornwall and is the fourth vessel to bear the name.
As one of the Royal Navy’s minehunter vessels, HMS Penzance’s primary role is to neutralise underwater threats. Like all Sandown-class vessels, she is most effective in deeper waters, so she can often be found surveying shipping routes or clearing the way for military operations.
The HMS Q. Elizabeth returned to the home of the Royal Navy (Portsmith) on Thursday October 13, where it is expected to prepare to continue its autumn programme of exercises in the Mediterranean and Baltic seas. Four years after her debut in the Big Apple, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to the NYC (25 September 2022) to focus on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations. The £3bn warship had been set to take part in flight trials as well as host the Atlantic Future Forum (AFF) - a defence conference aimed at strengthening UK and US bonds. (THE TWO WITNESSES preparing for battle)
During the trip HMS Queen Elizabeth also hosted a demonstration of jet pack technology in New York Harbour.
Although it's been developed for the military, as all advanced tech usually is, I like them. I can't help it. I like them – although I have no clue if they are environmentally friendly or not. I could see some good uses for these for ordinary people.
HMS Scott arrived in Gibraltar for maintenance and handover this week at HM Naval Base.
Built as an ocean survey vessel, HMS Scott was specially designed to carry the modern High Resolution Multi Beam Sonar System (HRMBSS).
This echo sounder is capable of collecting depth information over a strip of the seabed several kilometres wide.
Since her last visit to Gibraltar in November 22, HMS Scott has scanned a further 100,000km2 of ocean floor, this is five times the size of Wales or 14,700 times the size of Gibraltar, a statement from British Forces Gibraltar said.
HMS Scott is the largest survey vessel in Western Europe, and the fifth largest vessel in the Royal Navy.
Named after the famous Arctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, she also has an auxiliary role as a command platform for mine counter measures vessels.
“We’re delighted to be back here in Gibraltar,” HMS Scott’s Commanding Officer, Commander Harrison said.
“We always receive a very warm welcome. Since deploying from the UK in July last year, we’ve had a very successful survey period.”
“Indeed, last year we achieved the most successful year in the ship’s history – collecting more data than ever before.”
“This is all down to the diligence and professionalism of my fantastic crew.”
“We will conduct maintenance and re-store while here in Gibraltar, to get ready for the next phase of our deployment.”
HMS Scott will be conducting maintenance in GibDock shortly.
One of Britain´s latest nuclear submarines has docked in Gibraltar after a long Mediterranean patrol which has seen her tracking the Russian navy. HMS Audacious is returning home after many months of operations across the Mediterranean. An Astute class submarine she is one of the most sophisticated in the world and her nuclear reactor allows her to stay submerged for many weeks.
Last year as she sailed on her maiden deployment she was photographed loading Tomahawk cruise missiles at Gibraltar as tensions between the West and Russian over Ukraine were at boiling point.
She has been based in Greece and the majority of her operations were in the eastern Mediterranean.
In the first half of 2022, the submarine operated in tandem with NATO forces in the eastern Mediterranean. She was again reported in the eastern Mediterranean in early 2023, including stopping for a rest and maintenance period in Limassol Cyprus.
The Spanish Environmental Group Verdemar- Ecologistas En Accion has condemned the visit by a nuclear powered submarine to the Naval Base.
It claims HMS Audacious is carrying out repairs to its auxiliary engines on the Rock with the smoke visible in the Bay.
The Spanish Environmentalists claim the Naval Base is turning into an X Berth.
The conventionally armed Hunter-killer submarine, HMS Audacious was on operations for two days short of a year – a mammoth 363 days away from her base on the Clyde, making it the longest ever deployment for any of the Royal Navy’s new Astute-class submarines.
The submarine remained poised for operations in the Mediterranean. Commander James Howard, said: “We have maintained a highly capable and silent nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarine at high readiness for almost a year. In doing so we’ve operated at arm’s length from the UK, providing support to NATO and exercising with partners in the region.
“This has also proved that the UK has the capability to provide a stealthy, flexible, and proportional response to any situation, should that need arise."
In March last year, she sailed from her home at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane in Scotland to the eastern reaches of the Mediterranean in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Online speculation suggests HMS Queen Elizabeth is patrolling the Irish Sea to safeguard undersea cables and pipelines from Russian intervention. In fact, the ship will lead the Carrier Strike Group 23 deployment in the Mediterranean in August, enabling her F-35 Lightning jets to fly over the Black Sea.
The Royal Navy's biggest warship was spotted off Anglesey - here's why
The aircraft carrier is preparing for a summer deployment in a show of strength against Putin.
The Royal Navy’s biggest and most powerful warship cut a majestic sight as it cruised past Anglesey this week. HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, is currently conducting trials and drills in the Irish Sea.