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British Navy Sandown-class Minehunter HMS Ramsey M110 joins NATO minehunting force in Baltic.

| 2020

The British Navy Sandown-class Minehunter HMS Ramsey (M110) joins NATO minehunting force in Baltic. The Faslane-based ship – which specializes in finding mines in deep waters – is spending the next five weeks with an international task group dealing with problems past, present and future.
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British Navy Sandown class Minehunter HMS Ramsey M110 joins NATO minehunting force in Baltic 925 001 British Navy Sandown-class Minehunter HMS Ramsey M110.(Picture source British Navy)

The British Navy HMS Ramsey takes over from her sister HMS Grimsby which earlier this spring was attached to Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1, the NATO force dedicated to eliminating the threat of historic mines in the waters of northern Europe, practicing dealing with present-day mines, and promoting the alliance and freedom of the seas.

British Navy HMS Ramsey arrived during the second phase of a nine-day exercise by the NATO group as it conducted its latest operation to remove historic ordnance from the depths off the coast of Estonia. The NATO group – Ramsey, plus flagship FGS Donau, Norwegian minesweeper Otra and German minehunter Fulda – were joined by Estonian naval forces for the concerted effort, including two old friends.

The Estonians snapped up three Sandown-class ships back in 2006, two of which – Admiral Cowan (ex-HMS Sandown) and Ugandi (formerly HMS Bridport) – took part in the joint exercise.

The HMS Ramsey is a Sandown-class minehunter – and her glass-reinforced plastic hull gives the ship the same magnetic signature as a fridge freezer. She is equipped with Type 2093 variable depth sonar, and has the ability to detect an object the size of a football 600m below the surface.

The Sandown Class is equipped with two underwater PAP 104 mk5 remote-controlled mine-disposal vehicles, supplied by Societe ECA. The vehicle is controlled via a 2,000 m fiber-optic cable. A lighting system, low light level black and white camera and a color camera are fitted. The vehicle is also fitted with high-resolution sonar. The sensor data is transmitted back to the operations control centre on the ship.

The main payload is a 100 kg mine disposal charge which can be replaced by a manipulator. Wire cutters are used to release moored mines from the column of water above the sea bed. The mine disposal vehicles can be deployed to a depth of 300 m.

The Sandown Class is also equipped with two Barricade lightweight decoy launchers supplied by ML Aviation of Andover. The launchers are capable of dispensing infrared decoys and chaff in confusion, distraction and centroid seduction modes of operation.

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