Op KIPION Royal Navy HMS Montrose (Crown Copyright, 2013)

Op KIPION: Royal Navy Sent to Deal with Iran

UK Increases Military Presence in Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean

Amid rising tensions with Islamic extremist state Iran, the MOD has issued an update on the UK military presence in the region.

The UK has a long-standing maritime presence in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Since 1980, units of both the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) have maintained a presence in the Gulf 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Operation KIPION

Operation KIPION, the operational name for UK forces (principally maritime) in the region, is, according to Ministry sources, “our commitment to promoting peace and stability as well as ensuring the safe flow of trade, and countering narcotics and piracy.”

The UK has approximately 1,200 UK personnel deployed and is committed to de-escalation in the Persian Gulf and maintaining free navigation through the region.

The UK regularly reviews the number of RN and RFA vessels in the region. While there is occasional overlap of ships when one deployment begins and another ends, this is not uncommon. These long-planned movements do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region and are routine Op KIPION deployments.

There are 7 RN and RFA vessels, with embarked Royal Marines for force protection, currently deployed to Op KIPION:

1 x Type 23 Frigate

HMS MONTROSE. The ship is due to undertake pre-planned maintenance and crew change during which she will be replaced by HMS DUNCAN.

1 x Type 45

HMS DUNCAN is transiting to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS MONTROSE comes off task.

4 x Mine Counter Measures Vessels


1 x Landing ships Docking Auxiliary (LSDA) – Mine Counter Measures Support Ship

RFA Cardigan Bay

Future routine deployments to Op KIPION include:


RFA WAVE KNIGHT will join OP KIPION tasking at the start of August as part of a long planned deployment to Op KIPION in the role of KIPION Ready Tanker.

With a ship’s company of around 70 RFA personnel, RFA WAVE KNIGHT’s role is to deliver food, fuel, water and other essential supplies to RN and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) ships.


Later in the year, Type 23 Frigate HMS KENT will deploy to the Gulf taking over from HMS DUNCAN, ensuring an unbroken presence.

The maritime component is commanded by Commodore Dean Bassett out of the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command in Bahrain. Cdre Bassett is also the Deputy Commander of the US-led Combined Maritime Force (see below).

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

The UK contributes to the 33-nation CMF that conducts Maritime Security Operations, counters terrorism and narcotics smuggling in maritime areas of responsibility; works with regional and other partners to improve overall security and stability; helps strengthen regional nations’ maritime capabilities; and, when requested, responds to environmental and humanitarian crises.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (MTO)

UKMTO, a Royal Navy capability, is an information conduit between military and security forces and the wider international maritime trade. UKMTO delivers timely maritime security information, often acting as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels involved in maritime incidents or traveling within an area of high risk.

Source: MOD

Image: Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose flexes her warfighting muscle with the successful firing of a Harpoon missile – capable of destroying a target up to 80 miles away.

The anti-ship missile was fired at more than 800 mph into a specially designed target barge in the Scottish exercise areas, obliterating it within minutes, and demonstrating the type of lethal power the warship wields.

The Royal Navy continually tests its personnel on exercises and training serials which are designed to build a world-class Service, and putting the weapons through their paces is part of ensuring their powerful capability.

Principal Warfare Officer Lieutenant Ben Evans said: “The intensity and stress of conducting complex warfare training increases tenfold when you know that there is almost a quarter of a tonne of warhead on the end of the live missile you are about to fire – but so is the satisfaction increased when you successfully achieve your goal.”

HMS Montrose, which is based at Devonport Naval Base, fired the Harpoon missile during a specialist training week following her participation in Exercise Joint Warrior – a huge multi-national exercise off the coast of Scotland.

Photograph by PO(AET) Danny Swain
214 FLT, 815 NAS