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HMS Echo (H87)
HMS Echo MOD 45155676.jpg
HMS Echo in 2006
Career (UK)
Ordered: 19 June 2000[1]
Builder: Appledore Shipbuilders, Bideford
Launched: 4 March 2002[1]
Sponsored by: Lady Haddacks
Commissioned: 7 March 2003[1]
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
Identification: Pennant number: H87
International callsign: GAAC[2]
Motto: Latin: Marte et Art
("By Mars and Art")
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics [1]
Displacement: 3470 tons
Length: 90.6 m (297 ft 3 in)
Beam: 16.8 m (55 ft 1 in)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
3 × diesel generators (4.8 MW)
2 × 1.7 MW (2,279 hp) azimuth thrusters
1 × 0.4 MW (536 hp) bow thruster
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: 9,300 nmi (17,200 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance: 35 days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Survey motor boat[3]
Complement: 72
Sensors and
processing systems:

Integrated Survey System,[3] comprising:

  • Simrad EM 1002 multi beam echo sounder
  • Mk II Sea Soar Oceanic Profiler
  • Acoustic doppler current profiler
  • Sidescan sonar
  • Remote offshore tide gauges
  • Sub-bottom profiler
  • Bottom grab
  • 2 × GAMBO 20 mm cannon
  • 2 × Miniguns
  • 4 × General Purpose Machine Guns
  • HMS Echo is the first of two multi-role hydrographic survey ships commissioned by the Royal Navy. With her sister ship, HMS Enterprise, they form the Echo class of survey vessels. She was built by Appledore Shipbuilders in Devon in 2002[4] and is the ninth Royal Navy vessel to carry the name.


    Echo and Enterprise are the first Royal Navy ships to be fitted with azimuth thrusters. Both azimuth thrusters and the bow thruster can be controlled through the Integrated Navigation System by a joystick providing high manoeuvrability. Complete control and monitoring for power generation and propulsion, together with all auxiliary plant systems, tank gauging and damage control functions is provided through the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), accessible through workstations around the ship.


    Echo and her sister ship are designed to conduct survey operations in support of submarines or amphibious operations. She can provide almost real-time tailored environmental information, and also has a secondary role as a mine countermeasure tasking authority platform, for which she is capable of embarking a dedicated mine counter measures command team.[3]


    Echo operates a lean-manned three-watch rotation system. The total ship's company is 72, with two-thirds of the ship's company on board at any one time. The work cycle of 75 days on followed by 30 days off allows her sailors to take sufficient leave while the ship can remain away from her base port for extended periods, potentially for years at a time.[5]

    Operational history

    Echo was launched on 2 March 2002 and was named on 4 March by Lady Haddacks, wife of Vice Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks.[4] She was accepted into service on 4 October 2002 and formally commissioned on 7 March 2003.[4]

    Persian Gulf deployment 2004–2005

    Echo deployed to the Persian Gulf to conduct survey operations in 2004, returning to the UK in April 2005.[3]

    Far East deployment 2008–2012

    Exploiting her rotational manning system, Echo was deployed on a five-year mission to the Far East, conducting ocean survey and diplomatic visits.[6]

    In August 2008 she visited Hong Kong, where her Commanding Officer laid a wreath at the Stanley Military Cemetery.[7] In October of the same year she visited Busan for the Republic of Korea International Fleet Review.[8] Other visits have been conducted to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia.[9]

    February 2012 saw Echo visit the Seychelles to take part in anti-piracy training with the Seychelles Coastguard. The visit included a stop in the capital Victoria.[10] 16 August 2012 the ship returned to Devonport after almost a year and a half away. In this time she had been in the Middle and Far East, and had fired on a suspected Somali pirate vessel.

    Mediterranean deployment July 2013

    In July 2013 Echo was in the central Mediterranean surveying the approaches to the ports of Tripoli and Khoms on the coast of Libya to improve Admiralty charts of the area. She was looking for wrecks that might be hazards to shipping. In 10 days she found the wrecks of one liner, two merchant ships, one landing craft, two fishing vessels, two barges and two large sunken pontoons. She also found at least half a dozen lost shipping containers. The landing craft is believed to be the Libyan Navy Polnocny-class landing ship Ibn Qis, which was burnt out on exercise in 1978.[11]


    HMS Echo in Kalkara, Malta, April 2008

    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Jane's Fighting Ships 2004–2005. London: Jane's Information Group Ltd. p. 815. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1. 
    2. "Royal Navy Bridge Card, February 2009". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Echoes of a varied history – HMS Echo', ship of the month". Navy News. May 2004. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "HMS Echo at the Royal Navy website". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    5. "HMS Echo visits Indonesia at Defence News". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    6. "HMS Echo sets sail on five-year mission". Highbeam Research. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    7. "HMS Echo visit to Hong Kong at the Royal Navy website". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    8. "HMS Echo Attends International Fleet Review – Busan, Republic of Korea at the Royal Navy website". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    9. "Echo Gets Wet N' Wild In the South China Sea at the Royal Navy website". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
    10. "Echo joins the fight against piracy in the Seychelles". Navy News. Royal Navy. 2012-02-14. 
    11. "HMS Echo finds 18 wrecks off Libya". Ministry of Defence. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 

    External links

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