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        Name of vessel
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        HMS Enterprise

        HMS Enterprise

        HMS Enterprise was built at Appledore in Devon, and launched on 2 May 2002. She and her sister HMS Echo were designed to carry out a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations, through the collection of oceanographic and bathymetric (analysis of the ocean, its salinity and sound profile) data.

        HMS Enterprise

        Enterprise's survey motor boat, SMB Spitfire, is capable of operating independently from the ship, supporting a small group of surveyors who can live and work ashore to carry out large-scale or beach surveys.

        She is the second Royal Navy ship (after sister HMS Echo) to use azimuth thrusters, where the propellers are part of a swivelling pod, allowing for precise manoeuvring.

        She is also capable of acting as home for a mine countermeasures command team.

        Since her first operational overseas deployment to the Mediterranean in late 2004, Enterprise has worked in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin, through West Africa to the Republic of South Africa, and off Iraq.

        She emerged from a five-month refit in September 2013 and is now in the process of trials and training before returning to her full operational deployment later this year.


        Derek Rae

        Derek Rae
        HMS Gleaner, Echo,
        Military experience

        Derek Rae gained his Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Marine Geography from the University of Wales, College Cardiff before joining the Royal Navy in 1994.

        Following initial warfare officer training, a natural progression from his degree was to undertake the RN’s specialist Hydrographic and Meteorology course with a subsequent appointment to HMS Herald, conducting surveys in the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

        In 1999, he was given the opportunity to spend 2½ years on exchange with the Royal New Zealand Navy with appointments to HMNZS Resolution and as 2I/C of their Detached Hydrographic Survey Unit, operating a multibeam echo sounder (MBES) fitted catamaran; participating in high definition MBES surveys of the shipping routes surrounding New Zealand.

        On return to the UK in 2001, he undertook the Advanced Survey Course at the RN Hydrographic School prior to Initial Staff course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College.

        A period as Operations Officer in HMS Roebuck followed, conducting Military Data Gathering (MDG) in the Adriatic and Irish Seas.

        Appointed as the first Operations Officer in HMS Enterprise he stood by the ship in build before participating in MOD Capability Acceptance Trials. Once the ship was operational, he returned in HMS Enterprise to the Adriatic and also planned the ship's participation in its first major NATO exercise - Destined Glory 04 off the island of Sardinia.

        Subsequently appointed to Command the Royal Navy's smallest survey vessel HMS Gleaner in 2005, he was charged with conducting MDG in strategically important commercial and military ports around the UK.

        Departing HMS Gleaner in 2006 his first non-seagoing appointment saw him working in London for the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Equipment Capability). During this period he worked in the Underwater Effects Directorate (responsible for HM capability); also seconded to the Ground Manoeuvre Directorate, he was responsible for staffing Urgent Operational Requirements to improve the capability of armoured vehicles used on Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        His appointment to HMS Echo in 2008 as Executive Officer saw the ship deployed to the Far East for 20 months, conducting MDG operations in the South China Sea, and due to the manning routine he had the opportunity to exercise Temporary Command for 1 month in 3.

        Brief appointments followed as Directing Staff at the Joint Services Command and Staff College and as a Staff Officer at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office prior to promotion and selection for Command of HMS Enterprise.




        HMS Enterprise visits Cardiff
        21 March 2014

        The Royal Navy’s ocean survey vessel, HMS Enterprise, will sail...

        Joint Warrior
        Joint Warrior exercise off Scotland comes to an end
        18 October 2013

        Royal Navy ships, submarines and aircraft together with NATO partners...

        Royal Naval survey ship leaves dry dock
        Royal Naval survey ship leaves dry dock
        10 September 2013

        HMS Enterprise has emerged from dry dock sporting a new...

        Royal Naval families on warship at sea
        Royal Naval families on warship at sea
        14 June 2013

        Royal Naval sailors thanked their families and friends for their...



        CURRENT STATUS: active

        Hydrographic ships work in a variety of sea areas to gather and process hydrographic and oceanographic data for planning and operational purposes. In addition this data will be dispatched to the UK Hydrographic Office for analysis and inclusion into navigational charts and other navigational safety publications. The ships also closely monitor other vessels whilst deployed and deterring any potential illegal activity.















        Top Speed


        Range (Nautical)


        Launch Date


        Commissioned date


        Operational Availability

        330Days A Year

        TAKE A LOOK


        HMS Enterprise HISTORY

        • The First Enterprise

          The current HMS Enterprise is the 14th ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name, give or take the odd variation in spelling and change of name, as well as three auxiliaries. The first was a prize, the French 6th Rate 24-gun L’Enterprise, taken by the 50-gun HMS Triton in May 1705 in the Mediterranean. Under her anglicised name the 320-ton corvette mainly patrolled the Med, but was lost with all hands on 12 October 1707 off Thornton.

        • The Second Enterprise

          Hard on her heels came a two-decked 44-gun 5th Rate, built at Plymouth Dock and launched on 24 April 1709. She took part in the doomed expedition against the French in Canada in 1711, but was more successful in helping quell a Spanish landing and clan uprising at Eilean Donan Castle in western Scotland in March 1719, having undergone a ‘great repair’ at Chatham the previous year.. She was also part of the punitive response against Spain, attacking Vigo in October 1719, and she continued to proviode useful service until she was hulked in 1740; she was used as a hospital ship from 1745 and sold four years later.

        • The Third and Fourth Enterprises

          The next Enterprise never came to fruition; a 5th rate of 44 guns, she was still in build on the Mersey in early 1741 when she was renamed Liverpool; three years later the 4th Rate 48-gun Norwich, launched at Deptford in 1693 and extensively rebuilt at Chatham in 1718, was renamed Enterprise (or Enterprize). The reclassified 5th Rate 44 spent much of the latter part of her active service in the Caribbean and off North America, taking part in the capture of Havana in August 1762, and was broken up at Sheerness in 1771.

        • The Fifth and Sixth Enterprises

          Enterprise number five (or four, if you discount Liverpool) was a ten-gun tender which was captured by the Americans on 14 May 1775 on the Richelieu River, and number six was a 28-gun 6th Rate frigate, launched at Deptford in August 1774. She served as a cruiser and convoy escort in the American War of Independence, and decommissioned in 1784. After several years as a receiving ship in London, she was taken to Deptford in 1806 and broken up the following year.

        • The Seventh Enterprise

          The seventh Enterprise – or Enterprize – was launched at Rotherhithe on 10 August 1778 as the 6th Rate 28-gun Resource. In 1804 she was converted to a floating battery, and in April 1806 she was renamed Enterprize and assumed the receiving-ship duties of her predecessor in London before being sold at the end of August 1816.

        • The Eighth and Ninth Enterprises

          Enterprise number eight was a wooden paddle gunvessel built at Deptford in 1824 and in service until at least 1830. She was followed by a survey sloop launched as a merchant vessel at Blackwall on 5 April 1848 and adapted by the Admiralty to take part in the search for Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition. She made two voyages to the Arctic, via the Atlantic then the Pacific, and was then lent to the Commissioners of Northern Light Houses in 1860, who used her as a coal hulk at Oban. In 1889 she moved on to the Board of Trade, and was sold in mid-September 1903.

        • The Tenth and Eleventh Enterprises

          Things get a little confusing at this point, but according to JJ Colledge and Ben Warlow’s authoritative book, a 670-ton wooden screw sloop was laid down at Deptford in May 1861, renamed Circassian in July 1862 but cancelled at the end of the following year. At the same time as that vessel was renamed an extensively-redesigned ironclad sloop originally named Circassian was renamed Enterprise – essentially the names were swapped – and was launched on 9 February 1864. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet until 1871, when she was reduced to Reserve; she was sold to be broken up in late 1886.

        • The Twelfth Enterprise

          The 12th Enterprise was a 7,600-ton E-class light cruiser launched by John Brown at Clydebank on 23 December 1919, though she was immediately towed to Devonport and work on her was not completed until the end of March 1926. She remained active, mainly in the East Indies, until 1937 when she went into the Reserve at Portsmouth. Recommissioned on the outbreak of war, she served on Atlantic convoys and in Norway, later joining Force H in the Western Mediterranean. She went on to trade protection and convoy duties in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean, served in the Gulf, the Far East, the North Atlantic and she was part of the bombardment force at the Normandy landings. After a spell of trooping duties to the Far East she was paid off and sold for scrapping at Newport on 11 April 1946.

        • The Penultimate Enterprise

          The penultimate Enterprise was a 120-ton inshore survey vessel launched by Blackmore at Bideford on 30 September 1958. Much of her career was spent surveying the shallows, sandbanks and coastline of Eastern England and the eastern stretch of the English Channel, though she also appeared in Belgian, Dutch and German ports. Given the popularity of Star Trek during her career, inevitably she became known as the Starship… She was sold to the Marine Society in 1986.

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