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What we do
Global operations
What we do

Global operations

Fully engaged around the world. Our people operate ships and submarines across every ocean and continent.

Where we operate

Map of the world

Active duty, 365 days a year

HMS Kent transits in the Suez focusing on front of the vessel

Middle East

We maintain a constant presence in the Gulf region – from a dedicated mine warfare task force committed to keeping sea lanes open to a frigate which operates with international warships and task groups to safeguard shipping and intercept smugglers trafficking drugs and weapons, threatening regional and global instability.

HMS Medway and RFA Waveknight alongside in Curacao.


With British Overseas Territories across the region, the Royal Navy maintains a year-round presence in the Caribbean with two distinct missions: to work with our friends and allies to tackle the scourge of drug trafficking; and from June through to the end of November, standing ready to help in the event of storms ravaging the many island communities. 

HMS Protector red and white ship in South Georgia with seal in foreground

South Atlantic and Antarctic

The Royal Navy provides constant reassurance, security and support to the British citizens of the Falkland Islands and neighbouring South Georgia courtesy of a River-class patrol vessel. During the austral summer – November through to March – the Navy’s unique icebreaker and survey ship HMS Protector also deploys to the region to conduct her scientific mission in Antarctica focusing on the safety of seafarers and research into the environment and climate change. 

Fighter Jet coming in to land on HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier with Type 45 frigate in background

North Atlantic and Northen Europe

This is the Royal Navy’s ‘back yard’ and the focal point of operations, maintaining a 24/7/365 watch on potentially hostile activity above, on and below the waves, working side-by-side with our NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) allies, often in challenging conditions from the grey wastes of the Atlantic and bitter Arctic Ocean to the snow-covered mountains and valleys of northern Norway where Royal Marines Commandos can be found every winter as the UK’s cold weather warfare specialists.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier and frigate in front of rock of Gibraltar

Mediterranean, West Africa and Black Sea

With Gibraltar serving as a vital hub and forward base for operations, the Royal Navy maintains a permanent presence safeguarding the western gateway to the Mediterranean, as well as committing warships working independently or with NATO allies to guarantee the safe passage of shipping and readiness to respond to international incidents from the Gulf of Guinea and the length and breadth of the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. 

HMS Spey in background delivers humanitarian aid via small inflatable vessel in forground


With the renewed strategic importance of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to the UK’s security and prosperity, the Royal Navy has returned to the region by maintaining two warships constantly on patrol typically between India and the western Pacific Rim, upholding shared values with our allies, renewing old friendships and forging new ones with remote nations and communities. In addition, the UK can deploy the Carrier Strike Group – it’s most potent naval force – to the region, as it did with HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021.

HMS Victorious leaving HMNB Clyde, top half of sub visible above the water

Continuous at Sea Deterrent

For 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Royal Navy Vanguard class submarines patrol the world’s oceans. Their mission? To carry the Trident missile system: the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear deterrent.

Our long-standing commitment to continuous nuclear deterrence will continue for decades to come when our lethal Dreadnought class ballistic submarines come in to operation in the early 2030s.

Explore the dreadnought class