Echo-class survey ship (2002)

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HMS Echo (H87) 2015.jpg
HMS Echo, 2011
Class overview
BuildersAppledore Shipbuilders, Bideford (Subcontracted from Vosper Thornycroft)
Operators Royal Navy
In commission2003–
General characteristics [1]
Displacement3,740 t (3,680 long tons; 4,120 short tons)[2]
Length90.6 m (297 ft 3 in)
Beam16.8 m (55 ft 1 in)
Draught5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
Speed15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range9,300 nmi (17,200 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance35 days
Boats & landing
craft carried
Survey motor boat
Sensors and
processing systems
Integrated survey system[N 1]

The Echo-class is a class of multi-purpose hydrographic survey ships in commission with the Royal Navy. The ships are primarily tasked with conducting survey work in support of submarine and amphibious operations, however, the class also has a secondary role in mine countermeasures. The two vessels of the class are the most recent additions to the Royal Navy's Hydrographic Squadron. Each ship displaces approximately 3,700 tonnes, and is equipped with a state of the art suite of equipment.


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. The range of equipment carried includes the following:[1]

  • Multi beam echo sounder
  • Single beam echo sounder
  • Survey Planning and Processing Systems
  • Side-scan sonar
  • Oceanographic Probe and sensors
  • Undulating Oceanographic Profiler
  • Doppler Current Log
  • Sub-bottom Profiler
  • Bottom Sampling Equipment
  • Survey motor boat fitted with multi-beam sonar and sidescan sonar

The vessels are armed. They carry a GAM-B01 20mm canon (a naval version of the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon), two Miniguns and four General Purpose Machine Guns[2]


The vessels are designed to conduct survey tasks in support of submarines or amphibious operations. They can provide almost real-time tailored environmental information, and also have a secondary role as a mine countermeasure tasking authority platform, for which they are capable of embarking a dedicated mine counter measures command team, and supporting other mine warfare vessels.[3]


The two ships follow the same type of crew rotation pattern as HMS Scott, in that two-thirds of their crew is needed to keep the ship operational, with the remaining one-third ashore. This allows each ship to be available for deployment for up to 330 days a year.[5]

The ship's crew consists of 72 personnel, with 48 on board at any one time, working a cycle of 75 days on, 30 days off. The ships are able to accommodate 81 personnel if necessary. In support of this high availability, all accommodation and recreational facilities are designed for an unusual (in a warship) degree of comfort. All personnel share double cabins with private facilities, except the captain and executive officer who both have single cabins.[6]

Ships in the class

Name Pennant No. Builder Ordered Launched Date of Commission Status
Echo H87 Appledore Shipbuilders, Bideford[1] 19 June 2000[1] 4 March 2002[1] 7 March 2003[1] In active service
Enterprise H88 2 May 2002[1] 17 October 2003[1] In active service


  1. Side-scan sonar; Multi-beam echo sounder; Single-beam echo sounder; Undulating oceanographic profiler; Doppler current log; Sub-bottom profiler; Bottom sampling equipment
  2. Secondary role as a mine countermeasures command vessel. Capable of embarking a dedicated mine countermeasures team and supporting other MCM vessels.[3][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004-2005. Jane's Information Group Limited. p. 815. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Echo Class Hydrographic / Oceanographic Survey Vessels, United Kingdom,, Retrieved 27 June 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Echoes of a varied history - HMS Echo', ship of the month May 2004 (archive)". Navy News. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  4. Royal Navy HMS Enterprise,, Retrieved 27 June 2014
  5. "Navy's new survey ship named Enterprise". The Defence Procurement Agency Press Office. 2 May 2002. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2009. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  6. "Hydrographic Vessels Operation and Support at the Royal Navy website". Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)

External links