Navy's HMS Tamar gets dazzle camouflage makeover

The paint scheme was first introduced by the Royal Navy in the First World War and will be applied to the whole Batch 2 River-class fleet.

Royal Navy vessel HMS Tamar has received a 'dazzle camouflage' paint scheme.

The new patrol ship has received the makeover, featuring various shades of black, white and grey in a number of shapes, ahead of her deployment to the Asia-Pacific.

The dazzle paint scheme style was first introduced by the Royal Navy towards the end of the First World War, with many navies across the world following suit. 

The different shapes, angles and colours were intended to confuse submariners peering through periscopes, making it hard for them to identify ships and confuse their calculations about the target's speed and direction.

Dazzle camouflage was quickly phased out by the Navy after the end of World War Two in 1945 and the improvement of radar and other technology.

The decision to repaint HMS Tamar is a nod to the Navy's heritage, rather than an operational move, and the dazzle camouflage is set to be extended across the entire Batch 2 River-class patrol ship fleet. 

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Argus with dazzle camouflage during the First World War in 1918 (Picture: Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Argus with dazzle camouflage during the First World War in 1918 (Picture: Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson, Tamar's Commanding Officer, said the new paint scheme comes with "historical significance".

"Different styles of dazzle were used by the Royal Navy on ships in various stations throughout the world and were are pleased to have been given an iconic new look before we deploy in the summer."

Commander David Louis, Commander of the Overseas Patrol Squadron, said the Navy has decided to give the River-class ships a distinct identity to recognise their extended missions.

The squadron's vessels are deployed for several years at a time, operating out of overseas bases and ports in areas key to UK interests, national security and prosperity, including the Caribbean, Falklands, Mediterranean, West Africa, and now the Asia-Pacific.

"Dazzle has much less military value in the 21st Century although there is still value in littoral environments when viewed against the background of land," Cdr Louis said.

HMS Tamar received the makeover in Falmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).
HMS Tamar received the dazzle camouflage makeover in Falmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

"It is very much more about supporting the unique identity of the squadron within the Royal Navy as part of their forward presence mission."

Dazzle camouflage was invented by Royal Navy officer and artist Norman Wilkinson during the First World War.

He came up with the idea during the height of the first Battle of the Atlantic in 1917 as Britain struggled to deal with the threat from U-boats.

More than 2,000 British and allied ships received the livery before the end of the Great War and the camouflage scheme returned in the early stages of the Second World War until Japan's surrender in 1945.

HMS Tamar, described as the Navy's 'greenest' vessel, was commissioned in December

The vessel underwent the makeover in Falmouth, Cornwall, with 200 litres of paint applied to her hull during a maintenance period.

Her recognisable, large red lion motifs on her superstructure are being replaced before she sets sail next week.