Iain Ballantyne

Iain Ballantyne


Iain’s writing assignments have taken him flying over the Norwegian Arctic with the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force, on patrols with the Royal Marines in Ulster’s so-called Bandit Country (during the Troubles) and into sea minefields off war-torn Kuwait and even into the Bosnian war zone.

Winner of a British Maritime Charitable Foundation (BMCF) Special Recognition Award for his ‘consistent and unwavering contribution to raising maritime awareness over the years’, as a journalist Iain Ballantyne covered the front line activities of navies around the world.

Aside from being one of the few writers to voyage beneath the waves in a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine, he has also visited closed zones in Russia, including Murmansk, Kronstadt and the Crimea.

When it comes to writing on naval history Iain’s action-packed account of WW2 sea combat, ‘Killing the Bismarck’, garnered a Mountbatten Maritime Award Certificate of Merit while his ground-breaking ‘Hunter Killers’ was the first book to tell the truth behind several dangerous episodes in the Cold War under the sea.

A one-time London-based defence and diplomatic correspondent for a national news agency, Iain has contributed to coverage of naval and defence issues in The Sunday Telegraph, Western Morning News and Scotland-on-Sunday, as well as prestigious publications published on behalf of NATO and the Royal Navy.

In addition to being founding (and current) Editor of the global naval news magazine ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’ Iain also produces HPC Publishing’s popular ‘Guide to the Royal Navy’.

Aside from regularly commentating on geo-political naval affairs and maritime history for regional television and radio, Iain’s other varied pursuits in the past have included movie reviewing (for newspapers, magazines and radio) and co-devising a six-part wine game show (broadcast on the UK’s Channel 4). Iain also for some years worked on numerous projects for London-based Grosvenor Film, both in project conceptualization and script-writing.

Iain’s public speaking engagements have included giving a talk on the pursuit and destruction of battleship Bismarck at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and, most recently, a very well received talk on the same topic at the Naval & Military Club, St James’s. Earlier this year (2016) he spoke on issues surrounding renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent to the Defence Society of Westminster School.

Iain Ballantyne @IBallantyn

I like this h/c cabin shot a lot, but in the end, while revising image selection for 'Navy Air' section of @WarshipsIFR 'Guide to the US Navy 2023', it did not make final cut. A pic by MCS2 Kaila V. Peter #USNavy - cool dudes preparing for a VERTREP over N. Sea, June 2021.

Another dreamy moment in time… https://twitter.com/stuarthumphryes/status/1557430058519871492

Spectacular pics of Russian carrier in a rough and hopefully ready dry dock at Murmansk. @Topol_MSS27 has an interesting article on how that vessel ended up in there in our current edition of @WarshipsIFR


Check out my latest #podcast with @MegGardiner1 talking about #Heat2 and working with legendary film director @MichaelMann https://twitter.com/secretsandspies/status/1556910040845541377

1/2 That the High North will see a new contest for the freedom of the seas as it becomes more navigable has been clear for some years, but now the challenge is crystallising (pun intended). Submarines will be to the fore (out of sight and out of most peoples' minds)

A great movie has a sequel...in print and here's the lowdown on 'Heat 2' - courtesy of @SecretsAndSpies

Of great interest https://twitter.com/detresfa_/status/1556554096856932353

In 1977 the submarine HMS Swiftsure was tasked with recording a sound signature for the new Soviet carrier Kiev (these were used to help NATO ships, submarines and other listening devices to identify vessels at sea, with every ship or submarine having its own distinct sound


It is imperative that some progress is made with this conference. https://twitter.com/RStanleyForsyth/status/1556238347810529280

The #RoyalNavy patrol ship HMS Spey departing Darwin Harbour as her deployment continues in Indo-Pacific, including working with the Royal Australian Navy undertaking surveillance & maritime security tasks. Photo: POIS Peter Thompson @Australian_Navy

For more on the Royal Navy's deployed River Class OPVs in various parts of the world there is this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJfBUh3GyMQ https://twitter.com/WarshipsIFR/status/1556563528680701952

Dealing with drone side of life for forthcoming @WarshipsIFR 'Guide to the US Navy' & soon will turn to legendary ship names due to be reborn in fighting steel, such as Wahoo & Constellation (seen here in submarine & carrier 'iterations') @USNHistory pics https://tandymedia.com/product/guide-to-the-us-navy-2023/

The Royal Navy commissioned 16 Duke Class (Type 23) frigates into service, with three sold off in 2000s to Chile. This vessel is the ex-HMS Grafton, which was only commissioned into the RN in 1997, & taken out of British service in 2006 to begin her new life the following year.

And so the latest RIMPAC exercise comes to an end and, as ever, it provided some excellent imagery.

A crucial event for the future of international peace and security – and global sanity – got under way at UN headquarters in New York last week, though, given the lack of political and media attention, you might be forgiven for not noticing. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/aug/07/nuclear-apocalypse-was-postponed-in-1968-now-its-back-on-the-agenda-hiroshima-npt?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

In late September 2013 the Los Angeles Class fast-attack submarine USS Helena in Souda Bay, Crete. A pic I rediscovered while assessing images for my current task, but for which it will not be used. Worth sharing here on #SubSunday Photo by Paul Farley/US Navy.

For #ShagbatSaturday a Walrus making lots of noise & spray alongside cruiser HMS London early #WW2. This pic never made it into my book 'HMS London' so may as well share it here. Private collection image. The revised/expanded book is soon to be unleashed https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/HMS-London-Paperback/p/20247

Taiwan says Chinese planes, ships carry out attack simulation exercise http://reut.rs/3Qn9jrh

2/2 And here's a US Navy image of sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea - with a F/A-18E Super Hornet strike jet attached to the 'Dambusters' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 - and handling its weapons. Pic: USN.

1/2 As tensions remain high following the visit of Nancy Pelosi to #Taiwan & launching of various ballistic missiles + other live-fire intimidation 'exercises' by China to illustrate its fury, US Navy carrier USS Ronald Reagan is in the Philippine Sea, launching jets. Photo: USN.