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

Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland @HMSNORT @RoyalNavy departing HMNB Devonport, Plymouth this morning. Video courtesy of Steve Jagger @StephenJagger4 #RoyalNavy #Navy #warship #frigate #PLYMOUTH

@IBallantyn @dhartley_NMRN Here she is alongside @HMNBPortsmouth in October 2021 when she was the tanker assigned to SNMG1. I think this visit to Devonport is for her long overdue FOST participation

Clearly not warship 😆 but, so I am informed, a moorhen, spotted mucking about on the wet stuff
near Exeter as I ambled along a waterside path towards the next pub.

Often see Norwegian frigates and corvettes in and out of Plymouth, but this is likely a first visit by the Royal Norwegian Navy's new(ish) fleet tanker?

Nice shot of HMS Portland's
ASW helicopter flying top cover, so to speak, for US Navy SSBN visiting Faslane.

The Battle of the Somme began #OTD in 1916: men of the British Army moved from their trenches among the waist-high grass of No Man’s Land into what could only be described as machine-gun oblivion. “A sunlit picture of Hell” with more than 57,000 men killed, wounded or missing.

My outbrief today at Naval Reactors was a good reminder that the United States is a maritime nation and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are our source of protection and strength. A nuclear powered fleet gives us the endurance, speed, and flexibility to ensure both are maintained.

As compensation for yet again spamming the thread of threads by adding to it, I give you the news that the land speed record for a wheelie bin is currently 72mph.

It makes you proud to be British.

UK Foreign Sec says warfare now different to what it was 100 or 200 years ago! Gosh. But who would cut troops & fail to boost conventional firepower in wake of Russian invasion of Ukraine? On land, sea or in the air? Drones not yet a total replacement.

Appears to be a major victory for Ukrainian forces at sea, denying Russia toehold in Approaches to Odesa, but Black Sea Fleet still dominant force beyond coastal waters, as discussed in latest @WarshipsIFR podcast. Check out WARSHIPS Pod.


'War by Hunger' due to #UkraineRussiaConflict as grain shipments blocked from leaving Ukraine but it was also a feature of #WW1 due to U-boats on one hand & RN blockade of Germany on other. I discuss with @DavidLarter during latest @WarshipsIFR podcast https://pod.fo/e/12b265

A powerful tribute to the heroism & sacrifice of Royal Navy submariners has been unveiled at the UK’s National Memorial Arboretum & here's our page on it in the current @WarshipsIFR The Submariner Memorial was dedicated by HRH the Duke of Cambridge, Commodore-in-Chief Submarines.

Northern Fleet press-release:

The Udaloy-cl DDGs Severomorsk and Admiral Levchenko has carried out ASW exercises, incl use of embarked helos, that were concluded with the Levchenko firing a torpedo and the Severomorsk a SS-N-14 ASW missile.

The "enemy" was a NORFLT nuclear sub.

Pres Joe Biden announces boost to US Navy destroyers based Rota, Spain #POTUS says: "we're going to work with our Allies to increase US Navy destroyers stationed in Spain's Rota naval base, from four to six..." Here's USS Ross arriving at Rota in 2014. USN pic.
#NATOSummit #news

HMS Protector continues her North American adventure - the Canadian flag flies on a @RoyalCanNavy patrol ship with Union flag of the #RoyalNavy Ice Patrol Ship in foreground. Both alongside at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo: Corporal Cameron Eden/RLC.

@hmsprotector @RoyalNavy

ICYMI a video of leaping Royal Marines https://twitter.com/WarshipsIFR/status/1541869126972579841

1/3 For this #warspitewednesday something that reflects upon the '1937 moment' we are now in, as suggested by #BritishArmy boss this week. Here's #battleship Warspite at Malta post a major rebuild, which took 3 years & ended 1937...

NEW: "Irrespective of whether Britain in 1982, or today, is a ‘great maritime empire’, the challenge still remains. Britain is a collection of islands with interests overseas. Defending those interests requires expeditionary power projection"


An early start indeed, but good to be back in Devonport! #GreatScott https://twitter.com/PlymouthDevon1/status/1542027506479423490

As we prepare to leave #Darwin NT. We reflect on our collaborative training from @FOST (Ships), Delivery Team 6 & @Australian_Navy Fleet Sea Training Group. This Increases our ability to maximise the @RoyalNavy presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region! @ukinaustralia @NAVYfit