HMS Defender has begun patrols in the Middle East following a handover from her sister ship HMS Duncan.
The Type 45 destroyer officially assumed the role of Kipion operational destroyer and will spend nine months working with allies in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Gulf.
Operation Kipion is a continued maritime presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean regions to protect and secure the nations many political and commercial interests.
The destroyer will work with both the US and French Carrier Strike Groups on operations that include counter-piracy and counter-narcotics smuggling. She will also operate as part of the Combined Maritime Force’s 30-nation maritime force.
According to the Royal Navy, the journey to the Gulf gave HMS
Defender a chance to visit Gibraltar and she became the first Royal Navy ship to pass through the newly renovated Suez Canal.
Petty Officer Samantha Borum, the Chief Bosun’s Mate said:
“It’s always a gruelling period for the entire ship’s company when you operate in such confined waters as the Canal, so the shorter transit time made a massive difference”
HMS Defender is the fifth of the Type 45 destroyers built for the Royal Navy.
The Type 45 destroyers were built to replace the Type 42 destroyers. The National Audit Office reported that, during an “intensive attack”, a single Type 45 could simultaneously track, engage and destroy more targets than five Type 42 destroyers operating together.
Admiral Sir Alan West, former First Sea Lord, stated that it would be the Royal Navy’s most capable destroyer ever, as well as the world’s best air-defence ship.
Commander Stephen Higham said:
“We are ready to undertake missions across the military spectrum ranging from counter piracy and disaster relief to defence engagement and high-intensity war fighting. We will be working closely with our coalition partners and allies and playing a key role in promoting Britain’s interests overseas and keeping our country safe.”
The ship is reportedly capable of controlling the airspace across an area of 150,000 square miles (twice the size of Portugal) whilst being able to defend a task group of ships against attack from the air, either by aircraft or missiles.
The destroyer will spend nine months in the Middle East.