HMS Defender has returned home following her nine-month deployment working with American and French Carrier strike groups as part of on-going operations against Islamic State.
According to the Royal Navy, during her 263 days away from the UK, Defender has visited 19 ports in 11 countries. She has participated in two major international maritime exercises, represented the UK at the International Indian Fleet review, and conducted numerous boarding operations resulting in one major drugs bust, while carrying out her primary role providing air command and control support to two international carrier strike groups in the Gulf.
Commander Steve Higham, Commanding Officer HMS Defender said:
“As Captain, I could not be prouder of the men and women who have worked alongside me over the last 18 months and particularly over the course of this deployment.”
HMS Defender was recently welcomed to the Israeli port of Eilat by Israeli officials and the UK’s Ambassador to Israel.
British Ambassador David Quarrey recently highlighted the UK and Israel’s economic and scientific cooperation, Britain is working more closely with Israel in defence and security, he said. In this context he was said to be happy this week welcome the arrival in Israel of the HMS Defender. He also congratulated Elbit, whose chairman, Michael Federmann, was present, on its multimillion pound contract with the UK Ministry of Defence.
HMS Defender is the fifth of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy. She is the eighth ship to bear the name. Construction of Defender began in 2006, and she was launched in 2009. The ship completed her first sea trials in October–November 2011, and was commissioned during March 2013.
The Type 45 destroyers are primarily designed for anti-air warfare with the capability to defend against sophisticated targets such as fighter aircraft, drones as well as highly maneuverable sea skimming anti-ship missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.The Royal Navy describes the destroyers’ mission as being “to shield the Fleet from air attack”.
Presently the Daring-class destroyers are equipped with a 48-cell A50 Sylver Vertical Launching System allowing for a mix of up-to 48 Aster 15 and 30 missiles.