HMS Iron Duke returned home Thursday from a successful six-month deployment working with a multi-national NATO task group in Northern Europe.
According to the Royal Navy, the ship has seen a deployment of two halves with the first spent in the extreme cold and rough seas off Norway and the second in the calm seas of the Baltic.
Commander Ben Aldous, Commanding Officer HMS Iron Duke said:
“This has been an enormously successful deployment for Iron Duke. My ship’s company has earned themselves an outstanding reputation among our NATO allies”
Frigate HMS Iron Duke played the role of an enemy warship to give a NATO fleet a realistic threat which it must try to counter in an exercise scenario.
BALTOPS is an annual exercise which tests the 16 allied and partner maritime nations taking part. The helicopter carrier will be taking part in one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, which aims to assure nations of NATO’s commitment to the security and stability of the region.
Exercise BALTOPS will take place over the next 10 days to demonstrate the unity of NATO allies and partners in the region whilst indicating strength in providing security in the Baltic Region.
HMS Iron Duke is a Type 23 frigate, her original design role was anti-submarine warfare, but she can be employed in a variety of roles. She carries a Lynx Helicopter which can be used in an anti-submarine and anti-surface role as well as for humanitarian and search and rescue purposes.
HMS Iron Duke was deployed as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for five months and is now taking part in BALTOPS.
The Royal Navy added:
“The role of the opposing forces is to simulate a threat, and Iron Duke along with her attached patrol boats have been injecting increasingly threatening behaviour towards their real-life NATO Allies to force them to react and train together.
The scripted scenario is all carefully stage managed by Exercise Control, the headquarters responsible for developing the scenario safely and achieving all training objectives.
As part of her temporary role as the ‘bad guy’, Iron Duke has been approaching BALTOPS warships, hailing them to keep clear and releasing propaganda via simulated news websites and social media feeds to provide a realistic narrative to which the Strategic Communications officers in the NATO formation can react.”
HMS Iron Duke has been the ‘First of Class fit’ for the Royal Navy’s new Type 997 Artisan 3D, successfully firing her missile system using the new radar combined with an updated ‘Seawolf missile targeting system.