12 facts about HMS Richmond

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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As HMS Richmond stands ready to join the fight against people smugglers in the Mediterranean Sea, here are 12 facts about the Portsmouth-based frigate and her predecessors.

1. The ship, which has a special surveillance system allowing it to cover vast areas, will be able to help in search and rescue missions. Its primary role will be to board and seize vessels in the southern Mediterranean, the Ministry of Defence said

2, The first HMS Richmond was a 26-gun ship built at Portsmouth as HMS Wakefield. It was launched 1655, renamed in 1660 and took part in the Anglo-Dutch wars

3. The present-day Type 23 Duke Class frigate has been used to promote maritime security. It can carry out counter-narcotics smuggling operations one day, and switch to anti-submarine warfare training the next

4. She carries a Lynx helicopter which can be used to search for boats

5. The frigate has 185 personnel on board and can travel at a top speed of 28 knots

6. The Harpoon, a long range anti-ship missile, is fitted to all Type 23 frigates and capable of striking targets more than 80 miles away. It uses a mix of inertial guidance and active radar homing

7. Advanced work on anti-submarine warfare and disaster relief were among the intensive training carried out in UK waters by HMS Richmond last year

8. As part of the core of the frontline fleet, the frigate has often been sent to the east of Suez to help safeguard Britain’s maritime trade routes and interests in the South Atlantic

9. She has also been used to help combat the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast

10. The is the seventh ship named HMS Richmond. She was built at Swan Hunter on the Tyne and was launched on April 6 1993

11. A previous incarnation of HMS Richmond was deployed in the Gulf after the 1980 Iran/Iraq conflict

12. HMS Richmond along with HMS Chatham, HMS Marlborough and HMAS Anzac provided naval gunfire support to 40 Commando’s amphibious assault on the Al Faw peninsula in Iraq in 2003