USS Monterey emerged from the early morning mist on her way into Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday.
The American warship is visiting Portsmouth this week as part of a European deployment that will see the US develop plans for a missile shield to protect against a potential nuclear threat from Iran.
The Monterey is a guided missile cruiser equipped with a sophisticated Aegis radar system capable of firing short and medium range missiles.
Sending the Virginia-based warship to Europe is the first part of a four-phase plan to create a missile shield for the continent. It was developed by the Obama administration in 2009 and approved by Nato in November.
The plan calls for the placing of land and sea-based radars and interceptors in several European locations over the next decade in order to build a protective shield.
The project has drawn opposition from Russia, which worries the system could target Russian warheads or undermine their nuclear deterrence.