THE captain of HMS Daring said his sailors are ‘ready for anything’ as the new £1bn warship prepared to leave for her first deployment.
The Type 45 destroyer was due to set sail for the Middle East later today as tensions rise with Iran over its nuclear enrichment programme.
The planned six-month deployment comes at a crucial time after Britain warned Iran over its threat to close the busy Strait of Hormuz in response to western pressure for an embargo on its oil exports.
Commanding officer, Captain Guy Robinson, 44, of Whiteley, told The News: ‘It’s a routine task, but of course we are ready for any contingency that may occur.
‘We’re on operations and we’re ready for the full scale of operations that might be required of us.
‘I had the ship’s company together this morning and I said I can’t predict anything that might occur – you’d be foolish to make predictions after what happened in 2011.
‘Regardless, we’ve got a mission to stick to and we’ll be ready to deal with anything else when we’re out there.’
Food supplies and ammunition were being loaded onto Daring at Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday ahead of her departure this afternoon.
She will pass the Round Tower at around 12.30pm where relatives and friends will wave goodbye to the ship and her 191 sailors.
Daring’s maiden deployment comes after almost four years of sea trials and tests.
Navigating officer, Lieutenant Will Blackett, 29, of Petersfield, said: ‘It’s exciting. I’ve been with the ship for about 20 months and it’s been a long time coming.
‘It’s a combination of a lot of hard work. For me, it feels like a reward to have the chance to go and do something proper with a ship which we know is more capable than anything we’ve had before.’
Speaking of the tensions in the Arabian Gulf, Lt Blackett said: ‘This ship is designed to be ready for anything.
‘Whatever anybody wants to throw at us we are ready for it. Of all the ships you want there now, you’d want a Type 45.’
Daring is due to take over from the frigate HMS Argyll which is on station in the Middle East. She will also be on task to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf.
HMS Daring is the first of six new Type 45 destroyers built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems.
With a price tag of £1bn each, the 7,500-tonne warships are the most advanced destroyers the navy has ever had.
They are equipped with Sea Viper missiles which can reach twice the speed of Concorde in less than 10 seconds and hit a target the size of a cricket ball moving three times the speed of sound.
When alongside in Portsmouth, a Type 45’s radar system can monitor air traffic over most of western Europe.
If Daring was moored in the Thames in London, she could detect a missile fired from beyond Land’s End and identify it before it reached Portsmouth.
And she could do this even if eight missiles were fired from different locations at the same time.
The ships have a top speed of 32 knots, and are fitted with enough electrical cables to circle the M25 three times.