THE captain of HMS Daring says his sailors are ‘ready for anything’ as the new £1bn warship prepares to leave Portsmouth for her maiden deployment.
The Type 45 destroyer is to set sail for the Middle East tomorrow 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 are on operations and we are 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 today ahead of her departure.
She will pass the Round Tower at around 12.30pm tomorrow where a crowd of relatives and friends are due to wave goodbye to the ship’s 191 sailors.
Daring’s maiden deployment comes after almost four years of sea trials and tests to make sure she is ready to go.
Navigating officer, Lieutenant Will Blackett, 29, of Petersfield, said: ‘It’s really 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 currently 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.
The 7,500-tonne warship, which is the first of six new Type 45s built for the navy by BAE Systems, boasts the latest in maritime technology and is billed as the Royal Navy’s largest and most powerful destroyer ever.
Her prime role is air defence and her state-of-the-art radar systems can track all flights in a 200-mile radius. She also packs the new Sea Viper missiles which can hit multiple targets at the same time. She is deploying with a Lynx helicopter fitted with Sea Skua anti-ship missiles, Stingray torpedoes and machine guns.