SAILORS on board one of the Royal Navy’s newest warships will sail today on her first ever deployment.
HMS Defender, which is based in Portsmouth, will spend six months on security operations in the Middle East for her maiden mission.
The Type 45 destroyer will police busy shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean before heading to the Gulf to bolster security in some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.
Commander Phil Nash, the commanding officer, said: ‘I am immensely proud of my ship’s company and all they have achieved to prepare Defender for this deployment.
‘Having been through intense training we are ready for a challenging deployment as part of the Royal Navy’s standing commitment in the Middle East.
‘We will provide reassurance to the UK’s allies in the region, while conducting maritime security and counter-piracy patrols.
‘I would like to pay tribute to our families who provide the support that allows us to achieve such milestones as this.
‘We leave our families, friends and loved ones behind with some sadness, but we deploy with confidence in Defender’s ability to meet any operational tasking.’
HMS Defender is the fifth in line of the six new Type 45 destroyers, built by BAE Systems.
She was commissioned into the fleet in March 2013.
Since then, the ship and her 200 sailors have been through intensive sea trials off the coast of the UK.
The ships are primarily designed for air defence, but are able to conduct a range of tasks including air surveillance, anti-submarine operations, counter piracy, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
HMS Defender passed the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth at around 10am today.