IT was a dazzling display of firepower that lit up the night sky for miles around.
And for the crew aboard HMS Dauntless, it was a chance to show off the ship’s fearsome defences for all to see.
She is one of the UK’s most advanced warships, and was in the Gulf of Mexico to take part in an international exercise.
Onlookers could be forgiven for thinking there was an impromptu firework display in the area as she fired off bursts of decoy rounds from her Mk240 launcher.
The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer was Britain’s participant in Unitas, the largest and longest-running naval exercise in the northern hemisphere.
It involved 13 warships, sent from seven nations, which operated from Key West in Florida during the exercise.
For the night shoot, star shells from the USS Anzio lit up the Caribbean sky and the various ships taking part let loose with their guns – in Dauntless’ case her Minigun (a hand-held Gatling gun) and General Purpose Machine-Guns as well as the infra red decoy, which fools heat-seeking missiles.