HMS Queen Elizabeth's ex-captain insists 2020 will be a huge year for Royal Navy and declares the future is 'most definitely dark blue'

FROM raiding drugs gangs in the Indian Ocean, to defending critical shipping lanes from the threat of Iranian attack in the Middle East, Portsmouth sailors have been putting their lives on the line to make the world a safer place.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 10:13 am

Now, as 2019 comes to a close, the Royal Navy has reflected on a remarkable year of ‘record-breaking’ achievements and monumental ‘firsts’.

It comes as military top brass insist 2020 would be a huge year for the Senior Service, with a senior leader declaring the future was ‘most definitely dark blue’.

Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, commander of Portsmouth Flotilla, insisted the next decade would be a game-changer for the navy.

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Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd Picture: Royal Navy

The charismatic naval chief, who is one of Britain’s most senior commanders, said the 2020s would see the first global deployments of the UK’s two £3.1bn aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

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It would also bring with it the overhauling of the navy’s fleet, with the introduction of a hi-tech breed of frigates and exciting advances in military tech.

The 34-year naval veteran added 2019 had been a huge year for the navy and Portsmouth, seeing the commissioning of HMS Prince of Wales, and arrivals of new patrol ships HMS Trent and HMS Medway,

Sailors on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth as she returned to Portsmouth Photo: Royal Navy/LPhot Kyle Heller.

Speaking exclusively to The News, Vice Adm Kyd said: ‘Over the course of 2019 the ships and submarines of the Royal Navy have sailed in all five of the world’s oceans; the boots of the Royal Marines have walked on all seven continents; and the aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm have flown over several areas of the globe.

‘We have seen several “firsts” and passed many milestones in the development of the future fleet.

‘As we reflect on all that we have achieved in 2019, we must preserve one eye to look ahead into 2020, where the Royal Navy is planning even more.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving back into Portsmouth on December 4, with HMS Prince of Wales alongside, behind her. Picture: Morten Watkins/Solent News & Photo Agency

He said the past 12 months had seen future Portsmouth frigate HMS Montrose ‘settle into’ her role as the first forward-deployed warship in the Gulf, where she will stay for three years.

She had been critical in protecting British shipping in the Strait of Hormuz following the seizure of UK-flagged ship, Stena Impero.

Over the summer Montrose was joined by sister ship HMS Kent and £1bn destroyers HMS Duncan and HMS Defender to patrol the busy shipping lanes and keep it safe.

During 2019, the Vice Adm Kyd added the navy had also ‘deployed, sustained and welcomed home’ two maritime task groups, sending HMS Albion to the Baltic to command a multinational exercise group and deploying HMS Queen Elizabeth to Florida.

But the senior leader said 2020 would see a ramping up in activity, with further task group deployments involving both aircraft carriers, amphibious platforms and support ships.

Meanwhile, ships and submarines would continue to deploy globally.

‘So, in summary the Royal Navy is working hard, often far from home and in difficult conditions, to promote our interests and protect that which we hold dear,’ he added.

‘As we move into 2020 and begin a new decade, we will continue to do much more – the future is most definitely “Dark Blue”.’