TERRORISTS should fear the power and ‘legendary’ reputation of one of the navy’s most formidable ships as she today sets sails from Portsmouth to do battle with Isil in the Middle East.
This afternoon was due to see the 190-strong crew of HMS Daring leaving the city to begin a nine-month deployment to the Gulf.
This is sending a clear message to terrorists that we’re not giving up, we mean business and we have got the best equipment in the world and we’re not afraid to us itCllr Donna Jones, Portsmouth City Council leader
The mission will see the sophisticated £1bn warship providing vital air defence for American aircraft carriers as they launch bombing runs on high-value terrorist targets in Iraq and Syria.
It is the third deployment of the iconic 8,000-tonne vessel – which is bristling with anti-air missiles, hi-tech radars and deadly machine guns.
Ten-year-old Daring will be taking over the role of her sister ship, HMS Defender, which returned from the Gulf earlier this year.
Commander Philip Dennis, the commanding officer of HMS Daring, said: ‘HMS Daring has been through intense training to be in a position to take on this deployment and I am proud of my ship’s company for all their hard work in getting to this state of readiness.
‘We will be sailing in support of an important task and we take up the reins of this mission from a host of Royal Navy ships which have gone before us.
‘We look forward to following on from their hard work and success.’
And today, civic leaders and navy top brass have told of their pride in Daring ahead of her journey to the Middle East.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said Isil should be scared of the power Daring can bring to the fight.
She added: ‘The capabilities of HMS Daring and her crew are legend.
‘She will be undertaking this critical role in the fight against Daesh upon which a peaceful solution to the Syrian war depends.
‘I know she will deliver, and applaud the courage and commitment of the ship’s company. Her formidable reputation will also have a deterrent effect against the coalition’s enemies.’
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council said she was extraordinarily proud of the men and women on Daring.
‘This is sending a clear message to terrorists that we’re not giving up, we mean business and we have got the best equipment in the world and we’re not afraid to use it,’ she added.
‘The Americans have the biggest defence budget in the world and the largest aircraft carrier but they still call on Britain’s Type 45s to protect them.
‘That speaks volumes about the sophistication of our Royal Navy’s destroyers and the power behind them.’
The former commanding officer of HMS Illustrious, Vice Admiral Bob Cooling added that today is a proud moment for the city.
He said Daring was helping to keep the Senior Service at the top table of military powers in the globe.
The navy chief said: ‘We should be proud of the capability that we still have and the talent within the Royal Navy.
‘Daring is going out to protect the US Navy’s most valuable assets – their aircraft carriers – as they launch airstrikes against Isil. We have got a world-beating capability in the Type 45 with its air defence capability.
‘Secondly, the Americans love us and absolutely trust that capability to provide their carrier task groups with world-beating protection.
‘Even though we are such a relatively small nation we’re still a global force to be reckoned with in the maritime domain. People of Portsmouth should be very proud of this.’
Daring is due to leave Portsmouth at 1.30pm, passing by the Round Tower ten minutes later.
Flick Drummond, the Portsmouth South MP, paid tribute to the family of the crew and added: ‘I wish the crew of HMS Daring good luck and a safe period of operations in the Gulf in what is vitally important work safeguarding our security and freedoms.’