BRITAIN’S most advanced air defence warship has been spotted steaming through the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea – Vladimir Putin’s backyard.
Portsmouth-based HMS Daring was sighted making the trip after spending months defending vital shipping routes in the Middle East.
The move comes amid months of sabre rattling between the West and Russia.
Daring’s latest deployment comes just days after another Portsmouth ship was called into action to escort a Russian warship through the English Channel.
HMS Severn was diverted from her normal fishery protection duties to shadow landing ship Korolev.
Earlier this month Royal Navy vessels tailed other Russian warships as they steamed past the white cliffs of Dover for the third time in six months.
Plymouth-based frigate HMS Sutherland escorted two of Putin’s fleet as they raced through the North Sea towards the Straits of Dover.
And in October Portsmouth’s HMS St Albans raced to shadow a huge Russian convoy, led by rusting aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, as it headed through the Channel towards Syria.
It is understood Daring is completing the final stretch of her nine-month deployment before heading back home later this year.
During her time in the Middle East she helped protect 800,000 tonnes of merchant shipping.
Armed with Sea Viper missiles and state-of-the-art surveillance, Daring provided security on 20 trips through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait – which last year saw an American warship being attacked with rockets.
Commander Marcus Hember, the commanding officer of HMS Daring, told his ship’s company he was ‘proud of their achievements’ during the recent period of operations helping keep sea lanes open for trade.
The Type 45 destroyer has now handed over her security duties east of Suez to Plymouth-based frigate HMS Monmouth, her mission in the Middle East complete after seven and a half months in the region.
Daring is one of six Type 45 destroyers in service with the Royal Navy and was the first to be launched. She was commissioned into the fleet in 2009.
The 151m, 8,000 tonnes vessel is able to operate with the navy’s newest type of helicopter, the Wildcat Mk2, and is one of the world’s most advance air defence warships.