SLEEK and narrow, HMS Dauntless appears dwarfed by the size of the USS Carl Vinson.
But the Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer is carrying out a vital role protecting the US Navy carrier from air threats during the international military operation against Isil.
Dauntless has been conducting maritime security patrols in the Gulf as part of a 30-nation task force called the Combined Maritime Forces.
Fresh from this task, the servicemen and woman on board the 8,000-tonne warship have now switched their focus to the next phase of their deployment – defending the 101,000-tonne USS Carl Vinson as she launches air strikes from the Gulf.
Commander Adrian Fryer, the commanding officer of HMS Dauntless, said the experience will prove invaluable to the Royal Navy as the warship will carry out this role when the new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers enter service in a few year’s time.
He said: ‘HMS Dauntless was designed to protect an aircraft carrier against threats from the air.
‘My ship’s company and I are proud to be able to bring our world-class air defence systems to the Gulf to fulfil our primary role in support of the USS Carl Vinson.
‘Along with our fellow Royal Navy warship HMS Kent, which is supporting the French navy’s aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle in the Middle East, our support to carrier strike operations against Isil reaffirms the UK’s commitment combat terrorism.’
Dauntless took over the role from sister ship HMS Defender which performed the same role before Christmas and returned to Portsmouth recently.
Using her air defence radar and advanced Sea Viper missile system, the Type 45 will protect the carrier strike group from airborne threats.