Royal Navy: HMS Kent is cleared for autumn deployment after huge test in the Channel

HMS Kent, the Royal Navy’s ‘high-readiness frigate’, has been cleared for action – and autumn deployment – after a demanding training drilling in the Channel.

By Tom Cotterill
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 5:32 pm

The Portsmouth-based warships – one of the escorts for the nation’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment to the Pacific Rim last year – has come through the most demanding assessment the navy can make of the ship and her 180 sailors.

Having undergone some maintenance following last year’s exertions, Kent headed to Plymouth, home of fleet operational sea training (FOST) which determines whether British warships are capable of operating on the front line.

HMS Kent back in Portsmouth after completing her training in the Channel

The training package has undergone some substantial changes in the past few years, with the emphasis increasingly on shorter, bespoke drllls and assessment depending on a ship’s mission such as submarine hunting, board-and-search patrols, task group duties.

But for Kent’s assessment, it meant a full six-week stint at sea, with the frigate’s crew being tested on every possible eventuality.

Sailors faced everything from combating mock fires, dealing with simulated battles and coping with Kent being ‘grounded’.

Kent's boarding team take down mock smugglers

And the ship and her crew passed with ‘flying colours’, the navy said.

‘I’m very proud of my ship’s company who have met the high standards set by FOST with enthusiasm and determination to do well throughout,” said Kent’s delighted commanding officer Commander Jez Brettell.

‘Ultimately the excellent quality of training we have undertaken will best prepare us to deal with the real world challenges we may face in our upcoming deployments.’

Kent is now back in Portsmouth ahead of her operational mission in the autumn,