Royal Navy warship HMS Defender leaves Portsmouth for sea trials ahead of global deployment

WARSHIP HMS Defender has left Portsmouth to undergo training as she gears up for missions around the world.

By Richard Lemmer
Saturday, 27th February 2021, 11:18 am
Updated Sunday, 28th February 2021, 10:19 am

The Type 45 destroyer left the city to prepare for her role in the UK Carrier Strike Group, supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth on her first mission.

She had undergone more than five months of maintenance before leaving yesterday.

Expected to begin in May, the deployment will see HMS Defender join the aircraft carrier for missions across the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region.

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HMS Defender leaving Portsmouth last year. Picture: Sarah Standing

The crew has undertaken a ‘hugely impressive’ effort to ensure the destroyer is ready for her upcoming sea trials, overcoming the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, said the ship’s captain, Commander Vince Owen.

Cdr Owen said: ‘It is a great feeling to be able to take HMS Defender back to sea after this period alongside for maintenance.

‘Despite the additional challenges caused by COVID-19, the achievement of my ship’s company, BAE and our other industry partners to be able to return us to sea is hugely impressive and another important milestone in our generation for deployment.’

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HMS Defender will undertake sea trials to prepare her for supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth's first mission later this year. Picture: Royal Navy.

Many of the crew are looking forward to being back at sea after being dockside in Portsmouth since October, according to Engineering Technician Tom Longley.

The crew member said: ‘It will be great to go to sea and get back into the swing of things. I’m really looking forward to deploying later this year.’

HMS Defender worked closely with HMS Queen Elizabeth late last year on the Carrier Strike Group workout in the North Sea in preparation for operations.

The Type 45 then headed for extensive maintenance, including upgrades being fitted, a fresh coat of paint, and routine upkeep on her state-of-the-art radar, which required a massive 80 tonnes of scaffolding to access.

HMS Defender leaving Portsmouth yesterday, after more than five months in the city. Picture: Royal Navy

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