Royal Navy’s top Type 45 destroyers HMS Duncan and HMS Dragon meet in the Mediterranean for their first patrol together
TWO of the Royal Navy’s top destroyers have joined forces for the first time to patrol the Mediterranean.
Portsmouth-based sister ships HMS Duncan and drug-busting record-holder HMS Dragon linked up on security patrols in the eastern Med today.
Dragon is due back in Portsmouth in a matter of weeks following the most successful drugs-busting patrol by any British warship in the Middle East.
Across eight raid, Dragon’s sailors and Royal Marines snared illegal narcotics worth around £200m – in all, more drugs seized than by police forces in the UK last year.
With her mission east of Suez complete, Dragon is now doing a mixture of flag flying for Britain – she spent three days in Beirut, including time demonstrating diving and fire-fighting training – and allowing the 220 men and women on board to relax and enjoy the sights of Barcelona.
Meanwhile Duncan – the youngest of six Type 45 destroyers built to shield the fleet from aircraft and missile attacks – has just sailed from Portsmouth for a six-month stint in the Mediterranean region.
The vessel has recently spent time in the national spotlight after featuring on Channel 5 documentary Warship: Life at Sea
After a pit-stop in Gibraltar, Duncan has joined an international task group of France’s flagship FS Charles de Gaulle and her key deployment of the year.
It is Duncan’s task to safeguard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and work seamlessly with her Rafale fast jets – an experience which will prove invaluable in 12 months’ time when Britain’s new carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, leads strike group exercises with her flagships and their F-35 Lightning strike fighters.
Later in the deployment, Duncan will break away from the French task group to join NATO ships operating in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions – a mission she performed last year, earning her a fleet effectiveness award and the title of the Navy’s best destroyer.
‘It was a great moment seeing the familiar shape of a fellow Type 45 steaming over the horizon and then receiving such a warm welcome from the entire ship’s company of HMS Duncan,’ said Commander Mike Carter Quinn, HMS Dragon’s captain.
‘It is superb to see her back out on operations in the eastern Mediterranean. For the Royal Navy to have two destroyers hard at work on operations – in addition to all the other British ships and units deployed around the world – it sends a powerful message about our commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability around the globe.’
In return, his opposite number aboard HMS Duncan, Commander Tom Trent ‘great’ to see Dragon and to be able to wish them ‘safe sailing’ on their voyage home.
There are a further two Type 45 destroyers currently at sea – HMS Diamond is conducting training in UK exercise areas and HMS Defender recently finished escorting a Russian naval task group through the UK area of interest.