Following an 18-month refit, Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender has come back to her home port after getting back out to sea.
HMS Defender arrived back in Portsmouth after major work, including two new gas turbines being fitted along with signals intelligence equipment and electronic surveillance kit.
The ship’s return marked the first time at sea for many of the younger members of the ships company including a 17-year-old chef, Able Seaman Sarah McDonald.
The ship’s company were put through a number of drills, having to deal with fires and floors on board in a bid to retest their skills in combatting emergencies.
Commanding Officer of HMS Defender Commander Richard Hewitt said: ‘I am incredibly proud to have taken HMS Defender to sea for the first time in 18 months thanks to the hard work of Team Portsmouth, BAE Systems and my ship’s company.
‘With a number of major capability upgrades, HMS Defender is now the most capable T45 in the Fleet. My crew and I look forward to the challenges of regenerating HMS Defender, in the last stage of the first T45 refit in the Royal Navy, in preparation for our Fleet Date later this year.’
On her first time at sea, chef Sarah said: ‘I had the best sleep! The ship rocked me to sleep and my accommodation is bigger than I thought it would be even though I share with five other people,
‘Joining the navy has made me a better person. I used to be really, really quiet but since starting this job I have come out of my shell. It’s made me very positive and so much more confident. And I’ve made so many friends since joining this ship, friends for life.’
Along with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond has also now returned to Portsmouth.