Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan leaves Portsmouth to protect French aircraft carrier as a warm up for mission with HMS Queen Elizabeth

A WARSHIP has set sail from Portsmouth to begin her mission protecting a French aircraft carrier.

Saturday, 9th March 2019, 9:55 am
Updated Saturday, 9th March 2019, 11:05 am
Sailors from HMS Duncan line the upperdeck for Procedure Alpha as the type 45 destroyer sets sail from Portsmouth. Photo: LPhot Ben Corbett

Families waved goodbye to their loved ones as  HMS Duncan left the city for her latest six-month deployment overseas.

For the first part of her deployment the £1bn Type 45 destroyer will be operating in the Mediterranean Sea, tasked with providing area air defence to the French Aircraft Carrier, FS Charles De Gaulle as part of their carrier strike group deployment, Groupe Aéronaval 19.

The mission is seen as a critical milestone in preparing the Type 45 destroyer for future protection duties guarding HMS Queen Elizabeth - the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier - on her first deployment in 2021.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sailors from HMS Duncan line the upperdeck for Procedure Alpha as the type 45 destroyer sets sail from Portsmouth. Photo: LPhot Ben Corbett

Upon detaching from the FS Charles De Gaulle, HMS Duncan will resume Nato operations as required.

Commander Tom Trent, Duncan’s new captain, said: ‘HMS Duncan has regenerated after a successful tour as Nato flagship on operations in 2018, as documented in the Channel 5 documentary Warship: Life at Sea, and is now ready to deploy as part of a multinational air defence task group in support of the aircraft carrier, FS Charles De Gaulle.

Read More

Read More
HMS Duncan: Royal Navy warship swarmed by '˜unprecedented' force of Russian jet...

‘This operation with the aircraft carrier is an ideal chance to demonstrate the prime role of HMS Duncan as one of the world’s most advanced destroyers. With HMS Queen Elizabeth almost ready for task group operations, this will be an excellent chance to prove the ability of the T45 as a carrier escort.’

HMS Duncan pictured as she took part in her last deployment in the Black Sea. NATO photo by GBRN LPhot Paul Hall

Her sister ship HMS Dragon is currently deployed in the warmer waters of the Gulf where she is working with combined maritime forces to protect some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and conducting counter-narcotic operations.

HMS Defender continues operations in home waters shadowing Russian ships through the North Sea.

Able Seaman (AB) Bradley Stapleton, aged 19, is embarking on his first deployment with Duncan.

He said, ‘There is a sense of both excitement and trepidation for me as this is the first time I have been away on real operations, but I am looking forward to adventure ahead.’

A sailor from HMS Duncan waves goodbye to loved ones at Portsmouth's Round Tower as HMS Duncan sets sail from the city. Photo: LPhot Ben Corbett

The destroyer left her home port to cheering crowds on the Round Tower. Afterwards, families and friends enjoyed a reception at the Cockleshell Community Centre.

HMS Duncan’s executive warrant officer, Warrant Officer Martin ‘Soapy’ Watson, 42, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to work with the French Aircraft Carrier and there are a number of port visits to enjoy, some of which even I have not managed to visit in my 26-year career.’

HMS Duncan is the sixth Type 45  air defence destroyers and one of the most advanced warships in the world.

She sails with a crew of more than 280 personnel and is based at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Sailors from HMS Duncan prepare to line the upperdeck for Procedure Alpha in the heavy rain in Portsmouth. Photo: LPhot Ben Corbett