UK: HMS Daimond Sails on Maiden Deployment

HMS Daimond Sails on Maiden Deployment

After her high-profile role in jubilee commemorations, HMS Diamond sails on her maiden deployment today. The departure of the Portsmouth-based Type 45 means half the force of world-leading destroyers is on active service – a fact hailed as a ‘watershed’ moment by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

The Type 45 destroyer sails to take over from her older sister Daring which has been making waves around the Middle East since the beginning of the year.

Diamond’s departure means half of the £6bn force of Type 45 destroyers – Daring, Dauntless (in the Atlantic) and D34 herself – will be deployed simultaneously, something hailed as a ‘watershed’ moment for the cutting edge T45 programme.

Her job, like Daring before her, will be to carry out maritime security patrols in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Gulf – anything from counter-piracy and smuggling operations to the wider mission of working with the UK’s allies in the region.

Diamond’s build-up to the deployment has been extensive, having been thoroughly trained and assessed for every eventuality by the Navy’s naval training organisation, Flag Officer Sea Training.

In the final weeks before deploying Diamond took time out of preparations for her front-line duties with a ceremonial entry to Portsmouth – beamed around the world courtesy of live TV coverage – and provided boat crews for RIBs to escort the Royal Barge along the Thames at the unique river pageant.

“After completing months of rigorous training, topped off with the obvious pride in our participation in the national jubilee celebrations earlier this month, Diamond is ready set to sail on her first operational deployment,” said Cdr Ian Clarke, her Commanding Officer.

“We are ready for all of the likely scenarios we may encounter.”

Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond added:

“The deployment of HMS Diamond marks another watershed for the Type 45 programme, with three of these highly capable destroyers now on operations worldwide.

“I wish her success in her Middle East deployment where the security of the international shipping lanes continues to be of the utmost importance.

“The Royal Navy continues to make a significant contribution to protecting the freedom of the seas and Britain’s interests across the globe.”

Away from the spotlight – but no less important – was the families day she laid on for some 400 loved ones off the South Coast just last week to give them a taste of life at sea on the Navy’s most advanced surface ship, and to thank them for their support, needed more than ever when Diamond deploys.

Guests were treated to a front-row view as the ship sailed from Portsmouth in high winds and open waters, where high-speed turns that sent spray over the destroyer and a fire-fighting demonstration which showed off the equipment and training used to deal with emergencies.

The families were also shown the quarters the ship’s company will be living in for the next months – widely regarded as among the best seaborne accommodation in today’s Navy (typically no more than six sailors to a cabin).

“It feels a lot more comfortable that I imagined,” said Mrs Mortimer, one of the parents aboard Diamond for the families day.

“It’s been great to see how the guys and girls live and work onboard together. I will find it much easier thinking about them while they are away.”

AB (Sea) Howe, whose parents were embarked, said:

“While I will miss my family while I am away, it was good to show them where I will be living at sea and who I will be sharing the space with. I think it has reassured them!”

Naval Today Staff, June 13, 2012; Image: Royal Navy