UK deploys Type 45 destroyer to Middle East
The Royal Navy’s destroyer HMS Diamond has been deployed to bolster the UK’s security presence in the Middle East.
The Type 45 has been activated for duties in the Gulf and will join frigate HMS Lancaster and minehunters on patrols of the region’s waterways.
The ship, which left Portsmouth a week ago, will be deployed on Operation Kipion, the UK’s long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean, to conduct operations to ensure freedom of navigation in the region, reassure merchant vessels and ensure the safe flow of trade.
HMS Diamond’s deployment follows increasing concerns over maritime security in strategic maritime chokepoints.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Recent events have proven how critical the Middle East remains to global security and stability.“
“From joint efforts to deter escalation, following the onset of the renewed conflict in Israel and Gaza, to now the unlawful and brazen seizure of MV Galaxy Leader by the Houthis in the Red Sea – it is critical that the UK bolsters our presence in the region, to keep Britain and our interests safe from a more volatile and contested world.”
HMS Diamond is the third of six Type 45 destroyers in service with the Royal Navy. Their principal mission is to shield the fleet from hostile threats in the skies – missiles or aircraft – with the ability to track hundreds of contacts simultaneously and eliminate them at long range with her Sea Viper missile system.
In addition, the vessel is equipped with a main 4.5in, the latest radars and intelligence-gathering sensors, carries a Wildcat helicopter armed with Martlet air-to-surface missiles, and can carry a specialist Royal Marines detachment for boarding operations.
Diamond has just completed three months of operations with the UK’s Carrier Strike Group in Northern Europe, providing air defence for the nation’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth and air group of F-35 Lightning jets, Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.
The ship took part in the largest air defence exercise in Europe and operated with Norwegian, Dutch, Belgian and German warships.
Fellow destroyer HMS Duncan remains on operations with NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean.