The top stories in Dorset, Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
HMS Richmond Heads For The Atlantic
Portsmouth-based warship HMS Richmond is setting sail for a seven-month Atlantic Patrol Tasking.
Maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic, the Type 23 Frigate will provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British interests within the region.
The Atlantic Patrol Task will see Richmond undertake maritime security operations, including counter narcotics and anti-piracy patrols, providing opportunities to work with a number of other navies to further strengthen ties and demonstrate the Royal Navy's commitment to the region.
Commenting on the deployment, HMS Richmond's Commanding Officer, Commander Robert Pedre said:
"HMS Richmond's deployment represents the culmination of many months of planning and preparation. My ship's company has worked tirelessly to ensure we are now ready for operations to protect our nation's interests."
Engineering Technician (Weapons Engineer) Allanah Pope said:
"I am really looking forward to my first deployment because it gives me a chance to actively use all the skills that I have developed during our operational sea training. It also provides an opportunity to enjoy a different side of Naval life which I have not yet experienced."
The road to deployment has been a busy one for HMS Richmond. In February the ship's company put trainee submariners through their paces off the west coast of Norway whilst taking part in the grueling multi-national Submarine Command Course.
In March navigation students from the Maritime Warfare School joined the ship for an intensive training programme covering several thousand miles along the South Coast of England, Irish Sea, Western Isles, Orkneys and Channel Islands. Later that same month the Type 23 Frigate literally 'hit' a key milestone on her path towards deployment by completing two successful firings of her Sea Wolf surface to air missile system off the south coast of England, proving decisively her ability to track and destroy sea-skimming targets.
In April, alongside almost 50 other ships, countless aircraft and land troops, HMS Richmond played her part in supporting one of the largest European military exercises in recent years, Exercise Joint Warrior.
In May the crew completed a period of high intensity training at Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) followed by a comprehensive maintenance period in Portsmouth ensuring the ship was ready for her time at sea.
HMS Richmond is expected to pass the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth at approx 10.10am on Monday 5 August when she sails for deployment.
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