Tens of thousands of people lined the harbour to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth to her home port for the first time.
Portsmouth's Iron Duke Heads For The Atlantic
Portsmouth-based warship HMS Iron Duke has deployed for a routine deployment across the Atlantic.
She will be visiting various far-flung destinations in all seasons in both northern and southern hemispheres - enjoying summer and winter in the space of three months.
During six months away the Type 23 frigate will protect UK interests and promote the nation's capabilities abroad. At times she will work with partner nations to develop their armed forces training to defend their own waters. She may be called upon to lend assistance for humanitarian disasters or tackle piracy on the high seas. Her recent visit to Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) in Plymouth has equipped her crew of 180 for every eventuality.
The deployment is the first for Iron Duke since undergoing a major upgrade. She's the first RN warship to be fitted with Artisan - a 3D radar which is five times better than the old version it replaces.
Commander Tom Tredray, the Commanding Officer said:
"We have had a great deal of work done to upgrade the ship to be one of the most capable units in the Fleet. Also, the ship's company have all put in a great deal of effort achieve success at FOST. I am very proud of my team and the ship and am looking forward to the deployment."
Leading Seaman John Haslam, one of the ship's Operations room supervisors, said:
"This trip is going to be amazing; I'll be going to some places I'd never visit. I've had to pack loads of extra kit because we're going tropical as well as freezing on the same deployment"
Iron Duke will also carry a detachment of Royal Marines to add to the delivery of training to other nations. The ship has embarked extra stores, equipment and specialist personnel to ensure that she is both fighting fit, flexible and expert enough to respond to any demand either from local activities in her area of operations or to respond to emerging world events as directed by the Fleet Commander.
Able Seaman Daniel Malone, a warfare specialist, said:
"This is my first ship and the first time I'll be going away from home for this long. I'm really excited about going to places I'd never even heard of but I'll probably miss home, a bit."
For many of the ship's company, this will be their first lengthy trip away from home. The crew of 180 men and women come from across the UK and commonwealth, with a range of expertise in seamanship, engineering and logistics, but all have the same skills in fighting fires and tackling floods to protect their floating home. Their recent training has taught them to deal with displaced populations, evacuees, hostile forces and friendly, visiting dignitaries along with the more common war fighting practice.
HMS Iron Duke is affiliated to the Island of Jersey and the City of Hull.
The ship enjoys strong links with Jersey and plans to rendezvous with the Jersey-based Wetwheels, a charity which allows people with disabilities to get to sea, before heading towards La Corbiere where she will fire a 15-gun ceremonial salute to the Governor before continuing on her deployment.
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