HMS Dragon sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday (March 19) on her maiden deployment, spending seven months on operations in the Middle East where she will build on the UK’s long term commitment to allies and regional partners[ in the world’s maritime centre of gravity. The Type 45 destroyer will police busy shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean that remain vital for global trade and energy security.
Ready to respond to unforeseen crises, Dragon will together with other navies help keep the seas safe by preventing maritime terrorism, countering piracy, hunting drug runners and deterring human trafficking.
Dragon is the fourth of the Royal Navy’s six new Type 45s. Built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, she made her first entry into her home port of Portsmouth in 2011 and was commissioned into the Navy’s fleet in April last year.
Since then, the highly capably, multi-role ship and her 190 crew have undergone intensive sea trials and training off the UK coast.
Her Commanding Officer, Captain Iain Lower, said:
“It is with immense pride that HMS Dragon sails from Portsmouth for her first operational deployment.
“Since leaving the builder’s yard in Scotstoun nearly two years ago and through intense combat system and propulsion trials and operational sea training our focus has been about this moment.
“I would like to pay tribute to BAE Systems and all the contractors and civilian support agencies that have worked with us towards this day.
“Of course it is with great sadness that we leave our families, friends and loved ones behind, but we deploy with a real sense of excitement, anticipation and confidence in Dragon’s ability to meet the challenges ahead.”
Naval Today Staff, March 20, 2013; Image: Royal Navy