Portsmouth-based warship HMS Iron Duke deployed today for a routine deployment across the Atlantic where 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 the six months away the HMS Iron Duke 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 to 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.
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.
Press Release, June 20, 2014; Image: UK Navy