HMS Defender returned to her home in Portsmouth on December 12, after more than six months deployed on high intensity operations in the Northern Gulf.
The ship has spent part of her deployment supporting the US-led Carrier Task Group and her F18s conducting strikes in the fight against ISIL.
The Type 45 destroyer’s maiden deployment included maritime security and counter piracy patrols in the Gulf and operations in the Mediterranean, but the main focus was direct support to US aircraft carriers (USS G H W Bush and USS Carl Vinson) in the Northern Gulf while strike sorties were flown against ISIL targets.
During the deployment the ship visited the majority of the Gulf States including Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain.
Defender ship’s company included an embarked Royal Marine contingent from 43 Commando who were at immediate notice to provide maritime interdiction and sniper teams to combat smuggling and terrorism in the region.
During the annual Cougar 14 exercise the Royal Marines practised their war fighting skills ashore, integrating with US and Kuwaiti forces during a large scale exercise.
Defender has clocked up more than 35,000 nautical miles since leaving the UK in June.
On return to the Mediterranean the ship visited Cyprus to host a meeting between UK and Cypriot Ministers, reaffirming the strong links between the countries and the continued mutual support.
Defender will now take some well earned leave, before a maintenance period in the New Year.
Press release, Image: UK Navy