Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth departed Plymouth on Monday to start a nine-month deployment in the Persian Gulf.
The frigate set sail after spending 18 months undergoing assessment and training, preparing to fight smugglers, terrorists, drug and people traffickers.
Preparations for the extended stint in the Middle East, where Monmouth will take over from HMS Daring whose nine-month tour of duty is into its final third, ramped up over the past six months.
The frigate completed two periods of operational sea training – which readies ships and submarines for front-line duties – and a short period of maintenance to ensure the 4,500 tonne warship is ready for deployment.
“I’m proud to be sailing on my first deployment, not only because it’s something I’ve trained so long for but also because it’s clear how important this deployment is,” said Sub Lt Gordon Pickthall.
“Nine months is a long time to be away from my family, but they know how important this job is, and how unique of an opportunity this is for me to visit parts of the world most people rarely see; it’s what I signed up to do!”
His Commanding Officer, Cdr Ian Feasey, said after 18 months of preparations and intensive training, the Black Duke was ready to show her mettle on the front line.
“We leave Devonport ready for operations, and with a keen fighting spirit, supported by the families we leave behind until December.”