Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for a nine-month operational deployment.
She will be taking over the Navy’s long-standing commitment to the region from HMS Monmouth, a Type 23 frigate based in Plymouth.
She is the second Type 45 destroyer to sail on operational deployment in the last three months. HMS Duncan sailed in July to take command of a NATO maritime task group in the Mediterranean – a multi-national force that operates on counter-migration, diplomatic port visits and ensures a presence in the Black Sea.
Her sister ship HMS Diamond has sailed for the warmer waters of the Gulf where she will be working with international and NATO allies to protect some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, keeping them free from criminal activities.
Commanding Officer of HMS Diamond Commander Ben Keith said: “Morale is high on the ship at the moment, we have quite a large contingent of young sailors on board who have not previously deployed so there is a real sense of excitement.
“We have trained and practised for a long time now to prepare for our deployment to the Gulf so we are ready to take on any tasking that is required of us.
“This is a highly versatile and capable warship so we will be undertaking a variety of roles once we deploy.
“HMS Diamond will escort partners though some of the world’s hot spots such as the Bab el-Mandeb strait near Yemen, we will also undertake defence engagement activities and exercise with foreign navies and of course we remain ready to complete any warfighting duties should we be called upon.”
The destroyer left her home port to cheering crowds on the Round Tower and received a flypast from a Wildcat helicopter based with 815 Naval Air Squadron in Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.
Commodore Peter Sparkes, Commodore Portsmouth Flotilla said it was a busy time for Portsmouth ships with a high operational drumbeat of activity.
“It is a really busy time for Portsmouth Naval Base and for the Portsmouth Flotilla at the moment,” he said. “We have just received HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Duncan sailed a few months ago and now HMS Diamond is deploying for a nine-month deployment in the Gulf.
“And then there is a huge range of daily UK-based flotilla activity as well as the beginning of the preparations to receive our second carrier – HMS Prince of Wales.”
HMS Diamond is the third of the highly capable Type 45 air defence destroyers and one of the most advanced warships in the world. She has a ship’s company of 260 personnel and is based at Portsmouth Naval Base.