Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced HMS Daring will deploy to the Gulf as the UK’s latest contribution to the campaign against Daesh.
The Type 45 destroyer and her 190-strong crew will sail from Portsmouth on Friday with a mission to use her sophisticated radar and missile systems to protect US aircraft carriers as they strike at terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Her mission will also include providing vital information to the coalition’s Combined Air Operations Centre in Al Udeid, Qatar, as well as patrolling some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The nine-month deployment follows on from that of her sister ship HMS Defender, which carried out a similar role earlier this year.
Daring’s deployment is just one element of the UK’s wider contribution to the fight against Daesh. Since September 2014 RAF aircraft have conducted more than 900 strikes, while in Iraq UK military personnel are working at several sites to help train thousands of Iraqi forces.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “All three armed services are making a vital contribution to defeating Daesh. RAF aircraft are hitting the terrorists daily on the ground; the Army is providing counter explosives training to Iraq troops; the Royal Navy helps protect coalition carriers in the Gulf as they launch strikes.
“With the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second biggest in NATO our Armed Forces are making a real difference around the world.”
HMS Daring’s other task while away will be to protect the Royal Navy’s annual deployment to the Middle East. She will protect the flagship HMS Ocean, which will assume command of the maritime counter-Daesh effort in the Gulf later this year. As well as providing air defence to Ocean, Daring will mitigate the threat of waterborne attack, carrying Royal Navy and Royal Marine boarding parties to counter pirates, terrorists and smugglers.
Commander Philip Dennis, Daring’s Commanding Officer, said: “Our Type 45 destroyers have proved their worth to the coalition in the Gulf and we will build on the progress we have made so far. Daring and her crew have been through intense training to ensure we are fit to tackle the challenges of this important deployment.”
HMS Daring is an advanced air defence destroyer and will play an important role in escorting the UK’s new aircraft carriers, the two biggest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.
The first of the carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is due to arrive in to Portsmouth in the spring and the investment in the Navy reflects a defence budget growing in real terms each year for the rest of the decade.