HMS Defender - update

Update - November 2015

We’ve finally arrived in theatre after a brief work up period in the Mediterranean following the Final part of our FOST training (Phase 3). DEFENDER deployed from Portsmouth 19 October on a crisp autumn day. We were waved off by family and friends who took position on Round Tower to give us the traditional send off. En-route the Officers held a Trafalgar Night Dinner in the Wardroom which was all the more fitting as we were in the vicinity of Cape Trafalgar. As we passed Gibraltar we undertook a patrol of Territorial Waters including a patrol of the adjacent airspace using the Ships Lynx Mk8 helicopter. This was followed by a swift transit across the Mediterranean in support to Operation Active Endeavour, providing reassurance to Merchant Shipping and deterring illegal activity.  A brief fuelling stop in Souda Bay, Crete followed before going alongside in Rhodes, Greece for our first visit of the deployment.
 
A Transit of the ‘improved’ Suez Canal was next with a greatly reduced transit time following the opening of a new section in the canal.
 
We RV’d with our Sister ship HMS DUNCAN at the top of the Red Sea for a handover at sea and then officially assumed responsibility as the Op KIPION 1 unit - 10 months after our last time in theatre.
 
To date our tasking has seen us working for CTF 55, as part of CMF (Combined Military Forces). This has seen us undertaking airspace Command & Control Duties in and around the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Conduct escort duties for shipping and completing boarding operations on vessels of interest. 
 
Over the coming months we will continue to operate in support of CTF 55 as directed by the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC) and complete a variety of further port visits, before beginning our Carrier escort tasking in earnest.