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Protecting our Nation's Interests

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    12:26 GMT - 17 April 2014

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    The Gulf

    11:20 GMT - 17 April 2014

    East of Suez

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    British Isles

    10:38 GMT - 17 April 2014

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    Mediterranean Sea

    14:04 GMT - 15 April 2014


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        Name of vessel
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        HMS Somerset

        HMS Somerset is currently undertaking an operational deployment in support of UK interests in the Middle East and the Gulf. The West Country’s favorite warship will be away from UK until mid 2014 conducting a wide range of operational roles East of Suez. Somerset is one of a batch of Type 23 frigates ordered in 1992 from the Yarrow yard – today BAE Systems – in Scotstoun. It was there that she was launched in June 1994 before she made her way to her home port of Devonport two years later to take her place in the Fleet.

        foy pour devoir – Faith for Duty

        Ship's Motto

        As part of Operation Kipion, HMS Somerset is currently deployed away from home waters, until mid 2014. The Ship and Ship’s Company are undertaking a wide range of operational tasks in the Eastern Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and the Gulf, under the direction of the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander, based in Bahrain.

        Over the next 6 months Somerset can be expected to conduct Counter Terrorism, Counter Narcotics, Counter Piracy and broader Maritime Security operations, all in support of UK interests in the area and to safeguard trade routes essential to UK prosperity. The Ship will also visit various foreign ports to engage with the UK’s friends in the region.

        HMS Somerset is also a key part of the high readiness UK Response Force Task Group, deployed at range from the UK and ready to respond at short notice to any global tasking.

        HMS Somerset traces her history back three centuries, but it was in 2005 that she adopted her motto from the Duke of Somerset, for whom she is named: Foy pour devoir – faith for duty.

        The crew of HMS Somerset are currently blogging about their thoughts and experiences whilst on deployment. You can follow their blog via the following link: http://hms-somerset.tumblr.com/


        Somerset is a Front Line warship ready to deliver success on operations, whenever required, wherever needed, whatever the mission

        Mike Smith

        Mike Smith
        HMS Argyll, Kent, 815 NAS
        Military experience

        Born in Dorchester in 1971, Mike Smith was educated at Homewood School and Canterbury Technical College in Kent before joining the Royal Navy in 1991 as an Observer. After initial training at BRNC Dartmouth and the Basic Observer Course at RNAS Culdrose he was selected for Lynx Aircrew training.

        Completing Advanced and Operational Flying Training at RNAS Portland in 1995 he joined 815 Squadron for a number of operational tours in HMS Cardiff and HMS Argyll including Counter Drug Operations in the Caribbean and a NATO deployment to the Mediterranean. During this time he was selected for the General List and completed his Bridge Watchkeeping Qualification.

        Leaving the Front Line in 1998, he qualified as a Lynx Instructor at 702 Squadron RNAS Yeovilton assisting in the introduction to Service of the Lynx HMA 8 DSP by spearheading aircrew conversion training for the variant.

        After instructing, he returned to the Front Line in 2000 as Flight Commander in HMS Sheffield taking the first Lynx HMA 8 DSP to sea and once again deploying to the Caribbean.

        Qualifying as a Principal Warfare Officer in 2002 he subsequently joined HMS Cumberland as both PWO(U) and the Operations Officer. This appointment included a six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and conducting operations within the Gulf.

        In 2004 he joined the Operations Division of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet’s Staff working at the Northwood Headquarters. The two years spent within the Headquarters presented a variety of challenges including the planning of crisis response operations in the Lebanon, West Africa and the Far East. In addition, he was responsible for the creation of the MOD Liaison post as part of the Commitments Policy & Liaison cell under FLEET Transformation and the co-ordination of FLEET’s counter-terrorism response team.

        Joining HMS Kent as Executive Officer in 2007, he spent two extremely rewarding years guiding the ship through two work-up periods with subsequent deployments to the Far East and the Middle East. This included a four-month period in Command leading the Ship’s efforts in support of important visits to London, Amsterdam and Cardiff as well as setting the Ship's generation process in train.

        Leaving Kent in August 2009 for the Advanced Command and Staff Course, he graduated with an MA in Defence Studies in the summer of 2010 before being promoted to Commander and joining FOST South as the Staff Officer Operations during a busy period of training for Royal Navy Ships and those from many international navies.

        An avid sports and outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys cricket, walking and skiing but as a passionate road cyclist he enjoys nothing more than finding the toughest mountain climbs to conquer whether they are in the French Alps or the UK!




        Royal Marines practise pirate take-down in Gulf with US counterparts
        17 March 2014

        Armed-to-the-teeth Royal and US Marines stormed a merchant ship in...

        Major mine test for five of Royal Navy's ships in the Gulf
        Major mine test for five of Royal Navy's ships in the Gulf
        11 March 2014

        Five of the Royal Navy's vessels patrolling the Gulf –...

        HMS Somerset completes her first month of operational deployment
        HMS Somerset completes her first month of operational deployment
        26 February 2014

        Her Majesty’s Ship Somerset has completed her first calendar month...

        HMS Somerset replenishes with US tanker
        05 February 2014

        Having recently passed through the Suez Canal, HMS Somerset has...


        Middle East Patrol

        CURRENT STATUS: active

        Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980, after the Iran/Iraq conflict of that year, and more recently operations have extended further south with the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast. Having warships present in the region is one of the main tools the UK has to show our commitment to this part of the world.

        Read More


        Weapons System

        Type 23 Weapons System
        type 23
        • 4.5Mk8 Gun
          medium calibre weapon system
          Mk8 4.5 Gun

          If you're looking for punch and firepower, then the 4.5in main gun, found on the forecastle of all the Royal Navy's destroyer's frigates and destroyers, is the most obvious provider. Even in an age of missiles, there's still a need for a weapon to pulverise enemy positions and demoralise the foe - and the 4.5in gun has done so in the Falklands and Iraq. The gun can fire up to two dozen high explosive shells weighing more than 40kg (80lbs) at targets more than a dozen miles away - and nearly 18 miles if special extended-range shells are used. In various forms, the 4.5in has been the Navy's standard medium gun since before World War 2, embodied today by the Mk8 which has been in service since the early 1970s. There are two types of Mk8 used by the Fleet. The older Mod 0 (with its curved turret), which is gradually being replaced, and the angular Mod 1 (nicknamed Kryten after the robot on the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf) which is harder for enemy radar to pick up. The main purpose of the gun is Naval Gunfire Support – artillery bombardment of shore targets. In this role the gun is capable of firing the equivalent of a six-gun shore battery. The Mk8 can also be used effectively against surface targets at sea.

        • Harpoon
          Anti-ship missile System

          Harpoon is the long-range lance of the Type 23 frigate, capable of destroying enemy ships far beyond the horizon. Fitted to all Type 23 Frigates, the Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) Harpoon is a sophisticated anti-ship missile capable of striking at targets more than 80 miles away. Harpoon uses a combination of inertial guidance and active radar homing to attack its prey. Cruising at Mach 0.9 and carrying a large high explosive warhead it is powered by a lightweight turbojet, but is accelerated at launch by a booster rocket.

        • Helicopter
          Airbourne weapons System

          The Merlin Mk1 have been in service with the Fleet Air Arm since the late 1990s and, after thorough testing and evaluation, the helicopters have been on the front line since 2000. Our job is to find – and if necessary destroy – enemy submarines using our state-of-the-art sonar bouys which we drop into the ocean and Sting Ray torpedoes. Beyond searching for submarines, we carry out traditional maritime helicopter duties: anti-piracy/drug-running patrols, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, and passenger and load transfers

        • Sea Wolf
          Surface to Air Missile system
          Sea wolf

          Seawolf is the shield of Britain’s frigate fleet against air attack. Defending Britain's frigate fleet against air attack, the Seawolf missile has been in service for more than 30 years and has proven itself in action in the Falklands. Unlike Sea Viper and Sea Dart, Seawolf is intended to defend an individual ship rather than a task group, engaging aircraft or sea-skimming missiles. It is fired either from a vertical silo on Type 23 frigates, and guided on to its target courtesy of a tracking system on the ship. The original Seawolf had a very limited range of just six miles, but the frigate fleet is in the middle of receiving the latest, more potent version of the missile system. It means that Seawolf can track – and destroy – a target the size of a cricket ball travelling at three times the speed of sound well beyond the limit of the original missile. If the system was placed in the middle of London, it could track its target over the M25 and knock it out of the sky over the North Circular - and the whole action would last under 20 seconds. Each Type 23 frigate carries out at least two Seawolf firings on ranges off the UK coast before each deployment.

        • DLH Decoy Launch System
          active decoy system

          The DLH system is carried by the Navy's frigates and is designed to lure attacking anti-ship missiles away from the unit.

        • Torpedo
          Magazine torpedo launch System (MTLS)

          Dropped by Lynx and Merlin helicopters, and launched from the MTLS, Sting Ray is a small lightweight torpedo designed to destroy enemy submarines. It weighs seven times less than torpedoes fired by submarines, racing through the water at more than 50mph at targets half a dozen miles away, delivering a 100lb explosive charge powerful enough to punch through the double hulls of modern submarines. Once Sting Ray is fired it uses the information provided initially by the helicopter and gathers fresh intelligence on its target using its sonar and onboard software which is designed not to be fooled by the enemy submarine’s decoys.

        • Towed Array
          Sub Surface detection system
          towed array

        • 30mm Gun
          Medium Calibre gun system
          30mm Gun















        Top Speed


        Range (Nautical)


        Launch Date


        Commissioned date


        TAKE A LOOK




        HMS Somerset HISTORY

        • First Battle

          The first bearer of the name saw action in Vigo Bay against the Spanish in 1702, serving as the flagship of Admiral Rooke in one of the most devastating naval victories of the age.

        • Battle Honours

          Vigo 1702

        • Battle Honours

          Velez Malaga 1704

        • Surviving the Great Disaster

          The ship led a charmed life, for she was one of the survivors of the great disaster of the era when upwards of 2,000 sailors lost their lives as Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s fleet careered into rocks in the Scillies in 1707.

        • The Second Somerset

          The second Somerset, an 80-gun third rate, was launched in 1731.

        • The Battle Of Toulon

          The second HMS Somerset took part in the highly- contentious Battle of Toulon in 1744 which saw a British blockading force fail to defeat a Franco-Spanish fleet off the Mediterranean port.

        • The Third HMS Somerset

          The third, and by far the most famous, ship to be named HMS Somerset was launched on 18 July 1748. She was heavily involved in the Seven Years War against the French, playing a key part in the capture both of Louisberg and Quebec.

        • Battle Honours

          Louisburg 1758

        • Battle Honours

          Quebec 1759

        • The American Wars of Independence

          The third ship is better remembered for her role in the American Wars of Independence thanks to a famous poem and a group of 21st Century reenactors. Somerset’s watch failed to spot revolutionary Paul Revere rowing across Boston Bay to alert the rebel forces ahead of the Battle of Lexington – the opening battle of the war. His actions – and Somerset’s lack thereof – were immortalised by the great Henry Longfellow in Paul Revere’s Ride.

        • Battle Of Bunker Hill

          The third ship saw action at the victory of Bunker Hill in 1775. Among her ship’s company was the future Admiral Collingwood, Nelson’s deputy at Trafalgar.

        • Loss of HMS Somerset

          The ship foundered off Cape Cod on 02 November 1778, when she ran aground whilst pursuing the French.

        • Wreckage

          The wreckage of the third Somerset has occasionally been revealed over the centuries, while since 1999 a group of American enthusiasts have donned authentic uniforms to bring 18th Century sailors and marines back to life.

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