St Albans has been tested and proven fully fit for operational missions wherever and whenever the government needs.

Commander Richard Hutchings

HMS St Alban’s Commanding Officer, Commander Richard Hutchings, said: “St Albans has been tested and proven fully fit for operational missions wherever and whenever the government needs.

"It’s a lengthy and highly complex process to prepare for a deployment like this but the ship’s company is absolutely ready and excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

He added: “We have fitted much of the latest technology, including a class-leading warfare combination in our Merlin Mk2 helicopter and remotely-piloted ScanEagle surveillance aircraft, whilst our collective Royal Navy and Royal Marines boarding team enables a more traditional form of maritime security and policing. 

"With just 225 people on board, the ship offers a remarkable range of options to support UK interests around the world.”

The ship has been through extensive maintenance and upgrades including the installation of ScanEagle, a pilotless aircraft, which provides the Type 23 with extra “eyes in the sky” sending back live imagery to the operations room. Launched by a catapult on a 14ft ramp, ScanEagle can remain airborne for 12 hours operating at ranges of up to 40 miles from the mother ship.

Final preparations took place last week when the ship’s Merlin Mk2 helicopter joined the ship for a series of sorties designed to refresh and sharpen the ship’s aviation skills prior to deployment.

Engineering Technician Sam Calligan, 19, said: “I’m really looking forward to the deployment. It will be my first trip away with the navy and I can’t wait to actually do my job away from home. ”

HMNB Portsmouth

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