HMS Iron Duke sails for NATO Deployment

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet

Well-wishers lined Portsmouth Harbour as HMS Iron Duke sailed today for a six-month deployment to Northern Europe.

The Type 23 frigate will work with a multinational NATO task group, taking part in exercises and operations.

The ships will be permanently available to NATO to perform tasks as required and conduct diplomatic visits to various countries in the region.

They will form Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 which provides a continuous maritime capability both in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflicts.

Iron Duke’s role includes protecting UK interests, developing working relationships with NATO and promoting the nation’s capabilities abroad.

Her Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Aldous, said:  “We have been preparing for this deployment throughout 2015 with a great deal of effort making sure we have a ship and crew that is ready for the task.

“This has included a number of equipment upgrades, making Iron Duke one of the most capable ships in the fleet. 

“The ship’s company has put in a huge amount of effort during our pre-deployment training. 

"I am very proud of my team for what they have achieved and am looking forward to the deployment.”

Many of the 180 ship’s company have not deployed overseas before, including 30-year-old Engineering Technician Owen Goodridge, a weapon engineer from Portsmouth.

“I joined HMS Iron Duke straight from my professional engineering training.

“I’m very much looking forward to operating with NATO and getting the opportunity to see some new places,” he said

I am very proud of my team for what they have achieved and am looking forward to the deployment.

Commander Ben Aldous RN