HMS Duncan returns home after NATO deployment

HMS Duncan has returned to Portsmouth after spending three months in the Mediterranean and Black Sea as the Flagship to NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2.

Families lined the jetty at Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth to welcome back the warship and her ship’s company following their deployment to the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

HMS Duncan joined up with fellow Type 45 HMS Diamond in Bar, Montenegro last weekend to hand over the lead for Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). HMS Duncan is planned to resume her role as the flagship later in the year.

The ship left her home port in June with over 260 people on board including a Royal Marines boarding team and an embarked helicopter flight from RNAS Yeovilton based 815 Naval Air Squadron.

During her time away, the advanced air destroyer visited eight countries, travelled 15,000 miles and conducted seven Defence Engagement events. She visited countries in the Black Sea and was the first warship to visit some of these nations since the early 2000s.

Commander Eleanor Stack, the Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan, said, “After three demanding months at sea conducting maritime security tasking, multi-national exercises, supporting and assuring NATO allies and being ready to react to any further contingent tasking, returning home is a wonderful and rewarding moment for all of Duncan’s sailors and their families.

“I am immensely proud of everything they have achieved during this deployment and hope they enjoy some well-earned time with their families and loved ones.”

I am immensely proud of everything they have achieved during this deployment and hope they enjoy some well-earned time with their families and loved ones

Commander Eleanor Stack, Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan

After passing east of Gibraltar, Duncan’s first stop was Souda Bay, Crete where the ship embarked the multi-national staff of SNMG2. Commodore James Morley Royal Navy took over command of SNMG2 in a ceremony on the German ship FGS Brandenburg in 45 degree heat. Following a week at sea conducting trials of her weapons systems, Duncan, as the Flagship of SNMG2, proceeded to Istanbul and through the Straits into the Black Sea.

The destroyer visited Bulgaria, taking part in Exercise Sea Breeze, in conjunction with forces from Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria.  The exercise saw the task group taking part in a number of serials designed to test the group’s ability to perform and fight in action.  

HMS Duncan conducted numerous exercises with allied navies as well as air defence exercises with RAF Typhoons based at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in southeast Romania.

From Bulgaria, HMS Duncan went on to visit Odessa to enhance NATO’s relationships with the Ukrainian military and officials and as well as to further fulfil the task group’s role of supporting and assuring allies in the Black Sea before proceeding to Romania and finally out of the Black Sea to Aksaz in Turkey.

The final month of the deployment saw Duncan conducting numerous training and operational serials with other members of the task group including the Hellenic Navy.

Duncan operates with the Royal Navy’s newest type of helicopter – the Wildcat Mark 2 – which extends the ship’s capability beyond the horizon and uses its cutting-edge targeting system and surveillance radar to help reduce the threat of waterborne attack.

The United Kingdom has committed a UK led staff team under a Royal Navy Commodore and a UK Flagship to NATO for a twelve month period until June 2018.