HMS Sutherland home after seven-month deployment

Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland has made an emotional return to Devonport today following a seven-month deployment to the other side of the world.

HMS Sutherland set sail from Plymouth in January visiting Australia and the Asia Pacific region, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to peace and security, and giving support to British industry.

The ship then carried out exercises with the Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Navies, before joining exercises with ships from the US Navy Seventh Fleet and the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Canale, said, “We’ve had an incredibly varied deployment and as the first ship to deploy to the Asia Pacific region for some years we have gained a lot of experience about operating in the area.

“As we head for home we are now very much looking forward to being reunited with our families and friends who have given us unstinting support during our deployment.”

HMS Sutherland strengthened international relations in the Asia Pacific region with visits to the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia before operating as part of a multination coalition in the Gulf and Gulf of Aden region, conducting counter-piracy and counter-trafficking activity. 

We’ve had an incredibly varied deployment and as the first ship to deploy to the Asia Pacific region for some years we have gained a lot of experience about operating in the area

Commander Andrew Canale, Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland

The ship also provided escort duties to HM Ships Bangor and Middleton.

Over the course of the deployment HMS Sutherland used her Wildcat helicopter as the eyes and ears of the ship, utilising its sensors to build the ship’s maritime picture.

The CO of 815 Naval Air Squadron, Commander Jamieson Stride said, “I am delighted to welcome home 211 Flight and their mighty Wildcat after a hugely successful deployment.

“Having operated as far afield as Australia and almost everywhere in between there and the UK, they have been blazing a trail for the Wildcat, operating in new areas for the aircraft and impressing operational commanders everywhere they went.

“I would like to thank their families for their unstinting support during this deployment.

“Being apart from your loved ones for seven months is incredibly tough and their loyalty and devotion has been much needed.”

After handing over to sister ship HMS Argyll, HMS Sutherland has now transited through the Mediterranean, paying a visit to Gibraltar and is on passage back to the UK.