With a number of major capability upgrades, HMS Defender is now the most capable T45 in the Fleet.

Commander Richard Hewitt

Fleet date marks the start of a return to operational duties for the ship.

HMS Defender’s return was also the first time at sea for many of the younger members of the ship’s company including Able Seaman Sarah McDonald, 17, one of the chefs on board.

“My first night at sea was good. I had the best sleep! The ship rocked me to sleep and my accommodation is bigger than I thought it would be even though I share with five other people,” she said.

“Joining the Navy has made me a better person. I used to be really, really quiet but since starting this job I have come out of my shell. It’s made me very positive and so much more confident. And I’ve made so many friends since joining this ship, friends for life.”

While out in the South West exercise areas HMS Defender saw her sister ships HMS Diamond and HMS Dragon – both of which were also out on various training serials and testing of equipment.

HMS Diamond has now also returned to Portsmouth while HMS Dragon is working under the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation in Devonport.

A fourth Type 45 destroyer - HMS Duncan is currently the Flagship for Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and is shortly due to visit Constanta following a series of exercise with her NATO allies in the Black Sea.

HMNB Portsmouth

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