HMS Defender celebrates 10th birthday

Sailors on HMS Defender took a short break from safeguarding shipping in the Gulf to celebrate the destroyer's 10th birthday.

The cutting-edge Type 45 destroyer was launched in 2009 and since entering front-line service in 2013 has been on operations across the globe.

Currently, the Portsmouth-based warship is in the Gulf accompanying British-flagged shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

Over the past decade, among other operations, Defender has carried out drug busts in the Middle East; supported US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush; escorted cruise liner Queen Mary II through the Gulf of Oman; and this year tested her Sea Viper missile off the coast of Scotland.

The fifth Daring-class destroyer, construction on Defender started in 2006 on the River Clyde before she was launched three years later.

It is amazing to think the ship is 10 years old but still at the forefront of technology

Weapons systems specialist Engineering Technician Michael Moody

Sea trials started in 2011 and she entered her home port of Portsmouth for the first time the following year.

Operations have put her equipment, including her ferocious Sea Viper anti-air missile system and long-range radars, through its paces.

The ship's company gathered on the flight deck to mark the anniversary and have some cake, baked on board by the chefs.

Weapons systems specialist Engineering Technician Michael Moody said: "It is amazing to think the ship is 10 years old but still at the forefront of technology."

Since deploying to the Middle East joining Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Kent, plus HMS Montrose, she has acted as a 'good shepherd', helping merchant shipping through the narrow gateway to the Gulf. Defender alone has successfully accompanied more than one million tonnes of merchant vessel traffic.

Commander Richard Hewitt, the ship's Commanding Officer, said: "HMS Defender has had an incredible journey so far with many achievements over the past decade."