HMS Dragon brings air defence expertise to USS Dwight. D Eisenhower

HMS Dragon defended American aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from aerial threats as she warmed up for operational training with the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.

The Type 45 Destroyer brings specialist air defence capabilities to carrier missions, using high-powered surveillance radars to scope out potential enemies and, if needs be, eliminate them. 

HMS Dragon can take on aircraft, missiles or drones to protect carriers using the warship’s Sea Viper missile system. It is a vital role when undertaking Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operations.

During her week-long exercises with the USS Eisenhower-led Carrier Strike Group off the east coast of the USA, HMS Dragon protected the air, learning how air defence operations are conducted within a US task group, and reaffirming bonds with the US Navy. 

Part of that saw members of HMS Dragon’s Ship’s Company head over to the USS San Jacinto, working closely with US counterparts and taste life on an American cruiser. Some US sailors also headed over to the British destroyer.

“We’ve been very closely linked with the USS San Jacinto which is the air and missile defence commander for the USS Eisenhower seeing how they conduct air defence operations, and taking some very valuable lessons back to the UK Carrier Strike Group,” said Commander Giles Palin, Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon.

“It’s also been a really good opportunity to get our sailors across to our US colleagues, so that they can experience life in the US Navy – whilst, at the same time, inviting some of the US sailors over to HMS Dragon, so that they can see what life is like in the Royal Navy.”

We’re really honoured to be the first Type 45 operating with Queen Elizabeth

Commander Giles Palin

With additional knowledge and experience gained from working with the USS Eisenhower, HMS Dragon has now returned to the UK Carrier Strike Group to resume the role of air and missile defence commander for HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Northumberland and RFA Tideforce on Westlant 19.

Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon will be present during the important Operational Testing phase of the deployment, which sees the CSG operate with fixed wing F35B fast jets for the first time this deployment.

“We’re really honoured to be the first Type 45 operating with Queen Elizabeth. It’s a really key responsibility because we’ve got to learn how the two ships work together in a task group,” added Cdr Palin. 

“We’re making sure communication works between the two ships and, indeed, the war fighting tactics. This will allow us to deliver operations effectively in the future.” 

The Americans will also be involved in Westlant 19, continuing the relationship between the UK and US. Units from the US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will be involved, proving further the partnership between the two NATO allies.