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Royal Navy’s most advanced destroyer deploys to the Caribbean

26 May 2023
The Royal Navy’s most advanced destroyer has deployed to the Caribbean to support British Overseas Territories during hurricane season and counter drugs trafficking in the region.

HMS Dauntless left Portsmouth – waved off by loved ones – with brand new engines after becoming the first ship in her class to undergo the Power Improvement Programme.

The Type 45 destroyer is now sailing across the Atlantic, after a brief stop in Plymouth, for missions across the Caribbean, having left Portsmouth on Tuesday and a final weapons trial in the Channel on Wednesday.

Dauntless was declared ready for operations last month after nine intensive months of training, passing all demanding trials, tests and finally a gruelling assessment of her crew and all weapons and systems.

The ship will be in the Caribbean to respond quickly to natural disasters during the region’s hurricane season from June to November, while visiting island communities as a reassuring presence, working with local services and authorities to ensure the most rapid and effective aid is provided should nature strike.

Dauntless will also patrol the Caribbean to counter illicit activities, in particular working with US Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies in the ongoing fight against drug trafficking in the region.

After several years out of action followed by nearly 12 months of intensive training at sea, the destroyer’s Commanding Officer Commander Ben Power said Dauntless was raring to prove herself on the world stage again.

“It has been a phenomenal journey taking the ship from Liverpool following the upgrade to the power and propulsion system through to our departure on time for operations, which highlights the performance of the equipment and the dedication and hard work of the crew,” he said.

Chef James Bascran is among those who’s helped bring the destroyer back to life.

“I have served as a chef with the ship through all the major phases of the regeneration from picking the first meal that would be cooked and served on board through to preparing to feed over two hundred people that are at their action station in under 75 minutes, it is great to now be taking the ship on deployment,” he explained.

The three new efficient engines – replacing two original diesel units – ensure the 8,500-tonne destroyer has a more reliable, robust source of power to propel her through the water at speeds in excess of 32kts – and also power the cutting-edge equipment on board.

The new engines proved their reliability during the ship’s Operational Sea Training (OST), with the ship available throughout and missing none of her planned days at sea.

It meant Dauntless completed that training off the South Coast in only four months, regenerating quicker than expected and faster than most of her fellow Type 45s.

While in the Caribbean, she will also head for Exercise Unitas and mark the 200th anniversary of the Colombian Navy.

Unitas (Latin for “united”) is the oldest and largest maritime exercise in the region dating back to 1959 as a South American and US regional exercise designed to demonstrate a united stance against the spread of the Soviet Union’s influence and presence in Latin America.

The exercise continues to be the most important naval exercise in the United States Southern Command area of responsibility, promoting partnership and demonstrating joint commitment to the region.

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