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Royal Navy destroyer deployed to the Gulf on maritime security mission

29 November 2023
Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond will bolster the UK’s security presence in the Middle East.

The Type 45 has been activated for duties in the Gulf and will join frigate HMS Lancaster and minehunters on patrols of the region’s vital waterways, working to deter escalations from malign and hostile actors who seek to disrupt maritime security.

The ship, which left Portsmouth a week ago, will be deployed on Operation Kipion, the UK’s long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean, to conduct operations to ensure freedom of navigation in the region, reassure merchant vessels and ensure the safe flow of trade.

Diamond’s Commanding Officer Commander Peter Evans said the Gulf mission came at short notice but his 200 men and women were ready to respond. 

“We’ve spent the last few days saying our farewells to our families and they gathered at Round Tower in Portsmouth to wave us off,” he added.

HMS Diamond’s deployment follows increasing concerns over maritime security in strategic maritime chokepoints, and demonstrates the UK’s commitment to supporting security in the region and the global maritime commons.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Recent events have proven how critical the Middle East remains to global security and stability.

“From joint efforts to deter escalation, following the onset of the renewed conflict in Israel and Gaza, to now the unlawful and brazen seizure of MV Galaxy Leader by the Houthis in the Red Sea – it is critical that the UK bolsters our presence in the region, to keep Britain and our interests safe from a more volatile and contested world.

“Today’s deployment will strengthen the Royal Navy’s patrols, help to keep critical trade routes open and prove that our commitment to regional security not only endures but enhances.” 

HMS Diamond is the third of six Type 45 destroyers in service with the Royal Navy. Their principal mission is to shield the Fleet from hostile threats in the skies – missiles or aircraft – with the ability to track hundreds of contacts simultaneously and eliminate them at long range with her Sea Viper missile system.

In addition, she’s equipped with a main 4.5in, the latest radars and intelligence-gathering sensors, carries a Wildcat helicopter armed with Martlet air-to-surface missiles, and can carry a specialist Royal Marines detachment for boarding operations.

Diamond has just completed three months of operations with the UK’s Carrier Strike Group in Northern Europe, providing world-class air defence for the nation’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth and her air group of F-35 Lightning jets, Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.

The ship took part in the largest air defence exercise in Europe and operated with Norwegian, Dutch, Belgian and German warships.

Diamond hosted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak overnight – the first RN ship to do so in 50 years – as the destroyer operated in the Baltic Sea, working with ships from Estonia, Latvia and Finland as part of Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) efforts.

JEF is a group of ten like-minded nations which work together for the stability and prosperity of Northern Europe, capable of reacting to events in the strategically important region. 

Fellow destroyer HMS Duncan remains on operations with NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

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