The UK Royal Navy's last Type 42 destroyer (Batch 3), HMS Edinburgh (D97) has set sail off the Atlantic to undergo its final deployment.
It will be decommissioned in early 2013, marking the end of a 30-year operational life with the Royal Navy, and be replaced by a new-generation Type 45 Daring-class destroyer.
During its final deployment, HMS Edinburgh will conduct routine operations across the South Atlantic, including supporting counter-narcotics efforts in the West African region and provide support and reassurance to UK overseas territories.
HMS Edinburgh commanding officer commander Nick Borbone said: "HMS Edinburgh might be the last of the class but she remains a capable ship with a highly-trained and motivated ship's company that is determined to preserve the fine tradition that the Type 42s have established in 30 years of service."
Capable of carrying a crew of 287, the 141m-long Type 42 destroyers have a displacement capacity of 5,200t, a range of 4000nm, a beam of 15.2m and can cruise at speeds of 30k.
HMS Edinburgh underwent a £17.5m refit by BAE systems in 2010, when its propulsion machinery, auxiliary and weapons systems, sensors and accommodation were upgraded.
Designed to operate independently, the Type 42 destroyers conduct patrol and boarding operations, anti-narcotics and anti-piracy patrols, as well as provide humanitarian assistance for the Royal Navy.
Weaponry of the frigate includes Twin Sea Dart missile launcher, 4.5in (110mm) Mk 8 gun and a Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) to provide anti-air capability for the Royal Navy.
HMS Edinburgh will complete its mission and return to Portsmouth, UK, in March 2013.
Image: Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh is equipped with Twin Sea Dart missile launcher. Photo: BAE Systems.