The UK Royal Navy's Type 23 Duke-class ship HMS Iron Duke (F234) has successfully completed the first aviation trials, marking another step towards frontline operations.
The aviation trials follow the successful completion of a 16-month modernisation programme and aim to ensure the ship and its crew are ready for operational deployment later this year, while dealing with internal emergencies safely and swiftly.
Currently, the Portsmouth-based warship is undergoing intensive operational sea training for two months off Plymouth in preparation for scheduled deployment later this year.
During the series of trials, spread over a few days, the Type 23 ship demonstrated its ability to safely land and launch Lynx Mk8 multi-purpose military aircraft.
The trials also demonstrated HMS Iron Duke crew capability to react to a helicopter crashing on board, rescuing the aircrew and ensuring the safety of the vessel.
HMS Iron Duke is currently under the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, which prepares all UK warships for operations by testing their ability in naval operations that range from disaster relief to handling pirates and all-out war with air, missile and submarine attacks.
Capable of accommodating a crew of 185, the 133m-long Duke-class vessels are armed with vertical-launched Seawolf point missile defence system and the Boeing Harpoon surface-to-surface missile to provide anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
The 4,900t ships are powered by a diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG) system, which includes two Rolls-Royce Spey SM1A 34,000hp gas turbines and two Alstom 1.5MW 4,400hp electric motors.
Image: A British Royal Navy's Lynx aboard HMS Iron Duke. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.