The Royal Navy’s destroyer, HMS Dauntless, has completed a large-scale exercise off the coast of Colombia, reaffirming its return to full front-line action following a significant overhaul.
Participating in Exercise Unitas, the world’s longest-running multinational military drills, the Type 45 destroyer demonstrated its ability in anti-submarine warfare and showcased the UK’s dedication to deepening its relationship with Colombia.
Amidst the presence of 20 countries’ naval forces, Dauntless reaffirmed the importance of unity in securing stability and prosperity in the region while preparing for roles in counter-narcotics efforts and humanitarian aid.
Deployed to the Caribbean Sea, HMS Dauntless played a role in countering drug smugglers and providing support and reassurance to British Overseas Territories during the region’s hurricane season from June to November. The warship joined forces with the US Coast Guard, demonstrating the close cooperation between allied nations in safeguarding maritime security.
The highlight of Dauntless’ deployment was its participation in Exercise Unitas, an annual multinational military drill that dates back to 1959. This year, Unitas was hosted by Colombia, which celebrated the bicentenary of its navy, making the occasion even more significant.
Commander Ben Dorrington, the Commanding Officer of HMS Dauntless, expressed his pride in participating in Unitas. “It is an honour to be here in Colombia to mark the bicentenary of the Armada Nacional Colombia and to test the capabilities of Dauntless with 20 allies and partners from across the region.”
Throughout the exercise, Dauntless’ Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron took part in anti-submarine warfare operations, armed with Sting Ray torpedoes. The Wildcat, fitted with new weapon wings, demonstrated its capabilities in hunting down and neutralizing submarines and ships.
Vice Admiral Martin Connell, the Second Sea Lord, also attended the exercise, emphasizing the close cooperation between the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces of Colombia, “We work very closely with the Armed Forces of Colombia and, in particular, the Colombia Navy in order to co-operate against illicit trading.
Following the completion of Exercise Unitas, HMS Dauntless is now embarking on Caribbean patrols alongside a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, a Royal Marines sniper team, and its Wildcat helicopter. The HMS Dauntless entered service in the Royal Navy in 2010.
Armed and prepared to counter illicit trafficking activities, Dauntless is also on standby to provide humanitarian and disaster relief, serving as a valuable lifeline for British Overseas Territories during a natural disaster.
As HMS Dauntless continues promoting regional security, its participation in multinational exercises like Unitas reinforces the Royal Navy’s dedication to strengthening alliances, fostering unity, and safeguarding stability in the Caribbean and beyond.