The UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender has departed Portsmouth to undergo sea trials and training.
The ‘intensive training’ comes ahead of the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment this spring.
It will prepare the Type 45 destroyer for its upcoming missions in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region.
HMS Defender has been through an ‘essential maintenance’ period. Some of the enhancements delivered to the ship are capability upgrades, painting and routine preservation of the advanced multifunction radar’s exterior.
Furthermore, the Defender went into dry dock for the maintenance of the ship’s underwater fixtures.
HMS Defender commanding officer commander Vince Owen said: “It is a great feeling to be able to take HMS Defender back to sea after this period alongside for maintenance.
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“Despite the additional challenges caused by Covid-19, the achievement of my ship’s company, BAE and our other industry partners to be able to return us to sea is hugely impressive and another important milestone in our generation for deployment.”
Late last year, HMS Defender worked in close cooperation with HMS Queen Elizabeth on the Carrier Strike Group workout in the North Sea as part of operational preparation.
Alongside sister ship HMS Diamond and Type 23 frigates and ships from Nato allies, HMS Defender ‘formed the ring of steel’ to protect the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier against enemy ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles.
The Carrier Strike Group also includes the HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, and USS The Sullivans, along with HMS Kent, HMS Northumberland, HNLMS Evertsen, RFA Tideforce, and RFA Fort Victoria.
Earlier last month, HMS Queen Elizabeth took part in a two-week-long Virtual Warrior.