HMS Iron Duke

The UK Royal Navy‘s two frigates, HMS Iron Duke and HMS Somerset, have demonstrated their firepower capability with firings in the English Channel and Cape Wrath, Scotland, respectively.

Portsmouth-based HMS Iron Duke operated its five different weapon systems, including general purpose machine guns (GPMGs), the Minigun, 30mm Cannon, 4.5in medium-range gun and the seawolf missile system.

Devonport-based HMS Somerset fired new infra-red illumination rounds that are designed to light up the battlefield.

HMS Somerset commanding officer commander Michael Wood said: "These firings have pushed forward our capability to support marines and other land forces ashore.

"Delivering devastating naval gunfire from our warships is just one facet of our contribution to the nation’s defences."

Working with spotters from 148 (Meiktila) Battery Royal Artillery, HMS Somerset fired more than 100 rounds of 4.5in ammunition over two days and nights.

HMS Iron Duke demonstrated the capabilities of Seawolf missile system for target tracking and later moved into a gunnery shoot against an inflatable target.

The Seawolf system is capable of striking a target at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound at a distance of up to 6km.

"These firings have pushed forward our capability to support marines and other land forces ashore."

HMS Iron Duke missile director petty officer John ‘Arthur’ Lowe said: "Being in the seat as missile director is always a great experience for a live missile firing.

"Getting to do this in my last week onboard was a real thrill and a fantastic way to end a really enjoyable time in Iron Duke."

In March, Royal Navy’s Duke-class Type 23 frigate, HMS St Albans, tested its firepower at a range off the coast of Norway.

During the testing, the warship fired 160 rounds of explosive on to an island range.

Image: The UK Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Iron Duke demonstrated its capabilities in the English Channel. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.