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T45 Meets the Royal Marines

The Entry to Portsmouth was a quite awe-inspiring experience for the Ship.  Despite the fog, there were hundreds of people lining the front as we slipped into Harbour.  I had never experienced such a welcome before and it was a really powerful and delightful illustration of the interest and support that people have for the Royal Navy.  Having said all that, I think we are right to be excited (I would say that wouldn’t I) – the most capable Air Defence Destroyer in the World – Defence, the RN and British Industry deserve to be animated bout the achievement. 

 The excitement of the events surrounding HMS DARING’s First Entry into Portsmouth were quickly forgotten as we prepared to sail at 0800 on Monday morning.  Of course to achieve this, we need to brief far too early to leave harbour and to disembark the MERLIN.  Add to this the snow and it was an early start for all.   A normal Monday at sea included a Fire exercise, man overboard, some machinery testing and then straight into the main trials.  We headed West while doing them, stopping to check our ‘radar detection kit’ near Portland Bill and arrived at Plymouth first thing on Tuesday. Since then we have been testing our Embarked Military Force capability.  We have offloaded Royal Marines into a variety of landing craft, checked the routes around the Ship to ensure that a very wide Royal Marine with an even wider rucksack (bergan) can move around.  It has given the necessary focus for us to consider in detail the capabilities offered by Type 45 and concluded that there is plenty of potential in providing more options for the Maritime Commander.  Not an amphibious ship (obviously), but a good step in the right direction.  It was also good to be firmly ensconced in the Naval fold in Devonport, the home of Naval Sea Training – we were surrounded by an impressive array of craft making up the Amphibious Task Group that is preparing to deploy to the Far East.  Helicopters, large ships, landing craft, fast boats……all actively engaged in preparing to deliver amphibious capability.  The other main feature of the last few days have been the snow showers and squalls – it has certainly tested all those afloat in boats and the sailors who helped us secure to the buoy did particularly well.  Another first for DARING, ticked off without incident. 

 To Portsmouth for a bit of maintenance and another update in 10 days or so.

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Photo of Paul Bennett Paul Bennett

(Currently: Moving Onboard HMS DARING)

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  1. Steve Jones said:

    I have been following the building and the trials of the New Type 45, The Captain Paul Bennett was my last boss in the Navy at JHQ Northwood. The Type 45 looks fantastic.

  2. robbmaclean said:

    Claims that the T45 is the best Air Defence Destroyer built so far are absurd. This ship barely exceeds 27knots. It may be highly manoeuvreable but the only real test is can it keep up with the ships of the USN. After an hour it would be seven miles behind…

  3. HJ said:

    Rob has missed the point about ‘best’. Going fast in a straight line does not make you the best - especially in Air Defence.

  4. Paul Bennett said:

    Thanks for your feedback on the blog. Of course, as you suggest, defining ‘best’ in warfare terms is an inexact science. Does the prize go to: the fastest ship, the one with the most capable missile system, or the longest range radar, the ability to engage the most targets, the most effective Data Link capability? You could probably come up with other criteria.

    The reason that I rate T45 so highly is that it offers a particularly impressive capability across all of these areas: the radars will provide surveillance over as wide an area as any other maritime platform; the missile system is modern and as capable as any other missile system in its ability to engage challenging targets; the ship is faster than any other ship in the RN and will accelerate and turn more quickly than other destroyers and frigates. Not only this, but what makes T45 the ‘best’ is its ability to cast its radar shadow over land, something that other maritime radars do not do with the same effectiveness. Consequently, whilst I accept that we may not win a race against the USN Carriers, we will be able to defend them (and perhaps more importantly in UK force structure terms, our own CVS and Amphibious shipping) robustly by positioning up threat and using the speed and manoeuvrability to remain up threat, but most importantly, while doing this, we will be able to coordinate the complex Air Defence Battle at sea and over land. That is what is demanded of a modern Air Defence destroyer and is, in my view, what makes T45 the ‘best’.