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HMS Enterprise, the newest ship of the two SVHO ‘Echo’ class survey vessels, was launched in Devon by her sponsor, Lady Sally Forbes, on 27 April 2002.  Truly a local ship; she was built by Vosper Thornycroft at the Appledore Shipyard in North Devon.

After her commission in the Autumn of 2003, and an ensuing period of intense training for her Ship’s Company, Enterprise embarked on her first operational overseas deployment to the Mediterranean in October 2004, returning to Devonport in April 2005.  During the deployment all personnel worked hard to exercise versatility by combining both Oceanographic and Hydrographic survey work with a NATO organised exercise.

Enterprise sailed again in September 2005 to conduct a comprehensive Oceanographic survey in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin as well as a collaborative Hydrographic survey with the Saudi Military off the coast of Saudi Arabia.  The ship then commenced a 19 month deployment in 2006 which took the ship to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, through the Indian Ocean and then the straits of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf; before heading home via the Mediterranean.  During her period in the Arabian Gulf she worked of the coast of Iraq in support of the Iraqi government and UK government foreign policy.  Upon returning early last year the ship underwent significant maintenance and upgrade work.  She also completed operational sea training at the start of 2009 which culminated in her contribution to NATO Exercise Joint Warrior in May.

Enterprise set sail from Devonport in June of this year to deploy for West Africa.  Whilst off the coast of Africa  the ship conducted military data gathering operations.  Her tasking included assuring freedom of navigation for both the military and civilian mariner through her bathymetric and oceanographic operations.  Through doing this she produced modern high resolution charting which ultimatley aims to deliver access to high interest regions of the world.  She also continued to enhance defence relations in the region whilst promoting the wider interests of the UK. Having returned back from West Africa and emerged from a short maintenance period, Enterprise recently undertook two weeks of intense training off the South Coast of Plymouth under the auspices of FOST in preparation for the next phase of her deployment East of Suez.  The training ranged from basic Force Protection exercises to two full blown high intensity Thursday Wars in a multi-threat environment. The deployment will mean the ship is away from the UK for at least 2 years conducting various Military Data Gathering (MDG) operations in collaboration with the Royal Omani Navy and operations in the Arabian Gulf.  The increased threats and our support to the various Combined Task Forces operating in this area means that the operational tempo will certainly be much higher than that off West Africa. Aside from the primary MDG work, the ship will be actively engaged in Maritime Security Operations and Wider Regional Engagement to strengthen the bilateral relations between the UK and various countries within this strategically important area. 

Both Enterprise and Echo were ordered under an innovative contractor logistic support scheme which means that VT will be responsible for the ship’s upkeep throughout its intended 25 year life.

The ship’s motto is ‘Spes aspera levat’: Hope lightens difficulties. 

HMS Enterprise’s affiliated town is Tiverton in Devon.

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