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        HMS Sutherland

        In October last year, HMS Sutherland entered a docking period to carry out work to her hull and gain some important upgrades.  She is now in Plymouth Naval Base, enjoying a new paint job and getting a new radar, computer system and sonar dome.

        Before coming in for maintenance, The Fighting Clan conducted maritime security around the UK as well as participating in various exercises with coalition forces such as Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland.  She also visited her beloved affiliated county – The County of Sutherland.

        HMS Sutherland

        In 2012 she deployed for six months where the ship was on patrol in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East conducting counter-piracy and terrorism patrols as part of the combined maritime forces operating in the area.

        In 2011 HMS Sutherland escorted HMS Ocean and HMS Albion to the Mediterranean as events in Libya escalated as part of the Cougar deployment of the Responsive Force Task Group. As the group returned from the Indian Ocean, Sutherland saw action briefly off the coast of Libya in support of the NATO OP Unified Protector.

        Despite being the 13th of 16 Type 23 frigates, HMS Sutherland has clocked up numerous firsts:

        The first warship to pass under the Skye Bridge; first circumnavigation of the globe by a Royal Navy ship in 14 years; first ship to receive and fire the updated Seawolf air defence missile system; most rounds fired by a modified 4.5in ‘Kryten’ gun in one day (247 if you were wondering). 

        She is also Britain’s fastest frigate, reaching more than 34 knots (39mph) during trials in 2004.

        Given her Scottish roots its perhaps only right that she was launched with the smashing of a bottle of whisky, not champagne, against the hull on the slipway at the Yarrow yard (now BAE) on the Clyde back in 1996.

        HMS Sutherland was commissioned into the Navy one year later in Devonport. If you ever visit the north-west tip of Scotland, you’ll find HMS Sutherland's name spelled out in giant boulders overlooking Loch Eriboll. A resurrected tradition from the days when the great natural anchorage was used regularly by the Fleet and ship’s companies listed their vessels – such as Valiant and Hood – on the hillside.


        Stephen Anderson

        Royal Navy
        Warfare / Aircrew
        NAS 750, 702, 815, HM Ships Boxer, Portland, Southampton, Sutherland, Manchester, Edingburgh, Defender, Dauntless & COMUKMARFOR
        Military experience

        Commander Stephen Anderson was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland in 1972 and educated at Marr College, Troon. After spending 10 years in Industry as a Project Manager for an international construction company, he joined the Royal Navy in 1998.

        Following initial training at Britannia Royal Naval College, where he was awarded the Queen’s Binoculars, he commenced basic flying training at 750 Naval Air Squadron in Culdrose before moving to specialist Lynx helicopter training at 702 Naval Air Squadron in Yeovilton. On achieving his wings in May 2001, he joined 815 Naval Air Squadron and achieved his Certificate of Competence in HMS Portland.

        As a Lynx Flight Observer, he saw service in the Indian Ocean with HMS Southampton, and NATO operations in the Mediterranean with HMS Edinburgh, before completing a Counter-Narcotics deployed to the Caribbean in HMS Sutherland. He returned to HMS Edinburgh for the commencement of the War in Iraq in 2003. On conversion to the Lynx Mk8 in October 2003, he joined HMS Manchester for a further Counter-Narcotics deployment to the Caribbean, returning as Flight Commander for a NATO deployment for Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean.

        He proceeded to Principal Warfare Officer course in 2006, and was subsequently appointed as PWO and Operations Officer of HMS Southampton where he completed an operational tour of the South Atlantic.

        He joined the staff of Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces in March 2008, and the following 3 years involved the established of EUNAVFOR Counter Piracy operations in setting up Operation Atalanta, a period as the Chief of Staff to Operation Iraqi Freedom in southern Iraq, and a deployment with USS ANZIO as Operations Officer to CTF 151 off the Somali coast. His time with the Battle Staff also included a period supporting Counter-Terrorism activity in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

        He joined HMS Defender in build as Executive Officer and Second in Command in early 2011, before moving to HMS Dauntless in January 2012 in the same position, to prepare for, and conduct, her maiden 7 month deployment on Operation AURIGA 12 circumventing the North and South Atlantic. During this period he has been sponsored to study for a MLitt in Terrorism Studies through St Andrews University.

        Selected for promotion to Commander in May 2013, he joined the staff of FOST as a sea-rider prior to assuming Command of HMS Sutherland in April 2014.




        Shed load of work already completed on HMS Sutherland’s refit
        12 March 2014

        HMS Sutherland is surrounded by a mass of scaffolding and...

        HMS Sutherland’s noisy entrance to Plymouth
        Sutherland’s thunder marks end of latest chapter in her life
        28 October 2013

        HMS Sutherland thundered a 13-gun salute echoing around Plymouth Sound...

        Three Royal Navy warships to visit London in support of Maritime Community events
        HMS Sutherland visits Germany
        15 October 2013

        The Plymouth-based Royal Naval warship HMS Sutherland visited Germany last...

        HMS Somerset ready for Joint Warrior
        Royal Navy ready for Joint Warrior
        09 October 2013

        Royal Navy frigates and Mine-Hunters are ready to take part...


        Cougar 12


        Cougar is an amphibious task force exercising in the Mediterranean. The Response Force Task Group (RFTG) is the Royal Navy’s High Readiness Task Group. It has a number of units assigned to it including a helicopter carrier, an assault ship, two frigates, as well as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship and Commando units, and several Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

        Read More

        Operation Telic


        An ongoing UK commitment to clearing and maintaining a mine countermeasures force in the Gulf.


        Weapons System

        Type 23 Weapons System
        type 23
        • 4.5Mk8 Gun
          medium calibre weapon system
          Mk8 4.5 Gun

          If you're looking for punch and firepower, then the 4.5in main gun, found on the forecastle of all the Royal Navy's destroyer's frigates and destroyers, is the most obvious provider. Even in an age of missiles, there's still a need for a weapon to pulverise enemy positions and demoralise the foe - and the 4.5in gun has done so in the Falklands and Iraq. The gun can fire up to two dozen high explosive shells weighing more than 40kg (80lbs) at targets more than a dozen miles away - and nearly 18 miles if special extended-range shells are used. In various forms, the 4.5in has been the Navy's standard medium gun since before World War 2, embodied today by the Mk8 which has been in service since the early 1970s. There are two types of Mk8 used by the Fleet. The older Mod 0 (with its curved turret), which is gradually being replaced, and the angular Mod 1 (nicknamed Kryten after the robot on the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf) which is harder for enemy radar to pick up. The main purpose of the gun is Naval Gunfire Support – artillery bombardment of shore targets. In this role the gun is capable of firing the equivalent of a six-gun shore battery. The Mk8 can also be used effectively against surface targets at sea.

        • Harpoon
          Anti-ship missile System

          Harpoon is the long-range lance of the Type 23 frigate, capable of destroying enemy ships far beyond the horizon. Fitted to all Type 23 Frigates, the Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) Harpoon is a sophisticated anti-ship missile capable of striking at targets more than 80 miles away. Harpoon uses a combination of inertial guidance and active radar homing to attack its prey. Cruising at Mach 0.9 and carrying a large high explosive warhead it is powered by a lightweight turbojet, but is accelerated at launch by a booster rocket.

        • Helicopter
          Airbourne weapons System

          The Merlin Mk1 have been in service with the Fleet Air Arm since the late 1990s and, after thorough testing and evaluation, the helicopters have been on the front line since 2000. Our job is to find – and if necessary destroy – enemy submarines using our state-of-the-art sonar bouys which we drop into the ocean and Sting Ray torpedoes. Beyond searching for submarines, we carry out traditional maritime helicopter duties: anti-piracy/drug-running patrols, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, and passenger and load transfers

        • Sea Wolf
          Surface to Air Missile system
          Sea wolf

          Seawolf is the shield of Britain’s frigate fleet against air attack. Defending Britain's frigate fleet against air attack, the Seawolf missile has been in service for more than 30 years and has proven itself in action in the Falklands. Unlike Sea Viper and Sea Dart, Seawolf is intended to defend an individual ship rather than a task group, engaging aircraft or sea-skimming missiles. It is fired either from a vertical silo on Type 23 frigates, and guided on to its target courtesy of a tracking system on the ship. The original Seawolf had a very limited range of just six miles, but the frigate fleet is in the middle of receiving the latest, more potent version of the missile system. It means that Seawolf can track – and destroy – a target the size of a cricket ball travelling at three times the speed of sound well beyond the limit of the original missile. If the system was placed in the middle of London, it could track its target over the M25 and knock it out of the sky over the North Circular - and the whole action would last under 20 seconds. Each Type 23 frigate carries out at least two Seawolf firings on ranges off the UK coast before each deployment.

        • DLH Decoy Launch System
          active decoy system

          The DLH system is carried by the Navy's frigates and is designed to lure attacking anti-ship missiles away from the unit.

        • Torpedo
          Magazine torpedo launch System (MTLS)

          Dropped by Lynx and Merlin helicopters, and launched from the MTLS, Sting Ray is a small lightweight torpedo designed to destroy enemy submarines. It weighs seven times less than torpedoes fired by submarines, racing through the water at more than 50mph at targets half a dozen miles away, delivering a 100lb explosive charge powerful enough to punch through the double hulls of modern submarines. Once Sting Ray is fired it uses the information provided initially by the helicopter and gathers fresh intelligence on its target using its sonar and onboard software which is designed not to be fooled by the enemy submarine’s decoys.

        • Towed Array
          Sub Surface detection system
          towed array

        • 30mm Gun
          Medium Calibre gun system
          30mm Gun















        Top Speed


        Range (Nautical)


        Launch Date


        Commissioned date


        TAKE A LOOK



        HMS Sutherland HISTORY

        • Renaming

          Our story begins in 1704 as HMS Reserve in Deptford. She was renamed Sutherland in 1716 and subsequently served as a hospital ship in the Mediterranean in the later years of a career lasting half a century.

        • The Second HMS Sutherland

          The second Sutherland, a 50-gun fourth rate, was launched on 15 October 1741 and earned all four of the ship’s battle honours during a blistering four-year period.

        • Battle Honours

          Louisburg 1758

        • The Battle of Louisberg

          HMS Sutherland besieged the French-Canadian fortress of Louisburg over six weeks in the summer of 1758. When it fell, she joined the Fleet sent to capture Quebec, which was captured by the British the following year.

        • Battle Honours

          Quebec 1759

        • Warmer Climates

          Warmer climates beckoned next for Sutherland. She was sent to the Leeward Islands Station, where she maintained the pressure on the French. The ship participated in the capture of Dominica in 1761 then Martinique and Havana the following year during Britain’s brief occupation of the Cuban capital – then the third largest city in the New World.

        • Battle Honours

          Martinique 1762 Havana 1762

        • Farewell

          The second HMS Sutherland was sold out of the navy in 1770. It would be more than 200 years before another ship would be named HMS Sutherland.

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