HMS Daring Flight Arrives Home
200 Flight from HMS Daring returned home to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton to cheers and welcoming smiles from families and friends. The Lynx flight, led by the Falkland’s Veteran Lieutenant Commander Joe Harper has been detached with the First of Class and the first Type 45 destroyer to deploy fully on operations in the Middle East and Indian Ocean.
Since sailing in January the ship has paved the way for future Type 45 operations with a busy and demanding six and a half month deployment. HMS Daring’s Commanding Officer, Captain Guy Robinson, said: “This has been a most rewarding deployment where we have been able to explore Daring’s capability in the challenging conditions of the Gulf. Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of interest in the ship, particularly from the other navies we have worked with. We have hosted a large number of visitors throughout the last six months and we have done much to raise the profile of Type 45 and the Royal Navy.”
The Destroyer was sent to the region as part of the longstanding Royal Navy presence in the Middle East. Principally deployed as part of the Combined Maritime Task Force where, with other partner nations, she conducted tasks ranging from maritime security, counter piracy and to the wider maritime security effort dedicated to maintaining stability in the region.
As part of this task, HMS Daring and her Lynx Helicopter Flight visited a number of countries. They represented the UK in Bahrain, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Flight also worked with a number of other navies and allies who are active in the region, building upon the good relationships the Royal Navy and the UK have in the Middle East. The Lynx flight also worked and shared practices with the navies of Australia, France, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Lieutenant Commander Joe Harper, 200 Flight, Flight Commander was pleased the way the deployment went. “It was a long deployment and the squadron guys worked pretty hard. We had some really good Port visits and saw some charming places along the way.”
A fascinating part of the deployment has been working with the United States Navy integrating with the US Carrier Strike Groups centred on the Aircraft Carriers USS Carl Vinson, USS Abraham Lincoln and the famous USS Enterprise respectively. These powerful ships carry large numbers of fast jets and are the most powerful warships afloat. The culmination of this effort was HMS Daring fully incorporated with the USS Abraham Lincoln, her associated Strike Group and her Air Wing of fast jets whilst they conducted missions supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The Royal Navy Warship assumed the responsibility of Air Defence Commander for the whole of the northern Arabian Sea ‘checking in’ and ‘checking out’ 141 aircraft launched from the Abraham Lincoln and in the same period the ship also checked in over 500 other military aircraft.
The Flight also trialled a new Uniform system which is radically different from the current style. Chief Petty Officer Mark Hyde, the Flights Senior Engineer was impressed by the differences. “The new Uniform was comfy and we liked the new boots which were easy to slip on. We’ve been attached to Daring all through her work-up and the deployment was fantastic. But now it’s time to get back with the family, it brilliant to be home”.
During the deployment HMS Daring has travelled over 34,642 nautical miles, spending 139 days at sea and has visited 12 different countries.