UK — Dr Fox experiences capabilities of HMS Richmond

Sec­re­tary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox was giv­en a demon­stra­tion of the fire­pow­er and abil­i­ties of a Type 23 frigate when he made an action-filled vis­it to HMS Rich­mond this week.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox arrives on board HMS Richmond by the ship's Merlin helicopter
Defence Sec­re­tary Dr Liam Fox arrives on board HMS Rich­mond by the ship’s Mer­lin heli­copter
Source: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Dean Nixon, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Fol­low­ing a top-lev­el brief­ing at the Roy­al Navy’s fleet head­quar­ters at Portsmouth Naval Base on cur­rent over­seas oper­a­tional com­mit­ments, Dr Fox was flown out to HMS Rich­mond by the ship’s Mer­lin helicopter. 

Safe­ly on board, Dr Fox was greet­ed by Cap­tain Mike Wal­lik­er and was briefed on the ship’s func­tions, defence and attack sys­tems, and the over­all capa­bil­i­ties of the ship, before get­ting a chance to expe­ri­ence some of those capa­bil­i­ties at first-hand. 

Cap­tain Wal­lik­er, the ship’s com­mand­ing offi­cer, said he hoped to use the vis­it to show the ver­sa­til­i­ty and impor­tance of the role of a frigate to the Navy. 

Explain­ing that HMS Rich­mond has recent­ly been involved in anti-pira­cy and anti-drugs oper­a­tions, as well as pro­tect­ing Iraq’s oil fields and assist­ing in human­i­tar­i­an mis­sions in the Caribbean, Cap­tain Wal­lik­er said: 

“I am delight­ed the Sec­re­tary of State has come out to see HMS Rich­mond. We have 180 of the ship’s com­pa­ny on board who were delight­ed to explain the jobs that they do.” 

As part of the vis­it Dr Fox got to grips with some of the ship’s defen­sive mea­sures. He released a few hun­dred rounds from the gen­er­al pur­pose machine gun before mov­ing on to the pow­er­ful mini-gun — capa­ble of fir­ing 3,000 rounds per minute. 

Dr Fox also went out in the fast inshore attack craft — mim­ic­k­ing the attack approach of small ves­sels — while the ship fired flares and blank rounds in a demon­stra­tion of her defence capa­bil­i­ty, and saw a fire-fight­ing and dam­age con­trol team scenario. 

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox fires a mini-gun on board HMS Richmond
Defence Sec­re­tary Dr Liam Fox fires a mini-gun on board HMS Rich­mond
Source: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Dean Nixon, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Com­ment­ing on his vis­it, and in light of the forth­com­ing Strate­gic Defence and Secu­ri­ty Review, Dr Fox said: 

“We are a mar­itime nation with 92 per cent of our trade going by sea, so this is no time for Britain to become sea-blind. 

“The forth­com­ing Strate­gic Defence and Secu­ri­ty Review is to ensure that our mar­itime issues are in keep­ing with what we expect from our Navy. 

“Every option is on the table at the moment and we are look­ing at all the options with all of the Armed Forces involved. We want to see what capa­bil­i­ty the UK requires and decide accordingly.” 

Over the past few months HMS Rich­mond has been work­ing around the UK, vis­it­ing its affil­i­at­ed towns of Rich­mond upon Thames, where the ship’s com­pa­ny parad­ed through the town, and also Rich­mond in North Yorkshire. 

Chief Pet­ty Offi­cer Dick­ie Emery said: 

“It has been a very busy but impor­tant six months for us on board and it has been a great oppor­tu­ni­ty both for the ship’s com­pa­ny and our affil­i­ate towns to meet each other. 

“I think I prob­a­bly speak for every­one on board when I say that the Roy­al Navy needs to be a big part of the defence com­mit­ments in the future.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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