UKHMS Dauntless impresses in Atlantic exercise

HMS Daunt­less impressed the mem­bers of oth­er navies dur­ing a multi­na­tion­al exer­cise in the Atlantic last week to prac­tise improv­ing secu­ri­ty at sea.

HMS Daunt­less tak­ing part in Exer­cise Saha­ran Express in the Atlantic [Pic­ture: LA(Phot) Nico­la Wil­son, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Exer­cise Saha­ran Express, which took place off the coast of Sene­gal, saw mil­i­tary per­son­nel from 11 nations, includ­ing France, Gam­bia, Sene­gal and Moroc­co, train­ing to deal with peo­ple-traf­fick­ing, pira­cy, drug-smug­gling and ille­gal fish­ing.

HMS Daunt­less, in her first oper­a­tional deploy­ment, was the most mod­ern ship at Saha­ran Express, dwarf­ing the patrol ves­sels used by West African nations to tack­le crime off their shores, and she opened her doors to some of the per­son­nel from oth­er coun­tries.

Lieu­tenant Simon Mendy, from the Gam­bian Navy, led his board­ing team around the quar­ter­deck and futur­is­tic bridge of the 8,000-tonne Roy­al Navy ship.

Lieu­tenant Mendy, from Gambia’s cap­i­tal Ban­jul, said:

“We’ve real­ly learned from vis­it­ing Daunt­less and car­ry­ing out board­ing work. The ship’s crew has been very help­ful; this is a rare chance for us to see a war­ship of this size.”

The Type 45 war­ship, which is tak­ing part in the ‘Auri­ga 12’ deploy­ment, was praised by oth­er vis­it­ing offi­cers.

French Lieu­tenant Guil­laume Eude­line, from the heli­copter car­ri­er Ton­nerre (mean­ing ‘thun­der’), said:

“It has been a great expe­ri­ence see­ing this ship and the tech­nol­o­gy it has — the radar is very impres­sive.

“I believe that the French and British navies will work togeth­er increas­ing­ly close­ly in the future, which can only be a good thing for both of us.”

Daunt­less is the size of a cruis­er rather than a destroy­er, but can still reach speeds of up to 30 knots (56km/h) from a stand­ing start in four times her length.

The Type 45s are the first war­ships in the world with entire­ly elec­tric propul­sion sys­tems, a design which aims to make them 45 per cent more effi­cient than the ships they are replac­ing.

Cap­tain William War­ren­der, Daunt­less’ Com­mand­ing Offi­cer (CO), said the exer­cise had shown the ver­sa­til­i­ty of the ship:

“We have here a tremen­dous­ly pow­er­ful war­ship but also one that can ful­fil a range of tasks.

“This exer­cise is exact­ly what Auri­ga 12 is about; we are meet­ing oth­er navies, work­ing with them to improve their capac­i­ty to work effec­tive­ly, and at the same time con­tin­u­ing to learn more about what this class of ship can do.”

From Daunt­less’ CO down to her newest arrival, Able Sea­man Ryan Skip­per, there is a learn­ing curve.

Able Sea­man Skip­per, aged 18, from Gosport, is find­ing his way around the ship after just a few weeks onboard.

He said:

“For the first few days you don’t real­ly know where you’re going, but it has improved, and peo­ple have been nice and help­ful.

“I keep get­ting peo­ple explain­ing that there is a lot more space on this ship than the old­er ones and I’ve vis­it­ed a Type 23 frigate, so I feel pret­ty lucky to be here.”

HMS Daunt­less is 152m long and is the sec­ond of six Dar­ing Class Type 45 destroy­ers that are replac­ing the Type 42 class of ship.

She is also the sec­ond Type 45 to go on oper­a­tional patrols — HMS Dar­ing hav­ing left for the Gulf region in Jan­u­ary.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK