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The mighty Dragon returns

HMS Dragon in the Solent
12 April 2019
Destroyer HMS Dragon has sailed back home to Portsmouth after her record-breaking deployment in the Middle East.

During her time at sea the warship carried out eight successful raids on drugs smugglers, capturing narcotics weighing a whopping 18,250kg more than the weight of five of her one embarked Wildcat helicopter with an estimated value of £145m million.

HMS Dragon deployed from Portsmouth on the 17th September 2018 and has spent the last seven months deployed on Operation Kipion in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

Commander Michael Carter-Quinn, Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon said: “It really is great to be home. It’s been a long and exceptionally busy 7 months.

It really is great to be home. It’s been a long and exceptionally busy 7 months.

Commander Michael Carter-Quinn RN

“Thankfully there is plenty to show for the effort, not least the outcome of a record-breaking 8 drug busts – 18 tonnes of drugs that will never reach our streets, and £145 million that will never reach the hands of terrorists and criminals.”

At the outset of her deployment, HMS Dragon escorted RFA Lyme Bay through the Suez Canal and gave air protection to the joint Omani-UK exercise, Saif Sareea, alongside Landing Platform Dock ship, HMS Albion.

The destroyer then went on to support further joint exercises with the Indian, United Arab Emirates, United States and Pakistani Navies.

However, it was during dedicated periods drugs busting with global counter-terrorism organisation Combined Task Force 150 that Dragon made her astounding eight seizures, amounting to more drugs captured in seven months than the entire police force of the UK in one year.

The achievement is the greatest drugs haul by a Royal Naval unit in recorded history.

“It’s not just the Dragons who made it happen and can be proud.

“Our families and friends have been with us all the way, always full of support despite having the harder job of balancing kids, the home, jobs.

“We are one big Dragon family and they are as much the heroes as the women and men onboard. We can’t wait to celebrate the successes with them,” said Cdr Carter-Quinn.

Welcoming HMS Dragon home, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, responsible for commanding all operational elements of the Naval Service, said: “HMS Dragon’s impressive contribution to UK/US operations, regional engagement and record narcotics seizures highlights the high regard with which Dragon is held amongst allies and friends. 

“None of this would have been possible without the steadfast support of her families and friends back home, some of whom have had the opportunity to embark over the last 24 hours.

“I am immensely proud of all she has achieved and would like to congratulate her Ship’s Company as they return to Portsmouth today.”

HMS Dragon enters Portsmouth for a well-deserved leave leading into a planned maintenance period. She is expected to deploy again later this year in support of carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

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