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HMS Duncan and HMS Dragon join forces on operations

HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan meet up in the Med
28 March 2019
The Royal Navy’s top destroyer joined forces with its top drug busters for the first time on operations at sea.

Sister ships HMS Duncan and HMS Dragon linked up on security patrols in the eastern Mediterranean today, with the former launching her Wildcat helicopter to record the occasion.

Dragon is due back in Portsmouth soon after the most successful drugs-busting patrol by any British warship in the Middle East.

Across eight busts, Dragon’s sailors and Royal Marines snared illegal narcotics worth around £200m – in all, more drugs seized than by police forces in the UK last year.

With her mission east of Suez complete, Dragon is now doing a mixture of flag flying for Britain – she spent three days in Beirut, including time demonstrating diving and fire-fighting training – and allowing the 220 men and women on board to relax and enjoy the sights of Barcelona, before being reunited with loved ones on her return to the Solent.

Meanwhile Duncan – the youngest of six Type 45 destroyers built to shield the fleet from aircraft and missile attacks – has just sailed from Portsmouth for a six-month stint in the Mediterranean region.

It was a great moment seeing the familiar shape of a fellow Type 45 steaming over the horizon

Commander Mike Carter Quinn

After a pit-stop in Gibraltar, Duncan has joined an international task group of France’s flagship FS Charles de Gaulle and her key deployment of the year.

It is Duncan’s task to safeguard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and work seamlessly with her Rafale fast jets – an experience which will prove invaluable in 12 months’ time when Britain’s new carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, leads strike group exercises with her flagships and their F-35 Lightning strike fighters.

Later in the deployment, Duncan will break away from the French task group to join NATO ships operating in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions – a mission she performed last year, earning her a fleet effectiveness award and the title of the Navy’s best destroyer.

“It was a great moment seeing the familiar shape of a fellow Type 45 steaming over the horizon and then receiving such a warm welcome from the entire ship’s company of HMS Duncan,” said Commander Mike Carter Quinn, HMS Dragon’s Commanding Officer.

“It is superb to see her back out on operations in the eastern Mediterranean. For the Royal Navy to have two destroyers hard at work on operations – in addition to all the other British ships and units deployed around the world – it sends a powerful message about our commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability around the globe.”

In return, his opposite number aboard HMS Duncan, Commander Tom Trent, said: “It was great to see HMS Dragon as she returns after a hugely-successful period of operations in the Middle East and thanks to the French-led task force for providing us the opportunity to close and pay respects to one of our sister ships.

“We wish HMS Dragon safe sailing, and hope they enjoy a well-deserved rest with their friends and families.”

There are a further two Type 45 destroyers currently at sea – HMS Diamond is conducting training in UK exercise areas and HMS Defender recently finished escorting a Russian naval task group through the UK area of interest.

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