Britain’s most advanced warship, HMS Daring, has worked with two American aircraft carrier groups as her Gulf mission steps up a gear.
The new destroyer has been showing off her air defence and fighter control prowess with the USS Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln and their task groups.
Pictures: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan, HMS Daring
TURNING away from the most powerful surface ship in the world is the most advanced warship in the Royal Navy.
On her maiden deployment, HMS Daring has worked with not one but two US Carrier Strike Groups – here the USS Carl Vinson, but also her sister Abraham Lincoln.
The Portsmouth-based warship – the first of six cutting-edge Type 45 destroyers – has been exercising with both 100,000-ton flattops as she integrates with our closest allies.
That integration has taken the form of swapping sailors with several American ships, notably cruisers USS Cape St George and Bunker Hill, as well as the two carriers, allowing the two navies to share expertise and ideas and forge good working relationships.
The Carl Vinson leads US Carrier Strike Group One, while the Lincoln is the flagship of Group Nine (there are 11 such groups in all, comprising one carrier, one cruiser, two destroyers, one hunter-killer submarine and a support ship, plus an air group of more than 60 jets, helicopters and pistol-engined aircraft).
The culmination of this effort was HMS Daring working fully with the Carl Vinson and her impressive air wing of fast jets.
The Sampson radar (the spiky spinning egg atop Daring’s main mast) and command and control system allow multiple targets to be tracked to ranges of up to hundreds of kilometres. That information is fed to the Aster missiles in the silo on the ship’s forecastle.
With the Long Range Radar (the large black slab just forward of the ship’s hangar) it means Daring can track many thousands of air contacts giving her unprecedented surveillance of huge areas of air space.
Which means that she is a valuable asset for a US Carrier Strike Group providing such a comprehensive air picture of the complex Gulf airspace.
“Working with the US carriers and their air wings is the culmination of many months of training and hard work for the ship’s company,” explained Lt David Berry, one of two fighter controllers aboard Daring.
“For me, this is the pinnacle of my fighter controlling career and it is truly amazing to watch it all come together in this operational theatre. Taking control of F-18 Super Hornets in this busy operational environment is hugely rewarding.”
Daring is attached to the Combined Maritime Task Forces on a wide-ranging maritime security – tackling piracy, smuggling, people-trafficking, terrorism and other criminal activities – as well as working with Coalition and regional allies.
Daring’s not the only Royal Navy vessel to link up with a US carrier group. In the Arabian Sea – outside the Gulf – the Abraham Lincoln joined forces with Britain’s capital ship, HMS Westminster.
The Portsmouth-based frigate is also on a maritime security patrol of waters east of Suez while ‘Abe’ is conducting both that mission and supporting operations in Afghanistan, codenamed Enduring Freedom.