HMS Daring deploys to the Gulf

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HMS Daring, the first Type 45 Destroyer, deploys to the Gulf tomorrow. She is due to pass the Round Tower at 12.30pm, according to QHM Portsmouth. Replacing the Devonport based Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll, she will be responsible for patrolling the Persian Gulf. Tensions have been rising in recent weeks, after Iranian naval exercises in the vital straits of Hormuz. The deployment has been seen in some quarters as inflammatory, yet the MOD insists that the deployment has been long-planned. Hence it could hardly be called a ‘show of force’, as the Telegraph is describing it.

This is the first time that one of the Type 45 Destroyers has embarked on an active deployment, and will be keenly watched by many, in Britain and worldwide. As much as I have criticised the cost and small number of ships in the Daring Class, they are fantastic ships by all accounts. Their anti-air missile system, Sea Viper, is among the most advanced in the world, and the SAMPSON radar is phenomenally powerful. They should prove to be more than a match for anything that the Iranians could throw at her in terms of aircraft or anti-ship missiles. It is only in terms of her own anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities that she is lacking. Mines might also be a concern, but there are considerable allied mine countermeasures forces in the Gulf, including HMS Ledbury who left Portsmouth yesterday.

Save The Royal Navy has highlighted a very amusing article in a nondescript website, that describes Daring as a ‘floating target’ for Iranian forces. Accompanied by a picture of a Batch 1 or 2 Type 42 Destroyer, the text is badly researched and in places laughable. The Iranian military might be increasingly large and belligerent, but their inventory is rather out of date.

The Straits of Hormuz are a critical choke point. The only maritime entrance to the Persian Gulf, a large amount of the world’s oil transits through the 34 mile wide straits – about 14 tankers pass through a day, carrying 15.5m barrells of crude oil. This represents 35% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments. Closure of the straits, or any significant problems, would starve the world of oil and create havoc on the global oil markets. During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 the US and British naval forces patrolled the Gulf, ensuring security for merchant vessels. The RN presence has continued ever since under the Armilla Patrol.

What the Royal Navy cannot afford is another incident like that that occured in 2007, when two RIB’s from HMS Cornwall were detained by Iranian patrol boats and the sailors and marines held captive by Tehran. Although it is difficult to argue with the fact that they could not have done much differently – shooting would have created a major international incident – it was bad seamanship to let themselves be captured in the first place. Although accusations of the Royal Navy ‘going soft’ are wide of the mark, pictures of sailors and marines being paraded in Tehran are hardly good for fighting reputation.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “HMS Daring deploys to the Gulf

  1. x

    Daring’s sonar is for helping to dodge underwater objects.

    The Iranians won’t try to shut the Straits.

    F99’s misfortune was more to do with how the Iraqi maritime security situation was handled post-war than the actions of her crew. Lack of imagination and doing the op’ on the cheap. Knowing the Iranians are exactly predictable during the time the boarding operations were under way it was lucky nobody got killed.

    I shall have to look out for the next issue of Navy News for some pictures.

    I do hope all goes well.

  2. James Daly

    It’s actually going out during my lunchtime tomorrow so I should be able to pop down to the Hot Walls and catch some snaps for your delection!

  3. x

    I thought we had got over this problem of you pointing out where you work…………. :) ;)

    As I have said before T45 is such a curate’s egg. Though I don’t think the Iranians will do anything it would be nice to think GB newest £1bn super ship could have the same ability to “reach out” as a USN destroyer. The cost of adding two full size VLS to the design couldn’t have been that much. And GB would have missiles in theatre ready to go. Yet if war does come we will see the RAF deploying in a herculean effort to fire Storm Shadow. And just as in Libya heavily dependent on USAF and USN/USMC air assets.

  4. James Daly

    Thinking on Iran, if anything really kicked off – which, as you say, is unlikely – we would only be slotting in to a broader coalition. Even the rest of the Middle East cannot stand Iran, so you would have the Saudis et al involved too. Apparently we have an SSN east of Suez permanently as an on-call TLAM firer. As you say, T45 with TLAM would be a godsend. I can’t imagine any kind of land offensive against Iran, we would probably be looking at sea control – which means boots on the ground, ie escort ships patrolling, subs and aircraft. The proximity of friendly states means basing for aircraft shouldn’t be a problem.

    • x

      No basing privileges wouldn’t be a problem. But look at GW1 or our recent adventures in Libya. There has to be a more cost effective (note I didn’t say cheaper!) way of carrying these wonder weapons into theatre.

      • James Daly

        GW1 and GW2 are great examples. GW1 we had air bases all over the theatre, almost a luxury. GW2, only in Kuwait and some of the smaller Gulf States I believe. Friendly nations hosting your aircraft is all very well, until they pull the rug from underneath you. It adds a certain diplomatic inflexibility to considerations.

        Note that in Libya the two nearest NATO countries – France and Italy – still deployed their strike carriers. Make of that what you will.

        • x

          Apparently Op Ellamy required 8,000 tons of stores to be moved by road. Can’t see how the RAF can maintain air bridge to Afghanistan, fight a war in the Middle East, and have some contingency just in case GW3 is one war too many against Islam and the whole shooting match goes up.

          I imagine there will be a build up to war as

          (I appreciate the dynamics in the Middle East, Sunni vs Shia and Persian vs Arab etc. etc. but…………… )

  5. James Daly

    For any substantial operation in the Gulf we would be looking at a similar situation to 2003 – using RFA’s to sealift heavy equipment in, probably extensive use of the Point Class. Of course, that assumes a suitable and safe host port in theatre to unload.

    I can’t think that moving 8,000 tons of stores by road across Europe is a sensible use of time, resources and effort.

    • x

      From what I gather the RAF didn’t think much of it either. That along with transit times from aerodrome to theatre and dependency on the USAF for AAR etc. is hardly a demonstration of the flexibility of projecting power by air. I will stop moaning now as this is a path well trodden.

  6. Bah!

    What was the badly wtitten article you spoke off? Was it good for anything – laughing at perhaps?

  7. That looks like an Iranian website!

    • James Daly

      It sure does… I thought it was quite funny. Or at least it would be, if you forget that their leaders are about as intelligent as the journalist who wrote that horse shit!

  8. x

    When you read stuff like that and see the other gash that comes out of Iran, Gaza, and Lebanon I can just about understand why some of the nuttier posters on military forums say we should just open a can of instant sunshine and glass the lot. I did say just about understand……….

  9. John Erickson

    Aw, you guys went and had a fun discourse, and I wasn’t around! :(
    I don’t think the Iranians are too ready to close the Strait, especially after our multiple rescues of their fishing crews. I could see the Revolutionary Guard shipping out to battle “the infidels”, only to have the people of Iran rise up in revolt!
    Then again, better to push the Iranians into a civil war. With what we’ve got running for our Republican party for President, one of them would probably agree about the can of “instant sunshine” solution. As the old phrase goes, “Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke, screw ‘em if they can. What’s this Army (or Navy) got a country for, anyway?” ;)

    • x

      Their bomb is a serious issue. But I do wonder how much of the Middle Eastern problem is generated by a Left leaning media with an agenda. Once the oil is gone will anybody care? No. The Pacific is more important a trade route than Suez. And if the Arctic becomes navigable Chinese goods will have another route to reach Europe.

      • James Daly

        In terms of overall trade, the pacific is a more important area. Particularly if you look at some of the choke points in SE Asia, the disputes over territorial waters and islands etc, not to mention China’s growing maritime ambitions. No wonder the Aussies are investing in their Navy.

        Perhaps if the South Atlantic bears oil the Americans will support us more over the Falklands? As somebody mentioned before, if you were the US who would you want supplying your oil – the UK, Argentina, or any number of dubious Middle Eastern countries? Problems in oil-producing countries have cost the west no end of treasure and lives in the past 50 or so years.

        • x

          I am going out onto a limb here but if you consider how much trouble the Middle East has caused on balance it may have been cheaper to “take” the oil. Again this is what many on loony fringes of the left think we have done and that the oil states only have an appearance of independence. In today’s interconnected world, where the corporations are international I suppose many states only have the appearance of independence. But to see Western governments’ actions as controlling the Arab states when the Arabs themselves set their own prices and refuse to hear Western concerns on human rights etc. is a bit far fetched. Arabs have always treated fellow Arabs with as much, even more, disdain than treat Westerners. These days of course there isn’t the counter balance of the Soviet Bloc. But if the US and the West had moved in the early 50s on the oil fields things could have been a lot different.

  10. I rather have a T23 in the Gulf than a T45. However great the anti-air capability of the 45, it lacks a strong anti-ship component–and please don’t say that helicopters and a 4.5 gun are sufficient. Even USN and Germany destroyers have anti-ship capable missiles.

    • James Daly

      In an ideal world perhaps one T45 and two T23’s would be a good combo. T45 for area anti-air defence, T23’s for anti-surface work. You’re right, helicopters and 4.5in guns are not sufficient in this day and age for surface warfare.

      • x

        I wouldn’t get too caught up in T45’s lack of Harpoon. It would have been nice seeing as T22B3 are now out of service to see there Harpoons (as such) moved on to the newer platform. But it is very much a second battery weapon who’s day has gone. If the Iranian Navy were to send one of their larger units out to sea to confront Daring I am sure SeaSkua from the Lynx would be than sufficient to persuade them to stop. The Mk8 is still enough gun in that capacity too. And Daring’s own AAW systems are more than a match for anything the Iranians could throw at her. Don’t forget Daring is out there by herself. In these cat and mouse security games Daring’s intelligence gathering capabilities are what’s important. As for smaller boats I suppose between Blighty and the Gulf Guns will have his teams ready to go on the minigun and GPMG. Check! Check! Check!

        I would like to see T45 fitted with a modern ASM like the Russo-Indian BrahMos. Also I would like to see T45 Merlin capable and for British Merlin to carry an ASM. And I would also like to Mk8 replaced with the 127 mm lightweight Otobreda naval gun with guided VULCANO ammunition. But on balance I think T45 is just as good as T23 for this deployment.

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