South-West based Royal Navy warship, HMS Argyll sailed from Plymouth today (Friday) on her latest deployment to the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
More than 100 families and friends waved off the ship as her crew lined up smartly to attention on deck. The well-wishers waved banners and a White Ensign and were joined by Plymouth Lord Mayor Michael Fox in his full mayoral regalia of cloak, hat and chain of office.
He said: “It’s a great pleasure to wave off Royal Navy warships in the tradition of my predecessor. I’m new in post, so this is my first deployment so to speak. It’s important to have an official civic farewell like this. There are lots of Plymouth residents on board and many more families and friends who they’ve left behind. Plymouth has a proud tradition of supporting its naval personnel. I’m delighted to continue this.’’
HMS Argyll’s captain, Commander Paul Hammond: said “As we sail from Plymouth we can reflect on nine months of hard work in preparation for this deployment in which my ship’s company have achieved fantastic results. Deploying on operations marks the beginning of another fresh challenge for Argyll that will see us deliver real benefit to both the Caribbean and the UK.”
HMS Argyll will be conducting a wide range of tasks when on patrol including engaging with UK territories and partners providing reassurance and support, providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the hurricane season and supporting the counter-narcotics efforts in the Caribbean.
The Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll and her Portsmouth-based sister ship HMS Iron Duke both deploy on the same day and are the first two frigates fitted with the new 997 Artisan radar to deploy on operations.
The Artisan radar is one of the world’s most advanced and installation on HMS Argyll and HMS Iron Duke is part of a £100m programme to replace the radar of a number of ships. Artisan could also be the main air radar of the next generation of warships in the next decade or so. The radar is extremely capable and can spot something as small as a cricket or tennis ball travelling at three times the speed of sound more than 25 kilometres or 15 miles away.