The South West Royal Naval warship HMS Monmouth has been firing her guns as she sails into her patrol area in the Middle East at peak readiness.
Having exercised her detachment of Royal Marines which are on board for the maritime policing deployment and their rifles, it was time for the ship itself to have some target practice.
The Plymouth-based frigate, known as the Black Duke, blasted her big guns – the 30mm and main front 4.5in gun. Both were loaded and fired at practice targets at sea in case they are needed to be used in earnest in the coming months protecting international trade routes from crime.
The 30mm provides protection for HMS Monmouth in case they are threatened or need to threaten vessels relatively close and can fire up to 650 rounds a minute against targets up to 10km or six miles away or in the sky up to 2½km or 1½ miles away. The main 4.5in gun can propel two dozen high explosive shells a minute at sea or land targets up to 18 miles away.
In this instance, Monmouth’s targets were the sea itself (for the 4.5in gun) and the ‘killer tomato’, a big red inflatable object which quickly deflates when pierced by shells.
HMS Monmouth is continuing her seven-month deployment of the region, conducting maritime security patrols to deter and tackle smuggling, piracy and other criminal activities in the Arabian Sea, the northern Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. The ship will also be carrying out security patrols and exercises with coalition forces in the region to strengthen ties with foreign allies.
Crown Copyright. LA(Phot) Ben Shread