Visitors to Portsmouth, in the early part of 2015, saw a noticeable addition to the outline of one of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers.
HMS Duncan has become the first of the six destroyers to mount the anti-ship Harpoon missile launchers that were taken from the decommissioned Batch 3 Type 22 frigates in 2010. The launchers are located behind the Sea Viper vertical launcher silo and ahead of the bridge.
Only four of the Type 45’s will be equipped with Harpoon as there were only four sets on the four frigates when they were scrapped.
Also of concern, is the time it has taken the British Government to reutilise the Harpoon missile systems as they were removed from service following the Strategic and Security Defence Review of 2010.
The French Navy, whilst not gloating, made much of their success during a joint US French naval exercise off Florida on 4 March.
During the exercises, the French nuclear powered attack submarine FS Saphir (pictured) evaded the most in depth naval defences in the world provided by Arliegh Burke class guided missile destroyers, Ticonderago class cruisers, nuclear submarines, Poseidon anti submarine surveillance aircraft and anti submarine helicopters with dipping sonars to simulate a successful attack on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
The 34 year old frigate first entered service in December 1981 and is said to be in desperate need of modernisation along with her sister ship Almirante Luis Brion and the transport Goajira and Los Llanos and the ocean patrol vessel Karina; all of which it appears will be refitted by the Cubans over the coming months.
As she decommissioned her eventual fate has yet to be decided for certain, but would likely see her either scrapped or sunk as a target ship.
2 March saw the launch of the latest member of the US Navy’s fleet of frigates (formerly known as Littoral Combat Ships), USS Gabrielle Giffords.
The ship, named after the former US Congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt on her life, was launched from the Mobile, Alabama shipyard of Austal USA and becomes only the 13th warship to be named after a living person since 1850.