Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Defender has picked up six titles in the Royal Navy’s new Surface Flotilla Excellence Awards.
The trophies went to the Type 45 for her efforts over the past 12 months.
The six awards given to HMS Defender were: Best Destroyer, Naval Capability, Above Water Warfare, Engineering, Signal Intelligence, and Seamanship (covering board and search operations, refuelling at sea and general sea boat duties).
The Surface Flotilla Excellence Awards, presented by Commodore Tim Neild, have replaced the long-standing Fleet Efficiency Awards.
They recognise the surface ships and units which have stood out in 18 distinct fields.
The awards allow some of the winning ships to hoist a special blue and white pennant, complete with the crown and anchor and two hippocampi (the mythical seahorses which are the symbol of the Surface Fleet).
Aside from a demanding tour of duty in the Gulf, Defender has worked extensively in home waters since her return, using her guns to develop tactics that will help the fleet fend off fast attack craft.
The Royal Navy said the ship's engineers have worked in difficult conditions to ensure she is always available.
HMS Defender's citation said: "2020 has been a year in which HMS Defender has consistently maintained the utmost level of professional effectiveness, delivering all tasking required of her to the highest standard.
"Defender continues to set the standard as the most operationally experienced and effective air defence vessel in the Fleet."
The nation’s flagship, HMS Albion, edged out carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as the Most Effective Capital Ship.
"The awards reflect another busy year of operations," said Commodore Neild, Surface Flotilla Commander.
"I am immensely proud of the unwavering commitment to delivering success.
"Despite the challenges of COVID, the Royal Navy has unequivocally maintained all our operational outputs on which our nation depends – and more."
Best Frigate went to HMS Sutherland who was almost constantly in demand for anti-submarine warfare duties, the Royal Navy said, keeping a close watch on Russian warship movements at home and in the High North, as well as helping to train future submarine commanders as their prey/hunter.
New River-class ship HMS Medway took the Offshore Patrol Vessel trophy having made her mark in her first 12 months deployed to the Caribbean.
The ship has been on standby to provide support in the event of a natural disaster, as well as helping to seize £160m of illegal drugs in combined operations with the US Coast Guard.
The Underwater Warfare Trophy was awarded to HMS Kent who has been at the 'forefront' of the Navy’s anti-submarine operations in 2020 and helped defend the Queen Elizabeth carrier group from underwater threats.
Cover image: HMS Defender (Picture: Royal Navy).