HMS Defender has taken up position to support US forces as they carry out air strikes against Islamic State militants. The Type 45 Destroyer is using its hi-tech air defence weapons to protect US navy aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush and her aircraft as they launch air strikes as part of the international coalition.
The Portsmouth-based Destroyer is using its air defence radar and Sea Viper missile system as part of an umbrella of support for the Nimitz class aircraft carrier and its escort ships while they patrol the Gulf and launch air strikes against Islamic State Militants.
Deployed to the Gulf in June 2014, HMS Defender's primary role has been to conduct maritime security operations. It is now operating with the US navy's Arleigh-Burke class Destroyers USS Truxton and USS Roosevelt and the Ticonderoga class Destroyer USS Philippine Sea to provide support for the aircraft carrier.
Royal Navy Commander Phil Nash, Defender's commanding officer, said: "As an air defence destroyer, HMS Defender was built for exactly the sort of tasking that we are conducting in support of the USS George HW Bush. Since we arrived in the Gulf in June, we have been engaged in exercises with navies from around the world to test our air defence capabilities and I am delighted that my ship's company now have an opportunity to put into practice the training they have received over the past few months. This will be our primary role in the future, so to be able to provide the same defensive shield to a US navy aircraft carrier that we will deliver as part of a British carrier strike group is an excellent chance to prove the value we can add in a national and international environment."