14 Aug 2018

HMS Sutherland makes a triumphant return to Devonport

Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland has made a triumphant return to her home port of Devonport following a seven-month deployment to the other side of the world.

In January, HMS Sutherland set sail from Plymouth touring Australia and the Asia Pacific. While there, the ship’s crew undertook exercises with both the Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Navies. The ship also conducted exercises with vessels from the US Navy Seventh Fleet and the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, prior to a two week maintenance period at Yokosuka Naval Base.

HMS Sutherland also helped strengthen international relations in the Asia Pacific region with visits to the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Later, the ship operated as part of a multi-nation coalition in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Aden region, conducting counter piracy and trafficking activity. The ship also provided escort duties to HM Ships Bangor and Middleton.

During her deployment HMS Sutherland relied on a Wildcat helicopter to act as her eyes and ears, utilising its sensors to build the ship’s maritime picture.

The CO of 815 Naval Air Squadron, Commander Jamieson Stride said: “I am delighted to welcome home 211 Flight and their mighty Wildcat after a hugely successful deployment. Having operated as far afield as Australia and almost everywhere in between there and the UK, they have been blazing a trail for the Wildcat, operating in new areas for the aircraft and impressing operational commanders everywhere they went. I would like to thank their families for their unstinting support during this deployment. Being apart from your loved ones for seven months is incredibly tough and their loyalty and devotion has been much needed.”

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Canale, added: “We’ve had an incredibly varied deployment and as the first ship to deploy to the Asia Pacific region for some years we have gained a lot of experience about operating in the area. As we head for home we are now very much looking forward to being reunited with our families and friends who have given us unstinting support during our deployment.”

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