HMS Dauntless declared ready for the front-line after intensive workout
Nine intensive months of maintenance, trials and training came to a successful conclusion with the Portsmouth-based warship passing all demanding trials, tests and finally a gruelling assessment of her crew and all weapons and systems – clearing the Type 45 destroyer for operations.
Her regeneration – which included three months of trials around the UK to test her enhanced engines last summer – means she is now ready to be deploy on global operations later this year.
“I am immensely proud of what the ship’s company have achieved, to be able to take a ship with a new and unproven propulsion plant and turn it in to a credible air defence destroyer ready for global operations in a period of just nine months is an enormous achievement,” said Commander Ben Power, Commanding Officer of HMS Dauntless.
Dauntless completed that training off the South Coast in only four months.
Weapons systems fired during training began with general purpose and heavy machine guns, through to the 30mm cannons, ramping up to the main 4.5 inch main gun and Phalanx radar-controlled gun, which is capable of spitting out four-and-a-half thousand rounds per minute at incoming aircraft, missiles or fast-attack boats.
Testing also included tracking targets with a very low radar cross section, designed to replicate a small incoming missile – a crucial part of the air defence destroyer’s capability.
Both Dauntless’ multi-function radar (the spinning ‘spiky egg’ atop the main mast) and Long Range Radar (the large black slab on the rear mast) proved they were more than capable of tracking such a target, whether it was flying at altitude like a fighter bomber aircraft or across the waves like a sea-skimming missile.
This phase was followed by the ship’s company being put through their paces during five weeks of tests, ensuring they were ready to perform at the highest level on the front line.
This took place under the exacting glare of the Fleet Operation Standards and Training teams at Devonport Naval Base – which are responsible for readying ships and their crews for the rigours of front-line duties.
The training increased in complexity throughout, with other vessels and helicopters added to equation as the ship defeated threats simulated by aircraft and boats in a range of environments, including in the air, on the surface and even underwater.
The Type 45 also showed it was able to perform well in a disaster relief and crises response role.
Dauntless carried out a ‘rescue’ from a stricken merchant vessel and provided engineering support following an incident at sea, before an evacuation operation in which the ship brought people escaping conflict to safety - providing food, water and medical care.
The centrepiece of the training was the disaster relief exercise, deploying sailors ashore to a village and providing the humanitarian aid needed following a natural disaster, including providing fresh food and water, extinguishing fires and repairing critical infrastructure such as communications networks, electricity supply and water supply.
“Having joined at the beginning of the year, I have focused on the delivery of the Operational Sea Training to the ship’s company,” said Lieutenant Commander Aaron Revell. “This five-week package has given the crew the opportunity to show we have incredible people ready and able to operate HMS Dauntless.”