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Richmond begins 'a year in the making' Gulf deployment
16 March 2015

HMS Richmond is punching her way through the Atlantic to relieve her sister HMS Kent as she begins a nine-month stint in the Middle East.

The frigate left Portsmouth on Saturday bound for the Indian Ocean.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Jay Allen, FRPU East

MAKING her way south through the Atlantic right about now should be the good ship Richmond, which left her native Portsmouth on Saturday at the start of a Middle East deployment.

The Christmas trees and decorations will be up the next time the Type 23 is in sight of Round Tower again, as she takes over from her sister HMS Kent on maritime security patrols of the Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

With her Lynx Mk8 helicopter of 815 NAS – callsign Jennie – the frigate will be carrying out a mix of counter-piracy and counter-terrorism patrols, as well as working with the UK’s friends and allies in the region.

And as with other frigates on the Operation Kipion mission – the official name for Britain’s military effort east of Suez – since the beginning of last year, Richmond will be launching her ScanEagle ‘eyes in the sky’ to provide her operations room team with live TV footage of whatever is happening on the surface of the ocean.

“Preparations at sea were very busy, but also very interesting,” said 23-year-old ET Ashley Taylor. “We conducted tests on a range of different systems across the ship, to prove we are ready for deployment – and all our hard work paid off.”

It’s taken 12 months since Richmond’s last deployment – to the South Atlantic – to allow crew some leave, then regenerate the 20-year-old ship, plus 200 sailors and Royal Marines, for an entirely different mission.

Thrown into the mix of that training, participation in 70th anniversary commemorations for D-Day last June and Exercise Deep Blue, the largest anti-submarine exercise the RN has run since the days of the Cold War.

“This deployment has been a year in the making,” said Richmond’s CO Cdr Mark Anderson.

“The entire ship’s company has worked hard to ensure that we are ready to take on this important work.”