Royal Navy sends HMS Daring to join IS fight

HMS Daring

Royal Navy warship HMS Daring is to be sent to the Gulf to support US carriers that are launching bombing raids on militants from the Islamic State group.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said it would leave Portsmouth on Friday.

The Type 45 destroyer, and its 190 crew, will perform a similar role to that carried out by HMS Defender before it returned to the UK in July.

It will give air cover for US aircraft carriers, which dispatch planes on bombing raids in Iraq and Syria.

HMS Daring will also patrol busy shipping lanes and provide information to the headquarters controlling air operations against IS, which is also known as Daesh.

Mr Fallon said: "All three armed services are making a vital contribution to defeating Daesh.

"RAF aircraft are hitting the terrorists daily on the ground; the Army is providing counter-explosives training to Iraq troops; the Royal Navy helps protect coalition carriers in the Gulf as they launch strikes".

Image copyright MOD
Image caption Sea Viper missiles, seen here being loaded onto a warship, can deal with threats 75 miles away

As a Type 45 destroyer, HMS Daring is armed with Sea Viper missiles which are designed to allow it to protect an entire fleet from air attacks and deal with threats up to 75 miles away.

Though they are the Royal Navy's most modern warships, earlier this year it emerged that the UK's fleet of six £1bn destroyers were to be fitted with new engines because they kept breaking down.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones told the House of Commons Defence Committee in July that the gas turbine engines driving the warships "degraded catastrophically" in the Gulf's very warm seas.

He said the Royal Navy has accepted it would not be able to operate the ships "all the time in every place on every day of the year".

HMS Daring will be taking on the role previously carried out by HMS Defender, which spent nine months in the Middle East working mainly with American and French strike groups against IS.

In June, while working on counter narcotics and counter terrorist operations, HMS Defender intercepted a suspect fishing boat off the south coast of Oman and seized more than a tonne of hashish, with an estimated street value of £5.6m.