The past 12 months have been hailed a huge success by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander. Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd said 2019 was a year full of milestones and firsts for the Naval Service.
From a record-breaking number of drugs busts by HMS Dragon in the Middle East and HMS Prince of Wales entering her home port of Portsmouth for the first time to operations alongside NATO allies and patrols in the Strait of Hormuz, it has been a busy year.
Summing up the year, Vice-Admiral Kyd said: “Over the course of 2019 the ships and submarines of the Royal Navy have sailed in all five of the world’s oceans; the boots of the Royal Marines have walked on all seven continents; and the aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm have flown over several areas of the globe.
“We have seen several ‘firsts’ and passed many milestones in the development of the future fleet.
“We have seen our new River-class patrol vessels continue to develop: HMS Forth deployed for the first time; HMS Medway sailed under the White Ensign for the first time; and HMS Trent has gone to sea with her first Royal Navy ship’s company.
“HMS Montrose has settled into her role being forward deployed in Bahrain and will remain in the Gulf region for the next three years. Alongside HMS Kent, HMS Duncan and HMS Defender, she has patrolled the Strait of Hormuz and the wider Middle East region, safeguarding British interests and protecting our shipping.
“We have also deployed, sustained, and welcomed home two maritime task groups: sending HMS Albion to the Baltic in command of a series of multinational task group exercises, working with regional partners and our NATO Allies.
“Before HMS Queen Elizabeth departed Portsmouth, with her task group, to the eastern seaboard of the USA, to work with our US Allies and continue her trials of the F35B Joint Strike Fighter.
“As 2019 draws to a close, we have also commissioned HMS Prince of Wales into the Fleet, and for the first time in years see our future fleet taking shape before our eyes, with both aircraft carriers alongside in Portsmouth, signalling our intent as a nation in the coming ‘Global Britain’ era.”
Vice-Admiral Kyd went on to say 2020 will also be a busy year, with a lot to look forward to.
“As we reflect on all that we have achieved in 2019, we must preserve one eye to look ahead into 2020, where the Royal Navy is planning even more,” he added.
“Further task group deployments involving our aircraft carriers, amphibious platforms and support shipping; ships and submarines deploying worldwide to promote and protect our interests; Royal Marines embarking on the journey towards the Future Commando Force and new structures and roles for this iconic corps; alongside planning and training at pace for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s global deployment in 2021.
“So, in summary the Royal Navy is working hard, often far from home and in difficult conditions, to promote our interests and protect that which we hold dear.
“As we move into 2020 and begin a new decade, we will continue to do much more – the future is most definitely ‘Dark Blue’.”