The Royal Navy's newest warship, HMS Clyde, left Portsmouth Naval Base today, Monday 20 August 2007, bound for a tour of duty in the South Atlantic.
HMS Clyde, the first ship to be launched from Portsmouth for 40 years, is the Navy's new Falkland Islands patrol vessel and will stay in the region for at least five years. Changeover crews will be flown to the Falklands every six months and maintenance will be carried out 'in theatre'.
Clyde will replace the current Falklands patrol ship HMS Dumbarton Castle which will return to Portsmouth in November before decommissioning.
Commanding Officer of HMS Clyde, Lieutenant Commander Paul Pitcher, said:
"It is a great honour to be deploying the ship for the first time. The ship's company are looking forward to sailing in the southern hemisphere and are full of enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead."
Clyde was launched at VT Group's shipbuilding facility in the Naval Base a year ago and was formally commissioned into the Navy's fleet on 5 July 2007. Since then she has undergone successful aviation trials and training off the UK coast.
Clyde is a highly capable and versatile vessel, with the ability to operate a variety of helicopters from her flight deck. She has air and surface surveillance radars and a 30mm gun and, in addition to her normal 40-strong crew, she has accommodation for an embarked military force.
The crew rotation system and in-theatre maintenance mean she can operate for 282 days of the year.
Clyde is owned and will be maintained by VT Group and chartered to the Ministry of Defence for five years. At the end of that time, the MOD will have the option to extend the charter, return the ship or buy her outright.
Source: HMS Clyde sets sail for the South Atlantic
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