Destroyer HMS Diamond is ready to take her place in the line of battle again after completing six weeks of intensive training off Plymouth.
The Portsmouth-based warship came through Operational Sea Training – the Navy’s equivalent to pre-season training – which determines whether a multi-million-pound man o’war and her men and women are ready for the rigours of front-line duties, everything from knocking down threats in the air (Diamond’s raison d’être) to providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
It brings to an end eight months of trials, training, instruction and assessment following a comprehensive maintenance and upgrade package for the third of the RN’s six Type 45 air defence destroyers.
Witnessing the final day of assessment – a Thursday War, which replicates all out naval warfare on the eponymous weekday – was the UK’s Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer – who directs the nation’s bi and tri-Service missions around the globe from the headquarters in Northwood.
Of course, I’m very proud of the amazing Type 45 technology in HMS Diamond, but what I’m even more proud of is my amazing team of sailors.
Commander Marcus Hember, Commanding Officer of HMS Diamond
Type 45s regularly come under his control – from missions off Syria which Diamond herself performed back in 2014, to one of the destroyers working with French or American carrier battle groups in the Gulf (HMS Defender is there presently).
The general saw Diamond’s sailors rewarded for their efforts; staff from the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation who run the assessment gave the destroyer a ‘very satisfactory’ score (most ships come through with a ‘pass’, a satisfactory).
For many Diamonds this has been their first exposure to OST. “The past six weeks have been the best time I have had in the Navy,” said Chef Becca Costin.
“Whilst it’s been totally exhausting, I have learned things as a first aider I never knew I was capable of and I am now much more confident in myself and my abilities.”
Her commanding officer, Commander Marcus Hember, added: “Of course, I’m very proud of the amazing Type 45 technology in HMS Diamond, but what I’m even more proud of is my amazing team of sailors.
“To see them flourish in this high tempo training environment has been a great experience and I am confident they are ready for anything.”
Diamond is now attached to the JEF M – the UK’s new Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) which is at five days’ notice to deploy anywhere in the world.
The first JEF deployment will be exercises in the Med this autumn, replacing the Cougar deployment, the Fleet’s annual amphibious workout for the past few years.