Update 14/11/13 – HMS Daring has been deployed to the Philippines to support the recovery from Typhoon Haiyan. The British government announced:
HMS Daring and her crew will provide humanitarian assistance, helicopter-lift capability from one onboard Lynx, and engineering and first aid expertise. The Type 45 destroyer also carries equipment to make drinking water from seawater.
The ship will arrive within the next few days and from meeting the crew personally I’m sure that they’ll do what they can to help and support.
I was fortunate enough to get a tour of HMS Daring whilst she was docked in Singapore on her way to Japan and some naval exercises with various South East Asia countries in region.
We were shown around by one of the petty officers, after entering the sembawang base in Singapore which is primarily an American and Australian base (HMS Daring is a British ship of course).
I personally have only been round very old (i.e. out of commission) ships – think of HMS Warrior or the Mary Rose! So it was great to have look around new and modern equipment. The ship itself was only launched in 2006 and finally entered active service in 2010.
There was a surprising amount of space within the vessel, more than I expected, as well as some nicer areas to relax like the mess. This is the junior rates mess, the more senior officers have their own.
The ship was under maintenance so some areas were not available for viewing and similarly some areas were sensitive so photos were of course not permitted. Of course with modern ships there is a lot of safety equipment and through every corridor there was a reminder of the importance of damage control during combat. Many references were from the Falklands war.
The crew were also busy preparing for a celebration of “pickle night”:
To this day sailors of the Royal Navy at all levels, but especially senior rates, hold annual Pickle Night Dinners to celebrate the great sea victory and to commiserate over the loss of Lord Nelson. Their toast will be drunk with a tot of Pusser’s Rum the traditional rum of the Royal Navy for more than 300 years. Pusser’s rum was not available outside of the Royal Navy
Although the control room and operations center were the heart of the ship (and no pictures were allowed of course), for me it was the outside that was fascinating. The crew and shore support staff were busy maintaining the ships Lynx helicopter on the main deck which is extensively used for things like anti-piracy missions. I fact the crew mentioned that whilst they are sailing from one region to another or whilst they are based there they often support the navies with these types of missions.
The ship itself although not stealth does have a low radar profile which creates the rather interesting shapes that you see. Note that the black “smoke stacks” are there so that you don’t have to paint them all the time due to the smoke! You can see the “SAMPSON multi-function AESA radar” (again Wikipedia is useful here!) which is the heart of the missile system for anti aircraft and missile defence.
The Insignia of HMS Daring:
Maintenance being performed on the Phalanx
All in all a great visit and it was good to see what a modern ship looks like. Also going a bit more on-topic the crew of this vessel have certainly done some traveling having just come from the fleet review in Sydney, and before that visiting various pacific islands including Hawaii, and also going through the Panama canal.
Final note to say thanks to the crew for being so accommodating during the visit, it was very much appreciated by all.