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Britain’s newest warship hosts Qatar’s Armed Forces at sea

HMS Duncan, the Royal Navy’s newest warship hosted on 14 September 2015 a special day at sea for military officers from Qatar’s Joint Command and Staff Course.

As part of her deployment to the Gulf region, the Type 45 air-defence destroyer laid on a demonstration of the range of capabilities of a modern warship for the Army, Navy and Air Force officers currently studying on the select postgraduate course at Qatar’s Joaan Bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College (JBJJCSC).

The day was based on the ones the Royal Navy regularly arranges for students of the Advanced Command and Staff Course run at the United Kingdom’s own Defence Academy.

Led by the Commandant of the College, Major General Nasser Abdulla N A Al Sulaiti, the 40 staff and students from Qatar and neighbouring countries witnessed the ship’s Lynx helicopter and sea boats simulating the interception of a suspect vessel. The Royal Marine boarding team then demonstrated how they would search the vessel for illicit cargoes; something for which regional and coalition navies and coast guards regularly train together.

The visitors were also briefed on the ship’s weapons and its modern propulsion and navigation systems. As one of HMS Duncan’s primary roles is ensuring the safety of ships from air and missile attack, a full demonstration of the complexities of this role was also provided in the ship’s Operations Room, the nerve centre for all operations on board.

Following his visit to HMS Duncan, the British Ambassador to the State of Qatar, HE Mr Nicholas Hopton said:

We are very proud that the Royal Navy’s newest ship, HMS Duncan, is able to support the Qatari Staff College and it gives the next generation of Qatar’s military leaders a clear demonstration of the UK’s long-term commitment to Qatar.

Commander Richard Atkinson, HMS Duncan’s Commanding Officer, said:

I was delighted to host our Qatari friends and colleagues on board HMS Duncan today. We have been working with other navies in the Gulf for six months and it is always a great pleasure to demonstrate this ship’s many capabilities to our allies. For the many Army and Air Force officers we hosted today, we aimed to provide a relevant introduction to maritime capability and the effect of sea power; this introduction included anti missile defence and combined boarding capability demonstrations employing sea boats, Royal Marines, Maritime Sniper Teams and the embarked Lynx. Military cooperation between nations relies heavily on mutual understanding and I am confident that today’s event will help strengthen already healthy partnerships.

Mr Alastair Clark, a staff member at the JBJJCSC, said:

Qatar’s Joaan Bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College was established in 2013 and is located in Al Wakra, south of Doha. The year-long Joint Command and Staff Course is modelled on the UK’s Advanced Command and Staff Course and provides a postgraduate level military education programme for selected middle-ranking officers from Qatar’s Armed Forces. The course is delivered through a unique partnership comprising the Qatar Ministry of Defence (MoD), Serco, the UK MoD and King’s College London (KCL). Licensed by Qatar’s Supreme Education Council as a military Higher Education Institute, the Staff College offers students the opportunity to study for a KCL Master’s degree in Defence Studies. Beginning earlier this month, Course 3 has a student body of 30 from all branches of the Qatari Armed Forces and for the first time has welcomed overseas students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. Strong support for the programme by the UK MoD through visiting speaker support and external visits, such as today’s to HMS Duncan has been widely acknowledged.

HMS Duncan deployed in March from Portsmouth and is due to continue her deployment to the Middle East supporting security and freedom of navigation in the Gulf and region until the end of 2015.

Notes to Editors:

HMS Duncan deployed in March from Portsmouth and is due to continue her deployment to the Middle East ensuring security and freedom of navigation in the region until the end of 2015.

The sixth and last of Britain’s Type 45 destroyers, HMS Duncan is the newest warship in the Royal Navy. She was launched at BAE’s Govan yard on the Clyde in 2010 and was commissioned into the Fleet in September 2013.

HMS Duncan’s primary responsibility to shield the allied vessels from air attack using the state-of-the-art Sea Viper missile system, but the ship is capable of carrying out a wide range of operations, including counter-piracy activities, disaster relief work and surveillance operations.

The Type 45s can also be used as general-purpose warships; they have huge flight decks to accommodate helicopters up to the size of a Chinook. There’s enough space on board to host a Royal Marines detachment up to 60-men strong.

Further information on the Royal Navy and HMS Duncan can be found at www.royalnavy.mod.uk/duncan.