British destroyer en route to patrol eastern Med

British destroyer, HMS Dragon is on her way to the eastern Mediterranean as tensions rise over the Syrian conflict.

The Type 45 destroyer is set to provide air defence and air surveillance for the many international warships around Cyprus and toward Syria, as well as help defend British interests in Cyprus.

She left the Gulf a few days ago and is travelling through the Suez Canal en route to the Mediterranean.

The captain has informed the crew’s families by letter.

HMS Montrose will be relieving Dragon of her duties and is already off the Omani coast.

The Portsmouth-based warship has been in the Gulf on security patrol.

HMS Dragon is the fourth of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers and was launched in November 2008.

After completing extensive trials, Dragon was formally commissioned in April last year.

Only 11 months later, after a successful firing of a Sea Viper missile, she sailed for her maiden deployment to the Gulf on March 19.

Dragon is now fully integrated into the Kipion theatre of operations, working closely with other UK and international partners to promote security in the region, keeping the trade flowing through the Straits of Hormuz.

HMS Dragon was always scheduled to return to the UK this autumn, and her extensive capabilities are seen as an important addition to defending British interests in the Mediterranean as she returns.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “HMS Dragon is returning from a routine deployment in the Gulf and will soon be in a position to enhance our defensive capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This is a precautionary measure to ensure the protection of UK interests and the defence of our Sovereign Base Areas at a time of heightened tension in the region.”

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are the UK’s Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, which is a former British Crown colony.

The British Forces Cyprus are stationed there to defend them, and their bases include a British defence radio listening post, and the only fully-fledged Royal Air Force air base in the Mediterranean, RAF Akrotiri.

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