HMS Defender and the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLM Evertsen are part of the British aircraft carrier strike group HMS Queen Elizabeth

These two warships are part of the British aircraft carrier strike group HMS Queen Elizabeth, which entered the Black Sea on June 14. During their stay in the Black Sea, warships of the Royal Navy participated in a joint exercise with Ukraine and many other NATO countries. The exercise mobilizes the participation of 5,000 personnel, about 40 warplanes of all kinds and 32 warships. This is considered the largest joint maritime exercise since the Cold War.

Earlier while participating in the Black Sea, the Defender of the Royal Navy was warned by Russian warplanes when it deliberately entered Crimean waters. However, the British side denied that there was no fire. Observers say that, with the departure of modern and dangerous British and Dutch warships, tensions in this area seem to have cooled down. However, it is not ruled out that this is just an exploratory move by the NATO navy, before sending a larger and more powerful force to this sea to counter Russia.

HMS Defender
HMS Defender

HMS Defender is the fifth of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy. She is the eighth ship to bear the name. Construction of Defender began in 2006, and she was launched in 2009. The ship completed her first sea trials in October and November 2011, and was commissioned during March 2013.

HMS Defender has a displacement of about 8,000 to 8,500 tons. She has a length of 152.4 m, beam is 21.2 m and draft is 7.4 m. In keeping with its design qualities, the HMS Defender is equipped with an innovative and advanced integrated electric motor system. It includes 2 × Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines with 28,800 hp each, and 2 × Wärtsilä 12V200 diesel generators with 2,700 hp each. Defender can reach a top speed of 32 knots, and has a maximum range of about 7,000 nautical miles.

Classified as an anti-aircraft destroyer, HMS Defender’s primary weapon is the Sylver A50 48-cell Vertical Launch System for Aster 15 and Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles. Other weapons include 1 × BAE 4.5 inch Mk 8 naval gun, 2 × Oerlikon 30 mm guns, 2 × Phalanx CIWS, 2 × Miniguns, and 6 × General purpose machine guns. Her short ranged armament gives her a notable punch against any approaching vehicles, and can also take on a fleet air defense role.

Russia emphasized that, within the framework of Sea Breeze 2021, if NATO member states behave too aggressively, it can completely lead to full-scale military clashes. In response, the US has also shown that it is not easily bullied, and will not hesitate to use force in response, even in the event that Moscow attacks a British destroyer. The British, American, Dutch and Italian warships are fully capable of fighting fairly with the Russian armed forces stationed in Crimea.

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