Published 20 December 2023

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HMS Dauntless has returned to Portsmouth after seizing more than £200m of drugs during a hurricane season deployment to the Caribbean.

Notably the deployment proved the success of the Type 45’s major engine upgrades, with Dauntless the first of her class to have undergone the significant Power Improvement Programme (PIP).

Three highly efficient, modern engines were fitted to increase reliability but also give ‘headroom’ for further upgrades in the future thanks to a notable increase in electrical capacity.

The ship now produces enough electricity to power 2,000 homes, which means the on board sensors capable of tracking targets in excess of 200 miles away are more quickly available for use.

While deployed, the Type 45 destroyer intercepted smugglers on four occasions, helping seize more than 2,000kg of cocaine during a 27,000 nautical mile mission.

Dauntless also sailed to British Overseas Territories to reduce the risk of storm damage and provide reassurance to islanders during the region’s hurricane season, which runs from June to November.

Sailors grabbed national headlines in August after helping clear dangerous waste plastic from a turtle nesting site on the Caribbean island of Curaçao and return home after a highly fruitful deployment.

Commanding Officer Commander Ben Dorrington said:

“I am immensely proud of what HMS Dauntless has achieved during this deployment. The first destroyer to complete this task since Dauntless was last in the Caribbean in 2012.

“Our team have worked tirelessly over the last 195 days away across a range of tasks.”

Throughout her Caribbean deployment, Dauntless has been available and reliable – serving as evidence the two-year endeavour of PIP has borne fruit as it is rolled out across the Type 45 class.

Deputy Weapon Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Harry Jukes, said:

“The additional resilience provided by the third diesel generator gives us increased redundancy in the ship’s electricity supply, meaning more availability of sensors to command capable of tracking contacts in excess of 200 miles.”

Petty Officer Engineering Technician Ryan Waters added:

“The PIP has given much greater resilience to the propulsion plant of a Type 45 destroyer, improving availability to the Type 45 fleet which provides essential air and missile defence capability to protect the UK’s aircraft carriers deployed on operations around the world.”

Capt Michael Goodall, Type 45 Team Leader at Defence Equipment and Support, said:

“Dauntless’ deployment was directed at short notice as a result of an emerging requirement.

“The agility of the support enterprise to adapt at pace to a changing operational demand and deliver is testament to a collaborative team effort.

“As a result of the programme change, a successfully deployed support period was subsequently delivered in Jacksonville, USA, mid-deployment to ensure sustainability on operations demonstrating flexibility to react but, more crucially, providing operational choice to extend the deployment length by four weeks.”

He added:

“Embodiment of the Power Improvement Programme has proven to be a game changer in delivering genuine resilience into power and propulsion, unlocking the true potential of the T45 Class.”

The Atlantic Patrol (North) has been a successful front-line proving ground for PIP and Dauntless is now available to be at the forefront of any deployment and more notably able to attach to either of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, providing world-class air defence.