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HMS Lancaster Sets Sail on Three-Year Middle East Security Mission

The HMS Lancaster Type 23 frigate embarked from Portsmouth on Monday to fulfill a mission lasting until at least 2025, the Royal Navy announced

Launched in 1990, the “Queen’s Frigate” will be the second Royal Navy warship operating out of Bahrain for a planned three-year security mission after HMS Montrose sailed to the Middle Eastern country in 2019.

The Lancaster’s security mission will involve securing shipping and cracking down on arms and drug smuggling from its base in Bahrain along with regional partners and allies.

Joining NATO First

However, before the frigate reaches its new posting, Lancaster will partner with NATO in conducting European and Mediterranean patrols and engage in drills to test robot and naval technology.

It is scheduled to join patrols with NATO Maritime Group 1 on security missions in northern Europe, exercises REPMUS and Dynamic Messenger off the coast of Portugal next month, and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 from Gibraltar to the Red Sea in its Mediterranean mission.

REPMUS is “NATO’s largest autonomous war games” and will include deployment of over 40 aerial, sea, and underwater unmanned systems alongside regular warships.

The HMS Lancaster will test the use of these autonomous systems to see how well and safely they operate with traditional crewed systems.

Upon completion of its patrol missions and scheduled exercise, the Lancaster “will pass through the Suez Canal, Red Sea, and Gulf of Oman before taking her place in the Gulf” for forward deployment in Bahrain.

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