The UK government has reacted to increasing tensions with Iran by sending one of the navy’s most powerful warships to the Gulf. HMS Daring sailed for her first operational deployment on 11 January, just as the Iranian Navy completed ten days of naval exercises near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz.
The naval manoeuvres, which included the firing of three anti-ship cruise missiles, were intended as a show of strength in the face of economic sanctions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and a response to what it sees as an unwelcome US naval presence in the region. Iran has also threatened to blockade the narrow seaway, through which 17 million barrels of oil move every day.
In another signal of intent, a second Type 45 destroyer, HMS Dauntless, will deploy to the South Atlantic almost 30 years to the day that a naval task force sailed to reclaim the Falkland Islands from Argentine invasion. The significance of the timing will not be lost on those in Buenos Aires.