HMS Lancaster sailed from her home in Portsmouth this week for a nine-month Atlantic patrol, waved off by hundreds of wellwishing friends and family.
The Type 23 frigate is the first ship in the Royal Navy to deploy with the new Wildcat helicopter, and her crew are wearing the newest naval uniform in 70 years.
She also takes with her the first ever Royal Marine chef to ply his trade on the ocean waves rather than on dry land.
The Wildcat is the latest generation of multi role helicopter for the Royal Navy.
It looks much like its predecessor, possessing many of its outstanding characteristics, but is leaps ahead in many ways. The engines and tail rotor system are considerably more powerful and the cabin is much improved with state-of-the-art cockpit instruments, hi-tech communications and cutting-edge targeting systems.
Extremely versatile, the Wildcat is designed for a variety of roles – anti-ship, anti-submarine, ship prote ction, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance and general utility.
HMS Lancaster’s crew are the first to deploy on operations wearing the Royal Navy’s new uniform.
The new rig replaces the Action Working Dress known as No4s – the traditional lighter-blue shirt and trousers worn by sailors at sea – and is the first major change to naval dress since the Second World War.
Before leaving, the ship and crew of 180 spent four days in Liverpool last month, and visited Lancaster to receive their Freedom of the City scroll.