HMS Gloucester (D96)
Decommissioned in 2011, HMS Gloucester D96 served as a missile-minded destroyer for the Royal Navy.
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During the latter stages of the Cold War years, the "Type 42" destroyers were operated by the British Royal Navy (RN) and eventually numbered sixteen ships. These succeeded the "Type 82" destroyer models in RN service. The new batch was laid down by Vickers, Cammell-Laird, Swan Hunter, Vosper Thorneycroft and CFNE Argentina. HMS Gloucester (D96) herself was part of the work completed by Vosper Thorneycroft and saw her keel laid down on October 29th, 1979. She was commissioned on September 11th, 1985 and led a service life until decommissioned on June 30th, 2011 (and subsequently sold for scrap). During her time on the high seas, she carried Pennant Number D96 and fought under the motto of "Onwards" while making homeport at HMNB Portsmouth. She was also known by the nickname of "The Fighting G".
HMS Gloucester differed from most of her sisters as she was one of four in the class to be completed with an extended hull to help improve her ocean-going qualities.
HMS Gloucester displaced 5,200 tonnes and featured a length of 463 feet with a beam of 50 feet and draught down to 19 feet. Power was from a COmbined Gas Or Gas (COGOG) engine arrangement consisting of 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B high-speed gas turbines developing 48,000 horsepower and 2 x Rolls-Royce Tyne RM1C cruise gas turbines offering 5,340 horsepower driving 2 x shafts. Speeds could reach 30 knots in ideal conditions and range was out to 4,200 nautical miles (4,800 miles). The crew complement numbered 287 personnel.
Armament fitted was 1 x 4.5" (113mm) Mk 8 series deck gun along with 2 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons and 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). 2 x Sea Dart twin missile launchers were installed as a counter to inbound airborne threats. 40 missiles were carried. In addition to this conventional and missile-minded weaponry, the warship held helicopter facilities for 1 x Westland Lynx HMA8 series aircraft and this could be outfitted with 4 x anti-ship missiles or 2 x anti-submarine torpedoes - giving the vessel and over-the-horizon attack capability.
Gloucester was commissioned in time for service in the 1991 Gulf War which saw a combined force face off against Iraq's Saddam Hussein for control of Kuwait and its oil fields. The warship was able to use her Sea Dart missile suite to successfully engage an Iraqi "Silkworm" (Chinese origin) anti-ship missile. The missile was threatening the American battleship USS Missouri at the time. From then on the warship remained in the theater and conducted various actions against enemy elements, earning herself various accolades in the post-war period.
Her next call to action was during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War as she was used to evacuate British citizens from the region and relocating them to the island of Cyprus. In 2007, the warship was given a refit. Deployed to the Falkland Islands from August 2010 until early-2011, she busted a yacht attempting to smuggle illicit drugs. Her final deployment was during Exercise Saxon Warrior 2011.
Upon returning to HMNB Portsmouth in May of 2011, she was decommissioned, sold off and scrapped in Turkey.