HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy. She is the thirteenth ship in the Duke class of frigates and is the third ship to bear the name, more than 200 years since the name was last used. She is affectionately known as ‘The Fighting Clan’.

She was launched in 1996 by Lady Christina Walmsley, wife of Sir Robert Walmsley KCB. Before this occasion, Royal Navy ships had always been launched with a bottle of champagne, but Lady Walmsley broke with tradition and used a bottle of Macallan Whiskey.

HMS Sutherland has had a busy couple of years prior to arriving in the Gulf Region. In 2011 HMS Sutherland escorted HMS Ocean and HMS Albion to the Mediterranean as events in Libya escaleted as part of the Cougar deployment of the UK’s Responsive Force Task Group. As the group returned from the Indian Ocean, Sutherland saw action off the coast of Libya in support of the NATO OP Unified Protector.

Back in the UK, the ship participated in the two major exercises- Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland and a joint anti submarine exercise in the Atlantic Ocean – before then completing operational sea training under the guidance of Flag Officer Sea Training.

In July 2012 HMS Sutherland set sail for a six month deployment carrying out maritime security and counter-piracy patrols in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf in support of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). While in the region she has worked across a range of Combined Task Forces (CTF) including CTFs 150,151 and152. She will be departing the region for the long trip home in late November with the promise to be home for Christmas.

The Commanding Officer Cdr Al Wilson said: “’The huge variety and diversity of task, that Sutherland has fulfilled whilst on operations illustrates the inherent flexibility of the Royal Navy in protecting and promoting UK interests worldwide, whether it is preventing piracy or terrorism at sea or strengthening bonds with regional allies.  However, I could not of achieved this without an efficient, capable and highly motivated ship’s company and, as always, I am highly proud of what my team has achieved over the last 6 months whilst remaining cheerful and utterly professional throughout.’

Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland CDR Al Wilson

                   Weapon Systems

Vertical-launch(VLS)  Sea Wolf missile system Anti-air missiles x 32
Sea Wolf  air defence missiles (range 1–10 km)
2× quadruple Harpoon launchers. 8 anti-ship missiles
2× twin 12.75 in (324 mm) tubes for Stingray ASW torpedoes.
1×  BAE 4.5-inch Mk8 Mod. 1 gun
2× 30mm DS30M automated guns or 30mm DS30B guns
4× General-purpose machine guns

Electronic Systems

Search: BAE Systems Radar Type 996 Mod 1, 3D surveillance
Navigation: Kelvin Hughes Radar Type 1007 and Racal Decca Type 1008


2 x GEC Marconi Type 911 Sea Wolf systems
Sperry Sea Archer 30 optronic surveillance / director
Bow sonar: Thales Underwater Systems Type 2050
Towed sonar: Ultra Electronics Type 2031Z, being replaced by Type 2087 in eight ships
Combat Management System: BAE Systems Command System DNA(1)


The Type 23 frigate is capable of operating one helicopter, either a Lynx HMA8 maritime helicopter or a Westland Merlin HM1 specialised anti submarine helicopter. Each Type 23 includes a sizeable flight deck and an enclosed hangar.
Westland Merlin HM1, armed with; 4× anti submarine torpedoes