HMS Sutherland (F81)

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HMS Sutherland (F81) MoD.jpg
HMS Sutherland, 2012
United Kingdom
NameHMS Sutherland
OperatorRoyal Navy
OrderedJanuary 1992
BuilderYarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down14 October 1993
Launched9 March 1996
Sponsored byLady Christina Walmsley
Commissioned4 July 1997
RefitMajor 2013-2015
HomeportHMNB Devonport, Plymouth
  • Sans peur
  • ("Without fear")
Statusin active service
General characteristics
Class and typeType 23 Frigate
Displacement4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)[1]
Length133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)
SpeedIn excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph) (HMS Sutherland achieved 34.4 knots during high-speed trials in November 2008)
Range7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement185 (accommodation for up to 205)
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried
Aviation facilities

HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate of the British 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 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 Scotch whisky.[3]

Operational history


Sutherland was deployed to the Falkland Islands in the winter 1998/1999. In 2000, she was part of the task force NTG2000, the first time Royal Navy ships have circumnavigated the globe since 1986.[4]


After berthing in Invergordon, HMS Sutherland was granted the freedom of the county of Sutherland at a ceremony in Dornoch on 18 September 2004.[5][6] A subsequent visit to Invergordon in March 2011 was cut short, with "operational commitments" as the given reason.[7][8] This was eventually revealed as her deployment as part of the UK Response Force Task Group's (RFTG) first deployment, named COUGAR 11.[9] She returned to Invergordon in April 2013.[10]


In May 2011, she made a port visit to Patras, Greece following participation in exercises off Crete,[11] after which she became involved in the operations off the Libyan coast.[12]

On 16 June 2011, Sutherland visited Souda Bay in Crete to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, before sailing to Kalamata in Greece to conduct further World War II memorials.[13]

On 24 July 2011, Sutherland returned to the coast of Libya as part of Operation Ellamy.[14]

On 18 October 2011, Sutherland passed through Tower Bridge in London and docked next to HMS Belfast, returning through the bridge on 22 October 2011.[15]

In 2012, she was part of the COUGAR 12 task group.[16]

She took part in Exercise Joint Warrior 2013.[17]

Sutherland to part in 2016 Exercise Griffin Strike, a UK-French combined exercise.[18] Sutherland escorted the Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich through the English Channel in May 2016.[19]

In April 2017, Sutherland was again tasked with escorting Russian warships in the English Channel, on this occasion, the Steregushchiy-class corvettes, Soobrazitelnyy and Boikiy.[20]

Sutherland was the first vessel assigned to escort HMS Queen Elizabeth when she embarked on sea trials in June 2017.[21]

In 2018 Sutherland had a deployment to the Pacific Ocean. Part of her mission was "to continue the pressure campaign on North Korea", and on her return traveled through the South China Sea to assert navigation rights against Chinese claims.[22]

Early in 2019 she served as a testbed for an integrated mount for the Martlet LMM and 30mm cannon, successfully engaging in firing operations against a motorboat sized target at the Aberporth range in Wales.[23]



  1. "Type 23 Frigate". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 19 January 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  2. Peruzzi, Luca. "Royal Navy unveiled Sea Ceptor and launched first user group at DSEI 2017". European Defence Review. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  3. "Background on HMS Sutherland: Ship's Life Began with a Wee Dram". Navy News. December 1998. Archived from the original on 25 March 2008.
  4. "HMS Sutherland History". Royal Navy. 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  5. "'Courtship' sealed by Freedom". The Northern Times. Golspie, Sutherland. 24 September 2004. Retrieved 8 May 2014 – via History Links Archive.
  6. "Scots honour ship". The Daily Telegraph. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  7. "Change of programme for HMS Sutherland's visit to Invergordon". The Highland Council. 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  8. "HMS Sutherland's visit cut for operational reasons". BBC News. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  9. "UK: Royal Navy Ships Set Sail to Mediterranean and Middle East". NavalToday. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  10. "HMS Sutherland returns to Invergordon". BBC News. 27 April 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  11. "HMS Sutherland Visits Greece". Royal Navy. 6 May 2011. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  12. "Task force sent to Libya to ratchet up the pressure on Gaddafi". Navy News. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012.
  13. "Sutherland Pays Tribute To The Fallen Of Crete And Greece". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2013 – via Noodls.
  14. Ministry of Defence (27 July 2011). "HMS Sutherland begins boarding operations off Libya". Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  15. "Royal Navy fighting clan returns from Libya for Capital Engagement". Royal Navy. 17 October 2011. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  16. "HMS Sutherland". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 5 December 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  17. "Scotland set to host Exercise Joint Warrior". Royal Navy. 2 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 October 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  18. "UK and French forces launch Exercise Griffin strike in the Solent". Royal Navy. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  19. Whitehead, Tom (11 May 2016). "Navy shadow Russian frigate through UK waters". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  20. "HMS Sutherland escorts two Russian warships past UK coastline". Royal Navy. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  21. Allison, George (27 June 2017). "HMS Sutherland, HMS Iron Duke escorting HMS Queen Elizabeth on sea trials". UK Defence Journal. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  22. "Royal Navy warship to sail through disputed sea off China - Defence Secretary". Belfast Telegraph. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  23. "Navy's new anti-ship missile bang on target | Royal Navy". (in English). Retrieved 19 July 2019.

External links