#Philippines – The Royal Navy's helicopter-carrier HMS Illustrious (R06) which visited Dublin Port in April is heading for the Philippines to bolster efforts to help those in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday ordered that the former aircraft-carrier which was on a counter-piracy patrol off Somalia to break-off and make the 4,500-mile journey to the Far East.
HMS Illustrious has around nine days to reach the stricken nations central islands. She follows destroyer HMS Daring which is just around a day away from the worst-affected area and ready to begin her relief mission.
In addition Mr. Cameron has pledged £10m in aid and dispatching two RAF C17 Globemaster transporter aircraft which will also support the relief operation, codenamed Operation Patwi.
HMS Darling had departed Singapore on a mercy dash across the South China Sea and Pacific. The 8,000 tons destroyer was five months into a nine-month global deployment that included an international naval exercise Bersama Lima.
The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer has a large flight deck to accommodate helicopters (up to the size of a Chinook), which will be vital for this latest disaster relief role. The destroyer's multi-purpose role demonstrates the global capability in providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters.
She is the first of the six Type 45 destroyers, each costing £1bn and they are the most advanced warships the Royal Navy has ever had built. She was launched at BAE Systems Scotstoun shipyard on the Clyde, one of three Scottish facilities to remain as centres of naval shipbuilding in the UK, following widespread cut to jobs.