The British Navy has dispatched one of its warships to the Strait of Hormuz in response to threats by Iran that its military will block the narrow passage through which 35 percent of global seaborne crude oil moves.
The HMS Darling, a Type-45 destroyer, should be quite an intimidating and formidable presence in the waterway, the British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported.
According to the paper, the £1 billion ($1.5 billion) vessel, which has been fitted with sophisticated new technology that will grant it the power to shoot down any Iranian missile or rocket, will depart from Portsmouth on Wednesday.
Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, said about Darling: This warship has an unbelievably capable ability to track targets, spot the most dangerous and identify them for its missiles to take out. It's highly, highly capable. I would like to see the Type-45s show their potential in the region.
In a statement, the UK Ministry of Defense said: While the newly operational Type 45 destroyer HMS Darling is more capable than earlier ships, her deployment East of Suez has been long planned, is entirely routine and replaces a frigate on station.
With a crew of almost 200, the Darling will replace a Type-23 British frigate currently in service neat the Strait of Hormuz.
The British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond that previously warned Teheran that any blockade of the Strait would be illegal and unsuccessful.
Iranian naval forces have reportedly completed a ten-day series of exercises neat the Strait,
Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s naval branch, said he will conduct additional exercised and war games in the region soon.
Iran, facing a number of crushing economic sanctions from the U.S., Britain and European Union, has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation. Teheran has made such threats before, but it never had the military hardware or knowhow to challenge the military supremacy of the Western nations.