Preparing to take part in Joint Warrior, five frigates from different nations headed upriver to spend the weekend at Shieldhall before the exercise began. Leading the flotilla was the Dutch Navy's DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN, a vessel commissioned in 2002 as the first of a class of four ships with advanced air-defence capabilities. Fitted with a special command and control room, she is the Royal Netherlands Navy's new flagship.
The second ship to head upriver was the Turkish Navy's Meko 200-type frigate TCG BARBAROS, a class that has its origins with the German Navy. She was built in Germany and commissioned in 1995, one of four similar ships of which two were built in Turkey under license.
The Italian Navy was represented by ITS AVIERE, a frigate that had originally been ordered by and built for the Iraqi Navy, but after launch in 1984 a United Nations embargo prevented delivery. The ship, and her three sisters, were later acquired by the Italian Navy and AVIERE was commissioned in 1995.
Eight frigates of the 'Bremen' class were delivered to the German Navy between 1982 and 1990, BREMEN herself being first. Multi-role vessels, they are capable of performing anti-submarine as well as anti-aircraft duties, and they are a development of a Dutch design.
One of the original Dutch ships that BREMEN was based on brought up the rear of the flotilla. Now a member of the Hellenic Navy, THEMISTOKLES was built as the Dutch frigate PHILIPS VAN ALMONDE but was sold to Greece in 2002.