HMS Chatham is the fourth and last of the Batch 3 Frigates and she is the seventh ship to bear the name. She was built on the Tyne by Swan Hunters Shipbuilders Ltd and was launched in 1988 by Lady Roni Oswold. Her design was modified after experience with earlier versions of the ship in the Falklands Conflict.
One of the more notable past HMS Chathams was built at Chatham and launched in 1741. On the 24th and 25th December 1805 she carried Vice Admiral Lord Nelson from HMS Victory, at the Nore, to Greenwich Hospital where he was to lie in state.
The ships company is very pound of her battle honours from Quiberon Bay in 1759 and the Dardanelles from 1915 to 1916. She is affiliated to, among others, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Schweppes and TS Anson.
HMS Chatham (pennant number F87) is a type 22 batch 3 frigate. Although designated a frigate, her size and capabilities are roughly equivalent to those of a Second World War light cruiser. She was originally designed for anti-submarine warfare during the cold-war, but has been largely superceded by other ships in this role. In the 21st century, Chatham and her sister ships fulfil a variety of roles including anti surface warfare, anti submarine warfare, intelligence gathering and boarding operations. Chatham’s self-defence weapons include the Sea Wolf missile system, Goalkeeper gun, 20mm guns and General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs).
Offshore radio station: "6 - 10 Ships Broadcasting To Iraq"
Surrender or die is the message beamed at the remaining Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers in trenches around Baghdad. Coalition propaganda is aired 24 hours a day over Information Radio, part of a sophisticated psychological warfare operation aimed at winning the war in Iraq with less fighting, less casualties - and more clever persuasion. With emphasis on the technical aspects, this article is the most comprehensive report published so far of the ongoing Iraqi mission of Information Radio.
Information Radio, Radiyo al-Ma'ulumat in Arabic, is a US military Special Operations radio station broadcasting anti-Saddam Hussein messages, which are aimed at weakening his support among the Iraqi people and military.
The programs however are well-known - or at least they should be - because that is the purpose of the mission. Each program normally lasts about an hour and contains an introduction, combinations of regional and Western music and an information message. (...)
In mid-February 2003, Information Radio transmissions were extended. "We're currently broadcasting on five different radio frequencies 24 hours a day and have been doing so since the 17th of February," said Brigadier General Vincent Brooks in a Central Command press briefing on March 25. However, it was not the five frequencies nor the 24-hour transmissions that were new. What Brooks failed to mention is that for the first time Coalition partners were involved - and that the extended transmissions originated from ships.
Broadcasts began from coalition naval vessels patrolling in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea. One ship at a time, primarily performing maritime interdiction missions, has been relaying Information Radio programming using whatever transmitters have been available on the particular ships, says Major Peter Mitchell, US Marines Public Affairs official at Central Command forward headquarters in Qatar.
Currently the ships are broadcasting only on 9715 kHz shortwave. Transmitter power depends on the ship in question. Broadcasts begin at 23.00 Baghdad time - when Commando Solo [on board a U.S. Air Force EC-130E aircraft] heads back to its base - and end at 18.00 Baghdad time, when Commando Solo once again begins its five-hour broadcast. Together these platforms make 9715 kHz available for 24 hours a day.
Ships from at least three Coalition countries (US, UK and Australia) are rotated so that each ship transmits a few days at a time, before handing over responsibility to another ship. In late March 3-4 ships were rotating, but since the beginning of the naval transmissions in February, a total of 6-10 ships have been involved in the broadcasts.
Coalition partners have been reluctant to identify the ships in question to maintain operational security. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, there are three frigates (HMS Chatham, HMS Marlborough and HMS Richmond) and three destroyers (HMS Liverpool, HMS Edinburgh and HMS York) which could be involved. HMS Chatham has previously been reported operating as a platform for broadcasts to Iraq. (...) [By Mika Mäkeläinen, Camp as-Sayliyah, Qatar (published on April 5th, 2003, sligthly updated later)]
The Type 22 frigate HMS Chatham (...) broadcasts programmes dubbed ‘Radio Free Iraq’, consisting of a mix of modern Middle East music interspersed with messages of peace – and warnings that the Allies will use extreme force against those who do not surrender.
(published on March 25th, 2003)
Location: Naval vessels patrolling in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea