DEFENDER, the fifth Type 45 destroyer built by BAE Systems, has set sail from the Clyde in preparation for her handover to the UK Royal Navy later this week. The ship, affiliated to the city of Glasgow where she was built, set off from the company’s Scotstoun shipyard at the weekend with a combined BAE Systems and Royal Navy crew for the 300 mile journey to her new home port.
Arriving in to Portsmouth on Wednesday (25 July), the ship’s White Ensign will be raised for the first time in a ceremony which will mark her formal handover and Acceptance off Contract.
Paul Rafferty, Type 45 Programme Director at BAE Systems, said: “DEFENDER is a remarkable ship and watching her leave the Clyde was a proud moment for the teams involved in her design and build over the past four years. It was particularly poignant given the ship’s affiliation to Glasgow, which will ensure a lasting relationship with our home city, beyond the Clyde yards where she was built.”
DEFENDER’S Commanding Officer Philip Nash, said: “This is a very proud moment for me and my Ship’s Company as we depart for Portsmouth for the first time. DEFENDER is a magnificent ship and a credit to BAE Systems and the British shipbuilding industry. Successful completion of the intense period of trials we are about to embark on in partnership with BAE Systems will allow me to prepare the ship, and the 184 men and women who serve in her, to deploy on operations around the world, protecting the nation’s interests.”
The team at BAE Systems will now focus on delivering DUNCAN, the final vessel in the class, which will shortly undertake her first and second stage sea trials only months apart. She will head to sea for the first time in August where she will undergo platform trials to test her speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion and is on track for delivery in 2013.
Working alongside the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, BAE Systems also provides in-service support to the Type 45 destroyers, with the company’s engineers coordinating all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to improve ship availability and reduce through life support costs.
The Type 45s will provide the backbone of the UK’s naval air defences for the next 30 years and beyond. The destroyers are capable of carrying out a wide range of operations, including anti-piracy and anti-smuggling activities, disaster relief work and surveillance operations as well as high intensity war fighting.
Each destroyer can engage a large number of targets simultaneously, and defend aircraft carriers or groups of ships, such as an amphibious landing force, against the strongest future threats from the air. The vessels will contribute a specialist air warfare capability to worldwide maritime and joint operations.
Source: baesystems, July 23, 2012; Image:royalnavy