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History in the making as thousands gather to watch last Type 45 launch

Duncan launch, Govan
Glasgow, United Kingdom: Duncan, the sixth and final Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Destroyer built for the Royal Navy, was successfully launched from BAE Systems’ shipyard at Govan today.

Launched by Lady Sponsor Mrs Marie Ibbotson, wife of Vice Admiral Richard Ibbotson CB DSC Deputy Commander in Chief Fleet, Duncan slid down the slipway into the Clyde, marking a pivotal moment in British shipbuilding heritage. The crowd of over 14,000 gathered to watch the iconic scene highlighting the enormous sense of pride in shipbuilding on the Clyde that remains at the heart of the local community.

Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “Today’s launch marks the culmination of a hugely successful production phase on the Type 45 programme.  Today’s event is a celebration of the hard work and commitment of everyone involved and it’s remarkable to see so many people turn out to share this occasion with us.

“The warships built at our yards Clyde and in Portsmouth are among the best in the world. We continue to invest in our people and facilities to ensure we retain this enviable reputation of British shipbuilding expertise and remain competitive for the long-term success of our business.”

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said: “The launch of Duncan is the result of a huge effort by workers here on the Clyde, across the country throughout the supply chain, and in the MOD, completing this class of potent warfighters of which everyone involved can be very proud.

“Following on from HMS Daring being declared in service and the successful first firing of the Sea Viper missile system, this is another significant milestone in the delivery of a truly world-class air defence capability to the Royal Navy.”

Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, said: “The Type 45 is world-class; these ships are as versatile as they are powerful. Providing flexible global reach they will deliver broad utility, common to maritime forces, and give the UK military, diplomatic and political options, with their ability to exert effect on land from the sea. This ranges from deterrence and conflict prevention right up to high intensity war fighting and all points between. 

“Naturally her war-fighting capability includes the ability to engage hostile forces using the Sea Viper missile system, her gun or other onboard weapon systems, while her Ship’s Company provide anything from boarding parties that deter and disrupt pirates, to landing ashore for the provision of humanitarian disaster relief.  HMS Duncan can also deploy up to 60 Royal Marines Commandos and their equipment and operate a range of helicopters from her flight deck.  These are fantastic ships and I look forward to HMS Duncan joining the Fleet.”

Named after Admiral Lord Viscount Adam Duncan who defeated the Dutch fleet in the Battle of Camperdown on 11 October 1797, it is fitting that Duncan the sixth Royal Navy ship to carry the name, is launched exactly 213 years after this historic battle.

Among those gathered for the launch were representatives from the ship’s affiliated cities of Dundee and Belfast, local schoolchildren, community groups, industry partners and employees who have worked on the ship since her first steel was cut in February 2008. At 60 per cent complete, Duncan, is the heaviest and most advanced of all the Type 45s at launch. She will now proceed to the company’s Scotstoun yard where she will enter the next phase of outfit and commissioning.

Duncan’s launch comes only weeks after the third ship in the class, Diamond, was accepted off contract, joining her sister ships HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless at their home port of Portsmouth. With the first three vessels in the class handed over, BAE Systems is more than half way through the programme to deliver all six ships to the Royal Navy by the end of 2013.

The first of class, HMS Daring, entered service on 31 July and is currently on her first operational deployment, while HMS Dauntless, the second of class, was handed over to the Royal Navy last December and commissioned into service in June. The fourth ship, Dragon, will undertake her first sea trials next month, while the final stages of outfit are underway on Defender, the fifth ship in the class.

As Class Output Manager for the fleet, BAE Systems will transfer the expertise developed during the ships’ build to provide effective support to the fleet in-service. The company will coordinate all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to the Type 45s, improving ship availability and reducing through life support costs to enable the Royal Navy to meet its operational commitments around the world.

Please note high resolution images have been sent to picture desks.

Issued by:

BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739

Ref: 227/2010