Dragon set off from the company’s Scotstoun yard this morning, with a combined BAE Systems and Royal Navy crew, as she embarked on the journey to her new home port of Portsmouth. The vessel will be formally handed over to the Royal Navy at a ceremony on Wednesday 31 August. Despite the early start, around 100 employees came to watch as the ship they have worked on since in December 2005 made its final journey down the Clyde.
Angus Holt, UK Programmes Director at BAE Systems Surface Ships, said: “Watching Dragon leave the Clyde is a proud moment for everyone involved, as we reflect on our achievements in delivering these advanced warships to the Royal Navy.
“Our team on the Clyde is focused on delivering Defender and Duncan, the fifth and sixth ships in the class to the same exceptionally high standard as their predecessors. Marking a shift in the balance, our engineers in Portsmouth will now work alongside the Royal Navy in Portsmouth to deliver support services to four ships, using the knowledge developed during the design and build programme.”
Commanding Officer Darren Houston, said: “Dragon is in top condition for the rigours of the next stage of her sea trials and the challenges ahead. This has only been possible through the hard work and support we have received from BAE Systems, its sub-contractors and the local Scotstoun community.
“The Royal Navy operates as a force for good, contributing to the security of the UK, the prevention of conflict and the promotion of our national interests in the wider world. Dragon is eager to play her part and start operating the newest and most advanced warship in the world. In a continuing effort to improve the Type 45 class, the Royal Navy and BAE Systems have worked in close partnership to make Dragon the best of her class, ready to fight and win.”
BAE Systems is on track to deliver all six Type 45 destroyers to the Royal Navy by early 2013. Defender is currently undergoing final stages of outfit and will head to sea for the first time in November, while outfit and commissioning continues on Duncan, the sixth and final vessel in the class, following her launch in October 2010. Duncan will commence her first stage sea trials in the first half of 2012.
As Class Output Manager for the fleet, BAE Systems also provides in-service support to the Type 45 destroyers. Working side by side with the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, the company’s engineers coordinate all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to improve ship availability and reduce through life support costs. The company recently supported HMS Dauntless during her warm weather trials off the US coast with the first of class, HMS Daring, receiving a capability upgrade and HMS Diamond achieving her Initial Operating Capability following extensive trials.
The Type 45s will provide the backbone of the UK’s naval air defences for the next 30 years and beyond. The destroyers will be 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 will be able to 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 until 2040.
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