The ship, which set sail from BAE Systems’ Scotstoun yard earlier this morning, will be at sea for a four week period during which the vessel’s power and propulsion, weapons and communications systems will be tested by a combined crew of BAE Systems, Royal Navy and key supplier personnel.
Angus Holt, UK Programmes Director at BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “The start of sea trials is an important stage in the programme for Dragon giving us the first real opportunity to put the Type 45’s outstanding capability to the test.
“Thanks to the commitment of our workforce and strong partnership with the Royal Navy, we have applied lessons learned on earlier ships, which has enabled us to reach sea trials for Dragon much sooner than we achieved on her predecessors.”
Commander Ian Jackson, Senior Naval Officer of Dragon, commented, “It has been very pleasing to see the many strands of work finally coming together to produce a ship that is ready to go to sea. HMS Dragon is in great shape and we are proud to have worked alongside our BAE Systems colleagues to make this happen.
“There is always a sense of anticipation when proceeding to sea, but this will be particularly enhanced when the final lines are slipped and we make our way down the Clyde. We look forward to Dragon spreading her wings.”
Dragon’s departure for trials comes only weeks after the sixth ship in the class, Duncan, was launched at the Company’s Govan yard and Diamond, the third in class, was delivered to Portsmouth. With the first three vessels in the class handed over, BAE Systems is over half way through the programme to deliver all six ships to the Royal Navy by the end of 2013.
Following her sea-trials, Dragon will return to the Clyde for ongoing integration and testing and is on schedule to be handed over to the Royal Navy in the latter half of 2011.
As Class Output Manager for the fleet, BAE Systems will also provide in-service support to the Type 45 destroyers. Working side by side with the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, the Company’s engineers will coordinate all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to improve ship availability and reduce through life support costs to enable the Royal Navy to meeting its operational commitments around the world.
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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