Defender, the fifth Type 45 destroyer built by BAE Systems, has today set sail from the company’s Scotstoun shipyard to embark on her first stage sea trials off the west coast of Scotland.
Exactly two years since her launch on 21 October 2009, Defender will spend approximately three weeks at sea, during which she will undergo platform trials to test her speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion. She will also undertake weapons trials and tests to demonstrate her auxiliary and domestic services.
Paul Rafferty, Type 45 Programme Director at BAE Systems’ Surface Ships business, said: “Defender’s trials period will be the shortest yet of the Type 45 destroyers, as we have incorporated lessons learned from the build and in-service support of previous ships in the class. This is a major achievement and these latest sea trials will give us the opportunity to continue to build on this success and prove the outstanding capability of the latest Type 45 destroyer.”
Defender Senior Naval Officer, Commander Nicholas Boyd Royal Navy, said: “The Ship’s Company are excited about taking Defender to sea for the first time. These are the first steps in getting her awesome capability into service and deploying her in the support of UK interests worldwide. Our remaining time in Glasgow will be busy; primarily working with BAE Systems in getting the ship ready for acceptance but will also allow us to further deepen and broaden our formal affiliation to the cities of Glasgow and Exeter; a link that will endure for the next 35 years.”
Following her sea trials, Defender will return to the Clyde for ongoing integration and testing. She will head to sea for her second stage trials in early 2012, ahead of hand over to the Royal Navy in the latter half of the year. The ship’s departure for trials comes only seven weeks after her sister ship, Dragon, left the Clyde for the final time for formal hand over to the Royal Navy.
As Class Output Manager for the fleet, BAE Systems also provides in-service support to the Type 45 destroyers. Working alongside the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, the company’s engineers coordinate all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to the fleet. Recently, the company has supported HMS Dauntless, the second of class, during her warm weather trials off the US coast, with the first of class, HMS Daring, receiving a capability upgrade.
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 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.