UK: HMS Defender Starts Sea Trials

HMS Defender Starts Sea Trials

DEFENDER, the fifth Type 45 destroyer built by BAE Systems, two days ago set sail from the company’s Scotstoun shipyard to embark on her second and final stage of sea trials off the west coast of Scotland, ahead of her handover to the Royal Navy later this year. During 28 days at sea, DEFENDER will undertake an extensive programme of trials, including final testing of the ship’s power and propulsion, combat systems, navigational and communications equipment.

Paul Rafferty, Type 45 Programme Director at BAE Systems, said: “The huge momentum driving the Type 45 programme highlights the effective partnering between industry, the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence to deliver the Type 45 fleet. The trials demonstrate the progress we’re making and provide an opportunity to put the ship through her paces and prove her outstanding capability in preparation for Acceptance off Contract in July.

DEFENDER Senior Naval Officer, Commander Nicholas Boyd Royal Navy, said: “DEFENDER’s departure on her second set of sea trials marks another milestone in the life of the ship and her company as we prepare to join the fleet later this year. We are looking forward to operating her sophisticated equipment and systems during trials and beyond, putting our experience and training into practice. The support of our families and friends along with the links we have established in our affiliated cities of Glasgow and Exeter are very much appreciated, as we work towards the successful acceptance of HMS DEFENDER into the Royal Navy and then deploying her on operations.”

With the first four vessels in the class handed over, the business is on track to deliver all six ships to the UK Royal Navy by the end of 2013. Following her sea trials, DEFENDER will return to the Clyde for final integration and testing, before setting sail for her home port of Portsmouth in July. Meanwhile DUNCAN, the sixth ship in the class, will undertake her first stage trials in the latter half of this year.

Working alongside the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, BAE Systems also provides in-service support to the Type 45 destroyers, coordinating all aspects of repair, maintenance and support to the fleet. The Type 45 Class Output Management team recently supported first of class, HMS DARING, in preparing the ship for her first operational deployment in January. The team also continues to support HMS DAUNTLESS, DIAMOND and DRAGON throughout their training periods as the vessels prepare for deployment.

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.

Naval Today Staff , March 12, 2012; Image: baesystems