UK: HMS Defender Joins Royal Navy Fleet
HMS Defender has taken a step closer to deploying on operations with the Royal Navy today as the warship has formally joined the UK’s fleet. The 8,000-tonne destroyer has been commissioned at a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base, which will be home to all six of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 class ships. The event marks HMS Defender’s transition into front-line service which means she can now prepare for her first overseas deployment.
HMS Defender is the fifth Type 45 to be commissioned into the Royal Navy. The ships – which were built by BAE Systems in Portsmouth and in Scotland – are the most capable destroyers the UK has ever had.
Made using 2,800 tonnes of steel, the Type 45s are longer than 16 double decker buses and weigh more than the Blackpool Tower. With fuel tanks half the size of an Olympic swimming pool, the ships are capable of supplying enough electricity to power a town of 80,000 people.
HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer Phillip Nash said:
“The commissioning of HMS Defender marks the point at which building and testing the ship finishes and frontline service in the fleet begins.
“For the 190 men and women that make up my ship’s company, commissioning represents the culmination of months and years of hard work of training, trials and practice focussed on ensuring that HMS Defender is ready to undertake operations around the world.”
“HMS Defender’s commissioning is a significant achievement and testament to the hard work of MoD and industry teams to deliver these hugely capable vessels to the Royal Navy.
“The six state of the art Type 45 destroyers will play an important role in protecting UK interests from global threats.”
The commissioning of HMS Defender is one of three significant events this week for the Type 45 class. On Tuesday, HMS Dragon, which is the fourth in class, sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for her maiden, seven-month deployment to the Middle East. On Friday, the sixth and final Type 45, HMS Duncan, is due to arrive in Portsmouth for the first time to begin her sea trials.
HMS Daring, Dauntless and Diamond have already completed operational tours to the Mediterranean, the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Type 45s feature the Sea Viper air defence missile system, which can tackle multiple targets at once and accelerate to twice the speed of Concorde in under ten seconds. The destroyers will be able to deploy with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is due to be completed next year and will also be based in Portsmouth.
Naval Today Staff, March 22, 2013; Image: Royal Navy