The fifth of Britain’s Type 45 destroyers is ‘tuned to optimum performance’ after completing her second period of sea trials off Scotland.
HMS Defender spent nearly a month off the Scottish coast testing her combat systems and sensors ahead of her impending handover to the Royal Navy.
Pictures: BAE Systems
COMING right at you, this is the fifth of Britain’s cutting edge Type 45 destroyers completing her sea trials.
HMS Defender is now in the final weeks of trials and tests on the Clyde as she prepares to join her sisters in Portsmouth.
The destroyer completed her second sea period – nearly four weeks of advanced sea trials off Western Scotland – with flying colours on the cusp of the Easter break.
Defender put to sea for her first sea trials last autumn, sailing two years to the day of her launch to tested the basics – engines, power, manoeuvrability.
As with those inaugural trials, her Defender’s second trials period saw a mixed crew from her builders BAE Systems, plus the growing band of Royal Navy personnel assigned to her, give her a thorough run-out.
It was a cold and fresh spring March morning as HMS Defender slipped from the Scotstoun jetty and snaked her way down the Clyde once again.
After a few sea safety trials which all went well, the ship quickly knuckled down to manoeuvring and power and propulsion trials before the crux of the renewed spell at sea: combat systems.
The team aboard attuned all the various weapons and sensor sub-systems to the main command system – the brains of Defender where all the information is fused to give the operations room team the complete picture.
The sea trials were also great opportunity for old and new members of the ship’s company to become more familiar with the ship – there are 777 compartments aboard, that’s more than four for every one of a typical crew of 190 – and her systems but more importantly it allowed quality time to build on the fighting spirit already developed whilst alongside on the Clyde.
“It is a great privilege to be serving as the Weapon Engineer Officer in HMS Defender, these trials marked another significant step to not only acceptance of the ship by the Royal Navy but success on operations in the future,” said Lt Cdr Jonathan Pearce.
“Defender boasts extremely impressive capability throughout her decks which was tuned to optimum performance over the trials period.”
Some of the ship's company celebrate their fund-raising efforts in Defender's hangar
The ship is affiliated to Glasgow and Exeter and her second time at sea gave her mixed ship’s company the chance to help out good causes in those cities.
Horse racing nights, an Ironman competition (athletics, not the film…), bingo and quizzes helped net a cool £1,500 for Kelbourne School for physically-impaired youngsters aged two to 12 in Glasgow, Dream-a-Way Holidays in Exeter which organises holidays for people in the West Country with disabilities, and BAE’s favoured charity, Erskine Hospital.
Defender also hosted her first VIP sea day where she welcomed the destroyer’s sponsor Lady Julie Massey, who launched the ship on Trafalgar Day 2009, as well as the great and the good from industry and the MOD’s maritime defence procurement team.
HMS Defender continues to hit every milestone towards her delivery to Portsmouth and the Royal Navy in July.
She’s due to be declared operational in early 2013 by which time the final ship in the Type 45 programme, HMS Duncan, will have made her debut at sea. She’s in the latter stages of fitting out at Scotstoun and sails later this year on her first trials.