UKHMS Defender sails through second sea trials

The fifth of Britain’s Type 45 destroy­ers is get­ting clos­er to being tak­en in to oper­a­tional ser­vices after com­plet­ing her sec­ond peri­od of sea tri­als off Scot­land.

HMS Defend­er off Greenock in Scot­land (stock image) [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
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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 and is now in the final weeks of tri­als and tests on the Clyde as she pre­pares to join her sis­ters in Portsmouth.

Defend­er put to sea for her first sea tri­als last autumn, sail­ing two years to the day of her launch, to test the basics – engines, pow­er and manoeu­vra­bil­i­ty.

As with those inau­gur­al tri­als, 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, to give the ship a thor­ough run-out.

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.

Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Jonathan Pearce said:

“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.

“Defend­er boasts extreme­ly impres­sive capa­bil­i­ty through­out her decks which was tuned to opti­mum per­for­mance over the tri­als peri­od.”

The ship is affil­i­at­ed to Glas­gow and Exeter and her sec­ond time at sea gave her mixed BAE Sys­tems and Roy­al Navy ship’s com­pa­ny the chance to help out good caus­es in those cities.

Horse rac­ing nights, an Iron­man ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tion, bin­go and quizzes helped raise £1,500 for Kel­bourne School for phys­i­cal­ly-impaired young­sters 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.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK