The launch of Dragon Type 45 Ship Class Destroyers is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the progress that is being made on this programme here on the Clyde and I am delighted that so many people have turned out to share this occasion with us. Only four days ago, the second ship in the class, Dauntless, departed the Clyde on her maiden voyage, her first set of sea trials off the west coast of Scotland, and today we have seen their magnificent sister ship take to the water for the first time.
Each of these milestones on the Dragon Type 45 contract is testament to the innovation, design and engineering skills of our employees and partners and proof of our commitment to building the next generation of warships for the Royal Navy.” Dragon was being escorted down the river from Scotstoun by Clyde Marine’s tugs Bruiser and Battler just before 9.00am. Dropping speed to 9 knots she then turned to starboard on 240 WSW, seeming to be set on a gentle curve towards the north end of the Isle of Arran. Dragon spent the night at anchor and in now back on manoeuvres in the Firth of Clyde between the southwest of the Isle of Bute and the northeast of the Isle of Arran.
At the moment, from a northwesterly heading, she’s turned to the west and is on a steady 26wW heading to the west coast of Arran at speeds coming down from 8.7 knots, to 6.3 knots and currently at 5.4 knots. Dragon is now on a counter course and at higher speeds – sailing 2 N at 10.8 knots and currently north of Holy Island at the entrance to Lamlash Bay on Arran degrees north. Her speed has jut come down to 4.2 kts and she has turned to 40° NE, on a heading for the Ayrshire coast at Ardrossan. She’s staying in that sea area, mid-channel and just north of a line from Carnlough in N Ireland to the Corsewall Light o the Galloway coast = and doing her familiar series of sharp turns. At the moment she’s at 2.8 kts on 159° SSE, on the fifth of a series of turns completing a rough box shape.
Like her sister vessels she was constructed by shipyards on the Clyde and by VT at Portsmouth. HMS DARING, the first of class was launched at Scotstoun on the North Bank of the Clyde whilst the reminaining ships were and will be launched at Govan.
All of the ships are now being built/fitted out by the new joint venture between BAE Systems and VT called BVT Surface Fleet. These are exciting times for shipbuilding here in the UK and today’s launch marks another milestone in the T45 programme. Work for the Type 45 Destroyers and the Future Aircraft Carriers is sustaining thousands of jobs, not just here in Scotland but across the country. I look forward to watching Dragon’s progress as she undergoes her sea trials next year.