HMS Dragon Launched at Govan

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Dragon, the Royal Navy’s fourth Type 45 destroyer was successfully launched at the Govan shipyard.

Around 12, 000 people – including 2000 dragon masked schoolchildren – turned up to watch the spectacular event, which started with a prayer and the blessing of the ship by Monsignor Paul Donovan, the Royal Navy’s Chaplain.

After this, the Lady Sponsor, Mrs Susie

Boissier, wife of Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, Deputy Commander-In-Chief Fleet and Chief of Staff, named and launched the ship in the traditional way by breaking a bottle of champagne against the bow.

The Type 45 class is a multi-role escort vessel providing air defence and a range of capabilities to suit operational duties.

Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘We are really delighted with Destroyer Dragon. It is definitely required because the level of threats we are facing is growing. So this advanced and modern destroyer is just what we need to combat them.’

An 18 metre image of a Welsh Dragon is painted on each side of the bow. The bow was fabricated at VT Shipbuilding in Portsmouth Naval Base and brought by barge to Glasgow. Once the ship hit the water, fireworks were set off in celebration.

Throughout the day there were various bands playing and entertainment from the sea cadets as well as an aerial display from Royal Navy helicopters.

The ship will be fitted out at Scotstoun yard. With the time required to complete that intricate work and for all the advanced technology to be tested, it will be 2011 before Dragon will be fully operational.

In 1999, BAE Systems (now called BVT) was awarded the Ministry of Defence contract to provide eight new ships of the Daring Class as part of the Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Programme. Each ship costs approximately £650 million.

The ones launched before Dragon were called Daring, Dauntless and Diamond. Still to come will be Defender and Duncan.

Speaking after the launch, Alan Johnston CBE, CEO of BVT Surface Fleet said: ‘The launch of Dragon is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the progress that is being made on this programme on the Clyde. Four days ago, Dauntless, the second ship in the class, departed the Clyde on her maiden voyage on her first set of sea trials off the West coast of Scotland. Each milestone on the 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 will be able to carry up to sixty Royal Marines Commandos and their equipment and operate a Chinook sized helicopter from the flight deck.

Complete with the latest upgrade to satellite communications systems, the destroyer will carry the world-leading PAAMS system (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) allowing it to defend high value ships from the most dangerous air threats, including multiple attacks by sophisticated anti-ship missiles.