THE waters will be swirling around Britain’s newest destroyer again in a matter of weeks as work proceeds apace on HMS Duncan.
The sixth and final Type 45 destroyer has been in dry dock for the past nine months following her launch on the Clyde as she goes through the lengthy process of completion.
She takes a major step forward in August with the dock being ‘flooded up’ so the main engines can be fired up to full speed for the first time.
The destroyer has been fitted with special propellers while at BAE Systems’ yard in Scotstoun so the shafts can turn at maximum speed once the dry dock is flooded without Duncan smashing through the dock gate and into the Clyde at full tilt – 30-plus knots.
Visitors to the Braehead shopping and leisure complex opposite the yard may have noticed the long-range radar has now been fitted to the destroyer (big black slab on the aft superstructure), while the Sampson radar (the giant egg on the main mast) is due to be installed imminently – all 4.6 tonnes of it.
Duncan was launched a little way along the Clyde last October at BAE’s Govan facility and moved down Glasgow’s great artery for completion at Scotstoun, where all six ships in the Type 45 programme have been fitted out.
On launch day, Duncan’s ship’s company numbered just one, Cdr Phil Game. Today the destroyer’s complement totals 28 men and women who are beginning to forge a community and foster ties with affiliates, including the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, Worshipful Company of Cooks among others, plus the great cities of Belfast and Dundee and, further afield, Duncan, British Columbia.
Among the more unusual aspects of life on Duncan are regular visits from Scottish artist Lachlan Goudie who’s come aboard to sketch the destroyer’s progress as she (and HMS Defender next to her) takes shape.
“Being the final – though I would say the best – Type 45 destroyer is not without its challenges,” said Cdr Game; when pieces of equipment need replacing – as has happened on ships earlier in the programme, there’s been a tendency to raid the next Type 45 in the line… which can’t happen with Ship No.6.
“Since our launch last year the build programme has continued apace – we look more and more like a warship. We’re on track for our key dates of sea trials in mid-2012 and delivery early in 2013.”
Source: royalnavy, July 11, 2011