With a flash of fire and a thunderous roar, HMS Daring lit her 10th birthday candle in spectacular style with the test firing of a Sea Viper missile.
The Type 45 destroyer has become the first ship of her class to complete a second test firing of the Aster 30 missile, proving her world-beating air defence capability as she prepares to deploy on operations again.
The rare sight of an eruption from the silo was a jaw-dropping experience for those on board. Sub Lieutenant Alexandra Evans was on the bridge when the ops room gave the order to test the system.
She said: “It was incredibly bright and fast. It shot off in the blink of an eye. We were watching from the bridge and you could feel the anticipation and adrenaline as everyone waited, silently, listening to the ops room counting down the track.“
All eyes were fixed on the launcher. It was all very British when the test was confirmed. There were no high fives or cheers – just a sense of a job well done.
The first of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers, Daring has had a very busy life since her commissioning in 2009. She completed a circumnavigation of the globe from May 2013 to February 2014, during which she conducted important trials of her radars in the Pacific Ocean, helped relieve the stricken islands of the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan struck in late 2013 and conducted wider regional engagement in Far East Asia over Christmas and into early 2014.
Sea Viper is the combination of the Sampson radar system – the distinctive spinning spiked ball on top of a Type 45 destroyer’s main mast – and the Aster missile system in a silo on the forecastle.
Depending on the missile used – the shorter range Aster 15 and longer range Aster 30 – the system can deal with aerial threats up to 75 miles away, protecting not just the ship herself but an entire task group.