New Warship Begins Sea Trials

One of the latest Royal Navy destroyers -which will be based in Portsmouth - has set sail for the first stage of its sea trials.

Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, left BAE Systems' Scotstoun shipyard earlier today for the tests on its speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion. She will also undertake weapons trials and tests.

Construction of the vessel was completed at BVT shipyard on Glasgow's Clydeside two years ago today.

It is the fifth ship to be made for the fleet which will protect ships from air attacks while at sea.

Paul Rafferty, programme director at BAE Systems' surface ships division, said: ''Defender's trial period will be the shortest yet of the Type 45 destroyers, as we have incorporated lessons learned from the build and in-service support of previous ships in the class.

''This is a major achievement and these latest sea trials will give us the opportunity to continue to build on this success and prove the outstanding capability of the latest Type 45 destroyer.''

Defender will also be capable of anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations, disaster relief work and surveillance operations. It will be able to carry 60 Royal Marine Commandos and their equipment, and operate a Chinook-sized helicopter from the flight deck.

Commander Nicholas Boyd, senior naval officer on board the Defender, said:

''The ship's company are excited about taking Defender to sea for the first time. These are the first steps in getting her awesome capability into service and deploying her in the support of UK interests worldwide.

''Our remaining time in Glasgow will be busy; primarily working with BAE Systems in getting the ship ready for acceptance but will also allow us to further deepen and broaden our formal affiliation to the cities of Glasgow and Exeter; a link that will endure for the next 35 years.''

Following her sea trials, Defender will return to the Clyde for more testing and will then head to sea for second-stage trials next year, before its handover to the Royal Navy in late 2012.