Daring, the first of the Royal Navy's new powerful Type 45 class destroyers, was formally handed over to the MOD in a ceremony at the Scotstoun shipyard on the Clyde today, Wednesday 10 December 2008.
The 7,500-tonne ship has now completed a range of stringent trials and tests and is due to sail to her home port of Portsmouth in January 2009 to undertake several months more of exhaustive trials and training before she is declared ready for operational service.
The construction of Daring has involved thousands of people at shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland and at Portsmouth, using factories and businesses across the UK.
Accepting the first-of-class from Prime Contractor, BVT Surface Fleet Ltd, MOD's Defence Equipment and Support Type 45 programme director, Dave Twitchin, said:
"The Acceptance-off-Contract today of HMS Daring is by far the most exciting and formative milestone of the year. It is the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work by all those who have been involved in the programme, particularly in the past two years. HMS Daring has proved herself to be a highly capable ship and has delivered on all of her promises and more. The final phase of her sea trials under MOD control will test her even further.
"I have no doubt that she will come through with flying colours, and will become the hallmark of the modern Royal Navy and will go on to provide great service for many years to come."
Since being launched by the Countess of Wessex in 2006, Daring has been fitted with the world-beating Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS), designed to deal with multiple attacks by anti-ship missiles, and her long range and multi-function radars. The ship is extremely versatile and a number of helicopters, including the Chinook, will be able to operate from her deck.
As part of today's handover ceremony, Daring's Commanding Officer, Captain Paul Bennett OBE Royal Navy, raised the White Ensign as the ship's company marched on board.
Captain Bennett said: "Anyone who has sailed on HMS Daring will tell you that she is a truly magnificent ship.
"The Type 45 is an incredibly complex warship using cutting-edge technology throughout; around 80 per cent of the equipments used are new to service. It will provide a positive step-change in the UK's air defence capability and will be a vital part of the Royal Navy's future armoury."
Daring will be capable of undertaking a wide range of missions from combat to humanitarian and will be able to carry a significant number of extra people such as troops or evacuated personnel on board.
Top quality accommodation has been fitted so the crew can live and work in comfort. The ship also has her own hospital facilities complete with operating table.
The ship is powered by the WR21 Gas Turbine, enabling her to reach speeds of up to 29 knots (54 kilometres per hour). She has already successfully completed an extensive programme of rigorous sea trials demonstrating her capability as a world class air defence destroyer.
Daring will leave her home on the Clyde with a fully-trained crew, arriving into Portsmouth for the first time in January 2009.
-- Milestones for the Type 45 programme this year (2008) include:
1. In March the steel was cut on the sixth and final ship Duncan;
2. In June the first test-firing of the PAAMS successfully took place;
3. In November the fourth ship Dragon was launched on the Clyde;
4. The second ship, Dauntless, is currently at sea undergoing her first set of sea trials - her performance is promising to exceed that of her sister ship Daring.
-- Other milestones in the Type 45 programme planned for 2009 are:
5. Daring's formal commissioning is planned for summer 2009;
6. Further sea trials for Dauntless;
7. Inaugural sea trials for the third Type 45, Diamond;
8. Final test-firings of PAAMS;
9. Launch of the fifth Type 45, Defender.
-- Interesting facts:
* Daring is affiliated with Birmingham and Guernsey.
* Two-and-a-quarter-million man-hours have been spent fitting out Daring.
* The hull structure is made of 2,800 tonnes of steel which is more than the weight of the Blackpool Tower. Approximately 40 tonnes of paint will have to be applied to cover an area of 100,000 square metres of steel.
* The PAAMS air defence missile is the size of a public telephone box, weighs two thirds as much as a small car, and from launch accelerates to a speed twice that of Concorde in under ten seconds. The missile's flight manoeuvres as it closes in on a target are ten times more severe than a human could withstand.
* Her 152-metre length is equivalent to more than 16 double decker buses and she is as high as an electricity pylon.
* Her onboard power plant can supply enough electricity to light a town of 80,000 people.
Her fuel tanks have a volume equivalent to approximately half that of an olympic swimming pool.
* She contains 220 beds, 26 sofa beds, 22 single beds and has her own hospital facilities complete with operating table. She is fitted with one bath, 44 showers, 54 toilets and 100 wash basins.
* She is fitted with enough carpet to cover nearly two five-a-side football pitches.
* She has 404 phones (mainly internal) and is fitted with enough electrical cable to circle the M25 three times.