First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West today officially launched production of the second Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Destroyer at BAE Systems' shipyard at Govan in Glasgow.
Admiral West signalled the start of production by cutting the first sheet of steel for HMS Dauntless, the second of six ships ordered by the MoD to be built by BAE Systems on the Clyde and by VT Group at Portsmouth.
Admiral West said: "This is a really momentous occasion, because the steel I am cutting today officially starts the building of a ship which will form part of the most advanced air destroyer fleet in the world, and will provide a crucial capability for our powerful and modern Royal Navy.
"It's also not just about ships, it's about people. Clearly the MOD's UK shipbuilding programme is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Scotland, and creating tremendous opportunities for the 100 new apprentices starting work here today. These men and women are making a major and worthwhile contribution to Defence in the UK and throughout the world, whilst continuing the proud history of ship-building on the Clyde for many years to come. I wish them the very best."
At around 7,350 tonnes in weight and over 150 metres long, the Type 45s will be the biggest and most powerful air defence destroyers ever built for the Royal Navy. The current contract, with BAE Systems as the Prime Contractor, is for six ships.
The Type 45 will be equipped with the world-leading Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS), and will provide a huge advance in technology when it enters service later in the decade.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach said: "It is extremely satisfying that production of the second-of-class is now underway. The Type 45 will give our forces a truly world-class destroyer, complete with one of the most advanced air defence systems available.
"There is no doubt this new class of Destroyer will set new standards. The Type 45 represents a 21st Century response to the most sophisticated threats that might face UK or Allied ships in the years to come.
"When combined with the new aircraft carriers, our new attack submarines, and a range of other new amphibious vessels currently under construction, this demonstrates our firm commitment to maintaining and enhancing our maritime capabilities. This programme of new warship construction is the largest in the country for years and is creating and sustaining large numbers of jobs at shipyards across the UK."
The current forecast cost of the six ships is £5.5bn and their construction is expected to sustain around 2,000 jobs on the Clyde and around 650 at Vosper Thornycroft in Portsmouth. In addition, many other UK companies are benefiting from work on the programme, including over 30 who are sub-contracted to the prime contractor.
-- BAE Systems Electronics is the prime contractor for the delivery of the first six Type 45 Destroyers. Vosper Thornycroft at Portsmouth and BAE Systems Sea Systems Group will both build and outfit substantial sections of the ships.
-- The Type 45 Destroyer will replace the capability currently provided by the T42. The first of class ship is planned to enter service later in the decade.
-- The class is to be known as the 'D' Class. HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan have been announced as the names of the first six ships.
-- All ships will be equipped with the world-beating Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS), which is designed to deal with multiple attacks by anti-ship missiles. It will be powered by the WR21 Gas Turbine and will reach speeds of up to 29 knots.
-- The current contract with BAE Systems is for the first six ships of a class of eight.
-- The Type 45 Destroyer IPT is based at the Defence Procurement Agency Headquarters at Abbey Wood in Bristol. (ends)
Production Begins On Second 'Next-Generation' Destroyer