Sept 28, 2012–Secaucus,USA (Techreleased) –Britain’s newest destroyer HMS Duncan returned after manoeuvring, gunnery and systems trials.The sixth and final Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan returned to Scotstoun on the north bank of Glasgow’s great artery after four weeks of manoeuvring, gunnery and systems trials.
The £1bn destroyer – designed as a replacement to the veteran Type 42s to shield the Fleet from air attack – reached a top speed of over 30kts (34mph) on speed runs, and a ‘fun’ 16˚ heel to one side during a high-speed turn, testing not only the stability of Duncan, but the balance of her mixed civilian and RN crew.
After proving she could manoeuvre deftly, Duncan shifted from the enclosed waters of the Firth of Clyde and environs to the exposed Atlantic by heading up to the ranges around Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.
There she fired all her guns successfully – 4.5in main, 30mm, miniguns, machine-guns – and flashed up her combat systems at sea for the first time.
“This was the first time the ship has been to sea and we’ve achieved everything we set out to do – and more,” said Cdr Phil Game, Duncan’s senior naval officer.
“This success is down to the great teamwork between the RN, BAE and MOD in building Duncan.
“Everyone involved in the building of Duncan can be justly proud of her. And I think our namesake, Admiral Duncan, would be proud of what we as a ship’s company have achieved so far as we bring our ship to life.”
Duncan boasts a little over 70 members of her ship’s company – just over one third of the full complement of 190 Royal Navy officers and ratings who will crew her when she’s formally handed over by builders BAE next year.
The trials gave them the first chance to get to know their ship at sea –many of the crew are new to Type 45s.
Along with enhancing their knowledge of the ship’s damage control, power and propulsion and combat systems capabilities, time was also spent raising money for the ship’s charity, the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
More than £1,000 was raised with the support of all onboard through race nights, quiz and bingo nights and a dramatic table tennis tournament.
WO Andy Stevenson, Duncan’s Executive Warrant Officer – the highest ranking senior rating aboard – said:
“The ship’s company really got stuck into their duties onboard and there’s great pride from everybody in our ship.
“We put effort into our charity events and the money raised is going to a very worthy cause.”
A second series of trials is lined up for later this autumn before the team at Scotstoun complete their work on the ship over the winter.
HMS Duncan is due to sail for Portsmouth around Easter, when she’ll be formally handed over to the Royal Navy and hoist the White Ensign for the first time.