Page last updated at 19:19 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

HMS Daring makes home port debut


Caroline Wyatt goes on board the Navy's new hi-tech ship

The Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyer - HMS Daring - has berthed in its home port of Portsmouth for the first time as hundreds of well-wishers looked on.

HMS Daring is the first of six new air defence destroyers, which the Royal Navy are calling their "most capable destroyers ever".

The £1bn ship is the first new class of destroyer to enter service in Portsmouth for more than 30 years.

A 15-gun salute was expected to mark the ship's arrival.

HMS Daring was launched in February 2006 by the Countess of Wessex and will go into service later this year.

The vessel has a state-of-the-art radar and missile system, and an ultra-modern shape.

Cpt Paul Bennett told the BBC: "It's modern in its propulsion plant, and therefore it will go extremely fast.

"It will turn quicker, accelerate faster than other ships and therefore is really ideal for war fighting.

"And of course the air defence system is going to be world-beating."

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, told the BBC: "Daring means a lot of things for Portsmouth, the Navy and the country.

"There are people I know who question the cost and the capability and the need for the ships but this really is a world which has significant air and missile threats to deployed forces.

Sailor in cabin onboard HMS Daring
Cabins are more roomy than on the older ships

"If we are to fulfil an expeditionary strategy and go where the government wants us around the world, we must go with the right air cover and this is exactly what Daring provides."

HMS Daring is almost twice as big as the older ships it is replacing but requires a smaller crew - 190 sailors, compared with 280 personnel on the older ships.

HMS Daring will undertake an intensive sea trials programme for the rest of the year.

The vessel is the seventh ship to bear the name; the first Daring was a 12 gun brig launched in 1804, which was subsequently lost in 1813 after running aground.

The latest Daring was laid down in March 2003, taking more than two million man hours, 2800 tonnes of steel and more than 40 tonnes of paint, before it was launched in 2006.

It embarked on its first set of sea trials on 18 July 2007, reaching a speed of 31.5 kts (58 km/h) in two minutes.

'Sea Viper'

Its engines can supply enough energy to power a town of 80,000 people and the ship's fuel tanks have a capacity of roughly half that of an Olympic swimming pool.

Its main armament - The Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), known as Sea Viper - weighs as much as a small car, can accelerate to twice the speed of Concorde (Mach 4, about 2700 mph) in under 10 seconds, and has a range of more than 400km.

It also has its own hospital facilities - complete with operating table - 44 showers, 54 heads and 100 wash basins. However, it has just one bath.

The new Type 45s are replacing the Navy's ageing fleet of Type 42 destroyers, such as HMS Glasgow.

The Royal Navy originally wanted 12 new destroyers but that was ruled out on cost grounds.

All six new warships will be based in Portsmouth.

Are you in Portsmouth to see HMS Daring dock? Although not yet commissioned, are you sailing onboard the vessel?

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