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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 17:34 GMT
Destroyer launches on the Clyde
hms diamond
HMS Diamond is the latest in a series of cutting edge destroyers

Thousands of schoolchildren have watched the launch of the Royal Navy's newest destroyer on the River Clyde.

HMS Diamond is the third of the new Type 45s to be built and launched at the BAE Systems shipyard on the Clyde as part of a 6bn programme.

About 5,000 children from as far afield as Tiree and Dumfries had the chance to watch as HMS Diamond left the slipway in Govan.

The Type 45 will replace the Navy's ageing fleet of Type 42 destroyers.

Six in total have been commissioned to be built and launched in Glasgow, securing work at the Clyde yards for the next 15 years.

HMS Daring was launched in February 2006 and HMS Dauntless in January 2007.

They will come into service in 2009 and 2010.

With a price tag of 605m, the 150m long vessels weigh in at 7,350 tons.

The Type 45 is fitted with state-of-the-art technology, including the Principal Anti-Air Missile System, which can provide airspace cover for hundreds of miles.

BAE Systems took on more than 100 apprentices this year and hopes the launch will encourage more young people to join up.

The Type 45 programme was ordered by the Ministry of Defence.

The six vessels - HMS Dauntless, Daring, Diamond, Defender, Dragon and Duncan - are all due to be launched from the Clyde.

Baroness Taylor, minister of state for defence equipment and support, said: "The new Type 45 Destroyers - such as Diamond - will be the most powerful destroyers ever built for the Royal Navy.

"We are in the middle of the biggest shipbuilding programme for the Royal Navy in decades and today's launch of Diamond demonstrates the scale of that investment.

"This is an important day for the Govan shipyard, the Royal Navy, and indeed the UK, and is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved in this project."

The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, said: "The Type 45 destroyers will be powerful and versatile ships, capable of undertaking a wide range of military tasks.

"They are based on first-class innovation and engineering, which will set new standards in air defence and will ensure that the Royal Navy remains at the forefront of the world's navies.

"Today confirms the excellent progress we are making on the Type 45 programme."

Diagram of a new Type-45 destroyer
1 Flight deck to take Lynx or Merlin combat helicopter
2 Navigation radar
3 Long-range radar monitors air and surface threats
4 Communications mast
5 Small-calibre gun
6 Multi-function radar can guide ship's missiles and detect enemy ones
7 Gunfire control system
8 Vertical-launching system for short- and long-range missiles
9 Medium-calibre main gun
10 Bow sonar (under keel)

New warship launched on Clydeside
23 Jan 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
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01 Feb 06 |  Scotland
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01 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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