The Type 45 construction programme has concluded with the delivery of the last of six destroyers to the Royal Navy. Duncan arrived at her home port of Portsmouth and was formally handed over on 22 March. She will undergo a series of sea trials and crew training ahead of being commissioned into the fleet next year. The same week also saw two other significant milestones for the class with the commissioning of HMS Defender on 21 March and the departure of HMS Dragon on her maiden deployment two days earlier.
From a troubled inception that saw the project lurch between various collaborative efforts until eventually becoming a national programme in 1999, the Daring class has emerged as a state-of-the-art air defence platform. Such is the potential of the ships that their suitability as a Ballistic Missile Defence platform is to be tested in partnership with the US Missile Defense Agency. The trials will examine the ships’ capability to detect and track ballistic missiles.