A fourth Type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer has been accepted off contract by the Royal Navy. The official handover of HMS Dragon took place shortly after the ship arrived in Portsmouth for the first time under a blue ensign. The billion-pound warship is the first of a second batch of three ships, laid down at Glasgow in December 2005. After a further stage of capability trials, Dragon will be formally commissioned in April 2012.

Two other ships of the class under construction remain on schedule for delivery by early 2013. Defender is currently undergoing the final stages of fitting out and will head to sea for the first time in November. Her handover is scheduled for September 2012. Duncan, the last of the class, will commence her first stage sea trials in the first half of next year.

With the ships’ Sea Viper missile system now proved following successful firings, the batch 1 ships are preparing for their first deployments. HMS Daring recently received a capability upgrade with the addition of a pair of Vulcan Phalanx CIWS. Meanwhile, HMS Dauntless has completed warm weather trials off the US coast and HMS Diamond her Initial Operating Capability standard following extensive trials.

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