HMS Duncan, the sixth of the Royal Navy’s new generation destroyers will be ‘christened’ today at a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base, marking the commencement of its service.
Royal Navy said HMS Duncan’s introduction marks an important milestone, as the ship is the last of six Type 45 vessels, considered to be the most powerful ships ever built for the senior service.
The ship and her 190-strong crew will now embark on an intense period of trials and training, expected to last until next year when the ship will take up her full duties.
The Type 45 destroyers are the most advanced warships the UK has ever built and have already been deployed operationally to the Middle East and across the Atlantic. The ships are designed to protect fleets from air attack using the Sea Viper missile which can knock targets out of the sky up to 70 miles away.
The Type 45s can also be used as general-purpose warships. They are equipped with flight decks big enough to accommodate helicopters up to the size of a Chinook and provide enough space on board to host a Royal Marines detachment of up to 60 personnel.
Living quarters have also been upgraded with no mess square taking more than six people and no communal toilets or showers.
All six Type 45 ships are based in Portsmouth and are expected to serve until about 2040.
The first, HMS Daring, was commissioned in July 2009 and has been followed by sister ships Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender and now Duncan.
Today’s ceremony will see hundreds of guests, including the ship’s crew and several prominent figures, with the ship’s sponsor Lady Marie Ibbotson who launched the vessel at BAE Systems' Govan shipyard on the River Clyde in October 2010, and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, among them.
"The commissioning ceremony marks a major milestone in the life of HMS Duncan. We are delighted that it can be shared with so many distinguished guests, friends, family, affiliates and former Duncanites," said Commander James Stride, Duncan's commanding officer.