The UK Royal Navy's fifth Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender (D36) has set sail off the west coast of Scotland to undergo a second and final set of sea trials, due to last four weeks.
On successful completion of the trials, the vessel will return to Scotstoun in April 2012 to undergo three months of final testing and checking of its systems.
The ship's second sea trials are conducted to validate its engines, communications and combat systems ahead of its formal delivery to the navy in summer 2012.
Defender's first sea trials were carried out in 2011 to validate its speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion systems as well as weapons systems and sensors.
The newest £1bn Type 45 class destroyer has a displacement capacity of about 8,000t with a cruising speed of more than 27k and a range of over 7,000nm.
The frigate features Sea Viper missile system, which is capable of defending against multiple attacks by the most sophisticated anti-ship missiles.
HMS Defender has a range of capabilities including air defence, anti-missile capabilities, and the ability to carry 60 Royal Marines as well as operating a Chinook-sized helicopter from the main decks.
The advanced air-defence warship is also capable of performing anti-piracy and anti-smuggling missions, disaster-relief work and surveillance operations as well as high-intensity war-fighting.
The sixth of the Type 45 destroyer class HMS Duncan, launched in 2010, is currently under final stages of completion at Scotstoun.
HMS Daring, the first destroyer in the class, has been recently deployed, while Dauntless and Diamond are ready for deployment later this year.
The fourth destroyer Dragon, launched in Scotland in 2008, is currently undergoing training and trials prior to its maiden deployment.
HMS Defender frigate is scheduled to be operational from early 2013.
Image: HMS Defender (D36) on its way to resume sea trials with a tug guiding it down the Clyde. Photo: BAE Systems.