The UK Royal Navy's fourth Type 45 Daring-class anti-air warfare destroyer, HMS Dragon (D35)

The UK Royal Navy’s fourth Type 45 Daring-class anti-air warfare destroyer, HMS Dragon (D35), will be commissioned to join the front-line Fleet on 20 April 2012 at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK.

Dragon’s commanding officer commander Darren Houston said that the commissioning day marked the end of the ship’s trials phase and the transition to front-line service.

"Thereafter the emphasis will be on combat readiness in preparation for our first deployment next year," Houston added.

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Dragon successfully completed gunnery trials in March 2012, during which it fired 290 shells from its 4.5in Kryten main gun against towed surface targets, while its 30mm cannon fired at targets on the water and in the skies.

Built by BAE Systems, the Type 45 warship was launched in Scotland in 2008, is equipped with Sea Viper anti-air missiles, and is capable of defending against multiple attacks by sophisticated anti-ship missiles.

The 152.4m-long and 21.2m-wide destroyer has a displacement capacity of 7,350t, can accommodate a crew of 235 and cruises at speeds in excess of 29k.

The Type-45 destroyer is designed to perform a wide range of missions including anti-piracy and anti-smuggling missions, disaster-relief work and surveillance operations as well as high-intensity war-fighting.

HMS Daring, the first destroyer in the class, and HMS Dauntless have been recently deployed, with Diamond ready for deployment later this year while Defender is scheduled to be operational from early 2013.

Launched in 2010, HMS Duncan, the sixth of the Type 45 destroyer, is currently under final stages of completion at Scotstoun and is scheduled to begin its trials before the end of 2012.

The fleet of Type 45 destroyers are set to replace the Type 42 frigates, which have been in service with the navy since the mid-1970s.

Image: HMS Dragon was launched in 2008 and is designed to perform a wide range of missions in support of Royal Navy. Photo: Royal Navy.