The UK Royal Navy's type 23 Duke-class ship HMS Iron Duke (F234) has successfully test fired a number of weapons systems, as part of sea trials off the coast of Hampshire and Dorset.
The sea trials follow the successful completion of a 16-month modernisation programme and aim to ensure the ship and its crew are ready for operational deployment in 2014, while dealing with internal emergencies safely and swiftly.
During the trials, the ship successfully fired 7.62mm rounds from the general purpose machine guns and mini-guns as well as tested the crew's ability to defend the ship and demonstrate diplomacy.
In addition to demonstrating various sensor and weapons systems, the ship fired the torpedo system including testing the firing system from the operations room and in local control to ensure its ability to defend against a submarine threat.
Iron Duke's commanding officer, Tom Tredray said: "These preparations will build towards being ready to deploy next year with a well-trained and capable fighting team."
Following completion of sea trials until later this year, HMS Iron Duke's crew will undergo the intensive flag officer sea training package of operational preparation exercises scheduled early in 2014.
Capable of accommodating a crew of 185, the 133m-long Duke-class vessels are armed with vertical-launched Seawolf point missile defence system and the Boeing Harpoon surface-to-surface missile to provide anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
The 4,900t ships are powered by a diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG) system, which includes two Rolls-Royce Spey SM1A 34,000hp gas turbines and two Alstom 1.5MW 4,400hp electric motors.
Image: HMS Iron Duke personnel test fires machine gun as part of sea trials. Photo: courtesy of the UK Royal Navy.