Next Clyde-built destroyer ready for launch

13 Oct 2009

By Catriona Stewart, The Evening Times

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is to close - to celebrate the launch of the latest £1 billion Clyde-built warship.

HMS Defender, the fifth Type 45 destroyer to be constructed for the Royal Navy, will be launched on Wednesday next week at Govan.

To toast her links with Glasgow, council bosses have agreed to show the event on a giant screen at the Museum of Transport while Kelvingrove - just 100 yards across the road - will host the company's celebration dinner.

To prepare for the evening event, the art gallery will shut at 2pm on the afternoon of the launch.

Liz Cameron, chairwoman of Culture and Sport Glasgow, said: "The launch of HMS Defender is another significant occasion for the Clyde and for Glasgow and I am delighted two of our museums can be involved in celebrating her launch.

"The Museum of Transport is the obvious venue for people to go and enjoy the whole ceremony and then explore the rich maritime history of the Clyde shipyards."

Kelvingrove Art Gallery last shut to make way for an event in 2006 when the International Rugby Awards were held in the city.

Up to 10,000 people are expected to be at the ship's launch and also to line the banks of the River Clyde next week as HMS Defender takes to the water from BVT Surface Fleet's shipyard in Govan.

The ceremony will be relayed live by video link to a big screen at the Museum of Transport.

Since 2006, sister ships Daring, Dauntless, Diamond and Dragon have already entered service from the Glasgow yards.

Defender's launch is at 3.20pm and thousands of local school pupils will be given the chance to see Lady Massey, wife of Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey, break the champagne bottle before the ship floats onto the river.

Entry to the event is by ticket only and the band of the Royal Marines will entertain crowds while a Royal Marines' helicopter team flies overhead.

One more destroyer, HMS Duncan, is expected to be ready to join the Royal Navy in 2010.

The entire fleet, which replaces the aging Type 22 and Type 42 classes, is costing the Royal Navy £6billion.

The 7350-tonne ships feature the latest anti-aircraft weapon and stealth technology.

They are 45% more fuel efficient and have nearly twice the range of the Type 42 destroyers they are replacing - nearly 7000 miles.

HMS Defender's flight deck is large enough to hold 20 double-decker buses.

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.

  • HMS Defender in its berth awaiting launch

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