HMS Dragon to be commissioned on Friday

‘UK needs to boost its budget for the military’

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THE latest Type 45 destroyer, HMS Dragon, is set to formally join the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base on Friday.

Dragon, which is the fourth of six £1bn air destroyers built for the navy by BAE Systems, will enter service at a commissioning ceremony held in front of hundreds of guests, including families of the 190-strong ship’s company.

Commander Darren Houston, who is commanding officer of the new warship, said her ‘Christening’ is a proud moment for his sailors.

He said: ‘This very special day marks the end of our 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.

‘I am very pleased that so many families, friends and affiliates will be part of our momentous day.’

Dragon, which arrived in Portsmouth on August 31 last year, is affiliated with the city of Cardiff. Swansea-based male singers Morriston Orpheus Choir will celebrate the ship’s Welsh links at the hour-long ceremony where Cdr Houston will read a Commissioning Warrant.

The occasion will be rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake by Cdr Houston’s wife, Liesl, and Engineering Technician Mark Soldiew, 18, who is the youngest member of the ship’s company.