Sailors have been praised for getting their warship ready for operations four months ahead of schedule.
HMS Duncan, a Type 45 destroyer, was commissioned in September and was expected to be handed over to the fleet in the spring.
But preparations for the 7,500-tonne vessel have been achieved faster than planned and the ship has now joined the fleet alongside her sister ships. Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said: ‘Thanks to the skill and hard work of the commanding officer, the ship’s company and their Ministry of Defence and industry partners, HMS Duncan has entered service four months early.
‘It is testament to the improving control of projects across the armed forces and significant dedication across defence that all six ships of the Type 45 class are now in the hands of the Royal Navy.
‘We expect these vessels to see decades of service protecting the UK’s interests around the world, including providing humanitarian aid as we saw recently with HMS Daring’s efforts in the Philippines.’
The ship put its main guns to the test off Dorset, before going on to visit the Netherlands in the ship’s first foreign visit.
Sailors spend eight days in the country, supporting defence trade shows in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
The Royal Navy has six Type 45 destroyers, all of which are based in Portsmouth.
They are HMS Daring, Diamond, Dauntless, Dragon, Defender, and Duncan.