Navy's new destroyer performs well in trials

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New destroyer HMS Dragon has returned to the Clyde after successful sea trials.

The Type 45 destroyer - one of six being built for the Royal Navy - spent her first fortnight of trials north of Scotland to test her basic systems and fire her weapons.

The ship, which currently has a mixed crew of sailors and BAE Systems staff, has now resumed fitting out and tests on the Clyde shipyard in Scotland, ahead of her hand over to the Royal Navy in Portsmouth in September.

Thanks to lessons learnt from the previous three Type 45s, Dragon went to sea with far fewer technical issues than that of HMS Daring, Dauntless and Diamond.

Her basic systems were tested in sheltered waters off Arran and Kintyre. She then sailed for the ranges off Benbecula in the freezing Outer Hebrides to fire her main 4.5in gun, 30mm cannons and machine-guns.

Dragon's radar was also fired up, enabling the ops room to track aircraft at ranges in excess of 200 miles.

Weapon engineer officer, Commander Peter Frankham, said: 'I've been associated with the development of various parts of the Type 45's combat system for the past 15 years - it's very rewarding to see it coming to life onboard Dragon before my eyes.'

Dragon will be handed over to the Royal Navy in September - by which time the fifth ship in the programme, HMS Defender, should be ready for trials. The sixth and final Type 45, HMS Duncan, was launched in October.