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Evening Times

Exclusive look inside the Navy's deadliest warship

Evening Times:

Reported by Gordon Thomson

News Reporter

Published / News

IT is one of the world's most advanced warships and it was shipyard workers on the Clyde who were entrusted to build the entire fleet of new generation Type 45s.

Just days before HMS Defender heads out of the city this weekend, on the start of a journey which will eventually take it to some of the world's war zones, the Evening Times was given exclusive access to the state-of-the-art vessel.

Ship's manager Graham Clark, who had shared responsibility for making sure Defender was completed on time and within budget, proudly takes visitors on the "tourist trail" around the destroyer.

The ship is so advanced even the Americans are jealous of the hardware fitted to what is an all-electric vessel.

Defender is the fifth of the six Type 45s and it's the deadliest of the entire fleet.

Upgraded versions of the equipment fitted to HMS Daring – the first – are carried by Defender.

Extra equipment has also been fitted to ensure it is more than capable of performing in any theatre of war. The control room bristles with hi-tech hardware.

Engineer Nicholas Boyd points out that the technology is so advanced that Defender can track 1000 fighter planes, assign each one with an identity tag and monitor them all individually.

On deck there is an enclosed area for a helicopter just yards from the ship's landing pad.

Next door a sea boat sits on a hoist ready for action. It is a large dinghy which seats eight personnel – that includes a driver and co- driver – and can be on the water within minutes.

Below decks there are thick steel doors, walls bearing reels of rubber hoses and other fire fighting equipment – this will be home to a crew of almost 200 who will spend months at sea.

There are cabins which sleep six with individual compartments, toilets and showers – a far cry from the days when more than 30 sailors shared the same living quarters.

You can also see the galleys for the junior ratings and galleys for the officers where leftover meals are compressed and stored on board.

"People reckon we chuck stuff overboard but that's a fallacy," said Graham. "It's stored and we have contractors who come and remove it when we dock."

Seated areas give the junior ratings and officers the space to unwind.

Giant 62-inch colour televisions are fixed to the walls. Each break-out area has more than one screen. In theory some crew could watch a live football match on Sky while others could lounge around and watch a soap.

There are sleeping quarters for temporary guests, such as special forces personnel, and there are laundry rooms fitted with giant washing machines and huge driers.

Despite the Type-45's links to Glasgow it is only HMS Defender which has been affiliated to the city.

Philip Nash, commanding officer of HMS Defender, told the Evening Times: "We're really proud of our affiliation with Glasgow. We have been made to feel very welcome."

But Commander Nash won't forget Defender's proud roots. He said: "We are pleased to be leaving because it's a new chapter, but we will be back.

"We really are looking forward to coming back to Glasgow."

The journey south will take four days and will be used in part to trial the navy's newest addition.

The 43-year-old ship's captain and his crew will spend more than a year familiarising themselves with Defender's capabilities.

They will be battle ready at the start of 2014 – the year Glasgow's sporting credentials will be showcased worldwide, when the city hosts the Commonwealth Games.

Commander Nash admits it would be nice if Defender could play a part.

He said: "It's not my decision but it would be lovely to be involved in some way."

It's a sentiment shared by the ship's executive warrant officer Bob Morrison, 44, from Rhu, near Helensburgh.

He will be responsible for the crew's welfare and enjoys the challenges the job brings.

Bob said: "You never know what will happen, just what will come through the door in the morning.

"If I can't help them I'll put them in touch with the right people."

Commanding Officer Nash, along with key members of his crew, will slip out of the Scotstoun shipyard on Saturday and set course for Portsmouth where the battleship will be officially handed over to the Royal Navy next Wednesday.

Five years after the first steel was cut, Defender – like its sister ships – is set to rule the seas, only this one belongs to Glasgow.

gordon.thomson@eveningtimes.co.uk

IT is one of the world's most advanced warships and it was shipyard workers on the Clyde who were entrusted to build the entire fleet of new generation Type 45s.

Just days before HMS Defender heads out of the city this weekend, on the start of a journey which will eventually take it to some of the world's war zones, the Evening Times was given exclusive access to the state-of-the-art vessel.

Ship's manager Graham Clark, who had shared responsibility for making sure Defender was completed on time and within budget, proudly takes visitors on the "tourist trail" around the destroyer.

The ship is so advanced even the Americans are jealous of the hardware fitted to what is an all-electric vessel.

Defender is the fifth of the six Type 45s and it's the deadliest of the entire fleet.

Upgraded versions of the equipment fitted to HMS Daring – the first – are carried by Defender.

Extra equipment has also been fitted to ensure it is more than capable of performing in any theatre of war. The control room bristles with hi-tech hardware.

Engineer Nicholas Boyd points out that the technology is so advanced that Defender can track 1000 fighter planes, assign each one with an identity tag and monitor them all individually.

On deck there is an enclosed area for a helicopter just yards from the ship's landing pad.

Next door a sea boat sits on a hoist ready for action. It is a large dinghy which seats eight personnel – that includes a driver and co- driver – and can be on the water within minutes.

Below decks there are thick steel doors, walls bearing reels of rubber hoses and other fire fighting equipment – this will be home to a crew of almost 200 who will spend months at sea.

There are cabins which sleep six with individual compartments, toilets and showers – a far cry from the days when more than 30 sailors shared the same living quarters.

You can also see the galleys for the junior ratings and galleys for the officers where leftover meals are compressed and stored on board.

"People reckon we chuck stuff overboard but that's a fallacy," said Graham. "It's stored and we have contractors who come and remove it when we dock."

Seated areas give the junior ratings and officers the space to unwind.

Giant 62-inch colour televisions are fixed to the walls. Each break-out area has more than one screen. In theory some crew could watch a live football match on Sky while others could lounge around and watch a soap.

There are sleeping quarters for temporary guests, such as special forces personnel, and there are laundry rooms fitted with giant washing machines and huge driers.

Despite the Type-45's links to Glasgow it is only HMS Defender which has been affiliated to the city.

Philip Nash, commanding officer of HMS Defender, told the Evening Times: "We're really proud of our affiliation with Glasgow. We have been made to feel very welcome."

But Commander Nash won't forget Defender's proud roots. He said: "We are pleased to be leaving because it's a new chapter, but we will be back.

"We really are looking forward to coming back to Glasgow."

The journey south will take four days and will be used in part to trial the navy's newest addition.

The 43-year-old ship's captain and his crew will spend more than a year familiarising themselves with Defender's capabilities.

They will be battle ready at the start of 2014 – the year Glasgow's sporting credentials will be showcased worldwide, when the city hosts the Commonwealth Games.

Commander Nash admits it would be nice if Defender could play a part.

He said: "It's not my decision but it would be lovely to be involved in some way."

It's a sentiment shared by the ship's executive warrant officer Bob Morrison, 44, from Rhu, near Helensburgh.

He will be responsible for the crew's welfare and enjoys the challenges the job brings.

Bob said: "You never know what will happen, just what will come through the door in the morning.

"If I can't help them I'll put them in touch with the right people."

Commanding Officer Nash, along with key members of his crew, will slip out of the Scotstoun shipyard on Saturday and set course for Portsmouth where the battleship will be officially handed over to the Royal Navy next Wednesday.

Five years after the first steel was cut, Defender – like its sister ships – is set to rule the seas, only this one belongs to Glasgow.

THE MAN BEHIND THE TYPE 45

PAUL RAFFERTY is the architect behind the Royal Navy's newest fleet of battleships.

He began as an apprentice draughtsman in Govan and ended up as BAE Systems' Programme Director for the Type 45, which has been nine years in the making.

The first steel for the new £6billion fleet was cut in 2003. Nine years later HMS Defender will leave the Clyde – a floating war machine which epitomises the workmanship of the Glasgow shipyard worker. Paul, 52, said: "The pride and sense of achievement has been phenomenal, the level of ownership, tremendous.

"As Defender prepares to leave the Clyde I can tell you she's the most capable ship in her class."

The Type 45s will protect aircraft carriers and convoys from attack while providing amphibious landing forces at global trouble spots.

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