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HMS Dragon - the fourth of the Royal Navy's new powerful Type 45 destroyers - will be formally commissioned into the fleet today - Friday April 20th.
Hundreds of guests including families of the 190 ship's company will attend a colourful 'Christening' ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base which marks the ship's transition into front-line service.
Principal guests will be Susie Boissier - the ship's sponsor who launched the vessel at BAE Systems' Govan shipyard on the River Clyde in November 2008 - and Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery. The ceremony will be conducted by the Venerable Scott Brown, Chaplain of the Fleet.
Representatives from the ship's affiliate city of Cardiff will also be present.
Commander Darren Houston, Dragon's Commanding Officer, said the event was a proud moment for all on board HMS Dragon. "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."
Commander Houston will read a Commissioning Warrant during the hour-long ceremony which will be rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake. Performing the honour will be the CO's wife, Liesl, and Engineering Technician Mark Soldiew, aged 18, the youngest member of the ship's company.
HMS Dragon is the fourth of six Type 45 destroyers being built for the Royal Navy. All will be based in Portsmouth.
The first, HMS Daring, was commissioned in July 2009 and the fifth - HMS Defender - is due to arrive in Portsmouth for the first time this summer. All six are scheduled to be in service by the middle of the decade.
The Type 45 destroyer is the largest and most powerful destroyer ever built for the Royal Navy. It provides UK Defence with a world class military capability.