HMS Dragon Heads To Middle East

HMS Dragon sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday morning on her maiden deployment, spending seven months on operations in the Middle East.

The Type 45 destroyer will police busy shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean conducting maritime security and counter piracy operations.

Dragon is the fourth of the Royal Navy's six new Type 45s. Built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, she made her first entry into her home port of Portsmouth in 2011 and was commissioned into the Navy's fleet in April last year.

Since the ship and her 190 crew have undergone intensive sea trials off the UK coast.

Her Commanding Officer, Captain Iain Lower, said: "It is with immense pride that HMS Dragon sails from Portsmouth for her first operational deployment. Since leaving the builder's yard in Scotstoun nearly two years ago and through intense combat system and propulsion trials and operational sea training our focus has been about this moment.

"I would like to pay tribute to BAE Systems and all the contractors and civilian support agencies that have worked with us towards this day. Of course it is with great sadness that we leave our families, friends and loved ones behind, but we deploy with a real sense of excitement, anticipation and confidence in Dragon's ability to meet the challenges ahead."

Facts about the Type 45:

  • Her Sea Viper missiles are the size of a telephone box, weigh two thirds as much as a small car and accelerate from launch to a speed twice that of Concorde in under 10 seconds.
  •  Her hull is made of 2800 tonnes of steel - more than the weight of Blackpool Tower.
  • 40 tonnes of paint covering 100,000 square meters of steel has been applied.
  • At 152m she is longer than 16 double decker buses and she is as high as an electricity pylon.
  • Her onboard power plant can supply enough electricity to light a town of 80,000 people.
  • Her fuel tanks are roughly half as big as an Olympic swimming pool.
  •  She has 220 beds, 26 sofa beds, 22 single beds and her own hospital facilities complete with operating table. 
  • There are 44 showers, 54 toilets, 100 wash basins and 1 bath onboard.
  • Her carpet could cover nearly two 5-a-side football pitches.
  • Her electrical cable could circle the M25 three times