A day at sea on HMS Dragon – what a ship!

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Events, Opinion
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We all tend to live life according to routine, and one day can drift in another often without us noticing. But every now and then you have a totally new experience, some of which can be really memorable. Such was my day yesterday, when I was invited to spend a day at sea with the captain and crew of the Royal Navy’s latest warship, HMS Dragon.

Enter the dragon: The £1 billion destroyer, HMS Dragon, has close links with Cardiff.

We had a delicious supper on board on Wednesday evening, with the Lieutenant Commander John Fitzpatrick RN, second in command aboard, and some of his officers – Jason, Frankie and Helen to name a few – then spent many hours yesterday on board being shown the quite staggering firepower and defence system of this £1 billion warship.

HMS Dragon joined the Royal Navy Service Fleet in April 2011 and is currently based in Portsmouth. Part of the Daring Class, Type 45 Destroyer Dragon has what is considered to be the most powerful air defence system in the world. I was just amazed at the warship’s capabilites and the professionalism of Darren Houston, Commanding Officer, and his crew, many from Wales, who made all the visitors very much at home.

We saw a demonstration off the Isle of Wight by a Lynx helicopter, and experienced in the opps room how a mock air attack could be repelled by the ship’s air defence systems.

Affiliated with Cardiff, which also homes the HMS Dragon Affiliated Mess (known as the HMS Dragon Aux. Wardroom), HMS Dragon is still undergoing trials before being deployed next year.

When we were told that the Rolls Royce gas turbine engines used to power the ship are of similar power to those which powered Concorde, and jumbo aircraft, you start to realise the capabilities of this awesome ship! I was completely blown away when one of the control room engineers explained that the electric power generated by the two onboard electric motors, 20MW each, could power a modest town if ever required during an emergency!

With government cutbacks affecting all aspects of our armed forces it was refreshing to visit one investment in our Navy which will protect our shores and those of our allies for decades to come. I left Portsmouth having made some great new friends, and reassured that this is a group of very professional and highly skilled young men and women. Extremely well-led, they will be patrolling the world’s seas acting as a powerful deterrent to those who would wish us harm.

Safe sailing Dragon, and thanks for welcoming me on board.

You can find out more about HMS Dragon by visiting the British Warships Association website at www.bwa.org.uk.

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