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She’s better than
SHE is more than capable.
She is fast and agile.
Having breezed through another set
And she is powerful. of sea trials with nonchalance, Daring
But there is one big, big problem with
Daring – she just doen’t look real.
welcomed a party of journalists,
I know in the grand military scheme of including MIKE GRAY, on board to see
things it doesn’t really matter whether she
looks real or not.
her in action off Largs
But when she glided into view on a
still May morning off Largs, it was as if
we were watching a computer-generated
indicative of the advances in comfort that
50 per cent of a Type pe
Daring brings to the Fleet.
23, and it pushes her range ange
Her uncompromising, boxy lines are as
Initially – and inaccurately – dismissed
out to around 7,000 nautical miles nautical miles
yet unfamiliar, and her size is deceptive.
by sections of the press as the iPod warship
(or a round trip from the Solent to New the Solent to New
But it is not just her appearance which
(there are, of course, no dedicated iPod York, to continue the cruise ship analogy) ihi l)
is unreal.
sockets built into the destroyer), and some compared to 4,000 or so in the case of the
The early signs are that BAE Systems
sort of cushy hybrid warship/cruise liner, veteran destroyers.
have built a ship which is surpassing all
she is certainly a big step up from the Daring is just over 150 metres long, but
expectations in terms of performance.
current destroyer and frigate fleet. snaking back and forth inside her hull are
The media got another chance to look
The space available to each member more than 20,000 power and data cables
at D32 on Day 33 of her latest series of
of the ship’s company is more than a which, if knotted together, would stretch
sea trials – and the relaxed atmosphere
third greater than on previous ships, and some 620km.
on board was in some part down to the
equates to that enjoyed by passengers on Her flight deck is large enough to park
fact that they had wrapped up power and
commercial ferries. 20 London buses (How many blue whales
propulsion testing, as well as initial weapons
Officers have single cabins (although does that equate to? – Ed) but until Mayor
tests, two days ahead of schedule and in
Young Officers will have to ‘slum it’ in Boris Johnson fits rotors to his beloved
time for the Bank Holiday weekend.
two-berth grots), senior rates have either Routemasters, Daring and her sisters will
The most obvious manifestation of the
single or two-berth cabins and junior rates usually handle Merlins, although Chinooks
wow factor was provided by her handling.
have six-berth cabins. would present no problems.
Her engineers can crank her up from
The Darings are also the first class of And I said she was big; from the tip of
zero to 28 knots in little over a minute, ship to have a dedicated gym on board,
her shiny new keel to the top of the spiky
and can then stop her again within five or made more necessary by the fact that there
egg of her Sampson radar dome she towers
six lengths. is no uninterrupted stretch of deck around
44 metres, about the same, appropriately
Her turning circle is between three and which sailors can run.
enough, as Nelson’s Column (minus the
four lengths – and as Admiralty Trials So she certainly seems a bit of a soft
plinth, for you pedants out there).
Officer Capt Graham Baxter demonstrated option to those whose service included
Impressive stats, but a ship is more than
her agility in figure-of-eight turns, those of stints in wartime corvettes or battleships
a collection of facts and figures.
us on the flight deck were like excited which were bursting at the seams with
The weather was particularly benign in
children clinging on to rails and any other men and weaponry.
Bute Sound, between the isles of Bute and
fixed points as she smoothly But she is, nonetheless, a technological
Arran, as she was put through her paces,
heeled 14 degrees to port then marvel, right up there with the very best
but she was subtly different to other ships
starboard. warships around at the moment.
I have spent time on.
The wow factor, and the sense One of the facts bandied around is
There was very little vibration, even at
of unreality, continued inside her another wow – the tracking capability of
high speeds – mainly as a result of the all-
steel skin. her principal weapon system.
electric propulsion system, which requires
Radar displays in the cool, airy When fully operational, Daring will be
no troublesome gearboxes and transmits
operations room picked out every able to protect herself and her high-value
power smoothly from gas turbines to
commercial aircraft in the skies consorts with PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air
shafts through wires rather than big, noisy
over Scotland and the northern Missile System), which can identify, track
and fallible cogs.
counties of England; sensors can and destroy an incoming threat the size of
So smooth and quiet was the ride that,
identify threats up to 200 miles a cricket ball travelling at three times the
once within the confines of her hull (there
from the ship. speed of sound.
is little open deck space, in keeping with her
The companionways are wide, She will destroy such threats with Aster
angular stealthy build), there was rarely a
with spacious flats – a far cry missiles, which are so manoeuvrable that
sense of being on board a moving warship.
from the cramped, noisy Type they pull more than 60G in flight; eight
The extensive bridge is laid out so that
42s that Daring and her sisters such missiles can be launched at separate
everything is facing forward; although
will replace. targets in around ten seconds.
paper charts are still around, they tend
And – mercifully – the hatches Rather puts the Wii to shame, doesn’t
to be used for planning, while the ship is
are bigger; at 6ft 3in I normally it?
navigated using electronic systems.
have to duck through doorways A few more facts.
Lt Cdr Philip Harper, who recently
to avoid a permanent parting, Her gas turbines and diesels between
handed over the role of navigator to
but not on Daring. them can generate up to 48 megawatts,
become Executive Officer of HMS Scott,
Down in the junior rates’ mess, which is apparently enough to power
said the large windows gave exceptional
a game of ten-pin bowling was all the homes in Dundee or Leicester,
visibility on the bridge, and the overall
under way. depending on which engineer you ask
impression was very good.
Okay, so she’s not quite that (and, presumably, how many kettles the
“Most ships would be thundering
big; the game was being played good people of Dundee and Leicester are
about at 26 knots, but we can do it very
on a Wii games console. boiling at the time).
smoothly,” he said.
But the fact there was a But she is by no means thirsty; her fuel
“It has been impressive on here – like
roomy corner to play the game consumption is around 30 per cent of
being a waterborne test pilot.”
in a spacious junior rates mess is that used by the Type 42 destroyer, and
With her hidden boat compartments
and fully enclosed fo’c’sle (protecting
sailors from the elements as well as
reducing radar signatures) she is a far
cry from the previous generation which
underwent a baptism of fire in 1982.
Indeed, on board Daring for her
trials were a handful of veterans from
the Falklands War.
Veterans like Lt Paul Snee, for
example, who served in Type 21
frigate HMS Alacrity during the
Falklands War.
“We took the lessons learned
from the Falklands and we have
now incorporated them into new
ship builds,” said Lt Snee, who is an
Officer of the Watch in Daring, liaising
between the Royal Navy and BAE.
The officer, who was due to join
Daring’s sister Dauntless as Navy
● Clockwise from top left: Two
shots of Daring at speed; the Type
45 skids round on tight turn; making
her way towards a rendezvous off
Largs; a Typhoon fl ies past the new
ship; Daring heels over during a tight
turn; testing her pre-wet system
Pictures: BAE Systems and Mike Gray
0020-021_NN_jun.indd 120-021_NN_jun.indd 1 116/5/08 15:12:116/5/08 15:12:11
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