2 NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2009
A day not to
IT WAS here that it all began.
All heard the cheers which cascaded along history is in the making,” he added.
One early spring day in 2003. A press of
the sea wall like a domino topple. “From my point of view it’s quite a privilege
the button and a laser began cutting its way
Few heard the popping of champagne on to bring this ship into her home port.
through plates of steel inside a giant shed.
Round Tower as the old Darings toasted the “There is a huge amount of public interest in
It was here on a summer’s day in 2005 that
arrival. her, and she’s getting a lot of media attention,
a bow section, floated on a barge, was towed
“We had to wet the baby’s head with a bit which is very important, because we need to
past the Round Tower on its sluggish journey
of champers,” said Mr Whitbread, a steward in tell the public what we do.”
north to join the fledgling vessel taking shape
the old ship. He added: “It makes the sailors even more
on the Clyde.
Stewards are no more – they now bear the proud of their ship – they all realise that they’ve
And it was here, on a dank, murky winter’s
cumbersome (and not especially loved) title of got something very special here.”
day in 2009 that the same bow – now firmly
logistician (catering services (delivery)). Already impressed by Daring are the ship’s
attached to the rest of the ship – emerged from
It isn’t just the change of title which company of fl agship HMS Ark Royal, who
the Solent mist.
previous generations of sailors will struggle to were treated to a brief demonstration of the
To be sure, the weather could have been
comprehend. destroyer’s manoeuvrability and speed off the
Inside DarInside Daariing the differences continue.n Isle of Wight.
“There are moody pictures –es –
There is the increased space (the ship is There is there is the Daring was heading for the West Country
and then there are invisible
designed for a compandesig y of just 190) and a brief exercise with the Royal Marines in
ones,” complained Reuters’
the surthhe prisingly small wardroom, Plymouth Sound.
cameraman Luke Macgregor,
an operaann tions room which is Ark was returning to Portsmouth from a
one of a myriad of mediamen
large,larl spacious, and even opens brief tour of the UK (see page 10).
mustered on the Portsmouth
on to daono ylight, and the hugely For 20 minutes the RN of the 80s and
improimi ved living quarters. the RN of the 00s manoeuvred side by side,
But there was something gg
Like most ships out of bL uild, exchanging formalities, before each ship in
about the conditions which cch
DarDaD ing isn’t very homely yet – she turn showed what she could do.
seemed strangely appropriate for for
needs the pictures,neen the carpets, Given her age and size, Ark isn’t quite as
the destroyer billed by the media as a as a as
the furthee fu niture and the luxuries which nimble or swift as Daring, whose incredible
“the Royal Navy’s fi rst stealth ship”hi ” –
the shipbthe shipbuilders are not contracted to supply. acceleration left Ark’s CO Capt John Clink
the ship whose 8,000-tonne bulk has the ability
But the sailors who’ve served in other ships agog.
to appear no larger than a fi shing trawler on
are still getting used to this level of comfort. “She truly is a fantastic warship and one of
other ships’ radars.
Lt Sven Johansen, Daring’s DMEO, has which we should all be proud,” he added.
For a moment the weak January sun broke
been in the Navy for 22 years and is probably Not all that is Daring has been taking place
through the cloud as the destroyer approached
the only man onboard to have seen service in in the cold murk and mist of the Solent and
her home for the first time.
Types 42s, 23s, a Leander and HMS Intrepid. Channel.
“Sun shines on the righteous,” smiled Angela
“People from 42s can’t believe the size and Six hundred and 50 miles away in the
Whitbread. “It is a good omen.”
standards of the accommodation we’ve got rather sunnier (and warmer) climes of the
She, her husband Bob, and a group of ‘old
here. But for 20 or 30 per cent of the ship’s Mediterranean, the weapon which will give
Darings’ – veterans of the previous warship
company it’s their fi rst sea draft – apart from Daring (and her five sisters) its bite was
to bear the name – gathered on Portsmouth
HMS Bristol perhaps – so they maybe don’t successfully fired for the second time.
historic city walls.
realise how different this is,” he said. Sea Viper was fired from a test barge and
Draped over the side of the tower a bright
He added: “The ship’s company are very (very) promptly intercepted a Mirach drone
banner: Good luck from the old Daring to the
upbeat about it. They like the challenges ‘skipping’ over the Med.
of the new technologies that a T45 Sea Viper? You might know it by its
They had seen pictures of her, perhaps seen
brings and being able to question many more traditional (and less inspiring)
her on TV.
of the boundaries in how the ship may name, PAAMS: Principal Anti-Air
Images have never really conveyed the size of
be operated.” Missile System.
Daring – or her 21st-Century lines.
He admitted: “It does make me To coincide with Daring’s
Up close, Daring is strikingly different from
feel old, knowing all the changes first entry into Portsmouth and
her predecessors – the lack of sharp angles
I’ve seen. To think I started on following a long list of similarly-
and deck clutter give her an austere, elegant
steam – which was extremely monikered weapons – Sea Cat,
silhouette and a futuristic appearance.
manpower intensive with very Sea Dart, Sea Slug, Seawolf –
To some, Daring’s angles, her seemingly
little automation – to a ship that PAAMS was officially renamed.
oversized main mast with its ‘spinning egg’
is a step forward in technology It is being tested off the Île du
encompassing much automation.” Levant (nine tenths missile range,
radar, were nothing new.
It isn’t just technology which sets one tenth nudist colony...) between
Many of the legions of onlookers and
D32 apart. She is twice the size of Toulon and St Tropez.
photographers who lined the walls to see her
the Type 42s (she contains more steel A 12,000-ton trials barge, Longbow,
enter her home port had also been there to see
than Blackpool Tower), twice the size of the serves as the test bed for the missile. It has a
her bow section leave more than three years
Counties, bigger even than Bristol, and three complete replica of the air defence equipment
times the size of the previous Daring, D05. in a Type 45, including long-range and missile-
Many live in the distinctive shadow of
So she doesn’t share technology or size with directing radars, a combat control centre and
her radar which sits atop a test centre on
her long-gone predecessor, but she does share missiles in their vertical launcher silos.
more than ‘just’ a name. For its second firing, Sea Viper was charged
A few had been privileged to watch her
“It’s definitely a sight worth seeing – a with taking out a low-level incoming target.
hurry down a slipway on the Clyde on a
different era completely, the highest Longbow launched a shorter range Aster 15
February day in 2006, a day no less dank, no
technology,” said former D05 cook (another missile at a Mirach drone target – simulating a
title condemned to the history books, sadly) sea-skimming anti-ship missile – at close range
All heard the thunder of her 15-gun salute as
Kelvin Bowden. and blasted it out of the sky.
she passed Southsea Common – and the seven-
“But then the old D-class were the best The missiles are capable of speeds in excess
salvo response from Fort Blockhouse.
destroyers we had at the time.” of mach four (over 3,000mph) and use an
All heard the roar of two RAF Eurofighter
So there’s a lot to live up to – not just the name, innovative control system called ‘Pif Paf’ (but
Typhoons – a stealth fl ypast, if ever there was but the media interest and the expectation, as sadly for fans of the Great Soprendo, no ‘puf’)
one, as few could make out the jets through CO Capt Paul Bennett explains. to manoeuvre in flight and complete their kill.
the low cloud. “There is a sense onboard that a bit of Naval marina Global Reach begins on page 6
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