The Royal Navy launched the fourth T45 destroyer on the clyde in front of over 10,000 people yesterday.
HMS Dragon slipped from the Govan shipyard to the thumping beats of the Royal Marines band while British dignitaries and top navy brass looked on in delight as their £605 million acquisition began her maiden voyage to Scotstoun.
The fourth of six ships, HMS Dragon, along with the next two ships, has secured the jobs of thousands of shipyard builders workers well into the next decade.
Each of the 150m long vessels weighs in at about 7,350 tons and will replace the ageing T42 Destroyer fleet which have been in commission since HMS Exeter was launched in 1979.
Although work on the next two T45, HMS Defender and Duncan, is still ongoing their is controversy about whether three of the six ships will be mothballed or sold on to other countries.
One source, who asked not to be named, said: “The Royal Navy has been undermanned and undererquipped since the mid 90’s. Now we’re looking at the biggest procurement programme of the modern era, but exactly where are the people coming from to man these ships? recruitment is at an all time low and people are leaving in droves. This has left many sailors to assume that the ships will have to be sold on or mothballed”.
The T45 destroyers are being built alongside Submarines HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, Aircraft carriers HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth with a combined cost of £25 Billion, but more importantly has secure the jobs of thousands of people across the country.