VT rolls out bow for navy destroyer

VT Shipbuilding has rolled out the bow section for the latest Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender, at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The 1000 tonne structure was wheeled out from VT’s main shipbuilding assembly hall and placed on the barge Woolston in a two-hour operation.

HMS Defender is the fifth in a series of six ship sets being built by VT. Unlike its work for previous ships, VT will ship the bow, uptakes/downtakes and mast for HMS Defender in a single operation, as opposed to separate shipments made on the different elements of previous ships.

All the VT parts for this ship, apart from the LongRange mast which is shipped to the Netherlands for installation of the radar, will leave Portsmouth in June for transit to Glasgow, where the rest of the ship is being built and assembled by prime contractor BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions.

VT Type 45 project director John Richardson said: ‘We are on course to complete our part of the programme ahead of schedule with the final ship set due to be in Glasgow before the end of the year.

‘The programme has underlined the capability of our Portsmouth facility and our progress along the contract learning curve, with a reduction of more than 30 per cent in man hours between the first and final ships.’

The bow section of HMS Defender, which like the previous units has been outfitted to an advanced level, has taken some 20 months to build. The ship is scheduled to be launched in Autumn 2009.