As the rain cleared this afternoon, DRAGON sat on the slip at Govan, the latest vessel of the Type 45 class of destroyer to await what is possibly the most stressful time in a ship's career, her launch.
At 1500 exactly, following her naming by her Lady Sponsor, Mrs Susie Boissier, whose husband is Deputy Commander-In-Chief Fleet and Chief of Staff (Headquarters), DRAGON started to move.
As she slid into the waters of the River Clyde, balloons were released from her fore deck, followed by a display of pyrotechnics. The dragchains soon brought DRAGON to a halt midstream.
Tugs SVITZER MALLAIG and WARRIOR III soon made fast and held DRAGON in position while the wire hawsers securing the dragchains to her hull were released.
Clyde Marine's tugs BITER and BEAVER BAY were also in attendance, taking care of the sliding ways, which by now had floated free and had to be taken clear before the two tugs joined their larger compatriots. Two line runners - COURIER and RANGER - were also used to clear flotsam from the launch.
With the sliding ways taken care of, DRAGON was manoeuvred into the basin at the former Fairfield shipyard. She will remain at Govan for a few days before heading downriver to BVT Surface Fleet's other yard at Scotstoun, where she will be fitted out. DRAGON is due to be in full naval service by 2012. The bow of DEFENDER, the fifth ship in the series, can be seen on the right. It will be moved onto the slipway fairly soon, where it will be joined by other modules currently inside the building sheds.