I have been to … HMS Duncan

Over the past weekend HMS Duncan (D37) – the last of the Daring-class Type 45 Destroyers to be built and commissioned – paid a visit to London.

Whilst she was moored alongside in the Docklands area of East London, Sue and I were able to pay her a visit. We got our first glimpse of her as the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) train in which were we travelling passed over the dock in which she was moored.

We passed along the ship’s port side …

… and boarded via a gangway that led up to her quarterdeck/helicopter deck.

An Agusta-Westland AW159 Wildcat helicopter was parked in the centre of the quarterdeck/helicopter deck. (HMS Duncan can carry up to two Wildcats or a single Agusta-Westland AW101 Merlin helicopter.)

Our route around the ship first took us through the ship’s helicopter hanger, …

… past the officers’ Wardroom (with its special ‘Duncan’ tartan tablecloth), …

… part of the Sick Bay, …

… a two-person berth, …

… and into the ship’s Operations Room.

We then passed out through a watertight bulkhead door onto the forecastle, where many of the ship’s main weapons systems are located. These include the Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, …

… two pairs of anti-torpedo decoy launchers (there are one pair on both the port and starboard sides) that form part of the ship’s Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD) system, …

… the 48-cell Sylver (SYstème de Lancement VERtical) vertical launching system (VLS) for the ship’s Aster anti-aircraft missiles (HMS Duncan carries a mixture of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles), …

… and her 4.5-inch/55 Mk.8 Mod 1 gun.

The forecastle gave us an excellent view of the ship’s bridge and forward sensor mast, which is topped by a Type 1046 SAMPSON multi-function dual-face active electronically scanned array radar.

We then walked along the port side of HMS Duncan, passing under one of her DS 30M 30mm/75 automatic guns, …

… and past a Chaff launcher. (There were a pair of these Chaff launchers mounted on each side of the ship.)

We then passed one of the two 20mm Phalanx close-in weapon systems (CIWS) that are mounted on each side of the ship.

These provide her with a very effective close-defence capability against sea-skimming missiles.

Just above us we could see the Type 1046 S1850M 3D long range passive electronically scanned array radar, which is located atop a short tower above the ship’s hanger …

… and additional electronic equipment, which is mounted on a mast forward of it.

We then passed through another watertight bulkhead door which gave us access into the gallery around the upper level of the helicopter hanger. We descended into the hanger via a ladder, and as we left the hanger we could see …

… the ship’s bell, which is located on the starboard outer wall of the hanger.

Sue and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to HMS Duncan, and hope to visit further Royal Navy warships that pay official visits to London.


20 Comments on “I have been to … HMS Duncan”

  1. johntheone says:

    The ships have changed a lot since served

  2. Johntheone,

    The last time I visited a Royal Navy warship (it was a Type 22 Frigate) there was still quite a bit of analogue equipment … but now everything seems to be electronic.

    All the best,


  3. Nigel Drury says:

    The shape of the type 45s is certainly distinctive. The Duncan pre-dreadnoughts on the other hand were the last to be painted in the white/buff/black scheme of the Victorian fleet.

  4. alastair says:

    Looks like an interesting visit. I think my brother in law helped build that one!

  5. Thanks for the fascinating report and the photos – HMS Duncan seems quite a substantial and potent vessel. Pity we did n't build more! Out of curiosity how did you find about her visit – was it via an official RN website?

  6. Nigel Drury,

    The Type 45s are quite impressive when seen up close, although the silhouette takes a bit of getting used to.

    I had not realised that the battleships of the Duncan-class were the last to be painted in the traditional Victorian livery.

    All the best,


  7. Alastair,

    If your brother-in-law did help to build her, he did a great job!

    All the best,


  8. David Bradley,

    It would have been great if the Royal Navy had twelve rather than six Type 45s, but I suspect that they were too expensive in terms of cost and manpower.

    My wife picked up information about the open day via a Twitter feed called 'On The Thames'. We followed a link from there.

    All the best,


  9. Giles says:

    Bob – this is an excellent post. As I said on TMP, I have a very good view of this ship from my office window, and my trainee and I have been reading your post to work out what the various external bits are. The two radar arrays are now whirling around – apparently some sort of drill is going to happen this afternoon.

    Best wishes

    Giles (previous comment deleted because of bad spelling)

  10. Giles,

    I am a little surprised that the Royal Navy didn't contact local people about taking a visit to the ship. They have certainly done that in the past in Greenwich.

    I am glad that you can use my post to help you identify which bit is which on HMS Duncan. I must admit to being a little surprised that they have both main radar systems operating as I would have thought that the buildings in the area would have made the displays rather 'busy'.

    All the best,


  11. Giles says:

    They must have told local offices about the drill today, as we received an email this morning telling us not to worry about what happens! The hangar is opened up on the starboard side now; a rather sleek dinghy came out of it that is currently amusing some passing schoolchildren.

  12. Giles,

    Interesting that they tell you about the drill but not about the open day!

    They had one of the inflatables in the water yesterday and the other hanging from its davits.

    All the best,


  13. Lee Hadley says:

    Great pictures and a very interesting post.

  14. Lee Hadley,

    Glad that you enjoyed it!

    All the best,


  15. James Bailes says:

    Excellent set of photos Bob, the nearest I'll ever get to a skimmer these days. On a foot note that I was on my career course will the Leading Hand stood by the 4.5 door. Great Post. All the best, Pete.

  16. James Bailes says:

    Excuse the terrible autocorrect

  17. James Bailes (Pete),

    I am very pleased to read that you enjoyed this blog entry … and that you recognised one of the crew!

    I only wish that the Royal Navy had managed to acquire twelve of these ships rather than the six they ended up with.

    All the best,


  18. James Bailes (Pete),

    No apologies needed; we all suffer from this wonderful 'innovation'!

    All the best,


  19. Chris Kemp says:

    Had you not heard Bob? HMSs Kevin, Brian, Colin, Steve, Rupert and Dave were all cancelled because Parliament thought the RN were taking the micky.

    Regards, Chris

    p.s. Very nice post.

  20. Chris Kemp,

    It could have been worse; one of the previous Daring-class destroyers was named DAINTY!!!

    (I'm very pleased that you enjoyed reading this blog entry.)

    All the best,


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