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HMS Dragon: The 21st century warship at home in Cardiff Bay

HMS Dragon arrived yesterday for five days in Cardiff - you can't miss it! Photo:

There's something strange in Cardiff Bay - capable of reducing the capital's glorious waterfront to rubble in just seconds.

Moored in Britannia Dock is the Royal Navy's latest class of warship, HMS Dragon.

Its menacing angular lines and black-shadowed superstructure make it more Batman than battleship.

This Class 45 Destroyer was launched in Scotland and commissioned in 2012. She replaced the Type 42 which became a familiar sight in the Falklands War.

When she glided down the slipway at the Govan shipyard, she bore an enormous red dragon which has since been painted out to protect her identify in the theatre of battle.

The proud red dragon which the warship displayed back in 2011 has now been covered up.

Concealed beneath her battleship grey lurks a technological powerhouse. It is her mission to shield the Fleet from air attack. Just last month HMS Dragon was deployed to track the Russian aircraft carrier Vice Admiral Kulakov in waters north of Scotland.

I know she is an instrument of war - but there is a mystery and majesty about her. Ever since I was a boy, and saw the film The Cruel Sea, arguably the greatest war film of all time, I have had a fascination with battleships.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and Welsh Secretary have been meeting crew members on board today.

This is definitely a warship though, and there is a difference. Battleships evoke images of the Bismarck and HMS Hood from the Second World War. These leviathans have long gone, redundant as the nature of naval warfare changed.

The first HMS Dragon was launched in 1647 and there was a ship carrying the Dragon name as early as 1512. This latest incarnation is set to be honoured with the Freedom of Cardiff another time honoured tradition dating back to 1886 building on the already strong bond she has with the city.

Members of the public will be able to get on board in Cardiff on Saturday.

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