The Royal Navy’s fleet of six £1bn ($1.4bn) destroyers are losing power in the Persian Gulf because the ships’ engines cannot cope with the warm waters of the Gulf, defence chiefs have admitted.
The navy wanted 12 ships but ended up with six. The Type 45 has an integrated electric propulsion system that powers everything on board. The six Type 45 destroyers have repeatedly experienced power outages because of the temperatures, leaving servicemen in complete darkness. Defence chiefs tell Commons committee the £1bn ships are likely to suffer engine failure in warm waters.
- Destroyers’ Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines are unable to operate in extreme temperatures and will be fitted with diesel generators.
- Type 45 destroyers had been built as specified – but that the conditions in the Middle East were not “in line with these specs”.
- The ships are vulnerable to “total electric failures”, according to one naval officer in an email. That leaves the ships without propulsion or weapons systems.
- The cost of preparing the destroyers expected to amount to tens of millions of pounds.
Delaying the Type 26 frigate programme will mean the UK fleet would be “grossly inadequate” for the tasks ahead, Lord West told the defence committee.
John Hudson, managing director at BAE Systems, said: “We are in detailed negotiations with the MoD as to the build programme for the Type 26.”
“Until those discussions are complete I am not in a position to be able to advise what the cut steel date might be for the Type 26 programme.”
An MOD Spokesperson said: “The Type 45 was designed for world-wide operations, from Sub-Arctic to extreme tropical environments, and continues to operate effectively in the Gulf and the South Atlantic all year round.”
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Sources & References: CNN, The Guardian