The Ministry of Defence has appointed an alliance team led by BAE Systems to deliver its Type 45 Power Improvement Project (PIP) and resolve power generation issues faced by the anti-air destroyers.

According to a press release we received from BAE Systems (the prime contractor for the vessels), the defence giant have joined with Cammell Laird and naval design and technical support expert BMT to win the contract, and yesterday signed a charter on board HMS Diamond along with representatives from the Royal Navy and MoD.

Controversy erupted in 2016 when it was revealed that due to issues with the Northrop Grumman intercooler on the WR-21 gas turbines in the warm climate of the Persian Gulf, the vessels were not operating as originally envisioned. As a solution, this multimillion-pound refit adding additional power generation capacity is planned.

Despite media exaggeration however, the class have actually managed to sail routinely in recent times due to a series of workarounds and temporary rectifications, even able to deploy to the Gulf and other warmer locations. This permanent fix is expected to remove the issue altogether.

HMS Diamond new generator installation.

The project will improve “resilience” in the Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer power and propulsion system by replacing the existing two diesel generators, fitting an additional diesel generator and modifying the high voltage system on each ship. The alliance has drawn on each member’s expertise across the defence and commercial sectors, and draws on proven power and propulsion capability and over 30 years of unique Type 45 design, build and support experience.

David Mitchard, Managing Director, BAE Systems Maritime Services, said:

“We are immensely proud to support the Royal Navy’s Type 45 fleet whether at home or on deployment around the world.  By combining the collective knowledge, experience and skills of BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and BMT we are demonstrating our commitment to present a robust technical solution with an innovative commercial alliance. Our aim is to rapidly restore command confidence in the power and propulsion system of the Type 45 fleet, demonstrate value for money and safeguard vital skills for future generations of warship support.”

Jeremy Berwick, Managing Director, BMT Defence and Security, said:

“We firmly believe in the power of teamwork and this agreement sets the seal on the coming together of three highly complementary partners to form the very best team.  We look forward to working with our partners to deliver a fresh, lean and rapid solution for the Royal Navy.”

Linton Roberts, Managing Director, Cammell Laird, said:

“Cammell Laird is delighted and proud to have been selected to undertake the Type 45 Power Improvement Programme in partnership with BAE Systems and BMT. This highly collaborative approach is very much in line with the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy by maximising the effectiveness of the complementary expertise and experience of each partner. The Ministry of Defence has driven a challenging competition for this contract, and we are confident that our Alliance will deliver a very innovative technical solution to the Royal Navy.”

Charter signing on-board HMS Diamond

The scope of the PIP competition was split into two lots, comprising major procurement, design and integration of the solution, and the physical installation and replacement of equipment onboard the Type 45 vessels. The BAE Systems-led team competed in and won both lots, with work set to begin immediately.

The installation and replacement of equipment is planned to take place at Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, before a series of harbour and sea trials will enable the ships to return to their home at Portsmouth Naval Base, where they will return to Royal Navy operations supported by BAE Systems.

69 COMMENTS

  1. Morning all
    One good thing about the Sec Def is he seems to be getting things moving.
    Activity and achievement, novel for the defence sector.

  2. Whilst the type 45 are in dry dock having new diesel generators fitted please, please, please see sense and fit strike length mk41 vl systems. This is the only way to make the most of our megre surface fleet numbers. Mk41 turns the type 45 into a true multi purpose warship enabling:
    Deep surface strike via tomahawk
    Long range anti ship via LRASM
    Anti ship via Norwegian anti ship missile
    Anti submarine via ASROC
    This is desperately needed!

    • Firstly, If you fit the strike length MK41 in the existing space that was put aside for it during build the crew will lose its rowing and exercise machines…they wont be happy…

      Secondly, fitting a Mk41 is easy…integrating all of the wish list weapons into the shore side supply system, the ships combat system and the Shore Training system would take years at least 5 years for just type from initial ordering and that’s on a good day.

    • My preference would be to add Camm launch tubes and install Aster 30 NT block 1 to give the class some BMD capability. I would leave land strike to the Type 26 and Astutes snd naval gunfire support to Type 31, installing the Mk8 if that is what it takes to get under the the £250m budget. Before taking any doctrinal decisions on ASROC I would like to know how this exercise turns out. Merlin is pretty good sub hunter and killer and Type 45 does have a bow sonar.
      https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-target-duncan-merlins-try-to-protect-destroyer-during-nato-sub-exercise
      Agree regarding NSM for self defence against surface threats, in the short term. Type 45 is an pivotal asset.
      I think the RN will skip LRASM and go with whatever the Anglo-French program comes up with.

      • No need to fit Sea Ceptor tubes, they’re quad packable in the existing Sylver A50. I’m with you on the Aster 30 upgrade, between that and the expanded load quad SCs give in place of Aster 15, we could actually get away with just a single T45 escorting the carrier (plus a T26 or 2)

        Honestly, at this stage I highly doubt the T45 will ever get Mk41. Regardless, it doesn’t really need it that much; the A50 cells allow it to do its AAW mission, Tomahawk would be nice but isn’t critical, and it couldn’t use ASROC to its full effect anyway. A new cannister AShM on the other hand is crucial. NSM is more than enough for a stop gap while we wait for Perseus

        • I haven’t read anything to suggest that Perseus will be ready before 2030. You have to wonder what the T45s, T26s and T31s will actually have until then. Surely the RN isn’t expecting to keep Harpoon for another 12 years?

          • It would be nice if they could speed up the Perseus programme, but for now 2030 is the expectation.

            The RN didn’t even expect to keep Harpoon this long, let alone another decade, hence why it was due out of service last year. Tragically, as with every other issue the forces currently have, theres not enough money to remedy the situation without sacrificing something else important.

            In a perfect world, Perseus would’ve been ready now. In a better world, we’d be buying LRASM. As it stands, NSM offers a cheaper yet still effective solution

    • Cost-wise, it may be easier to pick a couple of the weapons from your list and certify them for the already-installed A50 VLS. The Aster 30 (especially in NT type) is a genuinely good missile, and they can quad-pack Sea Ceptor for short range air defence in those tubes too.
      In my opinion, leave the ASW to the T26 but I fully agree that an ASM and land strike missile would make sense. The Norwegians have already modified their NSM to be compatible with Mark41 VLS, and it’s got a land strike capability, so it wouldn’t be difficult to set it up for the A50. That’s just one extra missile type, compatible across T26, T31 and T45 regardless of the type of tube fitted. The same missile also fits in the F35 weapon bay apparently, although not sure about the B model. Potentially you’ve got so much commonality of weapons systems, cost savings and capability improvements that it would blow the MOD’s mind!

        • NSM is just under 4m long on its own, and the A50 can hold missiles up to 5m, but doing that would use up VLS space that the T45 doesn’t really have to waste. A canister launched version to replace Harpoon would be better

    • it already has most of that. thats what makes them so expensive to build and why we only got 6 of the planned 12

  3. Is there even space for strike length cells in the Type 45? Would we sacrifice space from the current missile fit of Aster 15/30? Which are used for area and point defence which is the vessels primary function.

    What about the Aster 30NT?

    I’m all for flexibility and maximising the use of all our naval vessels, however the money spent on integrating the Mk41 and it’s weapons onto the platform would be pretty expensive and would this then take money away from say the Type 31e programme.

    Ultimately we need to prioritise the money we have, I would rather have the 8 fully equipped Type 26, 5 Type 31e with a decent weapons fit, and 6 Type 45 with the ability to launch Aster 30NT with an Anti Ballistic missile capability.

    That’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

    • The Type 45 was originally designed to accommodate 64 strike length tubes, and theres still space to fit 12 MK41 cells in addition to the existing 48 Sylver A50s (presumably mixing Mk41 and Sylver cells is less than an optimal, hence why the max fit would be 60 cells instead of 64).

      I agree with you to an extent: the cost of fitting 12 Mk41 cells to all 6 Type 45s would cost as much as a Type 31, and right now we need the Type 31 more. The only additions the Type 45s need are a new canister launched AShM missile and BMD capability.

  4. By the way, the pictures are misleading. They are not the new Gensets going in …they are the existing Wartsilla units being exchanged out.
    Some one did mention to me the new Gensets wont be Wartsilla but MTU or MAN I cannot remember which…
    They was even talk of diverting the T23 DG re-engine project units to T45 to save time on the procurement .

  5. Agree with the comments about arming them properly (with MK41 VLS) while the power issues are resolved.

    Still no indicators about when this will start, how long each ship will take, which order of ships.

    Will they do anything about the fact that they are noisy and can be track by subs from a long distance ?

    • Upgrading the diesels such that they can operate on these alone will provide an opportunity to create more quiet mode of propulsion. It would be good if they can take some of the design ideas from the Type 26 into this.

  6. “This permanent fix is expected to remove the issue altogether.“

    The power outage issue, or the inter-cooler…

    In other words, will these vessels be carrying extra baggage throughout their lifespan?

    • As I understand it the purpose of the intercooled is to increase the thermodynamic efficiency of the turbines and thereby reduce fuel consumption. The IEP system as whole was designed I think such that the expected cut over from diesels to turbine occurred at quite a low speed, once you tootled out of harbour. Problem is that in warm input water the efficiency of the turbine intercooler arrangement ( 2nd law of Thermodynamics) falls to a level such that the when the diesels cut out the turbines are in a part of their thermodynamic envelope where they are generating less power than the diesels which are switching off. So the lights go out; you are up against the laws of physics even if you fix the intercooler. Because the efficiency of the turbines increases with power output the safest thing to do is to raise the power load at which the the turbines cut in. So the complete solution has two parts: more diesel power and changes to the voltage.
      Happy to be corrected on this. My physics is a distant memory.

    • The PIP is will provide double power redundancy on the Type 45s and enable future additions to the class – lasers etc. The intercooler component has been redesigned and tested successfully in a recent middle east deployment.

      The last failure of the Type 45 power units was many years ago. Operationally they had developed a process to bypass the intercooler when they knew it was at it’s limit.

        • As I stated on another response, if they’re smart they’ll take some of the Type 26 design aspects and apply it to the Type 45 and be able to have a quiet diesel electric propulsion mode and plenty of power when they need it.

          • Yeah. Understood. My knowledge here is sparse but I am guessing the ‘ideal’ ASW drive is designed in from the get go: diesel electric with the diesels mounted on dampers on a deck which is above the waterline. That said it has to be smart to take the opportunity to make the ship quieter when cruising.

    • my son is on duncan and says it works so well not even a lightbulb has needed fixing since she became operational, most of the negativity around these fine ships is media inspired drivel. a quiet news day,’lets make something up’. don’t believe all you hear.

      • This is it. The operational aspect of the power issues were sorted a long time ago by bypassing the intercooler when it reached a certain temperature.

  7. I’ve looked everywhere, but never seen any mention as to why they don’t just fix the part that’s defective / doesn’t meet requirements?! I’m all for future proofing with additional generating power, but why not fix the intercooler?!

    • This component has already been redesigned and has been tested successfully with a deployment in the middle east. The replacement of diesels is to ensure the Type 45 has double redundancy for power. It will also mean they can introduce things like lasers at a later date.

      Even without this the operational improvements are such that it’s been years without any issues.

    • The issue is with a part of the two gas turbines, these are extremely expensive and hard to remove from the hull. So what they are doing is they are replacing the two diesel generators with three more powerful diesel generators. They then plan to switch the roles, the diesels will primarily run the ship and the gas turbines will give it extra power when it needs to go fast.

      FYI for anyone that wants to bring BAE up. This issue is not their fault, the government/MOD wanted to put a new unproven design in the ships against the advice of the designers.

      As for the upgrades. Best things the type 45 could and should get is the ability to launch the latest Aster 30 Block 1NT for BMD. In addition to this a 12+ CAMM silo for increased local area defence, allowing it to carry more longer range missiles. We can expect a decision on this when the defence review concludes in July at the earliest, not before.

      As for the roles you lot mentioned. Firstly LRASM is not yet in service, highly likely the RN upgrades Harpoon to the latest version and waits for the French/UK replacement.

      Land attack is the job of the Asutes and possibly the Type 26.

      ASROC is likely for the Type 26, but not the Type 45. The Type 45 uses it hull sonar and an embarked Merlin carrying torpedoes to fight submarines.

      The Type 45 is an air defence escort, any additional missile silos would be dedicated to anti-air missiles.

  8. Mine too, he makes the right noises albeit in a pretty sqeaky voice but seems to be pretty quickly sorting some of the things that have been dragging on for years.

    Of course his real acid test will be the upcoming Defence Modernisation Programme 2018

    Mr Williamson please have the the Mk41 VLS cells fitted when the Type 45 are in dry dock!!!!!!!

  9. Have to agree with comments about the realistic priorities for the T45s. Make these engine modifications and add scope for future power needs, Aster Block 30 NT, plus Martlet and Sea Venom for the choppers.

    Strike length VLS should have been added at the outset but is now too expensive to implement. We have other priorities i.e. get all 8 T26s built and make the T31s the best they can be for the price.

  10. Afternoon all
    As I said in earlier posts elsewhere the new Sec Def is new, he has the patronage of the PM and wants to make his mark.
    He was also chief whip, he knows people – specially what needs to be done to get things through the party.
    We can only hope those in MoD recognise this, an energetic team of ministers wanting to achieve stuff, not living in a self inflicted circle of doom.
    Time to clear out some others at the top of MoD and get some new thinkers in there, those who want to change things for the better – not protect their pension and future job opportunities as strategic consultants with big defence firms.

  11. This may be a comically simplistic option but could they have just bunged in 3 or 4 Bugatti Chiron engines to create some extra power? It might work and would sound awesome.

  12. Going on past form of Government spending cuts I can’t see the Type 45’s getting anything other than the announced engine upgrades. The Government will spend as little as possible on these ships and focus their attentions to the Type 26 and 31e’s. The best we can hope for with the Type 45’s is BMD capability with box launched NSM.

  13. And how many destroyers does this great blue water navy possess? 30? 20? 15? 12? How about ten? No, not even that! ………six, yes 6!…….and even they don’t work properly! The UK navy is a joke! Pop, fizz, glug!

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