The cost of fixing the propulsion issues on the Type 45 Destroyer fleet has been revealed.

In 2015, the Ministry of Defence acknowledged that the vessels propulsion system, specifically, the Northrup Grumman intercooler was experiencing reliability issues, previously reported as nothing more than “teething troubles”.

A staggered refit was also announced, which will involve cutting into the ships’ hulls and fitting additional diesel generation capacity, this has become known as Project Napier.

According to the Royal Institute of Naval Architects:

“Project Napier was established in 2014 with two core work strands. The first of these, known as the Equipment Improvement Plan (EIP), is continuing efforts to enhance system reliability and to meet the original design intent in the near term. The second component of Project Napier is a longer term Power Improvement Plan (PIP), intended to improve overall system resilience by adding upgraded diesel generators to provide the electrical generation capacity required to meet the overwhelming majority of propulsion and ship power requirements without reliance on WR-21.”

Project Napier will cost £280 million.

The reliability issues with the intercooler lead to occasional near-complete power generation failures, temporarily disabling not only propulsion, but power generation for weapons, navigational systems, and other purposes, leaving the ships vulnerable to “total electric failure”.

HMS Daring’s engines failed in the mid-Atlantic in 2010 and had to be repaired in Canada, with further repairs for engine failure in 2012 in Bahrain after it encountered propulsion problems while on patrol off the coast of Kuwait.

In June this year, Ministry of Defence officials admitted that the ships were breaking down because the intercooler could not cope with the warm waters of the Gulf.

Manufacturers Rolls-Royce of the fully functioning, non-problematic turbines said that the intercoolers for the WR-21 had been built as specified, but that conditions in the Middle East were not “in line with these specs”.

The MoD 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.”

Current First Sea Lord Admiral Philip Jones clarified:

“WR-21 gas turbines were designed in extreme hot weather conditions to what we call “gracefully degrade” in their performance, until you get to the point where it goes beyond the temperature at which they would operate… we found that the resilience of the diesel generators and the WR-21 in the ship at the moment was not degrading gracefully; it was degrading catastrophically, so that is what we have had to address.”

It should be noticed that despite the problems, the Royal Navy has been able to deploy Type 45 destroyers in nine-month cycles to the Gulf region where temperatures are high with little fault.

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Simon Gray

UK defence is need more than ever!

Luis Manuel

What you would say if other country decided to enforce their “liberal other s**t”? Maybee you would call it imperial ambitions as are those you said.

Simon Gray

Well, that would all depend on which nation(s) that was; what are you suggesting as an attentive? ChinChin.

Jason Ruddick

I’m not bothered who pays for it as long as it done

Filip Vyrubek

£280m is actually not that bad.i expected more although..


Adm Jones is providing misleading information. The RN hoped/assumed that the WR21’s would degrade gracefully in hot climates because all of their existing gas turbines did. However it was never put into the contract specifications, and it was never tested. The Type 45 was specked and contracted in a major hurry because of the late withdrawal of the UK from the European Horizon program. As a consequence, the MoD cut a lot of corners and made some foolish decisions. The major being to select the WR21 straight out of the research laboratory rather than choosing a mature power plant. Hoon… Read more »

Rob Collinson

Whatever led us to this situation, it is paramount that this is rectified as a matter of urgency. T45 has an excellent record serving as a constituent part of different battle groups around the world. It would be tantamount to lunacy to not get at least half of the T45 fleet retrofitted prior to the working up of the new QE carriers. I assume the would not sail for the working up without some escort. They will not have their offensive air combat contingent for some time yet.


David Anthony Simpson

A good article – with a sane and thorough explanation…..and the rectification cost is not too bad per ship… given the original price paid.

Leo Zhang

“Tax payers are footing the bill” Who the fuck else will pay for it? King Arthur?

Marc Graham

The people who provided the parts that did not achieve the stated levels for performance should foot the bill!

Jonathan Burns

So £46 million per ship.
Could have been worse, however who the heck designs an engine for a warship that doesn’t like warm oceans?

Operation in warm waters damaging gas turbine engines is just another bullshit. The problem is in the design of the engine and it’s recuperators. A problem that had happen before in simple truck engine motors.

Alan Radisic

Its just the recuperators actually

Will Edge

Alex – a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing

How about reading the article before posting rubbish

Lone Warrior


Jason Bartlett

On the whole not to bad, I thought it was going to be higher.

Ray Lovie

Save money only patrol our waters …..their cold enough

David Anthony Simpson


Ray Lovie

Tired old boy it’s a bloody joke

Ray Lovie

The amount of so called migrants / isis and hard pushed border agency we need a presence in our waters with such a large coastline and easy to enter bays


Yeah, but a billion pound AAW Destroyer able to intercept Mach 3 sea-skimming missiles, probably soon to be upgraded to ballstic missile defense, aren’t really the most cost-effective vessels to deploy to protect against migrants in rubber dingies even if in some case they possibly include Daesh-in-disguise.


You are sucked in by the media these ships didn’t cost a billion pounds each. Get a grip

David Anthony Simpson

And T45s are certainly not the ships for that!


Why do we need presence in the waters?

All the boats do is provide a ferry service, it hardly increases or decreases the threat posed to the country.

Picking up the migrants and making sure they don’t die in the sea is clearly important, coming from a country that has populated half the world with migrants, but i don’t see why we need war ships for the job or even armed ships.

A P&O ferry would be better suited for the job.

Ray Lovie

It’s a joke you plum

David Anthony Simpson

A badly worded one then … And less of the personal insult thanks

Ray Lovie

Less of the pomposity then Mon ami

You’ve made the same ‘joke’ twice, and it didn’t get any funnier or better put. Just made you look a bit ignorant mate. I know sarcasm doesn’t travel well over the internet but maybe you want to have a look at that.

Ray Lovie

I did my surface draft on one …so know them hence the joke ……mate

Jonathan Burns

How about taking the money from the Foreign Aid Budget?


Jonathan Burns
Andy Priddy

Nothing new. Type 23’s suffered similar problems.
At the end of the day, how can you put a price on the defence of this country

I mean… that’s literally why we have the MOD and the Treasury

Stephen Blanchard

……brilliant, no risk for the manufacturer then…….

Harry Cox

What are the chances of delays and added costs though? Sadly mist British military projects never finish on schedule or stay in budget these days.

David Anthony Simpson

That’s simply not true…you just read about the ones that dont

Brian Beyer

You could almost buy an F35B for that!!

James Gale

You can buy 3 as they are around $100m per aircraft for the B model

Brian Beyer

Does that include engines ?

Brian Beyer

Think you’ll find the full cost slightly higher, that’s if you can through the LM smoke and mirrors – hopefully the asshats that were in charge of T45 project took some of the several billions and retired early otherwise things don’t bode well for QE and PoW

David Anthony Simpson


Paul Bunce

Maybe they should have had Lockheed Martin make the intercoolers rather than Northrup Grumman!

Simon Gray

‘Strike Hard, Strike Sure’ (Bomber Command).

Alex Gray

…but only between 0900 and 1700.

David Anthony Simpson


Richard Simmonds

And only during the working week and not holidays

Chris Harsh

And not abroad please, unless there’s a decent 4* hotel nearby for the aircrew.

Simon Gray

“Strike Hard, Strike Sure” (Bomber Command).


£50m-odd per boat….. I would have thought it would have been higher.

Thomas James Bevan

Good name for the project!!

Ross Hendrie

The cost could be a lot worse one time if the engines went unfixed.


Maybe a good time to have another look at adding some strike length missiles to them and making them useful for something in ‘peace time’.

Karl Nolan

Supply equipment cheap and the MOD will buy it. Put into the contract that you are the only ones who can repair it and you are quids in. Always been like that.

Stephen Blakey

Sell a product cheap and the replacement parts cost thousands


As stated in the article it isn’t as if these ships haven’t been extremely useful vessels for the RN.
They have been part of major US carrier groups and will do the same job when the QEC come into service in next few years.
The problems need to be rectified, but we should not forget these are the among the best air defence ships ever built.


£46m a ship. Not too bad really and some of that cost is probably pretty much fixed cost for dry docking them for the duration of the work so let’s get the maximum value we can from that and fit the MK41 launchers while they’re in for repair. Even if dry-docking isn’t absolutely required for fitting MK41 it would still probably make it easier with better access to overhead lifting equipment and better stability of the platform during the work. If we’re ever going to do it then this repair cycle really would seem to be the time.


We should have just bought Arliegh Burke Class from the US. We always build the biggest load of crap for the Navy ” make do ” and it always costs us more in the long run I just dont understand why we dont buy or get USA to build ships for the RN we always turn to the Europeans for advice perhaps now we are out of Europe we could do some Deals with the US Ship Builder and stop BAE systems getting involed because the cannot design sh%t It’s obvious that the Type-45 would have scored less when compared… Read more »

Ray Weeks

should have bought british engines


Is it a flaw with the design, should the company that makes the propulsion systems not be fitting some of the bill if there is an issue with there product ?? Whilst I agree that it is vital they are fixed or upgraded to actually work properly should the manufacturer be also held accountable for a flawed product ?? Good luck to the crews and engineers that work on these beautiful weapons systems ?

Chris Lovell

Edward … 280 million

Sean Clark

Scrap them and buy a proven system from the Dutch or Americans.
Would be much cheaper.


Cheers Sean, we all need a laugh now and again.

Tom Hewitt

You buy something that doeas not work you get it changed or fixed at no cost, what is going on here?

Daniel Adams

There are i think 2 issues wrong with the ships. 1 at least is actually the MODs fault because it meets the specs the mod gave but the specs were not enough.


Plenty of stupid, ill-informed, non-informed, opinionated nonsense comments spouted by people on here. It seems no forum is safe from this, we certainly live in the “anti-fact” age.

Kirk Pingree

So..if it met the spec for cold water sailing…then why did it break down in the Atlantic?!!?….

Jon Seed

I could not care less. The ships & their crews defend our shores & protect those that cannot protect themselves. I have novproblem paying for a service the Royal Navy & SBS provide.

UK Defence Journal

That’s not what you’re paying for in this case.

Neil Cloughley

It is disgraceful that tax payers should foot the bill ‘again’ for shoddy build standards.

Shoddy build standards? What rubbish. It’s about the design and specification – which in the end is MoD’s responsibility as the customer.

Neil Cloughley

Utter tripe… if a 747 was not able to fly between 34k and 41k feet but this limitation was not highlighted at purchase would it seriously be the airline customers fault if they expected to fly to the 43kft advertised at purchase? Spare me the defence of the Tier1 leeches, this has bugger all to do with customer responsibility and everything to do with duty of care to deliver a capable product.

Keith Vause

Shame really, the previous three classes of Rolls Royce propelled ships performed faultlessly fro many years. Some still are. I am ex navy engineer so I ought to know. As for these ships, it seems the Civil Servantns have cocked up big time with their original statement of requirements (not the first time I might add) and that has led to problems with propulsion performance. Not the end of the world but very embarrassing for the MoD. I don’t envy the engineers currently having to nurse their systems along when it gets hot.

Mick Halliday

Perhaps, they should tow some icebergs to the gulf to make the sea cooler, instead of the cost of Project Napier!


Turf the WR21s and use the tried and true LM2500 – use of the same footprint was a US requirement during the initial design/development so I am guessing it remained a requirement? There will always be some sort of full power loss in an environment like the Persian Gulf but the LM2500s perform well and are far less complex.

Jon B

If the country can’t build a warship properly, that does not exactly inspire confidence in the navy’s ability to do anything useful in a war situation. In other words, really serious incompetence has incurred here. Are heads going to roll? I doubt it. This is Britain: it’s everyone’s fault, so it’s no-one’s fault…