HMS Diamond has aborted her deployment to the Gulf and is returning home The Times has reported today.

The Times reported that problems with a propeller could not be fixed at sea despite the efforts of sailors on board.

A Royal Navy spokesman said:

“We can confirm HMS Diamond has experienced technical issues but we do not discuss the detailed materiel state of our operational ships and are unable to comment further.”

Rolls-Royce has been working on a modification for the engines to improve their reliability and is now preparing to take it to sea on a Type 45 for real-world testing.

A spokesman for the company said, discussing the other engineering issues that have impacted the class:

“We’re continuing to work with the MoD, the Royal Navy and our industry partners in supporting the Type 45 fleet in service.

Part of that work has been to carry out a design modification and in recent months we have successfully completed 500 hours of arduous accelerated testing on this at our test facility in Bristol.

The sea trial will test the robustness of the modification in service across a full range of operational and environmental conditions. If the sea trial is successful then we expect the modification to be rolled out across the fleet.”

70 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like she might need to be dry docked, hopefully not out of commission for too long. With any luck HMS Dauntless could be reactivated unless she’s been badly cannibalised.

    • No it isn’t. Type 45 is a state of the art warship where we underspecced the diesels. Let’s not get carried away. Diamond is underway and under command.

        • Well, we don’t know that for certain. Was she tasked with a ‘presence’ assignment that could have been done by a cheaper ship for example? In any case breakdowns happen and it seems there are plenty of replacments tied up alongside in port. Until and unless I hear otherwise I would consider this BAU.

          • HMS Diamond has had to abort her Gulf deployment and return to home for repairs. The defect concerns the propellor but is not directly related to the engine issues that have been the primary cause of Type 45 destroyer woes. Unfortunately, the problem cannot be rectified by dry docking in Bahrain or Gibraltar and requires the attention of specialists in Portsmouth.

            For the first since the 1980s the RN has not had a warship deployed in the region.

      • Hi Paul..I think you are correct regarding ‘Underspecced’ My concern ‘who’ made decisions, and were they made aware of the risks.

        • Diesel electric propulsion plus fuel saving WR21 intercooled recuperating turbine plus experience in Gulf climate required the design engineers to be experts in thermodynamics, electromagnetism, Middle East climate and RN operations. It was just a leap too far. Let’s just add the extra diesel and move on. Add Aster 30 ABM and a dozen Mk 41’s and you got yourself an Arleigh Burke.

          • Would love to see the Mk41 VLS added but read somewhere before that the money is being used instead to fix the propulsion problems so no Mk41.

      • No it isn’t. Type 45 is a state of the art warship where we underspecced the diesels.

        So the adage ;
        “Pound foolish, penny shy ”
        applies.

  2. Yep. UK needs a balance of quality and quantity.

    Was this ship operating alone or as a part of a wider group?

    And if it was operating alone, well it shouldn’t.

  3. Imagine she was the carrier escort? The world’s only carrier without it’s own missile point defence.

    Accidents happen. Breakdowns happen.

    £10b fully loaded naval tragedy waiting to happen.

    Sort it!

    • Totally agree. There will be a report afterwords saying ‘lessons have been learned’ And then nothing will be done. You’ve gotta wonder how many other naval disasters were foreseen by some but ignored by the goverment.

    • If any of our enemies sought to damage us, now is the to do it.
      Our government don’t give a damm about our military, staff or general population. Just keep on looking after the rich…

  4. According to the Royal Navy website 5 out of the 6 destroyers are alongside in Portsmouth. What a shambles! What a state the navy is in.

    • The basic problem with the Type 45 class is its engine reliability issues. These are, of course, well known and steps have been taken to mitigate problems leading to successful 9-month Gulf deployments for Type 45s, the last being Daring which returned to Portsmouth in May. Diamond’s problem is reportedly a propeller issue rather than the engine reliability problem we immediately assume whenever any Type 45 has an issue. So, even if Type 45s had never had any problems with engine reliability and they purred like a contented cat, Diamond would still be returning home today as the problem is reportedly nothing to do with her engines. And she is returning to Portsmouth because she requires the attention of specialists there, otherwise she could have had her issue resolved at sea, or in dry-dock in Bahrain or Gibraltar. Unfortunately, she needs to be in Portsmouth for her repair. I agree that the PIP which will fix her engine reliability problems needs to start with Dauntless’s refit, which is due to begin soon, but the temporary fixes the RN has employed up until now has allowed the class to operate for long periods in very warm waters. When the PIP has been completed the class should not face the engine reliability problems that are so well known but it will not stop Type 45s from occasionally suffering other issues such as Diamond’s propeller. US destroyers also face occasional problems–one broke down in the Panama Canal, but the USN is so large that a problem with one ship has a much smaller ripple effect on their fleet than a problem with one of ours with our much smaller fleet. But if anyone thinks technical issues with warships is purely an RN phenomenon they are badly mistaken. Okay, Diamond is returning to Portsmouth for propeller repairs and that is unfortunate, but Argentina has seemingly lost a submarine and 44 lives, which is surely far, far worse and a tragedy. Let’s just try to keep a technical issue with Diamond in perspective, rather than follow the lead of our hysterical media in their reporting of all things defence.

  5. What a bloody disaster the T45 project has been, confidence in the UKs ability to design, build and deploy a modern warship must be low by international standards.

    • But has it Mike? The class was delayed by political wrangling with the French over the role, the VLS, the radar. It was the trial class for diesel electric propulsion architecture. There was no MT30 so it was WR21 or LM2500 and you have to support RR. I reckon the only real mistake was in the operating specs for the propulsion. In hindsight we should have specced more reliance on the diesels for base load. Fix the propulsion and fit a dozen Mk41s and you’ve got an Arleigh Burke. I would say Horizon is the failure and Type 45 is the success.

      • I’m with Paul on this.

        RN is too small as is widely known and understood by all.

        Was the 45 supporting a carrier?

        If not it shouldn’t be there.

        RN needs more lower spec ships for stand g tasks.

        And I don’t give a damn for complaints about that weakening our fleet.

        All high end not realistic in this political climate.

        So buy cheaper assets and concentrate your best ships with a CBG and a ATG.

        I’m interested to read though that this issue is not related to the engine issue.

        Could diligence have fixed this?

        • Not sure…Save the Royal Navy say dry-docking in Gib or Bahrain was not an option as specialists at Portsmouth are needed to fix the problem so maybe Diligence wouldn’t have been of help in this situation.

        • Gulf deployments are the most dangerous of RN tasks. Of course it needs to be a 45 or 23. The type 45 often supports the French and US carriers in the gulf as well.

        • Although engine reliability is a problem with the Type 45, the small number of units makes the situation worse as a problem with one–even if it is not engine-related–has a far greater knock-on effect in that fewer units are available to fill in. Presently, 3 Type 45s are unavailable–1 is acting as harbour training ship, 1 is due to start refit and 1 about to emerge from refit, leaving just 3, so a problem with one has a much greater effect than if there were 10 or 12. The USN suffers breakdowns like all navies but is large enough so that a problem with one unit has much less effect, as it has far more units to fill in.

  6. Current state of play

    HMS Daring – in long-term lay-up as harbour training ship (due to manpower shortages) since returning from successful 9-month Gulf deployment in May 2017.
    HMS Dauntless – due to begin major refit, having been laid up since 2015.
    HMS Diamond – Due back in Portsmouth in early December after propellor defect put a premature end to Gulf deployment.
    HMS Dragon – Participated in Exercise Formidable Shield in October and assisted with HMS Queen Elizabeth sea trials in early November. Alongside in Portsmouth.
    HMS Duncan – Alongside in Portsmouth – operational and may sail soon. (Possible candidate to replace Diamond in the Gulf?)
    HMS Defender – About to complete a lengthy major refit and return to the feet.

  7. And I am dismissed on here for calling for a navy which is economically viable. Dispense with these expensive white elephants and go for a coastal, well equipped navy with patrol vessels the likes of which I see in Sweden. This constant myth of a blue water navy and indeed world power projection by the armed forces is ridiculous. It’s time to properly defend our home shores and stop trying to keep up with the USA and pretending to be a world power. The UK is a laughing stock in Europe. Let’s get real!

    This is what the Swedes deploy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby-class_corvette

    (before the squeals, I am not a communist usurper, the security services are not banging on my door, I don’t work for North Korea, and I have never voted for a left leaning political party, oh, and yes the overseas aid budget could do with being cut along with a few other departmental budgets!)

    • TH. For the first time, you made me smile with your third paragraph. 🤣
      I would love to see the RN have a fleet of lower spec ships such as that, but in addition to our high end assets, not instead of.
      Having a fleet all like that corvette rather limits ones options.

    • Been a island nation we need a navy that can conduct global operations. It is as simple as that. A pure coastal navy does not suit our needs. The UK still has one of the most capable militaries in europe even with our troubles. Stop reading tabloid newspapers and think for yourself.

      • Absolutely, Ben, but it is not just the tabloids; the so-called quality broadsheets are no better, and seem determined to paint everything in the worst possible light. The Type 45s seem to be a kind of whipping boy for them, but they are very capable platforms and Royal Navy crews are second to none in their professionalism.

    • Type 45s are essential naval kit, not white elephants. They are the only area air defense(& potentially ABM in time) warships we have & vital for carrier/task group escort. We should’ve fitted the QEs with Aster from the start, especially with so few T45s as we see now how easily the whole class can become unavailable. The Falklands war should’ve taught us we can’t ever rely 100% on allies to make up capabilities we lack as sometimes we’re on our own. The problem is funding enough crew for those not in refit(or repair) to be at sea plus a lack of numbers to ensure we can cover all our commitments. We have some coastal vessels but they’re little more than launches with no or negligable weaponry even for policing roles, so more would be better. Had we fitted our River class with 76mm gun(or at least 57mm), maybe ASMs & light SAMs they’d be more useful in covering low intensity tasks where we waste major warships now.
      I wince at the hard learnt, blood bought, lessons of military realities we frequently ignore.

  8. Afternoon all
    So the T45 fleet will be home for Christmas.
    Standing Naval tasking however is being maintained. The RN still have presence in the Gulf and I would assume that the Task Group Commander responsible for that region would have looked at the assets at his disposal and determined that there are enough assets on station to fulfil the task.
    We work in a joint environment, we are not in the Gulf operating as a sovereign nation but as part of a coalition. If it was really needed out there I think it would have stayed. The fact that it is making its way home under its own power would suggest that the damage, whilst serious, is not so bad that it needs to be rectified expediently. Prop damage effects the complete drive train. Any vibration that the prop causes reverberated all the way up to the gear and engines – so we could say a sensible decision has been made to recall her to the UK so that the prop can be either fixed or replaced and then returned to operations. Leave her out there and the risk to serious damage to the whole drive train will only increase.
    Disappointing I know but the Fleet managers are balancing operational requirements against maintenance schedules and fewer platforms.

    • Indeed. I’d guess she’ll be steaming home at less than half speed to minimise strain on the one propellor and shaft. I’d also imagine it’s a standard exercise, one prop, even one power unit. There’ll probably be a couple of ocean-going tugs sent out though as escorts, just in case. I’d guess Gib has a couple, too lazy to look.

      • Probably also SOP for staying on station and maximising endurance. Why fire up 4 diesels for 4 motors when only 1 is needed? Just a guess.

  9. It occurs to me that if Diamond was on a critical mission supporting a carrier for isntance, a problem with propulsion would not mean she can’t carry out her air defence role. If she was key, the carrier group would just stay where it was, still well protected, until a relief arrived.

    So she’s coming home to get the problem fixed, and as said, propellor problems aren’t rare. There’s no word of tugs being involved, so presmuably she’s under her own power.

    • Forgot to add:

      Propulsion:

      2 shafts integrated electric propulsion with
      2 × Converteam electric motors, 20 MW (27,000 shp) each

    • It is sensible to bring her home to rectify the problem if keeping her on deployment would risk serious damage. It is disappointing that the problem couldn’t be fixed at sea or in dry-dock in Gib or Bahrain, but these ships are expensive and serious damage would require serious money to rectify. Much better to cut the deployment short and prevent more damage. It could be something akin to what happened to HMS QE on her sea trials when she had a prop issue but luckily that was resolved without the need for dry-docking. Unfortunately, it seems Diamond needs specialist attention in Portsmouth. As you say, prop damage isn’t exactly uncommon. The problem is that due to the well-publicised engine-reliability issues we are liable to assume that any issue with a T45 must be down to its engines. Clearly, ships have issues for all sorts of reasons, though some seem to neglect that in favour of viewing any problem through the lenses of their engine problem glasses. Remember when, was it Dragon or Duncan?,, had a burst pipe and had to be towed back to port? Many quickly jumped to the conclusion it was an engine issue on that occasion.

  10. Calm down, and read some of the hundreds, thousands, of WWII accounts of how warships were able to carry on with their roles even when half destroyed or burnt out.

  11. Oh well that means the crew get christmas in the UK and I wont be working on her over the christmas period out here. That will make Mrs Gunbuster a bit happier!
    I can make a very good educated guess as to what the specific issue is but I wont discuss it until someone in the UK says it first. What I will say is it’s not going to be the engines.
    As to fixing it in the UK with specialists in Portsmouth dont make me laugh… The guys I work with work on props, shaft lines etc all the time and are as good if not better than any dockyard maties in Pompie or Guz.
    The reason for the return will be down to the following reasons.
    1. The RN wont send her through the straights if her propulsion is 50% compromised. The risk is simply too great.
    2. The RN couldn’t get an OEM to agree to mess up their Christmas dinner plans to come out to the Gulf region to fix it!

    Of more interest is why the much publicised and vaunted Babcock facility in Oman cannot do the job?

    • Be interesting to see what the snag is? I know they could fix CPP blades in situ using a habitat, is it not the case for fixed pitch??! Could be A bracket or stern gland issue?

    • Good speech and interesting background of the 1SL.

      More of this is needed, and from Gavin Williamson, to counter the negative propaganda – and I delberately use the word propaganda – employed by we all know who in the media. These are not sensible criticisms or suggestions which some in this forum post, these are destructive articles, destructive for morale, destructive for recruitment and retention, and even for getting adequate budgets.

      • Well said, sir; I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, speeches like that of the 1SL get little coverage by the media, who seem to relish talking down our military every chance they get. Constructive criticism is fine, but far too often news is twisted to put the worst possible spin on a particular event. Remember last year when all 6 Type 45s were in port together for a short time? The media spin was that they were all broken down and inoperative, when that was patently not true. For some reason, the RN seems to get the brunt of this treatment, with the Type 45s standing out particularly. Yes, they have propulsion issues that have caused problems, but those problems have been mitigated by temporary fixes leading to successful 9-month deployments in very warm Gulf waters, yet in the media these ships are depicted as useless and always inoperative. Once HMS QE enters service and starts operations, just watch the negative spin from the media. If you thought it has been bad before, that will be nothing compared to what it will be. I wish the MoD would be far more robust in directly challenging our sensationist, hysterical media when they print or broadcast stories which deliberately seem to portray our armed forces in the worst possible light. Far too often, all we get is some bland statement from a MoD spokesperson that in no way counters the propaganda. Also, the 1SL made a very good point in his speech that we see all our own faults (and faults that don’t even exist), while seeing none of our opponents. If anyone thinks everything is rosy in the armed forces of our enemies and even our allies, then they are sadly deluded. That is not to excuse our faults, but some perspective is very badly needed.

        • Exactly Clive!

          This is what I keep trying to emphasise here when people say how bad our armed forces are and its all a disaster.

          WHO are they comparing too?

          One can no longer count the UK alongside USA China Russia India, and no one has a problem with that.

          Leaving those nations aside we have capabilities other nations can only look at.

          Which is a darned sight better than a fleet of patrol boats.

  12. All ships break down’ I remember spending a very pleasant three months in Singapore back in the early seventies’ station leave included, whilst the Blake had her boilers tubes replaced, then a month in Hong Kong sorting the repair out. Good old days!

    • A good read and very very accurate with the information.
      Regarding a permanent based vessel in the Gulf… it’s extremely doable and cost effective. The MCMV force has been doing crew swaps for many years without major issues. So its probably time to do it on a “big ship”.
      The crew would fly via RAF trooping flights at little cost and any spare parts if not in theater would be shipped via the well established air head that is already in use.
      Maintenance is covered using the existing facilities in Bahrain or possibly Oman.
      Watch this space…

  13. To be fair she has abandoned the Gulf deployment when she has not actually left the Med.
    After taking on HMS Oceans flagship role her Gulf arrival went right. following handing back to HMS OCEAN she has been in Souda doing work up stuff prior to going through the canal.
    So the delay in travelling down to the Gulf has meant the defect has not resulted in a Gulf port docking.
    Heading back to the UK now is the right move.
    Using a Gulf port to correct the defect was never on the cards because she has not even reached the Gulf yet.

  14. Gotta admit I’m not that fond of pinstripe articles. Full of info, and reasoned. But with an undertone of pessimism, and perhaps a lack of empathy. But little to put the finger on. Best I can do is repeat then 1SL Stanhope’s words in front of some Westminster committee (2014?) “We’re running hot”. He indicated the RN couldn’t do another Libya, and you can see why, the RN had been stretched for a long time, with redeployments all over the place.

    Well, you can do that for a few months, even a few years, same as anyone can do in any job, but there’s a price to pay. In terms of manpower they Yanks call it “burn out”, in terms of ships it could mean an upset maintenance schedule, refits, exercises and – rest periods and family time. And it can take time to recover from burn out, not just months, 2, 3 years of fairly relaxed non-strenuous actitivity. That to me is where the RN is at, while at the same time aiming for its balanced even if compact forces for the early 20s.

    The other answer to Humphrey really is modularity, adaptability, general purpose, even in specialised areas. Basically along the lines of the 1SL’s Gallipoli speech. I freely admit I’m a glass half full guy, must be, I support Independence for Scotland of all things.

    As for embarrassment in front of the Yanks for instance, don’t they also have a navy so can understand that “things happen”? I’m sure I remember one or two stories this year …

  15. Hi guys
    Great thread above full of good reasoned arguments, however whether we are glass half full or empty the following is correct:
    RN will have no capital assets east of Suez for Christmas.
    RN will have assets deployed worldwide in support of U.K. and allied operations, where required, and if required can be re-tasked.
    The T45 fleet is home for Christmas
    CVF is home for Christmas and will begin further trials in the new year which no doubt will include sensor and weapon trials with her escorts
    Fortunately 6 of them will be along side so she will be spoilt for choice
    The RN is suffering a manning crisis
    We can talk about putting ships and submarines all we like, but with no crew to man them we risk falling into the problems that the US 7th fleet are having.
    Next year will be challenging – with that challenge comes opportunity, time to take stock of what HMG wants to do and the RN how they are going to do it
    If us amateurs can articulate and reason like we have above and on other links (and yes that includes you TH) we can only hope that those that are currently charged with either setting policy or defining how he instrument of policy is employed do the same.

  16. The state of the Royal Navy is a disgrace! BWE’s and vanity projects. When is the government going to take the knife to all the senior civil servants and top brass for pitiful performance?

  17. Sorry to hear about the propeller/propulsion problems. Sorry that foresight doesn’t keep frontline repairs facilities in Gib. I agree that an OPV+ could lessen duty loads of the Fleet in general. Propeller trailing is much easier in a twin CPP configuration. There is a growing shortfall, of in depth knowledge, among designers of ship’s engine requirements especially in adverse weather ( heavy rolling ) and high sea water temperatures. The power requirements must be met by the available engines on board without major shedding. It’s unfortunate that every ship built , even of a class , becomes a prototype , and develops its own erratic problems.

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