The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that it costs around £126,000 per day to operate a Type 45 Destroyer.

The information came to light after a written question was submitted in Parliament.

John Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, asked via a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the average cost to his Department is for each day a Type 45 Destroyer is at sea.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:

“For a Type 45 that has been active throughout a full year (at sea and alongside), an indicative average daily operating cost is £0.126 million.”

According to the Royal Navy website, Britain’s six Type 45 Destroyers are among the most advanced warships ever built.

“They’re suited to a huge range of tasks, from hunting down pirates to defending the Fleet from air attack, or providing humanitarian aid. Equipped with the ferocious Sea Viper missile, which can knock moving targets out of the sky from up to 70 miles away, Type 45 Destroyers are the backbone of the Royal Navy.”

The website further explains their capabilities:

“The Type 45 Destroyer also comes equipped with an array of conventional weaponry, including the BAE Systems 4.5-inch Mark 8 Mod 1, two 30mm DSM Mark 2s, two Phalanx 20mm close-in weapons systems, two 7.62mm miniguns, and up to six FN MAG general purpose machine guns. This fearsome arsenal is designed for a range of purposes, from repelling fast inshore attack craft to destroying short-range missiles in mid-air.

The Sea Viper missile system helps the Type 45 Destroyer fulfil its primary function as a guided-missile destroyer. This highly advanced missile array is designed to track down and destroy high-performance air threats, including fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and unarmed aerial vehicles. Shooting a moving target out of the sky from a ship is no easy task – but the Sea Viper’s unique capabilities, such as the ability to launch eight missiles in less than ten seconds and to simultaneously guide up to 16 missiles at a time, mean that airborne threats don’t stand a chance.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
80 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Spencer
Spencer
8 days ago

“indicative average daily operating cost is £0.126 million.”

I have a feeling somebody has fudged the title on this one.

James Fennell
James Fennell
8 days ago

It says £0.126M per DAY not year!

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago

“The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that it costs around £126,000 per year to operate a Type 45 Destroyer.”

I know skimmers don’t get paid that much but I didn’t think things were that bad.  😉 

James Fennell
James Fennell
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“For a Type 45 that has been active throughout a full year (at sea and alongside), an indicative average daily operating cost is £0.126 million.”

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Yes James, I know, the “per year” was a mistake by the author and I capitalised on it to make light of the surface sailors pay compared to the submariners pay. It was light hearted and I hoped the wee winking emoji made that clear. Apologies for any confusion.

DRS
DRS
8 days ago

So GBP 46 million per year if out to sea every day in the year. 23 million if a 6 mth deployment. doesn’t seem that expensive considering amount of crew, supplies etc. I presume any missile test or other firing makes the replenishment costs go up quickly. How much is an aster 30? all in with development cost and launchers etc it averages about EUR 7million per aster 30/15 according to wikipedia. Clearly no longer actual cost when it comes to producing it now.

Andy a
Andy a
8 days ago

Question to u guys as I’m no expert. I was under the impression than 1 thing that made t45 better was that the missles handled there own guidance once locked on an launched while the arliegh Burke guides there missles directly. Is this not right?

Joe16
Joe16
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Broadly, yes- that’s how I understand it too.
The latest radar systems that the US Navy have accepted (and the missiles that go with them) are also active seekers like the Sea Viper system, so that difference will be gone soon. But they’re only due to be fitted to the flight III Burkes, and then backwards fitted to some of the newer Flight IIs, so it’s a future capability for them at the moment I believe.

Andy a
Andy a
8 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

So why can the t45 only launch 16 at a time? What limits them if aster controls itself?
Also if attacked by squadron of Russian fighter bombers isn’t 16 targets very limiting?

David Steeper
David Steeper
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

If it’s one shot one kill as advertised it would be enough. Unlikely that Russia for example would throw that many of its long-range bombers at one ship. As for fighter-bombers she would have to be pretty close to multiple enemy airbases to be in that kind of trouble. In that case she wouldn’t be there alone.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

The ability to track target and engage 16 targets at the same time is world beating capability.

Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I’m not doubting it. I’m interested in what limits it to 4 8 16 what ever the number.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

The answer is mutual interference and the electromagnetic spectrum. Each missile will have a discrete data link frequency for updates from the ships radar and computer so that it flies to the calculated future intercept point before it goes active. If the frequencies are all the same then all of the missiles would receive the same update info and all fly at the same target. (Analogy=An under 10 soccer team on a sunday morning all run around the pitch following the ball instead of going into space to await the ball to go to them ) Same goes for the… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

@GB I have precisely zero actual knowledge of the actual system. But I’d be amazed if it really did use 16 discreet frequencies. It is much more likely that they use the same frequency agile channels and that the digital transmissions are uniquely coded for the missile (say, for arguments sake, by serial number or other UID). I would **guess** that there is an individual missile control server in the rack. And that the main controller hands off the missile to the individual server post launch. And that this is the real limit. At some point, with any software system,… Read more »

Sonik
Sonik
7 days ago

I agree, the data links are almost certainly spread spectrum otherwise they would be too easy to jam or intercept

Commercial/civilian frequency hopping systems use various flow control and error correction mechanisms to produce more useable bandwidth at the cost of increased latency. So for Viper, I’m guessing that besides any limitations on processing power, it’s likely that (overall) spectral use still becomes an issue due to the ultra low latency required for guiding supersonic missiles in real time, because this requirement will limit the useable bandwidth.

So I suspect that GB’s (albeit simplified) explanation above is essentially correct.

Last edited 7 days ago by Sonik
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago

I was thinking that after I answered. Digital coding is the other way of doing it with the data link. However the frequency issue with homing heads will be valid. 16 active radars in and around the same area would cause lots of issues with regarslds to interference.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I agree the radar frequency hopping will have to be choreographed – no question. But even that will have to be coded.

I also agree that making sure things don’t interfere with anything else, in the fleet as a whole, is a bit of a project.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Did some checking… Its discrete frequencies… 16 in number allocated before launch

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

16 missiles in the air, going at 16 different targets over 360 degs of arc, at altitudes from Sea skimming meters above the waves to 13 miles altitude at ranges from 1 to over 130 miles…Yep that’s definitely a limitation.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi GB, does the Aster 30 have a 130 mile range? That’s roughly 200km. I thought it was only around 80 miles. Happy to be really wrong on this.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I should clarify and say engagement range. You detect a target and launch to intercept at the missiles max range of around say 80 miles. Allowing for flight times of the missile going out and the target coming in you can shoot with a target at say 150 miles. You don’t shoot directly at the target, you shoot at a future intercept point, a point in space where the target is calculated to be at a point in time. This point is updated to the missile via data link using the ships radar and computers. If all goes well the… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Yes the Aster missile is fully active homing, while the Burkes use simi-activate homing missiles using X-band radar, with the exception of SM6 which is now fully active. Some SM missiles(SM2) have ‘dual mode’ which is a additional infar-red seeker, Not a fully active radar seeker.

Last edited 7 days ago by Meirion X
Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yeah so if aster is active what limits 45 to 16 live missles?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

It’s what the radar and computers can handle. The radar still has to lock on to the targets and provide the tracking date to the missiles. Once the missiles are in the air, the radar doesn’t have to guide the missiles all the way to the targets. A semi active missile needs the radar to guide the missile all the way to impact, one missile at a time. It’s like AMRAAM on fighter’s, though they use mid course guidance data link to help them along the way before the launch aircraft can turn away. Basically. Semi active is old tech,… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Interesting reads from everybody here. I still think an extra couple of silos of Aster and or Camm would make these ships even more formidable. Pity we didn’t get 8 T45s so we could have 4 (maybe?) at sea at the one time. Does anyone know if these silos can be replenished at sea? It always p’s me off when in descriptions of the T45s ability every weapon system is mentioned except ASMs or Torpedo LS regardless if fitted or not. The omissions are glaring. I think we can all imagine what a fully fitted out T45 would be like…something… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Merlin helicopter it carries provides a very capable ASW capability with dipping sonar. A fancy ASM would be very nice, but in reality, they are probably not the priority they are made out to be. Anti ship warfare is incredible difficult to pull off, and rules of engagement would probably put serval restrictions on use anyway. And nations just don’t go around firing off heavy ASM’s on a wim. If the RN truly believed having a heavy ASM was absolutely essential, they would have sacrificed another capability to have them. Harpoon is still in service until 2023, them a… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

VLs replenishment is pretty much a non-starter. Its been tried by the RN and the USN and they have binned it on practical and safety grounds. HELO VERTREP is a non-starter as well. The safety case would not allow it. Imagine the incident…helo hovering and an engine fails with an underslung ASTER above a T45 missile silo with 47 missiles in it…The helo either emergency releases the load onto the silo in an attempt to stay aloft or stays with the load and tries not to spoof into the silo in a fiery ball off AVCAT and explosive death and… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

HI Quentin, From what I have read it is not really possible to reload VLS at sea. The USN fitted a lifting system to some of their MK41 VLS systems and tried re-loading their AB’s at sea. As the weapon was effectively hanging off the end of a crane cable it needed crew on deck to guide it into the VLS which was quite a difficult undertaking even in the slightest of sea states. In the end the USN removed the cranes. Paradoxiically, the T42’s could reload their Sea Dart system at sea. There was a rigid frame or fork… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I have done a Sea Dart RAS once and once only to get the tick in the box.
The container comes over and is landed on the deck and disconnected from the ras gear. As you say you then lift the canister to the vertical and the launcher pulls the missile out and into the mag.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I have been thinking about how you might do a ras at sea for a VLS system. It is not an easy proposition and as far as I can see there are two main requirements: 1. RAS limitations should be as close to ‘normal’ RAS conditions as possible; 2. Minimum manual handling, especially when the weapon(s) is still suspended (advantage of the T42 / Dea Dart RAS). As far as I can see the T42 / Sea Dart RAS system was quite successful, if not often used (emptying Sea Dart mags in peacetime I guess would have been seriously frowned… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The only issue is that Dart was relatively short and fat whereas Aster is quite long and thin.

So the initial issue becomes having enough deck to lay the missile flat on under the relevant RAS gear.

I agree that having a frame that pivots from the deck horizontal -> vertical is not insuperable. It does need to do it in a oner as any articulation is an issue in any sea states over millpond.

However, what will get in the way is the protective edge to the missile silo.

Meirion X
Meirion X
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

There is nothing in the T45 book I got that mentions limits on missile launches, only mentions the radar can track a 1000 targets at a time.

Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Robert above says even though can track 1000 bad guys it can only route 16 missles at once due to data and passing info to missles

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Like I say Andy, the ability to engage 16 targets at once is something currently no other class of warship can do. Except maybe the very latest Burke class. But we have had this capability for over 10+ year’s. And what makes the T45 such a formidable Air Defence Destroyer. Especially in the hands of an RN crew.

Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Very impressive just wish they armed it to make full use, another vls, anti surface missles maybe quad packed cam for short range? Is it compatible with the t45 radar setup?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

I don’t know, but most things can be achieved when the money is available. It would be nice to have all that capability, but it comes with a very large price tag, and other assets like T23 and Astute do have those capabilites. Adding that kit to T45 would mean another project going without. So as always, it’s a balancing act of requirements over cost.

Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Should have used a Mac with latest version of OS!!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

We used to use Macs for doing quick look weapon analysis. Down load the data from the radar track extractors, trackers etc run it through a program and see if you hit or missed. I hated using them.

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
8 days ago

By my trusty calculator that comes out as £45m as near as damit and obviously they are just basic running costs I’m guessing.

Ron5
Ron5
8 days ago

The question asked what was the daily cost at sea. The answer came back: in a 50/50 mix of sea and dockside, it is …

Getting a stright answer from the MoD is harder than pulling teeth.

BobA
BobA
8 days ago
Reply to  Ron5

It’s not the MOD, there will be some poor SO3 who thought they were going to be fighting pirates and operating complex weapon systems against a near peer enemy. Instead finds themselves in a staff job and some knobber asks a question for which there is no data and the SO1 demands an answer by 1200 so it can go to the AH and then the head of branch before being submitted to MOD. It’s now 1110 and they have 7 spreadsheets and the manufacturer’s Type 45 manual to work from.

TCM
TCM
7 days ago
Reply to  BobA

I’ve been that SO3 and that SO1…

BobA
BobA
5 days ago
Reply to  TCM

My comment came from bitter experience  😂 . One of my bosses once told me that at every level two things are true: Your bosses are arseholes asking unreasonable things of you and your subordinates are lazy arseholes who don’t understand the bigger context and why you’re asking. It’s so true – turns out we were all just trying our best!

A&Daccountant
A&Daccountant
7 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Ah lol, so accurate

Nathan
Nathan
8 days ago

Its a great argument for deeper automation of ships’ systems and the roll out of machine learning.

julian1
julian1
8 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

A warship equipped IoT/sensor system, integrated stores system, inventory management, HR/payroll, dockside ERP systems for maintenance and some financial indicators/asset management could all provide the data required to work out the average daily cost. It is very, very woolly requiring a huge amount of data much of which I doubt they even collect. They also need to include Suez canal transit costs, pension/actuarial costs and get out of jail pots for wayward seamen on runs ashore.

expat
expat
7 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Won’t T31 have that a lot of that with i-Frigate?

Grant
Grant
8 days ago

Its interesting how all of our stuff costs so much more then our peers. US buys 9 chinooks it costs them $270m. We buy 14 and its $2bn. I wonder what percentage of that £147k is Civil servant salaries / pensions and consultant fees?

Then again compared to how much money the Government pi$$es up the wall its cheap as!

captain p wash
captain p wash
8 days ago
Reply to  Grant

That’s “Rip off Britain” for you mate……. Too many Fat Cats lapping up the cream.

David Steeper
David Steeper
8 days ago
Reply to  captain p wash

They just buy a lot more of everything. The more of anything you buy the cheaper it is.

Last edited 8 days ago by David Steeper
Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
7 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Not sure it’s that simple mate but I get what you are saying.

expat
expat
7 days ago
Reply to  captain p wash

I suspect if you get rid of the ‘fat cats’ the cost won’t go down.

BB85
BB85
7 days ago
Reply to  Grant

Yeah it doesn’t really add up. You would think we would purchase them as part of a Joint US order similar to F35, Apache and JLTV to benefit for US EOS.
I’m not sure what the extra bells and whistles are on this order but if they quadrupole the price are they worth it as i doubt they improve survivability much.

TrevorH
TrevorH
7 days ago
Reply to  BB85

They are being bought as part of a US batch. In terms of cost, I suggest people are not comparing apples and oranges

Sonik
Sonik
7 days ago
Reply to  Grant

It’s a known business practice that manufacturers sell stuff at cost or even a loss then stiff the customer on parts and support. Like printer cartridges costing as much as the printer.

Frankly I don’t believe Boeing can assemble something as complex as a Chinook for $30m. So I suspect that the US figure is just the heavily discounted purchase price but the UK figure is the true cost, including projected in service support. The US total cost is probably still cheaper but not by anything like as much as it appears.

BB85
BB85
7 days ago
Reply to  Sonik

That would make sense. Maybe it includes costs refurbishing the rest of the fleet as most of the airframes must be over 30 years old.

Sonik
Sonik
7 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Possibly.

But parts & support are well known to be a good source of profit for aircraft vendors because certification & traceability requirements limit the aftermarket, giving the OEM a tie-in.

Which provides an opportunity for back-loading profit into the lifecycle of the asset, allowing an aggressive up-front price to win the contract.

See KC-46 for details, not just MOD that gets mugged…

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Grant

US costing mechanism and UK is different. US Costing does not include through life support cost. UK cost usually include this.

The USN recently discovered that the LCS which was supposed to be a cheap hard hitting “knife fighter” ship to build isn’t that cheap. When you include all the operating costs , maintenance and repair costs with the build costs (Which the USN didn’t…) they are nearly as expensive as an AB to operate but with none of the Operational Capability.

Grant
Grant
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thats really interesting… so we’re not as bad as we think!?

I sometimes think the Governmemt likes stuff tk cost billions so they can say they are spending billions on stuff!

Sonik
Sonik
7 days ago
Reply to  Grant

Whichever way you look at it the UK accounting for TCO is more transparent and it stops vendors pulling a fast one, which they evidently do with DOD.

IMO the US have significantly more inefficiency in procurement it’s just masked by their much larger budget.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 days ago
Reply to  Grant

Actually with T45 -> T26 -> T31 we are well in front of the cost control mob.

Full through life costs were a curse to start with but they do focus minds on how to control them and now we are starting to reap the benefits.

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 days ago

Is most of it tugboat fees?
Perhaps harsh.
I would like to see the 2 newest T45 given updated radars & perhaps a VLS with Standard SM6.

Meirion X
Meirion X
7 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

SM6 is still only qualified to be launched by Mk. 41. It would cost $34M for just 16 cell silo to be fitted. My prices are based on a Finland order in 2019 for Mk. 41 on 4 corvettes with 8 cells each.

Last edited 7 days ago by Meirion X
PaulW
PaulW
7 days ago

So after three 16-missile salvos, the magazine is empty and it’s sitting there with its pants down. Great. Really good way to spend £1B. Give it half the firepower of a 30-year old DDG51.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
7 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

What a ridiculous comment.🤦‍♂️

TrevorH
TrevorH
7 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

And in the meantime, some country hads effectively lost its entire air force.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
7 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Or Cricket Balls ! 😎 

Andy P
Andy P
7 days ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Yeah, cricket balls have joined the ‘double decker bus’ list now.

In a similar vein, I’m just glad the article didn’t tell us how many tins of beans are involved in the 126K.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

You forgot Olympic Swimming Pools…..

Sean
Sean
7 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

So what you’re saying is the T45, after firing 48 missiles to down 48 attacking jets, is defenceless.

Thing is, so is the 30 year old DDG51 after it fires off all of its 96 missiles to down the same number of jets. 🤦‍♂️

Would be interested for you to name the Air Force suicidal enough to continue the attack after the first dozen planes were splashed.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago
Reply to  Sean

An AB will have 96 tubes loaded with a mixed load out including Sm2, SM 6, tomahawk and Asroc. So if firing sm2, which best practise is to salvo shoot, it cannot down 48 aircraft. It may only be good for say 36.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi GB, so with T45, it’s “less is more” and with the AB “more is less”! All we is want a T45 with “more is more”. I’m enjoying everyone’s contributions here. Lol 😁

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
7 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

Well you made me laugh… but I agree with you in the sense that the T45 could do with some extra silos, cannisters or ADLs, whatever would work for more missile muscle to counter multiple attacks and particularly for long deployments

PaulW
PaulW
7 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Well, that stoked some boilers. Nice to see someone picked on my point. Fore and aft VLS should have been the baseline design for T45. Survive to fight.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago

American prices are just for the airframe. No engines, guns, spares etc etc. Our price is for everything engines, guns, spares, manuals, countermeasures etc etc. Makes a massive difference. If u could get how much a full kitted out MH-47 cost the usaf with 5 years spares etc it would be similar. I would hope lol

ANDREW Taylor JAMES
ANDREW Taylor JAMES
7 days ago

Not as much as one might have thought really, all considered. There is a lot of alliteration in that statement!

Billythefish
Billythefish
7 days ago

Does that include depreciation I wonder? Probably not is my guess.

If just pure OPEX then it’s a reasonable cost – commercially comparable with large offshore/subsea vessels.

expat
expat
7 days ago
Reply to  Billythefish

Not sure the Navy or any of the services need to account for depreciation, they’re not ‘valued’ monetarily like companies are.

expat
expat
7 days ago

This highlights why we need T31 for lower end missions.

Andy a
Andy a
6 days ago

Could be replace aster 15 with quad packed camm? On the t45? How easy would this be?