On Friday, we published an article regarding all Type 45 Destroyers being in Portsmouth at the same time, the Ministry of Defence have responded.
The story was then picked up by Sky News and many other national news sources after them. The issue became one that was covered nationally, however, many decided to put an incredibly negative spin on the news.
An MOD spokesperson said:
“This week the Royal Navy had over 8,500 personnel deployed on operations around the world and 34 ships at sea.
All Type 45 destroyers are currently in port as they have either just returned from operations, or are about to be deployed, are conducting training or carrying out maintenance or are home for crew to take summer leave.”
Despite all Type 45 Destroyers being in Portsmouth, apart from HMS Dauntless, all the of the vessels are in their normal operating cycle.
While a full remedy for their well known mechanical issues is being worked on and the vessel will eventually return to operations, currently a partial fix for the propulsion system has been put in place on most vessels.
The information comes from @NavyLookout on twitter, more can be found at savetheroyalnavy.org
— NavyLookout (@NavyLookout) July 29, 2016
The Type 45 destroyers are primarily designed for anti-air warfare with the capability to defend against sophisticated targets such as fighter aircraft, drones as well as highly manoeuvrable sea skimming anti-ship missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.
The Royal Navy describes the destroyers’ mission as being “to shield the Fleet from air attack”.
The engineering problems with the Type 45’s has been no secret, it was even addressed in the November 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which stated funding is to be made available for:
“A Type 45 machinery improvement package to deliver the most modern AAW and BMD platform in the world more reliably”.
It is understood that the ships will have to be refitted at a cost of tens of millions of pounds.
The Type 45s were the first complex warships to employ an integrated full electric propulsion, which uses gas turbines and diesel generators to power electric motors, which turn the propellers.
Problems with the system emerged during shore testing in 2005 and have been denting reliability of the destroyers ever since, with many having to cancel port visits, deployments and even come home early.
The Ministry of Defence had this to say:
“The Type 45 destroyers are hugely capable ships and have consistently made a difference to our safety and security, including HMS Defender’s support to US carrier operations against Daesh in the Gulf.
In our defence review last year we committed to improving the Type 45’s power and propulsion system through a series of machinery upgrades during planned maintenance, which will ensure increased availability and resilience over the life of the ships.”
It’s no secret that Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dauntless has endured the most issues relating to the widely reported propulsion issues currently found in the Type 45 Destroyers.
A parliamentary written question has confirmed what many have feared, that the vessel will not be leaving Portsmouth for some time.
Asked by Douglas Chapman (MP for Dunfermline and West Fife)
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether HMS Dauntless is being used as a harbour training and accommodation ship.”
Answered by Philip Dunne (then Minister of State for Defence Procurement)
“The introduction of Engineering Training Ships is an important component of the Royal Navy’s comprehensive programme to improve training and career development opportunities by increasing training capacity.
Ships in the operating cycle immediately ahead of refit will be used to deliver training alongside home Bases and Ports. HMS DAUNTLESS entered this profile in February this year.”
A reduced Ship’s Company reside on board as normal, augmented by trainees who use the opportunity to gain experience through development activities in a realistic environment.”
HMS Dauntless is the second ship of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy.
One of the most controversial of her, until recently, frequent deploys was in January 2012, when it was announced that Dauntless would deploy to the South Atlantic to replace HMS Montrose which was stationed around the Falkland Islands. The deployment was condemned by the government of Argentina, which claimed that the UK was “militarising the South Atlantic”, despite the replacement representing only a modest increase in fighting capacity.
In 2015, Dauntless re-sailed for the Middle East after a short delay, with a plan to take part in the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign. She conducted anti-piracy patrols, as well as escorting US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
While a remedy is being worked on and the vessel will eventually return to operations, this will not be for a few years yet.