The Ministry of Defence want to replace current “obsolete and incapable” training simulators and replace them with ones able to reflect changes made during the Type 45’s power improvement programme.
According to a ‘Prior Information Notice’ issued by the Ministry of Defence to notify industry of an upcoming contract:
“The Authority intends to run a competition to design a Training Simulator to enable training of Royal Navy Engineers assigned to Type 45 Destroyers.
The current Simulation solution is outdated, obsolete and incapable of supporting the new requirements from the Napier power improvement programme. The requirement is to design a training simulator to train personnel on the use of the Platform Management System (PMS) integral to the T45.
The competition is for procurement of a solution only. When procurement is complete, the enduring maintenance of the Training Simulator will be managed by another Department.”
The Ministry of Defence say that they intend to issue a contract notice by the end of November/Early December 2021.
What is Project Napier?
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”.
The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that all Type 45 Destroyers will have received upgrades to their power systems by the mid-2020s, you can read more about that here.