On current plans, the Type 45 destroyers will leave service between 2035 and 2038.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked via a written question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the retirement date is of each Type 45 destroyer.”

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

“On current plans, the Type 45 destroyers will leave service between 2035 and 2038.”

The first ship in the Daring class, HMS Daring, was launched in February 2006 and commissioned in July 2009.

What might replace the Type 45 Destroyer?

The Type 4X, the Type 45 Destroyer replacement, is just an early concept at this stage but a variant of the Type 26 Frigate is officially being considered for the job.

The UK Defence Journal earlier chatted to Paul Sweeney, former MP for Glasgow North East and former shipbuilder, about the vessel. I have been told that consideration is already being given to the development of an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the Type 26, a variant that will function as a future replacement for the Type 45 Destroyer fleet – the programme is currently referred to as as T4X.

You can read more about it here.

The Type 4X Destroyer – The next British warship

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john melling

Well the late 2020’s into 2030s are going to be a very busy time for the RN !


Zero chance they will go out of service on those dates, as spec/tender/retender/dithering/contract/slow build, is not going to happen in 15 years.

Levi Goldsteinberg

And shipyards. With T26, 31, 32 and now 4X to all be rolling off slipways around that time, we would have to massively upgrade the capacity of shipyards to an unrealistic degree. Echo Steve in saying no chance 45s will be out of service on those dates


That’ll make them just 25 years old. I’d have thought they could go on until 30 years at least! Seems they have some space already planned in for programme slippage!

Cheers CR


Indeed when even the US keeps ships in service much longer than that it seems a waste. The only logic is when yards need the business but as others have said that is highly unlikely to be the case in that time period. Looks even more strange when you think how the T23s are getting substantial updates with that sort of mileage on the clock and they really were the last of a previous generation of ship design as opposed to the first of the present design philosophies. Only other logic to it would be if the replacements were part… Read more »


So…. six ships decommissioned over a four year period?

And if they are planned to be replaced on a ‘one for one’ basis, and no capability gap either, it would appear that multiple yards would be needed and a closely spaced drumbeat too?

Yeah….. can’t see that happening!

Steve R

At least a one for one basis.

I think really they should look at increasing the destroyer fleet. Replace the 6 Type 45s with 8 or 9 Type 4Xs.

Paul C

We do need more than 6, but I doubt it will happen. A reduction in numbers is more likely than an increase, unfortunately. Look what happened with the SSNs, SDR 1998 said the fleet of 12 would be cut to 10, which became 8 then 7. It would probably have gone down to 6 if Bob Ainsworth had lasted long enough to have his way.


Just been looking at the inservice dates for the Type 26 Frigates. If the T4x ships follow on down the same line then the last of the T45’s will leave service just as the last of the T26 enter service. I.e NO air defence ships until at least 2040 ish if one follows the other at the current delivery rate.

So either the T45’s will see their 35 birthdays or T26 batch II will have to get a wriggle on or the T4x will be built somewhere else!

Cheers CR

Steve R

Logically then it must be the latter, the T4X built somewhere else, surely.

We had a 10-year capability holiday from MPA aircraft and carriers, but now we’re putting a lot of resource into the carriers we really cannot afford to have an air defence gap.

MoD need to pull their fingers out, now. This is a gap that could prove lethal to our carrier group and cost hundreds of lives. Whatever form these destroyers take place, they need to be built concurrently alongside our other ships in the making.

Mike Saul

Realistically the T45s will serve well into the 2040s, a replacement should be based on the T26 optimised for air defence. Which should achieve some cost savings.


Do we want a state of the art AA ship based on a ship, the T26, which will already ‘old’ and is in any event a ASW vessel??

What type/ class of specialist ship should we require?

Mike Saul

The T26 was designed to be a flexible warship as possible to save money and make it an attractive for export.

The Canadians certainly intend to use for area air defence.

Regards any old warship, the US Arleigh Burke class destroyer will be in continuous production from the mid 1980s to the mid 2040s.

You don’t reinvent something when a workable solution is available.


Yes all true. But as technology moves quickly, is it wise to shoe horn in equipment into a frigate? How easy to update with a mid life make over with a T26 based AAW ship.

Mike Saul

Given the T26 was designed to a flexible modular warship, I would hope it would be suitable as a AAW type warship just a question of replacing one type of sensor/weapon/technology fit for another.

Looking at the radically different fits proposed to Australian, Canadian and UK models, I don’t see this as a big problem

Time will tell

Stevo H

You can’t replace a large destroyer with a cheaper frigate that’s half it’s size and expect it to do a better job ….. it doesn’t work that way. Not only that, someone has said that the brilliant Samson radar mast will fit ok on a Type 26 hull but I can’t see it myself.
When we’ve just spent over £6 billion on 2 Carriers and plenty more billions on F-35 programme….. why would we DOWNGRADE it’s escorts to Frigates in the CSG’s? It’s madness in my opinion.


Steve frigate destroyer is not an indication of size and complexity in the RN, a frigate can be bigger that Destroyer. The type 22 was bigger than a type 42.

The label describes the primary function not size.

Robert Stevenson

I agree look at the spec of the Canadian versions 01- Note the 32 MK41 VLS cells fitted forward. Some (if not all) of them are in their ‘strike length’ version in order to accommodate the Tomahawk LACM 02- Close up view of the 8 NSM launchers on the CSC scale model on display on the Lockheed Martin booth at Sea Air Space 2019. 03- The CSC scale model at DSEI 2019 featured Harpoon launchers. 04- These are likely the ExlS cells for MBDA’s Sea Ceptor. The configuration would be 6 cells each carrying four missiles. 05- The semi-spherical arrays… Read more »

Robert Stevenson

Sorry Mike it wouldn’t upload the photo that goes with the spec info I used to explain everything

Mike Saul

Thanks, having looked at the Canadian specification for T26 I don’t see why the the T26 wouldn’t a great AAW for the RN whilst reducing the procurement and support costs.

Robert Stevenson

Mike I don’t know if you follow them, but there was a good article in navalnew with lots of model shots of Canadian version. Sorry ukdj

Stevo H

You sound like a civil servant…… “It’s going to be fine, we’ll save money etc..”
What you most certainly DON’T want to be doing is penny pinching when you’re talking about escorting over £3.5 billion worth of Carrier, her F-35’s, her helicopters and her crew. Open your eyes fella…

Meirion X

Most of those warpons use X-band radar which the RN does not use, because most RN warpons are fully active homing.

Andy a

Can I ask why do we seem to be one of few that use active aa missles? Are they superior or is it gold plating, could we not have followed arleigh Burke design but had twice as many ships and missles for the cash? Say 4 in carrier group not 2?
Beautiful ships mind

Stevo H

We’re not the US Navy, we don’t have Arleigh Burke Class destroyers and we operate differently to them. They do their thing, we do ours…… it works fine like it is.
You cannot compare what they have with what we have, same with how, when, what and why……

Andy a

No but u cam compare cost and capability, we can no longer afford to build everything to gold standards. In some areas we need to buy of shelf probably American or euro capabilities. Main reason to ensure we get value for money.

Stevo H

It’s still smaller, less powerful and less capable than a Type 45 Destroyer, no matter how you try and sugar coat it mate.
If I was the Royal Navy top brass, I would be absolutely furious.

Meirion X

A ship with a deep stern! To host LXUUV’s with a stern door.

Stevo H

At last……. someone who can see what’s happening here. We cannot replace a state of the art air defence destroyer with a less capable, smaller, cheaper Frigate… that isn’t really big enough to take the 40 ft Samson radar mast.
This is like replacing our Chally 2’s with Ajax vehicles with a 40mm gun. Would the Army accept that? Of course not, so why should the Royal Navy accept this stupid decision?

Last edited 3 months ago by Stevo H
Stevo H

You’re thinking like a civil servant here fella…. we shouldn’t be going for cheap, we should be replacing the Type 45 with an improved design with more power and capabilities.
In my opinion, downgrading our DESTROYERS to FRIGATES is a terrible idea and the talk of the Type 4X, an air defence version of the Type 26 Frigate, shows the penny piching negative mindset in Whitehall.
What should replace a Destroyer is a better Destroyer………. end of.

Last edited 3 months ago by Stevo H

I suppose a quick way to resolve the T45 problem would be to take the RAN Hunter class and give it 48 Mk41s. No major reworking needed, a AAW design complete and basically the same hull and superstructure with the only diffrence in the radar suite. Even here I could imagine the SAMPSON as a fixed four-eight plane array. However the T26 program would need to be speeded up by a few years, especially as the T4X would need to be built in pairs. Is it possible, yes but we need to start the planing and work allocation now, not… Read more »

Meirion X

None of the present RN warpon systems are qualified to be launched from Mk. 41.
The Aster 30 is a more accurate AAW missile.

Captain P Wash

The “Castlemaine ” Class. Should sell well down under ! ( 4X )


Do you know why Queenslanders call it XXXX? Because they can’t spell beer!!


(PS, I’m from New South Wales and Queenslanders are always an easy target! Ha ha!)

Captain P Wash

Ha Ha, We have the same inter County Banter here in the UK too.


Yes it’s always a bit of fun having a go at your ‘cousins’ across a state or territory border (it’s also fun to have a go at our Kiwi cousins across the ditch too!).

All jokes aside, there has actually been a HMAS Castlemaine:


HMAS Castlemaine was one of 60 Bathurst class corvettes built here during WWII, and she survives to this day as a museum ship.


Captain P Wash

Well I never…….. Is there a Fosters then ? lol.


Haha! HMAS Fosters? No, not likely!

Fosters is one of those stereotypes where everyone thinks us Aussies drink it, we don’t, it’s horrible, it’s cats pi$$. I don’t know if it’s even brewed here anymore.


Stevo H

Same here mate, that, Castlemaine, Carling, Carlsberg, Miller et all are utter gnats p%$s… and I’m not even an Aussie.
Good beer is good beer…… Same with Destroyers and frigates.

Stevo H

I hope not, Fosters is dreadful….. although with this Type 26 4X cheap imitation AAW Type 45 replacement being thrown around, we could call them HMS Castlemaine, Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling, Miller etc….
Instead, we should be replacing premium with a slightly better premium product… HMS Peroni, Cobra, Tiger, Stella and Heineken etc…

Last edited 3 months ago by Stevo H
Stevo H

Nothing wrong with banter my friend, it’s what makes the World go round in my opinion.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Spent my best years in Brissy and if I ever see another 4X Gold in my life it’ll be too soon. Absolute piss it is. Great Northern is great though


Yeah I don’t like XXXX either, it is crap, but it’s a Queensland thing, no accounting for taste hey?

As for beer brands here in Oz today, there’s just too many to poke a stick at, not just the major brewers but also the endless number of micro brewers too.

If you go to a large bottle shop it’s almost as if the varieties of beer are competing with all the wine varieties!



Dont mention the state of origin.


Mind the gap


That is a very short life span.


20 years almost to build few in numbers destroyers shows how weak Britain has become . China builds many ships each year. Countries like Korea with smaller economy build way more ships faster.

British ship yards this days work in slow motion! 🤐 Something needs to change urgently if Britain wants be relevant on the world stage or be relegated as a tier 3 military because many mid powers like Japan Korea Turkey are turning more credible slowly as tier 2 powers next decade

Captain P Wash

To be fair though, It’s not the Shipyards that build in slow motion.

Stevo H

Who is it then… the tea ladies that hold things up? The unions?.


So the last T26 goes into the fleet in 2034 so if the T4X is replacing T45 from 2035 then they will need to begin the build with absolutely no stop gap on the Clyde between T26 & T4X. I would bet the first destroyer replacement doesn’t get to the RN before 2038 so the T45 will have to soldier on.


Actually Rob, some estimates put the last T26 into service in 2038! That includes trials, mind.


If it is 2038 and the T4X follows on at a similar rate then the RN will have no Air Defence ships for at least 2 years!

They need to get on with it. Which is where it all falls down, of course!

Cheers CR

Dave in Pompey

The Type 26 is supposed to only be 2.5m shorter than a Type 45 and only 40cm narrower in the beam so you could easily put a bit of length and beam into the basic design just like we did with the Broadbeam Leanders or stretched 22 / 42’s. It would also provide more space for MK41’s to give a larger load out and allow for extra height for the radar systems. Doable and probably more cost effective than a completely new hull design – lessons from the Type 26 programme will then be incorporated into the new DDG.

Simon m

Any chance of them getting a proper MLU?
57mm, later versions of Aster, sea ram rather than phalanx, more VLS, perhaps ADL Dragonfire, LMM on 30mms, none of these options seem very expensive options but surely would massively improve the defensive capability of the ships in their role in either carrier escort or LSG.

These are basically the capital ships of the RN should they not be armed more appropriately?

Douglas Newell

Jeeze-oh – it doesn’t seem that long ago I was seeing them getting built on the Clyde when I was heading into Glasgow – and now we’re talking about scrapping them.


The sweet spot for vessels seems to be 20-25 years of service, after which they require major refits that become increasingly costly. However given how long it takes to design and build major warships in the UK these days i’d say it’s almost certain the T45’s will have an extensive mid-life upgrade to get them to 2040-2045. In terms of their eventual replacement there is an argument that an entirely new vessel will be needed to keep design skills alive, but even though this may be a very layman view i’ve never quite understood why the ability to design an… Read more »


I suspect the rationale for the early (ish) retirement date is to avoid expensive and time consuming mid-life refits but will still be in a good enough condition for export.

There are so many if and buts regarding funding but in an ideal world the 6 type 45’s ought to be replaced with at least 9 ships. Build and commission the first 3 before any of them retire and since the existing shipyards will be rather busy at that point decisions need to be made in the next few years as to where and how many.

Paul Walker

I still don’t know why the RN insists on operating single-role AAW destroyers when they have so few ships. It’s a lot of money to spend to achieve one role. And I never understood why a specialist AAW only has forward VLS cells. A single hit to the forward zone renders the ship useless. I believe a multi-role destroyer with fore and aft VLS is a far better solution.

Paul T

I too have often thought that the Major Weapons Systems on Royal Navy Ships are Concentrated in the same General Area and therefore are Vulnerable as you say,this is true of T42,23 and 45.Luckily on T26 this has Changed with a Second VLS located Aft of the Funnel,

Stevo H

I don’t like the idea of no new destroyers, the Type 4X means smaller, less capable frigates… which is an embarrassment to the Royal Navy.
The Type 45 is an outstanding, powerful, large, World beating Air Defence destroyer and is extremely important for the CSG’s that we deploy around the World and going for a cheaper, smaller Type 26 based air defence frigate to replace them doesn’t look good to our NATO allies and partners around the World. I’m not happy about this at all.

Ed Baines

T4X should be built on the Mersey, in Belfast and elsewhere to future proof it against Scottish separation from the Union. The government should start the design etc ball (yes to T26 basis) right now. 2035 sounds a long way off, but in terms of shipbuilding it is not.