It is planned that all six ships will have completed their power plant upgrades by the mid-2020s.
In 2016, the Ministry of Defence acknowledged that the Northrop Grumman intercooler in the propulsion system was unreliable. On occasion there have been near-complete power generation failures, temporarily disabling propulsion, power generation for weapons, navigational systems and other purposes, leaving the ships vulnerable to “total electric failure”.
A staggered refit was also announced, which will involve cutting into the ship’s hulls and fitting additional diesel generation capacity.
The then First Sea Lord, Admiral Philip Jones, clarified that the “WR-21 gas turbines were designed in extreme hot weather conditions to what we call “gracefully degrade” in their performance, until you get to the point where it goes beyond the temperature at which they would operate… we found that the resilience of the diesel generators and the WR-21 in the ship at the moment was not degrading gracefully; it was degrading catastrophically, so that is what we have had to address”.
In March 2018, it was announced that each ship would have their two diesel engines replaced by three new ones at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead.
Recently, Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham asked via a written question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the Power Improvement Project for the Type 45 will be concluded.”
James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, responded:
“HMS DAUNTLESS will be the first of the Type 45 Destroyers to receive the Power Improvement Project upgrades. Work will commence this spring and the ship will return to sea for trials in 2021. The timetable for the Power Improvement Project is dependent on the availability of ships to undertake the conversion, balanced against the Royal Navy’s standing and future operational commitments. It is planned that all six ships will have completed their upgrades by the mid-2020s.”