One of the Royal Navy’s most advanced warships has aborted a mission to the Gulf and is heading home after breaking down.
HMS Diamond, a £1 billion Type 45 destroyer, had problems with a propeller that could not be fixed at sea despite the efforts of engineers on board.
A Royal Navy spokesman said:
“We can confirm HMS Diamond has experienced technical issues but we do not discuss the detailed materiel state of our operational ships and are unable to comment further.”
It is the latest problem faced by the Royal Navy’s fleet of six destroyers, built by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, which started entering service eight years ago.
Defence chiefs told MPs last year that their fleet of destroyers was breaking down because the ships’ engines could not cope with the warm waters of the Gulf.
However, Rolls-Royce executives told the defence select committee that the engines had been built as specified — but conditions in the Middle East were not “in line with these specs”.
There is not an immediate replacement ship available, meaning that Britain will be unable to perform a long-running commitment to provide reassurance to allies in the Gulf region.
However with HMS Diamond expected to dock back at Portsmouth in ten days her crew now face the very real possibility of having an unexpected Christmas at home with their families.