The Ministry of Defence has announced a £160million contract with BAE Systems to update the power and propulsion system fitted to all six of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers, which originally cost around £1billion to build… each!
Rolls-Royce who built the original propulsion system have claimed the Ministry of Defence did not tell them that the 8,000-ton destroyers would be spending a long time in warm waters.
The six warships each have two gas turbines and two diesel generators that are at risk of cutting out at sea, leaving sailors stranded for hours in total darkness. In November HMS Diamond was forced to abort her mission to the Gulf after she suffered mechanical problems while en route.
The Power Improvement Project (PIP) will enhance the resilience of the Type 45 class by installing additional power generation sources in each ship. Delivered as a major conversion project, the PIP will replace the two existing generators with three larger units capable of delivering the ships’ propulsion.
HMS Daring was the first of the Type 45 class to be built and was commissioned in 2009. At a build cost of £1Billion and yet to reach her 10th birthday some say it is a disgrace that she requires so much work already.
Part of the reason the cost is so expensive is that the work will require cutting-into her hull to access the mechanical-components. This is because the generators were installed during her construction with the rest of the ship built around her. It was not envisioned she would suffer such major problems so early on in life.