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The UK has only one available type 45 destroyer in its fleet: the HMS defender

The UK’s Royal Navy has 6 Type 45 destroyers in its fleet.

Photo: Youtube

Currently, out of them 5 are unavailable for deployment. The only one left is the HMS Defender, which recently was the subject of warning shots in the Black Sea.

Four of the Type 45s currently unavailable are in various stages of maintenance or upgrade. The remaining warship out of action, HMS Diamond, ran into technical problems earlier in July, while escorting the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s carrier strike group on a deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.

The one operational destroyer in the fleet, HMS Defender, is helping provide air defense cover to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and other warships in a group which includes U.S. and Dutch vessels.

Several reports in recent years have detailed propulsion breakdowns leaving Type 45s without power when the ship is deployed to areas with high temperatures.

Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin acknowledged that working Type 45s had become a scarce resource came to light in a Parliamentary answer July 19.

Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said the availability of the Type 45 illustrated that Britain needed a bigger navy.

“It’s an operational concern. HMS Defender is now our only currently operating Type 45. If that ship experiences propulsion problems, which we have seen across the Type 45 family, then the carrier strike group will be forced to lean on a NATO ally to ensure we have destroyer protection,” Ellwood said. “That really indicates the bottom line is we need a bigger navy.”

The defense committee chairman said that given Britain’s national and international obligations it was “not acceptable that the RN availability [of the Type 45] is now reduced to a single ship.”

The only available ship, the HMS Defender, was at the center of the above-mentioned altrecation between Britain and Russia over whether the warship legally entered Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea. The Russian’s claimed they had dropped bombs and fired warning shots to persuade the British to alter course. There are videos to prove it, but the UK denies reality.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that the Russian Navy could have easily sunk the HMS Defender, without that leading to a wider conflict. Then, the UK would have 0 destroyers available.

Quin said the power improvement program is essential to upgrading the capabilities of the Type 45.

“Dauntless [a Type 45 destroyer] will be out of the [performance improvement program] by the end of the year and depending on operational commitments another Type 45 going in. I hope to see Dragon back on operations in the early Autumn … Diamond has got current issues which I hope we will be able to rectify shortly,” he told the committee.

In 2018 the MoD awarded an £160 million ($219 million USD) deal to BAE Systems, BMT Defence and Cammell Laird to improve the resilience of the destroyers by replacing the two diesel generators, fitting an additional diesel generator and modifying the high voltage system on each ship.

The warships also use a WR-21 gas turbine as part of the power and propulsion set-up.

Work is already underway to replace the destroyers by the late 2030s with a new warship known as the Type 83.

Whether that will change anything remains in question.

Source: South Front

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