back to article MPs slam 'disgraceful' Type 45 destroyers

The Royal Navy's new billion-pound Type 45 destroyers are back in the news again for unfortunate reasons, with the head of an influential parliamentary committee saying it's "disgraceful" that they will enter service without their French-supplied primary weapons ever having been fired from the ships. HMS <em>Daring</em> during …


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  1. Seven_Spades

    Who took the Great out of Britain - Labour

    There was a time before the so called "Invisibles" that our economy was reliant on exports from our arms industry. News would ring out every time an oil state placed an order for tanks or aircraft.

    Today we have no Navy to speak of and no arms industry. It was the French Exocet missiles that sank the Sheffield. Now the French are selling us anti-Exocet missile missiles, brilliant!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    re. Utter Garbage

    "Oh really, so Royal Marines didn't attack Afghanistan and Iraq from the decks of RN assault ships and aircraft carriers? Tomahawk and the Naval Strike WIng can't attack more than 20Km inland? Whilst not geared up for land attack in a huge way, it does have the ability to do it. Take a proper look at the composition of the RN before you make bland statements."

    I know that the services are doing a great job in difficult conditions; howerver my point is that white-elephants like this, and the mentality that buying British is better than buying the best available, is endangering the MOD's ability to deliver more importanat projects such as a replacement for Trident and a useful carrier fleet. The Marines would be better off if, like the US Marine Corps, they were able to operate their own air wing and buy more helicopter carriers. Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples of where ships like HMS Ocean are useful and frigates and destroyers add little to the mix. HMS Ocean cost about £155M in 1993, even if you pay double that today it still means you could get three helicopter carriers for the price of one Type 45; ask the Marines which they would rather have.

  3. Michael Fremlins

    We are not a world power

    We are not a world any more. We haven't been for a very long time, so we should stop acting like one.

    The navy, when supposedly engaged in anti-piracy measures (let's say off the coast of Somalia) is not even sure what authority it has to do so. The Foreign Office told the navy not to detain pirates, because it might breach their human rights! And it can't send the pirates back to Somalia because that might breach their human rights too! Furthermore, the Foreign Office said it is important to resolve things peacefully, so there really is no point at all in having the navy there. So what exactly is the navy doing there, apart from getting some wonderful sun tans at our expense? I'll tell you - it's pretending that we are still a great sea power with a global reach. But it is only "pretending", it's not the truth.

    The North Korea thing - there is currently NO power from the UN to incercept North Korean shipping. The most that can be done is to ask nicely for permission to board, but boarding by force would be an act of piracy. If the captain of the North Korean ship refuses his ship to be boarded, his ship must be directed to a port that Pyongyang chooses (most likely a home port). North Korea is in no position to attack us. That's just a rehash of the 45 minutes load of crap about Iraq. So, again, if the navy is near North Korea, it's working on sun tans and not a lot else. Once again, a bit of pretend grandstanding, but no real teeth.

    Our merchant fleet has about half a dozen rubber dinghies to its name. So protecting "British" shipping is a bit of a half-truth.

    The navy is so small that it is all but useless. The loss of one ship would have a major impact on fighting capacity. We no doubt have more admirals than ships.

    We don't have an empire to defend. And even offering help to friendly countries (let's say Australia was attacked by somebody unknown), what could we do? Offer a couple of ships at most. We are only a member of the UN Security Council for historical reasons, and that history is a long time ago now. "You are only as good as your last sale (or sail)...".

    The political classes (at least the major parties) threw our lot in with the Americans a long time ago (without asking us, the people, naturally). We have become nothing more than America's stooge. We are a useful extra vote on the Security Council (to frustrate those cheese-eating surrender-monkeys, and to spite the Russians). We have some bases for America to treat as though it owns, and that is exaclt how America does treat them.

    We should stop this pretence. And part of stopping it will be to ger rid of the navy. It costs a load of money and doesn't serve a useful purpose (any more).

  4. Fredly

    re:re:utter garbage

    even if you pay double that today it still means you could get three helicopter carriers for the price of one Type 45; ask the Marines which they would rather have.

    Ask the Welsh Guards on RFA Sir Galahad what they would rather have had, a nice shiny assault ship, or a destroyer that would've stopped them being fried to a crisp.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ignorant British

    What is it with you British?

    Even if the article is entirely true you have got the navy you deserved. Most of you don't vote (primarily because the right wing media discredits ALL policitions) and when you do, you vote for the party who promises to cut your tax bill the most.

    But worst of all you seem to believe all you read and hear in the your media. Don't you know

    your media is the most untrustworthy and corrupt media in the world? Don't you realise they have you like a puppet on a string?

    Some hack writes about MP's expenses and immediately the British knee jerks into action and the media (what about their expenses while they're at the bar?) begins to unravel democracy. Forget the fact that the expenses claim rules were sanctioned way back in Thatcher's government to enable MP's to claim in lieu of payrises. Forget the fact that the amounts of money involved were trivial in comparison to the billions charged by all defense companies.

    It's also clear that most of you have no idea of the complexities involved in procuring a naval warship. Cost isn't only the factor. International and national political, tactical and role factors all

    have to be taken into account. If they managed to get half of it to specification and on time at the first attempt I'd be happy.

    A hack in a bar doesn't care about that all he want to do is to sell a "story" to an ignorant public.

  6. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Mad Mike

    'Over £6b is a lot of money to keep a few Scots in employment!!'

    I assume you mean Labour MPs?

  7. Desk Jockey


    Has no one heard of the concept of incremental integration? It means your equipment can be 80% useful rather than 100% useless while you iron out the niggles with new tech. Since the Navy isn't being asked to shoot Iranian or Korean aircraft out of the air (yet!), the T45 could do the piracy role with no effort. HMS Daring has already been useful rescuing sinking Irish fishermen and that was during the trials, weapons not needed.

    Of course the T45 is going to cost more than an Aegis, it is newer. It is also made of a material that has a lower radar signature which the Aegis does not have and will never have. The T45 is also more automated thus does not have as many crew as the Aegis thus will have lower running costs. If you think the T45 is expensive for a brand new class of ship, look up the price tag of the US equivalent and replacement to the Burke called labelled the DD(x). Even the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) that the US are producing are delayed and way over budget and they are meant to be smaller platforms.

    And finally, but not least before saying we should buy US kit, Lewis (and others) will you please do your homework properly and look up ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Once you realise the sheer amount of bureacratic bloody mindedness that comes along with the US kit, you will realise that buying American is one of the most frustrating and bureacratic decision that any country's MoD can make. Imagine buying a Ford car and having to fill out a 10 page form every time you wanted to drive it anywhere other than on the commute to work or to a designated single supermarket, that is what ITAR means when you buy American.

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Why oh why oh why oh why...

    ...does the BBC... oops sorry wrong rant.

    Why don't we just buy some of the scary-as-fuck (that's official Navalese I'll have you know) Visby corvettes from the Swedes? They've got stealth capability and most importantly of all - look awesome*:

    * Admittedly my defence procurement policy would be grounded mainly on the 'but does it look cool?' principle, but I still reckon I'd come out ahead of the MoD.

  9. Hugh_Pym

    Lewis - Can we have some evidence...

    ... Of when cancelling a high profile defence project because it was apparently cheaper/better to buy American has actually proved true. F111 perhaps, no? or what about ....

  10. Anonymous Coward

    re:re:re:utter garbage

    @ Fredly

    "Ask the Welsh Guards on RFA Sir Galahad what they would rather have had, a nice shiny assault ship, or a destroyer that would've stopped them being fried to a crisp."

    Yes; which proves my other point about effective naval air power; the Argentine's clapped out air force should never have got near those ships, but without any AEW or proper fighters we were lucky to get the Falklands back at all. Operating without air superiority is dangerous! Relying on ships to take out airborne threats is like a football team relying purely on its goalkeeper; not a strategy for victory, the best you can do is limit the number of goals that the opposition score. The Royal Navy is in danger of becoming a team of goalkeepers!

  11. Fredly

    re:re:utter garbage

    I agree totally, but air power alone is not the solution, hostile aircraft can and will break the fighter screen. Air defences are layered, and SAM is the next stage after CAP, and after that you have CIWS (last ditch radar or optically guided short range gun or missile system to the uninitiated).

    You need to have the whole package, using your football analogy, you need a midfield, defence and goalkeeper. Saying get more assault ships, without balancing your screening requirements is suicidal.

    The sad fact is lessons learnt during the Falklands conflict regarding AEW and CAP have been forgotten / overlooked. I think we're prob arguing the same point.

  12. Michael 81

    The Goverments fault

    The type 45 is designed to have 4 Torpedoe tubes 2 x 4 Harpoon launchers and another 16 Vertical Launch Cells for a total of 64 designed with the space so they could be MK 41 VLS, and a towed sonar array. It was the govenment who didn't want to spend the money to buy the weapons.

    Incidently Flight IIA Arleigh Burke also do not have towed sonar or harpoon launchers it was intended to develop an anti-ship which could be launched from the VLS they haven't yet developed one.

    The first Arleigh Burke cost $1.1 billion, plus an additional $778 million for the ship's weapons systems back in the late 80s

    Funnly enough with the problems the US is having with Arleigh Burke replacement the DG-1000 (which is itself the replacement for the cancelled DD21) $3.5 billion per ship and questioned anti-air capabilty are now buying more Arleigh Burkes instead.

    Had we gone with the US route we would of probably signed up for the DD21 project and be in an even more of a problem now.

  13. Fredly


    You make some good points my friend, particularly in regard to the government refusing to fund T45s arsenal.

    One point I would make though is, shipborne torpedoes are a waste of time - if a sub is that close you've already had it. Helo drops are the way forward, so actually this was a good bit of money saving.

    The other point I'd make is about Harpoon. Whislt I don't know this for a fact, I should imagine the Americans took one look at the hundreds, if not thousands, of Harpoons lining their fleets upper works and thought "d'ya know, how many of these do we realisitcally need!"

  14. Sumack

    Harpoon and anti ship capabilities

    Part of the reason that the US does not fit Harpoon to the Flight IIa Arleigh Burke's is that their Standard SAM's can be used against surface warships. The current British SAM, the Sea Dart, fitted to Type 42 destroyers can also be used against surface warships. The new Sea Viper SAM for the Type 45 destroyers cannot be used against surface ships. Our new £1 billion destroyers will therefore be less capable against surface warships than the 30 year old vessels they are replacing.


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