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. Anonymous Coward

    What hope is there

    for getting the new Aircraft carriers ready on time and budget - sorry whose time and budget are we talking about here? Slim or none?

    It really is disgraceful and inexcusable but will anybody be subject to review and sanction ... --- ... I doubt it....

    (Not) Sorry, these procurements and commissionings are complicated affairs and if only you knew the half of it you'd be surprised it was only this late and over budget. We've only been building warships for 500 years... Now, about our bonus...

  2. Efros

    One hopes they have a drummer

    RAMMING SPEED Number 1!!

  3. Mad Mike
    Thumb Down

    Very true

    Looking at the equipment list, whilst many of the systems are European, almost nothing (apart from the hull) is British and there's a fair amount of American hardware and technology in there. So, why not just buy the whole thing from America. It can take Harpoons, no plans to fit. It can take Phalanx, may fit when some are found. It could fire Tomahawk, but might need Type 41 launchers for this. So, what's the point?

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

  4. Chris Collins


    You may laugh but the Austro-HUngarian navy was forced to use that system when their main gun didn't turn up. Cue particularly odd Mid 19th century naval tactics.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give it time

    This is what happens when the first of class goes into service, nothings ever ready quite on time.

    Give it a few years, some block IV ATBM Asters and SCALP Naval and we'll have ourselves a warship!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Lewis Page

    Based on this and his other articles, Lewis seems to be very pro USA.

    While I'd prefer the ships to be entirely British, alas our obsession with open competition means our industries have not been protected, unlike the French. At least this ship is part British.

    So, how come the US suppliers didn't win in the Invitation To Tender procurement process?

    Of more concern is the scaling back of the number of ships from 12 to 6.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Less capable than the Korean navy?

    Britain is becoming a paper tiger.

    Maybe we should fire these clowns and go back to using privateers. Arrr!

  8. Brian Griffiths

    left hand down a bit..

    Let's hope they never meet a Sudanese pirate dinghy. It would be a short fight, and £1bn goes to Davy Jones's locker. Alternatively the pirates take it into port and kit it out with some serious firepower

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What has happened to British Ship Building

    Wow, when did the British Navy Ship building become so bad? From a top flight Navy in the past to this?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    There's no captain's coat on the hook he's already left, some weeks ago. Got promoted.

  11. Scott Evil

    Gotta love the military budget spending

    So glad i ticked YES to the "Do you mind of we spend a lot of of your cash on military hardware we dont need" question on the election forms.

    Oh wait a sec there wasnt any.....................

  12. GeorgeTuk

    This is just sad...

    I mean they shouldn't be able to even put these to sea really.

    As they are pratically defenceless lets put these out to see sailed by MPs, yarrr!

  13. Mark Dowling

    Would the Aegis ships be fully capable?

    The Americans have a tendency to try foisting "crippleware" and closed source codes on those who buy their stuff. (See F-22, F-35)

  14. Nick Davey
    Thumb Down


    In a previous life I worked for a Defence company and have seen just this sort of dithering from the MoD on every single occasion. I'm amazed we have any kind of mechanisation for any of our armed forces. Think back to the days when we had the most accomplished Navy in the known world, now we're sending out vessels that aren't even properly/appropriately armed.....

  15. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Black Helicopters

    Lewis is right, we suck

    I never understood why we can't build anything these days, if some hack sitting in a london bar can figure this stuff out, why can't the MoD, ask yourself where is the money going and why do we refuse to use good kit when we get the chance.

    I can remember I think it was jeremy clarkson going on about some guy in the 19th century who had the great idea of putting a corkscrew "guide" on the inside of rifle barrels, therefore spinning the bullet. The spinning bullet, would travel further in a straight line than one without.

    Guess which one we bought??? It is a british invention to if I remember correctly!!!! We stayed with the shit gun barrel, why??? I mean, you are PURPOSELY reducing your capacity

    What we need, is to get rid of the "old guard" the ones with too many hands trapped in too many pockets, what we need, are people to think like those kids who spend 1000 quid on a graphics card because it's the "best".

    We need to buy more of the best and less of the shit that puts millions into the pockets of "interested parties".

    Good luck with that though.

  16. SlabMan


    Since we seem to be managing with gunless-boat diplomacy, why not try no-boats-at-all diplomacy? We'd save a boat load of money. Seriously, how much would the armed forces cost if their role was limited to defending these islands, rather than fighting American wars half-way round the world?

  17. Trygve

    @"how come the US suppliers didn't win in the Invitation To Tender "

    I believe the usual procedure is for the politically favoured lash-up being awared the deal on the basis of a bid structured on Real_Cost*0.3, Real_Time*0.5, Real_Jobs_Created*3, Perceived_Strategic_Independence*15. This is formula is usually enough to edge out whatever is on offer from the US/Israelis/Swedes/Russians/Brazilians/Congolese/Ukranians until such time as it's too late to cancel the order for the gold-plated turd.

    IME RFPs etc are usually written to justify the choice of a particular vendor or product, not the other way round - I can't imagine the public sector is any different

  18. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    @AC 23rd June 2009 13:35 GMT

    "Wow, when did the British Navy Ship building become so bad? From a top flight Navy in the past to this?"

    Since a minority in Britain, assisted by boundary gerrymandering by Labour, voted this shower of incompetents in three times in a row.

    Brown's disdain for the armed forces is palpable, and his desire to irreversibly change the face of society through his doolally social engineering agenda has proved disastrous.

    I read this morning that Labour's support has halved, which came as a total surprise.

    I could not believe that after the events since 1997 that there are still those who say that Labour is the answer.

    To which I can only say that it must have been a bloody stupid question, and perhaps it is time that we instituted basic intelligence and comprehension tests before enfranchising people.

    A plague and a pox on Brown, his followers, and all their houses.

  19. Big Bear

    Vs Korean Navy

    It’s a bit worse than that I’m afraid – ROKS Sejong The Great has greater VLS capacity than the Burkes, as well as the Japanese Kongo class (128 vs 96), has 16 Harpoons as well as Goalkeeper CIWS and RAM missiles, with which the US Navy are replacing Phalanx with. She was launched in 2007 and commissioned into service in 2008, passing her weapons testing phase ahead of time! Basically, South Korea built her to the Burke template in a local yard using local skills but using readily available, existing components, mostly from the US (including the BAE gun!). Unlike the UK, the Korean government had a role and a capability gap they wanted to fill and did something about it, all at the cost of about $923 million apiece!

    What I don’t understand is the fascination with being independent of the US, when at the same time the Royal Navy retired the Sea Harrier citing that they would be operating under the protection of friendly airpower – neglecting the point that if an Invincible class carrier is needed in an operation, then surely land based aircraft are unavailable (otherwise why need a carrier?) so there must be a US carrier handy and indeed working with the UK (I’m discounting the Indian, Spanish and other carrier-operating countries as they each only have one Invincible sized “sea control ship”).

    It seems that everyone in government has forgotten the Falklands campaign, when those nice allies forgot to lend us a supercarrier…

  20. Dave Harris

    @Lewis is right, we suck

    Actually the Baker rifle was used heavily during the peninsular campaign, albeit that the standard British Pattern musket was used in far greater numbers. The problem was that there were only a few regiments that were fully comfortable not only with using them, but with the tactics they enabled (and even fewer officers).

    The Baker rifle enabled the Light companies to get further forward as skirmishers, and inflict greater damage from a greater distance. Black Bob Crauford only had the chance to get a few regiments up to speed on the new tactics at Shorncliffe before the Peninsula campaign, partly because the less forward looking general staff (fighting the last war as usual) didn't believe in anything but the drill book of musket volleys, although, to be fair, at musket distance they were bloody deadly compared to the prevalent French tactic of advancing in column, where only the front two ranks can fire.

    It should be pointed out that Napolean eschewed the rifle as well. Also, that one of the most effective rifle carrying regiments, the 60th, was an American Loyalist regiment.

    The rifle regiments continue to this day in the Royal Green Jackets.

    Oh yeah, and in Sean Bean's repeat fees.

  21. spam 1

    1.1 billion ouch

    Type 45, 7200 tons, holds 200 skates, does 28 knots - 1.1 billion quid

    Oasis class, 220,000 tons, holds 5,400 passengers, 1800 crew, does 20 knots - 0.7 billion quid

  22. commander_mike


    (1) The 'Burke carriers either 96 missiles or 48 missiles and a flight deck, rated for "up to" 2 helicopters, not both.

    (2) The Burke can guide up to 3 missiles at once. The way the AEGIS system works, you can normally have a few more missiles in the air & flying towards targets at the same time - the missiles "keep going in a straight line" until the ship provides updates. Conversely, the Sampson / ASTER can guide 12 at once, and they have their own terminal guidance. So it can have 16 in the air at once actively homing onto evading targets.

    *** So that makes it 4 times as good as AEGIS, doesn't it? ***

    (3) The SM-2 is an evolved anti-aircraft missile, with limited maneouverability. The ASTER was designed from the gound up as an anti-missile-missile, with ludicrous maneouverability. (Feel free to look up the details yourselves.)

    (4) No reason why you can't fit SM-6 (the ABM version) missiles on a Type-45 as well.

    (5) The Burke does not have enough electrical power to drive an ABM radar. There is talk of putting a generator in the hanger (replacing the helicopters) to give it a few more MW... The Type-45 has Integrated Electric Propulsion, so (unlike the Burke) the full 50+ MW motive power of the ships engines is used to generate electricity, and then made available to the motors, radar, as needed.

    (6) These ships have an expected service life of 35-55 years. Rail Guns are expected to be available in 15-20 years. (The US naving is funding BAE for this work, amongst others.) They can only be refitted onto ships with Electric Propulsion. When this happens, the current US destroyers will become obsolete.

    (7) The predecessor to the Sampson was used for ABM trials. This probably tells us alot about how good Sampson is in the ABM role.

    (8) Sampson is _very_ resistant to jamming, as it is able to generate and aim radar nulls at anyone that tries to jam it. AEGIS can't do this.

    (9) Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers are normally quoted as costing $2 billion, e.g. in the latest US defence budget, that has just ordered another one.

    ... I may add some more corrections later.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lewis "pro-USA"?

    I dunno about that.

    Pro-"decent kit without getting totally tucked up on the price", yes, definitely.

    Is that a bad thing?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    re. Lewis Page

    I can't believe this person thinks this is true!

    "While I'd prefer the ships to be entirely British, alas our obsession with open competition means our industries have not been protected, unlike the French. At least this ship is part British."

    The only thing that the MOD's budget is used for is to keep British manufacturers (mainly one though) in business; whatever crap they turn out!

    And as for the following statement:

    "So, how come the US suppliers didn't win in the Invitation To Tender procurement process?"

    The "tender" process at the MOD tends to start with "Does your company name have the word 'British' in it?" along with "Are any of your shareholder's British?" and "Does your company employ a significant number if British voters?". You could offer the MOD the fucking Death Star for a fiver, but unless you can answer yes to these they won't be interested **.

    Seriously, we're left with a pathetic defense industry that doesn't have to compete with anyone for MOD money, it need only employ a few thousand British people (even though BAE employs more Americans than Brits) and it can use those jobs to hold the Governement and the MOD to ransom. The ransom will be paid in cash by UK taxpayers and blood by UK service personnel; money spent on crap like this means no money for quality infantry equipment and proper air support.

    The UK defence budget should be spent on defending the UK, not keeping a few highly paid "engineers" in work; if BAE can compete then let them, but every project to date that they've been involved with has either been delivered late (e.g. Eurofighter), over-budget (Eurofighter), with bits missing (Type 45), a bit crap to start with (Tornado F3) and sometimes not at all (Nimrod AEW - I actually saw these at BAE Woodford). They couldn't even make a rifle, arguably the simplest and most basic weapons system, that works properly (the british made SA80 was eventually fixed by the German Heckler & Koch during the brief period H&K were owned by BAE). If these guys were builders, how many times would you use them before looking elsewhere?

    As a graduate of aeronautical engineering, I feel very sorry for the employees of BAE; but not enough to keep paying for rubbish. The money wasted with them would be better spent elsewhere, developing a proper engineering industry that can compete on merit rather than the pathetic "buy British" mentality that seems to obscure some people's thinking on these matters.

    ** Note: Even if the UK were to buy a Death Star, the three services would argue whether it should be operated by the Navy (because it's a "ship") the RAF (because it "flies") or the Blues and Royals (because of the shiny helmets), before putting into storage for two years because BAE managed to get in on the deal and their bit is late.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, everything from the US is massively supperior...

    ... especially for the opponent. I mean c'mon, the merkin kit that doesn't slaughter friends just crumbles to dust when looked at in a strange way.

  26. Michael Fremlins

    Do we want (or need) a navy?

    We don't have an empire. We don't need to defend (or fail to defend) Singapore. And the idea that we do anything useful with the navy is just a navy-sourced myth.

    As the navy has now shrunk to the point of utter uselessness, we might as well go the whole hog and get rid of it. Have small, fast patrol boats for inshore work. And that's it. Site a few missiles on land, and get rid of Trident (and its replacement). This will save billions. As a sop, the "navy" can be in charge of the missile stations. It will give them some buttons to practise pressing.

    This won't be popular. The navy was once useful, but now it's not. It used to have a role, but now it doesn't. It's a fabulous waste of money, and it's considered a joke the world over. As we can't fight the Falklands again, we might as well give it up now.

  27. Steve X

    HMS Daring?

    Come on, Lewis. What would be Daring about chasing a few dhows with 48 cruise missiles and a boatload of machine guns? That would be HMS OutOfMyFuckingWaySonny. Real Daring would be "cutlasses between the teeth lads, and grab a line". Clearly what the MoD have in mind. Where's Douglas Fairbanks when you need him?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    re. accuracy?

    "(6) These ships have an expected service life of 35-55 years. Rail Guns are expected to be available in 15-20 years. (The US naving is funding BAE for this work, amongst others.) They can only be refitted onto ships with Electric Propulsion. When this happens, the current US destroyers will become obsolete."

    A) If it kicks off in the next two years, these ships will be lucky to last 35-55 minutes.

    B) If and when better Rail Guns become a reality, the USA will develop dedicated platforms for them; even if Rail Gun technology does become available in the lifetime of these hulls, there's no guarantee that they can be fitted to them.

    C) If the yanks rely on BAE to deliver rail guns they're in for a long and expensive wait!

    This all comes back to a navy that wants to shoot down aircraft from ships rather than operate carrier based weapons, and a defence contractor that's happy to take the money for trying.

    Without carriers the Royal Navy is toothless, even if these ships worked 110% the Navy will be unable to provide any useful military capability other than self defence; air support? seaborne assault? Attacking targets more than 20km inland? The Navy isn't really equipped for these roles; it spends all its budget on escort ships and has nothing to escort! However you do need escorts in a navy where the best route to a brass hat is via command of an escort.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If ever a branch of the civil service needed major reform....

    Sadly, it would be the branch entrusted with protecting the country from foreign threats in an increasingly dangerous world. The idea that the French/Italians could produce an air defense system that could match AEGIS in the near term is, quite frankly laughable.

  30. Richard 102

    RE: Very true

    @Mad Mike: "Over £6b is a lot of money to keep a few Scots in employment!!"

    Cheaper than what Gordon Brown's cost to do essentially the same thing ... And given what goes on in government departments, it's about the same cost to keep a few Scots UNemployed.

  31. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Well this goes to prove something

    That we can still build ships faster than the weapons suppliers can build weapons

    And considering their day to day job will be escorting 2 aircraft carriers which wont be finished until 2015.... its nice to have a head start for once instead of the more usual situation where the carriers go to sea without escorts.......

    Oh and for all you slagging off the projects as 'jobs for the scots' please try and remember that there are other shipyards in England which rely on government work to keep them going

    In fact theres one about 3 miles west of where I'm sitting

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Michael Fremlins

    For Britain to at least have a seat at the table in world affairs, we need a navy. Power projection with air power is somewhat fleeting at best. You can send a bomber, but it can't loiter for long, costs a bomb (apologies for the pun) to develop one with a useful (i.e. global) range and payload and requires a massive support infrastructure in terms of in-flight refueling, overseas basing etc.

    A ship has good endurance and (Type 45 excluded) formidable firepower and flexibility, providing the ability to police against piracy, or support an assault force. Total up the cost of a destroyer say, £2 billion, versus the cost of a squadron of B2s.

    There's a reason ground based ballistic missiles are not common - they make a lovely target. Nice and static, easy to target and take out with a pre-emptive strike or special forces. Kind of hard to counter an SSBN that can loiter for months and no-one knows where it is.

    The Darings are a complete waste of time. We should have been looking at a number of multi-role destroyers - something that has good air defence, but more importantly can provide anti surface capabilities. Both in terms of gunnery and missiles.

  33. Chris Hedley Silver badge

    @"it's all gone pants since 1997"

    Nothing at all to do with the Thatcher & Major gov't, then? Don't get me wrong, Labour are completely useless tossers, but anybody who thinks the Tories aren't at least as bad either has a very short memory or is a mug. Me, I'm just bemoaning the absence of a Monster Raving Loony candidate for my locale, at least they're honest about what they are.

    As for the article, there's already been so much blathering about "UK crap, America awesome" from this source that I've rather run out of patience to try to figure out if it's credible or not. I'll assume probably not.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good warships?

    The Navy has been going adrift ever since they realised they might have to shoot at aircraft.

    The Americans made some of the same mistakes, such as ammunition that's too heavy to easily handle, but at least they mounted their guns so they could point in the right direction. And they developed much better fire control.

    The modern guns are a long way from the wartime 4,5 and 5 inch guns, but it does look little bit too much like habit. For a lot of jobs, the Italian 3-inch guns look a lot more useful, and you can carry three of them for the same mass.

    And BAE owns an American company with a production licence.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why do they insist on building their own ships?

    Face it, America know what they are doing with building ships to shoot things. Why didn't they just buy the cheaper, better armed American ones rather than insist on building their own?

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Are you joking? Without a navy, any country with a few ancient destroyers could decide to blockade us. In case you hadn't noticed, we are a small island and rely heavily on imports. If North Korea decides to launch their crappy nukes at us rather than America/Japan/China, how would we expect to shoot them down? Ask the Americans nicely? How would we turn their country into a piece of radioactive glass in return? and don't say replace Trident with ICBMs, no matter where they were placed some idiot would complain, not to mention the government would probably cock it up somehow.

    Even if the navy spend most of their time shooting pirates in Somalia right now, that doesn't mean they won't be needed for something more important. Look at the Falklands, one of the few wars where both sides had (almost) equivalent technology levels. Would we have won without a navy, without asking America for help?

    Maintaining a nuclear deterrent is possibly the single most important thing the MoD has to do, we can't just rely on America to protect us with theirs. If any should be scrapped it is most of the army, we only keep the parts that are actually useful for DEFENCE rather than invading other countries.

    (And no, I am not associated with the military in any way and most likely never will be)

    PS. Love the new icons, reg.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Michael Fremlins

    I take it your not very into history Michael, and I’m surprised you did not offer the logical conclusion to your argument. Why bother to have a military at all, just load up with nuclear ICBMs and say if anyone touches us we nuke them.

    Unfortunately, that does not protect British shipping from pirates does it? It does not allow us, who are members of the UN to enforce sanctions on countries like North Korea by stopping and searching their shipping does it?

    The PEOPLE who are employed by US to keep US safe do so knowing that they may have to die doing their job. Not something many of the posters here have in their job contract. With that in mind, I don’t think that it’s too much to want those people to have the best kit available.

    The scum running this county into the ground are more concerned about themselves and who’s back to scratch rather than just looking around for decent kit. There is an odd stigma about weapons tech in this country I can’t get my head around. We used to be able to create good tech, then politicians sold them to the wrong people or political pressure cancelled promising tech such as the TSR-2.

    Lewis is right to point out the stupidity of having a boat chuff around for two years without its main armament. It’s a micro version of the shit this country is in now.

    I think it’s time to break out madam guillotine! Once it was let them eat cake, now it’s let them subsidise my spending and my meals at the Commons.

  38. ThinkingOutLoud
    Paris Hilton


    ...don't you love them?

    All I would say already has, so I'll add Paris for the puns about all who sailed her...



    Is this a genuine Lewis Page article?

    The "should have bought American" stuff all seems to be in order, but there is no mention of Eurofighter.

  40. Hollerith 1


    No wonder they use 'Sea Viper'. Who could be scared of PAAMS?

  41. Fredly

    Utter Garbage

    Well as my last post didn't get allowed cause people don't like criticism I'll try again......

    "A) If it kicks off in the next two years, these ships will be lucky to last 35-55 minutes"

    I think you'll find if a major conflict kicked off in the next 2 years, the missiles would become available PDQ. Seadart wasn't fully operational prior to the Falkalnds but they still managed a few kills with it.

    "Without carriers the Royal Navy is toothless, even if these ships worked 110% the Navy will be unable to provide any useful military capability other than self defence; air support? seaborne assault? Attacking targets more than 20km inland? The Navy isn't really equipped for these roles"

    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. But you are correct in that the RN desperately needs Air Cover from a carrier air wing.

    "However you do need escorts in a navy where the best route to a brass hat is via command of an escort"

    All medium sized ships are able to perform a variety of roles, including anti piracy/terror, counter narcotics, and disaster / humanitarian relief. The escorts did a good job of rescuing British citizens from Lebanon a couple of years back. Senior Officers from the Warfare Dept have to be able to prove their competency of command at all levels, starting with small ship command all the way up to aircraft carriers and assault ships and then Task Groups. Would you accept an infantryman becoming a General having never commanded an infantry regiment?!

    There are problems with T45, buying the French launchers instead of American Mk41 launchers could well prove to be an expensive mistake - however the MoD couldn't justify spending the extra money because it has been decided that currently there is no requirement for T45 to carry Tomahawk, these are carried by fleet submarines. You can blame the MoD for a lot (and I do) but you CANNOT blame them for Defence Policy, all they do is implement it.

    People who have never even seen a warship, let alone know what they do or what constitutes a good one, but feel they can comment on the back of some negative press really make me mad. There are plenty of good articles both for and against T45 elsewhere on the net, don't just believe 1 person's biased opinion.

  42. Anonymous Coward


    Will this be the same management team appointed by government to get ID cards in place, provide ICANN euro-equivalents and other major spend publicly funded initiatives?

  43. Bounty

    the question is....

    ... but can you hit a satelite with it?

    "This high-powered (four megawatt) radar is able to perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously with a capability of over 100 targets." Not sure how that's allocated though. commander_mike, you seem to have good details on those systems, do you have a internet reference you can share? I like looking at random stuff like that.


  44. Andy 4


    I'd like to know which MPs are saying this and then investigate their publicly based expenditure.

    fx:grenade because that's what these muppets need

  45. Dave Morris

    Compartive pricing...

    "Aegis ships in a Scottish tin" would likely be vastly more expensive than Aegis ships in a Korean tin. Surely this is obvious to anyone who has ever bought something from Korea and a similar item from Scotland.

    There is also the greed factor: given that Bath Iron Works is a corporation interested in making profit, and the UK has a greater capacity to pay than Korea, I'm sure the price negotiated woudl increase sharply.

    There is also another thing to consider: the Arleigh Burke class is pretty old already. This means that it is tried and tested and it's flaws have been identified (plus), but that it does not take advantage of the latest possible technology (minus). The Type 45 is the compliment to this: it has not been tried or tested, and its flaws remain a mystery, however when it is complete it should have some of the latest tech available. I suppose it could be possible to try to get in now for the Burke's replacements in 2020: the Zumwalt class. But, this would be astoundingly expensive, I'm sure, would not be delivered for at least 11 years (more likely 15-20), and, of course, is even less tested than the Type 45s.

    Perhaps it would be better just to get a mixture, 1 or 2 Aegis destroyers to handle the "now," a couple Type 45s for "tomorrow," and maybe even a request to be able to order some Zumwalts after they are 5 or 10 years old for "the next day."

  46. Another Anonymous Coward 1

    That US ship sounds great.

    The "can be upgraded to take out targets in low orbit" line is probably the best sales pitch in military history.

  47. Ed Gould

    Overpriced carrier

    You are just lucky that this ship wasn't a US one. If it were the cost overruns would be triple:(

    There are two sides to the weapons supplier. If you get the French ones, the shells will never hit the target, if you get the American shells, they will blow up as they come out of the barrel. Of course if the British supplied them they would have to wait for the unions so I am not sure where you should go to get munitions.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    Makes sense. The T45 is a hull that will carry a number of weapons and systems over a long life, so big roomy hull and decent proposal system makes a lot of sense.

    Being the first of her type, complex weapon systems will take a while to be fully integrated, but you could imagine that should something like Korean or Iran get hot, then a PAAMS system could be thrown onboard pretty quick.

    Lewis when dismissing the current armament as being 'a couple of guns', does rather overlook the piece of kit sitting on the flight-deck; even older model Sea Lynx are well proven to be capable against small boats/patrol craft using a range of missiles. Against typical pirates, even an air-defense ship like the Darling pre-PAAMS could be lethal.

  49. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Thumb Up

    @Dave Harris

    Thanks for the back story. The general overview though I think sounds the same, that too many old guard are slowing us down and preventing us from doing what we SHOULD do, in favor of keeping some old tactic alive that should be removed cause it's out of date.

    Basically, what we need to do is stop holding onto the past and just embrace the future and anyone who doesnt do that, go sit behind a desk somewhere unimportant.

  50. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Black Helicopters

    @Ted Green

    Typical, the second someone gets a whiff of "someone is to blame" you all start pushing out, brown is responsible.

    Mostly this is a fun game, however in this case, you are completely wrong in all aspects. Brown isnt responsible for this mess, this goes back 300 years mate!! We didnt just start doing this during the labour years, we did it for the last 3 centuries and the reason is because we fail to see new tactics and new opportunities, people are scared of losing their "positions" and therefore dig in, to the detriment of everyone included.

    I can understand why someone would not want their cushy position to be compromised by some new tech or tactics, but I dont care, I want that person to see the value of NOT being the shittest country in the world.

  51. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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).

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mad Mike

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

    I assume you mean Labour MPs?

  57. 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.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  59. 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 ....

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!"

  64. 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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