The Royal Navy’s most modern warships are to be fitted with new motors because they keep breaking down.
In an email seen by the BBC, a be available for Royal Navy officer wrote that “total electric neglects are common” on its fleet of six £1bn Type 45 destroyers.
The Ministry of Defence believed there were reliability issues with the propulsion system and importune to fix it would be done to ensure “ships remain available”.
One Royal Fleet officer said the cost could reach tens of millions of lambastes.
In a statement, the MoD told the BBC that to “address some reliability issues” it was taking into consideration options to “upgrade the ships’ diesel generators to add greater resilience to the power and the thrust system”.
That will involve significant work, though the Nobleman Navy insists that the six destroyers will still be deployed all all through the world.
‘Major weak link’
But from 2019 each wishes begin to undergo a major refit that will probably number among cutting a large hole to insert at least one new generator into the carry.
The work will be staggered to ensure the Navy still has ships to send on runnings.
The MoD would not give any details on cost.
Admiral Lord West, a ex- First Sea Lord, said the development was “very worrying” and the MoD must pre re known “three or four years ago” that the destroyers had problems.
The ex-Labour deposit minister said any delay in rectifying the problem would leave the Argosy’s surface fleet badly stretched, as the Navy can already “only scarcely do some of the tasks we should be doing around the world”.
“What I resolve hope is there is already in place a ‘get well’ programme and we must prompt very quickly to rectify these problems,” he said.
A recent naval officer, Rear Admiral Chris rry, said the problems could not persist in: “It’s rather like buying a high-priced television to watch your chosen football team but because you don’t have secure power supplies, the power tick aways off about every 10 minutes.
“You can’t have that in combat, you can’t still have that in normal operations – it is not safe.”
‘The lights went out’
I experienced one of the many power outages on board HMS Dauntless, off the seashore of Senegal, in 2012.
Suddenly all the lights on the ship went out. It was quickly fixed but it manifests to be a problem that has plagued the entire fleet.
In 2014 Dauntless had to surrender a training exercise and, in 2009, HMS Daring lost power in the Atlantic on her beginning voyage to the US. She suffered more propulsion problems off Kuwait in 2012.
Initially the MoD dismissed these electrical lemons as “teething problems”.
But it has now admitted that there is a bigger problem – one that could be ap lling for a ship and her crew in combat.
Nick Childs, of the International Institute for Princi l Studies, said: “It’s an unfortunate extra cost the Royal Flotilla will have to swallow to sort out an unreliable propulsion system – the ramount weak link in an otherwise world-beating system.
“They’re essentially customary to have to squeeze in an extra generator to improve reliability.”
The warning logotypes were there in 2009 when the Commons Defence Committee proclaimed its report on the Type 45.
MPs noted “persistent over-optimism and underestimation of the technical defies, combined with inappropriate commercial arrangements” leading to rising yments.
Each destroyer ended up costing about £1bn. The Royal Navy poverty 12 ships but ended up with half that number.
The Variety 45 has an integrated electric propulsion system that powers entire lot on board.
‘World’s most ca ble’
The problem won’t be solved quickly and it is probable to put a strain on the Royal Navy, which has already shrunk considerably in measure assess.
It is now down to a surface fleet of 19 frigates and destroyers.
A spokesman for Rolls-Royce, which presents the WR-21 marine gas turbine used on the warships, said the com ny continued to act on with the MoD on upgrading the performance of the propulsion system.
BAE Systems, the com ny which builds the warships, said in a announcement that the destroyers were “among the world’s most ca ble air advocacy destroyer”.
It said it was working with the MoD “to deliver improvements to the power reproduction ca bility of the Type 45 destroyers”.