Tag Archives: hms daring

HMS Defender due into Portsmouth on Wednesday

 Type 45 Destroyers HMS Daring & HMS Dauntless

The fifth and newest Type 45 Destoyer, HMS Defender, is due to enter Portsmouth Harbour for the first time at 9.30am on Wednesday morning. The penultimate ship of the class to arrive, she will anchor up overnight in the Solent tomorrow evening, and should be visible from Southsea seafront.

Very nice ships, all with great names (well, except Duncan maybe!), but still too few of them - even just two more might have really made a difference. With Daring, Dauntless AND Diamond all away on deployments at the moment, and Dragon preparing to leave later this year, the operational tempo for escort ships is clearly creaking at the seams. It does seem a waste to use ships that were designed to provide area defence for 60,000 ton carriers chasing pirate Dhows.

History has shown that to keep one ship on station on deployment, you need four ships. Ships are normally in one of four states – on deployment (or transiting), working up, shaking down or in refit. Given that the average deployment to the South Atlantic or east of Suez lasts 5 to 7 months, working up and FOST can take the same kind of time frame, and comprehensive refits can take around 18 months, we can see quite easily that six ships will not be enough to everything that we want them to do. The bizarre thing is that everyone knows it, even amateur analysts such as myself. The Admirals definitely know it, but aren’t allowed to say so as it would embarass the politicians.

Such a procurement strategy does seem strange, when only a couple of weeks ago the Army managed to keep the vast majority of its tanks, which are only – on average – used once in a decade, and then in nothing more than an armoured brigade level. Destroyers and Frigates are like infantry battalions – on a never-ending deployment cycle that has no slack. Sure, ships cost money, but lack of ships when it matters can cost a whole lot more.

The other problem is one of strategy. What exactly do we want the Type 45′s to do? In conception, and in armament, they are powerful area defence Destroyers, with a very capable anti-air and missile system, and a very powerful radar fit. Is it a good use to send them patrolling? Granted, any military asset should be able to perform basic functions specific to its service in the short term – witness gunners and sappers, for example, operating as infantry in Northern Ireland. But it seems that the Type 45′s are very much written into the escort deployment roster. Things do seem to smack of short-termism.

Once the Type 45 programme has been delivered, attention shifts to the imminent arrival of the Carriers, in whatever shape or form that takes, and then the crucial Type 26 programme of future Frigates.

13 Comments

Filed under Navy

Daring knackered

, the first Type 45 guided missile destroyer e...

HMS Daring has had to undergo emergency repairs after suffering a mechanical breakdown, the Portsmouth News has revealed.

The Type 45 Destroyer went alongside in Bahrain last month for work on a faulty starboard shaft bearing. The Royal Navy seems to have wanted to keep the news quiet, and has only confirmed that Daring went into port, and not what for. A source has informed the News that a propellor drive shaft is out of alignment. Even worse, it has been ever since the ship was delivered, and the Navy knew about it. Hardly the stuff of ‘worlds most advanced warship’, as Daring has routinely been called.

Now, my knowledge of navigation is limited to the odd trip out fishing in the Solent, but if you can’t steer your destroyer properly, how do you expect to fight with it? If it steers 30 degrees to port, do you have to steer 30 degrees to starboard to compensate? Not only that, but it will place unnecessary wear and strain on other components such as bearings.

The sad thing is, after all the clamouring for British-built defence equipment, this is no kind of advert for BAe Systems. Although teething problems do happen with any project – and particularly with a first of class – surely getting the prop shaft aligned properly should be pretty basic? I can’t imagine it’s a simply thing to rectify, and will probably only be able to be fixed when Daring goes in to dry-dock for her first major refit.

I wonder what kind of warranty or claw-back is involved in the contract that the MOD signed with BAe for the Type 45′s?

15 Comments

Filed under Navy

Falklands 30 – the Fleet sails

I’m actually a day late with this one, but better late than never!

After the Argentine invasion of the Falklands on 2 April 1982, we have already heard about how the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Henry Leach persuaded the Prime Minister to launch a task force with a view to retaking the Islands.

By a fortuitous set of circumstances, many of the Royal Navy’s Destroyers and Frigates were off Gibraltar exercising. This enabled Britain to attempt to get to the South Atlantic before any diplomatic attempts forestalled a re-possession of the islands. Antrim, Glamorgan; Arrow; Brilliant; Coventry, Glasgow, Sheffield; also RFA Appleleaf, Fort Austin and Tidespring.

In Portsmouth, frenzied preparations took place. Two Aircraft Carriers were immediately available – the old HMS Hermes, and the brand new HMS Invincible. Neither were ready to sail, HMS Hermes in particular was partially destored. At once the Dockyard swung into action, literally working round the clock to prepare the ships to sail. To store, ammunition and ready two big ships for war within three days was nothing short of miraculous.Eyewitnesses remember endless lines of trucks coming off the M275 motorway heading into the Dockyard. My parents, who were living in Stamshaw at the time, a stones throw from the Dockyard, could hear the Sea Harriers coming in and landing on the decks of the carriers. Normally, you would never have seen a fixed wing aircraft land on a ship inside the dockyard – but these were special circumstances, and peacetime regulations went out of the window. The two carriers eventually sailed on 5 April 1982.

HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes sail from Portsmouth

Notice just how many people are on the seafront in Portsmouth to see the ships off. I don’t know if its just me, but the images of Invincible and Hermes sailing to war are among the most iconic images of the 1980′s. It shows just how closely Portsmouth takes the Royal Navy  to its heart, and similar scenes were witnessed – albeit slightly fewer people – when HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless deployed recently. It’s something that Portsmouth and its people have seen countless times, over more than 800 years of history.

In the same week that Hermes and Invincible departed, they were joined by Alacrity, Antelope, Broadsword, Fearless and Yarmouth; along with Brambleleaf, Olmeda, Pearleaf, Resource, Sir Galahad, Sir Geraint, Sir Lancelot, Sir Percivale and Stromness. The first Merchant vessels also departed – including Canberra from Southampton, carrying two Royal Marine Commando and a Para Battalion.

3 Comments

Filed under Falklands War, Navy

HMS Daring leaving Portsmouth – some belated pics

Here are some belated pictures of HMS Daring leaving Portsmouth for the Middle East a few weeks ago.

Just to give you an idea of how long ago she left, she was last in port at Aqaba, in Jordan after transiting the Suez Canal!

Expect even bigger crowds when HMS Dauntless leaves for the South Atlantic next month…

13 Comments

Filed under Navy, out and about

HMS Dauntless to deploy to the South Atlantic

Todays Portsmouth News revealed that HMS Dauntless is due to deploy to the South Atlantic. The second Type 45 Destroyer to deploy is rumoured to be leaving Portsmouth in late March, to relieve the Devonport-based Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose. The South Atlantic patrol is a task that has been performed by the older Type 42 Destroyers for some years.

One would imagine that the deployment has been long planned – as was her older sister ship HMS Daring going to the Gulf several weeks ago. The move however does dramatically enhance British forces in the Falklands – a Type 45 sat off the islands, with its Sea Viper missile system and SAMPSON radar, would provide a significant deterrent to any Argentine threat. In addition, she does also carry a Lynx helicopter with anti-surface capability. She could also provide direction for the Eurofighters on the Islands. If you were an Argentine senior officer, you would think twice about sending in your obsolescent airfcraft against a Type 45 Destroyer, with four Eurofighter Tyhoons under direction. Of course, one ship is not enough to fight a war, but as was found in 1976, one ship in the right place might be enough to prevent one from occuring.

There have been some rather inaccurate comments in some media outlets about the deployment. According to the Telegraph, one navy ‘source’ claimed that Dauntless could take out all of South America’s air forces, let alone Argentinas. Well, I’m not sure whether this ‘source’ got his GCSE maths, but there are more military aircraft in Argentina than 48. Not every missile is guaranteed a hit, as the Falklands showed, and even then, missiles are often fired in salvos, ie, more than one per target. Another odd claim is that Dauntless could shoot down Argentinian aircraft as soon as they leave their bases. Well, I doubt Dauntless would be sat off the Argentine coast – too risky – and with my rudimentary knowledge of the geography

The delpoyment is bound to increase tensions with Argentina at an already difficult time – any move that comes across as inflamatory is bound to incense Buenos Aires,

8 Comments

Filed under Falklands War, Navy, Uncategorized

HMS Daring deploys to the Gulf

English: , a stealth design of area defence an...

Image via Wikipedia

HMS Daring, the first Type 45 Destroyer, deploys to the Gulf tomorrow. She is due to pass the Round Tower at 12.30pm, according to QHM Portsmouth. Replacing the Devonport based Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll, she will be responsible for patrolling the Persian Gulf. Tensions have been rising in recent weeks, after Iranian naval exercises in the vital straits of Hormuz. The deployment has been seen in some quarters as inflammatory, yet the MOD insists that the deployment has been long-planned. Hence it could hardly be called a ‘show of force’, as the Telegraph is describing it.

This is the first time that one of the Type 45 Destroyers has embarked on an active deployment, and will be keenly watched by many, in Britain and worldwide. As much as I have criticised the cost and small number of ships in the Daring Class, they are fantastic ships by all accounts. Their anti-air missile system, Sea Viper, is among the most advanced in the world, and the SAMPSON radar is phenomenally powerful. They should prove to be more than a match for anything that the Iranians could throw at her in terms of aircraft or anti-ship missiles. It is only in terms of her own anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities that she is lacking. Mines might also be a concern, but there are considerable allied mine countermeasures forces in the Gulf, including HMS Ledbury who left Portsmouth yesterday.

Save The Royal Navy has highlighted a very amusing article in a nondescript website, that describes Daring as a ‘floating target’ for Iranian forces. Accompanied by a picture of a Batch 1 or 2 Type 42 Destroyer, the text is badly researched and in places laughable. The Iranian military might be increasingly large and belligerent, but their inventory is rather out of date.

The Straits of Hormuz are a critical choke point. The only maritime entrance to the Persian Gulf, a large amount of the world’s oil transits through the 34 mile wide straits – about 14 tankers pass through a day, carrying 15.5m barrells of crude oil. This represents 35% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments. Closure of the straits, or any significant problems, would starve the world of oil and create havoc on the global oil markets. During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 the US and British naval forces patrolled the Gulf, ensuring security for merchant vessels. The RN presence has continued ever since under the Armilla Patrol.

What the Royal Navy cannot afford is another incident like that that occured in 2007, when two RIB’s from HMS Cornwall were detained by Iranian patrol boats and the sailors and marines held captive by Tehran. Although it is difficult to argue with the fact that they could not have done much differently – shooting would have created a major international incident – it was bad seamanship to let themselves be captured in the first place. Although accusations of the Royal Navy ‘going soft’ are wide of the mark, pictures of sailors and marines being paraded in Tehran are hardly good for fighting reputation.

26 Comments

Filed under Navy, Uncategorized

Building Britain’s Ultimate Warship

I’ve just started watching this documentary on Channel 4 on demmand. Heres the programme blurb:

HMS Daring is the Royal Navy’s most costly and complex warship to date. With old and outmoded ships standing guard over our shores, the navy is building defence for the 21st century: a revolutionary new ship with cutting-edge technology that has never been to sea. Costing £1 billion, Daring is the first new destroyer built in Britain since 1985 and is to be followed by five more. Irrespective of whether this fleet of Type 45 destroyers is a hangover from a dated Cold War mentality or is more relevant than anyone dare contemplate, these impressive warships represent a quantum leap forward in naval technology. Channel 4 is given special access to HMS Daring, filming the entire process from construction in 2004 through to testing and using the new weapons systems at sea. The shipbuilders construct a warship the modern way, with new skills alongside traditional jobs, in three different locations around the country. Interviews with naval experts and officers, engineers, ship workers and the captains convey a real sense of the scale of the build and significance of Daring for the navy. Its stealth shape is dominated by its high-tech radar, mounted 36 metres above the sea to act as the eyes and ears of a guided missile system. The ship also boasts modern facilities for crew, such as email access, iPod docks and comfortable living quarters, including for mixed genders. This programme captures Daring’s dramatic launch: a Royal occasion for the people of Glasgow, to echo the historic launch days of old on the Clyde. The film also illustrates how the revolutionary British-built radar operates, and follows as Daring’s crew of men and women test their new ship to the limit and the captain leads his crew into action stations in a war game.

Phew, we got there in the end! Right, is it any good? Well, as the blurb suggests, it is a bit of a PR film. Every warship ever launched is always described as ‘the most advanced ever’ – its hardly an objective statement. Its more than a little rose-tinted – of course every ship designed is cutting edge when its launched, but then becomes obsolete almost as soon as it enters service.

And the film is a bit sheepish about describing the problems with the Sea Viper missile – there are clips of the missile being fired from a test barge, but it is not explained that neither HMS Daring nor her sister ship Dauntless have actually fired the missiles themselves.

It is, none the less, a very insightful look at the build process of a modern warship, with some nice footage of the ship being constructed, and some good interviews with naval and shipbuilding personalities.

Click here to watch Building Britain’s Ultimate Warship on Channel 4 On Demmand

2 Comments

Filed under On TV