HMS Dauntless, the second of the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 Destroyers, arrived in Portsmouth today.
After a short delivery from the BAe system yard at Scotstoun on Clyde, Dauntless spent last night moored at Spithead, before weighing anchor and steaming into the harbour at 11am today. Sadly there was no flypast or any kind of event made of the occasion, which would have been an ideal time to ‘fly the flag’ for the Navy. The Army or the RAF would probably not have missed such an opportunity to show off a new fighter or a new vehicle.
Dauntless is the second in a batch of six ships. The first, HMS Daring, arrived in Portsmouth earlier this year. The Royal Navy is due to take delivery of the next four ships at the rate of one a year for the next four years. The rest of the class – Defender, Duncan, Dragon and Diamond – are all under construction. They will replace the rapidly ageing fleet of Type 42 Destroyers, which first entered service almost 35 years ago.
As impressive as they look, and as great as it is to finally see some new Destroyers for the Navy, several problems still remain. Six is nowhere near enough, by anyones standards. There will only realistically ever be 2 available at any one time for deployment, maybe 3 at a push. After originally planning for 12, the order was cut first to 10, then to 8, and finally to 6. These cuts are thought to have been in order to secure funding in the long term for the planned new aircraft carriers.
Also, the new Sea Viper missile, although being trumpeted by sources as a very capable missile, has not even been test fired yet. Dauntless is due to test fire it for the first time during her sea trials. Apart from raising the obvious question of why Daring has not been tasked to test it – what else is a lead ship for? – until the missile has been proven the Type 45’s are the worlds most advanced air control ships.