Type 45, Daring-class destroyer

Introduction

The Royal Navy's destroyer force has been in service since 1978 and is scheduled for replacement. The Type 42 destroyers will be decommissioned (possibly sold to another country) to make way for the newer Type 45s. Once completed, the Type 45 destroyers will be one the most advanced in the world. 6 have been contracted for currently, with a projected requirement of 8 (12 were planned for originally, but budget cuts restricted the number). The new destroyer force should enter service by 2014.

The first of the Type 45s will be HMS Daring, planned to enter service in 2009 - building started in March 2003. The second and third destroyers, HMS Dauntless (production started August 2004) and HMS Diamond (started February 2005), will enter service in 2010. The following three have been named as HMS Dragon (started December 2005), HMS Defender (started July 2006) and HMS Duncan respectively. Like the Type 42s, they will be "air defence destroyers," responsible for protecting the aircraft carriers, frigates and other vessels in Royal Navy taskgroups from missile (and to a lesser extent submarine) attack. They will be the most powerful destroyers for these roles ever to serve with the Royal Navy and the largest multi-purpose vessels that have served since World War II.

Britain had originally planned to participate in the tri-national Project Horizon/Common New Generation Frigate programme (CNGF). The members were the United Kingdom, France and Italy, but the project was terminated in October 1999. The three nations had argued over several issues including design and role, as well as where the construction would take place. Britain felt that the other countries were demanding an unfair share of the work, as they wanted fewer vessels and kept pushing for designs that would not properly fulfill the Royal Navy's requirements. Thus the British government decided to produce their own designs, awarding the contract to Marconi Electronic Systems, now under the name BAe Systems.

Statistics

Structural Design

  • Displacement: c. 7200 tonnes (deep delivery), c. 5800 tonnes (light delivery)
  • Length: 151m
  • Max Beam: 20m
  • Top Speed: 29 knots
  • Engines: Two WR-21 advanced cycle gas turbine engines
  • Range: 7000 nautical miles at 18 knots
  • Complement: approx. 190 and space for 230
    (The accommodation standards are claimed to be better than in previous destroyers/frigates)

Weapons and Systems

  • Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) with SAMPSON Multi-Functional Radar (MFR) and S1850M Long Range Radar (LRR)
  • SYLVER launcher and combination of up to 48 Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles

Other weapons systems include:

Weapon and System analysis

PAAMS

PAAMS is the main weapon of the Type 45s, a British version of a defence-missile system jointly developed by the UK, France and Italy.

The fire control system is integrated with two types of radar - in this case the SAMPSON MFR and S1850M LRR. The radar scan for threats but it is PAAMS that analyses the information and then controls the response - the Aster missiles. The SAMPSON MFR is designed for surveillance and fire control, detecting and tracking contacts such as fighters and missiles, as well as guiding the Type 45's missiles. The S1850M LRR is for air/surface search at longer ranges. As the Type 45s can operate close to shore, PAAMS would also be able provide support to British forces on land.

PAAMS should be capable of dealing with almost any type of situation. During the Falklands War in 1982, the radar used was confused by things like flocks of seagulls. PAAMS will be a lot more reliable and able to operate regardless of jamming or electronic warfare. The system can target sea skimming anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles, diving anti-radar missiles and fighter aircraft. It can protect both its own ship and other vessels in the taskforce.

Most important of all, it can control several missiles in the air at once, critical if an enemy tried to swamp the vessels with multiple missiles. It will be able to launch 8 missiles in 10 seconds and PAAMS can control 16 missiles at a time in the air. It will be able to track up to 2000 targets simultaneously and engage 12 at a time, including 8 in self-defence locally.

Aster missiles

The Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles will be a big improvement over the Type 42's Seadart missiles. They are more agile and sophisticated, designed to be effective against a new generation of missiles that may have be even faster, with increased stealth and manouverability. The Aster missiles are one of the few in the world today that are designed to destroy incoming missiles by hitting them directly – most today do so by exploding nearby, or through the use of shrapnel.

The Aster 15 missiles are primarily for naval self defence, mainly for use against sea skimming anti-ship missiles. Their maximum range is 30km and are capable of speeds up to Mach 3. The Aster 30, on the other hand, are for defence against aircraft and cruise missiles. They have a range of over 80km and can achieve Mach 4.5.

Currently the MiG-25 Foxbat (the fastest fighter in the world) has a maximum speed of Mach 2.8 and most other fighter aircraft are a fair bit slower. The Brahmos (PJ10) is the fastest anti-ship missile in the world, with a maximum speed of Mach 2.5-2.8. Though it is impossible to foresee how missile and aircraft technology will evolve over the next decade, it is unlikely the Asters will become obsolete for a long time.

Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD)

There were rumours that the Type 45s would not have an anti-torpedo defence capability when put into service. Though they will not be fitted with a system as standard, the new Surface Ship Torpedo Defence system, SSTD, will provide necessary protection. A modular system, it can be fitted in 48 hours, ensuring that the new destroyers can be ready for deployment in double-quick time.

The SSTD comprises of three different components: detection, control, and counter weapon subsystems. It will be able to detect incoming torpedoes, advise the ship's commander on evasive manouvers and launch an array of countermeasures.

Other weapons and systems

The 4.5" deck gun will allow the Type 45s to engage surface contacts and bombard shore targets. It would be especially important for anti-piracy and any other operation where the objective would be to cripple rather than sink the enemy. Debate continues over the use of the MK 8, as critics claim that it does not fulfill all of the Royal Navy's criteria. However it will be adequate for most operations.

Currently the helicopter launched anti-submarine torpedoes may not be available when the first ships enter service, as their anti-missile role is regarded as being more crucial. They will hopefully be added later when time permits.

Conclusion

The Type 45 destroyers will be eagerly awaited in Britain, and in any other countries that may like to order them as well. They should be able to combat almost any threat they face and safeguard the Royal Navy's reputation as one of the best in the world. When deployed with the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, (the first is planned to enter service in 2015) and current Royal Navy frigates, they would form a formidable force.


Sources
http://www.type45.com
http://www.mod.uk/business/type45
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/horizon/
http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/1973.html
http://www.spacetourism.de/migjets.html
http://homepage.eircom.net/~steven/anti_ship.htm
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/sstd.htm

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