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(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Britannia rules the waves? UK's £1bn warships get costly refit after breaking down at sea - Algeria latest news

HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer
HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer
HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer
HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer

HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer

HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer
HMS Defender - a Type 45 Destroyer
THE "backbone" of Britain's naval fleet - the hulking Type 45 destroyer - is to undergo costly repair work after embarrassing engine failures saw the £1bn warships continually break down at sea.

The Royal Navy's most modern warships are to have huge holes cut in their sides to allow mechanics to strip out and replace the engines of the destroyers.

The work could affect Britain's contribution to the war against Islamic State as HMS Defender - one of the ships affected - was sent to provide air defence cover for the carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is sending jets to bomb terrorist positions in the Middle East.

Six vessels are to undergo major refits amid concerns over their reliability, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.

Officers reportedly complained that "total electric failures are common" and defence chiefs admitted the work was not "normal", coming just a few years after the ships entered service.

The work, which will be staggered to allow some ships to remain available for operational commitments at all times, is expected to cost tens of millions of pounds, although the MoD has not disclosed the exact bill.

It follows reports of persistent problems with the engines and power systems on the ships which cost £1 billion each.

In 2014, HMS Dauntless had to abandon a training exercise and in 2009 HMS Daring lost power in the Atlantic on her first voyage to the US.

Each of the ships, which are described as "part of the backbone of the Royal Navy", are fitted with two engines - a gas turbine and a diesel generator.

A source in the Royal Navy said: "It is an issue, we're managing it at the moment but we need to do something about it."

An MoD spokesman said: "The Type 45 destroyers are hugely capable ships and have consistently made a difference to our safety and security.

"In our defence review last year we committed to improving the Type 45's power and propulsion system through a series of machinery upgrades during planned maintenance, which will ensure increased availability and resilience over the life of the ships."

The destroyers are used in "hunting pirates, drug runners or submarines, defending the fleet from air attack, and providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters", the MoD said.

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems, which builds the ships, said: "The Type 45 Destroyers are among the world's most capable air defence Destroyers, able to carry out a wide range of operations for the Royal Navy.

"We are working collaboratively with the MoD and industry partners to deliver improvements to the power generation capability of the Type 45 Destroyers."

Tag(s) : #Europe

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