Type 45 destroyers are capable of providing local area fleet defence. Credit: Royal Navy.
The first-of-class ship, HMS Daring, was launched in February 2006. Credit: Royal Navy.
The vessel sails at a maximum speed of 30k. Credit: Royal Navy.

The UK Royal Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers have replaced the old Type 42 destroyers that were in service since 1978. Six Type 45 destroyers were contracted. The requirement was for 12 vessels of the class, but in July 2004, the UK Ministry of Defence announced this would be cut to eight.

This was further reduced in June 2008 to the six previously contracted. The destroyers entered service by 2013.

Full-scale engineering development and initial production (FSED/IP) contract was placed with BAE Systems Marine as a prime project contractor.

All ships were assembled and launched at BAE’s Scotstoun shipyard. VT Shipbuilding in Portsmouth built the bow sections, masts and funnels for all six ships.

Type 45 Daring Class destroyer development

BAE Systems and VT Shipbuilding formed a joint venture, BVT Surface Fleet, for the design, manufacture and support of UK surface warships in July 2008. In January 2009, VT Group announced its intention to sell its holding in the BVT surface fleet joint venture to BAE Systems, following UK MoD approval.

In October 2009, BAE Systems acquired the VT Group’s 45% stake and renamed the entity BAE Systems Surface Ships.

The production of the first-of-class ship, HMS Daring (D32), began in March 2003 and it was launched on 1 February 2006 at Scotstoun. The Daring Class destroyer began first stage sea trials in July 2007, which concluded in August 2007. The five-week second stage sea trials commenced in April 2008, focusing on weapon systems, radar and endurance trials.

The vessel completed contractor’s trials in September 2008. Daring was formally handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence in December 2008 and the vessel arrived at its homeport of Portsmouth in January 2009 for further trials prior to commissioning in July 2009.

“The UK Royal Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers have replaced the old Type 42 destroyers that were in service since 1978.”

The construction of the second vessel, HMS Dauntless (D33), began in August 2004 and it was launched on 23 January 2007. The vessel began sea trials in November 2008 and was commissioned in June 2010. The vessel entered service with the Royal Navy in November 2010.

The first steel was cut for the third Daring Class destroyer, HMS Diamond (D34), in February 2005. It was launched in November 2007 and commissioned in May 2011. HMS Dragon (D35) was laid in December 2005 and launched in November 2008.

After undergoing extensive sea trials in the Clyde River, HMS Dragon arrived in Portsmouth Naval Base and was formally handed over to the MOD in August 2011 and commissioned into the Royal Navy April 2012. HMS Defender (D36) was laid in July 2006, launched in October 2009 and commissioned in March 2013, while HMS Duncan (D37) was laid in January 2007 and launched in October 2010. The vessel was commissioned into service in September 2013.

The UK withdrew from participation in the tri-national Project Horizon / common new-generation frigate (CNGF) programme for the UK, France and Italy and the project was terminated in October 1999.

The Type 45 programme gained benefit from work done on Project Horizon, for example, the principal anti-aircraft missile system (PAAMS) weapon system and some of the internal architecture of the ship. In March 2018, UK MoD awarded a £160m ($226.5m) contract to BAE Systems for power and propulsion system of Type 45 destroyers as a part of power improvement project (PIP).

BAE Systems selected GE’s Marine Solutions for providing marine electrical solutions as part of PIP. Two diesel generators will be replaced with larger units.

Design and features

Type 45 Daring Class destroyer has a length of 152m, a beam of 21.2m and is capable of accommodating 235 people.

The ship has a displacement of approximately 8,000t. The designed top speed of the vessel is over 30k, while the range is more than 7,000nm.

Mission details of the destroyer

The main mission of Type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer is to provide local area fleet defence with long-range radar and wide-area defence capability. The ship’s combat systems also have the capability to control aircraft and coordinate the anti-air warfare operations of the task force.

The Type 45 destroyer is equipped with long-range weapon systems to intercept air threats, including super-agile manoeuvring missiles with re-attack modes. The UK PAAMS defends the ships from missiles approaching individually or in salvos and is capable of controlling a large number of airborne missiles simultaneously. The Type 45 can also accommodate cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk and anti-ballistic missiles if a requirement is identified in future.

The Type 45 destroyer can operate a helicopter up to the size of a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter but initially operates with Lynx HMA 8 helicopters armed with Stingray torpedoes.

Command and control

BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) supplied the combat management system (CMS) and fast ethernet data transfer system for the destroyers. The Type 45 CMS integrates the PAAMS missile system and control all sensors and weapons.

Thales Communications led the team, including Selex Communications, which provided a fully integrated communications system (FICS). Astrium (a joint venture of EADS and BAE Systems) was awarded a contract to provide SCOT 3 satellite communications systems.

Raytheon Systems supplied the integrated navigation system, which includes electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS), inertial navigation subsystems and sensors, including Raytheon Pathfinder navigation radars. Raytheon Marine of Kiel was the major subcontractor. RSL also supplied the identification friend or foe (IFF) systems.

Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) Marine Systems with Rockwell Automation provided the platform management system. BAE Systems Insyte provided the METOC (meteorological and oceanographic) system.

Principal anti-aircraft missile system (PAAMS)

The primary weapon system of the Type 45 destroyer is the principal anti-aircraft missile system (PAAMS). PAAMS is a tri-national programme, involving France, Italy and the UK. The contract for series production was placed in November 2003.

The prime contractor is Europaams SAS, a joint venture company two-thirds owned by Eurosam (MBDA and Thales) and one-third by the UKAMS subsidiary of MBDA.

The missiles used for PAAMS are the Aster 15 and the Aster 30. The Type 45 carries up to 48 Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. The Aster missile carries an inertial computer with datalink, an active J-band Doppler radar seeker and 15kg warhead.

The speed of Aster 30 is Mach 4 and the range is more than 80km. The missile has the manoeuvrability of up to 62g, achieved through the use of the EADS Aerospatiale PIF/PAF guidance system. Aster 15 has a speed of Mach 3, range of more than 30km and manoeuvrability of up to 50g.

While the French / Italian PAAMS uses the Empar G-band radar, while the UK PAAMS has the BAE Systems Insyte Sampson multi-function, dual-face active array radar operating at E/F bands.

Each face of the array carries 2,500 gallium arsenide transmit and receive modules, with an output of 25kW. BAE Systems reconfigured Sampson to produce a near-spherical design, which retains the two arrays internally.

Modes of operation include long and medium-range search, surface search, high-speed horizon search and high-angle search and track. Sampson uses digital adaptive beamforming, which makes it highly resistant to electronic countermeasures. The Sampson radar completed installation on the HMS Daring foremast in April 2007 in preparation for PAAMS integration in 2008.

In June 2011, BAE Systems was awarded a £46m contract to provide technical support and maintenance for the Sampson multi-function radars (MFR) onboard six Type 45 destroyers.

PAAMS uses a DCN Sylver A50 vertical launcher with eight cells. Type 45 has six Sylver VLS. The command and control system was supplied by UKAMS, although Thales Airsys built some of the core elements.

Guns on Type 45 destroyers

The ships are fitted with the 114mm mk8 mod 1 medium-calibre gun system for shore bombardment and two 30mm guns. There is provision for the installation of two close-in weapons systems such as the Raytheon Phalanx.

BAE Systems has partnered with Radamec Defence Systems (now part of Ultra Electronics) to provide the electro-optical gunfire control system (EOGCS).


Wide-area, the long-range search is provided by the BAE Systems Insyte / Thales S1850M radar operating at D band, an enhanced version of the Thales Nederland (formerly Signaal) SMART-L. Raytheon Systems supplied the IFF system.

Ultra Electronics (with EDO Corporation of the USA) was selected to provide the Type 45’s surface ship torpedo defence (SSTD) system, which included the MFS-7000 bow-mounted medium-frequency sonar, a development of the sonar supplied by EDO to the Brazilian Navy.

The system provides automatic warning of a torpedo attack and tactical advice on ship manoeuvres and the deployment of decoys to defeat the threat.

Aircraft landing capabilities

The Type 45 destroyer has a flight deck and hangar to support the operations of a single helicopter. The flight deck can accommodate either a Lynx HMA8 or Merlin EH101 HAS 1 helicopter armed with anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes.


Thales Sensors (formerly Racal Defence) supplied the Type 45’s radar-band electronic support measures (RESM) system.

The RESM is developed from Racal’s Outfit UAT but with new signal processing and emitter identification technology.

The vessels have the Royal Navy’s Outfit DLH active naval offboard decoy system, which includes the Siren decoy, an expendable radiating decoy against radar-guided missiles, from BAE Systems.

The Daring Class destroyer is fitted with a Shaman communications-band electronic support measures (CESM) system.

The commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) open architecture Shaman systems were developed by BAE Systems C4ISR Networked Systems & Solutions (NS&S) for the Royal Navy surface vessels.

Type 45 destroyers propulsion and power

Type 45 is powered by two WR-21 advanced cycle gas turbine engines with intercooler and recuperator (ICR) heat exchangers, which provide significant space and fuel savings.

The recuperator recovers energy from the exhaust gases to increase fuel efficiency. Each engine provides 25MW.

The engines were built by a team led by Rolls-Royce and Northrop Grumman. Alsthom Power Conversion provided other elements of the power and propulsion system, including the electric propulsion motors.