The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly confirmed that the Royal Navy’s fleet of six Type 45 destroyers will undergo a major engine refitting programme after a series of reported blackouts.
The new warships worth £1bn have been plagued with power outages since 2009 when HMS Daring had a blackout in the Atlantic on its maiden trip and developed an engine propulsion problem while being commissioned off the coast of Kuwait.
In 2014, HMS Dauntless reportedly had to leave a training drill owing to power outage.
Fitted with integrated electric propulsion, the 8,000t air defence destroyers are deployed to protect the fleet from any potential air or missile attack and defend Britain’s new aircraft carriers.
Dauntless and Defender were deployed in the Gulf last year to support air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Former naval commanding officer and RUSI senior research fellow Peter Roberts was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "Type 45s continue to be deployed and are very effective but the problem is quite serious.
"You cannot be in the Strait of Hormuz, where things can be tense, with the risk of a power failure.
"The upgrade is about adding resilience to the ship, it was always thought to be a risk when a ship depended on a high voltage but it is a risk that has come home to roost."
The refitting programme of the warships, which is scheduled to commence in 2019, is expected to cost multimillion-pounds and will involve drilling a hole at the side of the six ships to fit new generators.
BAE systems had been roped in to work with the UK MoD "to deliver improvements to the power generation capability of the Type 45 destroyers".
Rolls-Royce, which engineers the WR-21 marine gas turbine used on the warships, has pledged support to overhaul the performance of the warship’s propulsion system.
Image: HMS Dauntless at Portsmouth naval base. Photo: courtesy of Brian Burnell.