The Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth more than £1 Billion to complete the design and build of the first three Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy. As the Prime Contractor for the Type 45 programme, BAE Systems is the design authority for the warship with responsibility for the design, development and delivery of the ships, together with elements of support for this class of vessel. A contract for the second batch of three Type 45s is expected to be placed with the Prime Contractor around 2004.
The Type 45 class will be the largest and most powerful air defence destroyers ever operated by the Royal Navy and the largest general purpose surface warships (excluding aircraft carriers and amphibious ships) to join the fleet since World War Two cruisers. The projected deep load displacement of the Type 45, at around 7,200 tonnes, will also exceed that of any other general purpose surface combatant, again excluding aircraft carriers and amphibious ships, built for the Royal Navy since the Tiger class cruisers of the 1941 programme.
The main armament of the class will be the sophisticated and lethal Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), which is being developed and procured jointly with France and Italy. The Type 45 will be able to operate close inshore and use PAAMS to give air cover to British Forces engaged in the land battle. The system is designed to defend against supersonic, stealthy, highly maneuverable missiles that could use sea-skimming or steep-diving flight profiles approaching in salvoes, simultaneously from several directions.