The UK Government has decided to go ahead with the construction of the Type 45 destroyer. A replacement for the Type 42 destroyers, fast approaching obsolescence, the first three Type 45s will be built by BAE Systems and Vosper Thornycroft. The Type 45 is planned as a class of up to 12 ships with the first ship entering service in 2007 and the last in 2014. Total cost of the project including weapons systems is estimated to be £6 billion.
The MOD will negotiate a £1 billion order for the construction of the first three ships of the class with prime contractor BAE Systems later this year. The delay in replacing the Type 42s was a result of the efforts to design a 'joint' anti- air destroyer with France and Italy - Project Horizon - which was cancelled last year. However the main combat system of the Horizon project, Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) still being developed tri-nationally, will be used on the Type 45s.
The build strategy being adopted is based on the latest developments in advanced outfitting and modular construction techniques. This will mean that, while the ships themselves will be assembled in the prime defence shipyards, some of the major components and blocks can be competed for by companies throughout the UK with the appropriate experience and facilities. BAE Systems says this strategy will also mean that the ships should be substantially more cost effective than previous classes.
The Type 45 destroyer will introduce Integrated Electric Propulsion into the Royal Navy for the first time. Benefits include a reduction in costs through-life because of lower maintenance and fuel consumption costs. The propulsion system gives greater flexibility to ship's electrical distribution systems allowing for considerable growth in demand through life.