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High Temperatures in Gulf Cause British Warships to Break Down

HMS Dragon is the fourth ship of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defense destroyers built for the Royal Navy. Photo: LA(Phot) Nicky Wilson/MOD, OGL via Wikipedia
HMS Dragon is the fourth ship of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defense destroyers built for the Royal Navy. Photo: LA(Phot) Nicky Wilson/MOD, OGL via Wikipedia

BAHRAIN -- Not even billion-pound British warships can defeat the high temperatures of the Gulf.

Six 1 billion-pound British destroyers are apparently breaking down because their power systems can't handle long tours in the region.

The Type 45 destroyers have been working alongside the U.S Navy since last year, protecting aircraft carriers launching airstrikes against Islamic State.

British MPs have now grilled top navy officials about the regular breakdowns as part of an inquiry by the U.K. parliament's Defense Committee.

"It's a billion-pound asset that you're putting into perhaps a war zone and we don't know if these people who are making up the complement on that ship will go in there and come back out alive, because there might be a problem with the power system on the ship," committee member MP Douglas Chapman said.

However, a representative of Rolls-Royce, which supplied engines for the ships, said they were never designed for such extreme temperatures.

"Are the conditions experienced in the Gulf in line with that specification?" asked the company's Naval Marine, EMEA Programs director Tomas Leahy.

"No, they are not. The equipment is having to operate in far more arduous conditions than were initially required by that specification."

Meanwhile, BAE Systems which built the destroyers said they were never meant for "repeated and continuous" missions in the Gulf.

"The operating profile that was considered at the time was that there would not be repeated and continuous operations in the Gulf, that they would not form a part of the operating profile for the ship," said managing director John Hudson.

"Therefore, it was not designed explicitly and uniquely for operations in the Gulf."

The new British Navy base being built in Bahrain, the HMS Juffair, which will be ready next year, is being specifically designed to accommodate the Type 45 destroyers, as well as new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

However, experts said all six Type 45 Destroyers needed diesel generators fitted as back-ups in case of main engine failure in warm water.

Chapman questioned the executives and said he was "stunned" by their response.

The 8,000-ton air defense destroyers have a crew of 190, but during a meeting on Tuesday MPs heard that Ministry of Defence plans to replace its fleet were facing a "dangerous" delay because of a lack of money.

Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, told the Commons defense committee that further delays to long-awaited Type 26 frigates would leave the British Navy with a "grossly inadequate" fleet.

"The reality is that there is not enough money in the MoD this year or next," Lord West was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"We have run out of money and therefore they have pushed this program to the right and that's dangerous."

In response, the British Prime Minister's official spokesperson said the UK Royal Navy would spend 8 billion pounds in the next decade "on new kit and new warships".

Meanwhile, The Telegraph quoted an MoD spokesman as saying the Type 45 destroyer was "designed for world-wide operations, from Sub-Arctic to extreme tropical environments, and continues to operate effectively in the Gulf and the South Atlantic all year round".

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This article was written by Sandeep Singh Grewal from Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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