Britains newest warship, the Type 45 guided missile destroyer Daring (pennant D-32), has left the BAE Systems shipyard on the Clyde to begin sea trials. The Daring is the first of a class of destroyers that, under current plans, could total 12 ships.
The construction of the Daring-class ships is highly significant for the Royal Navy in view of the recent cutbacks in surface fleet strength and the reduction in the number of nuclear-propelled submarines being planned. The Darings are to replace the aging Sheffield-class destroyers (Type 42).
According to the website Military Periscope, the multi-purpose destroyers will have a theater ballistic missile-defense capability with the U.S.-developedStandard SM-2 (Block IVA) surface-to-air missiles. The ships will use the Principal Anti-Aircraft Missile System (PAAMS), currently in development by France and Italy. PAAMS will be a long-range air/missile defense weapon, capable of simultaneously engaging multiple targets.
The Daring-class ships will also have the 4.5-inch Mark 8 Mod 1 gun for shore bombardment, a standard weapon in British surface ships, and will embark a multi-purpose large Merlin or smaller Lynx helicopter. The ships also have the Harpoon anti-ship missile and anti-submarine weapons.
The ship will have advanced electronic systems, including radars, sonars, electronic countermeasures, and data links.
Five additional ships are now on order or under construction.
The Darings will have a full load displacement of 7,450 tons with an overall length of 499 feet, making them smaller than the improved U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which displace 9,200 tons on a length of 509 feet. Also, the British ships are rated at 29 knots, about two knots slower than their U.S. contemporaries.