Type 45s abroad

12th March 2007, 17:36
This came up on the shipping times:

Interesting story that the Saudis may be interested in the Type 45. If so it could mean that the 5th and 6th ship for the RN would be sold to Saudi Arabia and a 7th and 8th ship would be built for the RN, more work for the UK shipyards and probably more delays in getting the whole of the class into frontline service!!!


Full story:

Possible boost for British shipbuilders from Saudi Arabia

When the Type 45 Destroyer programme began it was often said that the advanced warship was a world-beater and could lead to a massive boost in naval exports. It would appear such positive sentiment took a step closer to being a positive prediction as British newspaper The Independent reveals that Saudi Arabia is interested in ordering at least two of the vessels.

The report however is short on detail and no sources are attributed.

However if it is true and a deal goes ahead it would be a massive boost for shipbuilders on the Clyde and at Portsmouth.

The newspaper claims that one option being looked at is Saudi buying two destroyers already earmarked for the Royal Navy, presumably the option for another two destroyers on top of the already agreed programme.

Some sections of the ships are built at VT's Portsmouth yard with the majority of build, launch and final outfitting taking place at BAE System's Glasgow shipyards.

So far two destroyers have been launched, HMS DARING in 2006 and HMS DAUNTLESS in January of this year. Four others; DUNCAN, DEFENDER, DIAMOND and DRAGON, are on the books or in the process of construction.

fred henderson
12th March 2007, 23:06
It would be wonderful if Saudi Arabia were to order two Type 45s. Anything is possible with the Saudis but I am afraid such an order seems somewhat unlikely. I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

The Type 45s are area air defence vessels armed with the French Aster missile system, as used in the Franco/Italian Horizon design. UK was originally a partner in this design but decided to go it alone because its different operational requirements led to different sensor and combat system control requirements.

Essentially UK requires a ship that will provide an independent, world-wide, area AA defence, whereas the French want ships integrated with the combat air patrols, control and surveillance capabilities of their aircraft carriers and Italy wants ships able to defend their fleet within the Mediterranean, supported by land based aircraft. It seems to me that the Italian requirement is very similar to the likely Saudi operational scenario. Can anyone imagine an unsupported Saudi task force sailing several thousand miles into a hostile air attack environment?

As a result of these different perceived operational needs, the Type 45s have the significantly different new BAE Sampson radar and BAE bespoke combat system. Whilst these result in the Type 45s having theoretically superior technical capabilities, the BAE attempts to meet the specified performance requirements have resulted in serious programme delays, with no certainty that the specifications will be met.

The first French Horizon ship began sea trials in January 2006 and after resolving software integration problems its planned in service date is now June 2008. The National Audit Office has now reported that the in service date for the first of class, HMS Daring has slipped again to December 2009 (provided no new software problems emerge) and during the course of 2006 the estimated shipbuilding cost increased by another £202 million, resulting in the entire programme now being estimated at £6.1 billion. This is £635 million more than expected cost in July 2000.

To make matters worse, the December 2009, hoped for in service date will only be possible by deferring until an unspecified future date, three of the nine RN key user requirements for the BAE combat system performance. When HMS Daring enters service she will not be able to meet the defined anti-air warfare situational awareness requirement, nor the defined tactical aircraft control functionality. She will not be able to operate a Merlin helicopter and there is even some risk that she will not be qualified for Lynx. (As the ship’s software will not link with Merlin, that aircraft’s deck handling gear has been deleted as a cost saving) These major initial operational shortcomings are being accepted because the BAE combat management system functionality is being deliberately curtailed to achieve the earliest possible in-service date. Almost anything will be more capable than the obsolete Type 42s. The Saudis do not have this RN problem. Why buy a UK product that may at some future date provide a capability that they do not need, when they can buy a French ship that will meet their requirements now?

The Saudi Navy’s existing major units are all French built. Their helicopters are French. The combat fleet training system is French. The French are as well embedded in the Navy as BAE is in the Saudi Air Force. It would be fantastic if UK could break into the major Saudi naval market. I fear however that BAE is merely being used to constrain French sales prices.


fred henderson
20th March 2007, 14:27
Both the UK government and BAE Systems are playing down press speculation regarding the possible sale of up to four Type 45 air-defence destroyers to Saudi Arabia.
It seems that the Saudi government are starting to consider replacements for the American built corvettes in their Eastern Fleet. As part of this process they are looking at all current naval construction. The Type 45s are deep ocean warships and do not seem to be an obvious design to replace corvettes operating in the Gulf. A more likely choice is the multimission variant of the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship design.

The French built ships are all in the Saudi Western Fleet.