THE navy’s £1bn-a-piece Type 45 destroyers are breaking down in warm water, defence chiefs admitted yesterday.
The complicated Rolls-Royce gas turbine engines which power the air defence ships, works in the cold water around Britain.
But the warships – which are all based in Portsmouth – have struggled with the warm waters of the Gulf, on several occasions being left adrift.
Former First Sea Lord, Lord Alan West blasted the failures and told MPs: ‘I think it’s a terrible error that our nation is making in allowing this to happen.’
The engine woes first became apparent when HMS Daring lost all power in the mid-Atlantic in 2010 and had to repaired in Canada.
The vessel needed fixing again in Bahrain in 2012 after another failure.
Rolls-Royce told the Commons Defence Committee the engines installed in the destroyers had been built as specified – but that the conditions in the Middle East were not ‘in line with these specs’.
Committee member Doug Chapman said: ‘I am stunned. A £1bn asset in a warzone and we don’t know if people will come out alive because of a power system fault.’
The MoD revealed this year it would be running a staggered refit of the six destroyers from 2019.
The MoD added the ships remained one of the most capable warships on the planet.