£1bn Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dauntless returns to sea with new engines after years of dockside limbo

AFTER five years of being docked alongside in military ports, £1bn destroyer HMS Dauntless is finally taking her first tentative steps back out to sea following a major multi-million pound overhaul of her dodgy engines.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 12:10 pm
HMS Dauntless pictured returning to sea after 770 days at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, near Liverpool.
HMS Dauntless pictured returning to sea after 770 days at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, near Liverpool.

The hi-tech Portsmouth-based warship set sail from the Cammell Laird shipyard, in Birkenhead, yesterday afternoon to begin a major series of tests.

Barring her trip from Portsmouth to Birkenhead, it is the first time the vessel has been at sea since 2016, following a deployment to the Gulf.

As previously reported, Dauntless had spent years in limbo awaiting a huge refit of her engines, which suffered from an embarrassing design flaw that has seen some Type 45 destroyers breaking down in warmer waters.

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Dauntless’s return to the water marks a major milestone in the navy’s £160m project to replace the engines of its fleet of six destroyers.

As the warship left Cammell Laird on Tuesday, she was given a flypast by Typhoon fighter jets.

A message on the ship’s official Twitter account said: ‘Farewell Merseyside!

Some of Dauntless's ship's company pictured on the destroyer's deck as she heads to sea.

‘We will miss the wonderful views of Liverpool, but now it is time to test our improved engines as we head back to sea - where we belong.’

Dauntless is expected to remain at sea for several weeks as the ship is tested to the limit. If all goes well, she could return to the fleet later this year.

The ship’s return to the water marks the next chapter in the lengthy ‘power improvement project’ by the navy to replace the unreliable engines of the Type 45s.

It had been hoped the upgrade programme would be completed by the mid 2020s.

Typhoon jets pictured during a flyby over HMS Dauntless

However, the project has been beset with delays and setbacks and won’t be completed until 2028.

The upgrade programme was branded ‘an absolute disaster’ earlier this year by Admiral Lord Alan West, a former First Sea Lord

In a bid to speed up the upgrades, dockyard workers from Portsmouth have been drafted in, with defence giant BAE Systems switching some of the power upgrade work from Cammell Laird to Portsmouth Naval Base.

Among those destroyers to be switched included HMS Dragon, the third Type 45 to undergo the improvement work following on from Dauntless and HMS Daring.