Secret repairs for HMS Daring after she suffers breakdown

PROBLEMS HMS Daring pictured on exercise in the Gulf last month
PROBLEMS HMS Daring pictured on exercise in the Gulf last month
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ONE of the Royal Navy’s new £1bn warships had to go for urgent repairs in Bahrain after suffering a mechanical fault, The News can reveal.

HMS Daring, the first of six Type 45 destroyers, ran into trouble in the Gulf just two months into her first operational deployment.

It’s understood the warship went alongside for three days of secret repairs at Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard in Bahrain in March.

Sources said Daring was patrolling off Kuwait when she encountered propulsion problems with a starboard shaft bearing.

The navy has confirmed the warship went in for ‘maintenance’ but refused to discuss what work was done to the ship, which is regularly touted as ‘Britain’s most advanced warship’ by the MoD.

It’s not the first time Daring has suffered propulsion issues. In November 2009, she lost power in the Atlantic after a visit to New York and had to limp to Halifax shipyard in Canada to be fixed.

The News has been told the problems are being caused by a propeller drive shaft which is bent out of alignment.

A well-placed source said it’s an issue isolated to Daring and was known about before the high-profile ship was commissioned in July 2009.

This was neither confirmed or denied officially by a navy spokesman yesterday.

But the source said: ‘It’s common knowledge in the navy that Daring has never been quite right. She has serious issues with her propulsion and control system.

‘It’s a major embarrassment for the navy as she is the first of class.’

Another source familiar with the ship confirmed: ‘Until they get this sorted out, the navy is going to be forever carrying out repairs on her.’

A navy spokesman admitted Daring has had to visit a shipyard during her maiden deployment in the Gulf, but would not say what it was for.

He said: ‘Whilst we do not discuss the material state of an operational unit, the ship has been alongside for self-maintenance periods and programmed events.

‘She remains on her operational tasking.’

HMS Daring left Portsmouth in January for a seven-month patrol east of Suez. The deployment attracted widespread attention due to diplomatic tensions with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Earlier this month, the warship was shown off at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference in Qatar.

The MoD said the new air defence destroyer was ‘considered the centrepiece of the exhibition’ where she was visited by many British and foreign dignitaries.