The British Royal Navy has ordered six of the Type 45 "Air Defense Destroyers" for its fleet. Due to its lead ship naming ("HMS Daring (D32)"), the class is also recognized as the Daring-class. The Type 45 group succeeded the older Type 42 which entered service during the Cold War in 1975. The Type 45 ships have been in active service since July of 2009 when HMS Daring was commissioned. The other ships of the class include HMS Dauntless (D33), HMS Diamond (D34), HMS Dragon (D35), HMS Defender (D36) and HMS Duncan (D37). Defense powerhouse BAe Systems (BAe Systems Surface Ships) completed the construction of the entire class.
HMS Defender became the fifth ship of the Daring-class and saw her own construction begin on July 31st, 2006 amidst Britain's ongoing commitment to the global War on Terror. She was launched on October 21st, 2009 and was formally commissioned on March 21st, 2013, remaining in active service as of this writing (2015). She fights under the motto of "Fendendo Vince" ("By Defence I Conquer").
In keeping with the design qualities of her sisters, Defender was finalized with an overall length of 500 feet, a beam of 89.6 feet and a draught of 24.2 feet. Her displacement runs at 8,800 tons (short) and her power is from 2 x Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines (of 28,800 horsepower each) paired with 2 x Wartsila 12V200 diesel generators (of 2,700 horsepower each) and 2 x Converteam electric motors (of 27,000 horsepower) driving 2 x Integrated Electric Propulsion (IEP) shafts. This allows the vessel to make headway at speeds nearing 30 knots with ranges out to 7,000 nautical miles. Her typical crew complement numbers 190 personnel.
While classified as an "air defense destroyer" the Type 45 series are, in fact, guided missile destroyers in every sense of the wording. Their primary arm is the 48-cell Sylver A50 series Vertical Launching System (VLS) for Aster 15 and Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles. 2 x Harpoon anti-ship quad-launchers are also featured. More conventional armament includes the 4.5" BAe Mk 8 turreted gun, 2 x 30mm Oerlikon automatic cannons, 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs), 2 x 7.62mm miniguns and 6 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs). All this allows the ship to engage airborne (including cruise missiles and drones) and seaborne targets as required. Her short-range armament gives her a notable punch against any approaching suicide vessels and can also serve in the protection role during boarding actions. Her overall missile functionality gives her the power to protect elements of her accompanying fleet or render strategic bodies of water as "No-Fly Zones" - including harbors. In addition to these installed armaments, the vessel also supports a pair of navy helicopters which are armed for the anti-ship/anti-submarine role themselves.
The profile of HMS Defender sees a long forecastle, its lines broken up by the forward (Position "A") turreted deck gun. Aft of this emplacement is a raised platform housing the VLS component. The Harpoon missile launchers are seated near here as well. The bridge is fitted to a low-profile hull superstructure and is clearly identified by its range of rectangular windows. The superstructure is also slab-sided for a stealthy design approach. Atop the forward superstructure mass is an enclosed pyramidal mast capped by a surveillance and Fire Control (FC) radome. SATCOM domes are featured lower on the mast to either side. The smoke funnel is also of a low profile design and feature a tapered shaping. Another mast is featured near the aft superstructure mass and atop this is seated a thin pole mast. This area of the ship also contains an air/surface search radar array fit. The aft sections of the vessel are taken up by a fully enclosed, full service hangar to support helicopter and UAV operations and a helipad is seated over the stern. The vessel is cleared to support up to 2 x Westland Lynx HMA.8 medium-lift helicopters or 1 x Westland Merlin HM.1 medium-lift helicopter. Both can served in the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role.
After commissioning in March of 2013, Defender underwent her final round of testing and evaluation and this spanned into November. In December, she met up with elements of the Russian Fleet to undertake a cruise down the Scottish east coast but were delayed by bad weather. From there, the vessel was assigned as part of Task Force 50 (TF50) with the American fleet, utilizing her systems to protect the mighty and important American carrier force. This was in concert with joint operations by the United States, Britain and others against elements of ISIS/ISIL gaining ground in Iraq and Syria.
June 2021 - Russian forces delivered warning shots against HMS Defender as it transited the waters near Crimea and Ukraine.
HMS Daring (D32); HMS Dauntless (D33); HMS Diamond (D34); HMS Dragon (D35); HMS Defender (D36); HMS Duncan (D37)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
✓Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
Onboard systems alert and protect the vessel from airborne, low-flying airborne threats through ballistic and / or missile weaponry.
An Over-the-Horizon operational capability is granted to the vessel, typically through launched fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft.
The vessel supports the launching of missiles against airborne, waterborne, or land-based targets at range; typical of modern designs.
500.0 ft 152.40 m
67.6 ft 20.60 m
24.2 ft 7.38 m
2 x Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines developing 28,800 shaft horsepower with 2 x Wartsila 12V200 diesel generators developing 2,700 shaft horsepower and 2 x Converteam electric motors generating 27,000 shaft horsepower each.
30.0 kts (34.5 mph)
7,000 nm (8,055 mi | 12,963 km)
kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers
1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
Sea Viper anti-aircraft missile launchers
1 x 48-cell Sylver A50 Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs).
Aster 15 surface-to-air missile launchers
Aster 30 surface-to-air missile launchers
2 x RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers (quad-mounting, optional installation).
1 x 4.5" Mark 8 turreted deck gun
2 x 30mm Oerlikon guns
2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs)
2 x 7.62mm Gatling guns
6 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
1 OR 2 x Westland Lynx naval helicopters (anti-ship/ anti-submarine warfare) OR 1 x Westland Merlin HM1 (anti-submarine warfare).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.
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Image courtesy of UK MoD, Crown Copyright; LA-Phot Chris Mumby.
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