The Ministry of Defence has not disclosed the cost of the work, but it is thought that it could run to tens of millions of pounds

Royal Navy's £1bn ships need engine refit after breakdowns

The Royal Navy is going to replace the engines in its most modern ships due to consistent breakdown issues.

Six Type 45 destroyers are going to undergo major refits, which include cutting a hole in the side of the ship, amid concerns over their reliability.

Although the ships cost £1bn each, they have faced repeated problems with their engines and power systems.

In 2014, HMS Dauntless had to abandon a training exercise and in 2009 HMS Daring lost power in the Atlantic on her first voyage to the US.

The refitting work will be staggered over a period of years so some ships remain available for operational commitments at all times.

A Royal Navy source said the most likely action will be to add as many as two generators to bolster the power that's already there, and accepted that carrying out such maintenance just a few years into the ships' service was not "normal".

He said: "It is an issue, we're managing it at the moment but we need to do something about it."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not disclosed the cost of the work, but it is thought that it could run to tens of millions of pounds.

An MoD spokesman said: "The Type 45 destroyers are hugely capable ships and have consistently made a difference to our safety and security.

"In our defence review last year we committed to improving the Type 45's power and propulsion system through a series of machinery upgrades during planned maintenance, which will ensure increased availability and resilience over the life of the ships."

The Type 45 destroyers were built by BAE Systems to replace the Type 42 destroyers that had served during the Falklands War, with the last Type 42 being decommissioned in 2013.

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems, said: "The Type 45 Destroyers are among the world's most capable air defence Destroyers, able to carry out a wide range of operations for the Royal Navy.

"We are working collaboratively with the MoD and industry partners to deliver improvements to the power generation capability of the Type 45 Destroyers."

Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the WR-21 gas turbines used in the ships, said it was working with the MoD to upgrade the performance of the propulsion system.

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