HMS Dragon in Portsmouth
Sea vessels

Type 45 Destroyers: All you need to know

HMS Dragon in Portsmouth

Since the first Type 45 destroyer, HMS Daring, was commissioned in 2009, the Royal Navy has gone on to use its six-strong fleet across a range of missions in a variety of waters.

Although a shared guided missile system provides a specialist capability in anti-air and anti-missile combat, the Type 45s, also known as the Daring-class, have also been used to prevent piracy and narcotic distribution across the globe.

At just over 150m long, the Type 45 destroyer can be recognised at a glance due to its Sampson radar system – a ball-shaped surveillance device that can detect and track threats as well as guide friendly missiles.

Also equipped with the Sea Viper missile system, capable of hitting airborne, moving targets from 70 miles away, the vessels will form an important component within the UK Carrier Strike Groups of the future.

The Sea Viper technology means eight missiles can be fired in about 10 seconds, while twice as many can be guided simultaneously.

Accompanying the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth, or HMS Prince of Wales once it becomes operational, Type 45s and several other specialist vessels will become a well-rounded entourage.

While others escorting the carriers may be better suited to replenishment or tackling threats from below, Destroyers will be best placed to tackle drones and other aerial dangers.

HMS Diamond and HMS Defender joined the UK Carrier Strike Group on NATO exercise in 2020 (Picture: Royal Navy).
HMS Diamond and HMS Defender joined the UK Carrier Strike Group on NATO exercise in 2020 (Picture: Royal Navy).

Despite this, conventional weaponry on board includes up to six machine guns, two miniguns, two Phalanx close-in weapons systems, a 4.5-inch Mark 8 naval gun and two 30mm DS30M Mark 2 automated small calibre guns – all of which can eliminate surface-based targets such as enemy fast boats.

Meanwhile, Type 45s use sonar technology which can detect submarines and a decoy system to work alongside a torpedo defence capability for threats below the surface.

The Daring-class Type 45s forming the Royal Navy's fleet include HMS Daring, HMS Dragon, HMS Duncan, HMS Diamond and HMS Defender.

One hundred and ninety-one Royal Navy sailors and officers make up the standard Type 45 crew – although they can accommodate up to 285.

Unlike its formidable weapons arsenal, lifeboats, deck equipment and life-rafts are hidden from view, but help the Type 45 to tackle humanitarian support missions around the globe.

With huge potential in both combat and non-combat roles, the vessels are already a distinguishable symbol of UK strength as Britain strives toward a more global presence.

The air defence capability of the Type 45s will be upgraded over the coming years, with plans for the fleet to be replaced in the late 2030s by a new Type 83 destroyer, according to the Defence Command Paper.

Join Our Newsletter


First Fusiliers train to lead Nato battlegroup in Estonia

Is Ukraine's counter-offensive under way?

Is Ukraine using an aircraft-imitating missile to confuse Russian defences?