£1 billion
25 December 2009

Every Christmas Autocar road tests a vehicle with a difference, and few have been more impressive than HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer.

HMS Diamond is the third of six Type 45 Daring Class destroyers ordered by the Ministry of Defence and being delivered to the Royal Navy.

See the HMS Diamond pictures here

To find out just how good the ship is we climbed on board during sea trials, toured the ship, experienced her capabilities and even took a turn at the wheel.

Below are some of the highlights of the test:

Design and engineering

HMS Diamond's radar and missile systems are dubbed Sea Viper, a system so advanced that if she was moored next to HMS Belfast in London, it could monitor all flights out of Gatwick, Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schipol and Birmingham airports and assess each one's threat level within a second.

If it did detect a threat, it could fire a missile that reaches Mach 3 within two seconds, pulls 60g and has the ability to intercept a cricket ball-sized object, also travelling at three times the speed of sound.

Interior

Junior ratings sleep six to a cabin, but even so they'll have more space than they'd traditionally expect on a ship, with room to sit up in bed, a power socket, pinboard and some storage for personal belongings.

As is traditional, senior ratings get their own cabins, but these, too, are more accommodating than usual. Recreation areas - three for junior ratings, three for senior ratings - are larger and better equipped than ever before too.

Performance

Two Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines usually provide the main propulsion. They're too wide to sit side by side so are offset behind each other down the ship's centre line. Each unit produces up to 28,830bhp, while there are also two smaller diesel generators. Remarkably, though, a Type 45 can stop in only five ship lengths.

Ride and handling

We can't think of anything quite so breathtaking as when HMS Diamond's pilot wound her onto full lock at 30 knots. Initially Diamond feels like she'll corner like a speedboat, before inertia takes hold and she starts to roll outwards, her masts falling away from the corner. We are told she leans by 15 degrees, but on the flight deck it feels like a heck of a lot more than that. The waterline falls a long way from her inside corner and rises so close to the outside that, even in calm seas, spray washes on to the deck.

Buying and owning

The total cost for the Royal Navy's Type 45s is now forecast to be £6.46 billion. Once equipped, though, a Type 45 will have a prolonged service life of probably more than 30 years, including a mid-life refit.

The full test verdict is available in Autocar magazine, on sale now.

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Comments
12

25 December 2009

Autocar need to read more headlines re. the armament of the type 45 destroyers. Over budget, late and they're on the verge of ditching the actual missile component of Sea Viper. Can't though, because then they won't have the air deterrent to protect those carriers we can't afford, but can't provide air cover for because we can't afford the aircraft (and the USA won't provide the software codes for the JSF). Perhaps we could name it the Rover Type 45 "lump of expensive metal that doesn't have much to destroy stuff with"?

25 December 2009

Cool ship . Er with all the defence cuts I think we only have 17 fighting sufaceships left so Britania does not rule the waves these days.

Accommodation for crew looks luurious. I remember being on Sir Tristan in the Falklands and it was so cramped you could only just rollover in your bunk. We could not all get up at the same time as there was not space for us all to stand up and get dressed. Living below the waterline in a hostile environment was distinctly er " uncomfortable " too.

Remeber the phrase from that Moty Python sketch......luxury !

Interesting article though.

25 December 2009

erm...roadtest??

25 December 2009

Brilliant!!!

25 December 2009

The gen tech and L Tech AR as much improved.

As are the toilets.

26 December 2009

Really interesting article.

The high speed doughnut manoeuvring pix in the Autocar mag were impressive too. Pretty sure a 1930s Leander class cruiser was even better at this, mind you...and at close range the Leander class was a nasty piece of work, as the Admiral Graf Spee found out when it was broadsided by two them...

26 December 2009

Well if I were the Taliban or lived in a Tora Bora cave, the firepower and capabilities of this ship would certainly make me want to surrender.

It cost HOW MUCH? £6.46 billion... Oh my God! I'm not saying it's wasted money but the last time we used one of these in anger was almost 30 years ago and even at that all we did was save a flock of sheep and half a dozen penguins from returning to Argentinian rule in a country on the otherside of the world which lets face it, 99% of UK citizens had never heard of.

HMS Diamond, or to give it her real name - USS Diamond, is about as much use in the modern world as a chocolate teapot.

26 December 2009

[quote ronmcdonald]HMS Diamond, or to give it her real name - USS Diamond,[/quote] Meaning?

27 December 2009

Where's your Sense of humor?

27 December 2009

Give it 6 months and one of those German tuning companies will tweak the engines up to 30,000bhp, fit an awful body kit and paint a big gold stripe down the side.

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