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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

£1bn UK warship breaks down during Gulf mission

This is the latest in a series of embarrassments for the UK’s Ministry of Defence and has been made worse by the presence of a television crew on board

The Royal Navy's type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond. Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The Royal Navy's type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

One of the UK’s most sophisticated warships has been forced to abandon a mission to the Gulf after breaking down.

Staff on board the £1bn Type 45 destroyer, HMS Diamond, were unable to fix problems with one of the ship’s propeller, reports The Times of London. It had been two months into a nine-month deployment.

Britain will now be unable to perform their long-running commitment to their allies in the Gulf, which the UK prime minister highlighted during a recent high-profile speech. It appears there are no other ships ready to sail which could replace HMS Diamond.

It is rare for the UK navy, which has suffered from a number of cuts in recent years, to fail to fulfil one of its priority tasks.

The warship was reportedly due to offer protection to shipping lanes.

This is the latest in a series of embarrassments for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and has been made worse by the presence of a television crew on board.

The Royal Navy’s fleet of six destroyers have been forced to remain in docked in Portsmouth, in the south of England, because of issues with the engine which struggles in warm water.

Watch HMS Diamond fire a Sea Viper Missile:

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, head of the navy, is under pressure to demonstrate that the Type 45s work despite long-running problems with the engine in warm water.

Rolls-Royce executives have told officials the engines had been built as specified and that conditions in the Middle East were not “in line with these specs”.

The warships are also undergoing routine maintenance and there is a shortage of sailors.

This is an early blow for the new Minister of Defence, Gavin Williamson, who took over from Michael Fallon who resigned after accusations of sexual harassment. Mr Williamson is tasked with delivering a review of the MoD in the coming months.

A navy spokesman told The Times: “We can confirm HMS Diamond has experienced technical issues but we do not discuss the detailed materiel state of our operational ships and are unable to comment further.”

The ships began entering service eight years ago and are built by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.