Putin ‘laughing at the UK’ over the fact its warships break in warm water says Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey

A design fault in a fleet of new Royal Navy destroyers that has resulted in most of the ships being tied up in docks for up to the next six years demonstrates why Vladimir Putin is “laughing at the west”, Sir Reg Empey has warned.

Type 45s
Type 45s

The Ulster Unionist peer said the fact that four out six of the Type 45 Destroyers are out of action underlines the Government’s “slipshod and complacent attitude” to defence especially as Russia’s war in Ukraine intensifies.

Sir Reg referred to a written answer in the House of Lords to former Defence Chief Admiral Lord West who asked why the four of the Destroyers procured in 2009 are currently out of service.

Lord Empey said his fellow peer received “a very depressing answer” in the Lords this week which revealed that four of the Type 45 Destroyers will not be ready to be deployed up until 2028.

He said the core problem is the ship’s propulsion system which malfunctions in warm waters.

“These destroyers have advanced state-of-the-art air defence and radar systems yet it’s my understanding they are in dock. They each cost about £1bn yet cannot be all deployed until 2028.

“There is a war on at present and no wonder the man who started it, Vladimir Putin, is laughing at the west and laughing at us in Britain when see a debacle like this with the destroyers.

“If Putin gets away with this action and it looks very much like he will, China will calculate that maybe their chance to seize Taiwan has come. The latter can only be deterred by sea power from Britain, the United States and Australia.

“And yet we have top of the range destroyers out of action with a design fault that has been known about for years.”

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “The Royal Navy is meeting all its requirements, managing ships across the fleet at different levels of readiness in the usual way. The Type 45 is a world class destroyer and is a key part of the navy.”

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