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First UK destroyer to complete power improvement upgrade back at sea

HMS Dauntless completes Power Improvement Project upgrade
HMS Dauntless crew man the rails as ship departs for post-refit trials. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless has returned to sea for a series of trials that will test its new, more powerful generators that will allow the ship to operate in warmer waters.

The sea trials milestone was announced by the ship’s social media account this week, as the destroyer got underway from Cammell-Laird’s Birkenhead shipyard for the trials program.

The Royal Navy’s Power Improvement Project (PIP) will see the entire fleet of destroyers receive three new diesel generators, instead of the two currently fitted.

The project is necessary as the ships’ gas turbines experienced problems delivering enough power to engines in warmer waters.

HMS Dauntless had initially been expected to complete the overhaul by 2021, but the overhaul was late to start with the destroyer arriving at Cammell-Laird in May 2020.

The lessons learned from the first of class PIP conversion will be applied to subsequent ships, Baroness Goldie, a minister of state at the UK defense ministry, said earlier this year.

The defense ministry plans to have all six Type 45 ships receive the PIP conversion by 2028.

HMS Daring is the second destroyer to start the PIP conversion, while HMS Dragon started her maintenance program in March this year, which will now include PIP.

Work under the project will be completed under a £160 million (approx. $197 million) contract awarded to BAE Systems as prime contractor. Under the PIP contract, BAE Systems, in collaboration with BMT Defence services and Cammell Laird, will carry out physical conversion work at Cammell Laird.

Rolls-Royce will supply new MTU Series 4000 diesel generator sets that will replace the three Wärtsilä 12V200 diesel generators. General Electric Marine Solutions will be responsible for updating the electrical power management system on each destroyer to integrate the new generator sets.

PIP builds on the work carried out in the first strand of the Project Napier from 2014, known as the Equipment Improvement Plan which addresses the reliability of existing equipment.