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UK’s first PIP destroyer sets off to the Caribbean to test new engines in warm waters

Photo: Royal Navy

HMS Dauntless embarked from Portsmouth with newly upgraded engines, marking the completion of the Power Improvement Programme (PIP) and heading for trials in warm Caribbean waters.

Equipped with three new efficient engines, which have replaced the ship’s original diesel units, the 8,500-ton destroyer is now en route to the Caribbean, crossing the Atlantic and a final weapons trial in the Channel.

The work under the project was completed under a £160 million (approx. $197 million) contract awarded to BAE Systems as the prime contractor. BAE Systems, in collaboration with BMT Defence Services and Cammell Laird, carried out the physical conversion work at Cammell Laird.

PIP will see the entire fleet of destroyers receive three new diesel generators, instead of the two currently fitted, to be able to better withstand operations in warmer waters. The project is necessary as the ships’ gas turbines experienced problems delivering enough power to engines in warmer waters.

New MTU Series 4000 diesel generator sets, supplied by Rolls-Royce, replaced the three Wärtsilä 12V200 diesel generators. General Electric Marine Solutions undertook the responsibility of updating the electrical power management system on each destroyer to integrate the new generator sets.

After a nine-month period of training, sea trials, tests, and evaluation of both its crew and weaponry, the type 45 ship, HMS Dauntless, has been officially deemed operationally ready as of last month.

During the hurricane season from June to November, Dauntless will be stationed in the Caribbean, providing aid during natural disasters and actively patrolling to counter illicit activities, including drug trafficking, in collaboration with the US Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies.

While in the Caribbean, HMS Dauntless will also join Exercise Unitas, a naval exercise in the US Southern Command area, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Colombian Navy, emphasizing partnership and shared commitment to the region.

Following HMS Dauntless, Dragon, and Daring, the defense ministry plans to have the remaining five Type-45 ships receive the PIP conversion by 2028.