Type 42 Destroyer (UK)

The demise of the CVA-01 carrier programme and the cancellation of all but one of the Type 82 destroyers left the Royal Navy with a problem in the late 1960s. By the end of the 1970s there was the possibility that the fleet would be without any form of serious air defence once the last of the carriers had been paid off. The limitations of the Seaslug missile on the County class destroyers was already known, but its replacement, the Sea Dart, as part of the GWS30 system had already outgrown the frigates it was intended to be installed into (such as the Leander class). The Government accepted the need to deploy the Sea Dart but imposed a limit of £11 million on the cost of the ship to carry it. The resultant design, a compromise in many respects and thought by many to be under-armed for its size and role, was the Type 42 destroyer. The Type 42 was ahead of the County and Type 82 destroyers in terms of computers, electronic systems, sonar (Type 184M and Type 162) and the radar (Type 965, Type 992Q and Type 909) equipment, but lacked the close in defence systems of the County class (Seacat missiles) or the Type 82 (Ikara missiles). They were powered by a Combined gas Turbine or Gas Turbine (COGOG) arrangement with Rolls Royce Olympus TM3B and Tyne RM1A engines. The first ship, Sheffield, was laid down in 1970 and orders for a further five made in 1971. In 1976 and 1977 four more were ordered, these being the Batch II ships. They featured a new radar (Type 1022), anti-submarine warfare torpedo system and the Lynx helicopter. The last four (Batch III) were ordered between 1978 and 1980 and were 41 feet longer than the previous ships which allowed for better buoyancy, greater magazine capacity and had the new Type 2016 sonar. As a result of the Falklands War in which Sheffield and Coventry were sunk, the close in air defence of the Type 42s were improved with the addition of the BMARC GCM-A03 30mm and BMARC GAM-B01 20mm guns and Tracor Super RBOC chaff launchers. Later on, the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) replaced the 30mm mountings and is a self-contained system that automatically engages any target that falls outside specified parameters such as an incoming missile or aircraft.

Ship Names: Sheffield, Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Newcastle (Batch I); Exeter, Southampton, Nottingham, Liverpool (Batch II); Manchester, Gloucester, York, Edinburgh (Batch III).

How to cite this article: Antill, P. (12 January 2001), Type 42 Destroyer (UK), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_type42destroyer.html

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