Type 42 destroyer
Type 42, also known as the Sheffield class, is a class of destroyers of the Royal Navy. The class was designed in the late 1960s to provide area air defence. In total fourteen vessels were constructed, eleven of which remain in service. The ships, with the Type 23 frigates, today form the backbone of the Royal Navy surface fleet. Sheffield and Coventry were lost in the Falklands War due to enemy action.
The Type 42 Destroyer was built to fill in the gap left by the cancellation of the Type 82 destroyer, it was however, designed to be smaller and more cost effective. The primary weapon is the Sea Dart surface-to-air missile. Although claimed to be obsolete, it is still effective against most modern missile threats, as proven by the 1991 Gulf War.
The Type 42 is also equipped with a 4.5 inch (114mm) main gun, six torpedo launchers, and two Vulcan Phalanx Mk.15 Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) were fitted after the loss of the Sheffield to an Exocet missile. There have been three batches of ships, Batch 1 & 2 displacing 4,820 tonnes and Batch 3 (sometimes referred to as the Manchester class) displacing 5,200 tonnes. As per the norm, Batch 3 ships were heavily upgraded. Although the Batch 3 ships were lengthened, the planned Sea Wolf missile systems were never fitted.
In recent years the importance of the Type 42 destroyers has increased rather than diminished. The UK has adopted an increasingly expeditionary defence policy and the deletion of the Sea Wolf missile systems from the Invincible class aircraft carriers has made the role of escort all the more important.
The ships are all scheduled to be out of service by 2014. Initially, the UK sought to procure replacements first in collaboration with seven other NATO nations under the NFR-90 project and then with France and Italy through the Horizon CNGF programme. However, both these collaborative ventures failed and the UK decided to go it alone with a national project.
The Type 42s are now to be replaced by eight Type 45s. The first six Type 45s (Daring, Dauntless, Defender, Dragon, Duncan and Diamond) have been ordered, with a further two due to be ordered later in the decade. The Type 42 class has always suffered from its cramped accommodation, a problem for both crew safety and comfort and also when finding space for upgrades. The Type 45s are to be considerably larger; displacing almost 7,400 tonnes, compared to the Type 42 displacement of 4,820 tonnes (Batch I & II) and 5,200 tonnes (Batch III).
|Sheffield||D80||VSEL||Portsmouth||Lost in Falklands War|
|Glasgow||D88||Swan Hunter||Active, decommissioning early 2005|
|Cardiff||D108||VSEL||Portsmouth||Active, decommissioning August 2005|
|Coventry||D118||Cammell Laird||Lost in Falklands War|
|Type 42 destroyer|
|Sheffield | Birmingham | Newcastle | Glasgow | Cardiff | Coventry | Exeter | Southampton | Nottingham | Liverpool | Manchester | Gloucester | Edinburgh | York|
List of destroyers of the Royal Navy