Too hot to handle? Persian Gulf water temperatures causing problems for British warships
The Dragon, a Type 45 Destroyer, is one of six British ships deployed in the Persian Gulf. (Wikimedia Commons)
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Britain's six $1.4 billion warships are breaking down because of warm waters in the Persian Gulf.
The 8,000-ton Type 45 Destroyers have lost power in Persian Gulf sea water that can top 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Four of the ships are currently at sea, with one outside Europe and the others in British waters.
"The equipment is having to operate in far more arduous conditions that were initially required," Rolls-Royce director Tomas Leahy, told a Defense Committee meeting on Tuesday about the manufacturer's engines.
Leahy said the hot water prevents the ships' turbines from producing enough power.
"Suddenly, you have lost your main generator on your system and you are plunged into darkness," he said.
Each ships' two turbines have intercooler units that recover heat from the exhaust and recycle it into the engine.
The situation has angered members of Parliament.
"I'm absolutely stunned. To have a 1 billion pound [$1.43 billion] asset that you put into a war zone and we don't know if those people we put there can come out alive -- I am just astounded," said MP Douglas Chapman from the Scottish National Party.
A spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defense said the ships should be able to withstand the heat.
"The Type 45 was designed for worldwide operations, from sub-Arctic to extreme tropical environments, and continues to operate effectively in the [Persian] Gulf and the South Atlantic all year round," he told CNN.
The ships first were put into service by the Royal Navy in 2006.
They will undergo a refit with extra diesel generators, costing several million dollars.
Former First Sea Lord Alan West said in the meeting that the government is strapped financially.
"We have run out of money, effectively," he said. "Therefore, [the Ministry of Defense] have pushed this program to the right and that is bloody dangerous."
By Allen Cone
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