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Surface Forces: Naked Destroyers Exposed
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June 13, 2008:  Seven months ago, Britain  removed the Sea Dart surface-to-air missiles from two of  its elderly Type 42 destroyers. This allowed six sailors to be removed from the crews in each ship. The navy insists this is no big deal, but the British mass media disagreed.


Sea Dart is a .55 ton, 1970s era missile, that is optimized to take down high flying aircraft.  The max range is about 155 kilometers, and the missile has also proved capable of dealing with low flying, high speed targets (like anti-ship missiles). The first time a missile knocked down an anti-ship missile was in 1991, when a Sea Dart destroyed a Chinese made Silkworm missile (after it had missed its target).


The Type 45 destroyers, which are replacing the Type 42, will use the Aster missile, which entered service in 2001. This is a European system that has a short range (.31 ton Aster 15) and long range (.51 ton Aster 30) versions of the missile. Aster was designed to go after anti-ship missiles, as well as saturation attacks (eight Asters can be launched in ten seconds.) Aster is launched from vertical cells in the ship.


Removing the Sea Darts from the older ships was an economy move, as the Royal Navy has had its budget cut sharply since the Cold War ended in 1991. The admirals believe there is no air threat out there, where the Type 42s operate, and the ships each have a pair of Phalanx anti-missile systems. However, British warships have suffered from a number of shortages over the last decade, providing the mass media with an endless supply of breathless stories.



Next Article → ARMOR: Unbelievably Agile

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Herald12345    ASTER.........   6/13/2008 5:16:50 AM
I thought the naked destroyers would be PROPERLY identified.


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LB       6/14/2008 10:10:18 PM
HMS Exeter and HMS Southampton have had their Sea Dart disabled as a cost savings measure leaving the RN with only 5 area air defense ships and while it let's Labor say they are keeping a few more ships in service it's a bit of a joke given they've deactivated the main weapon systems.

Reports are that this actually happened last year but the information is just coming out now.  It seems they actually sent HMS Exeter on two deployments already.  I believe both ships are due to retire in 2009 but operating them in this manner is a disgrace. 

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Claymore       6/15/2008 5:06:50 AM
I heard that the USS Vally Forge has all its missiles removed for its last cruises before it was decommed in 2004. It was doing drug interdiction.

This was not known though till after the cruises.

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LB       6/15/2008 5:46:39 AM
I respectfully suggest that the USN with dozens of Aegis warships and having one not equipped for anti air is a bit different than 2 of 7 area defense escorts not equipped for AA.  The USN also has little things like carrier aircraft that do air defense and E-2's.  The RN just seems to be fading away.  In a few years they might be down to 19 escorts (6 type 45 and 13 type 23) with maybe 7 or 8 subs.  It's really quite shameful.
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Captain Slog    A new toast?   6/16/2008 9:59:59 AM
I have heard that a traditional Royal navy toast for quite a while was "Death to the French".
It would seem appropriate to reinstate this with a change to reflect the modern enemy "Death to the bean-counters!!!"
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