Surface Forces: Naked Destroyers Exposed


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.


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close