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HMS Dauntless completes PIP upgrade

Dauntless sails through a calm Irish Sea on trials. (UK Royal Navy)

The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) second Daring (Type 45)-class destroyer, HMS Dauntless , has returned to its home port in Portsmouth after successfully completing engine trials at sea as part of a major power generation upgrade.

Dauntless is the first in class to complete the upgrade, known as the Power Improvement Project (PIP), which seeks to improve resilience of the destroyers' power and propulsion system. It forms one element of Project Napier, which is intended to overcome problems that have affected the performance of the Type 45's integrated electric propulsion (IEP) system.

The programme is being delivered by prime contractor BAE Systems in collaboration with BMT Defence Services and Cammell Laird under a GBP160 million (USD208 million) firm-price contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in March 2018.

Work on the Dauntless started at Cammell Laird's shipyard in Birkenhead in May 2020 and included removing and replacing the two original 2 MW Wärtsilä diesel generators with three more reliable, more powerful, and cleaner MTU Series 4000 generators (3 MW each). In addition, a storeroom has been converted into a high-voltage switchboard to process the extra power generated – which amounts to between 4 and 5 MW.

The change to the original IEP architecture means the system can deliver cruise speeds on diesels alone, although the WR-21 Gas Turbine Alternators (GTAs) have been retained onboard to provide boost power when required.

As the first in class to complete the upgrade, Dauntless's programme of work will act as the foundation for upgrade work on the remaining five ships in the class.

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