British warships are losing power because the sea in the Persian Gulf is too hot, according to a report to British lawmakers presented during Tuesday's Defence Committee
hearing. But the problem is more a design flaw than a global warming issue.
Servicemen on Type 45 destroyers have been repeatedly left in the dark by power outages caused by the high temperatures, CNN reported
, adding that waters in the Persian Gulf can get as hot as 90 degrees.
MP Douglas Chapman was shocked to hear about the problem.
"It's a £1 billion asset that you're putting into a war zone, and we don't know if these people will go in there and come back out alive because there might be a problem with the power system on the ship. I'm just astounded," he said, according to CNN.
The ships initially weren't required to operate in such arduous conditions, and turbines don't generate as much power in high temperatures, Rolls-Royce director Tomas Leahy explained to British MPs.
But a British Ministry of Defence spokesperson disputed that explanation, telling CNN: "The Type 45 was designed for worldwide operations, from sub-Arctic to extreme tropical environments, and continues to operate effectively in the Gulf and the South Atlantic all year-round."
Executives from General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, and BAE Systems appeared at Tuesday's hearing to discuss the fleet of six warships, the first all-electric ships to be used by the Royal Navy, according to Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine
. The ships are powered by Rolls Royce WR21 gas turbines.
The Daily Mail described the problem as a "design flaw"
that causes the turbines to slow down in warm waters leading to electrical failure.
Plans to refit the ships with diesel generators to solve the problem will cost tens of millions of British pounds, the U.K. site said.
Twitter users shared mixed reactions.
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