Royal Navy’s six state-of-the-art Type 45 destroyers spent majority of last year in dock

HMS Diamond (MOD)

THE UK’s six Type 45 destroyers, described as the backbone of the Royal Navy, spent 80% of last year in dock.

The ships, costing £1 billion each, need a multi-million pound refit after repeatedly breaking down in the Persian Gulf.

But the work is not due to start until 2020.

Two of the cutting-edge warships, HMS Dauntless and HMS Defender, did not go to sea at all during 2017, which was dubbed “the year of the Navy”.

All six warships, which entered service from 2008, were made with an engine system which cuts out in warm seas, leaving sailors stranded for hours in total darkness.

HMS Dragon spent 309 days in Portsmouth last year, followed by HMS Daring with 232 days and HMS Diamond with 203.

HMS Duncan spent the most time at sea, but was still in dock for 197 days.

Sources say a shortage of manpower, Christmas leave for sailors and routine maintenance have compounded the problems.

The former head of the Navy blasted the revelation.

Lord West said: “It is a disgrace that work on these ships has not been done as a matter of urgency.

“We have so few frigates and destroyers that we should have moved heaven and earth to get the work done.”