Electra Class Destroyers
BNC-EclassDDsmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 433.5 ft
Beam 45 ft
Draft 19.1 feet
Displacement (Standard) 2,965 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 3,550 tons
Performance Speed (max) 34 knots
Speed (cruising) 20 knots
Endurance 4,500 nm @ 20 knots
Armament Guns 1 4 inch L62 Mark XXIV, 4 35mm
Missiles 16 Seaslug, 32 MOG
Aircraft One helicopter

Background

The Electra Class represented the start of the second generation of post-war British destroyers. While the Cleopatras eventually evolved into quite satisfactory small air warfare ships (and showe dthat providing anti-aircraft defense ona small hull was possible, they were still single-role ships that appeared far below international standards in terms of size and fighting power. The Daring class revealed the necessity of going to a larger hull, continuing a line of development based on a pre-war 1,700 destroyer was no longer feasible. The next destroyer class would have to be a lot larger.

The origin of the Electra class was a requirement to produce a version of the Cleopatra class with a helicopter hangar replacing the missile battery. It quickly became apparent that the Cleopatra hull simply wasn't large enough to accommodate the required equipment and this alone forced a radical redesign. By the time adequate hull volume (in terms of beam as well as length) had been provided, the ships were well over 400 feet long. This led to an interesting situation, the hull large enough to provide the required beam aft also provided a lot of unused volume amidships. Now, it was apparent that the new hull would take a lot of power to drive it; accordingly the power train was effectively doubled up, giving the ships 60,000 shp (geared down to 50,000 shp with corresponding increases in reliability). This gave the new hull a speed of 34 knots. However, the hull still offered substantial amidships volume so the Seaslug missile battery was restored. Although the available space in length terms only allowed the inclusion of two two-round Sea Slug modules, the extra beam allowed the installation of four such modules across the hull. Thus, not only did the Electra class end up carrying both a helicopter and Sea Slug, they actually had four additional missiles over the battery carried by the Cleopatras.

The designers were now on a roll and additions came thick and fast. A new radar guidance unit was installed on the hangar roof, replacing the unsatisfactory beam arrangement on the Cleopatras. The amidships 40mm guns were replaced by the new 35mm twin mounts. Further forward, a short-range missile system was installed. This was the Australian MOG (Multi-role, Optically-Guided) with two four round launchers installed beside the bridge. This was very much an interim arrangement, the Royal Navy was already developing its own radar-guided short-range defense missile and it was hoped that this would replace MOG. In fact, MOG lasted much longer that expected.

The most striking visual change on the Electra class was the inclusion of a superstructure bridge. The very low bridge on the A/B/C classes had proved a problem when navigating in restricted waters and more than a few Captains had conned their ships standing on it rather than in it. The new bridge, installed on top of the existing very limited superstructure was supposed to be for intermittant use only and the low forward bridge was still the primary command post. In fact, the new bridge quickly became the preferred command position and the low forward bridge would slowly fall into disuse (although many captains preferred it in heavy weather conditions due to its greater stability and claimed it allowed them to sense wind and wave conditions better then the higher bridge). To cap things off, the ship's boats were removed from conventional davits and placed in an enclosed boat hangar amidships, accessed by doors in the ship's side.

The main problem with the Electra class was anticipatable - money. The new class was a lot more expensive than the A/B/C class and construction was restricted to two hulls per year. Nevertheless, a full flotilla of eight were ordered before construction shifted to the Fearless class that was only a modified and improved variant of the Electras.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Electra 1963 1963 1965 1967 Sunk by Argentine air attack, 4/29/1982
Excalibur 1963 1963 1965 1967
Excellent 1964 1964 1966 1967
Explorer 1964 1964 1966 1967
Encounter 1965 1965 1967 1968
Escapade 1965 1966 1968 1970
Echo 1966 1966 1968 1970
Eclipse 1966 1966 1968 1970
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