Gallant Class Destroyer
BNCGclassDDsmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 474.4 ft
Beam 46.6 ft
Draft 19.7 feet
Displacement (Standard) 4,450 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 5,125 tons
Performance Speed (max) 34 knots
Speed (cruising) 20 knots
Endurance 5,000 nm @ 20 knots
Armament Guns 1 4 inch L62 Mark XXIV, 4 35mm
Missiles 48 Seadart, 32 Seawolf
Aircraft Fairey Defender Rotodyne

Background

Originally it was planned to build eight Fearless class but the new Gallant class was available and offered dramatic improvements over the F class. The most significant of these was that the bulky and not very effective Sea Slug missile was replaced by the new Seadart. This discarded the previous arrangement of four boosters wrapped around the missile body with the more conventional arrangement of a single, much more powerful, booster in line with the missile main body. This meant that the missile vertical launch battery could be packed more closely and the number of rounds was tripled as a result. These were arranged in two banks, each of which comprised two rows of twelve missiles, flanking the machinery spaces. Forward of the long-range missile battery was the point defense missile silos. These also held a new weapon, the Seawolf, that replaced the imported MOG. A radar-guided weapon that had all-weather capability, Seawolf was considered one of the more effective point defense missiles, second only to the nuclear-tipped American Sea Falcon. The rest of the ship's armament, a single 4 inch L62 Mark XXIV Mod 1 and two twin 35mm Mark I guns, remained unchanged.

However, the machinery was dramatically different. The steam turbines were replaced by gas turbines in a COGAG arrangement. The forward machinery space held two 4,000 shp Tyne gas turbines for cruising while the aft engine room held two 25,000 shp Olympus gas turbines for full power applications. This was a very successful layout that offered a flexible, efficient power system. Unfortunately, in the ship's early days, many Captains brought up on steam power refused to believe that the two small Tynes could provide enough power to keep the ship at cruising speed and insisted on using the big Olympus engines when the Tynes would have been perfectly adequate. This caused excessive fuel consumption and wear on the Olympus turbines. Eventually, as officers became aware of the characteristics of the machinery (and Engineering Officers started standing up to their Captains and insisting their machinery be used properly) these problems faded away.

The Admiralty decided to re-order the last four F class as part of the new G class. As a result, no destroyers were ordered in 1969 but four were funded in 1970. These "Batch 1 F class" all retained the low forward bridge of previous destroyers. That had been adequate for the older, smaller ships but it was not suited to these much larger destroyers. Accordingly, the second group of G class destroyers had a redesigned bow and new superstructure that marked the end of the "squashed down" phase of British naval design. Eight ships were built to this improved and modified design with the four batch 1 ships being modernized to the same standard some years later.

In 1974 it was decided that, with 24 modern multi-role destroyers in service or building, the older single role A/B/C class ships were no longer "real" destroyers. The Acorn class were reclassified as Training Ships (reflecting the role they had been carrying out since their completion) while the Boadicea and Cleopatra class ships were reclassified as frigates. With this twelve-ship increase to the frigate fleet, there was no need to build additional frigates in the short term so a third batch of four G class ships was ordered in the 1974 building program. These four ships were completed in 1979 and were essentially identical to the Batch 2 ships. With a total of 16 ships of this class built, the G class were the largest single class of Royal Navy warships built in many years and it was a common jioke in the Navy that construction had only ceased because the fleet had run out of traditional "G" class names.

In fact, there was a more serious reason than that. The Royal Navy had named one of the G class Ghurka, this duplicating the name of one of the Indian Godavari Class air defense destroyers. The two ships became "friendly rivals" over the years but comparison between the two suggested that the British ship was seriously underarmed, especially in the gunnery department. This perception would be corrected with the H class destroyers

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Gallant (ex Foresight) 1970 1970 1973 1975
Glowworm (ex Forrester) 1970 1970 1973 1975
Grafton (ex Fortune) 1970 1970 1973 1975 Sunk by Argentine air attack, April 29, 1982
Greyhound (ex Fury) 1970 1971 1974 1976
Gipsy 1971 1971 1974 1976
Griffin 1971 1971 1974 1976
Grenade 1971 1971 1974 1976
Grenville 1972 1972 1975 1977
Goshawk 1972 1972 1975 1977
Grampus 1972 1972 1975 1977
Grasshopper 1973 1973 1976 1978
Ghurka 1973 1973 1976 1978
Giant 1974 1974 1977 1979
Ghost 1974 1974 1977 1979
Goldfinch 1974 1974 1977 1979 Sunk by Argentine air attack May 4, 1982
Gossamer 1974 1974 1977 1979 Sunk by Argentine air attack May 4, 1982
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License