The cost of an Arleigh Burke type ship to a foreign buyer wishing to build the outer casing in a local shipyard? It depends. But South Korea's KDX-IIIs - an example of a foreign-assembled Arleigh Burke design, the first of which launched earlier this year - are thought likely to cost about US$923m, or about £450m. Less than half the price of a Type 45, for a much, much better ship.
Still, at least we won't be dependent on the Yanks, like the Koreans will. (Just on the French and Italians. Oh wait - and the Americans, actually. To be specific, we'll be dependent on Bill Gates, because the Type 45s will run on Windows.)
So actually we could do a deal like the Koreans did, be dependent just on the Yanks instead of the Yanks and everyone else, and save around £3bn. We could spend some of that on helicopters and transport planes, so that our boys and girls in Afghanistan and Basra wouldn't have to operate with their hands tied behind their backs, and wouldn't have to spend half their leave periods waiting for planes. We could spend the rest on bumping their pay up a bit. It would be nice if a highly-trained fighting soldier started on more money than a kitchen potwash boy; it would be nice if a veteran corporal commanding a combat team of eight men got more than a police constable's starting pay. Indeed, it would only be fair.
As for those new apprentices on the Clyde - here's a warning. The current navy shipbuilding plan might keep you in work for 15 years. But BAE Systems isn't going to win much work other than from the UK government.
Don't trust them to keep you going beyond that point. Don't take out a mortgage on a house in Govan, and have kids, and just expect that there will still be steel to work in 2025 when you're well and truly trapped. The world is full of hungry people dying to build ships. This is probably not the start of a brave new world for Clyde shipbuilding. ®
*Sea Dart did shoot down an antique Silkworm missile fired by the Iraqis in 1991. What's less commonly known about that engagement is that the Silkworm had already gone past the destroyer which fired the Sea Dart. Normally it's better to shoot the flying things down while inbound, rather than outbound; often they hit one of your ships while passing through.
You neglected to mention that the missile that had been shot down was not heading towards the British destroyer but towards an one of those American ships that you think are so wonderful, one that had completely failed to shoot it down with its own weapon system (although it did manage to put a few stray shots into a US battleship).
It was also the first succesful missile on missile action at sea, not bad for an obsolete british missile.
As I understand it a significant chunk of the electronics on T45 are UK, starting with the main radar (active phased array) and including the C&C suite.
Next as I understand it UK costs for T45 include missle stocks. Not all countries account this way. Furthermore UK has traditionally been fairly 'generous' with their stocks unlike some other nations that procure very few (there's a lot of 'parade ground' armies around and presumably 'fleet review' navies). Superficial and underinformerd comparisons can be very misleading.
A couple of years ago I was employed as a minor code monkey at one of her majesty's esteemed defence contractors, though I'd not claim to have much other than an interested layman's view of the shambles that represents our establishment.
Here in the UK funds seem to have tightened every year since the 1960's, maybe a few blips but I don't think anyone would disagree with the trend. As a result, we've taken to lying to ourselves in order to get equipment that's at least halfway near what we should have had in the first place, but that noone would pay for it. "Through-deck cruisers" being the euphemism got the invincible et al built at all. And I think the Type 45's are just another example of this kind of self deceit (the new carriers too - just buy the normal jsf's, they're good enough for the USN aren't they? stop kidding yourselves).
On paper the Type 45 is pretty good if you ignore the fact almost everything apart from the hull comes with a 'fitted for but not with' caveat, but for 10 years hence they'll be not a lot more than exorbitantly priced ocean liners. Still, we made something useful out of the 'through deck cruisers' so in time I think the Type 45's will become valuable assets, of course by then we'll only have 6 of them, thanks to budgetary cheapness rather than 12 and there'll be no facility at all to make more, so we have to throw another £5bn at BAE (since there's noone else in the UK who can build ships for the RN now) developing something new to fill a gap, rather than on 6 extra ships that would go some way to safeguard against there ever being one.
Of course I'm sure BAE are perfectly happy whether we buy 3 or 6 or 12 ships because as the government funded defence monopolist they get paid either way as a result of this kind of short sighted stupidity.
And here I'll try and sum up - UK defence has two main problems, politicians like others have said, interfering, privatising, beauraucratising, and the other problem is BAE. Purely financially I can't say it doesn't make more sense to buy from abroad but as a defence policy that is shooting yourself in the foot, and just because we're already enslaved to the US (thanks to trident and god knows just how much else) isn't a reason to shackle your knees and ankles to them as well. Unfortunately at home anything major has to be built by BAE, since there's noone else. It used to be the case we had a defence industry (not to mention other industries, what fun it was for me to setup an acorn for use on an RN submarine), but it was eaten by the end result of a consolidation program that was allowed to proceed unabated for what, 60 years? And now BAE are bigger than the MoD. Try and tell me that this good for us.