HMS Exeter a Type 42 destroyer is shown in the foreground with the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior.

The Type 42 destroyer is a class of destroyer serving with the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. The class is also known as the Sheffield class after the first ship in the class.


The class was designed in the late 1960s to provide fleet area air-defence. In total fourteen vessels were constructed in three batches, eight of which remain in service.


The ships of this class are armed with the ageing Sea Dart medium-range air defence missile system, which also has a limited anti-ship capability. In addition they have a useful gun armament.

They have been useful work horses of the fleet for many years and are equipped with the latest communication and sensor equipment.

They also carry the high-speed multi-purpose Lynx helicopter armed with anti-submarine weapons and the Sea Skua anti-ship missile which is controlled by the Sea Spray search radar.

In addition to their air defence role, the Type 42 Class vessels have an extensive general purpose capability as patrol vessels, capable of a wide range of maritime enforcement and humanitarian assistance operations.

TYPE 42 CLASS Specifications
Country of Manufacture United Kingdom
Number in Service 8
Crew 312
Armament Harpoon SSM, Sea Dart SAM, 2 x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, 1 x Vickers 114mm Mk8 gun, 324mm torpedoes (STWS-1 launchers), 1 x Westland Lynx helicopter
Length 141m
Beam 14.9m
Draught 5.8m
Displacement 5,350 tonnes
Powerplant 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B high-speed gas turbines and 2 x Rolls-Royce Tyne RM1A cruise gas turbines
Performance Max speed 30 knots
First of Class 1978