New British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring, the first of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers, leaves the southern English harbour of Portsmouth
New British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring, the first of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers, leaves PortsmouthGetty

Britain's cutting edge, £1 billion warships are breaking down in the Persian Gulf because their engines malfunction in the heat.

Contractors claim the Ministry of Defence did not tell them the 8,000-tonne, Type 45 Destroyer would spend significant amounts of time in warm water, the Daily Mail reported.

The engines of the six vessels have stalled in the middle of the ocean, leaving crews plunged into darkness for hours at a time.

At a defence select committee hearing MPs said the glitch put the lives of British service personnel at risk.

SNP MP, Douglas Chapman, criticised the MoD, saying: "I'm absolutely stunned, to have a billion-pound asset that you're putting into a war zone and we don't know if these people will go in there and come back alive because there might be a problem with the power system. I'm stunned."

Tomas Leahy of Rolls Royce, which manufactured the engines, told the committee that the company had constructed the engines according to the specifications provided.

"Are the conditions experienced in the Gulf in line with that specification? No, they're not," he said. "So the equipment is having to operate in far more arduous conditions than were initially required."