A Royal Navy warship that cost £1bn has had to return to the UK from the Gulf after problems with a propeller, it has been reported.

HMS Diamond had been two months into its nine-month mission with international and Nato allies to protect some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. However it had to abort after the mechanical problem could not be fixed and there is no other vessel planned to replace it, the Times reported.

It is the latest blow to the Royal Navy's fleet of six destroyers, five of which are under maintenance in Portsmouth which were constructed by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

A defence source told the paper: "There is no question that this is a blow".

A navy spokesman said: "We can confirm HMS Diamond has experienced technical issues but we do not discuss the detailed materiel state of our operational ships and are unable to comment further."

There have been considerable problems with the engines in Type-45s working in warm water, which defence chiefs have been warning MPs about.

The new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, will have to deal with further pressure over the state of the Royal Navy amid warnings from military leaders over the government's cost-cutting plans to save £30bn over the next decade.

Earlier in November, military leaders warned that reported plans to sell warships to South America would hurt the UK's ability to undertake amphibious operations