|Six Type 42 destroyers were initially ordered with the lead ship HMS Sheffield. Originally ordered in 1968, when construction started in 1970, the ships took an
extraordinary long time to build at five years. This was longer than it took the British ship building industry to build battleships of the past. Two of these were lost in
the Falklands War. Sheffield was hit by one aircraft launched exocet anti-ship missile on May 4, 1982 and sank while being towed to South Georgia. On May 25,
1982 another Type 42, HMS Coventry, was hit by three bombs and sank in fifteen minutes. Both losses reflected a lack of a point defense system and inadequate
damage control. A third sister was more lucky. HMS Glasgow was hit on May 12 by a single 1,000 pound bomb, which fortunately passed through the ship without
exploding. If it had exploded it would have been likely that she would have been lost as well, in which case, three of the initial six Type 42 destroyers, designed for
anti-aircraft missions would have been lost to air attacks within the span of a month.
The initial Type 42 design was modified after the ships started entering service. In 1976 two of the new ships were ordered, followed by orders for two more. The
differences between these four and the initial six Type 42 destroyers was in the electronics fit. The Type 1022 radar, replaced the Type 965 radar of the initial
design. It was far more effective and further enhanced by new computer software. They also shipped the Lynx helicopter, rather than Wasp, carried by the first
ships as fitted. One additional change was the addition of an ASW STWS-1 torpedo system. The first six ships were given the designation of Type42A or batch one
ships and the second four Type42B or batch two ships. Only two of the Batch Two ships were ready by the time of the Falklands war but only one of these, HMS
Exeter, saw action. 0The size of the design did not change until the Type 42 was reworked for a third design. This design actually reverted to the initial design for
the ships before government politicians had economized the design by shortening them.