Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Captain Hector Barbossa

Also those new fleet solid support ships will be on the way soon enough.

Supportive Bloke

Very good point – another funded project.

Just need a few RFA to crew them.

David MacDonald

I would have thought that a career in the RFA would be attractive to some but the rates of pay probably need to be increased. How are RFA personnel recruited. Has this task too been outsourced?

Supportive Bloke

Rates were decoupled from BP a while back – hence the issues. If they were still commercially linked then there simply wouldn’t be an issue.

Expat Alien

Didn’tt the RFA try that in 1970s and watched lots leaving to go commercial..


“By the mid-2030s the RN will have a modern escort fleet which has been designed with a degree of flexibility for additional weapons fits and capability insertion.”

No. By the mid-2030s the RN will have a modern frigate fleet. Our destroyers will be coming up to 30 years old and are currently scheduled for out-of service starting 2035. There’s glass half full, which is good every now and again, and wrong. Type 83 or Future Air Dominance has still not even started its Concept phase yet, nor is it scheduled to do so. We can’t build a new warship, including Concept, Competition, Design and Build in just 11 years. So in the mid 2030s we will either be LifeExing the T45s with many of the same issues as with the T23s right now, or having abandoned the T83, be spirally developing the T45s.

Supportive Bloke

T45 will be extended.

They are big solid well built hulls that now PiP is done and with the SAMPSON II and the ASTER upgrades as well as NSM and CEPTOR are good fighting ships. They are also very low miles ships with modern hull coatings.

This isn’t like T42 when it was going out of service where it was literally falling apart and Sea Dart was close to impossible to support properly because it was totally obsolescent. And Sea Dart was no tech dominator.

Sea Dart never got the mid life upgrade it was due whereas VIPER has that in the works and much, much more.

So yes, T83 is important. But it isn’t a case of stop everything else to rush that program.

At the same time we cannot fall into the T23 trap of disintegrating hulls by going beyond the economic lifespans.


Moving from Pre-concept to Concept two years after the original schedule wouldn’t be rushing the programme. Nor would it necessitate stopping anything else I can think of; what did you have in mind when you said that? Concept is a glorified requirements gathering session. It’s not particularly expensive.

I agree it’s likely that T45 will be LifeExed. It’s not ideal that the ships will once again be in low availability, and we can do something about it. Whether that’s having AAW T31s as a backup (with NSM and Mk41s, we are planning to get half way there already) or getting a shift on in deciding what should be built to fill the gap, starting build in 2027/8 at the latest. It’s really not that far away. There are relatively cheap solutions if we take decisions early enough and stop claiming there’s no problem.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jon
Supportive Bloke

It is very different caring for a 30 yr design life hull which is properly coated to trying to LIFEX an 18 yr design life hull that was cared for, in early years, to go out of service after 18 years.

As you say Mk41 on T31 and T26 does provide some solutions networked to the very, very high up ARTISAN set or the air search Thales on QEC?


Wasnt an 18 yr ‘design life’ hull for the T23.
That was for the propulsion and combat systems which would have been replaced in a mid life update- which is done for technical obsolescence and mechanical usage


Wrong in every single respect. Replace the propulsion? PMSL!

The original RN DCI which outlined the design and upkeep philosophy was really quite explicit.

Don’t bother googling. It’s classification precludes it.

Last edited 3 months ago by N-a-B

Your memory is often faulty, and cant have been deeply involved in every decision unless were a DG or Deputy of Ships


You can design a hull to have a specific life…thicker hull plating + longer life..the sea eats hull plating thickness, when you loss to much you need to replace the hull plating which is a very big expensive job. my understanding was that the hull plating on the T23 was designed for a 18year life.


Thickness is they way hulls strength is maximised.
What the 18 year limit meant was no mid life refit which experience showed cost an arm and a leg as thats the mechanical systems, the A/C, the electrical system plus all the combat systems
The whole hull plating wasnt replaced anyway, just some minor areas, the Leanders were a special case for hull plating , as they were built in an era when the better surface coatings- both sides- werent what they are now and some suggestion the thinner plating saved weight, which isnt design objective for a long time now.

Supportive Bloke

That isn’t quite correct.

The plating thickness and steel grades do affect corrosion rates a bit.

Far more significant is
– weld types (electrochemistry and stresses)
– stress mitigation (cracking)
– cathodics (electrochemistry)
– plating preparation
– plating coatings
– maintenance intervals and interventions

On the last if you decided that 18 years is the lifespan and you go cheap on the programmed interventions/intervals then don’t expect the full to last 30 years without serious surgery.

Don’t blame the designers/builders/RN as this is what they were told to do and was announced in parliament by ministers.


Cathodic protection was used at the time and all naval vessels since at least the early 70s. Its not a complete prevention but certainly reduces the pitting from corrosion. As well during a general refit the hulls are cleaned and corrosion fixed.
This idea of ‘thin plates’ because short life is just bizarre.
The Leanders were supposed have a MLU after 10-12 years ( shorter than the T23 18 yrs before MLU) and anti corrosion measures were more rudimentary , thus HMS Cleopatra needed 85% of the keel replaced- not just the outer plates corrosion.

Supportive Bloke

How catholic protection is implemented is critical. If the cathode is in the wrong place it can accelerate electrochemical corrosion.

In the 1980’s and earlier cathodes were attached where it seemed right using rules of thumb and nous.

Now cathode location and type is very carefully calculated.

Now that electrochemical corrosion has been massively limited it brings to the fore other types of corrosion, such as bacterial…..bacterial can be designed out by not providing hiding places and what they like to much on……

christopher Samuel

We want eight and we wont wait. These platforms are needed on day one not 5 years ahead.

christopher Samuel

The RN get there in the end at the cost of other projects being delayed. The RN is a peacetime navy that would not survive an Operation the length of OST. Bijou perhaps. Not helped by the structure of internal competition in MOD and a complete lack of interest and understanding by the nation. Who is ‘fighting ‘ for our services to be competently supported? Russia will inherit some nice assets in 2030.


the problem with modern complex warships is that obsolecence for ALL parts on the ship kicks in really hard at about 15 years (its already bad). the time and cost to fix is astronomical at best, plus ships stuck alongside being robbed for parts. And as the ships get older and mismatched compared to others even this becomes a dodgy option. oh and PIP maybe a “power improvement project” but thats not the only reason for it. And PIP is one of the few you hear about, cost a lot, started late and not finished.

Supportive Bloke

I agree that there are phases of obsolescence driven by MOD support contracts and industry.

MOD won’t contract for every conceivable bit for a warship that might wear out to be kept in stores. Equally industry won’t maintain lines to make things on the off chance.

Which was what drove the T23 18 year life cycle in the first place – no big system changes. But no big sticks of bits and no long contracts for most of them anyway.

I agree T45 PiP is a lot more than three new DGU’s with some quite fundamental upgrades to other departments. Thing is with IEP there is so much more flexibility with how the power plant is upgraded. Potentially you could remove the GT’s and replace them with more DGU’s in that footprint. Although the power density wouldn’t be as good – so maybe not the solution for DE weapons which are round the corner?

T45 is generally a well regarded class with good accommodation and sea keeping.


The first T45 won’t have been in commission for 30 years until 2039. So given the major improvements they have had, are having running them through to the mid 40’s shouldn’t be an issue. The bigger problem is sustaining the Clyde yards from the currently planned end of T26 production till T45 replacement build work spools up.

Supportive Bloke

Bay / Argus / Albion replacement program?

T31B2 to replace the B1 Rivers and make it true the fighting fleet has expanded?

Even Argus can’t go on forever……she is the last ‘82 veteran in service!

I’d certainly like to see Argus preserved.

I can certainly see green lighting that program as being the trigger for disposal if one of the Albion’s – the Bays must be getting pretty ragged as they have been pounding the oceans very hard. Best value in the fleet?


I’d like to see RFA Sir Tristram preserved once special forces no-longer need her. As a child I recall seeing her, with burnt and torn superstructure, after she returned from the Falklands for repair.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
christopher Samuel

What about DILIGENCE the last repair support ship. No replacement. The Falklands War would have been lost without her

christopher Samuel

Shipyards and dockyards especially for S/Ms. Oh and skilled people!


I think lifespan is normally measured from launch year. Your way is probably more logical.


Norway might solve that problem.
Naval News
Norway Unveils New Defence Plan, Commits To Frigate Program 06 Apr 2024

Nigel Collins

It’s good to see Norway investing in a new surface and sub-service fleet while doubling its military budget over the next 12 years. Hopefully, we can do the same or something similar.


Well they are only spending 1.5% now , and they are a petro-state which can find the money down the sofa


A brilliant reminder. Carrier strike in particular has been criticised but we have the core of a capability that outstrips everybody accept the US: the media gets very excited about unbuilt Chinese carriers and their zero operational experience. We have the best SSNs in the world and as you say the training is second to none.

The frustration is of course that we know the base is there – small amounts of incremental spend: as the article points out – on the Marines and more aircraft in particular – would make our navy truly world class.

Moreover with the Army and RAFs overall strategies both a mess, the army’s acquisition projects in a mess and the RAF now a tiny force pinning its hopes on tempest, there is an argument to be made that the Navy should be prioritised as they have most effectively used the money they have got and can be world class. Getting the army to a place where it could be described as world class would be a massive expenditure and transformation job, with almost a complete replacement of their current kit required

Last edited 3 months ago by Grant
David MacDonald

The F35B fleet should really come under the RN. But an effective RAF is vital too and it should get a further tranche Typhoons since the Tempest is still a long way off; also the full fleet of all 5 Wedgetails.


Couldn’t agree more. Combat Air is around 100 aircraft which really isn’t enough, but could be increased. The wedgetail procurement was madness….. let’s have 3 for the price of 5!


The price for 3 remained so high because they contracted for 5 radar!.
this may be sorted as the USAF and Nato now wants substantial orders , but the radar production is the bottleneck. if the MoD has any sense they will sell those ‘2 spare’ production slots to lower the overall cost.

the RAF wont be operating a small number on its own , but as part of a much larger force, so 3 will be fine in the bigger scheme of things.


The F35B programme is way beyond the RN’s budget. Don’t forget other than the RAF Regt their entire budget goes on aircraft procurement and operation. The RN has the Fleet, Royal Marines and RFA plus the Fleet Air Arm to find the money for out of pretty much the same size budget. It was either a joint programme with the RAF or a lower tech and probably CATOBAR aircraft. For good or ill the RN chose F35B.

christopher Samuel

A bijou navy only has SMALL amounts of exquisite assets. The RN needs to be able to fight over the timeframe of wars, currently average 5+ years. How would the UK do? Even with NATO assistance? Do governments understand? If so why no action. Nothing can be done until there has been an election??? Putin has had the election and set Russia on a war footing.

Peter S

Replacement of key army equipment is in hand or fully funded: Ch3, Ajax, Boxer, AS90 replacement. Future soldier reorganisation is under way.
The RN has been and remains the biggest reason for budget black holes. The costs of building a carrier force led to delays and cuts in other programmes. The latest lurch back into apparent unaffordability of the 10 year equipment plan is almost entirely due to RN including programmes not even specified yet in a sort of preemptive bidding war.
I think it is far from clear that the RN has managed it’s funding most effectively. It is even less clear that they should take priority over improving actual self defence of the UK. GBAD needs a major uplift and the RAF expanded from the current very low base to which it has been allowed to decline.
Committing further large sums to a carrier force we arguably never really needed would be a poor use of available funding.


Comparing which FLC wasted the most money and what should be cannibalised this round to pay for what sacred cows is a mug’s game. There’s not enough money for any of the services. When the government casts its gaze from one area to another, it simply destroys current capability to hopefully gain capability in the future. We are too close to a potential war to afford that mentality.

Defence needs more money for more capabilities. It’s that simple. So cancel HS2, which will release a few billion immediately, and be prepared to alter the way goverment finances are accounted for, so we can grow the economy properly.

Peter S

It is a mugs game but it is the game that has been played for decades. The only way to end it is to be much clearer about what exactly we need our armed forces to do. Then make the argument for the necessary funding. Until now, that necessary clarity has been lost in the mountain of verbiage from the IR and command papers. Setting out risks and capabilities could be done in a couple of pages.

Supportive Bloke


You do realise that buying the trench of F35B has got a budget line?

RN we’re told to make a plan as part of the National Ship Building Strategy. ‘The carriers ate all my money song,’ co-written by the RAF and Army comedy unit – has been overplayed and had too much air time. Over the project lifetime that wasn’t the issue.

The fact that army couldn’t, for a very long time, buy an armed battlefield vehicle for love nor the money, on the table, is army’s problem not RN’s. They have lots of funded programs to deliver and they need to focus on that.

RAF does need to look quite hard at ‘the way RAF do things’ the numbers in RAF don’t make a lot of sense when you divide them by the number of things that fly about 550 at last count. The number is 56 people per thing that flies which is a remarkable number. OK trim off RAF regiment and intakes etc and the number drops but not by a whole lot.


I know that could be argued largely because of the submarines, which are very expensive, but saying that the carriers are responsible for the black hole in spending is somewhat wide of the mark. The RN has a clear vision of what they want to do and is close to being world class, whereas does the army want to fight a peer engagement, be a deployable force?

Worth noting that defence cyber is a bigger line item then land or navy surface ships…

The Army has spent as much on Ajax as the Navy on the carriers. The carriers are a capability that only two other nations have….Ajax is a capability most armed forces have. The carriers can deliver effect anywhere in the world, whereas it isn’t clear in which situations Ajax would get used (if indeed it works yet)


The UK has substantial experience in building non-nuclear powered submarines. I know the Germans all but have the market cornered in this regard, but Japan and South Korea are poised to make inroads in this market in the future. Why not the UK? Canada’s current submarine force is composed entirely of ex-RN boats. How about six for use in home waters, GIUK, and the Mediterranean, and then see if you can win any export orders?

Nigel Collins

Constant delays to Technology Refresh 3 and Block 4 will mean we cannot integrate Meteor or Spear 3 until at least 2030 it would appear.

Technology Refresh 3 has been pushed back until the third quarter of this year, while Block 4 is still scheduled for 2029.

A backlog of aircraft is already building up for TR3 acceptance, and now the engine upgrade seems to be in doubt. It’s not a good place to be with the potential for conflict increasing by the day.

On a more positive note, FOC for the F-35B remains on track, “no later than 31st December 2025” while the ban on flying too close to thunderstorms has been lifted.


The specifics of the engine upgrade options confuse me. It doesn’t seem that the more ambitious adaptive cycle engines would have applied to the F-35B anyway. But if I understand correctly the more conservative “engine core upgrade” of the existing engine is less expensive, common to all three variants, and will allow for the eventual Block 4 upgrades. So the decision not to go for adaptive cycle engines was kind of irrelevant to the F-35B, but the engine core upgrade needs to happen to get to Block 4, and will happen regardless?

Nigel Collins

Indeed, I think the question appears to be, when will this upgrade actually take place?

Last edited 3 months ago by Nigel Collins

Good points. But Block 4 isnt a finish line , but it will be spiral updates, so various capabilities should come into service over the period till 2029-30

Nigel Collins

By 2033? Good grief.


You mention sting ray as a world class capability, but I notice that spearfish is very rarely mentioned by anybody. It has clearly not seen the same export success as American and German torpedoes which would appear on paper to be inferior, is this a case of the government not wanting to export it, it being prohibitively expensive or something more worrying?

Supportive Bloke

USA will go with NIH as they usually do.

Germany has its own torpedoes that it packages with its subs and CMS.

UK got out of building small ‘cheap’ subs a long time ago so nothing to tie the torpedo exports to as people want a package and not an integration nightmare.

Although I’d question how many of the 3rd world submarines are combat capable or have torpedoes that are serviceable.


UK got out of building small ‘cheap’ subs a long time ago so nothing to tie the torpedo exports to as people want a package and not an integration nightmare.

I suppose that is a pretty logical explanation. What really stood out to me was that the Australians stipulated they wanted to use Mk 48s with the upcoming SSN-AUKUS. I guess that does tally with their usual procurement strategy of “we want whatever the US uses even if sometimes we pretend otherwise”.


Well they already use, and have a stock of Mark 48s, for the Collins class so it’s not surprising they’re sticking with them.


Australia was also involved in the development of the current CBAS mod 7 version. If I remember correctly, RAN acoustic libraries were something to do with it.

Gavin Gordon

According to the May 21 Lookout article highlighting Mod 1 upgrade, Spearfish remains firmly in the world class RN weapons category.
I do have concern, however, that the few numbers & painfully slow build rate of our nuclear boats could unduly degrade the previously renowned skills of UK submariners, due to a combination of a) mental and physical exaustion for those crews required at sea, b) skill atrophe and plain boredom among those unable to get to sea.
These vessels and crews are lethal operators within the unknown – to most of us – marine depths that cover the majority of the planet, mainly unseen and unrestrictive to movement.

Mark kelly

It’s fantastic to be optimistic and I do share that optimism. However the Royal Navy is massively underfunded undermanned and too few platforms.
we simply cannot go on as we are. I do understand that money is tight but it must be found.
pits not good enough and I blame the conservatives for this.


Conservatives certainly messed alot up but there’s hardly any better support for the military in the other parties.

christopher Samuel

Defence is a whole population activity. Why have the parties not in power not worked with the Torys to plan and finance a sound plan with ringfenced resources. Will the media plaese ask at every ocassion please. Then perhaps we can sleep safetly!


Because it’s down to the Prime Minister at the end of the day. He has no interest in Defence nor love for sharing glory with other political parties in an election year. The Defence Select Committee are cross-party and do produce suggestions, which will be ignored by Sir Keir just as they have been by Rishi.

Nessun dorma!


Because the Tories have a large majority and don’t want to work with the opposition parties?

I’m not sure if your post is due to an inherent misunderstanding of the way our parliament works or if you are indulging in some weird game and attempting to pin the blame on anyone other than the party in power.


Why UK is the only country that has to constantly claim “world class” ?
Not even the French do that.


The French assume that you know that everything they produce is “world class”


Spot on.
Nearly every second subject appears to be “world class”. I rarely read about this (world class British technology) in foreign publications.


Its a techno buzz word, used all the time so has become meaningless.


Because in many cases, it objectively is?

There are recorded examples of RN significantly outperforming NATO allies on exercise, Astute and Sea Viper being two.

Many Navies send their ships for FOST, because they rate it highly.


Sea Viper is not even totally British, for example it is a French Italian missile.

Supportive Bloke

Whilst that is true it is the effectiveness of the whole system that matters not the constituent bits.

There are elements of Horizon that are not even vaguely at the same level as T45.

It is all down to money – RN wanted the best AAW asset – others wanted an all round warship.


Yes it is .
You are confusing the multinational company with the actual British business MBDA UK ,they have a long history in Britain from the days of Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, and its current development/production centres at Stevenage, Bristol and Bolton.
the Aster missile is more multi-national, certainly.

BAE in a similar vein owns many businesses in US and Sweden. Is Bofors Swedish or British ?
[correction, the Viper is the Aster missile, I was thinking venom missile ]

Last edited 3 months ago by Duker

No, Sea Viper is the RN is the name for PAAMS, a joint France, Italian and U.K. development programme.
The missile is just part of the that system.


Well the Russians would never use the term “world class” about anything they produce because they know everyone would burst into hysterical laughter…


Ukraine inherited a world class ballistic missile deign bureau, North Korea knows as thats where they bought their technology in the last 20 years.
Aircraft carrier – China bought the uncompleted Varyag plus the design tech , again from the Mykolaiv shipyard.


So you’ve either been reading Russia Today, or deliberately misleading the actual reported facts

As for China acquiring foreign carriers, you forgot HMAS Melbourne (ex HMS Majestic). And China had already acquired two Kiev class carriers before they bought the Varyag…


Never heard of Russia Today, seems you do.
Old carriers of even older design ( 1943?) dont amount to much, 2 s even a cruiser-carrier design even more useless. Minsk was sold by Ukraine as well as it was at the shipyard for major refit

Varyag was the very latest design and they put it into service !

Your link confirms what I said about the missile factory in Dnipro , where the RD-250 engines , the gold standard were designed and made. The RD-180 rocket engine was even used by the US space program , it was that good- it was a technology the US couldnt perfect with the time and money they had.

Yuri Simvolokov, a union organizer who has helped Yuzhmash workers stage strikes over unpaid wages, says many of them have gone abroad to find work over the years–not just to North Korea, but also to Iran and Pakistan.”

Mark Tucker

We do it in Australia too.

I have always thought, those that are world class don’t need to talk about it, those that aspire to be world class, talk about it endlessly.

David MacDonald

I feel a bit happier reading this but recruitment and retention remains a major issue. Aim to get them younger so they will stay longer and shortern the time for the acceptance of those who are suitable. Also, whilst accepting all those who wish to serve and are suitable is important, there still remains the ghost of a feeling that white British young men are not really wanted; this must stop.


As the RN moves to lower manning levels, the few crew actually on a vessel will become more highly trained and experienced in servicing complex machinery and systems. This will make them more marketable in the civilian world and individual pay will need to rise to reflect their greater value outside the RN. The entry requirements may become more technical as well. The need for relatively untrained crew who can heave ropes and perform other manual tasks will be much reduced compared with the past.

I wonder whether this can be turned from a problem into a plus – join the Navy, become a technical expert over say a decade, then use that knowledge to move to a good job outside the services.

David MacDonald

Yes, yes, yes!

How about awarding apprentice degrees for many of them on the basis of on the job training?

Last edited 3 months ago by David MacDonald
William Welbury

There will always be a need for enough personnel to fight and Cary out damage control tasks at the same time.


Your “relatively untrained crew who can heave ropes and perform other manual tasks” are actually the Radar, Sonar, Electronic Warfare and Weapons operators. I was an Electronic Warfare rating for 24 years leaving as a Petty Officer in 2013.

There is nothing untrained about the Ops/Warfare branches in the RN.

Supportive Bloke

If you look at the headline image, centre shot, Commander is cradling a brew in his hands…..mouth covered with anti flash…..interesting drinking that brew……no sign of a straw!

Rocket Rob

It’s a wet – not a brew! ⚓

Supportive Bloke

Fair point – but then we would be excluding 90% of the readers from enjoying the visual gag in that staged shot.


While other sites like to stoke doom and gloom comments, this factual article is a breadth of fresh air. Yes, the T26s and T31s should have been ordered earlier, but without access to a time machine it’s pointless complaining about that now. Hopefully the lessons have been learned.

The RN learnt valuable lessons from the Falklands and I trust it’s learning from what is happening in both the Red Sea and Black Sea. Future conflicts will see warships swamped by swarms of inexpensive airborne, seaborne, and underwater drones. While many of these would be too small to sink a ship, a mission-kill by, for example, seriously damaging the radar, is possible.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
John Clark

The lessons from resent naval operations in both the Black Sea and off the Yemen is that we have to double down on self defense armaments capable of tackling swarm attacks.

That means a layered system, from missiles to guns and eventually lasers.

The T31 gun and CAMM (plus the very welcome ’41’ silo) set up would appear to be about perfect and I would like to see some move to retrofit the 40 and 57mm mounts onto T45, to give it the same ‘board side’ ability as T31.

Replacement of the Phalanx mounts with the 40mm on T26 should also be considered.

Recent events show that we can’t leave the carriers naked either, they should be (potentially) fitted with CAMM and (definitely) 40mm mounts during their refits.

They have the physical hight to mount a point defence lasers high up on the Sampson mast too for maximum capability.

We also have to consider the scenario that a massive drone attack could be launched from a large container ship anywhere in the world, potentially hitting warships in their home ports….

What steps (if any) are being taken to protect facities? I would think Gibraltar is particularly vulnerable to such an attack with the ‘vast’ amount of commercial shipping ploughing close past the port.

There’s ample opportunity for a rogue drone hiding container ship to launch a surprise attack from the straight and be overhead in minutes….

rst 2001

Yes I’ve always thought that launching a mass drone attack using merchant shipping or any private shipping is a huge threat not just to Navy but to UK Mainland. If a middle east as example launches mass drone attack. Potentially RAF , radars , he, logistics you name it can all be destroyed on one afternoon as the uk has no practical Air defence


Yup. Stevasopol, Novorossiysk, and Eilat. Naval bases have shown the vulnerability of even moderately defended spaces. I agree that other UK areas are in danger too, but I think we should start with defending the main military bases. And my flat. Obviously.


Timely article about drone warfare, advocating the widespread adoption of drone swarms aboard warships. Not just for ISR, and strike missions, but also as a long-reach or CAP-style air-defence against drone attacks

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
Supportive Bloke

“ They have the physical hight to mount a point defence lasers high up on the Sampson mast too for maximum capability.”

I’d have a think about that.

You need to be able to fight and fly at the same time. Otherwise FLYOPS are shut down under attack or feigned attack which creates a different problem.

So you need sponsoon mounts as the laser cannot track across the flight path or anything that might reflect into it.


The T26 has Phalanx ( beside the funnel) plus 2 x 30mm( over hangar) already


Not enough. Too short range. You need to intercept drone at long range without spending missiles.


Drones because of their slow speed dont need to be shot down at long distance. So no to ‘need’


Of course they will, otherwise how you can fight a swarm?


How are these ‘drone swarms’ tracking a manoeuvring ship


Visual contrast basic a 70’s tech already present in missiles like AGM-65 Maverick. For the future IA image ID where they can even target specific parts of the ship like radar antennas.

Last edited 3 months ago by AlexS

Google translate having a bad day?


Those sort of imaging have a very narrow field of view , so cant ‘search’ a wider area. Thats not a problem for a fixed target as the visual contrast just refines the target coordinates given when firing.
Drone swarms is just a cliché


I’m not convinced about the OPV’s. I’d far rather see their operating costs and crew resources used to preserve our MCM fleet or keep our LPD’s in service. Soft power is nice to have but only when you have all of the hard power that you need and we don’t.
As to the T31, it will remain of limited use until it is given a sonar. The T23 GP’s that they are replacing have an excellent hull mounted sonar enabling them to operate where there is a submarine threat such as the Gulf and the T31’s need a similar ASW capability.


The Bow sonars on the Destroyers and GP T23s are essentially out of use. The T31 made the realistic choice to not have one because they knew it’d never get the funding to support or use them.
Also the OPVs will more than likely end up back in the UK and the T31s doing their roles, so we need to hang onto them, don’t think the Batch 1 Rivers will be replaced

Last edited 3 months ago by Hugo

There are multiple reports of T45 sonars not being manned but this is the first time anyone has said anything about T31 GP sonars not being in use. Is there a reliable source for that?

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

They are not being fitted with sonars.


I think it’s a typo and he means ‘T23’ GP frigates.

christopher Samuel

Fiddling while Rome burns. Tinkering time is past. Need competent knowledgeable listened to MOD!


The Military Machine has changed hugely over several decades & as Tech has evolved the man seems to have gone the other way & in many areas now rely on buttons not backbone to get work done,this may seem the way ahead for the uneducated in Military life & its going to be a painful lesson one day when the button fails to work.
Health & safety has enveloped the forces like a virus & much of the tough training we used to except & learn from has vanished & personnel even question authority,experienced leadership & motivation.This is not how a cohesive fighting force will function when it’s required to for real.
The list of problems is quite extensive but it’s a case of quantity over quality as very few of the Xbox gen want to serve the country…. it’s too much like hard work & patriotism has all but dried up.

I served in the RN from 87 to 2015 ,18 of those years in a specialist unit,so I’ve seen a lot & served alongside the best in the world for 6 of those years….
Let’s get tough again & have some pride back .


Hello to all friends here. I am a Greek (Hellenic) Navy officer. Very useful site about the RN present, keep the good job. Please make an article about the Falklands conflict, the lesson’s from 82 are still useful today.
Thank you.

Last edited 3 months ago by Kostas1982

Glacial build of vessels mean the first will be out of date when the last commission’s.
Type 45 dated and unreliable needing replaced when other vessels you mention finally appear.

Carrier not been fully embraced by RAF, which will lead to inevitable lack of air assets and constant mockery.
Individual services competing for less, not conducive with interservice operations
Astute boat under the ice, not sure I would want to try that one.
F35 limited to weapons systems that mean it cannot achieve full strike capability for years. So carrier strike is name only.

But, the major issue, is poor administration and care for staff.
Basic catering and accommodation is appalling.
Recruitment is dire and needs to be corrected.
Basic administration and correct records of personnel, what training they have done and when.
Senior rates / Officers incapable or unable to make decisions or provide career guidance to junior rates.
On top of all of that, why would you join up now. In our day, see the world. Young people are able to jet anywhere so cheaply.
Get a career, meet the issues with care of staff coming other way. Many signing up will be gone.
That’s if they can even get in due to some health issue that could happen in 30 years time according to recruitment process.

Currently the RN does have major issues. It has wasted money and position hard won years ago. But in fairness, decisions by political masters have been a destructive force the RN has had to face.

Sadly and potentially the most damaging. The public simply do not care. We can only imagine “ We want eight and we won’t wait!”

Last edited 3 months ago by Degradable

There are certainly reasons for optimism, but let’s not get carried away!

There are frigates, submarines and replenishment ships funded and in the pipeline….but in every case we’re talking about equal or fewer numbers (T32 still being firmly on the drawing board).

With the Albion’s both laid up, future amphibious vessels far from certain and the role/structure of Future Commando pretty opaque and ever shifting I’d not exactly call this an area of strength either no matter how hard as nails the RM’s still are!

And whilst we’re now betting heavily on autonomous systems in true MoD fashion we’ve been merrily ditching MCM and survey vessels way before the new tech has matured, with big expectations and a dangerous assumption that drones can be deployed from a smaller and smaller surface fleet.

And the issues around recruitment and retention are seriously worrying.

Luke Allison

Agree with the sentiment of the article, we still have a lot of first rate equipment- but we shoot ourselves in the foot in not fully utilising it. Take the Type 45, with the best radar suite among Nato destroyers (till Spy-6 comes into service) but a middling vls count, its ffbnw 16 strike length sylver cells but only receiving a mushroom farm that will house less sea ceptors than quadpacking 8 of them

Or our fantastic budget buy in Arrowhead 140- which had in its parent vesselthe capability for Sampson, S1850m, 32 asters, 24 sea ceptors, 16 nsms 2 torpedo tubes, a hull sonar and the option of raft mounted machinery and a towed array (Uk iver huitfeldt, weight saved by replacing harpoon with nsm). The Danes got this all (recycled previous essm, 76mm guns and didn’t buy the standard missiles for another decade) for 325 million us dollars in the mid 2000’s, we could have bought 4 improved Type 31s ffbnw aster and got a massive supplement for the Type 45 on a still remarkable budget (we now have 10 frigates, would have 12 before Type 32)

The Type 26 will indeed be the premier asw combatant but I doubt it will ever house standoff asw weapons, self defence deck torpedos to complement the helicopters( which could be shot down or unable to operate) With 8-16 more mk 41s and the mushroom farms replaced with quadpack, 4m exls, you get more sea ceptors, negligible increase in top weight ( no need to remove mission bay, sonars) and the required number of anti ship/land attack missiles, its a shame that FC/ASW won’t be dual purpose anymore given the flexibility that would offer. A competition for a standoff asw weapon would be great, K-Asroc, Japanese Type 07, Smart and MBDA producing a vls launched Milas all worthy candidates if they can adapt Stingray


“FC/ASW won’t be dual purpose anymore”

Not sure what you mean by this. There are still to be two variants, right? I would imagine the subsonic deep-strike one will also be able to hit moving surface targets, including ships. New missiles are more flexible these days. CAMM and Martlet are anti-air and anti-surface multi-use. The conversion of even the venerable Tomahawk to strike ships is an indicator that suggests a missile designed to only hit fixed land targets is a dead concept.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The first ‘anti-ship’ variant of Tomahawk went out of service in 1994.

Sea Dart had a secondary surface role (in extremis) as does SM-2.

CAMM and Martlet are an expensive and short range way of delivering a small amount of HE on to a surface target which even the smallest ship would brush off.

Last edited 3 months ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper

and reintroduced with Tomahawk Block Va, the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST)

Whale Island Zoo Keeper


Last edited 3 months ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper


Nigel Collins

The war in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict close to Yemen have produced some very novel ways to arm warships in the future. I wonder if we are considering this as an option for the RN.


Thats Boeings 737 tactics , keep delivering them ( new planes with TR-3 installed) even though the forces cant fly them without validation sign off. Straight to storage !
Could this company get even more incompetent

Nigel Collins

I wouldn’t hold my breath! My concern is, when will we reach FOC for Meteor and Spear 3? I’m sure the US will not be at the back of the cue for new aircraft or weapons fit once the hardware and software issues have finally been rectified.

The UK expects to stand up a third squadron of F-35s by 2033, but will the aircraft be available to do so given the current backlog.

Nigel Collins

Makes sense rather than shut a production line down, delaying deliveries indefinitely, and then later restarting it. Once TR3 is signed-off they have a large number ready to deliver. Even having to make further tweaks before delivery of these finished aircraft is going to put them into customers hands faster and minimise delay.

(Comparison with the Boeing 737 Max is disingenuous, TR3 is an upgrade to an existing aircraft. The grounding of the 737 Max was due to flaws in an overly compromised design.)

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean

The TR3 built versions are grounded.
Its exactly the same …”upgrades, the software only 99% right”
Its too st**id for words


The last 2 F-35B of the TR-2 hardware were delivered to RAF test and eval at Edwards AFB in Dec 23 , and arrived at Marham late last month.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

I note the RAAF has all its F-35A.

If the carriers were go tomorrow we still need a second FJ fleet.


Off topic:

A Royal Navy ship will be deployed to help get more aid into Gaza, the UK government has announced as Lord David Cameron says “the prospect of famine is real”…. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the package is to “maximise the levels of aid reaching those people who desperately need it”.

Sky News

How nice of Lord Cameron and the FO. And how will a RN or RFA ship get that aid into Gaza? There’s a reason countries have been dropping aid in from the air. Do they expect to fire it from the 4.5″ gun of a Type 45? I wonder if they’ll send one of the Waves, or RFA Diligence or Fort George to use the new pier that the Americans are building, already threatened by Hamas before it’s finished. Bulwark has the ability to land things onshore too. The US were planning on using cargo ships. Of course they would cost money, whereas the Royal Navy’s budget is free at the point of use.

After destroying so much of the Navy’s logistics capability, Cameron thinks it’s a good idea to send a ship to a war zone on a photo op. The problem isn’t getting aid to Gaza, it’s distributing it inside Gaza, and with all the will in the world, a ship is going to make a terrible inland delivery service. I wish Shapps would tell Cameron to Foreign Office. However, this is really all about column inches and stroking America’s ego. So go ahead it will.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jon
chris ashdown

The biggest problem as I see it for the RN is the orders for half a dozen of the same type of ship at a time, we don’t need destroyers or frigates we need a design that can be expanded to meet the best needs and built in numbers like the old Leander class, stage 1 2 or 3 in improvements as they made in the timeframe. its a waste of energy making different types in minute numbers, there is no return on the design costs. design one type with forward planning on reduced manning as time goes on, Big enough to cover growth and build 10-20 of the same design with later versions adapted to improvements thought necessary with spares held in stock


But then you have issues regarding specifics that are needed for each role.
An ASW ship like T26 has its machinery rafted to reduce noise.
An AAW ship like T45 needs to place its radar as high as possible to maximise range.

Do you then have a design that can cope with a high mast and raft the machinery, even when these aren’t needed? Which then inflates the build cost, which is partly why the RN went from
• 8 ASW Type 26 and 5 GP Type 26,
• 8 ASW Type 26 and 5 GP Type 31.

Most of the actual costs for new vessels comes from what goes into them; systems, sensors, weapons, engines, crew, etc. that’s where commonality can lead to saving money through
• larger bulk purchasing discounts
• reduced spares stockpile
• reduced cross-training for crew transferring between ships,