Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bloke down the pub

The MOD version of your diagrams shows the Mk41vls with ‘Anti Surface, Anti Submarine, Land Attack’. Whether that is purely aspirational, or if they have something up their sleeve, only time will tell.


Beauty of Mk41 is it can fit Tomahawk, ASROC, and several AShM types. Could be rapidly fitted as & when required.


I think Mk.41 is mistake…there are no AShM for Mk.41 amongst other issues..
There are a number of missiles that can be fired from Mk.41…and its not good news for the RN.
ESSM and the Standard series of SAM’s – Not used by the RN and never going to be…
VL ASROC – A very old and shortranged (10 miles) system using an inferior torpedo to Stingray…
Tomahawk – By the time T-26 arrives Tomahawk will be near 50 years old, and overdue a replacement. RN currently has c65 for SSN only. We’re not going to be buying any/many more. Certainly not for T26.
No Anti-Ship missiles yet…despite the fact that Mk.41 is 40 years old…LRASM has done some preliminary trials for integration…but we’re not going to use LRASM as it treads on the toes of FCASW…and arrives at a similar time in VL form.
NSM cannot fit in Mk.41, it needs to use a yet to be invented VL-JSM variant…a different missile from the one the RN is buying for T45 and T23/31.
So that’s it. We’re buying a load of expensive Mk.41 for ‘future proofing’ and ‘choice of weapons’…but there is no real choice and no real weapons we should want…
We should have made a decision to use Mk.41 with Aster on T45. Then it would have made some sense as a fleet wide solution, but instead we used Sylver (and not the Strike Length either…) and left some space for Mk.41 up front, that we then never fitted..
Basically Mk.41 makes sense if you’re tied in with the whole US SAM missile eco-system, but we’re not and never will be. The RN seems to have got it with the idea its going to buy some out of date VL-ASROC (because in 5-10 years it will be even more out of date than it is now..), some Tomahawks that the Treasury will never fund…and FCASW, which will also be fired out of Sylver, for which we’ll have to pay the Mk.41 integration costs alone because the market for such weapons is very small…
Once we went down the Sylver route we should have just stuck with it…if we want a decent missile launched Torpedo system we should be looking at the MBDA MILAS, twice the range of VL-ASROC, European,newer, MBDA would fit Stingray on it (of which we have large stocks) and its canister launched so could also be used on T31…
It just does not make any sense…unless someone can enlighten me…


And then NATO collapses because Ukraine collapses and Germany has to have someone to blame for Nordstream and both their population and corporations hating them, utterly. Excrement rolls downhill and goes through the rotary cooling mechanism and splat, we see what sticks. Tag, Britain, you’re it.

The UK collapses because the EU collapses and the Tory/Labor branches of Remain realize there is nothing to go back to and have no answers to undo the sabotage they have implemented upon the system to force rejoining a defaulted, spooling down, Continent. ‘A brief intermission for a revolution’ and the UK are shocked to discover that they are completely dependent on the Commonwealth and the Americans as the Germans try for rapprochement with the Russians and they and France pick up the pieces in Europe, thanks but no thanks (And Stay Out!), UK…

First Institutional budgetary line item to get a massive walloping under a socialist third party ‘reform’ administration, trying to keep the lights on, is Defense. It’s also third and fourth on the chopping block.

Of course, the entire concept of ASW as a hull centric activity is absurd. Never mind measuring its effectiveness in reactive weapon kinematics. Bam. Missile launch. Six shots, fired from a sub some 50-250nm away, using 5,000lb torpedo equivalent Brahmos or YJ-18. Your Merlin’s not going to see it. Your 20ft long VLS is not going to fire far enough, fast enough, to catch the dastardly dee to d doer. And even if, by some miracle, you do, (splash all rorsats and milcomms birds to bring the Chinese wolfpacks in closeu) the AShM are away and unlikely to be catchable by something as pathetic as, CAMMS, looking down a 20 mile convoy column. And somewhere around a quarter of a million tons of shipping navigating Malacca goes glug-glug. Now step it out further to air delivered, satellite controlled, CAPTAM _mines_. All while the majority of the RN is halfway around the planet from Portsmouth.

If you haven’t got surface wake tracking and robo-orca as podded HK, forming a screening mission 50-100nm out over the radar horizon, you haven’t got ASW.

The second best alternative being next-gen SURTASS and rapid lay SOSUS, coupled to a heckuva set of P-8 base-in agreements.

Because the threat is just not going to try to get in close with Torpedoes that cost just as much as AShM. Looking at the top three ship builders vs. the top ranked insurer, it should have been obvious what Sanctions are going to do to global shipping. Why pay for sailing insuance from someone trying to cap the biggest freefall economic price scaling environment since 1930. China would literally be paying for protectionist recovery of a dead currency when they have piles of hot money looking for external investment as a real estate market hanging by a thread.

Someone has been watching too much Tom Hanks.

If there is a purpose to any Mk.41 on an SSC ‘wannabe’, operating in the Green Water environment of the SCS/ECS, it in fact lies the aeroballistic Strike side of things. And inventory costs on those, _land attack_, systems are going to be so bloody unreal that it’s going to require another Trident level buy-in, just to get in the door on sufficient inventory stockpiling while tailchasing every threat state which hasn’t been hunting phantoms in SWA for the last 20+ years while simultaneously pay-for-lay-away buying into the corporate fraud which is manned stealth and the F-35.

Ukraine should be teaching us a lot of things about where to concentrate value in updating the kill-chain. Big, Fat, ASW Frigates with co-ed facilities are not one of them. Britain is not a maritime Empire. Soon it will not have the cash to ensure those who are.


NYOB, what exactly are you blathering on about? Anti-ship missile protection 101. To hit an incoming missile you first need to detect it, validate that it is a threat and then do some kind of response to defend yourself. One form is to use either active or passive countermeasures. Which can be in the form of chaff and RF jammers for radar guided missiles or multi-spectrum flares and directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) for IR guided missiles.

Failing that, you use a kinetic vehicle to takeout the incoming threat, using either a solid round, an explosive fragmentary shell/missile or a direct hit from a missile. I’ll ignore a laser for the time being.

Simple trigonometry can be used to place a solid round in the direct path of an incoming missile. This is what the Phalanx close in weapon system (CIWS) does. It measures the speed, range and attack vector to place solid tungsten darts in the path that the missile takes to the ship. The darts will penetrate the nose of the missile. Taking out the sensor, its programming unit and possible causing the missile’s fuel to detonate. If it uses insensitive explosive as the warhead, the darts won’t detonate it.

If the target is supersonic rather than subsonic it will just fire the rounds with more lead angle, ie aiming further along the predicted target path. Similarly, if the missile is traveling at Mach 5 (hypersonic). Phalanx will considers the missile’s parameters and adjust its firing accordingly. It will fire a stream of solid dart rounds where the missile will have to fly through them. Even if the missile debris is still flying supersonically and hits the ship. The CIWS has done it’s job, of preventing the missile from detonating its warhead against/inside the ship.

If we consider the future Type 31 frigate. It will be armed with a single BAe Bofors Mk110 57mm autocannon. That can fire standard high explosive shells, programmable explosive shells that also incorporate a proximity fuse. But also perhaps more significantly a guided round in the form of Raytheon/DARPA’s MAD-FIRES which is currently undergoing firing trials.

This gun can either be optically or radar directed. Again it will fire its programmable shells along the predicted flight path of the missile. Where they will either impact, or get close enough for the proximity fuse to detonate the shells fragmentary warhead. Thereby throwing a hallow of metal towards the missile.

Multi-Azimuth Defense—Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES) is the interesting one though! As it is really a gun launched semi-active radar guided missile. It is fired as a sabot. Where inside the dart a rocket is activated. It has controllable fins, that allow it to steer towards the target. The combination of the muzzle velocity and rocket thrust, means it significantly reduces the dart’s time to target intercept.

Unlike the other shells the gun fires, it has the ability to track the missile’s movements. So if the missile tries to jink, the dart will counteract it. Meaning less rounds are expended for an intercept. So long as the radar illuminates the target. The dart’s seeker will aim for the missile’s reflection. MAD-FIRES is said to have an effective engagement range of around 17km. Which is significantly better than the Phalanx’s 2km. Also Raytheon have said it is scalable. So it could be scaled up for the 127mm (5”) on the T26 to fire. Though its rate of fire will be a lot less. But the increased muzzle energy combined with the dart’s rocket motor, means it will have a significantly further effective engagement range.

Now we come onto missiles. There is a misconception that if a missile has a terminal speed of only Mach 2.5, it can’t intercept faster targets. Which is absolute BS. It is very similar to the kill chain of the gun fired shells. Where trigonometry places the anti-missile missile in the target’s path. If the incoming missile is heading directly towards your ship, even a sub-sonic missile can intercept a supersonic one. If the missile is passing perpendicular to the ship or requires tail chasing the target missile, then that is a problem. As you need a greater amount of acceleration to cut the distance to the target to enable an interception

Which is why area defence missiles, such as Aster 30 accelerates to Mach 4.5 or more in seconds after leaving the tube. To be fair, if you work out the maths, a slower missile can still intercept a passing one, so long as it’s launched early enough. No chance with a tail chasing one.

But let’s talk about CAMM as you brought it up. CAMM is a system designed to replace the earlier Sea Wolf at point defence, which was to defend the ship only. However, CAMM has an area capability . Where it can reach out to targets popping over the horizon. It was originally based on ASRAAM. Which in itself is Mach 4+ capable.

CAMM has a published terminal speed of Mach 3.5. But unlike ASRAAM it uses an active radar for its seeker instead of an imaging infrared one. This gives it an all weather targeting capability, But also means it has a more aerodynamic nose generating less drag. So it can fly further. The missile is also networkable, so another ship can use another’s or provide mid-course updates.

Targeting wise, CAMM has a very broad range of capabilities. Some of which are not published. Against anti-ship missiles, it has proven to be a hittle. In that 9 times out of 10, it makes direct contact with the target. It has proven itself against very stealthy targets, but also against near hypersonic ones. We simply don’t have many target drones that can fly hypersonically.

Yes, this is a very simplistic view of an interception. Where the maths do get very complicated. However, the basics are still valid. If a missile is heading directly towards you ship. So long as you place the intercept vehicle directly in its path or close enough along its predicted path. You can either intercept it directly or get close enough for a proximity fuse to detonate a fragmentary warhead, whose shrapnel then hits the missile.


Dastardly, love it.


I disagree. We need these anti-sub frigates to defend the UK’s huge offshore windfarms from Putin’s meddling.


Highly pessimistic.

Bloke down the pub



CAMM-ER isn’t going in Mk.41. It’s cold launched from a canister same as CAMM. Italian’s might not even use the Sylver, they may just use the RN’s ‘Mushroom Farm’ solution. We’ll only know for sure when the Pakistani purchase gets built I suspect, but wither way it won’t be using Mk.41. The Canadian’s are the only country anywhere to pick the ExLS at present for CAMM, but they’re using it in its standalone guise, not in Mk.41.


CAMM-ER can still be used from Mk41.


FC/ASW will be introduced onto mark 41 as well though…

John Hartley

Janes is reporting that Japan is thinking of buying “around 500” Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles.


Relax ! Plenty of space above the mission bay to integrate NSM launchers ! Like Canadians intend to do…

Just Me

ASROC is a high level aspiration


To be honest, I think ASROC itself is rather too out-of-date to be effective. Its rocket motor gives it less than half the range of a heavyweight torpedo that an adversary would be using to try to kill you, and the Mk54 torpedo that is its “wahead” is not very good at all- according to the US DOD…
I’d agree that an updated ASROC-type weapon, preferably utilising Stingray or whatever BAE wants to replace that with, would be a great option. But it’ll need 50+ km range.

Supportive Bloke

How do you fire stingray out of a VLS – the rocket would be enormous….?


Well, no larger in diameter than ASROC, as Stingray and Mk54 are the about same dims as far as I’m aware. But yes, it wouldn’t be a small rocket!
ASROC is 360 mm x 4.9 m and a Mk41 VLS will take missiles up to Tomahawk length (6.25 m), so there’s space. Especially considering available rocket motors are likely better now than when ASROC was produced.
If I recall, BAE are already working on their Stingray replacement, which they apparently suggest might be smaller? That would only make it easier to be rocket-assisted.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joe16

There is Japanese Type-07 ASROC integrated into Mk,41, fielded for 15 years already. Supersonic, 20+ km range, and carries Type-97 or Type-12 AS torpedoes, which weighs 320 kg.

Stingray is lighter. (but only if there is a WILL in UK).


Thanks, I didn’t know about that one. The Italian/French system that uses the MU90 is also supposed to be good, similar specs to this Type-07 it would seem. Apparently getting more than 20-30 km of range is a challenge for a payload as heavy as a torpedo.

Jim Camm

I’m surprised we haven’t seen a VLS-launched version of the High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) that’s been developed for the P-8 Poseidon.
Perhaps now we have the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) there will be more impetus to take a munition & strap a glide kit and rocket booster onto it (of course I’m vastly simplifying).

But the mk 72 booster as used on SM-3 and SM-6 should easily be able to accelerate a torpedo (267kg for a Stingray) and glide kit (maybe another 100kg), together weighing under 400 kg (since they boost 800kg missiles up to supersonic speeds within 6 seconds), up to quite high speed/altitude where the wings can deploy to extend the range.

The HAAWC is meant to be capable of about 80km from 20,000 ft, so if the booster can achieve even half that, you’re still talking about 40km, plus the range of the torpedo itself.

John Hartley

BAE were showing at Farnborough, a drone that could carry a light torpedo such as Stingray.


I find these articles very interesting and informative. Many thanks.

Clueless Observer

Excellent article, was thinking 24 sea ceptor was a bit light, then noticed the second bank of 24 further back near the funnel ! Seems an excellent set up, though if the Merlin is grounded, what will deliver the anti-submarine weapons ? Mark 41 VLS or will a torpedo launcher be fitted…… I see there is space, let’s hope the VLS also gets loaded and is not left empty.

Mr Bell

Could be the 127mm gun. Delivering ASW weapons as depth charges or lightweight homing torpedo. Or ASROC via mk41 vls. So a good balance of options.


The gun won’t be used for normal submarine attack-unless it’s on the surface- but might be useful for UAV types only.
The reason for the last of the ASW depth charges -Limbo having 200lb of high explosive was to have an effect on very strong steel submarine hulls. A 5 kg bursting charge in 5 in shell
of total weight 30 kg wouldn’tt be enough.


Thought they were going to uses a contact activated HEAT warhead?


Not heard that personally

Jim Camm

From what I’ve read about the Kingfisher 127mm gun depth charge, they just use a small but relatively powerful conventional explosive charge which is unlikely to sink a sub.

But that’s not to say a small depth charge delivered every 2 seconds wouldn’t deafen the enemy sub, possibly damaging fragile equipment like sonars and ultimately encouraging them to withdraw.


The heavy lift UAS that they are in the process of procuring perhaps?


Interesting. How do you see that working?


If the target is already localised, perhaps in future by a UUV deployed from the mission bay, then what is needed is a system to deploy a stingray torpedo to the predicted location. That doesnt need a crewed vehicle necessarily.


Let’s hope the Merlin isn’t in bits by the hangar doors then.


My bet, the MK 41 cells will be empty until 2035…


If RN do not decide to adopt TLAM….

Actually, I really think interim FOSW project must start soon. TLAM is very cheap compared to any of the FC/ASW. Buying a stock of 200 TLAM blk.V will amount to a cost equivalent to only ~50 FC/ASW (especially if it is hyper-sonic).

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

I completely agree. I’d make the FCASW an anti-ship only development and buy the latest version of Tomohawk. It would provide a land attack capability and an interim anti-ship capability until FCASW is ready which realistically is going to be the early 2030’s.


Are you seriously not seeing Russian Tomahawk analogues being swatted down in droves right now? Can we afford an 80% attrition rate?


TLAM is cheap…

And we’re seeing its Russian analogue being shot down in droves in Ukraine with dated air defence systems…most being 35 years old.

We are not going to get away with lofting TLAM into a country like Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya in the future…

The world has moved on…what made sense in 1991 is horrifically outdated. If the US is not redoubling its efforts on a TLAM replacement right now they are taking entirely the wrong lessons from Russia-Ukraine…


Not sure. US Navy official document says;

TLAM Blk IV has “the capability to reprogram the missile while in-flight via two-way satellite communications to strike any of 15 pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect the missile to any Global Positioning System (GPS) target coordinates.” and “capable of loitering over a target area in order to respond to emerging targets or, with its on-board camera, provide battle damage information to warfighting commanders.”

Modern TLAM is not the TLAM in 1991s.

Looking at the Ukrainan AAW youtube, I see Russian cruise missile flying a bit high (mid) altitude, which can be easily spotted by MANPADS. In Iraq war, I remember TLAM (of that old days) were flying much lower altitude. And, as each and every TLAM can go independently now, a salvo of TLAM do not need to trace the same trajectory which was easy to counter in 1991s.

Enemy can surely defend there air-base, naval-base, and several other high-value targets, arming it with high-end AAW kits. No problem, FC/ASW is there to hit those targets. But, as all the war has shown us, defending ALL targets from air raid is nearly impossible. Stopping all cruise missile in distance might be possible with modern organic airforce and long-range SAMs. But it needs very expensive fighters and long-range SAMs. As TLAM is relatively cheap, this is already win.

High cost and lethal land attack missiles (FC/ASW) shall be combined with cheap and numerous ones (TLAM).

And, again, all war has told us that number of ammo stock finally prevails. After you and your enemy exhausting most of the high-end missiles (and not allowed to use the remaining to attack/defend “normal targets” anymore), TLAM can do all the job.


A good example of Tomahawk’s recent performance. Was when they were used alongside Storm Shadow/Scalp to take out the suspected Syrian chemical arms dumps. The Russians claimed they shot down over 80% of the cruise missiles. Whilst the USN, UK and France said the majority of the launched missiles reached their targets. Who do you believe?

Subsequent satellite imagery suggested that the majority of the missiles reached their targets. This was after facing a plethora of Russian and Syrian operated air defence systems.

The important take out from this that Tomahawk is still effective F or its intended role. Also if you produce enough “cheap” cruise missile that are cheaper than your opponent’s air defence missiles. You have the logistical advantage, in that it will cheaper for you to replace used stocks. Then repeat the attack if needed.


I think the JASSM has/will mostly replaced the tlam as the cruise missile of choice for the US but the tlam still has decades of use in them. It’s difficult the assess how successful Russian analogues really are with the limited publicly available info and there is a lot to be desired when it comes to Russian tech and tactics from what we have seen. Also I imagine a US cruise missile attack would look significantly different (Jamming, decoys, sead/dead..etc) than what we’re seeing from Russia and most importantly, as you are well aware, any AD can be overwhelmed once you throw enough things at it.

On your point about the mk41 earlier in the page, I agree completely with you on that despite me thinking that the mk41 is generally the safest bet for anyone getting into the vls game.

Just Me




Is horrifically outdated now…and in 10 years time when T26 is fully operational will be pre-historic?


nice article I can,t wait to see them next to hms qe/pow and the type 45 i think the whole lot would make one hell of a good looking picture…


I think these will be a good replacement for T23 on the ASW front. But ‘under gunned’ for the coming fight. If it comes.


5 inch gun, 48 Sea Ceptor silos, and a mix of FC/ASW in the mk41 vls, possibly with ASROC or similar too. In what way are they under gunned?


Well, as an example, the space for 24 Sea Ceptor cells could fit another 3 x 8 cell Mk41 modules, so doubling the mk41 to 48 cells in total, much more similar to other navies ships of this size. Using just 8 of those cells for quad packed Sea Ceptor = 32, so a slight increase in local area air defence, while leaving 40 cells for ASW and Anti-ship/land attack – say 20 of each. However I am not a naval architect and have no idea how the weight of a second 24 cell mk41 installation might effect the ship overall.


It couldn’t though. CAMM cells are smaller and not as deep as Mark 41. Hunter class frigates only have 32 Mark 41 in the position where we have 24 mark 41 and 24 CAMM.


Sure, hence my point about not being a naval architect. There are different types of mk41, tactical and strike length. While a Strike length cell is required for VL Tomahawk, a Tactical length cell will accommodate a VLA (ASROC) – so while retrofit might indeed not be possible, is this not a illustration of how to X original point, they were designed from the get go to be somewhat “under gunned” ?


How is a ship with 72 VLS under gunned?


They at least have the potential to be the best armed warships in a generation!

Largely hangs on what we procure to fill the Mk.41 silo’s. Insteresting that space has been left for magazine launched torpedo’s. If they aren’t fitted then we should defintely look for an alternative whether it’s Kingfisher via the main gun or a VLS option.

With a 40mm system being introduced via T31 I wonder if it might be better to standardise the T26/T45 with them instead of the 30mm/Phalanx mix.

40mm offers a lot more punch both as a CIWS and against surface targets.


The T26 designs and contracts were fixed long before T31 was envisaged so we may well see 40mm Bofors in future upgrades.

Supportive Bloke

Personally I would keep the Phalanx layer. Adding the 40mm with 3P adds a massive amount even just to the number of threats that can be engaged together.

The 40mm with 3P is far superior to the 30mm system.

I think the 30mm and 40mm Bofors are different mounts so it would be a whole different system. Where as sticking with the 30mm system and changing the barrel to 40mm is possible according to the manufacturers. However, the Bofors 40mm is the better weapon for these purposes.


Bushmaster 40mm uses small charges, and its “bullet” is also smaller than that of Bofors 40mm 3P. So, yes, Bofors 40 mm is much better especially in anti-air.


We now have a plethora of calibres in service or being introduced. Better to try and standardize to fewer for both the up front costs and in-life maintenance/support.

I’d retain 30mm mounts on the smaller RN vessels as well as the RFA’s but go with a mix of 127mm, 57mm and 40mm on all major surface ships. Once the T23’s are phased out the Mk.8 on the T45’s will be seriously old and solitary system which could easily be replace by the 57mm given that they won’t even be called upon to conduct naval gunfire support.

Supportive Bloke

Very probably true.

Things were very nicely consolidated to 4.5″ and 30mm and all of a sudden came along 40mm, 57mm and 125mm…..all for very good reasons.

The said a T45 deserves a 125mm to round it off.

But 40mm, on all of QEC, T45, T26 and T31 feels to me like a no brainer. The only issue may well be that the sponsors that the 30mm sit on may not be engineered for the greater dynamic loads of the 40mm.


One benefit of the DS30 mount, is that it can still be manually used when the turret has lost power, the Bofors can’t.

Paul T

Personally i would place Bofors 40mm amidships where Phalanx is going,lose the 30mm aft and relocate Phalanx in its place.


Great article, thanks. Nice details are shown.

Looks like T26 is already a formidable asset. But, as many here will say, shall better be more heavily armed.

1: How about locating 8x NSM? FC/ASW will be very very very expensive missile (especially if UK want it to be hyper-sonic), and using it against a frigate/heavy corvettes will not pay. T26 with NSM can use NSM for this tasks, saving the 24 hyper-sonic missiles within the Mk41 VLS.

2: Also, I want to see much denser CAMM load, say, 96 (doubled). I understand “doubling” the CAM density there is doable. If possible, how about 48 CAMM and 48 CAMM-XR (or CAMM-ER).

Just a dream… But, I think these upgrades are not so expensive.


I think CAMM-ER is essential.

John Charles

This might be a silly question but what is the purpose of the line handling cut outs in the flight deck. I notice they are also on the type 31 but not the Danish frigates or type 45. 


For passing lines when she comes alongside, so she can be secured from a better point than on top of the flight deck

John Charles

Thanks, it’s interesting that even these bits of frigate design are still evolving.


I’ve been looking, unsucessfully, for something that confirms (or denies) that Sea Ceptor can be used in a modest anti-ship role. Can anybody point me in the right direction?


I’ve wondered about the size and spacing of the CAMM silos. Given that you can quad-pack Sea-Ceptor in a Mk41 silo that’s not much bigger, why the waste of space? Might they be future proofing them for a wider soft-launched missile? Maybe the Anglo-Polish CAMM-EX or Land Precision Strike?


CAMM is quite a bit cheaper, I believe

Mr Bell

Agree standard mk 3 bmd missiles on USN destroyers cost some £3million each- that’s pretty expensive for an interceptor.
Sea ceptor which does not have BMD cost a lot less and is probably all the type 26 needs for air defence duties.

Paul Bestwick

Silo depth I believe Jon, MK41 has to support the exhaust of hot gasses hence a bigger silo is needed. I couldn’t find a size for the SeaCeptor silo, but the missile is 4.2m long, the MK41 silo is 7.9m tall. Bit of a difference. Hope this helps.


They use the soft launch in the current RN config, think it uses the rockets to launch from the mk 41 which would reduce range.


No, CAMM from mk41 is still soft launch. However, they use a drop in version of ExLS into the mk41 & then load in the CAMM. Personally, I don’t see the point. Keep the mk41 for long range hot launch missiles. The cheaper option is to use stand alone quad packable ExLS or the new closer packed system from MBDA. Both are lighter & can be fitted in more places. Those shown here appear to be the older wide spaced mushroom type. Models of the T31 seem to show the new MBDA version (non mushroom).

Last edited 1 year ago by D J

These are the new closer spaced version. You can tell from the groupings of 6. Closer doesn’t mean close. This was my point. The 4×6 CAMM silo takes 24 CAMM. The 3 x 8 Mk41 can take 96 CAMM. Looking at the two groupings side by side in the last picture but one, there’s not a lot of difference in the area covered.

I agree with BMR that the CAMM silos are cheaper, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the packing density. Nor is the depth.

Hence my speculation, that they are possibly sized/spaced to also cope with wider diameter soft-launched missiles to come, missiles that can’t be quad-packed in Mk41.


ExLS stand alone is 3 cell mk41 equivalent (actually includes mk41 electronics), however it is light hot missiles or soft launch only. It’s considerably cheaper than full blown mk41. It actually uses the mk41 hatch. Mk41 is a reasonably heavy, armoured unit & I believe the SDL version is no longer manufactured. So length does become a factor. Also note that the Canadian T26 is planned to use stand alone ExLS in a place you would never put a standard mk41. A lot of this is post the start of T26 build. The newer MBDA closer packed version has regular hatches rather than mushrooms. I think we will get a better idea on ship 2 rather than ship 1.

It should be noted that both Australia & Canada we’re looking at putting more than 24 mk41 cells forward, but the max seem to be 32. So there must be some constraints in this area. Obviously, if you were to get rid of the MMB, you would have a lot more options.


The newer MBDA closer packed version has regular hatches rather than mushrooms.” I thought the newer version was just a closer-packed 2×3. Could you find a picture or a source for them using a hatch? from every picture I’ve seen it’s been mushroom top.



I could have sworn I have seen a picture of a new non mushroom MBDA launcher, but for the life of me,I can’t find it again.


From MBDA website


If I remember correctly that is a picture from a quite old video released by MBDA. To me, that looks like a EXLS CGI or a concept rather than an actual design. I’m sure that MBDA could design a new launcher, but I’m unconvinced that they will. I, unfortunately, think they will continue to use the space-wasting mushroom launcher.

zavve This is the video from 2009.


Is there any quad packed Sea Ceptor in Mk 41 in real world? I ask because there was talks of quad packing in the Aster Silos and it did not worked.


CAMM was test fired from 3 cell ExLS in 2018. “Is there any in the real world” – as in, has any purchased the adapter and CAMM to use with mk41 – no.


I believe there may be some problems re allowing for a slightly angled launch (in case the motor doesn’t fire). You don’t want launch duds falling back onboard. ExLS was developed between MBDA & LM. They knew to take this into account. Mk41 was designed around vertical hot launch. If the motor doesn’t fire, it goes nowhere. If it fires, but the hatch doesn’t open, you likely loose the whole unit (has happened), but the whole unit doesn’t go bang. The armoured mk41 did not allow for an angled launch as it previously was not a problem. Not sure if they have fully solved this one yet. It was one of the reasons for queries about mk41 perhaps being limited to tri packed for CAMM (to allow room for the angle).


Note – stand alone ExLS takes this into account. Insert to mk41 has the problem that mk41 was never designed for this.


Note 2 – I seriously cannot see the point on fitting CAMM or CAMM-ER to a mk41. If it’s SDL, remove it & fit stand alone ExLS & save a whole lot of weight (or fit ESSM & skip CAMM/CAMM-ER). If it’s Tactical length or better, fit longer ranged (ESSM or better) hot launch & find somewhere else to fit the soft launch missiles.


ExLS is an LM only product.

Truth is its been around for 15 years and only got 1 purchaser in that time, and that was relatively recently, the RCN for CAMM on their T26 variant. No other munitions are integrated with it…and CAMM will need a full series of trials…

Sometimes the market is right about a product…


ExLS is a LM product, but was designed in association with MBDA.

BTW, the reason the standalone version is 3 cell is that quad packed with CAMM = 12 missiles which is the max a single CAMM launch controller can handle. So a full 8 cell mk41 would require 3 CAMM launch controllers.


Budget…. all about the budget. T26 is to re-use T23 equipment – radar, towed array, and yep, the CAMM. 13 x 32 cells on T23 = 416 cells, divided by 48 = 8.6 – so 8 T26’s and some spares…..


Your forgetting about the T31.


lt’s not like the cell is that expensive, what costs the money is the missile contained within whatever launcher is used.


Space though is somewhat of a premium if you want to maximise load out. Different launch systems have different space requirements. Load out tends to define how long you can fight. If you can’t fight you should not be there. What the acceptable load out should be is open to question.

To build a GP T31 that has a third of the AAW missile load out of the GP T23 is idiotic. To build a GP T31 that has zero attack capability & zero ASW ability redefines every expectation of a GP frigate. It’s an oversized OPV (I wouldn’t even call it a Corvette).


To my understanding, GP frigate in RN is a sloop, long range corvette.

T31 armament is better than Al Khareef class heavy corvette, and you can see many corvettes less armed than them. Calling T31 a “long range corvette” is representing exactly what it is, I think.

T31 as is has a good rationale. It need less man-power and less maintenance, compared to T23GP, while it has better close-in warfare capability thanks to 1x 57 mm and 2x 40 mm guns. You may not like it, but it is not useless. Just “limited use”. Anyway, in a completely different league compared to an OPV. For example, world’s majority of OPVs are Japan coast guards patrol ships, Indian’s and China’s. River B2 is also in the middle (or a higher-middle) of OPV.

T31 is pretty better equipped than these typical OPVs.


Better close in warfare for shooting up small boats is the only area that the T31 is superior to the T23 GP.

NGS, ASW and AAW are all areas where it is vastly inferior. Hopefully the announcement about NSM at least leaves it appropriately equipped for ASuW but a 6,000 ton frigate without a sonar and with only 12 SAM’s; totally and utterly bonkers.



Al Khareef corvette has Thales Smart-S mk2 radar. Same CMS. Does 28 knots. Has a 76mm gun (means 40 km range with volcano). 12 VL-MICA (a new version of which is coming available with 40km range & fits in current vls) & 8 x Exocet MM40 Block 3 AShM (as currently used by French navy) & 2 x 30mm on a 99m 2,700t hull. T31 is supposed to be a 6,000t class GP frigate. It does not compare well.

Armchair Admiral

The T23 Ceptor tubes are the old Seawolf tubes, with a bit welded on top. They will not be re-used as they would need cutting out physically, and are a bit old.

Mr Bell

The mushroom farms envisaged on the type 26 (camm silos) initially were designed for the type 23- but it quickly became apparently the primary advantage of this set up vs mk41 vls is that they could potentially be reloaded at sea. whereas all mk41 vls reload require docking facilities. That makes the 2×24 cell sea ceptor vls systems really very very useful. especially if the type 26 is carrying reloads.


No. Just no.


Great article! I’m still disappointed that the USN didn’t select this as the parent design for their FFG, but I’m ok with the FREMM, as it was a proven (in production/use) base design.


Apart from forward upper hull form , the USN then changed everything else. Like wise for all the interior equipment for all the standard ship sytems from fire fighting to electrical to a/c and sewage treatment and water distill has to be Americanized. Better off making some changes to the coast guard cutter design rather than a complete redo on an ‘Italian job’……although they do get to have Fincantieri as the manufacturer , so they have competition for Bath and Ignalls at this ship scale


Have to agree. The Yanks took a world class ASW frigate & turned it into – I am not sure what.


Have to agree. The Yanks took a world class ASW frigate & turned it into – I am not sure what.”

Better radar, more powerful engines, more advanced EW systems, CEC, wider assortment of weapons. They turned it into a better frigate maybe? Or one more aligned with their needs and doctrine?


They turned into the global combat ship(GSC) that RN T26 should have been.

Area anti aircraft with Standard missiles and modern Aegis system.
Plus the other weapons options. RAM system.
16 NSM launchers, electric propulsion, 2 helicopters.

The only think it lacks is weapon quantity depth.


Coast Guard Cutter is not an ASW ship with electrical propulsion, neither it has size for AEGIS planar systems.
USN choose well and i think the FREMM design is more adequate to them than the T26 which is bigger and have no 2 helicopter hangar size.


“the SM-3 ballistic defence missile or SM-6 long-range air defence missiles.”

Impossible, there is no radar for that.

Every RN level competing navy is putting flat panels in their combatants.

France, FDI Frigate
Italy PPA Frigate ( 2 frequencies so 8 panels)
Japan their new frigate (2 frequencies so 8 panels)
USN Constellation frigate
Canada their Type 26
Australia their Type 26
Spain their new frigate/destroyer


Technically speaking, SM-6 and SM-3 can be controlled via T45. Controlling them from other assets (not launched) has been already tested by USN.

While I do think T26 shall better have some flat panel AESA. How about adding 4 AESA (say, the family of NS100 of Thales?) plates around the bottom of the mast, while keeping Artisan at the top?


Artisan is not what you should be installing on a frigate of this size. Sampson would be great. The radars from CSC or Hunter would be great. NS-200 would not be quite so great but still an improvement. For a GP frigate, Artisan is acceptable (not great but acceptable). T26 is not a GP frigate.


Artisan is a lot better than people think…

People look at the rotating array and think its dated compared to fixed panel systems (not all of them AESA’s either). The Artisan’s ‘guts’, the signal processing equipment and software, are borderline brilliant though…


It’s built to a price remember.


Isn’t the BMD radar on the De Zeven Provincien class SMART-L MM, a rotating radar and akin to the volumetric radar on the T45? Why do you think fixed panel radar is needed?


Tech that was available at time.
It is not ideal a rotating radar for a very fast object like a ballistic missile, even eventually to have to deal with more than one warhead eventually manoeuvrable.


Disadvantages to flat plates too in a beam steering sense, rotating elements can be full power all the time as they are mechanically steered 360
They sit far lower in the superstructure so have a closer radar horizon as well.


It depends on power available for each panel and power limits of its elements.

Flat panels are larger with many more elements so they will have more discrimination, area covered and operation flexibility.
You can probably use a part of elements for radar and another for ECM in a panel.

The elevation disadvantage i agree.


One of the reasons is weight. The SPY-6 weighs considerably more than the previous SPY-1. Which is why the Flight 3 Arliegh Burke’s are getting the full fat version. Whilst the older Flight 1s get a diet version. As the Flight 3 can handle more top weight.

The SMART-L that the T45’s S1850M is based on weighs some 7400kg. Whilst the MM version weighs 9000kg. Why the difference? It’s because SMART-L/S1850M is a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar, whilst MM is an an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The additional weight is due to the radar’s front end having combined transmit/receive modules (TRMs) built into the array to form the antenna. Whilst PESA only uses delay circuits in the array, to form and direct the beam. Thus the MM is heavier.

This is the same for the SPY-6, it is an AESA radar, whilst SPY-1 is PESA. Therefore, to have four of these panels, they will have to mounted quite low to reduce the top weight. However, having just a single mechanically rotating SMART-L MM, means it can be mounted higher, thereby extending the radar horizon, compared to SPY-6.

The SMART-L MM has a publicly instrumented range of 2000km when used to track satellites. Its dwell time on ballistic targets is sufficient to provide target tracking for medium to high level missile intercepts. Using a rotating antenna for searching for and tracking ballistic targets is not a major issue compared to sea skimmers.

The main benefit of using four fixed panels, is that each can be transmitting and receiving simultaneously. But perhaps more importantly is that there is not a rotating dead zone. So a missile can be constantly tracked rather than requiring predictive tracking software when it’s in the dead zone.

This can be a problem for mechanically rotating and scanned radars. Which have perhaps a 45 degree field of view. Meaning the target is out of view for 315 degrees of rotation. With rotating AESA radars you still have this issue, but some of the dead zone time/angle can be reduced by the radar’s ability to do forwards and backwards beam scanning, ie the beam scanning left to right on one rotation, then again left to right on the next. Meaning the dead zone is reduced.

As AESA generally have an azimuth field of view of 120 degrees. Meaning theoretically that something like the NS100 has a dead zone of 240 degrees. But as the target comes into view on the extreme edge of the field of view. The time delay of the dead zone can be reduced. Sampson with its two back to back array’s reduces the dead zone even more.


The mistakes of RN Type 26 in my opinion:

No flat AESA radar panels in 2 frequencies.
No Area Aerial Warfare capability, Drones will be 40km distance lobbing missiles.
No 2 helicopter hangar.

Good ideas:
Sea Ceptor in 2 different places

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

Drones aren’t going to have a target aquisition over the horizon at 40km unless they are 5000 ft up , and any missiles would be picked off by Ceptor anyway


I am talking about small missiles equivalent brimstone and the like, those are not so easy to destroy i think.


Not so easy to find one of those with a range of 40km. Brimstone, Sea Venom and the like have a range of about 20km. There doesn’t seem to be much call for 40-50 km air-to-ship missiles and longer range missiles tend to be too heavy for attritable drones.

However, Turkey’s Roketsan is developing one that it hopes to launch next year from Bayraktar’s Akinci HALE drone, which could carry four. The Çakır missile has a range of nearly 100 miles and Akinci has a service ceiling of over 40,000 ft. Putting the two together could prove a potent combo where even an Aster 30 is going to have trouble hitting the drone (although hopefully CAMM will be able to intercept the missiles). I’m not sure how many years our enemies are behind Turkey, but we better get a shift on with Dragonfire.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon

6ºGen Spike NLOS missile have 50km range from helicopter. You can expect everyone to have that kind of range in a couple years.


And its RF link is easily jammed…

The UK’s testing report of Exactor was not fully complimentary…


There were various Exactors versions. The critcism was to old one 2º gen or so. Some from late 80-90’s i think.


RF link even if easily jammed which i would not bet on is only necessary if you want man on the loop, a library of ship silhouettes is enough.
But my point was not on Spike itself specifically but as an example of capabilities that can be expected in 10 years.


Just as well the T31 has Phalanx as the close in counterpart to the local area defence missiles.
In 10 years naval laser defences will be more common as the developments come to fruition. Could cope with hypersonic to the small missiles you mention


Lets hope so. It is very bad for peace when who attacks have a significant advantage.


A couple of corrections. Brimstone 2 when air launched can have a range of 60km. The newer Brimstone 3 wait and see.

Spear 3 which is a similar size to Brimstone, has a published range of 130 to 150km.

MBDA have said that Aster 30 has a maximum engagement height of over 20,000m ((65600ft). Though others have said it’s closer to 25,000m (80,000ft).


DaveyB range probably from a jet not a 200kph drone.

Aster 30 ceiling should be more looking that has 120km+ range.


I would have tried seeing if removing the boat bay would have allowed the dual hangar. Perhaps they did. Who knows. The current idea of fitting one in the MMB is not ideal. If you are changing a motor on a helicopter in the hangar & you need the spare aloft?


And the uptakes from the donks too. It should have been more……

comment image

Makes me laugh how after that poor decision they still point to a Chinook capable flightdeck.,onerror=redirect,width=1920,height=1920,fit=scale-down//media/hms-leeds-castle-with-chinook.436666/full


1. Artisan is a flat panel AESA that turns. Light enough to be mounted very high to give better warning. Two frequency radars are usually required so that one can control the missiles e.g. older versions of ESSM. Not needed for CAMM.

2. You mean longer ranged AA missiles (not “area aerial warfare capability”) which are not needed for self defence. CAMM/Phalanx will knock anything down that’s targeted at the ship except ballistic & hypersonic missiles. Dragonfire is being developed as a future replacement for Phalanx.

3. One Merlin is more than adequate for submarine hunting/killing as shown over the last couple of decades. Will be reinforced with UAVs.

4. Sea Ceptor is not in two different places. It’s VLS maybe but not its radar.

5 You seemed to be ignoring the new standards of quiet running coupled with world class sonar, global reach, and the revolutionary mission bay for deploying off board assets


Small corrections.

(1) Aritisan is NOT a flat panel AESA that turns. It uses some technology from SAMPSON, but it has no radio modules’ separation along the horizontal axis (it does have some on vertical axis). In other words, its radar beam cannot be moved forward/backward on the rotation axis.

(4) 24 CAMM is located on front of the bridge, and another 24 on top of the mission bay. At least, AlexS-san is talking about it.


1. Incorrect

4. I said that


(1) Take your time. You can get it. Artisan has NO horizontal antenna modularity.


ARTISAN 100 shares technologies with the same company’s SAMPSON back-to-back AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) MultiFunction Radar (MFR) to provide electronically stabilized 3D performances at low cost. Key technical features include a 16-element solid-state transmitter housed in the antenna, a waveform generator essentially identical to that in Sampson, digital front-end receivers from Sampson, and a signal processing architecture derived from BAE Systems’ Commander long-range land radars.

So, “a 16-element solid-state transmitter” may NOT make Artisan 3D an AESA, for me. But, most of the other features looks like AESA based technology, such as “a waveform generator essentially identical to that in Sampson, digital front-end receivers from Sampson“.

From Thales NS100 brochure ( … 00-V04.pdf), it states AESA type as, “Digital beamforming at element level. And, the above documents states “a waveform generator essentially identical to that in Sampson”, which is clearly stated as AESA.

So, I now regard Artisan is an “AESA-based but not AESA”, a 3D radar with 16 elements, all digital controlled. Here I mean “AESA-based but not AESA” because I understand Artisan cannot be used for fixed-panel operations, because it looks like having no horizontal separation of nodes/elements. On the other hand, TRS-4D AESA, and Sampson can be used in fixed-panel configuration if needed.


Your comments are about a version of Artisan that is not the one specified for T26.


 Two frequency radars are usually required so that one can control the missiles e.g. older versions of ESSM. Not needed for CAMM.

I- 2 frequency radars are the top class for anti missile and aircraft search: A lower band radar for volume search and a higher band radar typically X band for low altitude and more precision search. The Japanese frigate Akizuki, Italian PPA(full) and USN Ford class have that.

Artisan have a comparatively small number of vertical elements compared to a flat panel. So its flexibility in that domain is more limited, then it is rotating so not following the target for a brief moment. A subsonic missile moves 150m in 0.5 sec. if supersonic with double speed that means 300m.

II -AAW means long range SAM’s.
Missiles are cheaper than vectors, you can fire a lot of small long range missiles in a 100kg weight class outside CAMM range. Those 100kg missile would still be cheaper than the CAMM.

III. I don’t think last decades has shown much about ASW, ships number are dwindling so even more important helicopters including the fact there is more chance they will be navigating alone.

IV. Yes my point is the VLS. it is a measure of redundancy.

V. It is not at sea so performance is unclear, sonar are already in other ships.
I probably should have included the mission bay in good ideas.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

I. X band has range & weather issues that forces an additional lower band. If it’s working, yes X band has some close in advantages. The T26’s Phalanx guns have an even higher frequency radar.

IIa. Area Air defence requires differences in sensors & control systems that are not required for long range point defence. Area defence is not a T26 requirement.

IIb. CAMM range is sufficient to intercept a supersonic sea skimming missile detected when it first breaks the radar horizon. That represents the most difficult threat. Although swarming missiles may overtake that eventually.

IIc. Swarming attacks will be a problem for today’s active defence systems regardless of their range. I suspect we will have to wait for a non-missile based solution.

IId. Cost of missiles is irrelevant. It’s not at all unusual for defence systems to cost more than attacking. It’s the cost of succumbing to the threat that is relevant.

IIe. Yes ASW helicopters are very important which is why the T26 will carry the very best. One in the hangar and one as a backup in the mission bay if that is appropriate for the deployment

V. That’s BS and I expect you know it.


I. not as in the 80’s.

II. Irrelevant if it is a requirement or not. I am talking what i think should be the T26 not what RN or UK Gov says.

IIb/IIc. if you can threat the vector you can force the enemy to rely in heavier missiles and heavier vectors to transport them which are heavier in enemy resources. Making also more difficult to get swarms since less can be fired at same time.

IId. if you are in a missile fest then cost of missiles are important. Forcing the enemy to rely in a 600kg missile aircraft launched instead of 100kg missile drone launched it mans less quantity they will be able to employ

IIe. Explain how can you use one if the the other is blocking its way to helideck?

V. FREMM, Constellations have same sonar, similar propulsion system.


I. I don’t understand your comment

II. As you pointed out earlier, the T26 prime mission will be hunting submarines well away from other ships so any area defence capability would be pointless. If you do want area AA, whistle up a T45.

If you wish to combine the capabilities of the T26 & T45 into one ship, you had better open your checkbook very wide and expect a much smaller navy.

IIb/IIc. “Vector” does not mean what you think it means. Other than that, your comment makes little sense.

IId. “Forcing the enemy”??? Did battleships having thick armour force the enemy to use destroyers?

IIe. Move the blocking helo to one side of the flight deck to allow the movement

V. So two other classes have similar sensors and propulsion, so what? ASW is a lot more than that.


great article thankyou

Phillip Johnson

A very good article, couple of points however:

  1. There is a picture below from the stern, partly blocked by the usual politician, I don’t see a stern flap visible. Stern flaps are a hydrodynamic trick to make the hull perform as if it is longer than its actual waterline length and so get a bit more speed out of the ship. It is not unusual to have stern flaps added to a warship to maintain speed as the ship’s weigh increases throughout its life. They are not nearly so common on new warship designs but lots of cruise liners have them from day one. The sudden inclusion in the T26 design may suggest an attempt to address weight growth. Anybody Know?
  2. From the same picture I note that the propellor shafts have not been fitted. The ship may be structurally complete but fitting out has a long way to go. This might be due to the capacity of the launch barge but it certainly isn’t best practice, BAe PR not withstanding
Armchair Admiral

I believe I saw a picture of the stern that showed the stern flap as “built in” rather than added on like a flat bit of steel plate, That stern is extremely straight.
Theprop shafts may not have been fitted as they would be vulnerable to damage when out of the water. Bashing a shaft might have severe consequences to the hull fittings associated with it.
Previously…. as I understand it, a mk41 VLS is about/more than10(?) times the cost of a round tube that is a camm silo. Fitting mk41 simply to up camm capacity would be very expensive.
For me, having something like the Bofors 57mm would be good, as it has a very good reasonably distant anti-air capability coupled with a magazine capacity to stay the course and shoot down the hundreds of Chinese missiles that (presumably) are the concern of those wanting more camm.
It would mean adding a few more feet to the length of the ship to fit it all on, but hey ho.


ExLS stand alone is the cheaper LM alternative to mk41 for light missiles. It can be quad packed for CAMM.

57mm will struggle if there are hundreds of missiles, regardless of its magazine depth. It very quickly overheats & stops firing (to avoid cook off). It’s very good at what it does, but has severe limitations. For someone like the USCG or a naval OPV, chasing pirates & drug/gun/people smugglers, not too much of a problem. For a frigate or corvette that may expect to actually find itself in that situation – not so good. It is a problem that only a few navies seem happy to ignore. It’s NGFS ability is even worse.

Armchair Admiral

I was being a bit tongue in cheek when I said hundreds of missiles! Not sure what anyone thinks about the expected numbers incoming, likely not into double digits unless they are small…Spear3 sort of thing?
Facing dozens of Chinese frigates loosing off missiles may be challenging, but you would not likely to be alone, and how many missiles do these things pack? Would they fire them all at once?


At least, stern flap is planned.

comment image


Stern flap has been part of the design since day 1. BTW, a British invention.

Shafts have less than usual supports to aid in quiet running. Shafts and screws will be added in dry dock during fitting out and then tested when the dock is refilled. No reason to label this as being not “best practice”.


Yes. Same goes for the carbon fibre composite, invented by a British ‘establishment’ and first used in some internal cabin panels for VC-10.
Strangely US sources try to claim US parentage by pointing out Edison invented carbon filaments for his light bulbs and jump to carbon composite usage by NASA, without mentioning the ‘not invented here part’

Just Me

She has stern flaps as the design had a bouyancy issue aft.


Stern flap does not materially affect buoyancy. It’s tiny compared to the real buoyancy issue.


shafts have not propeller been fitted. The ship may be structurally complete but fitting out has a long way to go’

This image of DDG-51 John Finn just before launch , would show that the fit out at Ingalls is much much further advanced ( note radars, mast embellishments as well as the full propulsion steering set up) before launch.

This most likely is because BAE has fitout at a separate location due to its out of date construction buildings at Govan


The ABs have controllable pitch propellers. That allows one to do basin trials during machinery commissioning at zero pitch (ie no thrust) to run up the machinery.

T26 has fixed pitch, which generally means you have to put what we used to call brake wheels (essentially the same weight and inertia as the FPP, but delivering zero thrust) on to conduct the basin trials. What that means is that you have to dock the ship anyway to change from brake wheels to the actual props before you go on CST.

In this particular case, I suspect the shafts and brake wheels aren’t yet on because the comedy GB hasn’t yet been chocked and alignment checked, due to late delivery. Plus the somewhat pedestrian build schedule means they can take their time. No other reason they can’t fit them at Govan – T45s had shafts (and hubs) in place.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

The form has had a flap in from day 1. The RN only trialled flaps in Iron Duck in the early noughties because it offered a resistance reduction and hence fuel saving. It’s not weight growth that drove the fit.

Most RN ships (of the right froude number) have had them since, including T45 and QEC.


Another great article

Fat Bloke on Tour

Very basic point — French / Italians took their AAW platform and used it for GP units and then re-used it for an out and out ASW vessel?

We put a huge amount of effort into the T45 then threw it all away and started from a lean sheet of paper to deliver ASW units with the T26 project?

Plus large scale VLS — we are now in Team USA rather than Team EU?
What brought about the change and when was the decision made?

Finally 157 of crew — seems a lot — what do they actually do?
Would 50 not be the target given automation and the cost of employing real people?


Army guy is suddenly an expert on warships. Go fix Ajax.

Armchair Admiral

A large part of the cost of the best ASW frigate in the world is invisible as it concern the design of the hull, propellers, gearboxes, motor/equipment mounts and I see it even has external acoustic shielding. All this does not come cheap. No re-used hull design not invented for ASW in the first place makes an out-out ASW vessel.
To an extent, a type 31 could easily become a first class anti air warfare ship by simply adding Sampson and Sylver launchers.
Nothing to do with the ship or it’s systems, the T45 is hampered by politicians…shall we have ‘up to’ 12?. No, let’s have only 6 and bump the cost per vessel up.

The T26 has a proper amount of VLS. 48 camm, and a few more for anti ship missiles and so on. Previously Ashm would have been add-on external tubes, but now they will be VLS launched hence a few extra VLS.
You cannot fight a war in a large ship with a very small crew. They would get worn out. There would be no spare bodies for damage control or anything else. A crew of 50 would probably mean a crew of 30 at action stations after a few weeks of combat. Stuff goes wrong, breaks down…needs chaps to fix it… chaps then not at action stations, Not grabbing sleep…cooking, and so on.
(Model answer,)

Paul T

What Ship are you referring to that the French/Italians took as an AAW platform then used it for GP then ASW ?.


I think hes mixed up the same multi-national business organisation
did the Horizon design and then followed with the FREMM design, which was in multiple specialisations including an AAW for France ( FREDA, but not built)


French have 2 commissioned FREMM-DA for AAW with Aster 30 named Alsace and Lorraine.


The AAW version of FREMM for France (the FREDA version) was an act of desperation as they didn’t buy enough Horizon Class…lipstick on a pig springs to mind.

Paul T

Im guessing that he was referring to FREMM,in which case he has got the designations back to front.


Maybe that Italians have got Aster 30 capability in both their destroyers and FREMM’s ?
France have only Aster 30 in the DA FREMM version.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

Italian FREMM can all carry 30 (and 15 obs). French ASW version only 15.


That is what i said i think or i was not clear?


Yes it is! Sorry. 🙂


No problem 🙂


Thoroughly enjoyed reading this – thanks.


Worth noting that by the time T-26 arrives in service it is very likely that not only will CAMM-ER be available. Which increases the range from 25km to 45km (and I suspect those ranges are at the lower end of estimates) but a new CAMM-MR missile that was announced as a project with Poland in the last few weeks will have arrived. It’s likely that this will have at least 80km+ range.
So its air defence potential of the T26 and RN might be vastly increased at a stroke…the area covered is absolutely enormous compared to standard CAMM (for which there is still a place).
But is Artisan good enough to support that? Is the NS100 on T31 also able to?


Some people don’t understand the importance of naming stuff. It makes it really hard to talk about the Anglo-Polish missile if it’s CAMM-EX, CAMM XR, CAMM-MR or LPS depending on the conversation. We had a similar problem with the Anglo French, which has been Perseus, FC/ASW and FSOW, but at least that changed over time. There doesn’t seem to be an official name for the Anglo-Polish missile at all.


Polish sources are calling it CAMM-MR at present. They seem to have better intel on the development than we do from the UK MoD.

LPS is Land Precision Strike which is a different missile (formerly called Future Land Indirect Fires) It’s178mm calibre, rather than the 166mm of CAMM/ASRAAM, so that the Brimstone 3 seeker can be integrated without expensive re-packaging. Suspect the rocket motor is slower burning with an emphasis on range rather than acceleration and speed. Recent comments from the RA have shown they’re very interested as an addition to M270 and replacement for Exactor).

It even has its own MBDA data sheet…

MRUSW is likely to go ahead as well…that is likely to be a Spear derivative, a simple one as a competitor to the SDB1…


Thanks. I was just reading the article in Breaking Defence on MRUSW. Ambitious aiming for it to go on F-35 given the integration issues of Meteor and Spear. I’d have thought it would be a better fit for an attritable loyal wingman in the Tempest system.

Heard whether we’ll be getting JNAAM?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon

T-26 willl not have CAMM-ER since it is Italian project.


MBDA is a Franco-British-Italian missile business


Yes, but split by countries interests. CAMM-ER have an Italian propulsion system which means not buying the British one.
So CAMM-ER will only be bought if in a urgent necessity.


Necessity such as? FREMM’s can all carry Aster 30 and Commonwealth T26 will be able to carry SM-1. SeaCeptor is too short range now.


Recent war shows that number of ammo is very important.

CAMM being cheap and capable will be a very good choice, I think.

I agree long-range SAM is important now, say, like SM-6 Blk1B. Aster-30 will be also “not bad” because of its agility and hence capable of BMD and also (maybe) hypersonic missiles.

On the other hand, mid-range SAM are getting useless, I’m afraid. Cannot stock in number, cannot reach the enemy missile launcher.

CAMM can cover right out to the horizon (20+ km) with so-so high speed (Mach 3+). It shares its airframe with ASRAAM, making it cheaper.

A combination of Aster-30 for high-end AAW, and CAMM for all the other is not a bad idea. It is much better than having Aster-15.

I’m afraid French navy is in trouble now. 16 Aster-15 is not enough. Against mid-level threat, like NSM, harpoon, exocet etc, Aster-15 and CAMM shall be similarly capable. And, FREMM has 16 Aster-15 while T26 has 48 CAMM.

Also, without ammo stock, the system will be getting useless very rapidly. CAMM is cheaper than Aster-15, and can be purchased in number.

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

Agreed. Aster 15 is now a bad idea and a waste of a big silo.


THIS ^^^^^^^^


Aster 15 exists to fill in the gap caused by the Aster 30’s long minimum range. IOW, to intercept targets not detected until they’re too close for Aster 30.

On the T45’s, it will be replaced with CAMM.


Yes. As I have said here before.


I meant the Royal Navy stop buying CAMM and start buying CAMM-ER

Only if in War Royal Navy realises that having 40km range is better than 25km range.
Obviously will be probably too late by then.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS
Armchair Admiral

One of the big plus’s of camm is it’s very short minimum engagement range, less than RAM I have read. Big booster motors increase this range (not sure why) and so having all camm-er would be a mistake. The reason Aster15 has a smaller booster is to provide a much better close engagement range. The addition of camm to the T45 is to enable the deletion of the close range Aster15, giving a better mix of long range types, and short range ones.
Having SOME camm-er in the silo would obviously be advantageous in some situations.
The French would never do the right thing and give up 16 Asters for probably double the amount of ze Inglish camm In their Fremms…


dammit you said it better and first!


CAMM-ER is still soft launched. It uses reaction jets in the tail as per CAMM to point the missile in the threat’s direction. It minimum engagement range “should” be the same. As the only main difference is the longer body to house more fuel.


Yes, The war in the Ukraine (whatever side you are on) appeared sought of (again depending on how you read the tea leaves) from nowhere. Urgent to me means now. Right now. The whole of policy of FFBNW has been seen to be duff. We are in arms race now.


If you look back to the Falklands war, which UK AA naval missile was considered to be more successful and added to future ships? The long range Sea Dart or the short range Seawolf?


Italian propulsion for the ER version ? That doesnt make sense for a small missile like this. Its only an extra length for more rocket fuel


No. For a longer and fatter booster.

It’s MBDA so country of component manufacture doesn’t matter.

Ownership of IP does and that belongs the country(s) that paid for its development.


It’s MBDA so country of component manufacture doesn’t matter.

You are wrong, it matters the factory that will make it.


The UK owns the IP for CAMM even though many parts of the missile, including its radar seeker, are built outside of the UK.

You appear to know very little about the subjects you are commenting about.


Yes. You are right. 60kg more, 1 m longer and the rear half is 1 in diameter greater and the new rocket motor by Avio ( who do the Aster 30 as well)


T-26 willl not have CAMM-ER since it is Italian project

Incorrect. CAMM-ER is a joint UK-Italy project.

BTW all UK CAMMs have seekers made in Italy

Last edited 1 year ago by Grinch

Longer ranged CAMM missiles also have longer minimum engagement. That’s highly relevant to a warship. Not being able to intercept a missile because its too close can be terminal.


A great ship but the RN needs at least 20 of them and that will never happen.


Just a warning to the site owner. I put “at” symbol in text, when i posted it appeared 2 Russian words.


Comrade, that only happens when posting from Russia 😀


Haha, i am in the other extremity.