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Evan P

Wow FREMM with the CEAFAR radar is hideous, it’s like a massive tumour on top of the ship.

Chris H

That is very true but looks < capability. Having said that it is my personal opinion that the RN operates some of the most beautiful ships in the world, especially HMS QE and PoW!

Evan P

Yes of course, funnily enough T26 does that capability thing you speak of better too!


Exactly, and the T45 and the new patrol boats also look stunning!


According to the Australian review of offers the Type 26 is the “highest cost” at the “highest risk” so it has already lost. The Spanish F100 looks like the winner as the lowest cost but it has less ASW capability than the Franco-Italian FREMM. BAe has managed to bring yet another ship over budget and behind schedule and is now costing export orders.


Increasingly it looks like Australia wants a general purpose Destroyer rather than a specialised ASW frigate. That seriously tilts the contest in favour of the F100 derived solution. With their large planned Submarine purchase, new MH60R the need for an all bells and whistles ASW frigate like Type 26 when the F100 is good enough. I think T26 has a better chance in Canada where a dream team has been put together utilising key Canadian systems.

Jock Patton

Canada is going BAE.
I would like to see the the “The four Royals” do a joint build of the 26.. It means realizing the historical ties that made Britain great in the first place.
That’s approx 36 frigates.


Would the 4th one be NZ, if that’s the case we’d be more into the Type 31E not the Type 26.


Have you got a source for that? Because based off of this article the T26 is actually the middle runner on costs, seeing as the AWD design Navantia is basing their concept off cost £1.7bn compared to the T26s £1.05bn.

As for risk, on a technicality the T26 is the most risky because its not been physically built yet, but its a marginal risk. Major systems have been or are currently being derisked on land or on other platforms, and the first of class is being built here in the UK and any issues discovered can be remedied and passed along to Oz.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for politics the F-5000 would be out of the running in an ASW competition. Its not quiet enough for ASW duties in modern or future combat environment, tacking on electric drive modules that Navantia have no experience with adds risk to what is meant to be the safe bet, and it lacks the sort of future proofing necessary to be in service for as long as the Aussies want. In terms of design, its only advantage is 12 more VLS, which could probably be fitted into the T26 anyway.


Callum, the so called “de-risking” is being done on systems not used by the RAN on Type 23 frigates. There is no relevance to the RAN at all so it is just nonsense.

The selection of Aegis combat system and CEAFAR 2L is an indication the RAN wants a potent AAW capability so that ship is far more capable than a 7000 ton ASW design. We are looking at a strong general purpose ship.

In our region, ASW is not undertaken by a single frigate. Submarines, P8s, Tritons, destroyers, frigates and the assets of other partners all play their part. The T26 imho is too specific towards ASW.

The cost of each proposal is not known. What bids actually include are also unknown. What we do know is Aust Industry is geared towards the Navnatia design which makes this design more efficient and cost effective to build. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel otherwise we will be in the same predicament as the RN.


Jack, the de-risking is incredibly relevant. The Sea Ceptor and Artisan systems fitted to the T23 aren’t relevant to the RAN, no. The Mk45 gun, the MT30 gas turbines, the CEAFAR radar, the AEGIS system itself, and more besides, these have already been de-risked on other platforms (either RN or RAN).

I’m aware they’re also looking for the chosen design to be very versatile. Once again, the T26 wins that one. At the cost of 12 VLS, it has more room for future growth, a mission bay that increases its versatility exponentially, the potential option of laser weapons, the list goes on.

ASW isn’t undertaken by a single frigate anywhere. At bare minimum there’s usually also a helo involved, but it certainly doesn’t help when your frigate is sat there generating a lot of noise. The threat from submarines in the Pacific is rapidly increasing, and an ASW frigate that’s actually crap at ASW effectively works against you.

We don’t know the exact costings yet, but seeing as we’ve got ballpark figures for all of the designs, we’ve got an idea. The Navantia design is probably the most cost accurate at £1.7bn as it currently appears to be a slightly different Hobart (it’ll most likely be cheaper due to lower development costs and a larger batch). The T26 figure is a bit iffy due to the change in sensor fit and not actually having been built, and the FREMM needs some huge changes compared to its baseline to accommodate Aussie systems, so the £600mn is probably out the window.

Contrary to what you’re suggesting, the T26 isn’t reinventing the wheel. It’s taking modern but proven equipment and integrating it onto a large, future proof platform optimised for ASW ops. Its a better design than the F-5000, it’s that simple. Back to the original point I made, the Navantia bid is only in the running because of politics.


There is no Type 26 in service or proven at sea. It remains a design and even the RN won’t have one fully operational until 2027. The only thing we have to go by is BAE salesman spruiking it to potential customers.

De-risking undertaken by the RN is not relevant to the RAN.

The Australian taxpayer has no wish to fund “first of class” and it is politices which has this design in SEA 5000. The US took the correct decsion by excluding it from the FFG(X) programme because it was not a mature design. Note the F100 is in the USN, RCN and SEA 5000 programs which means it is has something going for it other than politices and there remains a posisibility of one design across three navies.


De-risking is relevant to every user of a product. If one user tests our products and corrects any flaws, anyone also buying that product benefits.

Fair point, the F100 is still in the running for the USN, as is the FREMM. However, all three contests are after different things; the RAN wants an ASW frigate with AAW and potential BMD capability, the Canadians want mostly multi-purpose vessels with a few modified as command platforms, and the USN seems to want a pretty low end capability to supplement their destroyers. I’ve never said the F100 is a bad ship: my point is that it’s not an ASW platform, and in terms of design it’s not going to age well compared to the FREMM and T26.

The Australian taxpayer won’t be funding a first of class, by the time the first Aussie ship is built it would be the 4th T26. The issue with wanting a mature platform is that it generally tends to be midway through its design life when you pick it up. The F100 has very few of the features that are defining the next generation of surface combatants, which for a vessel that will form the backbone of the RAN for the next 30 years should be a deal breaker.


De-risking is irrelevant when it is undertaken with systems and ships not in service with the potential buyer.

I am sure the overwhelming number of taxpayers in Australia while supportive of defence expenditure, do not want to waste money on “first of class” ships when there is a more capable and mature design already in build in the country. It makes so much sense for the RAN to have a homogenous fleet of 12 x ships with 48 x Mk41d, Aegis, CEC, BMD, SM6, SM3, CEAFAR L2, etc to contribute to security in our region with South Korea, Japan, the US and other nations.

While you believe the hype around the Type 26, I remember the hype surrounding the Type 45 and we know how that turned out.


OK so my first problem is, why is the Aussie wanting 9 ASW frigates and we the UK will only have 8,does the UK have no need for ASW capability. I know that the ASW aspect of the RN is one of the most important tasks that the RN carry out.
Question probably for BaE to answer, what is the cost of the T26 frigate to build,not including development costs but pure build and fully equip. This should not include development recovery. I want to understand if the development and research is prohibiting the build of numbers.


They will have more subs too even though they are a poorer country.


How do you make that out? I’m counting: Australia 6 Collins class conventional diesel electric submarines. While in the RN I count 3 Astute (out of an eventual 7) and 3 Trafalgar Nuclear Submarines, and 4 Vanguard Ballistic Submarines… so 10 or 11 depending on how you count. I can’t work out how 6 is more than 11 Stephen.

Ron because the UK will have 13 frigates in total compared to the RAN 9, and the RN has 6 Destroyers compared to the RAN’s eventual 3, and the RN has 2 Aircraft Carriers while the RAN has zero. Of course if you want to cut an Aircraft carrier or two, or maybe some destroyers so we can have 9 ASW frigates that’s your call.


Smaller population. Not poorer. GDP per capita is much higher.

Australia is planning to build 12 attack submarines, although it is unlikely all 12 will be operational at the same time. The Uk is planing to build 7. France has ordered 6 attack submarines.

Australia has a different mix. 3 DDG’s, 9 very large frigates, 12 subs, 12 1700t OPV’s etc. The fit out is quite different, Australia has CEC, Sm-2, etc.



Stingles, Australia is unequivocally poorer than the UK: their GDP is less than half of ours. GDP per capita is good for many things, but in this case raw GDP is a better indicator.

Its worth bearing in mind that those 12 attack subs will be diesel electric boats half the size of an Astute. They’ll be slower, shorter ranged, and most likely not as well equipped as nuclear boats.


I think you miss the point on “poor”. Income per capita reveals the ammount of excess money available for defence. Higher GDP per capita means higher tax revenue per person and more money for the navy.

Lord Curzon

They’ll go Spanish like they did with the LHDs. Unlikely they will opt for the BAE design since it is unproven. Ironically, if they did it would probably be in service before the Royal Navy. The comment below about their purchasing 9 ASW frigates compared to our 8 says it all!


I mean bearing in mind that our 8 is in addition to 5 GP Frigates, 6 new destroyers and 2 high end aircraft carriers while the 9 Australian ASW Frigates plus 3 Destroyers represents their entire surface fleet.


Actually your 5 GP frigates will be low end light frigates not based off the T26. Australia also has 2 x 27,700t LHD’s that are F35B capable (Spanish Jaun Carlos derivitive including skijump). It is also building 12 x 5,000t SSK’s in comparison to 7 x Astute SSN, 12 x 1,700t OPV as against 6 x 2,000t OPV. UK has a population of 66m, Australia 25m. If you include NZ in with Australia you get another 5m & currently 2 more GP frigates & 2 x OPV with another OPV planned & the outside possability of a 3rd frigate. It looks even worse if you factor in Canada. Another 36m, planned 15 heavy frigates & 4 SSK & 6 heavy OPV / icebreaker. Combined ANZC population is 66m, UK 66m. So a more apples with apples compasison of announced forward naval plans goes like this – (UK first)

2 heavy carriers v 2 light carriers, 6 AWD v 3 AWD, 8 heavy frigates v 24 heavy frigates, 5 light frigates v 2 light frigates, 7 SSN v 16 SSK, 6 OPV v 21 OPV (6 of which are naval icebreakers). Depending on spec, of number of the planned Canadian heavy frigates could be reclassified as AWD (they are planning to build a number of AAW optimised variants but exact number unknown).

I have not listed the 4 UK boomers in the above list – if they come into action everything else is irrelavent.


It’s still 5 more frigates at the end of the day, and 4 more than the Australians will have in total. Okay if we want to talk amphibious warfare ships as surface combatants you can add in the Albions and Bays to the UK side.
“It is aiming to build 12 SSK’s by the end of 2050” not the same as “it’s building” even then the UK to RAN numbers will be 11 compared to 12 if nothing changes before 2050, which is a big IF. And I dont include NZ with Australia because they are two different countries, that’s like saying “Well if you include France with the UK…” no.

So lets talk realities instead of fantasy fleets: 2 Heavy carries vs 0 carriers, 2 Amphibious Landing ships vs 2 Landing ships, 9 Frigates vs 13 (you do know these 9 frigates are meant to replace the ageing Australian frigates right?) 7 SSNs and 4 SSBNs vs 6 SSK’s.


And theres the issue. Comparing conventional forces is a bit pointless when one side has an instant win button. Every non-nuclear power in the world could declare war on the UK, and as long as the rest of the nuclear powers remain impartial, we would still win, because thats exactly what a nuclear weapon is: an instant win button.

Going back to the conventional comparison though: 2 supercarriers purpose built to operate STOVL fighters are far superior than LHDs equipped with the same fighters than mere tonnage would suggest (UKDJ has an article explaining the details of larger vs smaller carriers). You also don’t take into account that the Royal Navy has the support ships (in the form of the RFA) and infrastructure to operate globally, with 13 minesweepers vs 6, 3 tankers vs 0, 3 replenishment ships vs 2 (one of which is a temporary Canadian vessel).

Iqbal Ahmed

Britain could never conceivably use nuclear weapons as a first strike weapon. It would be political, economic and societal suicide.
For example, we would rather let the Falklands remain in Argentinian hands if conventional forces had failed. Maybe squeezed then economically with sanctions.

We would hove pariah mstion status for decades. Every two bit country would then rip up its membership of the NPT and have a crash program for nukes and ballistic missiles. The world would be a more dangerous place by many folds.


I never said use them as a first strike weapon. The scenario I presented was to highlight that comparing conventional forces is redundant when one side has nuclear capability. You don’t have to USE the nukes, but in a scenario of all out war, the threat of being nuked with no way to respond would effectively end the war. If the threat didn’t work, and the British Isles were under direct treat, a limited nuclear strike to dissuade further aggression would be next.

The scenario changes if you’re comparing two nuclear powers. Ironically, then conventional forces ARE comparable, because neither side wants to trigger Armageddon by using nukes first. Opening battles would be fought conventionally, up until one side has a clear advantage and the other sues for peace. It is effective impossible conquer a nuclear power militarily, because if you back them into that much of a corner, someone is going to hit the button


Actually the Australian Canberra Class are not F-35B capable. The Australians removed a lot of the aviation facilities for them. Even if they hadn’t the Juan Carlos is only a marginally capable aviation ship with a 20 knot top speed, small elevators and magazine capability. The Invincible Class were more capable. If the Australians had gone for a Cavour Class they would have gotten far more capability, but as they were principally interested in the LHD capability that was a moot point. To put F-35B on the Canberra Class would necessitate a full rebuild. They’d be better off buying new ships than that.


“High en airctaft carrière ???? With limited STOVL airctaft ?? And hop many fighters ? That is a bit of a joke…..


Surely, _surely_ we are not re-hashing the old “they have no aircraft” BS – I truly thought we were done with that nonsense.


You will never put anything like an E2-C on such an aircraft carrier. The range of the F35B is ridiculous compared to the F35C or any other “normal” shipborne fighter.
Yes it is an aircraft carrier, yes it is big. But its air capabilities are way below any CATOBAR one.
And by the way, how many F35B will be purchased ? And what will be the likely size of the CAW ???
These are facts.
Sometimes, only writing the RN as the best^planes/best ships/best whatever in the world is not very convincing. Sounds rather like children discussion their father’s job or car..


F-35B has a marginally smaller range than F-35C or F-18E/F when you take into account real world usage. CATOBAR aircraft have to maintain a significant fuel reserve for bolter situations and because the launch/recovery cycle is so much slower. In practice there is no real difference.

And you might not know this but Seaking AsACs mk.7 was a better AEW platform than E-2C. There was a very good reason why the Seakings were preferred over the E-2C in the Gulf Wars for AEW….they did that duty for USN assets as well….

E-2D should be a different matter but putting them aboard would cost more than the QE class actually cost to build. Crowsnest will be a decent solution.


So, if F35B has the same range, why having developed the F35C ??? I remember RN official string the former had a range smaller by 20% compared to the the F35B, which cannot perform any air to air refueling.
As for the ASAC…. Is it à joke ? Can they coordinate air strikes ? Have a radar coverage over 200 Nm ? Stay in the air as long as the E2-C/D ?
Don’t compare the niche capability offered by ASACs with the one offered by a REAL AEW aitcraft.
Take ASACs for what it is : a cheap way to allow for very limited AEW capability which could not be embarked on RN airctaft carrière….
Lastly, for sortie rates, I don’t have the number, but there are procedures To launch and recover a/c at the same time on CATOBAR CVs.


Iqbal Ahmed

Shhh…don’t offend the groupies.

Just stick with the party line. Let’s make Britain great again…


O come on! There are no fixed wing aircraft operating off any UK carrier at the moment.

Iqbal Ahmed

It’s a competition between the Spanish and Franco-Italian offerings based on these designs already being in service in one form or another compared to the BAE offering, the life cycle cost and the benign threat environment Australia finds itself in due to geography.

Politically, it’s a no brainer to go for the cheaper offerings while being able to reassure the electorate that you’re keeping the evil Chinese, Islamic State or whoever at bay with major defence procurements. 9 ships is a large number that will impress the voters.


Nothing to do with wanting control of territorial waters and tracking foreign submarines across the region then?


For once i don’t actually think the enormous cost of the T26 can be blamed on BAE.

It’s a combination of wanting a very acoustically quiet design, ordering low numbers and deferring up-front costs by dictating a very long and slow build process that has caused the price to rocket.

Wanting a quiet hull is pretty unavoidable when building a 1st class submarine hunter, but if the MoD was committing to 12 or more and asking for them as quickly as possible then i think we’d see a difference. Going for an all singing all dancing vessel and the cost of British labour/materials inevitably makes any design expensive, but a clear vision and commitment would have perhaps translated into a unit price within the same sort of ballpark as the current French/Italian and German solutions.


Are British labour and material costs significantly higher than US, Australian, Canadian, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German costs? No ,The answer lies in the chaos created by the UK Government defence (dis)ordering process.
No simply saying we will have 9 Frigates. No, It’s maybe we’ll have 13 Frigates by 20xx. No sorry, its we’ll have 3 Frigates in service by 2030 and maybe another 5 if its a blue moon and the chancellor gets out of bed on the right side.
One would laugh if it were’nt so laughable.


Remember the German solution currently has a heavy list to one side, is underarmed compared to the FREMM and T26, and has actually been returned to the builders.

The FREMMs main success was that France and Italy decided on what they wanted early on, and built accordingly. Versatile hull, with several variants, built locally in each country and outfitted with local equipment. They avoided the issues that NFR-90, Horizon, and all of our national designs have had for the past decades. Everyone kept changing requirements or issuing new ones that meant changing large aspects of the design, arguing about what equipment fit and where to build it, etc.

Compare that to the T26 programme. The Wikipedia page provides a simpler but accurate showcase of just how many iterations the programme went through over decades of development.