Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
T.S

So a frigate that has no ability to attack another ship at range. I fully accept this has to be a lower end frigate, but just look at what the Americans are proposing as a low end frigate! To get this at the £250-300 million it’s never going to be even modestly loaded, but there has to be at least a capacity to up gun should it be needed and I’m not seeing many ways to do that with this offering.
I’m starting to think we should just be ordering a few stretched OPV’s to forward base instead. I can’t see what capabilities we would be loosing as long as we bolt on a few seaceptor. For me, to be called a frigate requires some reasonable fighting ability, all this thing can do is defend against asm’s for a short period. It’s totally reliant on its helicopter to do anything proactive, so what happens if the helo is unavailable? This is a giant expensive OPV and that’s it, and therefore should not count towards our 19 escorts. It isn’t an escort, the most it can deal with is a Somali pirate or rogue fishing vessel. The combat power of our ships are becoming weaker and weaker compared to what everyone else is building, even the T26, a billion pound gold plated ship is average in attacking power.
For me a low end frigate should have 16 mk41, 24 -32 seaceptor and a dual quad asm. Our top end should have around 100 cells in total.
For a credible frigate we need to spend £4-500 million, order 3 to start with and a couple of extra River B2’s. We can then order more in the next round of budgets when we have no more Astutes or carriers to pay for.

Amdefleury

I think your assessment is totally spot on, to me it is like a repeat of the Type 21”s. Not really going to be much use in a “hot” war.

JohnHartley

In Dec 1975, Aviation & Marine, reported that Argentina was interested in 8x export versions of Type 21. In addition to RN standard these would have been equipped with 4x Exocet, 4x Seawolf PSI launchers, 2x twin 30mm Bmarc turrets. So then as now, the basic ships could be upgunned if the will was/is there.

Amdefleury

Unfortunately they had aluminium superstructure to reduce weight and cost. We saw the resulting the Falklands war with the loss of two ships. The remaining ships then had to have their hulls strengthened. I think the lesson of building “cut price” ships should be learnt. It is not just about how many weapons you can stick on them!

JohnHartley

Armed with Seawolf they may not have got bombed in the first place.

Amdefleury

HMS Broadsword was hit by a bomb on the 25th of May 1982 and she had Seawolf. However she survived, I think everyone knows that the Type 22’s were are of far superior build quality the the cut price Type 21’s!

JohnHartley

The export T21 would have had 4 of the light twin Seawolf launchers, that industry was keen on pushing at the time. Would have given better all around coverage than the 6 cell launcher the RN had. Artwork shows the 2 cell engaging an Exocet style missile. Whether that would have been real or just wishful marketing, we will now never know.

David E Flandry

Yes, but wasn’t the radar turned off temporarily on Broadsword? Seems to me there were some extenuating factors involved.

Harry Nelson

I think it’s as tad unfair on the 21. They had exocet, 4.5″, SeaCat (all that was available at time), STWS and 20mm etc

Callum

I’d argue it doesn’t need 16 Mk41 cells if it’s got both Sea Ceptor and cannister missiles, although they’d certainly be nice to have.

The biggest issue with your proposal though, we already have a spending plan for the next decade that we can’t afford. You’ll be waiting until 2030 to for the next batch of ships, at which point the escort fleet will be down to 17 ships and politicians will be saying “well this is good enough”.

T.S

Callum, then we should at least be buying a ship fitted for but not with a decent level of weapons so we can add at a later date if needed.

T.S

Also, a single bank of 8 mk 41 maybe sufficient now, but these are ships that will be around for the next 20-30 years. Who knows how many missiles will be loaded onto Russian, Chinese or likes vessels by then. By all means fit 8 now, but have space for another bank or two if deemed necessary

Rudeboy

“Who knows how many missiles will be loaded onto Russian, Chinese or likes vessels by then.”

Well we can be fairly safe with the Russian’s. Because whatever they might claim they’re only building small combatants now.
The Chinese on the other hand…

Bob M

To me the whole concept of the T31e is flawed, surely economies of scale would result in say 14 T26s getting cheaper with each one built, with cheaper training and maintenance costs by only having one class of ship to deal with? As to the “e” for exports, who is going to buy such a second rate bit of kit when there are already a number of established designs already in service and proved? Let’s focus on the T26 which is already an export success and hopefully also sell a couple to the RNZN.

Dern

They will get cheaper, but adding 5 more Type 26’s will not reduce the unit price from 1billion£ to 350million£.

Ryan

Sorry for a late reply, only really been reading these up until now.
It’s not amazing, sure, but does it need to be? Change the two 6 cell to two 8 cell, stick Aster 15 in them, have two 8 cell Mk41 instead of the twelve cell silo, one for AShM/ASROC/land attack and one quadpacked with Sea Ceptor. Gives it a decent punch. Slap on two DS30M with LMM, Phalanx if there’s enough to go around, you’ve got a pretty decent wee boat there.
Not happy with the implied lack of towed sonar array but I’m not sure about the mechanics of that with regards to an engine not lifted from the hull. If it can use one, great. If not, shame but maybe drones can bridge that somewhat.

JohnHartley

I wish we could have more transparency. Let us be more upfront before decisions are cast in stone. Make public the options & the costs, so that more informed social media chatter, can help the final decision.
If you want to buy a car, you see the base price & then you can add options if you were willing to pay extra.
I would like to see, an options list published for proposed kit like this, so we, the taxpayers, know exactly how much, each extra gun, missile, towed array sonar, sensor, etc would add to the cost should it be chosen.
That way, gold plating or the other extreme of spoiling the ship for a halfpenny of tar can be avoided (hopefully).

James Harrington Law

The ship looks great, does what again? I understand the budget problems, but i’ts totally unacceptable and not fit for a current conflict “frigate” purpose. It’s more a large patrol boat or a corvette. This e concept is what the Eton boys club came up with one afternoon during tea. I am continually angered by how our armed forces have been managed for the last 20 years. Sorry for insulting anyone.

Callum

While it’s nice to see Leander looking more like a frigate, this does seem like an odd step. The Harpoon launchers disappearing isn’t a surprise, Harpoon was almost definitely not going to be fitted (depends on if an interim SSM is selected). The loss of the CIWS is especially concerning, as Phalanx would probably have been GFO from the stockpile as required and it’s absence seems to indicate not available instead of FFBNW. Although an OTO Melara 76mm could fill a joint NGFS/CIWS role.

The biggest concern though HAS to be the lack of TAS and an ASW weapon beyond the Wildcat. It has just enough armament for peacetime GP and carrier escort picket roles, but the lack of a proper ASW outfit means it can’t free up billion-pound T26s from mundane tasks like the deterrent TAS ship and North Atlantic ASW patrols. The only hope for it would be ASW drones from the mission bay

Dave

Agree with you but it’s worth remembering what these ships are for. They will be purely used for forward basing which will fulfil current commitments in middle/ Far East. They will supplement the Carrier Strike Group when it enters their joint operating area , any available in uk could be used to assist with the fleet ready escort duty. Of the 8 T26 1/2 will be attached to the CSG with one other as the duty TAPS ship and that’s about it, still 1 short for the traditional 3 ships required for each commitment but still achievable Ish. There is no chance these ships getting a towed array, 2087 is a world beater but expensive, absolutely no chance the RN will ever have more than the 8 currently fitted.

Rudeboy

They’ve ordered another 3 Sonar 2087, so they will actually have 11….(plus spares, manufacturers reference copy and land based unit for trials and training).

Captain Nemo

How many pirates are we expecting to fight?

As observed, this does nothing for escort numbers. Yes the navy needs hulls and before I saw this it would have been a simple decision, but to be honest if it were the five of these or another T26 I’d take the T26 because I can do anything with it and the enemy knows I can and respects that fact.

This thing is naked for all the world to see.

india-mike

What wasn’t mentioned is that without the fire control radar that was removed from the project, the 57mm gun (which is excellent btw), is completely useless in a CIWS role.
That (together with the decision to remove the phalanx) means that if an ASM manages to get past the CAMM the ship is gone.

To be frank, it is exactly the same situation we have with the T23 nowadays, but to keep accepting this on new built ships almost 40 years after the falklands conflict doesn’t seam reasonable.

T.S

I personally think it’s time that the MOD come out with a united front and call the treasury out in public. The treasury need to be made to understand the number of countries operating high quality vessels in the modern world and show them the level of capabilities we are up against. It’s no good the treasury saying ‘well you over spent on the T26, so it’s your fault’, we need ships like this to compete. The MOD top brass should come out and say to the press we are cancelling this project and we are no longer able to guarantee the protection of the nation without more funding. This issue could be added to many others to prove the point. They just need to communicate with the public in a clearer more transparent way to get some additional support, bring the issue to a head instead of always accepting they have to do more with far less, and send our personnel into harms way without what they need.

Phillip Johnson

They would likely lose 5 ships.
People like to think Defence is about technology. It is not, it is all about money. If you have money you fight a technological war, if you don’t you stay out of it as best you can.
At the moment there is not to much need for the UK to involve itself in the world’s problems beyond token contributions to the odd coalition operation. So it is likely that is what will be funded.

Gavin Gordon

Not just protecting the nation, of course, but the crew need to be assured that they stand as reasonable a chance of survival as their opponents. Does our young blood mean that little to the safe/secure Treasury? (no need to answer – it’s the omnipresent skeleton in the cupboard within all these cost issues).

Dan

I think people are reading too much into the lack of the CIWS and canister ASM in the images. The design is mandated to be fit to receive both. The CIWS will likely be added from the RN pool as and when needed. The ASM will likely come from the complex weapons budget at a later date when the interim ASM solution is acquired- they will need to buy mulitple sets for the T45’s and T23’s (possibly even T26’s) so buying another 5 sets for the T31 collectively then as part of the larger order makes sense. The only disappointment, though not a surprise, is the lack of a TAS

Dave

The RN is never going to have more than the 8 sets of 2087 currently fitted. Whatever the future force composition will be this is set in stone. Even if we had ordered 13 t26 only 8 would have had tails fitted. Understand people getting upset about this but it’s never been on the cards.

Rob N

Why….

You appear very sure about the RN/MoD future plans and red lines. Why are you so sure? Surely if there is the political will to buy more T26 they would buy extra kit. The problem is that all the politicians want is savings… that is the true reason why we will not get more proper frigates.

Dave

Simply money, 2087 while a great bit kit is expensive. With the budget already structurally underfunded, there is going to be a lot of equipment transfer from t23 to 26. Everyone would love 19 (ideally min 24-30) fully equipped and manned escorts but it’s a bit of a pipe dream I’m afraid. There isn’t a navy in the world that has a tail fitted to all of their escorts. For what the navy has planned for these ships there probably isn’t a need for a towed array even though it would be nice to have. Find it strange that there’s a fair few unhappy about this but not bringing up that currently only 8 of the 13 t23s have a tail fitted?

Challenger

Dave 3 extra 2087 and i believe 3 Artisan systems are being procured to ensure they do not need to be removed from the oldest T23’s as the first batch of T26 enter service.

Assuming the technology is still relevant what’s to stop the surplus ones being fitted to some of the T31 or extra T26 at a later date?

GlynH

Agree with many comments made here, the first think I spotted was missing CWIS . . 🙁 that’s not good, not good at all. Harpoon might be making a comeback in its Block II+ form, especially considering its a fit for P-8s. But I could live something lighter like with NSM being fitted, much like the USN’s curious “corvettes”. I have never expected the Type31 to be a significant ASW platform but it does need to be able to cover itself in AAW and ASuW.

Rob N

One of the lessons learnt in the Falklands was that ships need a backup CIWS. What BAE is trying to sell the RN is a large patrol boat NOT a credible frigate. We should ditch T31e and buy more T26. We certainly should not buy this poor offering. BAE are taking the … with this one! It also appears to have limiter upgrade potential making it potentially obsolete before its out of service date. If we need to do T31 we should buy the MEKO not this!

Paul Bestwick

For those bemoaning the lack of significant ASW capability are missing the point about the T31. If the Royal Navy were to have additional ASW it comes in 4 forms, fixed wing aircraft (P-8(I know RAF)), rotary aircraft (Merlin), submarines (Astute) and surface ships (T-26). For the RN to get more ASW capability it will come from these or their replacements or unmanned. Those platforms listed are arguably the best in the world at what they do. Why would you introduce something that is similar or sub par to them. All you do is create a snatch land rover situation where the wrong platform can be used because it has a little of that capability you require and thus gets people killed. T31 was never intended to be an ASW platform.

The smaller gun does seem to herald the end of NGS as a tactic. I say that as with 6 AAW and 8 ASW ships in the fleet, who is going to risk those vital platforms on shore bombardment. To me the T31 would be the ideal platform for this role.

Lets see what the other contenders come up with.

Mike

Totally agree regarding NGS. It seems to be a niche role perfect for type 31. But regarding ASW I appreciate what you say but I don’t think the analogy of snatch land rover fits. If in a time of war the navy are forced to press any ship available in to the ASW role because peace time procurement failed to provide enough ASW escorts then I think it would work. Type 31 was never intended for that role but perhaps it should of been. A 5″ gun for NGS and ASW sensors optimized for the littoral could be a couple of useful roles for the ship.

JohnHartley

I wonder if 8x Trigon, the naval version of Rampage, should be fitted where the Harpoon were supposed to be on T31. That would let you do precise land attack from 150km away.

Callum

Bemoaning the lack of the T31s ASW capability is hardly missing the point. One of the biggest issues with ASW warfare is that, no matter how good the individual platform is, the oceans a bloody big place, and our primary conventional opponent has a lot of submarines.

All of the first rate platforms you’ve listed are available in appalling small numbers, and the helicopters in particular are dependent on having a surface ship to operate from. Surface ships can remain on station significantly longer than any air component, and unlike submarines can coordinate with little to no chance of compromising themselves. I’m not arguing they’re more effective than any of the other listed options, but they have an important role to play in the force mix. In the future, ASW drones may very well enhance T31, but they’d definitely be more effective with the simple addition of a sonar tail so the mothership can vector them in.

Also, the fact that the T26 has been given a main gun compatible with guided munitions would suggest NGFS isn’t going anywhere, it’s just becoming more precise.

Glass Half Full

Regarding NGFS the question arises as to whether placing a ship well within shore based anti-ship missile range is the best use of a £250M going on £350M asset by the time we’re done on T31, let alone putting a T45 or T26 in that position.

The world has changed, the Houthi’s demonstrated that, and proliferation of very capable shore based ASM should be presumed from this point forward, unless we or others want to learn a very expensive lesson. Extended range 5″ ammunition won’t get you out of ASM range either.

We would certainly expect Sea Ceptor to be able to handle such an attack but is lobbing a few shells really worth the risk-benefit trade off? Especially because we may have better options in the form of helicopter launched Sea Venom (that doesn’t risk the whole ship) or potentially even a cold launch SPEAR 3 variant from a Sea Ceptor cell?

donald_of_tokyo

Enemy level differs a lot.
– if enemy has land-based high-level ASM system, the first thing RN shall do is to neutralize it via F35B strike. If succeeded, T26 will be able to do NGFS (remaining few ASM can be handle by their own CAMM). If not, no NGFS (nor landing).
– if enemy has Houthi’s-level ASM, a T26 will be able to do NGFS with her CAMM shield.
– if enemy has no such defensive system, even a Floreal-class can do NGFS.

So, validity of NGFS all depends on the assessment of enemy capability.

But, anyway if UK aims to retain RM to do any landing, the shore must be already “safe enough” to do NGFS. “Sniper” gunning with precision ammo, or area neutralizing with normal ammo, NGFS is as flexible as airstrike while much cheaper and can provide continuous support = has some merit.

I agree NGFS will decline, with “proliferation of shore based ASM”, but will not disappear. But, also I agree it will shrink, and it coincides with RM itself shrinking, I guess.

Glass Half Full

Well if we plan any amphibious landing then it seems much smarter to do it somewhere unopposed, so you’d then get your 105mm light guns ashore in the case of the UK, for a much more practical and sustained artillery effect that you can keep moving inland. The idea of doing an opposed landing which needs NGFS in today’s world, with today’s manning, with the associated casualties, is insane IMO. This is why we have helicopter assault (presuming we have control of the sky and can can suppress SAM) so we can place troops and artillery where the enemy aren’t in order to establish a bridge head.

Even assuming an opposed landing, the idea of positioning a T26 for NGFS is also an appalling tactic. Sure CAMM should handle ASM but what if it doesn’t. Risking such an asset just to place a few shells just doesn’t make risk-reward sense versus the alternatives.

Glass Half Full

Oh and I should probably add that time and again forces from WW1 through to the present day have dropped huge amounts of ordnance using artillery, air power or battleships in order to try to suppress entrenched opposing forces. Despite shell shocked and traumatized troops it has rarely been effective enough to attain the level of suppression needed to avoid appalling losses in the subsequent assaults by attacking troops. The level of NGFS from 5″ guns, regardless of types of round used, is unlikely to change this. Far better to be smart about how and where you fight than use brute force.

Dern

That’s a rather “pop culture” assessment. In WW1 the British Army became masters of artillery support, and by the end where employing it extremely effectively to suppress enemy positions and reduce their own casualties going over the top. The integration of Artillery, Infantry, Air and Armour into an effective combined arms force is essentially the reason the Allies won the war.

Captain Nemo

Respectfully I must agree with Mike, snatch land rovers were used because that’s what they had to hand, same will be true of the T31.
Also with Callum, saying we don’t need X because of Y and Z will be of no use to the crew of that T31 on the day.
Personally I take the view that if the Royal Navy is going to be small it needs to be as hard as a steel ball and that it must embrace an ‘everything fights’ ethos, accepting that while it may not be everywhere, wherever it is it’s in a position to influence events.

“why is it us eh? Why us?”
“because we’re ere lad… and nobody else”

James Harrington Law

Nemo, thanks for reminding everyone about the navy ethos, which is” if its a navy ship, it fights”. This is constantly mentioned in the USN, and in my mind something that our government intentionally ignores about what our RN primary role is, defense of the realm. Too many RN assets are under gunned and lack the “steel ball” element you mention. I refer to the vessel and not the crews, who I think are fantastic. Everywhere I look I see gaps in ship capability and lack of firepower. WE have become accepting of the “fitted for, but not fitted with” policy in CIWS, which I find is in itself unacceptable. If the call to action is made, usually when least expected, and the only RN asset available is HMS Express then the outcome and loss is inevitable, despite that the crew of that little boat will undoubtably perform their duty. The small ship big impact only goes so far if you have side arms and 2 x .30 MG. The T31 might be a great looking ship but in its above configuration will have to “fight or punch above its weight”. With a lack of total RN assets the T31 will no doubt be tasked with fighting above its weight. WE are obligated to give our navy and the crews the best possible fighting ship we can. Sorry for the rant.

Gavin Gordon

The greatest recent example of the FFBNW spin was our otherwise commendable carriers; viz cats & traps. Turned out they essentially weren’t. In fact the spin was so successful it fooled the PM, Cameron – hoisted by one of his own political petards, you could say.

stephen

So by the looks of things, both BAe Systems and Babcock with their arrowhead 140 are updating their concepts, probably closer to their final bid offers. Has anyone else seen the ‘Arrowhead 140 walkthrough’ video on the updated arrowhead 140 website, where Babcock and Thales UK appear to have improved their design, including utilising both ‘A’ and ‘B’ gun positions on the bow, and the millennium gun mount position on the hanger roof to mount three main guns (presumably a 4.5″ and two 30mm autocannons with GFE) and positions for two phalanx CWIS in the hanger port and starboard? So I guess the competition aspect has in someway gotten both teams to improve their designs (of course, we don’t quite know what atlas elektronik will be proposing).
Not long left until the winning design is scheduled to be announced! (my favoured design is the arrowhead, offering greater flexibility in the future for upgrades! How they would get close to the budget price is another question though!)

T.S

Just watched it and wow, what a contrast to BAE’s offer. Loads of growth margin and flexibility in the design and therefore we could risk buying a bare platform due to its ease of upgrade at a later date. Babcock must be the one to beat imo

Sean

The BAE design is a poorly armed stretched design of a previously stretched OPV design…. and there are navies out there with OPVs that would sink this in a 1 on 1 situation…

TimH

But first they have to convince the RN and HMG that they can deliver that big a ship for £250m. As part of the convincing they will need to set out the ownership of H&W or have a plan to build elsewhere.

stephen

yes, that would be the main problem with their proposal. But note that in the recent article by FT (‘UK MoD may have to pay more for next-generation frigates’ dated 7th may ’19), the MOD is quoted as wanting to procure the 31s for an average production cost of £250 million and would be willing to adjust the cost parameters at main gate. Also worth noting, is that the Iver Huitfeldt class cost $340 million, ~£270 million at the current exchange rate, fully equipped but $133 million, ~£106million at the current exchange rate (‘Danes Tout $340M Stanflex Frigate For US Navy – But What’s Real Cost?’; breaking defense; 13th June ’17)
So IF Babcock and co can get it at the production cost (which is likely as the vast majority of the R&D has been already paid for by the Danish), they would have quite a bit left over to kit out the 31s with a it more than what is GFE

stephen

Except, how many times have the MOD/treasury decided to purchase ships ‘fitted for but not with’ and not bothered to fit the equipment at a later date?
Take the type 45s, originally they were designed for space for 9 aster sylver A70 vls modules (3 extra modules in between the existing 6 on the 45s) and allegedly space for two Lockheed Martin mk 41 silos between the main gun and the vls silos. these haven’t been fitted since the MOD is having to fix the propulsion system (reduce reliance on the Northrop Grummen gas turbine intercoolers)
Also, the 45s were FFBNW harpoon, but only 4 of the 6 have the mounts fitted.
Then there’s the RFA ships with FFBNW phalanx, albeit they are only fitted when the ships are on deployment to hot spot regions like the gulf. So this begs the question, does the MOD have the mounts to spare for all of the 26s, 31s and RFA ships to be fitted at the same time, or do they have to purchase additional mounts? If it is the latter, do the MOD have the money?
All of this harks back to the core problem, the treasury is too stingy to cough up the cash to fund for defence, which is one of the core factors which have plagued the recent procurement programmes and led to the 31s in the first place

James Harrington Law

Just watched that Arrow 140 video you refer to, thank you and yes, impressive, but was unclear about you comment and the video re: “the positions for two phalanx CWIS in the hanger port and starboard” if they are included the concept is excellent. I wasn’t sure they were. Also, just seen the ASW in a box concept re 20′ container. Which would fit in with the flight deck under storage area. Don’t worry, Bae will be updating their” image” to address all our negative comments. Apart from concerns about a quite propulsion system, re dampening, the CIWS and a stable platform in North Atlantic san states I was very impressed with the 140 and also construction that its spread over 3 yards. ,

stephen

so what I meant about the two phalanx cwis is that, in one of the original A140 images, there were some sort of autocannon (probably 30mm DSM mark 2, as the same as those currently on the RN surface ships) on the two aft corners of the hangar. In the video, these mounts appear to have been replaced by the phalanxes, given that the 30mm cannons had been relocated to the bow and the centreline hangar roof positions.
In regards to the active/passive towed arrays, on the original Iver Huitfeldts, it has been claimed that they have been designed to accept the active towed array body and passive array cable at the stern, in addition to the space for four 20″ containers under the flight deck. So assuming that Team 31 has left the lower decks/hull unchanged (apart from changing the main engines to have commonality to the rest of the fleet), the RN potentially have the capability to install the ‘spare’ thales captas 4s that had been procured for the 26 programme… as well as additional MK 41 VLS silos, 5″ gun etc…
Also, I seem to recall an interview between the captain of the peter willemose and Vago Muradian (defense and aerospace report) in that the captain had stated/implied that the whole propulsion system had been designed/mounted on an isolated island, insulating the main engines from the hull in addition to the whole system being designed to meet NATO requirements for ASW ship quietness.

Glass Half Full

“Arrowhead 140 specifications already meet NATO noise requirements for an ASW vessel” quoted from the bottom of the Exportability page of the Arrowhead 140 web site. Note though that doesn’t make the A140 a Type 26 ASW platform.

https://www.arrowhead140.com/exportability

stephen

Thanks! wasn’t sure where I could have found a credible source for that!
Well, that is a given… on the premise that the original iver huitfeldts were designed as AAW frigates with the ASW as a secondary role. However, the fact that they are designed to be acoustically quieter than what they potentially could have been should be seen as plus as they would be less easy to detect.

Simon

Though I am not from a naval background, have been following the evolving T31 saga. My son is in the sea cadets so from a potential future recruit have a interest of his possible safety. Seeing the Arrowhead 140 design as the best possible choice in almost every point. Though if chosen will appledore get a stay of execution?

stephen

I’m pretty sure that by the time 31 construction gets underway, Appledore would have been long closed (though don’t quote me on that)

Malus

What I don’t understand at all is the size of the hangar; in my opinion, it’s absolutely necessary to have a hangar large enough for a helicopter plus an UAV for an adequate capability. But it seems that BAE plans with a hangar that’s just big enough for a Lynx helicopter. Why do they not lift up the structure left and right of the hangar to free up additional space for the hangar and place the 30mm gun on a platform a bit outside of the hull? Air is complimentary!

Waddi

if you make the T31 too capable you run the risk of the T26 order being cut to 6. That has always been the correct strategy when dealing with the MoD. The B2 Rivers should have had Artisan, and the the Bofors 57mm, but if they had, then the T31 would have been cancelled and so on up the chain. A possible solution could be containerised missile launchers for Sea Ceptor, Tomahawk, AShM, ASCOD etc. This is the Russian version.

http://roe.ru/eng/catalog/naval-systems/shipborne-weapons/klab-k/

For the tasks the T31 is designed for then Sea Ceptor and a Sea Venom equipped Wildcat is fine. I can’t see any Mk41 silos from the graphics?

4thwatch

I think the need is to come up with a design that has the minimum capabilities the RN requires not having money as the parameter.
Once one decides what one wants then you set up a yard to construct it with management/ build being put out to tender at a cost effective and sustainable rate; say one per year. You carry on with this design Indefinitely, keeping the latest and selling the oldest. This reduces the cost of warships by say 50%. True it has some additional startup costs but once up and running it puts things onto a manageable and sustainable basis. Isn’t this what the National Ship Building Scheme was about?
The last time we had this was with the original Type 12’s and Leanders. Why this stopped I am unclear. Maybe runaway inflation and the type 21’s interrupted the flow?
This BAE offering is too small for midlife upgrades ( not planning for those though), too slow and shortranged.

Pacman27

It’s good to see this progressing, but for the life of me I have no idea why the RN didn’t just order a batch of update T23’s, which actually seem perfect for this role.

The T23 hullform is proven and design paid for.
We would need updated mechanicals, automation, systems etc. But I think BMT or Spartan could have done this very effectively to reduce manning and free up space.

Then just build them at 1 per annum and replace the rivers.

It’s a far better platform than most that are being represented and a hull is a hull – so why cant we take advantage of turning our cutting edge ASW platform of yesteryear into todays GPF.

We really need to have proper lifecycle management in the MOD, new kit frontline, older kit moved into less strenuous activities before retirement.

So for me this is a massive missed opportunity for us to leverage the T23 hull and produce the Spartan frigate at a really interesting cost point

4thwatch

Agreed its surprising they dismiss an updated type 23. I’ve wondered that myself. Can anyone suggest why?

Pugwash

I agree too. The T23 boasts an extremely sea kindly hull built for operating at speed in challenging North Atlantic. The proposed T31 (and the new OPVs) have a hard chine bow which brings in a lot of buoyancy very early when pitching in a seaway. They are going to be very lively ships even in UK coastal waters in winter. Compare with the sleek lines of the T23s & OLD Leander frigates which were an evolution of the ASW sloops of WW2. Their capable & seaworthy hulls could effectively operate from Iceland to South Georgia. Arguably, some variants were as well armed.

Dave

internal space and layout is extremely limiting for updating. The design does not lend itself for new systems and space is extremely tight, they have never been easy platforms for upgrades (unsurprisingly when you think what the original design was for). I just can’t see what would be gained, the modifications required would probably mean a new design anyway. Believe me if you have been onboard a T23 and the danish design that’s the basis for the arrowhead you would know why they aren’t even thinking about it

Meirion X

Dave#
The present Type 23 frigate is longer and wider then the BAE version of Type 31 , at 134m, and 16m W,
compared to 117m(BAE),
only Arrowhead is larger then all.
New build T23 hulls would be straight forward to upgrade and with hull quieting tech. installed.

Dern

Being larger does not mean you necessarily have more space on the inside….

Captain Nemo

For my money and with benefit of hindsight we maybe should have started tinkering with BMT’s Venator years ago, it would be a mature native platform by now and possibly smart enough for UK PLC to attract buyers.

Aaron The Humanist

Are people not fighting the wrong war in the discussion on here? Russia and China are not going to be matched on a protracted one on one war with either us the UK or NATO. The first ship attacked or sunk would be a massive diplomatic incident which would either then take place diplomatically in conference or escalate to nuclear posturing and likely deescalate.
This then leaves the threats to non-nuclear power nations. The bread and butter role of these ships will likely be sea lane protection tasks, and will likely serve their 30 years without being fired upon. Large Falkland style task groups are likely locked away in that chapter of history. On paper a type 45 and an Astute can keep the entire Argentine military at bay if needed.
As nice as it would be to have top calibre warships able to do all things in all situations, for the most part we are flying the flag when sailing the worlds sealanes and the escalation of conflict is way down the list of real expectations.

JohnHartley

I am all for staying out of other people’s wars, but there is always the risk of a Summer 1914 war by accident. A major war nobody wants, but takes on a momentum of its own.
Then you have to fight with what you have got. It had better be enough.

donald_of_tokyo

Very realistic design for a £250 “average” cost light frigate. Actually, I like it, not because I think it is powerful enough, but just because its build cost, operation and maintenance costs will be cheap = not killing other assets in RN. Note that it is only 1/4 of a T26 average cost. In short, Leander is “well focused to T31e cost”, sweet spot, I think.

CAMM increased to 24 is very nice. Surely it is not twice expensive than “12 CAMM”, and 24 looks good enough number as a light frigate, even not much different from modified T23s.

Relying on Wildcat for ASM attack (with Sea Venom) is very practical way to keep it cheap.

Overall, I am very positive for this new design. Only two things I want to change are,
– adopt ExLS (like Brazil and Canada did), with 6 cell at the bow for 24 CAMM. This will free-up the amidship area for future growth margin (say, adding NSM canisters in future).
– adopt ordinal FCS for the 57mm gun, so that 3P and other “intelligent” ammo can be fully used. 57mm can be a CIWS with MAD-FIRE (for AAW) or AlaMo (fast boats). Then, banning Phalanx will be no problem.

I do not think T31 shall be up-armed more. If we start up-arming it, it will simply mean cutting something else. Also, even if more moneys be available, I will rather add more CAMM and add NSM to T26, add datalink to Wildcat, add a few P-8, P-7, or F35B. There are so many “waiting list” in MOD, so that up arming T31 is not a priority. Only “future growth margin” needed is, capable of adding CAPTAS-1/2/4PI, which I think is doable.

Note that, even if it were Arrowhead 140, I’m afraid all the “growth margin” will be vacant throughout their life, just wasting fuel and maintenance cost = no difference in fighting power to Leander.

But

Although I am very positive for Leander as a T31e candidate, I do not like T31 program itself. With current budget and manning, and with T26 and T45 built to such a high grade, “19 escort myth” must be abandoned (or gaped). “19 escort” is the root cause of requiring to build a “frigate (T31)” with 1/4 of the cost of another “frigate (T26)”.

I personally am a fan of adding a T26, by cancelling T31e. Only if MOD insist on going with T31e, in that case, Leander is the best solution, I think.

Stephen G.

I agree, this was always meant to be a light frigate, an inexpensive way to boost hull numbers and do the low end work to free up the more high end assets. Of the 3 designs proposed Leander is the best option. I would build 8 of them as an inexpensive way to boost hull numbers in the short term.

Rob N

You will not get 8 T31e it is stealth cost cutting. It replaces 13 frontline frigates with 8 and 5 patrol boats.this is nothing but another cut in the RN – nothing less. With so many buying T26 we should ditch T31s and get more T26….

Rob

Waddi

CEC, if it ever happens, would also transform a T31’s utility. I see the Australians are moving forward with CEC as are the Japanese..

Grubbie

As ever, no real indication why we need these ships .”Taking pressure off high end units “,the main pressure is manpower, we can’t man the ships we already have and in the absence of a proper war why leave them literally gathering moss in the dockyard?”Defending home waters”lots of ships and boats already gathering moss here as well.”Defending shipping and countering submarine threat”,MPAs ,mine hunters and SSKs would be far more useful.
That leaves only one thing,the absolutely disastrous and unachievable expeditionary warfare fallacy.

Paul

So what’s your answer Grubbie? Keep the type 23s in the water till they rust away and never replace. The manpower requirement for these ships is 80 – 100 people. According to Wikipedia the complement of a T-23, the ships these will be replacing is 185. That might be for those with tails, but you could man all 5 planned T-31 with crew from 3 of the T-23s. The first of these is meant to be in service before the first T-26. So as you can see the RN is doing something about manning and the surface fleet.

Grubbie

I keep hearing about “hulls in the water”,the point that I am trying to make is,with only a limited ability to hunt submarines,what for?The only semi plausible reason is to try and form a carrier battle group. This simply cannot be done without at least doubling defence expenditure.Attempting to do it on the cheap will just waste resources on useless ships which will become deathtraps in the event that someone foolishly sends them into battle.The mission bays can only be useful if filled with something,that something is likely to be expensive.

Simon m

I don’t think the Danes, BMT or FOST think arrowhead is a deathtrap! They are simply not high asw warships by that reasoning we better scrap t45 all the RFA and aircraft carrier’s BAEs offering is crap IMHO if they offered anything questions would be asked about cost of t26. As a number of people commented a cut down t26 could have been an option but BAE offered this instead by extending opvs. Both the a140 and meko a200 are far superior

Meirion X

This coming week is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, which was the start of the campaign to retake Western Europe from Geman control during World War Two.
The Royal Navy played a very significant role in those landings, which is an example of a successful expeditionary warfare campaign. Another example is of course the Falklands War. A capable Royal Navy should be able to
rise to the challenge of expeditionary warfare when the need arises in the future.
Because Britain is still a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it means Britain is one of the 5 important countries on Earth to provide global security and to keep the trade routes open. Unfortunately, some of the other UN Security Council members do Not act as responsible global powers.

Trevor

The Normandy Landings were not expeditionary warfare… it was a continental sized all arms military campaign. It involved the creation of 2 whole ports.

Narvik was an expedition.

We have 2 roles.
We are part of NATO … and we do not stand alone in defending the Atlantic, Western Europe, North Sea and Mediterranean.

Standing alone … against our sole interests overseas can easily defend Falklands, which is an unsinkable aircraft carrier. I cannot think of anywhere else… we have left Hong Kong.

Beyond that … we join in anything else out of pure altruistic reasons. The Pacific / China Sea is a US (and Australian?) domain and as a tertiary role we can offer Antipodean support.

In so far that our (varied) socio politico economic benefits can be leveraged by our military activities then that should be utilised and it’s fair share added to the defence budget… and such benefits built on.

Meirion X

Maybe we should try get back Brunei?
Their oil reserves could run out in the next 20 years! Losing their main revenue earner to pay for basing of British assets.

Cam Hunter

Am I right in thinking our new OPVs will have lots in common with this lender ship? So no doubt we will be getting lender if that is the case. We need 10 or even 8 would do. We did have 16 type 23s…

Grubbie

Why?

James

Grubbie … By name and nature.
He’s never served never will and still he posts. Poor sod.

Grubbie

So you don’t have an answer then.You know nothing about my career.

James

You don’t and never have had a career in the Navy. I will remind you now in pubic is an offence to pretend or lie about a career. Mr grubbie have you ever been in the Royal Navy ?

Grubbie

Not true, as long as you don’t do it for financial gain,keep guessing!Almost 5million UK citizens qualify as veterans,so it’s inevitable that that number will include idiots such as yourself.

James

No grubbie as usual what you state isn’t true it’s an offence period.
So for the many who read these posts. Grubbie has never nor is in the Navy. Also in previous posts has admitted such.

So Grubbie. No need to guess in public I’m stating you’re not nor have been in the Royal Navy.

So in public Grubbie am I telling the truth unlike you or are you calling me a liar?

Grubbie

Sorry, but thats not true,l can claim to have been in the forces or deny it and it would be no business of the law.Have you been in the RN?There’s no need to tell the truth…..

James

Grubbie as usual evasive and wrong!

Yes

Now simply grubbie have you?

Grubbie

I thought that you said you already knew ?Now name that law you refer to.

James

Evasive to the last. Simple question again. Grubbie have you ever served in the navy?

Grubbie

There’s absolutely no reason for me to answer or any legal ramifications either way.

James

The reason is simply can you tell the truth!?
So have you ever served in the Royal Navy??

Grubbie

The truth is I’m not telling,even though you say that I already have.
It’s no use trying to live off the glorious past of the RN ,other than that you seem to have no ideas whatsoever.

James

Evasive to the last.
If you had served you would have first hand experience.
You don’t you have never served.
As such we all know on here you’re a sad arm chair Admiral.
Sorry your life didn’t go as you would have wished.
God I love a Walter Mitty type!

Grubbie

Ok I get it now, you only reached a lowly rank.Look at the mess the real admirals have got us into. I’m proud to say that I have never been an admiral. Frightening away desenting voices is not going find any more cash nor is deliberately building an unviable fleet structure.

James

You have never served.
I was commissioned.

Grubbie by name grubbie by nature.

Grubbie

So much “service “so little enlightenment.

Grubbie

Admiral West was in the navy and has managed to destroy it,so who knows what you’ve been up to.

Rick

He came up through the hawse pipe.

donald_of_tokyo

Leander and River B2 differs a lot. It will not much different from saying “T23 and T45 having similarity”, I guess. To start with, main engine differs (MAN vs MTU), no commonality in armament other than 30mm gun, uses the same family of CMS but differs a lot in its scale. All these things apply to T23 vs T45, as well. This can be simply summarized as, “Leander and River B2 is from the same shipyard, BAES”, and I agree there is a merit in view of maintenance.

Not sure if we need 3-5 more T31e. One more T26 will be better?

Paul

But Leander will be built by Cammel Laird.

donald_of_tokyo

Yes and no. BAES is building Leander using CL, designed by BAES design team. Now, BAE is the prime.

Jack

T31 and B2OPV will share commonality but not in the way that most think. Altho they have different equipment outfits the production process for the majority of the ship will be similar to what has been completed at BAE’s Govan yard for B2’s. This will allow the production to be quicker and cheaper with expertise form BAE being available to CL to improve efficiency.

Personally, I’d much rather have 3-5 more T31 regardless of outfit than one more T26. The RN’s structured as a very defensive fleet currently, this will probably be the case for many years to come. However, the policy of fitted for but not with is another effective way of controlling cost but allowing for capability improvements as and when required. T45 is a good example of this.

Glass Half Full

It seems to me what the RN need more than anything else in their ships going forward is mission flexibility and efficient manpower use; and this is a cornerstone for the T31 program. All the candidates seem to offer this, but IMO Arrowhead 140 has greater flexibility, due to the additional space/room for growth and higher performance, presuming all four diesels are fitted and is of course a proven low risk platform.

On flexibility for example, when the Hunt and Sandown MCMV age out we can’t IMO justify such specialised, dedicated replacements. It ties up a complete ships crew on this one mission when the RN is short on manpower and ships. If a conflict arises where mines aren’t a major threat, or are a threat half a world away from where MCMV vessels are located, then the ship and crew of a dedicated MCMV are wasted resources that cannot contribute to the conflict.

Whatever replaces the current MCMV needs to be capable of multiple roles, which will be possible by taking the ships out of the mine field and using channel standoff mine detection and disposal from UUV and USV. This is relevant to the T31 program in my view because the T31 should be capable of supporting the MCMV mission through embarkation of specialised mission modules, that can be embarked in the UK or flown around the world to be embarked, where and when needed, on an already on-station T31. Note in this use model that the specialised, skilled, manpower for MCM travel with the modules, they are not a permanent part of a ship’s crew. One way for the UK to increase its frigate force, perhaps significantly, is to replace the Hunt’s and Sandown’s with T31’s.

Mission modules seem to have a bit of a bad name because of the USN LCS program. However, the main problem with the LCS was the focus on >40 knots speed requirement (compromising other aspects) and that EVERYTHING became a mission module package. No new warship IMV should lack something like Sea Ceptor or ESSM, these are no longer optional, especially if said vessel is expected to operate off a hostile coast within ASM range doing MCM, littoral ASW or simply patrolling/escorting.

Given the above, I am less concerned with what a T31 commissions with in terms of armament as long as it has Sea Ceptor in addition to other basic armament such as 57mm, 30mm, chain guns, GPMGs for close in defense along with good radar/sensors and decoys. T31 with ISO based MCM and/or littoral ASW mission modules would be a very useful platform. All the better if the ASW is complemented by dipping sonar and torpedoes on Wildcat.

It would be nice to have Mk41 VLS, even just a x8 unit, but to be practical the RN currently has nothing qualified for it. So until the RN has qualified Mk41 VLS based solutions, which will take some time and will eventuate with Type 26, probably with Aster initially, then there is no need to fit Mk41 VLS, but T31 should be designed to take at least 8x cells in FFBNW for future flexibility and options. If nothing else, FFBNW MK41 VLS makes it harder for adversaries to gauge future RN strength and capabilities; first and foremost the RN exists for deterrence and this contributes to it without costing much.

Finally canister ASM seems an infatuation for many, despite virtually no one having used ship based ASM against another ship. Probably worth considering why the RN would chose to engage in a mano-a-mano engagement of major warships when it may (and probably should) have far better options, such as calling on air launched attack from land- or sea-based fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft. If it can’t call on that capability from UK or allied forces then perhaps it shouldn’t be in the situation it is? Also worth considering how a T31 would actually know where to target an over the horizon ASM in the absence of external air assets? A Wildcat could be pretty vulnerable to a peer warship’s SAM. So maybe the AEW UAV is the horse before the heavy ASM cart, until UAVs are qualified for the role with acceptable risk of loss. Wildcat launched Sea Venom, Martlet (air or ship launched) or perhaps even a cold launched SPEAR 3 from a Sea Ceptor cell would seem to address the requirement for non-peer FIAC?

This is just an attempt to broaden the debate rather than just demanding moar ships, moar and bigger guns and moar missiles along with moar of everything else until we end up spec’ing out a cruiser.

Captain Nemo

Completely agree. My preferred choice of Damen Crossover 139 isn’t even on the menu, but there the multi mission space is tied to a vehicle deck and a slipway for boats, so your options are pretty much wide open for future unmanned systems. The hanger takes two medium helicopters without impeding on the mission space and if you like it can embark a company of marines for ‘littoral strike’, or you can just use it as a patrol frigate. It could address three jobs reasonably well basically.
Must disagree with your assessment of NGS (somewhere above) however, if we’re going to be that risk averse then given the varying ranges of ASM we might never go near land again, cursed to roam the oceans forever.
The investment going into precision five inch suggests that the worlds navies still see a place for NGS and while I’m hopeful that the Royal Navy will see Spear 3 on its ships, its cited 120km range would mean a sea level range of 40km, sitting it alongside five inch guns. I could see NGS used in small scale raiding, not saying it’s a wise use of a T26 but the requirement for a chinook capable flight deck and the addition of a £40m gun must mean it’s an option they want to have.
The ASM debate got pretty lively at one point, but (for me) never having to have had to fire them is just as good an argument that they’re doing their job as it is the opposite. With modern multirole missiles available now, I could foresee a gapping purchase of something like JSM getting a lot of use before FC/ASW is ready.

DaveyB

The SSM option is always a hotly debated topic as no modern ships have fired at each other. The most famous I suppose is the Israeli v Egypt fight at the battle of Baltim. Where four Egyptian Osas engaged six Israeli Sa’ars. With the end result of 3 Osas being sunk. This all happened in the Yom Kippur War during the 70’s. The entire engagement was done firstly in visual range then just over the visual horizon using the Sa’ar’s radar for targeting. The OSAs were equipped with the Styx missile whilst the Israelis used the Gabriel. The Styx’s poor performance during the battle was because its active radar was highly susceptible to jamming.
Why is this relevant to the T31 debate. Well the Styx missile is the World’s most copied anti-ship missile and has been upgraded with newer sensors and newer rocket engines. It can be used from shore, aircraft and other ships. This is probably the “go to” missile for small countries looking to protect their shorelines or bought on the black market, as they are very cheap.
The T31 must have the sustained capability of defending itself against these low grade anti-ship missiles, but also against the most up to date. Therefore, its SeaCeptor magazine must have sufficient stock or have the ability of replenishment at sea, not dock like the T45’s Aster.
The ship I believe should have the capability of taking the fight to the aggressor, by having a multi-purpose weapon that can target both ships and land. But unless its using cooperative targeting aided by the ship’s helicopter or a UAV it must rely on its own sensors. Thus the range of the missile almost becomes irrelevant. A missile Like Brimestone (SPEAR 2) or its development in SPEAR 3 are obvious options as they use multiple sensors for targeting and can be third party controlled once launched. These are a relatively lightweight option, so the next obvious choice is NSM and its enhanced version the JSM (which is being cleared for the F35B). The reason this missile should be used is that it can be used in either land attack or anti-ship modes. It uses Imaging Infra Red as its primary sensor and uses image recognition to target ships (not lock on to a cruise liner by mistake or when decoyed). It has proven its capabilities against both fixed and slow moving targets on land. So perhaps for a ship that is expected to operate near to/ within sight of a coastline a combination of Brimestone and JSM is the way forward as it gives the crew the best options of combating threats such as fast attack craft, shore batteries, and peer warships.

Glass Half Full

I wonder if the cranes on both Leander and A140 can support Sea Ceptor at sea replenishment? They seem to be in an appropriate position to do so.

NSM and JSM have been gaining significant momentum, JSM particularly seems to make sense for the UK with its multi-platform, multi-use/target flexibility. Who knows, maybe the Norwegians and Australians will qualify JSM on the P8 like they drove F-35 integration? Hopefully JSM is the medium range high subsonic capability to the FC/ASW’s long range supersonic or better capability.

D J

JSM also physically fits in a mk41 launcher (although likely to require a booster to make up for the fact that is not being air launched). This will make it even harder to work out if a ship has them aboard. It also has a dual mode seeker unlike current NSM. Sub launched version also in the works according to Konsberg.

T31 does need to have more SAMs then listed above though. An escort needs to have enough onboard to do more than self defence unless it’s a specialised unit. A bit more speed might also be a good idea.

Glass Half Full

I assume Damen weren’t interested in partnering for a UK build and/or found the target price unattractive? However, Damen actually seem a good model for what UK domestic shipbuilding needs to become. Capable of supporting domestic defense contracts, but not reliant on them, competing in targeted commercial markets with the ability to leverage domestic and international yards. Developing many in house commercial and defense designs and actively going out and competing with them. They don’t seem to expect business just to be handed to them, they fight for it.

Ref NGS and operating inshore, I’m not proposing T31 becomes the Flying Dutchman class 😉 Performing MCM, littoral ASW and air defense as an escort for example are for me much higher value add activities that justify the risk of operating within ASM range, lobbing a relatively few shells for relatively limited effect is not. Interestingly the Danes seem to have the most appropriate approach, i.e. put the 5″ gun on the Absalon that has to stand in close to do its job and and just fit 76mm to the Iver Huitfeldt. If for some reason we really needed to lay down lots of artillery fire then maybe we’d be better off loading up a bunch of Excalibur firing AS-90’s and GMLRS on Point, Bay or Albion Class decks, with much more robust air defense ships along with them, I’m only half joking.

Agree with JSM, which might not even overlap with FC/ASW depending on what the latter ends up being. I can see JSM and FC/ASW as complimentary.

Glass Half Full

BTW, I also meant to add that it would be interesting to know what the arc of fire of the forward gun is on Leander? It looks constrained. Compare particularly to the Damen Crossover 139 and it really stands out.

Pacman27

Good debate going on here and one I wish to add to.

The RN need a total fleet plan for renewal at any given point in time (that is a rolling 25 year plan).

MCM/MCV (13-15)- replaced with a mothership (T31) – (take your pick of designs)
OPV’s (8-10) – replace with T31

In total 25 T31’s.

T23 (13) T45 (6) – replace with 14 full spectrum T26 (money saved to fund above)

All amphib(5) hospital(1) SSS(3) FFT(7) replaced by Tide class Karel Doorman style multi role vessel.
2 carriers.
26 inshore patrol vessels (I like the safe boat my 6 but again take your pick)

SSN’s increased to 10, SSBN’s retained at 4.

Lastly we need ship to shore connectors (24) and a large fleet of CB90’s (200) for the marines.

The latest unmanned solutions are what make this work, we no longer need massively specialised ships in the main – we need ships that can deliver systems.

Captain Nemo

It’d be nice to see some blue sky thinking considered.
Crossover 139 (for example) replacing GP T23, Rivers, MCM’s, Bays and Albion’s (let’s say 18 total) would give you drumbeat production, enough hulls for routine tasking and you could swarm an amphibious task group which could escort itself.
Never happen though.

Glass Half Full

Once we go for a flexible relatively low cost platform like T31, fantasy fleets no longer look quite so much of a fantasy and out of reach do they, with the UK already on track to have much of what you outline. Some thoughts.

Replacing OPVs with T31 certainly gains flexibility and helps drive, or at least keep costs low for T31. It seems possible to operate T31 for constabulary duty with a similar manning level to OPVs, and T140 for example is designed to be very economical with the ability to cruise on a single engine. It would be interesting to see how the operational costs would pan out in this scenario. The issue of course is that the current OPVs have actually proved very useful with apparently high utilisation in their current roles. So a T31 purchase cost would be at a significant premium to a non-TOBA price inflated OPV, with the result of very likely performing a constabulary role all its life. It really comes down to a risk assessment on the need for comparatively so many frigates, remembering that the UK operates with allies across the world most of which operate very capable frigate platforms too. The UK doesn’t have to do it all on its own.

BTW it doesn’t seem to be beyond the wit of man to also use the T31 hull for Echo class replacement in due course.

Using T26 for T45 replacement makes sense but I’d like to see BAES sharpen its pencil on the price for the remaining 5x T26 ASW ships and for the 6x T45 replacements, given the amount of international business its getting. Choosing T140 for the T31 platform should concentrate BAES minds with respect to T45 replacement.

On more SSNs I’m not so convinced. AIP subs seem a very compelling option for Atlantic and Med use and are certainly not restricted to these theaters in RN service; the 7 SSNs can then be used more strategically and for longer range effects. For example, providing RN manpower could be ramped to support extra numbers, then the price of 3 additional SSNs might instead buy 9+ AIP subs of the Soryu class. Or perhaps more realistically fewer AIP boats at a lower purchase and operating cost. However, I suspect MoD is looking at unmanned platforms to increase North Atlantic numbers, given recent inquiries to industry.

Definitely agree with the the last sentence.

Grubbie

A question for anyone with knowledge of seaceptor. Wilst getting the beautifully smooth launch to work must have been an immense technical challenge, the launch tubes themselves appear to be incredibly simple and hopefully quite cheap,so why would a ship designer stop adding them before they had run out of real estate?
Also is there any reason why the tubes can’t be used for other missiles?I imagine that the warhead on the seaceptor itself is a bit too small, could it be increased?The US has experimented with an anti speedboat mode for the sidewinder and seacat had height cushion mode.

Gunbuster

A sea ceptor launch tube is around 30cm square and around 3 m long. You can quad pack them into a Mk41 the same way that Evolved Sea Sparrow can be. It can also be fitted into its own dedicated launcher as it has been on a T23 where the RN has fitted a small square peg in a large round Seawolf launcher hole.
The launch control electronics consist of a home fridge sized data link and electronics unit and a data link aerial on the upper deck. It really is very compact and simple.

OOA

Hmm.. Floréal class looks like a better template for forward presence to me. More rounded weapons fit too. We should have a better look at what others are doing in these discussions to benchmark our own thinking – May put pen to paper at some point when I make time.

Also, I don’t quite buy this fashion for mission bays and suspect it may reflect too much skew towards HADR in the requirements. A warship must be able to wage war; the clue is in the name.

Grubbie

HADR,Humanitarian aid disaster relief?This has always been a bit of a con,the amount of useful aid that can be delivered by a warship is insignificant. In fact one of the major problems in the wake of a natural disaster is a lack of employment for the local population, so a ships crew performing easy tasks is often a hindrance after the intial desperate needs have been met.
Mission bays seem to be just another form of fitted for but not with,obviously they are not going to magically make solutions cheaper.

James

Grubbie as usual the fact you’re not nor have ever been in the navy is obvious.

The aid we can deliver is not insignificant. Ask those poor people we helped.

No you can’t ! You have never nor will be in operations.

Grubbie

I’m not saying it’s pointless, at least in the immediate aftermath,but a ro ro would be much cheaper and massively more useful.Maybe it would help if you managed to extract your head and consider things more objectively.

James

May be if you had served you would have an idea about what you were talking about.

But no you haven’t.

Grubbie by name and nature.

Grubbie

Ok I’m bored now ,what idea’s do you have for the structure of the fleet?Thought not.

James

Grubbie by name and nature.
All those who use this forum know what type you are. Sad. In the true sense of the word sad.
We all know you haven’t served and never will.

We pity you grubbie.

Grubbie

No knowledge about warships?

James

Grubbie by name and nature.
Never served never will.

Grubbie

I came up with that name so it’s not going to work as an insult is it?Get back to the subject,military and industrial strategy (yes industrial, the RN can’t just exist in glorious isolation)

James

The subject is you can’t be honest.

You have never served in the Royal Navy. You can’t even be honest about that.

Grubbie

Who do you think you are?

James

Someone who has served!
Have you grubbie?

Grubbie

That all youve got?

Steve

Get a grip, Grubbie!!! Pathetic!

Grubbie

Fair enough, never respond to a troll.The very worst of the type that justifies the RN only for the greater glory of the RN. Bye.

Rick

Ah Grubbie, the crusty track suit commando.

OOA

Hopefully it’s not a strict requirement to have served to be able to post on here.I haven’t but I’m interested in these issues and try to do my bit (wrote to Penny M the other day with suggested solutions to the staffing shortages..)

Anyway, surely the point is that if you look around at other Navies, there seems to be a consensus that light armaments are not good enough to give a warship reasonable utility. Didn’t the Americans recently come to this conclusion re. LCS? I used to be in favour of the idea of a modest but numerous tripwire force backed-up by a powerful task force but I’m increasingly less convinced. The main reason being the capability of potential adversaries is growing quickly and with this in mind, I can’t really get my head around fielding warships which we know from the outset would lack basic weapons systems fits such as a couple of SSMs.

GlynH

The 31e brings about more constructive & destructive argument than Dreadnought does 😮

I do think Leander is the best option, because we are talking about a hi-lo setup here (the other two contenders aren’t that low-end for me, sorry but that’s how I feel). We should draw example from the USN’s OHP Frigates . . what wonderfully robust little low-end ships they were / continue to be 🙂

Just like the OHP’s precedent, Type 31e needs two dozen SAMs, eight ASMs, a 76mm, a pair of 30mm, a Phalanx mount and if, and if, we want ASW then a bank of StingRay launchers. All this makes a low-end, can defend itself and others TO A POINT, nice little warship.

Frankly my concern is more about the Type 26 in a hi-lo setup. In an ideal world I see them carrying 32 CAMMs, 16 ASROCs and 8 LRASMs. Land Attack is not a priority for me, since the RN does that with Block IV THawks. I fear more for Type 26 not having such weapons then any Type 31e pros & cons.

Waddi

https://www.janes.com/article/88851/asw-sonar-system-to-undergo-at-sea-trials-cs19d1

I do think this sort of thing is becoming the way forward. Lightly armed ships with decent power generation upgraded as needed with “plug and play” containerised weapon systems.