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Must be a reason I guess, just like only having 3 Phalanx, no VLS and only the 8 UK F35b’s. If you are going to show off to the World it would surely be better to equip her with the intended equipment ?


Absolutely mate!


It’s kind of embarrassing and kind of strange at the same time… and what if the wildcats can’t get into the air? And phalanx only have a short ammo load. We need sea ceptor for anti air, and marlet mounted on 30mm, even if just for show. What we have done is made our carrier look weak….NOT A GOOD THING.

Andrew D

This does seem a bit odd why the RN have left these weapons at home.


Agree Cam. Even just purchasing a handful of S-100 drones with Martlet launchers would add significant punch and improve area surveillance around the ship. Having spent billions on the ships and aircraft I still find it hard to see the logic behind not spending a further <<1% of the build costs on a basic weapon loadout to defend them with. And I don’t see why our carriers are so special that they don’t need their own missile defences whilst every other major navy’s carriers all fit them as standard. I’d respect the decision makers alot more if they were just upfront and said “we don’t want to/can’t afford the money”, instead of feeding us the usual non-sensical garbage which, somehow, doesn’t apply to other peer navies.


In some ways I agree, then again? The RN has not operated a Carrier Battlegroup of this size since 1978. Yes I know some will argue what about the Falklands Task Group etc. They were baby carriers. The RN has not operated a Battle Group in the South China Seas since I think 1973, so the politics and threat for that region has changed. So to have US aircraft and a US ship with the group make sense as they have the experiance of operating in that region.

Could we have sent the QE out with an all British F35B air wing, yes, but you also need to remember that the Prince of Wales will do her F35B work up this year in UK waters using RAF/FAA aircraft.

You might argue that we should have bought more, more of what the earlier models that are undergoing upgrades or in the next few years where the aircraft has all the latest upgrades and fully developed. Not only that but the cost in the next few years would be about 20% cheaper than five years ago. What many people forget this is a training deployement, full carrier operations is from 2023 by then we are expected to have 48 F35Bs we have just ordered a further 17 of these aircraft to be operational by 2022. The plan is for each carrier to have two squadrons of 12 aircraft each for each carrier with a surge capacity of three squadrons per carrier. I do not know if the surge capacity would include NATO partners but it does seem that we will be buying more than the 48 that people speak about. Not only that but from my reading of information it also looks like the RAF is looking more to the Tempest program and the loyal wingman concept for its future. If that is the case then the F35Bs could come under the control of the RNs FAA where 72 aircraft would be enough.

As for self defence, I agree in many ways with you I would like to self the self defence armerment of the QE as follows, 3-4 X 8 Sea Ceptor Missiles, 24-36 total, no reloads needed if the enemy has swarmened the defence of the carrier group and carrier then nothing will stop them in the end; 4x 40mm BAE 40 Mk4, 4x Mk38 Mod 3 25mm machine guns and 6x GAU-19/B 0.5in Gattling guns. No Phalanx CIWS, no 30mm guns, no LMM unless fire and forget, no GPMGs, no mini guns, no LMGs. Placement of the defence weapons, Sea Ceptor in the same locations as the planned four Phalanx CIWS systems, the 40mm in place of the 30mm the Mk38s two port two Starboard where space could be either found or a small deck made, and the GAU-19s in the gun ports on a swing arm. The cost I would expect to be without and deck modification about £100 million per carrier. All cable work such as computer networking, power supply etc, all electrical work etc could be carried out by RN tiffies, they know how. Intergration of the 40mms and GAU-19s by weaps, they also know how. I am sure that the RN also has people that know how to work with metal to make swing arms etc, if not they should do. So a lot of the work could be done by RN personnel as long as they get the kit, this would save money and give tiffies something they would enjoy, real work.

Always Right

“So to have US aircraft and a US ship with the group make sense as they have the experience of operating in that region.”

No it doesn’t. They’re there so US Marines can actually inter-operate on a fleet carrier with the F-35.

“The RN has not operated a Carrier Battlegroup of this size since 1978.”

Erm, it did throughout the 2000s.

” The RN has not operated a Battle Group in the South China Seas since I think 1973″

It sails through that region constantly, as a blue-water navy. You’re totally clueless Ron. The incompetent US does not have more experience.

Last edited 2 years ago by Always Right
Dogs Nads

Meanwhile the USN is buying the UK’s ASCG as the successor to the 25mm Mk.38 Mod 3….they’re calling it the Mk.38 Mod.4…

The ASCG can also take a 40mm gun in place of the 30mm if required (Bushmaster Super 40)…


I thought Martlet would be a terrific addition to the Wildcat’s ability to defend ships against small boat attackers. However, my opinion changed considerably following the article on here that said Martlet was not a fire and forget missile and needed target designation from the helicopter. This limits the number of concurrent engagements and hence the usefulness against swarms.
I can’t believe that with fire and forget capability being technology that’s been in service on other missiles for years, that we are building a brand new missile that doesn’t have it


The missile does have an IR sensor in the nose. However, it has to be guided to the target for the majority of the distance, when it gets with a certain range the nose sensor takes over and guides the missile to the target. Unfortunately Martlet, although based on some parts of Starstreak, travels at 1/3 its speed at around Mach 1.5. If it travelled faster then more targets could be engaged after the missile locks on to its target. It’s a shame that Thales and MBDA did not collaborate on Martlet with either the adoption of the ASRAAM Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker or Brimstone’s mm Wavelength radar. Either of these options would have given t he missile the ability to discriminate and positively identify the target, as they both can produce high quality images of the target. Thus giving them a fire and forget capability.

Rob N

It sounds like Martlet is not very useful as it is incapable of hitting a target without having its hand held most of the way by a heli making itself a target to do so. We should have bought something else. If MoD bought the surface attack mode on Sea Ceptor that would be a better option – at least it can find its way to a target…


All of these ideas are fantastic when you don’t have to consider the cost, but in the real world you can’t just slap on whatever advanced sensor or adapt any weapon to any role.

A helicopter slinging 20 Mach 1.5 missiles at small boats has literally every advantage in targeting and time that it needs. Adding expensive sensors or trying to use a far larger and complex missile for the same role defeats the purpose of a cheap, rapid fire weapon.


As I understand it the point is that it can’t sling 20 missiles at small boats as the missiles can only be fired one at a time so that the helicopter can designate their target up until the terminal phase


A Mach 1.5 missile with an 8km+ range takes about 10-15 seconds from launch to terminal at max range. (without knowing how close it needs to get to lock on itself, that’s as accurate as I can be). In that window, a boat doing 50knots moves less than 400m. If the boats are heading for the carrier, and the helicopter is heading out from roughly the direction of the carrier, that’s well under 3 minutes to kill all 20 targets, at which point those boats have moved less than a mile closer to their target.

That’s a bad scenario for the RN as, most attack craft aren’t that fast and they’ve only sent up one helicopter against what is a substantial raid.


I do not think LMM has an IR sensor or is guided by IR at any point. Thales doesn’t seem to think so either and they make the beasties.


You need to read their “brochure” more closely. From the bumpf, it will only lock on to the target using its IR sensor at very close ranges. Where the majority of its flight will be command guided.


You are sooooo wrong dude.

The controller back on the ship can use IR to direct the laser which guides the missile. The missile itself has no IR sensors.


Ron as you are aware Martlet can have three different type on nose sections, one that contains a small IR sensor, one that contains a laser seeker and one that contains no sensors.

The bottom image shows a Martlet as used by the Royal Marines during the ground trials against small airborne drones and larger target drones. The nose of this missile contains the small IR sensor.

The below image (from earlier in Navy Lookout), is of Wildcat, carrying Sea Venom and Martlet. The Martlet shown partially out of its launch tube, has the small IR sensor.
comment image

I would expect the MoD to only purchase the one variant, but would not be surprised if they also opted for the cheaper version minus the nose sensor.

At no point is the missile guided by IR from the tracker unit. It is purely command guided via radio data-link using SACLOS. The target is optically tracked which may be via an IR camera or a visual spectrum day/night camera. It is painted with the tracker’s two lasers to generate an overlaid grid pattern. The delta between the target’s grid pattern and the missile’s position, generates the intercept steering command. The tracker must maintain line of sight continually to make sure the missile reaches the target.

I’m not sure what would happen if you fired a second missile a couple of seconds after the first towards the same target then switched to another target. In theory the missile should steer towards the new target as there is a large delta between it and the new grid pattern.

Martlet Missile 1.jpg
Last edited 2 years ago by DaveyB

It’s comparatively rare to see a long comment here that’s totally a work of fiction. This is one such post.

Martlet actually works as a laser beam rider. The tracker directs a laser beam at the target, the missile using laser sensors in its tail, stays on that beam until the missile either hits the target or flies close enough to trigger the proximity fuse.

Thales has said a future variant may use a laser seeker so that it can home onto an off platform laser reflected from the target but that’s not Martlet.


Sea Venom appear too big compared to Spike NLOS

Dogs Nads

DaveyB thats incorrect.

The IIR seeker has not been developed and fielded. Martlet is (at present) laser guided only. The IIR seeker was/is a development option that Thales have proposed, it has not been taken up yet.

Fitting an MMW seeker or as complex an IIR seeker as Asraam in a small missile like Martlet is beyond the state of the art at present.


Martlet/LMM can fly at Mach 1.5. It will take ~25 seconds to reach 8 km max-range (or ~12s for 4 km). Fast boat is ~20 m/s at most, it can travel only 500 m (or 250 m, respectively). If fired from ~4 km distance from a Wildcat flying “backwards” following the enemy boat at high altitude (beyond the MANPADS range), all 20 LMMs will be fired within 4’20”, which means 5 km retreat. Not very fast, but not sure if this is unacceptable.

By the way, good point of laser aiming is that you can snipe your enemy, even when there are fishery boats near the enemy. Fire-and-forget is good only in “simple” war, when the region is cleared of non-military assets. In littoral region, where fast-boat attack is foreseen, this is not the case. So, having fire and forget missile is good. But, RN will still need something more limited. I think LMM is indented to cover the latter.

By the way, what is the candidate fire-and-forget anti-surface missiles? SPEAR3 will be “great”, but it is large and much more expensive than LMM. Its 2-way datalink means you need significant number of operators (man-power) to “decide” which boat to hit and which to abort. Doable but not so easy.

Also LMM being cheap could be used to fire against (relatively slow moving) cheap UAVs.


Venom is the fire and (mostly) forget Wildcat weapon.


Like you, I’d have liked a fire and forget capability.
However, in its defence, there are other well-liked and widely used precision guided weapon systems like this- stuff like APKWS (I know, it’s a bolt on kit), so there’s a recognised need/use for such a weapon. It should also be noted that most Hellfire varients (including those in use today) except for the Longbow model are also laser guided only. So it’s not like we’ve taken a massively regressive step here, it’s just that we haven’t gone leaps and bounds ahead either.


They need Spike like in South Korea Wildcats. There are also naval mounts with up to 8.


I think that’s what we’ve got Sea venom for, publicly stated range is similar and they’re both fire and forget with data links. I think Sea Venom has a bigger warhead too, although Spike NLOS hit a target 32 km away in a US Army test from an AH-64E. Not to say that Sea Venom can’t reach that far, just that MBDA claim it to be less than that.


When it will be operational?


IOC with the RN is 2022, Martlet was more or less on time so no reason to expect that to change at the moment.

Dogs Nads

They’re actually taking Sea Venom along for CSG21, so expect to see it, pre IOC, on the deployment.


That’s good news!
The real shame for me is the lack of cross-qualification; Merlin gets Stingray and sonobuoys (maybe martlet?) but no Sea Venom, Wildcat gets Sea Venom, Martlet, Stingray, but no sonobuoys (and no dipping sonar), F35B (I’m including here, because it’s the strike asset of the CSG) gets none of the above, and neither do the P-8A (except for the sonobuoys, they need to use inferior Mk54 torpedoes). If nothing else, the two rotorcraft types should be able to utilise all the systems I’ve mentioned.
AAC Wildcat and AH-64E also get missed off the integration list, even though Martlet in particular would fit requirements for a small laser guided weapon that can be carried in quite large numbers.
I’m not quite clear on why F35 couldn’t carry the Sea Venom in particular, it has lock on after launch (required for internal carriage I believe), and is faster than Spear 3, so shouldn’t be an issue for high speed separation from the launching aircraft. With it’s larger warhead (than Spear 3) it would be a powerful combination, in my opinion.


For Merlin, they are a scarce and very valuable ASW resource not to be risked plinking speed boats.

Wildcat, on the other hand, has too little load capacity to perform useful ASW. Endurance with dipping sonar and one torpedo is less than one hour.

As for Sea Spear and Venom, I agree there seems to be significant overlap. I wouldn’t think the UK has so much money to spare to develop two very similar missiles. Hopefully they share components.


I take your point about the ASW focus of Merlin, but Sea Venom is rated as a ship killer up to the 500 T range, and would be a mission killer beyond that. I’d say that it’s worth getting Merlin able to carry that, especially for the ones that may be out ranging on a T26 in the GIUK gap as part of a NATO task force (I think that’s a mission set for them, in addition to CSG escort, isn’t it?).
I had no idea that Wildcat had such low endurance when packing a dipping sonar! That is something to consider. Can they at least carry sonobuoy dispensers?
I think the primary difference between the two is warhead size- Sea Venom has a 30 kg warhead, while Spear 3 is quite a lot smaller. Sea Venom is faster too, but with a shorter range. To me, that makes them sufficiently different to warrant the two types, but also to justify them both being qualified for carriage on F35B. Currently, they don’t have a weapon that we’ve signed up to buy that can kill anything much bigger than a fishing boat (I’m pretty sure Spear 3 can do that). Sea Venom should kill anything up to a small corvette out to about 30 km (maybe more, max ranges are always understated), and I think that’s a pretty decent capability for a stealthy platfom. Obviously, a JSM-sized weapon would be better, but we work with what we have!
I also maintain that the AAC platforms would benefit from Martlet at least. The US Army recently ran tests launching Spike NLOS from their AH-64Es, the justification being that they want to be able to hit stuff from out of the range of SHORAD systems like Pantsir. Sea Venom could do that job for us, too.

Last edited 2 years ago by Joe16

We seem to be spending money developing and buying a lot of different types of missile but end up not covering all of the missions.
Spear 3 has neither the range or warhead size to be used against large area defence equipped ships.
Sea Venom seems to do what Spear 3 does but launched from helicopters instead of planes and Martlet doesn’t seem fit for purpose as it needs the launch platform for guidance reducing its usefulness against swarms and requires the helicopter to put itself at higher risk.
I’d have rather we developed one lightweight missile with it’s own guidance for helicopter launch against small boats and ships <= 1,000 tons and bought JSM for launch from the F35 against large combatants.
I wonder if this plethora of missiles is more about creating amd sustaining jobs tham providing proper capability across the threat spectrum.


So all aircraft should carry everything, what the f**k…


OK, didn’t think the statement required responses with expletives, but anyway.
No, I didn’t quite say that, but I did say that all aircraft should be qualified to carry weapons that are relevant to their mission set. Pretty much all USAF, USMC, and USN aircraft are qualified to carry each other’s weaponry(within their weight class) with some exceptions, same with US Army, USMC and USN helicopters.
I very clearly did not suggest that any rotorcraft get given Spear 3 (or any of the Paveway munitions we use), because their max altitudes and flight speeds aren’t optimised for delivering that kind of weapon. Neither did I recommend brimstone for them, even though we’re qualifying AH-64E for them.
But we use Merlin, Wildcat, and P-8A as our primary ASW and maritime surface warfare platforms, yet none of them are fully fitted for all of our inventoried weaponry for those missions. That strikes me as a bit daft. With P-8A, we’re purchasing Mk54 torpedoes especially for them- rather than qualify them for our inventoried weapon.
Likewise, F-35B will have no AShM of any kind that has a warhead bigger than an ATGM (until the 2030s at the earliest when FC/ASW comes along). Even though it’s the primary strike aircraft of our CSG. Does that not seem a bit off to you? For comparison, the LRASM is in the process of being cleared on the F/A-18 and the P-8A, having already being qualified for the B-1B. I have not suggested that F-35B get sonobuoys or Stingray (or at least I didn’t mean to imply that) nor have I suggested that our helicopters and P-8A get fitted with our A2a missiles (in fact, I’ve not even mentioned them at all).


I think he did go too far but there’s definitely a case for Sea Venom on a proportion of the Merlin fleet. At the moment escorts operating independently either carry Merlin while leaves them with no air launched anti-ship capability or Wildcat which leaves them with no helicopter ASW capability (a particular problem for T45’s which don’t have a great sonar)


This is exactly the kind of problem that I’m talking about and the reason for my statement. We have RN commitments that don’t involve a CSG with both Merlins and Wildcats in the air wing.
Unless I’m mistaken, we’ll be assigning T26 to the SNMGs that patrol the GIUK gap and elsewhere on ASW patrols- and they’ll either get a Merlin (most likely) with decent ASW but no surface warfare weaponry, or a Wildcat with limited ASW capability. Likewise with escorts in the Straits of Hormuz, where there are threats that range from small boat swarms to SSK and midget submarines.
It just seems to me to be penny pinching again. I know there’s a significant disparity in budget, but the US services very broadly qualify wepaons systems across their aircraft types, and I believe they do it for reasons of practicality rather than throwing money into the pit of the big defence contractors (or at least mostly)!


Thanks for the info joe16.


While I appreciate the MOD and Navy have to juggle competing demands with scarce resources, it seems to me this is the wrong decision. The most likely threat to the aircraft carriers will be terrorist attack when anchored in harbour (or just offshore if the facilities are not large enough) – they will be stationary for a known period of time and within reach of easy to obtain drones or boats. In those circumstances they won’t be surrounded by a “ring of steel” nor is it likely that there will be a Wildcat in the air. There will be literally seconds between identifying threats from the surrounding innocent civilian traffic and having to engage them. Any potential attacker can work out from public info and a pair of binoculars which direction to come from to minimise the number of weapons that can be brought to bear. These four mounts are relatively simple and inexpensive and would provide much needed protection. This is one occassion where I sincerely hope I am proven wrong and we don’t come to regret this decision.

Andy Smith

100% agree


If we’re talking about the carrier being in dock, or just anchored a short way off, I find it very difficult to believe that the ROE would allow bursts of automatic 30 mm cannonfire into an allied nation’s port infrastructure (and personnel). I’ve not ever served in the RN, but I’d be deeply surprised if these systems would even be turned on when docked like this. Most of the photos I’ve seen of USN and RN ships in port may include some pintle mounted GPMG or something, and an armed shore patrol, but I’d be surprised if they had any of the bigger systems fired up- Aside from anything else, the angle of depression required might be too much for the gun mounts, to engage something dockside when berthed.

Trevor H



Bean counters 1 – 0 RN


The the bean counters are already over a 1000 to one so lets make it 1001 – 0.

Dogs Nads

They’re not even saving much money…the guns and mounts were bought and paid for in 2016.

They’re presumably in a warehouse still shrinkwrapped at present.


Installation cost?


Your information isn’t strictly accurate. Having worked in the 30mm world, I can assure you the only ASCG mounts purchased by MOD (indirectly) in the last decade were for the five new Batch 2 OPVs. They were ordered in 2016 by BAE Systems (not MOD) and were built and paid for at intervals to dovetail with the ships’ build schedule. MOD subsequently paid BAE Systems for each finished ship, they didn’t order the mounts themselves and no mounts went anywhere near MOD storage. As for QEC, 30mm ASCG was always in the plan but QEC is no different than any other over-running project and plans sometimes have to change. When I left the 30mm world, close protection for QEC still favoured the use of ASCG and moves were afoot to make both ships ‘ready to receive’.


The danger that a 30mm round could hit an accompanying vessel if fired is a pretty weak argument for not adding the ASCG mounts!

I’m a real proponent of the CSG and cannot wait to see it formed up and steaming eastwards. However i can’t help but find the extremes of penny pinching a little depressing at times. Any capital ship the size and importance of QE & PoW in any other serious navy would have small caliber mounts AND a point defence missile system like Sea Ceptor. The article nicely sums it up by saying you will never regret having too much firepower.

Coupled with 7 Merlin’s having to double up conducting ASW & AEW, the lack of firepower on the destroyers and frigates with Harpoon antiquated or possibly missing entirely and no offensive capability, the single point of failure in Fort Victoria and the lack of munitions integrated onto F35 and I still sadly feel it’s a bit too much of a paper tiger with none of robustness needed for a decent fight.

Possibly (hopefully) by the 2030’s we’ll have AEW drones, Perseus on the surface fleet, 3 FSS in service and 24 F35 routinely embarked with Meteor, Spear 3 and various other goodies.


The speed things are going the war with China will have happened by 2030. We are on a countdown.


Several countries think your timeline may not match reality. The likes of Australia, Singapore & Japan have been pushing the envelope on the assumption that 2030 may be a little too late (while hoping it’s not). Very serious money is being spent in the Asia Pacific on defence not seen since WW2. COVID – made zero difference (in fact new very expensive defence announcements continue) – something that hasn’t been the case in other geographical areas. S Korea is an exception – it seems they never got the peace dividend message (something to do with the Mr Kim(s) next door)?


I am not interest in their timelines. I am interested in internal tensions in China. That is what will drive an armed episode out there.

Meirion X

You have forgotten the more immediate threat of Russia, peacenik x! It seems you been spoken to by friends in the Kremlin again peacenik x! Russia is the more immediate threat to NATO and countries looking west, that includes us, they don’t need to invade all of Europe, but control strategic places or areas only,
in next few years. And to get us hooked on their energy, which I noticed you work for, peacenik x!

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X

That’s a submarine problem.

Meirion X

Russia is more than a submarine problem, Peacenik x! Russia is upgrading its long range bombers, and has substantial airborne forces including Spetsnaz forces that could penetrate right into the heart of Europe. Putin’s aim is the destruction of NATO politically and rebuild the Russian Empire.
The Russia problem needs to be dealt with sooner then later!

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X

Russia is a submarine problem. The long range bombers and SF laden Ilyushins have to fly through NATO air before they get near us.

Rob N

Agree that we have invested so much in the carriers it appear mad not to invest a modest extra and arm them properly. They should have the full 4 Phalanx systems and be fitted with Sea Ceptor. Anything less is just penny pinching and putting the carriers at further risk.


It doesn’t put the carriers at risk for a second.

If any carrier ever had to seriously fire off a self defence missile it’s already on its way out of theatre so much would need to have gone wrong first.

Carriers don’t shoot missiles they operate aircraft. You can’t fire off bloody volleys of SAMs in the middle of a flying program!. That’s why the missiles are up threat on the escorts in the first place!.


Jesus Christ, stop putting fullstops after exclamation marks.


No chance that any of a swarm of attacking craft may bring a couple of shoulder launched missiles to the party and blast the Wldcats out of the air then? Since when were Type 45 and 23 warships designed to give up their helicopter A/S screen duties to an aircraft carrier in order to launch short range missiles at small boats? Jerry Kidd mentioned that for this deployment not many F35b would be carried and the force would be packed out with helicopters to make up the numbers. They haven’t even got the right helicopters, or is it a case of they haven’t got enough helicopters of any type! Never forget the motto of the Senior Service “fitted for but not necessarily with”

Trevor H

Why do so many of you bother to appear on these blogs?


What’s the carrier allowed out again? 9 merlins, 18 F35bs, how many wildcats? S**t I would have stuck on 4 Apaches as well.


Now 4 Apaches for force protection sounds one hell of a lot better than Wildcats.

Dogs Nads

Not in a maritime environment.. Wildcats radar is massively more capable than even the latest Apache E in the maritime environment.


And another thing, CDG will have her full compliment on display I’ll bet !


CDG will be carrying 20 Rafales ( they have a slow progression in various updates – F3R is the latest) and yes the CDG was launched before the now retired HMS Ocean.
And CDG will go as far as the Gulf and then return after showing the Tricolour for customers of french naval equipment

Patrick Borderie

CDG does have Aster 15 AA missiles, 2 Hawkeyes and its Rafales are now equipped with Meteor BVR missiles.
A pretty good carrier I would have thought.


Cant catapult or recover a thing in heavy fog


She only takes 2 Hawkeyes for deployments, so how do they provide 24/7 cover?


CDG also has the only remaining Arabel MFR in the French fleet to direct its Asters. Should help an opponent ID the ship the second that lights up!.

CDG also had to have its own short range air defence as they only have 2 AAW destroyers!.

Patrick Borderie

What I find interesting is the patriotic fervour on both sides. I read posts in both the UKDJ (UK) and OPEX 360 (FR), and of course, the great Navy Lookout websites and it seems to me that patriotism on both sides gets in the way of objective appraisal of our respective (Marine Nationale & R.N.) capabilities.
As per the Lancaster House agreements, we are firm allies and despite Brexit, I for one think that the MN and the RN have a bright future working together towards a more secure maritime environment.
I think it will be very interesting to hear (if we do?) how our respective Carrier Task Forces evaluated their encounter and co-operation in the Mediterranean.


There was no slight on the Marine Nationale intended there Patrick. Although I do think that continuing to mount a radar system that is unique and broadcasts your most important units identity to anything with a decent ESM set is a new level of ‘special’. I can’t conceive of a scenario where the ships PWO(A) wants to light that system up to bring his SAMs into action.

My point, rather, was to highlight that it’s not simply a case of bolting in a couple of VLS packs, filling them with missiles and everything is just peachy!. It doesn’t work like that. The whole aspect of the capability in terms of need, operational impact and resources impact needs consideration.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jonesy
Patrick Borderie

Merci beaucoup Jonesy.
The point I was making is that on British and French websites there is a total disdain for the other service’s capability. Methinks we need to wait for the encounter of both carrier task forces to evaluate the pluses and minuses of CDG and QE.
I absolutely get the pride of 2 new carriers for the RN but I’m also proud of CDG as a Frenchman whose brother (retired) served on French SSBNs for many years. I did my military service on BA 106 Bordeaux as an airman on nuclear alert. I think that only Britain and France can ‘cut the mustard’ in European defense terms.

Meirion X

Patrick, does the French milltary establishment consider Russia a great threat to France?
I be interested to know yours views on this issue.


The QE will still have more aircraft (jets plus helos) aboard than CdeG.


I should hope so too, shame that in order to do that, we have to invite the US to the party. Can’t see any argument about it, We just don’t have enough F35’s to fill her, unlike the French.


Shyt stirring.. France has 40 marine gen 4 Rafales for one smaller carrier. The UK is buying 48 gen 5 F-35’s for two bigger carriers.

Trevor H

And we will be carrying 2 squadrons of superior F35s.
NATO, that’s not just us but USA, France, Italy and the Dutch will be showing the flag in the Med.


Yes, I know all that, It’s the 8 UK F35’s that I’m on about. 36 would be something to boast about bearing in mind it’s only 8 and we have two Carriers, yes again I know the whole argument about having the Two out together but intention was to have 138 F35’s in total (if not all at the same time) not just 48. Good job we have partners eh ?


Yup, and they can also help out with providing additional escorts as we don’t have enough to do the job as well as fulfill ball our other commitments. Which I will admit is partially down to a lack of manning.


By this line of reasoning, the embarked ‘Royals’ from 42 Commando will be forming the ‘Strike’ element of the CSG then! This has nothing to do with RN Weapons Engineers knowing what’s required or not, but penny pinching at its lowest level!!!


Its is perhaps telling that Italy’s new Trieste carrier has done away with the twin 40’s as CIWS, instead relying on three 76mm Strales mounts with the guided DART round for CIWS duties. The ship will have 3 smaller 25mm RWS for close in deterrence.

Would the Phalanx stations be strong enough to support a Strales mount I wonder?


Trieste will not have

But will be possible to be installed if needed.
I don’t think QE is FFBNW with any SAM.

Meirion X

I very much doubt the Phalanx stations will support Strales mount. The magazine for Strales would need to be underneath the mount, so a lot extra weight on the mount.
It will require a rebuild of the upper corner areas of the carrier.

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X
Dogs Nads

The new Leonardo Sovraponte 76mm mount that is being fitted to Trieste is no deck penetration. All rounds are in the mount. This also has the full STRALES system.

Pics of the mount and ammo storage below:


Yep, thought so

Supportive Bloke

Although I would assume it is a fair bit heavier and the dynamic loadings would be larger?


Could we see 40mm bofors or 57mm going on instead at some future date hence the dropping of the 30mm now.


I think the 40mm and the 57mm guns would offer a better mix and standoff capability compared to 30mm with martlets.


This decision beggars belief. Our two largest ever surface combatants with only CIWS and manually aimed machine guns for local self protection?

One wonders if the bean counters who made this decision have considered the potential human cost if they are wrong? Unlikely I feel, would they hhave made the same decision if it were to be them explaining to the bereaved husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and children back home that 800+ servicemen are dead because they weren’t prepared to fund the ship’s defences adequately?


I fully concur with all that you said.

Trevor H

Are we going to war then? Have I missed something?


The clue is in the general type of vessel, she’s a warship. The time for preparing her to fight is not after the fight has already begun.


No, the problem as always is, if something did kick off, it can’t break off and go back to port for a refit, then re-engage at a later date.

Therefore, it would be better for the ship to be ready for the worst, rather then left wanting.


This is a strange article, the CSG is the defence of the QE! What have small calibre guns got to do with anything. If attackers get past the T45’s and the T23’s and the US destroyer and the Dutch Frigate and a nuclear sub, then we are on a film set not a QE deployment! Oh did I mention Phalanx…..


You’re not really selling it to me !!!!!


Heard of asymmetrical threats???

Bloke down the pub

One factor that impacts close in defence, not mentioned in the article, is the rules of engagement in force. There are many times when small vessels, both malign and benign as well as those just unobservant, will end up too close to the carrier. Launching a missile armed helicopter would probably be overkill and the option of firing a couple of rounds of 30mm to concentrate minds is desirable.


76mm Super Rapid is my only preference these days.
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Last edited 2 years ago by X
Meirion X

A good choice for T31. At least I agree with you here, Peacenik x!


One of the design elements we should have kept from the Horizon was the battery of 76mm mounts.
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Stephen Ball

After 76mm what next?

Last edited 2 years ago by Stephen Ball

Actually the old 76mm Compact can be upgraded from 80-85 rpm to 100 rpm (up grade kit available from Leonardo), & can fire volcano & 4AP. Unlike the 120 rpm Super Rapid, can’t handle guided dart rounds. 4AP is Leonardo’s equivalent to BAE Bofors 3P ammo. How many Oto 76mm are the out there?


60 navies have the 76mm system.

I am not sure what you are driving at.

Are you sure it can’t fire DART? Because that is why it was purchased for Horizon.

Last edited 2 years ago by X

He is talking about the old 70’s version called Compact..


Oh! That’s not germane really though is it? Not that that matters. 🙂

There is a version that is non-deck penetrating which is of interest.


Indeed, appears not germane, since it would be always a new gun.


Compatto is able to deploy DART with the appropriate upgrade. The ship needs to mount a director like a Thales Pharos or the new NA30Mk2


It seems to only give it to Superr Rapido (SR) or did i read it wrongly?.


One of my first reporting jobs as a young journalist was covering the commissioning of Invincible in 1980. I distinctly remember walking along the flight deck behind two Americans and overhearing “no point defence weapons”. The RN had time to regret that two years later. We seem to have a perverse wish to underarm ships. The puny AA armaments of pre-war destroyers were very costly, and the RN spent the rest of WW2 refitting capital and other ships with ever-larger AA outfits. Why not just get it right first – before somebody else does?


Complex reasons why pre war destroyers didnt have high angle main armament and when they later did air defence it had moved on to rapid firing 40mm calibre types as the dive bombers were unexpectedly successful.

Funny you should say the Invincible should have had CIWS at commissioning at 1980 because that was the same year it went to sea on its first USN deployment.


Point defence doesn’t just mean CIWS.


Mountbatten had been pushing for autocannon from the mid-30s on. His pleas went unheard.


Thanks for the replies. Then of course the navy rectified it all on the Battles with their huge Bofors battery. However I read in Norman Friedman’s superb book on British destroyer and frigate design that the Battles were unpopular with senior officers who considered them over-defensive and insufficiently ‘offensive’ because of lack of torpedo armament. How these debates go on.


Torpedoes are ship killers. So understanadble.


Outside of submarines only really useful against other surface warships were the Japanese. Were even the fast coastal torpedo boats much good against anything but coasters and they certainly made good use of various light guns.


Oh…….Are you sure? Or is this another example of you picking a single instance applying it as a generality just to cause friction?

Dogs Nads

The Invincible was better equipped than a US CVN at the time. Sea Dart was far superior to the USN missile systems on their carriers (Sea Sparrow) which was manually aimed….
She also had 20mm onboard…

And Phalanx hadn’t yet gone to sea in 1980…even for the USN. It didn’t go out until 1981 and was notorious for years for not working.

In 1980 the RN was the only Navy on earth that actually had a weapon system that could engage a sea skimmer or supersonic anti ship missile at low level….Sea Wolf.

Supportive Bloke


There is a lack of understanding on here about the difference in date on Wiki between ‘introduced’ and ‘any actual service use.’


That is an atypical poor article. The idea that Iranians or others will do kamikaze like in the 80’s and they do not taking in consideration the vast technological change is preposterous.
They will have long range ATGM’s probably in their boats w/stabilized mounts, Manpads SAM’s or also tripod mounted and some of the boats will be remote controlled and maybe semisubmersibles just popping out of water at last moment.
The idea they will play by 80’s rule book is frankly ridiculous.

The poor decisions regarding QE carriers reminds me of Falklands problem with RN frigates having less AA protection than WW2 late war RN destroyers.


Manually fired and controlled Bofors could barely hit anything in 1945. You may not be aware of it, planes got a hell of lot faster since then and would have been even less useful

Supportive Bloke

I agree with that.

You cannot compare a modern radar/electro optically laid 40mm + automated wind speed and gyroscopic compensation with a WWII vintage piece.

As you say things have got faster and more manoeuvrable so assuming that what worked in one environment will work in another with different parameters is a mistake.

We had a thread on here discussing the ’82 experience with AA. It was opined by a few that 40mm AA with the 50’s semi auto radar aiming system on it would have been useful. I would maintain that it would have been just as useless as every other obsolete system proved to be.

The compact electro optical systems that you have now at a pretty good level.

I’d be really, really surprised if this decision is really about money. Comparatively these 20/30/40mm units cost peanuts and there will be units taken off the T23’s that are being worked on that could be recycled onto QEC. There will be something else playing in the background. I do wish we would stop the loop tape on here of ‘RN leadership are idiots & Treasury are b******s’ it is kind of boring. Was true once but not so much now. Might it just be that RN DEiS are working on something much better and they have chosen not to tell us? The Martlet + 30mm development was done on the quiet and the video was only released after the project was dumped…..


Agree. Many respondents seem to be determined to keep living in the past, or in some special effects film set. Despite the laws of physics. Words like asymmetric are bandied about with little understanding like hypersonic weapons defying the laws of physics (at sea level) and drone swarms (as seen on TV) despite the laws of physics saying small drones are short range and small impact and easy targets whilst large drones are expensive and easy targets. And then there are the infamous small boats, Iranians use small boats because they can’t afford large boats! There is no mastermind behind this. Small boats have small range and small firepower and are easily sunk. A hundred boat/drone swarm in littoral waters can easily be handled by one helicopter never mind a frigate!

Trevor H



The loop keeps running because the same mistakes keep occurring.

No one (other than the media), really cares that the Martlet + 30mm development did not work out. Trying out things that look like they may work is par for the course (provided you haven’t spent billions). Now & again you strike it lucky. Sometimes not. Failing to try is a bigger problem.

Personally, not a fan of Martlet, so no great loss. A solution looking for a problem, easier & cheaper solved by a 40mm round (not that super expensive CTAS version). CTAS is my example of what not to do. Very very expensive ammunition at a time when you want the reverse. On a peer on peer engagement (think WW1 & WW2), CTAS is the last thing you need. Don’t think 3 months, but far longer. WW1 lasted 4 years.WW2 lasted over 5 years (sorry USA, WW2 did not start at Pearl Harbour )

Keep the basics as cheap as possible & then add the fancy stuff. The basic is what you end up with when everything else runs out. At few years ago, someone who did some research on this at a government level (non UK) was asked how long modern warfare would last, assuming peer players & no nukes. Answer: about 3 months, give or take.

Sorry – rant over. Some of the old hands will know what I mean.


CTAS is an embarrassment. Makes me larf when its telescopic nature is seen as a plus because it reduces volume……

How much further would our money have gone if we had just bought Bofors 40mm?

The French our doing well out of it. Again.


I would suggest that in a peer versus peer conflict the time frame of the UK being able to compete in the conflict would be even less. The reason is a lack of UK based industry to backfill the used weapon stocks. Especially now that the majority of components that make up something like SeaCeptor come from a myriad of countries.
A good case in point were the Hellfires launched from the Apaches attacking targets in Libya. We basically burned through the UK’s stock and had to do an urgent purchase through the USA. Who agreed to give us some of their Hellfires stock piled in Germany.
If the sh*t actually hits the fan in Ukraine and NATO gets pulled in. I think we would burn through our national stockpile in a matter of weeks and would only be able to replace the stock in a trickle feed, unless we could get direct replacements from the US.
Basically we don’t hold enough ordinance in our stockpiles any more.

Trevor H

Loop tape … yes agreed.. It’s tiresome. It’s ignorant.


I was wondering the same WRT the Martlet mount upgrades, and someone else on here wondered at 40 mm or even 57 mm alternatives, now that they’re coming into service on T31. I’d be happy with any of the above, to be honest.
I think that the lack of fit on first cruise is less of a concern for me- we’re not going anywhere risky this time through. I’d be more concerned if this state of affairs continued long term.

Dogs Nads

The guns and mounts for QE are new build….they were contracted in 2016 (along with the guns for the River Batch 2’s.). They’ve already been delivered….

Martlet and ASCG actually dated back a few years as MSI themselves developed the Seahawk SIGMA mount with 7 LMM/Starstreak on the side.

Supportive Bloke

Thanks for pointing that out: I should have remembered that!

Which simply means there is a very good reason why the guns have not been fitted to QEC.

WRT Martlet SIGMA all that matters was that it was tested as a means of up-gunning and didn’t seem to add much to the party. So R&D has presumably moved off in another direction now.


Nads … please take a read of my comment further up the page. No new ASCG Mounts were purchased for QEC. The only new mounts ordered for MOD were those ordered by BAE Systems for the OPV programme. They were supplied direct to the shipyard and MOD didn’t get their hands on them until each finished ship was handed over.




“Manually fired and controlled Bofors could barely hit anything in 1945. You may not be aware of it, planes got a hell of lot faster since then and would have been even less useful”

You had instances on Falkland of the poor sole oerlikon damaging A-4′ s , and they were hand controlled and certainly the sailors did not had same training as in WW2
Same number of WW2 destroyers in Falklands with couple 4″ ,several Bofors and Oerlikons would make much more damage than Type 21 with a 114mm, 2 oerlikon and a unworkable Seacat.

My point is that the RN attitude is similar.

Supportive Bloke

I spent a chunk of my early working life figuring out how to make RN warships more survivable. I specialised in making them burn less but part of what the team did was broader than that an went into AA lessons learned etc.

Whilst it is undoubtedly true that A4’s did acquire bullet holes from Bofors, in ’82, the number of rounds on target was a tiny % of lead expended. This is fundamentally poorer than a modern radar set gun would achieve and with a proper aiming system the level of lethality would be massively increased.

One of the key take homes from all the analysis was to get rid of carp legacy systems and stop pretending that they provided any kind of useful offensive/defensive capability. Therefore laser focus on getting proper systems onboard.

If the ships had been equipped with any proper radar controlled 30/40mm guns the A4 tactics with dumb bombs would have been impossible. The trouble was that, as far as I am aware, there were no fully digitally controlled AA guns of that calibre at that time until Goal Keeper became reality slightly later.

I totally agree that SeaCat was more a distraction than a help.


The shear amount of AA in a WW2 destroyer would make up for lack of a modern radar set. Note that the hits on Argentinian aircraft were done by a very small amount of systems that were not a priority for RN to train their sailors.
To remind that WW2 era systems so not even updated to 82 were capable of downing kamikaze.
Besides at time there were systems, Breda Dardo in Lupo with RTN20X monopulse radar. Idem for 76 Oto, Phalanx arrived first than Goalkeeper.
Soviet Zsu 23-4 were very capable systems for short range on land against Israeli A-4 and others

The Argentinan tactics were basically Jabo’s 250-350 km/h faster from WW2. Everyone should expect a Navy being capable of accounting for that in 30 years of development tech.

Last edited 2 years ago by AlexS
Supportive Bloke

I agree that UK plc bet the farm on Wolf/Dart/Slug/Rapier.

But I will say again that Dart and Wolf were fine systems once the bugs were ironed out and they went through the upgrades and revisions once the lessons were learned. You would probably have halved the RN ships sunk if only there were better computers used.

Sure there were integrated systems around then. But they were not the fully mature systems that they turned into and they had flaky behaviours. Early digital systems were prone to throwing hissy fits and not being operational for large %’s of time. Phalanx and Goal Keeper were the first credible systems for dealing with supersonic threats but they were only just coming into service elsewhere from ’79 onwards.

I agree the tactics were super basic WWII playbook stuff.

I also agree it is foolish to ignore basic old school tactics.

But the reality is that this tactic is now covered off by Phalanx and Ceptor and any 30/40/76mm auto cannon that are starting to be sprinkled onboard. I don’t think it would work in a CSG now with the plethora of good systems that can defend against it.

Times are changing again – threats are evolving. It is very hard to use EW agains a shell! Maybe that has something to do with thinking?

Maybe, just maybe, something better than a 30mm cannon is going to be fitted.

Maybe something harder hitting is going to be fitted to QEC…..

The one thing I am pretty certain of is that something more interesting is going on in the background. Following on from the Market/30mm being ditched. It did show a direction of thinking. And it is good to see RN DEiS trying things out – as someone else said you need to try things IRL and sometimes they fail. Sometimes you learn a lot from failure. You certainly learn a lot more from failure than doing nothing!

The article would have been more interesting if it had thoroughly set to the alternatives.

And we have endlessly been through the FOD plod arguments for not using missiles on active aircraft carriers…….


For the most part all you would have been doing is increasing weight of fire not accuracy. The RN neglected the powered mount before WW2. And then in the 50’s after the aborted STAAG ditched (until recently) radar laid small mounts. As the RN moved to the Atlantic Sea Mouse was adopted for dealing with the attentions of singular Soviet aircraft and later a move to Sea Wolf to deal with AShM. There was no perceived need for autocanon or smaller medium guns. Compare this with the Italians and French who both developed the type as the Mediterranean remained their major concern. A RN in 82 with a good sprinkling of the Oto Breda 40mm and perhaps even 3″/70 mount seen on the Tigers which was also destined for the T12’s at one time perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps if the Army had some AAA instead of relying on Rapier things would have been different too.

With so few hulls and return to global commitments it is a mistake the RN can’t make again. But it did it again by not adopting the Horizon’s multiple 76mm mounts. Imagine T45 with Asters, 76mm, and perhaps even an inner layer system such as Phalanx……(We mustn’t forget EW.)


RN bet the farm on missiles and paid an heavy price in lives of their sailors.
And 40 years later there are no RN missiles since most are foreign except the Italian partnership in Sea Ceptor.
Interestingly the corporate buying activities of BAE made guns somewhat return (US 5″ now owned by BAE and Bofors)


Yes. I am disciple of St Barbara. Post WW2 the medium gun most of the time hasn’t been much use. But it is a fundamental. Unguided rounds are cheap. And they make the ‘target’ think. Now with electronics the gun is coming back into its own. The Italian DDX will have 4 tubes for chucking all sorts.

I fear the RN’s obsession with ‘unmanned systems’ will turn into another 1957 White Paper disaster.

Supportive Bloke

I agree with the sentiment.

I honestly don’t think that the 40mm or OTTO’s etc that were around then would have been a much better answer. Radar control was nothing like it is now. There was a reason that Phalanx Mod1 formed a cone of fire: it wasn’t that accurate but it was a great blunderbuss so it didn’t need to be. That was its robust, common sense solution.

So yes, it would have created more of a wall of expended ordinance but I’m dubious the accuracy of the non Gatling alternative would have been good enough then. If it is a series of axial shots then it has to be very, very accurate. Even with prox fuzes.

I think, the bit that gets lost in the conversation is that the 30/40mm weapons would only have been accurate enough very close in and so no real advantage to Phalanx.


Radar control then was far superior to mandraulic systems by many factors. Microwave fire control radars at the end of WW2 had a resolution of about 6 feet. Surveillance radars at sea were already picking out periscopes and snorkles. Yes it was 40 years ago, but it was 35 years or so (practically 40 years) after WW2.

Supportive Bloke

The issue was communicating what the radar ‘saw’ with the effectors to make the gun move accurately and to compensate for conditions. To do that in the analogue domain as the 1950’s efforts did was doable but the actual final accuracy was not great. To move it to the digital domain was out of reach until the late 1970’s which was when the solutions matured viz Phalanx and Goal Keeper.

Now of course, the gun is back, as small, cheap, highly accurate aiming systems are very real. Better ammunition is also real and pretty cheap compared to missile.

So I totally agree with you that in the 1.5-4km (and further with the 57 & 76mm) band guns are where it is at as the middle layer of defence.


I am aware of scatter problems.

There were better options. They weren’t there for a variety of reasons. The RN did well, but was very, very lucky.


“I honestly don’t think that the 40mm or OTTO’s etc that were around then would have been a much better answer. Radar control was nothing like it is now.”

Really! then how in WW2 they hit ?
How an Oto in 73 in 2nd battle of Latakia downed a Stix, at that time not even with a monopulse radar with a EO sight backup ?

The missiles were much heavier than a gun so you usually had 1 per ship except the impracticable-non controllable Seacat and the Type 22 with 2 channels with Sea Wolf .
Still in a Type 22 size you could have a Dido destroyer gun level. You could have instead certainly 2 guns in front and 2 in each side. And maybe another in top of the hangar, more without hangar and heli. With 5 guns fire power to each side an Argentinian WW2 era attack style would be in trouble.
But it would not be “modern”…

PS: i consider the only RN missile that worked acceptably in Falklands was the Sea Dart.

“The RN did well, but was very, very lucky.”

RN did very well in Submarines, Harriers, Logistics, AAW at medium to high altitude.
Failed totally in AAW ship self defence at low level. Only the Argentinian bomb fuzes saved RN and the whole operation. Ships were worse in that than in WW2.
Of note Falklands was not a peer to peer. Argentina was a country without armament industry, no ECM etc. A country that just bought stuff in the market and without a clear strategy – aircraft with limited range for Falklands for example, practically no submarines – spending more resources and thinking in internal political conflict.

Supportive Bloke

“ The missiles were much heavier than a gun so you usually had 1 per ship except the impracticable-non controllable Seacat and the Type 22 with 2 channels with Sea Wolf”

Dart and Slug (massive missile) were on the launcher in pairs. Counties carried a fair few useless Slug missiles.

You need to differentiate between the cut down Sea Wolf system, not so good, with the full fit on T22 which was very good if you didn’t have a T42 pass in front of you breaking lock or the computer crash.

Sea Cat was only ever meant to be a closing shot weapon, it was too slow to catch things. Personally I think it was useless.

“Really! then how in WW2 they hit ?
How an Oto in 73 in 2nd battle of Latakia downed a Stix, at that time not even with a monopulse radar with a EO sight backup ?”

Planes downed in 73: you cannot deduce anything from the odd success or turn it into a generality. I would rate chances with modern radar controlled guns.

The Argentinians did build a T42 under licence – it was good at sailing in circles by all accounts!

However, the real reason for the Argentinian success was that they had the full radar and weapons set to test their tactics against. How to defeat Sea Dart? Avoid being within its engagement parameters. They also had Sea Cat, on Belgrano etc etc. They were no idiots and did what most sensible professionals would have done.

Fortunately we (UK) hadn’t sold them Sea Wolf or a submarine but, unfortunately, just about one or more of everything else. I think we even offered them Harrier at one point.


There is a gun history and you can extrapolate.
Guns worked in WW2, there is no reason to not work in Falklands.
ZSU 23-4 worked well against Israeli low level attacks in 73 against same planes: A-4.
There is nothing magic about Falkland attacks.

The 35mm Oerlikons guided by Skyguard system(there were another guided by older Fladermaus) gave a big headache to the Harriers attacks, they had to be outside it.
The Skyguard had an MTI capable radar for search and monopulse for tracking, Were more modern and simpler than stuff that RN/BA had.

The fact is that the naval missile systems being much more heavier than guns made impossible to have a big number of fire channels/volume of fire.

“you cannot deduce anything from the odd success or turn it into a generality.”

Then you need to say that Sea Dart was not proven able to destroy a Stix in 1991 “in generality”.

And what can we say about current systems are able to destroy when we have only relevant operational samples of Patriot and Iron Dome?


During the Falklands War, the Oerlikon 35mm was used by Argentine forces. Both Super Fledermaus and Skyguard systems were used. The weapon succeeded in shooting down a Royal Navy Sea Harrier on May 4th, and an RAF Harrier on May 27th. Additionally, the weapon was employed in direct fire mode, against British ground troops during the Battle of Goose Green.

The British recognized the serious threat that the system held for their aircraft, and as far as possible operated outside the weapons’ range. Additionally, several of the Black Buck missions were specifically directed at neutralizing the threat of these cannons, and one such mission did in fact succeed in damaging a Skyguard radar.


“During the Falklands War, the Oerlikon 35mm was used by Argentine forces. Both Super Fledermaus and Skyguard systems were used. The weapon succeeded in shooting down a Royal Navy Sea Harrier on May 4th, and an RAF Harrier on May 27th. Additionally, the weapon was employed in direct fire mode, against British ground troops during the Battle of Goose Green.

The British recognized the serious threat that the system held for their aircraft, and as far as possible operated outside the weapons’ range. Additionally, several of the Black Buck missions were specifically directed at neutralizing the threat of these cannons, and one such mission did in fact succeed in damaging a Skyguard radar.”

I think one of my posts got on hold because of a link to above quote.

Supportive Bloke

I respect your passion and how you have thought this through and expanded your argument.

The land, hopefully, doesn’t pitch and yaw.

So the number of dynamic variables is massively reduced. Think about the issue of effectively squaring or cubing the load on a 1970’s vintage computer.

Honestly having had a hand in comparatively testing a huge range of systems it isn’t quite as you might think when the system is put on a trials barge or a ship with moderate way on a slight swell: the whole thing totally changed.

The reason why ships weapons systems could looked at so few targets (other than physical target illuminators on some systems) was one of computational overload with the added dynamic parameters.

So I’m afraid I giggle every time anyone suggest strapping unmodified land based systems to LPD decks etc


Have all the NAAFI canteen managers throughout the task force undertaken compulsory GPMG training or will the Royal Navy still follow its admirable policy of asking for volunteers?

Trevor H

All wars are like that. Stop pretending they are not. That was a war. The war needed not gave started if we had regularly sailed around the Falklands and dropped a hint to Galtieri. The armament was irrelevent… It was the FO who were at fault for appeasing them and not deterring them. The war was a failure of deterrence.


Alacrity sent a brand new in the box GPMG back to stores because they thought they had enough. They didn’t know. Nobody knew.

Supportive Bloke

To be absolutely fair the limitations of the weapons fits were well known and parameterised. Some things were openly acknowledged to be obsolete such as Cat and Slug.

The trouble was this had not been well communicated to some senior officers. Who thought because they had old things that went WOOSH and BANG that superior training would win over: whereas if you are half an order of magnitude out then nothing other than blind luck can overcome that.

Hence the development and deployment of Sea Wolf and attempts to make Sea Wolf lite for smaller vessels.

So I’m afraid some people did know.


At least fit a 4th Phalanx mount.


I think even the Tides have two plus two 30mm ? not sure if actually fitted but that was the intention.


Tide Class ended up with two 30mm but they were the manually operated versions (crew member firing from the seat) and not the laser/EO guided variants that are remotely operated from the Ops Room or Bridge.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lucioperca

I’m confused? One of the above videos clips shows QE testing her CIWS, so has that one unit been removed? Clearly the four designed are best, but did one remain?


What Video ? can’t see it, Are you talking about the 3 Phalanx that are fitted or the pictures of random 30mm fitted to HMS Kent ? I’m confused too !


There’s a video in the image section above called Phalanx.
Are there 3 already fitted to QE, so it’s only 1 short?


Yes, 3 only which I would agree seems to be 1 short. The Phalanx video eluded me !


As far as I am aware, QE was only ever going to have three phalanx 20mm mounts. They are placed in such a way as to give 360° coverage. In addition to those, she was supposed to have four ASCG 30mm mounts. These are the ones that are not being fitted.

Last edited 2 years ago by Whistler

Thanks, yes as the phalanx were pictured both in the opening article image and the plan view positioning image, I got mixed up, thinking that was what’s missing.

Andy Smith

I’m clearly no expert but I can’t help but think we should Just fit the dam things. Even if they spend the whole deployment sheeted over.
At least the option is there to commission and man them during the trip.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andy Smith

Not having the four 30mm guns in this deployment will not be a big issue. But, if this means the guns will never be carried, it is surely a problem.

Having a 20mm CIWS block1B is good, but T45 and T26 carries them in addition to 30mm guns. Rationale under the latter decision will remain the same for CVF. In other words, if CVF can go without 30 mm guns and only with CIWSs, then T45 and T26 will also not need it. This will save more significant cost?

So, if this is strategical decision, we shall see 30mm guns removed from T45 (and T26) in due course. If this is just some mitigation to time-delay or small shortage of money, CVs will eventually carry the 30mm guns.

By the way, I personally think that some anti-UAV hard-kill measure will be needed. Not sure the 30mm gun can do this. Could be LMM, could be “air-burst mode” added to the 30mm, could be 40mm 3P rounds or even 57 mm guns (common with T31).

In other words, if this is really a strategical decision, we will start seeing the new move in this field soon?


You can never have too much fire power !


THIS ^^^^^^^^


Blimey….. I’m getting a few of these lately, wonder if I can get another job in the hallowed halls of the “Arch” ?



Meirion X

I would prefer a super rapid 40mm, than the 30mm, and not too heavy for the sponsons.

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X

Was there not an old saying “spoil the ship for a half penny of tar”
Don’t know why that sprang to mind…..


Wisdom based upon lessons learn’t !


Our carriers and other ships were under armed when it came to AA defence at the beginning of WW2, so nothing new here. can’t recall a single class of post war escorts that were not under armed save maybe batch 3 type 22s. Even the Leander’s, the dutch version was far more heavily armed post mid life refits than ours were.


What has happened to this site? Time was it would deliver the scathing critique needed to “save the Royal Navy” and yet here it is just trying to cover for the MoD’s failures and try to shill for the penny pinchers.

“Might hit an escort” … And yet then you go on to talk about how the escorts will fire their 30mm’s, by your logic they shouldn’t have them either then as they might hit the carrier. Terrible reasoning.

“Will have a helicopter up” … And yet in the same article you talk about cost and maintenance, while ignoring that in your own argument you want them to have a loaded for bear Wildcat on station running rapid orbits 100% of the time always everywhere no matter what the flight restrictions are, and to launch off air to surface missiles within busy ports. Also, layered defences.

“Phalanx would do less damage in friendly fire” … The DS30M is a hell of a lot better controlled to fire a few warning shots than have to unleash a massive stream of multiple thousand RPM rounds. Also again, this ‘friendly fire’ concern ignoring that it’s coming back the other way in such a situation from the escorts!

This entire article is clearly just trying to cosy up to MoD sources. Ever since this rebrand to NavyLookout, this site has lost its objective and just serves as a mouthpiece.


Is that you Max? Steady…..


I expect they spent this years installation money on fixing the plumbing issues.

The guns will be back in a year or two.

Mr. Whippy

‘Fitted for, but not with.’ Here we go again.


The ‘its too expensive to appropriately defend our warships’ argument becomes no more persuasive by the act of simple repartition. No, history teaches us that what is truely expensive – in both human, financial and material terms – is the loss of warships due to inadequate defensive armament being fitted. This is a painful lesson we learnt in WWII, had almost forgotten by 1980, and relearned expensively in the S Atlantic during 1982.

Compared to our various nuclear submarine ambitions the cost of fitting the QEC with an appropriate defensive missile system – such as other comparable carrier navies manage to do – would be virtually inconsequential. It is neglecting to do this that may become expensive one day.


yup, reckon.


“Fitted for but not with” still seems to be the way ahead. I’m sure the Iranians and Chinese are thrilled. And might not the escorts also hit something by accident?


Theses guns will have relatively little utility. I think the real concern is how few Wildcats there are… 8 of the things would ensure theses guns wouldnt be needed.

The cool picture of HMS Ocean another elegant reminder of how penny wise pound foolish our Political Overlords are.


HMS Ocean was good value and worked hard. But ultimately just proved we needed two 30k tonne LHD’s built to naval standards.

Glass Half Full

Can’t believe no one in the comments has brought up friggin’ lasers (with or without sharks) instead of fitting 30mm, unless I missed mention of it somewhere.

The solution is often viewed with scepticism, perhaps rightly given some rather ambitious expectations for the performance of lasers by some constituencies. However, if lasers make it onto ships at all, then its likely to be for CIWS first, where the requirement is extremely short range, mitigating some of the issues of laser weapons over longer ranges.

The carriers (and other ships) are vulnerable to terrorist attack when entering/exiting port, moored alongside or offshore, hence 50 cal, GPMG and mini-guns and patrolling surface craft. But such attacks might also include use of drone swarms or mortars, in addition to the usual threats associated with small surface craft.

The ship cannot start spraying out rounds in all directions in what are usually built up ports and cities. Even the use of air burst rounds might be problematic, given the potentially tight constraints of ports. EW may handle drones, although no guarantees, but won’t do anything against mortars. We may be at a point technically where lasers for short range CIWS make sense on high value targets and are perhaps significantly more useful than the current 30mm or even more advanced gun systems with programmable rounds on a carrier.

Whether lasers are ready for longer distance is more questionable, but as someone once said “careful sonny, you’ll have someones eye out with that”, we don’t always have to punch holes through plate steel.


Ahh but, Are “Frigging Lasers” any good against “Killer Tomatoes” and “Mach Two Cricket Balls” ?

Glass Half Full

Fried tomatoes? I’ll let the escorts field the cricket balls.


I didn’t think the 30mm was any good at those anyway.


Firing guns all around is unsafe but firing lasers in the way is???? OK.

Glass Half Full

Actually yes. Lasers have to be very accurately targeted to be effective, a combination of relatively coarse mechanical skewing onto target in combination with electronic fine targeting. A near miss with a laser does squat. So the requirement is that every laser “shot” hits its target, within the scope of the laser weapon’s capabilities. Automated guns can’t possibly get near that accuracy, which means rounds missing the targets and going where they shouldn’t. Could there be second order effects such as laser reflections off the target, sure, but the laser is likely to have been significantly degraded as a result, mitigating any damage. A laser may also manage the energy level, depending on what its targeting.

Additionally, my CIWS laser example is countering slow mortars and drones in a port or constrained waterway such as Suez. The laser may, or may not, be capable of hitting more challenging targets such as supersonic missiles, but those aren’t the primary concern in this scenario. Instead the goal is to shoot down targets traveling at up to 70 m/s for drones and up to 300 m/s for mortars and RPGs, i.e worst case high sub-sonic.


I’ll let you stand behind the target of a laser so that you can tell me if there’s a problem with near misses 😀


Glass Half Full, Hi you here as well? Lasers, look there is an issue with lasers, they sound good, they look good but will they work. NO not until someone comes up for an idea on how to overcome thermal blooming (hereafter blooming). If people dont know what blooming is it is the dispersion of the light beam due to water in the atmosphere. Green light works best in water but is short ranged, red light works best in a atmosphere without water. However, what people don’t realise is that the atmosphere is full of water, sometimes not much sometimes a lot its called humidity. When a red light laser hits water it causes refraction, this spreads out like a bloom causing the directed energy beam to loose power. I remember speaking to a good friend at the time who was or is a proff at the Uni in Warsaw on laser tech, he just recieved funding from NATO for a laser project which we spoke about. I had the issue of understanding the problem as I worked with lasers in my job. We or I in the end when seeing the issue of free atmospheric laser unlike fibre laser came up with the conclusion that it might be an idea to use green laser to “burn” the atmosphere and pass the red laser up the tunnel. As no one as yet has used this method either it is being tested as I am not the most inteligent person in the world so if I could think of it some one else has or the brain boxes have not looked at a engineering solution, which I am a fieled engineer, but think of a lab solution which does not work in the field. Oh and by the way increasing power does not mean it will work it only increases the bloom. In fact you can get atmospheric water to boil. If people don’t understand what I am trying to say think about a rainbow or passing light through a prism. Water in the atmosphere is like passing light through a prism, it goes of in all direction. There is one other way to understand the issue, but only if you are a diver, when you go down 10m’s red light is no long there so everything is green and blues. So high output lasers that can “kill” a incoming missile at range needs to overcome this issue.

This does not even take into consideration the power supply issues.

Glass Half Full

Hi Ron. I don’t disagree with your assessment of the challenges of using lasers. However, what I was outlining was short to very short range laser use for CIWS, not longer distances. In that context lasers are likely to be a much more practical solution.

Phillip Johnson

Does QE still only have 2 Phalanx fitted? 1 to Stbd forward and 1 on the stern.




What about underwater protection? – MK258 Mod 1 APFSDS-T Swimmer round


This kind of decision making would be more believable were it not for a history of government tight-fistedness and lousy procurement standards at the MoD which extends way back before COVID or even the financial crisis of 2008. Despite the points made in the article one cannot ignore the tempting conclusion that it was purely a financial decision not to install these weapons. Just as it has been for not buying enough F-35s, not integrating weapons on them which clearly should be (e.g. Storm Shadow, Brimstone), building the carriers with ramps rather than cats/traps and buying the more capable F-35C model, not fitting Mk 41 VLS to the Type 45s, and underarming the new T31e, only buying 3 of the new E-7 Wedgetail, and endless cuts to army regiments, as examples. Given all that I am always impressed with how well our armed forces personnel manage to make do with what they have.


The Mod intended to award a contract for the supply of 12 x 30mm naval guns back in 2016 for the Tides and Carriers.
With the Tides getting 2 each that leaves 4.
Could we see these 4 going to the new fleet solid stores ships and a new purchase of 40mm or even 57mm for the carriers now that the T31 is getting 40 and 57mm.


They didn’t order any for the Carriers …if they do go ahead with 30mm on QEC it would make more financial sense to use the existing guns that will be released from the T23 drawdown programme. The irony is that whilst the RN seems to be moving away from 30mm ASCG on its new fleets, the rest of the world (including USA) is buying them because they are accurate, reliable and they do ‘what it says on the tin’ .

Norbert Colon

Do you know if the RN/MoD, or in fact perhaps BAE, currently hold any stock of the DS30B or DS30M mounts that have come off decommissioned vessels. Your comment would imply not?

I’m just thinking about the River and Albion classes that currently have GAM-B01 mounts (out of service as of this Spring) and whether they will get any such DS30 mounts held in stock?

Last edited 1 year ago by Norbert Colon

At the time I left the 30mm world, the RN had just retired 3x T23 Frigates (Iron Duke, Montrose and Monmouth) which released 6x DS30M systems back into the asset pool. Those mounts will have either gone into naval stores or were back at the OEM undergoing refurb. Given the level of political focus on the CSG, I suspect QEC will take primacy over RCB1 or LPDs when it comes to re-distributing any available 30mm Mounts. Also the cost of modifying RCB1 and LPD to take 30mm will also be a time and money consuming task whereas QEC are “fitted for” 30mm.


I must say this site is not what it once was – and not I think in a way that has improved it. While the banner still boasts of its ‘independence’ it is very noticeable that the actual editorial content now closely resembles that which might be expected from a MOD press release. For example, the argument presented above opining that not equipping HMS Queen Elizabeth with its designed armament is actually a desirable development because these weapons may accidentally damage accompanying ships is quite remarkable when you think about it – on that basis we should perhaps disarm the entire fleet in the name of health and safety.

It would appear that the recent renaming excercise on here was more telling than it first seemed – because Navy Lookout seems to be rather less interested in saving the RN and more concerned with towing the official line. So readers methinks we should ‘lookout’ indeed …

Last edited 2 years ago by Moonstone
John Clark

I’m wondering if the decision not to fit the 30mm systems has more to do with the 2025/6 refit, that ‘might’ involve a significant changes to cats and traps for the proposed Unmanned project Vixen Air systems…..

Perhaps self defense for the carriers is also currently being re-visited in concert with these rather extensive plans.

Such details wouldn’t be available to the public, but it would perhaps explain the halt in fitting the gun systems.


I understand that the platforms required for mounting the 30mm weapons in question have actually been constructed aboard the ship. So it would seem that all that is left to do is the straightforward tasks of bolting the guns down in place and connecting them to the on-board power supply and gunnery direction systems. Given the known limitations regarding the practical firing arcs of just three CIWS mounts fitted to the QEC the 30mm armament may perhaps be more useful than they appear to be at first sight.

More significant than any of this is the bigger question as to whether any of the fleet’s current active or passive defensive systems can effectively counter the latest hypersonic – and indeed ballistic – missile threats that are already extant. New – possibly energy weapon – technology may be urgently required but in the meantime I’m not really seeing any good reason why the ship should not be completed as per the approved design.

Is the real reason why these weapons have not been fitted as yet is because there are simply no mountings available?

Last edited 2 years ago by Moonstone

Spot on. I don’t know about the “mouthpiece for the MOD” argument cited elsewhere in this thread, and I get the value of putting the best interpretation on things and trying to be upbeat, in difficult (financial) circumstances, But this argument is manifestly nonsense: “RN declines to put guns on its own ships in case it hits its other ships when it fires them”. Whaaaat??? As Moonstone says, just think through the implications of that line of reasoning.


I have a question….why does the image for this article at the very top (The CGI one) have a Phalanx Block 0? We are on Block 1B or at least I hope we are. Note the lack of gun brace, smaller magazine and no E/O-Thermal Cameras. Just very odd having a very outdated model


The planners, of course, know what they are doing but not to install the 30mm ASCG sends the wrong signals on a maiden deployment to my mind. The argument in not fitting them because of a risk of hitting something by accident is a bizarre strategy. Does that not apply to the escorts also? I think the real reason is that there are not enough to go round until the T23s are scrapped. Another poor signal. Trying desperately to remain positive, perhaps something better is in the pipeline?

Admiral Ash

Would their be any benefit in using RWS…remote weapon stations to the 30mm platforms, armed with .50 cal guns?
They would certainly be cheaper than the 30mm guns, and accurate enough, also having a night vision capability.
For engaging the previously stated likely targets…small boats,UAV etc they should be more than adequate.


Right, would I like to sea the 30mm guns installed sure I would there must be some somewhere in the RN warehouse. Would I like to see the LMM installed, not sure on that one possible if it could be made into a fire and forget system. Would I like to see Sea Ceptor installed, hell yes, even if there was to be no reloads, possibly to replace two of the intended four Phalanx CIWS mounts or if possible as a type of Sea Ceptor Sea RAM configuration using the Phalanx mount but install 12 Sea Ceptors. What might be a better idea over the 30mm gun is the 40mm gun.

I understand the use of the GPMG, minigun and the 0.5in machine gun, but possibly for the bigger ships destroyers, LPDs, and carriers we could use the GAU-19/B a 0.5in gattling gun. That would put down a high rate of fire that would stop most small attack boats very quickly. The cost would not be huge.

So my ideal defensive capability for the carriers would be 36-48 Sea Ceptors to replace the Phalanx guns, 4x BAE 40 Mk4 guns instead of the 30mm guns with LMM, 4x BAE Mk38 Mod 3 25mm machine guns and 6 GAU-19/B 0.5in gattling guns from the gun ports. Gun ports never thought I would write that in the 21 century.

Oh and by the way Sea Ceptor has an advantage over Aster/Sea Sparrow/RAM etc in that it is cold launched meaning no gasses or rubbish flying over the deck.

Before someone says something let me give some examples of smaller carriers from Europe. The Italian flattops have 24 A43 VLS tubes for Aster 15s or 48CAAM ER, the Trieste has 16 A50s for Aster 15s or Aster 30s or 32 CAAM ER, the French C de G 32 A43s for Aster 15s or 64 CAAM ER + 2×6 launchers for Minstral. I do not think that the QEs should go into battle their job is to launch a strike package and sink ships at long range. I do however think that these carriers should be able to deal with anything that come within a 20 mile range. Put it a diffrent way if an attacking force of 24 aircraft launch 96 missiles then the two escorting T45 weapons fit is empty. Then its every ship for itself. Please don’t say it does not happen or cannot happen, just think if the carrier group was attacked when its F35Bs are coming back from a strike. I know that is when I would plan my attack to go in.


More self defense the better!
Though britains track record is not very good on that. Tornado F3 which could only climb to 35.000 ft. SA80 L85 assault weapon (which according to internet rumour the troops are made to ‘like’ under threat of court martial under the official secrets act) .And the Spey powered Phantom the most overweight and costly member of the Phantom Phamily.


The explanation of why there not fitted is there, at times of peace do we really need to load them with everything and then they just sit there and get wasted. PHX is only expensive when fired. and ammo doesn’t have a sell-by date. F35s we are short of pilots and have a 2 year hole in the training program. on a new platform QE is only 5 years old do we want her to be adaptable to cover modern threats or just the past…. when you buy a new car do you select every option or do you pick the ones you need….

William Pellas

One (1) Wildcat alone is nowhere near sufficient to deter swarms of manned / unmanned small boats. I don’t suppose anyone has considered whether the attackers might decide to go into battle with some cheap MANPADs which might have a reasonable chance at shooting down a single chopper? The UK still has one of the largest economies of any nation on the planet and can easily—yes, easily—afford the kind of modest increase necessary to maintain a grand total of eight (8) 30mm guns on the two carriers.


Typical, we have two beautiful new carriers and the powers that be are happy to send our carriers and 1600 souls into danger as the “only” carriers in the world without a missile defence system…maybe if their sons were on board they’d think otherwise.


Carriers designed to project power across the globe. What power? Our Armed Forces are being emasculated year by year. Does anyone think we could have launched a Falklands Island invasion if it happened today with just NP8901 defending it?


so whats the point of sending a warship to sea without protective guns prince of wales now going to america when there and war starts its a sitting duck. when is this gov going to learn we must equip our forces with the best, for them to stand any chance. instead of saying oh we cant afford it this year maybe next year we can get some guns and missiles for her. how stupid.


If we consider the above as valid, then why decide to fit them for these weapons?