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Has the 093B been confirmed to have vertical launch cells? I thought it was only speculation based on satellite imagery of the Bohai shipyard.


If their submarine service is even half as incompetent and badly trained as the surface fleet has been in operations against Ukraine then I don’t think NATO navies should be overly worried. The strike on and immediate abandonment of the Moskva was an utter shambles!

Combined NATO operates a significantly larger and more modern fleet.


Don’t underestimate their SM force, they are far superior to the rest of their Armed Forces.
Whilst the Yasans may well be based on older designs – much like their surface fleet units they are highly capable assets.

Supportive Bloke

I’d agree with that.

The thing is you only need a half competent submarine crew to sit tight and quiet somewhere to pop up and give you a very, very bad day. Fortunately in ’82 the Argentines didn’t have any nuclear submarines or large ocean going conventional subs, like the ‘O’ boats, otherwise the whole balance of that conflict would have been totally altered.

Just as in this case I wouldn’t be too worried about the Russian surface fleet and I would be reasonably certain that RN could, working with a few European allies, contain and destroy that fleet at will.

I am not so certain that RN could deal with the Russian submarine threat purely on its own.

Whilst I don’t ascribe much to their cruise missiles etc I would be wary of writing off their ability to fire a pattern of torpedoes, WWII style, that might well get lucky.

The Russians have chosen to invest their limited finances on their sub surface fleet and it is interesting that they have managed to keep building some very large nuclear subs as well as developing quieter reactors. This is non trivial stuff in itself.

However, I’d be more worried about the Russians selling out to China in desperation and China then having the nuclear tech to marry up with their nascent electronics industry and the reverse supply chain of that effect. If Russia can tell China what to make and how to make it they could in exchange have a much more rapid submarine building program. As, I wound *guess* that their resent program is hampered by the lack of availability of certain electronic bits and pieces?


“As well as developing quieter reactors” …. Huh ?


First/early generation Russian Nuc SMs were very noisy units, not just from the RC but also associated machinery – pumps etc. The West had a significant range advantage against those units. It started to become more difficult to detect,/track their units around just prior to the Walker spy case, where they were making great efforts to reduce the noise their SMs emitted.
The Akula/Oscar/Sierra classes really benefitted from the information Walker passed over to the Russians, saw a dramatic quietening of their units especially Reactor flow noise and it’s associated machinery. They have been getting quieter ever since, and aren’t that far off of modern Western SM noise levels.
It’s a different ball game these days, a lot harder as the playing field has been almost levelled.


I highlighted the “Quieter Reactors” quote, not the machinery though.


Feed pump……….


Yes. Its a general public shorthand to say ‘quieter reactors’


We would certainly struggle on our own, that is purely down to numbers. In our case a lack of them. Forget their SSBNs and ‘Special purpose’ SMs. On paper they have a 3-1 numbers advantage. Whilst Astutes are probably better boats, they can’t be in two places at once. Only having 7 SSNs by 2026 is really going to hurt us for a decade or so – potentially.


Yep! Definitely take the threat seriously but don’t panic or overreact when NATO fields a large number of modern SSN’s and SSK’s.


NATO does take the threat very seriously, that’s why it allocates so many ASW assets to the North Atlantic. Even during the ‘peace dividend’ we always had maritime assets assigned to counter the Russian SM threat. Unfortunately we now have less such assets across the board, fortunately the Russians have a substantially smaller SM force.


Well RN ships sunk in 1982 and the caos troop landing did not made the whole British armed forces incompetent. Beware of hubris.

Supportive Bloke

The limitations of Sea Dart were well known.

John Nott refused to fund the Sea Dart refresh that would have enabled it to be effective against sea skimmers. Also known and he himself has said it is factual.

RN asked for the upgrade knowing the risks – that isn’t incompetence but good planning.

The boards of enquiry focussed rather too much in the limited ability if the leadership and crew to influence things with marginal kit and didn’t talk about the very well know defects with the systems that RN had asked for funding (denied) to mitigate.

Atlantic Conveyor should never have been allowed to be where it was with zero self defences. That was incompetence.

The landing ships not directly disembarked is also incompetence as was not having a Rapier unit (probably wouldn’t have worked as the versions from the ‘80’s were useless) or Stingers on the ridge lines.


I have to disagree with Sea Dart, it is an heavy missile that would never be adequate for San Carlos bay for example, i think it accomplished what was capable generally having some high altitude kills. The RN fetish with modernity read:missiles and letting Seacat be in service for so long made the problem.
There are several of reports of Argentine aircraft damaged by small weapons that just several powered 20mm mount could have made difference to not talk about radar guided guns.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS
Supportive Bloke

I’d never suggest Dart for San Carlos Bay.

I was suggesting that properly arranged Rapier (unlikely to work) or Stinger on the ridges would have worked better than Sea Cat or hand aimed guns.


Have a look at the maps and scale off the distances. it’s 10 miles plus long and miles wide. Then when you see the warships locations they were mostly in the even larger sound outside where space wasn’t an issue


Map and warship locations


I was suggesting that properly arranged Rapier (unlikely to work)”

Rapier was as well sited as it could be. The landing area topography was actually entered into a computer along with Rapier capabilities and a map of the exact best place to site the launchers was produced by RARDE. The Rapier units were sited exactly based on this plan.

The big issue with Rapier at the time was that a lot of the missiles and systems were degraded or damaged in the journey down south by salt water ingress, for which they weren’t designed, a product of the hasty loading to get the TF out fast. Add in petrol generators that required large amounts of helo support to keep supplied and a point defence system being asked to act as an area defence system and we couldn’t have asked for that much improved performance.


The final version of seacat was nothing like the early versions.
It was a radar controlled blind fire system in the final iteration.
You would think those who give opinion have an informed view rather than repeat worn out cliches
Heard of US SM-2 Rim-66 Standard , it’s first version came out in 1966, the latest versions are far better, especially when it’s not the missiles but the fire control aegis software plus the fantastic radar.


“You would think those who give opinion have an informed view”

What is an informed view? The results?
They show it failed abysmally.
It was worse than 2 WW double radar guided Bofors that was supposed to replace.


Thats not an informed view. The twin bofors with radar and stabilised known as Hazemeyer was a failure. Thats the WW2 gun
A later version from the Cold war- became Nato standard from 1953- was better. The RN had a different version

‘The final British Bofors mounting to see service was the “Stabilized Tachymetric Anti-Aircraft Gun” (STAAG), which was twin-barrelled, stabilised, and carried its own tachymeThe final British Bofors mounting to see service was the “Stabilized Tachymetric Anti-Aircraft Gun” (STAAG), which was twin-barrelled, stabilised, and carried its own tachymetric (i.e. predictive) fire control system, based around the centimetre Radar Type 262, capable of “locking on” to a target. The mounting was heavy (17.5 tons) and the high-vibration of the gun mounting made it a poor location for sensitive valve electronics and mechanical computers. The STAAG Mark I carried the radar dish over the gun barrels, where it was subject to damage during firing so, on the STAAG Mark II, the set was shifted to the roof of the control cabin. STAAG was ultimately too difficult to maintain in the harsh environment of a warship and was replaced by the Mounting Mark V, with the fire control equipment located remotely, then by the single Mark VII and, ultimately, with the GWS20 Seacat missile system. . ”

You should run for parliament on a platform of ‘nothing British is ever good enough’ or the BOAC syndrome mostly become remainers now

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker

I think it is you that should run for parliament, since i said that British were good enough in WW2.


Ask the Prince of Wales and Repulse survivors how good the small calibre AA weapons were ?
And Sir Galahads 40mm bofors at Bluff Cove.

Just cherry picking the incidents to suit isnt reasonable.
I learn a lot from people here who have far more knowledge than me, too often some others might have a small point and make sweeping statements not based in actual information.
Yes , not all ships with Seacat had the latest radar controlled version and as a short range missile it couldnt touch most planes it could see. Argentine pilots did what all well trained pilots do, avoid the engagement envelope.


They used torpedoes…no Bofors(maybe an army one i think) in PW in 1941 so only the short range Pompom with lousy ballistics and that was 40 years earlier so tech and ease of use evolved.

Argentinians hit with dumb bombs and even dumb bombs that not exploded… you need to overfly a ship for that most of the time. With RN ship air defence of 1982 the enemy would not even need to develop anti ship missiles…


Hi not so sure about the conveyor as it was in the central part of the battle group and acting as an aviation support asset…

from some of the later reviews it seems what may have happened was an inadvertent miss communication from Hermes in the stress of the moment…that caused conveyor to turn side onto the oncoming missiles as Hermes put her bow to the missiles, this seems to have lead to the missiles at the last moment engaging conveyor..had they not it is likely that they would have continued and hit Hermes….

 “ CONV-CAP’s position was more problematic. Having no access to military radar, he needed Hermes to inform him where the attack was coming from so he could put Conveyor’s stern to the missiles by sailing the reciprocal course:

   310 -180 = 130°

   But instead, Hermes ordered him to:

     ‘Immediate Execute. Turn port to 040°’

   Rather than being a last ditched defence, could the reason Conveyor was ordered onto 040° have been a tiny communication error…made by those under pressure of being two minutes from possible defeat?

   If Hermes had signalled:

     ‘Immediate Execute. Turn port 04’

   Then, CONV-CAP would have turned Conveyor 40° to port from 170° onto the required reciprocal course of 130°, putting her stern to the missiles.

   Conveyor would probably not have drawn the Exocets onto her, leaving them to endanger the thousands of personnel on Hermes, the outcome of the war, and possibly even confidence in Margaret Thatcher’s government”

( Gordon Brooks 2022).


It is quite probable that Conveyor was declared a potential decoy for the carriers if needed.


That is a valid theory, but Sandy Woodward had clearly stated a number of times he consider the use of a merchant ship not equipped with adequate soft countermeasures as a target would be immoral…the standing orders at that time were for all three to either go bow or stern to the threat ( the carriers were to present their bows and conveyor was to present her stern ( as she had a load of ammunition stored in the bow)…so the conclusion is simply a cock up in the heat of the moment…otherwise the RN cold bloodily sacrificed a civilian vessel.


Was it a case of ‘the strategy’ was written after the events as even in a different location Coventry wasnt bow on to the oncoming Skyhawks either. Other ships that were stationary or anchored at least have a reason.


Nope it’s a record of the plan in regards to a missile attack. Conveyor was always meant to go stern onto a threat. But it was effectively blind with civilian sensors so needed instruction from Hermes on which way to turn to go steer on, Hermes gave the wrong instructions.

   ‘Immediate Execute. Turn port to 040°’ which sent conveyor side on.

Instead is should have ordered

Immediate Execute. Turn port 04’ which would have put her stern on as per the the plan…this was all from a paper written by one of the conveyors officers.


The reality is the RN sail 8000 miles from home, stood their ground under another nations air umbrella and then undertook successful amphibious assault in the south Atlantic against a dug in enemy’s. Losing ships was always going to happen, there is a difference between taking expected and manageable losses as part of a successful operation and destroying your own standing army while utterly failing to achieve your objectives…Ukraine has probably had 100-150k casualties but no one is calling the defence of their nation incompetent. Russian inability to defeat an army and nation a tenth of its own size is incompetent..the fact a nation without any real navel forces could undertake successful littoral strikes and amphibious operations against a large navy is also a sign of incompetence….

It’s not Hubris to see the limitations of the Russian armed forces now….Hubris would be thinking they will be that way in a decade and allowing your own armed forces to degrade in the same time frame.


That’s very interesting. Tell me do you think the entirety of Russia’s armed forces are deployed to the Ukraine? Or you think some of their chaps might be elsewhere doing other soldiery things? And surely to lose vast amounts of material such as the Ukrainians have done surely isn’t the sign of competency is it? And the Russians are still there doing what they want when they want? If the Ukrainians were competent surely the Russians wouldn’t be there never mind doing what they when they want? Or have got it wrong? I can never decide whether the Russian are clowns or ubermensch that at best are going to give us a nasty Chinese burn. You seem so much more learned on these matters than I.

And surely the point of the war is for the Ukrainian to retain the Russian parts of that territory that aren’t Ukraine? That is a nation and country aren’t strictly synonyms. A nation is a people that shares a common language, culture, and ethnicity. A country is a territory delineated by ‘agreed’ borders…..


The Russia army pretty much invested Ukraine with its entire professional force at the bringing of the invasion with the aim of beheading the Ukrainian government and taking the capital…it failed and in doing so also gutted its professional army. It also launched its attack during the Rasputitisa, which was insanity…as every army that has tried to invade another country in Eastern Europe during the Rasputitisa has lost that army…Putin simply should have waited until late spring early summer if he was going for a decapitation movement….as most of the Ukrainian forces were focused on its eastern front there would have had a good chance of success…as it was the Ukrainian army just had to be competent at interdicting and denying a few key roadways and junctions.

As for being gutted that’s about troop numbers and the type of troops Russia deployed at the start of the conflict…

so pre Ukraine russia had about:

140k of professional solders on long term professional contracts ( so the equivalent of most other professional armies, although not up to the same standard as NATO armies).

100k of solders with a 2 year contract..these were actually conscripts who signed the contract to get away from the truly awful treatment that Russian conscripts suffer…these are in reality still nothing more that 2 year conscripts..very poor troops indeed.

that’s the core of the Russian contracted army 240k…this was the cohort of troops sent into fight in Ukraine…no conscripts were sent.

Russia also had at anyone time 250k of 1 year conscripts….these individuals were never trained as solders they were effectively conscripted labour doing all the menial work such as cooking, cleaning general repair and labour…they were effectively 18 years old on a forced work programme but dress in green…they are and were subjected to what in the west would be consider assault cruelty.

that gave the Russians a standing army of around 500k…but only 140k of actual solders, 100k of semi trained in reality conscripts and 250k of conscripted Labour.

for most of the first year Russia only used its contracted solders ( 140k +100k)..for a total of around 240k deployed…its casualties have been around 250k in the first year and it sent in its conscripts very later in that first year…it still has around 250k of troops in Ukraine…effectively this means that is contracted professionals army was effectively destroyed and replaced by the conscripted Labour ( who had been holding down the interior roles while the actual army was fighting in Ukraine)….this was why Putin called up another 250k of conscripts….to replace the original conscripts who had been sent to Ukraine to replace the professional army was was butchered.

At present the estimates are that Russia now has 250-300k troops ( almost all who are now those conscripted labourers dress in green) and around 200k of a mixed conscripts and cadre in Russia.

although very large there were alway large competency issues with the Russian noted above only around 140k of the 500k were actually solders also their NCOs are not trained in the same way as western NCOs..they are not Junior leaders or trainers of solders they are technically trained to operate equipment…the junior officers spend all their time doing wester NCO roles and not either leading formations or learning to lead..this is why Russia has lost more general and field grade officers than junior officers…

As for the discuss around nation hood….well what you find is that almost all nations are multi ethnic..especially nations born from the death of multi ethnic empires ( which all European nations tend to be) so a nation is not defined by ethnicity…unless there are people trying to do some nasty things….infact most of your authoritarian types use ethnicity as a weapon….Putin follows very much in the hitler 3rd Reich definition of nationhood that is bound by ethnicity…where Germanic people live is Germany…..where Russian people live is “Russia”….even if that happens to be someone else’s county….this is why the Putin problem is not going away as a number of NATO countries happen to have Russia populations….if you take that to its logical step….we should probably be planning to invade Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. at some point…once you start mixing ethnicity into what is or is not part of a nation when the nature of Europe and many other places are multi ethic nations..there is only one outcome.blood…infact pretty much every multi ethnic empire that has fallen created bloodbaths….if nations start some ethnicity related drama…the Soviet Union is no different neither was the British empire (the partition of India and Ireland…bits of Africa, the Middle East etc).


Is that why Nato occupies Kosovo ( US soldiers no less) a part of Serbia , that isnt mostly serbian but albanian and cant be ‘reunited’.
Scotland or Catalonia wants independence because of why? Those who live in Northern Ireland are they Irish or British


That is the point..once you start defining a nation by a specific ethnicity then all sorts of nasty stuff happens…you can be a citizen of a country and have a different ethnicity from any other numbers of citizens of that county… should not make any difference to the sovereignty of that nation. as soon as we allow a norm of “well there are large ethnic groups of our people in your nation so that bit is not part of your nation but mine” then all hell breaks loose. That is a very different thing than one part of a nation wanting to cede from the rest of that Nation and as a collect that nation agreeing…Northern Ireland voting to leave the Union in an agreed referendum is completely different to say Southern Ireland suddenly deciding its going to fund a state sponsored insurrection and send its troops to “help” because some of the population define themselves as culturally irish……….modern stable nations are best not defined by some extremist view of cultural purity or right to rule because our ethic group happens to be there….look at the USA what happens if they all suddenly decided they actually needed to cede according to ethnic lines and rejoin their mother countries….it’s as backwards an idea as a theocracy ( cus they are always lovely places).

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan

This isnt the place to get into that, but the contrary view holds sway in most of the world. Theres anglo saxon and northern european countries where ‘our’ ecumenical position holds – as it should.
Historically ‘end of empires’ has always meant the remnants have gone to war.
Strangely it was the poles who invaded the then western Russian oblasts in 1919-2022 to reclaim what they thought was rightfully theirs ( ex Austrian but Ukrainian ethnicity)
here we are 100 years later and the end of another empire.

Another interesting situation with the leak of US military secrets -mostly about Ukraine. Its a perfect ‘real world’ illustration of Schrodinger’s cat. They are both genuine and false at the same time- depending where you are standing.!


It’s not Hubris to see the limitations of the Russian armed forces now….Hubris would be thinking they will be that way in a decade and allowing your own armed forces to degrade in the same time frame.

It is very sad that you misstate what i have said.
I expect people here to at least be fair and go to the point made and not spin it or outright write a falsehood.

Hubris is thinking that Russian Army limitations extends to all fields, all equipment and all troops in all situations. That is what i said.


Of course ships were sunk it was war. Chaotic troop landing? Utter rubbish.


How did Inchon go- the tidal range was a massive 30 ft

Hans Hermann Völckers

And the fiasco at Gallipoli, Diepe, Suez and Bay of Pigs? Do you have selective Alzheimer’s?


I think you are confused by that strange mix of successful landings, bad outcomes on the land battle and political fiascos .
Bay of Pigs …really ?


Inchon? What has Inchon go to do with the Falklands?


Ships sunk by dumb bombs by overflying aircrafts like in WW2? Wasn’t that supposed to be impossible almost 40 years later?

Yes chaotic troop landing. Why troops were stuck inside ships for hours inside S. Carlos bay precisely.

These failures did not make the whole British Armed Forces incapable of great feats too.


What great feats? Are you high on substances? Maybe you should try some?
The days of Empires are long gone, keep on dreaming mate.


I think the logistics setting up the force going to the Falklands was a great feat.

Ivan the non Russian

Yes isn’t it so easy to misjudge on a holistic basis. We see the military endeavours in Ukraine and assume the rest of the military departments are less competent, but the reality has less to do with our ability to assess the skills of the submarine force and more to do with the nature of the environment they work in and the potential targets they will strike.
As mentioned in this excellent article, the Russian conventional and nuclear attack submarines are capable vessels. Crew ability would have to be of a certain level due to the working environment of any submarine force.
The sea is big, much bigger than the forces we have available, including assets like IUSS. Evading our antisubmarine elements in the initial stages of a conflict would be achievable due to Russian surveillance from both air and space. Both of these would be available to Russia before a big war kicks off, allowing them to position their submarines away form hunting groups. Weather, salinity, temperature layers etc would provide further terrain to hide in.
Once hostilities commence it is worth remembering how our current supply chain has evolved since the last major undersea war.
We no longer have numerous small to medium size cargo vessels carrying our goods/foods/fuel, we now have fewer extremely large container and bulk vessels. This applies to containers/foodstuff and fuel.
In the event of a long range attack on a larger group of smaller cargo vessels, some vessels will survive and reach their destination, or survive and turn back.
In the event of a long range attack on a single large vessel (easily tracked from passive sensors, or still existing aerial/space surveillance assets etc.) will be sunk.
Numerous vessels need one torpedo each, one vessel needs only one or two.
During the Covid pandemic, several studies were made of how quickly the supply chain was disrupted by a single vessel being late.
It would not require many large vessels to be sunk, to dramatically disrupt supplies.
There is a point of no return where the cost/loss of food/fuel to our nation, and other nations etc. would provide our enemy with the upper hand in negotiations.
All because we underestimated the negative potential of submarines.
And all this without even talking about what could be done with a coordinated well handled submarine force that attacks our fleets with saturated antiship missile strikes.
Of course our fleets are safe aren’t they? – They have a couple of CIWS and several tens of SAM’s to defend them. Relatively inaccurate short range CIWS, two to three maximum, that concentrate on one incoming missile at a time and VLS missiles that can not be replenished at sea (no RAS system available yet to refill depleted VLS missiles while at sea).
If we really went to war against the Russians, and it stays non nuclear – like WWII where chemical weapons were feared but not used on either sides cities – then we will be dealing with a vastly different animal than the poor creature we are seeing in Ukraine.
Don’t believe the hype, the Russians (and Chinese) are quite capable of hurting us in ways the media is currently forgetting – much like just before WWII.
I just hope we have a modern Jonny Walker out there.

Last edited 10 months ago by Ivan the non Russian

Much of Johnnie Walkers success was down to the donkey work conducted by Capt Robert Gilbert and his staff (mostly Wrens) at WATU during the war. They were responsible for creating the tactics (via wargaming – without an X box no less!!) which ultimately turned the tide for the allies in the battle of the Atlantic.


Sorry, should say Capt Gilbert Roberts, not as posted above – bit of a senior moment methinks!!


Interesting. But doesnt the war gaming focus on the tactics for the convoys and its escorts.
Walker and his ships werent doing convoy escorts but were hunter-killers going directly for submarines. Helped by the change from the pattern of 12-16 depth charges dropped from the rear deck to the forward throwing mortars which meant the sonar was could continuously track an ahead target right up to weapon release


Yes and no. Their primary role was tactics for convoy protection, but also establishing tactics for hunting and killing U-boats in the open sea.

There is a programme about it (The Wargamers) on Amazon Prime – while not a cinematic masterpiece in the mould of ‘The Blue Planet’, it focuses on the war in the Atlantic and how/why WATU came about and what it achieved.

It touches on J Walker and there is a certain disconnect with him after his brief inclusion, no idea why, but probably as the series concentrates on WATU’s role in this battle. Whilst not clear in the series, Im sure there was a lot of cross pollination of ideas.

What is absolutely shocking is the lack of official recognition that the Wrens involved received for all the vital good work the did. Indeed it appears that they were the brains behind many of the tactics employed, yet it was only Roberts who received a ‘gong’ for the work.

If you are at a loose end one day, treat yourself to a binge fest, the acting notwithstanding, the storey is interesting.


That sounds like the tracking of the wolf packs from direction finding and the enigma decoding to supply a complete picture.
Walker would certainly need the larger picture but I understand the tactics to close in for final kill were walkers , as why weren’t the other frigate hunter killer groups just as successful?


Very good detailed background here
One of them, U-264, fired a “Gnat” homing torpedo at Starling, but a sharp-eyed British lookout saw the track of the Gnat as it raced toward the sound of the sloop’s screws. Walker ordered a hard turn to port, and then, as the Gnat closed in, Starling dropped a shallow set pattern of depth charges. The roar of the exploding charges was immediately followed by a second roar as the shock of the charges detonated the torpedo before it reach Starling. Walker immediately ordered a plaster attack on U-264, and within five minutes the group was rewarded by a gigantic air bubble and a litter of floating debris..’


I think they will be plodding around their bastions. I know many here are probably getting themselves very excited about a new Battle of Atlantic but it isn’t going to happen. The Russians are done with the West. They have their northern sea routes and railways.

Saying that we still need 12 SSN’s and a ninth T26 with T83 restoring some ASW capability to the destroyer flotilla.

Supportive Bloke

Why, as a matter of interest, do you think that we don’t have AAW capability in the flotilla? Why does it depend on T83?

I agree we need more SSN, as I think, does everyone! But it will be a long(ish) wait.


I think the point is T42 had some degree of ASW capability with a bow sonar and torpedo launchers whereas T45 has pretty much none aside from the ability to embark a Merlin (torpedo’s never fitted and the sonars are no longer utilised). Ideally you want major surface vessels that have a speciality but are also general purpose to have self contained flexibility and survivability.

If The UK was taking defence as seriously as the majority of our NATO partners now are in the wake of Russia-Ukraine then we’d be looking to get 10 T26, beef up the weapons fit on T31, get some dipping sonar’s for the Wildcat fleet, ensure we have at least 6 mother-ships for mine/survey autonomous systems and look at purchasing 4 SSK’s off the shelf until AUKUS can start to rebuild SSN numbers.


I am not sure that T45 can operate a Merlin. I don’t see racks in the heli platform to move its +10t weight.

Supportive Bloke

According to DES it can – although I do note the change to future tense.

Merlin is cleared to operate from the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, Type 23 frigates and will operate from the Type 45 destroyer.”


The flight-deck is Chinook capable and the hangar can fit 1 Merlin or 2 Wildcat (although it’s only practical to operate 1).

They only don’t typically embark a Merlin as they are a finite resource and busy operating with the ASW T23’s and carriers.


Said capability might not be installed. You don’t move a Merlin easily.
The Italian frigates have 2 slot racks to move Merlin in their heli deck. I don’t see that in Type 45. Maybe RN operate differently and there is some sort of tractor to put them in place but i doubt it.


RN FF/DD used a 5 wire haul system to move helos if the sea conditions require it.

T23 had 3 deck rails but this was also latterly supplemented with a couple of wires off of winches.

RN Helos can be moved with an low profile electric, rechargeable battery tug unit that fits onto the nose wheel. Its remotely controlled by an operator with a control unit.

If all else fails its all hands in and shove it using running lashings if required.


Thanks gunbuster. yes i see 3 slot racks in Type 23.
I suppose said device is not just one model for Wildcat and AW101 due to their huge difference in size.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS

HMS Vanguard and S-4 Hoverfly 1947


Merlin is much bigger than 10t , thats a Seahawk weight , while Merlin HM1 is 50% bigger at 15t
Its a common misunderstanding that its similar to the SH60 types , and is the reason for the smaller again Wildcat (6t) also in RN service


Thanks for correction Duker, you are obviously correct.


If The UK was taking defence as seriously as the majority of our NATO partners now are “

Thats not so . The UK is with the small group of Nato who are taking the GDP target seriously, most are still way behind. Even Poland is only 2.5% for 2022 and its US and Greece who are way ahead. Greece never had a ‘peace dividend process’ for historical reasons as its enemy isnt Russia


T42 carried the same sonar as T22 and they regularly did well in ASW exercises. It also had STWS too. It was a true ‘general purpose’ escort.

T42 carried Sea Dart to loose rounds off at Soviet MPA. Yes an area air warfare capability. But very much one for the deep oceans and one that couldn’t have coped with an onslaught from a regiment of Soviet naval bombers.

The RN wanted a replacement for T42 with T45. But budgets being budgets meant things got cut. T45 is now a specialist aerospace defence platform; that is something that needs to be escorted itself. Sea Viper is worth it though.


The T42 had Type 2031Z towed array sonar ?


Nope. It had S184 and then S2016. S2016 was a good set at the time but was rapidly surpassed by technology as S2050 came into service.

2 x STWS 1 or STWS 2 tubes with 3 torpedoes per side.
The magazine depth wasnt that deep though with only half a dozen reloads for a Lynx sortie.
It carried the same number of Sea Skuas


magazine depth wasnt that deep though 

Because it is primary role was to carry Sea Dart…….


You mean ASW surely? T45 carries a modified MOAS whose only other customer was the Brazilian navy and not say the large hull sonar such as UMS 4110 CL like the Horizons. Never mind them being noisy tubs……..No hull sonar means ASW cabs can’t be cued. Hopefully they will correct this with T83.

Supportive Bloke

Sorry, I misread your post. My bad.


I know. 🙂

Not to worry.


Yeah I wouldn’t underestimate the Russian Submarine force….wouldn’t overestimate it either as there was a lot of issues with very poor pay for sailors and dangerous working conditions. Compared to the rest of the Russian Armed forces the Navy has come off lightly (Loosing the Moskva which to be fair was older than any of the ships in the Royal Navy and had not received any substantial updates to its systems…that and they were designed to be an Economical conventional Cruiser to the Kirov Class) Russia has built a large amount of Kilo and Kilo Improved SSKs and could pose a serious threat along with the Lada Class. The SSK’s are a big threat as there have been multiple incidents of SSK’s penetrating Carrier Battlegroups defences…including a 1980’s Swedish Gotland Class HSwMS Gotland took photos of USS Ronald Reagan from attack range


We can only hope the economic damage to Russia will mean some future builds will be cancelled and or maintenance declines further. At the moment Russia is eating into its ‘rainy day fund’ but I understand that will run out sometimes this year. After that they will need to either make cuts, tax rises or borrow.

My bigger worry long term is that China will get bases somewhere like the Caribbean and start filling the Atlantic with their own subs.


Simple answer, stop buying Chinese crap….. This is a Country that gives exactly not one toss about Global warming, or the environmental impact and supplies the rest of the World with cheap crap whilst building more and more Coal fired power stations… 1100 of them in current use providing 85% of the power needed, with 200 more being built/planned….. compare that with the 3, currently in the UK. We March blindly towards the next real Catastrophe, whilst believing we are making all the difference to the climate…..


For the last 3 years I’ve been making an effort to avoid Chinese products. I found even the toothpaste I was using was Chinese! I buy very little from there now. But lets be honest that’s not going to stop them.


It’s impossible though as they make so much… Their EV market is a World leader yet the power consumed in the production comes mostly from Coal Fired Power Stations……..Why on Earth don’t people understand this ?


Far more sophisticated products than the inconsequential household products you are thinking of come from China. Roughly half of UK imports is electrical and electronic equipment plus machinery boilers heavy stuff etc. that UK used to make.
UK has considerable exports to China as well.


Oh please Duker, Unless you are a mind reader, how on Earth do you know what I am “Thinking of” ? I said “China supplies the World with cheap crap” that’s everything they sell because the whole World loves a bargain.


My reply somehow got linked to yours, it was more in regard to our friend who found his toothpaste was from China


And the other post’s ? Did you Delete again ?


That wasnt me. Satisfied now ?


I wouldn’t even underestimate or even overestimate the Russian Navy and especially, their Conventional Submarines such as the Kilo class SSK family and their Lada class SSK. They still give Submarine hunters Nightmares and with their Kalibar family of cruise Missiles, they would give any country a huge headache to deal with. A Kilo class or Lada class SSK in the right hands of a Submarine captain and crew would make any surface captain wet their pants.


This raises concerns about the atrophy in RN ASW capability and that of some other Western navies.
The USN is well provided for in SSN’s but its main torpedoes need to be replaced and until the Constellation class enters service, its escort fleet continues to rely on the Arleigh Burke’s. Which the AB’s have great sensors, the ships themselves are designed with a bias for AAW and aren’t great ASW platforms.
For the RN, it has excellent heavyweight torpedoes though the lightweight Stingray is long in the tooth.
The Asute’s and Merlin’s are terrific ASW platforms though their aren’t enough of them. The Wildcat job creation scheme is of no use at all in ASW detection.
I’d far rather see us spend our R&D money on a new lightweight torpedo which has a huge potential market than on developing anti-ship and land attack missiles with the French when US alternatives that we could buy are already being developed.
The real area of concern for the RN is ASW capability in the escort fleet. T23/T26 ASW versions are excellent. However the T31 is vastly inferior in ASW capability to the T23 GP that it is replacing and the T45 is poorer in ASW than the T42’s which they replaced. T32 won’t be of any use in ASW if it’s based on T31 as the running gear is not quietened.
Ideally I’d like to see another 6 T26 but we can’t afford that as we’d rather spend £100bn+ on slightly faster trains and a negligible reduction in CO2 emissions.
Therefore, I’d rather see us cancel T32 and cap the build of the current T26 at 6 ships which we’d use for independent operations. We then build 6 cheaper T26 focused on ASW operations (fewer SAM’s, no multi-mission bay, no Mk 41 and a cheaper gun). These would be used in home water ASW where the RAF would provide cover against the air and sea threat of in task groups where other ships and/or carrier aircraft deal with those threats.


Couple of points.
Sting Ray has recently been modernised . Yes it looks the same on the outside but under that black anodised skin its pretty much a new torpedo. New warhead, sensors, computing power, battery power, control electronics, new actuators.

ASW VECTAC is still a thing so a Wildcat pony is still a good thing to have. It allows a Merlin to not need to carry weapons so extending endurance on task whilst a Wildcat can rock up and drop on a sub. A Sting Ray weighs 300kg. Merlin carries 2 or 4 so that’s a lot of extra fuel and endurance if you don’t fly with them.
S2087 (Captas 4) is as good as it currently gets for Active LF/Passive detection. Nothing is even close to it in capability.

Drones with arrays and VDS will be a “Thing” in the future . The RNs 11m Workboat has already trialled a thin line Krait array.
T31/32 will be noisy (Ish) but so was a T22/T42 in their day and they managed to do ASW. Not all ASW is passive. Active sets such as S2050 in blue water operations have a ridiculously long detection range


Great points as always. Interesting information about Stingray. I knew that it had been upgraded but didn’t realise that the modification was that extensive.
I can’t be persuaded that the capability given by Wildcat justified its cost. No ASW detection gear in RN service. I understand that the Army struggles to find a role for them as they lack the capability to be an attack helicopter or the capacity to be a troop carrier. They were bought to sustain jobs when there were alternative platforms available that offered far more capability for the money. It’s telling that they’ve fared so poorly in the export market.


Its a recon platform and over the horizon attack for the navy. Remember the ship is limited by the radar horizon- and then a bit more. The helicopter can conduct both missions while the ships location isnt revealed.
As I mentioned earlier the Merlin is 50% heavier than a Seahawk type and the light Wildcat which can carry half a dozen troops or a torpedoes or light missiles fills the gap.


A recon platform which is only now being fitted with a data link to send radar information back to the ship?
It’s a largely useless job creation scheme which represents appalling value for money in an analysis of cost v capability. That’s why other countries haven’t bought it.


Sigh. Other countries have bought it. fact.
What other countries prefer is a different capability which is best shown by the 10 T class Seahawk or NH90. The Merlin in 50% bigger again, so leaves a gap the RN capability
The 6T Wildcat is much smaller, if you understand %

Also the cost numbers you are working from are the usual inflated by operational costs and not the ‘purchase price’
Its best shown by the P-8 purchase where the USN publishes actual contract price with Boeing for the yearly buy of 12-15 planes.
Roughly 2.5x the purchase price of 9 planes is given by the MoD as the cost to the RAF

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker

You’re right. We’ve exported a whopping 10 of them but unlike the RN version the 8 bought by South Korea are fitted with a dipping sonar which means that they have some practical use.
Since it entered service 9 years ago the Job Creation Scheme helicopter has had:

1) No data link leaving it with poor capabilities in the reconnaissance role.
2) No ASM’s leaving it with poor capabilities in the ASuW role.
3) No sonar buoys leaving it with poor capabilities in the ASW role.

Whether viewed through the prism of unit or through life costs that represents atrocious capabilities for the money spent.

It is now receiving a data link and ASM’s but at additional cost.

You hit the nail on the head. The Job Creation Scheme helicopter is too small. That’s what the Army Air Corps feel as well. An AAC officer said to me that the AH64 is better in the attack role and Puma/Chinook is better for cargo and troop carrying. Wildcat is second choice for anything that they want to do.

We’d have been better with Seahawk or NH90 the former of which comes with a data link, ASM compatibility and ASW sensors.

Last edited 10 months ago by Sunmack

USMC has the larger Osprey partnered with the small UH-Y which is similar in size to the Wildcat. The Apache is specialised for attack and cant carry more than the crews lunch, while the Wildcat can do both. The Puma and Chinook are just cargo and people haulers ( and controlled by the RAF which is likely the unsaid reason the AAC has the Wildcat as its own baby)
As I pointed out the Seahawk/NH90 are much bigger and in RN that role is filled by the much more capable again Merlin.
the Army and navy have the helicopters they have and it makes sense to see the bigger picture rather than saying in the great british knocking machine way – ‘The Wildcat isnt as good as say a Blackhawk or a NH90’
They arent comparable and thats how they are designed.

Many discussions on Navy alert have compared how say France and Italy support their defence industries and buy local which is designed for their exact needs.
maybe rethink your ‘job creation’ comments

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker

The US Navy deploys helicopters capable of reconnaissance, ASuW and ASW on its escort ships.
I agree with you that inter-service rivalry feeds poor decisions. That’s why all Chinook’s and Puma’s should be transferred to the Army Air Corps and all F35’s to the Fleet Air Arm (the primary purpose of the F35 should be power projection from the decks of our carriers and not defending Norfolk).
I think that the AAC officer was spot on. We already had helicopters better than the Job Creation Scheme for attack and cargo and didn’t need one’s that don’t do either mission well.
The Job Creation Scheme helicopter isn’t as good as NH90 and Seahawk by design and that’s why we shouldn’t have built it.
I’m all in favour of supporting British industry unless it is poor value for money which leads to sub-optimal capabilities and/or insufficient platforms.
We’ve made and exported some excellent kit such as the Hawk, light guns, mortars, T26, Stingray torpedo etc.
But we’ve wasted money on total lemons for job creation purposes when better kit was available. Wildcat and SA 80 would be examples of that.
The best examples though are the Maritime Patrol Aircraft Job Creation Scheme (MR4), the AEW Job Creation Scheme (Nimrod AEW) and the T45 propulsion system. Add to that the cost of the T31 Offshore Patrol Vessel (it’s not a frigate) plus Wildcat and that’s about £8 billion in 2022 prices. For that we could have bought 8 T26 frigates and NH90 or Seahawk for the RN and the AAC.


NH90 and Seahawk are twice the weight/capability of the Wildcat,( the Puma fills that role for UK land force s
But you still dont get it . You have the jobs creation idea overriding all reason.

PS The French Army aviation use the ‘light’ Fennec as their small utility helicopter, is that useless too?
this is a Danish Fennec


Don’t know enough about it to know. I know that they don’t routinely use it as the deployed helicopter on frigates and destroyers though.


You raised it in relation to the AAC version.?

But heres the Marine nationale light utility helicopter , smaller than the NH90.
keeping digging the hole deeper.


The T45 job scheme ? Did you not know the problems are the Westinghouse( now Northrop Grumman) side of the propulsion system. The W in WR. GE was also involved.

RR only supplied the marine gas turbine like it does for all other RN warships since the 70s, and still does with variations on the same GT as the T45.
The 2000s were the era of concurrency and a lot of equipment that wasnt really ready for the big time , not just UK.
The MR4 was the only MPA going at the time . The Japanese P-1 and US P-8 came later.
Dont understand why you dont like the T31….oh thats right its British

The USN of course is only interested for its major equipment when its made in USA.

Thats fine that you should want to offshore any equipment – the cheapest price always but your 20/20 hindsight makes you ‘the expert’ on these things


You’ve misrepresented my comments on when we should make and when we should buy.
We should have leases P3’s until P8 was available.
I hate T31 because it is inferior to the T23 GP that it is replacing in almost every respect.
Geoff Hoon, the then Secretary of State for Defence, is on the record as saying that the T45 propulsion system was picked to support British industry even though it was more expensive and a higher technical risk than the alternatives


Leases. Thats even more fanciful.
The others didnt even exist when the MR4 started development in the 90s
Every other type was out of production.
How can I misrepresent you when the only analysis you give is ‘job creation’ over and over … and over
Hindsight makes us all wise after the event , doesnt make you ‘wiser’ at all.


Leases fanciful?
How come Italy leased F16’s from the US for years while it was waiting for Eurofighter to come into service then?
I clearly stated that we make some things well and gave examples. You forgot about that in your attempt to paint me as anti-British.
And it didn’t need hindsight. We’d already attempted to push the Nimrod airframe into something it wasn’t designed for in Nimrod AEW for job creation purposes.That one cost us £2.7 billion in todays money.

Last edited 10 months ago by Sunmack

They only have UH1y with Osprey because they couldn’t get another platform. They are hardly compatible. It is far from an ideal arrangement.

Apache at sea isn’t good. They are too delicate when it comes to salt laden air.


Who said they are “compatible”- other than being able to fit on amphibious ships
Its just a larger lifter -Osprey- partnered with a much smaller one-UH-1 as a utility which comes in two variants. And yes once the UH-1V predecessor was a land based variant for US Army but just needed marinised for going to sea. For various reasons US Army wanted a bigger attack helicopter , Apache which was supposed to be partnered with a smaller one but that got cancelled at end of cold war

The Marines doctrine requires a much larger soldier unit to be lifted together than would fit inside a Blackhawk type hence the big small combination
Just as the RN has larger chopper, Merlin and a much smaller one- like 1/3,both made to their requirements

Interesting that when the UK has home made military equipment especially made for their needs , its called a ‘jobs scheme’ when foreign off the shelf is bought instead the cry goes up, why dont we our own industry to make these nice things anymore.

Many comments havent outgrown the matchbox toys period of their teenage years where newer and shinier is the only consideration.

X of course is a bigger picture person but still prone to want both sides of any equipment story…its a platform or a weapons systems depending if you agree or not




The MoD would have still bought NH90 and Seahawk without toys.


I don’t disagree mate. You only have to look at the mess made in buying those 5 Chinook’s that didn’t work for the RAF


I remember vaguely that featured in a program about the MoD. It was portrayed as we Brits being technically competent with skillz. No mention that the oh-so-clever MoD bought the wrong version of Chinook. It still amazes me that that could have possibly happened it isn’t like you are buying a TV from Curry’s. Um. And Boeing were complicit too because they must have known. I used to work on mainframe computers. On high tech stuff costing millions and millions often the supplier knows what you have better than you do as the customer. Farce. Utter, utter farce.

As for the USN and helicopters they only fielded Penguin after Gulf War 1. The interesting thing was they had cabs with radars and we had cabs with missiles. The USN realized they could have whizzbangs too launched from their cabs. We then procure Merlin without a large missile from the get go unlike the Italians who have had Marte. And then we buy Wildcat with radar and have a similar gap as Sea Skua went out of service. Imagine T26 built with dual hangars and with Marte.

Many here bang on about modules. The helicopter is the ultimate module. Along with VLS you can’t get any more module than the modern warship.

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For some reason my detailed reply to your comment didn’t reach the required standards here. Why I don’t know.


Not at all. The Merlin was designed to specific RN requirements, ( improved Sea King).
the Seahawk is lesser capability ( improved Sea Sprite) and quite small inside for its weight class.( less space than Sea Knight it replaced)


All I am saying is if the MoD(N) had purchased those cabs it would have been without systems. It was a comment on the MoD(N) not helicopters.

I am not sure where I mentioned Merlin. If you have read any comments about Merlin you will know that I think the MoD(N) should have bought more and put even more toys into them.


That’s annoying. I’m always interested to read your comments


Thank you. I am not sure what I said.


I have explained how the Seahawk and NH90 are the same weight class , essentially the same capability.
The MoD wouldnt buy 2 similar helicopters to do the same thing.

Like France the UK has multiple maritime helicopters the NH90 Caiman (medium) and the Dauphin/Panther (light)
Super Frelon ( 3 engines) used to be in heavy class but MN doesnt appear to operate them anymore.
Chinese copied it.


Good grief. The point is the MoD would have still purchased cabs without extra systems. We weren’t discussing the size of the cab.

You seem to have trouble with comprehension. Is English not your first language?


What you said was ‘still bought NH90 and Seahawk ‘
Which is illogical especially for someone like yourself who knows things
They are the same capability so one of the other They come as integrated systems and the UK mucking around with the internal ‘toys’ unless its an existing option has led to major issues previously – see Chinook
So theres 2 illogical comparisons.
Anyway a comparable power like France for its navy has very light Fennec, light Panther and medium NH90 helicopters . So different capabilities isnt unusual
It helps us all if you look back at what you said yourself if you want to differ on ‘what was said’

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker

But in reality they only have 2 Yasen class subs in the northern fleet, everything else is Cold War vintage and 25-31 years old.

There is also no indication that the Russian sub fleet has any plan what so ever of leaving a bastion in the high north…there is a reason they are arming all their SSNs with long range land attack missiles when they go into refit.


Could that be the same reason why everybody else has weapons?


It could, but there is rather a lot of analysis out there that links together the Russian adoption of a bastion type approach and defensive doctrine with it focusing its refits and new building with long range land attack in mind. If you take the western approach to SSN activity and doctrine it’s focused on aggressive action to deny the seas…the land attack element is an addition. From what can be read it’s seems general opinion is that Russia is not going to use these resources aggressively and put them up against wester ASW to break into the Atlantic, instead stay in the high north, attack western/NATO infrastructure and get NATO to crack the bastion ( with all that risk).


It was a bit of a leg pull. But yes Russia isn’t coming south. But the ability to reach out would add to their depth. Makes sense. Shoot the archer.

Last edited 10 months ago by X

Maybe looking at a map will show why Nato and allies have the strategy of control of the oceans while Russia doesnt.
A Map will also show why Finland wants to belong to Nato while Ireland doesnt, or while Greece is one of the highest spenders in Europe of GDP on defence in even more then Poland.
A side bar to that example but in Asia explains why Singapore spends much more of its GDP on defence despite its advantageous location compared to fellow Han chinese nation Taiwan.


Can somone explain why RoI is so weak a player in the North Atlantic? Do they like the idea of being occupied by Russia or China?


There is no real threat to them is there? They have nothing. They are few in number. If the UK or the EU was occupied they would be occupied to. Why would Russia want to occupy Ireland? Why would China for that matter?


See what I mean by studying maps, some seem to not have looked at a large scale map since high school nor have even a simple understanding of strategic military options

Last edited 10 months ago by X

Looking at the Axis of Evil one observes that the Astutes are excellent but I question their lack of vertical launch tubes in the last 3 or 4 of class. I also wonder if they have towed array. Generally at sea we have been very lax in not arming our surface ships with land attack missiles and running at least 10 years behind on hypersonics and ballistics. Not clever or good.


Head of the US Northern Command recently told Senators that Russia could have its most powerful Yasen (NATO name Severodvinsk) class attack submarines on persistent patrols off either of America’s coasts within two years which will “reduce decision space for a national senior leader in a time of crisis”

Severodyninsk was laid down in 1993 and was based on either stolen US or UK technology from before then, or Russian technology of similar origin IE 30 years ago.

It would be like the Russians launching submarines from Post WW1 and expecting them to compete with the German Type 21 of late WW2.

As far as reducing decision time this has always been the case since the Russians put their first SSBN’s on station. The answer is the US system that has always assumed a sneak attack by Russia with retaliation assured by the NCA which does not stop at the President.


Given the discrepancy between what we are seeing happening across the world and what the Pentagon and State tell us is happening I would take anything the American government says with a large pinch of salt.

How a country with 700 bases worldwide, the largest navy, and many space based assets could accuse a smaller country of trying to creep up on it is something I can only guess at…
paranoia perhaps?


Yes. I understand the sosus system and other on ground intell knows when any Russian submarine leaves arctic port and its more or less tracked for all the time its in the Atlantic. USN and allies have a large airborne and sub force which they devote to this