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X

We need a ‘frigate’ up there all the time.

Duker

Isnt that what ‘hunter killer’ submarines are for…. wide area patrol for other submarines with watchful waiting

Cammy

The entire RN couldn’t protect the UK territory never mind our over sea territorys..

Nat

Hi, I think your spot on, as the security of our sovereign maritime territories particularly around the UK itself, should be a primary focus with ideally multiple ASW Frigates and SSNs working in conjunction with each other. I feel that during the current instability with our waters being continuously probed this should take far more precedence than sending the carriers half way around the world to make political statements.

dick van dyke

The BBC headline this morning was “Russian submarine collides with British Frigate” It always pays to find out the true facts.

Sunmack

At least no submarine will never collide with the sonar on a Type 31!

On a serious note though, I wonder if a lack of submarines is causing us to have to use frigates in the Barents sea? There are typically only 2 submarines on station at any time. One has been with the carrier group in recent months and the other is probably East of Suez acting as a cruise missile carrier (a total waste of a £1.3bn asset; the Russian’s have got this right in putting land attack missiles on small vessels so you don’t waste a costly and valuable asset on that mission).

The decision to get rid of SS’s in the RN in the 1990’s was understandable at the time in the context of believing that the cold war was over. However, a very resurgent Russian bear means that they have become relevant again. The £2bn spent on the Type 31 Offshore Patrol Vessel (I refuse to call the T31 a frigate) would buy 3/4 SS’s by buying an existing design (German?). That would have released two towed array frigates for other operations. We could of course have had 7 SS’s for the money spent on MR4 or 11 for the cost of Ajax. Still, money spent on five T31 OPV’s, zero Maritime Patrol Aircraft or an armoured vehicle that makes the crew ill is a far more sensible use of resources (or at least it is to politicians who are only interested in spending the defence procurement budget on job creation).

Deep32

The RN have had a frigate presence in the Barents on and off since at least the early 1980’s, irrespective of whether or not any NATO SSNs have been on task or not. Nimrod’s were also used to conduct patrols ‘up round the corner’ during the height of the cold war. This is nothing new, we are just returning to what the RN used to do prior to the collapse of the ‘Eastern bloc’ as it were?
The omission of SSKs in our fleet is a major loss in our capabilities, as our 6, later 7 SSNs are not enough to fulfill all the tasking they receive.

Sunmack

Thanks for the info. The article suggested frigates up there were unusual. I appreciate you putting that right

X

Certain O-boats were kitted out just for that role.

A 9th T26 would allow us 1 ‘oop north’ and 2 to follow the carrier.

Last edited 16 days ago by X
Deep32

Oberon and Opportune are two that spring to mind, you are teasing, harking back to a navy that could muster some 20+ SMs not counting the boomers. Alas, we will probably never get to those sort of numbers again, nor will we have a tot again unless it’s a special occasion.😭

X

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Last edited 16 days ago by X
Deep32

Ah what memories.

X

The numbers back in the olden days were scary. PLAN will be a bigger threat than the old Soviet navy. Yet Western governments don’t seem to realise the threat.

Cammy

I think, or know they do, they just don’t broadcast it…

Supportive Bloke

I agree the coffee smell has percolated.

Even a Boris-the-clown has realised that RN needs urgent building up.

Fortunately Parker happened and a strategy to do-something was already brewing.

It is much easier when the top man says do-something and the something is actually ready to go – note I did not say oven ready!

Otherwise you end up with the politicians syllogism:

– We must do something!

– This is something therefore we must do it!

Back to my morning coffee.

X

They aren’t interested in true defence only defence as a way of making money for industry and pushing political agendas.

Duker

For Britain and the European nationans in Nato the threat is practically zero.
Taiwan spends less on GDP for defence than UK or Australia, that shows their priorities even the risk for them is much higher.

RobB

I wonder if that is partly because few countries are actually willing to sell arms to Taiwan? Even the big recent sales from the US – 66 F16’s and 400 harpoons – are not exactly state of the art.

X

Oh……….

Cammy

Yeah, China is a threat MASSIVELY Atleast non militarily. They have fingers in so many pies and are abusing the poor money hungry nations…The Chinese have even got involved in our nuclear energy! Madness….Chinese nuclear plants are a funking disaster! Leaking radiation everywhere… The French I can trust, they are building half the parts as we lost that capability…again madness, but Atleast the French are half competent.

DavidB

Is it not 70 +/- years ago that a USN nuc boat transited the Pacific to the Atlantic under the Arctic?

I think we should be very worried about the PLAN..

zavve

Type 31 should be fitted with an Mk.41as they will often operate East of Suez. That would relieve some pressure on the Astutes. A cheap hull sonar should be fitted to the T31 and T45 to be able to at least protect themselves from subs.

ATH

How much protection would it actually provide? I suspect a sub would hear and launch weapons on those 2 classes well outside the range of a “cheap hull sonar”. The protection for the T45 comes from being part of a task group. The T31 is designed for high end war fighting.

zavve

A hull sonar can hear the torpedo from range and make it a lot easier to “dodge” it. From what I understand T31 is not even fitted with a torpedo warning sonar. All subs are not the same, for example, North Korean and some of the older Chinese subs are notoriously noisy and not that hard to detect. The T31 is unfortunately only designed for low-end warfighting as it does not carry any SSM, 24 or 12 short-range SAM. T31 is basically a corvette in a frigates hull. You don’t even need to purchase a sonar since RN already has 13 2050 sonar arrays. I forgot that T45 is fitted with a sonar already so that’s not needed.

X

What it is fitted with is nowhere near as good as 2050.

zavve

I’m not sure if 2150 for the T23 and the new T26 is new production or just an upgrade? if it’s a new product then it would make sense to fit the remaining 13 2050 to the 6 T45 and 5 T31.

Rob N

T23s are getting the new 2051 upgrade of the 2050. I suspect it will be moved over to the T26. The upgrade is going onto the 8 ASW T23s.

Rob N

Sorry that should read 2150 sonar.

zavve

That would still leave 5 type 2050 left from the GP T23s.

X

It’s basically the “Mk2” of the 2050 or next gen. Nothing to get angsty about.

Supportive Bloke

But with modern processors digitisers and interfaces.

So is less maintenance intensive.

Meirion X

HMS Portland is the first T23 fitted with sonar 2150.

Cammy

Type 45 have had sonars removed btw.

zavve

I thought they were still in the hull but no sonar operators are present?

Cammy

I thought they were taken out, so a type 45 crew guy I spoke to said,

zavve

Why would they take them out? Do hull sonars really need a lot of maintenance?

Duker

All those electronics, immersed in water inside the dome…
Type 2150

Hull-mounted-Sonar-Ultra-800x445[1].jpg
zavve

ofc they require some maintenance but it’s not like the crew can even access them 90% of the time so it’s only really in drydock where they would need maintenance.

X

The T31 is designed for high end war fighting.

Nah! You are having a giraffe. Go look at a PLAN Type 054a and get back to us.

dick van dyke

lol.

Meirion X

The T31 does have potential, if only the Treasury would dig out some cash for them!

Prj

T31 is sadly exposed to submarines and a crew death trap. Lessons not learned from history – look up Aboukir, Hogue, Cressy to see how ASW deficiencies play out!

X

T45 already has a cheap hull sonar. That’s the problem!

And they are noisy.

Jack65

T45 sonar is inactive at present? As for Type 31, its just a cheap corvette in a Frigates hull. Give it a decent hull sonar with Mk41 and ASROC and it might just be useful……

zavve

I’ve read somewhere on this website that the sonar was inactive, is this true? I was on the RN website and on there they list the sonar as a capability.

Deep32

I don’t think that they have enough sonar rates to man the ships, hence the sonar being g fitted but inactive. I believe the GP T23s are suffer the same fate.

X

Does it have one? Yes.

Is is poor? Yes.

Is is inactive? I believe so.

The point is IT HAS POOR SONAR FITTED not whether it has somebody in ops listening to it.

I really love how posters seize on some irrelevance and parade it like they have some clever counter point. Good grief.

zavve

Still a poor sonar > No sonar. At least the subs have to be cautious. As soon as the T31 is classified it’s dead.

Supportive Bloke

Well at least RN recruitment is full to bursting.

So that might well get fixed?

Fitting a sonar to T31 is at least possible and upgrading T45 sonar is very possible.

Neither would be highly expensive or risky projects.

That said I’m pretty sure it will go off board in UAVs of one kind or another.

Cammy

I’ve been on heavy armed corvettes,almost type 23 armourment..

Supportive Bloke

Yes, such things exist.

What use are they outside of costal protection work?

I’d want to be very far away from a corvette in a hot zone. A lot of the systems they have are cut down versions to get top weight margins and space factors into the envelope.

T31 can go so so much further both in terms of pure range, survivability and upgradability.

DavidB

I think the idea is to get them into service, on time, within budget, then upgrade them.

Supportive Bloke

You sound like you are banging my drum too!

Meirion X

T45 sonars de-activated to save on crew numbers.

Meirion X

The RAF is now back to 9 Maritime Patrol Aircraft again, Boring P8’s.
Yes SSN’s are expensive to build and take 6-8 years to build, but operate better in the Arctic then SSK’s and the long ranges of East of Suez. ELXXUUS would be a better buy to patrol home waters in the future.
The SSN operating East of Suez came home for Xmas, maybe crew with Covd again?

Last edited 16 days ago by Meirion X
Cammy

We did used to build conventional subs on the Clyde, why not again!

Duker

Out of the question. Those shipyards dont exist anymore other than as relics, not that the old fashioned ways are of any use.
Autonomous large submarines are the way ahead but if they did want a new conventual design the skills to build the hull are still mostly at Barrow ( the fittings and such come from all over) and it would dilute the workforce to build up another centre

Cammy

Shame we can’t build for export.. we once supplied lots of nations… chile, Canada, Oz ect

Deep32

The RN don’t think that large autonomous SMs are the way ahead, hence we are building SSN(R) to replace the Astutes. They are exploring AUVs to see what capabilities they might be able to provide to assist SMs with their operations, not the same as just going down the large autonomous SM route.
Where this all ends up remains to be seen, but we will still have manned SMs for decades to come.

Duker

I meant the large autonomous subs would be instead of SSK type.
These sort of intel operations are exactly what a ULUUV could handle. Surface after a few days to a week and upload all the data and then go back and do it all again.
Its like how spys often work in the real world, sleeper agents who gather information continuously and then pass it on in short bursts, then repeat for a loge time. The evaluation is done by others ‘in the back office’

Deep32

Ah, wondered were you were going with that. No worries 👍

David Graham

Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co in Greenock were the only submarine builders north of the border. Where the yard once was is now a call centre.

The submarine yard manager [the late Jim Morgan] was a neighbour and close friend. The last boats built there were the Australian O boats in the 70s.

Deep32

Yes, once such a specialist industry is lost/allowed to either as it were, it can take the better part of a decade and lots of money to build up again.
Birkenhead built our last SSKs in the early 90’s, then we promptly went and sold them to Canada before loosing those skilled workers. The same very nearly happened up in Barrow with the v slow ordering/build rate of the Astutes, which required substantial help from the USA to get back on track. One day we might learn a lesson or two!!

Mark

T31s will be up sensored by use of unmanned systems that can be added as and when. The 31 is designed as a anti piracy and merchant escort and humanitarian ship and peace time naval presence patrol boat. You don’t need a ASW frigate to go to the Caribbean or go give our common wealth friends assistance after a disaster or go give anti piracy reassuring escort.

It is like you say a large ocean going OPV.

Armchair Admiral

Can’t we put a big hook on the end? Could be useful.
AA

Muttley

The documentary’s “excitable narration” and attempts to create false tension invites ridicule

John

Only £8 a pint…that must be in the Norge naffi

Last edited 16 days ago by John
Rob N

Good to see we can still find them….

Bloke down the pub

RN may be looking at the autonomous options for providing enduring surveillance of the ocean. Ministry of Defence looking to purchase ‘special purpose ship’ (ukdefencejournal.org.uk)

Gavin Gordon

Got the impression from the first program that there were two Russian subs heading south, according to Naval Intel

Cammy

Ive always thought our Frigates “23’s” should have wildcats as they are smaller, the merlin seems far too big for our Frigs.

Duker

Designed for merlin, so not ‘too big’. The Merlin has more range and extra capability such the dipping sonar so is very useful

Cammy

The 23s are designed for merlin? I thought the 23s were designed originally to work with the Forts in asw in the Atlantic? So choppers would be on forts and 23s wouldn’t even have missiles or a gun…nor sure about chopper, Merlins just seem huge on the 23s. The Koreans don’t mind the wildcats with dipping sonar, should we equip ours?

Supportive Bloke

Wildcat doesn’t have much endurance with dipping sonar.

Merlin is m, I think, 4 hours which is a lot as these things go.

Dave G

Merlin very carefully designed to fit in the frigate hanger… there are a few pics online of it with blades and tail folded.

You need a big helo to get the capability the merlin has. A large dipping sonar, multiple bouys, multiple torpedoes and enough crew (5?) to do the job with range and endurance to match.

Steven Alfred Rake

I am just worried that with so few ships and subs in the fleet now-days and the commitments we have getting bigger by the day the crew burn out is going to start to have more affect with the senior more experienced hands getting dicked for more and more tours. We are already operating our fleet with the minimum of crews so it dose not take many people to go down either through burn out or an actual illness such as Covid to take a vessel off line. I wonder how many of the crew from the CSG21 got home had a quick pint then were off deployed on anouther vessel. It OK (ish) for the single guys in the crews but most of the senior ranks will be married or have full time partners and so this cause of action leads to divorce and heightened stress levels which is not good in an already stressful environment.

Gunbuster

That’s life in a blue suit when on a ship for 3-5 years. 6-9month deployment, back for leave (3-4 weeks) , maint period alongside (4 weeks) bit of local work ups for a few weeks and then out for another 3 months…repeat! Hopefully the people onboard stay within the 2/3 away from base port 1/3 in home port over the duration of their draft. Its a big, big issue for 2nd Sea Lord (2SL) if that doesn’t happen.
Shore draft at the end of it for 18M – 24 months including training courses at the end before joining a new unit.

Steven Alfred Rake

That’s life in a green one as well, but if you want to retain the wealth of knowledge in the senior messes and the skilled ranks there needs to be more understanding from the top brass both in uniform and out. This normally equates to more personnel in the to choose from.

captain p wash

Might just have been a Russian attempt to obtain the Sonar, like the RN did some decades back.

Duker

They would have had to surface to grab the ‘pieces’. That doesnt seemed to have happened

captain p wash

Look up Operation Barmaid, HMS Conqueror managed it pretty well.

Pete

During the Cold War a UK warship was sometimes sent up into the Arctic in order to get intelligence published in NISUMs without compromising the source.
Mostly the ‘hot’ intelligence came from a submarine source which could not be alluded to. Often, back pocket ‘dit books’ were updated between the lads deploying on the next sneaky.
This was highly illegal of course and sometimes it was word of mouth only. Among the boats of SM2, those just returned and those deploying next would rub shoulders inboard in the tape trainers.
UCs (in my day) had to stay in date on the latest stuff recorded at sea and we would be briefed ‘unofficially’ by the old and bolds.
Some of the SSK UC1s and CHOPS(S)s would have us in fits of laughter on their escapades in the Baltic and the Med. We on the other hand had our own contribution to make and we weren’t lacking in the ‘steely eyed stuff’!
I don’t suppose much has changed in the 28 years since I left the tip of the spear. They were fantastic times, fun, fun, fun, and sometimes a little bit eeeeeeeeeek!
The patrols in the early nineties were some of the most tense and absolutely knackering I ever did. It’s a young man’s game, it always has been. Stuff that I would take in my stride as a nineteen year old became harder and harder to shoulder as the years passed.
I drove myself into the ground, we all did.
I can no longer do it… however, once, we were kings!

Phillip Johnson

Are we sure rhat this wasn’t an attempt to nick the towed array? It is unlikely the sub would not have not know that the frigate was in the area but it may not have realised that it had been dedected until the frigate closed.
Swingind\g across the stern to try and snag the active element of a CAPTAS-4 would have won more than a few brownie points.

captain p wash

Yup, exactly.

DavidB

In Barrow in Furness today and walking past Ramsden Roundabout saw a memorial to the Australian crews of AE1 and AE2 both of which went down circa 1913 / 1914 – not directly related to this thread but, of interest given potential Australian acquisition of our tech and that a few from ‘straya’ have also been round the corner or served on our ASW Escorts.

May they Rest In Peace.

Ron

Ok folks I need some help. I watched the program Warship, life at sea ch5 on Mon 10th Jan. That a UK naval vessel was sent North to intecept a Russian sub on its way to UK undersea cables. All well and good however, one question sprung to mind. How did the Admiralty know there was a Russian sub in the area as we did not appear to have any assets there, and how did the Admiralty know that the Russian sub was going towards UK cables? I don’t think we hace SOSUS anymore, so how

DavidB

Taps nose… need to know. Wink.

We Brits might be taking deriliction of duty a bit far but I’d have thought the USN know their bread and butter and be monitoring egress from Rus Naval Bases.

As to intent? Narrative. However, somebody has form for interfering with cables!

My issue is that we need a 24 hour prescence in that neck of the woods, and we simply don t have the resources.

Steven Alfred Rake

I also watched the series on TV (CH5) but was puzzled when HMS Northumberland went through a storm doing 12 Knots and then developed a leak in the 4.5″ gun. I am of an age where in days of old the war ships going through heavy seas would have the guns on the bow facing aft to stop the water damaging the guns. Is there a reason why the modern gun platform cannot be pointed aft for transiting heavy seas.