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Rose Compass

Twenty years ago this was a pipe-dream. Just look at it…one still has to pinch oneself! They look more like shots from the 1960s. And what lurks beneath?

Geoffrey Hicking

I’ve been having a thought. Those of us that haven’t served, aren’t involved in engineering, and having worked in the MoD, should probably not comment. We are of no use to the armed forces and our country unless we have served. If we can’t/won’t, then there is no point in us commenting or even learning about this stuff. It might be best for those of us, like myself, who are just armchair commentators/bufton tuftons/ insert description here, to just shut up and go away. I’ll try and hold myself to this, and I hope those people here who fit the same demographic do likewise.

Bloke back down the pub

You and I both pay for these impressive vessels. I for one will carry on commenting as I see fit.

Geoffrey Hicking

…and what will that accomplish?

Do you want to see N-A-B, Robert Blay, Sir Humphrey (Thin Pinstriped Line), Gunbuster, Airbourne and the rest smacking down any armchair admiral comment the fantasy fleeters make?

What exactly do we contribute other than taxes? What use are we to our country?


Are you OK Hun ?


I spent nearly 35 years defending the right of peoples to say and comment as they see fit within the rule of law.
I’m not going to stop them now… And if they learn a little bit in the process all is good.

Geoffrey Hicking

What does us learning anything contribute?

If it is possible for a middle-aged academic to write articles that you might find useful, then I’ll take it all back. Otherwise, given my incompetence in the cadets and engineering inability, I cannot see how individuals such as myself can be useful.


I think you might be over thinking. It happens a lot in life. Have you considered posting on other sites ?

Supportive Bloke

Oh keep posting here. I read you and it makes me think. Which I welcome.

The way you think and express things is interesting and different.

You are not offensive just thought provoking.

We were all getting a bit bad tempered on the CrowsNest thread and maybe it is a lesson to all of us to be more respectful of each other: expert or not….


Not a Boffin knows his onions.

But Sir Humph is just a Main Building shill.


Mate you will find I only have issues with people who play troll, or repeat the same line in order to elicite a response. I have absolutly no issue with those who have never served, as the military involves the whole country, both past, present and future. Everyone has a say mate.

Gavin Gordon

Very true, and everyone in a war, of course.


Maybe you shouldn’t vote either for similar reasons re: governance ?


Great idea…
Service guarantees citizenship!

Heinlen was on to something in his parody of fascism in Starship Troopers! ?


Starship Troopers is about fascism? Really? Um. No.


I see the down voter is back, from plus 2 to -1 in under a day.

I am sorry but Starship Troopers isn’t about fascism.


Childish. Absolutely childish.


It started with the Romans.

The parody came from the film director Verhoeven, not the books author. And his earlier film was “Robocop”.


Who never read the book.


Not a hope of keeping me quiet I’m afraid. I’m just a civvie tax payer with an interest in the RN. Have to say this is a great day. What we see above is the best this country has to offer….the fruition of decades of constancy of purpose and world class innovative engineering and practical teamwork in the face of institutionalised political indecision and eeyore. Brilliant job. Kudos to all concerned.


What we see above…

And what lurks beneath as well! (I’m sure there’s an SSN or two not far away)


Interesting point of view. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

Something different

I think you do yourself a disservice. I understand you have extensive historical knowledge and have perspectives that can add extensively to the discussion. Also, while military, or ex military, personnel have an extraordinary insight and must be admired for their courage and service, depending on role, their knowledge or known how may only be framed within certain parameters. In all cases the key is to to ensure that one’s comments are cogent and are supported with as much evidence as possible, something which is not the preserve of one profession or another.

Rose Compass

‘War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.’ Usually attributed to Georges Clemenceau 1841 – 1929 (after whom the French named an aircraft carrier!), often misquoted as ‘war is too serious a matter to be left to the generals’, and as cited at p101, The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations, 3rd Ed (Rev), 1997, OUP, Oxford.

The idea that civvies should stay out of the debate around naval and military [note the separation here!] matters is, in a democratic society, dangerous to say the least. Public oversight is essential, and to be effective it must be informed.

Health issues kept me from following my ambition to fly in the military (ahem, RAF) and, not even being able to gain admittance to a University Air Squadron, I took up studying International Politics and Strategic Studies instead. This particular course within the faculty at the university I attended was established, I understand, at the end of the 1960s in response to the appalling level of public debate surrounding the reorganisation of defence undertaken by Denis Healey – who, ironically, saw off plans to replace the carrier fleet laid down in World War II but still then operational.

It’s our Navy, we pay for it; we are an island state; most of our trade still moves by sea. It is not inappropriate to remind ourselves of the Preamble to the Articles of War (under Charles II): ‘It is upon the Navy, under the good providence of God, that the Wealth, Prosperity and peace of these Islands and of the Empire [for which we might now read our allies and friends] do mainly depend’.

So let’s just keep our democratic dialogue bobbing along.


To say that an opinion doesn’t count unless it’s backed up by personal experience is not logically sustainable- although it’s spouted a lot by those wanting to shut someone down in an argument. Don’t let it get you down.
If you think about it, it’s a fallacy on every level. Slavery was not abolished in the UK by those who personally experienced it, it was abolished by a rising movement of those who could not reconcile it with their personal beliefs. Men do not have to be or be related to a woman to know that sexual abuse of any kind is reprehensible and should be prevented and dealt with in no uncertain terms. We are expected to vote for a government based upon any number of policies that we have no practical experience of dealing with (including defence).
I, like you, have never served my country in the military or MOD, although I am an engineer (so 1 out of 3 isn’t too bad). But we do pay taxes and we do vote. As such, we should be doing our service as citizens in making sure our money is resonsibly spent across government, and our armed forces (among other things) are properly resourced. We can’t do that if we don’t have at least a notional idea of the subject, and there’s nothing wrong with having an opinion on it. Obviously, acknowledge the subject matter experts (veterans, etc.). But to say that your opinion is not relevant due to a lack of personal experience, assuming that you are well read on the subject, is intellectually dishonest.


That is some impressive photos, a real RN led Carrier Strike Group. There is only two things that I wish, 1. that we have more F35Bs so that we could deploy 36 of them. 2. That the RN could get 4 Arliegh Burkes, two for each carrier. Possibly the US Navy would be so kind and have a permant deployment to the CSG but they would need to come under RN control. Must admit the Dutch frigate has an impressive weapons fit for its size, 32 Standard Block IIIs and 32 Sea Sparrows quad packed. They carry more and out range the Sea Viper weapons fit of the T45. What is intresting but it seems that the MoD did not implement it is that the CAMM missile can be quad packed into the same space as a single Sea Wolf. If we did implement that then the T23 could have 128 Sea Ceptors.
This group in the photos is able to engage up to 350 anti air targets out to 150 km without the F35Bs which would engage from the 300 km down to 170 km. Conclussion when looking at it that way, the CSG in the way it is set up for this exersise would even give the air forces of China and Russia something to think about. I do wish that the T45s would have there Mk41s VLS installed, possibly as we are now buying them for the T26s we could get some form of deal for a further 12 blocks. I also wish that the T23s could have some form of CIWS. Don’t we have some spare Goalkeepers somewhere, possibly one could be fitted on top of the hanger in the postion of the after type 911 Sea Wolf tracking radar.

Steven Jones

What is the range of current Russian /Chinese anti-ship missiles ? How much longer will the T23s remain in service ? I can’t see them being pulled for Goalkeeper installation (or the bean counters being willing to pay for it).


I would perhaps suggest we build T26 to the same spec as the RAN Hunter class. Job jobbed. Better than building Burkes.

T45 should have had more toys but budgets. Is SeaViper worth a platform of its own? Yes. They aren’t really escorts in the accepted sense more specialised aerospace defence ships. T45 will always be with something else.

I have upvoted you to get rid of that silly downvote. 🙂

Max Jones

The sSMs used by European navies such as Netherlands have a range of 118km, about the same as 120km on the Aster 30. The most significant difference is their limited capability against low altitude targets since the radars are lower down.

As you mentioned, though, F-35Bs are the main air defence platform as they are currently deployed;oyed with AMRAAM with a 105km range, possibly even up to 160km on the D variants which might be used as well. That is, of course, on top of the range the jet may fly away from the core strike group which could be hundreds of kilometres.


I believe the sea viper system is designed to use 1 missile per target and the us missile based systems use 2 missiles per target, which evens it out somewhat, useless like most brtish systems its ffbnw missiles. I very much doubt we have enough missiles to fully load out the all type 45’s.

Last edited 3 years ago by William

The goalkeeper wouldn’t be a great option as its deck penetrating. So the phalanx is likely the best option as it isn’t, although ido like the added fire power the goalkeeper gives.


Deck penetration is a problem. Many CIWS / cannon systems are self contained. But looking at it if we wanted to fit something a bit deeper where Phalanx is mounted I think there is ‘space’ (as it were).
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Not sure I see the need for CIWS on the T23. I definitely did when they had VLS Seawolf and could only engage 2 targets consecutively. As I understand it CAMM has an active seeker so doesn’t require direction from the ship and the T23 can now engage multiple targets.

I think a bigger gap is the lack of a TBMD capable missile on the T45 or the increasing lack of SSM’s on independently deployed T23’s and T45’s.


SeaCeptor, and previously SeaWolf, are the Type 23’s CIWS, both (particuarly SW) are short range point defense weaponry, although with the increase in speeds of cruise missiles the Sea Ceptor needed more range to do the same job, on all other points you are corrdct though.

The Goalkeeper isnt an ideal weapon for them either due to the amount of deck penetration it needs, unlike the bolt on Phalanx and SeaRAM.

Supportive Bloke

Ceptor has a much longer range than Wolf – about double if you believe the unofficial reports.

It is at a different level to Wolf in all respects.

I don’t claim an in depth knowledge of either.


We don’t have spare Goalkeepers. The days when unused kit was kept in storage are long gone. The accounting rules won’t allow for it.


Wow, Wow, Wow and many more Wows. Just a silly question but, What’s with the Paint ? are we looking at a modern day dazzle ?


LOL, they certainly are not trying to merge with the sea around them.


It’s very bright isn’t it? 🙂

I prefer grey to be grey.


I was referring to the many ‘Shades of Grey” though, If you look at all the Pics, you can clearly see them, I’d like to think it was all part of some sort of Stealth !


Fantastic, what an awesome sight. Congrats all those involved.

It does show how wide the QE’s deck is compared to say the earlier Invincible class. You can park the F35s down the side have a line of Merlins all with the blades unfolded and still have room to spare.

The only sad thing is the news of the late Hermes, shame. But how come the ski ramp and bow on Hermes looks so much nicer than the QE’s, probably function over looks?

I really do hope that there will be a third TV documentary. Showing how the CSG comes together and interacts with our allies.


Good news, I did tweet Chris Terrill (Filmmaker for Britains Biggest Warship) and he confirmed he’ll be onboard for a third series during CSG21.


The Woman in the Crane Cab, I like her Furry Dice.


That is a euphemism i have not heard before.


Was the location picked because it offered a great photo? Or was picked because of the crane operator’s gender? That’s the question.


Probably a bit of both truth be known. Still great to see though, either way.


It’s a great picture.


They probably bought her up from the Laundry to pose for a PC photo. Im sure thats a bloke standing behind the console to her left making sure she doesn’t reverse into anything.


Do such things happen? I am shocked.

Something different

That is a sexist joke (or at least I think it was an attempt at humour). How can you think it is so incongruous for a woman to be doing such a role in this day and age? It is a patronising paternalistic assumption that she would need a man to assist assist her and that she must have come from the ‘laundry’.

Expat Alien

Looks like they are cargo pallets on a jackstay and it’s RASCO – but fluffy dice is a nice description

Steven Jones

Wow, what a fantastic sight to behold and with a lot of growth still to come.


Yes and Lets hope we get that growth, not more cuts.


Great view!

As F35B is one of the most advanced fighter now, even with 12 of them looks powerful. One F35 in 2020 will amount “more than” three SeaHarrier FA.2 in 1990, relatively.

I felt, 24 F35 air wing is very good, and maybe more Merlin or any V22 for AAR would be preferred, when thinking about the future capability boost for QNLZ.

In other words, I would like to see US Marine’s V22 VARS to AAR F35B, both operated from HMS QNLZ, in near future.

Also impressive is the escort fleet. The sea is rough, as T23 pitches in the movie, also very impressive view.


Yes. But one plane can only be in one place at any one time.

We need to make sure only B is purchased.


Yes, all F35B is essential, especially if its number to be reduced to 70+.

Carrying 36 F35B (say, including USMarines’) sometimes on QNLZ will be great. But, the reason “36 F35B airwing” is not so attractive for me is, it is the “continuous (not for short term) full strike package of 36 F35B” which defines the FSSS requirement.

If the requirement be reduced to “full strike package of 24 F35B” or two-thirds, the the FSSS could be a bit smaller. Note that 36 F35B full strike can be done, just not continuously.

Thus, 3 SSS could be built, without cutting T26.

Or 3 SSS could be built in UK, with the same cost 3 (large) SSS be built abroad.

Or, if money is there, we can use that resource to
1: stop cutting E-7 number
2: add AShM on escorts (increasing the interim SSM from 5 to 19 sets)
3: improving the speed of integrating JSM and SPEAR3 to F35B
4: increasing CAMM from 12 to 24 in T31, and/or adding hull sonar
5: adding ~24 CAMM to T45, and fill all 48 Sylver VLS with Aster30 NT(BMD)
…. (many many lists we have)….

Just I’m saying it is already great.




In one respect the F35 is less capable than the Sea Harrier which is the anti ship mission. Until the withdrawal of Sea Eagle on cost grounds the Harrier had a long range heavy ASM. The F35 will only have a medium range ASM with a small warhead.


Yes. A navy needs to be able to sink ships. It seems so fundamental that it shouldn’t have to be said, but it appears it must.


It is an impressive sight of ships and aircraft. They can defend themselves from air, missile and submarine attacks. But what can they attack? How can they neutralise enemy ships? The escorting submarine can attack both subs and surface vessels but the only RN ships with any capability are the Type 23’s and they have ageing SSMs. We have some very good defence ships, with more on the way, but please let us have ships that are fitted with, not for, sufficient weapons that can neutralise the enemy.


I think that the answer to your comments might just be, What Enemy ? That’s how I see It, I’m sure that’s how the Powers that Be, see it too, to a certain degree. We are not in a War after all.


If you want peace, prepare for war.
Given the years/decades it takes from “we want” to “we got”, by the time we know “what enemy?”, it’s too late to go shopping. The ‘Powers that Be’ ought to know better.


Apologies if I misunderstood bud. Thought you were saying ‘were not at war so we don’t need to neutralise enemy ships’.
Just FYI, I didn’t downvote. I rarely do. I tend to reserve it for comments that gaslight or strawman in what should be constructive discussions. Even if I misunderstood you, you were expressing your opinion which we should all be entitled to do 🙂

Last edited 3 years ago by Stu
Max Jones

Anti-ship warfare is largely a secondary priority in modern warfare. Most lighter threats like corvettes, patrol ships and landing craft could easily be targeted by wildcats with anti-ship missiles.

Heavier targets like carriers or merchant convoys would be targeted separately by submarines.

Within this group, the carriers have 500lb and 1,000lb guided bombs and will eventually get SPEAR 3 as a relatively long range air-to-surface alternative.


Only in the Royal Navy is it a secondary priority. Every other western navy has SSM’s on their escorts and the US and French have long range heavyweight ASM’s on their carrier aircraft.
The range of Spear 3 would require the F35 to enter into the engagement envelope of any area defence SAM equipped warship.
The proliferation of ultra long range missiles means an SSM threat could be 100 miles+ from the carrier. It would take the escorting SSN 6-8 hours to get there, engage it and return to station again leaving the task group without its most effective ASW capability for that time.
We need a third of the F35 fleet equipped with either NSM or LRASM enabling a surface target to be engaged in under an hour without the task group losing its SSN for hours.


Isn’t the real issue the RN rules of engagement which say don’t fire an AShM at an over the horizon at a target in a ‘fire and forget’ fashion?
I think a Wildcat has a radar which can detect a surface target at almost 200 miles. The helicopter itself has a quoted range of over 400 miles, which I interpret to mean a strike radius also of about 200miles. Sea Venom will have a range larger than its predecessor Sea Skua and can be launched and directed from below the horizon to make a precision strike with the intention to disable rather than sink the target. I think Wildcat will carry 4 Sea Venom missiles. Since 200 miles is beyond the range of most AShM ( and most SAMs) I am guessing the RN thinks the Wildcat – Sea Venom combination is what they want for sea targets. They did specify that the interrim Harpoon replacement should have a land attack capability. I suspect its this requirement that mandates something like NSM or LRASM.


Sea Venom isn’t going to bother anything much over a few hundred tons.


Whilst I certainly wouldn’t like one through my front window, I’m inclined to agree. I’m the furthest thing from an expert but it seems more an anti-boat than anti-ship missile.


Look for example in the Falklands War at how many Sea Skua were popped off at trawlers and small freighters and how many continued on.


Río Carcara

ELMA cargo ship, 8,500 tons, used as a blockade runner, damaged by Sea Harriers in Port King. Subsequently attacked by both sides, until finally sunk by Sea Skua missiles fired from a Westland Lynx helicopter on 23 May 1982.

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Islas Malvinas GC82, a Z-28 type naval patrol craft, damaged by a Westland Lynx from HMS Alacrity (F174) on 1 May 1982 near Kidney Island. Captured at Port Stanley by the British on 14 June 1982 and renamed HMS Tiger Bay.

Río Iguazú GC83, a Z-28 type naval patrol craft, damaged by Sea Harriers 22 May in Choiseuel Sound while steaming towards Goose Green with two 105 mm guns aboard, beached in Button Bay. The guns were taken off by Argentine helicopter, though one was damaged, and were used in the defence of Darwin. Later captured by British Forces, but attacked by a Westland Lynx (XZ691) from HMS Penelope (F127) firing a Sea Skua on 13 June 1982. The wreck was towed to Goose Green after the conflict.

The Sea Skuas sunk 14 of Hussein’s small ship navy


Río Carcarañá  had fire damaged after all its attacks and was holed by Sea Skua just above the water line. Hardly sunk by Sea Skua nowhere near.

Both Z-28 damaged by Sea Harrier again and not sunk. All of 65 tons.

Now for Saddam’s navy even the RN only says wrecked. The allied forces had total sea control. And though Sea Skua again no outright sinking.

Sea Skua has as much bang as 4.5in give or take. Not a ship killer and most of the time not ‘ship stopper’ either.


Across the Pond over the last few years there have been calls to screw AShM on to everything and anything as the USN is seeing there is a yawning gap.

Russians, Indians, and Chinese are invested in AShM programmes.

The Martlet missile is hardly a ship killer. It would take a good few hits for anything than a boat to stop it. And don’t forget the helicopter is vulnerable too.

Every other European navy has AShM missiles on their escorts.

The RN is the outlier.

Supportive Bloke

Yup but it has to be an AShM that really counts. Bringing a makeweight into service might actually be counter productive.

The old days of keeping crap kit in service so there is a notional capability are thankfully receding in the rear view mirror.

There a loads of tales of massive expenditure to keep ancient and useless kit in service in all three services.

In reality all keeping ancient kit going does it to prevent conversations about replacement as politicians say ‘we have have got that already, next question.’


Yes. Something else the RN isn’t very good at. The manuals for our Harpoons is in Latin they are that old…….

Perhaps apart of our problems is we don’t build our own missile unlike the French, Italians, or even the Swedes?

4 million is a lot. But as I have said for ships getting on for a billion, or 1000 million, the cost isn’t much.

The RN was very good at selecting just the right of kit for a hull. But these days that strategy of only minimum fit out doesn’t work.


It’s a good thing that we don’t use the British version of a Billion though.


Yes. Arguing that £70 to £100 million pound aircraft flying off £1.5 billion plus aircraft or £750 million can’t ‘shoot’ £3 million missiles against equally priced targets doesn’t make much sense to me. We have just spent over a decade using multi-million pound jets dropping £500k bombs on chaps with Chinese AK’s…….


Exciting stuff.

Something different

A fantastic sight, and this is just the beginning (hopefully).


It sure aa hell looks impressive! A dream finally coming true! I can’t see any harpoons on the Type 45s , or the 23s (coukd be camera angle), glad we have an Arleigh Burke in the group! We just need to get more F35Bs and fit a decent SSM on our escorts!


They are an increasingly rare site on T23 or T45. It looks like the plan to buy an SSM for 5 of the T23’S which would then go obto the T31 has been dropped on cost grounds. So expect to see the Royal Navy entirely devoid of any SSM capability in the next couple of years as Harpoon goes out of service


Lots being written (rightly) about this being a truly brilliant British achievement but let’s not forget our allies. Without the USN & the Marine Nationale this may have never happened. Great friends indeed. Now hopefully we can pay them back. Having a British Carrier Group frees up a American flat top and augments the Charles De Gaulle Group. It is not just about national capability (although that is important). NATO can now deploy a very serious naval force simultaneously with a USN deployment in the Pacific.

Navy Guy

Thanks from America, there are many here who appreciate the UK getting back in the carrier game. Once really up and going, I do hope we take advantage of your capability to shift a carrier group from the East Coast of the US to the West.

As much as I hope it’s not necessary, I suspect that in the coming decades the US and UK will be operating carriers together in a multinational effort to deter China in the Western Pacific.


Cheers buddy – better together. I reckon Japan & South Korea will be operating F35 from carriers too shortly so the USN can augment your already powerful carrier strike groups in both the Pacific & Atlantic. Brits & French in the Atlantic, Japanese & South Koreans in the Pacific. Probably leaves capacity for the Indian Ocean / Gulf too.


Of course, there is another option, We could all just stop buying everything Chinese, that way They’ll not have the money to build their armed forces to such an extent that they can threaten their nearest neighbors or the rest of World. This is just what the World has allowed to happen over the decades.


I sincerely hope so! We need US escorts kitted out with weapons we can’t be bothered to buy! I note USMC F35Bs are carrying the gun pods, despite earlier assurances that we woukd buy some, it apoears that’s been dropped? We need the US Navy and USMC on the QE to provide those capabilities the RN sadly lacks.

Supportive Bloke

Lots to be positive about.

CSG exists and it all works as expected.

And yes we do owe massive thanks for UMC and USN and MN for supporting the UK through the “capability holiday” – that is a true reflection of what alliance means!!


Well said.

Something different

Just seeing if I can post

Something different

Seems I can!


Wow I too! 😀

Something different

Fantastic, party time, yayyy

A. Smith

Fantastic pictures and video.


Mrs OOA noticed the mismatching paintwork on QE’s hull. I explained that Farrow and Ball had run out of waterproof Elephant’s Breath and due to the cuts they had to patch with Dulux. I suspect our MP may be getting a letter about it.

In other news: Great to see this, it’s been a long time coming.


Fantastic pictures! Great to see a UK led, QE centered carrier-group finally become a reality.

Lots of focus recently on F35B numbers but I had some questions and thoughts today around weapons integration.

I know we are integrating Meteor pretty soon which will provide a top-notch beyond visual range air to air capability to defend the fleet.

What else is definitely being fielded though? We’ve already got Paveway lV which seems to be a great air to ground munition but would it be any use in an anti-ship role? With Spear a ways off, no gun pod and everything else like Perseus still pie in the sky I’m wondering what broader anti-ship and ground attack capabilities the F35 fleet will have?

Seems to me that heavyweight AShM’s are a bit of a funding dead-end given that no western navy has or will ever feel confident enough to use them so the best anti-surface defence is SSN’s (of which we clearly have pitifully few) and having a strong air-group.

Also given they are going to be a pretty regular on-board presence are there any common munitions the USMC F35’s will also use? Thinking it could be a bit limiting in any shooting war to have 2 or more jet squadrons operating from QE or PoW with completely different munition stocks!


The main capability gaps for me are the lack of a stand off land attack or ASM on the F35. we already have Storm Shadow but won’t be fitting it and the US and France both gave stand off land and ship attack missiles on their carrier aircraft.
We don’t have enough SSN’S to do the ASW, ASuW, intelligence gathering and cruise missile strike missions. Fitting a third of the F35 fleet with a long range ASM and the T26 with Tomahawk would allow us to focus our precious SSN’s on the ASW and intelligence gathering missions at which they excel


ASM will probably be covered with Spear3 when it enters service, same sort of range as NSM but with a smaller warhead. F35 will be able to carry 8 internally, think they would only be able to carry 2 NSN in bomb bay. Whilst LRASM packs a v big bang, its also v expensive and doesn’t fit internally, so imo probably the longshot at the moment.


From what I can ascertain the range of Spear 3 is 80 miles. Considerably less than NSM at 115 miles. I don’t know if the JSM development of NSM can be air launched but its range is given as over 300 miles.
LRASM can’t fit internally but has such a huge range it doesn’t matter if the aircraft carrying it can be detected as its well outside the engagement envelope of any maritime SAM system

Last edited 3 years ago by Sunmack

Hi Sunmack, believe the Aussies and Norwegians are developing jam for their F35 fleet, so believe it will fit the B variant too. You’re correct about LRASM, but it’s 4-5 times the price of a NSM/JSM, can’t see us getting that any time soon. Might be a contender when the T26 comes out with mk41vls though.


SPEAR 3 is tiny. You would have to launch all 8 at anything over 1000 tons. And below there would be surely better systems?

LRASM is $3 million a copy. But what about the cost of the target? Most escorts these days are $750 million and up.

Never mind the cost of the aircraft to carry the weapon.

Costs are relative.


Don’t disagree with those comments, but primary navy strike asset is currently the SSN, the only element lacking is a ASM, a lost capability since the demise of Sub Harpoon. Spear 3 is small, but is being developed for F35 fleet more as a multi role weapon I admit. I don’t think we are going to see LRASM hanging off a F35 anytime soon. Think if anything we will go with JSM as it fits in internal bay, then possibly canister launched version as interim fit on T23/31. Only my thoughts on the subject.


And how many SSN’s will have soon? And sub-launched AShM can be problematic.

Spear 3 is in adequate.

Costs have to be considered. There is no point in fielding mulit-hundred million pound platforms and not outfit them. There roll is to go into harms way after all.

You are also not considering combat.

All these missiles are coming in at £3 to £4 million a copy. Which is less than one per cent of the cost of a T45 or T26.


I would like to question whether a single high cost asm actually stands much of a chance getting through a modern high end ships defences? Maybe Spear 3 launched in multiples gives the best chance of a mission kill, especially if the swarm has one of the EW versions to spoof the target. Imagine 6 coming at you, defences might take out a couple but the rest are going to take out radar, hanger, gun, bridge and all for the same cost of one large asm.


It might or it might not, it’s the fog of war. What if the ship’s EW is better? Or hard kill is better? What if the ship shoots down the aeroplane? What if anything? They might hit. The USS Stark took multi Exocet and lived to fight another day. Consider that Block 0 Sea Wolf hit a 4.5in shell doing well over Mach 1. Warships (all ships) have redundancy

How much will SPEAR 3 cost per bang? It is sophisticated so lets us say £500k, so 8 x £500k and we are back to £4 million.

Small missiles have a small range. And if you want to increase that range costs will go up.

Personally I wonder if PG saboted rounds from a large gun would be for some things.

You might be right. But I think you have to much faith in technology working every time. I used to work with very expensive large systems in very benign environments and they went wrong. All tech goes wrong.


Interesting and valid points you both make. S3has had 400 mil spent on it, so will come along when f35 gets block 4 mods. What’s more interesting is lack of further info since MOD announced decision to buy interim fit ASM for frigates. Of three muted contenders, NSM is cheapest, least range and smallest warhead. However, might still prove the most attractive option with development of JSM variant. Not sure if I necessarily agree with needing to sink something to render it combat ineffective. Yes USS Stark did survive, but was ooa for a long time. Perhaps the MOD view is a layered approach to ASM capability with LRASM coming to T26, as and when funds are available.


Sinking is quicker to type than mission kill. This isn’t an essay. I am trying to use not technical language with a lay audience.

I mention Stark as an extreme example of DC. If Stark survived big hits a large ship, as escorts are today often 50% to 100% bigger, would survive small hits. Who knows? Lucky hit? Crew having an off day? Lightening striking twice as it often does when things go wrong.

We will see the interim missile when we see it; I believe it is vapour ware.

A battery of large AShM missiles on deck means opfor have to consider another dimension; a force in being if you will. No missiles or light missiles reduces the threat of your ship somewhat. It becomes a sensor platform for other assets which isn’t a bad thing in a way. But hardly a warship and one would wonder if a better platform or system for that exists or could be designed away from the traditional escort?


I think that if the Navy had the opportunity (money), it would probably fit ASROC, LRASM, TLAM and possibly quad packed sea ceptor into its MK41 system, effectively turning it into a mini AB type unit. Unless of course it can leverage some extra capabilities out of the T31, but again, money will speak, or not. Some good points well made though.


Money is more a question of what the government chooses to spend it on. I look at what the ADF are doing and weep.

As much as I like Sea Viper and its elements really it is dead end. We should have built it around American components like Mk41.

I am not a fan of T31. Good ship which will be ruined by a lack of budget. I would have bought Holland class with the electronic masts. Or an additional T26.

Too many gaps and not enough spent well.

Thank you for you kind comment. I have been around the topic for a long time now. Probably one reason why my views aren’t in line with the herd here.


You ask a very good question about our anti-ship capability and sparked a conversation below with some interesting stuff I’d like to learn more about.

We talk on this site a lot about the platforms but maybe the Moderators/Article writers could provide an in-depth article around the actual weapons fit – these things are mentioned in lots of places but the last full article I can find is from 2017.

***Mod’s if you read this*** topics I’d like discussed;

  • current AShM capabilities
  • interim solutions for Harpoon
  • Future solutions.
  • We could discuss SSN anti-ship capability but the obvious shortage of platforms here has it’s consequences.

All these can be discussed three threads: air launched from helicopters, aircraft (P8, Typhoon and F35) & then surface combatants capabilities. We could also discuss something around the spectrum of potential threats we need to address – speedboats through to larger surface combatants.

CSG is all well and good but our Type 45/26/31’s will at some point operate independantly – I’d say they need a heavyweight AShM they can launch without a helicopter but I may be wrong.

Expat Alien

Makes me wish I hadn’t hung up my dark blue suit. Fantastic to see


Very impressive. Something to be proud of. Watching the footage reminded me of the Falklands task force heading South.


Wow! great photos…very impressive. This is my first post but I have been following this site for quite some time. IMO the articles are top notch and passion of most commenters is admirable–pardon the pun. You Brits should be proud, HMS Queen Elizabeth looks majestic and, with a proper compliment, will be a force to be reckoned with. You’ve been waiting for quite awhile but the pay-off is now visible. I truly wish there were more passion for the navy here in Canada but at least selecting the Type 26 is a start.
Cheers Gents


I’m not adding anything here but had to say; damn that makes you proud doesn’t it?! What an awesome sight! Everyone involved (designers, builders and operators) should take a bow.

Big thanks to our friends and allies for helping us see it through & getting our people up to speed. Have to say though, our Type 45’s are better looking than the Burkes 😉


I think you’re missing the point he’s making by fixating on the numbers thing. What Can has posted is pretty much on the money.


This just keeps impressing me. I think if these pictures were available a year ago the Iranians would not have impounded the British flagged vessel. Imagine what three of four days of F-35 strikes could do. These pictures will do wonders for deterrence. And I’m sure it won’t hurt recruiting either!

Phillip Johnson

People need to sit down and take a breath.
The pictures make a pretty press release but what they really demonstrate is the the RN has harnessed its future to 2 major assets, which to date, it lacks the assets to fully equip, properly escort and support.


Adrian, It looks like your request to Admin was acted upon. Cam’s post about serving in the forces to help defend “Freedom of Speech” has gone. Top Job.


That’s not what Cam’s post was about. It was a bizarre rant about Pakistani grooming gangs, the relevance of which to the RN or the CSG eluded me.




SAR satellite [Sentinel-1] suspected to have captured Elizabeth in the North Sea”


Is it me or is the Evertsen a much lighter colored grey?


No the Dutch ship is a lighter grey. The US ship is traditional grey as are the T23’s. The carrier is a real hodge podge if you look closely of different hues.


surely this is a joke ?