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Paul Bearer

3 down 10 to go.

Capt. Karl Marsen

I wonder how many missiles will now take to finish off the Royal Navy?

Andrew Deacon

They need to get out of port first!

CG1

6 down – 3 were sold off in the early 2000s

Angus

All well past their time and been worked to death in part due to the poor showing of the T45’s. Should have been replaced years ago and we need more of a presence on the High Sea’s. The Batch 2 Rivers could help ‘walk the beat’ as have capacity to add role equipment. Deference all is about having a active presence with numbers. The Fleet has delivered way above its weight for years and now really paying the price by lack of investment. Perhaps the T45’s with their new power trains can step up at last and fill some of the void? The RN still needing saving.

Supportive Bloke

T23 ended up taking the slack from:-

Early retirement of T22; and
Covering the 3 T23 sold prematurely; and
T45 lemon power plant; and
Kicking the can on T26 & T31 down the road too many times.

I can’t say that I am surprised as T23 were built cheap for a short lifespan and worked far too hard.

Andy

I have to agree, but the bean counters cannot get it into there heads that if you buy cheap or put of programs for too long, then it costs us even more in the end, which usually results in less or cuts somewhere..

Boris

For the first time, you are not talking out of your ass but T23 lifespan is a question of regular maintenance.

Supportive Bloke

Not so much.

RN ships are maintained to class rules.

Naval class rules didn’t exist when T23 was designed.

So they are being maintained and upgraded to higher standards than they were built to. Which is a tough position for starters.

I suspect that what I the issue is here is that a full replate below the waterline is required. Not an easy or quick thing to do. Also affects the alignment as the ship will twist as each section is cut out.

Duker

Naval class rules did exist before they were renamed as Lloyds or LR Naval.

Supportive Bloke

I phrased that badly.

They did exist but they were not rigorously followed if at all. At that point in time, things military, had their own carve out.

The doctrine of Crown Immunity was also going strong when T23 hit the water. That was before the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

Then, post Hadden Cave, MOD duty holders clung to any clear regulatory framework for dear life.

Trevor G

Kind of ironic as the original intention was for a service life of 18 years, partly as a way of avoiding hugely expensive major refits.

Supportive Bloke

Well quite….

Angus

Dam auto spell. Mean ‘Deterrence’ of course

Watcherzero

Extensive refits usually end up costing almost as much as a new ship, just order another frigate. 30 years is a good inning, particularly if a ship has served in the North Atlantic… its not like you are retiring her before her time.

Last edited 10 months ago by Watcherzero
Boris

It seems sensible to order another new one instead of an extensive refit, but it is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for the number of ships.

Gavin Gordon

Certainly logical to have kept a drumbeat of replacements i.a.w. the intended lifespan of the current fleet. Still, we are not in that place at a time when even the 2030s seems too big a period for yet another gapping gamble – unless you’re hoping the the next incumbents can face that music whilst the current group snipe from the sidelines? Only a short time since MoD RN told to get the vessels to sea sharpish, due to perceived threats that I’m unaware have mitigated any.

Sure also that engineers would have been monitoring the state of the T23s; so still sounds to me like the increased costs associated would have very likely been anticipate to a great extent. An understated comment on my part. Everything costs more than the Gov / Treasury would like, but too late to do an ‘on second thoughts’, I reckon.

donald_of_tokyo

I think RN must repair her, even if it means to cut two T23GPs (leaving only one at KIPION). T23ASW is much more important than any T23GP.

Meanwhile, the crew can move to “partly fill” Bays (changing the RN/RFA crew ratio), so that Fort Victoria can find her crew?

D J

Depends what the problems are. If the steel in the hull is shot, you may end up poorer but still no viable ship. There s also the possibility that cutting the hull may actually make it worse (as in the steel may be too week to weld or you further weaken other structures that may have lasted a little longer if left alone).

Aaron

Not being a naval architect or engineer, could anyone explain what is added to new ships such as the carriers, that are expected to give a 50 year active life? Are the type 26 also expected to serve the new 50 year norm? Does the cheaper price of the type 31 in someway reduce their service life?
I have some understanding of metal fatigue, hull erosion, equipment obsolescence, but not enough to recognise what thewer ships have that older ones lacked?
Thanks.

Supportive Bloke

Thicker plating
Different quality plating that is less prone to certain corrosion mechanisms
Better construction standards – leading to better access for internal recoatings – ships generally corrode worst inside out – how welds are done matters
Better rustproofing – so higher quality coatings
Better cathodic / anodic protection – combined with optimised plating types.

The kinds of rust retardant coatings that are now standard were not available when T23 was being designed or built.

Overall it is quite a complex picture.

But as we can see from this spending money up front on a long life hull saves a lot of money and give flexibility in the long run.

Although I would take this with a few shovels of salt given the Fort Vic story turning out to be untrue….

Aaron

Thankyou, that makes a lot of sense. Definitely take the point re Fort Victoria.

AlexS

Was RFA Argus made with such care in 1980 as a container ship?

Supportive Bloke

She was built very, very strong.

Oil and gas were awash with money and it was the sunrise industry. Big nationalised industry thinking big and thinking of expanding forever. I’m

So thick good quality plating and built to last.

AlexS

You talking about the company that bought it from Italian shipyard?

Phillip Johnson

Ships are built to a series of assumptions as to how muck stress they will accumulate, how corrosion will progress over time. A 50 year ship is simply built stronger than a 20 year ship like the T23 were.
The T23’s had to be strengthened early on as the towed array sonars originally fitted were threatening to pull the sterns off.
If you look at the US Burke Class DDG’s as an example, the flight 1 vessels had a design hull life of 35 years which represented a 30 year life plus a contingency, the Flight 11’s have a design hull life of 40 years and are a couple hundred tons heavier. .

Aaron

That’s interesting. I knew the flights had different fit outs, hangers etc, I didn’t realise the hulls had longer lives. That a valid point and the tonnage clearly makes a difference.

Supportive Bloke

Yup, the T23 were, thanks to the idiot John Nott, built far too cheaply which is coming home to roost now.

Nick C

You can also add to that, as has been said already on this thread, the 2010 review under the even bigger idiot Cameron, really compounded the problem. What is needed now is a very hard headed look at the needs of the fleet, and then a solid commitment to getting it right. For instance if the need is for 30 escorts each with a 30 year life, the HMG a have to commit to one ship being delivered each year. If it’s 20 then one every 18 months. And this should be a cross party agreement it’s too important to be part of the usual Westminster slanging matches.

SSD

SKODA Class was once a common derogatory moniker for the Type 23 but seems to have largely dropped out of use.

Supportive Bloke

To start with they were to be cheap ASW tin cans with no defensive armament.

Fortunately lessons learned from Corporate stopped that stupidity.

They were built a lot more flimsily than the Counties, say, were.

Duker

Sea Wolf plus Harpoon was a very capable defensive armament for a frigate , similar to the T22 that preceded it.
T23 was more of a Leander /Amazon replacement

Supportive Bloke

At the time it was state of the art.

But the original designs were for a very, very cheaply built tin can with no worthwhile offensive or defensive armament.

Because of the work done, post Corporate, the tin can was, fortunately, upgraded to a hull that met the new BDR standards.

Steven B

The Flight I’s are getting extended to 40 years. They say on a ship by ship basis, but not aware of any being inspected and declared just 35 years for this ship, so far.

Duker

Likely to be block retirement for the early AB IA or have mechanical only upgrades as the complex Aegis hardware and radar interfaces are difficult and expensive to replace/upgrade even for the later IIA block
https://news.usni.org/2023/01/31/navy-destroyer-modernization-program-could-cost-17b-take-up-to-2-years-per-hull

Steven B

Any Flight IIA that has already undergone DMP I would be surprised if they revisited for further upgrades.

PeterS

In part, this is a consequence of the commitment of so much of a tight budget to build and (partially)equip the carriers. Escort orders were delayed for years to help balance the books and we now have a surface fleet far too small for arguably its most important role- countering a still real Russian submarine threat.
In the short term, there is little that can be done to improve the situation. The Type 31 programme is by modern standards quite rapid and appears to be on schedule. The T26 build rate is glacially slow, yet ASW is the capability under pressure. Even if sub optimal, could T31 be fitted with sonars to cover the shortage until T26s are available? The Danish navy uses the Iver Huitfeldts for ASW.
Any further reduction in escort numbers makes the commitment to a CSG and 2 LSGs look absurdly over ambitious.

ATH

I wouldn’t be surprised if either one of the LSG’s gets dropped or they are made into NATO missions with partners providing the escort elements of the group. The 2 ASW and 2 AAW escorts on standby for a CSG deployment are likely to be seen as higher priority.

Deep32

There is no reason why you couldn’t fit a hull sonar or even a TA system to a T31, that’s just money, as long as you have some. What is more of an issue is where are the crew to man those systems coming from? T45 sonar has effectively been put into hibernation several years ago to release the sonar rates to help man the T23 frigates. We don’t have enough qualified people, unless you move them off the T23’s if they are retired early.

ATH

But would sonar on a T31 be any good against modern Russian subs? If you had money wouldn’t it be better spent on upgrading the best of the T23GP’s. You then get a top line ASW escort.

Supportive Bloke

GP T23 did not have all of the quietening upgrades over the years. No point in spending the money as they didn’t have a tail.

The thing is the time/complexity/risk it will take to upgrade a very old ship to another role.

Jonathan

The Russians only have 1-2 modern SSGNs in the northern fleet and no modern SSNs.

Deep32

Well, that would depend on how many and where the remaining Akula’s are based, as they are SSN’s in the pure sense.

There isn’t really much difference between say an Astute and a Yasen class SM, in terms of SSN?SSGN classification. Both carry cruise missiles, on Astute they are torpedo tube launched as opposed to a Yasen class which has dedicated VLS tubes for them, so, its a mute point really.

Jonathan

Not sure how effective the Akula fleet is now, after all these are 30-35 year old boats that were not as well maintained as western boats…don’t older boats make a lot more noise as they get on in age ?

I supposes the big difference between an astute and Yasen is a 130+ feet in length and 6 feet of beam, which I suppose gives it the SSGN label, as every nuclear boat in the Russian fleet is being refitted for long range strike.

One thing have always wondered how a Yasen could be considered a contemporary of a modern western sub since it’s in reality a 1970/80 design that was laid down in 1993 which makes it still a soviet design and it was alway my understand that soviets were just about catching up to the level of a late flight LA or a Trafalgar class ? From what I have read on one side it’s such a threat that we need to upgrade the western fleet and on another side…it’s ok but not as good as present generation western SSNs by a margin. Whatever the story northern fleet only has 2 of them.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Deep32

Have always regarded the Akulas as on a par with T-boats/early LA class in terms of stealth/ability. Yes the older the more tired they are, thus more expensive to maintain (Talent and Trenchant).

The label comes from the fact that they carry guided missiles in separate tubes – hence a mute point.

Never had the pleasure of playing with a Yasen, but probably not a million miles behind a modern NATO SSN/GN in terms of abilities, although can’t be to sure about the capabilities of their sensors – obviously. In our world we tend to treat our adverseries with respect – honour the treat, until proven otherwise, despite what we are seeing further afield.

Deep32

Before we had T23’s, all RN frigates/destroyers had a main hill mounted sonar set.From the late 70’s onwards that was ST2016, later replaced by ST2050. The majority of RN escorts at the time T22/42 were all GT propulsion, and often performed well in ASW exercises. The system, if it is a good one, and these were, is only as good as the crew operating them, even in non ASW ships we had competent crews.

Rather than pour more money into an aged hull (T23), we would be better advised speeding up the build of the T26/T31’s and getting them into service quicker.

ATH

Just because something worked in the distant past is no reason for it to necessarily work today. The ASW game has moved on, to do it well needs a hull and systems which make minimising noise emissions priority 1. In the future this may stay the case or hunting subs may go over entirely to drones, time will tell.

Deep32

Sorry to have to disagree with you here @ATH. What worked in the past, still fundamentally works now, and said ASW game hasn’t really moved on that much from the height of the cold war I’m afraid.
Whilst ASW assets may have got quieter, signal processing my have got better, underwater sensors haven’t really changed much wrt there capabilities. Broadly speaking, detection ranges (and that’s what we are talking here) are still very short passively for any given circumstance. That might well change somewhat for a unit transmitting, but then you are giving away your position. Swings and roundabouts, and it has always been thus in this game.
Ah, the panacea that is drones, not in the next decade at least. Check the USA’s Orca project, at least 5 years behind schedule and some $300 million over budget and counting. That’s for a basic capability, nothing remotely as advanced as SM hunting!

Duker

The towed array has changed all the parameters about ‘boat noise’.
The VDS of course can lowered ‘several hundred feet’

Jonathan

Yes agree..it’s just upsetting to see the political incompetence that has meant the RN is now trying to run on 30 year old ships at huge cost….when all HMG had to do was order a batch of frigates in the correct time frame.

Personally the money burnt on a refit of hull that’s completely shagged would be better spent on put some ASW capacity into the first type 31…after all timeframe wise building the first 31 and rebuild a ship from the keel up is not much different.

Jonathan

Or even getting some form of SURTASS ships to tow around the spare tails. After all if it’s doing work around the UK and for the CASD you don’t really need a full fat frigate and actually if it’s listening for carrier battle group some form of SURTASS ship could work as well ( it’s under the protection of a carrier group, with lots of rotors to feed).

Supportive Bloke

The point being that if you are a sub and you are a target taking out the SURTASS ship is the shortcut?

So, in blue water the ASW frigate is essential. For home waters something else would do at least part of the job.

Jonathan

Hi supportive, yes if your doing blue water ASW activity hunting subs you need ASW frigates, but the SURTASS seem to work well for theatre level ASW as well as in a carrier battle group to use it to support carrier battle group ASW screens, that’s one of the missions the US use its SURTASS ships for ( and they are building 7 new ones so they seem to work)

Supportive Bloke

You would be better off with T45 being gifted the active sonar from the scraped T23 and the Sonar department?

Rather than the sonar decorating a warehouse….and the rates deskilling even further….

T45 will be quieter, both thermal and sonar wise, with the new DG sets and the existing IEP. Sure it won’t be quiet to T23 levels but it will be a lot, lot better.

Deep32

We would have been better off fitting both classes with a decent hull mounted sonar, so that they all could all reasonably be expected to look after themselves if sailing alone, or assist as part of a TG.

See my reply to @ATH above.

Ian

Hi Deep
Sorry if I’m thick , but can’t we employ more sailors to man the ships , is it budget or lack of interest from our younger members of society
Thanks Ian

Jon

I don’t think the Danes use Iver Huitfeldts for ASW. They use the Absalons for that.

PeterS

But they do have the same diesel propulsion, hull mounted sonar, anti sub torpedoes and a very similar hull form. Obviously less effective than T26 but better than nothing?

Jon

Also probably better than either Iver Huitfledts or Absalons come to think of it.

The issues are of timing as well as cost. If you delay the Type 31s to make them ASW (it won’t just be a case of plug and play) you risk reducing overall hull numbers for even longer and still don’t get the ASW hull numbers back until 2028.

Supportive Bloke

The issue is the double decoupling of the machinery from the hull.

It may be the same kit but if it isn’t rafted the noise will still deafen the sensors.

That is all about receiver gain and sensitivity.

PeterS

I don’t think either the Absalon or Iver Huitfeldt designs have rafted engines but still carry sonar and ASW torpedoes. As I suggested, using a T31 for ASW is sub optimal but there isn’t an obvious alternative to allowing hull numbers to decline further.

D J

Babcock seem to infer that T31 is as capable as IH on ASW (except for the missing hull mounted sonar), however on their A140 website, they offer an ASW version with rafted machinery on top of the acoustic enclosures (I gather there is more than the engines involved). I also remember Babcock indicating such additional measures needed to be ordered at build (ie not a standard refit item).

If MoD wanted to spend the money, later T31 could easily move up the ASW scale (even so, if it matches IH already, it meets minimum NATO specs for ASW operations). However it needs to move now (if it’s not already to late).

Andrew Deacon

Wonder if it’s possible to get some frigates or OPVs second hand? Batch 2 OPVs are working hard and at least provide a presence, so build more? HMS Medway is in Falklands covering HMS Forth and I guess may be due her own refit. HMS Dauntless is having to cover Caribbean. Get RFA Wave Knight and even RFA Wave Ruler out to at least provide extra hulls?.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Deacon
ATH

Good luck finding a source of non shagged out OPV’s or Frigates for sale. Plus a different type with huge training requirements as almost nothing would be common to the rest of the fleet. Building more OPV’s needs a shipyard with both people and no other work which I can’t think of. Waves at sea would be wonderful but how would you crew them? I suspect the RN will need to cut back on commitments for the next 5 years till it’s new escort fleet comes on stream.

Val

We do have a shipyard. Pallion shipfactory. OK, needs some Mackems back from Germany and apprentices. Plus a council that wants a dredged river.

RichardIC

The one and only reason that the Batch 2 Rivers were built was to keep BAE on the Clyde busy(ish) because of delays in the Type 26.

The RN didn’t want them but now they’ve got them they’ve been found non-jobs to fit in with the Government’s “global Britain” narrative.

And which second-hand frigates would you want? Seriously, just name one.

Sunmack

Exactly right on the B2 River’s. If we’d built 4 with a hangar instead of 5 without then they’d have at least been able to relieve frigates on disaster relief, anti-piracy and maritime interdiction. Without a permanently embarked and hangared helicopter they’re useless for any of those missions. Rarely has £650m been more wasted.
I’d look at whether we could convert them to MCM mother ships so that they can at least have a useful military role. If not then sell them to release the crews for operationally useful ships and put the money raised towards putting a sonar on the T31.

ATH

Then what would you use to do the government mandated defence engagement and diplomacy work currently done by the B2’s. They’re not in any way perfect and should have had a hangar. But HMG and BAe spent so long pissing at each other that there was no time to prepare a suitable low running cost design with a hangar (and no spare helicopters) so they are what they are.
You may not place much value on the current roll of the B2’s but whilst it is an HMG priority the RN has to satisfy it. If you sell them what ships would you use to put 4/5 hulls semi permanently away from the U.K.?

Sunmack

The government mandate is ridiculous and should be removed. The crews and running costs of the B2’s would be far better spent avoiding further cuts to our fantastic MCM force. Destroyers and frigates with no sonars and continued paring away of the MCM fleet are far higher priorities than militarily useless mobile cocktail party flag transporters in the Pacific.

ATH

It may or may not be ridiculous from a defence perspective but HMG thinks it’s good value for U.K. plc. U.K. plc needs to do better economically to keep paying for U.K. defence. So I’d be surprised if things change in June. After all the PM recently said that the carrier group will be in the Pacific agin in ‘25. So he thinks the area is vital from both a defence and economic perspective.

Jon

Think about the Solomon Islands example. The PLAN is currently bottled up and needs alliances and bases past the second island chain. If we don’t even show up for our historical allies, they will drift into China’s ambit. We left the area for too long and HMG is right to put us back.

There are other reasons to exercise a global presence function, in areas of intelligence and trade, but if all you can see is the lack of warfighting capability as opposed to preventing war in the first place, you’ll never get why these ships are super valuable.

Simon

I’ve read chat about the Rivers on this site. They are meant to be cheap, easy to maintain in foreign ports, fly crews in and out to ship to exotic locations. Eyes and ears for uk and cooperation with other navies, it’s a winner.

Moonstone

There is of course a certain friendly navy across the North Atlantic that appears to have a large number of fairly modern escort vessels that it has little or no use for – indeed some are already being paid off I understand.

That navy is the USN and those vessels are called ‘Littoral Combat Ships’.

Trevor G

Just don’t mention Combining Gear, would be rude…

Arjun

Aka “Little Crappy S**t”, they cost as much as a Destroyer to run but are less armed, less protected, and less survivable.
Go ahead buy them and do USN a favor.

Moonstone

I don’t think anybody would suggest that the USN LCS types are the finest warships ever conceived by man – but just like the old ‘four stacker’ US destroyers of 1940 this is a matter of (potential) availability in a time of crisis.

I employ the term ‘crisis’ her because surely anyone looking at the current international situation – especially that to our East- must mentally confront the appalling realisation that this country of ours might perhaps be at war (or something akin to a state of war) in as little as a year, a month or even a week’s time. Or do you feel that Russian spy ships busily engaged in charting our vital undersee infrastructure are doing so out of a sense of mere idle curiosity?

In these circumstances it seems to me that our navy might more effectively discharge its duties were a few additional warships rapidly made available to augment it’s pitiful escort fleet strength – however imperfect so ships may be.

That is all.

Admiral Hassinger

If that should come to pass, then is too little and too late for RN, just might as well throw in the towel.

The biggest problem with those retired LCS is that the propulsion machinery is unreliable and keeps breaking down,

Military wins the battle but economy wins the war

Arjun

Have you tried the PLA Navy?
72 Corvettes
43 Frigates
50 Destroyers
3 Landing Ship Docks
3 Aircraft Carriers
All 500 ships and counting, eat your heart out RN

Last edited 10 months ago by Arjun
Duker

A mostly littoral force, barely gets beyond the coastal seas.- Have no allies in region beyond North Korea either
When is their carrier strike group visiting the North Atlantic?
Plus they have the worlds 2nd largest GDP, which is 5.5 times that of UK so would be ‘bigger’

Borei

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China has been primarily focused on littoral operations, which involve operations in and around coastal waters. The PLAN has primarily operated in the near seas, such as the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.
However, in recent years, China has been working to expand its naval capabilities and extend its operational reach. This includes the development of aircraft carriers, such as the Liaoning and the domestically-built Shandong. These carriers are aimed at enhancing China’s power projection capabilities beyond coastal waters.
While the PLAN’s focus has traditionally been on the near seas, China’s growing naval power and evolving strategic interests indicate a potential for increased activity and presence in regions beyond the coastal seas in the future.

Boris

By the time when PLA Navy carrier strike group patrols the North Atlantic, their total size will even be bigger than 500 plus ships today.
What will be RN then? It has to rely on asking for help from other navies.

PLAN has plans for further expansion of its carrier fleet. Reports and official statements suggest that China is actively working on the development of additional aircraft carriers, including the anticipated Type 003 and Type 004 carriers.
These future carriers are expected to have larger displacements, improved capabilities, and potentially feature catapult-assisted takeoff systems (CATOBAR) instead of the ski-jump ramps used by the Liaoning and Shandong.
The development of aircraft carriers is part of China’s broader naval modernization efforts and signifies its increasing capability for power projection and blue-water operations.

Type 055 destroyer represents a significant advancement in China’s naval capabilities and is considered one of the most advanced surface combatants in the world, a few examples of destroyer modernization efforts of PLAN,

Last edited 10 months ago by Boris
Andrew Deacon

Wonder if HMS Westminster is in a state she could quickly be used for harbour training and even make it out to the Breakwater? That would at least supply a hull that can do something.

Duker

Even after the refit , that was to be her job , harbour and Channel duties mainly . Without the refit it probably cant leave the wharf

Andrew

If the MoD give up on refitting any of the remaining T23’s then could that free money to increase the pace and numbers of T31’s being built? I know some slack was built into the T31 build programme to accommodate potential export orders

Andrew Deacon

Money is not the problem with T31. They’re almost certainly locked in to people and components by now. Stop the T23 refits and you have no work in Devonport and T31 work is Rosyth. Sub building at Barrow got in a mess as they let all the people go and hit problems when they started the A boats..

Jon

HMS Venturer should be launched at the end of this year, delivered in 2025 and in service 2027. You can try all sorts of things to speed the programme, but realistically Venturer will come first and it can’t be delivered before 2025. Extra ships would have to be delivered after that.

Even if you get a couple more T31s operational between 2028 and 2029, it doesn’t address the problem. Type 31 doesn’t currently have an ASW variant and what we are short of is ASW frigates between now and 2029. It would need another refit to turn the current T31s into ASW frigates that won’t be as good as the frigates they are replacing.

Instead you’d need Babcock to complete work on their ASW design variant, the Navy to agree to buy at least two more with insufficient funds, contracts to be agreed (Babcock and the MOD are currently in contract dispute and they’d want to settle that first, along with the current shipyard strikes), long lead items ordered, shipyard planning redone to accommodate the faster speed and finally get first steel cut. I can’t see that happening before 2025 and more realistically 2026. It would end up being the T32 delivered a little earlier.

Duker

T31 is ‘designed for’ but not ‘fitted for’ the T23 towed array and VDS sonar systems.
So it would be better to go for ‘fitted with’ for latter builds right away and send the bill to Treasury as an urgent operational requirement as they have contingency funding for that.

ATH

I’m sure you know you can’t just send the bill to the Treasury. If you want any meaningful increase in U.K. defence capabilities you first have to win the political argument. At the moment there are lots of Tory MPs that say they want to up defence spending in the the abstract. But when push comes to shove they really really want to cut income taxes without the markets going “all Liz Truss” on them.

Supportive Bloke

“ Type 31 doesn’t currently have an ASW variant ”

Not so.

Babcock offer a quietened version. RN T31 is not the quietened version.

Bacbcock are clear that the quietened version needs to be specified from the off and cannot be retrofitted.

Grant

The problem with that is the T31s cannot do the job of a T23: far better to accelerate (and/or buy a few more) T26s which can escort the carriers, an LSG and find enemy submarines. The T31s are suitable for the job HMS Lancaster is doing and some other tasks, but in reality can’t do half the jobs of an ASW equipped T23. They will be useful for what they are designed for, but I can’t see use for more then the 5.

Andrew Deacon

Extra T31s would give some resilience if you did lose one like this. Two in the Gulf would have meant one still at sea with HMS Lancaster tied up in Port Sudan. As they have a hangar and helicopter and are slightly larger they would be more useful than the Batch 2 OPVs currently stationed around the world. No idea what happens when Batch 1 OPVs retire in a few years.

Grant

Yes of the 5 you could have 2 stationed out there and 1 doing various other tasks, so that’s the 5.

But I can what you are saying not replacing the Batch 1s and then the Batch 2s will be replaced by T31s which essentially means fewer ships again…. we probably need a few more OPVs with hanger as they are good platforms for the type of work they are tasked for – especially if their one major deficiency was rectified, the the B2s come back and patrol UK waters. (Although for fishery protection and or border patrol would something smaller work…)

ATH

The RN doesn’t do much if any fisheries work anymore. They lost the contract as the ministry got a better price from private contractors.

Supportive Bloke

It depends which version you order.

There is a fully quietened option – not T26 quietened I grant you.

Jon

New replacements are impractical. If we order an extra T26 it’ll come around 2036. The only thing new we stand a chance of ordering and getting before 2028 are OPVs.

Either we spend vast amounts on Westminster and it comes out of refit a couple of years before its OOS date, or we move the sonars. I favour the latter. Decommissioning Westminster now and cancelling the refit should give enough money to pay for the GP frigate’s upgrade. It could also allow another Type 23 to work dual crewed so reducing the lost sea days. If Argyll will be operational again within a couple of years, it’s the obvious choice, especially if the work can be done in parallel.

What’s critical is that we don’t fart about and delay the decision. Delays will prove expensive.

pjh

I’m trying to find how many T23’s are currently unavailable but fear seeing the answer. “A growing Navy” my left testicle.

Andrew Deacon

My reckoning is Sutherland, St Albans and Westminster. Iron Duke has just headed back to Pompey after refit so probably not fully available. Twitter can be a good source of which ones are where. Oops forgot Argyll!

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Deacon
Supportive Bloke

The only thing you would get quicker is quietened T31 so T31B2 if you like.

It is too late to quieten T31B1 – they are built the way they are without double rafting.

Marcus

This is what happens when you have cut backs they could of made the new type 26 10 years ago

pjh

Is there an updated timeline anywhere which now shows the predicted dates for the T23’s, T26’s and T31’s ? I’m guessing it would be quite depressing with 3 now withdrawn and no doubt others will follow quicker than planned.

PeterS

I believe FOC for all 5 T31s has slipped from 2028 to 2030. The T26 delivery schedule runs till 2035 so ASW capable hulls are going to be in short supply for another 10+ years.

David Barry

Is there any mention of cost?

Because, Not a Boffin and Supportive Bloke may have mentioned that that after the first 3 are built, lessons learned and put into the fourth.

So… add an extra T31, but, Westminster’s tail onto T31/4

Going to be gaps, but, Westminster can be robbed to supply parts to the other T23s.

Ron

This is what happens when you don’t have enough ships for the job. They get pushed to hard and the N Atlantic is no easy Ocean to play in.

This also happens when ships are pushed way beyound their lifespan. The T23s were designed for a 18 year lifespan, not only that but they were designed and built in a period when we had 51 DDGs/FFGs. So more than double the fleet size now meaning they were designed to do less work over a shorter time period. A good example would be WW”, ships that were designed and built for 25 years of service were worn out after five years of wartime service.

This situation also happens when bean counters keep pushing replacements for these tierd old workhorses down the line, eventually the workhorse dies. At that point you either need a new workhorse or to close the factory because you cannot deliver. Both very expensive. (And yes there was a case in Hearts where a workhorse for a papermill died and then the factory closed down afterwards).

So hopefully HM Government learns lessons, build the numbers the fleet needs, and build replacements when needed. I suggest a further 5 T31s Batch 2s with CAPTAS 2 or CAPTAS 4 lite capability and possibly the NS200 radar suite.

Ron

Whoops finger troubles, WW2 ships.

Duker

Thats right about strength at end of Cold War 189-90
Detailed list of ships here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_the_British_Royal_Navy_at_the_end_of_the_Cold_War
17 nuclear subs with 4 nuclear ballistic boats plus around 9 Oberons ( plus some more with RN but sold to Canada)

Interesting a single Flotilla then is about the full RN surface fleet FF/DD size now
ie 1st Flotilla @Portsmouth
6 T42 destroyers
6 T22 B2
4 T22 B1
5 Leander B3A with Seawolf

Jonathan

This is what happens when you don’t recapitalise your fleet at the correct time, just generate some in year savings….or kick the can down the road..you end up pissing money away on:

1) regenerating or maintaining make work for your ship yards.
2) paying higher prices for ships as you order them late and inflationary factors hit you
3) you end up paying huge refit costs on ships that are essentially knackered and obsolescent.
4) You miss an opportunity to sell the assets before they end up as nothing more than scape value.
5) you miss out on tax base due to a declining industry….and loss of any export opportunities….just look what type 26 and 31 have done…..

in reality it would have been far cheaper for the nation to have ordered replacement frigates a decade ago with a drumbeat of around 1-2 escorts built per year every year wit(out pause..selling RN ships off at 15ish years before they need a lifex.

All of this is before you get to the fact we are heading for a time when a general war across Europe and or the pacific is becoming likely..and every deterrent is needed.

David Steeper

I have a simple solution to this. Go ahead with the LIFEX and send the bill to Cameron and Osborne. They broke it they own it.

Paul Bearer

Your Simple Solution makes no sense though as by all accounts, she it beyond financial repair. Trigger’s Broom springs to mind.

Andy M

They were designed for an 18 year life. If you design something for a short life and build it that way you can’t change your mind later very cheaply. They should ALL have been scrapped and replaced by now.

X

In light of the decision over Scott this seems to be an instance of Job 1:21.

Always a happy ship when I have visited her.

Paul Bearer

Can I ask when and in what capacity ?

Georgie

Special agent X, expert in IR and Predicting Russian Military tactics not to mention all round decent bloke and bringer of paranoid delusions of victimisation on “his” personal site. Stick around, The next million comments will only get more hilarious.

X

Charity work. Real work. At boat shows.

Patrick O'Neill

As said elsewhere in this thread, we are paying the price now for the huge delays starting the T26 build and the lack of urgency in the construction schedule. This was a programme that Gordon Brown said he was “accelerating” back in 2007, here we are in 2023 without a completed ship yet.

Duker

Brown did *accelerate* what became T26 in 2007 , using the money pencilled in for buying another 2 T45.
Then the election came and Cameron/Clegg- Osbourne took away the funding and said they were *looking* for cheaper/other options- which resurfaced just in time for 2015 election when it was the same T26 as before. It was all a smokescreen

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker
Neil Legg

If any sort of major conflict were to kick off, we are stuffed! Even a minor one would probably be beyond us!

Sean

Hysterical nonsense.

• Conflict with who? Russia is taking beating just trying to hold the 18% of Ukraine it has occupied. Last thing it wants is to come into open conflict with a NATO member.
• Argentina? Its military are even more laughable than Russia’s!! Both of its submarines are inoperable and it has only 3 frigates.
• China? We’re not going to enter into a conflict with China without allies, and China isn’t looking for a fight at the moment.

Boris

Hysterical nonsense was those that said Russia was planning an invasion of Ukraine back in January 2022.

Famous last words, Neville Chamberlain in 1939 peace in our time

No wonder the US said RN would not last half a day in an all-out war.

Duker

 Even while Chamberlain was signing the Munich Agreement, he was agreeing a huge increase in spending to increase Britain’s armament in preparation for war. He must have known from the situation outlined to him by General Ismay, that Czechoslovakia was lost, that war was bound to come.”
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/chamberlain-and-hitler

Boris

Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement, while aimed at avoiding conflict, ultimately proved unsuccessful in deterring German aggression.
Historical perspectives on Chamberlain’s policies and actions during the period leading up to World War II do vary, and there are different interpretations and debates among historians.
While some argue that Chamberlain genuinely believed in the effectiveness of appeasement and sought to maintain peace through diplomatic means, others criticize his approach as naive and argue that he underestimated the true intentions of Nazi Germany and the risks of appeasement.
It is essential to study multiple sources, examine primary documents, and consider different historical interpretations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and debates surrounding Chamberlain’s policies and decision-making during that crucial period in history.

Duker

My point was Munich was followed by Chamberlin getting a large rise in defence spending , while your namesake did no such thing for the services after the Ukraine invasion.
Refits are cut to match the money available not the other way round, and it seems that the T31 long gestation will get longer – again to save money.
It seems to me that the cost of weapons sent to Ukraine is being partly borne by the services themselves

Phil Chadwick

What is the bare minimum that it would take to keep Westminster in service? Availability of TA needs to be maintained as an absolute priority.

ATH

At what safety level? I suspect the plan which is now potentially unaffordable was to do the minimum to make the hull safe and the systems work. It wasn’t a upgrade refit.

Jonathan

What about some sort of SURTASS boats, if we have some spare towed arrays, you don’t actually need a full fact 7000 to. Frigate to cart them around and listen…the US love them…the old stalwart class was around 2000 tons with a crew of 38 and probably one of the most deadly ASW assets around.

Deep32

That’s not a cheap option either, even if we had the skillset to build them. The US has just given Austal a $115 million contract to design a new T Agos vessel, with an option to build 7 plus associated support for another $3.2 billion.

AUS on the other hand have just ordered 5 sets of E-surtass (Surtass light without the active element) for some $350 million. It comes in a container and you put it onto whatever ship you want, within reason. This is probably a better alternative if we didn’t want to go down our own ST 2087 minus LFA element route.

Jonathan

true, but I was thinking more about ability to deploy and get built, we are not going to be able to insert any more frigates in the build plan for well over a decade and manning a something that needs a crew of 30-40 is a lot easier than a frigate….cost wise the US was always going to spaf a ton of money on their new Tagos25 vessels…I understand they are looking to procure 8000 ton vessels…where as the Tagos 16s were 1600 tons a pop and did a great job…and the Tagos 19 vessels were 3100 tons…so not sure why the requirement went to 8000 ton. But If the US cannot spaff a few billion they don’t think they have a good capability ( sort of like army procurement). For the RN something a bit less gold plated 8000 tons is needed…the SURTASS E that AuS are procuring would be very good, the idea of having a tail and system you you can pop on vessels of opportunity would be very good indeed.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Duker

That crew numbers was the ‘hope’ when the LCS was the best thing since slice bread 15 years back
LCS deploy with a total of 94 sailors – 70 for the core crew, including the MCM force, and an additional 24 that make up the aviation detachment for the MH-60 aboard ‘
The 40 always excluded the ‘module’ specific crew of another 2-30.. We know how those modules ended up. Plus there was some sort of flyin-flyout crew for when deployed , so thats on top of the 94

Jonathan

Hi Duker, I was talking about the TAGOS vessels..not the LCS different ships.

Adrian

This is the result of the treasury trying to get a free lunch.. doesn’t exist, save money by reducing ship numbers means the ships have to be worked harder and wear out quicker.. putting off new builds means higher cost for refit.

Colin

I hoped, with recent positive news coming out of the navy, that the corner had been turned. But no, nothing’s changed, nobody’s listening. I think this site should return to its old name of SAVE THE ROYAL NAVY.

Rob N

It is quite clear we need to accelerate the building of new Frigates. And the building and scrapping of ships has to be well planned and funder. This is just another example of how political underfunding of the UK military it now coming home to roast. I visited Westminster when she was new and it is sad to see her plight now.

Colin

There must be more warships under dockyard control than under the admiral’s command. But then, as the admiral keeps telling us, numbers don’t matter.

donald_of_tokyo

Losing Westminster will affect RN NOT from now. As she was planned to go into refit for about 2 years, it is on 2025 RN will face some trouble, because a T23ASW which must have been back to the fleet is non-existing. For any counter-measures, we have 1.5 years left to do.

To say the truth, I understand RN is now facing “lack of crew”.

Even though T26-hull1 will only be “accepted into service” on 2028, she needs full crew from late 2025, as she will be “delivered” to RN on 2026. My question is, when HMS Westminster is re-activated as planned, are there enough crew for HMS Glasgow?

T31-hull1 will also need her full crew by 2025. This is OK, because another T23GP will be disbanded by then. But, T31-hull2 will come in 2026, and hull-3 in 2027. All 5 hulls will be delivered to RN by 2028 (if no delay). This means, all crew of the remaining 3 T23GPs will be needed for the 5 T31s, and none left for T23ASW.

So, anyway, T26-hull1 needs a crew from T23ASW. In the original plan, from which ship the crew of HMS Glasgow was planned come?

In some worst case scenario, it will be true that “disbanding Westminster now has zero impact on RN frigate force”. Not because there is enough hull, but because “anyway there is not enough crew”. In this case, not paying for Westminster’s refit will just save money and lose nothing, again not because it is OK, just because it is ALREADY in very BAD situation.

Just my thought.

ATH

People is often the biggest issue. All across the U.K. military (and public service in general) recruiting and even more importantly retaining good technical people is a huge challenge.

Deep32

I dont think that you are far wide of the ‘mark’ with your reasoning TBH. We have seen a steady withdrawal of ships both RN and RFA these last 12 months, with some new ships slowly entering service which as you point out, all need manning.
Heaven forbid we actually get an increase in ship/SM numbers, can’t for the life of me see where any extra manning would come from in the short to medium term (2-8 years).

ATH

The new ships have significantly smaller crews than the ships they are replacing. How much help this is depends on where the reductions are. Are they in the shortage areas or others. It also depends if all 5 T31’s are to be double crewed for long term deployed service.

Deep32

I doubt if all 5 will be double crewed, we don’t have that sort of manpower now, despite the reduction in crew numbers for these newer ships.
You need a broad spectrum of experience across the 4 main branches (ME, WE, Warfare and Logistics) to fully man a ship. Getting the right mix is more than just ensuring you can overcome the ‘shortage areas’ I’m afraid. Separated sea service (sea-shore ratio) for individuals also plays a huge part in when you can send someone back to sea. The various manpower coordinators have a really difficult time trying to keep a ships company at full strength.

jack

The destroyer/frigate numbers are simply dangerously low. Time to change the title of this forum back to “Save the Royal Navy”. This is pathetic.

jack

I wonder if acquiring five of the decommissioned “Freedom or Independence” class from the USA would serve to fill the gap until new builds are ready? Then convert the GP T23 to ASW capability.

ATH
  1. They are very unreliable.
  2. Everting about then will be different to “standard” RN ships. So a huge training burden.

So still think it’s a good idea?

DaSaint

The RN designs/operates some great surface combatants, but just too few to make a real impact. Over here on the other hand, we have the quantity (Burkes) but they sail around with no anti-ship missiles and only 1 Phalanx. SMH. Want some of ours?

Suspicious Penguin

Flight I and II Burke DDGs have 2 Phalanx CWIS and 8 Harpoon missiles on deck launchers.

Flight IIA Burkes have only 1 stern Phalanx and no Harpoons.

However all Burkes have ASuW capabilities when equipped with SM-6 missiles in their Mk. 41 VLS cells. SM-6 has had anti-surface mode since 2016.

A forward Phalanx is not as necessary today because RIM-162 ESSM missiles provide point defense against air threats. ESSMs are packed 4 per Mk. 41 VLS cell.

Some Flight IIA Burkes are equipped with a HELIOS or ODIN laser dazzling system in place of the forward Phalanx. These are used to disable drones or missiles equipped with optical sensors.

Burke DDGs are probably not an economical choice for RN use, due to very high crewing requirements: 350+ personnel. They also use a lot of fuel because the wide hull imposes a lot of drag, and because the main engines are 4 gas turbines. Type 23s have much better fuel economy as they can cruise at lower speed on diesel-electric, and use their turbines only for high speed dash

Gunbuster

Add to that GT alternators making them have a massive thermal signature. Equipment fit below one deck is comparable with RN T22/T42 frigates. Praire/Masker is fitted …thats a blast from the past. They use compensated fuel tanks and so have a huge footprint of auxiliary services to polish the fuel before use in the engines.
The ones I have been on to conduct maintenance in the Gulf have usually only one phalanx and none of the ones with a Hangar have had Harpoon fitted.
Personally I believe they would be a nightmare to be on should they receive damage. The way the USN does FF/DC doesn’t instil me with confidence.

Suspicious Penguin

Burke DDGs with helicopter Hangars are Flight IIA and newer ships. As far as I know, they have no space for Harpoon launchers. Their over-the-horizon ASuW capability is at the moment limited to SM-6 missiles.

The future introduction of Block Va Tomahawk cruise missiles, dubbed “Maritime Strike Tomahawk”, will offer additional, more affordable, and longer range antiship capability.

Burkes are an early to mid-1980’s design with no margin for growth. This is another reason that they would not be a good fit for export. The hulls are supposedly good for 40-45 years of service, but they may not be adaptable to the tactical environments of 2045+

Shayne

Who knew reducing the number of ships, extending the life of those remaining and working them harder to fill the gaps would wear out the hulls quicker and make them more expensive to maintain?

Rec

Could not the decomissionwd Echo and Enterrise he stop gap tower areay tugs akin the original T23 design??, crazy idea.

More seriously could either: T26 production be speeded up an an additional two be ordered or T31 numbers increased???

Richard Beedall

It’s still not clear that the modernisation of Westminster has been cancelled. Hansard, 24 October 2023, reported that “The estimated cost for refitting HMS Westminster is £100 million.”  It is possible the refit was put on hold pending a survey and re-scoping to determine what work was essential for another 3-4 years of active service, and what could be avoided.