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N-a-B

The underestimation of scale of work required is down to ageing ships, unplanned STOROBs (due to spares shortages) once in hand and difficulties in conducting PUMA. COVID impacts both contractor staff levels and also delays activities where specialists are required.

NSBS refresh is now to be published ” in the NY” according to yesterdays written answer.

“Rather than playing fantasy fleets that are undeliverable in a meaningful timeframe, spending priorities should be the retention of experienced sailors, more investment in spares, shoreside infrastructure and logistic support, speeding up existing construction programmes where possible”

This. Excellent conclusion.

Last edited 1 month ago by N-a-B
William Pellas

Certainly a more robust and well-supplied fleet—even if its size won’t be expanding in a meaningful way anytime soon—would be a better state of affairs than what the RN has in its order of battle at the moment. But there is no, repeat, no substitute for larger numbers of warships, RFA vessels, submarines, aircraft, and unmanned assets.

In other words, upgunning and reprovisioning the fleet, while helpful, just gives you a badger with sharper teeth, when what is really needed is a wolf.

I don’t buy the excuse that current shipbuilding plans and schedules, much less Covid (which is the new “the dog ate my homework”) prevent a realistic expansion of the fleet, particularly in a national emergency or other crash build scenario. What is being contemplated right now is not (yet) a national emergency, but a crash build is most certainly called for if the UK and the rest of the Western world is truly serious about standing up a combined military with enough teeth to make China think twice.

In practical terms, all the RN would really need to do in the short term (in addition to upgunning and reprovisioning) is to stand up a Home Fleet composed of heavy corvettes and AIP submarines. This would free up the rest of the RN for blue water operations with an increased emphasis on “East of Suez” and the Pacific. Granted, even the rest of the RN as currently constituted would not be an overwhelming force in the face of the ever growing Chinese navy, but it would be more than potent enough to be a force multiplier for the RAN, USN, and JMSDF.

In other words, just build 6 guided missile SSK’s and 8 – 12 corvettes with an Atlantic bow and a heavy SSM battery, and that along with Poseidon patrol planes and the RAF ought to be enough to keep tabs on Ivan—who, last I checked, has his own problems. Meanwhile the carriers, the escort force, and most of the Astute boats can spend most of their time East of Suez.

In a perfect world, of course, there would be more than this, but what I am suggesting here would be a meaningful and cost effective expansion that would be much more likely to get through Parliament than would building an RN that would truly fit the term “Global Britain”.

Last edited 1 month ago by William Pellas
ATH

And how would you crew this plan. And how would you find the people with the right skills to lead the building of these ships, in technical, managerial and shop floor roles?
There no point planning ships without first planning the people.

Will

A legitimate question, but consider:

The last time I checked, the RN currently has around 34,000 active duty personnel and a total reserve of around 12,000. So the first thing I would do is pull from the reserve to crew some of the new vessels, on the idea that it would probably be easier—all things considered—to recruit people fresh off the street for the reserves than for active duty. Meaning that people who are already in the RN in the reserves might be more likely to up their commitment to full time.

But whether this is ultimately true or not, the overall population of the UK at present is around 67 million. If there are not a few thousand more from that total population who are willing to serve in the RN (rebuild the reserve after promoting from within to crew the new vessels) then there are bigger problems in the country than what we are discussing here. If it’s simply a matter of money, then the government will have to pay its sailors and marines more than they do at present. Automation will help, but only so much.

There’s always the Black Swan sloop of war proposal. This was to have been a ship with a very small crew that could certainly be configured as a “heavy corvette” for the Home Fleet (flotilla) I am proposing here.

ATH

Up till Covid the RN has had long term difficulties in recruiting and retaining people. So yes there is a problem getting people from the U.K. population to serve in the RN.
To solve this will likely need change to what it means to be a sailor in the RN. I know in some circles change will be seen as “pandering to snowflakes who should just be told to man up” but these circles are wrong. No one has to serve they have to want to.

Callum

I’ve been an advocate of a Home/Away Fleet structure for the RN for years, so I get where you’re coming from, but you appear to be trivialising the issues to a ludicrous degree.

Shipbuilding isn’t something you can just wish sorted, even if the money was available. Could existing programmes be accelerated to a degree? Yes, but a major expansion of capacity will take most of the next decade and need a long term commitment from across the political spectrum.

As for manpower, its nowhere near as simple as “get X number of new sailors off the streets”. We need specialists; leaders, computer experts, mechanics, engineers, the latter of which will also be in high demand from the shipbuilders putting the vessels together. Furthermore, “just pay them more” ignores the wider complaints service personnel are making about modern life in the armed forces, from shoddy accommodation to lack of flexibility.

Your summary of the issues seems incredibly simplistic. If these issues were actually as simple as you present, the entire armed forces wouldn’t be struggling with manpower and conflicting budgetary requirements.

X

Defending the home islands is a job for land based air and SSK’s not surface combatants.

Supportive Bloke

And it increasing hull count in those programs.

The program risks and costs are much reduced by adding to a run where the problems have been ironed out in #1 & #2.

This is why I’m pretty sure T32 will be T31+ as this will give the best value and certainty. As well as the possibility of using the 2nd shed slot or at least the spare capacity of it.

You will say people, people – I agree totally.

Mark davison

Another great article read with thanks. “Iron Duck” was the smile of the morning.

Captain P Wash

18 ? at any one time it’s more like 8 in reality.

David MacDonald

We do need a larger Royal Navy but we need a better equipped one too. The Type 32 “frigates” are really only gunboats since they have no sonar and not even much in terms of offensive firepower; they will, if better equipped, provide a useful service in the more minor roles but we need at least 12 Type 26 “real frigates”. We could also do with some SSKs, probably along the lines of the German 212 class, and at least 3 Naval Air Squadrons of F35s. None of this would be all that difficult if we could get the recruitment right.

Se we need to look at recruiting. Whatever  the current CDS may think, the most fertile recruiting grounds are to be found in families with an RN, or anyway services, background and we need to stop sending subliminal messages to young men from such a backgrounds that they not really wanted.

We need a larger RAF too and we need to expand GCHQ and MI6.  But we do not require a larger British Army (though it should be better equipped) since a large army encourages our politicians to indulge in long term “nation building” adventures which don’t generally turn out well in the world as it now is.

Increasing the defence budget from 2% of GDP to 3% of GDP should fix the above.

Prj

Agree T31 = Bacchante Class. History in danger of repeating itself

John S C Lewis

Even as a gunboat, the Type 32s don’t even have a meaningful gun.

Captain P Wash

Type 31’s again I guess ?

Sean

You realise the gun on the T31 – which is what you mean as the T32 hasn’t been spec’d yet – is the same gun the USN is fitting to its new Constitution class frigates.
If the largest, most powerful, and cash-rich navy in the world thinks that gun is the right choice… maybe, just maybe, you’re wrong? 🤷‍♂️

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean
John S C Lewis

Yes, I was wrong calling it the T32, but turning to the gun choice, the 57mm on the LCS classes make sense for the USN, because they have approx. 60+ destroyers and cruisers with 5inch guns that they can call on for Naval Gunfire Support. The RN will just have they T26 and T45, and the latter will not be used anywhere near the shore for bombardment, they are too valuable as AA ships. The same could be said for the T26 as valuable AS ships. Turning to the role of the T31, they are going to be forward- deployed around the world, and will often be the only RN unit in hundreds if not thousands of miles of ocean. So they will have to be equipped to support the small embarked team of marines ashore, something that a 6-pounder just cant do effectively. The T31s would also be the obvious choice to supply NGS in any larger amphibious operation (like the Falklands conflict), but again, they can’t do this with a 57mm. so what might make sense for the USN certainly doesn’t seem to make sense for the RN: so perhaps I am right.

donald_of_tokyo

57 mm gun (especially with ALaMo anti-surface guided rounds already there), is much much better than any 4.5′ or 5′ guns against fast boat swarms.

57 mm and 40 mm guns with 3P rounds are also much much better than any 4.5′ or 5′ guns against UAV, including suicide drones.

No, 57 mm cannot do effective NGFS, but I think T31 armament has its own rationale, and just that NGFS is considered as “less” important than these threats for T31.

Note, T26 and T45 has large guns, and NGFS is supported there. When reaching enemy shore is risky, sending highly capable assets there is reasonable. For example, T45 and T26 can defend themselves from ASM swarm, launched from in-land, but T31 is not good at it.

So, “NGFS with T31” can cover only a part of the NGFS tasks. I do agree there are needs there, but I think “fast-boat swarm” and “UAV/drone” threat also cannot be gaped. T31 filling that gap is very good thing.

John S C Lewis

It seems to me that the only reason for not giving T31s a 5″ gun is cost

donald_of_tokyo

But 5-inch gun is significantly LESS efficient against fast boat swarm and UAVs,

No reason to adopt LESS capable and MORE costy armament on T31, I think ?

PS Of course, better answer will be carrying 5-inch gun on A-position, and 57 mm gun on B-position? But, it does cost. I think adding CAMM is much higher priority than “adding 5-inch gun”.

Last edited 1 month ago by donald_of_tokyo
John S C Lewis

The T31 will be equipped with CAMM. I am sorry, but people have become fixated with fast boat swarms: don’t forget the T31s also have two 40mm Bofors mounts, which overlap to a great degree with the capability of the 57mm gun. The T31 doesn’t need both calibres, neither of which can provide NGS. But fitting a 5″ would give far greater versatility and flexibility: the ship could counter boat and drone swarms with 40mm (and CAMM apparently) AND provide NGS and long range fire against surface targets not worthy of a missile. Dont forget the T31s wont be equipped with any SSMs until sometime late in the 2030’s.

ATH

Or maybe the RN thinks the days of ships coming inshore to do NGS are over. Given the range of and widespread adoption of anti tank as well as anti ship missiles I can see the point.

donald_of_tokyo

I understand your point, proposing for BOTH.

I do not think any guided rounds are developed for 40mm Bofors, so I prefer 57 mm gun, which s getting significant investments these days (thanks to USN). ALaMo is great! (cheap and effective, look like).

On T31, because money was limited, RN made lots of trade-offs among requirements (see T31RFI); hull sonar just Fit-to-Recieve, no AS torpedo, CAMM even not required (could be a CIWS), no SSM. Thus, “no NGFS” was among the many which dropped out of the requirement. Because T31 was originally planned to be a 120m long 4000t smallish ship (not a 6000t 150m ship), it is a reasonable choice.

Within the limited money, one choice could be a UK-Floreal. Very lightly armed, but can do NGFS. It is designed to be a “Queen of the Sea” in virtually no-threat region (like South Pacific, Caribbean and south half of Indian Ocean).

But, RN focused T31 primarily on “middle-east” tasks. Reading the T31RFI make me feel so. Then, Anti-Fast-boat-Swarm (or fast-boat-fleet harassment in peace time), occasional SSM/suicide-drone attack in peace time, became the priority. Both really happened a few years ago. Understandable, I think.

Last edited 1 month ago by donald_of_tokyo
John S C Lewis

Just one more time, The T31 will be fitted with CAMM. It may only be 12 missiles, but it will be there.

donald_of_tokyo

Thanks:

Just for clarity:

  • My first comment of “adding CAMM” was for “increasing CAMM number from 12”. I think adding 12 or 24 MORE CAMM (to make it 24 or 36 cell) is of higher priority for me than adding a 5inch gun.
  • My other comments on T31 RFI is on the requirement. It did NOT required CAMM. And yes, as you said, T31 finally had a CAMM (possibly 12 of them). However, this was NOT within the £1.25B budget. Additional money was prepared by HMG.
  • Reasonable, because £1.25B was way to cheap. Now, T31 program as of now is £2B program. Adding CAMM or 5inch gun or SSM or anything else, needs more money. And, on there, 5inch is not a priority for me. Not saying it must not, just saying my priority will be on more CAMM, improving the FCS (now only EO) of the 3 guns, then hull-mounted sonar, then I-SSGW, and only after these addition, I want 5inch gun.
Supportive Bloke

57mm is also more useful in an AAW mode.

To echo your points above.

Ceptor is the outer AAW layer
57mm is the outer middle AAW layer
40mm cannons are inner middle layer
Phalanx, if fitted, is the inner layer.

It is completely logical as an integrated AAW defensive suite.

A 5″ gun is useful for:

NGS – maybe but very dangerous with MANPADS around; and
Surface target engagement – limited use missiles will be better again very dangerous; or
Firing things like sonar buoys.

My thinking as to why T26 has 5″ is actually the latter. It is mean to rapidly spit out a patter of sonar buoys far faster than a Merlin et could. The Merlin can then be spooled up on deck ready to prosecute the contact.

Callum

Not heard much more about those sonar buoy rounds, but the depth charge rounds and guided shells available from BAE today are more than enough reason to fit a 5″ gun to the T26.

Meirion X

All the Burkes(DDG’s) are fitted with the 57mm main gun. The same issue, too valuable as AAW ships.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
RobB

5″ guns on Burkes

David Broome

NGS is a chimera that puts assets in harms way for shore based missiles and next to no reaction time. Far better to use surface strike missiles with SBS providing coordinates to degrade targets. 57mm could be effective given the number of rounds that could br put onto targets closer to shore but this needs a permissive environment (57mm does have a 15km + range and 3P rounds cover a wide area).

Last edited 1 month ago by David Broome
David Broome

You are so right. Type-31 is brilliant and the 57mm is ideal. But please ensure the 40mm mounts are magazine fed, increase sea ceptor to 24 rounds and equip them with 8 SSMs ie 250km + range and they are highly effective GP frigates with a surface strike capability.

What’s the fascination with SSKs? Yes i like them but I prefer an 8th SSN a lot more, when they can be augmented with XLUUVs on numbers for littoral missions.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Broome
Captain P Wash

Sorry David, we know nothing about the Type 32’s yet, I guess you meant to say Type 31’s ? I do see the Type 31’s gaining much additional capability over their lifespans and their size does offer scope for upgrades, I personally would like to see an increase in numbers as they appear to be way cheaper than T26.

David MacDonald

Yes, sorry, I meant T31s. I am sure the T31s couild be upgraded but I doubt they will ever be much use as AS ships.

ATH

If AS stands for anti submarine that’s true. A disadvantage in going for an A140 based ship for the T31 is that it’s a noisy ship with limited facilities for handling drone ships. There are areas the designs capability can be developed but ASW warfare isn’t one of them.

Challenger

A Merlin (or Lynx if the money was found for a few extra dipping sonars) to ping a target combined with a ship launched missile like ASROC?

Not at the T26 level with it’s quiet hull/machinery and Type 2087 but surely far from useless?

David MacDonald

Not useless but of only limited use as escourts.

Jono

I think there needs to be a capability push by RN, more vessels is a great idea but we don’t have the capacity to build many more vessels at one time or frankly the cash to do so. RN needs to look at getting T26 and T31 fitted with the various weapons and equipment they’re designed to carry, that would go a long way to increasing effectiveness without putting a huge strain on recruitment, training and on going personnel costs associated with a large number of new vessels let alone their own build cost.

ATH

What exactly do you mean by “to stop sending subliminal messages to young men from such a backgrounds that they not really wanted.”?

Sjb1968

Looking at the gender and ethnic mix used in RN recruitment adverts and compare to the actual mix in the RN and the population as a whole it is quite simple. Virtue signalling BS has a genuine downside in not appealing to the very people who are and will remain the core of the RN.

David MacDonald

Quite so.

Joe16

The RN has had a recruitment and retention problem for years, since well before this subliminal messaging you talk of. Maybe those people you consider the core of the RN were becoming less and less interested in being part of it, for one resaon or another but not because of the newer and more inclusive recruitment campaigns.
The MOD’s own figures show that expressions of interest have gone noticeably up since the “Made in the Royal Navy” ads were started, so I guess they’re on to something.

Callum

Honestly this. Recruitment from the RN’s traditional areas like poorer northern towns is/was on the decline because of things like low unemployment and better opportunities elsewhere, not some bollocks about a black girl being in a recruitment add. In fact, I reckon having a girl in the advert probably helped tempt a few of the lads into signing up

Joe16

I’m glad I’m no tthe only one who thinks so! I don’t have a lot of time for “woke”, but I think the RN’s latest advertising has been a long way from that- and spot on.
Likewise, reminding those “RN family” boys that it’s not their father’s navy anymore, and there are women in there too might have re-ignited an interest in serving!

Duker

Pleeeese. This the modern smart phone world, the sexes mix much more socially than ever. Women work in far greater range of jobs and industries than before.
The woman in an ad is to make it aware for other women to join as well

John

Yup. I have heard from quite a few people variations on “I would have signed up but the military seem to be more concerned with woke social engineering than soldiering these days and I can’t be f’ked with that”.

Driving off their core demographic.

Sean

Great analysis of how more time at sea can be achieved with fewer hulls by concentrating maintenance on these. Ultimately it’s a stop-gap measure until the much delayed T26s and T31s come into service, but its a clever approach to maximising bang for buck in the meantime.

Sjb1968

Unfortunately it is a clever approach that won’t have gone unnoticed at HM Treasury, which could spell real danger to any long term hope of even a modest increase in the size of the RN.
I have no objection to innovative ways to improve availability but the fundamental point is as we all agree on here that the Navy is far too small. God forbid we have any real need for our Navy to do some serious war fighting because we will be humiliated.

Sean

We’re seeing an increase in the size of the navy already with the T26, T31 programmes once they’re in the water. It’s pretty clear too that with autonomous mine hunting we’ll need less dedicated mine-hunters and sweepers, which the RN believes Will free up both cash and crew for more escorts.
So no, the RN will be increasing in size over the next decade. Though more please would always be nice.

Yes, if we went to war against the USN or PLAN single-handedly then we wouldn’t win, or “humiliated” as you put it. But against any other navy, my money would be on the RN – with the possible exception of the JDF.

Captain P Wash

But we’re not seeing an increase though, actually we are seeing a rapid decrease in hulls which has been ongoing for decades.

Sjb1968

As a keen supporter of the RN with several family members in the service my concern goes beyond playing fantasy fleets to the safety and welfare of those serving. I am not blinded by political jargon or spin and sadly the service is in a shocking state and has been hollowed out. I am sure in tonnage terms someone will point to the RN growing but in reality the downward trend in hull numbers continues apace!
Whilst many on here are also quite rightly worried about how underarmed our vessels are they would be even more concerned if the realised how few munitions we stock for the weapons we actually have.
The routine cannibalism of ships so others can be deployed is another sure sign things are not right.
The conclusion of the article is telling and underscores the very perilous state the RN is still in. It has taken a couple decades to create this mess and likewise it will take at least that to remedy the situation.
In its current state it is not just a peer adversary that could inflict a serious injury to the RN.

X

The government chooses to spend money elsewhere.

We either choose to believe China builds poor ships whilst we surround ourselves with goods made in China or we accept the fact they are building a fleet that will eclipse the USN soon.

Playing about off the Crimea or sending oilers to plow the South China Sea prove nothing apart from our collective naval impotence.

This game the RN plays of being ‘clever than your average navy’ has to be stopped.

We need a 20 year plan. We won’t get it.

Captain P Wash

I believe China has one ambition and that is plainly clear to see, you only have to read the various defence news sources to see the staggering pace they are building ships. Stop buying their stuff.

Jonathan

Yes we have to manage their Mercantile strategy otherwise we will never be able to manage their military when the crunch comes and it will come sooner or later.

Captain P Wash

They are coming to the Atlantic soon, West Coast of Africa is the aim.

John S C Lewis

Excellent article

Meirion X

The article mentions HMS Iron Duke is halfway through LIFEX. As I recall, she started in spring 2019, so it is going to be the longest LIFEX for a surface vessel, apart from the SSBN thats been going on for 6 years?

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Robbie

The problems are all of this depends on getting reliable ships in the 26s and 31s which is almost impossible, HMS Tamar has been in Hawaii for 4 weeks with a wrecked genie amongst other engineering snags(at least she has a shiny paint job) and the projected in service dates of ships that are much larger and more complex is laughable given that snags seen in British ship building, they might commission only to relpace the 45s alongside for extended periods.

We have managed over the last few decades of cuts to rely on the older ships to cover for the newer ships problems(23s taking on the bulk of the heavy lifting while the prop problems on the 45s were sorted) the problem is we don’t have the older ship numbers that we used to thanks the the 2010 SDSR, yes you can fiddle with numbers and come up manipulative ways of keeping ships at sea, but the crews burnout at the same rates as the ships.

Manning the ships will be the problem in the future even if we can build them. Covid may have given the military a boost in recruitment the last 2 years but how many of its new personnel will chit in at 4 years because the ships they are on are either old and hard to maintain or new and harder to maintain. Fewer and worse stops on deployments will only compound the problem.

It only takes 1 ship to opdef itself at the wrong time and the house of cards comes down and all this theory goes out the window.

Challenger

Completely agree with the thrust of this piece in us looking to maximize the potential of the assets we have or are in the process of procuring first and foremost.

Rather than any of this fantasy talk about 40 escort vessels or heavily armed corvettes lets focus on bringing the planned classes of frigate into service and getting them properly equipped with MK.41 VLS containing a new generation of cruise missiles to give us a modern and potent fleet of 24 ships.

Beyond that we should be focusing on the less glamorous but critical enablers like FSS and finding ways to bring some mother-ships into the fleet to at least partially replace the Hunt’s / Sandown’s and not overburden the wider surface fleet that should be left to focus on it’s primary tasks.

donald_of_tokyo

Agreed. Those things must be discussed way before we discuss about T32. Make the “19 escort” fully active, before talking about increasing the “on-paper” hull number to 24.

Meirion X

The problem was, the 13th frigate was in a state of disrepair. It would of costed a lot to give it LIFEX for just a few more extra years of service. The planning for T31 GP frigate programme needed to have started in 2010, now 5 years late. The RN would by now have 1 new frigate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Blureyedboy

Iron Duck?

Captain P Wash

Dead Duck…….

mark davison

Yes, it was an initial typo in the article for HMS Iron Duke now corrected, it tickled my funny bone.

Geoffrey Hicking

If hull numbers keep shrinking then we will enter single figures.

Now this applies for all other navies as well (Norway is already there), but if we want to avoid joining the “3 frigates and 2 subs” club we need to find a way out. If we can preserve things with like for like, then that would be great, but if not, then we are in trouble long term.

…unless we just want GCHQ and the cyberwarfare branch to defend us (and those might increase in cost more and more if other nations have just that as their armed forces and thus plough money in them to improve them)

donald_of_tokyo

Looking at the very low sea going days, 20-30% reduced after 2010, the cut then was not limited to reducing the escort numbers from 24 to 19, but actually reducing the operational number by further 20-30%.

In summary, it was in reality reduction from 24 down to 13-15 escort fleet.

As such reducing the “escort number on paper” from 19 to 17 has zero impcat now. Very understandable. RN was in much worse state than just claiming “only 19 escorts are not enough”. Let’s face the reality.

As such, the first priority of RN now is to make it to really 19.

To do it, RN needs ~35% more resources (as 19/15 = 1.35). Simple.

Manpower, spare parts, engineering support, ammunition stock, no more FFBNW or “capability gap”. Any T32 discussion, T31 up-arming shall come AFTER these.

Prj

Less is more, whilst some so called defence commentators will also argue that less weapons makes for more lethality. I disagree, less ships with less or no offensive capabilities = a disaster waiting to happen.

Jon

Yes, absent a global war, it would take twenty years to double the escort fleet. After all it took that long to halve it. That doesn’t mean the Committee shouldn’t lobby for for a doubling if that’s what they believe. The sooner it’s started the sooner it would be finished.

Jono

As an island nation we really need to ensure the Royal Navy is properly funded but the reality is if we want to increase the surface fleet numbers we need to start recruiting 5-10 years in advance of the first ships coming into service to ensure we have the required skills. Capital expenditure for hulls is easier to justify and can often go down as a vote winner in some areas but without skilled crews they’re useless. Aim has got to be to increase the capability of the ships we have and outline a plan to expand over the next 20-30 years, let’s hope the updated ship building strategy gives us some pointers.

Palmer

It is true the RN frigates have undergone constant development since the 1960s , it is also true they are adaptable and as defensive escorts they are cost effective and relatively quick to build but the truth has always been they are hard in rough seas and need constant RAS ,
It is clear the emerging navies we are up against have invested in a core of capital ships , missile cruisers mostly which need fewer escorts, the Rn is now outranged.

X

they are hard in rough seas and need constant RAS

Hard in rough seas? Some are better sea boats than others, but all? Nah………
comment image

As for RAS’ing well there is only so much volume in a hull. And you RAS for fuel at (nearly) every opportunity you can.

Meirion X

What’s your definition of a capital ship? Not many emerging nations have aircraft carriers! Corvettes can be hard in rough seas.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Borg

Capitol Ships are many things to many people…..as seen over the years …. Ships of the line, Iron Clads, Battleships, dreadnoughts, Aircraft Carriers, Boomers, all and all, they present a good case .

Nigel digby

Bean counter logic

Colonel Foster

More submarines, anti-submarine platforms and a bloody anti ship missileS please.

Jack65

To a degree this makes sense with Monmouth, but not Montrose. She was due to get new engines which none of the three extended frigates have…..scrap Monmouth, extend 2, plus have Montrose fresh out of Lifex with new engines makes more sense????

Paul T

HMS Montrose has already been LIFEXE’D,i doubt if she will get new Engines now.

Paul.P

So speaking as a simple taxpayer, back of a fag packet calculation ( albeit based on wiki numbers) says 5 Type 23 frigates with a crew of 185 = 10 Type 31 / 32 ships with a crew of 90. Surely we just need to crack on with what needs to be done and get there. The experts just need to do their thing.

David Broome

The best for the surface fleet’s growth we can hope for would be 12 (Type-31/32, Type-26 & Type-4X), although most likely, it will be 7 at best.

Probably that is 5 Type-32 and an announcement Type-4X mumbers will be increased to 8. Of course, the Type-32 will likely be MCM motherships, so the net gain is debatable. As motherships, they could also be equipped with ASW USV’s augmenting the Type-26.

In my ideal but real world, the surface mix order should be for 1 additional Type-31, 6 x Type-32’s, 3 additional Type-26 and 8 Type-4X. Not a doubling, but this would grow the RN to 31 surface combattants in the 2040s. This should mollify Treasury while befitting global Britain. The Type-31/32 and Type-26 all coming off hot production lines for growth beyond 19 starting from the late 2020s. This allows recruitment and training to start from budget 2022/23.

The two Albions must be replaced by two LHDs with a treated deck to operate F35s at a pinch. The Bay class replaced hull for hull.

An extra Astute, if Australian built as the lead vessel downunder, could swing that deal our way without affecting Dreadnought. Using jigs and seconded BAE personnel it would be an amazing force multiplier. Especially if combined with XLUUV acquisition for littoral operations. The SSN fleet should be a minimum of 8, ensuring 2 are always at sea given carrier strike needs 1 SSN.

F35B numbers will not be what we all want but must be at least 97 (that includes replacement for the lost aircraft). We have to have enough aircaft, pilots and maintainers to surge our two carriers and/or to operate off Albion successor LHDs in emergencies. It would be gratifying if the government announced negotiations with Lockheed Martin for 49 more F35Bs. That sends a powerful message.

Of most import is ensuring our warships and aircraft are equipped with weapons and not just built for them. Can we start with Harpoon replacement please?

Last edited 1 month ago by David Broome
DaSaint

Great system to upgun the River class as well as some auxiliaries.