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Are BAES and Babcock part of the current Type 32 Operational Concept work?

I think the build speed of the second batch of the Type 26 will have a significant knock on effect as to whether the Type 32 will need to act as a backup ASW frigate. If the T26s are built slowly and the ASW T23s go out of service before several of the T26s are delivered, something will have to be done to increase ASW numbers during the 2030s. It might be the T32s will even have to act as backup carrier escorts.

Trevor G

Yes, in which case why another design for a combat ship with zero ship mounted sonar capability and no means mentioned of prosecuting sub contacts anyway? ASROC? MTLS? Plus diesel propulsion?

re modular role change, I hope they have been paying close attention to the USN LCS saga!


Alot of the issues with the LCS wasn’t just from their modular design but also the reliability of the propulsion system etc as well as the fact they decided to go ahead with two different classes. Couple this with their standard loadout being very light it meant that there had to be alot of kit added on at a later date.


hopefully uk gov will support and other navies will join in.


Modular weapons fits and low crew numbers due to automation. Both concepts that have already been tried and failed on the LCS.

If the propulsion system is going to be diesel then they’ll not much use in the ASW. That’s a serious issue given the lack of ASW from T45 and T31 which will make up 60% of our escort fleet.

The proposal looks to me to be too big and expensive for the mine warfare role but too basic and lightly equipped for the escort frigate role. It’s neither one thing or another.


The Danish Navy have had great success with their StanFlex modular warships that can be retooled at short notice, the biggest issue with modular warships is when nations don’t properly invest in it to flush it out and instead use a glorified prototype.


No they didn’t. The original StanFlex ships (Flyfevisken class) almost never exchanged any of their fits, because they discovered it was too much effort.


Precisely. Modularity is usually a word that means more expensive…


THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I saw one of the drivers for Boxer was its modules. Made me larf.

Paul Bestwick

Boxer is a different animal entirely. When you have hundreds of them it enables you to manage the whole fleet. Certain types will have many more miles put on them than others. The modules allow you to swap drive modules from say a chassis that was used to carry an artillery module as opposed to an ambulance module which I suggest might just have very different wear and tear on the drive unit.


Yes and no. No they didn’t swap things out at will like it was Thunderbird 2 as it was too much effort. Yes it helped at refit time.

If we cannot fit weapons now that ships needs why do you think in the future a government would allow the navy to have multiple modules sitting idle just in case?

Plus once again I find myself saying here the HULL MATTERS. There are reasons why frigates look like they do and MCM’s look like they do and so on. Swapping a module can’t change a ship’s major characteristic its hull.

Then there are other considerations.


They are saying containers will fit on for different tasks. Asw would need silent hull. The flexibility approach I think needs higher number of ships produced by several countries then there maybe be good benefits of flex modular system.


Doesnt streaming a long towed array sonar, plus an on board helicopter that can dip a sonar or drop sonarbouys mean a ‘rafted diesel and gearbox’ powered frigate can still be effective ?

Ancient Mariner

Spot on! Not forgetting the restored MPA overwatch capability! It is also worth mentioning that AUWVs have the potential to provide loitering ASW surveillance and eventually organic hard kill capability?


The issue with the LCS modularity was that they were trying to do modularise very specialist areas; ASW requires the whole crew to be trained to operate and manouevre the ship in a particular way to control noise and to effectively locate and track a submarine. That’s not something that can easily be bolted on in a module and shown to a group of generalist sailors in a week or two’s changeover. That’s unfortunately what they tried to do with LCS.
But, modular in terms of surface warfare weapons fit, for instance? I don’t see a problem with that. Likewise, modules for unmanned vehicles, where the mothership is effectively an armed taxi for the skilled operators, would work. Because none of those items require specialist training for the core ships’ crew, nor modifications to the ship itself.


The LCS was a special hell as its ‘modules’ didnt exist when being designed and only 1 or 2 have some success since in testing. Its other bigger problem was the engine-gearbox system which supposedly makes the early ones ‘un repairable’.
There were a number of other design benefits such as reduced crewing that were just wishful thinking


propulsion system is going to be diesel then they’ll not much use in the ASW” . . what? Rafted Diesels are the silent running option. Type 26 will not be using its GT when sub hunting, only for sprinting. GTs are noisy as hell which is why the Burke’s are far from ideal sub hunters.


Exactly. I never quite understood why people thought GT are ‘quiet’. A trip to the airport shows different. Sure, they were so noisy that early on the need to fully enclose in a sound deadened compartment was seen as necessary, but thats also what happens with the sort of medium speed diesels they use now. As well the growing size of a frigate – destroyer has allowed room for rafting of major machinery . Which helps for resistance to external shocks from close explosions as well.
The basis for the common complaint that certain warships are ‘noisy’ seems to be from using ‘gear boxes’ wheres as a few types use motor generators and then electric drive of the propellers. There maybe some validity to that , but gearboxes are the norm while electric motors arent and of course slow speed running is likely to reduce the main noise signature , that from the propellers and water flow around the hull.
Also the nature of ASW has changed with long towed arrays and helicopters that dip their sonars or drop sonarbouys . The parent vessel some km away isnt such a restriction


A myth that diesel ships are not quiet. Most ships have diesel power, even those with GTs. Modern diesels are high speed and quiet. If they are rafted and/or part of diesel electric drives just as good.

Defence thoughts

“Babcock says it would be possible to stretch the Arrowhead-140/Type 31 hull slightly if more capacity was required. The midships section could be completely reworked with a much larger mission bay.”

Hmm. N-A-B’s thoughts on this would be appreciated.


See below.

There’s no fundamental reason why you couldn’t stretch it (assuming you didn’t get into a structural strength / weight growth / stability death spiral). The question is why would you want to?

You would essentially be locking yourself into a variant of a twenty year old hullform, designed to be one thing and asking it to be something else. Hullform development is generally in the small single figure millions bracket – spread over a programme cost generally three orders of magnitude larger. That’s a big compromise for a very small saving.


Id rather have a 20 yr old hull design thats still suitable – the naval architecture side hasnt changed much in decades ( backed by model tests)- rather than a brand new hull design, propulsion, electrical , fire protection and all the other minor systems to make it habitable that takes 15 years to have all the bugs ironed out


Hmmm. You haven’t understood the difference between hullform and what you refer to as “hull design”. When you change the internal arrangement or the role of the ship, you change all the things you refer to.


Not all the internals The RN commonly added ‘extra beam’ and length on its ships types as they progressed through ‘batches’. thats a change in the hull form. Not ideal to work this way , but its not a perfect world.
Unless the major change in requirements most of the time a destroyer is going to be doing what it did previously

The USN has done the same for its Burkes, with some extra length but has made clever changes in new larger aft superstructure to accommodate the 2 new helicopter hangars
Flight 1 shown, the original layout. From


If only you understood what that actually means to those who have to design and build the ships. But you don’t, do you?


Sure . This isnt a forum of the Naval Engineers Engineers journal

And your naval engineering speciality is what exactly

From many of your comments you have some relevant background but many others seem uninformed


My naval engineering specialty is exactly that. I’ve designed and built ships, commissioned them, done life extension projects. Quite a bit really in over a quarter of a century.

Which is why I don’t have to indulge in frantic googling. The internet is not knowledge unless you have context.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B
Supportive Bloke

Yes, they did.

Look how well that worked for T42 with external girders welded to the outside?

That is a horrible thing to do to a ship.

All of the structural members will have been designed backwards from length of the ship with the ship supported at both ends only or shock load and then had a design margin added. If you make the thing longer the whole thing has to be redesigned otherwise the margin = battle damage resistance is eroded.


That was a design error when they were lengthened, their computer design systems were new according to those who were there.
But the ABNs arent being lengthen that much are they ?
Even the first Burkes had structural issues but the current ships building are 75-80th in class


You see, this is why context is important. The structural issues in your link are caused by poor detailed design in localised areas subject to slamming loads. That’s relatively easy to fix, although not cheap as the ships have been built.

That’s a very different thing to a global structural issue, which is what the Flt Iii are facing.


And you dont know the ‘context’ of the newest ABs do you , which I detail the actual comments from NAVSEA later in the comments
Seems like they actually understand exactly what was needed for their newest batch and they did it
Basically their most important change was lowering the centre of gravity as the radars modules themselves werent heavier but the power supplies had to be co-located higher up.
Who knew ? …the Internet did.


Ho ho ho. That article dates from over six years ago. I can’t be arsed to check the actual date. I think it’s the only official admission there might just be one or two issues. It also mentions growth margins being an issue and references moving downflood points.

It’s the program manager trying to explain in layman’s terms in a public forum what his team have had to do. The reason he’s doing that is because people with competence may just have asked some awkward questions..

Here’s something to ponder. When you increase scantlings in the lower part of the hull girder, it has an effect on other structural factors in the stresses you get in plate and longitudinal girders. Let’s see if the internet helps you work out what that is. Here’s a clue. Buckling and tensile stresses.

Here’s another. Let’s just surmise that doubling the scantlings in the keel and bilge strakes is a good idea. That’ll give you broadly 150 tons of mass low down, which drops your CG by 6″ or so. But – while that helps pull your KG down, it costs you 150 tonnes in weight, that your structural girder has to deal with. Which has just been exacerbated by your change in scantlings. To make that work, you have to do something else, which tends to dramatically offset the shift in KG you just “won”. And doing so adds more weight, which compounds the structural problem. See if the internet can tell you what that something is.

It’s called a tail chase. It never ends well.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

Or they can add another deck like the Absalon which the T31 design is ultimately based upon.

they don’t need to extend length necessarily, if the can extend up.


There’s this teensy little thing called centre of gravity. It has a marked effect on stability. It’s one of the things that T26 is struggling with.


Presumably this applies particularly to the Australians with the huge radar stuck on top of the ship?


It’s one of the challenges they’re facing.


Understood, but the absalon class has a flex deck and can be improved further based upon lessons learned from huitfeldt and T31 classes, which are ultimately based upon it anyway.

I am a big fan of absalon and the cube 2 system seems to be very innovative and worth pursuing. I don’t see any reason why the rest can’t be worked out by the naval architects.

it can be done as it’s effectively already there with absalon, unless I have misunderstood your comment N-a-B


Deck area has to be in the right place. You do realise that the flex deck is at the expense of space back aft?

Bob (Nutty) Head

Only two things matter 1. Can it fight 2. Can it survive extensive damage. If the answer is yes to both then it will do. Nutty ex submariner


British navy personnel blew up Nord Stream gas pipelines
.. the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” 

Paul T

‘BAES has not designed a Warship from scratch in some time’ – so who designed the Type 26 ?.


A committee. (Almost) of thousands. Which is partly why it cost so much and also why some of its export customer are having trouble with adapting it.

The NDP did the initial design phase, back in 2008/9 if memory serves. Doing all the initial design elements is fundamental to understanding not only what the design is and how it functions, but the underlying logic as to why it is arranged and functions that way.

It’s also where you get to set your margins policies that – if applied correctly and proportionately – keep you out of trouble as you move into later stages. Trouble is that you have to understand the basis of your margins, how they are derived and why they are as they are. Which tends to require something called experiential base.


However, the digitalisation of the design was done by BAE and quite recently. Each customer is adding there own systems and requirements, thus the “design” time.


Ships have been designed ‘by computer’ in UK since the early 1970s at least. Whats happened is the digital concept-design-build-test has moved considerably in the last maybe 15 years to have a single computer model, so it doesnt have to be ‘ re digitalised’ like you suggest for say construction phase.


Off the top of my head, transfer of T26 into FORAN (which is the tool BAES use), didn’t fully occur until 2015/6 or so. Largely because there was no agreement between BAES and MoD as to who was going to pay for it.

What people don’t get is that CAE product models are great things to build a ship and act as a data repository. But they also incur a huge overhead in terms of data input and maintenance. So what you’ll usually get is the arrangement of the ship, its primary structure and the primary system runs done to a certain level of detail – for example to get Class approval. Stability can be done in something like Paramarine (in fact it has to be thanks to the MoD) and it can also do resistance and powering.

What that tends to mean is that you get a set of relatively sparse models confirming the viability of the design, which are later fleshed out to include all the detail in the master PDM. Lots of system design elements (eg pipework design and modelling, or cable design and sizing) are done in different bits of software that are eventually integrated into the overall PDM.

It’s not really different customers adding their own systems and requirements. Those are all done by the lead yard. In the case of T26, the delay was entirely down to a game of chicken between MoD and BAES.

Paul T

Thanks – was there any serious work done on the ‘austere’ version of the T26 when the Politicians baulked at the cost of the original design ?.


From memory, the “austere” version was largely a product of over-active imaginations in certain naval officers and defence commentators.

Don’t think it got any real traction.


Thats was because it was 2010 and the Conservative defence cuts. added years delay till 2014 while the new politicians were given the Yes minister treatment. Of course the delays cost money too

BAE Systems’ original working baseline for the Global Combat Ship design was a vessel 141 metres long with a displacement of 6,850 tonnes and a range of 7,000 nautical miles at 18 knots. However, on 30 November 2010 it was reported that the specifications had been pared down, in effort to reduce the cost from £500M to £250-350M per ship. Subsequently, new specification details began to emerge of a smaller 5,400 tonne ship emphasising flexibility and modularity. ‘


The internet is not necessarily a source of truth young Padowan.

Some of us who were there know the truth. Remind me again how many frigates Labour ordered?

Stores. Long stand. Off you pop…..


Thats fairly easily backed from public statements at the time. Theres a wider readership who check these things as well. While frigates ‘werent being ordered’ and carriers and subs were and what became the T26 design was being moved along

The timing fits and of course the last T23 went into service in 2002, the FSC started being developed after that , and actual design contracts were given in 2008.- not blocked by Brown [interesting to hear where you disagree on a particular years events and where its backed up.]

Then 2010 happened, when T26 base design ‘wasnt what they wanted’.
Then just before the 2015 election year , it was back to ‘what they wanted’. In politics its always known as kick the can down the road without it making it look so obvious and is still happening for the RFA support ships
In hindsight it would have been better for RN to have T45 numbers 7 and 8 contracted to build in 2009 which couldnt be changed by Conservatives in the 2010 cuts


As one who was involved in the first go around the buoy for FSC in 1998 – and again in 2004/5, I suspect my recollections may be slightly more accurate than a frantic internet searcher. The requirement studies for FSC began in the mid-90s, before the last batch of T23s was ordered (in 96 by a conservative government I seem to recall).

Both times the project was knocked back by lack of funds – despite the fact the “requirement” changed not a jot.

What happened in 2006/7 was the S2C2 studies where – in order to overcome the lack of cash – a certain 3* came up with the wheeze of nicking the MCMV replacement budget. Which led to C3 and MHPC.

The delay in T26 orders was nothing to do with kicking cans and everything to do with a gigantic stand-off between BAES and HMG. The design changed once and not from a capability PoV. Trouble was BAES had spent all the Assessment Phase budget (see “parsimonious resource budget” upthread). There was also the small issue of the ticket price, which was significantly larger than anyone was expecting because essentially it was scaled to supporting the manpower on the Clyde tied to the ToBA (remember that?).

The various changes in displacement put about in public as different designs were a screen. They were all the same ship, but essentially quoted at standard displacement (as opposed to their deep or full load displacement). This was done to circumvent certain admirals and civil servants who were adamant that they could tell what a ship should cost by its displacement. Or more precisely, though they could tell whether the ship was “right” by its size.

The endless standoff was basically a game of chicken. The MoD and HMG felt they were being held hostage by BAES (ToBA guaranteed payment/work) for an overly expensive ship and refused to let a contract until they had a more sensible price. BAES knew they had redundancies on the Clyde to play as a card (in the IndyRef) and also that the 23s could not go on forever.

It ended with a messy compromise. Expensive ships delivered over a long period, but led directly to the abolition of the ToBA and the arrival of a direct competitor to BAES.

Which still resulted in eight frigate orders in the 12 years since 2010, as opposed to precisely zero in the years between 1997 and 2010.


Hey NaB – fascinating..

can I ask a question. In your opinion how much does a T26 cost to build rather than the TCO cost that is banded about.

I have read that they are around £680m and that this could reduce to £600m for another batch, but am unsure if this is accurate or heresay.

£1.2bn seems excessive purely for the build and fit out.

Supportive Bloke

BAE have said publicly that they could have been built for ca £800m if they were built to a program that optimised commercial costs and overheads.

That is a believable figure.

I’d be surprised if a high end combatant with a 5″ gun (£50m each), Mk41 VLS ($25m approx), Ceptor, Artisan, 2 x 30mm, ASW bits and mods, EW, Soft Kill, super quiet electric propulsion etc could be had for £600m. It sounds too cheap to me on a very high end hull.

Look at it another way.

Do a fantasy warship build. Take a cheap T31 hull and add the bits to it listed above. Allowing for 10% inflation as well which will have bumped the T31 hull and basic fit to £300m anyway that would then get you to around £600m but on a cheaper hull with simpler propulsion.


It’s not easy – not least because TCO is important – you can’t just go around buying bits of the ship without proper support. That’s one of the reasons the T45 struggled for availability. Proper ILS was not in place which means that huge amounts of effort are expended in STOROBing ships in upkeep to backfill lack of spares for the in-service fleet.

To do a proper cost, you have to understand the following :

  • How much non-recurring expenditure (NRE) is required (which is things like producing the design – and more importantly the production info, such as bills of material, detailed design and production drawings, CNC data for various processes, the build schedule, work package information, test and commissioning plans and test forms. It’s a long list and takes a fair bit of manpower to produce. Half a million manhours (irrespective of how many ships you build wouldn’t be a million miles off)
  • What the yard productivity is like. That’s things like manhours per joint length of weld, manhours per tonne of steel fabrication, manhours per metre of pipe (manufacture and installation), manhours per metre of cable installation. Those will vary with the yard and the type of ship
  • Material cost. Everything from steel plate and sections, to specialist castings, pipe manufacture, equipment items from main engines down to local fuse panels, plus things that tend to be subcontracted out these days like insulation, sheetmetal work and soforth. All bets are currently off given the ongoing supply chain issues worldwide
  • Wage rates – how much each manhour costs, including overhead. If all the staff at a yard are dependent on one ship contract, funny old thing, all those costs will land on the project.
  • Build duration – the longer the ship takes to build, the more manhours and overhead it attracts.

hard to make a decent stab without knowing some of those things. Probably fair to say BAES are putting a fair bit of overhead into the wage rates, which is making the ship costlier than it might otehrwise have been – ditto the long build time.


Basic design work on the T26 was probably done more than 10 years ago.


BAES …. but it took some time.


Although a decision was made in November 2010 to reduce the specifications and capability requirements of the Global Combat Ship design, BAE Systems’ design concepts by 2014 had returned to their original working baseline of a large 6,900 tonne warship. In February 2015, the MoD and BAE Systems signed a £859 million contract to continue development and progress towards manufacturing.

Speaks for itself , but not said is the massive 2010 Tory defence cuts got in the way


Think remember reading paper by BMT some years ago which showed its better to launch and recover from side of ship than stern, if true does not give confidence in the BAE design.

Vestdavit have been successful with their designs,


You are correct which makes you wonder the justification for the articles statement that a ramp system is safer to operate in higher sea states and can cope with heavier payloads than the crane-type mission bay handling system of the Type 26.

BMT concluded the exact opposite.


I understand Palfinger’s solution is some kind of the answer to the BMT’s claim. Canadian CG vessel GORDON REID can handle boat up to Sea State 6 using her deep stern ramp. So, it depends, look like. At least, Palfinger think they can do better with stern ramp.

Palfinger’s document states, normal stern ramp can go as much as only sea state 3. Also, SINTEF reports presents example as CCGS GORDON REID (up to sea state 6) and USCG Hammerhead’s ramp only up to sea state 4.

Anyway, it is interesting read…

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

Thanks for that . Doesnt seem equivocal for stern ramp, ‘all depends’ they seem to say in conclusions
‘Since rules of designing an optimal stern ramp have not been established and because a systematic, all encompassing series of model tests with stern ramp configurations have not yet been performed, selection of the optimal stern ramp may be a process involving some iteration’.
Maybe the RN isnt ready for another round of ‘works in theory’ for ship design


Look a British ship with fixed radar panels. A miracle!


it isn’t entering rn service yet…


I am joking…maybe RN will even choose an Artisan…


it’s not actually a “British Ship” though…. just a concept.


Yeah, but i like one thing in this project the stern looking planar set is in the second mast.


If this BAE type is chosen ( unlikely) it would be changed to be variant of Thales NS100 4D ( says Thales) volume search radar as used in T31

Armchair Admiral

Knock out 5 moreT31 modified a bit for bigger mission bay, quietened a bit and slap the missiles on it. Surely producing more T31 ish vessels off the same line makes sense??
If they want basically a floating mission bay, build a “Black swan sloop of war”.
Designing something to do….something…that has not yet been defined and for which all the snazzy drones that will do it all have not even been designed and ordered seems like a recipe for disaster (well, cost over runs at least).
Like the Dragonfire on top (something else not yet in existence/service)


Common opinion on this site is that these T31’s are a tad lacking in almost every department ….. quite why we need to double up is beyond most of us truth be known…..


Yes in some ways the T31 is lacking. Then again maybe not, maybe for the first time in many years the MoD have done a good job. For example if the RN does get five sets of intrim anti ship missiles for the T23/45s then when the T26s are ready these sets could go over to the T31s. The same with some other equipment, So possibly extra Sea Ceptor systems from the T23s could go to the T31. As for sonar the T26 will be getting a brand new tail whilst the current tail of the T23 is still one of the most advanced Towed Arrays going, so possibly why not put them on the T31. The hull mounted sonar I am not sure it the T26 is getting a new system or stripped from the T23.

I think you msee what I am getting at, althought the T31 does not have all the bells and whisltes now, by using equipment that in the next 10 will become available we would have a good all round escort frigate.

Armchair Admiral

Just so. No doubt if the T31 had been outfitted with (and right now we still don’t really know exactly what the missile fit will be) 48 Ceptor, 12 Mk41 and NSM, the common opinion would be they are great ships from the off.
What we do have is space, as you say, to fit equipment later on. What we also have is an order for 5 frigates rather than just an extra two T26.


Though their non-rafted, diesel only propulsion means that they will always be poorer ASW platforms than the T23 GP ships that they are replacing

David Steeper

They will be GP ships as designed rather than ASW design modified to GP. They are not intended to be ASW specialised that is where Type 26 comes in. We had a choice between 1 or 2 more Type 26’s or 5 Type 31’s. You may disagree with the decision but that’s the one the Navy made. Also the great imponderable is where we will be with unmanned ASW systems Air/Surface and subsurface in the future.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Steeper

All RN escorts since Type 12(M) have been ‘general purpose’. The RN decided way back that building ships for specific purposes was unworkable.

How can T31 without ASW be general purpose? How is a T23 with TAS less general purpose that a T23 without TAS?

You are tripping up over the RN clumsy misuse of terms it itself defined.


But it has no Emals…….


I am not sure I understand the logic of another class of 5 ships at this size? Would there be commonality of any elements with the T31? Same command system, same comms, same diesels? The smaller the RN gets, the greater any commonality pays dividends in logistics, spare parts and training.

If we want / need a “mother ship”, and surely we do for MCM and maybe shallow water ASW, then would not the much smaller BMT Venari at 85m allow us to procure more than 5? Quantity has a quality of it’s own and all that……


France, Belgium and The Netherlands are procuring 6 new mine countermeasure mother-ships apiece to deploy the next generation of unmanned systems from……what do they know that we don’t?!

Type 32 needs to lean into the frigate role more than acting as merely a host for autonomous kit.

As well as the rapidly dwindling Hunt’s and Sandown’s the Echo’s (well the 1 remaining) and the batch 1 River’s are getting on in years too.

It’s still perplexing how the Royal Navy isn’t looking at something modest in size and complexity to do the forward presence/mine-hunting/survey role and free up the rest of the surface fleet for more high intensity stuff!


You can Italy to your list too.

Now Russia is most definitely ‘op for’ we need to increase MCM hull numbers if anything. Faslane (and area) needs a route surveillance capability sooner rather than later.


Italian project is different from Dutch,Belgium one and reportedly will not be a mothership only but made of GRP and minehunter capable. They are afraid of minefields or even just of a couple mines not detected beforehand.


Are the Italians putting new MCM hulls in the water yes or no?


And that was the issue. Hulls in the water for MCM as opposed to the RN’s put some boats into containers we will figure out how we are going to deploy them when we need them. Which is pretty stupid for a country that bases its defence on a submarine based nuclear weapons system. They are all slightly different in concept,


Yep. Hulls still matter! The Royal Navy has up until now been a world leader in mine warfare with a proportionally large fleet of vessels as well as world beating technology.

I fear as capable as the new autonomous systems may be the inflexibility of not being to deploy them as freely and persistently as you can with dedicated hulls will have a real impact.


Ok X your point is about hulls.


No hull sonar or towed sonar is a huge oversight. Those should be mandatory on all vessels.


You would think so wouldn’t you? But no. Not for the very clever RN.

Everything the RN was a world leader in has been thrown away for no gain. Just savings to be wasted elsewhere by inefficient government.


comment image

Paul T

A good fit for the T32 i think – 10 years ahead of schedule too .


They have the whole T26-T31-T32 area covered with the one class with 3 versions; Light ( shown above) , Plus and Full fitout

The PPA construction, fitting, and delivery programme regard two PPA Light (which is the Thaon di Revel configuration), three PPA Light Plus with 127/64 mm, SovraPonte, 25 mm guns, MBDA Italia SAAM ESD PPA air defence missile system with Aster missiles and Naval Group two eight-cell VLSs and the C-band Kronos Quad multifunction four-fixed faces AESA radar and two PPA Full. The latter includes all the previous mentioned weapon systems including the latest version of the Aster 30 family, Leonardo AESA Dual Band Radar (Kronos Quad plus StarFire radars and EW/radar system manager)/Elettronica RESM/CESM/RECM integrated suite, DDS-IRST (Distributed Static Staring-IRST), the ASW suite with Leonardo ATAS towed sonar, OLDS 20 anti-torpedo/AAW decoy launchers and other systems including the Teseo Mk2/E long range ASCM/strike missiles.


For me the important part are the radars that is where i see RN seem backwards with only 1 Artisan in T26 and another rotating device in T31.

A full PPA have 4 AESA panels for C band and 4 AESA panels for X band.


Not at all backwards . The Thales NS110 variant is based on AESA radars
The NS100 was developed from two existing radars: the Sea Master 400 (SM400) radar and the SMART-S Mk2 radar. The performance of the NS100 radar can be scaled by adding transmit elements to meet the users requirements.’
Kronos is just a Leonardo brand and unlikey to be chosen ahead of Thales for UK ships. But the Seamaster is fixed plate while the Kronos for PPA has 8 fixed plates for the 2 different radar types


Of course RN will not choose Leonardo stuff that is made in Italy but the point is that RN do not seem to follow others navies: US, Italy, France, Japan, Canadian, Australian T26, maybe even Arrowhead for Poland. They are all going for fixed panels.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

if they are buying Aegis based systems its fixed panels.
Italy and France for Horizon and Fremm classes have rotating ‘ball’ or other flat plate radars.

Im not sure why the UK is having its flat plates rotate other that they can put it at the top of a mast , in the T45 its 10 decks above the main deck

Supportive Bloke

Sampson had to go as high as possible to get the engagement radius required. The whole ship was designed around a very high radar mast.

At that height the mass of the radar becomes critical to the metacentric weight of the ship. So the rotational design was the only solution.

There is also the little issue of having that mass spinning as that height. The forces produced are non trivial!


As with all of these designs, it’s the weapons fit that counts. The much derided type 31s are not small frigates, They’re larger than the 23s they replace and I believe larger than type 42 destroyers but success will depend on how well we arm them.


The type 31 has a distant half sister that can do the job of the planned type 32 frigate/mothership she is called the Absalon. If we need ideas for a design that comes from an experianced design team then look at the Damen Crossover type. So why reinvent the wheel.

As for this concept design, why do I think that it just looks wrong, I like the idea of a single screw and twin azipods with the posibility of a bow thruster. However I do think that the mission bay should extend under the helicopter hanger and that the hanger should have the ability to carry two Merlin size helicopters or any variable of manned-unmanned aircraft.

So the initial concept has many good points it just need refining such as sonar, extend the mission deck under the hanger,so that the larger boat bays are included into the mission bay. Widen the hanger to take two Merlins or two Wildcats plus three/four RUAVs.

I would ask BAE however to please do something with the looks. At the moment the bow section looks more like a French design than a British one.


The bow design isnt ‘french’ its just the result newer research which is supposed to have the bow shape pierce the waves rather than be lifted by them with a flared bow

Paul Bestwick

The bow design has a very similar shape to the interwar battleships HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney.


I agree with 2 Merlin or at least 2 SH-70/ NH-90 class hangar, that is another oversight of T26 and T31 classes. Airborne systems will only increase in use.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

I’m sure one iteration of T26 had room for 2 Merlin’s before the final design. I guess the problem is Merlin is a big beast of a helicopter and the larger the hangar the less space for the mission-bay and other systems.


I don’t think so, You can only operate 2 helicopters with a side by side hangar.
Where one helicopter do not have their way to the platform impeded by the other.
Otherwise how do exchange one for the other except forcing both to fly?

That means a full beam hangar with 2 doors or 1 door large enough that T26 do not have.

USN Constellations (like FFG7 before) and Italian FREMM have 2 doors(1xMerlin+1xNH90. The PPA posted above by X also have a 1 door hangar large enough in full beam for 2xNH90.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

It’s a cock up isn’t it? The Royal Navy was one of the pioneers of taking helicopters to sea. And now it seems it just makes poor decisions when it comes to helicopters at sea.


My understanding is that the ‘mission bay’ volume can be used as additional hangar space in T26. A stupid decision. “Twin hangers” (two doors!) would have been optimum. Everybody likes to bang on about modules. The modern escort already has the best module in use, the helicopter. Type 26 has a beam of 20.8 meters. Absalon has abeam of 19.5 meters.

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Note the 35mm Rheinmetall Oerliekon Millennium Gun on the hangar roof. The Danes constructed a dummy mount for testing how it would impact wind across the flightdeck

Taking more helicopters to sea would have gone a little way to address the reduced number of hulls. It is not difficult to imagine T26 with the ability to fire Aster 30, two Merlin with their ASW ability plus Marte, etc. etc. Rather like the Italian FREMM’s which also have MILAS.

Last edited 1 year ago by X

Yes that is an excellent example of an hangar with maximized space.

Mission Bay do not fix the one door and slim hangar of T26 or this T32 design btw. How do you move one helicopter to the front of the hangar and the other to the back to the mission bay if you do not have space to put them side by side?
And you need the expense of rails to move the helicopters, you just do not push 2 Merlin by hand between mission bay and hangar , even worse in bad sea state.

Scenario 1 : T26 have 1 helicopter in mission bay and another in hangar. Hangar helicopter malfunctions how the helicopter in mission bay goes to take off platform?
If mission bay is totally free the crew push the malfunction helicopter in mission bay to be side by side with working helicopter and the working helicopter goes to hangar to go to the platform.

Very bad planning, mission is delayed, crew have a lots of extra work and mission bay is fully occupied by helicopter mission.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

Well as I have asked more than once what exactly is this mission bay for? Weapons will be ‘outside’. Sensors will be ‘outside’. The only volume a system takes up within the hull is the processor / workstation. I bet most of the time there will be an extra rib, a container for food stuffs, and exercise bikes in there.

The ships are huge and the fact is with VLS etc. there is nothing to use up all that internal volume even with growth margins. It is rather like the ‘Chinook capable flight deck’ that is mentioned often. It is Chinook capable because they had volume to make a large flight deck not so much because it is a driver. At best it is nice to have. T26 is much larger than the old and bold Castle class OPV’s.

If they wanted a mission space free from interference they would have fitted two hangar doors so the cabs could sit next to each other.

It’s just a poor design. We have a super helicopter in Merlin. For me it should have been a given.

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Last edited 1 year ago by X

I think it is basically a depot for naval and submersible UAV’s


I just think it is excess volume that nobody knows what to do with it……….

It reminds me of that story about RM detachments aboard ships. The story goes that some admiral or politician was looking at plans for the Tribals and pointed out an unlabeled space on the plan. Some smart arse said that is for the Royal Marines………

We shall see. I think I will be very old before we something viable that small for ASW.


2 merlins ?
More likely to have been 2 wildcats


oh no, T26 cant take 2 merlins

Screenshot 2022-10-26 08.06.59.png

The question isn’t whether there is volume. The question is about safe and easy operation. I take you have never had to maneuver a cab around a tight space at sea?



can you explain how the Merlin in mission bay can fly if the Merlin in the hangar is being maintained? does it jump over the other one?

can you explain the rationale to have to take off and land a Merlin for the other Merlin that is arriving but will need to be down 24h for maintenance be sent to the mission bay?

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

I just meant in the literal sence that it can hold 2 merlins, not operationally


Ok. It would have made more sense to have hangars side by side and the naval UAV’s in mission bay.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

There is a risk that in this UAV age the tendency that appeared in age of armoured cruiser where every niche had a gun.


Isn’t there enough space on the flight deck to swap two Merlins with rotors folded? It looks like there is, but checking out plans and pictures can be misleading.


Probably yes using the full platform beam, but you will be pushing a 12t helicopter out and another in for the one you pushed out to be sent back again.
All this in face of elements and operational delay.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

There is no ‘commitment’ to raise defence spending to 3% – that was just another of the silly and unaffordable Truss claims during her ‘pre PM’ party campaign period.
The only actual government commitment – unfunded largely, is the one by Boris for 2.5%


Anybody who thinks there will be a real time increase in defence spending either now or by 2030, is delusional. Sunak is no friend of defence and Labour is…. well, enough said.


That Labour has always supported naval shipbuilding, its the Conservatives who got the frigate build program in such a hole.
Its the waste- delaying and then delaying underway builds – thats a secondary issue and often a Treasury – Admiralty caused


Labour has always supported shipbuilding? The same Labour who reduced the T45 build from 12 to 6?


Thats also because the budget blew out and to stay with the number was reduced

As for those who say the T26 was blocked by Brown , they are flat wrong [Under its intial name of FSC]
The FSC concept was brought forward in the 2008 budget, at the expense of options for two Type 45 destroyers not being taken up (ships 7 and 8). In 2009 BAE Systems received a contract to design the C1 and C2 frigates with a planned 25-year life’. 


Really. The internet is not knowledge.

C1 and C2 dated from the abortive S2C2 studies in 2006/7. As did C3 which became MHPC.

That really isn’t the same as GCS/T26. As those who were there would tell you.


They dont have to be the ‘same as the final design’
the end result was the T26 was built, after it was developed from 2008 C1 concept.
 The C1 was to be an anti-submarine warfare task group-enabled platform and would displace around 6,000 tonnes. C2 was to be a more general purpose platform displacing somewhere in the region of 4000-5000 tonnes, and C3 was to be a Global Corvette to replace a larger number of smaller vessels in service, such as minesweepers, patrol and survey ships. 

Guess what the C1 most resembles now? And I may guess the C2 has a hint of the T31 about it – but via a different route.
The C3 is most like the OPV Rivers that were built plus the extra ones ‘needed’ to keep shipyard going because Cameron and Osbourn threw a spanner into the works for the C1/T26 development from 2010


Well its better knowledge than your musings
many sources mention the 2009 development contracts via BVT the vehicle of BAE and VT
The ministry even gives a redacted version of the contract
Clearly you werent in the loop at the time, you probably retired in the 80s

Supportive Bloke

It is true to say that T45 overall budget was fixed.

The cost of SAMPSON and the general construction cost was far higher than envisaged so the numbers were cut to fit the budget.


Every Labour government since the 1960s has reduced the size and capability of the RN. Despite the positive noises they make when in opposition, when it comes to deciding where funding goes it is a different story.


At least three – that I can remember – attempts to get the FSC/GCS/T26 into design and production foundered during the tenure of one G Brown esquire. The frigate build “hole” ownership belongs mainly there.

When it eventually did start, it was hamstrung by a parsimonious resource budget for the design phase. Which ultimately led to the stand-off from 2013-2016. Which was exacerbated by the ToBA. Which was a product of whose imagination? That’s right. That nice Paul Drayson, who then went off to spend time racing cars. Remind me whose benches he graced?

Not one frigate was ordered under the Blair/Brown governments. Not a single one. Like it or not, the conservatives have managed to order eight, over a similar timeframe.


The last 2 T45 options ( 7 and 8th) werent taken up and instead the FSC-T26 design was bought forward in 2008. An in 2009 BAE got the design contract ( expensive in its self)
Of course the change of government in 2010 meant money and years wasted on a newer ‘austere’ version which went nowhere until 2014 when it was dropped

Others agree about the wasted years until 2015 when an election was looming and new builds suddenly became popular talk ( the design had been stalled since 2010)

Allways best to see if published events at the time agree with memory, dont you think?

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Hey. One of us was there. One of us is an “internet warrior”.


The evidence is against you , as the C1/T26 design development approved/funded under Brown was pulled – ostensibly because they wanted something cheaper- by Cameron- Osbourne. It was just a way of wasting 5 years as the original concept returned in 2014-15 just in time as a pre election announcable as the 5 ship City class


“Evidence” is not frantic internet searching for media articles – the vast majority of which were pure speculation.

Those of us who were there – some still are – know exactly what happened and why.

What happened was not all GBs fault – although his financial parsimony and meddling had significant effect. Cameron and Osbourne didn’t get involved until the stand-off began around 2012 and then only because the price and timescale was so ludicrous.


yep you werent in the loop at the time .
The Astutes contract hit rocks in earlys 2000s because of staffing and such The carrier contract was 2007 after completing most of its development
The frigate development work wasnt even possible to start in that earlier period as they didnt have the people.
thus we have the UK government records of the contract with BVT Surface ships in 2009
The internet is funny like that , official records can catch out the spreaders of falsehoods much later


Carry on digging. I know the poor lad who has been in post with the FSC/ S2C2/Type 26 since inception in 2006. He’s still there.

No-one is disputing that’s when BVT got the contract to develop the design the NDP had been working on for three years already.

What is in dispute is that somehow Cameron and Osbourne stalled that design process by demanding some sort of austere frigate. They didn’t. It wasn’t even on their radar. What did happen was that a design was developed that looks very much like T26 now, only with one important difference.

That difference was an arrangement change that by rights should have led to a restart / new design. Unfortunately by then, BVT/BAES had spent all the assessment phase funding. So the existing design was continued, despite some rather significant flaws that remain today. The existence of those flaws and the eye-watering price tag led to the game of chicken. A game which incidentally led to the River Batch 2, because MoD didn’t want to place a build contract at eye-watering price for a design they were concerned about.

That game ended for a number of reasons. Firstly, it became apparent that kicking the can down the road indefinitely was not possible, because the T23s really couldn’t be extended any further. BAES were also making noises about redundancies in the run up to Indyref (not that it changed how Glasgow voted). Which is why the £800-odd million long lead and detailed design contract was eventually let. But the consequence of that was that HMG and MoD were determined to end the ToBA

Arguably both sides won (or lost). BAES got the build contract, but MoD got out of the ToBA, leading to Babcock entering from left field as a genuine design and build competitor to BAES.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B
Supportive Bloke

I agree that G Brown Esq signed off on both TOBA and doing nothing, while pretending to do something, over frigates.

There was also the sale of the 3 T23

As well as forcing RN to ditch T45 7&8 in favour of Jam Tomorrow.

Haven’t the Conservatives ordered 13 frigates?

8 T26 and 5 T31?

Clearly the conservatives have the cross to bear of scrapping T22B3. But that was a bit more logical as with the end of T42 that allowed a lot of support contracts to be terminated for common but very, very old machinery.


Second batch of T26 not yet ordered, so only eight.

The T22B3 withdrawal was all to do with manpower. It freed up 1000 matelots.

Supportive Bloke

It is 100% true that T22 had a big crew size for a modern frigate and you are correct in asserting that it did free up crew for other purposes.

But it did terrible damage to specialised RN undersea warfare and gapped the intel gathering/EW which was really the whole reason for the T22B3.


Manpower reductions and the training pipeline that goes with it. Could mean 2500 drop in head count. And yet all thses years later still short of manpower

If the RN cant have adequate manpower to crew all its vessels they need to replace the top brass and the others involved to make them accountable.
More and more of the ratings will never go to sea as they are in the ‘wrong’ trades.


Do tell what these “wrong trades” are.


With authorised strength of 34,000 or so , I cant tell me that everyone that is not still in training is regularly say once every 5-6 years at sea ? Excluding the most senior officers of course [ something like 90 Commodores including legal]


Your logic – and English – remains impenetrable.

Supportive Bloke

RN training pipeline is very tightly controlled and expanding with the large intakes over COVID times.

The profiles are worked backwards from the future fleet and retention.

There is no way that RN would waste resources training for unwanted trades these days.

Bear in mind that the 2010 nonsense did lead to savage cuts across the board and that did cause structural damage to the trades and officer pipelines which then lacked the critial mass to regenerate fast enough.


Royal Navy has ordered an investigation into allegations of bullying and sexual harassment against women in the Submarine Service.

Adm Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, called the claims “abhorrent”, adding “sexual harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated”.

“Anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable,” he said.


I didnt mean unwanted . I mean for various reasons they never ever or almost never went to sea.
If every ship was fully manned, including those who were in the dockyards , how much crew is that?

Well 20 frigates and destroyers at 200 each comes to say around 4000. Think of another 3000 for the remaining vessels .
Plus many ships are only at sea 30-40% of the year but you still need more than 7,000 minimum as they can be not assigned crew for a few years .
Im thinking 10-12,000 to provide actual crew and have recent sea experience and can be expected to have some time onboard again.

Training pipeline plus instructors , maybe 3-4,000 . Could be a bit higher at 5,000.

We are still only at half the strength. remembering that a lot of say aviation maintenance is contractor support


you mean 13, there are 5 type 31’s as well as the 8 type 26’s.

Ryan Carlsen

Am I mistaken or is this just a rebranding of the Danish Absalon class in much the same way the type 31 is really just a Danish Iver class? Please do not compare this to the failed American LCS program. I wish our government had chosen these instead of either the LCS or the more recent fremm frigates but apparently, our goal is to spend our way into oblivion. The Danish ships have proven quite capable although not all of the stenflex modules worked out so well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ryan Carlsen

It might use a lot of the same concepts, but it’s not same ship updated and rebranded as the T31 is to the Iver Huitfeldt. If you proposed another ship with 100 base crew, I think you’d lose out to leaner crewed proposals.


there is already a bigger difference than just a re-branding between the type 31 for UK and the export versions for Indonesia and Poland, let alone type 31 in general and the danish iver class. The absalon compared to this is a different concept and a quite different hull form, design and general concept.

Gavin Gordon

Got to admit this BAES concept seems to offer many of the flexibility options modern naval designs are called upon to address. Another go at a modern Leander Class potentially.

Await to see what Babcock put forward based upon the Type 31 design for comparison. Soonish would be good.


Or Babcock are happy to stay in the background privately talking to the RN until the RN is closer to a fully defined set of requirements for the class.


Another small production run of another design doesn’t make much sense. Type 32 must surely be a Type 31 batch 2, with minimal changes so as to control costs.

David Steeper



Let’s be honest if they are going to control cost to get more hulls the best option is a development of the type 31. Not a new BAE design.


Yes of course, but we can overprice the developed Type 31 by calling it a Type 32 and that keeps the designers employed. A bit like us overpricing the B2 Rivers to keep the yard workers employed. You’ve forgotten that the primary purpose of the procurement budget is to keep jobs, not operate with sensible suggestions like that.


Be careful what you wish for. If your design teams don’t do design on a frequent enough periodicity, you lose them. See the T26 shenanigans for details.

Even worse, see how the USN have done. Zumwalt, LCS.

Because they haven’t got a cadre of experienced designers, they’re taking significant risk with AB III (they just don’t know it yet) and are reliant on an Italian design for FFGX.


That’s all true anorl. Designers thrive on using their brains and thoughts at all times trying to improve what went before. We have failed to continue this extremely important train of thought over the decades. Not least in the fields of Aircraft and Ship design. Playing Catch up with limited funds and experience only exacerbates the dire situation we find ourselves in now.


What’s wrong with Flight III then?

This is another instance of government is not business. There is no reason (OK beyond money) why UK Plc can’t keep two warship design bureaus in work. They don’t have to build anything beyond prototypes, mock-ups, and test structures. It could keep a small yard in work building those things and those yards would protect skills too and best practice.

HMG can afford to spend money on units like 77th Brigade…………


Yes. Its so little difference from the earlier flights , but I think he means its not brand spanking new development so will fail in combat, but no one knows it yet.


I am not sure what extra there is too add. Electronics are getting ever smaller and efficient. A missile is a missile is a missile. There is some secret squirrel stuff I suppose.


Isn’t one of the main changes to the Flight III greatly increased electrical generation and equipment cooling capacity?
To me that says however efficient the electronics is getting the increasing volume of it is driving large systems upgrades.


There’s nothing particularly wrong with Flight III in terms of its combat system.

However, you’re talking about a nigh-on 40 year old hullform design. That design hasn’t changed in terms of its dimensions and form (eg coefficients etc). What has changed is that between Flt I and Flt IIA, something like 1200 tons of additional displacement has been incurred – ie growth in weight – around 15%. What that means is that the ship sits deeper in the water. That has two physical effects – the bending moment the hull has to absorb is higher and the freeboard is reduced. There’s also more wetted surface, so there is more resistance for the propulsion system to overcome, but thats just more fuel burned or slightly slower speed, it’s a pain, but it’s not a life ender.

The increased bending moments mean more stress in the hull structure, which you either fix with thicker scantlings (more weight) or higher strength steel (costly – and has other effects) or you accept the increased stress and take more risk on fatigue cracking and or structural failure. The reduced freeboard means you have less reserve buoyancy and less distance to downflooding points – both of which are bad for passing stability criteria.

The Flt III adds even more weight, beyond the Flt IIA, which means that NAVSEA is now battling the laws of physics. Which they have already alluded to in public fora, describing having to move downflooding points and overboard discharges higher in order for the Flt III to pass those criteria.

The ABs also have a little issue with flightdecks being goffered, which led to a couple of high-profile fatal accidents about 8 years ago, with SH60s lost overboard. Lower freeboard is unlikely to help here…..

The thing that should really be worrying NAVSEA is that all ships grow in weight through life, either through identifiable modifications, or by non-identifiable things like small seatings added, cable runs left in place despite being isolated and replaced, paint weight and so on. As a point of reference, the T23s have grown by well over 10% in in lightship weight, which is one of the reasons the T26 was eventually approved. The T23 were going to rapidly run out of stability (safety) certification – as well as exceeding scantling draft. The Flt III are starting life with the inherent growth margin in that hull all used up. Those ships will grow in weight, but there’s no way to absorb it without structural or stability compromise.

It will end in tears. Which is why facile calls to just keep using the same thing “cos its low risk innit?” tend to be made by those that don’t understand the consequences.


Public sources say all the ABs have the same draught, but of course the length has increased a bit each time which accounts for higher displacement too ( but some increase in draught over time is always going to happen) and the latest iteration is say 10 feet more on a total length of 515 ft.
I think the stability will be fine and the designers would have checked thoroughly and may have removed or relocated some superstructure items . Maybe even the new SPY-6 radar plates are lighter in weight
USS Jack H Lucas. A medal of honour winner at 17 on Iwo Jima


The draft given in public sources is the lowest point of the ship. That’s actually the bow dome. The displacement draft is a somewhat lower figure.

Overall length isn’t important. Length between perps is – and that hasn’t really changed. A metre at best. If you do the maths, that’ll give you about 100 cubic metres more buoyancy, (less the weight of the additional structure, say 20 tonnes or so).

Stability isn’t all about topweight. Still – as long as you think it’ll be fine, I’m sure fifteen years from now when the ships have put on another few hundred tons that’ll be a comfort to the poor begger in Navsea who has to try and sort it out.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

SPY-6 is heavier than the previous SPY-1. It is one of the reasons why the Flight 1/2s are getting a SPY-6 Lite with a reduced module count. Only the later ABs are getting the full fat version. Which is probably down to how the additional top weight affect stability as both Nab and you allude to.


Thats news that Fl I/II are getting SPY-6 ‘lite’ (The FFG is getting ‘very lite’ V3-with 3 flat plates)
The late FLIIA that are in the water are getting the newer SPY-6-V4 (lite) upgrade certainly.
The older ships including all Fl I, their internals systems and computers wont support any SPY 6 at all.

Supportive Bloke

I’d be surprised if anyone was trying to slap SPY-6 onto old computer systems?

Upgrading the computers is, if anything, the easiest bit to do and there are huge commensurate savings with getting rid of obsolete inventory support never mind fast boot times and a more usable UI environment with commensurate lower power demands and heat dissapation.

The computers themselves being central to being able to process the data at the resolution required to make the upgrade worth it.


Not really heavier radar plates
Navsea gives the details

The new SPY-6 radar is not any heavier than the old SPY-1D(V), but the weight is distributed on the ship differently. The old radar has a separate signal generator, which is a heavy piece of equipment and is located lower in the ship for its own protection and for shipkeeping purposes. The SPY-6 is an active array radar, which means the signal is generated on the array itself – meaning the array is heavier but must still be placed at the top of the ship, throwing off the ship’s overall balance.

To bring the ship’s center of gravity back down, Vandroff said he wanted to make the hull thicker in some places and to thicken the scantlings, which has the added advantage of creating a more survivable hull in the event of an underwater explosion. A ship can only be so heavy and still be safe to steam, and Vandroff said that adding steel to the hull and scantlings stayed within the weight margins but left little room for growth in the future.

“To get back that growth margin, we changed the hull form a little bit in the stern, and I mean a little bit,” he said.

“So the stern is slightly wider and slightly less flared. That gives you a little more volume that the ship will displace, and that volume change gives you another few hundred tons of service life in the weight.”

Confirms my other ideas about extra buoyancy at the hull transom area but they had different approach


That’s someone trying to explain – badly – that their driving damaged stability case is asymmetric flooding aft, which they’re trying to fix with a bit more waterplane. What happens then is that the problem moves to the next driving case. Which needs a different fix.

What it doesn’t do is fix the overall buoyancy issue. Simple maths tells you that. If the flight deck in is – say – 25m long and 20m wide, every extra metre of draft there gives you about 500 tonnes displacement. Adjusted for the very fine form in that area, it’ll fall to about 1/3 of that. But that’s the parent form. He’s talking about minor changes to it, so the delta will actually be less than that.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

As you said they don’t have the design capability. It is amazing that a baseline 12k tonne hull is beyond them.

Thank you.


The trauma of Zumwalt is not easily shifted. But if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you don’t progress. Hiding behind a forty year old design that you don’t understand the basis of is not low-risk.


They dont understand the ‘basis’ ? Thats ridiculous claim from someone who should know better.

Its far more likely the changes are within the original design growth margins.
The Ticonderoga’s were a huge superstructure change from the Spruance original hull ( with a bit more beam and length) and they didnt seem to have major stability strength issues or those they did have they have learnt from.
The newer ABs have a bit of extra deck ( very close to waterline) at the rear for the hangars alongside the VL . Im not sure where in the hull the extra length went , likely to be for the landing deck which adds extra buoyancy at rear as well ( good for hull beam structure)


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When seen side by side alongside the wharf the Burkes are seen to be much ‘beamier ‘ than the Ticonderogas even near the bow. Now all modern frigate-destroyer warships are similar naval architecture and have left the narrow ‘greyhounds of the sea’ design long behind


Your “in-depth” internet-based knowledge is showing again.

Extra length at the aft end has only one consequence – increased bending moment towards midships – which is definitely not “good for hull beam structure”.

The AB form is different from the Spruance/Tico, which means extrapolation between those and AB are spurious (aside from anything else, the Spruance form was developed by Ingalls as a PV initiative).

The AB form was a new development by NAVSEA, the driver for which was seakeeping improvement compared to the Spruance.

You might wish to check your assertion that the Tico hull had a bit more length and beam. Au contraire – it was the same form, but floating 10 feet deeper (!) which was necessary to absorb the additional 1100 tons of weight that the full up AEGIS system incurred. Which pretty much used up all the (generous) margin in the original Spruance form. Which is one of the reasons the Ticos have bulwarks at the fore-ends to prevent the foredeck getting goffered every time. That deeper draft and associated increased bending moment and induced stress is another of the reasons the USN is struggling to keep them available (as opposed to having fatigue cracks repaired all the time). It’s also worth noting that stability issues don’t manifest themselves through the medium of the ship falling over. They are dealt with by adding lead ballast – but only if you have the capacity to absorb the extra weight – or by applying what’s known as a liquid loading restriction. Which means that the ship is mandated to keep certain fuel tanks pressed full – which means there’s a load of fuel that you can’t actually use for range, which means more frequent RASing or shorter trips. You don’t tend to see these in the public domain, but thats exactly what happens in the real world.

The other thing about the AB design was that it was weight-capped throughout the design phase – in order to save perceived cost. What that means is that you end up taking all sorts of “interesting” measures to reduce weight. Little things like reducing deck height, which while tending to reduce KG, also reduces freeboard and hull depth, which has a bit of an effect on both stability and structural strength – and not in a good way. Both those effects reduce the margin for weight and centroid growth inherent in the hull. Which is why I repeat – the AB form ate up all it’s margin in the Flt IIA and will struggle with Flt III.

Still – you think it’s all been learned from, courtesy of the internet, so that’s all right then.


Flight III is almost the same hull/superstructure as FlightIIA , the rear helicopter deck especially , plus the harpoon launchers moved near the funnels.
Inside its a different matter but mostly upgrades like the RR gas turbine generators going to 25% more MW output , and the mains voltage going much higher.

Reliable sources describe it
‘In addition to the SPY-6, the changes to the design will increase the power available on the ship by replacing three Rolls Royce 3-megawatt generators on the Flight IIA ships with Rolls Royce’s 4-megawatt generator in the same footprint on the ship.
The electrical grid on the ship will also be upgraded from the 450-volt configuration to a 4,160-volt grid, which will lead to additional design changes.
The ship is the fifth and last HII ship in a ten-hull multiyear destroyer deal crafted in 2013 between HII and Burke builder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. At the time of the award, the price per hull came to $660 million for HII and $700 million for BIW. The cost for the hulls did not include so-called government-furnished equipment like radars or combat weapon systems which bring the cost of the destroyers to the government at more than $1 billion.’
The prices were for the 2013 multi year contract

As for the hull design , I didnt learn from the internet but used my own previous professional training in engineering to understand from available literature. Not enough to work in the field of course . And yes the extreme stresses for hogging and sagging were based in pre computer days on a ‘design wave’ supporting the ship soley in the middle and then the other extreme two waves at the ends with the middle unsupported.
Computer finite element design has changed all those earlier rough approximations
But even major academic institutions offer online material now ( for enrolled students)



More frantic Gary Googling. At least now you are aware of hogging and sagging. Do you think using FEA changes how these things are done?

Did your professional engineering training lead you to your previous assertion about length at the stern being good for hull strength?

None of your googled “facts” (clue is in the cut n paste nature of the text) deal with the fundamental issue that adding weight to the same hull is not sustainable.

That storeman is going to be sick of you.


Still stand by that . The photos show the extra deck height ( required to fit helicopters) before the transom helicopter pad.
Thats very good for structural strength too.
But go ahead nit pick without any basis on that, which will show your experience wasnt ship design at all.
You are the one claiming the Burkes arent ‘strong enough’, without any basis at all. None whatso ever .Id bet on it that you read that on the internet. Being a man from the Ministry often is just that


You do realise that the deckhouse isn’t long enough to be structurally effective, don’t you?

Even if it was, it’s not in the right place to contribute to resisting the maximum hull bending moments, which are the consequence of increasing displacement.



Which is the ‘right place’ ?
The hull beam supported soley in the middle or the hull beam supported towards the bow and the stern?

The changes in deck levels towards the stern reduce the strength via the smaller moment of inertia . Raising a deck level to make it continuous right through to the forward gun also gets rid of a major discontinuity. Stress concentrations love those , small and large.
It all has to be done as a whole of course which is likely where the whole hull design was restressed before final design.
But as the Fl III has to be in service for 30 years , and future changes have to be allowed for without eating into the the standard design, they improved the strength while they were at at.
So proof the claims current ships going into the water are ‘ below par’ and a major war will have them in trouble are just hokum


Just can’t help yourself, can you?

You do realise that you’re describing load cases – both of which need to be applied? Apparently computers can do these things these days – who knew?

Well done – you’ve identified that moment of inertia changes with depth of hull. Unfortunately, google hasn’t told you that to resist global hull bending, there has to be another property. Where you need extra moment of inertia tends to be where the global hull bending moments are at their peak. Go on, google that.

An interesting claim that they’ve apparently raised a deck level to make it continuous through to the forward gun. DDG125 seems to have missed that off the build plans. Sheer line unchanged. However – even if they had done that, they’d have to do something else, not least as a consequence of increasing the keel and turn of bilge scantlings to fight the KG issue. See if google tells you what that something is and how it will affect things.

One other thing. There’s a reason that the two deckhouses on the AB (all variants) have the dimensions they do. Don’t forget that the original was a weight-capped design, which forced certain design decisions wrt structure. Happy googling.

Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever suggested that the current ships going into the water are “below par”, nor that “a major war will have them in trouble”. What I have said is that those ships are entering service with all their through-life growth margin compromised, which will have consequences for NAVSEAs ability to keep them in safety certification. Doing so will potentially require significant compromise in how they are operated – or how much modification they can accept/absorb.

Speaking of “proof”, every article out there about the Large Surface Combatant basically says that the DDG51 hullform has run out of margin, which is why they’re looking to design a new hullform and apply the Flt III combat system to it and call it the DDG(X).

Supportive Bloke

Sometimes being slightly removed from complex problems allows you to use common sense and fag packet checksum maths to quickly sift the solutions from headaches.


Yes but the T31 is not a 40 year old design at its design limits. Completely agree on the ABs they are very old, especially when you consider the flight 1s were not even designed with flight decks. But I think it would be over egging the pudding a lot to say the T31 is at its design limits. Especially if the T32s are meant to be some form of capability agnostic cheap as chips PODs tug.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan

I don’t think I was suggesting T31 is at its design limit (although don’t forget it’s about 20 years old and its origin and design intent is vested in a small company in Denmark). I was making the point that if you don’t exercise your design teams at reasonable periodicity, you lose them. The AB was used as an example of what the consequence of that is.

People think new ship design is expensive and it’s fair to say it isn’t cheap. Thing is, changing existing designs tends to mean changing lots of the detailed hull and system design info, so you incur a lot of the cost anyway. But what you don’t get is the opportunity to change fundamental aspects of the design, or understand the limits and trade-offs. I’d argue that’s a false economy.


Navsea is actually lauding the evolutionary approach here

‘The design margin, the robustness of the DDG 51 design continues to prove [itself] even today even as the first three Flight III ships [are] under construction, which right now are state-of-the-art capability going to the fleet,” he said. 

ingalls shipyard Flight III hulls


They’re hardly likely to admit they’ve forgotten how to develop hull forms now, are they?


Heard of DDG-21 Zumwalt class. Was that the same old hull form ?

Just because airliners use and reuse the similar forms for fuselage and wing shapes doesnt mean they have ‘forgotten’
They are like hull forms , there is plenty that can be done on computers but theres still countless hours in wind tunnels or for ships in the model water tanks



Zumwalt is a classic case of demonstrating how not to design a ship and neatly illustrates the issues NAVSEA face. The whole Zumwalt concept was driven by a particular operational characteristic that they wanted to achieve. That characteristic was pursued, even when it became blindingly obvious that it was taking the design to a place that would be much larger than was likely to be affordable.

Compound that with parallel aspirations for high-tech systems like the AGS, the integrated radars, new VLS and reduced manning and it was always going to be a fustercluck.

Had NAVSEA been able to articulate why the chosen development was likely to end in tears, they could have changed course and produced a vastly more sensible design. But they didn’t have the experience (or possibly – to be fair – clout) to counter the claims of the systems engineers fantasists. Part of the reason they couldn’t was that it was nigh-on twenty years since anyone in Navsea had conducted a hull form development, which means that experience was limited. Lots of the old hands had retired, with not many projects for the mid-career people to get stuck into.

CFD and model testing gives you data, but you have to understand the implications of that data and you have to integrate it into the overall design. Which is yet another reason why doing new designs at a sensible periodicity is in fact a risk-reduction exercise – you generate experiential base for your design teams that they don’t get anywhere else.


The outdated propulsion system is another AB big issue. Only gas guzzling turbines.
Basically the ship have a nominal range of 4400nm, which means operationally needs to be resupplied to have operational margin much earlier.
It is 4xLM2500, for comparison Constellations have one LM2500. That and 100 crew less will make them much cheaper not even accounting for the ship “flyaway” price.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

Re N-a- B comments on the Burke Flight III
Would note that US Navy have increased the thickness of the steel plate and the scantlings in the after body and also if my info correct increased the beam above the stern waterline, to ameliorate chance of helo being swept overboard as happened with loss of crew, N-a-B referred to, mention made of FLODES, Full load displacement enhanced system, plus increased how high up on the hull they put in openings that aren’t watertight understand the naval architects call it the “V-line” of the ship
They were fighting to keep the centre of gravity down, think saw mention of 6″ aiming for a couple of extra inches , the Flight I had 12″ KG, and only 8% for future weight growth, the USN standard specifies 10% Sea Life Allowances for new or flights of destroyers.
Of interest using the new US Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock’s new MASK tank for model testing where they can do all sorts of different sea states all in one tank.
Totally agree with Alex S comment about Burkes short range due to its all gas guzzling GT propulsion system, they did plan to modify the propulsion to a hybrid system but then cancelled it, due to the additional weight?



Just to clarify – V-lines are part of the stability analyses. They basically define the limits of where you can put downflooding points so they are not immersed when a damaged ship lists and rolls, which wouldn’t help matters!

Generally, the lower your freeboard, the harder it is to comply with required V-lines in a workable arrangement.

Your references to KG may be off. KG is the distance from keel to centre of gravity, which I’d expect to be about 40′ on AB, not 12″! I suspect the reference is to cofg growth margin.

The additional beam back aft will help to counter heeling in a turn, which will help the freeboard issue, but won’t fix it.

Flt III has apparently been capped at a ten ship class, funnily enough because it has no growth potential and they’re starting a new programme called DDG(X). Which for those of us of a certain age isn’t the most auspicious name……….


There are Burkes in service with added to plates to reinforce the hull. I have seen photos.


Its hard to dispute something where you are ‘sure’ you saw photos of exactly that point.


A picture of a build cradle. And a bunch of temporary staging welded to the hull (which will have to be burned off, dressed and paint system made good inside and out). How quaint.

Not sure what your point is?


Appreciate your info on the V-line and correction on the cofg growth margin.
Re numbers of Flight IIIs, 10 ordered to date under FY2018-2022 MYP contract and USN planning a new FY2023-2027 MYP contract for 9 with option for one additional ship, making possible total 20 (the US Navy’s FY2023 five-year (FY2023-FY2027) shipbuilding plan includes 10 DDG-51s)
Re the future DDG(X) the replacement of the DDG-51, its envisaged as a larger ship (~13,000t?) and no doubt be 50% or more expensive than DDG-51s, just amazed how the USN planning to build ships which will take more hours in build with their envisaged new gen complicated integrated power system etc when the Chinese Navy currently outbuilding them by more than 2 to 1 with Type 055 etc.


Surely, the Type 32 GP frigate should be a properly armed Type 31. In these financially limited times, even the idea of launching a new design competition is just wasting the limited amount of money we do have to spend.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nick

First of all , the T31 isn’t badly armed, for the UK at least or compared to what most portray it to be.
Initial platform cost of whatever the RN is get in 2023 is said to be £268m
If the RN does get five sets of interim anti ship missiles for the T23/45s then when the T26s and the actual FC/AWS missile that the UK is building with the french are ready these sets could go over to the T31s.
The same with some other equipment, So possibly extra Sea Ceptor systems from the T23s could go to the T31.
As for sonar the T26 will be getting a brand new tail whilst the current tail of the T23 is still one of the most advanced Towed Arrays going, so possibly why not put them on the T31.
The navy has said that the T31 may or may not have MK41 missile lauch system either included or either by the famous: Fitted for but not with” idea
Even though we still don’t know the exact fit, few doubt that the numbers are around 48 sea ceptor, 12 MK41 , which many would say is a great ship from the get go
then there is the fact that the ship have a lot more space compared to T23, space to fit equipment later on .
There is also the fact that this is money well spent considering that the numbers went from 1 or 2 extra T26, to 5 T31. volume has a quality of its own, especially when each unit of that volume has a resonable value.
plus HMS bulldog of formidable sound a fair bit nicer than HMS Portland
yes, though not a escuse, the fact that the T26 has no torpedo launchers , thus dependent on helicopters, means that their is a decrieced difference between the specialised T26 and the t31 nosy hull and engines. still, small nullification
plus the fact that they are built gp ships compaired to the T23 gp

Although the T31 does not have all the bells and whistles now, by using equipment that in the next 10 will become available we would have a good all round escort frigate.

Then, there is the fact that being a buffer T31, which as stated above in my opinion is already buff enough, is by all suggestions of the T32 perpose is that the role is to be a mothership / cheap navy PODS user rather than a destroyer fitted with ageis and every western missile know to man.

T32, not a destroyer, something else


You tell us it is not badly armed then list what it hasn’t got and what it could have. What will it have when it leaves the wall on its first deployment? Not much.

TAS are for area surveillance. There are reasons why navies still fit hull sonars.

Something with a T number is a frigate, even if we call it a destroyer.

If it is a depot ship or a ‘carrier’ it is something else.


To be fair the T31 is a patrol frigate more along the lines of a T21. The RN may decide to turn it into a strike asset by adding MK41, but as purchased it’s meant to be a cheap credible low intensity patrol frigate. The fact they got 5000+ ton hulls they can turn into something else later is gravy.

I do think it’s a bit over optimistic calling them general purpose frigates, Which is government spin as A GP frigate really describes a warship for high intensity conflict that can do a bit of everything, so very much the T23s without tails.


The T21 with sonar, AShM, gun, anti-air missile……?

The Russians are putting full size VLS into their small ships. You can never have too many cells at sea.

PS: It is a work around. The treaty (can’t remember which one) band land based missiles but not those afloat. Russia has a network of large canals that those small corvettes can use………


Well there is a good argument that the 57mm is a better fit than the 4.5in…it’s got better air defence capability, is better at for ASuW against small boat swarms..the only advantage a 4.5in has is for NGFS, and a patrol frigate probably wants better air defence that NGFS capacity.

as for the AShM, I’m sure the RN will fit them when it settles on something. But if you are looking to compare the 4 MM38s of the T21, 16-24 CAMM are probably more effective. Range on an MM38 was 25miles, Range of the CAMM is the same, yes it’s a small Fragmentation warhead. But a Mach 3-4 100kg missile is actually transferring a vast amount of Energy into an enemy ship ( it’s about the same kinetic energy as in a 6-8 AP shell fired from a WW2 cruiser.). So probably they are squared away in this. Clearly with the T31 getting a bit of a b- ( but it’s a patrol it’s going to b- on some things.

Sea Cat was in no way an adequate air defence missile. It was a replacement for the 40mm boffors and so if your making a comparison the T21s SeaCat is the equivalent of one of the T31s 40mm mounts ( effectively, RN replaces 40mm guns with SeaCat and then went back to guns ).

So air defence wise the T31 is far better equipped than the T21 which did not in anyway have adequate air defence even for a 1970s patrol frigate(T31 has a fit more in line with a T22 which was a front line frigate).

yes the T21 had an active sonar…but the main ASW weapon of a patrol frigate is alway going to be it’s small ship flight, and the T21 could only take a lynx vs the T31s ability to take a merlin so the T31 wins on potential for ASW and small ship flight capability.

Then the T31 has the ability to take a marine contingent are carry a number of small boats/ribs …which is very useful for a patrol frigate.

its also got over twice the range ( 9000mn vs 4000mn)

so all in all the T31 vs T21 comes out a lot better as a balanced and useful patrol frigate. But it’s not a full fat front line GP frigate for high intensity conflict…that’s not what it was purchased for, neither was the T21.

The issue comes about when you don’t have the hull numbers of high end escorts and then use the patrol frigates to do something risky, like act as an escort for a amphibious group landing or a Carrier battle group.

I do think if they fit them with MK41s silos, it will add to their they become a strike asset. A T31 in the Indian Ocean With potentially 16 tomahawks is something that nations need to think about if pushing hard against U.K. interests in a threatening way. Not a peer nation, we would not use a patrol frigate for that…but most nations are not peers or the U.K.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan

Um. Thank you.

Supportive Bloke

That is about right I would say.


The replacement for Sea Cat went through Sea Wolf to now Sea ceptor.
Even The Leanders with Sea Cat had single Bofors each side. ‘junk bashing ‘they called it then and now fast firing cannon is for a similar purpose small surface vessels- speedboats etc.
So no the retained 40mm wasnt for air defence .
The last version of Sea cat on the T21 was highly capable for that time as Point defence with a modern fire control system fully linked to the radar fire control ( unusually based on an Italian radar) without human eyeballs backup
Of course the Sea Cat being first , is stuck in some peoples mind with the original basic systems
IWM Duxford

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Does not matter the radar which was a RTN10X which was ok but in 1981 already being replaced by RTN20X monopulse in Italian Navy.

One of the biggest problems was that Seacat was a hideously slow missile being subsonic.

Supportive Bloke

I would use the Russian approach as a model for anything!


As for sonar the T26 will be getting a brand new tail whilst the current tail of the T23 is still one of the most advanced Towed Arrays going, so possibly why not put them on the T31.”

Type 26 is getting the same Sonar 2087 as Type 23. The RN have purchased 3 new sets, but these are purely to cover the crossover of Type 23 and 26 in build and operation. The next 5 Type 26 will get Sonar 2087 taken directly from Type 23.

There is a question around what the RN will do with the 3 additional sets that the RN will have upon retirement of the final T23 ASW frigates.


thanks, will edit for agustment


You only need them when you need them and when or if we really need them then we will really need them to be armed and capable. History has taught us that we have learned nothing from history.


It depends what the RN wants them to do. If the job is primarily to be a support base for unmanned systems which is able to defend its self then just upping the weapons systems on the T31 would completely fail to meet the requirements.


Hi Nick
I am still convinced that the Type 32 came about when Boris said 32 instead of 31…. He’s not good at details… it seems a waste to only build 5xType 31
It must be more efficient to build more Type 31’s but batch 2’s with modifications


It would have been better to build an additional T26 or 6 full cream Holland class OPV’s. The only win with T31 is that they went for a sensible hull size and propulsion system.

Just Me



Well from what I’ve read from all the Experts on here, they don’t do well in the shock tests, then again HMS POW didn’t do too well leaving port so Who the heck knows !


Great shape, I have to say.


A simple solution would be to restore the Mk41VLS solution to T31 to return to a similar configuration to the Iver Huitfeldt it was based on. Looking ta the plans it is achieveable to that and maintain the expanding seaboat capability that T31 has as Arrowhead.
Alternatively, the BMT Venator frigate has multiple variations from a patrol ship to GP frigate. Its design was altered by extending it slightly so it could enter the US FFGX competition so as a platform design, it is very adaptable.
The cheapest by far though, is giving T31 a Mk41VLS.


So what you are saying is just build more Type 31’s then ? but with a few Mods ? What about all the other stuff specifically mentioned for these new types of warships, including the Platforms for “automated Systems” ?

Allan Desmond

It’s British, too stupid cheap, to sloth ridden to corrupt .. will never ever happen.


here’s an alternative view from Johnny Foreigner: Its British, therefore its innovative, well designed and built, and the people developing it and selling are good to work with.


strange that the T26 turned into such a good export success.


How is it such a good export success? Are they being built here with a wholly British fit out of weapons and systems? Or are they being built elsewhere with other systems?


The success he meant was the number of sausages and baked beans sold 😉




Hardly relevant . Even Damens light frigates are being built elsewhere. Its how it works these days. To get a contract you have to show how it can be ‘built/assembled’ in the home country.


Hardly relevant? Don’t be stupid.


This is the future for surface combatants. Open physical architectures that decouple mission systems from host platforms, allowing customized mission fits and de-risking technology insertion and platform standardization. Only affordable way to get the number of platforms needed in service and advanced capability to sea. Modularity has to become the standard warship design philosophy and means of installing primary systems as opposed to ancillary adjuncts (HADR, medical, SF) as per current FF/DD generation.


That’s what is happening now. But hull form matters.


Computers have been supposed to be like that for decades. While many parts are interchangeable with others there is still incompatibility when you want to upgrade or do something slightly different

the manufacturers dont want you be so changeable, so that ‘technology insert’ just becomes a buzzword definitely after just a decade or so.

The German Meko frigates made this a feature of their design back in 80s/90s ( and formed the name). yes customers at build time could interchange say a US 5 in for an Italian 5 in or say a 76mm.
Come half life refit the RAN and RNZN found the expense of upgrades or even swaps ( sea sparrow to sea ceptor) extremely expensive
‘Open architecture’ is fine but you will always find some source code locked away and of course it has downsides too as you can be locked into old architecture


you are absolutely right about the Meko concept. The RNZN ships required open heart surgery to achieve the mid life upgrade, which ran over time and budget (but which was not de-scoped, contrary to some reports). The prime systems integrator, Lockheed Martin Canada, and the shipyard, Seaspan, are in the process of suing each other over performance and losses.

I think it’s important not to confuse open architecture and open standards. Having an open architecture CMS does not imply full access to the source code unless the system is built to open standards, which very few are, or access has been paid for in some way, such as funded development. Open architecture, does, however confer spiral development and application development advantages, even though the owner of the source code has to be paid accordingly.


Yes. The open architecture seems to me to mean its based on commercially available high end servers with their CPUs. The operating system is similar a sort of Windows professional variant which is stripped down to remove the consumer addins and reduce security vulnerability However the software is still highly proprietary and some systems are very secure. Modern approach is to provide multiple servers for redundancy and of course to separate the software that controls the the sensors from the engine room control systems and from the software that tracks the crew food service and the software that manages crew HR issues or ship secretarial services.
This still means major integration issues and de bugging of new and updated software . Partly explains the long times a hull is launched and fitted out and yet isnt in full service


Windows is never secure. If I had to run Windows it would be in a container (VM). At least then the hokey crap that is Windows sits on top of something that is stable and secure.


Well someone without actual computer knowledge would say that.

Its not the consumer grade stuff, nor would they ‘connect’ to the internet. Critical systems on say a ship shouldnt even be on the ships own intranet which would only be lowest grade stuff.

You need an operating system . full stop. Open architecture really does mean well known software as an underlying system before you put your ‘apps’ in – hate that word


I worked on high end Unix servers and mainframes for well over a decade. Kit running into the many millions of pounds supporting a business with multi-billion pound turnover.


Of course. The trouble with that is their Unix ‘flavour’ will be highly customised. Red hats and all that as well.
What militaries want now is the ability for their system to run on commercial grade CPUs and take advantage of the incremental leaps every 4-5 years.
This machine Im using was an Intel bare bones box with their 10th generation- so Intel is selling both the processor and the system. Its up to you to provide the storage and operating system. ( Amazingly I was able to port my old windows 10 to a new CPU , which many said you couldnt do , it only gave a little screen watermark to say ‘not nice’
The amazing speed mostly comes from the latest types of solid state drives and the RAM . Commercial and military just want to plug those peripherals into the operating system-motherboard-CPU and your software and get on with it