A multi-billion pound project to build 8 warships for the Royal Navy is now well underway on the Clyde. Here we look at the Type 26 frigate project in context, its progress to date and the likely future delivery schedule.
On 25th November HMS Glasgow was rolled onto the submersible barge and a few days later was towed down the Clyde to Glen Mallan. The newly rebuilt ammunition jetty and the deep, sheltered waters of Loch Long provided the ideal location as the upper Clyde is too shallow for the float-off operation.
The days of spectacular dynamic launches down a slipway are now gone – the submersible barge method is a much more controlled way of putting a ship into the water. A slipway launch briefly places great stress on the hull and the confined waters of the river Clyde require the ship to be rapidly slowed after launch to avoid hitting the opposite bank (we’re looking at you RFA Mounts Bay).
The barge sinks slowly allowing the ship to gently float off giving engineers time to check watertight integrity and adjust the distribution of ballast water if required. In a smooth operation, HMS Glasgow was afloat for the first time in the early hours of 3rd December and the following morning was towed back up the Clyde to the Scotstoun yard where she will spend the next few years being completed.
The long road
Assuming there are no further delays, it will be more than 11 years from the time the first steel was cut for HMS Glasgow until she achieves Initial Operating Capability – a performance that compares poorly with first-of-class warships constructed by other major nations. There are a variety of reasons for this lengthy schedule, and the blame does not lie entirely with the contractor. Broadly speaking, several decades of decline and a very uneven flow of naval orders have seen the UK shipbuilding and its industrial base contract. The National Shipbuilding Strategy is now attempting to stabilise and grow the industry but experienced ship designers and engineers are in short supply and this situation will take years to remedy. Despite the generously financed five-ship OPV programme that was supposed to help regenerate skills and workforce ahead of starting Type 26, there have still been issues at Govan and in the wider supply chain.
The original pedestrian pace of delivery for the first three ships was primarily dictated by the client and BAES planned the programme and allocated resources accordingly. The MoD cannot simply write a cheque for £3.7Bn but instead, the costs are spread out as part of annual budgets planned for years in advance with the contractor paid in instalments, subject to meeting agreed milestones. The usual pressures in funding the defence Equipment Plan means balancing in-year budgets forced the MoD to artificially slow down delivery.
Unfortunately having already agreed to this unhurried schedule, it slipped further and IOC date for HMS Glasgow moved out from 2027 to October 2028. There were some technical and production issues converting the design into steel but COVID also slowed productivity and disrupted the global supply chains upon which aspects of the Type 26 depend. Most significantly, an issue with the ultra-quiet propulsion gearboxes developed specifically for the ship and manufactured by David Brown Santaslo, meant they were delivered too late to be placed into the hull sections before the compartments were closed and sealed into the hull. This meant the ship had to be cut open on the hardstanding and the gearboxes ‘skidded’ into position. The gearbox problem has now been resolved and subsequent ships will have them in place before rollout. The gearboxes are a good example of how UK industry will ultimately benefit from the export of the T26 design as these specialist components will be also fitted to the Australian and Canadian ships.Type-26-Frigate-Estimated-Schedule-1
HMS Glasgow is now beginning the second major phase of her construction. With the structural steelwork largely complete, the fitting-out phase begins, likely to last more than two years. Fitting out of any warship is a complex job and is especially challenging for the first-of-class vessel. The T26 frigate has over 800 separate compartments that must be completed. There is an element of learning on the job in terms of how best to sequence the process and finding best access routes for installation. Some of this has been planned by simulation using the Visionary Render 2 (VR2) software which takes CAD files and brings them to life in three-dimensional virtual reality (VR). Inevitably there will still be lessons to learn when done for real.
The propulsion system and some large items of equipment and much of the pipework are in place but nothing is connected up. Hundreds of miles of electrical and optic fibre cabling have to be strung throughout the ship then many thousands of items have to be installed and aligned. Weapons and sensors have to be fitted and integrated with the ship’s systems. While in dry dock the propellors, shafts and bow sonar will be fitted. The ship has to be painted inside and out and made habitable with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) installed along with furnishing the accommodation areas and fitting out the galleys.
All this has to be done in the correct sequence and there is a major logistics task job to manage the delivery of thousands of parts for the ship from 3rd party suppliers. Different skilled trades working on the ship have to be on-site at the right time and right numbers to ensure they do not conflict with other work going on in compartments with restricted space. The workforce at Scotsoun has been preparing for this for several years and is expanding as the site will become a hive of activity focussed on the delivery of these ships over the next decade or so.
With the fitting out largely complete, the ship will then enter the test and commissioning phase which is the period where systems are gradually brought online. This requires specialist engineers and support from the OEMs to ensure this is done correctly and in the right order. Systems must be tested and checked that they integrate correctly with others and detailed inspections, tests and calibrations must be carried out and signed off before the ship can go to sea. The engines and propulsion will be tested while in the dock using brake wheels fitted instead of propellors that produce resistance but no thrust.
Eventually, the day will come when the ship leaves the yard to begin Contractors Sea Trials (CSTs). Flying the Red Ensign and still property of the builders, the ship’s company will be on board but under the command of a civilian crew that will run the trials. CSTs focus first on propulsion, steering and general seaworthiness. It is possible there may be 2 or 3 rounds of CSTs as the ship is gradually put through more demanding trials with the ship returning to the yard in between for rectification of issues that are discovered.
Once the builders and MoD representatives are happy the ship is performing as required, the ship is handed to the RN and the white ensign is raised. Most likely operating from her base port of Devonport, the ship’s capabilities, weapons and sensors will be tested through further rounds of trials. As first of class, this period can be expected to be a lengthy process as defects and issues emerge and must be overcome while standard operating procedures have to be developed and laid down for the ship and her sisters. Effectively the ship’s company will write the book on how to run and fight a Type 26.
At some point, probably in 2027 the ship will formally commission into the RN. The date of this ceremony is hard to predict and typically does not align with achieving any particular capability milestone. Before HMS Glasgow achieves Initial Operating Capability, there will be further trials culminating in weapons firings. Equipment new to the RN such as the 127mm gun and Mk41 VLS / FOSW will have to undergo their own fleet weapon certifications. The crew will have to conduct at least 2 periods of Fleet Operational Sea Training and FOST staff will have to develop some aspects of training tailored to Type 26.
The ship will have to undergo maintenance periods, despite being brand new ship will have been in the water for several years before achieving IOC. The ship may be declared fully operational and sent on deployment but to achieve FOC there is still much work to be done. Developing an operating doctrine for the mission bay its autonomous systems will pose a new challenge. It is interesting to note that future plans for Devonport Naval Base include a Type 26 mounting base at South Yard, specifically to support the insertion of a variety of mission modules.
A plan to build a new ‘frigate factory’ in Glasgow at Scotstoun was part of BAES’ original planning for the Type 26 programme. However, when the order was reduced from 13 ships to 8 in 2015 this option was discarded. The existing Ship Block Outfit Hall at Govan is limited in size so the first three ships are to be assembled in halves and then joined on the hardstanding outside. The cramped facility is not ideal for constructing large warships and in May 2022 it emerged that BAES had settled on a plan to build a new covered assembly hall that would allow two ships to be worked on side by side. The wet basin adjacent to the yard will be drained and filled in and a new shed 170 metres long, 81 metres wide and 49 metres high will be built. This will free up more space for block fabrication and erection in the old SBOH, potentially allowing blocks to be fitted out more fully before assembly. The hall with overhead gantry cranes and space to assemble the complete vessel undercover will also drive more speed and efficiency in the later part of the T26 programme.
The ‘Shipbuilding Tsar’ and Defence Secretary has made it clear that companies winning large government contracts are expected to invest their own money in facilities to make them more competitive for both future naval work and if possible, to help them expand into the commercial sector. For BAES in Glasgow that is entirely dependent on a single contract, they will need to either diversify, win the Type 32 frigate contract or export orders to sustain the yards as there looks likely to be a gap between completing T26 and the start of Type 83 destroyer programme.
At the time of writing, final approvals from Marine Scotland and Glasgow City Council are still required but the new hall is expected to be available by 2024 to facilitate the assembly of ship 4, HMS Birmingham. This will be Scotland’s second major shipbuilding infrastructure investment in 5 years following the rapid construction of the Venturer building to support Type 31 programme at Rosyth.
The first three ships are being built under a £3.7bn contract (averaging £1.023Bn each) although inevitably the first-of-class ship will be disproportionately more expensive than those that follow. As would be expected when production gets into its stride, the second batch will be cheaper, the 5 ships are costed at £4.2bn (£840M each) which represents a substantial 18% reduction. The delays to HMS Glasgow and other factors such as rising inflation mean the project is now £233M over budget -a cost that will be spread over the life of the programme. The contract includes a ‘pain share’ agreement so that under Target Cost Incentive Fee (TCIF) arrangements, any cost increases will be shared by the contractor and the MoD. The Defence Secretary implied recently that the TCIF agreement for the batch II ships is even more favourable to the MoD than that of the first batch.
At an average of nearly £1Bn each for these frigates, they are seen as expensive but the innovations and complexity that are needed for a high-end warship come at a price. T26 includes 29 pieces of equipment classed as Category A – these are expensive programme-critical items developed especially for the class and manufactured in low numbers. There are a further 54 Category B items which include existing systems that require significant modifications for the programme. To achieve the low noise signature is a particular cost-driver as this demands consideration of how almost every moving part in the vessel can be silenced. The bespoke gearboxes and quiet propulsion system are obvious examples but acoustic hygiene measures have to be applied more widely, including for example, designing pipework with more gentle bends so the noise made by liquids passing through is reduced. In addition to the expensive basic ship costs, the integration of a new combat management system with the weapons and sensors accounts for a large proportion of the expense.
Besides the reduced unit cost, there is cause for optimism that the pace of Batch II delivery will be considerably better. A BAES Spokesperson said: “We expect to see the build schedule accelerate as we move through the construction of each of the remaining ships and invest significantly in our Glasgow shipyards”. Orders for long lead items were placed some time ago and steel will be cut for the first batch II ship (HMS Birmingham) in the first quarter of 2023. The exact schedule for these 5 vessels is a matter of speculation but the MoD has now committed to an in-service date of 2035 for the last ship HMS London. This is an improvement on some earlier projections that suggested it would be 2038 before ship 8 was operational.
Hello. With HMS Montrose on her last voyage home, the RN will be down to 11 T23’s out of an original build of 16. Can we assume that further reduction in hulls are to be expected before the 2028 handover of HMS Glasgow ? thanks Phil.
yes you can
Depends on progress with building the Type 31 frigates. The first should be in service during 2027 and all five should be handed over to the RN by end of 2028 according to Babcock.
All 5 in service by 2028? And you believe pigs can fly too?
Not before 2030 at the earliest.
Handed over isn’t in service. HMS Venturer is scheduled to be handed over in 2025, and operational in 2027. If they are built about one a year (which would mean we can expect first steel cut on the second ship soon) and accounting for the first ship taking longer, you could reasonably expect delivery in 2025, 2025/26, 2026, 2027, 2028.
I get your scepticism. That would be surprisingly good, given Babcock have never built a complex warship before, building in a yard in which one hasn’t been built from scratch before, using a design that’s new to them, introducing guns and ammunition, radar and combat management systems never previously used in the Royal Navy.
Hello Bois/Boris, what are the actual dates as i can’t seem to find any answers ?
Well pjh, according to
…Type 31 fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 and to enter service with the Royal Navy by the end of 2030…
Yes, we will unfortunately go down to 17 escorts for a while but actual availability – ie total escort days at sea may gradually increase. See: https://www.navylookout.com/how-can-fewer-frigates-make-a-more-effective-royal-navy-fleet/
To my simple mind a “escort” implies an ASW capability. So the Type 31 is but an OPV or perhaps a gunboat with much in the way of guns.
“…without much in the way of guns..”
So you don’t count the T23GP or T45 as an escort? They have either No or very limited ASW capability.
The T31 has a very different gun outfit to the T23. It’s much better at some tasks and worse at others. But it’s still a significant capability.
The Type 23 GP frigates have an effective hull mounted sonar. The type 45s also have (or had) a hull mounted sonar but it is not clear how capable this is and, as least on some ships, it seems to have been mothballed; these T45s are less ASW capable than the T42s they replaced and, as we all know, suffer from other significant design deficiencies (perhaps a consequence of the IPT being led by an “amazingly clever” Army brigadier rather than a senior competent RN engineer). As the one time WEO of an Ikara Leander, I have long believed that the lack of an Asrock type weapon is a serious deficit in the RN’s armoury.
Type 45 air-defence destroyer, way more capable in this role than five Type 42s working together in detection, and more than double the number of missiles carried – and a far better missile.
(Not to mention the extra 24 SeaCeptors and NSM missiles to be fitted.)
The only recognised ‘deficiency’ is the intercooler, which meant their use in hotter climates has had to be carefully controlled. Mitigation has been put in place and a full solution is currently being installed across the class.
I agree Asrock or a system like it would be a wise choice.
Can T45 prosecute submarines? No. So it is not an escort.
How is a T23 with 2087 any less GP than a T23 without a 2087?
T31 doesn’t have a significant capability at all.
I can think of only one task that the T31 is better at than the T26 GP.
ASuW: equal given the recent SSM order
Shooting up small boats: T31
AAW, ASW, NGS: T23 GP
Similarly ASW capability is useless in defending against air-attack…
The T45 is an air air-defence destroyer, primarily to operate with other ships, such as in CSG. Similarly the T26 ASW frigates provide submarine defence to the CSG.
The T31 isn’t an OPV, the Rivers are OPVs. The T31 has a 57mm gun (same calibre as new US Navy frigates), two 40mm guns, 4 machine guns, 4 miniguns, SeaCeptor missiles, and a Wildcat with with Sea Venom, Martlet and Sting Ray. That’s before the RN decides what drones to fit and the eventual fit of NSM.
Bet you complain the aircraft carriers don’t have enough guns, and let’s not start talking about their total lack on submarines…!! ?
What cues Sting Ray?
How does T31 compare to say the Japan Coast Guard Shikishima class? The only difference I can see is missiles, but the Shikishima’s can carry 2 helicopters.
T31 isn’t a frigate. It is at best a sloop or just a big OPV.
Sorry to interrupt.
Shikishima class does not have good sensor kits, not good ammo. It is deliberately designed so to avoid being considered as a “warship”. And, of course, carrying two helicopter is not essential for any escorts. It is rare.
T31 is not an ASW frigate. It is a “GP frigate”. The problem is, “GP frigate” is rename of “sloop” in RN (as was with T81). For me, this explains what T31 is. It is a long-range (very) large heavy-corvette. Damen 10514, Naval Gowind-2000, UK-Khareef class corvettes all has similar armaments compared to T31.
Lack of hull sonar on T31 is a bit shortfall, but capability to carry a Merlin can overwhelm it.
In short, “It is at best a sloop”, this is exactly RN says, I think, and not an OPV.
30 MerlinHM2s, 10 of which to be Crowsnest capable on Carriers, for AEW, plus ASW HM2s on carriers, 1 Merlin on each T26, HQ element/OCU at Culdrose, certain number under deep maintenance will barely allow for one on each T31. Wildcat HMA2 has no dipping sonar and is only capable of dropping Stingray or DCs as cued by parent vessel. T31 without a bow sonar will be unable to mount an ASW attack without a Merlin. Concur, T31 is not an ASW Frigate, nor a highly effective AAW vessel. Will 57mm bofors be an credible NGS weapon? I doubt it. So what is its purpose? Deep water OPV/Corvette?
As for announced delivery schedules, Babcock has no recent history of Escort construction. Not everything is likely to go according to schedule. 2 years appears tight for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Sea Trials, to include introduction into service of a new gun for the RN.
T31 has the contract for towed passive array and its winch and terminals plus 8 pack acoustic sonar buoy launcher each side.
Its called Sea Sentor from Ultra
Type 31 isn’t a general purpose frigate. A GP frigate would have a sonar capable of prosecuting submarines and it cannot do that at all.
The RN use of the term ‘general purpose’ goes back to the Type 12. The RN recognised that it could never guarantee having the correct mix of T41, T61, and T12 available. That is a ship of ASW to protect convoys, a shipt to provide local air defence to convoys, and lastly a ship for ‘air direction’. Improvements in electronics and propulsion allowed the RN to roll up three roles into the one general purpose hull. A ship then capable of acting in all spheres to some degree. This is why say T42 went to sea with 2050 sonar or broadbeam Leander on carried Sea Wolf. Plus the secondary tasks such as surface warfare or ‘air direction’. Even Type 81 the last class to be built as sloops had a working sonar set with Type 177 search and Type 170 attack plus bottom profiling 162 set. Ashanti and Ghurka even had VDS as they carrier a 199 too.
One of thes role of the search sonar is to que the ASW helicopter. The latter doesn’t fly around all day looking for targets. Whether T31 can carry a Merlin or not therefore is immaterial. Surely if this was viable Shikishima being able to carry two large helicopters would make it even better than T31? Many modern escorts can carry two large helicopters. The fact that most Burkes can carry two makes that quite common. And being able to carry more than one was not unique in the past. T22 could carry two Lynxes. The RCN were experts at operating large helicopters off small decks.
If T31 is a frigate then Skishima is at least a sloop. 😉
Feel free to Google how Wildcats can use StingRay torpedoes, it’s not a state-secret.
The comment “the only difference I can see is missiles” is hilarious, it’s like comparing an aircraft carrier to a battleship and saying the only difference is the guns ?
Missiles are the primary weapon for warships today. Which is why the Shilisharma class cannot be regarded as a warship.
The RN says T31 is a frigate and I bet the FSL knows more about naval warfare than both both of us combined.
We started with 13 T26s, all with highly ASW designed Hull and platform with ability to rotate the 8 towed arrays as operational deployments dictated. I seem to remember it was at a Defence Review that the numbers were chopped to 8 to keep the output of warships within the planned costings for the Defence budget – pure political expediency. Similarly, we saw on the T45 Project, as costs rise, numbers of hulls are reduced. Delays to programme increases cost.
If it has 8 No IAShM missiles which gave land attack capability it will have good strike teeth.
If it has Mk41 VLS, then it will be a very, very effective warship.
Actually the primary method of attacking incoming missiles used by the RN is electronic warfare.
How does a RN Wildcat detect submarines…….?
X, you seem to be getting a bit stuck with terms used for ships.
So lets try it a diffrent way.
The T45 is an Anti Air Defence escort destroyer. Its main task is not to operate alone but as part of either a Carrier Group, Amphibious Group or Frigate Group. It is the primarly medium range air defence platform.
The T26 is the Anti Submarine Platform, designed to operate either alone, as part of a convoy escort group, carrier group. It could with its Strike length Mk41s carry out land attack with TLAM. Which would be useful to take out coastal radar stations for a carrier strike to follow up. They are the Anti Submarine Escorts.
The T31 is not an OPV, however she is what would have been termed in the first half of the 20th century as a cruiser. A ship big enough with a good range and turn of speed to roam the sea lanes, powerful enough to defend herself against enemy lone wolfs. Carry out anti piracy patrols and act as the on station national representitive for other ships to form up on. Yeep the old fashioned gun boat diplomacy concept. Whilst at the same time showing the flag and showing intent. Working with a T26 they would be useful in the close escort for a convoy or possibly even in the point defence of a carrier.
People think of a cruiser and they think of Belfast, Prinz Eugen etc lots of medium sized guns. That only happened after the treaties signed in the 1920s-1930s when politicians got together limited the size and gun power for each type of vessel. Rather than reducing the naval race they created one, for example heavy cruisers under the terms of the treaties were to be a max of 10,000 tons and carry no gun larger than an 8 inch. Then was the race to build as many guns as possible onto a ship of 10,000 tons, even if the navy did not want them, but had to have them because the other nations did.
I am not sure how the T31 has been built but from some points that have been published it looks as if the hull will have the ability to be easily upgraded to carry a hull mounted sonar, a towed array, 8-16 canister launched anti ship missiles and three blocks of Mk41s or Sylver A50s giving 24 vls tubes and anti submarine torpedo tubes.
Modern terminology seems to cause all forms of confussion, think about it for a second a ship that is 7,000 tons a frigate in WW2 that is light cruiser size.
My main concern is the T83 and the future of the RN, for example what happens to Babcock when the T31s finish being built in 2027. If we start the design concept phase for the T32 now it will be ok. If we start the concept phase in two years time the work force will be dispersed and we would need to start again. With the T32 the answer is in my opion very straight foreward, either build an updated version of her half sister the AbSalon which should be a cost effective method or build something completly diffrent such as the Damen Crossover Combattant.
It is the same with BAE in Goven, and the supporting industry. An example gear boxes for the ships, the last one for the T26s will be about 2031-32. what then. These are highly skilled people putting these gearboxes together, people whose skill at a lathe is second to none. If they do not have work they will go off to places like F1 teams etc. BAE themseves will start to reduce the workforce by 2033-34 as they will only have one ship left to complete. Actually it is more like 2030-31 as by 2032 all ships would have been constructed and undergoing fitting out. The T45s would have just completed their full refit with Sea Ceptor, Aster 30 Block 1/Block 1 NT. How do we keep an experianced workforce together for the next batch of ships that we need. The only way that I can see it is if we order a batch III T26 possibly with increased radar capability and medium range Anti air missiles such as Sea Ceptor ER and flagship capability. This batch could then operate with 2 T26 Batch Is and IIs to form independent ASW flottila’s. Possibly four of these to fill the gap until the T83s are ordered. That should bring the build time upto about 2038 when the T83s should be starting there build. However by then the T45s would be 32 years old, with a further 5-6 years for the build of the T83 the T45s would be 40 years old. In ship years thats getting on a bit. So we have the choice, either we need to order a Batch III T26 but as I said with some upgrades, have in place the order for the first batch of T83s for say 2034-35 that would give BAE about two years to tool up and prep the workforce for the new ships or loose the workforce.
T45’s do operate alone in areas with a submarine threat such as the Black Sea and Gulf.
T31’s can only protect themselves from lone wolves that aren’t submarine.
You are so off I don’t know where to start.
Firstly we are not American. Displacement doesn’t decide nomenclature here in the UK.
That’s still a lot of bull puckey.
Even on a third reading that is just patronising tosh.
What cues Stingray?
This is the ‘S270 Sonar’ kit being bought for ‘some/all’ ? T31
Who knew …… arent you supposed to be the expert to guide us plebs
S270 is a torpedo warning system.
It won’t be searching out for submarines for Wildcat to carry torpedoes towards.
I am not an expert. That’s the worry for me. Too many here think they are but have no grasp of the basics.
How T31 57mm and 40mm guns can down missiles without tracking radar?
Daft question given they have radar ??♂️
It’s been reported that they won’t have a tracking radar for the guns and that they will aimed optronically. I don’t know whether that’s true or not but I think it’s what Alex is alluding to.
So Sean what tracking radar the T31 have then?
Divining rods!!!! That is if they aren’t being used to detect submarines.
How quaint . To think of 60s era under the hull sonars still are used for medium and long range sub search and target designation.
Maybe you can bring back Limbo and do without those hated helicopter decks too.
T31 will have a towed array, already ordered
T31 will have a torpedo detection system S270.
Furnish me with a link.
I am not sure what we did 60s to do something is relevant apart from they had something to do the job then if we don’t have it now.
If T31 is to have a tail then it would be interesting news.
I’ve not heard of such an order? Do you have a link or source?
T31 does have a tail in its parent (Danish) form but none of the UK renders or models have shown one…T31 is supposed to be a decent, if not exceptional, ASW asset.
Nothing wrong with early civilisation technology? Proven over millennia.
That is the Russians top tech: problem is that their generals are not interested as they can’t monetise it 🙂
Duker seems to have a problem with hull mounted sonars.
T31 will have no ASW hull mounted search sonar. If it cannot search the sea for submarines it cannot cue the helicopter on to to the target. It will have no search TAS. It will be equipped with a torpedo warning set.
You cannot keep a singular or pair of ASW helicopters in the air indefinitely. If you want a heliborne ASW screen you need 4 or 5 to keep one on station. You need a carrier to do that sort of thing. That is why the RN procured Invincible to provide a ASW screen for USN CBGs. And even then the picture will be dependent on sonars out in the out screen some towed or hull mounted. Mostly passive. Sometimes active.
If T31 cannot prosecute submarines it cannot be a ‘general purpose’ escort. China is building more and more submarines; currently the PLAN has 79 boats. Russia has 64 boats. Submarines aren’t going anywhere.
I just don’t understand the mystery.
It isn’t me being nasty or funny. It is certain individuals here who just don’t have the foggiest clue about naval warfare. But think listing specs makes them experts.
The German Braunschweig Class 1800-ton corvette has better firepower per tonnage than the T31 5700-ton frigate. 4x AShM, 2x RAM SAM, and a 76mm gun.
Beautiful ocean-going corvette.
You can’t asses firepower per tonnage. I agree that the T31 is under-armed but as you may know it’s purpose is essentially to be a really long range and well armed patrol vessel. It serves that purpose well but it is no way a good replacement to a true general purpose frigate like T23GP. Braunschweig is a corvette tailored to the Baltic Sea conditions, so it’s not a good comparison.
Is refreshing to hear that someone agrees that T31 is under-armed.
A sort of glorified version of the River class patrol vessel, why not?
So I take it then the Baltic Sea is much more dangerous and is not suitable for T31.
Nor will T31 venture to Asia being of non-UK interest area. as stated by a member here.
So why was RN conducting freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea? What are HMS Tamar and HMS Spey doing in Asia?
Maybe to admire some of the ships of the PLA Navy?
Type 54A frigate
Type 52D destoyer
Type 55 cruiser
Ridiculous comparison ?
You’re still stuck in WW2 if you think pure calibre determines which gun is more destructive to your opponent… actually it wasn’t true then either, but loved waving their inches in the air ??♂️
How would you compare, the number of sausages and baked beans consumed?
(1x76mm + 2x27mm + 4xAShM + 2xRAM) vs (1x57mm + 2x40mm)
The point is that there are many smaller ships that have better armament than T31. RN ships are typically undergunned.
The Empire has long gone, let me bring you up to date.
Sa’ar 6 class
Actually there were a few good reasons why Battleships were used for shore bombardment mainly range and destructive power. Cheers Phil.
That only happened once their main role lapsed and the Allies especially in Pacific did a lot of over the beach invasions that needed gunfire support but destroyers and cruisers guns were fine to go for most selected targets
Battleships were used for shore bombardment way before WW11, even pre Dreadnought’s. My answer to Sean was in reply to his Destructive Power comment a bit like comparing a SMLE with a BSA Air Rifle of the time.
More like a Baltic- North sea littoral than an open ocean ship
You are obsessed with the term ‘open ocean’. 😉 🙂
Because it isnt surrounded by coast lines like the Med and Baltic and to much extent the North Sea
heard of the ‘Gulf’ ?
With less range and endurance than a batch 1 River, a Braunschweig corvette would never even make it across the Atlantic unaided. To reach the same endurance as a B1 River (21 days), it needs a tender. Otherwise it needs to be back in port within the week.
The Bundeswehr describes them as coastal specialists, just right for the Baltic. “Ocean going” is marketing speak. It’s green water at best, not blue water.
Doesn’t need to do that. It’s job is to pootal about in the North Sea ana and Baltic.
Or you could have said , not for open oceans ?
Have you ever been to sea in the Mediterranean? It can be quite lumpy especially in autumn and winter. You make it sound like a barge.
Agree, T31 is
not a sloop because it is too bignot a mine layer because it has no such capabilitynot an OVP because it is only for the Med/Gulf and not Asia,not an LCS, no Baltic/North sea because it is only for open oceannot a frigate because it has no sonarnot a destroyer because it has no SAMnot a cruiser because it has no land attach abilitynot a carrier because there are not enough helicoptersnot a submarine because it cannot diveOtherwise, it is perfect, for Lake Windermere tourists.
My favourite feature is that Germans have incorporated minelaying………!
If it is feasible to consider that T-26 CONOPS nay include detached service in a high threat scenario AAW environment, would it be feasible to load and cue Aster 30 Block 1 missles from MK 41 VLS w/ baseline Artisan radar and baseline CMS? If not, yet if technically and financially feasible, it would appear to be a reasonable future upgrade to contemplate.
If it’s on detacted service would a T26 need more than the local/point air defence CAMM brings?
I’m not aware that anyone uses Asters in Mk41s. I looked into this a few years ago, and the best I could find was a statement from Lockheed Martin that Asters could be integrated in Mk41, which implied they hadn’t yet been. I’ve not heard of any change in that, so I think work would be needed. Technically, I think it would be feasible, but I can’t see a cost-benefit justification unless this was the combination expected on the Type 83.
This is a some what flawed understanding of the type 31. Forgetting the 31 can embark the very capable Merlin ASW helo. They will be primarily working as long ranged patrol frigates (like the T23s for most of their life time) in turn freeing up the more capable T26 and T45 for CSG escort roles
What ques the Merlin? Do you think the thing flits about all day dunking as it goes? All those airframe and maintenance hours…..
There is some flawed understanding here of ASW, RN nomenclature, and a whole host of other topics
At the start of WW2 , RN destroyers could only be at sea for a week max , as boiler tube maintenance meant it was back in port for a 2-3 days deep clean… this also suited the leave requirements of CO and deck officers. using additives for the boiler water feed like the USN did was unthinkable.
They changed anyway
What has that got to do with anything?
Carrying an ASW helicopter without onboard sonars is not viable ASW…………
Yes the lack of boiler additives and jointing compounds was a problem. Louis Le Bailly recounts in his memoirs how when he was in the Bay of Tokyo in DoY he invited his opposite number from Missouri to accompany him on rounds. Le Bailly furnish the American with some dirty kit knowing that he would get very dirty scrambling about DoY’s steam soaked engine room spaces. Halfway around the American gave up due to the heat. The next day Le Bailly completed a tour of Missouri’s engine spaces in collar and tie. No escaped steam. No pools of heat thinned oil to catch the unwary foot. And yes all down to the RN just not keeping up with best practice. Remember DoY in 1945 was still relatively new even with war time service.
Thankyou, I was just wondering if any more T23’s might go before the T26’s and T31’s were ready as the 11 and 6 are all we will have until 2028.
I well remember, a certain reticent self effacing 1SL who said that going from 12 T42 -> 6 T45 wasn’t a problem as T45 were new and more reliable and would have many more sea going days than T42. Which is basically the same argument. That worked well?
Obvs as well as able to deal with the infernal supersonic cricket balls that are such a menace to a modern navy:)
There is a lot of reliance of T31 entering the water and then very, very rapidly entering service.
T26 on the other hand is being built and entering service at the most leisurely pace imaginable. Whilst that will certainly allow for more dynamic debugging before the ships enter service it does put extra stress on very, very old and very, very tired T23 hulls. It also puts stress on retention as T23 accommodation is a bit naff by QEC or T45 standards.
I’m all for more RN and optimism but sometimes there is a degree of unreality.
Hello SB, I like your thinking and the humour content, We seem to quickly forget the historical cuts to numbers that have led us here and the dismissive mindset of future cuts. I feel mindful of our History and position of readiness in the face of obvious threats. It was not so long ago that even with the largest number of Warships afloat, we still went cap in hand to the USA for 50 more. 50! cheers Phil
I’ve always wondered if the references to supersonic cricket-balls were due to some cricket-ball firing rail-gun that was under development?…. ?
Nope, it was a tennis ball that was first mentioned, the Cricket Ball is an Urban myth.
To my understanding, RN currently “mans” 12 escorts (including 1 for crew rotation for KIPION frigate). Considering this limitation, losing HMS Montrose has zero impact on RN escort availability.
T26-hull1 needs the full crew from mid-2025. T31-hull1 also needs full crew from 2024 or 2023. Being “first of class ship”, these 2 ships won’t be fully operational until 2027 or 2028, but will be flying white ensign. Number of escort “on paper” will decrease. Those operational will also decrease. But, it is needed to introduce these brand new assets in to RN.
That’s as I understand regarding crews, it was the possibility of further retirements of hulls that was more on my mind and is it a result of poor forward planning, budget or was it always going to be this way. cheers phil.
What’s been worrying wasn’t total hull numbers dropping the late 2020s, the T31s can be double crewed and sea days maintained, it was the number of ASW equipped frigates in the mid 2030s. If the type 26s had been slow built, ASW hulls would have dropped to 6 or even 5 in the mid 2030s. If HMS London is to be operational (or even in commission) by 2035, that suggests a very fast build schedule.
There is a danger that by 2035, most of these ships will have floated off to mainland Europe together with Scotland due to Tectonic forces.
Been sipping the SNP Koolaid?…
Nope, just watching a vintage episode of the Crankies. And I may add, the Tectonic history of the northern part of Pictland that once was part of another continent before the Glen fault formed. It’s well worth looking back at previous events in time.
It would account for the geological rate progress on the T26 project….?
This article goes a long way in explaining just how our technically inept short termist politicians make procurement so difficult and expensive. A virtually identical explanation applies to the Astute Class, to Civil Nuclear power and to much else.
It’s a good job that what equipment we do get, is pretty top notch. Phil.
I hope you are correct but would point out the problems with the T45 propulsion and generation systems, now being fixed but at great cost.
Hello David, I was referring more to capability and High end Technical specifications rather than the propulsion setbacks though. cheers.
But otherwise the most capable air defence destroyer in service.
Can an air defence vessel with no TBMD capability be described as the most capable in service?
How does T45 compare with the French and Italian Horizons? Is it’s AAW outfit better (I genuinely don’t know). If it isn’t the the French and Italian vessels are more capable with more modern guns, SSM’s, better ASW sonars and fully functioning running gear.
Block II Aster is the full fat longer range BMD , the Block 1 for up to 600km range
unlike US SM series they are air breathing after booster stage
Wrong again dude, your English is failing you, nothing in the article said 600km.
Aster 30 Block 1 NT is above 150 km
Lay off the weed.
other sources say 600km which refers to the ballistic missiles it intercepts – or theatre range
the comments are abusive and entirely unnecessary, and I dont smoke at all.
Yes, is the most capable in service when used against Argentine’s Pucara IA58 or German Stuka Ju87 and not in tropical waters otherwise is not electricity, so no middle East and Far East.
And with only 48 SAM, it will run out of missiles long before any Iranian drones if the war in Ukraine is anything to go by,
So the T45 I worked with a few years ago in the Arabian Gulf during the height of summer, air temps of +40 degs , sea temp +30 that had ZERO breakdowns of its propulsion system during its deployment was a dream?
The main issues with T45 Propulsion where overcome with intercooler mods and software mods years ago. The PIP builds on those mods to ensure deeper resilience and that the ship can manoeuvre AND fight on just the DGs if they need to. Previously they couldn’t as it was an either or with the legacy DGs if the 2 x GTs where lost.
Yes it can because ballistic-missile defence is very different to air-defence, just as much as anti-surface and anti-submarine are.
Yes it’s better than the French and German, it’s even better than what the Americans have, which is why they’re always more than happy to have a T45 escorting their carriers.
The issues with the intercooler were resolved years ago and they’re now undergoing a huge power upgrade.
Perhaps a little bit of research on your part before posting opinions might be an idea?
What are the reasons that it’s better than the French and Italian Horizons? I gave some examples of where those ships have more capabilities than the T45 but you’ve just said that’s not right with no evidence as to why or to show that those examples were factually incorrect.
It’s a much better AAW vessel than the French and Italian Horizons because SAMPSON gives it a better and larger area cover for air-defence. This is one one of the reasons the U.K. left the Horizon project as France/Italy didn’t require such a high-standard for AAW. The addition of SeaCeptor will just widen the gap with regards to AAW.
T45 is also faster, has a greater range, more power generation, requires a smaller crew, etc
But you prefer the Horizon because it has two 76mm guns instead of a 4.5” gun and Horizon has torpedo tubes to deal with any submarine dumb enough to unnecessarily close distance to where these are usable; ie none.
In its original form before PIP T45 didn’t ‘generate’ more ‘power’ than Horizon.
Thanks for the reply. It does sound as if it’s a better AAW platform than the French and Italian ships. I do think that the lack of TBMD is a serious blindspot but the MOD does seem to be acknowledging the need to deal with that.
I never said I preferred Horizon. I pointed out that they had capabilities that the T45 doesn’t in the non AAW role.
In terms of ASW, it’s not the torpedoes that are the difference. As I understand it the Horizons have a better sonar (T45’s sonar is reported as no longer being manned) and they carry a helicopter with ASW detection gear whereas T45 normally carries Wildcat.
A sonar so it can queue its helicopter on to a submarine. And they always left the wall with a range of missiles.
Only Sampson is better.
Now is the time to start looking at B3 with a decent AAW capability.
Just go AEGIS RN you know it makes sense.
In what way(s) is AEGIS superior to UK PAAMS?
It is the VHS to SeaViper’s Betamax. 🙂
There are 110 AEGIS hulls at sea with many more in build.
Any loss between adopting AEGIS over Sea Viper is simply erased by numbers.
Nothing stopping the UK adding to the system.
As I recall Betamax was far superior to VHS, and although VHS won the consumer market, broadcasters and tv production companies widely used Betamax for decades.
Perhaps not the best analogy?
I wouldn’t say far superior.
Yes, BetaCart was used for a very long time by broadcasters for serving adverts! Long after Betamax VCRs left the living room.
Most location video was done, for a very long time, in pro Betamax standards.
A lot of early digital location audio was done on Betamax with SLF1 ADC. St John Smith Square, Wigmore Hall etc – the rebroadcast was always better than the broadcast as the analogue link wasn’t there.
Everyone accepted that Betamax was a far, far superior technical solution over VHS.
So with weapons systems you want the far, far superior one?
My point exactly, you want the best not the most popular.
Sony Betamax produced better-quality images (resolution) and record length.
The reason why VHS won was simply down to cost as I recall.
I’ve spent the last 30yrs working worldwide in TV post-production and all major recording formats since I began apart from Ampex 2″ is Sony for broadcast including grade one monitors and projectors to a large extent.
Sony Umatic, Sony 1″ tape machines which replaced Ampex2″, Betacam, Betacam SP, D1, D2, D3 the list goes on!
VHS was a JVC system and unlike Sony they were happy to license the technology to other companies. There was massive demand for VCRs in the early-mid 1980s so companies across the globe started manufacturing JVC-based VHS machines locally to grab a slice of the market and avoid import restrictions on products from Japan. That is why VHS became dominant. The best example from the UK is the popular Ferguson Videostar VCRs, which were basically a JVC product but with most models assembled in the UK.
AEGIS have a more broad capability with several Standard missile variants that make possible to intercept much larger ballistic missiles.
Meanwhile from Naval News
OCCAR press release
The contract Amendment saw the UK joining the multi-National partnership between France and Italy for the Production of the Aster Block 1, with a new contract managed by MBDA trough Eurosam.
The contract will oversee, in the framework of the Aster missiles Mid Life Update (MLU) for UK, the conversion of Aster 30 warheads to Aster 30 B1 Naval UK standard: autopilot software development and logistics updates, whilst the munition assembly will take place in UK premises, at Defence Munition Gosport (DMG). (…)
Aegis is the name of a software library system……this is used on some classes of ships…..
Yes. The maligned LCS types were also ‘Aegis’ . A BMD capacity , I dont think so.
There is no way the RN will change to an Aegis ‘based’ radars. Its not cheap either which you might assume from the 2-3 builds per year that SN has
The question was about AEGIS as in Arleigh Burke Classes so SPY radars, Standard missiles etc…
Are you trying to be pedant to divert from the question?
You should have referred to the Standard missiles themselves as ‘aegis’ is a much broader system and continues inspite of the change in radar from SPY-1 to SPY-6
I was replying to Grinch question above he certainly was meaning the Arleigh Burke versions at least.
Aster 30 B1 can only take SCUD class missiles and still can’t prosecute a fast crossing target.
SM-6 far outperforms ASTER and can do AAW, ASuW, ABM intercepts
SPY has a true ABM capability
No it doesnt .
The Combat information system , known as Aegis does all that
SM-6 can only target ballistic missiles in terminal phase of flight, like some versions of Aster can do.
Aegis ashore – the combat system plus the old SPY-1 radar- uses SM-3 for mid course ballistic missiles intercept . These also need AN/TPY-2 x band radar for tracking launch phase
Or CEEFAR as the Australian’s trial it.
No for reasons given above
Um. Yes. 🙂
CEAFAR is merely a fire control radar and CEAMOUNT is the separate radar illuminator for mid course guidance of evolved sea sparrow
The combat system is still SAAB The RAN ships with it still used the SP-49 radar system for search and tracking ([update: later replaced by CEFAR2 but not clear the details as sources vary]
That’s CEFAR that is so heavy, it’s causing serious stability issues in tbe Hunter Class?
Why have they put it on their old Anzac frigates then?
Hunter havent even cut steel , but it seems that the RAN want to add a lot of other weight to their chosen design for various things
I believe the expert is DavyB, but from previous posts I understand that AEGIS and the accompanying radar are only now reaching the capability of the T45s. Like many you assume that everything American is better. But the reality is it is often vastly overrated and overpriced.
I never said it was better. I made particular point of saying that AEGIS was the second best system. But it is not that bad. And which system will still be in development in 10 years time?
The newest version of radars using Aegis libraries is just entering service, completely different and from Raytheon not Lockheed who made the old system.
Yes. It is software that is important.
I can imagine the current ship installed baseline software/hardware have little in common with the original Aegis software SPY-1 combination ( helped by the amazing development of modern CPUs and related hardware)
Sharing the data is now the approach needed
Probably not. Systems do evolve
Yes the data is the important element.
SPY radars are fixed covering 360º without missing. That is a significant advantage to intercept fast missiles.
So while the Aster is a more manoeuvrable missile and without extra radar Arleigh Burke will lack some sea skimming horizon due to SPY being at lower level it should be a more complete system.
Exactly. Swings and roundabouts.
That also takes us back to Crowsnest both in terms of tech and number of available cabs. All these systems overlap.
Crowsnest is crap, it can’t see as far as the F-35’s it’s allegedly ‘guiding’.
Where did that information come from?
Is it the purpose of Crows Nest to guide F35B?
Are we talking active or passive?
The F35 radar is tiny compared to that for a real fighter like Rafale and Typhoon.
T45 radar does not just look at a 90 deg angle to the radar face. The beam is steered across the radar face to in effect look at an area that the radar face has already rotated past or has not rotated through. With 2 x radar faces in the dome and beam steering you pretty much cover 360degs at all time…bar a smidgen of space…smidgen apparently being a radar maintainer technical term for not very big…
The radar height issue is noticeable . With an AB berthed next to a T23 you can see that even the radar on a T23 is higher than the SPY faces so a T45 radar is considerably higher.
There is no comparison what a fixed panel can to a rotating one. For a start in a fixed panel the weight limits are less stringent so you can have much more elements. That means much a more flexible system. You can use a part for ECM another for very detailed look at certain place in sky etc.
You can just compare antenna size between a SPY and a SAMPSON.
T23’s bridge wing roughly at the same level as T45’s weatherdeck.
SAMPSON is on its last legs and still cannot take a fast crossing target.
T45 we’re the first and will be the last to be stuck with it.
The fixed plates dont cover 360 degree of superstructure
They are electronically steered off centre which has downsides for radar signals, which they compensate by having much more emitters.
Revolving in azimuth a smaller number of emitters can have a similar effect.
Aegis simply takes a hand off from a down range sensor with eyes on the target – a capability we don’t have.
Nuts, does that mean I have to get the cakes in?
One thing everyone is forgetting is AEGIS is a US based system so comes under the same ITAR rules as does everything else that is US military related. The other downside is the AEGIS combat management system IP is owned by Lockheed Martin. Which means any company profit goes straight to the US. Therefore if we wanted to integrate a new weapon with the system. The Treasury will get next to no money back. As compared to the T45’s PAAMS. Where a greater share will come back to the Treasury.
The Aegis, Tacticos and BAe’s combat management systems all pretty much do the same thing, ie collate data and present it to the user. Tacticos is slightly different in that it an open architecture system. So the user can modify and use it to their own discretion. Whereas, Aegis in particularly is locked down to what you can do with it.
The newer iterations of Aegis are slightly better in how you can use and fuse the data together. But they are not as flexible as Tacticos.
We could open that can of worms on which is better, the T45’s PAAMS or a Flight 2 Arleigh Burke? But a lot will depend on the Aegis software the AB uses, As only a few of them have the anti-ballistic missile Aegis capability. Which when married with SM6 and SM3 definitely has the advantage over Aster 30. In standard form the T45 still has the edge. Even with the full fat SPY-6 Flight 3s, a T45 will still have some advantages.
With the recent signing of the agreements to get our ASters updated to B1, I’d rather we stuck with them to be honest. I know that the Standard Missiles have greater ABM capability, but I think we’d get a much better workshare opportunity out of sticking with MBDA and the French and Italians. Especially as the Aster30 B1 is what they’re using in their ground launched system- would be a simple step in expanding our GBAD capabilities to order some of the same SAMP/T launchers that they have.
Out of interest, are you advocating B3s to effectively be a circle around to Australia’s Hunter class? I’m hesitant about that, because that’s what T83 is for (full-fat AAW of the fleet), but some half-way house (CAMM-ER, providing local area air defence out beyond 45 km for a small task group) I could see.
Yes. Once again we are where we are.
Re B3 no it won’t be a full fat AAW destroyer as such. It would occupy the same space as Hunter in the RAN or say the FREMM in Italian navy. CAMM-ER is no substitute for Aster 30. We need to push the archer further back. The RAN is heading for a flotilla of escorts that are truly GP. We have a flotilla where T45 is no real use for ASW and the frigates will have a good but short range AAW missile system.
As we appear to be stuck with PAAMS I would just join the Italian DDX programme for T83.
The RN has been there and done that for Italian or French designed ships
of course RN has a bigger open ocean requirement while Marina barely leaves Med and has littoral threats everywhere.
How can you discount an 11k tonne ships with a range of 7,000nm built around on main AAW missile and main helicopter? Horizon works T45 is work in progress. The RN doesn’t make good decisions……..
BTW this ships of the Indian and Italian navies exercising in the Indian Ocean……..
Do they even head to the North Sea and mix it up with the usual UK allies there, US ,Norwegians, Dutch Germans etc
Its just a once in 5 yrs show the flag for Italy…..where the sun always shines too.
The project length and beam of DDX are 175m and 24m. Bigger than the Tico’s. It will have draft of 9m which is 2m greater than T45 and a 1m less than the Tico. It isn’t being designed to patrol a duck pond.
All destroyers have a bigger beam than Ticos.
They were the last of the long thing design concept
Everything now is much beamier and more spacious crew and systems spaces inside. thats where the space goes.
A North Atlantic design its not as of course thats not where Italian interests lie
Yes. Italian Navy outside Med operates generally in Indian ocean and Gulf of Guinea.
Plus we have export potential.
If we went down the Standard path we end up with the beloved FMS and ITAR plus being in the hands of others for mods and tweaks.
Very good points, I have a strong dislike for those…
ASTER still has zero anti surface capability and its near miss lethality is minimal. It’s a Sea Wolf sized terminal stage.
I believe that Aster B1 has an upgraded blast fragmentation warhead, although that might be B1 NT- it’s hard to keep track! Either way, the whole point of it is that it’s highly manoueverable so it can hit the target- I’m pretty sure some of the Israeli Iron Dome stuff use a similar concept. Even without the blast-frag warhead, kill probability is higher than an SM-2 from what I understand, so I’m not sure what the point is? What would our alternative have been at the time of ordering, AN/SPY-1 + SM-2, with semi-active seekers? That’s a generation out of date compared to Sea Viper, regardless of warhead type. The difference is only now being made up with the AN/SPY-6 system with the latest block SM-2s and SM-6s, so would never have been an option for T45 anyway. As far as T83 goes, I’d be willing to bet that whatever succeeds the SAMPSON radar will at least be as good as AN/SPY-6, if not better, given that it’s again a number of years more advanced. I’m honestly not sure what benefit we would have going American on this one.
As far as secondary surface warfare capability, why do you think it doesn’t- just because they haven’t mentioned it? It’s hard to imagine that it couldn’t be directed at a ground target, even if damage was minimal.
I thought they flew the blue duster on trials, not red?
I thought it was a special blue one for the ‘Government Service Ensign’ but maybe they’ve stopped doing that.
The Red Ensign is flown when the ship is owned by a commercial entity. The Blue Ensign (defaced with gold anchor) for government-owned vessels is sometimes flown after the ship has been accepted but before she is commissioned and the White Ensign is raised.
I have vague memories. Yes it was a blue ensign. But a few years back it was changed to red. And it must have happened in the last 25 years or so.
Who really cares what colour flag is used for trials?
It is just interesting.
Its bizarre, the government has paid for it over last 10 years or so but ‘doesnt own it’ ?
The RFA flies with a blue ensign also as do vessels under the command of British Army
Yes. I know what you mean re ownership.
Further many organisations fly a blue ensign of some description.
According to the estimated schedule am I correct in thinking first steel for type 83 would need to be 2030 if it is to follow type 26 without a gap?
That’s not happening. Either more T26’s will need to be built, other work found for the yard or later T26 builds will need to be slowed down.
Build Two more T26, the RN needs all the high end comdatens it can get.
The build time, even for the latter ships, looks woeful compared to the 3-4 years for an Arleigh Burke
Honestly, even 3-4 years for a Burke is too long.
True, they had got it down to 2.5 years from being laid down to commissioned, but will give them some slack for Covid, restarting the programme and moving to Flight 3.
So 3-4 years for Flight 3 from Laid down to commission is far better than BAE / MOD
They are at over 100 previous vessels of the same or very similar type.
They didnt have to start from scratch in their design and construction capability which happened when the Tories had a 5-6 year stop on the original T26 development phase which began around 2009 and was ‘paused’ in the 2010 cuts
But look at the mechanical machinery in an AB. I have worked in RN machinery spaces and now as a civvy in USN machinery spaces fixing equipment. Its like being in a T22 or T42 and has not changed over any of the flight builds although I have yet to see a Flight 3 because its not in service yet. The USN tried to fit an electric drive onto one vessels prop shaft as a trial but that failed dismally so they removed it and are stuck with GT Propulsion, GT gensets and CPP propellors.
That “electric drive” was quite silly. I don’t remember how it was supposed to work, but when i found out it just did not made any sense.
Not so . Quite rational reasons of course
Its what the T23 Duke frigates use , a hybrid electric drive.
Are you sure you have understood what they were doing to make those claims
‘The HED ( hybrid electric drive) system, which the Navy started developing more than a decade ago, on DDG103 Truxton) marries an electric motor to a Flight II Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer’s main reduction gear for use at low speeds of less than 13 knots. By using an electric motor, the ship’s operation consumes less fuel, which improves its overall fuel efficiency and lowers its costs, according to Naval Sea Systems Command officials when USNI News reported on the program in 2015.”
They seemed to be Ok with the system and but I think that Oil prices dropped around that period and because of their budget impasse with divided congress where continuing resolutions mean few new changes get funded.
The electric motor supplier General Atomics doesnt have the best record for the US Navy ( USS Ford electric catapults etc) either
That is the powerpoint talk not reality, I think they had to stop the ship to change form one to the other, it was some silly stuff that i don’t remember well.
Really ? just coming up with wild claims- which you ‘dont entirely remember’- isnt much help. They cant operate both systems together so of course the main engines have to be stopped, the vessel can still be moving
experts have real information
“The HED motor draws surplus power from the ship’s electric generators and uses it to propel the ship. This allows the crew to turn off the engines typically used to propel the ship, thereby saving fuel. While running generators and the HED motor is more efficient than running generators and engines, the trade-off is that the HED system can only propel the ship at a maximum speed of 11 knots (a destroyer has a max speed of 30 or more knots when using its main engines). Navy engineers stated that they designed the HED system to have a maximum speed of 11 knots because a large percentage of a ship’s hours spent at sea are at speeds of 11 knots or below. ”
It seems as though they bought 5 systems but only installed one and didnt complete the testing and spent remaining funding on other projects or a ‘new type of phantom electric development’ and then said there was no money left
Seems a typical favourite system for some naval staff who are replaced by others who want to kill it
Do you think the system that could be sold as “green” and fit the “narrative” to get political power and advance careers would have such bad show if it did not had serious issues?
Just seems like a big article of excuses for poor delivery times being laid out in advance!
That comment seems to say more about your view on life than the facts in the article ??♂️
Meaning no disrespect and not to rain on anyone’s parade….
I have to say if I were a hostile foreign power, even perhaps a “sub state actor” (terrorist army or what have you as opposed to a formal military), the next few years would be the optimal time to act against the UK and its interests. Although high end capabilities definitely do exist in the Army, RAF, RN, Royal Marines and special forces, in my view the RN should always be the preeminent branch of the British military. With the miniscule numbers currently present, it would be very difficult, at least on short notice, to put a significant expeditionary force together that would have sufficient sealift and escort capabilities.
Fortunately it doesn’t appear that anyone in Britain’s immediate neighborhood is really spoiling for a fight just now (yes Russia is belligerent but has its hands full in Ukraine), and the only true adversaries, for now, appear to be 1) China and 2) Middle East jidhadis. Even so, the AUKUS alliance alone demands a larger navy and more robust expeditionary warfare capabilities. So far I see no signs that a suitable expansion in these areas is likely to materialize.
China isnt a ( military) threat to UK interests. There arent any vital UK interests in the Asia Pacific area. And Taiwans issues are a strange mix where both sides are completely united in agreeing there is only ‘one China and Taiwan is its province’ which is also UK government policy.
Its just the Schleswig Holstein question of the 19th century all over again. Those provinces were both German and Danish at the same time. you could say the same about the eastern provinces of Ukraine, they could be ‘binational’.
At least for now, Poland hasnt reasserted its claim to sovereignty of eastern Ukraine ( which it invaded in 1920 to overturn the Versailles treaty award to Russia along the Curzon line)
Who is a threat to the UK interests then dude? Argentina, Iceland, Spanish Amanda, or the channel immigrants?
China has already the biggest Navy in terms of ships (537 vessels) and is building ships faster than any country.
Try reading the below 174 pages 2022 DoD report on China
U.S. Navy expects that the Chinese Navy may operate 6 aircraft carriers
537 naval assets
There is no critical UK interests in Asia that require military intervention or even possibility.
The lines of trade thing for a UK flagged fleet doesnt exist any more either
Geography not your strong suit then? or do you still think UK should be a global policeman
Let those Asia Pacific countries counter or accommodate China as they see fit.
Look at India they have actual real border disputes and conflict with China, does UK care that much and get tough on China ?
I think you are just getting hot and bothered over ‘words and reports’ and what ever the US does the UK must follow especially throwing lives and treasure into military action in remote places
Nato member Turkiye still has part occupation of EU member and Commonwealth country Cyprus ( home to current UK bases). Does UK care about that ongoing invasion any more .
Get back when you have got some history and geography study done
You should reply the “hot and border” to the Joint address by MI5 and FBI with your half-baked facts. They will be most reassured by your geopolitical assessments, history, and geography study.
And what did Sunak say about China the other day? must be something “hot and border”
Tell us again, for a laugh, how does StarLink internet work?
MI5 ? Seems you dont know they are the domestic security agency .
No need to deal with China itself, just its spies….. hush but UK has spies too
Sunak says nothing about military threat to UK, its more commercial
Starlink doesnt upload directly from home users , they even say so themselves in countries where they have to tell the truth
Each cell requires an upload site or they dont offer a connection in that area
Check the location of satellites in real time on this ‘globe’ and the red dots showing the one or more upload sites within each cell ( it will even give the upload site address)
It seems as though when the facts dont agree with your claims, they are ignored rather trying substantiate
Splendid isolation — Non-intervention; no European police system; every nation for itself, and God for us all.
So there is no need for Royal Navy, cut the budget and scrap all the ships?
Like I said before , what UK support is there for India in its current border conflicts with China or even Cyprus who still have Turkish army in occupation in 1/3 of the country ( remember that when Nato Turkiye suffered no consequences).
Does Uk care about South american or African border disputes ? Just because Taiwan is important to US etc doesnt mean it makes much difference to Europe.
BTW both Chinas say there is only one China and Taiwan is its province which is also UK government formal view
The RN hadnt been out to the Pacific for 25 years (a T45 struck a rock and nearly sank) before the recent visits, they have plenty of areas of interest elsewhere Atlantic ( N and S) , Arctic, Caribbean , Gulf, Med. Maybe you havent looked at an atlas since high school ?
“Lines on a map” they cause so much hurt.
China certainly is a threat to UK interests. First because if it displaces the US and the rest of the Anglosphere as global hegemon, the international order will look very different than it has since the end of the World Wars. Second because of AUKUS, unless of course HMG isn’t truly serious about backing Australia in the face of Chinese encroachment in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific.
We will need Australian resources. Never mind the moral obligation to help in their (and NZ’s) defence.
They tried the moral obligation line in Blairs time and the invasion of Iraq and got carried along into Afghanistan for good measure
How did those ‘obligations’ work out.
meanwhile theres a low level conflict going on with China thats of no interest to most in UK because the nations people arent the ‘right ancestry’
Explaining the Latest Clashes on the Sino-Indian Borderhttps://thediplomat.com/2022/12/explaining-the-latest-clashes-on-the-sino-indian-border/
because the nations people arent the ‘right ancestry’
Just clarify who there please.
Australia will become important to the West. And it will need defending. Plus we owe Oz and Nz.
India , Cyprus ignored while Australia and NZ *must* be defended ?
All those countries in SE may see China as a treat …or not considering its a massive buyer of what they have for sale
Its up to them to spend or not on the military along with other countries to North inc Korea Japan etc.
Taiwan spends less of its ( healthy) GDP on defence than UK does and is way behind an even smaller but rich Singapore
What does that tell you
I ask you again, India and China are regularly trading artillery fire- ground forces combat in the borders areas – generally China wants strategic parts that are Indian territory.
Wheres the UK rushing to Indias defence and or moral support AND applying sanctions and restriction on China in UK ?
I can hear birds chirp as there is nothing… Austarlai and NZ are even under diect Chinese attack like India.
What you are doing is just repeating US military/political talking points about China…’where they go we go ‘…etc.
Thats fine but dont kid your self that it involves UKs primary interests
It was the same ‘peril talk of the 1950s and 60s , dominoes and so on. back then UK immediately knew its interests were to recognise and exist along side the new government while the US took the opposite track. We now know who was right in its approach and US wrong
China isnt a ( military) threat to UK interests – famous last words
Nor was Afghanistan and Iraq…. hundreds of UK lives lost and 100s billions of pounds later …. they can walk away after all
Running to the sound of a bugle isnt a military strategy …unless you are a keyboard warrior
So looks like 8th ship by 2035 would be around 1 per year for batch 2. A very decent and respectable drumbeat
First steel cut for batch 2 next year and final delivery in 2036 , makes it more like a 3 years slow waltz average over 5 vessels.
Except all five are to be operational by end of 2035. Assume build to operational time is speeded up to 7 years (still not that fast), first steel of London would be cut at the start of 2029. First steel of Birmingham is to be cut start of 2023. So a ship every 18 months.
Just look at last batch, to exclude the 1st of class and covid affected schedules of ships still under build/fit out now
2023-2035 for 5 ships comes to rough average of up to 3 years each
How is the Birmigham going to take 18-24 months?
I was talking about the frequency of build being every 18 months, whereas the first batch was laid down at a rate of one ship every two years.
You can’t just divide total time by the number of ships and call it average build time. That ignores the parallel build.
Glasgow is expected to take 11 years from cutting steel to operational, and the others of the first batch around 8 or 9 years. For the second batch, each ship will take about 6 to 7 years between laying down and operational. Birmingham is expected to take about 7 years, not 3, so expect it operational around the start of 2030.
Morning. Some rather interesting comments and replies, I’ve just read through all of them. It’s a bit crazy reading some of them and seeing Beta/VHS and Stuka’s mentioned in reference to certain systems ! Just thought I’d say how sleek and good looking HMS Glasgow appears in the pictures, can’t wait to see her in the flesh, cheers Phil.
So you are saying you cannot cope with analogies? Do you struggle with metaphors and similes too?
Wow, that was a bit nasty don’t you think ? sorry you took offence at that, I was merely expressing my quiet surprise and delight at such analogies. Cheers Phil.
A question regarding the superstructure design: The Scotstoun yard picture has me wondering, why is a walkway in front of the bridge such a common feature on royal navy ships but not other navies?
It’s for Deckchairs.
Fabulous, i’ll sleep well knowing we have this capability! 😉
We have an enviable reputation for this capability though, just why do you think the Germans developed their Towels counter measures ?
Just a bit of Forward Planning ! We live in uncertain times and you never know just when Deckchairs might be needed what with all this Global Warming ( typed from my now 1 degree office having arrived in -9 this morning)
Just a bit of Forward Planning ! We live in uncertain times and you never know just when Deckchairs might be needed what with all this Global Warming ( typed from my now 1 degree office having arrived in -9 this morning).
When in service only one gangway is used from the flight deck where the QM is stationed. A second gangway MAY be provided for emergency evacuation. When in dockyard/builders hands 2 gangways are used, one for going onboard and one for leaving. This means that workers don’t impede each other. Makes perfect sense.
Interesting info but not the question I was trying to ask. Apologies for not being clear.
I was referring to the picture above with several people in hi vis standing in front of the bridge windows. I was wondering why generally only royal navy ships have this walkway (probably the wrong word) in front of the bridge.
The walkway is used to access the windows for maintenance purposes (cleaning or repairs to washers and wipers)
Thanks for the clarification. The structure you are referring to is actually scaffolding. The same can be seen on the bridge top. As ALB says it’s a maintenence structure on the Bridge front and on the Bridge top a safety item for workers. They will be removed before sea trials and are not a fixed permanent structure.
That’s still not what he was asking, if you read it, he is asking about the walkway in front of the Bridge not the scaffolding on top of the bridge. Cheers Phil.
Thanks Phil, yes I’m referring to the walkway that links the bridge wings across the front of the bridge. A feature also found on type 45, type 22, type 23 etc. but not seen on other navies vessels.
I believe the main reason is for the Human vantage point it gives of both Port and Starboard when manoeuvring in tight spaces, as each point is at the furthest edge of the ship’s width/Beam and easily accessed on foot. The Deckchair theory was based upon something I read once about sailing in warmer waters.
This is how thats normally done , as it was on T42 HMS Manchester
Thanks, I can see the practicalities. But why only seen on royal navy frigates/destroyers?
Hello, I have to say this thread has been a real eye opener in so many ways, I’ve learnt a lot about the T26 build and history, it’s capabilities and shortfalls and much other “stuff” too, Thanks for all the comments, looking forward to the next article. Cheers Phil.
I absolutely love this class, but I’m still in disbelief that she was launched without her bow sonar dome, shafts, and props. Are you telling me she will be sitting in the water for a year or 2 then drydocked for those installations?
This is common to avoid damage to the dome. Shafts are fitted but not props. This is so that dynamic brakes can be fitted to allow engine trials in a wet dock. Dynamic brakes allow propulsion trials to take place as they have same charastics as props but without the propulsion.
Great article, thank you.
couple of points from me.
it would be good to see the UK add a better radar and make T26 a joint ASW/AAW platform for a total of 18 T26. For those that say it cannot be done, T26 is within 2m length of T45 and with 3 tweaks, reduction of flight deck to merlin size to facilitate 48-72 quad pack VLS in the centre of the ship (sylver A70 or similar), with the addition of an updated versions to f the current S1850 radar and artisan/Sampson radars, we have a full spectrum escort at a great price point.
I really dont think we need to land a chinook on a T26, so let’s take advantage of that space for more VLS etc.
I would also like to see the new build hall at govan extended over the current one, so that we have a a single massive hall, given the cost and speed of the venturer building, I suspect this is both doable and sensible.
the changes above would allow the MOD to wring every last £ of value out of this platform and concentrate design resources on the T32 and SSNr.
Venturer ‘class’ ships arent built on the Clyde and a different company , Babcock has its own production site at Rosyth
At the BAE site they cant pull existing buildings down as they are building sections of the next 2 T26 ( soon the 4th) inside. What the new building will do is enable the separate sections to be assembled together under cover for the full length and I hope fit out the ship more
That’s some Fantasy fleet ! 18 full fat T26/T83 ships in addition to 5 T31’s and 5 T32’s. Cheers Phil.
Why would you use A70s to quad pack? Aren’t all the missiles slim enough to quadpack also realtively short?
This sort of nonsense has been posited and addressed ad nuseum if posters would bother to do a little research and not assume that everyone in the Navy is stupid! ASW and AAW are fundamentally different functions and optimisation requires different designs.
Eight hulls is not enough for the way the world is today.
The figure of 8 was probably decided on several years ago, things are different now.
Twelve would be a more realistic number.
Up to about seven or eight years ago, the number decided on was thirteen, but there wasn’t enough budget nor imagination in how the budget could be spent, So we ended up with 8x T26 and 5x T31.
Things in terms of need are indeed different now. The Defence Select Committee says we need twice the number of escorts. Lots of politicians, including former Prime Ministers, the Defence Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer say the budget needs to be increased. But what hasn’t changed is the actual budget. So “realistic” means nor can the number of T26s.
Don’t laugh but there is a ‘school of thought’ that if we didn’t have the carriers there would be less escorts because there would be nothing to escort. I kid you not. The West (aka the USN) is short of escorts and submarines.
11 years from when the first deal was cut not the design phase or any of that. Good Lord. For a frigate.
Money . The Tories came to power just after the design process had started and as you would know killed the follow on production phase like they did to a lot of defence projects around 2010. They learnt nothing from the costs and delays to the Astute sub program from having the design team and the shipyards having nothing to do for years