On 23rd October, HMS Sutherland returned to Devonport for the last time before entering major refit. Although just one of 13 similar vessels in service with the RN, the activities of this ship in the last three years provides an informative snapshot of the hard-run Type 23 frigates at work.
HMS Sutherland emerged from a two-year refit in 2015. She had already given great service in the RN, including combat operations off Libya in 2011. By 2015 she had technically reached the limit of the intended 18-year design life of the class but heavy investment in upgrades will see her serve until 2032. With the exception of a deployment to the Pacific, in recent years she has spent the majority of her time in UK and European waters with substantial periods as the allocated Fleet Ready Escort (FRE) and/or the Towed Array Patrol Ship (TAPS).
Being allocated to the FRE/TAPS pool requires the ship to be readily available for any tasking at short notice, mostly around the UK but potentially to respond to incidents overseas. FRE duty is not always held by a frigate and sometimes OPVs or even minehunters can be used for some aspects of the task which frequently involves monitoring Russian warships transiting near UK waters in the Channel and North Sea. With only 8 towed array-equipped frigates (typically 2 or 3 fully operational at a given moment) there are limited options for the Fleet Commander.
While on TAPS duty, frigates are usually deployed off Scotland or in the North Atlantic hunting Russian submarines, either to sanitise water space for the nuclear deterrent submarine or in support of other NATO ASW operations. While the TAPS may occasionally make the first detection, it is safe to assume they are often cued onto the area of suspected contacts initially detected by underwater sonar arrays, friendly submarines, maritime patrol aircraft or other NATO vessels. For the ship’s company, the prospect of slow patrols trailing electronic string around the heaving North Atlantic can be rather dull, but when a submarine is detected and the contact light is illuminated, everyone on board becomes interested and focussed. ASW requires patience and skill but can be very rewarding whole ship activity that engages everyone, not just the sonar operators and the ship’s flight.
In January 2018 HMS Sutherland left Plymouth for a 7-month deployment to the Asia Pacific region. She was the first RN vessel to visit the region in many years and her trip marked a change in UK foreign policy focus – pivoting back towards the Far East. Five weeks after leaving the UK, the ship arrived in Australia to a big welcome and played a part in the successful defence diplomacy mission that secured the selection of the Type 26 frigate design for the Royal Australian Navy. Sutherland also exercised with RAN, RNZN, USN and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and visited the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia.
In early June she conducted a remembrance ceremony over the wrecks of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, the last resting places of 840 men killed when the ships were sunk by Japanese bombers in December 1941. There has been no official confirmation about her most notable activities, but the Sunday Times reported she was shadowed by 16 Chinese vessels as she conducted a lawful Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea sometime during June 2018.
2019 saw the ship return to FRE/TAPS work and by October she had spent 149 days away from her home port, sailing over 22,759 nautical miles in 95 days at sea and was officially recognised as “the busiest ship in the RN” during that period. The logistic demands can be illustrated by her consumption of 1,923,000 litres of F76 fuel. During gunnery exercises, she fired 180 4.5in shells with no stoppages, 20,000 rounds from her GMPGs and mini-guns and 460 rounds from the 30mm cannons. The embarked Merlin Mk 2 helicopter, callsign ‘Highlander’ of 814 Naval Air Squadron, flew 77 sorties from the ship spending 135 hours in the air.
After showing Russian warships in the Channel she visited Belfast in June 2019, She made her only foreign port visit of 2019 to Narvik in company with HMS Westminster before participation in NATO ASW exercise Dynamic Mongoose in the Norwegian Sea. In July she conducted the first trials of the Martlet Lightweight Multi-role Missile fired from panniers mounted on the 30mm cannon. Three missiles were successfully fired at automated targets in Cardigan Bay. (18 months later and there has been no further word from the RN about whether this promising system will be adopted across the fleet.)
When not on operations warships undergo Fleet Time Support Periods (FTSP) typically a few weeks which allow contractors and the ship’s company to undertake routine maintenance. For the frigates, this work is mostly carried out in Devonport of Portsmouth but Sutherland also made use of Faslane for an engine change and resupply. HMNB Clyde is not a frigate base but the growing levels of activity in North Atlantic and High north have seen an increase in frigate visits. Despite claims by the Scottish Nationalists that the frigates are too far away to protect Scotland, being based in the South of England, there is almost always at least one Type 23 in the region. In 2020 three frigates HMS Kent (May), HMS Sutherland (Sept) and Lancaster (Nov) conducted separate FONOPS in the Arctic with NATO partners.
During the first 100 days of 2020, Sutherland spent 70 days away from Devonport. Another trip to the Arctic in February included participation in amphibious Exercise Cold Response. In March she joined the considerably scaled-down Exercise Joint Warrior (JW201), was involved in Submarine Command Course (Perisher) serials and served in the Standing NATO Maritime Group One. In the month of March alone she sailed over 7,500 nautical miles.
As the impact of the pandemic began to be felt the ship’s company was effectively ‘bubbled’ with limitations on going ashore. The sailors were told to mentally consider the next few months as if it were an overseas deployment. Officers worked hard to sustain morale as best they could with the crew confined to the ship for long periods. This included traditional shipboard entertainments such as flight deck barbecues, ‘horseracing’, quizzes and film nights. Sutherland was fortunate to have exceptional chefs, quality meals being a cornerstone of good morale. There was also an effort to have ‘downtime’ and when possible, come to anchor where there was a good phone signal.
The ship continuing with TAPS and FRE tasking before joined the large Autumn exercise Joint Warrior Exercise (JW202) where she operated around the North West coast of Scotland, joining the ship of the “opposing force”, threatening the UK Carrier Strike Group mounting flying operations off the North East coast. Afterwards, the ship made a rare foreign port visit, arriving in Den Helder, Netherlands to give the ship’s company an opportunity to ‘decompress’ after an intense period. Sutherland was the last operational ship in the RN to carry the Sea wolf missile system but unfortunately, there was no opportunity for a final live firing. The complications of COVID-19 meant that the necessary clearances and range facilities were unavailable.
After a big welcome home to Devonport and flypast from the already disembarked Merlin, Sutherland commenced the de-ammunitioning and de-storing process in preparation for LIFEX refit. The ship will be handed over to Babcock for care and protection on 10 December. Although still formally a commissioned warship this is the lowest state of readiness. Her crew will disperse to other jobs in the navy and she will be unmanned until she regenerates ahead of returning to the fleet, fully upgraded with Sea Ceptor and new engines, probably in 2023. The Type 23s remain the backbone of the navy and the other frigates will continuine the hard work and diversity of tasks demonstrated by HMS Sutherland.
2087 isn’t that expensive in the scheme of things. All T23 should have them.
You can fit the kit with just a bit more money.
You also have to find trained manpower and time it the T23 GP programmes for the sonar crew to exercise there skills. If you don’t then the 2087 is just an expensive piece of maintenance intensive ballast. I’m not sure that time is there without cutting into the other work of the GP’s.
Tales of the blatantly obvious.
Cutting into work of the GP’s? Really?
He was being insulting. Of course equipment needs trained personnel. Cuts into the work of the GP’s? What does that even mean? Rude? Or I am not one of the clique here?
You can of course disagree with other contributors, but please remember it’s nice to be nice.
No need to be rude to people. This is a forum for civil discourse on the current state and future of the royal navy.
Where was the insult ? SMH.
I always thought that we purchased 9/10 sets originally, can’t really remember TBH. If that’s the case, should be enough to go round given that 3-4 ships will always be unavailable.
If not, then agree should have enough to go round.
More HMT lead than RN defining a need. T23 with 2050 and without 2087 is still a very capable ASW platform. But seeing the submarine threat is growing and the RN is a global navy we can’t afford ships to go to sea without every sensor we have. Labelling ships without 2087 ‘general purpose’ like those ships do something special instead of FFBNW a vital sensor is just politicking.
The original computer cabinets for TAS processing were removed at refit in the 5 older T23s, and not replaced by newer computers as in the later build T23s. The originals were very heavy computers.
I remember them well!
Yes, those original computers were for the original Type 2031 sonnar, first fitted to the T23s.
Not all the T23s were fitted with the new Type 2087 sonnar introduce in 2006. HMS Westminster was the first to be trialed with it in 2005.
Its a massive undertaking to fit 2087. It is not as a lot of commentators seem to think about weapon and sensor systems, “Plug and Play”.
Miles of new cabling. Cabinets and consoles to be fitted. Cutting holes and welding them up afterwards to get the new kit inside. Changes to power supply systems as the active sonar uses 600V to power it. Changes to vent, cooling and hydraulic systems.
Throughout the ship there are step changes in the way the ship functions. Keeping ME kit well maintained and quiet becomes a priority. Accommodation , watch keeping, catering, for the additional TAS Apes , having a Merlin embarked with its bigger flight all need to be considered.
The kit may not be expensive in the greater scheme of things but getting the time to fit it, trial it and accept it takes the time.
Spot on. Thanks
All of that. Plus actually being able to schedule meaningful CASEX into the ships programmes – which is I suspect what ATH was alluding to. Functioning sonar sets without trained and experienced operators do not a capability make.
You mean there is a reason we have specialised ships?
Not everyone can have state of the art sub-hunting?
I’m shocked, shocked I tell you that I cannot buy this capability on Ebay for £20:55 and get Bill and Bob to fit it tomorrow.
Joking apart the up-arming and up-gunning discussions do get a bit detached from fact.
We are fortunately in a defence era where spending money to actually save money long term is fashionable again. Far too much time, money and effort was wasted on cash flow curves.
I honestly cannot see equipping old T23’s with new sonar as money well spent when we are on the cusp of T31 and T26 classes being in service.
Personally I would see giving T31 a better sonar fit as being probably worthwhile as in Scandi service it does an acceptable job.
The key with T31 is getting it into RN service on budget. I know I say this a lot but it is quite important for RN to demonstrate that it can get biggish platforms built on budget. The problem is when you go to the Treasury and say I want X, they then look at the last n projects and say you actually mean 2X. If that cycle can be broken then happy days. The key to this is getting out of the builders hands for a fixed austere spec and then bolting on the other goodies that the ship has been prepped for.
This way there is a separation of costs for weapons systems and hulls that lends clarity.
How much did T45 hulls really cost. How much of it was Sampson/Aster integration and development. T45 was the poster child of how not to do this.
Not sure that’ll actually help. All it does is muddy the waters in a Danish stylee.
It’s not weapon systems vs hulls and integration. It’s actually weapon system development and associated TLS costs that you want to ringfence. Take T26 – aside from the 5″ gun autoloader, I’m struggling to think of any developmental kit in the WE sphere that’s going on it. Yet each currently contracted ship is costing ~£1Bn. There are reasons for that, some good, some bad, point being it’s not really weapon systems that are driving unit cost here.
Good point N-a-B.
T26 was very much pitched as learning the lessons and taking a different approach to T45 by having something like 90% existing systems (Artisan, 2087, Sea Ceptor) that have been introduced, matured and then cross-decked on the new class. Can’t think of anything other than Mk41 and the main gun which are new but even they are off the shelf purchases.
I’ve no doubt it’s a complicated set of issues and decisions but is the £1 billion unit cost mostly down to delays and revisions to the design between 2010 & 2017 as well as the artificially lengthened build schedule?
I suspect that its partly down to the entire cost of the Govan and Scotstoun sites and the majority of their workforce being able to charge only against a single contract since the last R2 left the river.
Some of the tech staff will be able to charge against the Hunter and CSC contracts, but in essence the Clyde has one source of revenue. It will also have a minimum viable workforce.
This is where having a somewhat disaggregated facility (steel fabrication, block erection at Govan, design, outfit production, test and commissioning, drydocks at Scotstoun) highlights costs. BAES have to recover those costs somewhere – you can’t expect them to contract at a loss – and that will most likely be in the overhead applied to their manhour rates.
They don’t really have an alternate source of income for those yards, (they can’t compete efficiently for refits etc) which is one of the reasons why shutting Portsmouth (which could) as a build facility made little sense.
It’s also why BAES should be very wary of what Babcock are doing over in Rosyth, which will be a much more compact and capable single site, able to access other revenue streams.
That’s all really interesting.
You make a great point about BAES compared to Babcock. With the amount of emotive grandstanding around shipbuilding on The Clyde we sometimes assume it’s assured long-term.
However as you say Govan and Scotstoun are both cramped sites that without the fabled frigate factory investment rely on each other to turn out complex warships, whereas Babcock has the space at Rosyth to set up a single site and also the varied income streams to not be quite so reliant on HMG’s money.
All of that already makes The Clyde yards less than ideal for BAES if it wants to compete on future orders. If (and i know it’s a sizable if) Scotland did go independent HMG would have no choice but to go to Babcock and/or Harland & Wolf/Cammell Laird depending on their capacity and expertise at the time.
Not out of the realms of possibility that BAES get out of The Clyde before the revenue stream dries up.
I’m not disagreeing with you.
However, pulling things apart into clear cost silos lends clarity. Bear in mind nobody political reads detailed spreadsheets they look at the number at the bottom of the page.
Usual Treasury PR is ‘Admirals want all the toys’. If you can separate costs of toys from Hull it shines a light on things. It also puts downwards pressure on the integration costs if those are seen to be excessive.
But I come back again to my over riding point which is if RN delivers ships to budget the taps will be set to sensible steady flow.
What makes you think toys are limited to weapon systems? I’d be surprised if the cost of the hull capabilities wasn’t substantially higher than that of the weapon systems. Shock-rated gearboxes, turbines and DGs aren’t cheap. Nor are the electric motors, switchboards, interior control and comms systems. That’s before you add the shipyard labour to install them, fabricate and install the supporting auxiliary systems, test them, set to work and commission them.
You’d end up with a situation like the Spruance (or indeed T45) where the cost of the platform was deemed excessive given the number of visible “toys” carried.
Note that it isn’t the RN that gets to deliver the ships – its DE&S, although that will be lost on some – but you are correct in that getting them in on time and budget is the overriding priority.
You put that very well: as ever.
The issue you shine a light on is low volumes through a high capacity site meaning the % overhead becomes unsupportable.
In essence the retain HMG shipyards of old are still really there just operated by, in this case, BAE.
Whereas Babcock, with real commercials in play, could well take BAE’s pole position.
And one monopoly will replace the the other.
Someone else will step into BAES shoes if Babcock prove there are margins to be made.
What is going on at BAES is the last vestiges of another era.
Not quite – it’s more low volumes through high cost sites.
“HMG shipyards” never really existed. What you have on the Clyde is an uncomfortable amalgam of what was Yarrows (a specialist small warship builder active for over 100 years) and what was Kvaerner Govan, formerly Fairfields (a mixed shipyard) that has been in and out of receivership since the 1980s.
Govan was marginally more suited to the larger ships that followed the T23s and so became the centre for unit/block fabrication and erection during T45 and later QEC. The outfit manufacture shops and the facilities to do test and commissioning were left in Scotstoun, partly because there wasn’t enough room at Govan. There are also longer quays and drydocks on the Scotstoun site.
Had the fabled “frigate factory” (misleading term) gone ahead, those steel facilities in Govan would have been transferred and the Govan yard closed, concentrating all activity on the Scotstoun site. They bulldozed all the fabrication sheds at Scotstoun in anticipation, but it never happened. It would still have been a cramped site (very little depth of site between the river and the road – South St).
By contrast, Rosyth – a former dockyard and naval base – has enough space and have been forced to adopt a more commercial outlook during the fallow years prior to QEC construction and after cessation of submarine refits. They have therefore developed alternate revenue streams (albeit fairly small) and are likely to have the submarine dismantling programme and some refit work to spread across their cost base.
It would not surprise me one bit if BAES exited the Clyde once the T26 are done. Wee Nippy (well, her successors) would be upset, but there’s not a lot of upside there for BAES. Particularly if they have to compete with a Babcock yard that will be inherently more efficient.
By HMG shipyards I was tangentially referring more to history with Chatham etc in mind.
I totally agree with what you are saying regarding the hodge podge on the Clyde.
I don’t want BAES to exit I just want to see it reform.
It is worth a though, that the T31 may actually serve as an international model of how to procure a warship?
The USN for all their cash have not exactly covered themselves in glory in warship acquisition recently.
So, my take home might be that BAES have to reform or they loose credibility in other parts.
Anyway it has been an interesting and good humoured debate.
Oh it’s not just BAES that need to reform.
Not sure an international model is how to take things forward. T31 has been acquired by a process that went something like this :
The USN debacle is similar in root cause, although with different details. One might argue that the Little Cr@ppy Ship was an attempt to do what T31 is doing now, but for slightly different reasons. FFG(X) is definitely a similar process, driven by the same panic.
Point being, the root cause in both cases is the atrophying of the requisite skills required to understand how to design and acquire warships in the respective navies and MoD/DoD – particularly surface combatants which are more challenging to design than anything other than submarines.
T31 is far from being a proven success (I hope it is) – holding it up as a way to do business does not fix the root cause – in fact it may exacerbate it. When a really challenging requirement comes along, you can’t always get it off the international shelf. There’s a lot more to an ASW ship (for example) than having a couple of sonars, which is one reason why T26 has actually done OK in export terms. There are very, very (very) few design out there that actually do ASW properly – and T26 hit the market at a particularly fortuitous time.
I totally agree with your points re withering Naval Architecture skills – these are at the crux of the woes.
If you can’t think it: you can’t build it.
There is no point in having state of the art production without state of the art design.
Although state of the art production is a great help to make a case for the design bit.
Interesting series of comments.
Its really hard to see a Clyde based future for BAES beyond T26 and a speculative use of T26 as the T4X platform, which is certainly not a given. The only other potential customer I see for a T26 platform involving a Clyde build might be Norway, perhaps in the late 2030/2040 time-frame. Although if all that comes to pass then it keeps them busy well into the 2040s.
One problem is that BAES don’t seem to have an interest in aggressively going after smaller naval ship business, and an increasing number of smaller countries want to build their own. This is all compounded by an apparent lack of interest in commercial design and build, and by the lack of competitiveness in service/re-fit at the Clyde that you identified.
Perhaps BAES’ future lies in design only, tendering in partnership with third party manufacturing facilities/companies, as they are doing in Australia and Canada, although I suppose we will have to see how well those examples work out in practice. In the UK, partners with better dockyard capabilities/potential might be Infrastrata (still early days) and some mix-and-match or pick-and-sort from A&P/Cammell Laird/Peel Ports and Able.
If BAES deem maintenance/re-fit a worth while investment in the UK for a broader more diversified business, clearly they do in the US, then I suppose they could purchase out of that mix of companies to do both build and refit. Seaton or Belfast might give them the carrier business for example, presuming no Portsmouth dockyard investment.
Yarrows started out in London and then shifted lock stock and rivets to Scotstoun in 1906
Isn’t it the case of why some of the ageing T23(ASW)s are to be refitted with new sonnar Type 2150, is due to the long drawn out build schedule of the T26 into the 2030s. So some of the T23s will have to last to mid 2030s.
It takes a moment to get you head round mid 2030’s. 15 more years on an 18 year design life. On a hard worked ship.
I have no better knowledge on why the update is being done. But I guess you are correct.
It’s more to do with obsolescence. The 2050 dates from the mid 80s. Just think what that means in terms of electronic components and whether you can actually source them now.
The equipment PM for that sonar once told me well over ten years ago now, that it relied on a 2MB hard drive………..
Yes, it is getting incredibly hard to source once common transistors never mind IC’s
Must have been very well and cleanly coded. Will run like stink when recompiled for Linux!
The great think about programs that are small enough to fit on disks that small is that you can actually understand them properly rather than just understand parts of them. Makes coding easier.
Seriously the system cabinets are something to behold! The operators console is also quite special! You’re correct in that (as with quite a few bits on 23s) no one is making spares anymore and there’s only so long things can be put in the repair loop. It’s just old. I was told the actual array is still quite good so was a little surprised when they announced it was getting replaced
So it looks like HMS Monmouth will not get another refit, but be use for spares instead?
I agree that a towed sonar should have been fitted to all T23’s at the outset. Leaving them off was due to cost savings associated with defence cuts to cash in the peace dividend after the fall of the Warsaw Pact when we thought we’d have no further need to chase Russian subs around.
Calling the none towed sonar equipped warships General Purpose was just a spurious attempt to post rationalise cost driven equipment deletions.
However, I agree with other posters that in a world where there isn’t money to do everything it makes sense to invest in platforms with a longer remaining lifespan than the T23. At this point I’d be putting a good quality hull sonar on the T31 before I spent money on towed sonars for the T23.
Nope. The ones now known as GP were all originally fitted with a towed array – Sonar 2031Z. They stopped fitting it on the batch 5 ships (possibly batch 4, it’s a long time ago), because Ivan and his noisy SSN had gone away and 2031 wasn’t too clever against SSK.
Which is why Sonar 2087 was developed. It went on the youngest eight because they had the longest remaining life.
Thanks for the clarification. Whether the decision was taken due to cost (as I suspect) or due to the fact Ivan had gone away, it was clearly the wrong decision as Ivan and his SSN’S and SSK’s are all over our waters again
Out of curiousity what classification were the 3 Ships Sold ( Gifted ) to Chile – ASW or GP ?.
None. That distinction wasn’t really being used back then.
Norfolk and Marlborough were batch 1, Grafton batch 4.
Yes, It was HMS Westminster which first trialed the Type 2087 TAS in 2005, Do you remember it N-a-B?
I hope the LMM system that was tested gets rolled out across the fleet
I’d be happy enough with full integration trials and a couple of sets routinely deployed and another 8 sets in stores.
Carrying lots of exposed kits ads massively to maintenance…..and that kit under slung on the 30mm didn’t look very well maranised to me!
Or LMM system can be “detachable”? Wires connected, everything tested. And then, when not “needed”, the whole system will be stored, and the wiring interface can be covered with watertight hat?
Looking at Wildcat’s LMM system, I think “detachable” can be foreseen.
That is what FFBNW means these days.
All the wiring loom and interfaces are in place.
Don’t underestimate the damage done when doused in salty water daily. Particularly when exposed like these are.
Hence the preference for VLS with a nice watertight hatch system at the top, , the ability to have a controlled dry environment etc. I’m not sure why a trainable missile is envisaged for the 30mm underslung as you are going back to 70’s thinking.
Also the back blast from launch gasses will mess things up. Need exclusion areas around the 30mm.
Maybe a mini VLS pack?
“That is what FFBNW means these days”
No it doesn’t. Donald-san is suggesting the DS30M missiles be kept under cover in the ship until needed i.e. just like the missiles used on Wildcat and just like the shells for the cannon.
Dear me. Have you observed any missile firings and seen what the efflux gasses do to the surrounding surfaces never mind exposed wires and cables?
So the idea of blasting (not an overstatement) all manner of things in the rear arc of the pannier pack is a great idea?
I wouldn’t mind betting that the demo was set up at a very narrow range of angles in which firing was permitted so that other things didn’t get destroyed by the efflux.
But what would I know……
While you have a point, it may be exaggerated. Think of all the heavy guns from 6 in and up where the salvo from a turret could and did cause blast effects for the superstructure.
The Wildcat fires the missiles adjacent to the airframe with seemingly no serious effects. They are fired in fixed tubes and the smoke and flame from the rear may be superficial.
When it is fired the
– Protective end cap is blown off
– Initial stage fire to clear ship
– Full stage fires
So you have
a risk of physical damage with the protective cap
Blast, corrosive/chemical, charring/melting of cables, paint and surfaces by the initial stage
On a warship these are usually mitigated by exclusion zones, physical space, specialist paints and toughened up cabling (high temp insulation) probably in steel ducts or routed away.
In the publicly available images you have
– A very confined space
– Exposed cables (look rubberised to me)
Yes, you fire it from a helo, the initial stage fires with efflux to the rear of the aircraft the momentum gained pushed the missile well away from the helo before the main stage fires.
But there are similar products used world-wide, SADRAL, TETRAL, and SIMBAD family using Mistral missile. Other than the “cap”, all the issues are the same, but still it is very popular and are widely used. For example, in French navy for SADRAL, they are using anti-flame tiles on the deck.
The “publicly available images” are for trial, and not the final form (carefully looking, the wires are not even properly held). So, “exposed wires”, if it is a big problem, can be easily removed.
# By the way, we see many exposed wires on ships mast, around the sensor, and many other places. I understand it all depends on its surface material.
But I agree some wires and openings around the deck shall be covered/moved.
But you would harden the cabling or put a deflector in front of it if you were deploying for real.
I’m referring more to the mounted junction box with three black cables on the bulkhead behind the cannon.
Irrelevant to the point under discussion.
I was having a nice sensible discussion with Donald who made some sensible points in a courteous manner.
It is a tiny bit odd to butt into a conversation and start tell one or other party they are OT.
If you feel that strongly about things, and I am sure it comes from a good place, why not ask the site owners if they need a moderator?
I used to do work on fire testing and smoke testing things, on an RN funded project, to make vessels more survivable. So I do have a clue about what tests would have been done to what any why. Albeit 20+ years ago.
Don’t be silly, this isn’t the place for a private chat.
You may have been confused by the ordering of our comments. A quirk of this forum is that replies are not necessarily displayed after original comment.
I was merely objecting to your use of FFBTW. By your definition, guns are FFBTW shells because shells are stored away from the guns in magazines. And Wildcats are FFBTW because their missile and missile launcher are similarly stored away from the aircraft.
Both clearly incorrect.
Last thing I heard on this was that it was not considered a massively successful trial.
The effective range of the weapon system was only marginal improvement on what the cannon mount it was bolted to could do just as well. The value of adopting the weapon, at the moment, didn’t justify the costs of backfilling missiles that would need to be drawn from Wildcat air ordnance stocks. Source on this was anecdotal and commissioned but I dont hold that against him and he’s usually reliable!
But, a 30mm ammo to reach 4 km, it needs more than 4 seconds (muzzle velocity is 1080 m/s, and surely slow down quickly). For any target changing direction within 4 seconds, i.e. fast boats, guided-ammo like LMM will be much more lethal ? (in a MBDA/Thales movie, LMM is hitting a boat ~4 km away)
But, your friend’s comment is valuable, thank a lot. It might mean there are some difficulties we do not know at this point.
Going back a few decades, I remember these Type 23’s were designed to be Stealthy in certain areas, anyone know they stand up nowadays ?
Still pretty good, especially where it counts.
Thanks, My son is currently serving on one, just making sure he’ll be OK.
Cool mate. thanks for that one too.
Interesting read. Wish I’d know about her visit to Yokosuka in 2018 at the time; I was living in Yokohama then and could have gone down to say hi!
Long-term i think the game plan will be to get the initial 5 T31 into service on budget with the possibility of addition equipment being paid for and fitted at a later date. The industry and MoD managing to get a complex warship program delivered on time and without costs spiraling is paramount.
Type 32 is likely to be an aspiration for 5 batch 2 T31’s if all goes to plan with the initial contract, and rumour already has it that the RN wants more ASW platforms to support the carrier-group.
The questions are 1. Even if a T31 derivative is likely will the MoD at least be looking at whole new designs as possible alternatives and 2. Are this new class intended to act as mother-ships for autonomous mine-hunters given that no separate mother-ship design has yet been identified, and if so how would that impact their supposed role as escort vessels that will bring the RN fleet back up to 24.
Could a derivative of the derivative that is already T31 strike the balance between investing in design skills and keeping a continuity of production at Rosyth (assuming it’s awarded to Babcock)? Or would a completely fresh design be the only way to avoid letting the expertise wither? Guess what i’m saying is evolutionary or revolutionary?
Do you think some form of resurrected MHPC design in the Venari or Black Swan mold would be the answer to provide a mother-ship capability for mine-hunting and survey equipment and in time supplanting the River’s in a general patrol role? Essentially a simple but flexible class that fill all of the non-combatant support roles in the RN with a modular/containerized approach?
A derivative isn’t a design. It’s a modification. It’s the why a design is the way it is that’s important, which means understanding from first principles.
A good example would be the MCMV mothership. What are you trying to do, rather than how big or small are you trying to be. Launching USV from davits strikes me as unnecessarily limiting. How many USV do you actually need to conduct the mission? How many in the water at once? What support needed?
Answer those questions and then decide whether that looks like Venator, Venari, T32 or something else…..
I am under the impression that Bae have the skills to design a new frigate from scratch but Babcock’s do not.
If that is true, how could a new T32 be built at maybe the superior shipyard at Rosyth by Babcocks?
Could two T32 competitions emerge, one for design and another for build?
I think it’s actually a marginal difference now. By the time we start any real activity for T32 in a few years from now, it’ll be less.
I am surprised by this response given Babcock’s total lack of corporate experience in designing ships from scratch. But you may mean their pairing with OMT & BMT who presumably would fill the gap.
Babcock’s may form another company with BMT, with teams of both working together in a new partnership?
BAE haven’t got that much left either. That’s the point.
Actually, neither do BMT. Design expertise is a bit fragmented.
Babs. would need to buy out BMT, and to inject investment there, if Babcock’s wanted to be serious player as a warship builder.
But that would be very difficult to do because BMT shares are held by a trust, so BMT is Not for sale!
Design and Build need to be both integrated for the proposed Type 32.
What if a designer with no connections to the builder won?
Nothing to stop Babs and BMT forming an alliance?
While from a technical point of view a new design from first principles would be ideal , the reality is military-political- design process has become broken over the last decades as previous projects shows.
The back and forth takes so long and becomes so expensive and with a desire to have ‘leading edge’ technology included means that time passes and the result is half the ships needed and maybe technology problems as well.
A derivative of the T31 using the hull form and probably all the internal systems and the existing industrial process to build them is certainly the way forward for a further frigate batch for the RN which would have export potential
The trouble is there is a lack of understanding about continuity => Reducing design risk => which reduces cost risks.
The Parker report didn’t really bang on about that enough.
Bear in mind politicians only read the preface and exec summary!
So all that is in the political shell like is the build risks which tends to favour design evolution.
I reckon that there will be a new class of mothership for the autonomous minehunters and that they will be bigger than the current Echo class. Also they will undertake hydrograhic and undersea cable survey. These motherships will not be the T32 but will replace the Echo/Hunt/Sandown ships with a reduction in hull numbers.
I would envisage on occassion some of the Autonomous minehunters will get a run out on the Mission bays on T31/26.
RN will not be building replacements for the MCM boats, future MCM will be containerised. Not even sure they will use mother ships probably use opv’s to baby sit. Containers can be dropped anywhere you need them by merchant ships or RFA. T32 is begining to look like a batch 2 t31 heavily modified to accept more containerised equip, may even be absalon like arrangement so it can cover FLSS concept.
I reckon its about more than mines.
The new class of mothership that I see, will also be capable of hosting and deploying UUVs like a 9m Manta and will offer support to larger UUVs operations (but some of these larger uuvs will be to large to host and deploy). This is what I think that is being referred to by “new mutli role research vessels”
Hope this research vessel it arrives in the next 2 years as the first 3 sets of autonomous MCM kit arrives in 2022. Although if it’s going the used with all the new uuv and manta submarines will one be enough.
There will be more than one, my posts refer to the plural eg vessels etc
Come 2022 T31/26 won’t be ready either so the RN must have something in mind for their operation in the interim.
Mission bays on T31/26 will be useful for MCM kit but these assests will have many other taskings to undertake and will not always be available for mInewarfare and thats where the multi role resesrch vessels come into play.
They are a large platform capable of hosting a range of new automous kit including underwater surface and aerial.
Don I do agree with what you wrote, I don’t think frigates should be used for this type of mission as we have so few they are more useful being out there doing escort, asw, saw, global protection etc. I did propose a reworked black swan design for a multi role research vessel, MCM mothership, opv, and a mini strike ship for covert insertion and extraction. Unfortunately nothing seems to be on the horizon, as with all things defence we are now in a hole which will take a long time to sort out.
Good comment and I would be of the same opinion as yourself about using the frigates for MCM. You don’t build a billion pound ASW warship to do minewarfare. Granted it maybe useful on the odd occassion to host some MCM in the mission bay but the frigates need to be preforming their primary mission and not constantly being relied on to undertake the minewarfare role to.
The Black Swan would be a good starting point for a multi role vessel and it would be worth dusting of and giving some consideration to.
It has a lot to like
Chinook flight deck
Large hangar merlin + uav
600m2 mission bay
Plenty of storage
I think it would require to be about 100m with the flight deck to be raised up to accommodate a 5m high mission bay with crane to rear to handle boat or subs upto 9 m long although the bay may need to be reduced to 500m2 as if I remember accomodation for sailors was cramped I would enlarge the hanger to accommodate multiple helos, UAV, or ribs on removable davits make the space really multipurpose, I would add ports to the mission bay below flight deck to allow install of torpedo launcher or even ADL launcher if required for a mission. Std arms 57mm, 40mm and 1 off ExLS with 12 quad packed seaceptors. Tall order I know but 6 to 9 ships for a fixed sum of 1.5 mil all in should be possible.
Should have read 1.5 bil for 9 ships
I do like the idea of fitting 57mm, 40mm and ExLS. That gives it a good level of self defence.
Let’s hope hms QE gets marlet missiles mounted on her 4 cannons.
I’m guessing that you were Joking there, or maybe you weren’t , It’s difficult to know sometimes on here….. Does “Cannon” refer to the 3 Phalanx or a Ref to Years gone past when HMS Victory was sailing the Oceans ? Lol.
He’s clearly referring to the DS30M that mounts the 30mm Mark 44 Bushmaster II cannon.
And cannon is what the Bushmaster manufacturer calls it.
Chill out Ron, You’ll find life a lot nicer. It was clearly a tongue in cheek comment of double meaning with a hint of humour.
Better to replace the 30mm cannons with the 40mm cannon fitted to t31 offers greater range high fire rate than the 30mm cannon and LMM combined
I’m guessing you haven’t read my reply to your post on the previous thread then ? You got that one well wrong and you can see all the Negatives now. Idiot.
I did apologise to post on previous comment was not ment for you. I thought we were all hoping and having an opinion for a better equipped royal navy.
Well I didn’t see it and Yes, thats the only reason I visit this site.
Ps I have been removing many negatives from your comments but it only allows us too remove 1. I do think negative votes should only be applied if a comment or reason is supplied.
I’ve decided to cease my War on the Up and Down Feature as It just seems Futile…… Arseholes will always be Arseholes, It won’t make any difference here.
People with good nature and brains always appreciate others offering a reasoned and/or experienced point of view.
Debate can be fun: if everyone respects each other.
Stay around: you help us all think.
I’m not going anywhere, I like it here, I just got pissed at seeing perfectly reasoned post’s getting negatives. Don’t see the point other than to wind people up whilst adding nothing to the debate. I spent quite some time cancelling as many negatives as poss but I’ll not bother now, don’t think it matters either way.
Borg. What the world seems to have forgotten is that 20 years ago before internet/social media you would only really have voiced your opinions amongst family/friends/social group/work colleagues. This medium now gives everyone a voice to the wider world. It still confuses me that individuals get upset when people they have never met, and whose motivations and experiences they will never understand, disagree with them.
It’s really an irrelevance, I wouldn’t let it bother you.
Just enjoy the interesting discussion on here. Whether random people on the internet click one button or another really matters not one jot.
A warning to those that might be in a position to do something about it. Recent events in America, where their left is now openly treasonous, have brought me to think about our own situation. Those now revealed to be enemies of the USA are the mother of “diversity and inclusion” shite over here. Many of you will know that for example mixed units are a disaster, and they try to erode actual British identity by the day. I now believe that the things you see happening in the British armed forces regarding these SJW issues, are intentionally designed by traitorous and subersive elements within our government to weaken the British armed forces. Render them combat ineffective.
As for who, my money is on China.
I think your hat needs an extra layer on tin foil on it
Maybe multiple layers and some copper mesh!!!!
Force Z — the story that has been well hidden.
Must be low point of the war — after that Singapore was no shock.
Did the story make the 10pm news?
Opposition = Japanese Air Force
Enemy = Admiralty.
The sick list back in the dockyard must have raised a few eyebrows.
Escorted by 4 waifs and strays with one bofors gun between them.
Makes the T31 look like Mike Tyson in comparison.