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Geoffrey Hicking

Internal space and low crew requirements are the key features. Get those right and these could be extremely capable.

Moose

To my mind, given the state of the entire RN and and the tight confines of the Type 31e budget, A140 is an easy pick. Growth margin, SWAPC, mission upgrade potential, whatever way you frame it the big hull has it and makes the 30+ years they’ll ultimately serve that much less of a headache.

Callum

The intention isn’t for the T31 to be serving 30+ years like previous classes, it’s not sustainable and undermines the shipbuilding industry. The hope is to keep a hot production line to avoid losing jobs and skills. In that regard, the Leander design could be more suitable.

Rob N

Throw away warships to prop up UK yards…?

Callum

Not throw away, no. Have them serve their design life, then flog on or decommission them.

Look at the Type 23s. They were intended for a 19 year service life, and then to be replaced. Instead, they’re having expensive refits to see them through while their replacements are slowly and inefficiently built. The whole procurement process needs to be radically improved, and part of that is creating a steady drumbeat of orders

Rob N

I agree however I think the main problem is funding. If we ordered large batches the unit cost would go down – there would be a steady flow of work. Also other ships would not need to go passed their scheduled replacement life. The money thing ultimately comes down to political will. If the Government provided the funds the ships would be built fast and efficiently. The mess we are in is all about penny pinching.

I agree reform of procurement is well overdue however without funding I do not see big improvements. Like you I think we should get value for money on the ships we have making full use of them until the are scheduled to retire then sell them on. I think hulls with short lives are asking for trouble as they are not cost effective and just present a target for the treasury to cut numbers or have overly prolonged builds and peace meal batch ordering.

Callum

The main issue is always funding, and since the defence budget is unlikely to gain a massive boost any time soon (although there is optimism for an increase), we need to be smarter about how we utilise the budget that we have. Reform of procurement doesn’t need a big boost in defence spending (although it’s definitely needed in general), it just needs to be organised.

To clarify one thing first, I don’t mean specifically construct hulls with especially short lives, or to sell off ships especially early (e.g. the B1 and B2 T22s all served an average of only about 15 years!). We need to get our money’s worth, so I’d aim for an RN service life of roughly 20-25 years.

I acknowledge your point about shorter lives (potentially) being less cost effective and being a target for the treasury, but the counter argument to that is old ships require far more crew and far more maintenance, as well as expensive upgrades to keep them relevant. For bigger ships (historically battleships and cruisers but now carriers and arguably destroyers), that investment is logical, because the original cost of such vessels far outweighs the upgrade cost to keep them viable. For smaller escorts, built without bleeding edge equipment and requiring most of your manpower (the frigate fleet requires 2405 sailors, vs 1146 for destroyers, and around 1600 for both carriers ship complement), it is far more cost effective to build new light combatants with modern equipment, rather than keep older, manpower intensive hulls forming the bulk of your fleet. There’s the added bonus is mentioned before as well, sustaining shipbuilding and associated industries, protecting job, and cycling money back into the economy. Assuming there’s not a total arsehat in Treasury (a bold assumption, I know), the economical argument supports this approach.

Cam Hunter

Exactly, we can afford 50 frigates if we have the political will to, but it seems our millitary isn’t cared about like it was, we need far more ships than we have, 19 frigates and destroyers a dam joke 22 would be better, I hope we order 8 type 31s.

Cam Hunter

We need to order 16 frigates minimum, 8 of each.

Craig

Agree. Avoid expensive MLUs and instead have a constant drumbeat of construction, with a new warship ordered every 8 months. If a ship’s natural life was determined to be 18 years, that would provide a fleet of 27. Those ships reaching the end of their lives would enter reserve so the navy can be grown in times of heightened risk (and the navy reserve should be increased to facilitate a reserve escort force) plus any that can be sold to friendly navies overseas will bring valuable revenue back to the RN and likely support, spares, training and muntions contracts to our industry. The design would just gradually evolve with later units, rather than ludicrous amounts spend on designing a new class with tiny numbers.
To get the ball rolling the initial 13 should have the Mk8 guns, 20mm canon, Sea Ceptor missiles and Artisan radars transferred from the T23s to keep costs down.

Chris Paris

I agree with your line of taught. But why go for a new design when the design is in the hands of MOD. Stretch the river class to a batch 3 design, with the increase in the hull a helo hanger can be accommodated. With an increased hull the performance is improved in speed and stability. The added length would allow the inclusion of a tower array sonar making such platforms available for ASW escort duties. The inclusion of better fighting weaponry such as the mk8 4.5 ins gun (proven during the Falklands] combined to the sea captor and 2 x 30mm guns will surely add to the survivability issue. The addtation of the river class design will cut down the design process tremendously, allow the supply chain of UK based technology to remain competitive. Maybe MoD would have to insist that these vessels are built by a number of yards across the UK to distribute the work capacity around the major shipyards. I am sure that the price tag will be met, yet a marketable frigate escort becomes viable.

Chris Paris

I wanted to add that the added say 10 m of hull should prove to bring the design to a different league. A reminder of previous escorts operated successfully by the RN in the 70’s were of similar size. The beam of the batch 2 is already 13.5 m hence it allows such inceprease without having to redesign the whole hull entirely.

Stephen G.

I agree Callum. Leander is most suited to the Type 31 role. The Type 31 is supposed to be a light frigate and inexpensive and Leander fits this role best. The national shipbuilding strategy is also supposed to be about sustaining British shipbuilding and design, and Leander is the only British design. It also uses systems already in use with the Royal Navy. It would also be very nice to build some Royal Navy warships in England again (Cammell Lairds on the Mersey) and leave Rosyth free for the fleet solid support ships.

Meirion X

Are you aware that the Leander frigate is only 117m x 14m, which does not allow much space for future upgrades etc.
The Leander is still unproven, so extra building time needed and shock testing required etc.

Stephen G.

There’s too many people trying to turn this into a Type 26 competitor in the Royal Navy’s own ranks, both in terms of size and weapons, something it was never meant to be. The Type 31 is supposed to sit in between an O.P.V. and a Type 26, both in terms of size, and weapons (and cost).

A bigger hull will cost more to build, and more to propel through the water.

Leave the gold plated stuff (and any extra money) for the higher end stuff.

Gary

The competition has always been against a fixed price so to be a viable competitor the costs are the same, the question is how much capability do you get for a fixed price, therefore cheaper / more expensive is not a factor in this procurement?

Tim Peterson

Gary: the Arrowhead 140 is a no brainer. You get a better ship for the same price as Leander. And other things like greater upgradability and lower through life costs. And lets not forget that the Arrowhead can do 29 knots vs 25 for the Leander, and thus can serve as an escort for a carrier group.
As far as exports go the value for money and superior capabilities of these ships would be a strong selling point, which the Leander doesn’t have. It would be competing with a whole host of cheap light warship designs, while the Arrowhead for the same amount of money would be a much better deal.
The main difficulty I can see is if Thales has miscalculated the cost figures, and goes bankrupt making the class.

D J

Thales is a major worldwide defence company. They could build the entire class for free & still survive (as could BAE). While T31e is a major defence contract, compared to the likes of Australia’s frigate competition (won by BAE for 9 x T26), Canadian frigate competition (won by LM & BAE for 15 x T26), Australian heavy SSK submarine competition (12 x 4,500t d/e submarines won by Naval Group) & USA frigate competion (20 frigates – ongoing), T31e is small change. Big enough to attract attention – certainly, potential for more – yes, but really ho-hum (unless the potential for more comes off). To my (back of the envelope) calculations, Babcock, Thales, BMT & OMT have already wasted more on this than the actual contract is worth. They will be solely going on the potential. Would not be surprised if they had external wins, even if they lost T31e in UK.

Meirion X

I do agree that people here are wanting the proposed Type 31 frigate to be like the Type 26 in terms of armament. It is Not in terms of size, the Type 26 Frigate is 150m in length and 20m in width, compared to Arrowhead of 138m and 16m in width.
I would say, some of the ideas for the armement of the Type 31 frigate is just wishful thinking, including myself!
But I would expect a minimum armement of such a frigate, a need to be armed with Sea Ceptor for air defence, and a proper replacement for Harpoon, for anti-ship or anti-surface, including ability to strike shore targets. And a Wildcat helo. on board. Also some anti torpedos which can be launched from tubes like the present Stingray
tubes on Type 23.

It is highly unlikely that Type 31 frigate will be fitted out with Mark. 41 at build.
Who knows in the future?

Tim Peterson

On the topic of a harpoon replacement, can LRASM be launched from deck mounted canisters? Or does it require a type 41 VLS?

D J

Most missiles can be launched from deck mounted canisters (BAE even make a slanted mk41 compatable deck mounted launcher). The problem with LRSM is it competes with the Anglo-French missile in developement by MDBA funded by UK & France. NSM &/or JSM is a better modern alternative to Harpoon without bumping into either of these. JSM is also fast jet compatable & likely vls & submarine compatable (work underway on both). It needs to be remembered, that its not only T31e, T23 will still be around for the next 15 years or so, so something like NSM canister launched has plenty of scope.

As to the future – the Anzac class for Austrialia & New Zealand started out very basic, but both have been adding ever since. Both are still relevant today. It’s always faster to up-arm a warship (especially if designed that way like A140) then to build a new one (2-4 years). T23 started out with Sea Wolf (@10km) & ended up with CAMM (@25km). ANZAC class though always lacked margins & is pretty maxed out at around 3,800t. A140 is designed to go from base 5,700t to 6,700t @ 29kns & still have margin to spare. Sign here.

Paul

The key here is that the Arrowhead should be built with Mk41 Vls at build. The UK Government has already conceded that the Type 31e could not be built at the price they wanted, and now I understand a 2Billion order for 6 ships is to be announced shortly. The Type 31e must have an anti-air and anti-ship capability to make it credible.

Paul

Problem is these ships need to be able to fight. The Arrowhead is big enough to accommodate Sea Ceptor and Mk41 VLS. Fit these from the outset, with ideally the 5 inch gun, Phalanx and Auto 30mm. The bigger hangar is an asset enabling Merlin to be carried depending on mission requirements. AAW & ASM should be a given for all deep water vessels, with ASW depending on cost in Type 31 but bearing in mind ASROC can be carried in Mk41 along with LRASM.

Stephen G.

I guess you English guys (most of you reading this) must want every single Royal Navy ship, bar none, built in Scotland, with English shipyards getting literally zero ships for the Royal Navy.

The Type 31 is going to be the only chance to build Royal Navy ships in England again. There will be no other chances.

Rosyth, with its large dry dock and gantry crane, will be ideal for assembling the solid support ships. They are not getting these on top (and Scotland getting Type 45, O.P.V.s, Type 26, assembly of aircraft carriers, etc. on top).

Building blocks hundreds of miles apart with the associated transporting costs like what will be done with the Arrowhead at Rosyth is also definitely a more expensive way of building small ships, on top of the more steel used (steel is cheap but it isn’t free), more expensive to power through the water (bigger hulls are more expensive to power, this is a fact). Leander is cheaper to build and to operate than Arrowhead, fundamental requirements of the Type 31.

Leander also supports British ship design, uses systems already in use with the Royal Navy and is quieter.

Leander makes more sense for the Type 31 on so many different levels.

Dern

That’s where I’m torn. I want Leander because of industry reasons, but I want Arrowhead because it genuinely is the better ship for the navy.

Anthony Gilroy

Arrowhead 140 from a design perspective is better for the Navy.

Even more so for the people in the Navy.

And frankly. I’m always wary of anything from BAE.

James Harrington Law

Another very informative article, thank you.

Rob N

Yes great article. I think Arrowhead is a much better option then the sad Leander. However, I would like to see the article on the MEKO as that looks very futuristic and offers a lot.

Tempest414

The Meko article was done in March and is above for reading

Barry

Does babcock deserve the contract when they closed Appledore & destroyed a good experienced workforce ,they told our mp’s that even if the navy gave them ships not any of it would be built at Appledore. They don’t care about their staff just profit.

Callum

They closed Appledore because they had no orders after failing to win any of the jobs they bid for. They told MPs nothing would be built at Appledore because by the time the T31 build was going to start, the yard would’ve been closed for over a year. It’s not that they don’t care about their staff; it’s that it wasn’t financially viable to keep open a yard thats not generating any money

Grubbie

You want more ships?Yes ships are good.But exactly what do want them for?Something vague,general purpose vagueness.

Rob N

Personally I like the look of the MEKO A-200SAN perhaps even more then the Arrowhead.

Meirion X

Grubbie#
The Type 31 future frigates are to provide maritime security across the high seas, by a leading member of the United Nations.

Grubbie

Beautifully vague

Rob Cameron

I’m inclined to agree with you. The ‘General Purpose’ designation hasn’t been a great success for the RN in the past (e.g. Type 21 and Type 82). I’d prefer a frigate sized ship to be a specialist in either AAW or ASW and then have some additional items (i.e. medium calibre gun or SSM) added depending on budget to give it a more generalist capability . If you want a maritime security unit, take the current OPVs and stick a 76mm gun on the front with an optical fire director. We had these vessels, the Bird class, in Hong Kong until 1997. Sea Archer and the Otto Melara 76mm were perfectly adequate for maritime security!

Meirion X

I do Not think an OPV will fair well coming under attack in the Bab El-Mandeb Strait, with the attackers using rockets and missiles supplied, maybe by Iran!
That is the propose of global maritime security patrols, to make sure the high seas are open to shipping and trade,
using capable naval vessels.

Ian Williams

Quite, Meiron X. The key question is: what systems and armament are necessary for a ship to survive and do its job in such an environment? What would be adequate against Somali Pirates or an Argentine merchant vessel would not necessarily work in the vicinity of small navies with aircraft, missiles and submarines (e.g. Iran).

Meirion X

You are right Ian! It is the question of what armament is right for this kind of frigate.
Certainly it will need to be able to defend it self from a variety of means of attack, such as from the air, sea, and land.
From the air Sea Ceptor need to be the minimal.

The RN is in need of a new anti surface
missile to replace Harpoon with both sea and land attack option.

richard perry

If Brexit ever gets off the ground we will be trading with many more distant countries, most of this trade will go by sea and as the Royal Navy is at present unable to protect our shipping, note Iran, we will need far more frigate size ships. These ships should be powered by diesel engines to enable them to operate in warmer waters, unlike gas turbines. I would only ask that we don’t use MTU engines.

Tempest414

In the article above they show a image of a A-140 with 76mm and 2 x 40mm and said it will be fitted with 24 CAMM if this is right then this ship will be capable with the help of vulcano rounds of giving NGFS up to 40km ( with the 114mm Mk-8 it is 27 kms ) from the ship with the 76mm air cover 25 km+ round the ship with CAMM and engaging air & surface swam attacks up to 7.5 kms with the 40mm’s. All it needs is 8 RBS-15 Mk-3 to give it surface and land attack out 300 km’s and it would be a very good Global patrol frigate

Meirion X

I think it will make more sense to fit out an Arrowhead Type 31 frigate, with Mk 41, in its role of providing maritime security, including covering sensitive regions such as
the Gulf and Bab el-Mandeb strait, where vessels have been attacked.

Tempest414

But what would you put in the Mk-41 vls ?

Callum

Tomahawks would be a good choice. The US is phasing them out, so I imagine they’d be open to selling us a couple hundred surplus ship-launched versions. Against terrorist groups firing land based missiles or last generation air defences, that would be more than enough. Then when Perseus is available around 2030, that can be fired from Mk41 as well.

Meirion X

I think SCALP would be a good choice of short or medium range land attack cruise missile. The French use it on the Syria attacks.
I discovered that SCALP, (sea launched Storm Shadow), is not really compatible with Mk. 41, but Sylver A70 is.
So maybe 1or2 8 cell modules of A70.

The MoD originality procured 900 Storm Shadows in around 1998, which can be adapted to SCALP.
So the MoD most still have a lot of Storm Shadows left over?

So Type 31 frigates could fitted with a mix of Sea Ceptor cells and Sylver A70.

Paul

If we have that many Storm Shadows we should definitely go for it. Typhoon was never designed to carry the Bulky Storm Shadow, better to make use of them on The Type 31.

Cam Hunter

Quad pack some sea ceptor, tomahawk and that new anti ship missile all fit. There’s many choices. Our type 45s should add the mk41 considering these space for 14, quad pack sea ceptor and that’s an extra 56, but tomahawk would be far better.

Meirion X

But Tomahawk is being discontinued!
The USN will be needing their remaining stocks in the Gulf etc.
The nearest equivalent is SCALP, (sea launched Storm Shadow with a booster), of which the MoD must have over 700 Strom Shadows left in stock.

Meirion X

Actually, production of the present Tomahawk line stopped 2016.
I read a new Block V Tomahawk is being developed and go’s into production from 2020.
Tomahawk is compatible with Sylver A70 cells, so could be potentially launched from a T45, and also SCALP!
So why not upgrade the present Sylver system on T45 destroyers?

Captain Nemo

Maritime Tomahawk! There’s an order for 90 block V for 2020.
The Royal Navy apparently thinks it has £100-200m for a Harpoon replacement and Tomahawk would be my choice as it covers Harpoon in the short term but then offers us a heavyweight option out to 2040 (when US support ends) which could overlap with and possibly complement a smaller Perseus in 2030.
With ISTAR assets close to target the navy could shoots ships while it’s still a thousand miles away.

Paul

Heard the RN was going for Tomahawk V, but didn’t know an order had been placed? As long as they are not Sub Launched they’ll fit nicely on Type 26 and could on type 31 aswell!!

Meirion X

To Cam Humter
You can quad pack Sea Ceptor in Sylver VLS A50 cells. You can Not quad pack a Tomahawk missile, they can only be launched from single cells, they will fill most of the cell space! Tomahawk also requires the larger Sylver A70 cell to be launched.

So why go through the expense of fitting a different VLS system on a Type 45, for just 16 cells?
Whereas the RN could use the spare VLS space on a T45 for cells, by fitting, the similar type of system, Sylver A70 cells, which can be used to launch Tomahawk.

donald_of_tokyo

“Capable to carry”, “already integrated into”, and “actually can be carried” are THREE different issues.

– “Capable to carry”: mechanically fit, and in principle OK to be installed –> just size and exhast flow capability calculation

– “already integrated into”: have been tested and certified to actually be used in the VLS –> needed detailed analysis, installing all the electric boxes and wirings, and actually testing the fire.

– “actually can be carried”: system actually has the electric boxes and wirings to handle it. For example, Tomahawk requires the TWCS (Tomahawk Weapon Control System) to be installed in Mk41 VLS. In addition, actual software and its integration into the CMS is needed.

No one has yet payed for integrating Tomahawk missile into Sylver VLS. If UK pays for it, and add strike-length Sylver VLS, and add TWCS and wireing, as well as software integration to their CMS, only then T45 will be able to carry Tomahawk.

Similarly, none has yet payed for quad-packed CAMM in Sylver VLS A50 cells. Someone (may be Brazil) has payed for ExLS stand-alone system, to quad-pack CAMM in it.

Gavin Gordon

I note that the base design has plenty of room for increased vls, but would like clarification if that would still be case with the additional boat bays.

Don

I think A140 would make an excellent frigate with real growth potential and the potential to become a high end unit if required.

Also if you go back through its development lineage to the Absalon Class there is further potential for a few bespoke platforms that would be ideal for HADR role in the Caribbean and mine warfare mothership role in the gulf with focus on 300+ seadays per year and with lower crewing levels by having a more basic war fighting role. This would release the two Bays back to their primary role.
Perhaps even in the Gulf you could have the Bay and the Forward deployed type 23 replaced by one bespoke platform to cover both roles based of the A140 / Absalon platform but you would have to move up on the warfighting scale to pack the same or better punch as a T23.

donald_of_tokyo

Good summary, thanks a lot.

The most interesting point is : “The intellectual property rights (IPR) for the Huitsfield design were licensed from naval architects OMT in Denmark and then developed further by Team 31 into Arrowhead. IPR for Arrowhead now resides entirely in the UK and can be exported as needed”

I understand OMT still retains their Huitsfield design IPR (“licensed” means so?). So, Huitsfield design and A140 will be rivals in future market.

Actually, in IMDEX Asia 2019 exhibition on this May, the booth of Huitfeldt-class design was provided by team Denmark lead by OMT, which does NOT included Babcock in their banner.

donald_of_tokyo

(Independent) technical issues:

– I understand this article means, Arrowhead 140 design is using internal space more “luxurious” than normal warships. So, although the hull is 5700 t, how large is the “available space” compared to other warships? As Huitsfield-class (6700t FLD) has armaments similar to Sachsen-class FFG (5800t FLD), I guess it may be able to be quantified as “15% penalty space to pay for better price and much easier future modification” ?

As the 15% larger hulls require more fuel, which is actually cheaper?

– The boat alcoves are too small. As T26 can carry up to 11-12 m long boats, I think Arrowhead 140 shall also follow the same size, for future commonality in USVs. Leander design does it.

– I like the simple CODAD orientation, simple and cheap. 4-gen CODAD is one of the “economical” propulsion systems proposed in MTU’s material, along with 2-gen CODOE. As Arrowhead 140 is NOT an ASW frigate, and it must be cheap to build and operate, the propulsion system must be kept “simple”.

donald_of_tokyo

[Add]
“As Huitsfield-class (6700t FLD) has armaments similar to Sachsen-class FFG (5800t FLD), I guess it may be able to be quantified as “15% penalty space to pay for better price and much easier future modification” ?”

This means, Arrowhead 140 (equivalent in space to 5800t FLD Sachsen) is 1.6 times more spacy than Lenader (3700t FLD). As, Leander happily carries 57 mm gun, 2x 30 mm gun, 24 CAMM and a Wildcat, and still has Fit-to-Recieve (FTR) or Fitted-fro-but-not-with (FFBNW) spaces for hull sonar, towed sonar, SSM, it is not full. So, Arrowhead 140 will be only about 45% full, if the Leander is 70% full.

Merit (or demerit) of Arrowhead 140 platform will deeply depend on the probability of future investments to T31e.

I personally think Leander is already good enough, simply because I think, any future additional investments shall primarily go to;
– drones,
– F35B,
– T45 and T26
– Astute SSN
– P-8A and P-7,
and “up-arming” T31 will not be in high priority. In this case, fuel-efficient and license-free Leander will be my choice.

If I am wrong, so that;
– there are huge investment in future to fulfill all these requirements, including T31e
– or T31e up-arming is more important than those I listed,
then Arrowhead 140 with ~1.6 times larger internal space (in my estimate) start to prevail against Leander.

Stephen G.

Agree, the Type 31 was always meant to be an inexpensive, light frigate. Leander makes the most sense for this role.

Meirion X

How will a light frigate work out in the
contested waters of the Gulf and Bab el-Mandeb Strait? Not only the frigate has to defend it’s self, but retaliate against the attackers! Including if the attackers have rockets and missiles, the launch sites need to be taken out.
Of course Mr Corbyn as PM won’t retaliate, the crew are just expendable!!

It is the propose of the Type 31 frigates, to provide maritime security across the oceans.

MikeKiloPapa

Yes and the price Leander has to pay for cramming all that capability and features into a tiny hull, is not just an almost non-existent growth potential but also a being vastly less survivable, and almost certainly will have inferior damage control features, just on account of their much smaller size alone.

Stephen G.

These are going to be light inexpensive frigates, there won’t be “all that capability” to “cram” in there, lol. You are going to have large, expensive to build and power through the water hulls hardly filled with anything. Arrowhead is not the right solution for Type 31.

MikeKiloPapa

The Huitfeldts (not huitsfield!) does in fact have quite superior armaments to the F124 Sachsen class …..the latter only carrying 32 Mk41s , 2x RAM CIWS and one 76mm, while the danish frigates can be equipped with up to 80 VLS cells , 32 mk41s and 48 mk56s…..in theory they could actually carry an additional Mk56 vls since the 76mm in the B gun position on the forecastle is also a STANFLEX container.

Even in their RDN standard fit-out the Iver Huitfeldts 32 SM-2, 24 ESSM, 16 Harpoon , 2x 76mm and 1x35mm CIWS is more potent than their German counterparts.

Grubbie

Here we go again.Bigger gun,bigger hull, might as well make it Chinook capable,mk41s,etc.This is why it’s important to know what exactly you want the ship to do.

Tempest414

My guess is the RN want a globally deployable patrol frigate which is able to defend it self and others around it act as a first responded for HDRA plus has a war fighting role within a task group. as for the bigger this and that the thing with A-140 is it is already capable of lilly padding Chinook and housing a Merlin which would make it great for over seas deployment. As for armament as I said above a simple fit of 1 x 76mm , 2 x 40mm and 24 CAMM would make this ship very capable of defending its self and others stuff like a anti ship missile system with land capability would be the icing on the cake

D J

24 CAMM is not enough for a ship of this size. Even a single 8 cell mk41 vls will give you the option of 32 CAMM. It would also be a good idea to have a longer range option as well, especially if you expect to protect others in addition to yourself. A 2nd mk41 or equivalent with quad packed CAMM-ER gives you something capable of operating on its own or slotting into anyone’s task force as a valued addition. It’s often forgotten that warships with 8 AShM is now commonplace & 16 is not unusual. 24 doesn’t go far against those sort of numbers.

Bob

Hi DJ,

Can Camm ER be quad packed? If so can you please provide me an mbda link for this? I’ve looked before, but struggled to find the evidence.

Thanks

Meirion X

To Bob,
I don’t think so, because CAMM ER is wider as well as longer by about 14%, 190mm instead of 166mm CAMM.
Length: CAMM 3.2m, CAMM ER 4m.
It would require larger diameter canisters to quad pack them. Maybe by tri pack them, they could fit?
Sorry to disappoint you.

Bob

Thanks for the reply Meirion,

As mbda never mention quad packing, I was thinking the same as you. But just had a look at the dimensions of RIM-162 ESSM which can be quad packed in a mk41. These are 254mm diameter and 3.66m length. Based on this, camm er might be quad packed (length shouldn’t be an issue)

However, as Italy was the lead country on camm er and they stopped funding it and Spain decided on the essm and not mbda for their new ships, we will probably never know.

Bob

Captain Nemo

Funding is restored, with something expected 2024.

Bob

Thanks Nemo. Do you know if the Italians are funding the development of just the land based camm er, or does the reconfirmed money also cover the ship based version?

Bob

Captain Nemo

I’m afraid I don’t know, I got the update from Gabrielle Molinelli’s twitter (dated June 20) which stated that the Italians were spending 95m Euros to complete development by 2024. Gabrielle’s Italian so probably had an advantage when it came to digging that up.
I would note that the British army and the Royal Navy share the same CAMM stockpile so I don’t think a CAMM cares so long as you get it in the air.
I’d favour a progression to CAMM-ER if possible, any increase in coverage is of course desirable but anti-ship missiles moving at half a mile a second are a reality and a mile a second a probability, possibly pushing it from desirable to critical as far as the navy is concerned.

D J

Bob
I see you got your your answer the same way I got mine. Nothing official from MBDA (in fact they only list it as a land application- though that may be because that’s what Italy is paying to develop). Everyone I have spoken to or seen comments from with some knowledge of missiles has pointed to the same ESSM comparison for their reasoning.

Bob

DJ,

Any idea why the UK developed the naval camm instead of developing the er version with Italy? Surely, a short/medium range air defence is much more suited to a t26 or t31 than the short range camm.

An 80cm saving on length cannot be the justification.

Bob

donald_of_tokyo

I think, CAMM beauty comes from sharing air frame with ASRAAM. Actually, ASRAAM2 is based on CAMM. It will make production very cheap, because IR-AAW missile will be produced in number.

Also, being “small” will distinguish CAMM from ESSM and Aster-15. Even ESSM is now an active-radar homing missile, and there is less and less difference between ESSM and Aster-15. Soft-launch and compact is the distinguished Figure-of-Merit of CAMM.

As such, I’m very glad Brazil has adopted ExLS-stand-alone VLS, not the mushrooms, so that CAMM can be densely packed. Also, I’m surprised none of T31e candidates adopts ExLS as far as I know.

CAMM-ER is good in its nature, but only if there are mass production order foreseen, exceeding ASRAAM+CAMM number (for example, RAAF adopting CAMM-ER-based ASRAAM-mod?). Otherwise, CAMM cannot win against ESSM, I’m afraid.

CAMM is doing very well in export market. In any form, more investments (better seeker, higher mobility, dense-package) will be of importance. But, in that case, affordability and compactness will be my priority…

D J

Bob

Actually it can be. CAMM was originally ment to be a replacement for Rapier on land & Sea Wolf at sea. Both these are short range point defence systems. CAMM is longer ranged than either of these. CAMM will also be cheaper than CAMM-ER & easier to fit on small ships such as OPV’s & the like. It is also likely to be easier to fit in self contained systems like a bolt on T20 container setup. Remember it is also partly based on the ASRAAM, which is a 2.9m air launched missile, CAMM is 3.2m & CAMM-ER is 4.2m according to MBDA. I believe serious work on ER only started around 2013. So CAMM-ER may well be ready in time for the T26/T31, but RN is already fielding CAMM on T23 now & T23’s will be in RN service till at least 2035. It looks as though Canada will be using CAMM as a point defence system from EXLS midship of their T26’s with ESSM from the forward Mk41’s for midrange & SM-2 for long range. ie there is a use for both CAMM & CAMM-ER.

If you look at the T23’s with CAMM, they use the existing Sea Wolf VLS, but you get the mushroom farm look as the missile is a little too long. See excelent write up & pics https://www.navylookout.com/from-sea-wolf-to-sea-ceptor-the-royal-navys-defensive-shield/

Meirion X

I often wondered why some missile VL systems can not be Tri packed?
If a new missile version has a slightly bigger diameter then a older version, that could be Quad packed, in say Mk. 41 VL system, it could be tri packed instead?
If so, it could save on the expense of modifying whole VLS.

D J

Multi purpose VLS systems tend to be square in shape & take square canisters as its easier to stop them rattling around & keep them aligned in a certain way if that is what is required. Mathematicaly, for tri-packing to work you would need to have round canisters, otherwise if you can fit 3 square canisters, you can fit 4. You could also not mix round & square canisters in the same cell. Also the more ways of configuring you allow, the more complicated the wiring & eflux handling becomes.

Meirion X

Grubbie#
Do you know what maritime security patrols means?
You have criticized under equipped types of warship in the past!

Grubbie

Most RN ships are under equipped,so equip them instead of building more useless platforms.Type 31e appears to me to be both under armed and over armed at the same time, it has no clear mission.

Mike O

Yeah I agree. We are already building a large frigate packed full of VLS and mission bays. If the navy wants more of that then build more T26.

Meirion X

The RN does not need any more then 8 Type 26 anti submarine warfare(ASW) specific frigates, at the present. See my post below to what this entails. The new Type 31 frigates will replace the 5 non-ASW Type 23 frigates. Type 31 frigate is a General Propose(GP) frigate, which means they can conduct all forms of naval warfare to a certain extent. But Not naval warfare to extremes like the T45’s (AAW), or T23(ASW), and the future Type 26 frigates will take anti submarine warfare even more seriously. I hope my commit informeds you.

Mike O

Even with my limited intellect I can grasp the concept of a general purpose frigate. I do not necessarily agree with the concept but it’s not my decision to make. In the context of these comments the future upgradability of the A 140 is seen as a positive. The point I was making and supporting is that those future upgrades/costs/ capabilities should not be invested in T31. I suspect A140 is a little more expensive than Leander too including lifetime costs.

Also the RN only needing 8 T26? Is 8 not an arbitrary number with more to do with budgets than operational requirements? If there is an operational or strategic rationale for 8 ASW frigates then I would love to be informed.

Stephen G.

This is just the point. A larger hull will cost more to build and more to power through the water, on what is supposed to be an inexpensive frigate.

It will also be (yet another) Royal Navy ship built in Scotland (to add to the O.P.V.s, assembly of the aircraft carriers, Type 45, Type 26, etc.).

Any spare money should not be spent on the Type 31, an inexpensive, light frigate. It would be much better being spent elsewhere.

Meirion X

I respect your viewpoint, but I disagree with it. Because without the present 5 Type 23(GP) frigates, the UK’s Royal Navy(RN) would be unable to provide maritime security patrols across the oceans and keeping trading routes open. It is a mandate of the United Kingdom to provide maritime security as being a leading member of the United Nations Security Council.
The 8 Type 23(ASW) frigates, are mainly allocated to NATO area of operations.
If the 5 Type 23(GP) frigates are not replaced by the future 5 Type 31 frigates,
the RN’s surface combat fleet will fall to 14 vessels, which is insufficient for proper operations. And also to take into account of at least 5 vessels in refit.

Mike O

At no point have I or would I suggest not replacing the 5 general purpose T23 with an equal number of vessels. I have issues with the concept of the T31 but putting that aside the A140 (especially if equipped to the point many commenters here would like) is potentially a threat to there being a one for one replacement that is a minimum requirement. “Steel is cheap, air is free” steel is not that cheap. Neither are naval standard cables, piping, fire mains, bulkhead penetration seals, valves, biopaint, etc and air is not free to push though the water. A140 is based on a high end frigate. As you have stated you cannot make a budget T26 so why make budget Iver Huitfeldt?

Personally I think the whole T31 program is a wasted opportunity to try something a little different but in reality which ever option is chosen the RN will make it work. I just hope it succeeds in maintaining (hopefully growing) escort numbers.

MikeKiloPapa

Great article…….a minor correction though….the Danish parent design is called Iver Huitfeldt……NOT huitsveldt or huitsfield.

MikeKiloPapa

You’re welcome. As a side not : ” While the IHs are of course not in the same league as T26 in terms of ASW quietening and does indeed not feature rafted main engines, their foundations HAVE been designed to minimize transmission of noise and vibration and utilize double resilient mountings, as does their auxiliary engines and all other pumps and machinery on board.

Stephen G.

Leander’s electric drive is even quieter again for A.S.W.

Stephen G.

– 3 for a factual statement? Lol. Do many people on here have any idea what they are even talking about/voting on?

Cam Hunter

Just build budget type 26 frigates! Or increase the dam budget! We need corvettes in the RN for all the duties our escorts don’t need to do, 13 frigates and 8 corvettes and 6 destroyers. But 12 destroyers would be better. I can dream.

Meirion X

You can’t just build budget Type 26 frigates!
It is just not the hull shape that makes a Type 26 ultra quiet, the machinery is rafted and with dampers etc. away from the hull. This is why they are so eye watering expensive.
The Type 26 hulls could be use to build air defence frigates. But they will not be so quiet like the Type 26 ASW versions.

Captain Nemo

I’m hoping they don’t overspend on the Type 45 replacement and just build an anti-air warfare suite straight into the existing Type 26 ASW design.
I’ve written before that given the build rate of Type 26 and the fact that Type 45 needs replacing round about ship 7 you could see 7-12 as Type 45 replacements, if they don’t overthink the problem we could end up with 12 Type 26.

Stephen G.

8 x Type 45 replacements based on the Type 26 is the way to go.

Meirion X

The Type 45 destroyers will unlikely be replaced in the near future. Most of T45’s have only been in service for less then 10 years.
Their power generation capacity(PIP), is to be upgraded in s series of refits over the next few years.
HMS Dauntless will be the first starting her refit in October.
I also think their Sylver VLS, should have some A70 cells installed, which will allow T45 to launch Tomahawk, SCALP, and Aster 30 BMD.

Gavin Gordon

I believe that, purely on unit effectiveness parameters, this could well be the best of the three. However, I’d still like to put the increasingly futile case for a steady drumbeat of T26-based hulls as the backbone of the RN frigate fleet in however many numbers they are required, complemented by Rivers for patrol duties where ideal, and thus leaving out the T31 concept altogether.
The common economic factor with all these three is that they are based upon a proven earlier design, a mantel that the already successful T26 base hull will also soon adopt as a matter of course and lead to it’s own acceptable economies of scale, in time. I know that under current rationale the T26 hull contruction is considered too sophisticated – being specified for very challenging A/S warfare. However, all frigates in our comparitively limited peacetime inventory are going to ‘targets’, as the submarine community are fond of referring to them. Therefore, just because your vessel is not specialised in hunting subs, does not mean that you can afford to disregard it’s potential to keep as quite as possible from both the longer term survival prospects of your fleet and your crews, surely. That itself may eventually become a USP for British designed naval vessels as state on state confrontation increases.

Grubbie

Even if you believe that the RNs Caribbean activities are genuine missions, they don’t actually need a warship,commercial vessels and aircraft could do the job better and cheaper.We could also drop them (and will do)in times of crisis. Type 31e will not relieve pressure on high end units either because we have spare ones lying about owing to a lack of crew and cash. Neither will the smaller ships complement help because while it’s smaller its still taking crew away from the high end units. There doesn’t seem to be a viable strategy and I don’t see why we need these ships. More unmanned vehicles, helicopters and SSKs,or possibly another type 26 makes more sense.Unless what you are trying to do is secretly chase the unattainable dream of a viable carrier battle group.

4thwatch

I think if you look at the performance it clearly outclasses the leander. Its faster, has longer range, is larger; meaning it confers added habitability which with added seaworthiness and survivability, seems all good to me. Just add more funnels and call them county class.

Stephen G.

It costs more to build, it costs more to fuel, it is a foreign design in what is the cornerstone of Britain’s national shipbuilding strategy, it uses systems not in use with the Royal Navy, it is much noisier than Leander on account of its diesel drive as opposed to Leander’s electric drive, something extremely important for A.S.W. work, it will be yet another class of Royal Navy ships built in Scotland.

4thwatch

‘Costs more to build’ probably not. Metal is cheap and trying to squeeze a mass of kit into a small space is expensive. See the Astutes. Moreover if you need a refit or machinery change its much cheaper with a larger hull.

Stephen G.

Metal is cheap, but it’s not free, the larger hull will also cost more to propel through the water. This on what is supposed to be an inexpensive frigate. As well as all the other problems listed. Leander is a better fit for the Type 31 on so many different levels.

Stephen G.

Also block building hundreds of miles apart then transporting them, as will be done with Arrowhead, costs more. Arrowhead will definitely cost more to build and operate when one of the key requirements of the Type 31 is that it is inexpensive.

D J

It can do 18knts & 9,300nm on just 1 of its 4 engines. While it’s not as quite as Leander, its not supposed to be an ASW frigate. It does I believe, meet the base NATO ASW specs & could do even better if it rafted the systems (which the design allows for if required). The existing T23 is itself a 4,900t & 133m ship. The A140 is a 5,700t & 139m ship. The Leander being put forward is 3,700t & 117m. The problem is the description ‘light frigate’. Leander is a ‘light frigate’. A GP T23 is not a ‘light frigate’. So it really comes down to – do you want to replace 5 x GP T23 with a ‘light frigate’ or something closer to the ship its replacing,

donald_of_tokyo

But, T31e average cost is only 1/4 of the “real frigate” = T26. T31 is even cheaper than Brazilian corvette based on MEKO-A design.

Even if it is Arrowhead 140, it’s capability remains to be something much less than T23GP for sure. If RN wants “real” GP frigate, the program cost must be doubled, which will never happen.

Also, before talking about any future growth margin, MOD shall fill the 5-10B GBP gap in 10 years equipment budget, and many “fitted-for-but-not-with” onboard CVFs, T45s, T26s and other many assets.

Thus, I see no difference in Leander and Arrowhead. It is a small basket and a large basket, with the same apple in it.

# As Arrowhead will “look” mighty (although they are not, just because of lack of money to properly equip it), I even fear, it will even put bad mood, “why not 10 Arrowhead 140 and 3 T26 to replace 13 T23” ?

JME89

Wonder if they would be able to boost the numbers if they proposed arrowhead into a type 45 sucsessor later on down the line.

Joe16

My only reservation about this design up until now was the IPR question about trying to use a Danish design to benefit British exports. Apparently the Arrowhead design is now separate and with the UK, so that is now withdrawn. This seems to me the best option.

the_marquis

In the previous “Type 31 candidates compared” article, it was suggested that Arrowhead would get Artisan 3D. If so, that would be a very potent offering. Is Artisan still available for the T31, or will it be too expensive?

Overall, I like the Arrowhead, I think the potential growth factor would come in handy down the line, even if it is fitted for but not with a lot of offensive weapon systems. I would of course be guilty of wanting to add all the nice little extras though, such as Mk41 VLS, and have the engines raft mounted.

I understand the argument that the whole point of this class is to be a cheap general purpose frigate, and therefore we shouldn’t get carried away with capability. But in a way, I feel accepting that argument at face value is accepting a lie by the Government that this is the status quo of British naval power, when in actual fact it’s a degradation of the existing capability, and a far cry from what the Navy had just 10 years ago.

It is frequently said that the Type 31 is the spiritual successor to the Type 21, both in terms of its commercial design and the proposed use, but the reality is that it will be directly replacing the 5 Type 23s currently in service that are not fitted with Sonar 2087 and are currently configured for the GP frigate role, which are much more capable ships than the Leander proposal. It should also be remembered that the RN did once have 16 T23s in service alongside the 4 Batch 3 T22s, while just 6 T45s took on the role covered by 12 T42s.

It’s fair to claim that both the T45 and T26 are altogether more capable, advanced and powerful warships than their predecessors, so I understand the temptation to say we don’t need as many hulls of the new types as we did with the old Cold War escort vessels. But ultimately, a ship cannot be in two places at once, no matter how sophisticated its onboard systems are.

Furthermore, despite all the advancements in sensors, weaponry and propulsion, large warships still adhere to the same performance figures that their predecessors were 80 odd years ago, namely a top speed of 30 odd knots and a range of 8000-10000nm when cruising at around 15-18 knots. This isn’t a criticism, just the reality of marine engineering and a limiting factor for deploying naval assets around the world at times of crisis. Therefore, I would argue we need a sufficient number of hulls of sufficient quality that they can be forward deployed and operate independently while waiting for other ships to arrive in a crisis situation.

With this in mind, then, I still would like to see 5 more Type 26s built, which could be slaved to the Type 45 to bolster air defence. If the T45 could cue targets for the T26s and take advantage of the T26’s large arsenal of missiles, particularly the mix of Mk41 and Sea Ceptor, it could greatly increase the defensive umbrella the T45 currently projects over a task group (and which is currently constrained by its comparatively small number of missiles), while also relieving pressure on the T45 fleet.

These proposed extra 5 T26s should not be seen as a simple replacement for the last 5 T23s, but rather they would be straddling the role of both those 5 T23s and the 6 T45s that were not taken up in the 2000s. We would still need more hulls in the water, which would mean a role for the T31. But even still, the T31 would not be operating in the old T21 role, but rather occupying the position held by the Batch 3 T22s in their latter years and the 3 T23s that were sold off to Chile in the mid 2000s.

In that sense, I feel that the Arrowhead design would be a better option and choosing it over the BAES’ Leander concept would be an acknowledgement of what these ships and their companies will be asked to do once in service.

Unfortunately, I fear that the Government, Treasury and to an extent the MoD have been so effective at hammering home their message that we couldn’t possibly afford or need any more than the 6 T45s and 8 T26s etc. that it is just accepted as fact and any attempt to counter it will appear to be the howlings of a madman.

So ultimately, I accept we won’t order any more T26s, but let’s go for the Arrowhead and max it out so it can at least be a credible replacement for the outgoing 5 T23s that have been our existing “GP frigates”. We’ll still be short of hulls compared to 15 years ago, but we’ll have a more credible fleet and when T31s are forward based in the Gulf and the South China Sea, they would be better equipped to deal with the threats they will face.

D J

Babcock have stated that they left in the ability to put back the missile & radar options they took out. Taking that at its face value (risky I know), the IH has additional variable missile options using mk56 in Stanfex modules & varying the number of SSM launchers. Replacing mk56 & Stanflex with ExLS & utilising CAMM instead of ESSM would give you the following possabilities for a fully maxed out A140 (by my calcs based on IH).
a) 4 x 8 cell mk41 (32 cells), 2 x 3 cell ExLS (6 cells), 16 x SSM = 16 NSM, 24 CAMM & 32 strike length mk41
b) 4 x 8 cell mk41 (32 cells), 4 x 3 cell ExLS (12 cells), 8 x SSM = 8 NSM, 48 CAMM & 32 strike length mk41

The IH frigate was designed as an AAW frigate. If you want to bolster the AAW side of things, it would be much cheaper to do that with the A140 than T26 (unless you are trying to build an actual T46 based on a T26 – in which case you would dump the mission bay for 2 boat bays & 48 mk41 cells). Both a) & b) are a higher loadout than a RN T26 & the standard export A140 spec of 32 mk41 & 8 SSM equals the RN T26 in potential missiles.

the_marquis

Yeah true, I could live with that. I guess the benefit of more T26s would be even more flexibility and the ability to re-role depending on what challenge the UK had to respond to, as extra T26s could support T45 in AAW work when needed, or support the original 8 T26s in the ASW role.

But as this isn’t likely, I agree the Arrowhead would be a better alternative to the Leander for this. We would still need more Type 31s though than the initial 5.

And yeah, I think after the T26 production run is finished we should build a ship that would replace both T45 and T26 – whether that would be using the T26 hull or a fresh design I guess would depend on budget and what new tech is available, eg, ever quieter designs and materials for reduced acoustic signature, energy directed weapons, UAVs and UUVs, new defensive aids that might need a different superstructure/top deck design etc.

D J

I understand there will eventually be 3 spare towed sonars & 3 spare radars, so its likely that 3 x T31 will have towed sonar (hopefully 3 extra T31 to put them on). You would be waiting till 2035 to see anymore T26 (unless they speed up the drumbeat). Extra T31 could be available from 2028-2029 if the government were to order in time. A few export orders would help push out the extras to better align with T26 of course (the spare sets only becoming available as the last 3 T23 start to decommission from 2033).

Gary

Why is Artisan potent?

Grubbie

I would like more information about amortization costs.Just how expensive are such things as rafting and Samson radar?There are huge costs in developing these systems and setting up production facilities, but I would imagine that they would be fairly cheap if you stripped out those costs and benefited from the learning curve after producing the 6 type 45s for example.
This is one of the things I like least of all about the type 31e plan to produce 4 ships and the seemingly insane type 26 delivery schedule.

the_marquis

Yeah, especially in relation to the T26s. They should be fantastic ships, but at the same time they are very much an evolutionary rather than revolutionary design, so it would be good to know where the money is going.

Unlike the T45 project, which you could say was overly ambitious in trying to fit a number of different, brand new, cutting edge technologies into a new hull, pretty much all the systems in the T26 are tried and tested, and in some cases, they will be ripped out of the T23s and transplanted to the T26s as the older ships are decommissioned.

And yet, the T26 unit cost is reported to be more than T45, which is infamous for running massively over-budget and behind schedule.

We also have this strange situation where the Type 26, ostensibly an anti-submarine warfare vessel which would be expected to spend much of its service dragging sonar arrays round the North Atlantic, is carrying double the missile load of the Type 45, our primary naval air defence platform.

I think when it comes to replacing T45 we should consider building a single class that can also replace the T26. Either use the same hull but fit different components for the roles the (eg. the AAW variant gets SAMPSON or its replacement, the ASW variant gets Sonar 2087/future towed sonar array), or opt for a slightly larger cruiser sized vessel and splash out on SAMPSON, Sonar 2087, Mk41 VLS etc for the whole class. Commit to ordering 20 or so of the class spread over 30 years, so the first of the class would replace T45 and then replace the T26 in due course.

Hopefully the costs of a larger vessel would be offset by the economies of scale gained from ordering a larger number of vessels, R&D would be halved as we would be developing one type instead of the 2-3 that we are now, shipbuilding jobs would be guaranteed for a generation of workers, and by the time the last ship was delivered to the RN at the end of 30 years, it would be about time to replace the first ships in class. So we repeat the process, guaranteeing British shipbuilding for another process, and so on.

Of course, such a plan requires longterm strategic planning and above all commitment from HMG…

Grubbie

This is just not going to be possible without sharing with other nations with similar needs.By now the dangers of state capture by BAE systems should be obvious. Procurement holidays and subsequent technology leaps are the most disastrous mistake of all.

the_marquis

Presumably the export market will get tougher as well as more and more 2nd tier nations develop their domestic industries and build locally.

Grubbie

As we are not competing at all for exports, there’s no harm in helping freindly 2nd teir nations and allowing them to build some parts or even whole sections for our own ships. Ideally we would keep control over strategic technologies and at least break even.A big piece of pie is much better than a tiny, rotten cake.This will be voted down by BAE systems lackeys!

the_marquis

Ha! Yeah i have no problem with that, i was just wondering if they would bother with us when it comes the time to build the next generation surface combatants, or if they would have the desire and indigenous capability to do it themselves. Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic!!

OOA

Reminds me of an article a few years back on Think Defence where one of the commentators observed that we may just have this the wrong way around: Isn’t there a case for the ASW vessel to be smaller (no need for strike-length VLS when you’re escorting a load of stealth fighter-bombers), more specialised and more numerous for the CSG whereas the GP vessel (T26) is a more like a light cruiser which can deploy on its own to keep an eye on our fwd-deployed OPVs and be ready for a peer punch-up / tomahawk raid etc. while they wait for the cavalry to arrive.

Always stuck with me as it made a lot of sense to this armchair Admiral.

Meirion X

An ASW frigate will need to operate some distance ahead of a CBG or a Task group, searching for submarines with a TSA at around 5 knots. No air patrols over head, otherwise it be a tell-tail sign! So a ASW frigate needs to be able to defend its self, and with plenty of weapons to sink the sub.
An ASW frigate cannot wait for help, because either the sub escape or the frigate sunk!
So a ASW frigate needs to be of a certain size.
I think a GP frigate still needs to be able to defend its self, but any trouble it could wait until the arrival of a tesk group.
So a GP frigate could be on the small side, but not too small!
I hope this info imforms you?

Phillip Johnson

It remains to be seen if an ASW frigate tooling around at 5 knots with a big towed array can actually maintain contact with a CBG. Drift and sprint has been around since the 1990’s but it has never proved itself tactically unless you have more escorts than the RN is ever likely to collect in one place.

Dan

Heretical viewpoint here, but if what the RN wants is just a bunch of low-cost patrol frigates, why not simply build five more of the Khareef-class ships that BAE sold to Oman, and kit them out with equipment stripped from the T23 units as they go out of service? Job done.

Grubbie

They don’t want” low cost patrol frigates”, they just don’t want to face reality.

Meirion X

A warship conducting global maritime security patrols, needs to be a capable vessel, able to defend its self from air attack, and defend its self from shore based missiles, and occasionly conduct shore bombardment, against hostile forces
using main gun. And able to sink other hostile warships and submarines with anti ship missiles and torpedos.

So a corvette like the Khareef, is well below bar!
A Khareef is Not bigger enough to contain all the equipment for a proper combat warship to carry out it’s role to the above specs.

So a minimum requirement for the above specs, is a General Propose frigate!

I hope my post informs you?

Dan

I said it was a heretical viewpoint…….but actually, the Khareef class has anti-aircraft missiles, and Exocet missiles, I believe. And if an RN version was kitted out with equipment taken from the T23, why wouldn’t it be as capable as the T23?

Meirion X

To Dan,
It is because a corvette like a Khareef would not either have the endurance for long range operations, such as the Royal Navy conducts. It is still too small to accommodate all the equipment that a blue water navy like the Royal Navy require.
Corvette are mainly use by coastal defance navys, an stark example of one, is Israel’s.

donald_of_tokyo

Khareef’s armament is comparable to that of T31e (either Arrowhead 140 or Leander): a 57 or 76 mm gun, 2x 30mm guns, “12 SAM+4 SSM” or “24 SAM”, and a Wildcat, a 3D radar, and ESM/chaff/flare kits.

Difference comes from endurance/range, and mostly hull standard. T31e is of naval “frigate” standard, while Khareef is presumably of OPV standard (for example, Damen Sigma 10514 light frigate is stated to be of OPV standard). Level of “miscellaneous electric kits” and CMS level also differs a lot (although in many cases overlooked).

So, a Khareef class “enlarged” to accommodate, long range/endurance, “frigate” hull standard, and additional boat bay requirements is Leander itself. Arrowhead 140 is to accommodate the same required equipment kits in a larger hull. MEKO-A200 is similar in size to Leander. Comparing Khareef with T31e is thus no problem, and at least Cammell Laird/BAE has followed the same track to provide Leander.

[Independent issue]
Although there are tendency to think Corvette as “short legged warfighter”, it is just one of the two categories of it.

Modern western 20th century corvette has its origin in Portogese Joao Coutinho-class corvette. It is lightly armed, but has a long range/endurance similar to contemporary frigates. A69 Aviso and Descubierta-class are both her daughters. (ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_Coutinho-class_corvette)

“Short-legged fighty corvette” originates from USSR Nanuchka class corvette, which is an enlarged missile boat. Swedish Visby class, Israeri Saar class are good examples.

D J

Something not overly discussed re the T31 is where exactly are you expecting to utilise these ships & what in the modern age (thinking crew expectations & weapons/sensors) is required to do that. France operates a couple of light frigates in the Pacific. They know thats where they will operate. They have 3 long standing allies operating nearby (Australia, New Zealand & USA). If you had to spend 6 months off the coast of the Falklands or Norway/Iceland/Greenland – what would you want to be in? If your answer to where is ‘everywhere’, then you need a ship that can operate safely ‘everywhere’. That may mean no support – in fact others may well be looking at you to support them. The Gulf is not ‘everywhere’. There are major allied naval bases there. It is definately a dangerous place to be but you are not without support. If you do take a bad hit there in a sub-par ship, your chances of surviving is still pretty good (crew that is). In the South Sandwich Islands – not so good.

donald_of_tokyo

South Sandwich Islands is now covered by HMS Clyde, a River B1.5 OPV. Norway/Iceland/Greenland is covered by, for example, Danish Thetis-class patrol vessel (3500t full or standard, depends on documents) or Knud Rasmussen-class patrol vessel (2000t FLD), Tyr class OPV of Icelandic coast guard.

Looks like River B2 is OK, and any T31e candidate is also has no problem there?

# On the environment issue, in T31e-RFI it was required to go anywhere, but performance degradation is accepted.

D J

Donald

The ships you mentioned are all OPV’s. OPV’s come in all sizes & types. Canada’s Harry DeWolfe class is also an OPV & comes in at 6,600t. At any sign of serious trouble (military or otherwise), all these will be heading for the nearest safe port. No one is expecting any of these to take a bad hit or push the envelope in operations or stare down someone else’s major warship. An ability to go anywhere is not the same as operating there for an extended period of time on a high risk footing.

donald_of_tokyo

Thanks DJ-san.

– Descubierta-class was “re-classified” as an OPV only AFTER taking off all her missile armaments.
– Morocco navy is calling their Descubierta-class as corvette, as well.
– A69 is called corvette in Turkish Navy and Argentina navy.
– Morocco navy’s Sigma class is called “corvette”
– Indonesia, the same.
– Gowind class of French design is sometimes called corvette and sometimes light frigate
– FS1500 class is called corvette in Malaysia (Katsuri-class), and called frigate in Colombia (Almirante Padilla-class).

There are many corvettes world-wide, which is not necessarily a “heavily armed coastal warfighter”. This is fact.

I am not saying they MUST be called corvette (although I do call them so). What I am saying is, when some one call something a corvette, it sometimes means those ship, not always a “heavily armed coastal warfighter”.

Thanks.

D J

Donald

My description or designation as an OPV was more that there is a potential difference in operation between an OPV & a major warship. No-one blames an OPV for bailing when things get hot (or overly risky). OPV’s vary between what is basically an armed ice breaker to a heavyweight patrol boat to an underarmed light frigate. Some can operate where even a major warship (frigate & up) will struggle.

As to Corvettes, some admiral once commented ‘you can turn any OPV into a corvette – it’s just a case of how much money you throw at it’. If any history buff is at all interested, I would recommend a look at two of the most important & underrated corvettes of the twentieth century. UK’s Flower class & Australia’s Bathurst class of WW2. Neither of these were particularly good warships. They were both 1000t ships that could be built in minor construction yards & topped out at 16 knots on a good day. The Flower class operated in the Atlantic & Mediterranean & was more ASW (some carried up to 70 depth charges) & the Bathurst class operated in the Pacific, Indian & Mediterranean & was more AAW (but still carried 40 depth charges). They successfully tackled submarines, aircraft & in the case of Bathurst’s, even merchant cruisers. They really show what you can do when you have to. I am sure all of the crews would loved to have been a ‘coastal warfighter’. The general public though are more interested in 30+ knot destroyers, cruisers & battleships slugging it out with all guns blazing, rather than the cargo ships & their escorts that delivered the ammunition & supples to make it (& many other things) possible.

Alas, conditions that were deemed acceptable in wartime are not so acceptable in peacetime. Perversely, extreme conditions for a short period of time are considered an adventure.

donald_of_tokyo

Thanks.

I agree corvette is NOT a major warship. Just saying “a so-so armed long range corvette”, and “a heavily armed short range corvette” are BOTH called “corvette”.

For me, T31e with its current armament can well be called a corvette. Of course, RN can call it a light frigate, if they like.

This is the same to FS1500 design (a so-so armed so-so long range 2000 t ship), called “corvette” in Malaysia, and “frigate” in Colombia.

Dan

Meirion, Donald and DJ – thanks for the informative answers. I only floated that suggestion since budget constraints are an issue here. The Khareef already exists and should be relatively cheap to build, so (possibly flawed logic on my part here) more of the limited budget could be spent on arming it properly, whereas the other T31 contenders risk being built ‘for but not with’ a lot of systems. If money was of no concern, we would all rather see the RN get at least 13 T26, right?

Meirion X

To Dan
If money was of no concern, I would still Not want the RN to procure all 13 T26’s, due to the fact that T26 is a specialist anti-submarine warfare vessel. I think It does Not make sense for the T26s doing the maritime security patrols, when the same role can be done with a cheaper, but still capable T31.
The RN only needs 8 ASW vessels presently, based on the existing requirement of 8 T23(ASW). It may be the case, ‘that more T26s will be needed the future, who knows!
. I would be much more in favour of procuring adapted T26 hulls as AAW frigates as escorts for the carriers, The RN have only 6 Destroyers, so extra AAW frigates will allow the T26’s to do their job of hunting subs ahead of the CBG.

I hope this post informs you of my position on the matter?

Bob

Hi Meirion,

If our current commitments require 8 ASW T23s, will we not require additional vessels to defend the active carrier when they become operational?

Thanks,

Bob

Captain Nemo

I think the plan is probably for the AAW and ASW to coalesce around the carriers, rule of three would give you two of each for a routine carrier deployment and four of each for something more ‘Oh Dear Christ!’ with something left over for TAPS; our other standing commitments would be met by something less capable (the above). Not necessarily as bad as it sounds if the something less capable were made more capable, recent events must show how quickly things can change, this whole freeing up high end warships mentality is going to get us the trouble we’re probably overdue.

DaveyB

The current thinking is that the T31 will be a up-gunned gunboat, policing the World’s oceans, blah, blah! We have gone down this route before with the T21s. Which was good at showing the flag, however, when it came to peer to peer fighting, was hopeless. But that’s what you get when you build on the cheap? Also as it was built to a budget and size, it could not be upgraded or have additional armament fitted without affecting its sea-keeping.
1. If and when we do require a carrier battle group and can’t rely on other Nations to provide support. The T31s will be needed to be part of that group. The T45s will obviously be part of the air defence screen, but the T26s will need to be separate from the group either on the flanks or ranging ahead. Their main role is hunting subs and you can’t do that as part of a battle group which may be protecting slow amphibs, etc. Yes, there will be a SSN ranging even further ahead. Therefore, the T31s need to be viable and can contribute to the group acting to stop anything getting past the T45s.
2. When the T31 is off patrolling on its own, say in the Gulf, it not only needs to defend itself but also have the capability to be offensive. A ship targeted at a moments notice so must fight with what it is has to hand, be that against land, sea or air targets. The SeaCeptor, 4.5″, 30mm and Wildcat is a given from ex T23. However, what is required is the ship to be fitted with a surface to surface missile capability that is not reliant on the Wildcat. I suggest this should be in the form of ship launched Martlet and Sea Venom. The reason is simple, as we already will be using these weapons on the Wildcat and they have a relatively short range to make sure targets are correctly identified. Both missiles can be used against land or sea targets and the Martlet can be used against slow moving aircraft/drones as an added bonus.
3. Unlike the T21, the T31 must have the ability to be further up-gunned when required and won’t affect its sea-keeping. Therefore the ship must already have the spaces allocated.
4. The T31 does not require the rafting of the T26 thus keeping costs down, but could contribute to ASW by using unmanned vehicles.
It is obvious we require a ship that performs the flag waving, anti-piracy and freedom of passage patrols that is separate from the T26 requirements, but also considerably cheaper. But it must be a viable warship and not an upgunned OPV.

Captain Nemo

T31 really needs another £100m on top, the back of my beer mat suggests that would get you a modern five inch gun, 32 x Mk41 tubes and two CIWS, but I don’t really want to reignite the whole argument about what they’re for, that we have no money, that we have no crews etc, etc, because it gets really annoying. What’s happening in the gulf resulted from something that happened in another sea entirely just days before, that’s how far and how fast the domino’s fall, the navy need to be ready to fight whatever, wherever and whenever.
FYI MBDA seem to be tinkering with a cold launched Brimstone based on CAMM, that would be a nice fit for the army and the navy, giving economies of scale across all three services and allowing us to punish anything on land, sea or in the air at about 30 km.
Nemo

D J

The Army is the the only military service that can expand rapidly at relatively short notice (light infantry). Anything else in the modern era requires years unless someone else is prepared to sacrifice their own orders or existing equipment. I would point out however, when it comes to warships & launch systems, it’s the missiles that really jack up the bill. You don’t however, have to advertise how many cells are full & what with. A T45 will look impressive regardless of how many missiles it may or may not be carrying. A T31 with 32 mk41 cells could be carrying anything (128 CAMM) – or not. A T31 with 24 CAMM only launchers has 24 or less missiles. In the long run, it’s the ammo that is the real cost. Compare any quality 7.62 sniper rifle against the cost of match grade ammo that gets put through it just in practice.

Captain nemo

I don’t think the prices are that worrying, your 32 Mk41 could probably pack 32 CAMM, 32 Brimstone/CAMM and 16 Tomahawk for under £30m which isn’t that big a number for that amount of scary.
Oddly enough it’s also what I’d put on it.

D J

Nemo

Cost wise, your 30m x 5 (5 ships) = 150m & that gets you no reloads. One set of reloads 300m, 2 sets 450m. Missiles are an expensive way to do NGS unless you have a limited number of high value targets. Then there is your canister fired SSM’s (+plus reloads) on top. Torpedo (both ship & helo) & any helo missiles. Gun ammo is the cheap part, unless you start talking Volcano, HVP etc.

Dern

DJ the problem with your Army thinking is that Light Infantry is of extremely limited utility in a Peer to peer conflict. Similar to the opinions expressed by commentators here on some naval designs: It’s cheap, easy to produce, but has relatively limited effect if it has to go up against a serious opponent.

D J

Dern

You misunderstand me. I was pointing out that the army (light infantry specificallly) is & always has been the only service that can be expanded extreamly quickly (quantity wise not quality wise). Every thing else takes considerable time. Ships, missiles, planes, helicopters, armoured vehicles etc, especially at peer level, take months to years to aquire or build in any numbers, unless you can convince someone to sell you their existing assets. It’s easier to do this with things like missiles (like Sidewinder missiles for the Falklands) than ships. You can ‘upgun’ a ship quicker than you can build a new one but you still need considerable time to do so, thats if you can even aquire the needed equipment in a hurry. Don’t build an A140 & stick a 24 cell mushroom farm on it. Build it with the mk41’s & just fill with 24 missiles. Otherwise you end up being so ‘undergunned’ that you cannot be used against a peer without 6 months in refit first.

Dern

I got that, but what’s the point of being able to expand something that is effectively useless in a modern war scenario?

D J

Dern

You need to remember that ‘modern war scenario’ is not necessarily as modern as many think it is. Bayonets were actually used as bayonets during the Falklands war (how 1914 is that), rather than the ocassional can opener / come camping knife. It is much easier to train up defensive troops than offensive troops. There are relatively few countries capable of wide scale ‘modern’ warfare across a wide front for any great length of time. A modern warship that runs out of missiles is not useless if the other side has also (provided you thought to fit a usable main gun). Fuel guzzling heavy armour becomes an easy target if you run out of fuel. GPS guided weapons don’t work if you jamb or take out each others satelites. 70 ton tanks & 5 ton rickety wooden bridges don’t mix. Bayonets are still issued to soldiers, cannon are still fitted to fast jets & warships. Modern is great till it breaks or you run out or you become over-reliant on it to the point you turn your brain off. In recent times we have had 3 of the worlds most modern warships collide with giant slow civilian ships in well known shipping lanes.

Meirion X

To Bob
I think the answer to your question, is Yes! The active carrier will need to be defended by 1 or 2 T45 destroyers, and a T23/T31(GP) frigate, plus 2 T23/26(ASW) frigates operating ahead or on the flanks. The whole fleet defence capability would be enhanced by the Cooperative Engagement Capability(CEC) comms system.

TJS

Just to clarify some of the conclusions:
1. The published cost of the Iver Huirfeldts is USD $325M-$340M (depending on the exchange rate to USD). Roughly, this was $140M for the platforms, $130M for the weapons and $70M for reused inventory. The Danish Parliament published that the cost to the Danish taxpayer for the three ships was the equivalent of $780M (again, depending on exchange rates), which roughly equates to the cost of platforms and weapons.
2. Blocks were fabricated in ‘eastern European shipyards’ because of capacity, not cost – recall that Maersk was also building eight ‘Emma’ class container ships at the same time in Denmark, at the time the world’s largest container ships. There cost of building blocks in eastern Europe and transporting them would not have provided any significant cost difference to the total price.
3. It can cost more to build a smaller ship, if it is meant to have the same capability as a larger one. Trying to pack more into a smaller space can be expensive. So going for a larger ship that has more space not only has the potential benefits of more comfort and more room for upgrades and through life support, it can actually be cheaper to build if done efficiently.
So the key to the Babcock design is that it’s very efficient to build a very capable design.

donald_of_tokyo

No big objection that Danish Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate is a good design. But, two points stop me to say Arrowhead 140 is the best option for T31e.

1: Danish navy persons contributed a lot to “integrating” the combat system of the frigate. This is one of the most expensive part. RN cannot do it (in this regard, Danish navy is really great in engineering). So extra cost is clearly needed.

2: With the expected T31e armaments/equipments, even Leander and MEKO-A200 are still far from full. So, I guess they will still be as cheap as Arrowhead 140 in integrating systems.

# If the armaments are to be doubled, then Leander and MEKO A2000 will be more and more crowded. In this case, Arrowhead 140 will be the (almost) only answer, I agree.

So I think, for T31e program currently running, the three candidates are all “flat”. Looking forward for the result to come.

Paul

I understood Arrowhead was to have Mk41 VLS from the outset, a gun up front and 24 x Sea Ceptor only make this an oversized OPV. These ships despite being noted as General purpose need to be able to fight.

donald_of_tokyo

A ship built to a frigate standard hull, with a gun, 24 SAM missile, 3D radar, ESM/soft-kill kits, with good combat system will never be called an OPV. So, not agree here.

But,

I totally agree T31e better need more armaments. It is very lightly armed now. To make it happen with the current budgetary limit (or facing the fact that 4-10B GBP gap is there in 10 years equipment budget), I think T31e program MUST shrink to
– 3 hulls (in case of Arrowhead 140, with Mk.41 VLS + ASW),
– or 4 hulls (in case of Leander, added with ASW).

Reduction in escort hull number by 2 has zero impact. RN can easily get it back by re-activating the 2 escorts in extended readiness.

Specifically, if RN can regain the “average sea-going days” to be 140-150 days/year = actual number in 2010, from current miserable 80 days (40% reduction), even if RN loses 2 escorts, the actual escort available on theater will even significantly INCREASE.

Anthony Thrift

Given the hull size and the internal and external capacity of the Arrowhead, surely this would be a great platform for both the T26 and T31, thus reducing production costs as they are effectively the same ship but with different equipment, wouldn’t this appear more logical?

D J

A140 would be great for T31, but not for T26. A T26 is physically bigger with a much bigger & more useable multi mission bay, has potential for considerably more missiles than current fitout, but most of all, T26 is an ASW specialist with large amounts of money spent on super quite hull design & propulsion system. In contrast, the A140 is a modernised GP version of the Danish IH frigate, which is an AAW specialist. A140 & IH are ASW capable & A140 could be improved by rafting the propulsion, but it is still not going to match a T26 (or T23 or Italian ASW FREMM) in ASW. A T26 though could easily match A140 or IH in potential AAW by fitting more missiles & high end radars such as Australia & Canada are doing.

Paul

Fit these ships with raft mounted engines, Mk41 Vls and the cheaper towed array sonar and you will have a high end ship at the start. Funding is not really the issue in reality, it’s the will to do it. This is a tried and tested design with major advantages to be had if you want them…..

David Agius

Cant we just Buy some ships that for sale in the world that are built – maybe one year old or a left over- some navys should have some for sale

David Agius

Some countries just junk ships that are a few years old and just build new ones .
Cant we share ships with our allies when needed.

Cant we lease them from our allies.

BIW in Maine can overhaul ships that need maintenance and upkeep and travel to other ship building ports to keep jobs.

David Agius

If we are protecting other countries make them pay for the ships instead of free protection – Saudi Arabia needs to pay up and well as NATO
Lots of older ships sitting in the docks in Philly and Portsmouth and California – lets reuse them in the target areas .