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Very interesting. But oh my what an utter cock up in the first place.

We should just join the Italian program for their Horizon follow on class instead of faffing about with T83 from scratch.


Or alternatively, take note of the Canadian variant of the T26 with its AN/SPY7 radar. Something to be said for commonality of equipment.


The Canadians make the British naval shipbuilding look like rapid progress.
Their T26 are over specified for what they can afford and likely what the T26 can support. Dont be surprised if they havent yet signed contracts to ditch T26 for say Constellation class builds


Honestly, I don’t know why the RCN hasn’t done that already. Fincantieri is building the Constellation class right across the Great Lakes from Canada.

Wm T Ford

The Cdns haven’t done that because of the many implications of changing course on the 15-hull CSC program. If the T26-derived CSC is too costly, Ottawa must return to the drawing board and hold another competition – likely with a revised (downward) set of operational requirements – because it won’t just be Fincantieri that will be entitled to bid. This will add 3+ years to the program (hello, inflation!).

The Connie class will undoubtedly be a good one, but regardless of who bids, the Cdns will still want to give as much workshare to domestic industry as possible. Ordering Connies (or any other ship) directly from the parent yard might lower costs and speed things up, but at the expense of Cdn workshare. It’s difficult to envision any Cdn government agreeing to that. And recall that Connie is a GP frigate, whereas the RCN wants a C2/AAW capability to be restored to the fleet.

My guess is that Ottawa will stay the course with T26 but will eventually truncate the 15-ship program to 12 hulls. But it won’t just be on cost grounds. The RCN has to crew its recently-received Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessels – northern operations being more of a national priority these days. Because the service faces chronic human resource deficits, a slimmer combatant fleet may be the only way to reconcile budgets with crew availability.


No we shouldn’t. Why are you suggesting the Horizon follow on is the way to go. We have a national ship building plan and should keep on course to keep our own design capabilities and other specialties. With Russian activity reaching a new high point in the North Atlantic we need all the Design and Build capabilities in Britain.

david anthony simpson


David MacDonald

I recall that, some 20 years ago, the T45 Integrated Project Team was led by a “brilliant” Army Brigadier. Any frigate / destroyer WEO of the time would have known that adequate spare generator capacity was essential.

“Brilliance” (good at talking?)  is no substitute for subject knowledge and relevant experience.


I remember that too. Should never ever have been considered or placed for the role.

The government was too quick to dismantle the Royal Navy after the Cold War.

Picture of the RNEC Manadon……..

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David MacDonald

I recall Manadon with affection and great sadness for its demise.

Phillip Johnson

A good example of the risks that you run when you try something new. The world is full of warships run by diesels with gas turbine boost. The T45 tried gas turbines with diesel boost. Link that with a new technology gas turbine you we taking on risk beyond Defense ability to manage.
The only real question is whether the MOD is any better at risk management.


Not quite.

The world is full of diesel-mech powered ships with GT boost. The T45 isn’t that, nor is it a GT ship with diesel boost. It’s an IFEP ship, which is a different beast.

The fundamental flaw in the plan was to assume that you could run single-engine ops when the power management system and the GTA were somewhat unreliable and the DGs were too small to do much beyond harbour loads.


Well, from a risk management perspective it’s easy to look wise after the event, but project risk isn’t easy. The fundamental issue seems to have been not di-risking the solution prior to acceptance or upon first implementation. However, if we look across the pond at Littorals and DDG1000, the RN got off lightly, as despite PIP the T45 are still generally acknowledged to be the best AAFs out there.


Well the RN should have just replicated the Horizon’s propulsion system. In terms of power (wattage) the Horizon generated more.

It isn’t risk management. It was incompetence across the board.

Supportive Bloke

The major lemon was a political decision taken by Jeff ‘Buff’ Hoon against all of industry advice.

So please don’t blame the poor old RN for that one.


1SL should offer to resign. It was a cock up. And the RN played their part. So please try to be a little realistic.


Speaking of realism, I assume you mean the 1SL of the time (the reticent and not at all self-aggrandising) Lord Alan West.

Somewhat harsh to ping Admiral Ben with that. From memory, not even Tony Radakin had been anywhere near MB at the time.

Supportive Bloke

You deserve a medal for pointing out the modest and self effecting Lord Alan West’s humble charactersitics.


Somewhere this design manifested it didn’t pop out of vacuum. And if the shortcomings were evident to the Service then 1SL should have done the right thing.

Supportive Bloke

I don’t understand your point?

BAES didn’t offer the solution proffered.

RR didn’t offer the solution proffered. And indeed pointed out the risks.

RN didn’t want the solution proffered as they wanted to go with the RR proffered solution as they trusted RR and BAES.

Unless you know something that I don’t I’m pretty clear that Buff(h)oon is the justifiable target for this mess.

RN have a long history and working relationship with RR and Olympus, Spey GT etc via RWG etc…..


So the government just acts in naval matters without RN input?

1SL should have told Def Sec that the T45 as offered, as we got, wasn’t what the serviced wanted and offered his resignation. It would have stopped the government in its tracks.


1SL resign over differences with government. It hasnt happened for 40 years or more. Its Yes men as thats how they have risen through the ranks already !
Not that the RN controls what its built anymore or what ships or what numbers they operate either.

Very Concerned

As the son of a first sealord in the last forty years, I resent your comment a touch. My father was very much his own man. He was the most intelligent and honest person I’ve ever come across. I can’t speak for nowadays, of course, but I know he put the interests of the RN above all else and had the moral and intellectual strength to stand up for the RN. My resentment, however, is only a touch because I know we have to get far more clever at procurement and strategy to make out budget go as far as possible. And then, in this uncertain world, we can increase the defence budget knowing the money will be spent wisely.


Except that 1SL was – at the time – fully bought in to the electric ship concept, unsurprising really as the electric ship mafia had spent well over a decade proselytising the idea.

The navy really didn’t care what propulsion system it got, provided it got an AAW ship – with the RN-specific performance enhancements – to replace the T42/GWS30.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the electric ship concept. What happened in the case of the T45 was down to two things. Firstly, the idea that single prime mover running was advisable or desirable (driven by a perception that DGs were maintenance heavy) led directly to the idea of an ICR GT. The implementation of that ICR proved to be less than reliable. Equally importantly, some elements in the PGMS and other components proved to be less resilient than envisaged, which had a disproportionate effect when running as the architecture concept had envisaged.

BAE didn’t fancy the cost involved with all electric, which is why they offered the more conventional propulsion system. The RN weren’t really fussed either way, as long as they could put cricket balls at risk.

That BuffHoon mandated use of IFEP was venal in that it was based on self-interest, but his decision was not what caused the issues.

Supportive Bloke

BuffHoon mandated the Westinghouse recuperator which is acknowledged to be a major cause of the thermal runaway. So I’m a little flummoxed why you are letting him off the hook?

Sure there were a lot of other bits that didn’t work that well and by all accounts the control software was not that clever and didn’t automatically recalculate the thermal regime. The main thing was to fix the software so it used the hardware sensibly or even optimally. Reading between the lines the software was over optimised for fuel efficiency at the expense of providing safe operating margins.

The DG maintenance and reliability centred around lore of Mr Paxman’s finest. Which are, to put it politely, somewhat outdated mechanically and ‘electronically’.

The full IEP on QEC seems pretty good? Provided the firemains don’t irrigate the switchgear…..


I’d be astonished if BuffHoon was specifying particular recuperator solutions.

I can believe he mandated an IFEP solution using the WR21.


Westinghouse and later when they were taken over Northrop Grumman were prime contractors on WR21. So they got to decide who provided the various major sections and it would seem the RR gas turbine and GE electric motors were chosen to connect to their kit.


“There is absolutely nothing wrong with the electric ship concept”

We’re very cautious about going too far down this route in the offshore oil & gas game – partially due to a healthy desire to keep HV gear and hydrocarbons away from each other, but also because HV gear doesn’t like getting wet so there are always mechanical or hydraulics running the key safety-critical gear such as blowout preventers. I therefore struggle to get my head around how it can be relied upon in a warship subject to battle damage.


Which is odd really, as the vast majority of DP2 and DP3 class offshore support shipping are electric ships.

I assume you’re referring to rigs rather than ships?


Yes. The RR gas turbine part worked fine. It was the American Westinghouse intercooler-recuperator and GE power mangement that were the heart of the problems. In modern terms they were only ‘beta’ models.


Still a GT with only once customer. That should have been enough to stop the idea with only 6 hulls.

I love how all the excuses come out to defend T45’s propulsion system.

It was a poor decision. And the RN played a part in that as much as Hoon.


Not defending it was a bad system– as implemented . Probably if the US navy had stayed on as a partner they would have used WR21 with enough diesels to work properly, rtaher than cost cutting with only 2 ( an bad design which hugely under-estimated actual usage in service)
The RR gas turbine section in T45, as the story says, are fine
Northrop was the prime contractor and WR was just Westinghouse- Rolls nomenclature

The gas turbine unit in WR-21is still based on existing RR aviation aero engines ( but simplified for marine use) like the rest of the current MT30 GT units used in Zumwalt, USN Freedom LCS,T26 and QEC carriers. ( and some others ) with a range of engine outputs

Olympus-Spey-Trent were the core RR aviation engines ( and Avon Tyne , Dart) that were marinized and like aviation where engine classes can have some size and power output changes to suit the application. Trent is the largely the same engine core from WR21 to MT30

Far more interesting is the T31 have no GT at all, is that another cost cutting mistake like the last all diesel vessels the T41/61 frigates on the 1950s? – 8 ASR diesels
Picture HMS Jaguar Peter Smith wikipedia


The number and power of DGs in the original T45 had nothing to do with whether the US were still involved or not. It was all around the architecture concept which was based on the premise that “DGs bad, high maintenance manpower requirement, GTs good, can UxE”. Which led to “how do we get a GT that can work fuel-efficiently at part load?”, which led to the ICR and the idea of single prime mover operations. Which is the underlying flaw.

T31 is all diesel because it’s an off the shelf purchase of necessity. Nothing to do with cost-cutting per se.

Supportive Bloke

Also Diesels are a lot more economical, flexible, powerful and reliable than they used to be?

As you said it is a tried and tested solution so it is de-risked to a larger extent.


T31 Arrowhead chosen not because of cost cutting ?

I think that BAE , in its Leander concept, chose this dazzle camouflage design to ‘amaze and delight’ Boris


Again, not entirely sure of your point.

Is english your first language?


The T31 frigate base line was very very low price. Around £250 mill , I thought you knew that . Thats why the contenders all had diesels.
T31 is all diesel because it’s an off the shelf purchase of necessity. Nothing to do with cost-cutting per se’
You can see now where you got it the wrong way round. Glad to help out on the confusion.


Oh dear.

I refer you to your original post where you postulated that had the USN remained in the WR21 programme the T45 would somehow have had more and bigger diesels. Or indeed your wibbling as to why T31 – a mandated off the shelf choice – would have somehow magically grown turbines.

Did you enjoy your long stand? I repeat, the internet is not knowledge – particularly when you’re not a native English speaker.


Not what I said. The USN would likely had 3 or 4 diesels had it remained in the WR21 program and used the electric ship concept. The number of diesels isnt fixed by using WR21.
I never said the RN would have gone for 3 or 4.
Please dont attribute things to what I never said.
The proof is self evident that the T31 was a bargain basement design from the very beginning, which is why the concepts all offered diesel only propulsion some thing more likely in OPV and light frigates not 6000 t sized frigates.
English is my first and only language so you are wrong on that as well as the other claims. But thats fine


It’s exactly what you said, which is why I’m reluctantly having to question your comprehension.

Just Me

Nope, the USN use gas turbine gensets..


LCS, both classes use diesel generators , one class MTU the other Isotta Fraschini
The new FFG Constellations seem to have have 4 ship service diesel generators ( final details not available). 4 diesels who knew !

Yes, their other Burke and Zumwalt destroyers use small GT generator sets
The DDG103 Truxton was converted to electric motor drive, as a trial for many more but ended up as a one off. The LM2500 units seem to have been kept as the propulsion generators but details are obscure. Maybe others will know more ?


Thought the Intercooler was Grumman Marine?


Northrop Grumman Marine bought out The Westinghouse Electronics business( mainly radars a such but included this project) in 1996.

Confusingly there still exists a naval propulsion from the old Westinghouse Marine under the TECO name


Contracted Logistics Support (CLS) meant the RN only carried out operator-maintainer tasks and BAES was responsible for fault diagnosis and repair. This reduced crewing requirements but when there were problems the MEs on board lacked the spares, technical manuals and understanding to analyse or rectify faults at sea or without help from civilian contractors. This inevitably resulted in T45 spending more time alongside and made it harder to grip the problems as they emerged.

I think this is pretty much related to the infamous “efficiency saving” issue, which resulted in very inefficient navy (as well as other 2 forces) in 2000-2020.

These mistake shall never happen. “Front-line maintenance” and “enough repair parts” COMBINED will be the only answer.

Yes, some modern system will be too complex to completely repair by RN engineer in the front line. But, in that cases, the system must be packaged so that the system as a whole can be replaced with the reserve one in the front-line and the mulfunctioned system be repaired by industry at home.

At the same time, such systems “too complex to be repaired by RN engineers” must be minimum. RN engineers/crews must be trained so. And, to retain them, such skilled person shall be ring-fenced with good salary and other supports.

David MacDonald

Following on from the photograph of (much lamented) Manadon, above, how are RN Engineers recruited  and trained these days? The Royal Navy website specifies that potential Engineer officers require a “relevant degree” but I have heard that this can include any science degree. Then, as any engineer knows, a degree is just a foundation on which to build so how are RN engineer officers trained and their careers developed? I have heard on the grapevine that artificers are no more. If so, this seems a great loss.


It its heyday they would have supported a RN of 60-70,000 men and women and a escorts and destroyers fleet of 60 plus.
plus their higher courses were roughly equivalent to a ‘pass degree’ from a University of that era. ( not so many holidays !)

HMS Sultan apparently is the marine engineer officer training location and of course universities graduate those who who sponsored by the RN for their degree. Not everyone has to have a mechanical or electrical engineering degree


Same problem with US LCS, besides the hardware issues they were also “designed” for the maintenance to be all contracted.


> The RN will have to wait until 2026 before the first Type 45 receives the Sea Ceptor upgrade

Interesting point. I understand it means “in 2026, the first T45 with CAMM will be handed over to RN”. Looking at T23 LIFEX, I guess it mean the first hull shall start the modernization work at least at late 2023. My guestimate is

  • late 2023 start 1st-hull conversion
  • by late 2024, VLS mounted and wired
  • by mid 2025, integration to CMS and other systems ends
  • ship-builders trial, from mid-2025 to late-2026
  • delivery to RN on early 2026

Of course, it will see some delay. But, if RN practically want CAMM to be added to T45, work must start by late next year.

Even though my guestimate is starting too early (becase RN tends to plan very optimistic time-line), in any sense, “1st-hull conversion” must start in early 2024. This meas, concept design must be fixed now, and detailed design must start.

Are T45 really going to use the “reserved space for Mk.41 (between 4.5 inch gun and Sylver VLS)”?

  1. Why not locate Mk.41 there (for FC/ASW or SM6/TLAM as interim hyper-sonic/long-range anti-surface/land missiles), as originally planned? CAMM can be mounted elsewhere. A bit too costy option? For example, 24 CAMM can be easily mounted on the place now Harpoons are located (8 Harpoon is much heavier than 24 CAMM).
  2. Why not locate 8 NSMs canisters around the funnel?
  3. Why not replace the 4.5 inch gun with a 57 mm gun, and yet another 24 CAMM, to make it 48? If option-1 is not pursued, this option can locate 48 CAMM VLSs between the 57 mm gun and the Sylver VLS.

If with option-2/3, T45 will be with; a 57 mm gun, 48x Aster30, 48x CAMM, 8x NSM, 2x 30mm guns, 2x Phalanx will be “so-so adequately armed AAW destroyer”.

If option-1 be selected, 16-cell Mk.41 VLS be added (while maybe CAMM remains only 24). But, it will be also “a bit heavily armed AAW destroyer”.

Just a thought.


Agree the change to a 57mm would be useful. But it should probably be on the back of the complete removal of the 4.5inch, gun as that’s how you could make some savings in the longer term ( use the 57mm on escorts as an invest to save).

in regards to cold launch vs mk41 silos, I think because we have so few T45s they are always going to end up chained to either carrier or amphibious so in reality it’s need is as much AAW weapons as possible in the most economic way. If we had a fleet of 12 I would agree some form of strike function would be useful….but only 6 just get some more AAW missiles as cheap as possible.


While we only have six t45s we should consider getting 3 T31 kitted out with 32 Astor 30 and 32 seaceptor and network the radar to Sampson on t45 to help spread the load.


Not going to happen even if the T45s never left the wharf/drydock again.


I would rather go with the 76mm. It is one of the features the RN should have brought over from Horizon.

I would dump Phalanx for something more modern.

And AShM only if there is no deck space elsewhere as these are never going to be too far from the centre of a task group.

As even with extra armaments thanks to the ‘ASW problem’ it is still something that itself will have to be escorted.

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Last edited 1 year ago by X

1: If T31 did not selected 57 mm gun, 76 mm gun for T45 could have been an option. But, I think there is no big difference between 57 mm and 76 mm, and logistic commonality prevails.

Where do you think 76 mm is better than 57 mm? I think only the capability of 76 mm volcano for guided NGFS. But, I do not think NGFS has a priority.

2: Lack of good ASW capability do NOT always stop T45 to steam “alone”. Two simple cases can be considered.

  • enemy does not have SSK/SSN in the region. As SSK is becoming more and more expensive (not so say SSN), number of nations operating SSK decreased significantly compared to 1990s. As such, there are many theaters you do not need to worry about SSK.
  • Air-cover ASW exists. T45 will be there for AAW screen, and as such, could be forward stationed. In this case, carrying NSM may work. Not saying it is critically important, just saying lack of ASW is not a big factor. Anyway, countering SSK threat is NOT solely tasked to escorts. It is much more a systematic warfare.
Supportive Bloke

76mm has much better range and inevitably more volume for charge/propellant/guidance.

Sometimes bigger is better?

T45 is too precious for NGFS. That is why T21 and Counties were used for that in corporate. The better kit T42 and T22 was kept away from the shoreline doing what it was optimised for.


57 mm has higher fire rate and as such covering more sky volumes. Also, 57 mm already has guidance, and will have better one in due course. A shot of a 57 mm can kill a boat. A shot of 57 mm can kill all drones. And, a 57 mm gun can provide twice many shots as a 76 mm gun can.

Not saying 76 mm is inferior to 57 mm, just saying both are similarly good, and do not have a difference as large as inverting the logistic burden.


76mm gives the option of NGFS. As SB mentioned further down, sometimes these options are taken because you can, your there & no one else is. The 57 can fire a lot of shells very fast for a very short time. To fire for longer you have to slow it way down, but the effect of each shell is less than half of a 76 shell. Volcano also gets the 76 out to around 40km if needed.

If Volcano can come down to 76mm, why can’t some of the guided rounds for the 57mm go up?


Raytheon have said their MADFIRES is scalable, as it is a sabot round. They haven’t said if it’s just the sabot that scales up and the dart stays the same or whether they also scale up the dart.


Yes and no. The 57 does have a higher initial rate of fire. Whilst the 76 has a higher sustained rate of fire. The difference is due to the 76 having a water cooled barrel, whilst the 57 doesn’t.

The 57 Mk110 also has the benefit of using the MADFIRES round. This is a newer design than the Leonardo DART. Both are guided rounds, but MADFIRES uses true passive radar homing as it’s seeker. When teamed with a multi-mode AESA it can be used to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Whereas Leonardo’s DART has a limited number of targets it can engage simultaneously.


Yes, and MAD-FIRES are aiming at cheaper rounds. I heard DART rounds a very expensive. Thinking about is limited range, maybe adding 12 CAMM canister on a T31 will be even cheaper and efficient than adding DART system and preparing dozens of DART rounds.


The confusion continues.

MADFIRES is not operational. it is for now vapourware.
When and if it will be is not known.

DART is operational.

Vulcano(long range NGFS) is not operational for 76mm.


The DARPA/Raytheon round has been put through a series of trials, so it’s more than vapourware. Is it in production yet, no, but soon will be. With the Mk110 being fitted to LCS and soon the new Constellation class. There is a demand for a longer ranged air defence layer beyond conventional CIWS. Furthermore, the USCG who also use the 57 MK110 have said they require MADFIRES for air defence, as they only have Stinger.


Pretty sure HMS Liverpool, a T42, was extensively used for shore bombardment in the conflict with Libya

Supportive Bloke

She was used for that as there was nothing else in theatre and she was first fired on so it was suppressing fire.


HMS Liverpool was able to stay farther offshore than the other NATO vessels because her main 4.5-inch gun has a longer range.’
I suppose they meant those with 75mm guns ?

Supportive Bloke


I’m familiar with the Mk8 and it predecessors.

It is very good for what it is.

I suspect given the LIFEX on T23 Mk8 will stay on the T45 as the OoS dates are not that dissimilar. Unless there is a massive wall of cash coming from somewhere I think Radakin was pretty clear he wanted to up missile fit on T31 and T45, by implication, and that is the correct thinking.

Starting to get too many upgrade projects on T45 just means less sea days and less availability and changing the main gun is not a 5 mins job.

The only reason to change the main gun is if it cannot carry out a required function. As you will know, isn’t just the bit that sits on top and goes bang it is whole magazine and feeding system that needs to be changed out.

It would be far easier to change the 2 x 30mm to 2 x 40mm if an increase in close in protection was required as that is a weeks of work and not months of work. The safety case for 40mm will already have been done for T31.


Good point of replacing 114 mm with 57 mm gun is much less man-power. RN is always short of it.

Also, large weight and volume margin (internally) will be given, which shall enable easier implementation of “additional CAMM”. In short, 57 mm is very small.

I know there is no official plan to do so. But, as this Navylookout article says, there are large possibility that T45 will NOT be out of service as planned.

I think the last T45 must be active until 2050, when the 1st-T26 replacement starts building. If not, complex ship building technology will be gaped.

Rob N

Yes less sea days because RN/MoD do not upgrade several things at once. You could put a T45 in for a PIP and change the gun and even fit Sea Ceptor at the same time…. but no lets do them all one at a time and very slowly…..


Yes. However the Sea ceptor upgrade approval came after the engine upgrade had started.
So maybe the last 3 ships might have it done during the major refit , but I dont know the timing

Supportive Bloke

Sampson is being upgraded during PiP?

Publicly announced.

Trying to squeeze another new thing into a long running and costly saga muddies the waters…..

As @Duker correctly states the announcement on Sea Ceptor was not made until hull #2 was in dock and hull #1 was out of dock on trials.

Maybe something different will be done with #4-6? Given there is a bit more urgency, thanks to Mad Vlad, just maybe.

It also depends on money. After the clown shoes brigade spooked the markets that will be harder.


HMS Liverpool was able to stay farther offshore than the other NATO vessels because her main 4.5-inch gun has a longer range.’

It certainly do no have more range that a 127mm.


RN used the 76mm OTO on the Peacocks.
They haven’t used them since.
USN and USCG moving away from it as well.
Neither fish nor fowl.
Not large enough to stop a decent ship, no use at NGFS (that despite everyone saying its out of date just continues to be necessary), not fast firing enough for anti-FAC or as a CIWS. Guided rounds so expensive you may as well fire a missile…
Sure if you’ve a patrol vessel and you can stick one weapon system on it, like the Irish, it could make some sense, but a 57mm makes more.


Thank you for unnecessary history lesson re Peacocks.

60 plus navies use them worldwide. They can be used for anti-missile, guided surface work, and even NGS (better to get a small shell close to the target than have a large one miss.) You don’t seem to know what the gun can do.


USCG moved away because the 76 is more maintenance heavy (water cooled barrel) & they hardly have a reason to fire it (or the 57). Once all the OHP frigates went (2015), USN has nothing using the 76. As the USCG has quite a few 57’s, logistically it makes some sense for the USN to follow. They also have plenty of 127mm equipped AB destroyers. IMO the 57 on T31 at ‘A’ was a very poor choice they may come to regret.


”IMO the 57 on T31 at ‘A’ was a very poor choice they may come to regret.”

Why? It think 57mm is the T31’s main weapon, to counter fast boat swarm, UAVs, and some incoming ASMs (working together with CAMM and 40 mm 3P). At these tasks, 57mm is much much better than 127 mm or 114 mm guns, I understand?


Canadian Navy was not happy with 57mm in some real tests they did.

Next destroyers will have (or better saying will return*) to the Leonardo 127 instead of 57mm of Halifaxes.

  • -The Iroquois class had the Oto Melara 127.
Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS
John fedup

The 127 mm was replaced by a VLS and a 76 mm Oto Melara during a mid-life upgrade. Not familiar with any RCN criticism wrt the 57 mm used on the Halifax class.


It is the main reason their T26 will have the new 127mm instead of continuing with 57mm . reportedly the damage that the 57 does was considered not much and is also very limited for coastal bombardment.


Agree the positions used by the single 40s on the T31 should have been used for two 57 mounts. Then put the 40s amidships. Leaving the A position free for either the 4.5” or if money was available the 5”.

Supportive Bloke

The 4.5″ is at the end of its development cycle.

There is no volume manufacturing of rounds and so smart round would be unique to RN with wince worthy costs per shot.

The 5″ is too much gun, physically and costwise, for a lower end frigate.

If the T31 had a bigger missile load out I am not sure the 57mm isn’t the right solution IRL.

Just Me

The 4.5” was at the end of its development cycle 50 years ago.
the 5” isn’t much bigger, uses much the same hull volume, but delivers much more terminal effect,


Not really . Both have about 3 kg of bursting charge ( varies for the different ammunition)
The weight of the complete shell, say 55lbs for US 5 in, has only 7-8 lbs of explosive
using navweapons website figures


57 vs 76 has nothing to do with weapon capability in RN and USN.

It is an industrial decision. BAE bought/saved the US 5″ gun business.

RN buys BAE because it is “British”. USN likewise a tit for tat to BAE for saving the US 5″ gun industry going down.

Italian Gov does the same for their own company.


I think some countries dont want certain US supplied weapons as they have a habit of telling the country what they can and cant do with them, or even what other countries weapons they cant buy( Mainly higher end stuff)
Israel excepted of course

stephen ball

How does this fit in with laser weapons? Pretty sure lasers are high energy, can’t put too many batteries on a ship.

So Nuclear Microreactors maybe?


The modern lasers dont have a problem with power supply as technology has moved on and they use bundled fibre optics with smaller power source to generate a powerful enough laser.
They can carry a generator and a powerful laser on the back of a small all terrain vehicle A naval ship has miles more power than that and would have more powerful laser to ‘shoot’ at longer distance


The first mistake was not specifying MTU DG in the first place as there was far more RN experience with MTU sets.
The second was not having 3 or 4 in the first place.
These are excellent ships and I hope that this solves their propulsion and availability issues.


Fairly sure that the RN had very little experience with MTU when all this was going on. The vast majority of RN DG experience was with the products of Mr Paxman, which was another driver behind the flawed architecture concept…..

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

‘Mr Paxman’ had long handed over control to others as you would know. GEC especially combined Paxman, Rushton and Mirrlees and then merged it with Alsthom. Now run as an MAN brand.
The Types 22, 23 , Invincibles, Upholder subs also used the Paxman Ventura and Valenta diesels
MTU-Friedrichshafen despite its german origins ( founded by Maybach) is now a Rolls Royce brand


Your point being?


What was once known as British is now german owned , and vice versa

Interesting story on the failure of the last of the larger commercial British designed and built marine diesels from Doxford and Rushton

The RFA tankers Rover class had to be re-enginned as well.

Just Me

The long shadow of BuffHoons political meddling.
As designed, T45 was supposed to have LM2500 GTs.


No they haven’t Photoshop-ed out the dock yard that Horizon is at sea……………

comment image

Supportive Bloke

The photo off Wiki?

There are a grand total of four of these frigates?

RN has 6 T45 so has as much AAW as the other European navies on a better platform. I’m giving the Dutch some airtime too.


None of them spent as much time alongside the wall as T45 has.

They worked from the start. T45 didn’t. Get over it. 😉


I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of PIP the 4 Italian/French Horizons will gave accumulated more sea days between them than the 6 T45’s. They also cost less than the T45 (and that gap will grow further when PIP costs are taken into account) and have far better ASW and ASuW capabilities.


Yes. The RN wanted a T42 replacement and ended up with a specialist aerospace defence ship. Sea Viper is good but we should have just gone AEGIS.

Just Me

The original baseline back at the start of the trail of tears that led to T45 was AEGIS/SM-2


Yes. I am surprised we didn’t jump aboard the AEGIS train after the Falklands. The UK fights a modern air sea missile war at sea and then ignores the best solution available. One wonders where we would be if the Cold War had continued.


Far from it , it was a European radars, missiles and combat systems
The UK, Italy and France signed the Tri-Partite agreement in early 1992 with the intention of creating a common air defence ship that would meet the needs of all three participants……

The common systems would be the Aster missile, a vertical launch silo, a central combat management system and multi-function radar, collectively called the Principal Anti-Air Modular System (PAAMS). PAAMS would be delivered by EUROPAAMS, a joint venture established by Eurosam comprising Thomson-CSF, Aerospatiale Matra, Alenia Marconi Systems and UKAMS, a subsidiary of Matra BAe Dynamics.


Do you have any evidence to back up that statement? Or is that just your assumption. They are T-45 lite. We made the right decision to go for the best. Get over it.


I think like many here do you are confusing the weapon system with the barge it is bolted on to. Sea Viper is not T45. T45 is not Sea Viper. The topic under discussion here is the propulsion system not Sea Viper. Do you understand the difference between a ship and a missile system? Sampson is a very good radar and it does make a difference. I am amazed at it is capabilities every time I see it. Seeing as the Horizons are better armed all round I think T45 as a whole is Horizon Lite……

I am always wary of comments that appear out of the blue. Especially comments that are just off. Are you Merion X or one of that’s thing’s many aliaises? Wading in half cocked with a stupid statement is their normal style. Why not FO eh?


AEGIS is a combat weapons system . Its software libraries that are ‘tuned’ at your ( high) cost for the weapons and sensors on board !
There would be no chance that UK would buy that.
One of the reasons they got out of the Horizon project – even though the final ships are remarkably similar- is that it would have involved in UK paying to develop the Italian combat software for that specific weapons combination.


Yet Spain, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea all have done……..and our biggest ally uses it across 10’s of hulls.

Sea Viper is very good. But the project is a dead end. And it will age. Heck what is the timetable to move to newer blocks of Aster?

The UK pays money to Europe for all manner of things. Take Eurofighter. Look at whose technology that platform is based upon. Look who airforce pushes the platform the most. Look who got the least work share. And you tell me that the UK is bothered about Italian software costs………….

You pick all sort of odd arguments out of the air to support your odd arguments. You will be telling me next it smells a funny colour.

EDIT: There are 113 Aegis hulls and 6 Sea Viper.

Last edited 1 year ago by X
Supportive Bloke


Aster/Viper is fitted to

6 T45
4 Horizon
1 CdG
1 Italian carrier – can’t remember which.

OK some of that is A15 not A30 but it is the same fundamental missile.

The UK learned a lot from the Aster/Viper program as well a contributing a fair bit.

It is a massive mistake to think of a missile like it was in the days of Sea Slug as a unique system. These days software commonality as well as actuators, warheads and sensors are common across platforms. So learning does cross fertilise directly in a way that it didn’t 25 years ago before the software later began to dominate.


Supportive Bloke more Aster/Sea Viper:

8 La Fayette/Formidable(export)
Kalaat Béni Abbès LPD
4 Doha class corvette

plus land based ones.


It came from a reliable source . I personally have no idea
The original plan was for the Combat Management System (CMS) software integration to be carried out in Italy and for Combat System Integration to be carried out in France. The UK, under such a scenario would have been unable to maintain a facility for integration of the UK national variant of the combat system and would therefore have been dependent in the future upon French industry to provide the means of evaluating systems upgrades and changes in configuration throughout the life of the ships.’

A British Tom

Is there any word on upgrading the ASTER to the block1 or even better the 1A standard?

Commonwealth Loyalist

Interesting article as always, keep up the great work!

Always sad to me to see Britain fallng further behind the rest of the world, but at present it does still count.

As to what happens in the future, a lot depends on Liz and Sir Kier following through on the 3%, according to my calculations the US is at 3.7 but with way more productivity per person due to less regulation and a lot less sympathy towards socialism/communism and union dominance in both major parties than in the UK.

Not to mention the NHS often mentioned on this site, it is apparently immune from abolition or serious reform by either party. Coming from a country (NZ) with socialized medicine I used to think it was great, sorry now I thinmk not so much after having seen it in action.

In tis context it is interesting to see the UK masses opposing a minor reduction of punitive taxes on larger earners, a leftover from the class warfare years that are still sadly active. Naturally, if you take away nearly half of what a successful person earns, he or she will move to another country where the weather is warmer (thus disproving in one step the “crisis” of global warming). That all means less funding for the Royal Navy unless tha natives wake up in the near future.





There was never a path to 3% of GDP for UK . Your numbers like the rest of the comments without foundation


It’s not a bad comment. You can dispute his figures but I can see what he is saying. Even if I don’t agree with it.


Doesnt know a single thing of what he saying , about UK Defence budget, NHS or even NZs health system.
He just picks up this drivel from US sites, where anything the US does is ‘the best’ …its so laughable
BTW the US health system has a very large socialist component , you should see their agriculture system

You want to see country with completely free enterprise and no social safety net , visit Cambodia.


You just pick drivel too. He can say what he wants. That’s the trouble here. Too many self appointed mods who aren’t half as bright as they think there are.


Not a moderator. Im just disputing his claims… or drivel as I described it. hes not even remotely covering the T45 upgrades just doing comment bombing.


Stop it! I am just having a silly rant. You post what you want. You say more good stuff than rhubarb. 🙂


Well said.


Well that forward engine space was a void for a reason that to replace the engine in it you had to take apart the Ops Room, so now they place one in there and what happens when it needs to be replaced? I guess they are hoping that it never does during its life onboard. That is the place the original diesel fit was going to be. We will see. T45’s will never ever be great ship compared to those it replaced, the T42 was a much better allrounder being able to deal with above, on and below the surface.


It isn’t very well laid out for something with all that volume.

But no you are right. The RN wanted a T42 replacement. And T26 isn’t going to plug the gaps being too few in number. I look at the Italian fleet and in comparison the future RN will be just under armed and too specialised. Or look at the RAN.

I do wonder what we would have ended up with if they had designed it from the get go as specialist aerospace defence ship. The hangar is complete waste of upper deck real estate for example. Would we have had an extra VLS aft? Imagine a 76mm covering every arc. Not that there would have been budget for ti. The USN made a mistake with the Flight 0 Burkes deleting the hangar. But Daring will always be next to a carrier with more than enough hangar space for helicopters.

I also wonder about whether 6 aviation cruisers would have served us better than T45 and the QE’s. Capable of carrying Crowsnest cabs (5/6), 2(/3?) ASW cabs, a hack, and Sea Viper with a goodly sized VLS.

We are where we are. Six under armed noisy destroyers with a good but soon to be aging AAW system.


I don’t put T42 that high. Don’t get me wrong, T42 is a very good escort. But, its AAW capability was inferior to contemporary AAW destroyers of Europe, e.g., Dutch Tromp-class, Italian Durand de la Penne-class, Audace-class destroyer, and French Cassard-class frigates. But, the big difference was in number. Yes T42 was well balanced, so inferior AAW capability is not a big issue. And as there are 14 of T42, their AAW capability in total is much better than other NATO Europian AAW escorts.

Other than propulsion issue, I think T45 is well designed. Compared to contemporary European AAW escorts, it is superior in AAW capability, e.g. Dutch DZP-class, German Sachsen-class, Danish Iver-Huitfeldt class. I also think it is better than Spanish Bazan-class. These AAW escorts has 32 to 48 cells of VLS, and therefore, T45 is NOT under-armed in this point. I do think Aster missile are much more agile (fact) and better (as I think) than SM-2s (but it is also more expensive) in AAW capability.

T45 has a shortfall, I agree. It does not have the number T42 provided. In T45 era, SSK/SSN became too silent so a hull sonar has no big meaning, so T45 almost ignored the ASW capability. However, T45 CAN carry AW-101 helicopter, which makes it very useful IF RN DECIDE to carry it on T45 = not a flaw of T45, just RN tactics.


The Dutch and both Italian destroyer types you mention had only the US rotating Flat plate radar AN/SPS48 which dated from the 60s, they had the single launcher Mk13 firing SM-1 missiles with 2 fire control channels and in addition a sea sparrow octuple launcher up front with 1 fire control channel.
All those systems predate the the 1970s T42 system and of course they had various issues but generally the USN doesnt have tall poppy syndrome and doesnt rubbish its missiles and their systems.
I dont know whether those countries had later upgrades, as Tromps were out of service by 2000 and the later Italian de la Penne werent into service till 1993 ( so were much later than T42)
It seems to be because they had ‘US systems it must be better’ thinking. When of course Sea Dart was far better than the 60s SM-1 !


T42 never had volume search 3D anti-air radar. (996 is not comparable to those 3D radars in any sense. Designed for very different role). T42’s radar-set is more comparable to FFG-7 Perry class’s. Their SPS-49 radar is a great 2D radar. Of course, T42 CMS is more AAW oriented, and FFG-7 more ASW.

Mk13 single launcher’s “rate of fire” is HIGHER than T42’s Sea Darts dual launcher. Also, fire arc of Mk.13 launchers on these AAW escorts is larger than rather limited T42’s SeaDart launcher.

I’m not sure if “Sea Dart was far better than the 60s SM-1″. SM-1 missile had/has continuous upgrade (RIM-66E Blk VI, VIA, and VIB). Similarly, Sea Darts LATER became comparable in capability to SM-2, much better than SM-1. But in that era, there were already several escorts with SM-2 or Aster fielded.

HMNLS Tromps out of service date was just a few years before T42 bach-1’s decommissioning. So, yes, comparing Tromps to the T42 batch3 is not good.


T42’s role wasn’t to offer a defence against massed regiments of Soviet navy bombers. It was to take pot shots as MPA’s mid ocean. At best protecting an Invincible lead task group it would have sat under the CAP umbrella of a USN carrier battle group.


Thanks. It means, T45 is much better AAW escort compared to T42, I guess.

The only problem is on the propulsion system, not on other parts.


A complete step change. But even though Sea Viper’s performance is many factors greater than Sea Dart the hull can only be in one place at one time and the threat the entire ship (system) faces today is much greater too.

Too many here confuse Sea Viper with T45. Sea Viper is a great system. But T45 isn’t a great ship. And the whole package is underwhelming. Compare again with the Horizons.


“Compare again with the Horizons.”, I do NOT think T45 is “underwhelming” to Horrizon. Sorry.

  • AAW radar = T45 is better (SAMPSON)
  • AAW missile = same
  • Propulsion = Horizon is better
  • SSM = Horizon is better, but RN do not put weight on it (and majority of T45 CAN carry Harpoon)
  • Helicopter (ASW) = Horizon is better, but RN do not put weight on it. (can easily carry Merlin HM2)
  • Helicopter (ASuW) = (I think) T45 is better.
  • Guns = Horizon is a bit batter : T45 has 114 mm for NGFS and two Phalanx CIWS. Horizon has 3x 76mm guns for NGFS (less) and ASM defense. (no difference “as built”). BUT, now Horizon has DART rounds, so it is better. And I understand by adding 24 CAMM, T45 will be much better soon.
  • Light weight torpedo = Horizon is better (T45 relies on Wildcat), but RN do not put weight on it.
  • ASW sensor = Horizon is better, but still T45 has (small) hull sonar
  • Torpedo defense = (I think) T45 is better, with a full kit of SeaSentor system.

Here when I sate “but RN do not put weight on it”, it is RN’s intention NOT to carry it, not T45 design flaw.

Overall I do think T45 is not superior to Horizon, but do NOT think it is overwhelming difference. Very small. And, the “shortfall” is T45 disappears when it steams with CVTF. (And I think that is exactly the reason why RN accepts to gap these capability. Actually, I do like to see T45 equipped as a multi-purpose escort, specialized at AAW. But, it is now an AAW-specialist escort with minimum “General Purpose” capability (not multi-purpose). In other words, T45 is comparable to T31 in capabilities other than AAW. (of course, cheap to build and operate make T31 “much better” in this regime))

For example, the Merlin HM2, which could have carried on T45, is located on the CVF, just it. And a the capability difference in the hull sonar on a single escort is negligible to the ASW capability provided by 9 Merlin HM2 fleet).

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

This is a typical illogical analysis. The T-45 was designed for AAW, all other factors are subsidiaries. It is acknowledged to be the foremost AAW destroyer afloat today by those who know, better than the ABs. To suggest that the Horizon AAW is even close is nonsense. We have the T45 AAW, the T26 ASW and the T31 GPW. This is the policy of the navy to have specialist platforms. No navy has better AAW or ASW platforms. The ABs are general purpose platforms of geriatric design. The Horizon platforms are general purpose platforms with AAW and ASW versions. To compare these with specialist platforms is naive at best.

Last edited 1 year ago by OkamsRazor

“To suggest that the Horizon AAW is even close is nonsense.” Why? They differ only in the MFR radar. PAAMS software, missiles, network, long-range AAW radar, all are the same. Why “close” is not a good word?

“This is the policy of the navy to have specialist platforms.” This is exactly point they argue (not me, sorry). And I do agree it is worth arguing. “Have specialist platforms” is RN specific idea, and it is so only after 2000.

  • Before 2000, RN had ASW-capable AAW destroyer (T42), and ASW-specialist but also multi-role frigates (T23). T26 is also a multi-role frigate. To date, “specialist” concept applies only to T45 (AAW) and T31 (gray-zone sloop), to my understanding. (May be River B2s are also specialist OPV).
  • And, all other navies, including USN, like their asset to be a bit more multi-role. If you are saying “all the other navies are stupid”, I cannot agree. RN is taking one approach. The other navies another approach. It is always worth reviewing the situation, because RN shall be one of the world best navy. (Best guy NEVER ignore others, always try to learn.).
Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

I disagree with your T26 classification at least for the RN version, with only CAMM it is a specialist ASW ship.

The only gret ship in RN is the Type 31 that seem to exist only to increase shipyards work maybe for gunboat diplomacy?



There is no definite definition of “specialist”, so your argument can be one solution.

On Type-26; for me, “specialist” ASW escort will NOT have 24-cell Mk.41 VLS, not 5 ich gun but by happy with 57 mm, and be happy with only 24 CAMM (no need for 48).

Also for Type-31, your point look not-far from mine. But, I think its heart is “to be a specialist to handle Persian Gulf peace time activities”, such as fast boat swarm harassment and occasional (low-tech) ASM attack. T31 is perfectly equipped to cover these tasks. Lack of “other” armaments contributes a lot to decrease maintenance loads, crew size, and thus increase sea-going days = “virtual” number of hulls at work.


 It is acknowledged to be the foremost AAW destroyer afloat today by those who know, better than the ABs

Who said that , for what and comparing to what AB version? , AB for example have fixed face panels.
The only advantaghe T45 have over Horizon is the Sampson radar rotating AESA while currently the Horizon have rotating PESA. Both have the 8150.
There is article here in the Navy Lookout that says the French and Italian navies have more modern Aster version…


No it was designed to be anti-air warfare platform with significant GP capability like T42.

If you were designing a specialist AAW ship from the get go it wouldn’t look like T45. Why would a specialist AAW ship need a hangar for example?


Why would a specialist AAW ship need a hangar?

You know very well they all do, inspite of your beliefs ( AB Flight I excluded- which just proves the point)
A hangar itself is pretty useless. Its what goes in there that matters.


Really? So if the RN declared an IoW ferry a destroyer we just discount comparisons with other platforms because the ferry doesn’t have them?

Go look at some fundamentals of ASW warfare re helicopters and hull sensors.

I don’t think the RN has a heavy helicopter launched missile like Marte unlike the Italians.

And so on.

You list everything Horizon has and T45 doesn’t have. Yet T45 isn’t the poorer hull………….Really?


No. T45 is less armed than Horizon, except for its superior SAMPSON radar. It is fact, no objection.

My point is only on if you think “overwhelmingly inferior” or not. I do not think the difference is “overwhelming”, but not minor, as well. Small rectification can easily revert it.

Difference in “judgement” can exist, and it will all depend on how we evaluate SAMPSON, and how we think T45 as an asset integrated in CVTF, or an escort steaming alone.


Nothing to do with ferrys. Pointless comparison

tell us about an actual destroyer built in last 25 years without a helicopter ( excepting AB early ships, which lo and behold was changed to have one)

Do you know something they dont , apart from your ideas that only ‘pure’ naval ships should be built


De La Penne is not comparable since it came later. It was a ship to give jobs to shipyards.

Audace is an heavier ship much more armed, Tromp is similar to T42.
T42 was a lighter ship,
It is basically a Sea Dart in a hull.
The RN strategy have almost always be building one trick ponies to have an increase number of hulls at the sea.
That strategy now seem to fail.
They continue to be one trick ponies but there are not as same number of hulls as in the past.

Audace for example had more search radars, initial ones:
SPQ-2Q anti low level search- this one was also used for experiments with surface duct and had some success but it was unpredictable when it occured.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS

I didn’t mention Italian or Dutch ships I think.

No the RN hasn’t built one trick ponies. That stopped with Leander.

I suggest you are interpreting RN history completely incorrectly.


That would be news to the RN when they were supporting a full Royal Marines landing on the northern coast of Norway to hold back a Russian land invasion, a core reason for the RM existing at all during the entire Cold War era .
Still is it seems

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Rubbish. Another one of your illogical jumps to support one of your off kilter observations.


So then off the northern coast of Norway the RN task force supporting the amphib ships would only be ‘expecting a few Soviet MPAs’?
From Narvik to Murmansk its only 650km

‘HMS Albion is embarking a staff to direct amphibious operations, the headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade and Royal Marines packing Albion “absolutely up to the gunnels” from her usual 340 souls to around 1,000 at the height of Cold Response. 
Alongside landing support ship RFA Mounts Bay, Albion leads the UK’s amphibious input into Cold Response, with “a significant level” of littoral strike operations – traditional-style commando raids – staged in the fjords, with the British force integrating with numerous allies, including the US, Norwegians, French, Germans and Italians.
The UK has long had a very specific roll up in the high north in the Arctic. And it’s all part of our routine development of that capability,” said Captain Simon Kelly, HMS Albion’s Commanding Officer.”

A flight of fancy its called when only this year they repeated an exercise that was regularly carried out in Cold War years.
 task group including HMS Richmond, HMS Defender, tanker RFA Tidesurge and US Navy destroyer USS Roosevelt. “

Yep clearly a flight of fancy to assume theres AAW destroyers in that task force and the same occcured in Cold War years


The Type996 3D search radar was fitted to later T42s.

never say never.


I stated clearly so (in the latter comments). And, 996 radars 3D capability is not comparable to those 3D AA radar in any sense. It is NOT a volume search 3D radar, no. More SMART-S, TDS-32, a bit long-range than Sea Giraffe.

Not a big problem, because 996 radar is NEVER a air volume search radar. Much more focused on anti sea-skimmer.

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

As usual you just make your points by understating the British product, probably by confusion over the similar but cheaper 2D version sold for OPV and such
The higher end T996/AWS9 ( designed by Plessy/Decca) certainly is a 3D volume search radar-‘ continuous three-dimensional data on all Air and Surface targets within its long-range capability. ‘


  • ANTENNA – Multibeam stripline fed, phased array
  • STABILISED ANTENNA – Two Axis roll and pitch
  • TRANSMITTER – Driven TWT with RF Amplifier
  • RECEIVER – Double Superhetrodyne/pulse compression
  • MTI – 3 and 4 Pulse Canceller
  • PLOT EXTRACTOR – Software based
  • TRACK EXTRACTOR – Software based
  • CONFIRMED TRACKS – More than one hundred
  • TRACK INITIATION – Automatic or Manual to Ships information Systems
  • ECCM – Permits continued operation through heavy ECM zones
  • NORMAL MODE – Detection of Fighter Attack at 115 Kilometres
  • MISSILE MODE – Sea-Skimmers detected at the radar horizon

Based on the Book The Decca legacy, a View from inside the radar Company.


Sorry disagree.

If you mean Type 996 is better than/comparable to SMART-S radar, I have no objection. And, SMART-S is NOT a volume search 3D radar.

By no means Type 996 radar is comparable to SPS-48 and alike. For example, radar power and range differs a lot.

For example, “Detection of Fighter Attack at 115 Kilometres” is long range as a small 3D radar, but SPS-48 is designed to handle out to 480 km distance. I know radar range comparison is very tricky. But I’m sure no one will state “Type-996 can replace SPS-48 in its capability”. It will be a very good addition, because they cover different scope, but never will be considered as a replacement.


Likely the SPS48 has a longer range and has had continuous upgrades and development over the decades, a typical approach by USN. But your first claim that T42 never had a 3D radar which you later tried to revise to mean ‘volume’ search which is just splitting hairs. Your original and subsequent claims are flat out wrong and you only made them as a fan boy of anything US
Only now is the USN developing air breathing missiles , 50 years after the air breathing ram jet powered Sea Dart



But I still do NOT think my initial comment is “flat out wrong”.

”T42 never had volume search 3D anti-air radar. (996 is not comparable to those 3D radars in any sense. Designed for very different role).”
Reading again, I fell nothing wrong here. Do you insist Type-996 is comparable to SPS-48?? Really? Very interesting, and anyway I cannot agree. SPS-48 and Type-996 is NOT in the same league as volume search AA-3D radar. I can admit you think so, no problem its your personal opinion. But, I cannot agree my original claim is “flat out wrong”.

Secondly, I am NOT “a fan boy of anything US”. Not at all. I think RN assets are better in many sense. Type-996 radar is a great radar in that league. Compact, high-performance, and cheaper. Simply pointing out that SPS-48 and Type-996 is NOT in the same league will never degrade the goodness of Type-996. No problem, no one complains Rover-mini is inferior to London bus. Please do not blame me for something I never said.

CAMM is a great missile, I really love it. Aster-30 is also very agile and good. I do think they can overwhelm ESSM + SM-2. But it does not mean it can replace SM-6. Why? Simply SM-6 is a very long-range AAW missile, none of Aster-30 or CAMM are capable of. And, saying so never degrades the CAMM and Aster-30, because CAMM and Aster-30 figure of merit clearly exists against SM-6. Cost, weight, and agility.

Type-996 is a great radar. But, it cannot replace SPS-48 in its capability. The same.

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

Its a reasonable statement to claim one is ‘better’ than the other – especially if one type has had continuous upgrades over the decades, but that was a long way from your earlier claims which were absurd . Its plain wrong to say the 996 doesnt do volume search but go ahead dig the hole you have got your self in, in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary. No sources to back up your views I see.

The USN would never admit to any deficiencies but of course the Pentagons Test and Evaluation agency always finds almost all types of systems/hardware perform well below the manufacturers claims. You should be wise to remember that

Interesting comment in parts of the ‘Decca book’ about one of their smaller radars on the Ghanian presidential yacht which became HMS Mermaid for a while. The RN was surprised that it was better than their existing radar from another manufacturer



Type-996 is a very good radar. I said so from the beginning. It having much shorter range than SPS-48 has no problem, because 996 is a anti-sea-skimmer + medium range 3D radar, while SPS-48 is a long-range AA volume search radar. Range difference is well known (SPS-48 much longer), capability difference is well known (996 much better in detecting sea skimmer). No one will compare these two as comparable.

Type-996’s rivals were SMART-S, TDS-32 and such, but never a SMART-L, SPS-48, and other volume search 3D radars.

Artisan-3D is 5 times better than 996. Why T45 (or Europian APAR AAW frigates) adopted SMART-L as the volume search radar, and not 996 nor Artisan?

Why Type-1022 long-range volume search 2D radar was retained on T42 even after Type-996 be added?

It is simply because 996 and Artisan is NOT intended to be a volume search AA radar.

Have a nice day.


Yes 996 is a low level search radar for sea skimmers. That is also why it is at top of a long mast.




Then why has the ‘Penne’ have both the flat plate SPS-48 and above the bridge the curved SPS-49 ?- which is like the 2D T-1022 ? There seems to be a 3rd type on top of a mast as well.

It seems that some navys use both types 3D AND 2D

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

They background both the T-1022
The Type 1022 radar first went to sea in 1980 was an L-Band Surveillance, and Target Identification Radar (STIR) with a range of about 225 miles. It introduced the vital Moving Target Indicator (MTI) capability to the RN

and the T-996
A Type 996 radar antenna being installed. 996/1 was an E/F-band 3D air/surface search radar with a range of around 100 miles and provided initial target indication to the Sea Dart missile system. It first went to sea in 1987 and was retrofitted to all surviving RN Type 42 destroyers.’
100 miles is far more than the horizon sea skimming requirement

As I showed above the Italians also liked a 3D and 2D search, just as the T45 has two overlapping types Sampson and S1850m

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Yes De La penne have 3 large search radars, and 4th low level in forward mast as well the SPS 702.

1 × SPS-52C 3D radar – the black radar.1 × AESN MM/SPS-768 radar (1976/late 70’s) this is the the large armature antenna above the bridge.
L Band
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 30480 m Range Max: 277.8 km
Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)

– 1 × medium range AESN MM/SPS-774 (early 80’s) this one in mast topF Band
Altitude Max: 30480 m Range Max: 166.7 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)

– 1 × surface radar AMS MM/SPS-702(80’s) this is in forward mast.X-Band navigation, surface surveillance, and low-altitude air target detection radar. The name affix “CORA” originates from a top-secret study to specifically exploit a ducting up to about 5 m above the sea surface with very high humidity for surveillance beyond the radar horizon.

Italian ships always to take in account the numerous islands and coastal areas, so they prefer to have more radars each in different frequency at least until signal processing got better.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlexS
Gavin Gordon

I’ll finally ask a related question that’s been on my mind for a while regarding Sea Ceptor, since it’s equipping the T45s & everything else. Some may be aware that I champion this missile more or less at every opportunity due in no small part due to its potential in the anti-surface role. In fact the last time was during a recent discussion (UKDJ, I think) over Type 23 suitability to strike Russian warships if threatened during monitoring in the Channel.
I’ve heard the RN admit that they’ve ‘gamed’ its use in the anti ship role during exercise and been satisfied with the data, and this previous NL article alludes to the capability;
However, internet search nowhere indicates that it’s actually been physically tested, whereas many sources still state that the capability is a tick-box option, so to speak, that the RN didn’t select (maybe initially?).
Any knowledge over the current state of play on the deployed missile SSM role, at all? Especially in the new risk scenarios rapidly emerging.

Just Me

It’s a bit more ‘bang’ than a Hellfire.


Jeremy Hunt declined to commit to pledge to raise defense spending to 3% of economic output added he would make no commitments until he’s seen the Treasury numbers. 


Do you believe that defence is actually going to get an increase over the next few years when budgets are getting cut everywhere?


The numbers previously talked about werent as high as 3%. Its best to refer to the actual ‘ambitions’ mentioned.
My my, that was only 3 1/2 months back ! Some how projected spending was to be 2.3% this year based on the extra aid to Ukraine. That sounds like very creative accounting


It seems the 3% was only ‘campaign talk’ by Ms Truss before her election by the party. It wasnt a government policy like the 2.5% mentioned by Boris when he was still PM.

David Glover

As much as the government are responsible for a lot of stuff, I am pretty sure that selecting innovation and appraising risks associated with the propulsion system selection was mostly out of their hands. Are we seriously saying MPs become involved with engine design to the extent to which they overrule advice being given by ministers and civil servants in the know on which proposals to persue? I understand that they control the purse strings but that doesn’t imply knowledge or responsibilty for design.