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Callum

The mounting of the main radar so high up is possibly the single most critical aspect that’s going to keep the T45 in the big leagues. Other nations can develop more powerful radars and better missiles, but it appears none of them are going to have the T45s ability to see low level targets at. Against a seaskimming target (~10m), the T45 has a nearly 10km advantage over a Burke or similar Asian design.

Philip Chandler

I believe the Burke’s radar is better placed to take advantage of surface ducting though which can trap radio transmissions near the surface and carry them over the horizon. A bit of a gamble given you can’t guarantee surface ducting will occur, but then they’re more likely to be operating with a carrier group with a Hawkeye.

Callum

It was my understanding that to take operational advantage of surface ducting required specialised setups that were only used in land systems, which is a big reason why AEW is much more widely used for over the horizon surveillance.

Humpty Dumpty

What’s surface ducting please?

Geo

Which is why SPQ-9B (as distinct from SPQ-9A) is higher up on the CG47 and the DDG51 (at least those that will get it) classes. The 9B is a far inferior radar, but the real work is done by the software and it would be interesting to see if perfect has been the enemy of good enough in this case.

X

Shame it wasn’t fitted to QE.

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valeoak

For what real benefit though? As it stands, in an operational deployment a QE-class CV should be accompanied by at least two T45s (each with SAMPSON) and will be capable of flying round-the-clock AEW Merlins. Even if the RN changed operational doctrine and decided to give the QEs a Sea Ceptor capability (something I think would be good in itself), I think we can agree that SAMPSON is overkill for that weapon system’s requirements and capabilities. I’d rather they put money toward increasing the operational availability / rotation of the CVs or fitting their originally intended full compliment of Phalanx or purchasing more F-35Bs and so on before fitting a radar to the CVs that would have limited use.

X

Do you know what task the USN like T45 to perform when sailing in their task groups?

They like them to manage the air space, air traffic control, or fighter direction as it was known in the olden days. And that is Sampson. So no it wouldn’t have been a waste to fit it to the carriers.

valeoak

I’ve replied to this in my other response.

Jim

A Sampson is overkill for fighter direction though. The increased capabilities of a MESAR over a PESA would be completely wasted in just managing the airspace. All of that can be done perfectly well by the Type 997 and S1850M that the Queen Elizabeths have.

Timber16

How is Sampson overkill for fighter direction? A dual face radar with RPM totalling 60 RPM knocks 997 and S1850M to one side. Bet if you asked any pilot, they would far prefer to be controlled by a radar with a much higher update rate than that of 997 or S1850 which only has 15RPM!!

james

What was the original CIWS fit for the carriers

valeoak

The original intention seems to have been to provide four Phalanx guns to provide near 360-degree coverage and minimise or eliminate the need for the ship to manoeuvre to have an effective firing solution that maximises the Pk.

Dave61

hi’ attrition three is always better than two. but id rather have two more destroyers

X

The cost of two extra SAMPSON won’t be you any F35b, The accompanying T45 having them isn’t really relevant. Consider you lose one of the latter either it is sunk, has to retire, or has to be deploy away. SAMPSON in the carriers would be used for different purposes as outlined in my other reply down below.

Could buy more CIWS for the price of two Sampson. I would suggest it is a bit like buying a new car and asking for ABS to be taken out so you could afford air bags. And I wouldn’t buy Phalanx either.

There are quite a few things missing from the Delta design that were in the Alpha design I would have preferred to see funded before extra Phalanx. And none of them go bang.

valeoak

“They like them to manage the air space, air traffic control, or fighter direction as it was known in the olden days. And that is Sampson. So no it wouldn’t have been a waste to fit it to the carriers.”

The S1850M is a very capable volume search radar which more than adequately fulfils the roles of air traffic management and fighter control. The T45 would not need to even be running its SAMPSON to perform this role. SAMPSON’s extra functions are its increased track capabilities (not necessary even for fighter control where an aircraft will detect a target far earlier in the process) that are useful for fire control – particularly for a dedicated AAW ship that is engaging fast moving targets at long-range. For ATC, the QE rightly relies on its S1850M.

Whilst I think you underestimate the costs of SAMPSON cf. Phalanx – particularly given the fact that they went to the effort of creating a cheaper system utilising some of its technologies (Artisan) – it wasn’t my suggestion that the RN was going to be able to buy these things instead of SAMPSON. My point was that of all the things lacking with regard to the CVs, SAMPSON would be near the bottom of the list. It really isn’t something that should absorb money when there are more concerning matters.

X

Yes. It is a good radar. But this goes back to what I said about the reason why the USN likes to have T45 around for air traffic control. If they had a radar that good they would be using it on their carriers.

Actually no I don’t underestimate the cost of SAMSPON. I know it is a good deal of money. But the costs of two SAMSPSON sets would have barely but a dent in the F35x budget.

BTW I think you overestimate the effectiveness of Phalanx.

So the RN asked for SAMPSON in the first place on QE. Are you saying that the Warfare Branch don’t know what they want? Irrespective of whether it could be afforded or not.

As I said there are fews things in the Alpha design that I would spend money and none of them go bang.

valeoak

Yes. It is a good radar. But this goes back to what I said about the reason why the USN likes to have T45 around for air traffic control. If they had a radar that good they would be using it on their carriers.”

And as I said, that function doesn’t require the T45’s SAMPSON… The S1850M does it very well.

“Actually no I don’t underestimate the cost of SAMSPON. I know it is a good deal of money. But the costs of two SAMSPSON sets would have barely but a dent in the F35x budget.

BTW I think you overestimate the effectiveness of Phalanx.”

I didn’t deny that regarding the F-35. And it’s precisely because I’m not overestimating the combat effectiveness of Phalanx that I would like the CVs to have both quarters covered (it is a cost-effective purchase).

So the RN asked for SAMPSON in the first place on QE. Are you saying that the Warfare Branch don’t know what they want? Irrespective of whether it could be afforded or not.”

Well, that’s an interesting question given at one point they deleted the requirement for any hard-kill systems and then reversed their decision… But, I digress: I am not sure that the RN did stipulate SAMPSON for the CVs. It was certainly specified for the CNGF, but the CVs were a different matter. There were various pre-Alpha designs and, from my understanding, SAMPSON was only included in those with Aster: which makes sense given the work previously done on the CNGF project and then the successor T45 (i.e., the designers were only finally proposed SAMPSON as part of Alpha as Alpha included Aster). After Alpha was rejected and Aster was deleted, SAMPSON seems to have stuck around in the design proposals as things do in the messy way defence procurement is often done (and also as a means of allowing Aster to be retrofitted if the circumstances dictated and budget permitted). But let’s be clear, once Aster was deleted, SAMPSON served no specific purpose aboard the CVs: the general air picture is well provided for by the long-range S1850M volume search radar (indeed, it is why the T45 also has the S1850M – so that can handle the burden of volume search whilst the SAMPSON focuses on directing missiles). The CVs had no use for the advanced tracking and fire control features of the SAMPSON MFR. And once Artisan is developed from much of the work done on SAMPSON, the justifications for having SAMPSON on the CVs dissolve.

Timber16

QEC actually relies on 997 for ATC!

Humpty Dumpty

“For what real benefit though?”
Better defence, not just for the carriers, but for the entire carrier group. That’s a very real benefit. If the carriers, Type 45s and Type 26s all had SAMPSON and Asters the entire carrier group would be far better defended and far more survivable. At present the carriers have no missiles and just 3 Phalanx, while the Type 26s will be too expensive to defend just with short-ranged CAMMs.

“As it stands, in an operational deployment a QE-class CV should be accompanied by at least two T45s (each with SAMPSON)*
At least two Type 45s? We only have 6 of them. I’d say 2 is the most that could be provided to a carrier group. And considering how badly defended all our surface ships are when it comes to anti-ship missiles and subs, in a war I can’t see them surviving for long at all unless significantly upgraded.

Four things that would make our surface ships much more survivable:

  • – A VL anti-sub missile that’s longer ranged than any existing torpedo so that subs can’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place. Sting Ray only has a range of 11km and VL-ASROC only has a range of 22km. Both are pointless weapons as there are torpedoes that are much longer ranged than either of them.
  • – Test anti-torpedo torpedoes such as SSTD CAT, MU90 Hard Kill and SeaSpider to see if they work as advertised. If so, fit the best system. If none work, invest heavily in R&D to develop a weapon that does work.
  • – Microwave weapons to burn out the electronics in anti-ship missiles.
  • – Replace Phalanx with the Oerlikon Millennium Gun and the OTO Melara 76mm (and ideally make them deck penetrating so they can be quickly auto-reloaded)

“and will be capable of flying round-the-clock AEW Merlins.”
Do we have enough Merlins for 24/7 AEW cover? And even if we do, they can’t take off in extremely windy conditions, plus at times one of more may be out of operation for repairs or maintenance. Do we have enough Merlins to cover all such situations?
Plus there’s not much point having AEW and SAMPSON to tell us a ballistic missile is on its way when we have no missiles capable of taking one out.

“Even if the RN changed operational doctrine and decided to give the QEs a Sea Ceptor capability…”
Why would that be a change in operational doctrine? A couple of our carriers were upgraded and fitted with Sea Cat years ago: HMS Hermes (R12), HMS Ark Royal (R09).

“(something I think would be good in itself)”
Of course it would. Sea Viper would be even better though. And it shouldn’t be viewed as a “nice to have” feature. I’d say it’s absolutely essential. Every other carrier in the world has missiles except the QE and PoW. Even the Wasp-class and America-class ships have missiles. Do we know something other navies don’t or are we penny-pinching? Would it be cheaper to fit Sea Viper or build a new carrier because it’s been sunk?

“… I think we can agree that SAMPSON is overkill for that weapon system’s requirements and capabilities.”
We? You don’t speak for everyone and I certainly don’t think SAMPSON is overkill at all. In fact I think Sea Ceptor would be underkill to coin a term.
And what weapon system are you referring to? The carriers only have 3 Phalanx for self-defence which is woefully inadequate.

“I’d rather they put money toward increasing the operational availability / rotation of the CVs”
Surely the only way to increase the operational availability of the carriers is to have more carriers?

“or fitting their originally intended full compliment of Phalanx”
4 Phalanx vs 3 Phalanx wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Phalanx is totally inadequate in this day and age. It has an effective range of just 1.5km. An anti-ship missile travelling at Mach 1 could cover that distance in just over 4 seconds. I’d guess that Phalanx probably needs to concentrate fire on a missile for about 2-3 seconds to destroy it, so there would only be enough time to destroy one missile. A missile travelling at Mach 3 would cover 1.5km in just under 1.5 seconds; probably not enough time for Phalanx to destroy the missile.

I’d replace Phalanx with the Oerlikon Millennium Gun firing AHEAD ammo (effective range 5km) and the OTO Melara 76mm firing DART and PFF ammo (range 8km and 16km respectively; I don’t know the effective range). I’d fit as many of each gun on the carriers as would fit, but at the bare minimum 2 of each.

“or purchasing more F-35Bs”
Well I’m no fan of the F-35 at all, but it’s clear we can’t defend a carrier group with just 17 of them.

“before fitting a radar to the CVs that would have limited use.”
You’re being inconsistent here. On one hand, you see the importance of AEW, but on the other you can’t see the benefit of having a radar that’s longer ranged than Artisan and missiles that are longer ranged than CAMM.

Jim

Yes and if there was unlimited money for Sampsons on the Type 26s and 100 Aster missiles per ship, then the fleet would be better defended, but there isn’t so there’s no use even going there. What you have to ask is given the availible money… So “what benefit?” That money spent on a Sampson for the carriers would likely be a detriment as it would take up money that would have been better spent elsewhere.

CAMM is not really that short ranged, in fact it’s really more of a medium-range missile. Certainly not short-range like the RIM-116 with a range of only 10km. CAMM’s range is at least 25km (though at higher altitudes this can be much further).

I think that it will only be rarely that the carriers will sortee together, most of the time there will only be 1 on deployment at a time, and while I’m not sure what the availibility rate of the Type 45s will be after they get their engine overhauls, but I’d think it would be over 50%, so there could be as many as 4 (with 2 or 3 more likely) availible for escort duties at a time, plus up to about 5 Type 26 frigates and possibly a Type 31 or 2.

And before you pooh-pooh the CAMM some more, remember it’s 1/4 of the price of the Aster, can be packaged 4 to a VLS cell so can basically get 4x the number of missiles, even if they’re not as capable in range or accuracy.

Of course not putting missiles on the carriers is a budgetary discision but again… BUDGETS EXIST. To misquite Gandalf “…All we have to decide is what to do with the budget that is given us.” So what is a more effective way to spend the money (ie to get the most out of what you have availible), giving the carriers missile capability or to make sure they’re always escored by some of the best AAW destroyers in the world, and some of the best ASW frigates in the world, and to spend the money on giving them the best capability possible, rather than a lesser one and devolve limited capability to the carrier itself. The RN within it’s irl constraints (different to those of other navies), seems to think it’s better specialised ships working together to provide capabilities for the whole is best for them. Sorry if it sounds like I’m a broken record, but everything has to be viewed respective to these real life constraints. We all want the best navy possible, but there simply isn’t the money, especially now we have to pay off a whole heck of lot more national debt after 2020, so that means we’re not going to get everything we want, and hard descisions are going to have to be made, that aren’t nessasarily ideal, but trying to make the best of bad circumstances.

With regards to CIWS, I don’t think the OTO Melara (fyi, all but 1 varient is deck penetrating) is a good pick. It’s great as a dual purpose gun (eg the primary weapon of a small frigate or corvette), but if you mainly want it for CIWS, it’s effective range is only about the same as the Millenium gun. I believe a more effective gun would be the Bofors/BAEs 57mm Mk110 with 3P (proximity fused) ammo, with a higher rate of fire, shell velocity and ammo capacity, it seems to be absolutely lethal to ariel targets and will do a number on any small boat too.
That said the Phalanx’s targeting system is one of the best out there (as it gets frequent upgrades) and reputedly averages a hit on its 3rd round.

Humpty Dumpty

“Yes and if there was unlimited money for Sampsons on the Type 26s and 100 Aster missiles per ship, then the fleet would be better defended, but there isn’t so there’s no use even going there.”
We’re not exactly a poor country.

We’ve built two carriers, 6 Type 45s, we’re upgrading Type 23s, we’re fixing the Type 45 propulsion problems, we’re building more Asutes, we’re building Type 26s, we will be building Type 31s and we’re buying F-35Bs. Plus we’re buying missiles and ammo. But somehow we can’t afford to adequately arm and defend our ships? That’s short-sighted, utterly negligent and will get ships sunk in a war.

Not that the ships should need uparming and up-defending, they should have been built to a higher spec in the first place. In a war with Russia or China I can’t see our ships surviving long at all. We need longer-ranged anti-air missiles, anti-sub missiles, anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles. All our missiles lack range. Our ships also need better defences and more layers of defence against anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.

It would cost a lot more to replace sunk ships than uparm and up-defend them. I am getting really bored of hearing “we can’t afford it” when we give away about £14 billion a year in foreign aid, much of which ends up in tax havens, and we’re building HS2 which is going to cost over £100 billion last time I checked. This site is called “Save The Royal Navy”. It should be renamed “Save The Treasury”. If we can’t afford to build proper warfighting ships, then we should get out of the game and just have a navy purely for home waters defence instead.

And even if we really can’t afford the upgrades I proposed (which I don’t buy for a minute – we had no problem finding hundreds of billions to bail out the banks, did we?), then I’d rather we built 7 well armed and defended Type 26s rather than 8 poorly armed and defended ones that wouldn’t last long in a war. I’d also rather we scrapped the Type 31s and uparmed Batch 2 Rivers instead, which would be perfectly adequate to escort commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf.

I’d like to see us start building diesel-electric AIP subs, which would be cheaper than Astutes (and their replacement) and could be used for home waters defence (English Channel, GI-UK gap, off Faslane), in the Persian Gulf and off the Falklands and off Gibraltar. No doubt other places too. We could develop ships with well docks to hold a few of these subs and take them anywhere in the world.

“That money spent on a Sampson for the carriers would likely be a detriment”
How on earth would better defending the carriers be detrimental? They cost £3 billion each. They need the best defences we can give them. Defences such as:

  • – An EW suite
  • – SAMPSON & Aster 30/quad-packed CAMMs (as many cells as there’s space for)
  • – As many Oerlikon Millennium Guns as there’s space for (ideally 8)
  • – Microwave weapons (as many as will fit)
  • – Dragonfire (as many as will fit)
  • – A ship-based version of DIRCM like Nemesis to confuse IR-guided missiles (because modern ones can filter out decoy flares and IR is less affected by the weather than lasers)

“as it would take up money that would have been better spent elsewhere.”
So better defending the carriers is a waste of money in your opinion?

We’re the only navy in the world that doesn’t have missiles on our carriers. Are all the other countries wrong or are we just mental?

The US carriers have EW suites (SLQ-32).

Phalanx is inadequate in this day and age with an effective range of only 1.5km.

Microwave weapons and Dragonfire should be fitted to every RN & RFA ship imo as they would make all ships more survivable against anti-ship missiles.

“CAMM is not really that short ranged, in fact it’s really more of a medium-range missile. Certainly not short-range like the RIM-116 with a range of only 10km. CAMM’s range is at least 25km (though at higher altitudes this can be much further).”
Short-ranged, medium-ranged, either way CAMM is not as long ranged as Aster 30. Carriers and Type 26s should have Aster 30 as their first line of defence imo. CAMMs could be quad-packed in spare Sylver or Mk41 cells as a second layer of defence. This would make all ships in a carrier group much more survivable against anti-ship missiles.

Plus the Type 45s which are supposedly dedicated AAW ships don’t even carry Aster 30 Block 1NT to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles. That is absolutely ludicrous. They should be fitted with Block 1NT now and Block BMD when it’s ready.

“I think that it will only be rarely that the carriers will sortee together, most of the time there will only be 1 on deployment at a time”
Not sure why you’re saying this. We don’t have enough F-35s, frigates, destroyers, Astutes and support ships to form two carrier groups. I suppose we could make up a carrier group with two carriers instead of one, but until we get more F-35s that would be pretty pointless. If we had say 60 F-35Bs, then having 30 on each carrier would provide redundancy if one was sunk or mission killed.

“and while I’m not sure what the availibility rate of the Type 45s will be after they get their engine overhauls, but I’d think it would be over 50%, so there could be as many as 4 (with 2 or 3 more likely) availible for escort duties at a time”
Unless you have a source for 50%, it’s just a guess.
And from what I’ve read, you divide by 3 when it comes to escorts to get an idea of how many can be operational at any one time. With 6 Type 45s, we could supply 2 to a carrier group; with 8 Type 26s we could provide 2, maybe 3 at a push. With 4 Astutes, we can provide 1. When we have all 7, we could provide 2 (although I’ve often wondered how you coordinate more than one sub; after all, you don’t want one Astute attacking another).

“plus up to about 5 Type 26 frigates”
Where are you getting these figures from?

“and possibly a Type 31 or 2.”
The Type 31 won’t be well enough armed to form part of a carrier group. Plus it’ll be purely diesel powered (therefore noisy), it’ll have no sonars, no SSTD and no anti-sub missiles so it’ll be a sitting duck for subs. It’ll only have 12 CAMMs. A Type 31 not only wouldn’t contribute anything useful to a carrier group in terms of offence or defence, it would be an unwelcome drain on resources in terms of replenishment at sea.

“And before you pooh-pooh the CAMM some more”
I didn’t pooh-pooh CAMM, I simply said that I don’t think it should be the first line of defence for the carriers and Type 26s. I also said that quad-packed CAMMs could be used as a second line of defence.

*remember it’s 1/4 of the price of the Aster*
OK, but Aster 30 should still be the first line of defence imo. When it comes to defending ships, that’s no time to be penny-pinching.

“can be packaged 4 to a VLS cell so can basically get 4x the number of missiles, even if they’re not as capable in range or accuracy.”
CAMM and Aster 15 are very similar in terms of range and speed, so quad-packing CAMMs makes a lot of sense.

“Of course not putting missiles on the carriers is a budgetary discision but again… BUDGETS EXIST.”
Yeah and the government always picks and chooses what it claims we can and can’t afford. As I said, it had no trouble finding hundreds of billions to bail out the banks that were “too big to fail”. Clearly they don’t view the RN in the same way.

“So what is a more effective way to spend the money (ie to get the most out of what you have availible), giving the carriers missile capability or to make sure they’re always escored by some of the best AAW destroyers in the world, and some of the best ASW frigates in the world”
Well if it were up to me I’d equip the carriers, Type 45s and Type 26s with the best armament and defences available and screw the debt. Even the support ships need some kind of defence against subs and anti-ship missiles (Phalanx barely counts). The Point-class ships have no defences whatsoever; they’re Atlantic Conveyors waiting to happen.

Much better armed and defended Type 26s with SAMPSON/Sea Viper might well be exportable in large numbers. The Type 45 replacement might also be exportable if it’s got the best armament and defences going and if it has CODLOG propulsion and a towed array sonar. Exporting vessels would provide money to enable us to build more for our own use. I’d also like to see us build a new carrier class with cats & traps. This too might be exportable. I know the US is considering carriers smaller than the Ford class for example.

With the money the exports provide, I’d like us to build far more shipyards and concentrate on building easily upgradeable modular ships, which would enable us to build new ships far faster than is possible at present. And as I said, I’d like us to start building diesel-electric AIP subs. Ideally with pump jet propulsion to make them as quiet as possible. These too might be exportable, which would bring in more money.

If we’re not going to properly arm and defend our ships we might as well sail them out into the ocean and sink them ourselves, because that’s what will happen in a war if we don’t upgrade them. At least sinking them ourselves means no people will pointlessly lose their lives.

Or else, as I said, we could build 7 Type 26s instead of 8 and equip the 7 with the best armament and defences. We could scrap the Type 31s and upgrade Batch 2 Rivers instead. We should stop upgrading the Type 23s imo and instead focus on getting the Type 26s operational much sooner.

As for referring to the Type 45s as “some of the best AAW destroyers in the world”, I’m not sure about that because:

  • – They don’t carry Aster 30 Block 1NT missiles to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles. And will they carry Aster 30 Block 2 BMD when it’s ready?
  • – Aster 30 lacks range to keep enemy aircraft at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire anti-ship missiles in the first place
  • – Is SAMPSON still top dog or does it need upgrading? How does it compare to SPY-6 for example?
  • – The Type 45s lack Sylver cells
  • – They could do with quad-packed CAMMs to provide more missiles and another layer of defence (and ideally quad-packed CAMM-ER if that’s doable)
  • – Two ADL launchers with quad-packed CAMMs (16 per launcher) would make Type 45s more survivable because ADL launchers can be replenished at sea
  • – It would make sense to develop a system to auto-reload empty cells with new anti-air missiles

As for the Type 23s, you call them “some of the best ASW frigates in the world”. I’m not sure how good the Type 23’s sonars are and how good the dipping sonar on the Merlins is (or how they’d fare against an Astute, Gotland or Type 212 say), but the Type 23s (and Type 26s too) could be made more survivable against subs as follows:

  • – Develop a long-ranged anti-sub missile to keep sub’s at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place. Sting Ray only has a range of 11km and VL-ASROC only has a range of 22km. There are several torpedoes that are much longer ranged than that and the Russian Type 65 torpedo has a range of 100km. What the frigates need is an anti-sub missile with a range of 100+km and ideally it would be high supersonic so it could cover that distance in about a minute.
  • – Test anti-torpedo torpedoes like SSTD CAT, MU90 Hard Kill and SeaSpider to see if they work as advertised. If so, fit the best system. If none of them work, then invest heavily in R&D to develop a system that does work.
  • – Test depth charges to see if they can be used to take out torpedoes. If so, that would provide a cheap, simple way to take out torpedoes and make ships much more survivable.
  • – Invest heavily in R&D to develop new ways to detect subs that don’t rely on active or passive sonar and new ways to take out torpedoes.
  • – Fit the Type 23s with Arcims sub-hunting drones (that the Type 26s will be getting). Ideally they’d have torpedo launchers and be data-linked with the frigates and Merlins.
  • – Look into the feasibility of manned or unmanned airships to perform the ASW role. With solar panels and wind turbines recharging batteries they’d potentially have very long endurance. (They could potentially also be used as AEW aircraft with long endurance.)
  • – Underwater drones could also be used to hunt down subs, but they’d need a way to communicate with the frigates, Arcims & Merlins. Maybe have the drone deploy a buoy when it finds a sub so it can communicate with the frigates and helicopters via satellite? Ideally UUVs would carry torpedoes, but that could potentially result in friendly fire incidents.

“and to spend the money on giving them the best capability possible, rather than a lesser one”
Well that’s precisely what I’m proposing, but you’re saying we can’t afford to properly defend our ships.

“and devolve limited capability to the carrier itself.”
I don’t know what this means. Can you clarify?

“The RN within it’s irl constraints (different to those of other navies)…”
Different how exactly?

“… seems to think it’s better specialised ships working together to provide capabilities for the whole is best for them.”
Well apart from the fact that the Type 45s and Type 23s lack capbilities that dedicated AAW and ASW vessels should have, the RN only operates this way because it’s cheaper than having multi-role ships.

“We all want the best navy possible, but there simply isn’t the money, especially now we have to pay off a whole heck of lot more national debt after 2020, so that means we’re not going to get everything we want, and hard descisions are going to have to be made, that aren’t nessasarily ideal, but trying to make the best of bad circumstances.”
And in a war with a competent enemy, these ships won’t last long at all. We either need to build these ships properly or forget trying to be a world navy and just concentrate on defence of our home waters instead.

“With regards to CIWS, I don’t think the OTO Melara (fyi, all but 1 varient is deck penetrating) is a good pick.”
When you say “all but one variant is deck penetrating”, do you mean that there’s only one deck-penetrating variant? And if so, which variant are you referring to? Can it fire DART and PFF ammo?

It’s great as a dual purpose gun (eg the primary weapon of a small frigate or corvette), but if you mainly want it for CIWS, it’s effective range is only about the same as the Millenium gun.”
The OTO Melara 76mm isn’t classed as a CIWS though. I suggested fitting it to ships to complement the Oerlikon Millennium Gun firing AHEAD ammo (effective range 5km). With the Millennium Gun you get a high rate of fire (and ideally it’d be deck penetrating) and with the 76mm I was presuming you get more stopping power, so that’s why I suggested combining them to get the best of both worlds at different ranges.

Also destroyers and frigates could fire HVPs from their main guns, which from what I’ve read travel at Mach 3 and have a range of 80+km. A ship with HVPs, a 76mm and a Millennium Gun would have far better gun-based defence against anti-ship missiles than a ship fitted with just Phalanx with an effective range of just 1.5km. (Plus Dragonfire and microwave weapons would make a ship even better defended.)

“I believe a more effective gun would be the Bofors/BAEs 57mm Mk110 with 3P (proximity fused) ammo, with a higher rate of fire, shell velocity and ammo capacity”
According to http://www.seaforces.org/wpnsys/SURFACE/Mk-110-naval-gun-system.htm the 57mm Mk110 has a max range of 17 kilometers (it doesn’t state the effective range), which is only slightly further than the max 16km range of the PFF round fired by the OTO Melara 76mm. If the PFF round has the same effective range as the HE round, then that’s 8km according to Wikipedia, which is 3km further than the Millennium Gun’s effective range.

The Mk110 does have a higher rate of fire though: 220 rounds/minute (3.6 rounds/second) vs 120 rounds/min (2 rounds/second) (Super Rapid variant). That said, an anti-ship missile travelling at Mach 3 covers just over 1km a second so it could cover 8km in about 8 seconds. In that time the 57mm could fire 28.8 rounds and the 76mm could fire 16 rounds. I don’t know how many 57mm rounds or 76mm rounds would be required to shoot down a missile (presumably depends on its size), but I’d expect the 76mm to have more stopping power than the 57mm. Whether that makes up for its lower rate of fire though I don’t know. Really tests need to be done against Coyote missiles to establish stuff like this.

As for muzzle velocity, the Mk110’s is slightly higher than that of the 76mm, but they’re both in the region of 1km/second give or take.

And as for ammo capacity, again the Mk110 wins on this score, although deck penetration and fast auto-reloaders would render the difference pretty much irrelevant I’d have thought.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere though that the 76mm can fire til its out of ammo whereas the Mk110 can overheat and has to stop firing. I don’t have a link though.

“it seems to be absolutely lethal to ariel targets and will do a number on any small boat too.”
Well any aircraft or fast attack craft would be pretty stupid to fly in range of either gun since both guns would be lethal to aerial targets or fast attack craft.

“That said the Phalanx’s targeting system is one of the best out there (as it gets frequent upgrades) and reputedly averages a hit on its 3rd round.”
Has Phalanx ever shot anything down in wartime though? I don’t think it has. Plus Phlanx only has an effective range of 1.5km, which is far too short in this day and age. To stay relevant Phalanx needs a longer effective range and it needs to be deck-penetrating (as do all CIWSes and gun-based defences).

Geo

I’m sure I saw artists impressions with Sampson fitted to the QE early in the process, whatever point in time it was when the decision was made to go with Artisan instead will be recorded in history as the point in time the Sampson project died. I’m sure there are programs to update the 6 that are afloat as and when required but there will only ever be 6 afloat and thats killed it.

X

It was intended for QE. Running a floating airfield I think you would like the best radar you could.

valeoak

That’s correct, some of the initial designs did include SAMPSON, but that really seems to be down to Thales’ Alpha design that included VLS cells for Aster missiles. Once Aster was deleted and Artisan came along, there really was little point in fitting SAMPSON to the carriers.

X

I remember the first time I watched a plot on SAMPSON. I sat and watched aeroplanes flying over my home 4 hours plus driving away.

You don’t need SAMSPON to drive PDMS missiles. The issue was related. But taking Aster wasn’t the reason why SAMPSON was deleted.

valeoak

I remember the first time I watched a plot on SAMPSON. I sat and watched aeroplanes flying over my home 4 hours plus driving away.”

You could have done the same thing with S1850M – if air surveillance is your concern then really I don’t see why you keep pushing SAMPSON.

You don’t need SAMSPON to drive PDMS missiles. The issue was related. But taking Aster wasn’t the reason why SAMPSON was deleted.”

I feel like I’ve better answered this in my other reply… But: I agree. However, Aster-15 isn’t just a PDMS and, at the time, SAMPSON was really the only modern radar that was capable of providing that kind of function and was being utilised for that purpose in the only other RN ships to be fitted with Aster missiles. They were building on work already done.

Artisan came later and utilised technologies developed for SAMPSON.

Paul T

Out of curiousity what was the Radar fitted to HMS Ark Royal on her retirement ? http://www.altondigitalimage.com/resources/IMG_2098.jpg

valeoak

If you’re referring to the radome abaft the main superstructure, I believe that housed an SPN-720 PAR, also fitted to Illustrious. They were fitted some time after Invincible was mothballed.

Humpty Dumpty

Yeah I agree. I’d have fitted SAMPSON to both carriers and I’d build the Type 26s with SAMPSON too. These ships are too expensive to risk losing and need the best radar they can get. I’d fit the carriers and Type 26s with Aster 30 Block 1NT, Aster 30 and quad-packed CAMMs. Not sure Aster 15 is worth bothering with since it’s so similar to CAMM and I’d rather have 4 times the number of CAMMs.

Phillip Johnson

Wonder how Sampson compares with the AGEIS, SPQ-9 combo?

Unfortunately all Defence projects have three measures of success: capability, cost, schedule. Sampson probably rates as a 2 out of 3 fail in that regard.

The most worrying current aspect is the lack of a planned upgrade path. This occurs on too many MOD projects. Even if the Radar is the best thing since sliced bread the electronics supporting it will age rapidly, effecting both capability and support costs.

QUES: Has the UK Defence forces numerical strength declined to a point where serious decisions need to be made on what equipment to develop and what to buy. Is that already being seen on the T31?

X

USN is very envious of SeaViper……….especially SAMPSON……….

Robert

The lack of upgrades in 10 years is the most significant point in this whole article.

Even if Sampson was better than SPY-1 when introduced 10 years ago, is it still better than SPY-6 now? How will it compare in 10 years time? The Type 45s have many years still to serve before replacement so will need updating over time.

X

That really is the argument that we should have just bought AEGIS and it is an argument with some merit if we are just looking at build costs. As I said elsewhere on the thread there should have been no T45 and no T26 just a class of ‘cruisers’ to replace both. Going with Aegis would have saved us more. But would there have been costs elsewhere not so apparent? The third way was to have based SeaViper on US components. And perhaps use SAMPSON upstream and interfaced into Aegis?

Jonesy

The one ship fits all doesnt work for us though. Do you have a 2087 tail unused and a highly skilled ASW warfare team sat twiddling fingers while your ‘cruiser’ sits close consort on a noisy carrier?.

Do you want your AAW screen sprinting and drifting, trying to prosecute an UW contact, on the opposite side of the formation to the main air threat axis?.

In both cases the answer is no. The USN can do this as they have ships and crews to spare it seems….we dont.

If we have a TAS ship in the formation we want it, and its highly trained warfare team, out where its doing its ASW best. If we have a highly capable AAW radar/missile combination we either want it solidly up-threat or goalkeeping on the big ships….not chasing down sonar targets. We have specialist ships for a very good reason….and while it doesn’t look so good in a Top Trumps context for a T26 to not carry area AAW or T45 to not stream a TAS thats not really justification for such funding largesse to equip them as such.

Humpty Dumpty

“The one ship fits all doesnt work for us though.”

Why not? Ships need to be able to deal with any threat they face, whether that’s from anti-ship missiles, torpedoes or mines.

Our ASW Type 23s (as opposed to the general-purpose Type 23s) are dedicated ASW vessels, but they don’t have VL-ASROC (not that it’s a good weapon, but Sting Ray is even worse) and they don’t have anti-torpedo torpedoes (e.g. SSTD CAT, MU90 Hard Kill, SeaSpider).

The Type 23s don’t have surface drones like Arcims either, which can act as sub-hunters and the Arcims drone also comes in a variant that can find and destroy mines. Fitting Arcims drones with torpedo launchers would make sense and enhance a Type 23’s sub-hunting and sub-killing capability. It seems the Type 26s will be getting Arcims though, which is good: https://www.navylookout.com/the-type-26-frigate-mission-bay-part-2-configuration-and-contents/

So we have dedicated ASW vessels in the Type 23s, but they’re not as well equipped as they could and should be be to detect & take out subs and they lack defences against torpedoes (SSTD is better than nothing, but modern torpedoes can filter out decoys). Even the Type 26s won’t have anti-torpedo torpedoes, which makes absolutely no sense to me for a sub-hunting vessel. We need to test the anti-torpedo torpedoes I mentioned to see if they work as advertised and if so fit the system that works best. If none of them do, then we need to invest heavily in R&D to develop a system that does work. Subs are deadly and our surface ships need a way to take out torpedoes, especially when we have so few ships to begin with. Even depth charges are worth looking at to take out torpedoes. If any of our ships are sunk they can’t be cheaply or quickly replaced.

It would also make sense for us to develop something far better than VL-ASROC so that we can take out subs before they can get in range to fire torpedoes. For example, the Russian Type 65 torpedo has a range of up to 100km, but VL-ASROC only has a range of 22km. What we need is an anti-sub missile with a range of at least 100km, preferably high supersonic so it can cover that distance in just over a minute and that releases a torpedo that’s fast (at least 60 knots), has both active and passive sonar and good endurance to hunt down the sub.

I’m also not convinced that Artisan/CAMM is the right choice to protect the expensive Type 26s costing £1 billion each. SAMPSON & Aster 30s should be the first line of defence imo. CAMMs could be quad-packed in the Mk41 cells as a second layer of defence.

Also we need a much longer ranged ship-launched anti-ship missile. Even LRASM lacks range compared to Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon (although it can be carried by F-35Bs, albeit externally, so the situation’s not completely hopeless, plus Perseus will be able to be fired from Astutes).

As for the Type 45s, they don’t carry Aster 30 Block 1NT to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles. They should be fitted with Aster 30 Block 1NT now and Aster 30 Block 2 BND when it’s ready. For so-called dedicated AAW vessels to not have a means of shooting down ballistic anti-ship missiles is idiotic.

Also there are several air-launched anti-ship missiles that are longer ranged than Aster 30. What we need is a much longer ranged version of Aster 30 (or a completely new missile) that’s longer ranged than any existing or proposed air-launched anti-ship missiles. This would keep enemy aircraft at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire anti-ship missiles in the first place. Obviously F-35s flying CAP are meant to keep enemy aircraft at arm’s length, but with jut 17 of them it can be guaranteed that we can always get an F-35 in the air when we need one in the air. And in any case, layers of defence are always best.

As for Zircon that will be a ship-launched and sub-launched anti-ship missile capable of travelling at Mach 8-9. Is Aster 30 capable of dealing with such a fast missile? If not, we need to develop a missile that can ASAP.

Other layers of defence against anti-ship missiles that could be fitted to the carriers, Type 23s, Type 26s, Type 45s and support ships include:

  • – The Oerlikon Millennium Gun firing AHEAD ammo
  • – The OTO Melara 76mm firing DART and PFF ammo
  • – Main guns firing HVPs
  • – Microwave weapons
  • – Dragonfire

“Do you have a 2087 tail unused and a highly skilled ASW warfare team sat twiddling fingers while your ‘cruiser’ sits close consort on a noisy carrier?”

Why would an ASW vessel sail next to a carrier? I thought such vessels operated quite some distance from the noise of a carrier and the escort ships to make their job of listening for subs easier.

“Do you want your AAW screen sprinting and drifting, trying to prosecute an UW contact, on the opposite side of the formation to the main air threat axis?”

No of course not, but that’s a leading question.

Giving Type 45s the Mk41 VLS and a long ranged anti-sub missile would be sensible as it would keep subs at arm’s length so that ideally they couldn’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place. Also, equipping Type 45s with anti-torpedo torpedoes means they could take out torpedoes.

Type 23s/26s could still concentrate on ASW, but such weapons would make Type 45s more survivable against subs, which in turn would make the carrier more survivable.

“and while it doesn’t look so good in a Top Trumps…”

It’s got nothing to do with Top Trumps, it’s to do with making ships more survivable against anti-ship missiles and subs.

What does TAS stand for btw?

Last edited 10 months ago by Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty

Aegis and Standard Missiles would provide commonality with the US, but how good are Aegis and these missiles?

According to this admittedly old article referring to Aegis back in the late 80s, Aegis wasn’t very capable at all back then:

https://nation.time.com/2012/12/04/more-than-the-navys-numbers-could-be-sinking/

“The first evaluation I was given when I joined the Government Accountability Office in the late 1980s focused on the performance of the Aegis air-defense system against anti-ship cruise missiles. We found that in highly-unrealistic, that is to say obliging, tests, Aegis generally performed at a mediocre level against its own criteria.

Even though the Navy classified all but the vaguest and most mundane parts of our assessment, it is possible to say, unclassified, that against the more-stressful targets in terms of speed and altitude, the Aegis system performed well below that. Against the most difficult targets — traveling at supersonic speeds at very low, sea-skimming altitudes — the test results were, to put it mildly, depressing.”

I’ve no idea how Aegis and the missiles compare today against modern anti-ship missiles, but back then both were clearly inadequate.

And what about SAMPSON/Aster and Artisan/CAMM?

I mean the only tests I’m aware of are a French test with Aster 30 against a Coyote missile:
https://www.naval-technology.com/news/newsfrench-navy-frigate-successfully-intercepts-supersonic-sea-skimming-missile/
(According to Wikipedia Coyote can do Mach 2.6 when sea-skimming at 30 to 15ft, approx 9 to 4.5 metres).

The other test was with CAMM against a Mirach drone flying at over 600mph (over 965kph):
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/december/20/171220-missile-success-for-hms-westminster-as-second-ship-to-fire-new-sea-ceptor
Am I to assume from that test that CAMM is incapable of shooting down a Coyote? Mach 2.6 is just mid-supersonic, let alone high-supersonic or hypersonic.

Neither test could be classed as stringent in terms of the speed of the targets that were shot down. What’s the fastest missile that Aster 30, Aster 15 and CAMM can shoot down? I have no idea and these tests hardly fill me with confidence.

Plus the Type 45s don’t even carry Aster 30 Block 1NT so a RN carrier group has no way to shoot down ballistic anti-ship missiles. And that’s assuming that Block 1NT even works. What’s it been tested against? Nothing presumably because we have nothing like the DF-26 to test it against. Is its real-life capability based on computer simulations? If so, that too doesn’t fill me with confidence.

So it seems to me we need to carry out much more stringent tests with Aster 30, Aster 15, CAMM and CAMM-ER and find out what they’re actually capable of. That would require building new faster anti-ship missiles (ship, air and sub launched). That would have two benefits: (1) These new missiles could be fitted to our ships, F-35Bs and Astutes so they’d have anti-ship missiles that are longer ranged than Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon (which LRASM isn’t and Perseus won’t be) and (2) We’d then have missiles to test Asters and CAMMs against. If they prove to be sub-standard, then we should improve them if possible or go back to the drawing board and build new missiles (and if necessary also improve SAMPSON and Artisan).

We also need to develop a missile like the DF-26 and test Aster 30 Block 1NT against it (and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD when it’s ready).

I’d also replace Phalanx with the Oerlikon Millennium Gun and the OTO Melara 76mm and fit microwave weapons to all ships (including support ships) to provide more layers of protection against anti-ship missiles.

In the next war against a competent enemy are we going to be looking at a repeat of the Falklands with ships getting sunk because they didn’t have adequate protection? I’m not interested in what systems cost, I’m only interested in if they work.

Ari

Spy6 is far more advanced than Sampson. They US Navy has a different philosophy. They abandoned rotating radars in favor of 360 degree situational awereness.

Ron

This is the issue that the Royal Navy and the UK has in general. SAMPSON is probably the best Anti Air Radar system out there at the moment however the US will not want it as it is not designed and built in the States, France will not want it because of the same reason, Germany will not accept it because it is not a EU project. Russia and China would love to get their hands on it but they are not the most friendly of nations so thats a no go. So what other nations are out there that would want and could afford the SAMPSON, not just to buy it but maintain it. Possibly Japan and South Korea, but with the RN not really being ‘seen’ in that area apart from a good will visit by a single ship then those countries would buy equipment from the big players in the region, which is the US.

The RN and MoD have though missed a trick the T26. SAMPSON has more capability at the moment than the weapons fit of the T45 has. Although the T45 is fitted for but not with the Mk41 VLS it seems likly that the T45 will never be capabile of cruise missile launch, Ballistic missile defence or VL AROC use. As for the VL AROC the T45 does not have the sonar fit so that was never thought of anyway. It does appear that the T26 has every intention of having the Mk41 VLS fitted which means that it could fire cruise missiles, anti ballistic missiles and or VL ASROC. However the ARTISAN radar is not suitable for some of these weapons capabilities.

So it seems that the RN has the wierd situation by having a world class radar on a ship type without a full weapons fit to make use of it, T45, and a ship type, T26, that is for a frigate heavily armed equipped with a radar that cannot make use of all the capabilities of the potential weapons fit. What we need in the RN is a ship type that uses the radar fit of the T45 and the sonar/weapons fit of the T26.

I have often said that the best alround future dedicated escort to the Carriers and Amphib group is a reworked T45, call it T85 a ship that is based on the T45 with a T26 engine room, remove the helicopter hanger for a second group of 48 SYLVER A50 launchers and install 32 Mk41s. Remove the 4.5 inch and have 57mm and 40mm guns as per the T31 as well as 30mm with LMM packs. These would be dedicated escorts so only three possibly four would be needed. In some ways it might sound expensive, however with the costs of the SAMPSON already being recovered through the six T45s then the overall cost of the new escort should be about the same as a new T26. By stretching the T45 and upgrading SAMPSON to a five array system then a T85 could not only retain its helicopter hanger but also deal with just about any incoming threat from any angle.

What this type of vessel would also do apart from acting as a very good deterent is make other nations sit up and take notice and possibly create sales.

Slighly far out thinking here but I have often wondered if it would be possible to have SAMPSON as a tethered UAV mount not by much say an extra 200 ft for a pop up look around and come back to the mast. It might sound stupid but from 100 ft the horizon is only 12.3 miles away whereas from 300ft its 21.2 miles. Basically it means I can see you before you see me.

Meirion X

What’s the point of having a launching system(Mk.41) that launches its warpons using a different rader targeting system, X-band radar? RN warpons use fully active radar homing, so only need S-band radar.
Also with only 48 cells to launch from, the T45 will need all that is available for self defence launches.

X

A better question perhaps is, why was not SeaViper based around the technology of our main naval allies the USN? Imagine SeaViper built around MK41 and Standard Missiles. The interesting thing about SeaViper is that it is better than Aegis. But we are in a cul-de-sac of own making as both the RCN and RAN move to Aegis for their GCS variants. T26 is too small a platform for our next AAW ship. But T26 using a cut-down SeaViper for improved local defence is a different matter. SeaCeptor will be good, but the cut-down AEGIS in the RAN and RCN GCS will be better. Cut down Aegis would be still a system light years ahead of SeaDart. We are heading for a fleet with the best area weapon in Sea Viper, but a distant second best in SeaCeptor (though as local system still excellent) compared to Aegis for RCN / RAN T26. One wonders if the mistake was not made way back and instead of trying to replace T23 and T42 with two hulls we should have gone with just one ‘cruiser’ like ship in a program of 12 hulls. We could then have perhaps built a small secondary class as TAS patrol ships. But we are where we are.

4thwatch

With your cruiser like ship we could likely have afforded the 16 we required due to economies of scale. That’s before we even looked at a large increase in combat effectiveness.

In replacing the T45 we need to build an enlarged continuation class of the T26 which might indeed morph into something like that which you are talking about.

The question is do we go with France/Italy or USA & maybe CanAus. I know I would go with the latter, as you then include Japan and S. Korea.

X

16? Yes, yes you have something there.

John Clark

A variation of T26 for Air Defence has to be the way to go 4thwatch.

It would need a stretch and deeper beam, for a new air defence radar, (so basically a new ship), but using as much T26 tech as possible, propulsion etc.

By the time 8 T26’s are built, it will be time to start building replacements for T45, better if we can progress and keep the yards busy with no break in production.

Paul T

The difference in Beam is minimal between the T45 and T26.

Geo

It predates T26, I believe the RAN were offered Sea Viper on a modified T45 for the project that became the Hobart class, the fact they went for Aegis (with the SPY1D and SPQ9B combination) is telling. With the T45 eliminated long before the Gibbs & Cox ship, this was long before T45’s engine problems were discovered, so that didn’t sway the decision.

X

They went with Aegis because they now follow USN standards have done since the Perth-class destroyers came into service. That’s why they like Navantia products. What is telling they decided they needed more than a typical PDMS system for their next ASW ship.

I am not sure what you mean ‘predates T26’? Could you clarify. 🙂

Meirion X

I think the reason the MoD did not go down the US system route, was the UK and with it’s European partners developed fully active radar homing warpons.
While the US went down the simi active radar homing warpons route.
Fully active radar homing, does Not require a X-band illuminator radar.

Geo

The US does have fully active homing weapons, it means the USN can mix and match it’s SM2 series semis with it’s SM6 series fully active homing to force the opposition into a bit more effort with their ECM.

Meirion X

Yes, the SM-6 is fully active homing.
But at $45 Million a pop?

Geo

Can you cite a reference to that $45m per missile cost please?

Rudeboy

It’s not SM-6 that is $45m per copy, thats SM-3.

SM-6 is around $7m per copy.

Meirion X

Yes, my figures were most likely mixed up I think, it was some time ago I read a article with some figures for both SM3 and SM6, I can no longer find it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
Humpty Dumpty

I’m confused.

According to Wikipedia, SM-6 cost $4.87 million each at the end of 2017.
According to an inflation calculator that’s $5.05 million in 2020.

As for SM-3, Wikipedia gives a figure of $18.4 million each in 2018. That’s $19.07 million in 2020.

What are the sources for your figures?

Meirion X

My apologies for mixing up the figure for SM-6 with SM-3, which is very expensive at $45m each. Japan procured 73 SM-3 Block IIA missiles for $3.3 Bn. in August 2019.

https://news.yahoo.com/us-approves-3-3bn-sale-anti-ballistic-missiles-214607180.html

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
Geo

That sounds a bit more realistic, the SM3 has some eye watering development costs to cover as it really did break some ground in the ABM field. The SM6 OTOH was done on the cheap, or so I’ve read, saving measures such as using the guidance system from the AMRAAM (with a bespoke dish to make use of the wider airframe). Possibly in the same article it also made mention that it’s going to get better, right now the booster is sub calibre, can’t remember the exact diameter but they have one that uses the full 21 inches of a Mk 41 in development so whatever the SM6’s speed/range figures are now, they will get better.

Meirion X

So it seems that Aster is better then SM-6?

Geo

Maybe/maybe not, there is nothing wrong with the AMRAAM’s radar (although if the US is going to use the same radar on everything they had better hope no one figures out how to outfox it, there is something to be said for throwing multiple systems at the enemy all at the same time). Right now, however, with the current booster SM6 is setting records for longest range engagements, albeit against their own target drones, so it’s not exactly a dud. Where it (and the SM3, and even the SM2 families for that matter) will come into their own over the next few years is in conjunction with SPY6 and CEC and whatever Aegis baseline is optimised to work with them. There is a lot of R&D that is about to bear fruit for the USN, indeed much of it already has, in it’s seperate channels of development, it’s the fusion of it thats going to outpace competitors – or in other words Sea Viper was the best in the world in 2014, but by 2024 it will have been overtaken. Which I’m assuming is the bet that the various Aegis operators have taken.

Rudeboy

SM-6 are available in very small numbers and are a recent addition. ESSM Blk.2 is also only just coming on stream.

Meanwhile the RN has had active seekers since 2010 and will shortly be all active seekers with Aster and Sea Ceptor.

Geo

I’m not an expert but is that really desirable? Missiles, unless equipped with the optional Tardis module, are rather small which limits their computational power, power and seeker size, whereas a guided missile can take advantage of the computing power, power (for electronics, not propulsion, I’m talking) of the launching ship so generally you would have to say they have a better chance of getting through ECM and whatever other countermeasures are thrown at them. A mix and match approach of guided and fire and forget, across both radar and IR spectrums would have a better chance of landing a kill (and if there are any RM standing around with some laser guided Starstreak MANPADS then all the better).

Meirion X

With only 24 Mk. 41 cells only to be fitted to each Type 26 frigate, the majority of cells filled will most likely be ASROC, and even then have to use the outdated Mk 54 torpedo. Alternatively the MoD could develop it’s own ASROC with Stingray torpedo fitted to be launched by Sylver A70 cells.
If a small number of ageing Tomahawks were deployed, they will struggle to
overwhelm a peer’s air defences.
But the MoD did procure 900 Storm Shadow cruise missiles in the 2000s, they could be launched with a booster fitted, from the Sylver A70 cells.

X

overwhelm a peer’s air defences

That is what those 900 Storm Shadow are for. Of course you have to get a few dozen Typhoon into theatre first and some Voyager. And hope the US will give some nice photographs so you know at what you are shooting.

If T45 had more cells in its VLS or better another VLS back aft for not much money we could have filled them t with the latest generation of TLAM. And then when the Americans pooped a few off at some sandbox dwellers we could do the same without having to have an SSN in place. If we had enough T45 we could have one in the Med and one in the Indian Ocean and reach most of the Middle East and Africa. If we had more T45 with the VLS capacity and modern TLAM and needed to we could have a go at some country’s defences on our own. Provided that the Americans give us some photos of what we want to be shooting at…….

Meirion X

Or an extra block section to be inserted between the Bow section and rear of the gun. Would contain a extension of the Sylver block, of including A70 cells.

Max Jones

I don’t think ‘most’ of the Mk.41 cells will go to ASROC. With anti-submarine warfare aircraft are always the primary focus. A helicopter can fly 200km out and deployed a few torpedoes whereas ASROC can chuck them about 10-15km, less than most modern anti-ship torpedoes’ range.

The main purpose of ship-launched torpedoes and ASROC is as a short-notice weapon that can be launched at short range pretty much immediately whereas helicopters are going to have to take at least a few minutes to be deployed even in a combat state, assuming they aren’t already airborne. I expect the standard ASROC layout on the T26 will probably be around 8. Another 8 might go to anti-ship warfare such as LRASM if it is used.

A70 Storm Shadow would be nice, but Mk.41 offers a bit more versatility in general. I don’t see why tomahawk would be used over LRASM since the only tomahawk variant already in use is the separate submarine-launched variant anyway.

You also have to design vessels primarily for modern threats. Preparation for a large-scale modern conflict is important but a country shouldn’t go broke getting ready for the war if it’s never going to happen or won’t for decades at least.

Rudeboy

Been saying for an age that I do not understand what everyone’s fascination is with Mk.41 VLS…

What is the point of Mk.41 for the Royal Navy??

We long ago made the decision to go with UK/European guided weapons where possible. You can see that in our air to air missiles and surface to air missiles. And so far its been a very good decision. Once you remove the Standard series of missiles and ESSM from the mix, as we’re never going to buy them, what is the point? Mk.41 doesn’t actually launch much else. Theres just the Tomahawk and ASROC.

And thats a big problem…

Tomahawk is leaving production soon. By the time T26 arrives with Mk.41 the line will be closed, and we’re not going to order a large batch now of a soon to be obsolete missile…the UK is also committed to the FCASW programme that aims to replace Storm Shadow with a stealthy, subsonic long range cruise missile and a supersonic medium range weapon. If we’re going to be mounting a cruise missile on our ships it needs to be a UK solution. But as the French are also involved it will be Sylver A70 compatible (plus the French will likely want it sub-service launch and air launch, good news for the RN’s SSN’s…).

ASROC is a tremendously underwhelming weapon. It’s got a inferior torpedo payload (Mk.54) compared to Stingray and has a 12 mile range. Remember IKARA could do 10 mile range 40 years ago….the US cancelled the Sea Lance replacement decades ago which had a decent range. The Russian equivalent goes out to 60 miles…

The only other reason to get Mk.41 is because the RN hopes one day that it can do BMD so would like the SM-3 missile. But that’s a problem because they’re putting Mk.41 on the wrong ships then…(T26 rather than T45). And SM-3 is hugely expensive (Japan bought 73 missiles for $3.3bn, thats $45m a pop…thats Trident missile cost. Does anyone seriously think the RN will have that sort of money soon???

It makes no sense whatsoever, and in truth never has.

We need to forget totally about Mk.41. I’d even go as far as to cancel the order for T26.

It would have made sense years ago if we’d specified that Aster had to be compatible, but we didn’t….

The solution is simple. Go all Sylver. Forget about Mk.41.

  • For BMD, we buy the Aster 1NT or the Block 2 BMD variant if we want to do it. We already operate Aster and we understand it.
  • The Italians are quad packing CAMM-ER in Sylver, Sea Ceptor/CAMM will be quad packed by default. Easy firepower upgrade for T45. A mixture of CAMM and CAMM-ER covers the mid to close range areas.
  • We could then re-life the Aster 15 stockpile with the Aster 30 booster and get more long range missiles on the T45 at minimal cost. CAMM-ER would take over the medium range engagements.
  • FCASW will be built to fit in Sylver A70. That gives us long range, subsonic stealthy cruise missiles and a supersonic anti ship missile.
  • For ASW forget about ASROC. It’s garbage. Buy the MBDA MILAS instead. Its got twice the range, is launched from deck mounted canisters not VLS, and MBDA would happily put Stingray on it. And we have loads of Stingray in stock…
  • This is good for MBDA and UK/Europe. We already buy enough from the US.
  • Sylver is already in service with the RN. We know it and understand it.

Someone convince me I’m wrong….

Link for MBDA MILAS

https://www.mbda-systems.com/product/milas/

Link for MBDA FCASW concepts

https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/mbda-unveils-its-vision-of-future-air-systems/

Rudeboy

 I’d even go as far as to cancel the order for T26.”

This should of course be clearer…..

I’d even cancel the order for Mk.41 that is going onboard T26…

Humpty Dumpty

“What is the point of Mk.41 for the Royal Navy??”

Well right now I don’t see much of a point. VL-ASROC lacks range, LRASM lacks range as a ship-launched anti-ship missile when compared to the far longer ranged ship-launched Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon anti-ship missiles and TLAM lacks range (compared to DF-26) and isn’t stealthy.

That said, if longer ranged anti-sub missiles, anti-ship missiles and land-attack missiles are developed that require Mk41 VLS, then having it would totally make sense. Of course, if such longer ranged missiles are developed that can be fired from Sylver cells instead, then no Mk41 wouldn’t be needed.

“We long ago made the decision to go with UK/European guided weapons where possible. You can see that in our air to air missiles…”

I’d like to see Meteor fitted to our F-35Bs far sooner than 2024 though. Why it takes years to fit a missile that already exists and is already used by Typhoons boggles my mind.

I’d also like to see IRIS-T fitted to our F-35Bs because not only was it developed specifically to replace Sidewinder, it has the unique ability that it can shoot down air-to-air missiles and SAMs. It would also make sense imo to fit a DIRCM system like Nemesis to the F-35s to provide defence against IR-guided short-range air-to-air missiles since modern ones can filter out decoy flares. I’d also fit a dedicated IRST system with a sensor located by the cockpit canopy because the F-35’s IRST capability is only of any use at short to medium range, not long range.

“… and surface to air missiles.”

I’d like to see a much longer ranged version of Aster 30 developed (or a completely new missile) that’s longer ranged than any existing or planned air-launched anti-ship missile. Several such missiles exist that can be fired from beyond the range of Aster 30. It would make sense to have a missile that keeps enemy aircraft at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire anti-ship missiles in the first place. The missile would need to be stealthy, resistant to ECM and able to accelerate in its terminal phase.

And I’m concerned that Aster 30 won’t be capable of shooting down Zircon when it enters service since it will fly at Mach 8-9 and will be able to be fired from subs as well as ships. If Aster 30 can’t deal with Zircon then we need to develop a missile that can ASAP. Fitting ships with microwave weapons to burn out the electronics in anti-ship missiles would also make sense.

“ASROC is a tremendously underwhelming weapon.”

Yep, totally agree, it’s absolute garbage. It only has a range of 22km. We need an anti-sub missile that can take out subs before they can get in range to fire torpedoes. The Russian Type 65 torpedo for example has a max range of 100km and there are several torpedoes that are much longer ranged than 22km.

“It’s got a inferior torpedo payload (Mk.54) compared to Stingray”

There’s not much difference in the warhead weights according to Wikipedia:
Mk 54: 43.9kg
Sting Ray: 45kg

Although Mk 54 uses PBXN-103 whereas Sting Ray uses Torpex. I don’t know anything about either type of explosive, so I can’t comment there.

“The only other reason to get Mk.41 is because the RN hopes one day that it can do BMD so would like the SM-3 missile.”

Well Aster 30 Block 1NT already exists and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD is in development. The Type 45s should be fitted with Block 1NT now and Block 2 BMD when it’s ready.

“We need to forget totally about Mk.41. I’d even go as far as to cancel the order for T26.”

I presume you mean cancel Mk41 VLS for the Type 26s as opposed to cancelling the Type 26s themselves?

“For BMD, we buy the Aster 1NT or the Block 2 BMD variant if we want to do it.”

I mentioned this a second ago. I think it would make sense for the Type 45s though to have both the 1NT and the BMD, not one or the other. Each is designed to deal with different types of ballistic missile.

“The Italians are quad packing CAMM-ER in Sylver…”

I know CAMM can be quad-packed in Sylver cells, but I’ve been trying to find out for some time if CAMM-ER can be quad-packed in Sylver cells. Do you have a link for this?

“Easy firepower upgrade for T45. A mixture of CAMM and CAMM-ER covers the mid to close range areas.”

Yep.

If there’s space, I’d also like us to add two ADL launchers to the Type 45s (and the Type 26s) with quad-packed CAMMs in the launchers (16 CAMMs per launcher), because ADL can be replenished at sea. If CAMM-ER can be quad-packed in the ADL cells all the better.

“We could then re-life the Aster 15 stockpile with the Aster 30 booster and get more long range missiles on the T45 at minimal cost.”

First time I’ve read this. Is this easily doable? If so, it seems a very sensible idea.

“FCASW will be built to fit in Sylver A70. That gives us long range, subsonic stealthy cruise missiles and a supersonic anti ship missile.”

Storm Shadow is stealthy, but lacks range, especially as a ship-launched weapon and especially against Russia or China. What we need is a land attack weapon that’s stealthy, much longer ranged than TLAM and that can be fired from ships, Astutes and F-35Bs (carried internally).

As for Perseus, it will be inadequate as a ship-launched anti-ship missile against ships with longer ranged anti-ship missiles, but would work fine fired from Astutes. How it can be partially obsolete long before it even enters service boggles my mind. Not much joined-up thinking going on. Its range needs to be significantly increased before it enters service. It needs to be longer ranged than Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon.

“For ASW forget about ASROC. It’s garbage. Buy the MBDA MILAS instead.”

Well I agree VL-ASROC is garbage (range just 22km), but MILAS isn’t much better. It only has a range of 35+km, which is nowhere near enough. The Russian Type 65 torpedo for example has a max range of 100km and there are several torpedoes that much longer ranged than VL-ASROC or MILAS.

What we need are anti-sub missiles that are longer ranged than any existing or planned torpedo so that we can keep subs at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place.

I’d also like us to test anti-torpedo torpedoes such as SSTD CAT, MU90 Hard Kill and SeaSpider (and Torbuster for subs) to see if any of them work as advertised. If so, we should buy the one that works best. If none of them work, then we should invest heavily in R&D to develop an anti-sub missile that does work.

And I think depth charges are worth looking into to take out torpedoes. I mean if we put a lot of depth charges in the path of an incoming torpedo, surely they would either destroy the torpedo or at the very least disable its electronics?

I’d also like us to invest in R&D to develop new ways to detect subs that don’t depend on active or passive sonar.

And we should also look into novel ways to take out torpedoes. Just thinking out loud, but I wonder if we could develop torpedo nets using nanotubes, which would be extremely strong but light and once a torpedo gets caught in the net to pass a massive electrical charge through the net to burn out the electronics inside the torpedo?

Apart from a few points, I largely agree with you.

Humpty Dumpty

I don’t see the point of fitting VL-ASROC to the Type 26s (or any ship for that matter). It only has a range of 22km while the Russian Type 65 torpedo for example has a max range of 100km (and there are several torpedoes that are longer ranged than 22km).

What we need is an anti-sub missile that’s longer ranged than any existing or planned torpedo so that subs can be kept at arm’s length and ideally can’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place. The missile would need to be high supersonic so it can cover 100km in about a minute or so. The torpedo would need active and passive sonar (possibly IR cameras too?), have the ability to filter out decoys, be fast (at least 60 knots) and have good endurance so it has time to detect and hunt down the sub. Surely if Type 26s (and Type 45s too) had such anti-sub missiles they’d be far more survivable against subs?

Storm Shadow, unlike TLAM, is stealthy, but it’s far shorter ranged. What we really need is a land-attack weapon that’s stealthy and far longer ranged than TLAM (ideally longer ranged than even the DF-26). But I don’t see the point of the Type 26s carrying a land-attack weapon. Type 26s will be sub-hunters and will need to be as quiet as possible. Firing land-attack weapons would draw unwanted attention from enemy subs. It would make more sense imo to fit a newly developed land-attack weapon to the Type 45s, Astutes and F-35Bs instead (carried internally).

And we also need to develop a ship-launched anti-ship missile that’s longer ranged than Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon. LRASM lacks range as a ship-launched missile and so will Perseus (approx 300km).

Why do our missiles lack range?

Rob N

Hi,

I think you are missing the point about the T46, it is not an US type destroyer it is not a jack of all trades but a master of one – air defence. Given its air defence role it has tge right radar. If it needs an upgrade is should not be given anything other then extra air defence kit. Add tge extra VLS it is built to carry and quad pack them with Sea Ceptor or ASTER. Let the frigates hunt subs and anti-surface. I would replace the T45’s main gun though with the T31 75mm and the Phalanx with the T31 40mm guns.

X

I think you don’t know the history of the T45 programme. And perhaps the history of RN escort development post WW2.

The only reason why T45 doesn’t have a top notch sonar and other things is purely down to budget and nothing more. T45 was suppose to be a direct replacement for T42 not solely a specialist aero-space defence ship. Just as the French and Italians purchased Horizon and the Germans and Dutch purchased variants from their joint AAW program (De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate and Sachsen-class frigate). Go read the spec’s of those ships.

The RN can’t afford single purpose ships. The RN abandon the idea of single purpose ships with T41, T61, and T12 because you can never ensure that you have the right mix of ships in the right place at the right time to deliver the effects that you want. That is why we ended up with T12(M) and Leander. Never mind the confusion of operating different ships with different systems in close proximity as we remember this week the sinking of HMS Conventry.

If the T45 was all about and only about AAW why does it have a helicopter and a hangar? What use is it to a pure AAW ship? The reason why the modern general purpose escort has a helicopter is to prosecute subsurface targets at greater ranges than shipborne weapons, anti-surface warfare, reconnaissance, observation for NGS, and liaison. A pure AAW ship doesn’t need to do any of that, especially one that is going to spend most of its time at the centre of task groups surround by ships carrying helicopters. So why has it got a hangar? Wouldn’t the volume have been used for a VLS? Does it not obscure arcs for shipborne weapons? Go look at the initial flight of Arleigh Burkes. The reason why T45 has a hangar is because it was meant to help out with the general task load. Just as frigates carry AAW weaponry. Even the single purpose T41 and T61 carried ASW sensors and armaments; just as T12 carried sensors and armaments to deal with the air threat.

Nobody here would argue that T26 doesn’t need an air search radar, Sea Ceptor, or faceted upperworks to reduce RCS. But it seems T45 is fine troll along. The site is very Russophobic yet commentators seems happy to ignore the subsurface threat, which will be Russia’s main vector of attack when it comes to T45.

The modern maritime threat environment is too complex for a fighting ship not to have a load out of systems to deal with threats in all spheres. Yes they will have a primary system, but there is need to have secondary systems.

Challenger

Absolutely correct! The RN moved away from single-role vessels from the 1960’s and during the design phase both Harpoon launchers and extra VLS for Tomahawk’s were intended for T45. Of course Inflating costs put paid to most of the general purpose characteristics.

Beyond the well known issues with T45 i think the big mistake in the 1990’s was a prevailing attitude that the alleged post Cold War dividend would enable multiple classes of high-end frigates and destroyers to be designed from scratch and built in relatively small numbers with little-no appreciation of how that gets you into a death spiral of rising costs, capability gaps and reductions in orders.

It’s easy to say in hindsight but as has been mentioned the smart move would have been to have one high-end, truly general purpose combat ship instead of the divergent T45 and T26 programs to provide economies of scale and evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) sub-classes/batches.

16 properly balanced AAW/ASW vessels, supported by 8-10 simpler patrol frigates for ‘presence’ and constabulary ops would have been a significantly more potent and potentially cheaper force than is currently planned.

With a T26 based derivative being considered to replace the T45’s from the late 2030’s we may eventually get there….

X

For me discussions here often get hung up too much on terms like frigate and destroyer with too much focus on specific spheres and types of warfare without consideration for the fact that all these vessels will move through the same environment. As I said above nobody would propose T26 does without SeaCeptor but many seem unconcerned that T45 is ‘noisy’ because it is an AAW ship; that is nonsensical. Getting back to nomenclature it is only the UK, Canada, and Oz that use the terms destroyer to mean AAW ship, and frigate to mean ASW ship. In the US the terms destroyer and frigate are dependent upon size. The old USN Spurance ASW destroyer was as big as a Daring and so much bigger than T42. If we were to follow the rest of Europe T45 would be an air defence frigate. Actually back in the 50’s and 60’s only frigates and sloop classes received T(ype) numbers, destroyers and cruisers were given class names only. And if you look at the various sub-groups for types you will see ‘air defence’, fighter direction, etc. I don’t think the RN has helped by calling T23 without 2087 ‘general purpose’ because that not only ignores the fact that a T23 even without a TAS is still a first class ASW platform thanks to its CODLAG propulsion system. Also calling T31 a frigate when back in the 60’s it would have been called a sloop due to its limited weaponry and speed. There is a sequence for ‘general purpose’ frigates but the two classes in the T8x series are oddities. The Tribal sloops which became frigates to boost numbers and HMS Britsol the one off trials ship.

As I said above the mistake was made not replacing T42 and then T23/22 with a single class of destroyers / cruisers. And yes a clutch of simpler sloops with CODAD arrangement (fully rafted though) to fill the gaps. The RCN and RAN variants of the GCS will take AEGIS to sea. Which though nowhere near as good as SeaViper will outclass SeaCeptor and our old Sea Dart by some measure; too dangerous to go to war without it now. Whatever replaces T45 will have to be bigger still so T26 is a dead for that future ship.

Duker

Cruisers didnt have type numbers , because the RN wasnt building them.

Certainly 50s and 60s destroyers and frigates were given Type numbers. Type 82 was Bristol class, a destroyer the size of a WW2 light cruiser. Type 42 Sheffield class destroyer.

The frigates were T14 Blackwoods, T12 Rothesay/|Leander, T41 ( AA) Lynx and T61 ( AD) Salisbury were were versions of the same hull, the T81 tribal class.

T15 and T16 were conversions of WW2 destroyers for fast AS mission.

The later T21 etc are well known frigates.

it doesnt seem the T60s or T80s range has been used again.

DK Brown covered the size/space issues in ‘Rebuilding the Royal Navy’. A proposed frigate T19 was about 1900 t, 340 ft by 35ft beam The overiding factor was internal volume now required.The internal deck area was only 2% less than the large Darings. The armament was 180 tons compared to Daring 410 tons yet the space was the same. Macinery ,generators swtchboards etc were 480 tons, compared to D class 870 tons but much the same space again.

For the proposed T19, storerooms were doubled in size, offices and workshops up 35% and space per man 30% higher.

It looks like all those space requirements have all doubled again for a ‘small frigate’

X

The Type system was brought at the end of WW2 for ‘frigates’. I thought I made it quite clear that it all got rolled into one when I explained that really the terms ‘destroyer’ and ‘frigate’ were very elastic. I even pointed out the the Tribals went from being ‘sloops’ to ‘frigates’ to bring up numbers. There were projects to build ‘cruiser’ like ships that didn’t receive a Type number.

You can’t compare a 1930s warship built with rivets and heavier plate in terms of size to a welded hull of today using lighter plate in more efficient structures. Length, beam, and displacement aren’t really good indicators of anything unless comparing ships of a similar age built with similar technology.

Duker

I wasnt comparing 1930s technology. The proposed T19 was a sixties frigate proposal to the 1950s welded Darings and the Leanders.

You are correct about The Tribals being classed as Sloops and then it was realised that GB had committed 70 ‘frigates’ to Nato, so they reclassified as General Purpose frigates and thus the T81.

X

A down vote without any explanation. How unusual for this site.

Dern

A winge by stevie boy when the site doesn’t treat him like the font of all knowledge. How unusual for him.

Meirion X

So why have both the RCN and RAN selected a variant of the Type 26 frigate as the future ASW platform, more or less the same role, to prosecute anti submarine warfare in their waters?

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
Geo

In both cases I suspect the UK was lucky that the USN was dragging it’s feet with FFG(X) – or more accurately that the USN had taken an unnecessary detour through LSC to FFG(X) – had the USN made their FFG(X) selection 18 months ago then that ship would be the basis of both the RAN and RCN’s next frigate.

Rob N

This all very well but in the real world had the RN insisted on a fully equiped general role destroyer we would have had even fewer of ggem built. As it was we went from 12 ships to 6.

I am nor arguing for nir having more kit on T45 what I am saying is we should give priority to the T45s primary role air defence. I would not like to see it have a land attack missile when it could have more anti-air missiles. We should play to the types strengths. In the real world the choice is often either or not both.

I would love to see T45 fully equipped with SSM, anti-sub weapons, but it is not going to happen and we both know it.

X

You could be right, you could be wrong. I wasn’t talking about policy I was talking about the correct course of action.

It is funny that we live in a world where multi-role aircraft are purchased to save costs by the government and yet saying the same for ships is wrong. Curious.

For what it is worth the initial buy of T42 was going to be 24 hulls. There have always been cuts.

As for fitting equipment to T45 I said above we are where we are. If speculating and talking about alternative pasts was stopped here there would be little point in having a comment section.

X

Two down votes again without any explanation.

Gosh. Amazing.

Dern

Why don’t you bitch and whine like this when you get upvotes without any explanation?

Geo

I try to stay out of up/down vote arguments, but this isn’t a bad point. If you’re posting on the internet in order to get affirmation then you’re posting for the wrong reasons, have an opinion and stick to it (or accept the education), but it’s only through frank exchange of educated opinions that you can move on.

DaveyB

Apart from the financial costs, I have never understood the rationale of fitting Artisan to the Type 26. By the time the first ship comes into service, the radar will be at a significant disadvantage compared to other systems. Even the T31 will be getting a better radar with the Thales NS200 system. Why was the ship not earmarked for the Sampson “light”. I agree Artisan is a good radar, but is not in the same league as Sampson. For starters it’s PESA and not AESA, so lacks frequency agility and can be more easily jammed. As you mentioned above a top class ship like the T26 deserves a top class radar. If it had a Sampson light, there is the option of fitting better missiles than SeaCeptor for longer ranged air defence.

I know BAe have done some recent development work on Sampson, but this is mostly all back end, such as tweaking the software and replacing the processors. However, they did make and test a large flat panel array that was a Cowes, I think it was 4m square that used the Sampson’s back end and software to control. There is still a lot that can be done with the current build of Sampson, such as replacing the Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) Transmitter/Receiver modules with Gallium Nitride (GaN) ones. The GaN modules can handle more RF power whilst delivering significantly lower noise and operate over a wider bandwidth. This will push out the “visible” detection range of stealthy targets especially against the noise generated by wave action and coastlines.

The second option is a bit more radical and may need a rethink on the ship’s ballasting. This would add a third antenna face to the current two. All flat panel arrays are realistically limited to a 120 degree field of view. Technically you can go past this, but your range significantly diminishes, there’s lots of feedback which requires even more processing to sort out, so is not worth it. By adding a third antenna face you will get the full 360 degree coverage without the need for mechanically rotating the antennas. Therefore, no blind spots, that the back end needs to memorize to then “predict” a track’s direction, position etc, so targets of interest can be tracked in real time.

AKM

Wouldn’t the three arrays have significantly reduced range at the angles where the arrays meet?

Rudeboy

Artisan is an AESA. There’s not much out there about it, but that was confirmed.

AKM

Do you have a source for that? Sorry to be suspicious but if it was you’d think they’d be advertising it from the heavens as AESA radars are not some sort of secret advantage they’d keep to themselves these days.

Rudeboy

There’s nothing on paper, but there was a filmed interview with BAE and at DSEi in 2011 when they let it slip, I’ll see if I can dig them out, but don’t hold me to it…apart from that there is practically nothing written anywhere apart from the usual PR blurb about mach 3 cricket balls. But there was a very interesting paper about the US/UK ARTIST experimental radar programme that led to ARTISAN. It’s fairly technical, but it explains why ARTISAN is so good. People see the antenna and look at fixed panels, or sexier looking antenna without understanding the real work is done in the signal processing systems, and according to a radar tech I know ‘Artisan is borderline brilliant’ in that regard..

http://www.daspworkshop.org/uploads/DASP11Proceedings/Dawber_Bill.pdf

AKM

Thanks. There was a comment (I think on this website, though I forget where) to the effect that the back-end of ARTISAN was really good but the antenna was comparatively low tech.

Geo

AKM does raise an interesting point, everyone else making an AESA radar is putting the fact up in neon signs around said radar, it might be evidence that Glass Half Full is right elsewhere in this thread about BAe looking for an out for their radar division.

Supportive Bloke

Totally agree with that.

Anything pushing up S/N will be a big and very effective improvement.

As virtually everything is now done in the digital domain the linearity, or otherwise, of the electronics is less of an issue than it once was.

I don’t join in on the run down Sampson club. It is so very very good we should be proud of it. The tech and IP are there and British and I do understand there is a plan for some modest upgrades.

I doubt we will ever know but the middleware is I guess UX, given 90’s origins. whereas the front end is PC based. Shame as that makes using array processors harder unless it is recompiled to run on Linux

Humpty Dumpty

“Although the T45 is fitted for but not with the Mk41 VLS it seems likly that the T45 will never be capabile of cruise missile launch, Ballistic missile defence or VL AROC use.”

Yeah the Mk41 VLS needs to be fitted to the Type 45s ASAP.

I’d like to see a much longer ranged version of VL-ASROC developed that’s longer ranged than any existing torpedo so that subs can’t get in range to fire their torpedoes. Sting Ray on the Type 23s has a woefully inadequate range of just 11km and even VL-ASROC only has a range of 22km. There are several torpedoes with much longer ranges than that. How difficult could it be to fit a better booster to VL-ASROC so it can cover over 100km to deal with say Russian Type 65 torpedoes? Plus VL-ASROC would need to be much faster than it is now to cover over 100km as fast as possible. Ideally hypersonic, since travelling at Mach 5 an anti-sub missile could cover that distance in about a minute.

If possible, I’d like this new version of ASROC to be fitted to the Astutes (although it would need to be tube launched, since the Astutes don’t have VL cells; their replacements should have them imo and then they could also carry VL anti-ship missiles and IDAS missiles to take out ASW helicopters).

All Type 45s should be fitted with Aster 30 Block 1NT now and Block 2 BMD when it’s ready.

I’d like to see a much longer ranged and stealthy version of TLAM developed, ideally longer ranged than DF-26.

CAMMs can be quad-packed in Mk41 cells, which would provide plenty more missiles and provide another sensible layer of defence against anti-ship missiles.

2 ADL launchers would be another sensible addition with 16 quad-packed CAMMs per launcher. ADL has the huge advantage that it can be replenished at sea.

I’d like to see a much longer ranged version of Aster 30 developed (or a completely new missile) so that aircraft can be taken out before they can get in range to fire their anti-ship missiles, since several missiles exist that can be fired from well beyond the range of Aster 30. This missile would need to be stealthy, resistant to ECM and able to accelerate in its terminal phase.

As for anti-ship missiles, even LRASM lacks range compared to Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon. A much longer ranged ship-launched anti-ship missile needs to be developed. Plus we also need a very long ranged anti-ship missile that the F-35B can carry internally. I’m not certain, but I don’t think the F-35B can carry LRASM internally, which would negatively affect its RCS.

There’s a common theme here: why do so many of our missiles lack range? This needs to be fixed as a matter of extreme urgency. Longer ranged anti-sub missiles, anti-air missiles, anti-ship missiles and land-attack missiles would make a carrier group far more survivable than it is at present.

“As for the VL AROC the T45 does not have the sonar fit so that was never thought of anyway.”

The Type 45s do have bow sonar, but it would make sense to fit them with the same sonars that Type 26s will be getting to enable them to effectively use upgraded VL-ASROCs (or a replacement). The Type 45’s existing bow sonars could be moved over to support ships.

“It does appear that the T26 has every intention of having the Mk41 VLS fitted which means that it could fire cruise missiles”

I don’t think quiet sub-hunters firing TLAMs is a good idea. It would make more sense for the Type 45s or the Astutes to fire them imo.

“anti ballistic missiles”

Can Aster 30 Block 1NT be fired from Mk41 cells? I don’t know, but regardless I’d like the Type 26s to be fitted with SAMPSON and Asters.

“and or VL ASROC.”

The Type 26s as sub-hunters definitely will need an effective anti-sub missile, so an upgraded VL-ASROC or something completely new like the Indian SMART missile say.

“What we need in the RN is a ship type that uses the radar fit of the T45 and the sonar/weapons fit of the T26.”

Yeah I mainly agree as far as radars and sonars are concerned, although as I said above quite a few of our missiles need to be upgraded to make them much longer ranged.

I’d fit SAMPSON & Asters to the carriers and the Type 26s, including Aster 30 Block 1NT to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles, which even the Type 45s don’t currently have (but should).

The Sea Wolfs and Sea Ceptors on the Type 23s can be moved over to RN and RFA support ships as the Type 23s go out of service, as well as their ESM systems and anything else that would make the support ships more survivable.

And I agree, I’d fit the Type 45s with the same sonars that the Type 26s will be getting.

Also, when we build Type 45 replacements, I’d like them to be built with CODLOG propulsion and an acoustically quiet hull like the Type 26s will have so they’re as quiet as possible.

When we have so few frigates and destroyers, I don’t really see the point of having dedicated ASW and AAW vessels, we’d be better off imo building multi-role vessels that also have anti-ship capability. But all their equipment should be the best available. The last thing we need is mediocre multi-role ships.

“I have often said that the best alround future dedicated escort to the Carriers and Amphib group is a reworked T45, call it T85 a ship that is based on the T45 with a T26 engine room, remove the helicopter hanger for a second group of 48 SYLVER A50 launchers and install 32 Mk41s.”

I’m in two minds about removing the helicopter hangar. A Merlin gives a Type 45, along with the bow sonar and SSTD, some measure of anti-sub capability and if operating close to shore a Wildcat provides useful protection from fast attack craft and vessels up to 1,000 tonnes (well once LMM and Sea Venom are in service). A Wildcat also provides anti-sub capability, although obviously it’s not as good as a Merlin in this role.

Also protection from anti-ship missiles can be provided by defences (other than ECM and decoys) that don’t depend on ammo or missiles, which is sensible to have imo so a ship can protect itself even if out of missiles:

  • – Microwave weapons to burn out the electronics in missiles
  • – Dragonfire to blind or burn out the sensors in missiles (weather permitting)
  • – Laser dazzlers to confuse IR-guided missiles (weather permitting)
  • – A ship-based version of DIRCM (e.g. Nemesis) to confuse IR-guided missiles because modern ones can filter out decoy flares
  • – A ship-based version of IRST to detect stealth missiles

Ideally though a ship would have these defences and extra missiles.

“Remove the 4.5 inch and have 57mm and 40mm guns as per the T31”

I used to think main guns are pretty pointless on destroyers in this day and age, but HVPs could give them a new lease of life. Mach 3 and a range of about 80km from what I’ve read. HVPs would provide another useful layer of defence against anti-ship missiles (and could also be used for NGFS).

As for the 57mm Bofors, I’d prefer a 76mm OTO Melara to complement a couple of Oerlikon Millennium Guns. 40mm Bofors guns make sense on Type 31s operating say in the Persian Gulf escorting commercial vessels and to provide protection from fast attack craft, but I can’t really see the point of them on Type 45s.

“as well as 30mm with LMM packs.”

Well Type 45s already have two 30mm guns.
LMMs are designed to take out fast attack craft. I’m not saying don’t fit them to the guns, but they’re possibly better fitted to Wildcats so that such craft can be taken out far away from the ship and before they can get in range to fire anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. That said, LMMs on board the ship could deal with remote-controlled fast attack craft containing explosives.

“Slighly far out thinking here but I have often wondered if it would be possible to have SAMPSON as a tethered UAV mount not by much say an extra 200 ft for a pop up look around and come back to the mast. It might sound stupid but from 100 ft the horizon is only 12.3 miles away whereas from 300ft its 21.2 miles. Basically it means I can see you before you see me.”

I like the idea of extending the range of SAMPSON, but I doubt a UAV would be able to lift SAMPSON because of its weight. And in any case, what if the UAV crashes? The radar is useless then. Plus isn’t this what Merlin Crowsnest is for?

It would be good if ships had over-the-horizon radar:
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/2181251/chinese-navys-new-compact-radar-will-allow-it-keep-watch-over
Don’t know if it’s real or misinformation, but either way ships would really benefit from OTH radar.

Talking about far-out ideas, I was reading earlier today about using weather balloons with missiles attached to them to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles. What do you reckon?

Cam

I didn’t realise how huge the radome ball was untill I seen it next to a man!! And I didn’t know the inside of the mast was like a dam living room size!

X

I remember the first time I saw a T45 in the metal as it were being more than accustomed to seeing all sorts alongside the wall in HMNB Pompey. And I thought ‘F*** they’re big’.

Cam

Yeah pictures or video doesn’t do them justice… and the type 42 in front of the 45s also brought home the sheer size in comparison… We now have the biggest ever size in Royal Navy service nuclear attack submarines, biggest ever nuclear armed submarines being built, biggest ever aircraft carriers ever built, biggest ever destroyers ever built for the RN and we will have the biggest ever frigates ever built in the type 26. I’m not sure if they are the biggest ever OPVS. We are getting larger but fewer vessels but they are under armed unfortunately. Maybe the type 26 will be fine but then again the radars not as good as it could be!!

borg

What Warheads do those Cricket Balls Carry ?

Gavin Gordon

They’re called benstokes or something similar, I believe.

Sunmack

If you don’t counter them you can find you’re on a sticky wicket

AKM

Those aussies complained about bodyline! Let’s see how they like it when we shoot their balls straight out of the air!!

Gavin Gordon

They’d winge on about it being unsportsmanlike, I expect. As if!

ETH

We really ought to procure some BMD missiles that can fully saturate the SAMPSON radar. Especially seeing as the CSG’s first combat deployment will be the South China Sea, an area littered with short and medium range ballistic missile sites. The French are developing the Aster 30 Block 2 to go with the Block 1 NT’s for BMD.

X

How about we need some BMD missiles to defend here. 🙂

Cam

That’s always puzzled me, why doesn’t the UK mainland have the ability to take down balistic missiles! Considering we make them and can fire them. It should be added to our deterrent, the ability to knock down any nuke before it reaches us, that’s a good extra deterrent and it shouldn’t cost anything like a new balistic missile submarine, them both together (nukes and defence against nukes) is what we need. If we are fired upon we could take them out when heading for the UK and then we can fire our nukes straight back from the sea destroying the aggressor and saving Great Britain. Why can’t we defend against missiles in the UK, Poland can, Israel can….god knows who else has that capability but I know Britain doesn’t!!! Crazy…

X

ABM has always been tricky issue because of nuclear arms treaties. Never mind the technical difficulty of knocking something out of the air arriving above you at hyper sonic speeds. Cold War ABM systems weren’t very good.

It’s really only been since the end of the Cold War and Third World outlier states have started exploring ballistic missiles and improving computer technology has allowed fire control systems to perform the necessary calculations that ABM has become properly viable across a range of hardware and cost wise a pressing issue.

The US has Aegis Ashore just for this very role.

I do wonder if the Cold War was still going would we know have say PAAMS batteries across the country?

Rudeboy

If you want to do BMD from the UK the solution is simple.

Buy some extra Sylver launchers and some Aster 30 1NT or the forthcoming Block 2 BMD variant and stick them in the Sampson on shore test site above Portsmouth. Its already there with Sampson and S-1850, plus a full T45 PAAMS system. You could cover the entire south of England for a small outlay.

Put another up near Rosyth (which would also cover Faslane), and perhaps one near Fylingdales and most of the UK’s crucial defence sites would be covered.

Are the prototype Sampson’s still knocking around?

Paul T

A fixed BMD Defense makes some sense,not since the 1980’s have we had anything remotely similar (Bloodhound) but as is the case the cost would rule it out for sure.If as you ask the Prototype Sampson Radars still exist I would have put these on the QE Carriers,no point having them locked away doing nothing.

X

Now somebody doesn’t think defending the UK is worthwhile. How odd………

Dern

Bit of a strawman to massage your ego there.

Meirion X

Also the RN needs to procure Sylver A70 cells to launch Aster 30 BMD missile.
And as X said install another cell block in aft section.

Cam

I agree, wasn’t this planned for the future? I thought years back it was going to be added to our destroyers existing silos even in small numbers after testing ect was done, Sampson and one of our destroyers already achieved more than expected in tracking balistic missiles over in the USA in a training exercise, I dint think much came of that capability unfortunately!!

Meirion X

You are Right! Now is the chance to do something about, the Government should make a one off payment of £50 billion for extra defence assets. What £50 B. out of £400+ B. for COVID19 costs!

Bob

I asumed the SMART-L as fitted on the T-45’s where used for balistic missile tracking? https://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/defense-systems/smart-l-radar-the-netherlands-and-others/

Donaldson

Imagine what the Royal Navy be if it had the USN budget.. Sigh

borg

Imagine the USN If It had the royal Navy budget.

Sunmack

Just the money they’ve wasted on the pointless LCS and Zumwalt programmes would do!!!!

Duker

They spend something like 3.5% of GDP , thats how they do it.

At the time of the Falklands war GB defence spending was around 5% of its GDP. By the views of some they still think that level is still an aspiration.

In practical terms the UK spending is below 2%, hidden by the way the spending is calculated. It would be interesting to know what the various services spend was, divided into personnel, maintenance, general operations , lease/PPF and similar. Over the top of that is MoD, research and development and procurement ( another area with more veils than Salome)

Rob N

HMS Dauntless this year received a refurbished SAMPSON. I was under the impression that the SAMPSON radar does not need such large scale ‘refurbishment’, was the replacement radar head a stealthy upgrade? There has been reporta of a SAMPSON upgrade involving new chip technology for the double faced antenna.

Coincidence….

Rob N

Rudeboy

Just a normal run of the mill refurbishment. £400,000 doesn’t buy you that much.

donald_of_tokyo

AESA technology is inherently flexible, because its heart is in its software. See how “easily” Japanese FCS-3 series are evolving, GaAs to GaN, smaller array for ESSM illumination, etc etc.

See Thales Netherland’s N100 series radar. It is very much scalable, N110, N200 etc, now replacing SMART-S radars. Other AESA radars are also scalable.

Why British AESA technology is not using the flexibility?

For example,

1: Why not replace GaAs arrays with GaN? If properly handled, it will easily double the radar power of SAMPSON (or reduce the cooling requirment, in place). As the heart of AESA is in its software, even with replacing GaAs with GaN, the core of the radar systems will be “the same”.

2: Why not develop “a series of” AESA radars? Not only smalish SAMPSON, but how about GaN based, fully-AESA version of Artisan-3D? Or, its fixed array version? Why Artisan is “loosing” many times against SMART-S, TRS-4D and N110 (NZ, Canada, Chili). (yes they won on Brazilian corvette/light-frigate, but so many loss, including Type-31 = RN frigate).

Looks like UK is stopping is radar development activity, I’m afraid?

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo
Meirion X

Hello Donald, I glad to hear you are OK!
I wondered what happened to you?

Anyway I agree with you. The RN should have had the foresight to develop AESA radars for it’s vessels.
But the MoD has developed a AESA radar for the RAF’s Typhoon fighter.
It seems one arm does not know what the other arm is doing, in the MoD?

Glass Half Full

Its not a reach to say that BAES may be getting out of the radar business beyond supporting its current platforms, unless it buys a major supplier. Its a tier 1 defence player, increasingly US focused. Who can it sell to in this league in sufficient numbers? Not the US (unless BAES buys a US radar company), not France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, S.Korea or Japan. It doesn’t seem very interested in pursuing naval business with lower tier navies and there’s a significant number of competitors in naval radar.

Glass Half Full

Judging by the comments it seems some are thinking a little too parochially about how T45 sensors may be used in future, particularly in the context of BMD.

Consider that the US uses CEC today, the French are implementing it, the UK might do likewise especially when T26 joins the fleet, when the value of doing so really increases. If the UK goes ahead with CEC then the T26 might directly launch missiles from its Mk41 cells based on data supplied via CEC from T45. Missiles might include SM-6 and/or SM-3 for BMD if the UK chooses to go down that path. Or perhaps Aster 30 Block 1NT and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD, which might be qualified along with Aster 15/30 for launch from MK41, if the UK stays with the Aster missile platform.

Even without CEC, the T26 might still launch SM-6/3 or other missiles at the direction of T45, which the T45 then subsequently takes control of using Launch on Remote techniques. This has already been trialed at Formidable Shield 2017 in the context of BMD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRTVUPSIVe4 and https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/netherlands/news/formidable-shield-2017-thales-smart-l-radar-proves-bmd-capability-0

The benefit is that the UK can transition to standardising on MK 41 for future platforms from T26 on. It doesn’t need to fit MK 41 to T45, especially late in the T45 platform’s life with all the attendant integration and qualification costs for whatever new missiles might be supported on the T45 platform. Bear in mind the RN has NO missiles of any type qualified for MK41 today and probably won’t have until T26 is in the water.

Sunmack

I remember CEC was the justification given for going from up to 8 ships to six on the basis of the additional capability it would provide. Then having cut the programme to 6 ships we didn’t fit CEC.

Meirion X

The snag is, that SM3 and SM6 are both simi-active radar homing missiles that require an X-Band illuminator radar.
The Royal Navy does not have the X-band radar setup!

Glass Half Full

SM-6 has active radar homing, specifically to address targets beyond the range of illuminating radar, its not just limited to semi-active mode. SM-3 has a semi-active mode along with other guidance tools, but it will use AEGIS S-band for targeting ballistic missiles as would SM-6. BMD being the main driver for the RN to consider these two missiles. X-band gives you target discrimination at the cost of range unless you go big and powerful.

You need very large powerful X-band radars for BMD at the distances required, a Ticonderoga/Arleigh Burke’s AN/SPQ-9B isn’t it. For example see THAAD AN/TPY-2 or this sucker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-based_X-band_Radar

Meirion X

The Aster 30 missile has an active seeker, So does Not require X-Band radar, unlike the US missiles SM3 & SM6, and which are very expensive, at $45 M for SM6, and $20 M for SM3, that is the price for each missile, so I can Not see the RN buying them.

Meirion X

I want to clarify that the US missile SM-6 does have an active seeker, so it can be launched without a X-Band radar.
But still at $45 Million a Pop!

Netking

The SM-6 per unit cost is actually closer to $5 million. The SM-6 is the most capable missile in the US arsenal and is likely be the first counter hypersonic missile in a couple years. No doubt the price will go up with anti hypersonic capability but it might be worth the extra cost long term.

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/dod-eyes-sm-6-counter-hypersonic-mission-test-against-glide-vehicle-target-fy-23

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/missile-defense-weapons/document-likely-shows-sm-6-hypersonic-speed-anti-surface-role

Last edited 1 year ago by Netking
Glass Half Full

You are an order off in terms of SM-6 cost. Its around $4M to $4.5M. You are closer on SM-3 but recent data is around $14M to $18M. In any event the MoD aren’t likely to rush into a decision. The Aster 30 Block 1NT would be the lowest cost path with T45 organic launch, providing it delivers the required performance. Qatar is the lead customer for Aster 30 Block 1NT in their Doha-class corvettes.

Aster 30 Block 2 BMD is much further off versus current SM-3 status, both require either Sylver A70 or MK41 strike length cells respectively. T26 could accommodate SM-3, while T45 would require the addition of either A70 or MK41.

Source for costs:-

https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Weapons.pdf

Meirion X

My apologies for mixing up the figure for SM-6 with SM-3. Japan procured 73 SM-3 Block IIA missiles for $3.3 Bn. in August 2019.
That was $45M each!

https://news.yahoo.com/us-approves-3-3bn-sale-anti-ballistic-missiles-214607180.html

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

My apologies for my mistake concerning the SM-6 missile, for which it does have an active seeker.

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

Also France and Italy are developing a land based version of Aster 30 NT missile, due in 2022.

Cam

What about tomahawk?

Glass Half Full

Tomahawk is an old weapon at this stage, even with updates. The American’s have an expression about putting lipstick on a pig. I think that’s where we are with Tomahawk , at least as far as the UK is concerned, with Tomahawk even older by the time the first T26 goes operational.

FC/ASW would be the weapon(s) of choice, with stealth and/or super/hypersonic variants, providing the program continues. FC/ASW replaces Storm Shadow/SCALP which is a missile with similar mass and warhead to Tomahawk. FC/ASW would address RAF and RN needs for air, ship, and submarine launch leveraging a single platform.

Duker

The UK benefits from a legacy of expertise in radar, having led the world in pioneering its development during WWII.”

The early part of the war , the Germans were ahead. On land , for aircraft, the UK Home Chain system was a technology backwater, however Britain used it to great advantage against the attacking forces by having a superior centralised ‘command and control’ system.

At sea the Kriegsmarine was also superior with its naval Seetakt radar which was on ships such as the Graf Spee ( the land based system was called Freya).

It was installed on the Bismarck(FuMO-23, 3 sets to give fore and aft coverage)

These early-model Seetakt systems were followed in 1939 by a modified version known as Dete 1, operating between 71 and 81.5 cm wavelength (368 to 390 MHz) at 8 kW peak and a pulse repetition frequency of 500 Hz. Maximum range against a ship-sized target at sea was up to 22.0 kilometers (13.7 mi) on a good day, though more typically half that. Performance was otherwise similar to the earlier system, with a range accuracy of about 50 m. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seetakt

That was better than optical systems at that range and indeed was good enough for gun laying at that range . The British naval search radar at that time was very limited, but improved rapidly of course and indeed by the end of the war led the way for bothe surface search and fire control

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WRGER_62.jpg

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WRGER_05.htm#Bismarck%20Cl

DaveyB

The question of our radar being worse than the German radar always comes up in debate. But personally I think both Country’s radar was at least on par in their respective fields and we definitely led the field in early microwave radar. It is curious to note that when Sheffield was trailing the Bismarck, using its radar to maintain a track. The Bismarck either did not see they were being tracked or chose to ignore it. Only because Sheffield running low on fuel, allowed the Bismarck some respite. But later on the Swordfish were able to find her again using their ASV radar for the feted torpedo attack.

The Chain Home radar has been derided, but it was effective. It was developed from a commercial TV broadcast system, so the transmitter and receiver parts were readily available and therefore cheap. Prior to the war, Britain was not well off. The Chain Home radar gave the country the ability to search for and track targets on the cheap. When it was married to the Observer Corps and the new fighter controller system, it made the difference. During the War and especially during the Battle of Britain, the Chain Home because it was a bi-static radar system proved itself extremely tolerable to battle damage. Thus if a tower or transmitter/receiver hut was hit, it could be back in action in hours. Granted Chain Home is often compared with Freya, but it shouldn’t be. Freya was the opposite of Chain Home using then cutting edge technology, whilst Chain Home used the premise of “Keep it Simple Stupid” and was just as effective. What’s more Chain home had double the detection range of Freya at just over 235nm.

We did have an equivalent of Freya in the original Type 2 then the Type 7 Ground Control Interception Radar which was developed just after Chain Home and first produced from 1941 to solve the Chain Homes field of view problem. Basically, if an aircraft passed over Chain Home it disappeared, as the system was tuned to transmit only in a forward arc of 60 degrees. The Type 7 operated near the same frequency of Freya and was a more sophisticated radar as it could provide location, height and track information, whereas the Freya could not. The Type 7, like Freya didn’t have the range of Chain Home operating at a maximum detection range of 90nm depending on the size of the target.

A little known fact is that due to the frequency that Chain Home operated, i.e. in the HF band, its actual range was massive at least 500nm if not greater. The problem was the lack of sensitivity in the receiver to discern the returned signal from noise. The Chain Home was found to bounce its transmitted signal off the ionosphere. These signals were actually detected in Germany prior to the War, but they didn’t know what or where they were coming from. It wasn’t until the fall of Dunkirk that they put two and two together. They thought the Chain Home radar was just a basic radio detection finder that had some radar function, they didn’t know how it fed the fighter controller system. These back scattered signals were originally filtered out as noise, as they appeared as ghost like images on the displays.

Very little, if anything was known at the time about the back-scattering effect due to the aircraft’s cross section, skin material used or how it varied depending on the transmitted frequency. It was thought that an approaching aircraft would be regarded as a half-wave di-pole that would reflect the transmitted signal, hence the use of long transmitted wavelengths in the HF and VHF bands. The Chain Home radar was about to be scrapped by 1944, however it was found to be the only system capable of tracking the V2, so was improved and kept in service.

To put it more bluntly, the Chain Home radar was primitive but was available from 1938, whilst the cutting edge Type 7 and the later systems that used the new Magnetron were not. It was adequate for our needs at the time and proved itself to be a very capable system that was still in use in the 50’s.

Duker

Thanks for that detail . I wanted to only mention the early WW2 naval radar as its more specific to this site and lead story.

DaveyB

The Navy’s first radar, the Type 79, was initially based on the same design as the Chain Home, i.e. it was a bistatic radar using a separate transmitter and receiver antenna utilising the same components. The final production version combined these in a tandem rotating antenna, which was then upgraded to the Type 279.

However, by 1941 the Admiralty Signal Establishment had built the Type 271, which was perhaps the second most important radar we had after Chain Home. This was the first radar specifically designed for hunting subs. It was an X band radar, where the smaller wavelength was found to be ideal for spotting periscopes and snorkels. Without this radar, we would have significantly struggled to deal with the U-boat menace. The radar had the effect of changing U-boat tactics from surface to more sub-surface attacks and led to the development of RAM material to hide from the radar. It also led to the push of the Type XX1 U-boat development.

By 1943 our ships gun laying radar was much more advanced than what the German Navy could field. Besides we had by them multiple types of radar for specific purposes. Long range search, main armament range finding and fall of shot, aircraft search and anti-aircraft gun laying, plus the U-boat finding radars on the corvettes and frigates. HMS Duke of York is credited with finding the Sharnhorst during the Battle of the North Cape using its Type 273 at 41,000m. The ship was also credited with a hits on Scharnhorst by using its Type 284 main armament gun laying radar at ranges over 20,000m at night. Even though the ship’s 14″ guns were of a small calibre compared to its contemporaries. The shells it fired were highly effective, as the wreck of Scharnhorst showed. It was found that some of Duke of York’s shells even penetrated the front face of Scharnhorst turrets which were 360mm thick.

Why is this pertinent, to the Sampson debate. These early radars led to the future development of today’s S1850, Artisan and Sampson.

Meirion X

I’m sorry I have to correct you on this one!
The frequency of the Type 271 was 2.950 Ghz + or – 50 Mhz.
Which is in the S-Band of the spectrum.
It was the first microwave radar.

Last edited 1 year ago by Meirion X
DaveyB

Nuts, you are quite correct a wavelength of 10cm is approximately 3 MHz. Not sure why I was thinking it was higher, it might have been the di-pole lengths – duh!

Ari

Germany Freya and Würzburg radars were move advanced than Home Chain. The only difference was that British used theirs very effectively .

Grant

Brilliant article. As the thing which makes the T45s so special and with so much of the R&D paid for, wouldn’t it make sense to put SAMPSON onto a second batch of Type 31s? My understanding is the T26s are expensive because they are quiet for ASW which you wont need in the AAW role; you could get 5 AAW Type 31s for the cost of 2 T45s and a ship with serious export potential (as Navantia have shown with their AEGIS frigates)

Last edited 1 year ago by Grant
D J

The problem with putting Sampson on T31 is it is not integrated with the Thales CMS. Yes, you could definitely do it, but it will cost. Sampson itself is not cheap. Integration of a high end radar is expensive.The definition of T31 is cheap. For the money, going from NS110 to NS200 is the best you could realistically hope for.

Grant

Fair enough; although would the integration work and additional radar still make it substantially cheaper then a T26 or T45? At the very least wouldn’t it keep BAES honest with the pricing?

LesL

Or fit the S1850 radar – already designed into the Danish IH class on which the T31 is based ?

D J

S1850 is a Thales Smart-L radar derivitive so integration should be pre-existing. Why would Thales buy a BAE licenced built version of their own radar?

Meirion X

Also the Type 31 may not be so stable, with the weight of the Sampson high up,
because it has smaller beam of 19.5m, compared to a Type 45 of 21m.

Humpty Dumpty

This short-sighted, idiotic and criminally negligent penny-pinching has got to stop.

What’s the point of a radar that can detect ballistic anti-ship missiles when the Type 45 doesn’t have Aster 30 Block 1NT to take them out? The Type 45 should get Aster 30 Block 1NT immediately and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD when it’s ready. It would cost a lot more to replace a Type 45 than fit it with anti-ballistic missiles. We don’t have many Type 45s and we can’t replace them quickly if they’re sunk, therefore we need to defend them as best as possible.

Also I’d replace Phalanx with the Oerlikon Millennium Gun firing AHEAD ammo and the OTO Melara 76mm firing DART and PFF ammo.

Last edited 10 months ago by Humpty Dumpty
anuj meshram

he radar on daring class the smart l has been in back and sampson is in front of the smart l so how could they track objects coming from front because in front there is sampson radar so the signal will bounce back from the tower of sampson radar