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Supportive Bloke

Worryingly glacial is the best way of expressing this build pace.

Both 26 & 31 will be fine platforms but we (UK PLC) need them ASAP. Budget has been allocated to build them – done deal – get them built – move money forward budget to get it done.

It really isn’t fair to expect people to nurse along vintage equipment and risk themselves at the front line for project spend curve equalisation reasons.

Quite apart from the appalling value/cost/price management of stretched procurement.

Rob N

It is quite obvious that T26 build speed needs to be speeded up to get new hulls in the water. That will mean extra funding for T26. If the Government fails to do this they will be in breach of their 19 escort number and leave the nave seriously weak.

Supportive Bloke

I agree with you. Upping the pace on the T26 program might well save total money. Stretching it out just means the Contract Preliminaries (ie time on slipway + time in shed + insurance costs + general site upkeep + site security etc etc) get larded onto the Contract as per Green Book (is that still a thing?) rules. So there is actually an intersecting cost benefit curve to speeding things up quite a bit. You would hope that someone would overlay the two graphs and find the net (as opposed to the local) minimum…….this is sort of project management for dummies 101 stuff. With cost of borrowed money for HMG being close to zero the, net cost saving is real. As opposed to in inflationary times, 1970’s, when the cost would have been very real.


The only solution would have been “not going with T31”. Just imagine what the 2B GBP, to be spent from 2020 to 2028 (may be 2030), can do on T26 build.

# It was originally 1.25B GBP spent on 2028-2024. Of course, this is a mission impossible…

In 2025, T26 hull-1 will be handed over to RN. Hull-2, starting 2 years later but enjoying hull-1’s lessons learned, will follow 1.5 years later (2027). Another 1.5 years, hull-3 will be delivered. This is 2028.

T26 contract for the first 3 hulls was for 3.6B GBP, starting from 2017 (actually less than this, because some armaments/GTs were contracted before 2017, the cost of which is included in the 3.6B).

If there were to be 2B GBP in 2020-2029, many could have done. The “200M GBP” frigate factory would have been “negligible”. Using remaining 1.8B GBP, speeding up the hull-1 build schedule by 1 year is surely doable. Then, 4th hull shall be delivered by 2029.

But this will not happen, I admit. So, it is all HMG/MOD/RN’s decision.

This is easy predictable in 2017. Very easy. So, HMG who decided to go this way, shall be “feeling good” with current situation. Also, MOD/RN agreed (in the name of “19 escorts saga”), so they must be happy with current situation. If not, they are fool, I’m afraid?

But, I’m afraid MOD/RN played a chicken game, and lost, and now paying for it. RN is losing the chicken game for long.

Supportive Bloke


The T31 is the ONLY way of breaking the BAE chicken cycle that is in front of the RN right now.

In the context of the oceans of money being thrown at everything right now T26 and T31 are chicken feed. And the money has been allocated so there is no reason why it cannot be pulled forward given that borrowing is as cheap as it is. Ultimately pulling it forward will save money as the newer ships require less crew and maintenance.

I’d accept the argument that pulling T31 much forward is not possible as the site/ship hall does not exist. But I would be on the accelerator pedal and not the brakes on that.

Worryingly I saw an article this morning in The Times wittering about Les Grandes Projets in the context of HS2 mixed up with overspend and mentioning the two QEC’s in that. RN PR need to get on that to squash it with some facts – broadly QEC was on budget apart from deliberate delays introduced into the build for a) cash flow smoothing b) delay until F35B was mature enough to be tested/deployed.


We have never had 19 hulls available most of the time we are lucky to have 12 hulls due to t45 breakdowns, t23 life ex and deminised maning levels. In reality min fleet we should have is 25 as we will need 6 hulls to defend each carrier, couple for each landing ship, literal strike and another 6 forward deployed around the world not allowing for the 4-5 in maintainable. We are in a woe full shape at the moment. We need a more reliable t45 now but they are still talking about engine upgrade specs, t31 is a reliable platform that is a given from iverhudsfeld data, 6 destroyers were 3 are broken all the time won’t be any use when we deploy the carrier so why not build a t31 with Samson and tool it up accordingly. Will still be cheaper than the destroyer and more versatile.

Meirion X

T31 frigate beam(widest point), most likely not be larger enough, to give the ship stability to carry the Sampson radar. Towers on long thin ships Don’t work well!
T45 beam is 22m.


This is ridiculous…saving some money now to cost a lot more to build overall when we need hulls urgently. This T23 ext programme required because of that decision or indecision over the last few years.
Our navy will be miniscule soon and yes we have crewing issues but what 3 T23 crews could man almost 5 new boats ? Training aside obviously.


FFS. Some perspective here please.

To anyone with the remotest idea of UK shipbuilding capacity, 2023 ISD was always racy in the extreme.

When the original competition was stopped a couple of years back, racy became risible. Unless you are a 2* ( now 3*) admiral, with a mate in DE&S who was similarly familiar with submarines and little else, it was obvious that an In-Service Date of 2023 was never going to happen. They just told First it would – and being who he was, he believed them.

The first T31 should be accepted off contract in 2025. That means it will be a fully functional ship, commissioned in the RN, but not having conducted Part IV trials – which among other things include achieving Fleet Weapon Acceptance for at least two new weapon systems, plus several sensors and a combat system. FWA is a little bit more complicated than saying “oh nation X,Y,Z has it, we’re happy”. The rest will follow pretty quickly.

Anyone who knows what Rosyth currently is – as opposed to what it will be – could not fail to understand this. Once they complete their facility, it’ll be quicker and better.

T31 will enter service. It will be later than various halfwits suggested. It will not have all the gizzits that the crayoning fan boys think it could have. Nevertheless, it will be a new ship. It will be vastly better than antediluvian T23 which are falling apart because MoD and BAES played a game of chicken seven years ago.

Take a “win” and move on. FSS is the next game of chicken, that the good ideas club are busily playing.


It will only approach a win if they’re actually delivered close to your schedule but remembering that Babcock’s has never in its corporate life built a complex warship and intends to do so at a virtually green field site at Rosyth, the odds of them doing so are similar to General Dynamics UK and Lockheed Martin UK building a virtually new armored vehicle, in a disused fork lift factory in darkest Wales. And how far behind schedule and above budget are they with Ajax?

It seems the MoD has a predilection for ordering powerpoint designs from companies who are virgins in the art. At some point, you would hope they realize this isn’t working.


As one of the very few to point out Babcock’s lack of shipbuilding pedigree. – and the limitations of the current Rosyth facility, over several years, I don’t think I need any advice, thanks.

PowerPoint it isn’t. But there are very real hurdles to jump from contract, through PDR, CDR, cut steel, launch, AOC to IOC that take time. Particularly when you understand that actual state of UK technical capacity.

James Edwards

Thank you N-a-B for cutting through the crap. It is appreciated!


@ Not a Boffin,

Didn’t give you any advice although I would have thought you’d been in the business long enough not to have declared victory at a contract signing. In UK defence procurement, that means very little. It will take a small miracle for the programs schedule and budget to be met.

Didn’t appreciate your insults either. There’s plenty in the Navy and ex-Navy, as well as us “half witted, crayoning fan boys” that think these ships with their bargain basement configuration, are a step in the wrong direction.


Don’t recall insulting you. But feel free to be offended, my givesf8ckometer ain’t going to twitch.

I can consistently point to being sceptical about the timeline. Which is why I didn’t set any store by contract signing – or start demanding add-ons.

There’s fantasy fleet and then there’s cold hard technical, financial and industrial reality. Which is somewhat different to Wiki-Engineering.


Yet you declared a win! Your words betray you old chap. But enough of this BS.


A win is five ships on contract. Those of us who lived through FSC/GCS/T26 over twenty years to see a batch of three contracted know the difference.


Pity the fools forced the closure of Vospers as some of us have said from word- close!
We need a naval construction shipyard next to our main bases on the South Coast.


Reasonable time-line, I agree.

Rather, saying “can be in service in 2025” (Babcock), and the 1st SL’s comment (“in service by 2023”) was very disappointing for me at that time. It meant, either they are lying, or just do not know hot to build warships. But, this time I just think they just became honest (of course, because it is contract).

In principle, nothing new in this news. In other words, just confirmed a “technically easily foreseeable result”.

#Sorry to say, I am a bit surprised that Navylookout, as a very skilled RN supporter, overlooked this point. Many, apparently engineer commetators here, were saying this for long.


You’re completely correct that the commissioning date of 2023 has been fanciful for some time, and if not certain from the off in 2015 then very much a reality by last autumn when 4 years had been spent on the selection process and HMG then went for Arrowhead and by extension Babcock Rosyth as the contractor.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that 14 years between HMS Duncan in 2013 and either HMS Glasgow or the 1st Type 31 in 2027 is frankly ridiculous! However the blame has to be leveled at the constant delay and dithering by HMG – through the endless permutations of Future Surface Combatant, TOBA, the 2015 SDSR changes and determination to slow the pace of construction for short-term financial gain.

The shipbuilding strategy did in my view have a lot of good ideas, but it sadly runs in complete contradiction to the current political attitude by requiring long-term planning that remains stable and consistent beyond a 5 year parliamentary cycle and the next SDSR.

I don’t even think volume is the biggest issue. We all here would of course advocate a larger surface fleet in some shape or form, but 14 high-end destroyers/frigates is for example enough to keep Govan in work indefinitely. What’s missing? The money for a proper ‘frigate factory’ to make it a world class shipbuilding facility wasn’t forthcoming, there was a huge gap between T45 and T26 instead of having a common hull or at least an evolutionary approach to the basic design and the systems, and lastly it’s perceived as better to pay less for a slower rate of orders/construction when all evidence points to it fueling an inexorable cycle of getting fewer ships for bigger and bigger budgets.

We have to hope that the surface fleet can begin to grow from the late 2020’s if the initial T31’s are build to budget but the big question mark is over what happens before that point is reached, and it now seems even more likely than ever that the escort fleet will drop below the sacred 19 – either by scrapping some of the oldest, most worn out T23’s in the next planning round, or the same ships simply retiring in the mid 2020’s when they become prohibitively expensive to soldier on.


Don’t worry. The Good Ideas Club are currently pursuing the fallacious idea of a common hull for FSS and LSS in the misinformed belief it will save lots of money. It won’t – and will cost more in delays and exploring blind alleys.

If you know how much a hullform costs to develop, compared to the structure and systems of a ship, you’d never go there. Sadly certain people in NCHQ and MoD don’t.


I’m no expert on the detail of naval construction but it seems to me we need to see through a top to bottom strategy as outlined in the NSS . If I was running the show I would go a lot further and educate politicians in the needs of a maritime strategy for the UK. My thoughts on most current Politicians is best not printed here but It seems we lost the plot when we surrendered the Commonwealth Freight Conferences some time back in the 1960’s and never bothered to think through a future plan for the merchant or RN ( post carrier cancellation fiasco in 1966) since.
The French, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Italians and much more and better focussed on these things now than we are. They cant all be wrong. The Spanish are particularly acute because they are out for the place we take for granted in many fields.
We need to act and cut through the c*** and put some significant financial resources and tax breaks into this or Global Britain is a non-starter. It cant be all soft power and planning the next holiday.

Supportive Bloke

Oh, I agree with you.

2023 Was always a joke.

Getting planning permission and building a largish industrial shed doesn’t need to take very long. There are great commercial teams that can/will do that all over the UK.

My day job, these days, is getting sheds far bigger than this built for manufacturing and distribution. They go up surprisingly fast….

What is more important about this is that it makes the BAES game of chicken less playable and at the same time that it increases capacity and skills for complex ship building.

My point on the T26 build rate still stands in that slowing the build rate for cash flow reasons is a little crazy. The budgets are allocated – get on with it.


This site needs to stop talking about a 1.25 billion budget for the Type 31’s. The government has told us that the program budget is 1.98 billion. An average of 400 million per ship.


It’s a welcome uplift in funding as £350-450 million is very much seen as the minimum price-tag for a decent frigate.

However the total budget will include design work, the improvements to Rosyth to enable the build process and other supporting elements, so I imagine the actual amount spent per vessel is still going to be considerably less than £400 million – which may explain the pretty bare weapons and sensor fit currently planned.


Unless there is a huge change in the way the MOD purchases equipment over the next few years, the order will end up being cut back to pay for cost blowouts. Trying to reduce the ship’s complexity should reduce the overall severity of it and is welcome.

The Type 45 went from 12 to 6. There is no indication that procurement practice has improved since then, if anything things look like they have become worse. The ultimate delivery of around four Type 26 and perhaps 4 Type 31 would be a fair and realistic outcome.


No one should start a project in the MOD unless they have the career time left to finish it. This means if it fails or if its late, they can be held accountable (if responsible) and leave with a reduced pension. The civil service in all its forms needs to get tough with itself.
As we have seen with 3.5 wasted years in Parliament, the politicians need to do likewise.
How long did it take Barnes Wallis to develop, build his bomb and see it used in action?


This is true and is something Dominic Cummings has talked about. The way the modern civil service tends to work is that there is so much rotation of people between roles that it is uncommon for a single person to remain in a role for more than a couple of years. It leads to very little accountability and poor efficiency. There does need to be major reform of the MoD and wider civil service to improve efficiency. It’s also not uncommon for MoD employees or service personnel to walk straight into jobs for contractors blurring public interest.


Cummings may think that. It doesn’t mean he’s right.

The real issue is that the technical CS roles have been hollowed out over the last couple of decades. Huge levels of experience and expertise have been lost and you end up with relatively junior people having to make decisions they’re not necessarily competent to make. Same applies to RN people in the chain.


How is this different to service personnel key to the projects moving around every 2 to 5 years? If you get someone in uniform determined to make a change, with reasons from mission creep to ego satisfaction and beyond, the cost implications are painful and shouldn’t be tolerated.


We know that Babcock’s are getting £1.25bn for the five ships, and that the overall programme will cost nearly £2bn.

But what does that mean? I assumed the extra was for maintenance and support, in which case it’s misleading to lump the extra with the capital build costs and say they are £400m each. But other have speculated it’s for the guns or the radar. Does anyone know?

If £700m is the goverment’s stake in building the Rosyth factory, I’d be very surprised.


I understand £700m includes CAMM (GFE) (THE MAIN WEAPON), initial training, establishing logistics and so on. I also understand most (if not all) of such cost is included in T26 cost.

So I agree 2B GBP is much more valid to be compared to other values (T45 and T26).

Foreign nations cost sometimes do not include them, so not easy to compare.


Thanks. That answers another question too. I remember the five inch main gun for the first three T26s (and a trainer) were bought on a separate £180m contract about a year before the contract for the ships, and I never knew whether that initial cost was lumped in the reported price or not until now.


I remember, when PM (or Defense Sec.?) said, 3.6B GBP for the first 3 T26, they clearly stated, “including every investment already done for T26”. So, yes, the 5 in gun is included.


The reason I keep harping on about the 1.98 billion budget is because in the beginning the government/MoD made such a big deal on how this procurement was going to be a total break with tradition.

One price, one contract, one cheque, to include absolutely everything from design, build, test, early support, was to be paid to the winning bidder and their feet would be held to the fire. No cost overruns would be allowed. Any slippages, any price increases would be the responsibility of the builder. The MoD would just sit back and watch, then collect its frigates.

That one price was to be 1.25 billion. No increase would be allowed. 1.25 billion period

Recognizing that some equipment would have to come out of government supplies (GFX), interviewee after interviewee stated again and again, such equipment and cost would be ruthlessness limited to tiny amounts.

So what’s happened? Well all that has been thrown out of the window. The shipbuilders all told the Ministry that wasn’t going to happen. They could take their one price contract and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

So now we have a traditional navy procurement with some of the cost (1.25 billion) being born by the shipyard, no doubt that will increase, and 700 million or so to cover GFX (which includes the CAMM missile system), early testing etc. and no doubt that will increase also.

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

And there are folks here that expect different results i.e on time, on budget, delivery????

Fat Dave

The urgency is now clear. Both carriers must be sold and the funds and manpower reinvested back into a proper surface fleet.
To save the RN, these vanity projects – born of the same stupidity that ignored submarines – need to be sacrificed. Sold to India if necessary.
The RN need a a fleet that is flexible, varied and larger. Not a fleet so limited it can barely protect the carriers. And then be able to achieve nothing else.
It’s criminally inept, even fraudulent, to spend money on F-35B, when the F-35A is vastly superior.
The carriers can’t even carry a proper air component, so will always have to be within range of a land base to provide AAR, ISR and proper AWACS.
FFS….there is no credible argument to retain them.

The Navy needs hulls now.


So Dave, can you please explain how a force that contains a fleet carrier with air wing is more vulnerable to air and missile attack than one without? AAR will come, even if only with buddy tanks.

Steve Taylor

Perhaps because the navy spends most of its time scattered across the globe doing other things and not out to replay Midway? And in another major naval warfare those escorts will be operating with the USN. The latter is facing an escort and SSN gap. You could turn around your question to ask, how safe is a carrier force dependent on 13 ageing frigates, 6 not-so-wonderful destroyers (even if Sea Viper), and a falling number of submarines?

The truth is the navy is now fundamentally crippled and will never recover.

Meirion X

I can Smell a Kremlin Troll here again!

Steve Taylor

You can smell you are own arse more like.

Meirion X

A Garbled reply of a Kremlin Troll!

Steve Taylor

Have an upvote. You are entitled to your opinion.

The site would benefit a lot from losing the up and down voting feature. It is divisive.

Steve Taylor

Look idiots proving my point.

Steve Taylor

And again.

Meirion X

@ Broing FD
YOU are getting Very Broing! You Know the Score on this Issue!
Or if Otherwise, You Required An Urgent Mental Health Assessment immediately, and Refined from Further Comments Here until You have recovered from you illness.


If only you understood where most of the Navy’s equipment and support budgets went. I’ll give you a clue – Barrow. Faslane, Devonport. The sums allocated exceed those for the carriers by a factor of three or four.

Meirion X

I See the Indians are having Probs delivering Their Own Strike Capability!
Lack of aircraft, only a few Russian crapp Migs left!
Serves Them Right for buying Russian CON stuff!
Ha,Ha, Haa!!

Meirion X

@ Some Mothers Do Av Em!
I see, those Indian Migs are crashing A lot, they won’t have enough planes to fill not one carrier soon!




Imagine how many destroyers and cruisers China will complete and commission over the next 7 years.

Steve Taylor

About 60-ish.

Steve Taylor

China commissioned 18 ships in 2016.
And then 14 in 2017.

So I am perhaps a bit low and so deserve the downvotes?

That doesn’t include ships being built for their other maritime agencies many of which could perform as auxiliaries in war.


Stop playing victim.
Also the OP was about how many destroyers and cruisers, so in answer to your exaggeration and then misleading victim playing: China commissioned 1 Destroyer in 2016 and 0 Cruisers. In 2017, 2. A far shout from the 18 and 14 ships of all types you are deliberately using to give a misleading answer to the OP

Steve Taylor

I am not playing victim. I am just shocked so many can be so ignorant on a topic yet think themselves well informed. I very much the OP can actual provide any real distinction between destroyers and cruisers. And it seems an arbitrary choice of classification.


You are. Sorry your comment got down voted but it happens to everyone once in a while. Man up, stop winging about and stop acting like just because people disagree with you you ar some set upon victim. It’s not interesting and it gets you zero sympathy.

You very much what? At any rate he wasnt making a distinction between destroyers and cruisers, but between Destroyers and Cruisers on one hand vs Everything else. Regardless what you think that is a pretty clear break that you deliberately ignored (either that or you are a perfect example of someone who is ignorant despite believing himself to be well informed), so IMO you deserve your down votes in this case.


I think the date to “deliver” (or handing over) to RN is much more important, especially when RN lacks crew and only manning 12 escorts (as well summarized in this web for many times).

In 2025, RN will see both T26-hull1 and T31-hull1 in their hand, flying white ensign. This means, RN need to man them. Actually, a few months BEFORE the hand over (see HMS Trent recent case). The crew of HMS Argyll may go elsewhere to man a T23 coming back from LIFEX or a T45 from engine update, that of HMS Lancaster (185) is not even enough to man T26 (157) and T31 (100).

If you list the number of escorts “flying white ensign” (= RN need to man), the number is not so low through out this decade. Minimum at 17 on 2024, and peaking at 20 or 21 around 2029.

=== copy from my own comment in River B2 uparming thead, 3 pages before ====
– Now we have 12 manned (at various stage) and 7 unmanned escorts.
– Below, I assume
— if there is new T26, decommissioned T23 crew primary goes there, and if something left go to T31.
— If there is only new T31,decommissioned T23 crew goes to T31, leaving some.
— try to man as many T45, T23 as possible (*1)

2023 -T23: 12 manned, 6 unmanned, total 18
2024 -T23: 12 manned, 5 unmanned, total 17
2025 -T23+T26+T31: 12 manned, 6 unmanned, total 18, (185-157 = 28 left, but cannot fill T31-1)
2026 -T23+T31: 13 manned, 5 unmanned, total 18, (28+185-100-100 = ~0, T31-1 and T31-2 filled)
2027 -T23+T26+T31: 13 manned, 6 unmanned, total 19 (185-157 = 28 left, cannot fill T31-3)
2028 -T23+T26+T31: 13 manned, 7 unmanned, total 20 (28+185-157 = 56 left, still cannot fill T31-3 and T31-4)
2029 -T23+T31: 14 manned, 6 unmanned, total 20 (56+185-157-100 = -16, T31-3 filled, T31-4 and 5 not filled)

Meirion X

It looks like, a T23(ASW) will need to be released for ASW duty by 2023/4, in oder to provide a experience crew for the first Type 26 frigate. That will leave RN short ASW T23s for duty!

Phillip Johnson

The date is no great surprise. ‘In service’ mean trials completed and the crew worked up. To achieve that you would expect the ship to be ready for initial sea trials some 18 months earlier, say early 2026. In short about a 5 year build period. Starting from scratch, there is not much to see there.
What worries me is that both fabrication sub contractors went to the wall during the evaluation process so that the price could also start going up.
Companies in trouble hand out mean prices that likely new subcontractors will be unwilling to meet?


It’s that Babcocks problem? They have a contact at a price and the freedom to sub out work or do it in house as they see fit.

Phillip Johnson

Has the actual contract been signed yet? As far as I can tell what has happened so far is that a design has been selected and the parties are getting organised for contract negotiations.
There aren’t too may major contracts that are signed at the bid price. It is called negotiations and Defence is bad at it.


Does this answer your question ?
“The formal contract award follows the announcement made during DSEI 2019 this year that Babcock’s Team 31 had been selected as Preferred Bidder following a competitive process.”


The fabrication subbies if you mean H&W and Fergies, were only ever political cards. Never expected to actually be part of the build.


Yet featured large in Babcock’s glossy brochures. Mentioned by just about every commentator and political talking head and featured in the Nation Shipbuilding Strategy.

But “never expected to actually be part of the build”!!

Gimme a friggin break. Massive expectations were set. And swallowed. And used to justify Babcock’s winning the contract.


Of course they featured in the lobbying. That’s what political cards are for. But you play them for maximum effect when they’re valuable. Arlene ain’t as important now and wee Jimmy K has more pressing issues (not least the ongoing comedy of the Fergie Ferries).

No-one who knew what those facilities were and their capabilities really expected them to be in the actual build. It’s almost as if people have forgotten that the NSBS was in essence a vehicle dreamed up by certain people with an agenda to put an end to the ToBA…..


Slippage in delivery times is not good news, and my concern is just how much longer can the Type23’s last as frontline ships? If the UK is called on to put two carrier battle groups together in a time of crisis, the integral safety of these formations could be compromised? The RN can not allow either carrier to be exposed and by committing old frigates to that role, could be very costly if challenged?


Sadly this was totally predictable, when have the Ministry of Defence ever delivered a programme on time and within budget? If NavyLookout is correct and I have no reason to believe that he is not, effectively 6 of the Type 23s are in LIFEX so out of action for the long term.
How is the Navy proposing to support two carrier groups with such a shortage of personal and escort vessels?


I understand RN is NOT proposing to support two carrier groups “at once”.

“1 CVTF with 2 T45 and 2 T26” means 4 T45 and 4 T26 will be occupied (sharing the same maintenance and training rotation).

As RN currently manning only 12 escorts, this means there are another 4 escorts manned, together with 7 escorts NOT manned. Not good, but lack of hull is NOT the top issue. Lack of crew is.


I am curious were you get your ‘inside’ information from but we all know that the shortage of personal is making it very difficult for the Navy to man its existing ships. I would actually doubt they could even support a single carrier group. I understand this how big a American carrier group is QUOTE: TRCSG consists of Carrier Strike Group 9, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115). That is ONE Aegis Cruiser and FIVE Aegis Destroyers.


I’m using all open source information, nothing “inside”. (I’m in Japan…. )

That is one of the largest group even in USN. Of course, it all depends on where you go. CSG-9’s composition in 2011-2012 deployment is made of 1 CG and 2 DDGs.

Also, for example, French carrier groups is as small as 4 escorts (+ NATO escorts), or even less.

But, I do understand the shortage of escorts. But, it is the RN’s choice.


Sadly the navy doesn’t have an awful lot of choice. I can’t see the funding situation improving any time soon. As they say we have dodged the Corbyn bullet but with all the promises BJ has been making in regards to HS2 and pouring even more money in the NHS black hole defence will probably take another hit.


Aye, thankfully the US military is being built up and strengthened again. God willing it won’t be needed, but history suggests it will. Someone on here, I forget who, reminded us that Britain almost starved twice in the last century due to naval blockade. Currently it is, perhaps, likely that RN CVs would simply join a US task group with whichever frigate can be coughed up.

I remember someone recently saying that the RN was currently in the lead with ASW roles in the north Atlantic despite the age of our frigates.

Meirion X

As a Precaution of the order being very late, the MoD should place a Interim order with a South Korean shipyard for 5 Batch 1, extra large Corvettes. The Babcock order bring reassigned as Batch 2, and maybe become proper Frigates.


I agree strongly, in a wartime situation you are right, ships get thoroughly trashed before they even take any damage through enemy action.
We really need to start throwing some money at and increasing build by 50% after the first three T 26s are well underway and a year into the actual build of T31.
The MOD must look at this Urgently or we will be scraping the barrel before we even send out a scrap heap flotilla.


Some proposals.

Option-1: To speed-up the delivery, keep the cost, while enabling “24 CAMM” on front-line vessels,

How about omitting CAMM totally from hull-1? With this option, 2 data-link antenna, 1 Launch Management System (or Unit), and 1 complete kit of SeaCeptor software can be omitted. This may enable all remaining 4 hulls to carry 24 CAMM (my main goal).

Also as a bi-product, 1st-of class ship system become significantly simple, reducing the trial dates in both contractor and RN phases, enabling her to be handed over around late 2024, and in service within 2026. (This is also complies with spiral building concept of BMT future frigate paper, which was one of the basis for NSbS).

Of course, the hull-1 will not be fully operational. Its armaments will be very much like that of French Floreal class, which is not a real frigate. But, I understand T31 will be forward deployed, with crew rotation. This means, there will be a ship in home water to train the rotating crew. The hull-1 can be treated as the training vessel (until a small money comes to add 24 CAMM in future) . Also, there are no problem to be used to shadow Russian vessels and visiting Caribbean and South Atlantic islands.

Option-2: Cut forward 40 mm gun, to enable full radar+Optical+IR FCS to be carried for the forward 57mm gun. I think this will enable the gun to be regarded as AAW kit (I mean, CIWS). As for now, with a relatively simple EO-FCS, I’m afraid these guns have a limited AAW capability and cannot be regarded as a CIWS in AAW term (may be OK for anti-surface warfare).

Steve Taylor

Saves nothing.

Mk4 is an OK. Remember the T31 is more likely to be engaging naughty Iranians in the Gulf than shooting down AShM missiles. If anything it needs more cannon and HMG not cutting one.


Thanks, but I have a question. Why you think it is nothing?

On option-1: You think ALL 5 hulls will be forward deployed? I do not think so. Crew rotation needs at least one hull (or even 2 hulls) around Britain, I guess. And, increasing 12 CAMM to 24 CAMM is not “nothing” I think.

On option-2: You said, anti-AShM defense is not a priority. I think you mean 12 CAMM is enough. May be, may be not.

# thinking…

I think the guided rounds shortly coming is very important, and therefore 57 mm gun is a priority.

For anti-surface, maybe EO FCS can control the anti-surface guided-round ALaMO with their laser-range-finder. Then, “fast-boats-swarm” will become a “sitting duck” and problem solved. (by the way, I’m afraid ORCA is dead).

But, the theater is Persian Gulf. Is AShM missiles negligible there?

Also, if no AShM treat is there, up-armed River B2 with 57 mm 3P gun with ALaMO, and AAW MAD-FIRES, supported by land-based aircover, will do it. It will be also an order of magnitude cheaper than T31, I’m afraid?

Why we need T31?

# ref: MAD-FIRES

Steve Taylor

Donald what is more likely to happen in the next 10 years? A RN something gets shot at by naughty Third Worlds with cannons and HMG and RPG from little boats meaning the RN needs to shoot back or a Chinese missile crashing in through the ship’s side taking out the ship’s canteen with its supply of energy drinks and phone chargers?

The Mk4 wouldn’t be my first choice of CIWS but it is OK. So it is needed for AShM’s anyway. So between any EW it might get, SeaCeptor, and its three OK-ish cannons T31 will be OK. Until a 40 year old Kilo happens along and sinks it……..

By nothing I mean in terms of budget. The amount save would be tiny and easily wasted elsewhere.


Thanks. I am never talking about anti-China. I am talking about the Gulf (the reason I clearly state “Persian Gulf)”.

So, in Gulf.

If you think RN do not need to think much of ASMs, then, again, why not up-armed River B2? Gulf has a good airbase around, so land-based aircover is easy = no need for hangar. It is not a rough sea = so a 2000t vessel may work. River B2 is there and up-arming it with 57 mm gun is much much cheaper than building T31.

By the way, I never talked about saving money. All my proposal (both option-1 and 2) is to shift the money within T31 program, as you can see in my original post.

Also, I strongly doubt a Mk.4 controlled via EO-only FCS can be a good CIWS against ASM (it could be a good CIWS against surface targets). Also, there is no plan for guided rounds in Mk.4. Is its future bright?

Steve Taylor

I was just using China as an example.

Shifting money or saving money is just the same really. It wouldn’t be worth it. Chopping a whole ship from the program would be.

I like the Iver Huitfeldt design, but I am not a fan of T31 as it stands. Probably funded with everything a modern escort needed then yes. And if we had money it would be more T26’s.

I like the RIvers. I have been aboard all of them apart from Clyde. And there are reasons why we are buying more of them. But again if it were me I would buying other designs if we had the funds and manpower. Really the Gulf needs some something smaller, ‘faster’, and a cost where you could buy enough to operate in pairs. If we had the budget and if HMG sees the region as priority we would better of say buying 6 Roussen class for a billion instead of 1 blue water escort. And then use land based air power in support. And for home you can do everything a River does on 1000 tons. And if you want a 2000 ton FP vessel their are better designs than the River such as the Fassmer 80m OPV.

We are where we are. Unless HMG suddenly decided the RN is priority and say spend the money (it was borrowing) to send to the EU then things aren’t going to change. If Australia’s plans come to fruition they will have a bigger, better, and more balanced navy than we will have in 10 to 20 years time.



I share your feeling anti-T31. It is a bad program, at least from engineering point of view (I am an engineer), and also from military and political point of view (look like a full-fat frigate while just a Floreal-like). With the 2B GBP, RN should have added 2 more T26, and use remaining money on anything other.

On the other hand, as the program is proceeding, and kind-of politically protected, I think it will go on. BUT, even AFTER the budget is defined, MOD may change the ingredients IF THE TOTAL COST IS UNCHANGED (StarStreak –> LMM example). So, all my proposal is based on this limitation, only.

Fast boats for Persian Gulf is reasonable. But I reserve my opinion, because the place becomes sometimes hot and sometimes calm, and the fast boats are not so useful other than the Gulf. Are there any other good theater? If yes, it is surely worth discussing (although it will only happen when someone breaks the T31 program).

On the “better” OPV design, at where you think “Fassmer 80m OPV” is better than River B2? (genuine question). A hangar (I think River B2 can)? Armaments? (the same). Or, what else?

Steve Taylor

Why do you think it is poor from engineering point of view? The Danish ships are OK.

80m OPV is just better packaged. Look for example at the ships boats. There is no need for a helicopter in UK waters, but a hangar (a big covered space) is useful for drones, stores, etc. and a flight deck is always useful given the ubiquity of the helicopter in the marine environment. You don’t need a medium gun in European waters.

As for small ships as I said they would be for the Gulf nowhere else.


Thanks again. I agree Danish design is technically not bad (at least, interesting). But it is unrelated to my engineering point of view.

“UK cannot sustain 2 escort ship builders for long”. This is the heart of the reason I think T31 is bad in engineering point of view.

T26 build slowing down is increasing its cost. Money to add one hull is surely cheaper than the total cost divided by 8 (planned hull number).

Looking at UK military budget, there is not high probability of additional order of T31 (and if there are such money, I prefer “more T26” than “more T31”), unless there happen to be a world war III. Then, how can Babcock Rosyth survive as an escort builder? Export? Good, on paper. But “export” is what ALL shipyards in UK was aiming at. Why ONLY Babcock is to succeed?

I’m afraid Rosyth will stop being an escort builder in early 2030s. We all remember what happen to Appledore (export failure directly resulted in the closure of the yard). Because Babcock has no experience in escort building, there are bunches of things to learn, the cost of which is included in the 2B GBP. Then, end. Technology lost, skilled labor/engineer lost, well-trained project manager lost.

What if UK invested the 2B GBP (was originally 1.25B GBP, they said…) on T26 program from scratch = on 2017? We would have seen at least 2 more, and probably 3 more T26 to come. Efficient infrastructure usage, learning curve, mature design. All of them results in cheaper cost = well known engineering fact. Yes RN will lose 2 (or 3) escorts on paper. But, look at the T31 as it is. In addition to the original 1.25B GBP stolen from T26 program, it has already stolen 750M GBP more from the RN equipment budget. In other words, seriously threatening T26 or LPD-R or SSS, in SDSR2020.

BUT, as I said, T31 will go on.

Thus, my top priority is NOT to cut T26 anymore. So I am strongly against “future more money for T31”. But as the budget is announced, it is ring-fenced. So, as a compromise, I’m proposing to “bias” equipments among the 5 T31 hulls, to make some of it “nearly escort”.

Meirion X

But why does the Royal Navy need a 149m Frigate at 7800 tons, to do mainly anti- submarine hunting?
Surely the same job could be done by a frigate of a similar size of Arrowhead, a super quiet version?
Why a big jump from a T23 to 8000 Tons?


The jump in size from T23 is primarily a combination of changes in accommodation standards, changes in stability and other safety standards, incorporation of the module bay and through-life growth provision.

Wibbling about displacement is precisely the attitude of numerous SNO from 2000 to 2015 in deferring / delaying T26, that caused the current train crash. Only they “understood” that displacement is precisely aligned to cost and only they could therefore tell you what a ship needed to displace to be affordable. Of course it was nonsense, but nonsense that has resulted in something like 15 years delay to the ship and T23 being run on to twice their design life (which also incurs “costs” that may not be directly visible).

You are aware that A140 is broadly comparable in size to T26? You may not be aware that “super quiet” versions tend to involve a considerably larger amount of design and engineering than just writing the words. In the case of your A140 – a completely new propulsion design and arrangement as well – which would not be an A140, or anything like it.

Meirion X

Many thanks for that info!


T26 is an ASW oriented multi purpose ship. We all know it was designed as “Global Combat Ship”, not as an “ASW frigate”. This is very different from T45 designed as “AAW Destroyer”. So the message is clear.

-T26 needs good land-attack capability
– needs multi-purpose large mission bay
– Chinook capable flight-deck with 50 (was it 70?) man EMF accommodation
– while still being as an ASW asset

Then the result is the “149m Frigate at 7800 tons”. Was this idea stupid? Not sure. If T26 did not carry Mk.41 VLS, I’m sure many here would have claimed “land-attack cruise missile is MUST!”, and it may be true.

Although I am not a person to answer this question, my PERSONAL FEELING is that, “T26 itself is OK”, but “sticking to 19 escorts saga” was wrong.

Steve Taylor

All escorts since T41, T61, and T12 have been multipurpose or in other words GENERAL PURPOSE. That is capable fighting surface opponents, opponents in the air, and those below. Even the single purpose first rate frigates were general purpose really. The term general purpose has only become a point of confusion since the RN christened the tailless T23 as general purpose. And commenters on sites like this for various reasons have seized on it. (The silly thing is 2087 is quite cheap really for what it is.)

Back in the 80s Type 42’s with 2050 sonar, the same one as used in T22, used to hunt submarines despite AAW destroyers. And some crews even won ASW competitions.

T22 has used SeaWolf to knock out targets in the air despite it being an ASW frigate.

T45 is the problem. This idea that we have x number of escorts is a bit flawed as T45 can’t look after itself. Sea Viper is superior to Sea Dart, but T45 is not a direct replacement for T42. See RAN Hobarts or De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates both of which are properly armed escorts. I would still like to know how quiet T45 is as it being quieter than T42 was one of the design drivers. Only the MoD could be a noisy IEP ship; we should have gone with GT’s and donk’s.

I see the same mistakes being repeated with T31.


Yeh, but it is unrelated to the fact that T26 is NOT a pure ASW frigate. See FREMM, with no mission bay, no Chinook capable flight deck. Significantly smaller than T26, while it still carries 16 SCALP-Naval. It is an ASW frigate, but it is NOT not a pure ASW.

I understand what Meirion X-san means (I guess…).

Even if T26 lacks Chinook capable flight deck, mission bay, and Mk.41 VLS, it is still an ASW frigate and still has general purpose capability. AAW? 48 CAMM. Land attack? Its 5-inch gun has the state of the art robotic arsenal, enabling low crew with high continuous fire rate, and can carry guided rounds, as well. Significant improvement over T23.

However, I do understand the T26 rationale. Not so bad. RN did a choice. And the result is “struggling to keep 19 escorts” ( and I do think “19 escorts saga” are doing more bad than good.)

What is the worst is, “decide –> hesitate —> cancel –> decide …” loop. (see Army FRES ….). RN must go on with T26. Let’s make T31 better, and after decision has been made, let’s do it (even if I do not like it…)

# If there is still a chance to cancel it, while keeping the “right” to re-use the 2B GBP, I will cancel it. But, it’s too late, I’m afraid.

Steve Taylor

Ah! The Mission Bay. It will probably end up having a refrigerated container for extra cold storage and exercises bike or extra accommodation. What more does a ship need to do? What systems will occupy this mission bay?

In RN parlance a frigate is primarily an ASW, but as I said all escorts are (should be) general purpose to some extent. Two things make T23 primarily an ASW escort. It’s architecture and propulsion (GODLAG). And its sensor fit primarily 2050 and 2087. Where as in RN parlance a destroyer is primarily a AAW asset because of SeaDart which took up a large volume of the ship (big missiles needing a big magazine, two targeting radars, etc) To me it is a difference between a system that can influence a large area and a system that can only be used locally.

All stuffing things into VLS tubes does is add to GENERAL PURPOSE capability. I am not really bothered about cruise missiles for land attack.

Steve Taylor

Perhaps T31 shouldn’t be called a frigate but sloops? Then the confusion is removesd altogether? They are in some way a successor to the old T81’s built for the Gulf back in the days when that beat was our responsibility and not the USN’s.

So that would be a slower ‘escort’ with local or point weapons and no area capability.

Steve Taylor

The Chinook capable flight deck made me laugh on T45. These ships are huge and there is plenty of space. Merlin is a very big bird practically the same as Chinook. Yet Chinook capable flight deck is sold like it is some super unique feature that was designed in.

US Guy

I’m not qualified to comment on the engineering aspect, but I think the T-31 makes a lot of sense from a military POV. The RN badly needs more ships, and the 31 gives them more ships with the current level of funding available.

The T-31 will be more than capable enough to perform most of the duties that a global navy needs to perform. Showing the flag, anti-piracy, deterring medium to small nations, surveillance, search and rescue, disaster relief, etc… 5 of these hulls I think makes more sense than 2 additional T-26’s, simply because it means the RN can be more places at once. The T-26 is a far more capable ship, but 2 T-31’s would be better at patrolling the Gulf shipping lanes than 1 T-26.

If there is a great power sea war with China or Russia then I wouldn’t want the T-31 as my front line warship, but the odds of that actually happening are fairly slim. And even if they did happen, it’s almost a certainty that the US would be fighting it as well, which of course dramatically changes the force structure. Plus, that’s what the much more capable and expensive T-26’s are for.


I wonder how far out-of-the box thinking on a first ship could take you? Let’s make it an extra one so it doesn’t affect the current contract.

Uses guns, radar, sonars, CMS, Sea Ceptres, everything taken directly from a Type 23. No design reviews by the Navy whatsoever. They get it as it comes, based on the Arrowhead 140 design as it stands today, and whatever changes are found (by the contractor) to be needed for the different equipment and current legislative standards.

Assemble the ship at Birkenhead, with modules made wherever there’s capacity, subject to first steel cut in August this year. Fit it out wherever, probably Rosyth if it’s ready.

How long to make that operational? How much would it cost?

I’m not suggesting it should be done — what’s the point of building ships if you can’t crew them? Just posing a hypothetical.


Is the A140 acceptably safe? Can it be certified for UK use? Do you think the steel drawings to LRNS exist right now? How can you cut steel in August if they don’t?

A ship design based on a ten-year old ship for the Danes, is not the same as the T31.


Been pondering on this. I think the first two should be questions for the contractor to work on, not the Navy. Why even talk to someone who can’t do safe and regulation-compliant as base standard, much less give them money?

I had thought that these virtualised systems actually hooked up to something at the manufacturing level, rather than just being a glossy sales tool like something from the IKEA kitchen department. If they don’t have the ability to turn the virtual design into whatever instructions are needed to turn out modules (steel drawings, is it?), that suggests far more investment needs to be done. [Before I was wondering if they hooked directly into the robotically controlled steel cutting machines. Now I’m picturing serried ranks of technical draughtsmen with quill pens and half-fingered gloves to keep out the Victorian cold.]

But it’s your last comment that had me thinking the most. What is the difference between the Iver Huitfeldt, the A140 and the T31? Some changes will have to be made because the legislation has moved on. Some will be made to later fit different equipment. I’m not in shipbuilding (I believe you are), so I’m interested in the level of change that makes to the hull construction? I’d have thought minor, and easily within the ambit of a marine engineering firm to make quickly and safely. Is that wrong?

Other changes are wants of the Navy, because RN isn’t RDN. Those are the ones I think they could do without on one ship — and no, I’m not saying build the sauna.


The first two are indeed for the contractor to work on. However, it is the navy (or more precisely the Naval Authority – and in some areas Class Society) to determine whether the design meets their criteria in detail, which is a process that takes place after contract.

Under no circumstances underestimate the level of justification and potential design change (leading to delay) that may be required to achieve this. Not least because getting the NA to actually make a decision – and stick to it without changing their minds – is painfully time-consuming.

You also need to understand what is required to construct the ship. Iver Huitfeldt was built by a now-defunct shipyard some ten years ago. To construct the ship you need literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of drawings, equipment lists etc which define the ships arrangement, hull shape, structure, systems, equipment items etc. These also form a vital part of the ILS element once the ship is in-service. In real life, Tony Stark style virtual blueprints do not exist – and certainly not for a ten year old ship design.

How much of these items are transferable from the original IH design? From a cursory glance, the primary armament is different, which means that the various equipment rooms and magazines will be different, which means that their seating drawings, cable runs, pipe runs, vent trunking will be different. Has the main propulsion system changed? What about marine auxiliary systems? Was IH specified to operate in Gulf temperatures? If not, that’s your lagging, HVAC, chilled water and seawater cooling systems changed then. Do we want to use equipment items (valves, pumps, strainers, fuse panels) that are common to our own supply system? If so, that’s all those system drawings and materials lists changed then – even if you don’t, that assumes the original suppliers still exist. Are the shock levels specified the same as IH? You get the drift……

The bit of IH that the A140 design was based on, is probably limited to the hullform – by which I mean shape only. It’s highly likely that the structure has changed, because it’s highly likely that the internal arrangement has changed to suit RN requirements, NA requirements or Class (I suspect IH were done to DNV – MoD may prefer Lloyds Register). Which means that you need a new set of structural design calcs and drawings for Class Approval, before you even get to production-level drawings and CNC files.

All of which has to be compressed into a timeframe between contract award in November (Babcocks aren’t going to invest until they’ve got a contract) and has to be completed in time for the first steel units to be started. What was submitted was a tender-level design – probably with a bit more detail as MoD paid for this design phase, having stuffed up the initial competition. The tender level design has enough detail to de-risk the systems performance and configuration, ship arrangement, outline compartment design (ie where consoles, main cable runs and piperuns will be in primary compartments), but not much beyond that. It has to have enough detail to allow a firm price cost and schedule, but that’s it.


I get the impression that perhaps changes below deck may not actually be all that great. Except where standards have changed & the like, it may well be, this is it for the money you want to spend. Changing things to suit RN costs time & money & there is neither time nor money in this deal.

Meirion X

I wornder if MoD would make a saving by cancelling Batch 2 of the Type 26 Frigates.
Instead procure 6 ASW frigates based on the smaller Arrowhead frigate, with MT30 gas engine etc? A 57mm Gun instead.
Any savings to be used to up arm GP frigates.
No reason why they could not be built on the Clyde!


The problem here, as always, is money and a lack of honesty by politicians. As others have pointed out, slowing the build rate is a false economy because less expenditure per year but more in total because it takes longer. Also money has to be spent keeping the aging T23’s going. Now I would suggest that an adequate escort force for an island nation is actually THE defence priority. ‘Global Britain’ won’t be global if our sea lanes are threatened thus, simply put, the government has to find the money. Any drop in numbers is unthinkable, in fact we are already well below a safe number. 10 T26 & 10 T31 are needed. If the capacity doesn’t exist in UK yards then we should seriously consider looking to Canada & Australia for T26 & Europe for T31 or FRMM. Has to be done.


What on earth makes you think spare capacity exists there?

Kevin Hastie

It is dispiriting to see the level of debate on this site is increasingly characterised by rudeness, one-up-man-ship and on occasion even approaches abuse. It is axiomatic that opinions are like arseholes; everybody has got one (and most of them stink) !

Steve Taylor

I see the site owners pay enough attention to delete comments………..



When HMS St. Albans is decomissioned in 2036 it will be the end of a ship design conceived in the late 70’s. So it will be about 58 years old in effect, upgraded I know, but still. Quite embarrasing, maybe we should refloat Victory.


We definitely have issues here. The gestation period for T45 was long but in spite of a generous project time and wonderful work with anti air systems the class is not fit for purpose in terms of propulsion and never will be. The US have cracked it with Arleigh Burke. A bit like we did with the type 12 but was infinitely less complicated. Stick to T26 hull but extend to a common hull encompassing both asw and aaw. Just 18 of these ships would enable six all purpose warships to be available globally with sufficient reserves.


This is sad and begs the questions

1) was not the Leander a better bet and able to be delivered in time?


2) Why not speed up T26 production and have a second batch of 6 plus 6AAW versions to follow, This would enable BAE to build their frigate factory and make production more efficient . Cancel T31 and use any spare funds to up arm T45 and maybe River batch2. Order more Merlin HM2. Share Mars SSS work between Babcock and Cammil Laird.?


Given that Leander was an equally paper ship and significantly smaller – hence less able to accommodate required RN/NATO design safety features, what makes you think it would be a better bet? Particularly considering that – sadly – Lairds are way behind in completing SDA?

T26 build rate is not just funding profile, it’s also facility constraints. There are no AAW versions of T26, nor will there be without a significant redesign effort which will be difficult with most technical manpower tied up on other projects (not least Aus and Can T26). Again – how will this enable a frigate factory (if you believe such a thing means anything) to be afforded by BAES? The planned facility in Scotstoun required a new dry dock, building hall, steel fabrication facility, etc etc. All of which takes time and money, which aren’t available.

All of which also assumes a volte-face of that scale would not be accompanied by at least a year or two of arguing and deliberating prior to anything concrete being done.


Genuine question rather than my usual ankle biting: doesn’t the Australian T26 have a significant AAW capability? In other words, won’t the design work be already be mostly done? or are their standards so wildly different to the RNs?

Also, Bae published a costing of their proposed “frigate factory” including the changes you list. It was 200 million. Not a huge amount in a contract for 12 ships as @rec is suggesting.

Phillip Johnson

The Australian Hunters will have the advanced version of CEA Phased array.
The base version of the CEA FAR has been on ANZAC’s for a number of years and seems quite effective teamed with ESSM.
The advanced version is intended to handle ESSM plus SAM-2 variants and likely SAM-6. Main limitation is 32 VLS tubes.


I understand that BAE has indicated to Australia that the T26 can go to 64 VLS if required. As Australia uses mk41 VLS & doesn’t currently use CAMM, they must refer to 64 mk41 or equivalent. Exactly where & what length I don’t know. However 64 is 16 more than the Hobarts 48 vls. T45 is 48 cells with space for 16 more – total 64 cells maxed out. It appears Canada is going for 32 mk41 vls + 24 CAMM. Australia currently 32 mk41. Both Canada & Australia are going for high end radars.

Meirion X

The CAMM silos on Type 26(UK), are 48 Quad packed Sea Ceptor from 12 box silos with a hatch.



All rendering to date shows 48 mushrooms, though?

Meirion X

It look like box silos first, Donald?
Why use old Sea Wolf tubes for new CAMM?
CAMM can be quad packed in the new type of box silos.
Saves from having to occupy the Mk. 41 silos with CAMM.


Meirion X-san

Thanks. CAMM will not use Mk.41 VLS. I is in mucsroom canister, as seen in the following rendering.

Another option, I guess you are proposing, is ExLS. Not bad, and actually Canadian T26 adopts it.

But, not RN.
comment image

Meirion X

I still think the MoD could save a few million by not upgrading the last of the GP T23s, not yet LIFEX.
Keep Sea Wolf until replaced by T31.
Just repair and maintain them!


I understand SeaWolf is not operational, stop being so this year.

In some official document, it is stated Sea Wolf will be replaced by 2020.

Sea Wolf has started upgrading into Block 2 standard from 2005, and its support contract (The SWISS (Seawolf In Service Support) contract) was awarded to MBDA in 2008 for support until 2017, and I could not find any new information.

Notably, all images taken oboard HMS Sutherland, one of the T23 with Sea Wolf system, carries zero missile in her silo, at least within 3 months from now.

Need info.

Anyway, I think Sea Wolf is dead. I think placing two 20mm CIWSs in stead of forward SeaWolf silo and on top of the hangar, will be better, because by doing it, RN can completely stop the support contract and logistic support (including crew and engineer training) of Sea Wolf. Will save a lot of money.

Meirion X

It is most likely that Sutherland will be the next T23 to go in for LIFEX with
PGMU upgrade.


Does the Aus system reflect the UK AAW capability requirement? Or is it some AAW kit that meets their requirements? There is a reason that the UK went PAAMS A15/A30 rather than ESSM/SM2 for T45.

£200M was too rich for a contract of £3.6Bn. Even were that number to stick, you’re both assuming that funds for 12 ships could be found – ring-fencing capital budgets as recommended by Sir JP – which has not happened – and won’t because the Treasury won’t wear it.

Steve Taylor

The projected numbers for T42 was something like 24 to 26 built roughly to B3 specs. And we ended up with 12 and we all know what happened to first eight of those. In a way it should have been no surprise we only ended up with 6 T45.


Like you, I think there is mileage in an AAW T26 as a replacement for T45. Ultimately we’re going to need one and that can be one of 3 options: A development of T45, a development of T26, or a new design completely. I’m assuming we’ll be putting in the “PAAMS Mk2” system in, which would be new radars and all the software gubbins that will have to interface with the vessel CMS. This would have to be done on any of the above options, as it’s a new system. Obviously the amount of work required would vary, with T45 being the least, T26 being medium (because it’s a known hull and uses the same base BAE CMS as T45) and a new design being most.
Unless the T45’s hull design was super special for some reason that makes it better even when it’s older, it doesn’t have any appreciable dimensional and capacity advantages over T26. The T26’s beam is only 1 m less and the length is shy by a couple of metres. To me that says that a stretched T26 hull will be capable of taking the next iteration of the PAAMS radar, as well as increase the number of VLS cells available.
As long as it is physically large enough to fit the system while retaining seakeeping abilities, provides enough power for everything on board and the radar can be put up high enough to be useful, the T26 is not hugely more difficult to develop for the T4X role as the T45 in my opinion… Especially when you compare that to the cost benefits in having a production line still open (if the timing and planning is done right), with supply chain in place and active. It will be much cheaper to adjust production to account for an extra hull section than it would to re-set everything to build a T45 derivative or some other design. The ongoing savings in training and maintenance of having all vessels essentially the same core design would be good.


There is no such thing as a “production line” for warships! It’s a common misconception that the hullform can be identical (as per your meaning) across classes. It can’t. Any change in arrangements, compartmentation etc will change the hull structure.

Here’s one to ponder. Future AAW may (just may) move away from missile based systems to something else. The something else generally means having lots of electrical power. Do you think the T26 plant is optimised for electrical power generation? It’s not, it’s optimised for quietness at low speed, but didn’t use high-power electric motors, which is why it has the comedy gearbox for the single MT30.

AAW ships also tend to have slightly different requirements for speed and manoeuvrability than ASW ships. T26 hull and plant optimised for those, do you think?

Common hullforms are a fallacy, if you know how warships are designed and built, you don’t go there.

One more interesting thought. T45 has quite a few ship years under its belt and although the plant has issues (far from all of which are WR21-related), the hull is generally a good seaboat. Do we know that about T26 yet? Your dimensional comparisons also omitted depth. T45 has an extra decks worth (so more area and volume to play with).


I think that most ship manufacturers would disagree with you about “production lines” for warships, they may not look exactly like a car line but essentially you’re making the same product repeatedly, using the same skills, tools and parts. As far as changing across classes etc. I think again that you’re taking my comments to an extreme that wasn’t intended; the development in capacity of the Arleigh Burke from Flight I to III, the different fitouts for the Australian and Canadian T26, the difference between the T31 and original IH, the difference in fit out between the different European versions of F100, the vast array of different vessels with different missions based upon the River-class hull are just some examples I can think of from the top of my head. Yes, there was some change to the structure and certainly some parts would be different, but the large part of the hull design remained the same- saving significantly in time and money. I’m not saying that a stretched T26 to get T4X will be a completely seamless transition at the yard, but it’s a whole lot more seamless than a completely new design or flipping back to a T45-based hull, which are the other options.
The fact that the USN are wanting to go this route with their FFG(X) programme is another case in point; their combat systems and requirements for those are significantly different to the Euro ones currently in existence, but they see the benefit in using a current hull form.
You’re right, we may not use missiles for air defence in the future, but we’re a whole new class-lifetime away from being able to do anything other than SHORAD with lasers- our Aster 30s (or whatever) are going to be our long-range hitters for ABMD and wide area AD for the foreseeable. That said, I did pretty clearly say that whatever type is chosen it needs to have power generation capacity for the mission- so it’s certainly something I pondered. Adding an extra 5 m hull section to a T26 hull (as they did with the Abs) would provide reasonable extra hull space for additional generation, and adding different generation and propulsion into an existing hull is not a significant change on modern vessels which have had this consideration taken into account.
Honestly, I have no idea what the different hull requirements for an AAW and ASW ship are, but I’m expecting that they can’t be significantly different if Australia in particular have an AAW mission in mind for their T26s and the USN expect their FFG9X) to be ASW-optimised mini-Burkes with regard to ability to contribute to AAW.
Ultimately, what are you changing to make a T26 a T4X? More VLS (stretched hull in the mid-section or just forward of the bridge is sufficient for this), a different radar system (potentially a bit larger and heavier, but not sure how the current SAMPSON compares to the NS1000 on T26, let alone the next iteration), and some bigger generators to deal with future AAW weapons. Again, I’ve already mentioned that using the T26 hull is conditional on it being able to mount that radar high enough while maintaining seakeeping- so I anticipated your point there. Your point about the extra deck on the T45 is a good one, that makes a big difference and could well be a deal breaker. The simple answer is that I didn’t know. But I don’t think it negates the point that T26 is worth consideration for T4X.


The ability to carry an AAW system, does not an AAW capability make. There’s quite a bit extra involved – depending on the capability required. A radar and a VLS is only part of the capability. A “mini-Burke” is not a Burke Flt III, or a Tico, or indeed a T45.

Arguably, the extended use of the AB design is what has caused the US such problems in its surface ship designs over the last two decades or so. They have not exercised the skills involved in deriving a hull from first principles and have simply forgotten how to do so.

I suspect from your description of skills, tools and parts that you’ve never set foot in a shipyard. At one level it is completely correct to categorize these as such. However, what that actually means is a set of design information – primarily NC files for plate burners, weld procedures, pipe spool definitions etc. Plus a list of equipment items from subcontractors that define each of the ships systems – and the associated purchase orders for them.

Design information for a warship can amount to a million manhours of work – so not cheap. However, changes to the baseline design incur large chunks of this anyway as you change structure, arrangement, systems, safety case, equipment items. They don’t stay the same however much we would like them to.

These are accompanied by work package information (ie a set of work instructions for fabricating, installing, testing small chunks of the ship and its systems, which detail piece part information, drawings, budgets and so forth). Creating those packages is not insubstantial effort (generally around 150000 manhours – or £10M for cash), but it isn’t a game changer. There is little or no fixed plant involved, unless you’re talking about something unusual like QEC skidding systems or cranes.

Again – you’re happy to make statements like “Yes, there was some change to the structure and certainly some parts would be different, but the large part of the hull design remained the same – saving significantly in time and money” – with little or no supporting evidence. You seem to believe that the R batch 1 hulls are substantially the same as the RB2. I know a Class society and a number of naval architects and draughtsmen who’d care to differ. As would the Naval Authority. Are they wrong and Wiki right?

Casual reference to adding another 5m to a T26 hull not being a significant change would lead to an interesting discussion about a number of things. Let’s see if you can guess what the top two impacts on the hull (before we get to re-arranging the machinery spaces) might be. I’ll give you a clue – both have an impact on safety. That’s before you get to explain how the radar height affects seakeeping.

In your own time…..

Meirion X

I think advanced destoryers in the mid 2030s will deploy a Megawatt laser, requiring larger energy generation and storage capacity.
Will this energy requirement, require a hull as large as a Zumwalt, I wander?
Also, I see that Bill Gates has ordered a New super- yacht powered by Hydrogen! So Hydrogen powered warships then in the future?

Glass Half Full

… and a fourth option of using T31 as a base which would bring us back full circle to an AAW destroyer 😉 I could see how having a competition between BAES and Babcock might appeal to the MoD.


But competition works ONLY if
– there is (more than) two “escort builders” alive at the moment
– the loser MUST not die, so that in the next time, there will be two escort builders

Is it feasible? If not, it will always be “the escort builder” and “a industry with no escort building experience, starting up from scratch = costy work”.

Glass Half Full

Good point, although I don’t think we need more than two competitors. But don’t knock the concept, its one more competitor than we’ve had in the past.

More seriously, it keeps both companies honest so neither gets too comfortable with a monopoly supplier position, and perhaps also important is that it helps enable smaller shipbuilders building modules, rather than have all the building concentrated in two companies. The largest challenge frankly, is whether the NSS will actually help a commercial rather than just military shipbuilding expansion to produce a more robust overall industry.


Arguably, we haven’t had competition in warship building since 1993 and certainly since BAE convinced MoD to go to sole source on T45. Smaller shipbuilders building modules is only effective if it’s efficient, which tends not to be the case.

NSS can only help “commercial” shipbuilding if all government operated vessels are mandated to be built onshore, which is unlikely from both a cost and capacity perspective.

Glass Half Full

@ N-a-B, Phillip, Donald; you are all making good points, I’m just suggesting that a bit more competition is better than none at all, i.e. don’t lets demand perfection at the expense of good. As long as the UK requires its warships to be built in the UK and as long as the UK lacks a robust commercial shipbuilding industry, then this paints the MOD into a corner on procurement, where an industry is entirely dependent on naval orders and potentially only UK naval orders if there are little or no exports. BAES doesn’t seem to have been very interested in pursuing foreign ship orders outside T26, which I suspect reflects a broader company strategy to only pursue top tier military business. We’ll have to see how Babcock do with smaller navies with more modest budgets.

Phillip Johnson

Actually for effective competition you tend to need a minimum of 3 competitors. Two company’s facing each other over a period will tend to find a way to share the work.
The other issue is that you need enough work to keep multiple companies in the business otherwise you end up the companies formed around bid teams that win contracts and then struggle to find the resources to perform the work.
(it was my game for a long time.)


Keeping competition needs very careful industrial plan. This is because, “loser to disappear” is also an inherent nature of competition = monopoly is the natural result of competition.

As the loser in competition MUST survive, I think the only answer will be to;
– compete for prime/lead industry
– but share the building program
This is actually done in JMSDF FFM bid. MHI won, and leads the program, but MU builds minor fraction of the ships.

On top of it, RN has only 19 escorts. With 34 years lifetime (let’s see reality), it is 1.8 years per hull drumbeat ON AVERAGE. If two escort ship builders are to survive, for example, the winner gets 2.6 year drumbeat (13 hulls on average), and the loser 5.7 years per hull (6 hulls).

Even with 2 years drumbeat, it is apparent BAES Clyde is inefficient. The “two builder concept” is much more inefficient. So, surely, keeping 2 (not to say 3) ship builders, capable of building escorts, will hugely cost as a natural consequence.

In case there is only one builder, the thing to do is that RN/MOD itself understands how it is to build an escort, and do tough-negotiations. Very-tough. RN/MOD must be capable of understanding all the design documents, costing plan and point-out all “too much money” points.

Doable, but not easy. But, low-efficiency industry directly means zero chance for export. If the monopoly industry become efficient, they get export = there are another “competition” against world-wide market, so that both the monopoly shipbuilder and RN/MOD can know the “benchmark”.

With only 19 escort to foresee, I think the latter option is the only way to go.

Phillip Johnson

I never met any government employee that was capable of real world costing. They tend to be totally driven by budget. If it is within the budget it is OK even if they are being screwed.


Good Day!

A sad state of affairs and indeed a reflection of how our Politicians through shear incompetence are reducing our capabilities to dangerous levels!

Time to wake up and reverse this trend before its to late!


As the saying goes, we are where we are. It will be a challenge over the next few years for the RN to meet its requirements and get the next generation of ships into service. My guess is that we will manage to keep 6 ASW Type 23s in good enough nick to escort a carrier group. Crews from numbers 7-8 will have to get the T26 into service. I’ m also guessing there is every likely hood we will sell 3 or more lifexed Type 23, a mix of ASW and GP, and that R2’s will pick up fleet ready escort duties and ( maybe up armed) constabulary roles in the Indian ocean Combined Naval force,. It will be a juggling act, but the results will be worth it.; hopefully the 2030’s will see a fleet of more than 19 escorts.


Looking at the informative comments, I strongly think RN must really “think” for what they will use T31.

– I keep the number of hulls in the following proposal.
– I try to keep the total cost of T31 unchanged, as well.

1: If “GP” role is the key. Having all 5 hulls with the current armament is good? (might be)

Having 2-hulls with no CAMM (with simpler CMS) like Floreal-class, and 3-hulls with 24 CAMM won’t be better? So that RN can select which ship to send at what theater, depending on the threat level. Danish Iver Huitfeldt class is made of 3 hulls, with 2 Absalon as “cousins”. The 3 GP (24 CAMM) T31s with 2 “Floreal-like” T31s as “very close sisters”, will be much easier to operate. The latter 2 hulls are exactly the “super” OPV of the River B2 up-arm thread, and the GP with 24 CAMM is, yes, “acceptable” as “a minimum escort”, I guess.

2: If MCM MSV operation is important.

Then the (starboard) boat-alcove must be enlarged, to have at least 16 m in length and 10 m in width. (ref the “single-sided mission bay” originally proposed in the Arrowhead 120 design). This will enable T31 to be truly a “C3 concept ship” with armament exactly shown in the concept (a gun and ~12 CAMM), with 2 USVs, albeit with much much larger hull enabling large hangar, flight deck, and sea-worthyness. In place, ban MHC hull-replacement program (but continue the MCM-kit part), to give the extra 750M GBP spent by T31 back to “T26 budget”.

Mixing these two proposals are also possible. Just imagine the “GP T31 with 24 CAMM” carrying 2 ASW-USVs contributing to ASW. At least in shallow-water ASW, in which the engaging distance gets short, ASW-USV will be very helpful.

Steve Taylor

Hopefully our future MCM will look like this. I don’t understand what the advantage of using an escort sized hull is for MCM.


You’re right. Belgium and Holland are wise to be constructing a new dedicated mine sweeping platform. The UK’s existing minesweeping fleet were some of the cheapest boats to construct and have some of the lowest operating costs in the Royal Navy. While the Type 31 is not as gold plated as some other ships constructed recently, it’s operating costs are likely to be several fold more than the existing mine countermeasures ships.

The main example of modularity that many advocate is the US littoral combat ship. If you look at all the evidence, this ship has been a complete failure in all of the things that it was originally advertised to do (including minesweeping). The ships have costed at least four times as much as the US would have paid if they had simply replaced their mine countermeasures ships on a like for like basis (with similar lower operating costs).

Steve Taylor

The hull is important. This idea that you can stick a few containers on a ship and hey presto you have a MCM vessel doesn’t work. Perhaps tidying up after a conflict. But not in combat.

Actually interestingly per ton the Sandown SRMH were the most expensive ships the RN had purchased up to that point. Stealth or signature reduction is expensive. Good thing they were only a few hundred tonnes.

What hampered LCS from the start was the perceived need for high speed. It has resulted in light and fragile ships for no gain. The USN would have been better off with something like the Iver Huitfeld.

Glass Half Full

Flexibility and options.

Consider the recent Gulf experience. Had we had say 2-3x T31 doing MCM operations, instead of 4x MCMV plus RFA mothership then the T31’s might have immediately suspended MCM operations to focus on escort roles, rather than having to rush escorts to the Gulf from much further afield and not have enough of them after we had. If we thought the 12 CAMM inadequate we might have flown out a mission module to expand the missile count.

Or say in future we have a forward deployed T31 in Singapore and someone decides to leave some mines in the Malacca Strait. We fly out MCM mission modules to the T31, we augment local navy capabilities but also offer a center of excellence on MCM operations, given the RN’s leading expertise; perhaps a value add well in excess of just a single vessel presence.

BMT Venari and the Dutch/Belgian MCMV, while much more capable and flexible than our current MCMV fleet, won’t scale up to expanded roles. A back up role as an OPV really doesn’t add much for the RN given our current OPV fleet. Without an organic AAW capability beyond the 40mm they are also increasingly at risk off hostile shores with the proliferation of very capable shore based ASM.

In addition with more or less dedicated MCMV we tie up RN manpower in limited capability platforms, rather than have an opportunity to significantly increase the frigate fleet, largely using the same manpower.


The Type 31 frigate will have a complement of up to 160 compared to the Sandown class of up to 40. I really don’t see how ditching some of the cheapest ships to operate will free up manpower or resources.


Sorry, I think you missed the point.

I am not proposing T31 to be MCMV replacement. I’m just proposing to decrease or ban MCMV hull replacements, to save money (to compensate the 750M GBP “stolen” by T31 from T26, LPD-R and others).

T26 can carry MCM USVs. If with proper design, T31 can also do it (not much with current design). Of course, in peace time, none of them will be doing MCM operation (other than training). Too expensive to operate. Commercial off-the-shelf PSVs (many in offshore industries) chartered by RN, carrying MCM kits, can do it.

In war time, at the back end COTS PSV will be doing it. And at the front-line, T31 (if threat is medium) or T26 (if high) can do it, ONLY IF NEEDED.

Also, in the low threat theater, River B2 can do it. It can carry four 20ft containers in the flight deck, in addition to two on their waist. What if we carry 2 USVs (*1) on the flight deck and 2 control systems in their waist? Large accommodation space can handle all the added crew.

In short, if the MCM drone kits works well, already existing assets in RN and COTS PSVs chartered can do most of, if not all, the work, I guess. Of course, it will all depend on how the systems are designed.

*1: e.g. Atlas ACRIMS is, 11.3m long, 3.4m wide and 6.4 t (dry) — ~11 t in weight.

Glass Half Full

Just because the ship can accommodate 160+ personnel doesn’t mean it has to. The Iver Huidtfeld AAW destroyer that T31 is based on can operate with as few as 20 crew. The IH manning is normally 100 while supporting full AAW capability. The Danes deliberately designed a very efficient ship to enable low manning in order to keep operating costs low. No reason to suppose a T31 doing MCM operations would need any more crew than a Hunt or Sandown, perhaps they might even require less.


Next I suppose you are going to argue that the fuel consumption of a 5700 tonne ship is going to be lower than a 600 tonne one. Or that it’s maintenance costs are lower.


Dream on….RN solution will be River 2 and crane


A few facts for background as I understand the T26 is an 8,000 ton ship, EOL 8,800 tons, as revealed by Australians specs for the Hunter, 80% larger than a 4,900t T23 and a third larger than the IH (T31) spec’d as 6,650 tons.

Question why is T26 80% larger than the T23, main driver was as Fallan explained to Parliamentary Defence Committee the T26 design driven by ASW and AMPHIBIOUS requirements, which resulted in the large flight deck for a Chinook, huge mission bay, automated magazine for the 5″ main gun etc., the RN amphibious requirements for an ASW frigate always struck me as total nonsense.

One of the many reasons why T26 programme for development and build of three ships costing £4 billion, RN originally talked of £350 to £450 million per ship, this massive cost does not even fund a state of the art radar, still fitted with an old gen Artisan single band radar compared to the new gen four panel GaN multi-band radars as on Hunter.

Would see no reason, perhaps others can, that if ever new AA destroyer should be required it’s not based on T31 which is slightly faster and has much longer range, hull not as quiet but don’t think that’s a driver for an AAW ship, would expect to save £100s millions plus compared to AAW destroyer based on T26.


The original 13 Type 26 were ‘global combat ships’. Do everything except AAW for which we had T45. Then the money ran out. Now we have 8 over specced ASW ships. Enter T31 stage left…a hull capable of being fitted out as anything from patrol frigate to AAW destroyer …..anything except ASW for which we have T26. To quote the late Terry Wogan, ‘ is it me?’
Just move the 5in guns and Mk41 from T26 to T31 and everything falls into place….sort of.

Meirion X

The Type 26 frigates are going to Need a VLS, either Mk. 41 or Sylver, to launch a modified version of ASROC anti-sub warpon and the future cruise missile. The new CAMM should be in their own quad packed box silos.

Meirion X

The Hunter radar is Not compatible with RN missiles, only simi-active homing.
Sea Ceptor is fully active homing.

Meirion X

I mean RN missiles are fully active homing, whereas RAN and USN use mainly simi-active homing missiles.


So Type 26 will arrive in service about 15 years after the FREEM and that is if the current schedule is respected…

Steve Taylor

Yes. FREMM which was too expensive (not) and didn’t fit the RN’s oh so clever needs, but probably have done the job and will probably turn out cheaper than T26 in the end.

The Italian version has 3 sonars, ASW hull, TAS, and MOAS. In fact the Italian version has everything. No mention of a ‘mission bay’ though, what is Italian for ‘spare volume in the hull we don’t know what to do with so will call it something spec ops-like’?


Thanks for correcting indeed it is called FREMM.
They have boat bays not mission bay.


The national Shipbuilding Startegy based on only Aircraft Carriers, Destroyers, Frigates and nothing else. Last real carriers built in 1940s and 50s with pretend carriers built in the 1970s. Now with two super carrier built with no third in any foreseeable future. Last Destroyer built in the 00s, commissioned 7 years ago and last Frigate commissioned 18 years ago, last destroyers. This is no shipbuilding strategy and nothing mentioned about commercial shipbuilding which this country can compete in, in many areas. It’s always slow build for grey funnel ships which does not help UK shipbuilding or it’s image and certainly does not show the UK’s shipbuilding potential with the expensive slow build fart arse policy in shipbuilding given to Uk shipbuilders.

Mike D

Sadly- I think the Government is more concerned about it’s “Carbon Footprint” (Warships contain a lot of steel) than the defence of this Country


Get the Danish to make another 5. Then watch the defence industry get into gear.


But the Danish ship builder bankrupted after they built 3 Iver Huitveldt class. Design team exists, but no more the builder.

Steve Taylor

The reason why the Danish ships were cheap is the hull was built in Eastern Europe and only fitted out in Denmark.


The reason the Danish ships were cheap is because they hid a large part of the cost by using RDN to install, test and commission many of the systems.

The hull was built at Odense, but lots of small steel sub-units fabricated in Eastern Europe and shipped round.

Even with those work-rounds OSS went under and the owner took a financial hit.


I’m just amazed the small RDN had the technical nouse to carry out the systems integration (part of Thales work package for T31), secondly RDN ships have the advantage of the transferable StanFlex modular container mission payload system with standard connections for plug ‘n play, not being used on the T31 more’s the pity. The RDN did the work to meet their tight budget.

Understand base hull built in Eastern European shipyards, certainly saved on costs, in overall cost not that big a deal if believe USN NAVSEA 05C graphic which shows hull equates to 8% of total warship cost.

OSS a commercial shipyard did indeed close, it specialised in large container ships, killed off by competition from the far east, as far as know no other shipyard in Europe can compete in that market.


The down hill slide started many years ago with the crazy decision to spend millions on developing Sampson then just building 6 Type 45s to replace 12 Type 42s. The carriers , although a major leap forward for the RN also swallowed up billions. Maybe it’s time to re-commission HMS Victory and HMS Warrior back into the active fleet ………

4th watch

Photos come out in dribbs and drabs. Rarely does anyone seems to be working on the project. Probably 9-5 5 days a week with all holidays off. Pathetic. No one expects 24/7 but this is shameful. We are talking Defence of the realm.