Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Given the diversity of threats and the relative dearth of ships, the pure specialist option is almost certainly a dead end despite its obvious advantages in the primary mission of air defence.

On the other side of it though, ending up with 4-6 air defence cruisers is leaving us with no depth and a whole lot of capabilities we perhaps don’t need.

Would a middle option be more viable? A main gun and full-spectrum ASW aren’t for either the destroyers high or low end taskings. A collection of 40mm guns and DEWs would be fine. A full sized mission bay would also be surplus


How would that be a middle option? The guns I understand but the ASW capability and mission bay are straying to far from the original concept. At that point, all there is left is a hangar to be added.


I’m not sure I understand what your confusion. Instead of an arsenal ship or a multi-role cruiser, I’m effectively saying build a newer and slightly bigger version of the T45, minus the 4.5″.

As a rough outline, a 9-10,000t destroyer with 96 VLS, a hull sonar but no tail, a flight deck and preferably a hangar but no massive amidships mission bay.


I misunderstood your point about the mission bay. But even if we build a newer and bigger version of the type 45, we are still losing the primary benefit of the proposed concept. There is no way that the price point is going to be where it needs to to be able to build 3x the number of hulls if we include a hull sonar and the asw department onboard to process that data. Maybe offboard processing on the type 26s is worth looking into. On board processing of sonar data is going to require at least dozens more personnel.

David Johnston

How about teaming up with the Japanese. They are designing a balistic missile defence ship. This would lower costs, push global Britain and increase foriegn sales orders.

David Johnston

Another option is to make air dection mother ships. The missiles not being carried on the type 83 but in loyal wingman style drone ships with sensors being on the mother ship and airbourne drones to see over the horizon.

Berman W Mo

This was the same issue with the US Navy’s Zumwalt class destroyer. Before that, there was the Arsenal Ship. In between those programs, the Land Attack Destroyer Program. They all have the same issue, very expensive single purpose still looking for a role. The Zumwalt destroyer, which 3 were built, have the same issue.


The Zumwalt suffered from the same issue as the LCS: mission creep and gold plating. What should’ve been basically a monitor ended up as a radical new platform with BMD-capable radars and full sonar suites.

Peter S

I have commented separately on why I agree that a pure specialist AAW platform is the wrong choice for a navy with limited escort numbers. Just as we give an ASW frigate an AAW self defence capability, we should ensure that our AAW destroyers have at least a self defence capacity against torpedoes( not a full fat ASW suite).
But there is a case to be made for an arsenal ship in addition: at present, it is impossible to reload missiles at sea. Unless that limitation can be overcome, an AAW destroyer is useless once it has launched all of its missile load and has to return to a friendly port for resupply. Augmenting its weapon load with missiles carried by an arsenal ship would mitigate this weakness. The arsenal ship would rely on the destroyers sensors and control systems and so could be a very cheap vessel. ( A missile load of 200 Aster 30s would not be cheap,$400m). It would only be needed in a hot war situation and not routinely deployed in peacetime.


PS think you make a good argument for arsenal ship. on call for hot war only. Use of destroyer systems and data link. Cheap & lethal. Almost reverse of the 2 rivers concept , peacetime eyes and ears presence, but not for conflict. another good value solution in my view.


Plus standardised vertical launch tubes put whatever missile wanted, probably just need 2 arsenal ships at most.


Arsenal ships rule. I don’t know why people keep saying they aren’t good, besides budgetary issues

Build them with thick armour, not 1mm paper tissue steel. Give them mulitple sonar and torpedo tubes, give them many air defence missiles, as well as anti ship and anti air missiles, and the arsenal ship becomes well defended and much more survivable. How many missiles? Well, if you get rid of the helipad and hanger, you can put hundreds of VLS along the whole ship.

In any case, it probably won’t be on it’s own anyway, with Type 26’s around


Then it wouldn’t be an arsenal ship anymore. That’s a cruiser.

The whole idea around arsenal ship is that you sacrifice everything else to put as much missiles on it as possible.

Having armor, sonar suite, torpedo, air defense suite, etc just turn it into a normal warship, albeit a very big one.

US Navy barely fits all those stuff in a 10000-ton platform, with minimal armor and nowhere near massive amount of cells and tubes you’re suggesting. Eliminating hangar and helipad wouldn’t help that much.

and can the Royal Navy even afford that? especially in any reasonable number.


Thick armour ear ended with the last of the WW2 battleships and RN with HMS Vanguard

The suggestion only lives on with a few who never understood the mission ( heavy large calibre guns dont exist any more) and the design concept which was based on an armoured box ( deck-sides-ends). The thick hardened plate at the sides actually thinned below the water line as it was largely useless against a 1000lb torpedo explosive and instead they used layered compartments of air-liquid-air etc to absorb the blast. Carriers will still use this system for cruise missiles but the torpedoes explode under the hull nowdays.
Ive probably left out many modern features, but the ‘thick plate myth’ endures for some as a solution modern ships with no real idea of how the old system worked.

Last edited 8 months ago by Duker

To me that’s total nonsense, the deadliest weapon in the Falklands war was the Exocet, have you forgotten Sheffield and the other ships hit, the anti-ship missile is the highest threat on todays naval battlefield. Armour is needed for the specific purpose to counter the missiles, the job of armour, adequate and well designed, is to greatly mitigate/lesson the effects of the resulting damage after a hit.

Supportive Bloke


So have you any idea how thick, how heavy and how expensive it would be to have armour that stops a 1000kg Mach1 missile?

Then have a think about 1000kg at Mach3.

Then you can get back to reality.

There are better ways of mitigating risk.

@Duker is right about the way that fuel/water/storage is used to protectively layer.


Then have a think about 1000kg at Mach3.

Exactly. One would be better off spending the money on some high end DEW based anti missile system instead of armour. Far better to shoot the missiles down while its still many miles away than trust in armour to protect the ship.

A 1000kg mass, without explosives, travelling at 1000 m/s (~Mach 3) would deliver approximately 1 mega-Newton of force to the target on impact. Even the very best main battle tank armour available would not protect against an impact like that.

Last edited 8 months ago by Gareth

My understanding is that calculations show kinetic energy contribution is relatively small compared to that of the explosive warhead, definately need some professional input. To be noted large shells travelled at supersonic speeds, so nothing new, the Naval Architects of old were able to design ship armour to counter /mitigate the effects of hits.
No defence system is 100% (Israel claims 90% for Iron Dome which has been contested) so if an anti-ship missile is successful in getting through in defeating both the soft and hard kill defences, which based on Falklands experience shows as a high probability, and the ship hit without armour experience shows major loss of life and ship a write off/sunk as Sheffield
At the moment we have a few £billion ships, T26 and T45s, with very limited survivability if hit by £million anti-ship missiles.  
PS DEW/lasers are still in RDT&E and have been for the last forty odd years.


There are so, so many different factors for why significant armour on warships is no longer worthwhile.

The naval architects of old were the ones who realised that the primary threats to warships now came from above (plunging fire and bombs, and now obviously missiles) and below (torpedoes and mines). An armoured belt covers a relatively small proportion of the ship, and is relatively low down in the ship; to armour the deck and keel in order to resist the weapons available in the 50s was considered economically impractical and physically doubtful if not impossible.

Then there’s the fact that the systems that enable a modern warship to fight can’t be armoured. Radars, comms arrays, everything mounted on or in the mast or superstructure. Destruction or damage to that kit renders the warship largely impotent.

Modern warships are designed to be survivable when hit, not invulnerable to hits. You are correct, the Falklands experience showed us we couldn’t count on not being hit at all, but armour wouldn’t have saved the Sheffield, and lack of armour isn’t why she sank. The MoD findings were:

  1. Failure to respond to HMS Glasgow‘s detection and communication of two approaching Super Etendards by immediately going to action stations, activating the Sea Dart and launching chaff decoys;
  2. Lack of ECM jamming capability;
  3. Lack of a point defence system;
  4. Inadequate operator training, in particular simulated realistic low-level target acquisition.
  5. Slow response of the available Type 909 Sea Dart tracking radar and its operator limited the possible response.
  6. The spread of the fire was not adequately controlled due to the presence of ignitable material coverings, lack of adequate curtains and sealing to restrict smoke and fires. There was also a shortage of breathing apparatus while the forward escape manholes were found to be too small for men who actually were wearing breathing apparatus

Ships that followed are built stronger, with less focus on light weight and more on durability; better subdivision, more redundancy, better damage control measures.

At the moment we have a few £billion ships, T26 and T45s, with very limited survivability if hit by £million anti-ship missiles.

No, we have a few expensive ships with very good survivability thanks to experienced designers and well-trained crew. Mounting effective amounts of armour on them would result in having even fewer ships with slightly better survivability but far higher chance of actually being hit because they were sent into combat on their own. Because they had no sister ships. Because the budget was spent putting 2000t of armour steel/composite on a destroyer.


Indeed different level of energy entirely….That’s the problem the forces from a heavy weight anti ship missile are at a different level to guns… even a CAMM ( 100kg mach3 missile) would be generating the same sort of kinetic energy as a 6 inch shell had at the point it came out the barrel in a flat trajectory shot… A large Mach 3+ ASMH effectively hits with the same kinetic energy as an intercity 125 driving at full speed into the side of a ship….that’s just the kinetic energy..before you take into account any warhead and then the highly flammable nasty scattered all over the place….then you have all the sensors and electronics vs the old mechanical structures of a bygone age..…it does not matter how much armour you put on a warship the very nature of modern warships make them easy to mission kill…then take into about a modern heavy weight torpedo literally does not give two shits about any level of armour…even things like torpedo bulges…if it gets under the ship and detonates the ships simply shatters the keel and breaks the ships back through the hogging, sagging hogging cycle…that infact is made worse by a heavy armoured hull…

Supportive Bloke

It is as the armour belt is in the bending modulus. So it contributes mass without contributing anything structural to the ship.

that all said look at how many hits it takes in a SINKEX to down a closed up frigate never mind an aircraft carrier.


Remember that naval gun shells wethers its 5 in or 16 in had no counter and armour plate was the only defence.
Cruise missiles- subsonic or supersonic or any type of ballistic missile aimed at ship today can be countered by a layered defence or even just a last ditch CIWS


Absolutely, it’s better to spend the money on not getting hit in the first place, soft kill, EW, hard kill all far better than having armour to take the hit…also the navel medium guns ability to counter all that is why I think people still underestimate the value of the medium gun as an ASuW weapon….this obsession with range…when ship at war and hiding will not even likely see each other until they are within 10-20 miles.


Many points raised in above posts, Jonathan saying if torpedo gets under the ship and detonates the ship it simply shatters the keel and breaks the ships back . To me that’s just a total myth unless you can point to actual example, remember the Belfast struck a mine back in 1939, exploded under the hull leaving a small hole, but did cause shock damage and warping of decks and structural members and the keel was bent upwards by three inches, ship was never in danger of sinking. So a near perfect example of a torpedo/mine exploding directly under hull and according to the theory the “bubble” should have broken the back of the Belfast..
Re the claim a 100kg CAMM would be generating the same sort of kinetic energy as a 6 inch shell, very much doubt it and would be interested in the maths to support the claim. The chemistry and physics of the explosive effect of the shell is the result of damage inflicted on the target via overpressure (instantaneous pulse of pressure far above normal atmospheric pressure), heat (the exothermic chemical reaction of the explosive), and physical damage by shell fragments, pressure is the main destructive mechanism in general for all explosive munitions (missiles due to light weight structures limited in the overpressure thay can create compared to shells, compensate by heavier explosive warheads). Why armour is so important in mitigating the damage from overpressure.


Hi Nick sorry but it’s not a myth that is how torpedoes work. They explode under the keel of the ship..that’s how they are set modern torpedoes do not physically hit the ship. The are so deadly because they use both the ships weight against itself as well as pressures from the detonation in water. Generally large ships are not self supporting along the length of the keel ( if you supported a ship by just its bow and stern it will suffer what is called sagging and the keel will end up failing ).

when a torpedo us triggered by recognition of the ships magnetic signature a a spherical gas bubble forms..from this you get a high pressure shock wave ( water is a better transmitter of pressure waves from explosions than air) this shock wave both applies a huge force on the hull crushing it and lifts the centre of the ship out of the water, the bow and stern are then unsupported ( this is call hogging..when a ship is suspended amidships it can break it). After 0.5 seconds the gas bubble collapses into itself this removes any support from the centre of the ship and causes sagging ( again this breaks the keel). At one second the pressure bubble then forms a high velocity water jet that moves through the shattered hull and keel causing even more damage.

as for the kinetic energy from a CAMM vs a six inch AP shell, really sorry I actually miss types it’s actually a CAMM having the same kinetic energy as an 8 inch shell….

As for the maths… to work out that it’s K.E = 1/2m v2. ( KE is kinetic energy ( in joules) m is mass ( in Kgs) and v2 is velocity ( in meters per second) squared ) )

100kg CAMM at Mach three ( 1029 meters per second) so

m= 100 and v = 1029

so that’s

0.5 x 100kg x( 1029 m/s )2

= 0.5×100 x 1058841 m2/s2 = 52942050 Jules

for a six inch shell ( MK16 6 inch shell):

Mass 59 kg and v 760ms

so that’s

= 0.5 x59kg x (720m/s)2

= 0.5 x 59 x 518400 m2/s2 = 15292800 Jules

For an 8 inch shell your looking at an AP weighing in at 129 Kgs and a muzzle velocity of 855 Meters per second…

after all the calculations that a K.E of 47151112.5 jules..

So for the Kinetic energy you have:

Camm 100kg mass and velocity of 1029ms = 52 million Jules
6 inch shell mass of 59kg and velocity of 720ms = 15 million Jules
8inch shell mass of 129kgs and velocity of 855ms = 47 million jules

When on you get into heavy weight anti ship missiles it gets pure bonkers…

take a BrahMos that’s a 3000kg missile that does 1029ms that’s equates to 1588261500 Jules that’s 1588 million Jules of kinetic energy ….it does not need to explode that’s the same kinetic energy as 1000 6 inch armour piercing shells as they come out of the barrel.

Now let’s check out that Inter-City 125 ( that’s 2 power trains and 7-8 carriages so around 200 tonnes or 200,000 Kgs ) and 125 miles per hour or 55ms.

that gives you 302500000 Jules or 300million jules

actually a BahMos ASM generates the same kinetic energy as around five Inter-City 125s ( 10 carriages long) all hitting the side of the ship….before its warhead goes off….


Nick everything I have said is correct the only mistake was I was meant to say CAMM has the same Kinetic energy as a 8inch shell..the CAMM is 100kgs has a velocity of 1029ms that gives is a KE of 52million Joules a 6inch shell is 59kgs has a muzzle velocity of 720ms and a KE of 15million Joules 8 inch shell 129kgs and a velocity of 855ms for 47million Jules… a Brahmos at 3000kgs and a velocity of 1029ms has KE of 1588million joules..which is around the same as 5 full Inter-City 125 trains ( two engines and 7-8 carriages so around 200tonnes) travelling at 125 miles an hour ( 55ms velocity).

As for torpedoes they explode under the ship amid ships creating a massive pocket of gas and a pressure wave..this slams into the bottom of the vessel amid ships lifting it and causing hogging forces as well as collapsing hull plates, the gas pocket shrinks then removing any support of the hull amid ships ( that all happens in .5 seconds) this is sagging then. Final pressure wave again smashes into the hull causing more hogging, this snaps inevitably shatters the keel of the ship breaking its keel/back. This is how modern torpedoes work its not a video of a sink ex you will see the middle of the ship raise up as the bow and stern sag..then middle of the ship sinks, then a massive column of water lifts the amid ships up again as it rips through hull and deck. Hog sag hog…this kills the ship.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Dave G

The maths is easy… the question is how much fuel has the missile burnt off by the time it reaches the target….

KE= 0.5 x mass x V^2

a quick google suggests british BL mk XXIII 6’ shot a 50.8kg shell with a muzzle velocity of 841m/s. This gives 17965kJ

Mach 3 at sea level is about 1000m/s. A 100kg missile having burnt 64kg of fuel (total remaining mass ~36kg) will have the same kinetic energy. Obviously the shell will slow down from muzzle velocity by the time of impact.


What could counter a 6 in shell as last fired by HMS belfast ?

Nowadys any cruise missile sub sonic or supersonic can be targetted and hit by an ESSM- Sparrow or Ceptor. Complemented by CIWS
Case close for large scale outer protection armour with a No.


Jonathan disagree as the myth of torpedo kills a ship by breaking its back due to suspending the ship over a giant bubble of air is not realistic, have seen a torpedo creates a maximum bubble size in the order of approx. only 15 m, so see no way would that break up a ship with a standard LWL of say 130 m. The well respected US naval historian Robert Lundgren made the comment.
“A ship with a fully developed side protective system is not subject to the type of break-up a lesser vessel is due to under-keel explosions. No capital ship ever in history ever broke in half due to an under-keel explosion even when it was a nuclear explosion.” (US Navy carried out extreme tests with nuclear charges and though ship sank by capsizing and when surveying ship on the bottom they found the hull was not broken).
Thank you for your calculations, must apologise as my query didn’t make clear that for the 6″ shell needed to include the explosive effect of the shell. A 6″ 47 kg shell only contains approx 11kg explosives the 36 kg balance is the steel body, why shells so powerful is that its thick shell is designed to contain the expanding gas from exploding shell body as long as possible until the massive power/pressure built up which finally makes it explode, the longer the shell body can contain the pressure of the gas build up the greater the magnitude of the overpressure wave released and when the shell finally bursts and releases the overpressure, heat and shrapnel which causes objects to be smashed. Reminds me of the Barnes Wallis Tallboy bombs which designed not to hit the target but nearby and relied on the earthquake effect to destroy the target.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Being pedantic, but I think it was a Tiger class cruiser in 1979.


Yes. Thats right . HMS Blake was the last cruiser
In December 1979, a few days before she was decommissioned, she enjoyed the distinction of firing the Royal Navy’s last 6″ (15.2 cm) gun salvo in the English Channel. You can enjoy more than 300 photos of HMS Blake here.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

What could counter a 6 in shell as last fired by HMS belfast ?

1) In terms of weight of fire nothing.

2) But in technological terms Sea Wolf Mod 0 was capable of hitting a 4.5in shell.


Check out just how many Argentine bombs hit our ships and luckily failed to go off or passed right on through.


Actually, it wasn’t. We lost more ships to conventional dumb bombs than we did to Exocet. Sheffield was the only warship lost to Exocet, Atlantic Conveyor was the second. Coventry, Ardent and Antelope were lost to conventional bombs and multiple others were heavily damaged by them.

HMS Glamorgan was hit by an Exocet in her hanger but the ship was not lost. That may have been due to her construction as she was an Old School steel superstructure ship where the Type-42’s had a much higher proportion of Aluminum in it’s construction.


My guess is they hope that the ship radar is nearly a secondary system, as the ship would be networked with other ships and, more importantly, air based radar.

A Robinson

The rotating Sampson radar is positioned as high as possible for very compelling reasons that were very well researched and defined during the design process. I am at a loss to understand why there might be a desire to revert to a radar system almost certainly situated at a lower level and thereby less effective. Sampson has repeatedly proved itself superior to fixed array systems – why throw that away?
Moreover, the advent of hypersonic missiles and the like mean that it is the missile capability that is critical. Probability of kill means that missiles such as Sea Ceptor are realistically just self defence systems when considered against these targets. It is absolutely essential that long range and highly agile missiles be developed and installed in distributed silo magazines that enlarge the area within which reasonable kill probability can be provided (curently very small!). Sea Viper is an advanced missile that should be developed and built on.

Supportive Bloke

Indeed – some of this makes zero sense to me.

It is a rerun of T23 ASW only -> a rounded frigate

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It is a rerun of T23 ASW only -> a rounded frigate

1) T23 is a general purpose ship. To quote Wikipedia on RN frigate development from Leander on:

The policy adopted by the Royal Navy during the 1950s of acquiring separate types of frigates designed for specialised roles (i.e. anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and aircraft direction) had proved unsatisfactory. Although the designs themselves had proved successful, the lack of standardisation between the different classes led to increased costs during construction and also in maintenance once the ships became operational. Furthermore, it was not always possible to have the ships with the required capabilities available for a specific task. The first move towards creating a truly general-purpose frigate came with the Type 81 Tribal class which was initially ordered in 1956. The 24-knot speed of the Tribals was considered the maximum possible for tracking submarines with the new medium-range sonars, entering service. The type 81 gas turbine saw the frigates underway quickly, without taking hours flashing up steam turbines, and the provision of a helicopter for long-range attack were considered essential in the nuclear age. These ships were mainly intended to operate in the tropics but lacked the speed and armament required for the priority fleet carrier escort role East of Suez, where fast radar picket capability was important, as much as anti-submarine capability. So the new frigates would combine the roles of the T12 and T61. The fully air-conditioned Royal New Zealand Navy Rothesay class variant, HMNZS Otago, which gave all the crew a bunk and cafeteria messing and a RNZN commissioned design study for a more fully capable Type 12 frigate, which also assessed whether the Type 12 could carry 2 of the larger Wessex AS helicopters, was used as the basis of the RN Leander Improved Type 12 design.

1a) T61 and T41 had sonar and ASW weapons. T12 had Mk6 mount and appropriate fire control radar. So though specialist still had an all round capability. Unlike T45 which has negligible if any ASW capability T23 can perform AAW. Sea Wolf was a superb system, and Sea Ceptor even better. Given the requirements and the technology of the day it would have been difficult to give SeaWolf range or the ability to attack crossing targets.
1b) It should be remember that this was at the end of the era where frigates and sloops were ships for the protection of merchant vessels and destroyers and cruisers protected carriers and other HVUs. And also before destroyers were given Type numbers.

2) FREMM can carry Aster 30. The RCN and RAN versions of T26 will have SM2. And the Constellation FREMM variant for the USN will carry SM2. All these missiles have better range than SeaCeptor.


SeaCeptor’s equivalent missile is the ESSM, whilst SM2’s equivalent is Aster 30. The CAMM-ER blurs the lines a bit, as it has the range of the early block SM2s. Whilst SM2-ER has about the same range and height performance as Aster 30. SeaCeptor/CAMM-ER has the advantage over ESSM and SM2, being both cold launched and have tail mounted reaction jets, to point the missile towards the target. So both have a point defence capability. Whereas ESSM and SM2 are hot launched and follow a ballistic path towards the target, so they have a long minimum range engagement.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Thank you. I am not sure why that needed explaining. But it will be helpful for those who don’t know.

2) My point was the ability to carry area air missiles not the various technologies used in those missiles.
2a) That is why ships carry missiles of different types for different roles.

3) Why would 21st ships carry earlier marks of SM-2?
3a) SM-2 has a minimum range of 40 nautical miles or 74km. All I know of SeaCeptor-ER it has a range of greater than 45km. If it were as great as SM-2 or Aster 30 I am sure the makers would have published the figures.
3b) SeaCeptor is a fantastic missile. Is it enough for today?


CAMM: 25 km (16 mi)
CAMM-MR: 45 km (28 mi)
CAMM-ER: 100 km (62 mi)

Aster 15: 30 km
Aster 30: 120 km
Aster 30 Block 1 NT:150 km

Official published range
27 nmi  (50 km)
Observed Range
45 nmi (83 km)
SM-2 Medium Range Block IIIC Active
40 to 92 nmi (74 to 170 km)

RIM-156 SM-2 Extended Range
SM-2ER Block IV: 100–200 nmi (190–370 km)

RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3)
official published range
Block IA/B: 900 – 1200 km (560 miles)
Block IIA: 1,200 km range and flight ceiling 900 – 1,050 km

Standard Missile 6 (SM-6)
range .
official published range.
Block lA 130 nmi (150 mi; 240 km)
200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km)

official published range
Block IB 250 nmi (290 mi; 460 km) 


Not all FREMM carry Aster 30, a lot only have 16 aster15s, which is not better that 32 CAMM. The French second rank frigates carry a handful of Misteral 3s which are essentially MAPADs.

As for the RN general purpose frigates..essentially all RN post war frigate builds were heading to become general purpose…but they each has a specific role….Air defence frigates all had ASW capabilities and ASW frigates all had air defence capabilities…the main reason they had separate roles was that a full air defence radar fit of the time took up a huge amount of space…so although they tended to have almost identical weapons fits…the radars were very different…as we get to the 70s the air defence element of the frigates becomes less important as AAW weapon systems become more specialised ( guns and short range missiles no longer added much to fleet defence and became more self defence weapons) ASW become more specialised as well so although a batch 3 type 22 was a superb GP warship it’s function was ASW and the RN keep separate functions, but for cost reasons started not included secondary no ASW on the type 45…

infact the only post war built RN frigate to not be a general purpose frigate ( in that it had both air defence and ASW weapons is the Type 31 which is bizarrely named a general purpose frigate….As for the type 61 is was not going to be a frigate at all but was reclassed as a second class frigate due to low frigate numbers…it was really a long range patrol frigate.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Thank you. I have only been looking at the end of the thread so did not see you reply.
1a) Yes terms and classifications have changed.

2) General purpose in a sense that could all engage in every sphere of combat.

3) Type 61 role was fighter direction hull. It was supposed to be paired with T41.
3a) There are a few example where designated design given a specific Type numbers were changed. For example T42 back in the dim past was something entirely different to what came to be built.

4) The RN’s trouble is the use of the term ‘general purpose’. It would have been more appropriate to talk about escorts having rated capabilities. So T42 would be a first rate AAW asset, but second rate ASW for example.
4a) The RN can’t keep to their own system with Type numbers. It is logical for a Type 81 frigate to be classed as ‘general purpsoe’, more accurately called a sloop at first. But T82 Bristol should have just been given a class name. And why T83 I do not know especially as it seems more than likely that it will be just like T45 a barge with a missile system and no ASW fit out.


All Italian FREMM can carry Aster 30.


hi Alex yep as well as some of the French ones, but not all as some have A43 silos ( four of the French FREMM ) and can only take Aster 15, it was correcting a point of order, as not all FREMM can carry Aster 30 ( the statement FREMM can carry Aster 30, was not factually correct and should have been some FREMM can carry Aster 30).


Ok, understood.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

it was correcting a point of order

1) Good! 🙂 I tend to think about Italian ships not the French ones.

2) It still leaves T26 unable to carry a true area AAW missile. Even though SeaCeptor is exceptional.


To be honest I think the CAMM is probably about right paired with the sensor set the type 26 has. Clearly the RN see the CAMM as a good match against the Aster 15 and to really use a missile like the Aster 30 to its potential you need an exquisite sensor set up like the T45 or at least the Horizon.

I would hope that the RN go for some form of extended range CAMM, although remember Jane’s did report that on trials just a basic CAMM could engage at up to 60Km ( the claimed 25km + seems to be a vast understatement ).So it works for local area defence.. But fitting the Type 26 with CAMM ER would see them fine I think.

One thing the RN ASW escorts will have over the FREMM is numbers, remember that all the FREMM apart from 2 have only 16 silos…you mix in aster 15 and 30…that’s not a lot of shots… 32 CAMM as well as the 16 MK41 silos gives a lot of missiles…also you have to wonder what the possibility of a T26 carrying Aster 30 is…they would fit in the mark 41 silo and could be pair with the T45s sensors.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) The need is to push the engagement envelope further out. Shoot the archer not the arrow.
1a) The RN’s preferred method of dealing with missiles is EW.

2) SeaCeptor is better than Aster 15. But don’t forget what drove the development of the system as well was the Army’s need for a Rapier replacement. So how much better is something the public will not know.


Hi that’s true, but in reality a ship on its own is not really pushing out the engagement envelope, the enemy aircraft is not going to be popping above the radar horizon until it’s ready to attack. Also a ship at war is probably not going to be radiating and will be trying to hide, so generally you’re not going to get shot at the aircraft until it pops up to attack and legs it while the ship is dealing with the missile attack. A ship is only engaging aircraft at longer range if it’s part of an integrated air defence system for a carrier group that includes airborne AEW or if a high flying aircraft happens to stumble into range while it’s radiating. So you need a long range missile for your AAW assets as part of a carrier group.


What about the update rate? No matter how good SAMPSON is, rotating array does not have the instanteneous update rate of a fixed array.

Things like HGV/HCM aren’t exactly sea-skimming either.

Legacy air threat is one thing, but with its speed, would the difference in things like envelope from the height outweight the need to track the target as continuous as possible?

A Robinson

Sampson is an active phased array radar with full electronic scanning (exaactly the same principles as fixed arrays). The update rate is as fast if not faster than fixed arrays. Height provides better detection of low threats and also long range threats, due to the curvature of the earth. Vertical coverage is entirley dependent on the angle of the scanning face in the vertical plane and all phased arrays are mounted at very similar angles of elevation.


Judging by BAe’s rendition above, they have also mounted what looks like an AESA panel in front of the aft funnel to look directly up. This closes the dead zone cone directly above the ship. Thereby mitigating the advantage that high angled diving missiles use.


Yes Samson has the same radar array, but it spins which leaves any part of the sky with zero radar for about half a second. Fixed array designs solve this problem as well as introducing many other benefits along the way. With the proliferation of hypersonic weapons rotating arrays are increasingly becoming obsolete. Half a second equals approximately 1 kilometre distance travelled by a weapon travelling at Mach 6. There is good reason why the rest of the world is moving on from rotating arrays and the UK should follow suit.

A Robinson

Sampson achieves full coverage by electronically sweeping its search beams in bearing and height using adaptive digital beam forming techniques. There is no part of the sky with ‘zero radar’ for half a second! What the rotating array achieves is the same coverage but using fewer numbers of array elements. This means the radar is much lighter and can be mounted higher which is tactically highly desirable both for very low close range threats and increased detection range on the radar horizon.


“Sampson achieves full coverage by electronically sweeping its search beams in bearing and height using adaptive digital beam forming techniques.”

A SPY AESA radar is bigger and have much more elements. There is really no comparison unless you make invalid law of physics.

The only advantage SAMPSON have is height.


I agree with you. Ideally T83 should be fitted with a rotating Sampson v2 and AN/SPY-7 panels.
The RN should take the safe option and build on the T26 by using the Mission Bay to house additional VLS, and incorporating a second MT30 GT.
It should also be fitted with both Sylver and Mk41. Sylver is the superior VLS when it comes to AAW:
-Sylver uses large springs which open the door very, very quickly. This is important if your role is AAW, as you don’t want to waste even fractions of a second in readying your missile for launch. The down side is that the springs have to be recharged between door openings. Mk41 on the otherhand uses an electric motor, which is considerably slower. The upside is of course that the door can be opened and closed as required.
-Mk41 modules are around 50% heavier.


S-band SAMPSON v2 and S-band AN/SPY-7 are not a good combination. A better option would be the current S+L-band setup or an S+X-band combination for better target discrimination. Despite Sylver being a factually superior system to Mk.41, it would be a mistake to once again mix different VLS types. The RN has chosen Mk.41 for T26 and T31 and should stick to it for T83.

AFAIK the T26 can’t just incorporate a second MT30 due to the gearbox design and if ur going to redesign that, you might as well design a new ship.


The trade off in not having a hangar, even a modest 1 for large drones, seems risky to me in this concept. Hangars do take a large amount of space, granted.
I wonder what the cost benefits would be in having this concept merged with the T26 Hull, complete with its sound-proofed characteristics? No ASW role, but the benefits of commonality could prove to be cost-effective?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The trade off in not having a hangar, even a modest 1 for large drones, seems risky to me in this concept. Hangars do take a large amount of space, granted.

1) If the ship is going to spend its life next to QE or large RFAs I would say it doesn’t need its own helicopter. A flight deck yes, but helicopter no. It would need a sonar. And perhaps an anti-submarine missile and STWS would be a help.

2) I think the next ship needs to be built in two variants. One without a hangar for escorting HVU’s with an extra VLS back aft. And one with a hangar for detached duties.

3) Hangars don’t necessarily need to be part of the main superstructure. For example the Virginia class of CGN had there hangars at the 2/3 deck level; the flight deck was an elevator.
comment image


They had but i think that flight deck hangar had severe issues with water going inside.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

They had but i think that flight deck hangar had severe issues with water going inside.

1) It was an option I chose at random. Though it did allow me to post a picture of a Virginia class. Nowhere did I say it was perfect. As I said if T83 is too sit next to carriers and other HVU’s all its service life I don’t think it needs a hangar.
1a) Reverse of the situation the USN found itself in with the Flight I AB’s.

Last edited 8 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Virginia ?
“In 1984, she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her single major overhaul and was converted to the Navy’s first strike cruiser with the addition of the Phalanx CIWS, Tomahawk missile and the SM-2 extension of her surface to air capability. During this overhaul, the aft helicopter hangar and elevator were removed and the space refitted with two Armoured Box Tomahawk cruise missile launchers (4 missiles each) on deck and an Engineering Department training space below” Wikipedia
A short life . Commisoned 1976 , retired 1994, but likely Cold War ending helped

Last edited 8 months ago by Duker

The ships may have a main role but do need to take care of themselves as they will often be on their own as the numbers will never be there again to allow such a vessel. Steel is cheap after all so larger vessels do not cost more for their size its what you put in them that costs and with large weapon loads they will not be so cheap as envisaged I fear. Smaller guns one would agree with with a 57mm up front that can take out swarm attacks with a couple of 40mm’s acting as CIWS with smart rounds. As for damage control the commercial way will never work in a conflict when you can’t get there to sort it out. those remote systems may and will often be cut so services needing to be brought through to the damaged area. It’s something the RN is a leader at as we learned those lessons well in the Falklands. I think we will get at 6 and of course using the T26 hull (slightly lengthened perhaps) will more than do the job and save a lot on development costs.


“of course using the T26 hull (slightly lengthened perhaps) will more than do the job and save a lot on development costs.”

No. Really, it won’t. People have this ludicrous idea that “the hull” costs a fortune in development costs. It doesn’t (standfast something really out there like a Trimaran or a tumblehome). What costs is the development of the design and production information, calcs, drawings, certification etc for both the structure and also the internal systems.

These are incurred whenever you change the internal arrangement, weight distribution, stability and indeed the internal systems. So – for example – you won’t be using the comedy propulsion arrangement of T26, because you’re going to need a lot more electrical power.Just doing that will fundamentally change the internals of the hull design and all the knock-on effects.

To paraphrase an irishman – if I was going to there, I wouldn’t be starting here.


Out of interest what is the comedy element in the T26’s propulsion arrangements?

Supportive Bloke

Why it isn’t full IEP.

It is quite nutty having a submarine derived gearbox. Which has added to costs and times for no clear reason I can see: all….because…

IEP fell out of favour due to T45, that had little to do with the IEP, but has been good in QEC.


Would you like to explain, with some evidence, why a submarine derived gearbox wouldn’t be orders of magnitude better than the T45/T23 gearbox? As logically, submarines being the quietest beast in the ocean, one would assume that the gearbox would be the quietest technology currently available. Or is this just another throwaway I know better than the experienced and qualified designers remark.

Supportive Bloke

Uh, no.

Astute was designed with a very special low noise gearbox. It is part of the secret sauce.

So recycling the secret sauce looked good. Except……it took an awful lot to make it work to spec…..BAE said themselves publicly that it was harder than they had thought. So not me making a throw away comment – that is BAE’s comment.


Why complicate the design with a *novel* gearbox and clutches?

The rotational speeds are totally different so the gearbox is a new design for two screws. Adds risk to the project.

The simplest design is an electric motor on the end of the shaft with no gear box at all.

as NAB says elsewhere in the thread, post T45 there was an IEP allergy that had zero basis in fact or engineering.


A propulsion arrangement that requires three gearboxes because people were afeared of the T45 issues (without actually understanding them) and because they wanted to use the only available RR turbine is best described as questionable.




There was this
“The MT30 GT developed from the Trent aero-engine, has such power density that a single unit can propel the 6,900-tonne warship up to at least 28 knots on its own. (The CODELAG Type 23 requires two Spey GTs in combination with its motors to reach maximum speed)”

A splitter gearbox seems essential if theres one GT and 2 shafts each with its own reduction gearbox
The MT30 is the worlds most powerful marine GT.

Last edited 8 months ago by Duker

A splitter box is obviously essential – if you’re going to use a single GT.

Whether using a single GT – particularly a direct drive one – is a sensible option is another question. Yes – it’s one unit vice two (and note that RR now has no GT in the old Spey/LM2500 power range) which can save cost and space. The flip side of that is that using the turbine for anything other than max speed boost gives you a horrific specific fuel consumption. Which means you’re carrying a turbine and a splitter box just to do max chat and there is no way to harvest that “spare” power because people (the RN) were afraid of electrickery after the issue with T45.

Arguably, you’re also slightly more vulnerable in that there isn’t full redundancy on one shaft, although there is the ability to reasonable speeds on electric motors only if the GB and/or GT are t1ts up.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) It is a mess. And it will come back to haunt us. Hopefully mid-ocean in peace time. I have no faith in it. I note the JMSDF Maya class even have GT gen sets to supplement the donks to guarantee supply in an emergency.

comment image


FREMM also have 1 gas turbine only, in what way is different?


Last edited 8 months ago by AlexS
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

you won’t be using the comedy propulsion arrangement of T26

1) Yes. Odd choices again.


That was the method for the T45 and T26 designs. Its unsustainable both in ‘time to get where you want to go’ and cost hence the change of builder and design approach for the T23, an updated older design.

Last edited 8 months ago by Duker

I’m afraid your logic is impenetrable. Neither T45, nor T26 nor even T23 were based on an older design.

T45 actually went from clean sheet of paper in 99 to cut steel in 2005 or 2006. So pretty fast.

T26 design time was of a similar order, only with a more extensive set of baseline concepts. It took so long because there was a significant safety issue with the design to resolve, which with build price led to the stand off.

T23 was a different design construct, not an older design.


My error with a typo , it was of course in the context T31 – based on the Danish design


Paradoxically going for a larger number of specialist ‘arsenal’ ships at a lower cost per unit wouldn’t help the Royal Navy. As the article notes engagement with other navies, HADR and constabulary operations are it’s bread and butter.

General purpose is the key and I always thought a single larger ‘combat ship’, essentially a slightly bigger T26 with a better radar and space for more VLS would have been better. An expensive vessel but with 16-18 built to drive costs down and maximise efficiency’s in the built process.

Perhaps that ship has sailed (no pun intended!) but could the fundamental design for the T26 be used as a basis for the T83? Maybe keeping the ASW quietened machinery and hull would be useful/simpler but could the top weight be increased with a bigger/higher rader? Is there any space for additional VLS instead of the current mix with Sea Ceptor?

I get that there may come a point where it’s too complicated and costly to alter the T26 but on the flip side an even larger and bespoke cruiser style platform seems ruinously expensive!


It would be a bad idea. The Aussie variant has massive issues because of the weight. It also has less VLS than T45.
Fewer more expensive ships are always better.
Cutting from 6 to 4 would be a very unpopular decision. Cutting from 18 to 12 wouldn’t as they can still say hill numbers are increasing.


I confess i don’t understand why T26 weights so much.
It has a minimal radar, weapons systems are not that heavy. Only 1 helicopter. So where the weight come from?


In the old days of standard displacement it was defined as with ammunition but not fuel. Thus the loaded displacement with fuel could see how much it does weigh.
While modern ships are more fuel efficient than the old bunker fuelled steam boilers, the sensors have got a lot heavier


But compare with a Constellation. It offers way more.

Bloke down the pub

If future naval AEW is going to be mounted on ruas, then I’d have thought that an hangar capable of housing sufficient units to perform that task would be essential.

Captain Li Kwok-po

How many of these T83 ships could the RN afford? Three down from the six of T45?

Last edited 8 months ago by Captain Li Kwok-po

That depends massively on what the T83 ends up as. A 4,000t pure AAW ship will cost a lot less than an 8,000t cruiser sized multi roll ship which includes very high end AAW capabilities. The RN is still at the stage of looking at all the options. It’s unlikely firm decision will be made for ~ 5 years.


what is a pure AAW ship vs a very high end AAW ship?


In this case the 4,000t ship only does AAW but does it to a very high level. The 8,000t ship does AAW to an equally high level but also does other rolls to a high level. That’ll make the 8,000t ship extremely expensive.


With a cheap AAW ship who will do the other tasks? Build more ships? Are three ships doing different tasks cheaper? Where do you get the manpower?

Last edited 8 months ago by Boris

The people come from the extremely small crew of the proposed 4,000t ship.
I’m not saying the small (or the very large) ship will be what’s actually built. At this stage they are just some of the possible options. The RN appears to sensibly be looking as widely as possible before it starts making choices.


What is an “extremely small crew”?
How would this “extremely small crew” cope with battle damage repair, fire fighting, flooding, etc?

And what about logistics, fuel, and maintenance for more ships?

Why cannot an “8,000t ship does AAW and other roles” also has an “extremely small crew”?

The policy adopted by the Royal Navy during the 1950s of acquiring separate types of frigates designed for specialised roles (i.e. anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and aircraft direction) had proved unsatisfactory ???

Last edited 8 months ago by Boris

Did you read the article above? It covers the crew size and the potential issues.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) A version with a hangar and a version without for carrier escort.

2) I can’t see a design under 10k tonnes is possible.

David Steeper

Agree with the consensus that single role is not the way to go. It would need an increase in hulls to work and that will present an irresistible target for the treasury over a likely 20 or so year procurement cycle. Personally I would not go for a modified Type 26 hull. The cost of designing a new hull is infinitesimal compared to the cost of sensors, weapon systems. A purpose built hull will maximise the effectiveness of both and can be designed with future upgrades in mind.


The ship which switches on its radar can be seen by a ship not switching on its radar. AAW vessels need to operate radar but need to be well away from the protected asset when they do. They also need to be at different relative places as well so as to keep the location of the protected asset secret. This means going fast to get into a new position. The best way to do this is with a large hull optimized for speed.

For this reason I think the type 82 will be large. You can still have a hanger even if you don’t spend money on a helicopter and still get a large number of type 41 missile cells spread out across a large hull so that the capability to strike back is still there if one set is hit.

Have the same gun set up as the type 31. Common ammunition, common training. I think 127mm gun would rarely be used and agile missiles could be just as effective if a target is out of range of the 40-57mm gun.

A large hull also gives more compartmentalisation options both in terms of flooding for underwater damage and for fire fighting for above water damage.

Distributed generation across these compartments as part of an IED system would also allow the vessel to keep moving.


Has everyone just disappeared into dreamland? Our Type 23’s are rusting away, and our Type 45’s will be antiques in ten years time. Build a proper frigate complex somewhere, order 30 Type 26s, some for export, some to be built on the Clyde as the current requirement is met, and with the design being altered as the years pass. Lets get some continuity into our frigate replacing programme and as a bonus surely this will be a cheaper option than the piecemeal system that operates at the moment!

Blue Box

Your box is gone!


T26 can’t provide area air defence and BMD.


One sees that the price of T26 has dropped dramatically. Seems if you use as many T26 bits as possible and you come up with a larger hull more power yet retain the ASW silencing. I think its entirely possible to cut out the 5″ and save money there and the towed array and you may get the Australians to join in when their 3 Hobarts are due for replacement. That is the way to go I am sure. 9500 ton cruisers 6 of them. Maybe others will join to reduce the price further. HMS Candu when the Canadians build 3 more.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

cut out the 5″ and save money there and the towed array

1) Deleting either or both will save very little from the overall cost, but reduce the ship’s utility by a factor.

2) I would perhaps replace the gun with 76mm or 56mm system.

3) T26 is no replacement for the Hobart.


“order 30 Type 26s, some for export”

So subsidise other nations navies? Because that’s what will happen if we build some T26s for export and then try and sell them like cars or washing machines. It would be a buyer’s market, with the danger we’d be left with unsold T26s rustle at the quayside.

I assume you’ll be sending a cheque to the Treasury to help finance these 30 T26s?


Wot, no lasers????

Big assumption that missiles will be anti-air weapon of choice 20 years from now.


People have problems thinking out of the box.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Big assumption that missiles will be anti-air weapon of choice 20 years from now.

1) The RN’s preferred weapon is EW.


Lasers will never match the range of missiles as the laser direct line of sight while a missile can hit a target over the horizon.


Why would you need over the horizon when a laser is at the speed of light?
Still thinking in terms of missile technology.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Why would you need over the horizon when a laser is at the speed of light?

1) Which horizon? If the emitter were just below Samspon it would be well over the visual horizon at sea level.


I rephrase – Why would you need beyond the horizon AA missiles when a laser is at the speed of light?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Why would you need beyond the horizon AA missiles when a laser is at the speed of light?

1) Exactly. You are talking about the range of the laser. Not the distance to an horizon which changes with height.
comment image?width=425&enlarge=0&format=jpeg


You seem to have the assumption that the laser has so much power that destroys the target instantly and then can change to another target. I don’t put such confidence in the system even less in maritime foggy conditions.
Missiles still will be the dominant AA.


If serious is there an alternative to buying American kit as the Japanese are doing with their two new 20,000 ton destroyers with 128 VLS cells for SM-3 Block IIA exo-atmospheric ABMs and SM-6 missiles, plus its Aegis CMS and SPY-6 or SPY-7 radars, presume the size of the ships driven by the need to fit large enough radars to give the necessary discrimination to target the ABMs on the warheads and not the ballistic missile decoys.

Appears that the Germans for their new F127 air defence destroyer are thinking along the same lines in fitting American kit, though expect ships displacement will lower than the Japanese ships.

PS Japanese have just awarded contract to Mitsubishi for the first ship and planning to be commissioned in 2027, one year before the Type 26.


Japan has a particular requirement for sea based BMD for their homeland as they close by to Russia- North Korea- Japan


The problem with the concept of “lots of cheap 4,000 tonne specialist” AAW ships, is that the hull and machinery is not where the costs lay, it is the sensors, combat system and missiles. So if this ship is to have the AESA and 100-ish mk41 cells to fill, it won’t be that cheap anyway, even with no aviation and small crew?

Will there be enough cells on the T31 to add to the CEC based umbrella? Is part of improving AD a requirement for a batch 2 T31 (the already infamous T32 requirement) because now they have a mk41 they offer more utility? Can we get to a point of 8 X T26, 8 x T83 and 8 x T31/32 to hit the aspirational number of 24 “major” surface units?

How is that we consider the spread of sensors and effectors, via a CEC type system for air defence, but don’t consider the same as essential for ASW? Even without rafted machinery, a modern towed, variable depth active / passive sonar provides a level of capability that complements the super expensive T26/T2087 – so both the T31 and the T83 would ideally have some form of capability? Yes, I know ….. HMT, budgets……


Not HMT, but the policy of the current elected government of the U.K.


Policy of any elected government of the U.K


To replace T45, I would like T45-like vessel, but more focused on AAW, short, med, and long range.

1: Replace the main gun with 57mm 3P+ALaMo+MADFIRES (short-range AAW).
2: Use the “Mk41 FFBNW gym area” to add 16-cell more VLS, total 64 cells. (long-range AAW).
3: locate 24-cell CAMM in the “wall” of the VLS (med-range AAW).
4: May have NSM fitted.
5: A small, high-freq hull sonar for mine avoidance
6: Merlin capable hanger and flight deck.
7: 2nd 57mm 3P+ALaMo+MADFIRES on top of the hangar (short-range AAW).



You seam overly focused on weapons and make no mention of advanced sensors. You can’t shoot at what you don’t detect. Very common on the internet for people to play “weapon top trumps” whilst ignoring more important issues.


I would add IRST systems all over the ship as well providing overlapping fields of coverage. Assuming the ship will be stealthy follow the same idea the F-35 has as they have 6 IRST systems as well as they RADAR for all round situation awareness. I am curious as to why the RN doesn’t have any IR based missiles in the SAM role, VLS Mica can be easily added to the Sylver cells as it was designed for them. The only IR based weapon systems are the Block 1B Phalanx (Which is a secondary ability on that specific system) and Stinger in a MANPADS role. There are plenty of options from SADRAL, MICA etc


What does an IR missile get you? Unless they have a secondary guidance system they tend to be short range and have issues it very bad weather.
Sea Ceptor covers the short and medium range for the RN so I don’t see why they would take on an additional system.


The IR missiles would be more for Littoral Warfare/Stealth Missions/Bulk buy wartime use. My idea is to supplement existing systems rather than to replace. My concern is an over-reliance on RADAR guided weapons and not having alternatives available. This is why I suggest MICA as MBDA (who make the RNs missiles) makes them too


Given the costs to introduce and support a new missile type. Whatever money that was spent on MICA would buy more Sea Ceptors. Plus although MBDA make both. Missiles MICA is made primarily by the French part of the company Sea Ceptor by the British part.


Bolt on Box launcher Stingers is another option…cheaper for dealing with Pesky drones too…especially if the US resurrects Stinger RMP Block 2 (Cancelled in the noughties on cutbacks from Cold War spending but I bet they are regretting this now) with an imaging IR seeker (to my knowledge the Japanese Type 91 Kai Manpad has in the MANPAD range) The FIM-92K model was specifically designed to splat small drones with its proximity fuse warhead (J Infantry Model has this as well). There was also a Starstreak option as the Martlet Missiles use the same launchers.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

You seam overly focused on weapons and make no mention of advanced sensors.

1) He said he wanted a Type 45 ship. Type 45 is build around SAMPSON. Even the technology moved it would still sit on a tall mast just as now.

2) What T45 does lack is fire power in depth, so more VLS silos and more guns (such as 76mm mounts) would be welcome. For example the Italian Horizon variants.

3) Why he wants a helicopter but no ASW sonar I do not know.


But the senator choice is key. One is proposing new high end AAW ships with rotating radar. Is he proposing sticking with an upgraded Samson+S1850M or some new flat panel system. This choice is fundamental to the ships performance in AAW. It needs to be sorted out first, before even the hull / machinery is chosen.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

But the senator choice is key.

1) Without question yes. It would still have to be mounted high. It is what drives the size of T45’s hull after all.


Good point. I am focused on “how to build (more than) 6 AAW escorts”.

Large cruisers? We will see only 3 of them. “T45 equivalent” means “equivalent in cost per GDP”. As it is “per GDP”, I guess it can be slightly “larger (in cost)” than T45, but not so huge.

With this cost, based on T45,

can RN build the new AAW escort with big flat panel like A-Burk BIII?can it have 128 or more VLS cells?can it be multi-purpose?If RN stick to only one of these “aims”, may be possible. But, achieving ALL is simply impossible.

My original post is simply forgetting all of the three aims, and proposing an escort “slightly larger (in capability)” than T45.

Radar: SAMPSON-2 on high-top with SMART-L-2, or, flat-panel AESA in lower position, with ARTISAN-2 on high-top. Either will do. Just keep the hull size around 10,000-12,000 t FLD.VLS cells: go for 72-96 cell Mk.41 VLS (or alike). Not huge leap. (my original post is for 64-cell + 24-CAMM = 64 + 6-equivalent cells).No multi-purpose. Even less “GP”, in the level of current T31-level (including limited (or lack-of) ASW).Considering the new AAW-system upgrade, even with this modest set-up, “slightly larger (in cost) than T45 per GDP” will be not easy. History tells us that as the program proceeds, number of hulls decrease. T45 (12 to 8 to 6), T26 (16 to 13 to 8). Anyway, it never increase.

As such, I think the proposal must be based on “building 8 new AAW escorts”.

Of course, their cost must be properly estimated and their budget allocation must be clearly secured. Note that HMT gave T45 program more money (£6.6Bn) than originally planned (£6Bn). Reduction in number is NOT HMT’s fault. Its MOD’s fault.

Rationale for 8-hulls, not 6-hulls is clear. When 8 T45 was reduced to 6, it was based on the assumption that, better availability will provide “5 hull always ready” out of 6. (what a joke). The reality is less than 3 hulls.

To achieve a “minimun” requirement for “4-hulls ready”, RN need 8 hulls. “Lessons learned”.

Can this be powerful enough rationale? Not sure….

Just my thought.

Last edited 8 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

In my opinion, build more of the flexible T31s, possibly up to 12 of them.
Build the 8 Type 26s as planned, and introduce 4 new Flight II versions with the same hullform but with additional VLS instead of the 5″ gun. Add flat array radars if necessary, and make them your Air Defense ships.
If more capable hulls are needed, add some NSM and Mistral to the Batch II River OPVs.

Keep this simple!


This article needs a discussion the cost and space requirements for electricity generation to power the high-end radars and any energy weapons added. It is possible the less expensive, 4000 tonne vessel just won’t work with expensive, bulky power generation.


GT are all the generators you need. The USN uses specialised RR AG9160 Generators  for the job
4000kW, 450tonnes


If the AEW is doing the detecting then why not put the missiles on that? 🙂


Interesting discussion, but nobody seems to be addressing the logical solution which would be T83 as a mothership and each mothership, say 4 T83 of say 10/12k with 2 arsenal ships. You would therefore have 4 & 4 or 4 & 8, with 3 ships for each mission. This would mean in effect that the arsenal ships would have minimal radar and would be networked into the mothership and along with missiles would carry picket UAV/UUV and be lean manned.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

 seems to be addressing the logical solution

1) Crews make ships work. You need to have them distributed too just as other systems are best distributed. How does your logical model cope with losing the mothership?


As my field is risk management that’s easy. You have two major areas of threat and one minor. Your majors are airborne and subsurface and your minor is seaborne. Subsurface is not your concern as you have a submarine escort and at least an ASW specialist to deal with this. Remember subs and torpedo are relatively slow and ASW picket lines are relatively large.

So the mothership for appx 95% of its threat has only to deal with airborne threats. It has high gen2 radar networked with high persistent 24 hour drone cover and satellite interlinks. Drones provided by the arsenal ships. This would result in your T83, at a minimum giving existing levels of missile cover (T45 upgrade 72 missiles) and arsenal ships say 124 each. So we have fleet cover of 300 or so missiles (excluding drones & subs & F35 & helicopters). I’d say outside Marvel comics, that’s enough for any conceivable attack scenario.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Thank you. Interesting.

Commonwealth Loyalist

Interesting article and good to see the RN is looking ahead at all the options.

Re the comment in the article about concern regarding maintaining UK radar development capability, it’s encouraging to see this announcement today:


Going for cruiser like option will simply cause disaster to RN.

There will be only 4 hulls planned, and 3 hulls built. Design cost is huge, as much as 3 unit-cost equivalent, and therefore “a new large design with small number of hulls” will make the “cost per hull” inflating a lot.

Also, said T83 must keep the escort building industry busy for 12-15 years or so. If not, the industry will just simply disappear. This means UK is building 1 cruiser every 5 years? Another cost inflation.

No other choice.

Allocate a budget. Simply divide it by 10. And this will give you the unit cost (3 for detailed design, and “around 7” for actual hull). If economy goes well, we will see 8 hulls. If not we will see 6 hulls.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Going for cruiser like option will simply cause disaster to RN.

1) What will drive procurement will be the global political situation over the next few years. Too much is changing.

2) As destroyers are becoming so much larger what exactly is a cruiser now? I cannot see this ship being less than 10,000 tonnes.
2a) Even back in the 50’s some concepts were labelled destroyer / cruisers.

Last edited 8 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Thanks. As I stated, I’m pretty much concerned about money/budget. Not talking about the definition of Cruiser/Destroyer/Frigate.

Will UK’s defense budget be increase permanently? Not likely. We will se temporal rise, and temporal fall. But, overall 2% GDP shall be assumed.

If T83 program planned with 8 hulls cannot be earned with current budget level, the T83 design is over-spec. RN cannot build 6 hulls. Military is reality. Betting on optimistic “future big rise of defense budget” is irresponsible, I think.

I agree T45-equivalent (per GDP) T83 will be larger than 10,000t FLD. No problem.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) I think the RN will receive 6 of ‘them’. Whatever ‘them’ is. But I think it will be like T45 a missile system in a ship. It will have a hangar because the RN has nobody with the imagination to ask why it needs one.


“I think the RN will receive 6 of ‘them’. Whatever ‘them’ is.” I really doubt it.

If so, why not RN had 8 T45? The requirement was 8 (for 5 always ready), never 6.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The requirement was 8

1) The requirement was for 12 as a one for one replacement for T42. A hull can only be in one place however good its missile system.
1a) The requirement for T42 was originally 24 hulls that resembled the B3.
1b) Both orders were reduced for a variety of reasons. But really only to reduce cost.

2) 6 is the true minimum. In a war if a carrier is deployed it will need two for redundancy (Two on the one is none, two is one basis.) Hulls are best procured on a 3 for 1 basis. One deployed, one working up / returned, and one in refit.

Last edited 8 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Agree we need 6 minimum.

But, that does NOT gurantee 6 to be procured regardless of the cost.

If T83 be a big-and-costy cruiser, not surprised to see only 4 procured. HMG/HMT will ask RN.

“You have this money. If you really need 6 such T83, what are you going to cut in place?”.

They will not say “Oh you need more money to build 6? OK I’will give it to you”, because, to do that, they need to cut something else somewhere else. History tells so.

Being optimistic made a big big damage to RN in the past 3 decades. RN must always be realistic. If not, but disaster, capability gap, and cost overrun. This is all MOD/RN’s fault (being optimistic) not HMG/HMT’s.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

If T83 be a big-and-costy cruiser, not surprised to see only 4 procured. 

1) True. But the RN is structurally broken to the point where it can only operate as a reserve for the USN. It reality it doesn’t matter how many are built because to do anything major would require the direct support of the USN.
1a) It would probably be more cost effective to just build Constellation class.


When it came to the T45 build contract , 6 were signed for and 2 were options. The last of the original 6 cost £650 mill ( excl development costs)
The Cold war was over by the time contracts were signed so 12 was only late cold war planning. 14 T42 were built


I believe the time has come to restructure the fleet. Smaller numbers of primary full fat vessels and a high number smaller cheap lean manned/fully autonomous highly flexible hulls thus reducing man power requirements and allowing for more platforms. Our CSG or amphibious fleets shouldn’t need large numbers of fully manned gold plated ships surrounding them the way automation is heading and we need to plan for the future. I would base my fleet on 3 primary flexible hulls, say 2k, 4k and 8k tonnes.
2k – quietened fast fully modular Hull with the ability to made into multiple variants and high numbers – gun/missile boat, towed array tug with torpedo, mine hunting/laying, and manned patrol vessel with drone and small arms. All the non patrol variants would be largely controlled and missioned by a primary warship ie the carrier, or larger warship in a task group. They would form the protective outer picket and cheap more sacrificial workhorses. £80-100 million a pop would get us 30 for £3 billion.
4k – basically the t31 in scope and the workhorse of the fleet. Medium level radar some vls, medium callibre guns, but with a easonably quietened Hull and sonar. Mission bay for uuvs and small drones and a helicopter. Could work alone flying the flag, patrols, but also able to network with a number of say asw 2k tugs or support a carrier group or undertake coastal attack. £400 Mill each roughly and 10-12 in number.
8k – the gold plated platform coming in 2 types. A pure AAW version purely for working with the carrier group, high end radar and lots of vls. The other version would be a true multi role cruiser with all the bells and whistles and able to operate alone in dangerous enviroments and also able to lead and protect other task groups. Build 4-5 of each type.
Alongside these, we should look at a couple of bespoke ships – autonomous arsenal ship to operate with the carrier group, and a purpose built drone mothership, both 2 in number.
I would see a typical carrier strike group made of the carrier, 10-12 2k picket ships of varying types, 2x 8k AAW destroyers, 1x arsenal ship, 1x drone mothership (to help take the pressure of the carriers flight deck) and a submarine (or multiple smaller autonomous type once available).


As part of a much larger fleet, highly specialized arsenal ships might make sense, in both FAD and land attack roles. But with a likely maximum number of ships in the low twenties, it is vital for them to have multi role capabilities, even if for some roles, a particular design may be sub optimal. An air defence destroyer should have ASW capability, if only for its own protection. An ASW frigate needs air defence for the same reason.
Britain cannot afford to squander huge sums on radical designs like Zumwalt or LCS which are failures. To ensure numbers can be maintained, an evolved T 45, batch 2 would be a low risk option. If the price of that platform is too high, then a T31 derivative might be an option.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

comment image


For whatever reason the RN T45 choice was L and S-band radars, no X-band as recommended by the exhaustive ’90s NATO Anti-Air Warfare System,NAAWS, study for ship defence, X-band advantages include its high definition and subject to less clutter at sea level and if atmospheric conditions favourable will follow the earth’s curvature beyond the horizon whereas S-band, as Sampson, does the opposite, but the main advantage is the shorter higher definition waveband (X-band ~10GHz/ 3 cm, vs S-band at ~3GHz/ 10 cm) giving the ability to provide better angle tracking on small targets such as sea skimming anti-ship missiles to defend from the threat of Chinese/Russian doctrine of massed saturation attacks with anti-ship missiles and in detection the seconds count, the X-band MFR is the one that benefits the most from being mounted as high as possible.
Sampson now is an old generation radar with GaAs T/R modules, think all the modern naval radars world wide now use GaN T/R modules that can pump out five to six times more RF energy, would add a rotating radar disadvantage often sited is that compared to multi-flat panel arrays is when it is not looking at the target it is predicting where that target is going to be for the next rotation around and new gen missile threats are very high velocity and manoeuvering, with possibility that it may not be where you thought it was going to be and if it is not, you lost all the history, radar will see it again, but when picked up is as a brand new track and you are going to need to start the whole kill chain process again.
Noticeable that in the NATO Formidable Shield bi-annual exercises off Scotland and Norway as understand though French, Italian and US ships have shot down TBM target missiles a T45 has not, why if Sampson rated so highly, is it due to lack of CEC?
For the above reasons presume as said earlier why the Germans for their future F-127 air defence destroyer looking to buy American kit, modern radars eg SPY-6 or SPY-7 etc, the MoD requested US authorisation in March ’22 to purchase the SPY-7 for BMD, so expect similar thinking for the T83. Would note that the reason that will have to purchase foreign radars for the future T83 is that MoD has invested near zero in R&D in naval radars as compared to that for Typhon and Tempest.


Nick, not sure where this nonsense comes from, as you have provided no attributions. However, you may want to read the latest government radar contract notice;
The MoD and BAE Systems are jointly investing a further £50 million to develop the next generation of radar technology which the Royal Navy requires to tackle emerging threats, including ballistic missiles and drones. The MoD will contribute £37.5 million and BAE Systems will invest £12.5 million into research and development. This commitment is designed to ensure that British naval radar technology remains a global market leader.


That looks like small beer to me in relation to the $2.2 billion investment in R&D by US Navy for their new AESA S-band GaN SPY-6 VSR. Not saying BAE would need equivalent funding but don’t think £50 million in touching distance to build similar capability radar.

Commonwealth Loyalist

What about the $270m announced yesterday
Admittedly not for developing a brand new system but at least supporting the necessary workforce.


note the full wording includes …
will be upgraded and maintained under a £270 million deal.”


You seem to be confusing R&D with purchasing systems. You do realise the difference?


You have lost me totally with your comment, besides the $2.2 billion R&D in the SPY-6 the US Navy are also funding the procurent of 26 SPY-6(V)1 radars for Flight III Burkes to the tune of an additional $5.2 billion.

Only too pleased the MoD will be upgrading the RN radars, but my point is that for the £50 million upgrade budget you mentioned it looks very thin spread over Sampson, Artisan and Long Range Radars (S1850?) so wondering if that comes with very limited capabilities.


$2.2 bill in R&D ?

In October 2013, “Raytheon Company (RTN) [was] awarded an almost $386m cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase design, development, integration, test, and delivery of Air and Missile Defense S-band Radar (AMDR-S) and Radar Suite Controller (RSC).”
10 years back but it doesnt scale to $2.2 bill today. They are very expensive for each ship set of 3 or 4 production costs


The original development cost estimate 10/2013 was $2.269 billion in ’23 $, current figure is $2.181 billion, figures taken from the very latest June ’23 GAO Weapon Systems Assessment report – p.139 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) – SPY-6.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Perhaps the RN and HMG should bit the bullet and do as the RAN did back in 1960’s and just buy new destroyers ships from either Korea or Japan?
comment image

2) Or perhaps join the Italians in their venture?
comment image



The Whale Island Zoo Keeper


1) It does good to explore alternatives. T45 isn’t wholly British.


Yes, much is from abroad. So what are you saying?

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

 what are you saying?

1) That we join another program to expedite the process.


Just what I was thinking. Possibly for a lower spec AAW, go with the Dutch replacement programme — especially if the Germans bug out as seems possible. The Dutch are even looking around for other partners, and it might also replace the Iver Huitfeldts. The timing would suit Rosyth and a post T31 run on.

The De Zeven Provincien is a perfectly respectable ship design and the Dutch desire to automate the replacement within an inch of its life would suit both navies. BAES/Thales have cooperated on radar design in the past, so unlike the Hensoldt issue with Germany, the way ahead has been paved.

Provided we can stop the RN from gold plating it, maybe sticking a £500m cap (making it deliberately less capable than the Dutch version, but upgradable), we can do what we’ve done with the frigates and go two tier to boost hull numbers: with six T83s and five T4X.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

 De Zeven Provincien is a perfectly respectable ship design

1) They are essentially what the RN wanted to replace T42 in every way.
1a) The only minus is they are short legged.

2) T45 isn’t gold plated. Far from it. Compare it with the DZP and the Italian Horizons or the RAN Hobarts.

3) There are too many overlapping timelines because the need to replace T42 was en train before the decision to procure large carriers.
3a) If there had been a cogent plan (and proper budget in place) then we would have probably needed two classes of air defence ship. A large one that could easily keep station with carriers with a large number of VLS cells. And second smaller one to spread the capability with less cells (obs).
3b) I have come to the conclusion that T42 and T23 should have been replaced with one class of ship.

4) On a tangent if the RN wanted a ‘presence hull’ they could have done themselves little harm by going with the Dutch Holland class OPV. For the T31 budget they could have bought six with the fancy e-mast option.
4a) Still no ASW. But that appears to be my problem.
comment image

Last edited 8 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. So much to save in design costs and non hull design costs like sensors. Not much to save from hull build. Look at the high end, but some would say loss in design and high end tech loss value loss. So? We can get the design from South korea and Japan and sensors from those countries. The hull counts for little. We can save so much in the higher end!

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The RN needs ships. Unlike France, Italy, Sweden, or Norway we don’t build heavy missiles. We don’t build guns. We don’t build helicopters……

All we do is keep a few Scots in work. As for design we live in an age of CAD. Our designers can design all day long.


MBDA is a trinational business, so the sense you mean neither does France and Italy


So what are you saying?


By the way.

The 4000t AAW only option image looks like having the “unicorn mast”, as the same with that of Japanese FFM, Mogami-class?

comment image


Thats without fuel as 3900t ‘standard’ displ.
Its 5500t full loaded


Sorry, I was referring to the mast top part, not the hull.

The mast top of FFM (designated “NORA-50” system, marketed as “Unicorn” by MHI) is an integrated system of various sensors (ESM, ECM, optical camera, datalink) and TACAN. It is said to be already exported to India navy.

Last edited 8 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

The Japanese AAW option is bigger again than the FMF frigate version
‘This is the stretched variant of the FMF Frigate. With a displacement between 7,000 and 8,500 tons, this vessel can be considered as a Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG). It has a length of 145 to 160 meters, a breadth of 18 meters and a maximum speed of 30 knots.’ Naval News

Rob N

Good idea – good radar, lots of VLS and networked. It does not need a big gin but CIWS 40/56mm guns and DEWs.

It should have MK41 VLS with ASTER 30 variants. Sea Ceptor as short/medium air defence. T26 should be armed with at least 16 ASM leaving T83 to have the maxim number of SAMs.


T83 will be a very expensive design, especially when you only buy a limited number of hulls. And looking how the T45´s are used today, the Royal Navy really don´t need 6 expensive air defence destroyers. It would be better to use this moment to rebalance the fleet and get more frigates.

When the T45 are being replaced in the 2030ies it would be better to:

  • Get a 9th T26.
  • Get a 6th T31.
  • Only buy 4 air defence destroyers based on the T26 hull to save costs. This hull is large enough to mount larger radars and more VLS cells instead of the mission bay.
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

looking how the T45´s are used today, the Royal Navy really don´t need 6 expensive air defence destroyers

1) How do you arrive at 4?

2) How many task groups does the RN need to cover?

3) Who should pick up the slack?

4) Surface combat ships are best purchased on a 3 for 1 basis.


1) Basically two each for the carriers. Thats the most important high end mission that really needs an air defence destroyer.
2) Most task groups don´t need an air defence destroyers, the frigates can take care of themselves.
3) What slack are we talking about when there will be more frigates?
4) In general I agree with that but it´s not really happening very often…5 B2, 8 T26, 5 T31 etc.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Basically two each for the carriers. 

1) I would suggest that you would still need 3 destroyers to deploy 1. A carrier and an escort are not the same thing and may be deployed at different frequencies.

Most task groups don´t need an air defence destroyers

2) Something I have noted on this site during the time I have been reading the comments here is a belief that certain things aren’t needed if they are inconvenient for an argument. Just as you task groups don’t need air defence some here think Type 45 will never be sunk by a submarine.

What slack are we talking about

3) Groups of auxiliaries, amphibious groups, and merchant vessels all may need escorting in times of war or just prior.

Rob N

I think the article is rather pessimistic about the UK radar industry and sone of Sampson. In fact Sampson is in line for upgrades as part of SVE. Also the UK is building Radar 2 for the Typhoon. Both projects are funded. Not to mention a radar for Tempest. So I would not rule out Sampson 2 on T83. It is still a good idea to put a radar up high so it has better coverage then superstructure mounted plates.

Rob N

Just announced BAE has been given a maintenance/upgrade and development contract for Sampson and Type 997 & 1046. Sampson will be upgraded with ABM capabilities in mind. There is also money to developer new capabilities for future threats. This sounds like preparation for Type 83 and possible Sampson 2?


we are overthinking this and wasting valuable money in the process.

T26 is similar in size to T45 and already better armed. Lose the main part of the mission space and the ridiculous requirement for a chinook landing pad (we don’t have enough anyway) and you have the space for a massive VLS.

quad pack Seaceptor ER and perhaps spend money on a tethered radar or similar and accept that T83 really is an escort and will operate in carrier groups.

as height is critical in radar performance perhaps the carriers and LSGs should have the high end radar with T83 having CEC and Sampson 2 as backup.

ultimately, T26 (ASW) & 31 (GPF – Pods) will do all the heavily lift. T83 should either be an improved T26 with added AAD and in all cases be CSG / LSG tasking only.

we should leverage T26 as much as possible as the pricing is great VFM now and it can’t be a bad thing having a quiet hull as an escort.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

the ridiculous requirement for a chinook landing pad

1) There was never ever such a requirement. T45 are just very big. The flightdeck is big enough for Chinook. It became what once called in IT a feature. Castle class OPV is 75m, Type 45 is 152m. Ships are large. Even large helicopters are relatively small.
comment image

2) I would just delete the hangar. Flightdeck is in itself valuable for liaison, vertrep, and even refuelling helicopters from elsewhere.

3) I would suggest that perhaps what you are looking for is what the RAN and RCN are going to do with their T26 variants.


Possibly not for T45, but very definitely for T22/23(R), FSC, GCS and now T26. Courtesy of a paper written by DSF (which also included an eye-watering list of other gizzits).

If you’re going to get your flightdeck certified for ops by NATG/MAA, you won’t be doing what they did on the Castles. You do need to do the full up flightdeck design, complete with rotor clearances, air wake, downwash pressure calcs, airborne and landing scatter etc, etc.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

If you’re going to get your flightdeck certified for ops by NATG/MAA, you won’t be doing what they did on the Castles.

1) Obviously. You know full well it was an illustration. If Chinook can fit just about on to the flight deck of 1250 tonne ship 75m in length chances are it will fit on the flight deck of 7500-ish tonne hull 152m in length. TBH I just like the picture.

an eye-watering list of other gizzits)

2) There are reasons why the word gizzits is more often than not proceeded by the word tacky.
2a) Odd that is a requirement when you consider that no RAF CH47 has AAR kit.


I like the picture too. But I’d never use it as a design basis.

That DSF paper (from 1996 IIRC), including all it’s stylish and desirable mod-cons (if you prefer) was very much a part of the requirement for what became T26 from the late 90s until today – and directly influenced the flightdeck and payload bay design.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

True. It was an extraordinary circumstance. I am not advocating landing sideways. More showing if it weren’t for it turning and burning it could have sat on deck quite happily length ways.

T26’s ‘mission bay’ is another example of large ship, too much volume, what do we do with it all. I would have preferred twin hangar doors.

It reminds me of that story about the design stages of the old Tribals. Some admiral or mandarin from the Admiralty was looking at some plans and noticed a compartment without a label and asked what was intended to go there. And some whit said it was a ‘barracks’ for Royal and from then on supposedly that is why small ships carried Marines. All rhubarb. But it shows that not everything is definite even when designs are complete.


“A detachment of Royal Marines was carried with their weapons and equipment, the concept being first tried out with HMS Loch Killisport and having proved a success, was adopted on the Tribal and most other frigates as well.”

Dont know if its a myth but for those times stationed in the Gulf and eastern waters it could necessary as force protection in port ?

Lost opportunity for a developed version with the GT to be build instead of some later build Leanders – Ikara forward, one funnel, better helicopter arrangements for Lynx

Last edited 8 months ago by Duker
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) I said the story was apocryphal.

2) My poorly phrased point being ‘Chinook capable’ and other ‘features’ and beliefs are more myth than substance.

Fat Bloke on Tour

No need for it to be expensive — big and simple is cheap.
Just a case of understanding its base military fit out and its AAW mission load.

What is its mission load — one size fits all or a mix and match approach?

Need space for local sensors and processing.
Then it would be network and comms capabilities.
Finally space for the weapons load and future innovations — anything over 20 years away would be a new hull design.

Base military fit out might be a bun fight — hull sonar anyone?
However it would pretty basic stuff as it would not be a loner in a real shooting war.

Base crew of 50 plus.
Then there would be the AAW crew on top — 30 plus support from base over the net / web.

Probably build 12 hulls — fit 4 out for AAW / 4 for AAW plus ICBM defence / 4 spare hulls that can fly the flag as patrol frigates / fleet flagships.

Mission modules = lift on / lift off or roll on / roll off with walk on / walk off support.
Ease of upgrading / re-purposing would be the design vibe.
Might need to be give-away in the base design.

Features included in the base build that would only be used by the higher end variants.

Hull = parametric design / variational geometry for re-use in other roles.
200m x 23.5m x 6.6m / full load = 12K tons light / 15K tons full load.
Might even be space for a floodable dock.

Filing cabinet of the seas — basic structure with the value being what you put in it.

Medium speed diesels / fully electrified powertrain / installed battery capacity / podded propulsion.

60MW total installed = 28 knots plus.
Protection — reactive armour and blast boxes.

Main issue would be cost — contractor friendly specs and build plans would not be on the agenda.

A Robinson

This article actually sems to contradict itself and I suggest that having “plenty of VLS cells” in one platform as a radical solution is seriosly flawed. Probability of kill for hypersonic and MRBMs means that distributed VLS or other suystems are essential i.e. lots of platforms.contributing AAW weapon systems. This is because acceptable Pk will only be achieved when these threats are passing close to systems able to counter them. The article notes this need (but subsequently ignores it) in the SOSA section when reporting that “Missiles have successfully destroyed targets when launched from a ship using guidance data from another ship many miles away.”

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

 lots of platforms.contributing AAW weapon systems.

1) In the US some who have noticed the surface fleet’s lack of firepower advocate ‘screwing’ missiles on to everything and anything.

2) I think it is a mistake for the new solid stores ships not to have SeaCeptor.


Its not a bad idea to replace the 45s, but we don’t have this kind of budget, it’ll take a long time for these to enter the build stage. He’ll, even BAE said that the current 26 frigate is “a monumental task” because we just don’t have the same building capability we did

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

we just don’t have the same building capability we did

1) Exactly. The Japanese are rolling out the Mogami-class. They started work in 2015. The first two in commission in 2022 and in total there are four right now in service. It took 7 years from concept to the first one entering service.
2) Simple designs with off the shelf weapons. They are even using a RR MT30.

Last edited 8 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper
Commonwealth Loyalist

Well building capacity can be increased as well as decreased, it just needs the political will and the money. The period of post-cold war security has ended and we need to spend more on ensuring future security, not just keep cutting and wait til the next crisis, only to find ourselves woefully unprepared as we did for WWII. After all, some may disagree but the end of the cold war was partly if not largely brought about by a huge US arms buildup that made the Soviets realize they had no hope of keeping up with their centrally planned economy.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The period of post-cold war security

1) There has never been a period of post Cold War security.

2) It was the height of folly to disarm.
2a) IMHO British defence has gone down the wrong path since we gained a credible nuclear capability.


There was – in Europe anyway-1990-2010

Wasp snorter

Have to admit – kinda like the radical idea of a single purpose arsenal ship. It really would add depth to missile numbers to protect a carrier group, but I may be unpopular on this. I was thinking 5 cruisers plus another 5 Arsenal ships at around 4000 tons. Making 10 possible and affordable option, although the per unit cost will be higher given the design and low numbers of 2 new classes of ships. The reality is that it’s one or the other, so the cruiser would win if one option with 8 needed.


China’s Type 055, in many eyes the world’s premier destroyer.
Displacing 12,000 to 13,000 tons, the Type 055 is bigger than typical destroyers (it is nearer in size to the US Navy’s Ticonderoga class of cruisers) and packs a formidable punch.
It has 112 vertical launch system (VLS) cells that fire surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles, which is more than the 96 on the newest of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. It also boasts sophisticated radio and anti-submarine weapons systems.
And China is pumping them out. It began building the Type 055s in 2014 and recently commissioned its eighth, the Xianyang

Last edited 8 months ago by Arjun