Subscribe
Notify of
guest
45 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon m

Brilliant many thanks ☺️

BobM

great photo essay thks

Andrew Barbour

Superb, good luck 🙏🇬🇧🇬🇧 & USA

Andy a

Question from looking at pics. Can the merlin fire the 2 new missles or is it just wildcat? Also how comparable is wildcats anti sub capabilities compared to merlin?

X

The RN’s Wildcat has no ASW capability beyond being a torpedo carrier. The South Korean Wildcats have dipping sonar.

Meirion X

The Wildcat can fire the Martlet anti-surface missile now, and Sea Venom in 2022. Sea Venom with have light anti-ship capability.

But not Merlin yet. Not seen any plans to do so.

Last edited 24 days ago by Meirion X
X

FYI if you down load the data sheet on the MARTE there is a picture of Merlin launching that missile. 70kg warhead and about the same range as a 4.5 inch shell. A large AShM should have been part of the programme from the start. In GW1 the USN Seahawks didn’t have a missile, but had really good radar. And Seahawks were cuing Lynx with Sea Skua on to Iraq vessels. After GW1 the USN went out and bought Penguin. We then send to sea a helicopter so capable it is known as the ‘Flying Frigate’ and don’t get a big missile…….

https://www.mbda-systems.com/product/marte-mk2s/

Last edited 24 days ago by X
Jack65

Such a missile is badly needed in the RN for use on Merlin, or possibly Wildcat if it could carry it?

Meirion X

The Sea Venom will be the max of a missile the Wildcat can carry. It will carry more then one.
The Merlin could carry a heavier missile, but it comes down to funding at end of the day.
I think the MoD will unlikely develope a heavier anti-ship missile just to be carried on Merlin alone.

https://www.mbda-systems.com/product/sea-venom-anl/

Last edited 23 days ago by Meirion X
X

It raises a couple of issues. A warship will ‘cruise’ at say 20kn, A Merlin cruises at 150kn or 5 times a warship’s top speed-ish. Merlin has a range of 450nm or about as far as warship can go in the day. Vast areas of oceans. Add in the weapons range or OTH targeting by a pair (one high, one low). The RN has a choice to screw missiles to a deck or have them taken aloft by helicopter. The best option is to do both. It is a degree of reach and sea denial.

Meirion X

The USN is thinking of using the cruise missile(Tomahawk), as a long range anti-ship warpon. The RN will get Mk. 41 VLS to launch Tomahawk with T26.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2021/03/17/us-navy-set-to-take-delivery-of-the-latest-version-of-its-tomahawk-missile/

Last edited 23 days ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

Great photos!
And the exercise seems to have gone on well!

Barry Larking

Gladens the heart to see fraternal navies coming together in a very necessary show of unity and strength.

borg

With Tongue firmly in cheek. Yes, That’ll scare the Scot’s !

David

Job jobbed 😉

captain p wash

Lol.

Something different

As most of the metal in the water was built north of the border I presume this was to demonstrate Scottish prowess to the nation’s rUK neighbours 😝

Degradable

Embarrassment Deployment…
Having very close attachment to this deployment and having a reasonable understanding of RN, I have to reasonably ask, why this deployment is so far actually causing more unease and “wriggling”, when asked by others certain questions.
1: CSG21 sailed as far as many who went to wave goodbye to loved ones a couple of weeks ago. But now we see vessels in ports around the U.K. and we ponder many issues such as COVID and impact on families and frustration for crew who just want to “get it done”.
2: Hype, just continual best at this, great at that, yet we are learning to recover an asset given up years ago. Considering around 54% of fast Jet capability is provided by our ally, can we not turn down the noise and just get out to sea and learn.
3: training, considering this group is moving into areas around the world that may be contested, it may have been assumed that many of the escorts may take part in AAW exercises currently being performed of Scotland right now. But no, let’s get other ships to prove systems and command. We will let the Pompey RA’s ashore for weekend rather than planning and engaging in air defence exercises and firings. It beggars belief that this was not planned. We have or appear to have had ample time.
4: fitted for not with or even not at all. A fleet we are told going into harms way, with what appears to be a single vessel (Kent), that has Harpoon. Even Astute class appears to be sadly lacking in Anti Ship Weaponry. Our F35 appear to be totally lacking in this department and unless mistaken may have to resort to iron bombs for maximum effect.
Martlet which looks good, but may not be fire and forget, (I presume that part of the spec was forgotten).
5: whim and prayer our RFA will manage to stay the course during the deployment. Ignoring manpower, it does appear Fort Victoria’s availability is tenuous.

So let’s just keep our feet on the ground, cut the hype and realise we are in a precarious state. Continual change of the schedule and deployment is fast becoming a source of discomfort for many serving and served who take an interest or live this life.
Slightly less hype and chest thumping would be appreciated.

captain p wash

Blimey Mate, you sound just like one of the poster’s on the UKDJ site……. Do you post there too ? I’m a bit of a regular but not too popular TBH as I tend to write stuff like this at times.

Degradable

Not a poster as too often frustrated by diatribe.
Limited as well, because I have family in Service and I am ex-regular who really enjoys what RN used to stand for.
I would state my interests are my families well being and the RN.
But currently, the number of posts hyping us up are too much !!!

Sunmack

Excellent points.
The “one day we’ll get around to fitting all of these platforms with a proper range of sensors and weapons and they’ll be brilliant” replies will be along soon. And of course, we never do.
No lessons have been learned since we sent brand new frigates to the Falklands with an already obsolete SAM system (T21). Or AAW destroyers with no low level air defence system (T42). Or landing ships with hundreds of personnel on board whose only self defence systems were WW2 era Bofors guns. Dozens of men died or were seriously injured as a result of those decisions.
We briefly learned the lesson with the excellent T22 B3 frigates but soon returned to the world or capability gaps and FFBNW that don’t seem to plague any other navy to the degree that they effect the RN.
I think politicians main priority in defence spending is job creation. They’ve now decided that building ships is a good thing as it creates lots of jobs in politically sensitive Scotland but equipping ships properly isn’t a priority as it doesn’t create the same number of jobs.

borg

Hi there Degradable and Sunmack .Interestingly, the two largest employers in Scotland are NHS and Defence apparently, QE2 Hospital and Rosyth. Not sure what the figures are in the rest of the UK ?

Deep32

Just to clarify a point reference your comment about the Astute class. The RN’s primary ship killing asset is the SSN, it’s primary anti ship weapon is the Spearfish torpedo. The accompanying SM will most definitely be carrying Spearfish torpedoes on this deployment.

Sunmack

Using the SSN escorting a Carrier Strike Group as the primary anti-ship platform is total folly.
Let’s say a hostile surface vessel is detected 250 miles away. It would need to be taken out before it gets in range to launch SSM’s.
If the F35 had a proper heavyweight, long range ASM (rather than the toy town Spear missile) then it could engage that target in 30 minutes.
An SSN is going to take 8 hours to get to that target by which time it could have got into it’s SSM launch range.
The SSN then has to get back to the CSG by which time it has been off station for 16+ hours.
The purpose of the escorting SSN should be ASW protection at which it is more capable than any other platform. It should not be taken away from that mission for hours on end to attack surface ships when that task can be done in 30 minutes by an F35 equipped with a proper ASM.

Meirion X

At 250 miles range, you need a warpon like the Tomahawk cruise missiles to take a vessel out.

The Storm Shadow Will not see service with the F-35B, due out of service before 2030.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2021/03/17/us-navy-set-to-take-delivery-of-the-latest-version-of-its-tomahawk-missile/

Last edited 23 days ago by Meirion X
Deep32

Nobody said the system is perfect. SSNs have been the primary ship killing asset since the late 60’s, it is one of the main reasons RN ships were always lightly armed with AShM either 4/8 Exocet/Harpoon.
F35 isn’t going to change anything soon, until at least 2026/7 when BLK 4 aircraft arrive, then only if they get a larger missile then S3.
SSNs will probably remain the main anti ship/deep strike asset until 2030ish dependent on what goes into T26 Mk41 silos? The problem for long range anti ship strikes is that identification, unless said missile is v smart, then some form of 3rd party targeting is required, or it just becomes a ‘f&f dumb’ missile, not what’s required these days. Hence the use of SSN – get in close, ID the tgt, sink it.

Sunmack

Why does every other navy with carriers fit their strike aircraft with long range heavyweight ASM’s and every other navy with SSN’s fit their escorts with SSM’s then?

Deep32

Current F35B aircraft have a variety of weapons to call upon, they are American built, we have chosen not to buy them and go our own way. Yes, I have to agree, it’s absolutely dire that we have to wait until BLK 4 aircraft come along before we get more weapon options. That is a choice the MOD made when we signed up to the F35 project. I believe we have been sold short with it, but, we are where we are. The MOD also decided to drop SS from the weapon requirements for F35 very early on, I’m not sure why? Like you, I think we need one, perhaps it will be an air launched version of the I-SSM that is being purchased in the next few years?
We, like the USA, do not currently fit AShM to our SSNs, although the French certainly do, that is their choice. Like the USA we only employ TLAM, whether the VLS version and our version are upgraded to include anti ship strike capability remains to be seen. Perhaps when Perseus finally enters production we will buy it for our SSNs, I’ve not seen anything about that prospect yet?

Meirion X

The new Harpoon could be launched by the F-35.

Taiwan has used its F-16s to carry Harpoon.

Meirion X

The Carrier Strike Group is back in port due to stormy weather in next few days.
Then back at sea for am exercise off Portugal next week.
It doesn’t seem all that stormy right now, but will the weather forecasters get a telling off!

Last edited 23 days ago by Meirion X
X

But, but, but dude ‘carrier strike’ is where it is at…. 😉

War is coming. We have to start somewhere. There are lots of gaps.

Sonik

I agree, even in its current limited form and plenty gaps, RN CSG and RFAs etc. is way ahead of anything else outside the USA. RN has a clear plan going forward, with the new Frigates and FSS etc.

Sunmack

I actually think that a French Carrier Strike Group is more capable than an RN equivalent.
Although the QE class can carry more aircraft than CdeG, it seems that in practice they rarely will.
The French E2 Hawkeye gives them more AEW capability than we have in our helicopter AEW platform.
French Rafale jets have a longer strike radius as they can carry drop tanks. They also carry the Meteor missile which is more capable than the AMRAAM which RN F35’s will carry. They have stand off anti-ship and land attack missiles in Exocet and Scalp. RN F35’s will carry the Spear missile which has a far shorter range and smaller warhead.
All French escorts are equipped with SSM’s whereas few of the RN’s vessels carry any or if they are embarked then they are obsolete Harpoons.
French FREMM frigates are newer than the Type 23’s and their AAW ships also have anti-submarine and anti-ship capabilities which the T45 pretty much doesn’t.
The ability of the French fighters and escorts to deal with threats from other ships frees up the escort SSN to focus on ASW operations which should be its primary role whereas the RN’s escorting SSN has to be the primary ASuW as well as ASW asset.
We have the advantage of two carriers over the French but a French Carrier Strike Group has far better AEW, air to air and stand off land attack and anti-ship capabilities than its RN equivalent

borg

For 6 months of the year !!!!!

Meirion X

Trying to find a submarine by another submarine, is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Meirion X

Agreed!

Something different

The Queen Elizabeth’s are over three times as large as the Invincibles and the F35 is far more potent than the harrier. Also remember this capability is still being worked up (isn’t full capability in 2023) and no other nation apart from American can currently match this carrier strength (China will soon catch up, however look at their GDP and population size compared to ours).

Degradable

Just a matter of interest.
When you wrote this, did you decide what you would write, before reading my comments.
What on earth has size of QE got to do with the comments.
F35 is arguably not more potent when rules of engagement, or political indecision come into play.
This is not “top trumps”.
This is about training people to do the jobs they signed up for.
This is about having the assets to deliver the capabilities advertised.
This is about an element of humility. Understanding we are not the best or indeed second or third… We are capable, but we (you and me) have no idea in truth of others capabilities.

Just a thought for you. Only recently, U.K. was (along with US) trumpeting how it’s health service would handle pandemic better than everyone else.
18 months of recent history puts that noise in to perspective.

Meirion X

The weather forecasters were right in the end, you wrong! Or did you missed the storm?

Logical

Meirion X:
The current weather in the UK is nothing compared to the weather they may experience in the Indopacific. Why are our ships having to conduct weather avoidance for a Met shipping forecast showing, sea state moderate to rough at worst. Visibility good. Gale force winds?

Hardly a requirement to conduct ‘weather avoidance’. It is about time we show that our surface fleet can do more than 2-3 weeks before a port stop.

Last edited 21 days ago by Logical
Degradable

What has “the storm got to do with any of the comments”. A reminder for you.
1: deployment, that referenced ships in ports all over U.K. prior to storm and families already waved goodbye, yet sensing frustrations of participants. (So yes storm adds to that later).
2: hype (no relevance to storm)
3: training (storm may have been of benefit)
4: fitted for not with (storm of no relevance)
5: RFA (storm of no relevance)

Other than exaggerating point one, the storm had no relevance to my comments.
Next …

Airborne

Mmmmm well point 1, not very clear, but im getting the gist that your saying once you deploy, you deploy and not bother to go back to port. Surely the training around the UK is just that, training (a neglected skill you mention in point 3?) Training is all part of a deployment, and wether its UK waters or cruising through the Med, its part and parcel of the same deployment.

Point 2, arent most fast jets, on land and sea provided by our ally? wether on our carrier or not? Didnt our ally (with others) ensured we maintained a core of aircrew capable of doing this? And when, ever, do we deploy as a single entitiy anymore?

Point 3, You state there is a lack of role specfic training, how do you know that? As stated previous, training can continue, no matter where you are as long as the assets are in place to do so. Not sure where you are going with that one.

Point 4, agree, and this FFBNW is a bug bear I dislike so much. Maybe years ago it was easy to get a system, an asset and get it fitted and people trained quickly. But not nowadays, too tech and too expensive and probably too manpower intensive to be trained quickly. But part of the reason the yanks are deployed with the USS Sulliavans, AND the USMC F35s is simply that even thought they are going into harms way, having the yanks along is the insurance needed to ensure it more likley WONT go kinetic. However I agree this deployment is probably 2-3 years to soon.

Point 5, correct and no argument from me.

However, even though I was never Navy, the principle is the same, no matter what operation, deployment and situation, we as a military work to our strenghts and form TTPs to neagte our weakness. No force in the world has all the assets, kit, weapons, manpower it would want, and as a professional organisation we train and operate as previous stated, to mitigate and redcue our overt weakness in certain areas.

However on the grand scheme of things this is an excellent opportuntity for those involved, its an excellent result for the RN, and being high profile the issues you raise are more easily addressed when you have high profile deployments, can lead to high profile critisism to get things corrected.. Cheers

Degradable

Good constructive responses.
Point 2 was mostly about “chest thumping” and hype.

Point 3:
This one was using Formidable shield as an example. Great training opportunity of the Hebrides, with potentially two Coyote missile firing. These missiles are the closest thing (arguably), to a real hypersonic missile and are capable of fast diving attacks. They exceed speeds of Hawk or other drones.
My point here was CSG21 escorts are going to areas hypersonic missiles profiles are definitely in existence. Therefore it would have been ideal to have tested end to end including actual firing (and subsequent logistic reloads).
But not one of the CSG21 vessels is taking part in this beneficial exercise. We have had 10 years at least to plan dates / times.
Due to costs it is a severe limitation. Indeed I can recall our solitary high seas firings with fairly unrealistic and obliging targets.
Airborne, I recall GW1 and images of Army units training live fire prior to action. That was an effective use of media to display effectiveness. This is missing with CSG21.
Incidentally I noted logistic and reload. Down south Sea Dart, Wolf and other missiles could be reloaded at sea. I believe part of this point also addresses the requirement for reload. (What port and how, at what cost).

Last edited 20 days ago by Degradable
Airborne

All fair points mate cheers.

OOA

Excellent. Enjoyed that.