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Arthur shufflebotham

excellent content, as per




Another excellent, well researched, informative article from Navy Lookout.

Bloke down the pub


The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Thank you.


This was fine when T26 was the only game in town, but now we have T31 and reduced numbers it’s clear that T26 will only be used to escort CSG/LSGs, so doesn’t need this capability (or perhaps the 127 gun).

perhaps the gun & mission bay equipment go to T31 and T26 gets a better radar, CEC & a further 96 mk41 VLS or the sylvers from T45.

batch 3 of T26 can be AAW variant using this space, saving money on design & extracting maximum VFM out of this hull.

16 upgraded T26 & 16 T31 should be our target over the next 25 yrs, with a further 16 corvettes to replace rivers etc & 16 MRSS would drive costs and capabilities and be a game changer for the RN.

perhaps not popular, but that’s what I would do

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) The volume is only there because the ships are big. It is left over. Volume inside has little use as sensors and weapons need to be on the outside. It is a ‘feature’. I imagine there is more than enough spare volume inside the hull for extra servers if required.

2) T26 aft should have been designed around operating 2 to 4 Merlin (or similar) with ease. The current arrangement is workable but awkward.
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3) Yes an AAW version is needed.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

FREMM AAW variant FS Lorraine shooting an Aster 30.
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FREMM and Constellation class frigates are very well designed ships

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) The Italians have incorporated technology from FREMM into their new patrol frigates which surely must have saved them money.

2) We need something similar on patrol off NW Scotland to ‘protect’ CASD.


Both FREMM and the Constellation Class have very poor ability to operate with Unmanned systems….i.e. the future that everyone acknowledges is here…

Type 26 is the only design out there that does so. It’s a forward thinking design. I suspect the US in particular will regret the Constellation Class as it will need multiple refits and rebuilds to attempt to get a mere fraction of the capability that T26 has…


Thats designed as a cross between a frigate and a military transport – the Absalon class – for the small Danish navy.
It can be turned into a hospital ship ‘ within a day’ and can carry landing craft.

The Danes have the Faroe Is to defend and support as well as the Baltic island Bornholm. Denmark itself has some smaller islands , where my ancestors came from

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) The space in the Absalon is on another scale.

2) Yes it does satisfy the Danes’ quite specific needs. The closest we have would be FIG. One could easily lift the rump of the FI garrison’s infantry company plus kit anywhere in the UK South Atlantic territories. And even give aviation, fire support and (limited) air defence. But most of the time be a much better patrol asset than what is provided today.
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3) But none of this is relevant to deep ocean ASW escort. The systems in T26 don’t take up much if any different volume than those in T23. Even with improved accommodation there is a lot of extra spare volume. Hence all this rhubarb about a ‘mission bay’. Or similarly T45 and its Chinook capable flight deck. Modern escorts are big.

Last edited 10 months ago by The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Denmark also has this , which follows usual frigate layout
HDMS Niels Juel in Greenland 


Having looked into the Absalon vs the Huitfeld types it seems to me that Absalon could have made a better base for T31 – and could sell well to countries in SE Asia, Chile , NZ maybe even to Greece. Places that have lots of islands.
When beside each other at a wharf the bows and bridge structure is much the same width/height
Only the rear shows the higher extra deck
Its the SUV of frigates !

Last edited 10 months ago by Duker

Absalon is 6 knots slower than Iver Huitfeldt class.
In Danish standard, IH class is 30 knots and Absalon is 24 knots.
In RN standard, T31 is 28 knots, so RN-based Absalon will be 22-23 knots top speed.

The flex deck and weight margines are all used to increase diesel generator from 2 to 4, and for larger radars and weapons.

(I understand it is just how the two navies define the Top Speed).

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

‘based on’, it has a single 5 in gun while IH have the 76 mm.
Double up the MTU diesels from 2 to 4 and its the same as the IH


Impossible. To incorporate 2 more engines, many of the internal spaces and weight margine has been already used.

For example, the deck-height of the flight deck of IH-class is ONLY a half deck lower than Absalon, not ONE whole deck. This is because the deck height of the lower deck has been increased to accommodate the engines.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) The IH’s are basically Absalons with an extra pair of engines.

2) If probably funded they would be a useful class. An Absalon for the Falklands or the Caribbean or as escort for amphibious groups (HQ and NGS).

3) The IH are the RDN’s AAW hulls. We could build a version using our systems and kit. It wouldn’t need SAMPSON. Plus ASW kit and we would have a proper escort.


2 or 4 Merlin with ease…clearly not worked on aircraft …for starters nothing simple these days you need the spares to support that number of cabs …guess you could have a hangar queen. Finally we only have 30 Merlin Mk2 …take out those in depth ,those required for training those in the ASaC role and those required for the floating car park doesnt leave many to play with ….just sayin’ 🙂

Last edited 10 months ago by Junglierating

Yes I personally think utility on T26 is a good thing, so mission-bay there has a good meaning.

At least 2 T31s will be occupied by Kipion in Persian Gulf, in rotation. Here, there is no need for mission bay. Patrol is the task, and there are plenty of land-based support there.

At least 2 T26s will be occupied by TAPS in north Atlantic, in rotation. But, if ASW-USV can be deployed from the mission bay, it will pay. If not, it will not.

Six T26 will be used for CSG and LRG (with high threat) escort, in rotation. In this case, T26’s mission bay will be providing “multi-purpose” capability to CSG. Very nice, because T26 will be always there, and T26 is NOT ALWAYS performing ASW tasks. If the mission bay is on T31 and not onT26, RN will be needed to add one T31 or two to the CSG. Good but it means the T31 must be “pulled out” from other tasks, just to provide mission bay. It has both pros and cons.

So, I see no difference there. Mission bay can be on T31 or T26 (or both).

Gavin Gordon

Agreed, Donald. Only specific ASW item I’m still not convinced ought to be a PODs add-on rather than intrinsic to the basic build is anti-sub torpedo launchers, as T23. I see these as potential point-defence missiles against incoming heavy weight sub-launched weapons. Yes, aware of current limitations of light-weights in this role, especially in the often ‘noisy’ sonar conditions e.g. other fleet units. But the early anti-air missiles were relatively u/s at the start. Cannot believe there is not related development work ongoing in ship-launch torpedoes.
That said, I’m sanguine with the general set-up of T26, and even T31 in it’s turn, since the sensor and weapon fusion with other units, when operating as part of a task force, ought to effectively lead to all vessels having access to all other vessels’ weapons systems capabilities.


In a war situation, certainly with the expected saturation missile attacks that everyone thinks China would utilise the more missile you have the better.
At the very least the mission bay should be fitted for (if not with)the option of MK41 being added in time of war.
I would change the sea cepter mushrooms to MK41 as well, the aft launchers look like they could be extended for the extra length required, I don’t know about the forward mushroom launchers.


If the Mission Bay Handling System is limited to 15 tons or 10 tons at sea, how might the 18 ton XLUUV CETUS be manipulated?


I think XLUUV is not needed for T26. T26’s strong point is multi-static ASW at some cruise speed. XLUUV will not be able to cruise with CV, just impossible. So, ASW using XLUUV is an independent operation from T26’s ASW.

T26 mission bay can be well used by ASW-USV. ARCIMS USV can dash with 40 knots and towing speed of 15 knots in calm water, and it can safely release and capture the ASW transmit body underwater in conditions up to sea state 3-4.

In short, ARCIMS ASW can “follow” CSG. No it cannot follow CV’s top speed, but 15 knots is not so bad. USV-based ASW is powerful especially in shallow water, and CVs do not dash so much in such water.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) How does a tiny boat keep pace with ships? What about the sea? Weather? Endurance? Do you think ships are the size they are to accommodate the crew? Or that big because they need to be that big to move weapons and systems over the ocean?


ARCIMS USV can deliver ASW (and MCM) kits from T26, with 40 knots good speed in sprint (in relatively calm water) and 15 knots deploying sonar.

None of these boats are intended to “cruise” along with the frigate for longer than 12-24 hours. No problem, ASW escort normally “sprint and slow”.

If the CSG is cruising with 18-20 knots speed, you cannot deploy ASW USVs. Merlin and/or P-8As will be deploying sonobuoy barriers forward. But, both Merlin and P-8As need intensive maintenance load to continue this operation 24/7.

If the CSG is cruising with 12-16 knots speed, with relatively low sea state (but upto seasate 4), ARCIMS USV SeaSense ASW can do most of the work Merlin and/or P-8As were doing. This will greatly “relax” the maintenance load of these aircrafts (and enable them to do the task in high speed in the next week).

If RN task force is operating in some region (like Falkland Islands), ARCIMS USV SeaSense ASW can take responsibility to “search and sustain-control” some area (like Falkland strait) against enemy SSN/SSK. Yes, Merlin can do the same with better speed, but USV-ASW can do it in more sustained period (because it is not flying but floating, and because Merlin maintenance load is known to be huge).

Many aspects are there, where USV-based ASW can be very useful. Of course, it all depends on the result of trial. USV-handling is the most unclear part.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Thank you.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) I have time now! 🙂

2) I am sorry I am not convinced. It is too small. Far too small.

3) This is trials hull for the same task. And it is too small.
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4) Hopefully naval architects and systems developers will look for something more innovative than just simple surface hulls.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

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Sea State 4 example.

How many days will the condition be less than this?

In North Atlantic, may be not so many.
In Persian Gulf, I guess in many cases, yes.
Other places, not sure.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

This is a very different class of USVs from ARCIMS. This class of USV deploys from the port, not from the ship. As it needs to cruise by themselves, it needs huge fuel tank, and of course, as being small, cannot follow the CSG.

12-m class boat deployed from escorts are a completely different class of USVs. Of course, much much cheaper. Another example is Israel’s Seagull USV.

We know Dutch LPDs were deployed to the Persian Gulf coupled with Swedish CB90 fast assault boats. We know Malaysian CB90 is patrolling Maracca strait. I think the operation concept is the same.

And, anyway, MCM USV are based on this size, 12-m class. It is now a world standard size. ARCIMS USV is just the same USV that is doing MCM, just towing a low-frequency active-passive sonar system in place of mine-hunting sonar. Regardless of ASW needs, MCM USV will be purchased, deployed and its know-how of operation will increase, rapidly.

In other words, it is almost “for free”.

P.S. I think ARCIMS USV can travel in the sea state you’ve shown. There is no crew onboard, so vibration/pitching is not a problem. No sea sickness. It is only the stability and risk of capsize.

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It is still the same ocean.


So a 12m vessel works. MCM USVs, CB90s, and many SAR watercrafts are operating in the “same ocean”.

Dave G

Surely the CSG wont spend all its time transiting at high speed…What about when the CSG is on station somewhere near a hostile coast?

Supportive Bloke

Interesting article


I fail to see the appeal of UUV’s when they will have natural difficulty exchanging data in real time with mothership.

It would be better that Type 26 would have a proper hanger for 2 AW101.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS
Dave Wolfy

A hangar would be much betterer.


Its there too, behind and connected to the mission bay


Try to use 2 helicopters when you can´t exchange them except in the air…

You need them side by side to one not block the other.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Modularity is mentioned a lot here. But nobody appears to be expound what these systems will be; especially those in this ‘mission bay’ and what they will do what the ship doesn’t already do. All at the expense of facilitating ease of use of perhaps the ultimate naval module, the helicopter.


As T26 has a Chinook capable flight deck, I think we can handle (exchange) two Merlins on the flight deck easily.

Merlin-1 in hangar,
then Merlin-2 landing on the deck.
then, Merlin-1 put out of the hangar,
then Merlin-2 put into the hangar.

Exchange complete. Surely doable. T26’s flight deck is much much larger than that of T23.

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Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

Seeing old pictures of HMS Blake with 4 Sea Kings on deck at same time its easier than you think ( when sea state is helpful) as the tail of the helicopter can extend over the side. Can have two Merlins on rear deck at once when they are all folded up and parked ‘aircraft carrier style’.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Big hangar and big flight deck. The key feature are those door. Note your (wonderful) picture (find) is taken alongside.
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Yes you have space inside the hangar to move one sea king out without disturbing the work done in the other.
No helicopter is dependent of another one to be able to do its mission.


Think you will find Blake was a lot bigger ..4 Sea King could go in the hangar.However Merlin is a little bigger and leaving a/c out on the deck for extended periods of time (especially low to w/l deck) wont do the cab any good ..they tend not to like Sea water.
Personally I have had experience of working 3 x SK Mk4 on Fort boats ….two in the hangar and one in the Lea of the Hangar but then the flight deck on the old Forts was quite a bit higher above the W/L than a Frigate

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. As long as there isn’t anything in the ‘mission bay’.


So your AW101 on a flight develops and issue and lands, the one that is the mission bay have to be pushed all way to the heli deck at night in rain and bad weather for the AW101 that landed to go to the mission bay for repairs or even just schedule maintenance and then the other that is in working order pushed to the hangar space. Both 15t helicopters on the deck at same time that i am not even sure can take that weight or have rails winches to move them.

Don’t you see how unprofessional and non trivial absurd that is?


This is how it is done, note the slot rails in heli deck surface to winch the AW101 or NH90.


Not negating your point. It is surely “better” to have two-slot hangar each with door, than having a single long hanger holding a helicopter in tandem. Done.

But, T26 requirement is only for one Merlin. If you again look around the world, there are so many escorts carrying only one helicopter. French FREMM, Danish Iver Huitfeldt class, Norwaian Nanasen class, Type-22 and 23, Dutch frigates.

The second Merlin is an option. And it is good to have such option.

Why option? Simply because Merlin is great but very expensive, and RN anyway do not have enough number of them.

In short, I agree it is better to have parallel hangar, but not critical. Mission bay is mission bay. It is capable of carrying not only several boats and USV and container, but it can also carry second Merlin. Great. This is what I mean.


My point is no necessarely the AW101 per se but still i doubt that RN lacks AW101 with only 8 Type 26

Note also that carrier AW 101 put in frigates liberates space maximizing assets that can only operate from the carrier.

The hangar as it is also reduces flexibility to operate futur drones. We don’t know very well the future but i think maximizing the air component would be better than the current design.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS

No big objection, if the money and man-power is plenty.

But, both the money and man-power is not enough. There is no hope filling the CV deck with F35B for a decade (or two). Then, it is cheaper and more efficient to operate Merlins from CV. As there is not enough Merlin, this means T26 only with one Merlin is good enough.

I RN has money and man-power:
1: Two CVs will be filled with F35B and some form of better AEW assets (ASW V-22? = if the money is there).
2: RN shall build and operate 16 T26. In this case, not sure if we need dual hangar.
3: In this case, I think RAF has 24 P-8As, not 9. They can cooperate with T26s.
4: If RN has further money so they can also double the number of Merlins, then al first, we shall put them on T45 and T31.
5: And then, even more Melin be there, then yes, having dual hangar on T26 may come in as a priority.

Current design, actually a compromise, is “not so illogical” I meant, but not ideal, I agree.


Where you see 16 T26? Not even the T32 and T83 are more than desires for now.
Basically the AW101 go in 8 T26 and carriers, the Wildcat go in 6 T45 and 6 T31. Then the upcoming drones.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS

Very interesting but it does look like a Rubics Cube situation. I’m also interested because by coincidence my boat is just shy of 12 metres and is on the Navy List as being fully commissioned as the Echo Sounding Boat, HMS Amy ll, for the Clyde Minesweeping Squadron 1941 to 1944. This makes her one of the first Mine hunters ever. She was Based in Glasgow. If BAE are interested in finding out more or need an escort for HMS Glasgow, I’d be pleased to help!


The US have been trying to make the container/pod system work on the LCS ships for 15 years now and have not really got anywhere so I can’t see us doing any better.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Not quite the same thing. The LCS was built around 3 module systems for ASW, MCM, and SW.

2) The Danish Staniflex system works. But it is for weapons and sensors on the outside of the ship where weapons and sensors need to be as that is where the threats are.

3) This is just making use of a huge empty volume in the middle ship that hasn’t really got any use. These ships are much bigger than their predecessors. Even with better accommodation there is still lots of spare volume. It will be filled with gym equipment and containers with stores for the galley and NAAFI and large spares for the Merlin.


Dont forget a Landrover for the CO

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

1) Yes. Why not? Good idea. A car and a van would be useful.


LR supplied a ‘Defender’ to HMS Defender, based on the amount of time the ship has been wharf side it got to be used a lot

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. There is always liaison work. And often a need to procure items such as food stuffs say.


Plus the handling system looks like it is far to complicated and will spend most of it’s time OOA. Reminds me of the MLTS and helo handling system on the 23s from 20 years ago.


Could be . The Danes had a ‘less complicated’ system based on port container handling approach


I understand this system was not successful?


Any link to that. It seems a simpler better way to lower a boat into the water


Sorry could not find the source… Might be my misunderstanding.

But, also I googled around, and could not find a photo using that derick in blue water. All photo is in the ports. Can you find some?


Unlike MTLS its not going to be air powered and RR are making it. Thats 2 big plusses!

MTLS Handling was a bit Heath Robinson but the 2 I looked after as a maintainer rarely went wrong. Occasionally a sticky valve that was easily overcome but nothing catastrophic.
Helo handling was again OK, but it did have issues early on that have now largely been overcome in the latest fits (Counters!). At least it’s better than a 5 wire MacTaggart Scot system.

Nathaniel White

A very well detailed article on some of the potential capabilities and challenges that must be overcome, in order to make the Type 26 Multi-Mission Bay operationally useable. A thought that has come to mind, is that given BAE Systems is looking at developing a Future containerised TLS to give Type 26 an Anti-Submarine weapon’s capability. Could it be possible to develop the TLS to be able to launch 21inch Spearfish Torpedoes, thus providing a long range offensive, as apposed to a defensive short range to point defence Anti-Submarine capability?

In my mind this could potentially go some way to offsetting the significant lack of Attack SSNs armed with Heavy Weight Torpedoes, that the RN has been plagued with for decades. It is just a thought. Anyone’s thoughts on this would be interesting!


It seems that heavy ship launched torpedoes went out in the 1960s – Some Whitbys were supposed to get them but never did.


If you can hit it with a lightweight from a ship, you’re already dead. Guidance wire for the Heavyweight would make it difficult I’d imagine.
The problem with the mission bay is it’s in completely the wrong place – needed to be open to the sky and to aft to rotate in per-mission sensors and/ or towed sonars