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Alexander

Could just design and build a replacement ship and extend Argus in service for as long as it takes its replacement to commission?

N-a-B

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha etc.

Just Me

No one wants to build anything

Supportive Bloke

Ok, so where is the ship building capacity?

Never mind the design capacity.

The bigger problem is that I don’t see how the, hopefully, six MRSS can be designed built and launched by 2030(ish).

I also don’t understand how you can put a PCRS in every one of them cost effectively. There is all the kit scanners etc that needs to be fitted. Most of it isn’t TEU compatible.

I’d understand it if we were producing two Ocean replacements with PCRS built in but we are not and there is no proposal to do so. Although given how far forward an LHD is positioned it might be the best for PCRS.

Jon

There’s no budget and no real intention of building MRSS this decade. The National Shipbuilding strategy has the build starting in 2027 for initial service in 2031. On the other hand the budget won’t even stretch to cover T31, T26 and FSSS. T32 will be a higher priority than MRSS as well to keep Babcock happy.

Jonathan

There is no way the RN can support 6 role Three PCRS, it’s a massive investment in staff training as well as practicing ( you can’t just turn on your ability to manage casualties if your not constantly practicing) to keep competencies, You also just don’t disagrigate something like role 3 medial teams an bring them back together as needed. Managing major trauma, them moving onto definitive care ( surgery) and finally recovery involves a number of well oiled specialist teams that need to be able to do their bit and them interlinked into the wider emergency care pathway….t do live politicians who don’t now what the fuck they are talking about, speaking in big words that are meaning less.

Supportive Bloke

Totally agree.

Like anything in the military training and competence are the key.

The whole thing sounds very dubious to me.

N-a-B

Those of us of a certain decrepitude may remember the SDR98 pledge for two JCRS, almost a quarter of a century ago.

Can kicked down the road. Again.

X

Yes I remember that………

I know you don’t like her but Argus is my favourite RFA.

Just Me

She’s a superannuated old wreck

Supportive Bloke

Preloved.

Solid but a bit frayed round the edges.

My main concern would be spare parts for any of her original systems unless there is a magical pile of them somewhere?

X

A generic ship of that age and some talent mean spares though problematic aren’t too problematic.

Duker

The sister ship MV Container Argent was last known as MV Puerto Cortes around 2004 presumably scrapped now.

The Italian shipyards- Fincantiere ( it was built at Marghera the commercial port of Venice) seem to have gone from strength to strength since the early 80swith large cruise ships, commercial and naval vessels ( including FFG design for USN)

X

It isn’t a warship with a catalogue of exotic parts. Pumps are made in a common range of sizes. Electrics are not a problem,

X

That’s harsh. She is a lovely old tub. 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by X
N-a-B

It’s not that I don’t like her, far from it. But the cold hard truth – from bitter experience – is that its very hard to get a working business case for the capability.

No business case, no budget.

X

I know. 😉

captain p wash

I always look at her and think back to my days of building Lego Ships and mixing different Airfix parts……!

X

It took me a while to get used to the new bridge.

Supportive Bloke

She has had a good few face lifts….

Fred the Frog

You actually have a favourite RFA and it’s Argus ?

PHILIP

WELL then they (MOD) better start properly giving money for REFITS! Unlike wanting ships to go round the planet on carrier deployments having cut refits because we’re giving money/arms to the Ukraine1

Sean

Giving money/arms to Ukraine has not come from the U.K. Defence Budget, and all replacements for kit given is being funded from a separate £3bn Treasury fund.
Refits have NOT been cut due to any donations to Ukraine.

captain p wash

Huh? You don’t like the UK trying to help the Ukrainian People stand up against this latest deluded Dictator who thinks nothing of killing innocent people not to mention his fellow countrymen all to satisfy his fragile Ego/insecurities/personality defects ?????

Duker

All invasions kill innocents
Turkeys invasion of Cyprus ( still there)
US invasion of Afghanistan ( just left)
US & UK invasion of Iraq ( left and went back)
Saudi attack on its neighbour Yemen ( after the civil war started as ‘their guy’ was removed from Presidential Palace)

captain p wash

To be honest, that sounds more like a defence of his actions rather than a condemnation ?

Duker

Not at all. terrible mistake by Putin You seem to be defending some invasions as Ok where its ‘our people’ and leave the opposition to street marchers

Captain P Wash

Nope, absolutely no words have been typed by me to that effect whatsoever ……. Please read properly it gets a tad tiresome having to correct you all the time.

Duker

I seem to remember all those invasions- no matter by Putin or Bush-Blair were to ‘help the local people too’
For four months in 2017, an American-led coalition in Syria dropped some ten thousand bombs on Raqqa, the densely populated capital of the Islamic State’

Capture_19[1].PNG
captain p wash

Dukeofurl, you seem to be having some sort of memory/reading issues as I have not once typed anything whatsoever, about the argument you seem to be having here……

Julian Edmonds

Arms to Ukraine are being funded separately from the UK defence budget. But it is stretching our defence production and procurement capability, which has suffered from insufficient purchases over the years.

Gavin Gordon

Their fighting ‘for us’, for….sake

X

Now we need Scott to get a reprieve. A replacement for Dili……….

Expat Alien

and replacement Forts

Deep32

Yes, it’s gone very silent on FSSS over the past months. Arguably the highest priority build in the RFA fleet…….

Jon

They have a process, you know, and Lord forbid they should hurry up at least the first ship merely because it’s urgent and too risky to delay.

N-a-B

Possibly because it’s not going to plan……

Distinct possibility it could yet go t1ts.

Deep32

Well, doesn’t that install confidence in the big plan that is shipbuilding!

Deep32

Instill not install!!

N-a-B

As per previous. It’s not a plan or a strategy, it’s largely aspirational.

Until both the capacity issues in design and production workforces and the facility shortfalls in the yards are addressed, it’ll stay that way.

Spellar, Jones and Nice But Tobias have a lot to answer for. Their interventions had a direct effect on the conduct of the original competition and the constraints in the current one.

Which have already had a deleterious effect. Allegedly.

Jon

Great news. I thought they’d just gap it again.

There was never money in the budget for MRSS. Even T31s, T26s and FSSSs will be a strain this decade. Raid the Army budget now. That extra £11bn uncommitted procurement the Army ended up with last year, and don’t have a Scooby what to do with: give a couple of billion each to the Navy and the Air Force, who really need it, and the Army will still have more than they know what to do with.

Just Me

@50+ years, she’ll be a genuine floating museum

Sunmack

Good news that we are retaining the capabilities but as others have said, it needs to be through a new ship.

In terms of retained capabilities, the loss of the two Wave’s and the MCM fleet are appalling.

I’d rather see us sell the B1 River’s and bring the B2 River’s back to UK waters for patrol missions. The National Ship should also be scrapped. The operating cost and manpower savings could then be used to keep the Wave’s and some of the MCM force in operation.

As well as their primary role as tankers, the Wave’s are far more useful than the River’s for anti-piracy, disaster relief and maritime interdiction as they have a helicopter. And the MCM force has a real mission as illustrated by the need for mine clearance in the Black Sea at the point when Odessa can be re-opened.

The lack of a helicopter means that B2 River’s once deployed offshore are of no practical use for any mission other than carrying a flag around or dropping off disaster relief supplies to dockside (which a merchant ship can do). I’d far rather have Wave’s and MCM’s

X

The B2 River East of Suez deployments are a national embarrassment.

Jon

Why East of Suez? Are they are fine in the Atlantic, but not in the Indo Pacific? A large number of small island nations welcome the chance to train with smaller RN ships, because patrol vessels are all they have, and that’s as true of the Pacific as it is of the West Indies. Do you think the USCG deployment to foreign nations in the Pacific embarrasses the US?

X

Too small. Too under armed. Too under equipped. Not prestigious enough.

We are not concerned with the PLAN not smaller island states who are looked after very well by the RAN and RNZN as it is there back yard.

Actually I like the Rivers. I have been aboard all of them except the former HMS Clyde. Though why we didn’t buy them all with flight decks I don’t know.

Jon

Of course… yes… we’re not concerned about Pacific Islands, only the Chinese. Thank heavens there’s no PLAN to build a naval base on the Solomon Islands. Australia would be platzing.

I don’t know about the lack of B1 flight decks. I agree, most odd. I also can’t figure out why we didn’t buy Clyde.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jon
X

Where do we stop? What exactly is our responsibility? We barely have enough to keep our part of the East Atlantic safesih for our SSBN’s. Should we build a new Mediterranean Fleet? How about 70 odd cruisers to patrol the world’s seas? What exactly should we be doing? The other day here when I said the West didn’t have enough submarines and escorts several regulars here had a pop at me. What exactly do you want the UK to do?

Sjb1968

They will be replaced by the Type 31s and brought back closer to home but they bring a small permanent U.K. presence where we have had none since the loss of the HK squadron. They re establish our presence and as has been pointed out work well with many of the smaller pacific island nations that are seeing the ever greater presence of China. It is they that represent the the biggest threat to the west.
For a real embarrassment how about having your ice patrol ship in the Caribbean! I suspect the crew prefer it but that is how empty the cupboard really is.

captain p wash

All good points there.

X

We should have waited until an escort was available. I am not saying we shouldn’t be out there. On the contrary if I were running things we would already have escorts and an oiler in Singapore and Fleet Base West. There are other less visible ways doing this through exchanges with SNCO’s and (senior) Lt’s and 2.5 ringers.

Sunmack

Meant to reply to the Pugwash post below

I used the words “lack of a helicopter”. That’s because their lack of a hangar means that can’t continuously deploy with one. Unless of course you can point out to me where they have completed a deployment with a helicopter embarked throughout?

Last edited 4 months ago by Sunmack
X

That’s the only trouble with the B2 Rivers. They are safe-ish buy but not the best package.

Chilean 80m OPV with hangar and rear RIB ramp……..

http://k33.kn3.net/taringa/2/C/4/8/0/2/Chilearmas/3B2.jpg

Sunmack

I don’t know why we didn’t spend the same money but buy four of them with a hangar rather than five without. Then they’d be of some use.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sunmack
captain p wash

Lol…… Silly me eh ?…… (just had to edit this as I love how you have managed to explain your otherwise sweeping statement by adding a whole load of excuses and previously untyped reasoning behind your original words which let’s be honest, were a tad ill thought out…… but I see your point about Completed helicopter Deployments that have been deployed throughout !!!!! Lol again )

Last edited 4 months ago by captain p wash
Sunmack

Whatever makes you happy.

captain p wash

You do make me happy…. to be honest….. Ever since you chose to try to put down my own posts here all those years ago…….. but you won’t remember any of that will you……… ? keep posting though…. It makes me really happy.

Sunmack

I haven’t a clue who you are. I haven’t been posting here for more than a couple of years so don’t know if you’re confusing me with someone else?

I’ve no interest in putting down anyone’s posts. We’re all entitled to our opinions and I try to be respectful when disagreeing with someone and not make things personal. I’m sure I get that wrong sometimes as we all make mistakes. If I did say something personal then I apologise.

captain p wash

ha…….cool dude.

captain p wash

River B2’s ? Well I’ve learn’t something there….. When did they remove the Helicoptor take off and landing pad built to take Wildcats and Merlins ?

Last edited 4 months ago by captain p wash
Jon

Must have been last week, Captain, when nobody was looking, as HMS Trent hasn’t long finished significant testing of Wildcat operations in the Western Med and North Atlantic, involving four test pilots, 20 engineers and two flight physicists. I’m sure at least one of them would have spotted a missing flight deck, during over 200 helicopter sorties.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jon
captain p wash

Or…. In the words of Maverick ….”Anyone seen an aircraft Carrier around here” ? ( technically they are sort of as they actually carry Aircraft )

Sean

So many factual errors here 🤦🏻‍♂️

The MCM vessels are being replaced with autonomous vessels. No-longer putting ships full of sailors in minefields seems a good idea to me.

The 2 Wave’s are in extended readiness, they’ve been replaced by the 4 Tide class tankers.

It’s ridiculous to suggest the B2 Rivers are pointless without helicopters. But with their helicopter pad it’s only a matter of time before they are enhanced with drones such as FireScouts.

captain p wash

I think Sunmack has been abducted by Aliens, his post’s are never normally like that………….. ( BTW, Stop slapping your head mate, you’ll do some damage )

captain p wash

It’s OK…..Sunmack has just clarified the “Lack of Helicopter” part and managed to turn it around to make others look similary silly…… Apparently he meant a lack of “Hanger”…..It’s easy to mistake a helicopter with a hanger I guess………….

Sunmack

As I understand it the MCM’S are being retired before their replacements are built and no other nation is putting all of its eggs on the autonomous platform route. Take a look at the excellent article on here a few months back about how this is a high risk strategy driven by cost.

The two Wave’s have been replaced by Tide’s which is why I was suggesting that they be used on maritime interdiction, anti-piracy and disaster relief missions where their ability to deploy with a helicopter permanently embarked due to them having a hangar makes them far more useful than the River’s. Indeed, one of the Wave’s was deployed for exactly that mission in the Caribbean prior to being laid up. They would still be able to act as tankers as a secondary role if required.

The B2 Rivers are pointless without helicopters permanently deployed. Without them they can’t see over the horizon which severely limits them in the surveillance, anti-piracy and maritime interdiction role. They can’t deliver supplies or specialist personnel inland which limits their use in humanitarian aid. They are a complete waste of money and personnel.

X

No-longer putting ships full of sailors in minefields seems a good idea to me.

>larf<

captain p wash

Well I didn’t want to say anything myself but heck……….We’ve been doing exactly that for what, a century plus now ? ……. It’s how we have managed to make said Minefields Safe ?????? Bleddy heck chaps, how about engaging Brain first before posting stuff like this and then having to try to be-little those of us who point out your deliberate sillyness………

X

We have ships to move about on the sea. Manoeuvre is the first weapon of naval warfare. That’s why we have navies.

The idea that we can just drop a container on to a random hull and drop some toys in to the oggin and out perform a proper MCM ship is frankly stupid.

Never mind all the secondary duties a ship can perform.

comment image

Captain P Wash

Exactly, they are specialist ships for a reason, I just can’t see how getting rid of them all can be seen as a good Idea……. even more so now.

X

Exactly.

If specialist warships take months to work up how can it possibly work if we have take any hull that is available? Think of all the technical considerations.

Then many seem to think these drones will be controlled from land. But what if the shore is held by the enemy? And given the nature of the work and environment being ‘there’ is still important; that is technical personnel being close to the mine or other object under the sea. What about other aspects like divers and diver support? And so it goes on.

Last edited 4 months ago by X
captain p wash

Again, Exactly X, As far as i know, it takes decades to even go from concept to salty water……let alone all the training and proving….. and quite how a diver doing his/her thing can be replaced is beyond me……. Reckon the 2 Sandowns pencil marked for Ukraine might just prove to be the best addition they have made…… subject to the outcome of course.

X

Anything we send to the Ukraine is a waste. If Russia is a problem we need those SRMH here in the UK.

A Kilo can carry 24 mines.

captain p wash

I was thinking more along the lines of when the West has done the thing that they do…….. and Putin does one…… Then those old Sandowns will be released and free to cleer up the mess left behind…..

Stu

Still a fan of the Venari 85 (I know, I know – armchair admiral) but gives us a hangar capable of supporting Lynx (or more likely UAV) & as you say, would be beneficial in it’s secondary duties.

Or the Chilean OPV you mentioned earlier if it can be adjusted for MCM work.

Maybe with the bump to 2.5% we’ll see a few ordered.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stu
captain p wash

Let’s see what the Type 32 brings, I personally believe there are people working on something a bit ground breaking along the lines of a mothership for AV’s for different missions, quite possibly with export pottential high on the list of priorities….. then again I might be wrong.

Stu

Good point. Fingers crossed you are right & cost isn’t too high so we can afford a few (and be attractive to potential customers).

My only concern there would be ‘when?’ We’re retiring MCMV’s now & I’d love to avoid a gap.

captain p wash

Those “Gaps” have been Widening for far too long ….. what always strikes and amazes me in history, rather sadly, is just how eager our fellow humans/countrymen/women have been to throw their lives into the culdron………….

X

T32 will be an escort not a specialist drone ship.

captain p wash

But we don’t know that yet….. nor anything else truth be known….. Personally I’d love to see both and an increase in RN capability across the board.

X

Well if it has been given a T designation it is a frigate. We don’t have enough frigates. We can’t afford to have them playing mothership to MCM drones. It is the opposite end of plonking containers on any hull. If it is a drone mothership it isn’t a frigate.

Jon

I think we are still in concept phase so it remains to be seen what it will be, but GP frigate modified for drones was the last I heard. I’d hope they’d be modified for PODs too if PODs are ever to be taken seriously.

captain p wash

Yes, it’s still unknown at the moment, as I mentioned above but you can bet there will be more focus on these new UV’s especially if the talk about fitting Cats to certain Ships turns into reality…. who knows, we may yet see the T32’s with a flight deck and lifts, fantasy maybe but no one actually knows yet.

captain p wash

So the “T” 45 is actually a Frigate too ?

X

At one time only frigates came in the T sequence. Destroyers and cruisers had class names.

This is one of those terms are elastic and not global and not fixed discussions.

Back in the first half of the 20th century frigates, sloops etc. were the primary escort of merchant ships and for dealing with submarines (which though are a danger are only a danger (mostly) from one vector. There were also frigates for air defence. Defensive tasks. Best example would be to look at the Bays and Lochs. Both frigates. Built on the same hull. One ASW. One AAW.

Destroyers were fleet escorts and protected carriers and battleships on offensive operations against the major units of the enemy.

What has happened post WW2 is that destroyers became bigger and started over lapping the size and capability of small cruisers. Frigates became more sophisticated to deal with increasingly sophisticated threats. So where as the RN wanted to build T12 for ASW, and T41 and T61 for AAW and fighter direction all these roles were rolled into one ship Type 12(M) which became Leander. At that point all ‘escorts became ‘general purpose’ that is they had some capability all spheres (ASW, AAW, surface, supporting task like air control / fighter direction.) These were first rate ships. There plans for a large number ofsecond rate ships like the T14’s but the program was curtailed for many reasons. There was even plans for third rate gun frigates to deal with Soviet FAC’s in the North Sea.

That’s why I have such problem with tailess T23 being ‘general purpose’ and those with tails being ‘ASW’ because T23 is a general purpose ship anyway and a T23 without 2087 is still a first rate ASW because of the sophistication of its onboard systems. A T23 with a tail is no less general purpose.

As the RN started to concentrate on the Atlantic and ASW the need for sophisticated AAW assets declined. T42 was more about taking pot shots at MPA’s mid-ocean than being a large heavily armed fleet escort. Look at the difference between the Counties and Type 42. When the decision to start issuing destroyers type numbers was made I don’t know. But T42 in most European navies would be a frigate because the terms doesn’t have a universal meaning. T42 was more an analogue of the USN’s Oliver Hazard Perry’s than the Spurance (and Kidd). All this collapses with T45 which is a specialist ship because of its near to non-existent ASW capability………..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_system_of_the_Royal_Navy

Duker

This seems to summarise one aspect well
In World War I and World War II, the Royal Navy reused the term “sloop” for specialised convoy-defence vessels, including the Flower class of World War I and the highly successful Black Swan class of World War II, with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capability. They performed similar duties to the American destroyer escort class ships, and also performed similar duties to the smaller corvettes of the Royal Navy.’
So last use of sloops classification was convoy escort with a number of capabilities
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloop-of-war
Of course Frigate become the generalised term for ‘sloops’ sometime in WW2.
As for cruisers that was a replacement name too
‘In 1887 all frigates and corvettes in the British Navy were re-categorised as ‘cruisers’, and the term ‘frigate’ was abolished, not to re-emerge until the Second World War, at which time it was resurrected to describe a totally different type of escort vessel.’

Completely different ships of course and cruisers also grew from the ‘light’ vessels they started out as

captain p wash

I thought the Flower Class were WW2 ? either way they were a great success (I have a ships bell in my collection, my Grandad obtained it after the war ended).

X

There war a previous Flower class in WW1.

captain p wash

Thanks X, I bow to your superior knowledge mate…… Will go and do some searches now………. Grandad was also on HMS Kelly BTW….. I can’t think of him now without wanting to call him “Uncle Albert” !!!!!

X

In. You serve in a ship not on it. 😉

It’s all very messy this sloops,corvettes,frigates business.

Captain P Wash

Oh silly me !!!!

X

Last use of the classification sloop was Type 81. They suddenly became frigates to bump up our figures to NATO.

The question asked was simply about Type numbers and nothing to do with a potted history of ship types.

I am not your grandmother. I don’t need to be shown how to suck eggs.

captain p wash

Jeramy Quinn sugested that the T32 would be “A platform for autonomous systems”….. another system being looked at is a Catapult designed for launching UAV’s ….. most talk is about them being fitted to one or both of the carriers……however, this does seem a bit at odds given the history….. I’m probably wrong but to my mind having 5 T32’s with the ability to launch and recover AV’s of all types, would be a belting additional capability.

X

Not very clever really. Does a warship of 1800 look like one of 1900? No. Or one from 1950? No.

It is still not an escort as in terms of frigate or destroyer is it? Or are you just ignoring light carriers or submarine depot ships? Are they frigates? No.

You just trying to be clever again and looking like an utter arse instead.

captain p wash

To be fair X, I like the vast majority of the posts he types here but there are times when they contradict or He mis-reads/understands what others have actually said…… To be able to say what a Frigate looks like is just a bit silly though……. But hey ho….. on to the next NLO article……

Christopher Paris

I suggest that the conversion of the two laid up Wave Class RFA ships similarly to the US Navy sea bases. These vessels of 31,000t 196m in length could be a seaworthy platform to operate as LSS or drone operations. They are readily available and practically can retain the port and st/bd refueling rigs to allow ships to be serviced.

X

Those Dutch / Belgian ships are about 2500 tonnes.

The trouble with giving space over to hangars is takes away space away for more of these drone craft which aren’t exactly small. Look at the picture I posted. There is no space for a hangar.

Stu

I appreciate the trade off but it’s one worth making imo. Don’t suppose anyone has come up with a hangar/drone storage combo? Or landing deck that can store them when you don’t have a helicopter aboard.

X

Telescopic hangars tend to be difficult. Do we really something Absalon size launching a couple of drones? The sea is rather large. You need numbers. How many Hunts and Sandowns did we have just a few years back?

Stu

Not a huge fan of telescoping hangars but they are a potential solution. It’s why I like the Venari or OPV80 as an idea.

Built in hangar that could embark a helicopter OR UAVs OR could it be used to store UUVs/USVs? In simple terms, isn’t a hangar a storage shed.

Not an engineer or ship designer, just thinking out loud. My logic is; I know our MCMVs were used for lots of things other than MCM so why not build some for the other stuff too. MCM 1st & the OPV type duties 2nd.

It’s been said on here many times, ‘steel isn’t what costs in warship design/build’ so why not make them bigger than the Sandowns if it makes them more useful? Not suggesting 7k tonnes or anything. OPV80 is still less than 2k.

As for T32, I thought it was to be a new frigate with more unmanned systems, not focussed on MCMV. If that’s what they are, I’d want separate specialist MCMVs too. If “T32” is a misnomer for replacement of Sandown to please someone who wants to pretend they’re frigates… not great but ok, as long as we’re replacing MCMV.

Captain P Wash

” a platform for autonomous systems ” is the latest description.

Jon

Does that means we not only need to develop some autonomous systems, we actually need to order and work them up too? I think we can do the development bit.

An autonomous systems platform FFBNW the systems could be next decade’s carrier without planes.

Captain P Wash

Don’t know anything about them yet…. Time will tell I guess.

X

Go look at those Belgian and Dutch ships. Go look at the German Baden-Württemberg-class frigates. Look how much space at deck level boats takes up. Look how many MCM hulls. Are you saying we produce one big ship to carry many of these drones? We don’t call carriers or submarine depot ships or any other hull that is a mothership a frigate do we? I think some here need to go to look at the history surrounding the 1957 Defence White Paper which resulted in us destroying our aviation industry because missiles would do everything. Missiles are only just about doing those things now. Why do so many here think drones are going to be small and cheap and hyper intelligent when to cope with the sea they will have to be a good size which impacts on others systems and costs and AI isn’t that bright outside very controlled enivornments. It is the same rubbish here over and over again. Too many reading press briefings and not enough understand of the topic at hand.

Stu

Woah woah. Think I’ve not been clear & started talking about other stuff here bud. Sorry for any confusion.
Not suggesting one big ship.
Not suggesting the T32 should be a MCMV (hence calling it a misnomer). Think we should have T32 as primarily ASW ship with added ability to utilise deploy USVs with sensors to ‘cast a broader net’ so to speak.
Don’t think drones are the panacea or that they’re going to be a super cheap way of creating mass. They have their use (for sure) but we’re not there yet.

Not sure how I even got onto this but what I was meaning was about the MCMV;

Lots have said ‘the MCM role should be autonomous and an added, modular thing for frigates’. I disagree & would like to see a dedicated platform able to use such systems.
When I say ‘dedicated platform’, I’d like to see a larger ship than Sandowns (around 2k tonnes) with the ability to do some minor policing, EEZ protection, fisheries etc – like the Sandowns have done.
To facilitate some minor policing etc, a hangar (like that on Venari 85) would be beneficial.
I’d like a lot (like, 12) of these so we can retain our MCM capability. If they’re good, keep building and replace the Rivers. They can then have the modular MCM things flown out to them if needed.
I know we may sacrifice some space for USV storage for a hangar. I’m ok with that. Maybe naval architects can find a use if no helicopter embarked. That’s all bud. Just my opinion.

Sorry again if I was talking at cross purposes etc.

X

I just bash this stuff out. No offence meant. 🙂

Stu

None taken bud. 👍🏼

Fred the Frog

Makes a change.

X

Haven’t you been warned once today by the site owner about personal attacks? Shall I email him again now?

Armchair Admiral

Cant we just take another ship from trade and convert it, like Argus was originally?? Must be loads of ships out there unused at the moment.
AA

N-a-B

Not really. There’s actually more demand for ships post C-19 because the waiting times at far east ports are increasing, which means you need more ships in the system to cope with that. That may change if there’s a big move towards on-shoring, but right now, there’s plenty of money to be made if you own ships – even with the comedy fuel prices. Perversely, building new ones is a harder ask because of materials cost inflation.

Then there’s the rather inconvenient fact that when Argus was bought and converted there were a lot more Ro-Con ships which are better suited to such a conversion – relatively speaking than there are now. You can convert tankers or boxships, but they’re more expensive to do, as USNS Mercy and Comfort showed.

Ultimately, it’s still a question of making a business case for the capability – and because it sits astride a number of budgets (it’s primarily for Percy Pongo who think it should be modular and containerised so they don’t have to have a separate land facility, but delivered by the Navy who aren’t that fussed about it) no-one wants to pay for it.

Last edited 4 months ago by N-a-B
ATH

The defiantly aren’t lots of decent container ships unused at the moment. There is a huge shortage of capacity.

captain p wash

Well If we all stopped buying Chinese rubbish on Amazon, There would be masses of spare container Ships…… ( cue all the, where was your iphone/laptop made comments…..? ) ………

Duker

Cue a look at the facts
The main goods import from China in 2021 was ‘machinery’ and transport equipment (£27.5 billion), primarily office machinery and telecoms and sound equipment;
Hardly ‘rubbish from Amazon’

captain p wash

Crikey, £27.5 Billion on top of all the rubbish on Amazon…. It’s worse than I thought…. Where did you look to find those figures, I’d liketo see what else is shown ?

Last edited 4 months ago by captain p wash
Captain P Wash

Crikey, we got to stop buying all that rubbish….

captain p wash

Just been looking at the figures in the article you posted below, I can’t actually see mention of £27.5 Billion… But I can see that Electrical equipment (typical Amazon purchases) is actually listed as the main import allthough it’s in $$$ and way less than your figure.

Duker

Different sources , the link was a later one which covered in more detail
The computer Im using for this was an Intel small box which I had to buy storage, ram and screen 23 in separately. I think the ram came from S Korea but all the rest from China. The most expensive component in the ‘box’ was the Intel I10 processor, which may not be from China

Grant

I don’t see how the MRSS can replace Argus, the Bays and Albion /Bulwark. For starters two of those ships are warships and built accordingly, the others are not. So either they will all be very expensive or the Albion / Bulwark replacements won’t be up to the job.

Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to build a replacement… a merchant conversion just like the original….

N-a-B

From memory, the LPDs were built to a mix of commercial and military standards. They may even have been the first ships built to the early versions of LR Naval Ship Rules (Ocean was definitely Commercial ShIp Rules). Most of the equipment and systems will have been to Defstan (or NES as they were then) though.

It’s not quite as simple as saying “warships” and “non-warships” any more.

Duker

Yes. The Light Fleet carriers at the end of WW2 were designed in detail by Vickers Armstrong who had experience of both commercial and naval construction and it seems merchant practice was for the structural sense while layout and of course carrier capability was naval practice

Captain P Wash

HMS Argus (WW1) was a converted Liner.

Captain P Wash

Meanwhile HMS Echo has been formally decommissioned at Portsmouth. Another ship cut with no replacement, another ship taken out of service from the so-called “Growing Navy”.

Just Me

The ‘Navy’ will be grown by rolling the RFA into the Royal Navy.
no extra cost, voila! 10 extra ships

Jon

Extra wages cost. Not that it would be a bad thing.

donald_of_tokyo

RFA (and RN) is in shortage of crew, especially skilled engineers. RFA Argus will be active until 2030, which is good. But, in view of man-power, I think it will NOT be replaced by MRSS, but FSSS.

Now RFA “mans”, 4 Tides, 1 Argus, 1 Fort Victoria, and 3 Bays (2 Waves have no crew). When 3 FSS comes in, how can RFA man them?

I guess the plan will be to man 3 FSS with the crew from Argus and Fort Victoria (This means the FSS crew must be ~2/3 of current For Victoria and Argus).

Then, (up to) 6 MRSS comes. But, they shall be manned by crews from HMS Albion and 3 Bays. (Surely not easy)

Jon

I’ve been reading about a lack of engineers for years (especially nuclear ones), and moaning about how we don’t have the people with skills to manage shipbuilding. Why doesn’t the MoD sponsor sandwich courses in marine engineering, nuclear engineering, naval architecture, even ship construction, where you spend a year in the navy instead of in industry? Have course content focus on the Navy/RFA rather than energy/offshore engineering. Maybe link in some courses at Dartmouth. Follow a sponsored degree by time in the services and tuition is automatically paid off. Or have a guaranteed job waiting in BAES, CL or Babcock shipyards instead, or AWE/Rolls Royce. If 40% of post-18s go to uni these days, might more engineering-focused and structured routes than URNU not be a good idea? I had a look online at some of the obvious universities, like Strathclyde and Southampton and there’s nothing I can see.

N-a-B

Don’t conflate shortages of shipboard (ie RN/RFA) engineers with shipbuilding skills. They are two related – but distinct – skillsets.

The MoD already sponsors degree courses in Naval Arch and Marine Eng, primarily at UCL (in the old days it was internal at Manadon) for both service as CS personnel.

The major primes have graduate schemes whereby they sponsor and recruit engineering grads from relevant unis.

Trouble is that everyone seems to think that throwing graduates and apprentices at the problem will fix it. Unfortunately, the real shortage in both shipbuilding and the mob is in the mid-career levels, where you need people who have actually built ships and know what to look for, rather then people who’ve done a course.

In the mob you need people who can safely run an engineering section or department, diagnose a fault from limited evidence and find a solution. The only way to gain that is experience, which takes time.

ETA : There’s also the issue that the Navy is a military service with TACOS that not everyone will want to sign up to. Hence a year in the Navy may not actually be a practical proposition.

Last edited 4 months ago by N-a-B
Jon

All your points are good, but I don’t think they negate what I’m saying. You have a point that I’m conflating separate skill shortages, at least three categories worth if you count nuclear. I don’t think that’s an issue if part of the solution is the same, and can be drawn sufficiently broadly.

Your central point is unfortunately central. The navy doesn’t really need newbs, it needs experienced engineers. Apart from trying to steal them from industry, which can almost certainly outbid them, isn’t the Navy’s best strategy to train people up? Yes it takes a while, but in the time between identifying the need for a new FSSS for the carriers (discussed in the mid 1990s), to the time the final one will enter service in early 2030s, people will have been born, grown, graduated and had children of their own. And we are still discussing the same lack of skills.

Things can and should be done to address wasteage as sailors exit between early to mid career, but isn’t it also necessary to bow to reality and train people in larger numbers than you think you might need? It won’t do the country any harm to have some extra engineers in the workforce. Perhaps DE&S could stand to employ a few to tell generals exactly why 1,200 capability requirements for an AFV is OTT.

You are also right that a scheme already exists. The MoD’s DESG sponsorship that I had orginally found, covering subjects such as naval architecture, seems to have been closed since 2017, but there is a separate Royal Navy one for 35 students that I had missed. It’s more generous than the MoD one, tuition plus up to £7,000 pa, and does almost everything I was suggesting on the engineering side, except be available in sufficient quantity, and advertise itself where engineering students who aren’t already thinking about the Navy, might actually look (ie. the university websites).

N-a-B

As one who was there in the mid-90s, no-one really discussed support shipping – back then we still had steam-powered tankers and store ships!

The Future Business Group (as it was then) didn’t start looking at support shipping until the early noughties. Then MARS stood up and blockbustered its way through a whole alphabetti-spaghetti list of acronyms and ship types. Shortly after which a certain one-eyed financial genius decided that the UK could fight two wars, way beyond the scale and duration budgetted for in the defence planning assumptions without increasing the defence budget. Which led to the MARS PT getting through it’s Initial Gate, but with less than half the funding it needed to conduct the Assessment Phase. See if you can guess what happened.

More pertinently, in order to train more than you need, one of the pre-requisites is that people have to want to sign up, irrespective of whether there is space for them or not. Why sign up to a career path where you might get chinned off by the MoD, when you can get picked up by Carnival, Maersk, Bibby, Lloyds Register who will not only offer you a sponsorship, but a job afterwards? And without all the nausea regarding security clearances etc etc. Think how aircrew recruiting was affected by the endless time in holding pattern waiting to start BFTC. Not a good look.

That’s before we even get to budgets – which are held by different people who have different priorities. The people buying the kit have enough on their plate without having to budget for future training needs with money that they won’t see. The people who do the training have enough trouble filling existing billets – and ensuring retention – without having to look twenty years ahead.

Programmes like TopMast have a lot to answer for. as do short-term expediency measures like the SDSR2010 redundancy rounds.

If it was easy to solve, it would have been. However, its an ongoing battle against conflicting budgets, circumstance and priorities.

Last edited 4 months ago by N-a-B
Stu

Completely unrelated to defence but pertinent to your conversations;

I’ve been pondering the dearth of STEM graduates in the UK for a while. Took a look at the HESA returns (recommend a read) to see how many are studying what in the UK. A simply crazy number are in Social Sciences & Psychology – if memory serves 4-5 times that of STEM.

Uni’s LOVE social science & psychology because they cost nothing to teach (no expensive lathes or CNC kit, no CAD machines, No LexusNexus licenses), the barrier to entry is low & pass rates are high. 18 year olds being sold a lemon!

I’m saying this stuff as, inmy opinion, if we had more people graduating in pertinent subjects, that would be more people who may see the military as a viable career path.

I’ve seen recruitment processes in action & 99% (a made up stat to make a point) do not end up working in Social Sciences or Psychology. Rather than asking/requiring the MoD to solve the problem, I think it could be solved by spending very little money:
– providing better advice and guidance to kids
– maybe encourage them to take a year or 2 & get a job before committing to more education. At the very least, have them consider the cost-benefit of their course choice.
– throw the foolish idea of “50% should go to Uni” out of the window.
– maybe subsidise certain subjects (STEM) regardless of future work commitments/sponsorships.
– do recruiters attend Uni careers fairs? I don’t remember seeing any. No adverts in the halls, no alumni visiting to brag about what they do in the services now. I may be wrong & it’s been a while but, that’s a no brainer.

I would also suggest we ditch the Capita contract for military recruitment.

And perhaps offer some sort of taster placement for 2-3 months or just a shorter contract – at 21, an 8 year commitment would likely seem like the rest of your life. I look at a lot of CV’s & most 21-26 year olds have had 2-3 jobs since leaving Uni while they find their path.

N-a-B

Lots of people see the military as a viable career path. The ongoing “Made in the Royal Navy” ads have made a real difference.

However, you’re conflating “graduates” and “apprentices” with solving the nationwide skills gap.

The gap is partly in the mid-career space (particularly for the RN/RFA) which is primarily a retention issue, allied to decisions taken a decade ago. You don’t fix that gap by throwing Grads n’ Apps at it.

In the shipbuilding industry, it’s less about Grads and Apps and more about scale. There’s a huge shortage of both skilled trades (eg welders, shipwrights, platers, sparkies etc) and an even more acute shortage of planners, controllers etc who actually understand how a ship build works. Lots of stuff you learn on the job, but with a (very) limited number of places in which to acquire those skills. Barrow, Rosyth and the Clyde are hoovering up as many of these people as they can find – which means that Birkenhead and Belfast struggle to compete.

Then you have the issue that those second tier yards also have relatively small technical departments (naval archs, marine engineers, design engineers, test and commissioning engineers) and struggle to support them.

It really is a difficult issue to sort.

Stu

Thanks for the info. No idea how to solve the retention issue as I have no first hand experience. As you rightly say, such a problem isn’t going to be solved by Grads & Apps. Even if we get more through the door it won’t solve the problem overnight & if we can’t retain them, we still have the shortage.

With respect to scale – I wasn’t very clear as I focussed a little too much on Uni & forces recruitment – if demand for any job type is high & there is a shortage in supply, there are only 3 answers as I see it – import skilled people, re-train existing people, train new people.

What I was suggesting is that if we look at the ‘training new people’ side, there are things (mentioned above) that are ‘easy wins’ & can play a part in this.

As you rightly say, looking at the entirety of the issues, it is a difficult one to solve, & I certainly do not have the answers. I was just suggesting that fewer Psychology & Social Studies grads & a few extra STEM grads would help in this (plus a thousand other) problem.

N-a-B

Fewer ology students is always a good plan.

Training new people needs trainers. For many of these skills gaps, you’re then taking (scarce) people off the job to train newbs. That in itself has an impact on delivery and it isn’t half a day here or there.