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Meirion X

“The first shipset from MTU is scheduled for delivery to new frigate factory in Rosyth for insertion into hull 1 during September 2021.”
So, construction of the Type 31 frigate will need to begin at least by March 2021 to allow for enough time to build the initial hull form structure to contain the engine sets.
So, construction begins in about 9 months time!
Is this timeframe feasible to get construction of the Type 31 going?

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Callum

Depends on to what degree the facility construction at Rosyth has suffered from Covid-19. It’s possible that any delays could be limited to a handful of months if they’ve kept the yard prep going instead of shutting down completely.

N-a-B

Back in the mists of time we had T23s being slipway launched one year after keel laying, or 18 months after first steel cut, so do-able, provided there is space to actually do it (ie whether the fab shed is finished).

The limiter will be whether the main engine seating designs have been signed off by Class, fabricated, machined and installed on unit.

Meirion X

So steel cutting and fabrication for the Type 31 frigate, could begin before March 2021, as soon as the fabrication machinery is setup, I hope that is correct?

N-a-B

Depends how they’re doing their steel. If they’re getting it marked and precut elsewhere, you could erect sub units in the existing shed or the Rubb tents they’ve used up there, prior to transfer to fab shed

Darren

Yes. In an ideal world that all or nearly all steel propduction in terms of the cutting, shell, deck, parts nesting, edge prep, solid floors, plate etc, would be carried out at the plate mills in Dalzell, Cumbuslang Clydebridge, Appleby-Frodingham, Gateshead and Skinngrove for section. So the real actual ship production starts right at the steel works. All very integrated (digitally too).

Duker

Are they still doing that system of a bare hull is launched for fitting out. I thought the modern method was for ‘stuffing’ the major hull and super-structure sections as much as possible before welding them together for getting into the water. And then, as is the way in the modern world, just as much time is spent “de-bugging” an otherwise seaworthy ship with its crew on board before its capable of a ‘real’ deployment

N-a-B

People misunderstand what “fitting out” and “outfit” actually are. For any ship with any significant outfit content – ie marine systems, electrical systems, weapon systems and of course furnishings (cabins, offices, workshops, storerooms etc), these are all installed as early in the build as possible. But – as ever, there are practical limits to that. Slipway launches in particular can have a maximum for the launch weight, depending on factors like fore poppet load, suing load and CofG among others.
 
The T23s I referred to upthread were launched with virtually all their marine systems and electrical equipment installed, the major weapon and sensor equipments installed and some of the “furnishings”. All of which went on inside a year from keel laying. As much of the remainder of the systems as was practical (ie pipework, cabling, instrumentation) also went in, but by no means all.
 
There are real limits to how much of this you can do – or want to do. Some of it is dimensional in that in pipework systems you will need to fabricate what we used to call “template pipes” once the rest of the system is in, just to account for in-build tolerances between – say, bulkhead pens and a pump. Others will be limited by available time in the build schedule – main distribution cables are an example here, you can’t install them until the ship structure is complete and most hotwork in the area has been finished.
 
There are some things that you don’t want to put in until very late in the build as they’re easily damaged – or prone to “walk”….Lagging and FP is another PITA – can only go in on pipes when they’ve been tested, but messy and easily damaged.
 
Then you’ve got the fun and games of inspection test and commissioning. Virtually every single pipejoint on the ship needs to be inspected for correct fasteners/gaskets etc, prior to being pressure tested (hopefully only once!), flushed and eventually the systems set to work and commissioned. You can only do that productively when a section is substantially complete, but ideally you’ll do it early, before other things (cable runs etc) are installed and limit access.
 
It’s a trade-off, which is also influenced by the demand for the berth or dock build slot, cashflow of the contract and a myriad of other things.
 
With reference to fitting the diesels, they’ll go in as soon as the hull structure for that particular unit is erected, complete with seatings etc. Once they’re in, they’ll be covered in plywood protection while the rest of the unit (specifically the one above) is fabricated and erected on the block.
 
In general, the bigger the block, the easier it is to get more outfit installed and tested. It just means you need bigger KAMAGs (transporters) and potentially cranes, although if you’re building on the level for an outload launch then really big cranes tend to be only used for superstructure blocks.
 
All of this is why project management and build control skills are essential to complex shipbuilding. It’s a very complex ballet, juggling schedule, supply chain, cashflow, resource availability and trade activity across the whole ship. If you don’t have the experienced people to do that, it doesn’t matter how shiny or capable your facility is.
 

Last edited 10 months ago by N-a-B
Duker

Thanks for that very useful information. I recall a recent court case in my country for a major government building ‘complex’ The main electrical contractor didnt have a detailed design when starting- for some reason the lead contractor turned down the consulting engineers proposal for that work. As you might expect it was a shambles , but the part that really caught my attention was a project manager from the main contractor turned off the ‘conflict layer’ in the work flow software that was used to highlight location conflicts between various trades as they worked on parts of the building. This was say a $200 mill plus project.
When we think of ‘detailed design’ the modern idea is the final plans and supporting engineering design which are done in a 3D CAD process. But on top of that is the actual build process is now detailed design, no doubt the separate materials supply to site is now detailed design on software so that ordering and delivery can occur in sync with the build. And when construction is complete a previously detailed design of the testing and commissioning process will be used to manage that work flow.

D J

I don’t quite get the first half of the last paragraph of the article. Who in the UK makes suitable alternative engines anymore? The only realistic & low risk options are MTU or MAN (Germany) or Wartsila (Finland). Of those, all the design work for MTU has already been done & tested.

Sunmack

I find it hard to get excited about anything to do with these ships. They are larger than the ships they are replacing but are inferior vessels in almost every respect.

The Type 23 general purpose ship has a gun which can provide NGS, 32 SAM’s, 8 SSM’s and a good hull mounted sonar. The Type 31 will have a gun which is too small a calibre for NGS, 12 SAM’s, no SSM’s and (reportedly) no sonar.

With noisy diesel engines, no sonar, no ship mounted ASW torpedoes and a Lynx Wildcat which doesn’t carry sonar buoys these will be the least capable ASW vessels in modern times. They will be at enormous risk in any threat environment where there are submarines if they are deployed there independently.

Over armed for constabulary duties, under armed for independent war fighting and bringing no unique capabilities to a task group: I haven’t a clue what we are getting for the £2bn we are spending on these ships.

I’d have rather spent £1.5bn on 2 more T26 with the other £0.5bn used to put a hangar on the five River class.

ETH

They are not ASW vessels. In an ideal world 13 Type 26s would be ordered, but there isn’t the budget for that. The Royal Navy is shifting doctrine from single ship deployments to focusing on a carrier strike group. That means cheaper ships will still be needed for other duties, so we don’t waste a billion pound ship escorting commercial shipping in the straight of Hormuz. The Type 31 seems like the ideal platform to do that: enough firepower to protect itself, a boat bay and the size and range to carry out those sort of operations.

Meirion X

I agree with what most of what you said!
In addition to the armament of the Type 31, RN should procure CAM-ER as well, 12 CAM and 12 CAM-ER

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Sunmack

But we’re spending £2bn. And I wouldn’t fancy sending one to the Straight of Hormuz as Iran has conventional subs, mini-subs and mines against which a Type 31 has zero protection

Joe16

I think current project value is £1.25B isn’t it? I suspect it’ll go up a bit, but not (I suspect) by 62%.
Yes, it’d be great to have some ASMs on them, but they can most certainly have cannisters fitted if we want to at a later date. Bear in mind that surface warfare isn’t a surface combatant’s job in RN doctrine, so their exclusion from T31 isn’t as criminal as you’d think- blame the RN’s policy rather than a specific vessel’s specified armament.The embarked Wildcat will have 20 Martlet or 4 Sea Venom too, which is the (not perfect) answer to our lack of fitted ASM.
As far as NGFS goes, I’m not sure what they’d be shooting at? The 57 mm with the smart rounds that are available will do a decent enough job of taking out any ground-based ASMs that could threaten shipping on the Strait, and they’re far more efective against boat swarms and even air threats (Iran seems to be liking suicide drones and suchlike at the moment).
Don’t knock Sea Ceptor too much either; performance-wise it’s almost comparable to Aster 15, giving area air defence out to ~30 km (official), which means at its narrowest points you’re actually able to shoot down air threats while they’re still over Iranian teritory if you wanted to.
I had heard they’ll get basic sonar, but it’s a little beside the point; there is a constant US and UK joint MCM taskforce in the gulf that works all year round to keep the Strait clear, and the flight deck is Merlin capable, which most definitely is an ASW platform. If it needed to support mine clearance, or there was a short-notice ASW threat then the T31 has some capability, not to mention there are also plenty of allied vessels close by carrying out these tasks too.
All told, I’m not sure what’s not to like for a cold/warm war escort/presence vessel in disputed or unfriendly parts of the world that are not actually war zones.

Meirion X

I think T31 will get the existing T23 sonar sets.

Joe16

Then not really a huge shortfall in that departmenteither. Glad to hear it!

Cam

Why not get the new sea ceptor 32 mushroom farms also then, and even 5 torpedo launchers from the ASW frigates, I was going to say jus5 add the spare 4.5 gun also but maybe not.

Dern

Probably cost? Intigrating those systems costs money and ultimately there is a final ceiling for Type 31 costs.

Simon m

The mushroom farms are in general being reserved for T26. Torpedoes are of little use due to their short range.

Cam

We have 13 mushroom farms, and torpedoes are a great threat and deterant for any enemy submarine. Nad if we have the 8 systems going to waste we should use them.

D J

NGFS is not just taking out a few ground based ASHM (provided you know where to find them & if you don’t they may find you first). It also providing support to ground troops. When it comes to the straights of Hormuz, you do realise long range artillery can shoot that far (& further). If they are armoured SP artillery, what makes you think a 57mm shell will make any impact (besides the fact that the 57mm is already outranged).
 
One of the jobs of NGFS is area bombardment, where you only have a general idea of the target area. This is common with land artillery. You don’t always have an exact target. 57mm is also rather light weight, even commercial reinforced concrete buildings are too much for it. The average commercial multi story carpark is a high tech bunker when it comes to the 57mm. The absolute minimum is 76mm & even that, in many quarters is considered suspect. There is a reason modern armies use 105mm & 155mm artillery (& some have moved away from the 105 to all 155mm).
 
If surface warfare is not a surface combatants job in RN doctrine, then I’am afraid they are due for a bad awakening. 8 SSM is standard for most frigates & up. 16 SSM is not uncommon, even within NATO. Air power is not a 24/7 option. Rotary airpower is especially suspect against modern SAM systems. I am afraid the potential opposition may not have not read the same manual when it comes to surface warfare. Even some OPV’s in the SE Asia area carry modern heavyweight SSM’s. Littoral warfare & blue water warfare have different challenges to add to the mix. A T31 running up against a 16 missile opponent had best hope that the guns work because 12 CAAM, even if they work perfectly, are a few short. How well the 57mm goes shooting down 76mm+ shells is questionable when the missiles run out. Let alone the fact that the 57mm will really only allow them to defend. Perhaps the old fashioned ram will make a comeback.

Joe16

I fully agree with you; surface warfare should certainly be a mission of the surface fleet! I think that the RN secretly acknowledge this every time they bolt on a couple of harpoon cannisters each time they send a T45 or T23 to the Gulf, and frankly I’d expect them to do the same with a T31. That would give them 8 ASM, in addition to the embarked Lynx and the guns. Not as bad as it could be.
 
I think that it’s also worth bearing in mind the location and potential opponents; the T31 is not supposed to go up against Russia, or the Chinese navy in a shooting war. It is built for dealing with tense situations, like FONOPS in the SCS or Black Sea, or escorting vessels through the Straits of Hormuz. Where they are very unlikely to fire or experience anything worse than a warning shot, but make it impossible for the IRGC to board a tanker without starting a war. You’re talking about a hypothetical situation where a T31 finds itself in the Gulf or SCS when it goes from peacetime to full on warzone with zero warning whatsoever; that is just not going to happen. There will always be signs that things are getting dicey, at which point the harpoon cannisters get bolted on (if they aren’t already), the carrier strike group rocks up with the T26s and the T45s, the US rocks up, and the T31 gets out of the way. At the outside, what they’ll experience is an ASM missile shot from angry Yemenis, or some over zealous IRGC fast boats, both of which the current armament is sufficient.
 
I understand the limitations/benefits of calibre, and well aware of NGFS’ troop support mission, but I’m again wondering why a T31 is to provide this, let alone onto reinforced structures. If we’re putting troops onto foreign soil then they’ll have all kinds of aerial and naval support prior to that happening, the T31 won’t even get a look in. We don’t just put troops on the ground without that kind of backup. If the T31 is doing anything in support of this hypothetical situation, then it would be providing screening from fast boat swarms and a close in defence against ASMs for the rest of the vessels involved. It is suitably armed for this role. NGFS (unless we’re talking guided munitions) is general by its very nature- the US Army considers anything under 750 m as danger close for a 5” naval gun. There is no way that an RN captain would open fire on the example multi-story car park containing an ASM with a 5” gun unless we were in full on war footing, the risk to nearby civilians would be too great. Again, this is outside of the T31’s mission. On that subject, what makes you think that armoured SP artillery of any calibre is going to be able to accurately hit a moving frigate from over the horizon?! Being able to provide counterbattery fire with your own gun is a bit of a moot topic. The real threat is ASMs, and rapid firing 40 mm and 57 mm guns are more effective in the short ranges of the gulf at taking them down than a 4.5” or 5”. They also do a better job against other air threats, like drones and rotor craft.
I’m well aware that NGFS has been used even fairly recently against ISIS targets in Libya, but that is simply not the mission of the T31 and I’m not sure why we need it. I’d far rather see them packing cannisters of NSM, which are far more multi-purpose and capable than a 76 mm+ calibre naval gun

D J

I do hope they fit the NSM canisters. They are both ship & land attack. However announcements so far are an interim buy for 5 sets for ASW T23 only. Harpoon is pretty well at the end of its life in UK service without upgrades. Upgrade kits are available, but again, no announcements.
 
The reason for utilising T31 for NGFS is because it’s a dangerous job that puts the ship close to the coast & coastal defences. The T31 is the cheapest & most expendable ship that you could utilise once the T23’s go. Your only other options are T26 or T45. The NGFS action in Iraq in 2003 was RN & RAN ships firing 4.5” & 5” shells in support of RM troops. They were supposed to be the backup, but the promised air support got re-prioritised elsewhere.
 
Yes, hitting a moving frigate with land based artillery is unlikely, but as found in Afghanistan (rifle fire), if they have the range & you don’t, it’s not fun. Guided rounds already exist for 155mm. If one should hit you, it’s going to do more than chip the paint.
 
As to SCS, there are two scenarios. Either a planned action where some warning is likely, or the over zealous inexperienced junior who pushes things too far. The last one is more likely to happen with single ships where the junior feels more emboldened. Even Chinese Coast Guard & larger fishing boats have come close to purposeful collisions against warships. Like playing chicken on a highway, you can get away with it for a while, but one day you are likely to trip. How far it goes after that is anyone’s guess.

Joe16

Yes, absolutely, NSM for everyone! For the price, and the broad options to fit them to nearly all of our vessels (in cannister form) and a lot of our aircraft (in JSM form), they’re a great option. In my view, complementary to FC/ASW too, so our Euro partners shouldn’t get all upset about a fairly extensive buy of them either. I only mentioned harpoon because it’s what is in service at the moment, and likely the hand-down to the T31 if it gets anything at all.
 
I can see your point about not exposing higher end vessels to counter battery fire, but I’d argue it’s a bit of a moot point; If we’re putting troop ashore (like the Al Faw operation you mentioned), then there are so many supporting elements already in place and we already have air supremacy. There was no significant ASM or counter battery threat to the vessels from the RN and RAN involved. It was helpful in the event, for knocking out some command posts and bunkers, but it was carried out in a no-threat environment, and I just don’t see it happening another way in the future either. As soon as the threat level goes up, you’re talking NSM or something similar (which is why it should be available!).
 
You are right about the existence of guided rounds, but they’re GPS for the most part and almost exclusively US weapons. GPS-guidance does not give any particular benefit to hitting a moving target because you program in a fixed coordinate prior to firing, and we’d have way bigger problems than guided tube artillery if we ever went up against the USA!    
 
As far as SCS goes, I’d agree with your description of the most likely scenario. I’d also extend that to Baltic/ Black Sea/ Mediterranean situations with the Russian Navy. But what you’re describing is a ramming incident at close range, when the difference between a 57 mm and a 5” wouldn’t matter. If that initial “close shave” event then led to anything, it’d be a limited gun fight at close range with said vessel, or a longer range but still limited engagement of an ASM or two from a Chinese shore battery- they’d never go with launching full salvoes of ASMs just because a couple of ships dinged each other. The Sea Ceptors and guns would be sufficient for that, because the last thing the RN commander would want to do would be to actually neutralise the shore battery. That’s how you start a war!

D J

Joe
 
Guided artillery rounds are no longer a USA dominated domain (although they likely have more than anyone else). Currently (& I may have missed some), the list includes Germany (155), Italy (76/127/155), South Korea (155), Norway (155), Russia (122/155), China (155) & Iran (155).
 
Take note of the last one. Some of these are GPS, some GPS / laser designated, some just laser designated. Research on improving range, targeting & guidance no doubt continues.
 
The gulf is a well understood problem. SCS is a major question mark. Mistakes do happen & in times of heightened tensions mistakes can build on mistakes. It does not even need to directly involve your ship. You can be dragged in just because you were nearby or assumed to be coming to the aid of the other party. To add to the problem, you can’t assume Chinese actions & reactions based on European norms.

Nicholas

They will be able to protect themselves from small boats and a limited number of aeriel threats. Having very limited offensive power they might only be good for constabulary roles which some of the RFA vessels do already. Any number of the missile boats and corvettes in an around Hormuz are conciderably better armed that 31s will be.
Compare what we currently have with the 13 T23s and compare it to what we will have.
Imagine that we were to spend £1bn on each type 31, and mostly spend here, by the time the ship was almost finished 75% of the outlay will have found its way back to the Treasury.

Simon m

What ships does the RN have that carry an immense offensive fit? You must be looking at a different navy to me for the last 5-10yrs the most any RN surface ship is 8 obsolete harpoon cannisters & I am not convinced half of those are full. Compare that to Russian, Chinese or USN ships.
If we kept the T23s only 5 would get anti ship missiles anyway. Harpoon would be useless against most targets in the straits of Hormuz.
At least if we want to invest T31 can carry a 32 cell mk41 vls T23 had no room for anymore weapons.
I am not sure what you mean by your final paragraph? If true 75% of anything we spend here would potentially come back to the treasury – whether £250 million or £1 billion? So why would we spend a billion on a ship worth £250 to £300 million?

Tim Hirst

To me these ships to have a clear purpose. The provide presence/escort/patrol in areas that are to dangerous to reasonably deploy a B2 River. They may not be perfect for full on war, but are able to protect a small area whilst withdrawing to safety. They also provide the space for very good living conditions for crews that will spend a lot of time at sea. Today that’s very important.
How do you get to £2b, I thought it was £1.25B for all 5 ships?

Meirion X

The extra £750m, is for government supplied equipment and logistic support contract.
It most likely include the sonnar as well.

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

Some of the existing Type 23 frigates are being refitted with a new sonar, Type 2150. Maybe the T31s may get the existing T23 sonar, as part of GSE? So the first T31 could get HMS Portlands’s old sonar?

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
N-a-B

I think I’d love with requirement to contract signature in 4 yes, vice 16+ for T26.

Ideal? No. Brought in on time and to budget? Too early to tell. But at least they’re under contract, with the 18yr life T23s all looking at 33 years plus.

Last edited 10 months ago by N-a-B
X

With hindsight the idea that it is cheaper just to continue to build ships with incremental upgrades than stop and start with batches of a different design now makes frighteningly good sense. We should have replaced T42 and T23 with one class. We would have by now replaced T23. T31 makes no sense at all; it it is the FFBNW Frigate,

Trevor Holcroft

As said here and elsewhere the t42 is quite small when compared to a t45, which is a powerful anti aircraft ship.

It’s plausible to produce a t26 with AA capability… But would it be big (tall) enough?

X

Well the RAN and RCN variants of GCS will go to sea with a truncated version of AEGIS which means they will be a factor more ‘powerful’ as a AAW ships than the old T42. An AAW variant of T26 with son-of-Sea-Viper won’t be built as the RN will want something more capable than T45.
 
My point was that we could have just built one ship and bolted on what we wanted either ASW or AAW variants, or ships with both. Just as the Americans do with Burkes. It is best not to become to attached to terms like frigate or destroyer as they don’t really mean anything. Would that mean we would have less of them I don’t know. There is a school of thought that says without the QE’s we would have less than we have now. We are where we are which is a mess for a variety of reasons. Hindisght is wonderful.
 
 

D J

The only thing stopping the UK T26 from being comparable with RCN & RAN T26 when it comes to AAW potential is the radar & missile selection. Of these, the biggest problem by far is the radar. The CMS is quite capable of doing more. Longer range missile options exist or soon will, such as SM-6 & CAMM-ER (fitting Aster may be more difficult).

Meirion X

The Type 26 frigate was procured for
primary ASW role, so does not need anti BMD missile, Yes CAM-ER would be useful on the T26. The radar for T26 is Artisan which is an AESA radar.

Nicholas

An ASW with no ship launched torpedoes,.

Meirion X

The Type 23 frigates are fitted with an anti torpedo decoy system, Siren Mk 251 active decoy rounds as well as the Sea Gnat.
The Type 31 will highly likely be fitted with the similar system.
The Type 31 frigate is Not a specialist anti submarine hunting vessels, so will not need torpedos.
The chopper will also be armed with anti craft warpons, and can launch Stingray if necessary.

Simon m

No future RN ship is armed with torpedoes light weight torpedoes have a range of about 7 miles submarines carry heavyweight torpedoes range 30 miles so by the time you are in range you could have been sunk about 3 times.

Simon m

No future RN ships have torpedoes as the lightweight torpedoes have circa 7 mile range whilst Sub torpedoes have 30mile range. Basically if you’ve got in range you’ve probably been sunk

D J

Simon
Which is why I think many people who keep mentioning ASROC (range of 10km) to be fitted to the mk41 on the T26, should be considering MBDA MILAS at 35km instead. Yes its still a fair way short of the max range of a heavyweight torpedo, but you need to add in the range of the LWT as well. The further you can keep them away, the better your chance of survival.

Duker

Dont helicopter dropped light torpedoes give you the range you want, but at 3x the speed of the fastest torpedo.?
Operationally I cant see a submarine firing a torpedo at a warship from 30 miles away. They would hear it on the sonar fairly quickly and still has 20 min or so to run.

Simon m

Doesn’t have to be 30miles just outside of 7 miles. The point is you’re reliant upon that helicopter having 100% availability which it won’t.
MILAS and ASROC are missiles so much faster than a helicopter.
Heavyweight torpedoes can do 80
knots

Simon m

There’s 2 versions of ASROC RUR 5 & RUM139 the 2nd has a range of 22km which I think most are referring to. But MILAS does look a good system

D J

Simon
 
I would suspect MILAS would be easier to fit a UK LWT to. MBDA even list it as MU90 or similar, so they are open to alternatives. It is also canister launched which gives you more scope size wise if required. Cannister launched though does mean you need the deck space for them, whereas the ASROC can fit into the mk41. Either way, they do need to have an alternative to helicopter only (on the T26).

DaveyB

Sorry, but Artisan is a PESA radar system, if you like the pre-cursor to AESA. The T31 will hopefully be getting the Thales NS200, which is an AESA radar and is theoretically better than Artisan.

Simon m

Love to know where you got this info from? There seems to be little information to say it is either PESA or AESA. Considering Sampson came before it and it’s based upon Samson technology it would be strange if they went back to PESA? The T31 is getting NS110 probably still likely/potentially better than Artisan best I can find is this which hints at AESA https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/blogs/components/defense/defense/2011/10/24/dsei-2011-aesa-radar-wideband-technologies-and-the-expanding-mission-envelope-of-uav-platforms#.WG5-rH3GEx4

D J

I gather the Sampson technology is below decks (the backend), rather than the radar itself. Artisan is less than half a Sampson. There is a reason why its so much cheaper than Sampson (other than Sampson having 2 faces to Artisan’s 1) ie Sampson is not 2 Artisans bolted togeather.

Simon m

I didn’t say it was I said it was based on its technology. Why spend years developing AESA and go well let’s junk all that research & make our next product from older technology then start saying how cutting edge it is. All I asked is where the evidence was it was PESA

D J

Artisan is a mid range rotating radar that turns at 30 rmp. It is a single sided radar, unlike Sampson which is double sided. In the age of hypersonic missiles, being completely blind for half of every 2 second revolution is a bit of a problem. Its not just missiles, CMS guided guns are also firiing based on radar guestimates.This is why most (Sampson being an exception) high end radars have moved to fixed panels. While they tend to be mounted a little lower (due to weight), fixed panels have no blind spots. A mach 3 missile travels around 1km in 1 second. mach 6, 2km.
 
SM6 was just an example of an active RF seeker longer range missile that is mk41 certified. Its BDM capability is limited (SM3 being more BMD orientated & 6 times the price). Aster30 is also a suitable missile but is not currently mk41 certified. CAMM + CAMM-ER gives something like RAM + ESSM. CAMM is a point/short range area defence missile (1-25km). RAM is a point defence missile (1-10km). CAMM-ER is a medium range area defence missile (60km). ESSM is a medium range area defence missile (70km). Both RCN & RAN T26 will have SM2 medium/long range (100km+) semi active missiles (possibly SM3 later), as well as ESSM. RCN will also have CAMM (instead of originaly intended RAM) as point defence.
 
As RN T26 will not have the radars for semi active missiles, if RN wishes to match RCN & RAN in AAW ability on a T26, it needs both a better radar & some longer range active RF seeker AAW missiles. CAMM-ER gets you to where current RCN & RAN frigates already are (they have had ESSM for some time), but it would be a start.There is also ESSM-B2 which has a dual active/semi-active seeker, but you loose the soft launch advantage of the CAMM series.

Simon m

You can’t bolt on ASW you need a fundamentally quiet hull – read the article on this site about T26.
You therefore have a choice ASW and expensive or General Purpose and cheaper. The USN have significantly more resources.

The T23 was designed as purely a quiet sonar tug to try and to save some money was barely going to be armed. luckily they designed in some extra space & after the Falklands they realised they might actually need weapons to protect themselves.
A lot of the time AAW vessels spend their time escorting noisey RFA ships & aircraft carriers and amphibious ships. It therefore makes sense to spend most money on AAW for them & to have more money spent on ASW ships that can hunt for subs.

N-a-B

Nope. That’s partly how we got here in the first place. T23 design completed in 1988. Next complete design T45 in 2004. Then T26 in 2016. Fifteen years between each – particularly in the early stages makes it very hard to retain design skills. Aside from the minor issue that T23 is too small to meet modern accommodation and damage control standards.
 
That interval in design was bad enough and is also why the USN is now struggling to design affordable new surface combatants. It is now 35 years since they designed a successful surface combatant from scratch. In the meantime they’ve had DDG1000 and LCS, both wildly successful……..
 
The mighty USN is now asking Fincantieri to design its latest frigate. The unspoken truth being that it has forgotten how to do so itself.

X

1988 was a different time Not A Boffin. And it was the reverse of what I was saying in that it was too simple a ship to start off with.
 
The frigate gap in the USN fleet is entirely different one. You can’t compare the USN and RN.
 
What is important about FFG(X)? The hull? Or the systems going into them? Last time I looked it was AEGIS nothing from abroad.
 
Though I understand you see this from the perspective of your ‘trade’ there are wider considerations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

N-a-B

The T23 is and was far from being a simple ship – although the original concept in the very early 80s was. I don’t think you can call the first RN ship to field a VL missile system, a diesel-electric and GT powerplant, significant signature reduction measures and a 15 te helicopter, provision for easier maintenance of machinery, plus a new structural design concept, all in a oner, “simple”.
 
It is indisputable fact that the USN has not designed a successful surface combatant since the AB in the mid 80s, despite a number of attempts. This is directly related to them churning out ABs of various flights during an extended period, rather than attempting a new design. Batching exercises only a very limited part of the design skillset – and crucially, not the front-end parts where the crucial decisions are taken.
 
What gets lost easily is the “why” a ship is the way it is. The underlying rationale may be hard to understand and crucially, may not be the same for ships in the future, with nominally the same role.
 
 

Last edited 10 months ago by N-a-B
Trevor Holcroft

The 23 were/are specialist anti submarine frigates. The 31 is not, it’s a general purpose.
Being large is a good thing in at that if needed they can be upgraded.

X

Surely the T23 is more general purpose that T31 then? More AAW missiles, ASW, and ASuW capability. T31 will never get upgraded. Unless something else gets sunk.

X

Exactly what does T31 do then Mr Down Voter?
 
You can’t articulate can you?
 
 

Simon m

I don’t know if I’m Mr Down Voter but T31 has huge power margins, 2 x 40mm guns so some CIWS, 1x57mm (not my choice but USNs for FFGx) that could adopt madfires and Alamo rounds with anti FIAC anti missile capability, 4x sea boats, ability to have 4x containers, space for UAVs, a superior radar, space & hotel services for a 50+ marine EMF ability to land a Chinook. Longer range than T23 & better living conditions for the crew. Space for mk41. Less manpower intensive, cheaper to run.
For the presence, HADR, Evacuation of noncombatants, anti-piracy etc. you could argue are superior to the T23.
You’re ignoring facts that GP T23 will not have anti-ship missiles when harpoon leaves service. Who is to say they have full 32 CAMM in the vls? The RN has demonstrated to save money it balances weapons against threats.
The only advantage is T23 are quieter, but GP T23 only have HMS & no towed array so aren’t the most effective ASW platforms. Using 1 diesel at low speeds T31 could still be a useful asset in ASW. We don’t know whether sonar will be fitted or not.
It won’t get upgraded? So T23 never received new SAMs? New Sonar? New radar. One of the reasons they didn’t get more upgrades is because of space & weight restrictions.

borg

I think you have attracted the Troll types, They find easy targets on sites like this with such silly down voting features. It was the same on that UKDJ place for a while, not that it actually matters one little bit to anyone with a mental age higher than that of your average Troll.

Duker

AAW ? Sea wolf was a point defence system on the T23. the new Sea ceptor has more capability so might be considered a limited area defence ( active radar seeker in missile head) but that applies to the T31 as well.

Duker

With noisy diesel engines,[T31]
The T26 has diesel engines too as do all other designs. Surely you dont think they use the GT for low speed work or a towed array on those vessels that have them is done at high speed?
Modern sound proofing of the diesel units, machinery rafting, careful design of pumps and ancillary equipment including the sea outlet pipes means the noise radiated out is reduced. Then there is the hull form and propeller design which are just as important, which the UK has led the way since the 60s.

Gunbuster

T26 will be a combination of 4 x diesel Gensets driving 2 x electric motor.and a GT for higher sprint speeds. As with a T23 Deisel Electric Propulsion is very very quiet especially when you place DG Sets above the water line or in Acoustic enclosures.
 
T31 will be direct drive Diesels , no electric motors to be seen. That is no where near as quiet as the Diesels will drive via a clutch and gearbox onto the shaft line.

Duker

T26 still has reduction gearboxes according to this story to enable the mix of GT and diesel generator ( 4x sets) to be run up sequentially
https://www.navylookout.com/powering-the-stealthy-submarine-hunter-type-26-frigate-propulsion-system-in-focus/
The gear train has been developed by David Brown Santaslo, especially for the Type 26 frigate. The company describes it as “the quietest ship gearbox in the world” and draws on decades of experience and silencing technology used in submarine gearing. The gear train consists of a splitter gearbox and two reduction gearboxes built to the highest standards to minimise transmission inaccuracies that are a source of vibration.The largest gears are around 3m in diameter but the gear teeth are machined to very fine tolerances measured in microns.”
 
 
 
 
 

Gunbuster

T26 has a gear train but when ASW is the tasking it will drive the shafts directly with electric motors. No Gear box, no GT they will be clutched out . It will be in a similar but not exact configuration as the T23 does it now.
A T23 on electric motors in ASW configuration is unbelievably quiet so the T26 will be at least equal to a current ASW configured T23 for radiated noise.
A T31 with diesels driving a gear box directly onto the shafts is not going to be that quiet. But then it doesn’t need to be its not designed to be a dedicated sub hunter its a GP frigate.

Simon m

What weapons and sensors do the £750 million+ T26 come with? A 5inch gun? Empty mk41?

Almost everything else is coming from T23 including the 48 sea ceptors which means the T31 can only have 12.
There is no reason the T26 couldn’t drop to 40 giving each T31 24.

There is no reason why the sonar cannot be taken from the T23.
These are choices made by the RN & MOD.

In fact with huge power margins, 2 x 40mm guns, 1x57mm (not my choice but USNs for FFGx) that could adopt madfires and Alamo rounds, 4x sea boats, ability to have 4x containers, space for UAVs, a superior radar, space for a 50+ marine EMF.
For the presence, HADR, Evacuation of noncombatants, anti-piracy role you could argue these are superior to the T23 in every way.

Gunbuster

T31 will have 8 Diesels per ship.
The RN is struggling to provide Diesel Maintainers on T23 which has just 4 engines.
They better do some serious recruiting of Diesel “Tiffs” for T31!

N-a-B

Mr MTUs products may require a little less attention than Mr Paxmans finest…..

Gunbuster

Thats what every Diesel Tiff gets told during their time in Sultan. Its a great engine, proven in the commercial world , never goes wrong you will spend all day in the mess watching Movies.
 
In reality the engines run at constant speed and power output in the commercial world where as in the military they have the power and fuel curve bouncing all over the place.
 
No peice of kit has ever been made that is Jack proof…Jack will always find some novel way to break things that the designer never ever considered in their worst nightmares.
 
You cannot watch movies because the DG is tits up and you have had a partial TLF meaning shedables meaning 240v and non essential power) has been dropped and the WE Dept is sreaming at you to get the power back on so they can finish watching Die Hard 87 “Die harder on a Zimmer frame.”
🙂

N-a-B

It was like that when I came on watch chief…..
 
At least now load factors are somewhat better considered in the design, the T45 “experience” may yet turn out to have been helpful in that respect.

Darren

Is Mr. Paxman really just Mr. Man?

rec

Is it certain they are getting the T23 sonar sets? As it stands wouldn’t the Leander had been ok, a corvette size corvette no pretence of being a frigate. Then Babcock could have built the MARS SSS. On Merlins with only 32 there are not enough for both carriers and asw T23.

Simon m

No because with the Leander that is all you get with the current design there’s the ability to scale up.
I would suggest that Wildcat get ASW equipment, but last time I suggested that on here you’d have thought I’d slapped the Queen in the face from the reaction!

rec

Yes, but leander fits the NSS brief as being sold on and no mid life refit. I agree with sonar on Wildcat, but would still want to see more Merlins acquired. My frustration is the entire surface fleet is fitted for but not with. The T31 typifies that, although it is upgradeable

Simon m

I absolutely share that frustration – I’m not sure what a navy is without weapons.
But on previous record I don’t agree with the sell on aspect on NSS. How often does this work out with cars or pretty much anything? Most times in the past we have sold supposedly higher end ships for £40 million or less? Never mind then the costs of removing weapons etc. If it’s a choice between upgrading, maybe adding weapons and a higher annual cost or trying to find say £210 million for a replacement I know what the RN would choose. Most ships are good for about 30 years & a lot sold by the RN have gone way beyond. In reality expenditure is always going to be put off until the last minute.
At least with this design we also have proven NATO standards and a standard design. Leander albeit a stretched Khareef was always riskier & would’ve probably ended up more expensive for less capability.

D J

If you loose a ship, a T31 can be upgraded as some form of replacement far faster than the time it takes to build a new ship. It does meet NATO minimum specs for ASW operations (if you add the sonar), it can hangar a Merlin, it has room for 32 mk41/SYLVER vls, it can take a bigger & better radar, has room for 8 container launched SSM. It is already fitted with a capable CMS. It is capable of going from current 5,700t to around 6,700t. Leander was pretty well already maxed out.

Harryb

Don’t forget that an entire squadron of Merlin’s is dedicated to the carrier. Which will be divided up on to the escorts. So you may have 5 merlins on the carrier and the other 5 disched out to the escorts. So for carrier ops there should be enough.

Nicholas

29 knots is none to shabby.

Rob Collinson

Is there a possibility that the timing of this is a bit fishy? To me it smacked a little like they got this order in to commit to the building of these boats despite the current parlours state of the country’s finances since the Covid-19 expenditure exploded the government’s tight expenditure since the 2010 security review. Order the expensive items early to tie-in the build!!!

Rob Collinson

A tad too cynical?

RichardIC

The T31 were contractually committed to in November 2019, which was in itself a bit fishy being in the pre-election purdah period, but before the world had heard of COVID.
 
This announcement is between Babcock and RR.

Duker

T31 were contractually committed to in November 2019, which was in itself a bit fishy being in the pre-election purdah period,”
I dont think the pudah covers contract signing on dotted line for political decisions made previously

Sept 12-Today at in London the Prime Minister will confirm that the Babcock Arrowhead 140 design had been selected as the winner of the Royal Navy’s Type 31e frigate competition.
https://www.navylookout.com/babcock-arrowhead-140-wins-the-type-31e-frigate-competition/
 

Meirion X

The supply line equipment(engines) need to be manufactured and be ready for fitting in part way through the build of the frigate.
As I said in my earlier post, the lower structure of Type 31 frigate will need to be mainly built to contain the engines by Sep. 2021, when the diesels are delivered.

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Mark

Am I correct in thinking that these contracts have now been signed and can not be cancelled? I hope that the contractor put clauses in them like the Carrier alliance did making it virtually impossible to end the contract. The defence budget is going to be under senior pressure as the government try’s to recover money from dealing with the Covid outbreak.

T.S

The T31 seems like really good value for what we are getting, but it isnt a warship. The T23 gp’s at least have ASM’s, decent sonar and a reasonable 32 Sam’s to give a rounded capability. The T31 is just a patrol frigate, nothing GP about it. So in some ways we are losing capability and depth within the fleet.
I just feel that we are so close to getting a decent warship. It will already have good swarm and defence weaponry with the 47mm and 40mm. I just wonder what an extra 50 million per boat would give us. It’s hard to find exact costs, but I have seen sylver A43 stated as 3 mill per 8. How much to upgrade the radar from NS100 to NS200? 10 mill area I would hazard a guess.
My ideal extra over on the baseline vessel would be radar to Ns200, 24 A43 sylver and 12 A50, then transplant the sonar and torpedo decoy systems from the T23. I think this would give us a fairly rounded ship and provide additional flexibility to the T23. The Sylvers are capable of quad packing CAMM, CAMMER, and the upcoming Spear 3 which will have an EW variant and should be great for swarming a well protected adversary. The T31 will take 32 VLS, 24x A43s which could load out with 24 CAMM, 24 CAMMer, and 24 Spear 3. This leaves space for 12 A50 which could hold something like the NSM for a medium weight ASM. I then think all RN and some RFAs should have designated martlet & sea venom launchers. Give the T31 one on each side.
So for an extra approx 50 million ish we then have quite a serious ship capable of medium range area air defence with number to cover itself and others it maybe escorting. It has multiple options for attacking coastal land or sea targets, short range, medium range and long, small medium and larger warheads. Martlets for boat swarms, sea venom for corvettes, then NSM for larger targets and coastal installations and Spear 3 where the target may need softening up prior to an NSM.
So close to a really capable vessel that would really make our enemies think twice about taking on. Surely that money could if been found – 250 million isnt a huge amount in the grand scheme. They waste 300 mill plus just getting a design for a 40mm gun onto the aging warrior tank FFS.

Sunmack

£250 is the price of 4 F35’s so could easily be found

donald_of_tokyo

1: T31 is costing ~2B GBP for 5 ships (including support and GFE) = 400M GBP average per unit. It has 60% increased compared to initial consideration in T31 RFI (1.25B GBP including support and GFE AND all the risk = fixed price contract).
 
Compare to T26 costing ~4B GBP for 3 ships, it is cheaper, but not negligible. And, the additional 0.75B GBP was payed from the equipment budget = the same wallet.
 
 
2: I agree adding ASM and hull sonar (or better be CAPTAS-2) will be very nice. Making 12 CAMM to 24 will also be nice. But, to do that, it shall not further steal any money from the equipment budget.
 
Simply cut one-hull (and associated GFE and support) and make it 4. As initial cost is there, money saved will be less than “1/5 of the 2B GBP”, but it will amount to ~300M GBP. By investing this money into equipments of the remaining 4 hulls, all the above wish list will be completed.
 

Meirion X

No Donald! The contract for construction of the Type 31 has been signed and committed to build 5. Just the same if you asked a house builder to build you a new house they will want a signed agreement.
And you will make payments by certain dates etc. The only flexibility is in the GFE.
Just like bringing your own furniture or statures to your new house.

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Ron5

You are forgetting that Babcock’s will want to open the contract to accommodate the costs of installing, integrating & testing any new systems. A non trivial additional expense.

donald_of_tokyo

So, if you want to add more equipment = GFE, only option you have is to robbing money from the “equipment budget”. In other words, CUT T26 or F35 or whatever you like, to add these “more armaments” on T31.
 
I do not like it.
 
I will rather rob the money from T31 itself. Do you know, Japan coast guard’s large patrol vessel Akitsushima? Make, two of the five T31 to that standard = only one 57 mm gun, and a few 30mm guns, with much simple CMS and radar-sets, then you can make the other 3 hulls with “24 CAMM and a hull sonar”
 
This 2 large OPV + 3 (true) GP frigate option will be much better, than cutting anything else from already thin equipment budget, if someone wants to “up arm” T31. Never cut any money from T26 or T45 upgrade or F35s or any.
 
This is my personal opinion.
 
The 2 large OPVs may well replace 3 River B2s (replace HMS Medway to conduct APT-N alone = with no RFA support, and the 2 OPVs (Tamar and Spey) to be sent to Singapore), which in turn will replace River B1s when they retires. No big problem, I think.
 
But, I agree this will not come true, as much as uparming T31 will not come true. No money is no money.
 

Last edited 10 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
Simon m

A lot of the GFE already exists? Sonar, 30mm, sea gnat, CAMM. So you’re not taking much from the equipment budget?

My view is very different on T26 – it needs to concentrate on ASW which is what we bought it for as long as it has some SAMs for self protection & contribute to task group protection. Then it’s fine. If the RN want a vanity project to put anti-ship missiles on them I think its a waste & I wonder what those F35s are for? I’d rather have MILAS or ASROC fitted. So in bad weather potentially grounding all helicopters we don’t have the CSG or SSBNs completely open to sub attack.

To be honest ISSGW is just a complete and utter joke across the fleet to just have 5 sets is ludicrous, never mind we don’t have any proper air launched options (that will actually more likely be used than ship launched). The ISD for future missile is 2030 and likely to be delayed. As I’ve mentioned T26 is sat next to the RNs ‘most powerful warship’ or in UK waters. Does it really need an anti-ship missile? Or is just a face saving exercise as we paid so much for them? Meanwhile T31 will be deployed in dangerous areas expected to protect other shipping! & wait for reinforcements in order to destroy a Corvette etc. Especially if it’s deployed with a merlin or if it’s wildcat breaks down.

There is no need for T26 to have 48 CAMM when its sat next to T45s and an aircraft Carrier with F35s. So in this case I would cut for T26. A loss of 8 sea ceptors across 8 ships gives an extra 12 for each T31 & I can more or less guarantee T26 will not miss them plus it currently has an empty mk41 vls to increase CAMM numbers.
T31s are not coastguard vessels they are for overseas deployment. B2 rivers have only just entered service and you’re looking at replacing them already? They truly would be waste of money then.

donald_of_tokyo

1: Equipment cost of GFE is only a fraction of the total cost. You cannot just take a sonar off a ship and screw to another ship. You need to wire them, integrate them into the CMS, and test them intensively. And then you need maintenance contract (including software support cost). All these are new and never cheap. It will require significant increase in GFE cost.
 
2: Sorry, I do not share your idea of ripping armaments off T26s. It is already under-armed. For example, I think 48 CAMM is not much different from 24 Aster-15. They need it, regardless of T45 in the vicinity. Filling CAMM on “empty” Mk.41 is also very expensive, because you need to integrate canistered ExLS to the system = not for free. Using stand-alone ExLS directly on T31, while leaving T26 as is, will be much cheaper.
 
3: There are spectrum of threat level overseas. If it is severe, send the whole CVTF. If next, send a T45 or T26. If modest, send a T31, and if low, send a River B2. As I do not think ripping anything out of T26 is good, I am FORCED to rip T31 itself to up-arm T31, if needed. Simple.
 
4: At the same time, I do think splitting 5 T31s into 2 subgroups, 2 large OPVH and 3 “truly-GP frigates” is a good idea, as we can find many places good for both types of hulls. (Caribbean, for sure, for OPVH, and Persian for GPs).
 
The 3 of the 5 River B2 “replaced” with T31-OPVH will then replace 3 River B1. It is on ~2030, so River B1 will need replacement. No need to pay off River B2s. (Also note replacement budget for 3 River B1 does NOT exist within current 10-year plan. )
 
 

Simon m

1 I don’t believe the costs would be that high the ability to fit a sonar was in the spec, it’s a Thales sonar and Thales open architecture CMS, a maintenance contract would already be in place for T23

2 I’m not sure why a peacetime carrier group needs 264 air to air weapons? & why losing 16 of this total would have so much of an impact compared to one solo ship having 12?
3 T31 is to be predeployed at several bases over the world and therefore is likely to be your first responder. There will be 1 CSG in one geographical area. If T31 can’t join allies and they have to wait for a task group from the other side of the planet I can’t imagine they would be impressed & the RN should then dispense with this strategy
4. OPVs are for the coastguard in m

Simon m

y opinion.
At this point we don’t even know what’s included in the T31 a GFE sonar could be included.
But if you compare today’s fleet if any ship is taking away weapons from another its T26 from T31 with T26 predecessor having 32 and T31s predecessor also having 32

Gunbuster

If the weather is bad enough to ground a Helo its going to be really Carp for ASW. Surface noise from waves, rain, messed up surface layers and mixing of the thermocline layers all screw up sonar detection in a sub and in a ship.
 
Bad weather is a Surface ships best friend in ASW . It means the sub will struggle to find you on sonar. A sub can use its radar or EW mast but that opens it up to counter detection by the surface ship or airborne assets and nobody is going to advertise their presence by going active.
 
Helos are very reliable and Its not often they go U/S on deck. Even for quick reaction they are pretty good. In ASW they will be at Alert 15 or Alert 5 for launch ( 15 or 5 mins to launch).
 
ASW is known as Awfully Slow Warfare for a reason. Its slow and predictable. It is rare that you get a surprise popup contact within 10 miles of you. You usually hold contacts way further out than that and make sure they stay there
 

Simon m

Are you therefore saying that T31 shouldn’t have a sonar? Considering the IMO the comparable low cost of transfer from T23? especially seeing as Wildcat will be the most likely helo allocated to T31?
You say they are held in alert 5 etc. What are they waiting to respond to if the ship doesn’t have a sonar?

Just because T31 isn’t gold plated why does it need to lose all capability in this area? Many countries have small sub’s from midget to SSKs how does T31 go about detecting these?

How do you hold the contact away surely that means running/moving away? Giving a partial victory to the sub?

If helos are reliable & we don’t need to hunt in bad weather. Why don’t we scrap T26 and just buy more Merlin’s & operate from the carrier or more larger simple vessels? Using a large number to give 24hr coverage like AEW?

It would probably cost a lot less, can cover a larger area, Merlin’s could be equipped with anti-ship missiles, land attack missiles, reequipped for HADR etc. Also merlins can fly in quite bad weather as you say, so with weather tending be localised they can move out of bad weather areas quicker?

I’m just trying to understand arguments for and against. It seems a lot of people are saying ASW can only be ever done by T26? And its the most important capability ever. Whilst virtually no other country (except Canada and Australia) will have that capability but must do ASW. They’re also saying that T31 can’t do ASW at all so save the money on equipping it yet the Danish say Iver Huiltfeldt is quite useful in it’s secondary role. And the RN itself stated in the spec it should be a picture contributor. Surely as many sensors in the water is best?
Can’t you follow the eurofighter/f22 model where Typhoons use radar & their presence to attract & detect targets that F22 can then engage with surprise using stealth.

To me the truth must be somewhere in between. The navy has stated 13 is the absolute minimum of frigates they need, but too many are not taking this on board & want the gold standard where in reality the silver/bronze will do (as for every other nation).
But we’re now even struggling to get to that standard and lots are saying just abandon it altogether. In reality this would mean a lot less frigates until all 8 t26 are completed.

donald_of_tokyo

According to T31RFI
 
<requirements>
A: budget = < 1.25B GBP including GFE, initial support, and risk (fixed-price contract)
B: a gun, 4 boats, more than 2 containers, and >9t helo
C: 110m length, range, 3D radar, NATO frigate standard, etc.
D: AAW with CIWS OR with SAM (CAMM)
 
<Fit-to-Receive>
E: hull sonar and ship torpedo defense system
 
This was the RN requirement = the same importance as “13 frigate is MUST”.
 
Let’s see what happened:
A: Abandoned. Now it is 2B GBP, robbing 750M GBP from other assets.
B, C met, and D fully met (12 is enough in that RFI).
 
The top priority was requirement A. This was the whole rationale for starting T31. But, it failed. It costs 60% more than originally required as the top priority. Then, why T31 can execute option E? It is the navy who said, hull sonar and torpedo defense are NOT mandatory.
 
Ripping off CAMM will significantly reduce cost with no need for data-link, canister, electronics box, and what is more, the Sea Ceptor system software resulting in much simpler CMS. If you add 20mm CIWS, then it still meets T31 RFI. In other words, even my “T31-OPVH” option meets the original T31 RFI.
 
For me, the baddest point of T31 is lying on its cost. Please invest no more money on T31. There are many other things which needs investments (or actually, which needs to avoid cuts coming in near future). This is my point. They already have 60% more money. If uparming of T31 is wished, then do it within the T31 budget.
 

Simon m

From my understanding the £2b is £750 million of mainly initial setup costs i.e. for the frigate factory which is likely to a capital investment in a long term strategy to ensure competition to BAE.
This means that a large amount of the £750 million would be spread across anything built in Rosyth – Not just 5 T31

The £1.25b is the budget for the 5 ships. I can understand & see the argument for including the £750m. But the fact is its not as simple as £2billion ÷ 5 and it depends on future builds and the percentages of different things within £750m

So it hasn’t yet technically failed on A. Even if
it has you would simply not reach the 4/5 ships purchasing T26 & you certainly wouldn’t magic up the 48 CAMM & anti ship missiles etc. That everyone is criticising T31 for.

You make a good point with the SAM & I am wondering whether the 12 are coming from the T31 budget & not from the same pool that T26 is using from T23? This may be the reason Babcock made the point that sea ceptor was their solution?

The design of the T31 is extremely capable to just strip it down to even less weaponry, means it’s of less use when it is likely to be the closest to the crisis.
It is also well and good having a T26 as the higher end asset but if it’s not where you need it cant be utilised

The RFI stated it should be a picture contributor & should be to ready to be fitted for a Sonar. Why would you ask a supplier to include a Sonar if you already have them? It was in my mind certainly initially some GFE would be included but this would be very limited but not to be incorporated in the baseline bids. It could be as you state the £750 includes the transfer of GFE on top of what the baseline is equipped with?

If that (I wish & hope) is the case it would that T31s may already be “upgraded” without extra costs above £2 billion.

Derek

Did anyone else notice in yesterdays tweet on the latest River 2 FOST completion that it was referred to as the latest ‘OVERSEAS patrol vessel’ (OPV). It appears that we now have no OFFSHORE patrol vessels currently …..

Meirion X

I would delete Mk. 41 from Type 26 frigate to provide more GFE for Type 31 frigate, which should include 12 CAM-ER each, as soon as development completed.

Challenger

I think the frustrating thing with how the T31 saga has played out so far is that they’ve chosen a mature design with plenty of space for future requirements, but after making the right call on the initial selection it seems clear the weapon/sensor fit’s going to be entirely driven by the need to keep within a strict budget and not in any way scaled to the requirement.
 
24x CAMM instead of 12x, a bow mounted sonar, a few dipping sonar sets for the Wildcat fleet and some affordable canister launched AShM like NSM wouldn’t exactly break the bank compared to the amount being chuffed on the T26’s and F35’s. Could probably get all of the shopping list above for the price of 2 or 3 of the latter!
 
I don’t have an issue with the 40mm/57mm guns as they should provide a pretty excellent anti-swarm surface defence as well as an added anti-air screen alongside CAMM.
 
We can’t purely think in terms of The Gulf though as that’s just one deployment the T31’s are likely to undertake. It’s for instance also likely they will be forward deployed to Singapore and if that’s the case a degree of ASW capability would be desirable. After all if all a T31 could bring to the Malacca Straits and South China Sea was the ability to fend of torpedo boats and survive a very minimal air-threat whilst in no way threatening Chinese surface/sub-surface activities then what’s the point. May as we send an OPV!

Phillip Johnson

…..forwarded deployed to Singapore…..without effective ASW the vessel would be a liability and a drain on allied resources.
A T31 as planned would have to run for cover if things deteriorated.
I cannot believe other than the RN is intent on building the biggest ship it could and hoping governments’ 5 years hence are forced by events to upgrade it.
The trouble with that is the FFBNW is also know as too little too late.

Meirion X

The Type 31 frigates will highly likely be
fitted with an anti torpedo decoy system, Siren Mk 251 active decoy rounds as well as the Sea Gnat. It will get a sonar too.
So dont believe the misinformation about it!

Phillip Johnson

To use a decoy you have an idea there is something there to be decoyed. I hope it does get a hull sonar because if you don’t you would be just be potting off decoys blind or depending on someone else’s sonar to provide the information.

donald_of_tokyo

At lest for anti-torpedo, it is not a problem.
 
Sea Sentor ship torpedo decoy system has a small TASS to identify torpedoes incoming. They are even carried on some RFA vessels, if my memory works.

Phillip Johnson

Sea Sentor uses a small towed array together with an expendable decoy launcher. Unfortunately I have never seen it mentioned with regard to the T31.

Meirion X

Don’t forget that Type 31 frigate is still in detailed design stage.
So what supply line equipment has been ordered so for, is most likely an indicator of what the design process has progressed to different areas the ship.
Other equipment will be ordered later when the detailed design progresses.

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Dern

Why would it be a drain on Allied reasources? Are we really expeting China to start an Nuclear war by sinking NATO warships? Honestly I suspect a River 2 in Singapore would be better (cheaper, and handier for, lets face it the most likely use, standoffs with various fishing boats).
 

Phillip Johnson

If things are going to remain peaceful by all means send an OPV.
The reason why it might turn nasty is that the Chinese look likely to use the waters between the Chinese Island of Hainan and the Parcels as a patrol area for their SSBN’s.
That is why the USN pays such attention to the northern SCS rather than the Spratly’s in the southern SCS where most of the territorial disputes are.
It all depends what the UK what to achieve by being in Singapore. If it is just showing the flag any old mobile flagpole will do. If you intend more, you better be dressed for the part.

Simon m

By that logic we don’t need a navy at all!
We didn’t expect Saddam to invade Kuwait, we didn’t expect Argentina to invade the Falkland.
The T31 is at more risk in my view. Easy for a “rogue” vessel of a proxy state to sink one ship as a message than sink a CSG

rec

Absolutely agree, if we can’t afford to fully fit it out as s rounded GP frigate, then what’s the point? Its like Jesus’ parable of checking to see if you can finish the tower before you start to build it. An extra T26 and upgunned Rivers would be better or have gone for Leander, looks like and is a Corvette . We already have partly armed destroyers, that need escorting. We have to few ASW Merlins, and inadequate aviation resources for the carriers. How do Japan and France seem to do better on similar sums of money?

Meirion X

France has only two true destoryers.
Japan does not have Nuclear Deterrent to pay for.
Look at those other countries defences closely, you will find deficiencies some somewhere.

Last edited 10 months ago by Meirion X
Simon m

Yeah, but we already have so many other deficiencies like no air defence, a small under equipped army that’s starting to look not fit for purpose, smallest RAF ever, a miniscule number of anti-ship missiles, no coastal defence, no tactical nuclear weapons etc. Its across the board. It’s clear I think we don’t get value for money. It is also interesting that you look at France that most of the equipment is totally built in France giving national pride and political pressure/benefit to procure equipment the UK seems to want to build consortiums to build things by some logic it buys you influence I am not sure it does the French join go along with the game get what intellectual property they need make their excuses and leave to build it themselves. Look at rafale almost as good as typhoon in service sooner and they managed to do a naval variant as well.

Duker

No air defence ?
The UK does have one , at Conigsby and Lossiemouth and keeping 2 squadrons of the T1 Typhoons specifically for this task freeing the other squadrons of higher level tranches for multi role work ( which includes air defence role)
https://www.raf.mod.uk/what-we-do/overview/quick-reaction-alert/

Simon m

Sorry no ground based air defence – Sky Sabre is an army system and will either be abroad protecting troops or training and earmarked to protect pretty much anything in the UK. Although better than Rapier at least that was more numerous to provide some sort of extra airbase defence. Virtually every other significant power has Typhoons or similar and Patriot or Aster or similar we totally rely on Typhoon in an air force with ever decreasing numbers, it will be interesting to see what happens when amraam leaves service

Simon m

There’s a difference between fully fitting out T31 and have the gold standard and that’s anywhere between £300 to £500 million per ship. 1/2 T26 doesn’t bring anywhere near the capability of 5 T31, it can only be in one place and influence that small area of ocean. T31 just needs a little more investment. I am hopeful it will get it as still no confirmation of the fit so I am hoping some comparatively small extra funding can be found in the review. Why Leander probably cost the same & less capable

Glass Half Full

Presuming T31 can operate similarly to Iver Huitfeldt, then it can operate all-day every-day on one diesel and cruise at up to 18 knots while trailing the second propeller. One benefit is the ability to share the wear across the engines and/or take one offline for maintenance/urgent repairs. Does anyone know if this only applies to two of the engines or can the ship be operated with any one-of-the-four in the single engine mode?

Duker

The Huitfeldt has simple, robust CODAD propulsion. Four MTU diesels can be clutched in to drive the ship in different configurations. A single engine can propel the ship at 18 knots with an exceptional range of about 9,300nm. Two diesels can make about 25 knots and using all four engines the ship can reach 29.3 knots…”
I dont think running on one prop in normal running is necessary, the gearbox would have both running at once. And the hours on each engine might be equalised but not to the extent all need major overhaul at the same time.
https://www.navylookout.com/in-focus-the-arrowhead-140-type-31e-frigate-candidate/

N-a-B

They’re not splitter boxes across shafts. They’re two into one boxes (ie two donks into box, outputting to one shaft), identical each shaftline.

Duker

So theres 2 diesels and a separate gearbox for each shaft, which allows one or two of the engines to provide power for its specific shaft.
So if you wanted 3 engines running, 2 props on higher power than the other shaft at lower power.
Can see the RN liking that at all.

Glass Half Full

Some thoughts on the ever lively discussion regrading equipment fit.
 
I’d suggest the way to think about T31 is as a relatively blank canvas to which options may be added/removed to increase/decrease capabilities based on mission requirements/deployment risks. These solutions can all be added over time as budgets/needs/solutions develop and thus avoid large up front capital expense.
 
For example,
 

  1. If more CAMM are desirable then deck mount additional launchers. The rest of the necessary infrastructure is already there. Cold launch makes it even more straightforward.
  2. If ship launched ASM/land attack are required then deck launch canister options for NSM (if this is the interim solution), Brimstone Sea Spear, Sea Venom or SPEAR 3 if any of the last three ever materialize in a ship launched role.
  3. If ASW is your game, then mission module based solutions operating from USV are one option that side steps need for a super quiet ship. Or deck based ISO containers for CAPTAS. Or bolt on something like the Krait Defense System from SEA (which took 2 days to do in an exercise last year). We’re not going to suddenly get Type 26 capability doing any of these but it may be fine for home waters, littoral work. Embark Merlin, Wildcat and/or UAVs for sonar buoy and torpedo deployment. ROK navy already has Wildcats with Flash sonar and torpedoes.
  4. MCM, again by using USV/UUV mission module solutions

 
Many of these could be fitted to the ship at the same time to provide multiple capabilities. They could be flown anywhere in the world to upfit a deployed T31 if a situation develops. When not in use they could be warehoused and serviced on shore, ready for immediate use. None require Mk 41/Sylver VLS. A number of these solutions might even operate off a River B2. Given the nature of a number of these options, e.g. MCM and ASW, a specialised team would probably deploy with the system and not be part of the standard crew.
 
Edit: Forgot to add deploying UUVs for ASW. Also that a MCM mission module might be beneficial for T26 too. You might even use CAMM deck mount on T45 so that Sylver is used for Aster 30 conventional and BMD variants.

Last edited 10 months ago by Glass Half Full
rec

Given the complexities and poor record for UK defence procurement and the requirement to kick start the economy after COVID. Why not have a 10 year shipbuilding strategy that is based on additional funding that looks to the sustainable development of shipbuilding and related industries? Surely a plan that included 7 new build T26 (bringing the total up to 10) , 6 T31 (at a higher spec) 3 Mars sss, plus a 2 for 1 areplacement fior Argus (for disaster reluef) must be doable for around 15 billion spread over a 10 year period ?????

It would also give the main defence budget some head room and actually give industry the chance to plan long term invest and be more efficient and for a better budgeted outcome

Duker

There is something to be said for that approach but I read here many quite grandiose plans that are more about doubling the active fleet of the RN. The most that might be hoped for is a single extra T31 or similar, or some might say bringing forward the T31 program to its original hulls in water timetable.
The hard truth is what the conservative government took away in 2010 isnt going to be brought back by a conservative government in 2020.
Reading back on previous articles here on the background to previous shipbuilding program ‘flops’ shows that the system is broken both at the MoD and the industry sides.

Bob

Apologies for going off-topic, but can we please have a slightly darker grey for comments?
I fing the lack of contrast makes the current text difficult to read. Thanks.

Geo

While on the subject of the comments section, is anyone else finding that half their comment get deleted mid composition? Tends to happen after cutting and pasting a quote in.

Duker

Ive noticed that too…seems to be connected to ‘popup’ ads coming in from the RHS

Don

A few thoughts.

Minewarefare is progressing towards unmanned systems. With this I can see a future reduction in Hunt/Sandown numbers as the capability becomes less reliant on a dedicated vessel and becomes more of a transferable/portable system between ships. This has the potential to release ship crews from any reduction in Hunt/Sandown numbers. These crews could help futher double crewing of exsisting ships or could even go towards crewing a small second batch of T31.

Future replacement of Bays/Argus/Albion/Bulwark I would see being done by the same number or more ships but all of the one standard type of vessel . Perhaps simpler and cheaper to operate and crew than Albion/Bulwark but maybe slightly more capable (thinking hangar etc) than the Bays. I don’t see a Ocean/Dixmunde/Canberra type vessel being funded. As HMS POW is undertaking the LPH role. I feel that if the RN got an Ocean/Dixmunde/Canberra vessel this would threaten one of the Carriers and could result in one being sold. So I would accept the compromise of keeping the two carriers and a number of the one standard vessel type replacements for the Bays/Argus/Albion/Bulwark.

The overall goal being to maintain or increase ship numbers while trying to reduce operating costs and reduce crew numbers per ship to allow futher double crewing.

Duker

 As HMS POW is undertaking the LPH role. “
That was some time ago, and Im sure its now changed back to be an equivalent to the QE , which is both fast jets and or helicopters.
 
“It was government policy between 2010-14 that the second carrier would be sold or mothballed on completion “
And now Johnson is changing it again, hopefully to stick to the 2 carrier strike role as described here
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/surface-fleet/aircraft-carriers/hms-prince-of-wales
 

Don

“As HMS POW is undertaking the LPH role. “

I agree both carriers will be operating fast jets and helicopters. If needed either carrier could take on some LPH duties but I mentioned HMS POW as it has had some modifications (eg wider passageways for troop movement etc.) with LPH in mind.

rec

Yes Fully agree on Bay/LPD replacement with hanger also Add Argus replacement and hospital into this. Then ask the BMT Spanish bid to bid for the lot and include CL as well as H&W in the building? With completion of stores ships being at H&W and the others at CL

On MCM, not sure about the not needing specialist vessels. But an interim could be to convert 2 oil rig supply ships and try the drone concept out in the Clyde and the gulf

Don

On MCM, I agree there still will be a role for specialist vessels but I think the numbers of these vessels will be reduced from current levels. This reduction then being compensated for by an increase of unmanned systems that can be deployed from other ships or shore.

Darren

What is glaringly obvious is this. Lower tonnage systems based warships such as Frigates and Destroyers have a higher foreign content then bigger tonnage warships such as Aircraft Carriers and RFA ships. Cammel Laird said their UK content for the type 31 ships was as high as 70% and I am sure it is lower with the chosen Type 31 and also the Type 26 ships (in which BAE dine a deal to buy mysterious flater Swedish steel). But 90% UK content is given for the two super Carriers and being bigger and more steel intensive ships as opposed to frigates and subs etc, the FSSS will have a far bigger UK content than Frigates too.

Bloke no longer down the pub

I see Indonesia has chosen the Danish Navy’s Iver-Huitfield class as the basis of their new frigate.

Duker

What one is that? The current build is a Dutch design from the Damen group

D J

The Damen Sigma design is a light frigate around the 2,400t mark. Indonesia has been looking at the IH design for a while now as a 2 ship local build (PT PAL). It appears some sort of preliminary agreement has been reached, but I don’t believe actual final contract has been signed as yet. This will be a serious step up for Indonesia, especially if they fit anything like the IH armament & sensors.

ANDREW JOHN WILDE

Type 31 is OK ,just, for most of the international scenarios it could attend as portrayed by the UK Government apart from a major sea war when it is to be hoped that the big boys will arrive and save the warship from destruction. Why then, as the ship is already fitted with Sea Ceptor has it not been given a larger installation to allow some control of its air space to hand over to the relieving Task Force?

adam

Type 31 is OK ,just, for most of the international scenarios it could attend as portrayed by the UK Government apart from a major sea war when it is to be hoped that the big boys will arrive and save the warship from destruction
see more at https://noithatdongthanh.vn/nhung-mau-noi-that-can-ho-chung-cu-tuyet-dep.html

Last edited 5 months ago by adam