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Few things –
1) shiney new boat!
2) Patrick Blackett: What a man. Was at Falkland and Jutland, Nobel Prize!? Great name choice.
3) Anyone else get the impression they knew what they wanted to buy & then made up a “competetive tender” with criteria so narrow, only the thing they wanted would meet it. Ticking some boxes to keep the admins happy were we chaps? Kinda like a “competetive tender” for a new car that specifies ‘must be called Mercedes SL’ & then being suprised Ford doesn’t bid…
4) Sounds like an excellent platform, programme & reasonable value at £7M.


3) Almost definitely what happened, and its the right move. When you want a pickaxe, you search for a pickaxe. Last thing you want to do is just search axe, especially when you’re legally required to consider every bid that meets the criteria fairly

Glen Rae.

No comms office or aerials ???


Small commercial ships deal with comms on the bridge.

captain p wash

it’s not a combat Ship …… did you actually read the article ?

Steven Alfred Rake

The best part of this report is in the 2nd from last sentence “ this accelerator project is a good example of setting sensible goals and getting things done”.
May be Rear Admiral Parkin and his RM Colonel should be asked to run all of the procurement for the RN and RFA


Easy to do when the amounts of money involved are small. Like it or not big money defence projects are important for the national and regional economy as well as for national defence. Things are also much more complicated when what you are buying is high tech not an off the self commercial vessel.

Steven Alfred Rake

We need people who can think out of the box unlike a good portion of the people at the top who seem to be part of the problem rather than the solution.

captain p wash

Maybe, just maybe, those people haven’t seen your posts on here…… I’m sure when they do, they’ll be in contact………. it’s good to know that you are here ….

Steven Alfred Rake

You seem to be in the “I’m part of the problem” side of the equation.


Small boat procurement is one of the good bits of DE&S and they have been steadily delivering over the last few years. 👍

Trevor G

Or even get Jackie Fisher on the case?

Steven Alfred Rake

You hit the nail on the head, if only we could get someone with Jackie Fishers mind set we would be light years ahead of the opersition.

captain p wash

Yup, he won the war all on his own didn’t he……. apart from all the “Opersition” we had to face for the next 5years…..


He role where the most results was before the war. Only a short period of around 6 months when bought out of retirement to be 1SL again.

Steven Alfred Rake

History old boy, learn your history, as it can oftern help in stopping us make the same mistakes over and over again.


I love this, but would also love to see a weaponised, battleship grey, Radar ready, missile boat/quick sub hunter version. But the platform looks wonderful! Fast!

captain p wash

What a cracking looking boat….. wouldn’t mind one myself to add to the collection.

Bloke down the pub

Would make an interesting motor yacht.

captain p wash

I was thinking more of a fishing and Partying Yacht personally….. my Wife has many friends and I’d just like to leave them ashore and go partying and fishing !!!!!


I’m not seeing any VLS cells.

captain p wash

On this version….. they are horizontal…..


It’s a experiment platform, it’s not for combat, it’s for testing new tech




“This hull form is not suited to wider warship applications due to the narrow focsle”

That is not true! Damen has also designed the OPV 2600 with an axe-bow! This is a 2600 GRT warship with a 76mm deck gun, an advanced radarsystem and the possibilty to add other weaponsystems!

The vessel has an overall length of 103m, beam of 14.4m, draught of 4m and displacement of 2,600t. It is operated by a crew of up to 60 members while an additional 48 personnel can be carried for a total of a 108 members. I would call that a decent size warship.

Last edited 16 days ago by Robert

A Mk.41 might not be possible in the 2600 design. But if the 76mm is substituted for a 57mm deck gun, there will be enough room for the MK.41 self defence version, that is the shortest version. But a Mk. 56 VLS will certainly be possible, as well as a RAM launcher. There is also enough room for SSM missiles. That will classify it as a corvette.

Last edited 15 days ago by Robert

You MIGHT physically fit a single VLS system on the ship but, as the article points out, the axe-bow design requires keeping the bow light. Mk41s, especially when loaded, are very heavy bits of kit. Both the 57mm and 76mm weigh around 14 tonnes fully loaded; a single 8-cell Mk41 loaded with with quad-packed ESSM weighs in over 21 tonnes.


It is difficult for outsiders to determine the maximum load this bow can take. But it is certainly possible to install a non-deck penetrating dual packed ESSM Block 2 Mk.56 with 16 VLS cells on top of the helicopter hangar. A non-deck penetrating RAM launcher is also possible. It will then have 53 SAM missiles.

Also the installation of an electric drive system and a VDS / HMS is possible. The ship will then be able to be used in an ASW role.

Allthough this requires a redesign of the superstructure, it is also possible to position the VLS cells a midships. Same as in the Type 31.

I would call that a warship. Don’t you?

captain p wash

I would call that a fantasy ship.



The Sigma corvette is fitted with an electric drive system. It will therefore be fairly easy to use a simular system on this design!

The Pola frigate Damen build for Mexico is fitted with a Mk.56!

All the Sigma corvettes are fitted with a HMS / VDS sonar!

Last edited 14 days ago by Robert

To keep the weight down, I would be fitting CAMM, not mk41/56 & ESSM. ESSM is a CAMM-ER class / weight missile. The Axe bow is not new (just more refined these days) – check out a number of WW1 majors. Something I would add, if thinking of operating a Sea Axe OPV in the somewhere like the Pacific & certain parts of the Indian or Caribbean. If you hit a coral reef in a normal bow, you stand a good chance of riding up onto the reef. With a Sea Axe, it will be more like hitting a brick wall. Even the Samoan’s (who should know a thing or two about reefs), managed to write off a new 40m steel patrol boat (not an axe bow), by hitting a reef in 2021 (only commissioned in 2019).


Sure, a CAMM or a CAMM-ER is also a very good option. The OPV 2600 has a range of 7000 NM and an endurance of 40 days. It already outperforms the River class OPV both in speed, range and weapon systems.


Ax bow is much more than just a straight stem.
The Pocket Battleships of Germany started out with straight stems, which were converted to flared bows because of the heavy seas from the atlantic
It only works if the forward hull doesnt have weight for things like guns or missile launchers

captain p wash

Oh it’s nothing personal mate….. just that it’s not uncommon on here for people to play fantasy fleets and so on…..and your very well designed version however configured will never exist other than in the mind……… that’s why I said it’s a Fantasy.


None taken! The ship itself would be a great addition to the fleet. It outperformes the River class.

Captain P Wash

I actually like the RB2’s for the reason we actually have these hulls in the water and they have much potential.


The Pola frigate doesnt have Mk56 VLS
The primary weapon systems fitted on board the vessel will be a RAM Block 2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher and Harpoon surface-to-surface missile (SSM) launchers. The forward bow deck will be installed with a 57mm main gun. Other gun systems on board the vessel will include two Mk38 25mm remotely controlled machine guns and six 12.7mm M2 machine guns.
For goodness sake, its a lower level patrol frigate


You have to get your facts straight. The POLA frigate does have a Mk.56 VLS onboard!

The ARM Reformador weapons suite consists in:

  • Boeing RGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (most likely four)
  • 8x Mk 56 VLS for Raytheon ESSM surface to air missiles
  • 1x Mk 49 launcher for 21x Raytheon RAM Block II surface to air missiles
  • 1x 57-mm Mk3 BAE Systems Bofors main gun
  • 2x 25-mm Rafael Typhoon Mk 38 Mod 2 remote weapon stations,
  • 6x 12.7-mm M2 machine guns
  • 2x triple 324-mm torpedo tubes Mk 32 SVTT for Raytheon Mk 54 Mod 0 torpedoes.

The ship is equipped with a Thales SMART-S Mk 2 radar, Raytheon Anschütz Synapsis navigation radar, a Thales CAPTAS 2 variable depth and Indra Rigel electronic warfare system. Helicopter deck and hangar space for one Lockheed Martin (Sikorsky) MH-60R Seahawk.

Another confirmation:

The official request:

It even has more weapons onboard then the Type 31!

I would call that a light frigate!

Last edited 11 days ago by Robert
Nick B

Lol, he does get most stuff totally wrong normally.


My source says differently !

Damen describe the Morocco version as having the VLS system , and the pictures place that behind the forward gun. Mexicos Reformador doesnt have VLS launchers behind the gun.
I just watched the short video from Damen showing the modules being build and the joining together in the Mexico shipyard.
A vertical views shows no VLS launchers around the funnel area or before the RAM launcher on the helicopter hangar roof.

You can confirm for your self by watching the video, the Reformador doesnt include VLS . They may be later proposed vessels upgraded to the bigger class but not this vessel

The video concentrates on all the weapons systems install, the forward gun, the RAM launcher, the VDS sonar system
Theres also the forward CIWS and what looks like frames for later ASM missiles up near the funnels
NO VLS launchers
What your sources have done is assumed it would be the same as the bigger vessels for Morocco and Indonesia. A simple mistake to make. Also wikipedia is mistaken
 Morocco Damen vessels ( 10514 type) with this one for Mexico the smaller 10513 type


Your source is wrong!


The video says they are right . Watch the few minutes of the ( speeded up) construction and then some nice side and aerial views.
What is “navaltoday’ or ‘navalnews’, certainly arent as reliable as Navy lookout


It is also not important whether it is actually mounted on the ship, but whether it can be mounted on it. That was also the whole discussion about Damen’s OPV2600, the ability to mount VLS cells and other weapons on this design without compromising the handling characteristics of an AXE-bow.


‘VLS cells’ seem to be part of some commentors religious dogma.

And in Mexicos situation hardly necessary as they arent part of any military alliance nor have they even low level external threats


 The hull form would not, for example, accommodate a VLS silo forward.

One, why does there have to be a VLS for’ard?

Two, all a matter of scale surely?

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Assuming the actual hull forms, inc the underwater bits are all that similar.


My point is that axe bow built big enough can accommodate a VLS.

Axe-bows are deep at the bow.


I understand FDI is NOT Axe-bow.

The basic idea of FDI hull is, to enlarge the water-line to reduce (high speed) drag force.

Axe-bow is to reduce the acceleration when digged into a swell. It is more narrow, and narrower at the top.

For example, FDI hull has a knuckle. Its top width is also very wide. Very different.

I understand FDI hull form is more an modern equivalent of T12 (including Leander) frigats’s hull. And, actually, Leander frigats’ hull design was to reduce the swell shock. So, all of them are “similar” in their aim.

But, Axe-bow is a patented technology. So, it differs from the old hull-forms. In other words, when you say Axe-bow, it is THE Axe-bow (very narrow meaning). Something looking similar, but NOT called Axe-bow, is some different thing.

For me, both argument is not wrong, but talking about different thing using the same word, “Axe-bow”. Lavylookout’s comment is correct. Your argument is also not wrong, but one thing wrong is, FDI is NOT Axe-bow.

Last edited 14 days ago by donald_of_tokyo

It is the closest thing out there to a large frigate sized axe and extremely similar.

I am not really interested whether you think what post is correct or not.

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Last edited 14 days ago by X

Looks very different in bow. FDI is fat, Axe-bow is narrow. Very different. If you think Axe-bow is similar to that of FDI, blame Damen that Axe-bow is nothing new, not worth for a patent.

Exactly on your figure, we can see how axe-bow is narrow. In this figure, we can see FDI bow very very is fat.

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Last edited 14 days ago by donald_of_tokyo
A bit more detailed discussion on the novel bow types

‘Developed by Damen Shipyards [9], the Axe Bow features a plumb stem with long, fine lines for the entrance. With this design, the keel actually drops down towards the bow, resulting in an axe shaped profile. (Figure 4‑1) Hence the name Axe Bow.
Axe Bow employs straight vertical sides to create a linear resistance to waves, resulting in smooth pitching motions’

It seems to require straight vertical sides which the frigate design from X doesnt have , but the Damen OPV does.


Thanks. Nice webpage it is.

I’ve read the original paper by Damen on Axe-bow (and enlarged hull). Very interesting read, they are. They are truly innovative new design, technology.

There is a reason why Damen is successful these days. They pay for innovation, trial, and its promotion. Good investments.


The Damen OPV 2600 2nd gen design doesnt seem to have much forward hull volume above the water line

In a different way , similar considerations led to the RN having two similar size but separate designs in the late 70s. The T42 and T22.
The T42 needed more volume forward for the Sea Dart missile spaces ( with magazine below water line) while the T22 had finer lines for its sea keeping ASW duties. Other countries used a AAW missile launchers above the helicopter hangar area

Last edited 15 days ago by Duker

True, but it is possible to install a Mk.56 VLS launcher on top of the hangar.

If the superstructure is redesigned it is possible to install a Mk.41 VLS.


Of course it was possible, as I mentioned, to put launchers just forward of the helicopter spaces. But the RN didnt .
If they lengthened the T22 hull form forward of the bridge , it would be wide enough below the water line, which eventually happened ( The Batch 3 version was 50 ft longer) but behind the bridge . But in those days the delays and extra resources for 2 different designs at the same time seemed unimportant


I was referring to the OPV 2600!


Possible? The design excludes that possibility. Most ships dont put a VLS ‘on top of the hangar’ for obvious reasons. Forward of the hangar, yes ( Meko) around the edges ( Halifax class). The clear space of the helicopter excludes a VLS system above. A non penetrating deck launcher is possible ( sea wolf)

Bloke down the pub

I wonder if the boys in light blue will take the naming as a sleight to Bomber Harris?


Blackett was responsible for the design of the UK bomb sight used by Bomber command

Trevor G

I think 20kts is very conservative; the Damen 4208 is advertised at 26kts max. Nice looking boat.

Last edited 16 days ago by Trevor G
captain p wash

It did say that above though………..

Trevor G

Just trying to add a more specific figure. Mind, you wouldn’t catch many fish while doing 26kts…


Spearfish? 😉

Bloke down the pub

I suspect the axe bow was also chosen to simplify construction, certainly an advantage when Damen are selling them off the peg.


Not so . It has definite advantages for the ships motion in rough seas


Recommend ‘Blackett’s War’ by Stephen Budiansky as an enjoyable read about Blackett and early Operational Research. Fascinating to see science and in fact just basic critical thinking at play in war.


When I did my computer science degree in the late 80’s a lot of operational research examples came from WW2, which is when people really began to recognise the usefulness of the insights it could deliver. The two that stuck in mind were, the calculation of the optimal depth for depth charges and how long it would take to seize Iwo Jima.

(I’d avoid the ‘critical thinking’ description, many use that phrase to describe watching YouTube videos from flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers.)


The depth charge one stuck out to me too, for coastal command aircraft keeping it shallow as if you used deeper you had almost no chance as the submarine could be in a wide area by that depth, so put all your dice on catching it shallow.

I also really liked the convoy optimization and ‘area law’ that you can increase the number of ships in a convoy much faster than the perimeter increases and therefore increase escort per perimeter with bigger convoys.

Flat earthers and anti-vaxxers don’t make it into my YouTube feed, but a shame if that phrase has been hijacked, my Mum always liked to use it (usually decrying my lack as I was caught doing something stupid!).


Maybe it’s my dark humour but you should 100% check the flat earthers out. Found one where their little collective spent $20,000 to buy a ring laser gyroscope to test their theory: if the world was flat, the gyro would show no drift. Then they detected 15-degree per hour drift (oddly at precisely the rate expected for a round Earth) & so decided it must be broken… amazing!

Anyway, book sounds interesting. I’m off to look it up. Cheers for the recommendation.


9,000 sensors. Is that normal tech for ships these days? What kind of things do they cover, systems, structure or both?


Yes – and both. You’ll have strain gauges in certain bits of structure, all sorts of temperature, flow rate, for things like lub oil, fuel, cooling water, intake air, exhaust air and thats just for each engine. Ditto for pumps, centrifuges, filters, HVAC plants, HVAC ducts and so on. then there will be flood sensors, fire and smoke detectors, the list goes on.

Every single sensor will have to be tested, calibrated – which is one reason testing and commissioning is a bit more involved than looking at it and going “that’ll be right”.


Hopefully she can continue to maintain our world class lead in Fitted For But Not With technology


The aft work area looks suitably empty so they must have considered FFBNW.

I am just upset they couldn’t have implemented this in a shipping container and actually bought a hull. I thought the future was a navy sans ships sans sailors?

This is the ultimate objective………….

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Last edited 15 days ago by X

Nice vessel.

Small = easy to maintain.
Good at high-sea at speed = good for North-sea, Channel, or Irish Sea patrol.

Even though she is for NavyX program, if her performance is good, DAMEN FCS 4008 or 5009 series could be a good candidate for UKBF cutter replacements.

Low freeboard at the quartor deck is “good” for boat-peple handling. With Axe-bow, she can steam at sea to the theater, while not giving un-tolerable “shake” for the crew. What is more, she can be operated by small crew. Of course, crew for boarding is needed. But, core crew of 6 is impressive.

It will also be a good candidate for replacing Archer class patrol boats, from the same reason.

Rob N

It can go up to 30kts if the company advertising is correct.


Commonwealth game 2022 £80 Million
UK Ukraine support £4 Billion
BREXIT £42 Billion
NHS £192 Billion
Covid £376 Billion

No extra for the Navy mate!

Phil Grove

There is a good book on Patrick Blackett, edited by Peter Hore (2003), Patrick Blackett: Sailor, Scientist, Socialist


Yes. In those post war years he was a bit of a Joe Stalin fan.


She looks good and thats half the battle. This type of vessel would be just right to get those new MW systems to where they are needed. She has speed. legs and of course we would never be sending MW vessels out on their own but a couple 50 cals would give her a bit self defence without to much trouble. Lets hope they get some soon. Not a great idea to but a major warship sitting waiting to get hit whilst it plays with them drones. A dozen should do just fine.


Its a development vessel. Wont be going anywhere nasty.

Plus its way short of ‘major’ being 180 tonnes DWT

Captain P Wash

Agreed with both your points there.

David Broome

I’d love to see the RN funded to buy 6 of these to establish a Channel Sqardron working with border force to intercept illegal migrants with a RWS on the front and TEU based pods on the weather deck for secure accomodation on one paired with camcopters on another. Add in pollution modules and they’d be more than useful. Even better, stretch to several TEU pods for TRAPs and MCM then suddenly you bring a lot of capability to small platforms.

Last edited 12 days ago by David Broome

I bet there will be some very interesting experiments going on aboard. If I could have my time over again, joining the Royal Navy would be one of the things I would do.