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Needs ASW kit.


You can never be positive can you


Don’t be childish. We are talking a billion pound plus project and the lives of sailors and the UK’s strategic position. It is a serious subject. This isn’t Top Trumps or a tabletop war game. I don’t comment here to attract replies. Especially replies from those who need to learn a lot more about the topic at hand. Just ignore my comments.

stephen ball

Personally i think type31 was going to be armed with Mk41, question will be what do they arm type32 with?

Plus you mention strategic so yes tabletop war does play its role.


I happen to agree with x who made the first post here. Huge potential for fitting in a few years throughout the fleet.

C Verrier

I don’t think Type 31 are designed for ASW – They won’t have the low noise hull shape or towed sonar. ASW is what the more expensive Type 26 is for.


Exactly Charles! Which is why the T26 is much more expensive.

David Barry

Sean. Captas 4 can be fitted which would give some ability – The Flower Class corvettes were not anti-submarine platforms – they still sank U Boats.

And so it went through the iterations of frigates right up to T26 which is a dedicated ASW platform, but, CAPTAS 4 transiting through the active fleet of T31 – max of 2, given down time etc, wouldn’t be a bad thing.


What relevance has what a warship class did 80 years ago got to today? The T31 is a noisy hull and machinery package, nothing will get round that.



T31 is based on the the Danish IH class frigates, and use the same propulsion layout as them. Something of a surprise here, but the Danish frigates are fitted with a good sonar system and do ASW!

There is absolutely no reason (other than money) why T31 couldnt be fitted with an effective hull sonar and contribute to allied ASW efforts.

US AB are fitted with both a hull and TA sonar system, they are pure GT powered, not exactly stealthy ships for ASW work either!


A £250M average price cap wouldn’t survive first contact with any meaningful quietening measures, let alone a decent sonar.

You pays your money, etc etc


Granted, definitely not in the same league as T26, my point being you can fit a sonar if the requirement (and money)was there. Given the fact that you would also need a sonar department of around 12 per ship (60 sea deployed for class), and these people dont just rock up at the local job centre, can’t imagine its a capability happening anytime soon.

Supportive Bloke

Does it require 12 people to man a hill mounted active sonar?

OK you need rotating watches.

That department size sounds about right for T23 with hull and tail sonars?

Supportive Bloke

Whilst it is based on it a lot of ‘bits’ were not specified to meet the lowly price cap.

That said a decent active hull sonar would still be more than useful. If only as a deterrent. If that was on an SSN or SSK wouldn’t come anywhere near.


It ought to be called HMS FFBNW (Fitted For But Not With). It’s virtually an empty hull devoid of weapon systems. No wonder it was only intended to cost £250m (now £350m?).


Agree. The original plan was to have 13 T26s, all with a common noise-quiet platform. 8 TAs were to be purchased that could be rotated around any of the 13 hulls. The remaining 5 would conduct GP duties. The advantage of that concept would have been increased availability of the TA units.

But we are where we are; I understand that T31 can operate Merlin HM2. Is a hull mounted sonar within the Requirements? If it is it will be able to conduct ASW duties, albeit at a lower level than T26. A historical comparison would be that T22 was fitted with S2016 and the T21 GP Frigate was fitted with S184.

I do think that after a hull mounted sonar, the next highest Requirement priority should be the installation of a MCG for shore bombardment in the Littoral warfare environment. Batch I and Batch 2 T22s lacked that capability completely. However it was restored in the Batch 3s, one of more capable classes of RN warships.

The 57mm Bofors is something of nothing; restricted to policing duties, more appropriate for the Batch 2 OPVs.

Allan Desmond

still sank U boats.. the sheer stupidity of that comment as it relates to modern times .. shows how far Britain has fallen..( a Rich Island Nation ~that no longer builds ships or really has a Navy, rather sad) Guess that’s why Leftists British Unions Sabotaged the Type 26 , the Drive shaft on the Prince of Wales, and Had all the T45 not be able to run in Lukewarm Bathtub water and out of action.. While the Brits are famous for low qualities of workmanship in just about everything (really Leaking sunroof in 2023 ~on a new Jags.. solution “NO more sun roofs”) takes Real Hard work to get that Many ships and Billions of wasted pounds ~that wrecked…


Unions sabotaged …the drive shaft on PoW
Do you even realise these parts were made elsewhere in Europe. The Uk suppliers for this sort of thing do it for Super yachts etc as UK doesnt build this size of ship


Seems we have a Trump redneck in the conversation…


Rightist natcon nutter. No better than the loonie lefties. Best stay middle for diddle for a quieter life.


Unless your driving down a road mate..that can hurt.


Ok I will ask you a direct question to your natcon glib comment. Which union sabotaged the driveshaft? What evidence do you have and have you reported it to the police or NCA? I suspect you have no evidence and you haven’t reported it. Either way the consortium conveniently dissolved and the taxpayer will be funding the repair as usual.


The Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) was led by the MoD. BAE Systems and Babcock worked under the direction of the MoD; a lower risk business model for the two companies. The T45 had a different business model whereby the Company (BAE Systems) held Design Authority albeit the MoD overrode some of the decisions. The MoD would have overseen and Accepted all of the test and Trials and Acceptance events. I can only think that it may have been an insufficiently specified Supplier issue, albeit a series of Factory Tests would have been undertaken and accepted by the MoD.


Well considering pretty much every new class of warships have issues that need running through and the UK manages to build two 70,000 ton aircraft carriers in just 8 years and for only 3.5 billion with the first commissioned after 8 years each your being a but unreasonable…let’s just look at our peers efforts on building aircraft carriers:

1) US x2 GRFs built over a decade first started in 2009 commissioned 2017 but the catapult still does not work and breaks down, and the ship was not fully operationally until 2022 ( with more stuff broken) and they cost 13.5 billion dollars each….that’s about 3.5 Elizabeth class carriers.
2) china between 2013 and 2022 has launched two costs..but still about the same timeframe as the UK carrier.
3) India 1 carrier built started 2009..floated out 2014…but it had still not completed basin trials by 2021..sea trials in 2021 ants commissioned in 2022…thats 5 years after Elizabeth was commissioned and they started building them at the same time it’s still not even completed aircraft trials so is not operational…
4) France..1 carrier..laid down in 1989 launched 1994 finally commissars in 2001 five years late….they had to make the flight deck longer and change the propellers.

All in all the British introduction of the Elizabeth class has been a master class in how to get two 70,000 ton carriers for half the price of a U.S. carrier and at about 2/3 of the speed of most other carrier nations.


Well said. Bringing the facts. ????????


The T45 was designed and built to all the MoD agreed Requirements and was Accepted by the MoD following a successful Test and Trials programme. It wasn’t shoddy workmanship.

Hugh Wilson

Leftist unions? Don’t you mean rightwing budget cutting government?


And what do you suggest is cancelled in order to try and stretch the T31s to do something they’re not designed for.
Would you cancel NSM, or the CAMM upgrades to the T45, or something else?


Oddly enough, around the conversations about Sonar for T31….the Royal Navy will have at least 3 Sonar 2087 full kits (worth £50m each) available…..Sonar 2087 is on 8 ships at present (the T23 ASW’s) and another 3 full sets have been ordered for the first 3 x Type 26…the plan is for the first 3 T26 to get the new Sonar 2087, then the T23’s that are retired will pass their sonar onto the next T26 in build etc…when the last 3x T23 ASW gets retired their Sonar sets are available…no idea what the RN plans to do with them….but they will exist…and there won’t be another platform to hang them on the back of…

You never know…the RN might be looking long term and pulling a fast one…it might be easy to say to the Treasury…’look at these 2 Type 31’s without Sonar…wouldn’t it make sense to fit it?’….suddenly you’ve got 13 ASW frigates rather than 8…


I should add….the Sonar 2150 (the bow mounted sonar) will be in a similar position…

Plus the RN did perform an MLU and award a long term contract for the MTLS for Stingray recently…and launchers….

Wouldn’t be shocked if they get added at some point…the space is there….


Personally I would think you could stick those three tails on an inexpensive smaller hull…the US have done this and some of the best sub hunting assets are the SURTASS boats…very good sensors and nothing else.


But you’d have to man them…crew necessary to keep the ship moving who are already on the T31’s..

I’d love to see a really basic ASW vessel to take over the TAPS role from the overworked Frigates but I don’t think it will happen, might end up being an unmanned capability…


The original concept of the T23 was a cheap TA Platform, with only a 17 year life-span to monitor the exits from the GIUK Gaps..Had poor Chilled Water capability initially which had to be much upgraded to give it that Global GP capability.


Built 16 hulls for that purpose.


The self noise generated by a T31 will degrade the capability of one fitted with S2087.


The Flower Class corvettes were ASW Platforms. The design was based on a whale-catcher design, the “Southern Pride”. Ordered at the beginning of WW2 to plug a massive whole in convoy escorts and the withstand the rigours of the Atlantic Ocean and Artic Sea. Built in UK and Canada. The RN and the RCN operated them in large numbers. Some of the Canadian built vessels were operated by the USN (manned by the USCG). Armed with depth charge rail, DC Throwers (4), an ASDIC for detection and a 4″ gun to engage any U-boats caught on the surface (the wolf packs hunted on the surface at night). The arduous task confronting Flower Class crew was epitomised in Nicholas Monserrat’s “The Cruel Sea”. They saw the introduction of the Hedgehog mount and were followed by the “Castle” Class, then the River Class which saw the re-introduction of the term “Frigate” and was fitted with one Squid Ahead Throwing Weapon. Convoy escorts were also the 50 Lend-Lease USN destroyers in the early years, then the Hunt Class (Squid) and Black Swan Class Sloops (Captain Walker). Finally the Loch Class with 2 squids provided the ASW capability of the RN Pacific up to VJ Day. Many Flower Class crews lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. The tide was turned in May 43 but the U-boats, particularly the Type 21, were at the leading edge of technology with anechoic coatings and homing torpedoes and were a very real threat right until the end of the war, albeit in lesser numbers.


T26s are getting cheaper though as the R&D is amortised and items are spread over the Aus and Canadian ones…. it would be far more sensible to buy 2 more at £800m (or 3 more if a little extra cash could be found) then 5 T32s at £400m each….. 2 of something that can be used is better then 5 ships which cannot escort a CSG or patrol the GIUK gap.


Wow… so we only need ships to sail with the CSG and patrol the GIUK gap then? Guess that means we can shrink the navy a lot more then…

Of course the T31s can escort the CSG.

They can even patrol the GIUK gap – against surface vessels. The Astutes, the RN’s main anti-submarine assets can deal with those beneath the surface.


The RN is formed around the concept of CSG (and LSGs)… The second job it is to protect our country and NATO from the most significant maritime threat we have (which is currently russian submarines).

6 SSNs mean 1.5 available, so an astute in the GIUK gap and one with CSG, and that ignores other tasking. More SSNs can’t be built so the obvious thing to do is a few more T26s.

A T31 cannot escort a CSG or even an LSG without a T26/23 and a T45, so its a doubling up of assets.

5 T31s are useful for patrolling in the gulf and a number of tasks (the task they were designed for), but what would ten of them do?


Pretty sure you can fit 152 Camm and Cammer if they can be quad packed, would that not be any good as a missle truck with CSG air defence?


Is that you, Grant, of Conqueror and T26?


That’s good then. The PLAN won’t sink them then.


Just a suggestion but what about Captas-1 in a TEU mission module (3 sets for 5 ships) with the flexibility of using them on other platforms. I know not a patch on Captas-4 but then again the Type-31 is a GP design and provides an economical means to add a basic capability that’s better than nothing?

Andrew Crisp

Limited asw could be done by fitting wildcat with dipping sonar (like South Korea) and link 16(I believe now joint effort between army and navy) back to the ship.




Needs a hull sonar.


At the rate they are dribbling out /recycling equipment news that may be coming

Everything these days is packaged as ‘announceables’ from the minister/secretary. Rather than it all coming out at the beginning, it enables old news to seem fresh. Just as a ship has a life cycle , so does the publicity


With MK41 the RN could nab some ASROC lol


Would need to be role changed from its primary ASuW role with FASGW Light or Heavy. That would take a finite time of non-availability for either role. ASuW role more pertinent to GP Litorral warfare role. The HAS2 can carry a pair of Stingrays but has no Sonobuoy capability.


It has a helicopter.




It has a helicopter that has no ASW detection capabilities


It can carry a Merlin…so simply the single most exquisite ASW rotor on the plant.


X is 100% correct.

Helo on its own with or without a dipping sonar is next to useless. Needs host ship to point to target.


Thank you. It’s a fundamental. At one time all the helicopter did was carry torpedoes out to the contact. Dipping sonar came after. In fact the US try to automate the process quite early on with a robotic helicopter.

I am not sure what T31 is for. We could have built 6 sonarless Holland class OPV with the fancy e-mast for the same cost if we just wanted to park a hull with a white ensign somewhere. An extra T26 would have been actually useful. It’s only positive is the size so it will be able to keep up with carriers. Cue somebody here saying they aren’t for use with the carriers………


Surely it is frigates as specialist ASW craft vs frigates as general purpose surface weapons platform?

With more VLS cells this can launch surface, land and air attack missiles, and has a helicopter, a gun, marines…

Since type 26 is dedicated ASW, and our destroyers (all 6 of them) are dedicated air defense, why is this not useful?


Um. There is really no fixed term for what is or isn’t a frigate or destroyer. In the US it is a question of size. So for example they had Spurance class destroyers which were ASW platforms. Here in the UK a destroyer is now a AAW platform and a frigate an ASW platform. Not so long back a destroyer was a fleet escort, that is a ship that protected HVU like carriers and even further back battleships. Whereas frigates and sloops escorted merchantmen. I will leave to one side all the NATO classifications and minuiate like only frigates getting T numbers. In late WW2 the RN decided it needed three specialist types of ship for convoy escort: an ASW hull (T12), a fighter direction hull (T61), and AAW hull T41. Saying that T12 had for the time adequate air defence capability for its role and T41/T61 had good ASW capability even though they were specialist ships. The RN found that it would be impossible to always have the right mix of ships available. And technology advancing allowed all the roles to be rolled into what eventually would become Leander, a class of GENERAL PURPOSE frigates. A ship capable of acting in all spheres: air, surface, and sub-surface. As the 70s came around and the distinction between the two groups of escorts disappeared the RN continued to build ‘general purpose’ ships. T42 (note frigate Type number not class name) went to sea with 2050/2016 sonars just like the ASW frigates. The frigates would eventually carry a very good (if short range) AA missile in Sea Wolf. And that then became the differentiator, main purpose. So T42 had a first rate missile system in Sea Dart, but an adequate to good ASW fit out. T22 leading on to T23 had a very good ASW capability, but with an adequate AA missile. T23 would go a stage further with its propulsion system designed to be ultra quiet after the noisy T22’s. The idea that the ultra quiet T23 sans 2087 is just a general purpose as T31 which will replace it is slightly askew. T31 won’t be GP because it can’t deal with subsurface threats. Where as T23 sans 2087 is still a first rate ASW asset better than most still. And for completeness the idea that T23 with 2087 is not general purpose just goes against all post-WW2 RN practice. This then takes us on T45 with its (practical) lack of ASW kit. Again T45 is not a general purpose ship but a specialist. The RN wanted a replacement for T42, it got a replacement for Sea Dart which isn’t the same thing. T45 is for all intents and purposes a HVU which itself needs to be escorted. Taking us back to the RN realisation in the 1950’s that it impossible to always have the right mix of ships available. Where as frigates with air search radar can contribute to the air defence picture T45 without sonar cannot contribute to the underwater picture. T31 without ASW cannot be used in high threat areas or used to an escort for merchantmen or say amphibious groups. Which leads me to ask just what is it purpose? Flag waving isn’t an adequate answer. Lastly technology has moved on again for air defence. And I question whether Sea Ceptor as good as it is offers enough depth for air defence. Most of the T26’s contemporaries will be able to shoot an area missile be it Aster 30 or SM-2; the concept of shooting the archer. Compare say the RAN fleet mix with Hobarts with a decent ASW fit out and the Hunts with a decent AA missile with the RN fleet mix with T45 with no ASW and the T26’s without an area AA missile.

So glibly asking Since type 26 is dedicated ASW, and our destroyers (all 6 of them) are dedicated air defense, why is this not useful? Displays to me that you have a lack of understanding of both the history of the topic (how we got here), the present (where we are now), and the future (where we are going).


Pretty sure T42s never had S2016.

I do think that having a T26 with the capability for the MerlinHM2 to be able to role change to the Crowsnest AEW role would be a great force multiplier. Part of the CSG screen, up-threat. Would need to procure more Crowsnest outfits. I don’t know how practical it would be because it is likely to take a considerable down-time for the role change. However, a 2nd Merlin could be squeezed in the Mission Bay. Would need some jiggery-pokery on the Flight Deck!!
Furthermore, additional Observers/aircrew would be required. (You’re either ASW or AEW qualified but not both?).

The Snowman

Could you deploy a sub surface ASW drone from the boat / mission bays?


Endurance? Sonar range? And so on.


We’ve seen Kraitarray thin-line sonar trialled from the Manta XLUUV, but it’s not at the level of Captas 4, and even with a bigger UUV platform like Cetus I doubt its performance will get close. It’s probably better suited to shallower environments — I’d guess for coastal and maybe LRGs, but not so much the CSGs.


There will be 3 spare 2087’s (aka CAPTAS 4+) when the T23’s are retired….
RN will have 11 seagoing sets…8 for T26 and 3 for….


If only 8 of the T23s have tails, where are the extra three sets now?

ETA: Okay. I just read your earlier post about the extra 3 on order. One possible alternative answer is Type 83. I know it’s barely in concept phase, but the numbering is provocative and suggests it might be more than just an AAW destroyer.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon

The MATCH concept, initiated by the Wasp helicopter (carried two Mk44/46s), and developed by the Lynx was vectored to its target using the Ship’s hull-mounted sonar. .RN vessels that operated Whirlwind/Wessex HAS1 & HAS3/Seaking HAS1,HAS3 & HAS6 and finally Merlin HM1s and HM2s all operated dipping sonars. So we have had two tiers of ASW vessels throughout the Cold War; Type 15 and Type 16s, Type 12s and the Type 14s, Leanders and Type 81s, Type 22s and Type 21s and now T26s and T31s!

Henry Lamb

Although it will have Sonar 270 at the very least. Not to mention Mk41 is compatible with Asroc.


If you mean Sonar 2170, you should know that’s a torpedo warning sonar only. Which is about as much use to ASROC as tits on a fish……


The torpedoes that are placed a long distance away from ship by the Asroc have their own search sonar


Something has to tell the missile where to fly to……..


I dont think a hull sonar is doing much except tell them you are coming as a sub with all its sonar types can hear a long long distance away


If the U.K. was to buy ASROC it would be for use with the T26. Sonar 270 is a torpedo defence system not an ASW sonar. Without sonar why would you fit ASROC?


If the UK was to purchase the US VLA (ASROC) or even better collaborate with Japan on the Type 07 ASW missile, maybe even with Stingray, then launching from a T31 onto a target track localized by a T26 towed array, or a Merlin dipper is not exactly complicated. The T31 flight deck and hangar are also big enough for a Merlin – so a T31 could contribute to the ASW battle.


Where would the Merlin’s for the T31 come from? They are not exactly plentiful.


30 Merlin HM2 – allegedly 25 in active service, 5 in deep maintenance.
6 x T45, 8 x T26, 5 x T31 = 19
1 x QE = 6 Merlin with 3 in “Bagger” AEW config?

Of course, not all of those DDG and FFG are going to be available for Ops at any given time, you might put more Merlins on the carrier, or on your RFA’s, but if you want a T31 to contribute to ASW simply by providing a home for a Dipper, it can be done.


Or just use the flight decks on tall the big RFA’s and perhaps launch ASROC from ‘Harpoon tubes’……………

Or build T26 to operate 2 or more Merlin more easily…….


Or just buy MILAS from MBDA….canister launched so doesn’t occupy precious VLS space, twice the range of VL-ASROC…and they would happily fit the Stingray Mod 1 (that we already own, that represent the bulk of the cost of an ASW missile) on the front…and its European…


And training and reserves?


Why would you put Merlin on T45? One on the carrier? Really?


Merlin AEW on a T45 is an absolute no brainer.

What happens if your carrier is somewhere else, in maintenance, breaksdown, suffers a fault, sustains damage,or someone sinks your carrier?

Everyone knows that when the carriers are unavailable for whatever reason they will still send a T26 for a sub surface threat and a T45 for everything else.

Back in the mists of time, certain capabilities were proposed by the various research establishments including in collaboration:

In the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2Ks various proposals.

The basics being from the start:

Guns, Missiles, Torpedoes, Decoys and Aerial Support.

This became:

Medium Gun, Rotary Cannon (x2), Machine Guns in two calibres (Platform and Infantry).

Layered missile defences: Large Missile Launcher, Medium Missile Launcher (x1/2), Small Missile Laucher (x2).
Decoy launchers.

Sonar, Decoy Launchers, Torpedo Lauchers.

Helicopter with Torpedo.

T42 was therefore proposed with:

4.5″, Gatling/Rotary 30mm, 50 cal and Infantry Machine Gun.
Zone Missile, Area Missile, Point Defence Missile on a wire.
Lightweight Torpedo.

Additional Missiles on Large Launcher: Large Anti-Ship Missile, Ant-Submarine Missile, Anti-Sensor Missile (Radar);

Additional Missiles on Medium Launcher: Medium Ant-Ship Missile; Decoy Missile; Target Practice Missile;

Shared Boosters.

Torpedoes. Depth Charges.


Team sized helicopter with dipping sonar, sonar buoys and torpedoes. Depth Charges.

Larger helicopter with greater capacity and a role kit capability.


Zone Missile = Sea Dart; LASM = Sea Eagle; ASM = Ikara / Stingray plus missile based on Sea Dart/ Sea Eagle body; ASMR = ALARM;

Area Missile = Sea Wolf; MASM = Sea Skua; Decoy Missile = Selectable band transmitter, data link, warhead replaced by decoy ejector plus missile based on Sea Skua;

TPM => TPMB (Ballistic); TPM (Surface);

TPMB = Selectable band transmitter, data link, no warhead plus missile based on Sea Wolf;

TPMS = Selectable band transmitter, data link, no warhead plus missile based on Sea Skua;

Shared Boosters.

Point Defence Missile on a wire = Rapier on a wire.

Rapier on a wire could deal with a direct threat to parent ship, or to a close vicinity occluded threat. Whilst on a wire you are not complicating your Battlespace with another emitter. Putting a IR/UV sensor in Rapier on a wire, would mean an opponent has yet another type of defence to overcome and on wire breakages can still complete the mission for an occluded target . The complicated gubbins in particular target identification, target verifications, and base intercept can be in the parent platform (ship), the missiles can therfore be cheap (winning the economic war), and you can update capability either at the missile or the control platform.

Lightweight Torpedo = Sting Ray; Sting Ray on a wire.

[Ultra Lightweight Torpedo]

Team Sized Helicopter: Lynx with Dipping Sonar kit, Sonor Buoys Dispensor and Torpedoes. Stingray. Sea Skua. Sea Eagle. Rapier. Sea Wolf. Plus the Practice and Decoy missiles.

If you know the basic sector that attacks are likely to come from then you can put the helicopter in that sector. For a sub-surface threat you can load it with Depth Charges/Stingray. For an airborne threat you can load it with Sea Wolf/TDM. TDM to lure the threat away. For an occluded threat (like the opposite side of a high value target to your parent ship) , or a known sector cruise missile threat you can load it with Sea Wolf/TDM. Sea Wolf to shoot the cruise missile down, TDM to lure it away.

Larger Helicopter = Sea King;

Sea King with a multi-role capability. Giving ASSW with Dipping Sonar. Giving AJAM with J-Band/Multi-Band Jammer on a wire replacing Dipping Sonar. Various AEW types including Dipping Bag replacing Dippping Sonar. Port/&Starboard bags. Stern bag.

Obviously Larger Helicopter was scuppered by initial cost reduction changes to T42 reducing length and breadth of hanger/flight deck. Proposals on how to get Large Helicopter on subsequent batches/versions of T42. Novel solutions including transom stern. Scuppered by cost cutting.

Before demise of the big carriers, the Nott Review, and the Falklands War, how to get the Large Helicopter AJAM and AEW onto the ship types remaining. This was due to the high probability of reduced fixed air, including not only the number of aircraft but the total numbers of ships.

Various politicians, officials, diplomats, military personnel, and events then scuppered a number of potential deals of ship/aircraft/missile packages in iran, austrailia, canada, and india. This resulted in massive losses to UK PLC over decades.

Larger Helicopter became Merlin.

In the 80s and 90s what the changes were required to T42 to first get Sea King then get Merlin onto and operational on T42. Considered unsumountable without building the Post-Falkland batch (replaced by ASSW frigate purchases instead).

In the 80s. 90s, 2Ks, T45 with two Merlins was one proposal.

The most obvious reason is with role kits you can have a swap between:

Vertical replenshment;
Logistical carrier;
Troop carrier;
Airborne refueller;
Asset transfer movement/repositioning (lightweight artillery, vehicles);
Airborne command post;
Airborne signals relay;
ASW (Anti Surface Warfare) surface search radar and missile carrier;
ASSW (Anti Sub Surface Warfare) dipping sonar, sonar buoys, and lightweight torpedoes;
Airborne ESM;
Airborne ECM;
Airborne Jammer;
AEW plus suitable missiles;

The basic advantage of Merlin with role kits on T45 is that you enhance your primary missile defence capability with “organic” AEW Merlin. You massively increase your surface radar horizon, get more time to identify and verify targets, increase the range of data link control, increase your ISTAR, and make it much more difficult for an opponent to get inside your OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) . This means that if you can combine this with appropriate signal relays to your platform (the ship), your ships and helicopters become better battle space managers over a wider area/volume.

Imagine therefore the podded AEW version of Merlin with wings carrying British ASRAAM/Meteor. Another step change.

This is all without considering the mission bay version with two large helicopters, two team helicopters, and four drones. Two Merlin, two Lynx, four 100kg capability drones. Mission bay not a new idea. For example: Team helicopters are the dippers and torpedo delivery systems. The drones deploy sonar buoys.

The considerations about producing our own VLS which would given the prices MOD are now paying just for initial payments would have paid for itself already. Soft VLS under flight decks and in other areas giving all aspect fires. Significantly more VLS modules/cells. The list is endless.

This is what we gave up when politican, officials and service personnel decided foreign was better. Plus obviously the Billions in economic returns and social benefits, that all the other major economies understand yet we seemingly do not.

Not forgetting it is now obviously far easier to pay facilitation payment (bribes) abroad in our so called allies than the UK, because we brought in one of the most restrictive practices possible. Gone are the days when a supplier sent a Christmas card, bottle of wine/spirits, cartoon of cigarettes, food hamper, or tickets to a social/sporting event. The stakes are so much bigger and the prizes greater.

The research, studies and simulations, also showed that an ASSW combat with two fixed below deck heavyweight torpedo tubes launchers (port/starboard) was a winner because you can leverage a variety of heavyweight torpedoes, sub surface drones, and long range cruiser missiles. The ship could then power torpedoes/drones on the wire and potentially improve stealth/range, or control/power the deployment tube for long range cruise missiles into a better location for activation. In addition you are not giving up deck space for valuable AAW missile slots. Sub surface keelward facing launched lightweight torpedoes and drones made sense as well for dealing with close in threats or better probability hard kills of incoming torpedoes.

In the end of the day, it just depends on: how many men, platforms, treasure, territory, and influence we want to give up when the balloon goes up. Compared that to how much wealth we spend now on these areas in particular with foreign suppliers, I suspect we are going to find a lot of platforms in Davy Jones locker.

Given that our build capacity is pretty abismal, plus the overall sovereign logistical capacity of the country is dire, the current demographics, and vast changes of ethnic makeup effecting social cohesiveness, it makes any opponent seriously consider the best and easiest way to defeat an island nation as weak as ours is by denuding our surface maritime capacity. Starving an island nation to anarchy is distinctly possible in such circumstances.

It would take a significant greater period of time to rebuild any meaningful capability. We appear to have non-existent attrition reserves or logistical stockpiles which we are denuding at a vast rate for the benefit of others, and don’t seem to be replenishing. Professionals talk about logistics, pragmatists talk about attrition.

It raises the following questions:

1. Which is greater the attrition, logistical or replacement, threshold?

2. What is the attrition to replacement threshold ratio to resume capability?

3. What is the logistical to replenishment threshold ratio to resume operations?

4. How many days before the attrition and/or logistical thresholds are met?

5. Which is greater the time before anarchy or surrender?

The sceptical would say the numbers do not look good.


Um. You know full well the discussion was about ASW and nothing to do with AEW/ACaS so why complicate the issue by bringing it into the conversation? They don’t do well with hypotheticals here……..

But yes I understand exactly from where you are coming with this idea.

I could see a “T45” (note quotes) as a home to AEW cabs. You would need capacity for 6 cabs to have one available for the main role and perhaps one to contribute to ASW effort.

Something like a Moslva class…….

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……..or a Jeanne D’Arc

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We would still need a class of escorts below them. As I have said several times here now I realised the mistake the RN made was not replacing T42 and T23 with just one class.

Interesting comment though. Nice to know somebody else here thinks a bit beyond the specs of kit.


Sounds a bit like Tiger and Blake with their four Wessex HAS1s, albeit for ASW!


270 is just to tell you that bad news is on the way.


what you fail to realize is that the T31 was designed to play a part in the csg as a general purpose frigate and as part of the csg it is not required to have any kind of capability regarding asw, that job is for the specialist ships (T26 and astute) in the same way that the T45 and carrier take care of air defence.


While your zeal in these matters is appreciated, you may want to check your facts. The only reason that the t31 was not designed to have any asw capabilities is due to the lack of funding and therefore budget constraints. In the perfect world, or the good old days we had enough money to be te best. This state of affairs has lamentably come to an end.


why waste the money on an asw system for the T31 that will likely be a cheaper and inferior alternative to the asw systems on the T26 that the T31 will be operating with anyway in the context of a csg.


that just highlights the extent to which those in charge of the spending are skimping on techology that would allow greater all-round versatility of the RN ships


but you have to understand that it is a waste of money investing in systems that will overlap to the point of making the inferior option obsolete.


Get back to work Derek stop arguing
Like it’s going to change anything


exactly, I’m not trying to change anything that’s the point I believe the choice they have made is the right one for what the T31 is designed for.


Derek we’ve already spent the money….

There are 8 x Sonar 2087’s fitted to Type 23 ASW….
The RN has also ordered a further 3 new ones for the first batch of Type 26…
As T23’s are retired their Sonar 2087 gets passed to the next T26’s in construction…
There are 8 x T26 planned….with 11 Sonar 2087 full sets…

We will have 3 full Sonar 2087 sets available when T23 retires….each one has cost £50m….


but they are not necessary the T26 frigates are called specialist for a reason and that is because they are designed specifically to counter sub surface threats in a csg and with the navy being unlikely to want to risk a £3.5 billion carrier they will likely operate with at least 2 in a csg with supporting T31’s and T45’s which they will protect from said underwater threats.


that the RN ordering new sonars is a sign of their age, they are hardly going to be in peak condition and I would think that the navy may end up scrapping all the old ones altogether so why start loading up a ship with equipment suited for a job it was not designed to do if that equipment is old and will possibly need to be replaced anyway.


They’re the exact same sonars as on T23 ASW at present…

They’ve been ordered because the systems can’t be in 2 places at once…i.e. on T23 doing ASW…and on the first batch, 3 ships, of T26 when they’re in build…

What that means is when the last T23 ASW’s are replaced by T26 their Sonar 2087’s will be free for other uses…

They’re also continually upgraded…


Good. Get on with it!


Well you deploy it with a Merlin and it has some of the best ASW kit on the planet.




Very good news, hopefully this isn’t a slip of the tongue.


Phenomenal news, and a much needed uplift. So glad to not see the phrase FFBNW uttered here.


The missiles will all be FFBNW…

Phillip Johnson

The basic 8 Cell Strike length Mk 41 penetrates 2 and a half decks (3 with the seat). It is a big piece of kit. I suppose the basic question is how may 8 cell modules will be installed initially?


4 x 8 i assume. Article states 32 cells


Wow, a sensible choice. How did that get through the MoD? I would add though that the T31 contender, BMT Venator design also included the Mk41 VLS.


Sadly for all concerned, the Venator “design” was essentially a general arrangement sketch, some preliminary powering estimates and a render to make a pretty picture. It was never “real”.


I doubt BMT have the sort of money needed to work up a design to the bid stage without at least a firm cost sharing partnership with a build yard.


I know they don’t have that sort of money! Point being that contrary to belief in certain quarters, Venator (and Venari and Ellida for that matter) are not real designs. They’re concepts used for PR and BD.

Last edited 9 months ago by N-a-B

Great news , does that mean the mushroom farm is replaced or still included?


But we have no weapons in the inventory which can be launched from a mk41…..

Might of made sense to have used Sylver seeing as the T45s have them…we need more AAW ships, but is that and PAAMS a dead end and will we just end up with AEGIS on he T83s and let more world class technical capabilities wither and die…

Last edited 9 months ago by Grant
Michael Dawes

Sea Ceptor is compatible with MK41 and indeed can be quad packed as stated in the article. Our future will be MK41 compatible and Ofcourse the very broad list of compatible weapons provided us with a lot of flexibility (including active decoy opinions like Nulka)

Sylver is a dead end for the UK . The A50 version we have on T45 isn’t strike length and has limited compatibility beyond Viper.


Mk41 is a very expensive way to launch sea ceptor

Allan Desmond

so stupid… It can Do Other things ” while British are Culturally” Stupid Cheap” Think ahead~ and a bit harder next time..


It can. But we currently have nothing which can use the Mk41.


We also currently don’t have the Mk41s or even any Type 31s on which to site them. Why fret about the fact we don’t currently have missiles? We’ll get something closer to the time.


You you trying rephrasing that in the King’s English instead of Gobbledegook?


15 + mil USD for an 8 cell Mk41 under FMS.
And thats before you put anything in it.


I always wonder if the USN has any spare from the Ticonderoga’s that are going that could be refurbed on the cheap….

  • They are essentially unrefurbishable as the US navy found out when the tried it
Supportive Bloke

There is enough space below the A50 to fit in the strike length or more likely a mixture of modules.

Why are you so sure it is a dead end?

A lot of chat is that it is actually really, really good in test firings.

But, I agree that having access to the Mk41 bazar is very useful.

Look at it another way it encourages UK industry to go down the Mk41 route.


Ok where to start….

  • CAMM is not compatible with Mk.41…it needs an additional insert called ExLS, that shortens the cell….so you pay double…and you use up lots of hull space on a VL system you don’t need to be that long at all…you could just buy standalone ExLS…or better still, the already proven and in service ‘mushroom farm’ that by all accounts was superior in its damage resistance…hence why its been picked by other users…
  • ExLS has got the grand total of 1 customer in its 15 years since launch…the RCN. Who won’t have it operational for another 10 years. Saudi might sign on with their MMC as well…but its not clear yet.
  • Nulka does not fire from Mk.41 or ExLS (nothing but CAMM has ever been fired/integrated on ExLS…all other missiles are just manufacturers CGI). The RN doesn’t use it anyway and is making its own new RF decoy…which will be decades newer than Nulka and fired from trainable launchers.

Our future will be MK41 compatible and Ofcourse the very broad list of compatible weapons provided”
Please list them….
In reality the Mk.41 is cleared for 3 things…..Tomahawk, VL-ASROC and US surface to air missiles….so….

  • VL-ASROC is old and short ranged, expensive and carries an inferior torpedo to the already purchased, and in stockpile/use, Stingray Mod 1…UK is also looking at the potential for drones to drop torpedoes in future…if we were buying a rocket launched Torpedo we could just buy MILAS from MBDA which has twice the range of VL-ASROC, is European, MBDA and could have Stingray fitted on it…which we already own in spades….canister launched so it doesn’t occupy VL either…but then T-31 is not an ASW vessel either….
  • Tomahawk – It’s getting on….and we have a superior missile arriving in the near future i.e. when T31 arrives in the shape of FCASW….France will demand (and pay) it is integrated in Sylver, if we want to add it to Mk.41 we’ll have to pay even more…and does anyone seriously think the Treasury is going to equip all the T26 and T31 with land attack cruise missiles???
  • US Surface to Air – Standard Missiles, ESSM etc. We don’t use them, most are not compatible with T31 and it sensors and we make our own very good ones…

So what exactly are we sticking in Mk.41??

  • LRASM? – When its available FCASW will have arrived…FCASW will be Sylver and Canister launched….Mk.41 will require a sole UK funded campaign, but for what benefit?
  • Hypersonics – Please….we’re not sticking a proper sonar on T-31…we’re not going to be sticking hypersonics on it….
  • And…errr….thats it.

Because anything the US fields for the next few decades will fit in Mk41 that’s why.


Like what?

Surface to air missiles? – We’re not interested, we have our own…
Land Attack – We have our own…FCASW
Anti-Ship – We have our own…FCASW
Anti-Sub – We’ve no real requirement, better options in canisters from MBDA
Hypersonics….we’re not going to get them, or mount them in a T31…or they will require larger VL (as the US is currently looking at)..

We need to develop weapons ourselves, for sovereignty, political and economic reasons (and for the simple fact we’re rather good at it)…we are also not going to sell kit abroad just because its ‘Mk.41 compatible’….in 40 years of the Mk.41 system that has worked for ZERO foreign companies….

Anything I’ve missed?


Well that told me hasn’t it?


Commonwealth Loyalist

Well, wouldn’t it be good for the future if all NATO navies would move tpwards standardizing on on one launch systemmake more stuff compatible with it?

Allan Desmond

spot on ” and all its real ship and weapons building allies. Well said sir.


RCN, RAN, and JMSDF all use USN kit. As do the Dutch, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Danes……

How does buying French and Italian kit help with our sovereignty?

It doesn’t.

T45 should have Mk41 and Aegis from the get go. And if the RN wanted SAMPSON then it could have been integrated into Aegis.


MBDA is UK-French- Italian-German
multiple UK locations

  • MBDA Stevenage.
  • MBDA Bristol.
  • MBDA Bolton

MBDA is French et al…………


It maintains separate national divisions
MBDA UK – was Bae Dynamics/Marconi, MBDA Italy-Alenia, France- Matra


French, British , Italian as it has major sites in each country as I said


I generally agree with what you say on most subjects, but we have seen with the F35 programme how slow it is to integrate stuff into US systems. Radar is an area of strategic advantage for the UK and we should maintain our skills in it and not rely on the Americans.


As I said above there would have been nothing at all preventing the UK integrating SAMPSON into Aegis. The Americans think it is fab bit of kit. Heck we might have ended up with some export sales. Imagine USN Constellations sporting SAMPSON……..

Um. You could also argue say sonar is an area of strategic advantage to the UK. Go find out what has just happened to our last indigenous maker of such equipment………


My point is more broadly that we tend to pick the wrong partners.


Westinghouse any one ? Everyone else of original partners , even US left that one


AEGIS is a Command system that takes inputs from sensors and allows you to launch weapons at the enemy.
RN ships have a command system that allows you to take inputs from sensors and fire weapons at the enemy. Rn command systems do the same thing.
You performance as a warship is determined by the sensors going into a command system.
Mk 41 yes but it is not a panacea. You still need something to go into it.



Any other truisms you want to trot out?


Thats only the weapons or fire control part of Aegis – really a software library thats does all those things and the main focus is gives the CO a battle management system on a screen.

Nothing really new about it except Lockheed has better PR for its brand . A bit like Prius is for hybrids


Aegis is very very expensive

I was interested it the systems history back when RCA were building it
The Navy pegs the radar system costs at $210 million for installation on a cruiser and $150 million for a destroyer.’
Thats 1986 $
While computer hardware has got a lot cheaper since then , the software hasnt and Lockheed who bought that RCA division makes sure its get its blood from stones

Allan Desmond

This makes Zero sense and is incorrect at nearly every level. You Might wish to remove British Cultural of “Stupid Cheapness ” from your thinking… Every Weapon and its Upgraded Versions the US Navy and Its Many World class, Real Ship Building Nations, with Real Navies and in House weapons Programs are in Fact~ Building Everything to Fire from a MK41 VLS . Think again about the New Tomahawks the US Navy and Japan have Coming… ( we will see ” How Long in the Tooth they are”)… Anyway I understand the British Leftists Union actively Sabotage., the Type 26, the Prince of Wales Drive shaft , the Type 45 so they could not work in warm Bath water.. and that the RN has decided Not to ever buy ANTI SHIP missiles ever again. (yeah sure , ).. British Sloth~ and being stupid Cheap~ along with decades long of low-quality workmanship. (Type 26 is a State-of-the-Art 1999 ship, to be ready by 2030).. These qualities are, not your Friends.


The Type 45 problems came from the Westinghouse US side ( thats what W in WR means), the UK provided the RR gas turbine which was and still is fine


No. That GT is an orphan. How many customers world wide? ONE.


Its just a specific version (WR21) of the RR Trent marine gas turbine. They are ‘sized’ for each type but the ‘core’ is the same as MT30 in QEC class and USN Freedom LCS , South Korea, Japan, Italy etc.

All exclude the complicated Westinghouse -intercooler-recuperator- electric system at the from of the Trent GT


Thought it was the Grumman Marine Intercooler (also US) where the problems were.


Grumman took over Westinghouse Marine project and other stuff


• The Prince of Wales was not sabotaged. It was a flaw in the build which was believed to be minor as it was within tolerances. Clearly the impact of the flaw was greater than expected.
• The T45 issues were not due to sabotaged, but due to the American manufactured Westinghouse intercoolers not degrading in high ambient temperatures as gracefully as advertised.
• There has been sabotage to some cables on HMS Glasgow. There is no evidence any union was behind this.

Having lived through the Winter of 79, I have no issue bashing unions as outdated dinosaurs that are often hijacked for political purposes rather than protecting their members. But your unfounded and ridiculous claims of sabotage would be considered libellous if it weren’t for the fact your ranting sounds deranged.
You random capitalisation, punctuation, and grammar all point to a very low level of education too.


Well thanks for the crazed rant….

Can you list all of these Mk.41 capable missiles…with the nations responsible…and the users…

There’s a good chap…

This should be fun…


This was what I was thinking: we have no weapons which fit in a MK41 and have no plans to. We do have Sea Viper and a need for more AAW ships.

The FCASW will fit in Sylver.


You are completely wrong and stupid – fc/ASW isnt going to be canister launched and will be integrated into mk 41 – whole idea of buying mk41 for Royal Navy. Also ExLS isnt needed to fire CAMM, just a regular mk 41 vls with a 4 way split tube put into it for the mission (as easily removed as any other vls tube). The reason that you use mk 41 to fire to fire camm rather than a “mushroom farm” is that a 24 cell mushroom farm (with 24 CAMM) takes up as much room as a 32 cell mk 41) which can fire 128 CAMM and a massive mixture of other missiles. Tomahawk is also obv going to be used to supplement FC/ASW as a lower cost alternative for less well defended targets (and block V tomahawk brings anti ship capability, so is literally a cheaper and slightly worse version of FC/ASW). Mk 41 is very easy to integrate into, due to the international usage of its design and the magic of modern combat systems.


NSM is going to be canister launched and fitted to type 31, providing a further alternative to supplement FC/ASW and tomahawk – allowing type 31 to have up to 3 different anti ship missiles/ two different land attack missiles to attack a variety of targets in the most efficient and deadliest way possible.


Plus mk41 gives the biliary for teh use of CAMM-ER on these ships to give mid and sort range air defence capabilities.


Up to four ASM types if you are right about Tomahawk. CAMM also has a local anti-ship mode if we choose to fit it. We’ve moved from famine to feast over the last few months.


The mushroom farm was a solution for the T23 fit. The VL Seawolf canisters where round hence the round holes in the silo deck. Ceptor canisters are square in cross section and longer than VL Seawolf cannisters so to save on money, time and steel work an adaptor was fitted to the deck that allowed a small square, long peg to fit in a large round short hole. The securing arrangements in the mag are really simple . A simple rail and securing bolts at the bottom and a simple clamp arrangement at the top.
With new builds there is probably no need to do that. Square Ceptor canisters could be packed together in a similar way as they are on the Army Sabre launchers. (Imagine a sabre launcher lowered into a deck) The RN doesn’t have flush 1 deck VL launchers anyway. It invariably has them poking above one deck with a half deckhouse surrounding the top of the launcher. That way you don’t lose 3 decks worth of valuable space within the Hull

Until some better drawings come out of the T31 and T26 Ceptor launchers its all supposition anyway.


Here we go…

“fc/ASW isnt going to be canister launched and will be integrated into mk 41”

Funny that…because the French have said it will be….
And Mk.41 is purely dependent on someone paying for it…i.e US…whereas Sylver integration could be split between the UK and France and will happen regardless…(if we were sneaky we could even let the French pay for it then piggyback off it..)

“Also ExLS isnt needed to fire CAMM, just a regular mk 41 vls with a 4 way split tube put into it for the mission (as easily removed as any other vls tube).”

I’m sure it can be, anythings possible,…but its never been done, built, tested or proposed…or paid for…the manufacturer of the entire system seems to think that a dedicated insert is required….I wonder who would be right? The manufacturer i.e. Lockheed Martin….or someone on the internet…

“Tomahawk is also obv going to be used to supplement FC/ASW as a lower cost alternative for less well defended targets (and block V tomahawk brings anti ship capability, so is literally a cheaper and slightly worse version of FC/ASW).”

I’m not sure you’ve been paying attention recently…but Ukraine has been swatting non-stealthy cruise missiles out of the sky using old AD systems like it was going out of fashion….and these ships won’t enter full service for close to another 10 years…

Anyone who thinks a Tomahawk anti-ship version is going to get through the defences of any vessel that its worth firing at in the first place needs to give their head a wobble….slightly worse? Slightly…?? Strewth…

“Mk 41 is very easy to integrate into, due to the international usage of its design and the magic of modern combat systems.”

In that case you should have a long list of all the non-US missiles that have been successfully integrated to it….that would illustrate it right?

None of the tiny number of countries who have done it (i.e. SK and Japan) have also then gone on to develop their own, independent, national VL system have they?…. Answer: Yes they have…I wonder why?

Could you create a list of how well they’ve done on the export market….with their Mk.41 capable missiles, in fact just do anyone outside of the US who has done it….

I’m sure you can put one together, right??



Ukraine has been claiming it shoots down all incomings and Russia claims it doesnt.
Its just wartime BS, no need to follow slavishly the PR


Nice to see someone who’s not been brainwashed by msm bakhmut has fallen and not to the Ukrainians this war is just killing people and needs to stop any death is a tragedy


Really bakhmut just fallen must be them rubbish Russian systems even reported on GB news nothing on bbc though but then again been lying to us since the day we were born so no surprise there

Glass Half Full

Said it before on UKDJ, will say it again here – Mk41 gives the RN, at minimum, insurance against delays in critical European missile programs.

  1. When will Europe have a proven missile that matches SM-6 capabilities?
  2. When will Europe have a proven missile that matches SM-3 capabilities?

Why deliberately ignore these options? Both missiles might be launched from T26/T31 and controlled from T45, or perhaps other NATO vessels, and migrated to T83 if European programs fail to deliver, or do so in an appropriate timeframe?


Nulka has indeed been tested from ExLS as far back as 2012. The test specifically used the stand-alone version, but that holds the same insert as the host ExLS version.


32 fcasw would be very nice thank you , keep the mushrooms for sea ceptor. Land attack asm and air defence covered. Fcasw is being made mk41 compatible for type 26 anyway


Nulka doesnt go in Mk41 . It has its own launcher which on an AB is 4 tubes midships.


He’s seen an ExLS graphic from 15 years ago….
They also proposed RIM-116 Blk.II and JAGM (as it then existed).
None of them ever happened or came close.


MK41 does offer great flexibility, although I think we should at least have some dedicated Sea Ceptor cells on T31. T31 won’t deploy with a full load of FC/ASW missiles, there will always be at least some Sea Ceptor. Better to be honest about it, and fit a mixture of MK41 and cheaper SC cells, rather than go for 32 MK41, and have a quarter of them only ever carrying SC. Perhaps a mix like 24 MK41, 28 SC.


i was wondering the same thing. I liked the soft launch of the Sylver instead of lighting a rocket in the middle of the ship.
Mk41 is used internationally. Is this a pivot away from European systems?

Supportive Bloke

As I’ve pointed out a few times previously there a really good reasons for sticking with soft launch.

It is a waste of Mk41 slots to fill them with Sea Ceptor.


Sylver is hot launch. Its the CAMM canister that enables the soft launch.


Sea Ceptor fits in Mk41


Yes but you need ExLS installed. VLS-tube of CAMM, in the quad-pack-VLS-module of ExLS (installed with CAMM Launch-Management-System box), in the 32-cell-VLS of Mk.41.

RN may go this way, or go another way. Personally, I will be happy with independent ExLS aside of the Mk.41. If the space is there (surely there will), it could be even cheaper (we do not need in integrate ExLS to Mk.41 VLS, which was NOT payed by anyone yet. Independent-ExLS with CAMM is already ordered by Canada from LM).

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

I think better to install a couple of 3 cell. ExLA (12 camm in each) faired into the funnels for short range. but could possilbly add a couple forward behind bridge too. 48 camm plus what ever is in the Mk41 (plus 16 canister SSM (ala poland or the Iver Huffield)


Donald, I dont think that is correct. ExLS (Extensible Launch System) is a 3 cell “light weight” version of Mk41, the adapter for CAMM is not called ExLS, it is simply called the “munitions adapter”. So this quad pack munitions adapter can be used in any existing Mk41 cells in “normal” 8 cell configurations – BUT – use of CAMM also requires the MBDA-UK Launch Management Systems (LMS), the electronics which for the ExLS system allows simultaneous launch of 3 x CAMM, one from each cell. So if RN wants to fire CAMM from standard 8 cell launchers, then MBDA-UK will need to create an appropriate version of the LMS electroncis and software.



I think you will find both are termed ExLS. One version is an insert into mk41 & the other is stand alone but uses mk41 hatch assemblies & associated mk41 electronics (but not the rest of the heavy armoured hot launch system).The reason the stand alone ExLS is 3 cell is because the also required CAMM launch controller can only handle 12 missiles. With mk41 being 8 cell, it requires 3 CAMM launch controllers (which could handle 36 missiles but only 32 fit). So it makes sense for the stand alone version to be in lots of 3.

Michael Dawes

This is fantastic news. The original plan for 12 CAMM was astounding . This relatively cheap investment transforms the capability of Type 31


Thank God for that. A sensible decision that will make these ships proper frigates rather than gunboats.


It’s certainly welcome but I think that a ship needs to be able to detect submarines before it can be called a frigate


Not entirely sure they’re being built with the Mk 41 seatings – at least not according to the drawings I’ve seen.

Suspect they might be in from ship 3 onwards, with the remainder back fitted at first refit.


That’s a link to one of your own articles, not an explicit Babcock statement. I remember when Babcock were busy telling everyone that their FSS would be built around HMWHS. That was cobblers too.

The drawing I looked at this morning doesn’t seem to have seatings, albeit it is a GA rather than the specific compartment drawing.

Gavin Gordon

Excellence & sensible decision. So do certainly hope that fitting is as simple as stated. Must be carried out regardless – though there is the slight issue that it intimates a change to the agreed specification during build. Have heard that has been known to cause a bit of bother in the past, and for Land, the painful present.

We remember being told that carriers were fitted for but not with cats / traps – until Cameron thought we’d just do that, then. OK, that’s a different level of magnitude entirely. Anyway, it remains the axiomatic decision based on well known risk levels. I’ll be hitting those positive fibes….Rgs

Last edited 9 months ago by Gavin Gordon

Carriers were never ‘fitted for not with’ the cat/trap system. It was suggested it might ‘converted’ later, and when they looked in detail even for a PoW still being built the cost of the then EMALS system and extra costs ( cascading) to change the plans/already built it was massive.
I dont know this but it seems the extra generating capacity was simply too much and expensive to add on top of Emals system cost


The carriers were supposed to be designed to be convertible and extra money was paid for that. Unfortunately the design was allowed to veer too far from that ideal, a fact which was only discovered when costing the cats and traps inclusion in Prince of Wales. The QE class has easily enough power generation for 2xEMALs (~10-14 MVA required). A single one of the four diesel engines could easily handle it if you alternated the catapults, and possibly even if you didn’t.


It’s written in the original Babcock document.

“…the foundation structural seats for four 8-Cell Mk41 Strike Length VLS modules are built in the baseline Type 31 Frigate to accept the fit of these Mk41 modules…”

Type 31 Frigate: Complex Warship Design for a Dynamic Operational Environment


Possibly. However someone appears to have built some bulkheads and a deck with some SeaCeptor seats which will need to be coming out if a Mk41 is going in.

I’d also note 1SL use of the phrase “intend to fit“, as opposed to “will fit”.


Good point . There seems to be liberal use of ‘designed for (plans only)- built for( some components) – installed with’ as though they are a similar meaning.


Why would they change it from the original Danish design? Then again this is British procurement so anything is possible!

comment image


Reasonable analysis, I agree.


Great news! A sensible, relatively cheap and simple addition which will massively expand their capabilities.

Be interesting to see if they get all 32 Mk.41 as well as 24 Sea Ceptor silo’s or now only a number of the former.

Obviously as the article notes a lot will also depend on when FCASW enters service and the stock of missiles the RN has to ensure all T26/T31 can deploy with at least some of their VLS filled.


To start with, pending other weapon systems becoming available, they could fit out with some camm-er and a couple dozen Brimstone Sea Spear…or even better…a bunch of booster enabled SPEAR 3.

This assumes NSM remains as a cannister launch


The one to watch is LPS if it gets the go-ahead…and FCM.


FCASW/FOSW ready by 2028? I’m afraid not. Having 12 or so is NOT enough. We need 300-1000 of them. Integration with Mk.41 VLS is also needed.

By 2030, there will be 5 T31 (32×5 is 160 cells), and 3 T26 (24×3 is 72 cells) of Mk41 VLS under the RN (may not be “in service”, but when the war breaks out, they will be in service in short notice). 232 cells with 2nd reload means RN needs nearly 500.

So, how about procuring 500-1000 TLAM blk5 now. It will fit both T26 and T31 (although we need its interface box added and software installed). After FCASW/FOSW comes in in number (I guess, around mid-2035), TLAM will provide with a good “cheaper options” for land attack.

Ukranian war showed ammo-stock is critically important. Cheaper TLAM is a good option.

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

Will TLAM be cheaper than FCASW?It has a reputation for being an expensive system, an expensive system that’s getting a bit old. I doubt the MoD, which is still on a very tight budget will spring for two separate systems in 5 years. I suspect a bit of patience will be called for when it comes to filling these tubes.


I’m 100% sure that TLAM is cheaper than FCASW. In other words, FCASW cannot be cheap (if it be high-super-sonic, and/or very stealthy and maneuvable). Mass production prevails, and significantly reduces costs.


It will be cheaper….but is TLAM credible….

Right now we’re watching, on a daily basis, the Ukrainian AD system shoot down non-stealthy Russian cruise missiles for fun….


They claim that of course. The fog of war meets bodyguard of lies as they dont want to alert the enemy to any success.. if there was any.


I’d say they are somewhat credible. Not every valuable target is hardened to a fare-thee-well. Ask youself how well hardened our UK sites are to Tomahawk.

Two years ago I’d have said we couldn’t possibly get them, as it might have led to a cancellation of FC/ASW, with the Treasury asking awkward questions. We would have to have claimed to the Russians that they were amazing and to the Treasury they were an interim solution, which is where we were also pitching NSM, etc. Now, it might be possible.


Couldn’t agree more. Even if it isn’t the most modern system we obviously have F35 which can penetrate sophisticated air defences.

Whilst we’re on the subject of Ukraine, how come they can integrate storm shadow in a couple of weeks onto their aircraft but we are STILL waiting for Brimstone and Meteor on F35…. and we could use Storm Shadow on the F35 as well to make up for the jets short legs…….


The question is storm shadow actually integrated or is there a wartime lash up mounting?

Supportive Bloke

Early SS Doesn’t need much support.

All the targeting is pre programmed.

It needs to launch, confirm separation, confirm safe distance, open wings and fire propulsion.


Was first announced last October that they were looking into possibilities. Half a year at least. Amazing what can be done when you want to do it though.
As for F35 we have little say on this. At least we decided we wanted these weapons and had greater haggling power. (Thinking of Apache and Brimstone)


It’s not just Brimstone and Meteor, there are 17 new weapons being integrated into the F35 for Block 4 at the request of partner nations. Our two are actually at the front of the queue.


Yes indeed! Well said, the Russians have launched everything bar the kitchen sink, probably because they dont have sinks in their kitchens, and have to loot them from Ukraine… 🙁

Even if FOSW is produced on time, having a “cheaper” weapon option is a good idea, not every target outside of a full on peer to peer conflict might need to be serviced by a hypersonic wunder waffe. We would do well to pick a vertical launch ASW weapon too. The other option of course is that these cells are long enough to take CAMM-ER, providing some zoning/layering of AAW options (Aster 30 on T45, CAMM-ER on T31, and CAMM on T26).

Martyn B

OK which one had some common sense, excellent decision.


By the way, if T31 has 32-cells and T26 has 24-cells of VLS, why not put the NSM kit on T26? Much better, I think?

There will be 6 T45 and 8 T26 (eventually) on paper, but the active hulls among the 14 will be something like 11. So, no problem, I guess?

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

If we were going to up arm the T26 at all I would go for 8 A50 cells to carry Aster 30 to provide a little bit more air defence capability. Either that or 8 more Mark 41.


Sorry, Louis-san. At where you think your Sylver A50 can be carried on T26? Ripping out all CAMM? (just a question)


I believe the thinking was that the T26 won’t need NSM, which is viewed as an interim solution, as it will have FC/ASW. Assuming it completes development in time.

The T31s will start replacing the T23s before the T26s arrive, which is why they will probably inherit the NSM.


NSM will be first fitted to T23, to my understanding. This might change, but the original plan when it was only 5-sets, was to be put on T23ASW.

If this happens, then T26 will come “in replacement for” T23ASW, so locating NSM on T26 will be perfectly reasonable on time.

Not saying it MUST be T26, but I will not be surprised if NSM be mounted on T26. It is perfectly reasonable option, as much as on T31, I think.

Paul Bearer

Huge sighs of relief in certain quarters.

David Steeper

And temper tantrums in other quarters.


deleted because of double post.

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

The Mk 41 with EXLS is a triple pack fit for Sea Ceptor not quad


No it is not. Check your references. ExLs is quad.


Great news – Now dump the mushroom farm low denisty camm fit upgrade on the T45 and put in the mk41s. can have much more camm or still more and add long range SSM

Last edited 9 months ago by craig

One is a single deck unit ( with the space previously left empty) and the other requires 3 decks and isnt ‘vacant’ space


the space was provisoned in the design for mk1 and is there just empty and used often as an impromptu gym — much better used for the Mk41. Haven’t heard of any out fit using the space.

Last edited 9 months ago by craig

MK41 needs 3 decks not a single 1 deck space as used for a gym. When used for the Ceptor it requires a sleeve insert to hold the quad pack well above the base
Theres strike length , tactical length and self defence length ( sea sparrow), the shortest which is 1 1/2 decks penetration

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker

I was mistaken . The gym is 1 deck below and an above deck housing as well. As shown in Naval lookout


If they didn’t carry that pesky petrol parrot they could have the gym in the hangar like what other navies do……….


There is another dedicated gym onboard T45. At present it has 2.


I know………


no problems.


Self defence length was discontinued about 10 years ago. Mk 56 VLS (smaller) is available if you want to carry ESSM & are happy with launchers which won’t take anything bigger, e.g. if you have a minimum self defence ESSM load which you’ll always carry.


T31 having more Mk.41 than T26 reignites my long held view that their roles have been somewhat muddled by circumstance and MoD decision making.

Starting from scratch it would have made more sense to put lots of Mk.41 full of cruise missiles and the 127mm main gun on the simpler/cheaper T31 hull (plus T32 which will likely be a batch 2 derivative) for offensive and littoral operations with T26 focused on ASW via the specialised hull / TAS and a defensive gun/missile fit as part of the Carrier Strike Group.


Your separation of;
T31 land-attack high-end escort
T26 ASW high-end escort
looks reasonable in some sense, I agree. But it is not the only answer.

Original T31 thinking was;
T45 as high-end AAW
T26 as high-end ASW and land-attack
T31 as mid/low-end cheap-to-operate patrol frigate
This also looks reasonable for me. Merit of the latter is the higher availability of T31, simply because it is more lightly armed and needs lesser maintenance. Merit of the former is the overall higher land-attack firepower.

RN just changed their way. Luckily, T31 design enabled this. HOWEVER, this means the patrol sea-going days of T31 will be reduced. On paper, RN will need more OPVs to fill the gap.

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

Sticking a 5 inch gun for NGFS never made any sense on T26…unless we were sticking it on everything.


When they were specced T26 was everything and we were getting 13 of them.


Wasting the T31 as a presence/constabulary ship was never my favourite. I don’t think we necessarily need more high-end OPVs. We need low end OPVs to replace the B1s in home waters rather than repatriate the B2s. Come the start of the 2030s, for the same price as one B2, we could get four second hand Cape class, which the Aussies are using as fill-ins until they have a full complement of Arafuras.


Also, don’t forget T26 has dedicated Sea Ceptor silos built in (32x or 48× I believe?) in addition to the Mk41 cells. So given T31 will probs have to vary payload between Sea Ceptor and other missile variants, T26 will still likely be better off missile-for-missile in terms of land attack, anti-ship or God forbid, hypersonic. So, T26 remains the more punchy class of the two – purported load-outs assumed. jwk


I think fitting them with a sonar was a higher priority


To make sonar on the T31 more than just an ornament you would need to radically reduce noise. That’s would need a fundamental redesign of the ship.


You wouldn’t Deep32 keeps informing you that the T31 are quiet enough to do ASW work.


Fundamental redesign? Are you sure? I am sure the IH’s have rafted diesels………


From the design document
‘For example, the installation data for a CAPTAS towed array & variable depth sonar was provided by Thales to support the integration of this equipment within the Type 31 design model.”

Designed for , but not built for


Finally, some truly good news regarding enhancement of RN power projection capability.


This is a very important decision, if it is 32 Mk41 cells then it’s a massive increase in the Type 31’s armament. Fitted with the new Perseus missile it will now have Teeth. Alas, still not a General Purpose frigate with No ASW systems & No sonar. Being a noisey ship it would need a Towed Array Sonar or a Merlin with dipping sonar, or preferably both.


There is no such thing as a Perseus missile.

It was a CGI concept from MBDA and has not been developed.


Wasnt an alternative proceeded with instead of the Perseus concept from 2011

The planning assumption for service entry for future Cruise /Anti-Ship Weapon on the T26 Frigate and Typhoon aircraft is 2028 and 2030 respectively.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence ( Naval News)


Its designed for but not built for Captas towed and VD sonars


Drone with dippng sonar?


Well done RN…Common sense at last…Hopefully the right mix of missiles available in sufficient numbers….Still need more than 5 hulls though….

Allan Desmond

Hope they do not get Sabotaged by British Unions Like both the T26 and the Prince of Wales.. and somebody gets killed.


Yawn …so tiresome with you misinformed 1970s rhetoric.

Its the conservative governments that has done the most damage to the RN from Nott to the 2010 Cameron/Osbourne deep cuts


Prince of Wales was not sabotaged, unless you have proof that nobody else has?…


We used to get a much better class of trolls.


Desmond from Belarus


Looks like ASW is well in hand and T31 could operate such a system.




A lot of chatter from armchair sailors You would be taken more seriously if you could present your naval credentials. Unlikely.


A lot of chatter from taxpayers who have to fund the real sailors.

Bore off.


Absolutely fantastic announcement – exactly what type 31 needed to become a proper ship with significant offence/defence capability – towed array/hull sonar would be good now to, but not essential for its role as 8 other ASW ships and 9 Planes (p-8) can do this – along with t31 Merlin if it goes to see with one (it can fit a merlin, like danish iverhuitfielt)


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Photo above is Iver Huitfeldt class hanger – same as t31


Remember that sonar can be used for mine avoidance along with ASW/submarine location and avoidance and location of other ships in surrounding water.


For all the gripes about ASW kit, why does it need to be mounted on a huge frigate, if it can be mounted on an unmanned platform with data transferred to a mother ship at a fraction of the price?

When the RN hunted subs in the South Atlantic was it not the sea kings that did the bulk of the hunting?

Had Argentina had SSN’s it would have been a different story, but I don’t see why towed arrays cannot be mounted on an unmanned platform at a fraction of the cost of a £billion frigate.


The Sea Kings worked in and around an escort screen all of which had decent ASW sonars.

Tell me if heliborne sonars are adequate why are hullborne sonars so much larger?

Tell me how long do you think a helicopter can stay in the air? They are not cars. Every hour in the air is an hour in maintenance. You would reach a point where you wouldn’t have cabs in the air.

Why do you all here think drones will always be cheap and small? An ASW drone would have keep pace with the group so it will have to be a certain size. It will need to cope with the ocean in all weather condition and severe sea states. It will need engines to do that. It will need bunkers of an appropriate size; how would you refuel them? It will need redundancy to a greater degree than a manned ship and so and so on and so on. It will need to be bright enough not to be a hazard to navigation. And finally what if somebody decides to sink it? I think you would need more of them than the equivalent escort hulls to make up for their lack of intelligence. I can’t see these things costing any less than a fast jet and to cover a group say the size of USN cbg about 12 or so.


Man hours . 5 men or woman can do 5 manhours in one hour.. As well some is deep maintenance which is done elsewhere.
Modern helicopters should be able to do many hours with only minor on board maintenance as the tricky parts have longer ‘hours’. The trend is for as required maintenance informed by sensors and quick checks rather the old times up it comes off.



Honestly you haven’t a clue have you? Even with ‘required maintenance’ you will run out of flying hours.

Look a helicopter alone cannot be a ship’s sole ASW asset.

Good grief.


Well it can, it just may not be effective 24 hours a day..or as effective as it could be…so the question really is should it be ?


Three of these to patrol about the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea around the Iceland UK gap would have been more useful…….

comment image


For the Med and our hellenic friends

OT I only recently realised that Greece is from the roman name and its always been known locally as Hellas until the modern greek dropped the letter H to make Ellas


She is bigger than Leander. Quiet. Everything we need to potter around to keep track of Russian submarines heading towards where our SSBN’s play.

As for Hellas that is why you talk of the Hellenic Navy and not the Greek Navy. I only use the latter to save silly questions.


I agree a smallish focused tailed array tug would be perfect…we will have three spare sets hanging around…the US SURTASS ships have always been very good ASW assets…2000 ton surveillance hulls.


It is about time the Treasury stopped dictating and the need to actually defend the sailors, the ships and the UK took priority.


The Treasury don’t dictate anything. They implement the policy of the current HMG. They are the people to take your complaints to.


Smart move. Flexible SAM arrangement. Ability to launch Tomahawk and other cruise missiles.


Is the cell number “32” confirmed? Or, it is just the maximum design allowance? Sheperd media says “start of concept phase”, so it means not yet decided?

If “32” is true, where the CAMM will be going?

Option-1: RN will be the kick-off customer of Mk.41-installed version of ExLS? (No one have ordered it yet, to my understanding). Although this options is very inefficient and cost-in-effective (CAMM is very short while Mk.41 is very long), this is surely one possibility.

As Hull-1 build is in big progress, “moving” the CAMM to anywhere else will cost a lot. Any space possible is already filled with something else. Enough space for new wiring? Clearance is OK? Many things to do.

Option-2: Then, yet another option will be “12 CAMM (or 20 CAMM, like RNZN Te Kaha and Te Mana) and 16-cell Mk.41 VLS”. This option is much affordable than option-1, but will reduced “strike” capability.

Where will be the CAMM located. This is my top concern now. Any info?

Last edited 9 months ago by donald_of_tokyo

Abaft the mast and for’ard of the uptakes.

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Exactly where it is found on the Iver Huitfeldt frigates…….It is the only place for it.


Hope so.

But, ALL of the Arrowhead 140 image, ever released, has either SSM canisters or nothing there.

I’m afraid something is already allocated below the deck. And, it means locating CAMM there needs some work. Not saying impossible, but saying not cheap nor can be done in short time (because most of the hull work has been already done on hull-1).

It will take time and cost, just like adding CAMM on T45. But, will be doable within 3-10 years. Adding tall “house” containing CAMM launcher might be a solution.


I am not sure what the problem is. There are ESSM in there which are 3.65m in length, Sea Ceptor is 3.2m. That is the vanilla MK41 silo capable of taking SM-2 IIIa.

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Last edited 9 months ago by X

One of the two SeaSpparow location is already filled by the 3rd boat alcove.

Area for the other one must be free. But, when Arrowhead140 was designed from Iver Huitfeldt class, a roof is added, and it is now a room.

Even if the room is just an empty box, it is not an area for Fit-To-Receive CAMM. Babcock shall re-design the area to locate some CAMM mushroom. You need wiring, powercables, and fire-fighting system changed. Surely doable, but it takes time.

If the room is already used for something, like larger accommodation, then you need yet another internal re-arrangement, in addition to the above workload.

If the hull-1 is not yet built, it is relatively easy. But, hull-1 is already in the final phase of hull fabrication. So, it will be more a modification = cut and weld, more than just changing the plan.

Doable, but with how much more money, with how much more time? This is my point.


I am hoping they are just artist’s rendering.

But then again the MoD is the MoD and will spend money doing work that doesn’t need to be done. Especially if it complicates matter and helps performance suffer too.

We shall see.


Based on this general layout diagram, the two fwd boat bays of the T31 are going to be your problem with adding CAMM on either beam of the mk41 – this wont be the space to do it:


So SC is going to have to go in for’ard of the Mk41………..

There must be a cheaper way of sending for RIB’s to sea surely?

Commonwealth Loyalist

Great news!

In spite of all the usual spiteful and mutually insulting comments on this forum, this seems a good development.

For the future I really hope UK and USA can agree on a common launcher system such as Mk 41 kinda like the old NATO 7.62mm rounds, and design their various missiles to use it interchangeably. Big advantage in any future conflict where as often mentioned on this forum, we hope UK will not be acting alone against a major peer adversary.

Anyhow this seems like a big improvement over the recent RN tradition of “Fitted for but not with”.




Getting a common launcher is the easy bit. Unless the weapon is integrated into a ships combat system it’s not much use. Agreeing common systems to ease integration is both more complex and more useful.


An empty VLS defines FFBNW


I do love this one the RN has played it well…a cheap patrol frigate…let’s have that to keep the numbers up……but let’s make a 6000 ton hull…..but let’s get NSM for it so it’s a powerful ASuW combatant….oooohh let’s 34 strike length MK41 silos on them and fill them with advanced strike missiles….the RN sure played it well…If they had asked for a 6000ton surface combatant with the ability to hold 34 strike missiles, 8 NSMs and 16-32 AAW missiles the treasury would have had a fit…to boil a frog heat the water slowly.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jonathan
Luke Allison

Iver huitfeldt can fit 32 mk 41 as well as 48 essm (or 24 essm and 16 harpoon), bloody hope the 32 mk 41 announcement doesn’t mean that nothing else is equipped. Can see 8 quad pack sea ceptor and 24 fc/asw being equipped.

Last edited 9 months ago by Luke Allison
Fat Bloke on Tour

What comes next — A/head 170 with some dumb steel upfront for a better located missile arrangement and a fully electrified / podded powertrain for improved internal subdivision?

Maybe with the money they have saved the MOD / RN will fit it with a hull sonar?

No matter the build costs — the manning levels will need work.
Normal crew of 100 would show the Treasury that the RN can do productivity.


Everyone moaning on about the lack of ASW should consider what a drone with dipping sonar would add to the T31 capabilities.


Can we in future add a bolt on Thales lightweight towed array developing associated AI software using drones to drop ASW weaponry out to say 20 miles.