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Robc

I think we are living in a deluded world if we think the Royal Navy will be anywhere near top ten navies in 2050. Other navies overtaking us with number of ships. We used to be able to say “yes but ours are armed better and have superior technology”. With recent trends does anyone here seriously believe that 1. Is the case now 2. Will be in 2050?

Louis

Which navies will be better than us in 2050 that aren’t already now. US and China are the only currently. India will overtake us, but that’s it.
RN future is looking positive.
SSNr will be bought in larger quantities than astute.
Best ASW combination soon.
AEW drones on QEC.
Spear 3 on F35B.
Meteor on F35B.
3 FSSS
2050 is looking quite positive.

Last edited 9 months ago by Louis
X

Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy…………

Louis

Australia ????. Come on you can’t be serious.
All countries have none or very limited carrier capability with the exception of the Italians who have one small carrier and an LHD. Do you think that any of the first three countries could sail around the world and defeat the Royal Navy anywhere outside of the pacific and Indian oceans.
In what way is Australian Navy better. Half the destroyer numbers and lots of issues with their T26. Small numbers of submarines. No carriers.
South Korea may build a medium sized carrier by 2030 but it will only operate 4.5th gen aircraft. Lacks expeditionary capability.

Duker

Australia already having second thoughts on the ‘larger fully equipped’ T26 variant ( behind in its development phase) as the new nuclear subs will be a better platform for some of their capabilities
More/fewer? but ‘lighter’ frigates is the murmurs from the new government

Esteban

You should probably Just stop about the massive Royal Navy carrier capability….

Supportive Bloke

Well it is massively more capable than Russia (dual purpose carrier submarine), Italy (tiny carrier – if you ever went into an invincible you’d know why that doesn’t work with F35B or Harrier), Spain (same argument applies) IRL it is much more effective than China’s ‘capability’ as its jets don’t have very powerful engines.

You will cite number of jets that will be 37 by the end of the year. That is, by some counties standards, an entire airforce.

Airborne

Here he is again, trolling another website as he gets his ass kicked on UKDJ.

Supportive Bloke

I though SK were looking at F35B as well as QEC tech transfer?

Louis

That was the original plan. In 2022 CVX wasn’t funded in the 2023 budget, presumably cancelled. This year a new CVX design emerged as they wanted more SK industry involvement so KF21 is to fly off it as CATOBAR or STOBAR. It is quite a new development and not much news about it.
https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2023/03/south-korea-eyeing-larger-aircraft-carrier-for-its-cvx-program/

Supportive Bloke

That whole project sounds a bit flying pig to me.

It simply isn’t worth developing a CATOBAR aircraft for that small a fleet.

The mock-up looks rather like an Invincible on steroids…..

The issues with building a one off class and tiny fleet of aircraft and and and are mind blowing.

Yup it can be done but I’ll bet it never is as they could fund the F35B version either….

Last edited 9 months ago by Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke

Korea – no idea why you say that looking at the fleet profile

Australia – errr on what basis? They won’t have SSN by then. What destroyers? Which carriers?

Italy – are you joking – lovely place to go on: have ever tried to get anything done in that country? Most if their navy is alongside whilst the comedy committees argue with each other. Carriers? Really? They are not and never have been blue water capable.

D J

The date was 2050. Australian will have SSN’s from early 2030 (ex USN Virginia class), while building SSN(R). Australian T26 version is already halfway to T83 design wise (which I think makes a T26 based T83 a likely outcome). Waiting to see what happens to carrier launched Ghost Bat. Boeing seems to think it will work. If it does, I expect RN, RAN, Spain, Turkey, S. Korea, Japan, Brazil & USN to all be interested (France may be a step too far).

Agree on S. Korea (they do have the friendly Mr Kim next door that tends prioritise the army) & Italy, but you did not comment on Japan. They have now decided to throw rearmament into overdrive. They are someone to watch.

Australia, Japan & S.Korea are spending vast amounts of money on their military & are not afraid to innovate. Will they match or surpass UK? In some areas they do already. In other areas – no. But that also true with many other nations.

Louis

Do you genuinely believe the RAN will be better than the RN in 2050.
Same SSN as us but less of them.
T83 will not be based on T26, Aussie version has 40 missiles, T45 will have 80, T83 will likely have more.
No carrier based fighters.
Half the destroyers.
Aussie T26 is a shitshow.

Agreed on Japan though. Similar enough to UK that collaborating with them more would benefit both countries.

Duker

T26 for RAN will likely be ‘downsized’ from the original high spec as the cost growth isnt sustainable and it seems no longer desirable as a near peer to a AAW destroyer.

D J

Louis

I never claimed the RAN will be better than RN in 2050. I was pointing out that SB’s comment on RAN not having SSN’s by 2050 was incorrect. At least 3 & possibly up to 5 ex USN Virginia class would start to arrive from early to mid 2030.

RN is currently to receive 7 Astute. They are expecting to get more SSN(R), but how many? RAN are supposed to get 8.

I would not write off the T26 for the T83. If it was to be T46, then different story. It is said that BAE told Australia that the T26 can go to 64 mk41 if required. The only way I can see that is if the multi function bay is replaced by boat bays. Others on here can better advise as to practicality or alternatives. One of the reasons for the Hunter variations is in order to get a big, high end ‘destroyer class’ radar mounted high up. It’s also getting a destroyer class CMS. Hence my comment about being halfway to a T83 already. Also cell count can be deceiving, as RAN has quad packed ESSM option, whereas RN has not gone down that route for CAMM (as yet).

Duker

One or two SSN ‘borrowed from US that will require major US assistance to actually use. Their existing subs have around 2 or 3 available and they are using ex RN and ex dutch naval crew to fill the gaps in including COs!
They have 3 AAW destroyers and 8 GP frigates. 2 LHD for no clear reasons.
At a rough comparison its half the size of the RN and no clear plan to ‘upsize’ other than in subs ( and that will run out puff after 4 or 5 )

There is no vast amounts being spent by Australia, this year its A$50 bill which comes to exactly 2% of GDP , less than what UK is spending which is slightly higher as %
The facts dont agree with your ( wild) claims

D J

Duker

See my reply to Louis.

Australian government figures estimate an increase to 2.3% GDP going forward. How many NATO members are 2% or better? S.Korea is around 2.8%. Singapore around 3%, Japan is looking at being 2% by 2027.

You are forgetting that many announced programs are still ramping up. Eg the factory to build the ordered tracked SPH & Ammo carriers is still being built. The factory to build Boxer has now been built & production just started. The new submarine yard has to now be modified as SSN(R) is much bigger than the original planned Attack class, plus whatever is required re being nuclear. SSN(R) design does not exist as yet so can’t really build it. More P8’s are on order. New army helicopters on order. Collins class life extension not yet started (2026). More domestic missile production is also planned. Spike ATGM is one I am aware of, but others are being looked at.

Not seen any announcement regarding Hunter class as yet, other than the first block is now underway. I doubt they will downsize the ship (could be wrong), but maybe downsize the order (say 6) in favour of starting a destroyer build sooner (3). Would not be surprised to see a non T26 based GP frigate class around the 3,000t – 5,000t mark in addition.

I believe there is a quite a few ex RN personnel in the RAN in general (not just in submarines). As there is only 6 submarines, 2 – 3 being available is normal. 4 if you are lucky. All 6 would be a PR stunt.

Ghost Bat exists & Boeing have admitted they are working on a carrier based version. Where that ends up, who knows?

Duker

Thanks for your detailed response.
Some of what you have read and assume is happening hasnt .
The Hunter class shipyard ( owned by BAE…ominous music) is only doing what it calls prototype block sections
“The prototyping phase was officially launched with Australian steel cutting ceremony. This phase will prepare the shipyard and workforce for *actual construction of the frigates*.
The five prototype blocks, which will be manufactured and assembled during this phase, will be used to test the shipyard’s production systems. It will also allow training of the staff and help with the development of facilities.”
https://www.naval-technology.com/news/hunter-class-frigate-programmes-prototyping-phase-underway/

Preparation for actual construction- suggest that its just development and workforce training rather than 1st of class.
Notice there is no official keel laying like you would have for a real 1st of class construction

“The prototyping phase will run for three years until 2023” !

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
Duker

An overview of the Australian defence spending and forward estimates doesnt agree on the numbers

The total resourcing for Defence over the three years to 2025-26 of $172 billion, provided under yesterday’s budget, is only 2.5% ahead of the $168 billion budgeted by the previous government over the same period before last year’s election.”
With inflation thats a fall in expenditure

They are also using a UK defence spending trick with projects only say half resourced and the rest of the money coming from other ( unspecified) savings/cancellations in defence

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/budget-reveals-pressures-on-defence-for-savings-to-fund-nuclear-powered-submarines/

D J

Duker

They won’t have even started the SSN build by 2026. Hunter class will be started but ship 1 not launched. They may have managed the change over to NSM by then (11 ships worth). Collins class LOTE doesn’t start till 2026 (for the first of 6). F35 block 4 is looking like 2027 & RAAF has 72 fighters to upgrade. Upgrades to the Super Hornets. New Tanks & IFV’s. You are looking too short term

D J

The shipyard is not owned by BAE. It is owned by ASC. BAE is taking control of it & ASC staff for the build. ASC is owned by Australian Government. BAE owned yards are in Melbourne (I gather soon to be closed) & Henderson (in WA, alongside Civmec/Forgacs & Austal), where they are doing Anzac frigate upgrades).

The announcements say that the final 2 prototype blocks are planned to be used in the actual build if they meet specs, as they are as per actual plans unlike the first 3. They have (to the best of my knowledge) started the 1st of those final 2 in March 2023. If all goes well, those 2 blocks will end up in ship 1. If they don’t, they won’t. Keel laying is just fitting one block of many. It’s where they start putting it together & the pollies get to get their picture taken. I have no idea which blocks those final 2 prototype blocks are. There is nothing to suggest they have anything to do with the keel part of the ship (could do – I honestly don’t know). Perhaps the first 3 did (again I don’t know). Building with modular blocks is not like the old days where you started with the keel & built up from there. It could be several years before those blocks get used, depending on what blocks they are. BTW it is 2023 now.

eclipse

This is flatly absurd. Going “oh they’re buying two more frigates than us” and deciding from that the Australian navy is superior is ridiculous. Look at the niche capabilities that the UK has and very few others do; remember that the RFA is rivalled only by the Chinese fleet and surpassed by the MSC. Where is the Australian carrier capability? Where are the destroyers? The worldwide network of bases?

D J

I don’t know why everyone is saying that I said RAN would be superior to RN in 2050. It wasn’t me. It was someone called ‘X’. SB then commented about that ‘X’ post & said RAN would not have any SSN’s by 2050 & commented about destroyer’s & carriers. I replied to SB (not X), that according to the AUKUS agreement, RN was getting 3 ex USN Virginia SSN’s starting 2033-2035, with an option of 2 more if required (eg if SSN(R) schedule slips). Therefore RAN will actually have 3-5 SSN by 2050 (at the minimum). I was not arguing about who would be better – only that his figures were wrong. SB was probably thinking of SSN(R) only & forgetting about the Virginia’s. He is usually very switched on. I also mentioned destroyer & carrier options. I would not be surprised if some of this work ends up on RN ships (BAE – remember). It does mean that both Australian & Canadian T26 versions will be a step up from UK T26. Just look at the radars. RAN & RCN are looking at destroyer class radars. Artisan is at best, a mid range frigate radar. T31 will have a slightly better radar than T26 (& that was picking the lower end option from Thales).

People, we are talking about 27 years from now. Does anyone think RN in 2050 will still be looking like RN in 2023? In 2050, Australia will (if all (current) plans come to fruition – plenty of different governments in 27 years), be getting somewhere within sight of RN in 2023. You would need to add Australia’s population to that of Canada & New Zealand to equal UK. How would it compare if you added those three militaries together? Militarily, in some areas, Australia is currently ahead of UK. In others, behind. Eg E7 & P8 vs carriers & submarines. But then, Norway (population of 5.5 million) & Sweden are currently ahead of UK on AShM (with their own designs, not bought from someone else). Poland will have a better A140 frigate version then UK (by a huge margin). These are but moments in time (still relevant though).

Australia, Japan & Korea are starting to really ramp up & started doing so in ernest a few years ago (across the board, not just navy – or in Korea’s case – not just army). Some of that spending is planned for the future (you need to lay the groundwork first). UK spent a lot of money on the carriers which has unbalanced the fleet & MoD budget (I think the carriers were worth it). However it won’t start to rebalance till after T32 arrives. A couple more SSN’s would also help.

Ukraine has changed the picture in Europe. Even Germany is spending money. However they are finding that actually, it is not that easy to spend money quickly on high end military equipment if you want it delivered asap. They are negotiating to buy new build boxers from Australia FFS. Waiting to see if Norway suddenly decides that replacing that frigate can’t wait. Or who else decides that K9 SPH is a good idea.

AlexS

“Italy – are you joking – lovely place to go on: have ever tried to get anything done in that country?”

Hmm… Fincantieri is the biggest shipbuilding company in West. So i would say they DO some stuff.

Last edited 9 months ago by AlexS
OkamsRazor

Presumably you say this with your clowns hat on?!

John Hartley

F-35B needs drop tanks & JSM.

Louis

Drop tanks yes, JSM no. Would rather get Spear 3 on. 8 Spear 3 with a potential EW version and 2 Meteor is much more useful than 2 JSM. Can remain stealthy with one, not with the other.

John Hartley

If China invades Taiwan, then a bigger stand off missile will be vital. The Japanese have ordered JSM for their F-35A & it would be logical for them to have it on their F-35B as well. Kongsberg has offered to do this.

Esteban

You realize meteor will not fit in the b model and remain stealthy? This was obvious 20 years ago. There’s a reason someone else has developed different weapons for this aircraft. This isn’t even the standard fitted for but not with. It’s more like never planned ahead. Those paveways. Are world-beating kit if it was 1990..

Rudeboy

Meteor will fit on B model…

The UK has paid for integration and it is underway at present.
The only change from standard Meteor is the fins are switched for longer, ‘clipped’ fins that have no effect on performance. This is a change undertaken on the flight line…

So no….it was not obvious 20 years ago…

Airborne

Yaaaawn still trolling another decent website with your guff laundry boy?

Esteban

You might want to up your dosage a little bit.

Airborne

And you hurry up with that laundry!

Deep32

‘Number of ships’ is a very narrow (top trumps style) metric by which to judge the capability of a modern navy don’t you think?

I doubt anyone on this site or similar would argue against the RN requiring more mass in terms of vessels, but it is what a force can deliver that is ultimately what a Navy is probably judged by. In those terms the RN ranks up in the top few navies in the world I would imagine, currently probably only second behind the US!

Everyone has their own views on such a topic, perhaps you might care to elaborate why you believe that the RN will fall out of the top ten in the coming decades?

ANDREW WILDE

The motto of the Royal Navy. “Fitted for but not equipped with, for now and ever more.”

Deep32

Yes, it has a ring about it doesn’t it? However, you have to admit things are changing, albeit slowly. We are buying NSM, Mk41 being fitted to T26 (not sure whats going in them yet!), Camm going into T45, and obviously still waiting to see what T31 eventually looks like. Small steps, should have happened long ago, but now moving in the right direction.

No doubt we could always do with more, but you have to cut your cloth according to your budget…

X

The hull is the fundamental. A hull can only be in one place at one time.

stephen ball

Would like 2 more type 26. Plus 4 more type 31. If only 2 billion was made available 2 type 26.

X

Yes. The T31 budget could have been spent better in so many ways. If they really wanted a ‘presence ship’ they could have bought 6 Holland class OPV’s with the fancy electronic masts. Or yes more T26. Or something more tailored to say the Gulf. Or just done a proper job of the next generation MCM. T31 without ASW kit is just a target. The only good thing they did was buy that particular and not go with the smaller hull. At least T31 will be able to keep up with the carriers. (Cue some idiot to pipe up and say they are being bought for that as some idiot always does here………)

Jonathan

Generally the T31s are going to be operating in areas that are really detrimental to submarine operations…enclosed seas and the littoral…in these areas an active sonar and a small ship flight are the best ASW tools..if they don’t fit an active sonar to the T31 I agree it will be an issue, but if it gets an active set..that’s fine.

D J

Hopefully at the first refit. But as launched, it doesn’t look like it will.

Louis

T31 isn’t an ASW ship. If wildcat could carry dipping sonars it would be fine. Tiny addition to make. It is a very versatile hull.

Duker

Wildcat can carry dipping sonars as the ones for Korea do. But the RN version doesnt

Jon

Our presence ships are B2 Rivers. They do a really good job as is, but they certainly should have better sensors and ELINT, like a Holland. Also if not a helicopter (although that would be nice) at least a couple of Camcopters. The point is, the Navy didn’t want them. They wanted gold-plated Type 26s and nothing less would do. So maybe the RN could have got something twice the size for the same price, like a Holland, but they stumbled onto the B2s and are making do with what was pretty much forced on them. And it wasn’t as though the T31s were a first choice [yes, dear, it’s very nice, but what does it do?].

For many years the Navy thought requirement first, what could best fulfil it second and budget was just an afterthought that dictated numbers. The last two need to be swapped around, so requirement and budget dicate the fulfilment choices together, and we don’t always end up with a curtailed number of exquisite platforms. To be fair, I think the Navy has cottoned on; maybe the Army will take note at some point.

Surface fleet can have £1.2bn a year for procurement. How can we best spend it, given the operational contraints?

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon
Supportive Bloke

Yes which is why more hulls are needed – even T31.

You can’t whistle up mite hills but you can up-arm large hulls fast.

Deep32

Yes, mass/ numbers make a difference.

Jonathan

It’s not how many ships you have….it’s how many ships and capabilities you can deploy to an area of conflict and for how long you can deploy them where they need to be….a frigate navy can have a very large number of ships..but it cannot deploy a meaningful set of capabilities across half the globe and keep them there…. Yes China has a larger navy in numbers of ships…but the only place the PLAN could defeat the Royal Navy is in its part of the pacific.

Julian Edmonds

Poland will have been richer than the UK for 20 years, and spending double the % of GDP on defence.

Paul Bestwick

Go any sources for that claim ?

Esteban

Look at their military….

Airborne

Look at your laundry pile…hurry up get it washed!

Rudeboy

Polands GDP is less than 1/3rd of the UK’s….If you think they are going to increase GDP by $3 trillion in the next 7 years you really need to invest every penny you’ve got there…

Duker

Yes. Something like 15% of Polands population has left to work in other EU countries, especially ‘poor” UK.
The polish labour force was boosted ( unlike recently) by Ukrainian temp workers

As for Polish GDP on defence , in 2021, it was 1.6%. The country way way ahead is Greece with 2.8% and has been for decades – as their enemy is Turkiye.
Maybe Poland has caught up- to UK *this year*

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
Adrian

It’s always difficult to guage how strong the RN is compared to others, technology helps but isn’t a substitute for having the right number of ships and right personnel to operate them. The 8 type 26 may be the most advanced frigates in the world but if the Chinese have 40 less advanced then they will be overwhelmed (I know not a great example as the type 26 are anti sub but the point)

X

as the type 26 are anti sub but the point

Well that is the problem. Other states’ ASW also have area air warfare capability beyond what Sea Ceptor gives us. Italian FREMM can fire Aster 30. The RAN Attack and RCN GCS will have AEGIS and being able to fire SM-2. Not being able to shoot at the archer now isn’t an option. The PLAN Type 52 isn’t inferior to T26; it also has a HQ9 AAW missiles. T26 is at best adequately armed.

Louis

Canada has no destroyers. Australia is having major issues with their T26 and has smaller numbers of destroyers whilst having a lot more to worry about navally.
Type 52 is inferior. It’s louder for starters. T26 isn’t meant to engage aircraft so it only carries missiles for self defence. 48 missiles is plenty.

X

 T26 isn’t meant to engage aircraft

>larf<

X

I still can’t believe you wrote that…….Should they trail a large sign in multiple languages saying ‘Please don’t shoot at us from the air!!!!”

Should T45 transmit on an underwater speaker ‘Please don’t torpedo us we are not an ASW ship!”

>larf<

Louis

Yes it is quite obvious that due to the range of CAMM it cannot engage aircraft regularly. Will mostly target ASHM.
Local air defence nowadays is mainly anti missile.
Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy…………????????????.
I see you didn’t respond to me proving that statement wrong.

Duker

Thats true. Just having *aegis* software ( so did the unwanted LCS) doesnt mean its equivalent to the Burkes – you need the radars for that- doesnt mean the The Archer wont stay outside the engagement envelope and fire the missiles to do the hard work

OkamsRazor

What’s with the stupid comments? Type 26 and 45 are designed to work together as carrier escort. Together, they are the best in the world bar none. One is a close escort giving wide area oversight the other is a wide area escort giving undersea cover. No country, including the US has better specialist escorts. If you knew anything about the US Navy you would know that they would kill for T45/26 instead of 60s designed jack-of-all-trades Arleigh Burkes. What is it with your U.K. hatred?

Esteban

Yeah… That’s probably it we have to protect that mighty carrier task force.

Airborne

More guff from the laundry boy, stop trolling, come back to UKDJ if you’re not too scared! Leave these decent people alone US fanboy!

AlexS

Ridiculous, Hey look the US desperate to get the unreliable T45 and the T26 that even have an anti aircraft missiles with less range that FFG7 had…

Duker

SM1 was the missile for OHP-FFG7

AlexS

Yes, more than 40km range.

Duker

SM-1 was up to 25nm , you are thinking of SM-2 version , which wasnt used on FFG-7 and its Mk92 fire control.
SM-2 MR was used on the first Ticos with Aegis which allowed more efficient predictive flight path which gave increased range.
No such luck for the humble FFG

AlexS

Note that 25nm = 46km

More than CAMM 25km like i said.

Last edited 9 months ago by AlexS
Esteban

Yes I would completely ignore the threat from the air but as long as you’re quiet you’re fine. Good Lord.

Airborne

Troll bot still scared I see!

Supportive Bloke

So you know if T26 will be fitted with CAMM/CANM-ER or CAMM-EX? That hasn’t been specifically stated.

Or you know what might go in the Mk41 VLS?

AlexS

It will have CAMM. Not CAMM-ER unless there will be another order.

Supportive Bloke

I would not be so sure.

The grown ups are very serious about up arming the fleet.

It is a very easy upgrade to do and costs peanuts if it is done during build.

If I was to hazard a guess #1-3 will launch with CAMM and the other five will have -ER. #1-3 will be upgraded in their docking.

I’d also hazard a guess that the T45 upgrade will be 50% CAMM and 50% CAMM-ER. They are complimentary.

Rudeboy

If the Commander 7 AD Regt is right…then the Army is getting CAMM-ER…

Thing is….the CAMM stockpile is shared…I would have thought the Navy will want to do similar with any additional missiles…

AlexS

There have not been CAMM-ER orders for UK.

Duker

yes. Doesnt the RN have a different missile for that range Aster 15 or 30 ?

AlexS

Aster 30 150km, But not in Type 26 so it can’t fire at attack vector. Other countries like US, Italy put long range missiles in their major combatants.

Jonathan

Yes but French ASW frigates have far inferior AAW capabilities that UK ASW frigates as do most others….you can alway argue these things back and forth….the present planned AAW capability of the T26 is better than many specialist ASW escorts but less than some….does it allow the ship to defend itself and can it provide a local area defence capacity and be a part of a Fleets IADS…yes to all those…would it be nice to have a medium or long range area defence option for it yes it would….but that’s a nice to have….at least we have not built an ASW escort that is unable to defend itself against air attack….and the world is full of those…as you put it…adequately armed…as Air defence is at best a secondary role adequate works well.

Also living in a positive place….You never know what they my decide to integrated into the MK41 silos in the future and we also don’t know if the RN will put in extended range versions of CAMM into the cold silos as they become operational.

Jon

T26 will also have FC/ASW for anti-surface, and why do you think it won’t have something beyond CAMM in the air? CAMM-ER is an almost certain upgrade at some pont, and the Anglo-Polish FCM has a brief of being a land/maritime longer-distance member of the CAMM family. It won’t be Aster 1NT, but outranging Aster 30 block 0 is definitely on the cards for less money.

Rudeboy

I don’t think the FCM will outrange Aster 30. I think a range of 100km is on the cards rather than 150km.

The sensible thing to do is to take some CAMM elements (data link, soft launch and tip over)…and just add them to Meteor with a booster…

Duker

Meteor is a air -augmented rocket missile ( air breather – similar to ramjet) designed to be launched at altitude and aircraft speed
No way it can usefully be stationery vertical launch ‘add ons’
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_(missile)#Propulsion

OkamsRazor

Do you have any evidence for that last statement. As we have learned from the Ukraine war most of Russian propaganda was less than 1% true. Recent FT investigation suggests at least 30% of Chinese academic papers are “fake”. You would have to be very naive to believe that Chinese weapons systems are in the same league as western systems, which are publicly critiqued.

AlexS

Chinese weapons systems are in the same league as western systems, which are publicly critiqued.

Korean cars , Japanese cars can compete with West, why Chinese couldn’t ?

Louis

Well China isn’t the same as Japan and Korea is it. Chinas military is based off of Russias and has a lot of Russian equipment. Korea and Japan are the opposite.

AlexS

It is not but it is competent in many technological products. AK-47 was not some uber weapon, neither the T-34 (or the Sherman for that matter) . With quantity advantage it might be good enough.

Jonathan

Yes but the PLAN do not have the enablers to deploy their large numbers of frigates beyond their own region….yes the PLAN is a real problem for the western pacific navies who will have to face off large numbers of surface combatants….for the RN less so as the PLAN is only able to deploy and sustain single vessel deployments across the globe.

Duker

The same strategic problem as Germany in both wars, a land power wanting to be a naval power but its sea access enclosed by non friendly states ‘island chains’.
Remember having control of the Baltic didnt turn the tide of the war.

Just how exactly do all these PLAN surface combatants stay supplied beyond the first island chain ?

Urwin

To answer your question the PLAN having been working on this problem for over a decade. Example is Srilanka. China offers to pay for new jetty and port facilities with a an interest free loan, once accepted they move in Chinese workforce and materials. When Srilanka cannot afford the repayments (which China knew) they right off the debt and take control of the port. Which is why over the last 12 months many Chinese intelligence gathering vessels have been entering the port as well as Chinese warships operating close to Srilanka.
This is not a one off.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Next steps — is a limited and reducing number of ASW hulls the best way forward for ASW over the next 30 years?

What is the working assumption going forward — one hull / one helicopter to sanitise a space / engage an enemy sub or is there more to it that that?

Will the T26 work with a RN sub to carry out the mission?
Will the T26 need to work with inputs from fixed sensors / Allied sensor info / Boeing “Nimrod Mk4” outputs to carry out a successful operation?

Bit late now I know but surely a sports spec Bay Class with multiple helicopters and a couple of transportable floating systems would be a better bet going forward.

Or even better two Bay Class with more floating stuff.

What are the performance limitations of a T23 when it is working its TAS equipment?

18 knots maximum?

PeterS

What are ” the right questions”? Beyond rather vague references to the trade off between modularity and specialisation and the need to work with allies, the article doesn’t say.
Nor is the implication that great power competition disappeared for any great length of time so that we are facing a ” sea change” in the RNs operating context really true.
The big change that haunts the RN and many of its leaders has been the loss of its role in connecting the territories of a global empire and the seaborne trade, raw materials for goods,that Britain had come to depend on. That role and the dominance of building and operating ocean going merchant shipping are gone for good.
So the first ” right question” must be what is the RN for now? John Notts review asked and answered that in 1981/2: the RN should become predominantly an anti submarine force operating mainly in the North Atlantic to neutralize the Soviet submarine fleet. Entirely rational but unfortunately overlooking the Falklands squabble. Since then there has been no real attempt to tackle the underlying question. Instead, technical capabilities have been enhanced in return for a continued fall in numbers. The 2004 decision to build 2 large carriers was made to give effect to Blair’s commitment to new world order actions. Alongside the USA, we would intervene round the world in support of Western values. But the increase in spending and force numbers that this policy required never happened. Indeed the commitment to the carriers exacerbated the further decline in overall fleet size.
So what should Britain, an indebted overpopulated mid sized European power expect its navy to do? The first answer isn’t very different from the Nott review’s- counter the mainly submarine Russian threat in the North Atlantic. So we need SSNs, ASW frigates and aircraft, mine hunting and undersea asset protection ( good start on the latter).
Do we need 2 large aircraft carriers and a significant amphibious capability or are they, for Britain, just nice to have? Would the funds needed for these be better spent on a missile defence system that would be at least in part ship borne?
If we want to help counter Chinese expansionism, would a larger SSN fleet be more use than aircraft carriers?
These questions won’t be asked because it is easier to stick with what is familiar even if it’s on a smaller scale than anyone is happy with.

stephen ball

ok remove the carrier and amphibs, build more type 26, type 31 and 8-10 new type 83. soon as you got them you’ll want the carriers and amphibs.

More subs is good but you don’t normally say where they are, but you normally say they are protecting the carriers, maybe say we are protecting each ship? So we now need even more subs.

Adrian

I think you answered your own question though, the Falklands haven’t gone away. Controversially would Gibraltar or Diego Garcia still be UK territory if the navy couldn’t defend them, i.e. some form of aircraft carrier – not necessarily as big as we ended up with.

The question of what we want the navy to do is a good one though but no politician is going to honestly answer that as the answer would probably imply a budget of 3-4% GDP as it was in the 70s and 80s, affordable yes as it was before but politically not a chance

Duker

Diego Garcia is in reality a US only protectorate ‘handed over’ by UK in return for the polaris missiles for the Resolution class.
Normally the island group Chagos would have remained part of Mauritius when it became independent

X

The problem is with the carriers is that they went from supporting the ‘fleet’ when we had the Invincibles to being the centre of the ‘fleet’. You cannot underestimate the utility of a large flight deck. But QE probably was taken far too far towards the fantasy of carrier strike (for the UK). We would have probably been better off with a couple of Makin Island-esque hulls. Somewhere to base AEW when needed. Somewhere to base additional ASW cabs. Somewhere to act as a base for Marines. Let the Crabs have fast air. Somewhere to carry fast ship-to-shore connectors.

PeterS

I’m not trying to provide answers just suggest some of the questions that should be considered as the article suggested.

simon

X the americans probably pushed for uk carriers to have some equivalence to their carriers when blair was PM. also bigger was cheap. it obviously frees an american fleet to leave europe when needed though.

Esteban

That is always the UK fantasy… The Americans wanted them oh and the Americans will provide the air group which is a complete and utter lie. The Americans have their own problems really don’t need to deal with the UKs as well.

Duker

I hang on your every word …Pedro

Airborne

On a bit of a troll toll on this website aren’t you US fanboy! Come back to UKDJ, it’s ok, don’t be scared.

Pessimist

I take this fantasy of Carrier strike applies to the French government.
Or the Indian.
It the requirement of middle sized navy so it can have some autonomous response to sole national issues.

Jonathan

Personally I think the following:

The UK depends on trade..trade is done via the sea..If an enemy wants to attack the Uk it attacks it through sea lanes….this is a fundamental truth. the UK is actually far more than a small island of the cost of Europe we have the 5th largest EEZ in the world at almost 7 million square miles of ocean…this is spread across the North Atlantic, south Atlantic, Indian Ocean, pacific…a total of 15 territories..that’s not even including the EEZ of the British Antarctic territory which would push the UK to possible having the largest EEZ in the world…a large number of those territories and EEZs are disputed as they have massive potential for resource exploitation as the worlds need more and more resources….

from A defensive point of view we need:

A police and provide maritime security around the UK
B fight a high intensity navel conflict in Europe waters
C inpeace providing policing and maritime security across our massive EEZ..
D go anywhere in the world and defend out EEZs against a significant regional player that may want them.. this is essentially a Falklands type scenario and this is sort of action is still a risk to the UK..
E send a task group to prevent a Nation deciding to stop trade to or from the UK using any one of a large number of choke points..
F there is our commitment NATO to support the northern flank
G participation in wider international maritime security
F deterrent…conventional….ensure all nations know that if you attack UK interest, the RN can come along and inflict a proportional strike on you
H nuclear deterrence…this includes protection of the nuclear deterrent.
I ensuring sea lanes are not closed due to mines or pirates etc…

Then you have the offensive capability..one day the Uk may need to attack another nation, warn another nation or hold it at risk…

what do you need for all that

1) aircraft carriers…navel aviation is fundamental to navel warfare, if you turn up without a carrier battle group and your enemy has one or your operating within the range of enemy navel aviation you have basically lost…the RN learn this the very hard way a very long time ago and it’s still fundamental today.
2) SSN..these are the most strategically mobile strike and maritime denial assets on the planet…SSN are an almost impossible threat to counter for most navies
3) amphibious…a navy needs to be able to deploy forces onto the land..in support of alliances such as protecting the northern flank or rapid stabilisation for a friend or an overseas territory.
4) hight end escorts to protect the key assets of amphibious ships and carriers ( ASW and AAW)
5) logistic ships..if you don’t have tankers and dry stores ships that can to at sea supply…you cannot deploy at distance to do any of the global tasking
5) patrol ships and lower end escorts…for policing and keeping sea lane open
6) surface strike to ensure your enemies can see you can hurt them
7) ballistic missile boats… deterent
8) mine warfare to stop sea lanes being closes.

as for the knot review…that was about the Soviet Union…this no longer exists..the SSN threat in the North Atlantic is simply not really there anyone…Russia SSNs are old and are likely to bastion in the northern oceans and throw missiles as NATO bases.

The UK is not a mid sized European power..it’s actually the preeminent European military power and one of only five global nuclear powers and has responsibilities and reach that spans the globe..there is only one nation in the world that would not need to take the UK as a serous existential threat in time of conflict and that is the US…. Even the US would know it has been in a fight.

David Steeper

Spot on.

Jonboy

Jonathan once again “Hits the Nail on The Head” Could he please send his note to Rishi Sunak so he can have receive his “Wake up Call”.
The tenure of the article that was so well written was about technology. However Ships and all the fancy systems (which are required and I fully support) cannot operate without ‘Jolly Jack Tar”. I hope the Admiralty is doing every thing in its power to Retain & Recruit personnel. Shiny Ships & Super Technology systems are great but when “Hands to Action Stations” gets piped over the Tannoy it’s the Men & Women who will fight and operate them. Let’s ensure that they are supported and are the ‘Best they Can Be” when required as they are the ones that will “ Make the Difference”!!!

OkamsRazor

Well said

PeterS

You have broadly endorsed the range of capabilities we currently aspire to.
The problem is that with the level of likely budget, numbers of everything will be too small and FFBNW will continue.
The UK is indeed a mid sized, European power. Our large EEZ is just a result of the small number of tiny islands that are too small to be independent. Our key vulnerabilities- dependence on imports for food and fuel, a chronic balance of payments deficit and the reliance on ever increasing borrowing to fund government expenditure- are not going to be solved by military capabilities. But they need to be solved by policy changes.
So I repeat the thrust of my question: is it better to have a bit of everything or concentrate resources on the most essential?

Jonathan

We you say they are all small islands that is true, but the repercussions of not being able to defend what is yours is geopolitically well beyond any immediate value of an island somewhere. If we use the Falklands as an example..

the perception that the UK did not have the means or will to defend defend a small island in the south Atlantic cause a war that kill many service people and cost this nation a huge amount…

but imagine:

If we had chosen not to fight:

1) Gorbachev himself was very clear the UK fighting and winning in the Falklands completely change the Soviet view of the balance of power…actually knowing that only European Nuclear power integrated into NATO was willing to fight and had a will to win was part of the reason the USSR in the end had nowhere to go but the history books.
2) the UKs own image of itself was utterly fragile in 1982…defeat or not fighting would have likely led to a collapse in national well being and will.
3) the UK would now have no ability to keep control or manage control of the BAT if the treaty ever fails ( and it will).

as for our key vulnerability in food and economics yes indeed and those vulnerabilities are entirely focused on the sea…if someone cuts the Uk off from the sea-lanes they win we loss simple as…defence of home becomes utterly irrelevant. So we cannot concentrate..it’s effectively impossible..it’s always been a challenge of Uk foreign policy and military policy that we have to have a presence in every sea lane that is import to us…this means spreading the jam…..yes we with our budget could have an ultra powerful frigate and destroyer fleet like Japan….but Japans key focus is an existential threat on its front door….and because of the outcome of WW2 is still effectively dependent on the U.S. for world wide securing of sea lanes.

in summary you can never say we are not going to defend that bit of what is ours because it’s little and pointless…that’s a geopolitical hole that many nations have gone down and it leads to your enemies pushing and pushing…salami slicing of bits of another sovereign nation is a well know geopolitical play…even if it’s worthless to both of you…china would happy take any number of our small islands.

As for mid sized, that is not true and not using the correct definition of mid sized..from a geopolitical standpoint you have: Superpower ( these are hegemonic powers, there are only ever one or two in play) thats china and US at present, then you have great powers that include the UK, Germany, France, India, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Japan (there are 10 great powers)..middle powers are places like Australia and South Africa small powers would be Ireland as an example.

so no we are not a middle power nation. As for wealth we still have the 5th largest GDP in the world…we make choices not to spend as much of our GDP on defence as some my like..but that is a choice not that we cannot afford it. If we spent the same proportion of our GDP on defence as the US does…the question of spreading to thinly would not be there. If we did we would have about an extra 30billion dollars a year as going to 3.2% do GDP would put us in the 90 billion dollars range…as is we spend less than a number of nations with lower GDPs than us…but have at the same time less global reach and ability to project power ( India and Saudi Arabi as examples).

Robert

Agreed, the right question is definitely “what is the mission?” Same question should be asked for the Army and RAF.

A very interesting analysis was done by Perun on Youtube, looking at how Russia is fighting a land and air war in Ukraine after investing in submarines and nuclear weapons. By comparison Poland has a plan for self defence meaning army and air force but little navy or reach. Japan has a plan for self defence including a navy to defend its islands and maybe retake lost islands, where land base air can replace the need for carriers. The UK feels closer to the Russian position, spreading out its spending power over many different areas with no clear objective.

Duker

Russia is a nuclear power , so The SSBNs are part of that. Its only a small spending of submarines ( compared to cold war days). They seem to have an enormous range of military land based hardware including fighters – still operate the venerable Su-24 an attack bomber with more range than the comparable Tornados retired in western Europe

OkamsRazor

Nonsense. The Navy is the premier service, always has been, always will be. It therefore gets most funding and resources, as it should do. The confusion seems to be in the minds of commentators.

Tony R

Could not agree more. As an AAWO working in the Type 45 combat system design team, an ongoing issue at the ‘weeds’ level was how would the experience necessary for roles such as the PAAMS controller be obtained with significant reductions in the numbers of operators occuring; compare the AAW team size between the type 42 and 45 for example.
Further, there might be sophisticated training packages available but the opportunities and facilities to practice in the full at sea environment have dramatically reduced. The RN was used to be very good at ‘live’ training – is it still?

TonyR

Could not agree more. As an AAWO working in the Type 45 combat system design team, an ongoing issue at the ‘weeds’ level was how would the experience necessary for roles such as the PAAMS controller be obtained with significant reductions in the numbers of operators occuring; compare the AAW team size between the type 42 and 45 for example.
Further, there might be sophisticated training packages available but the opportunities and facilities to practice in the full at sea environment have dramatically reduced. The RN was used to be very good at ‘live’ training – is it still?

Urwin

Maybe getting rid of artificers was not such a good idea. Purely from the ME side of things, the near sinking of HMS Endurance (No Tiffs onboard), the several instances of Type 45’s towed back into harbour with total loss of power. More recently a Type 45 alongside in Italy for a GT change out which took two weeks. GTs fail but it should not take two weeks to swap out.

Duker

The T45 have the following Engineering complement ( from Parliamentary answers to questions), separate to Deck and air warfare departments
2 Lt Commanders, 2 Lt
3 WO and 9 CPO
15 PO
50 ratings

Urwin

What has that got to do with the level of competence in the ME Department?

Duker

75 or so engineering staff and they dont have the right ‘level of competence’ in a speciality. Other readers and me dont t follow what your point is.

In the real world 75 is a massive number , sure they have to run 24 hrs a day, but something doesnt add up.

Urwin

75 or 750 it makes no difference if their training is just above kindergarten level. If they are incapable of diagnosing a problem on a evaporator without sinking the ship we seem to have something of a problem. Artificers would spend three years split between HMS Sultan and sea training. They would then spend at least another 5 years on board ships learning every piece of equipment whilst sitting more exams. What the navy have now are a bunch of “Tech’s” who do a couple of months training then are given a gold star and the phone number of BAE for when things go wrong.

Duker

The real world has engineering technicians learn on the job as well as classroom learning.
Have they just eliminated an outdated and meaningless term of artificer and replaced it by a more modern name ?

Urwin

You can call them whatever you want they have already proved themselves incapable of keeping a ship either moving or floating.