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Very interesting. Thanks


Too much talking about this and not enough building, need fleet solid support ships now if something happens to fort Victoria what’s the plan B. What happened to the hospital ship, shame we could not build 2 perhaps shared with Canada and Australia one based in Atlantic and one in Pacific. Frigate and destroyer fleet need to be speed up and increased in number but to do this they will need to reduce crew numbers required on each ship and increase recruitment.


No, to do any of that you need money. There is no sign yet of an increase in the defence budget. Without more money you get the current plan.


Or more Cuts.


The money for the fleet solid support ships was there 7 years ago when they first started looking into replacement, only stopped due to MP,s kicking off about not giving work to foreign ship builders, and the hospital ship money was coming out of the foreign aid budget as I understand it. So money is there to kick start the process. It the gov stopped wasting billions ever year building ships would be cheaper than wasting money and getting nothing for it.

Rob Young

Government waste is a fact of life. ‘If only’ doesn’t work – the system isn’t going to change. The only realistic thing is to produce a budget that includes a ‘reasonable’ amount to cover waste!


So many potential gaps between increasingly aging platforms leaving service and replacements appearing. This paper might be another step in the right direction but the schedules, funding pipelines and questions over the capacity/infrastructure to build half of these requirements are all still a bit of a mess!

Encouraging that there seems to be some dedicated MCM mother-ships on the horizon though. Like many I assumed they’d look to deploy them from existing assets like the Bay’s and then the T32’s. Hope this doesn’t result in just 1 platform to be stationed in The Gulf.


I assumed T32 was the plan as well. If we can get 4-8 motherships, that should provide the sort of coverage we need to adequately replace the MCMV capability.

I’m rather curious about what form they’ll take. A heavier armament than the Hunts and Sandowns would be preferable given the higher individual value of each mothership; a 40mm or two, and in a fantasy setting a limited Sea Ceptor capability. That would certainly relieve some of the pressure on the single escort in the Gulf when it comes to protecting merchant shipping.


Very interesting. It shows the importance of building our shipbuilding capacity back. This will not be quick or easy but hopefully this long term plan will give the industry some confidence to invest in apprenticeships and capital investment. If we want a larger Navy we need a larger shipbuilding industry. Playing fantasy fleets may be superficially entertaining but reality is far more interesting.


There is more to this than hulls. Assuming every ship arrives according to these plans but come into service under-armed what would be the point? You could build 20 Type 26s but without the right weapons fit eyes and ears is all they will be good for, that and getting on the phone to the French or Americans to prosecute the targets.


Without going into too much detail I think it was a bit unfair to say Lairds struggled with PIP .. there were a lot of of issues behind the scenes with the project which had nothing to do with Lairds . Daring is flying along at the moment.


But Dauntless has yet to begin sea trials….


If by that you mean the STOROBing of what was a fully worked up ship almost as soon as she went into the basin, then fair enough – that does have nothing to do with Lairds.

If on the other hand you mean the difficulties in providing T&C staff – that’s entirely on Lairds.


Thanks for this… the original document wasn’t hugely clear but this article is.

As pointed out there are two big issues:
1. Finding somewhere to build 3 FSS and 6 MRSS
2. Whether we should build the quite standard vessels (strategic sea-lift, MCM motherships) or just buy them cheaply (which I would probably advocate)

Its clear we will need something to replace Argus (probably another merchant conversion), and that mothballing the wave tanker was madness with so few hulls. I remind unconvinced the MRSS will be able to replace both a true combat vessels (the Albions) as well as RFAs without significant compromise. A far better idea would be 4 direct replacements for the Bays and a Juan Carlos / Mistral esque vessel for the Albions (which surely should be able to last a fair bit longer due to being put into extended readiness for long periods)

Rob Young

I’m a believer in the cheapest option that DOES THE JOB. Sorry about shouting, just that’s an important criteria. If part of the job is to build up a ship building infra structure – foreign builds don’t do the job. If buying and converting ready built ships does the job cheaper – go for it. But if a cheap option leads to further losses to the British shipbuilding industry or results in underequipped vessels not fit for purpose – that cheap option doesn’t do the job.

Rob Gazzard

Fully agree with you Grant. 4 x Bay (with hangers) and 3 x Juan Carlos / Canberra (replacement for 2 x Albion’s and 1 x Ocean) would be the best outcome. This would provide great capacity and capabilities as well as growth for the future, especially given the many unknowns our nation will face.

This would provide 2 x Littoral Response Groups (plus maintenance replacements) as well as capacity to lift the whole of 3 Cdo Brigade and supporting assets.

Also we need to replace like for like the Points.

Paul Bestwick

The graphic shown on the UK defence journal appeared to indicate decision points in the block to the right of the T31 and T32. These occur every 5 years or so after the T32 programme finishes


Some comments:

  1. T45 OSD must be extended. The next 1st-tier escort AFTER T83 is “T26 replacement”, which will happen only around 2055. Thus, the last T83 must commission around 2052, which means the last T45 must be used until around 2052.
  2. Sandown MCMV, to my understanding, has no “gap” between MCM mother ship. MCM USVs will be operated from ground and Bay-LSD, and this will cover about a half of the whole MCM tasks. This means a half of MCMVs (Sandown) can go away without replacement. Remaining MCM activities can be covered by Hunt class. I understand MCM mother ship is replacing the latter, coming right on time.
  3. 3 FSSS and 6 MRSS must be built on the same line, so that “large vessel building capacity” can have a good long vision, continuing to ~5 Tanker replacements. This means Bay OSD shall be extended, and also FSSS build must start very soon. I also think Fort Victoria OSD must be extended at least until the 2nd FSSS commissions.
  4. Point class is very important asset for UK. And, the reason is, they are very simple and cheap (to operate) assets. As such, their “replacement” can be used-RoRo, or lease. But, the “next RoRo build” shall come after “6 MRSS”, so that the “large vessel building capacity” can find job until the next FSSS replacements.

I can see the logic in your argument. I’m sure your aware of the counter argument that the RN is there to protect U.K. interests and not to provide work for the U.K. shipbuilding industries. How the compromise is struck between those two arguments will be key.


UK interests and a thriving shipbuilding industry are the same thing.

Robert S

Not really since the end of the Cold War though.


dont you mean the “official” restart of the Cold war (2)

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick

So to be clear. Are you a “everything must be U.K. built” person even if this leads to significant capability gaps. Don’t kid yourself that pure U.K. build won’t inevitably lead to gaps. The size of the U.K. shipbuilding industry cannot, even with ships getting service life extensions, deliver ships at the rate needed. Capability can be increased but that’s a decades long process.


The U.K. navy cannot exist without U.K. shipbuilding. A nations security is built on more than its active armed forces. The conflict of powers is won by a combination of, military, industrial, economic, population, resource and scientific strength.

Getting a cheaper armed forces now by buying from another nation is basically sacrificing the future security of your nation and funding other nations future strength. It’s the ultimate neoliberal weakness and is one of the element that is placing the western nations in the steadily weakening position they are finding themselves in.

Sometimes you have to buy from another nation or co-operate, but you should first strengthen your own nations infrastructure and wealth at every opportunity.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jonathan

Totally agree.


It would have been cheaper and better for the country if we had just kept the RN at its 1991 size. And a three fleet FJ RAF. The Army doesn’t matter really.


The current Defence Secretary agrees with you
UK defence secretary Ben Wallace has said “no cuts” were being made to the army “other than personnel”


Ben Wallace is an a-hole.

I am not sure how what he is said is what I said.

Robert S

Stop it now X, your opinions are getting downright laughable, beyond stupid.


He’s a lot better than the situation when Blair was PM when little was done strategically with defence except more cuts.


The French seem to understand this, awkward though they often are.


Type 45 or what ever T number you want should have replace both T42 and T23.

I fund it amazing that a service whose whole raison d’être is ‘sea power’ thinks operating the majority of its MCM capability from the land is ‘sensible’. The idea is utterly preposterous.

We are not going to be moving much kit around the globe post-Ukraine.



> operating the majority of its MCM capability from the land

I have a different point of view:

  • Sandown class is only a half of the RN MCMV fleet.
  • Anyway, RN needs to clear mines around Faslane/Clyde, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, as well as Liverpool (Mersey), Rosyth (Forth) and other home ports. In wartime, these demands rises, not decreases.
  • Also, USV fleet operated from land can cover choke points like, Dover, Gibraltar, Djibouti, Strait of Hormuz etc. (see, e.g.

Summed up, more than a half of the RN MCM needs can be covered by land-based MCM USV fleets. Of course, there are other theaters needing sea-going MCMVs, and those are well covered by the MCM mother ships. Also, Bay-LSD (officially stated), Type-32, and even Type-26 and River B2s can contribute here, I guess?


Simply no. To be honest you are just parroting sound bites.

I honestly don’t think you have any understanding of MCM.

The RN isn’t advocating this because it is the best course of action but because their political masters are denying the service budget.


Uhm, interesting.

1: I understand there is a task to clear Faslane’s entrance almost always. This can be replaced by land-based MCM USV kits or not? If one MCMV is now assigned there, at least two hulls can be replaced.

Or, this requirement can be gaped = RN can send ALL available MCMVs to overseas, leaving Faslane without any MCM gears?

2: Also, a Bay LSD is forward deployed in the Gulf to support MCMVs for a decade, and official announcement says MCM USVs are to be operated from Bay LSDs. Also, ARCIMS/Atlas USVs are actually tested from a Bay a few months ago at the north. This official announcement is a lie? LSD cannot operate MCM USV?

3: Or, are you saying USV-based MCM itself is useless?

Last edited 2 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

Do you have you any thoughts on the new £1.3bn mine clearance device mentioned in the NAO report on the equipment plan? I assume it’s Pulse Dart, but I’d thought that was a much cheaper programme (about £440K development to April next year). The DSTL site gives the following details:

Delivered underwater by a Remotely Operated Vehicle

(ROV), Dstl’s Pulse Dart comprises a metal spike and tube.

The spike penetrates the hard outer shell of the ordnance,

where an electrical charge is applied to initiate the

ordnance with the operative a safe distance away.

I’m now wondering if the £1.3bn also includes estimates for the drones, or it’s one heck of a production ramp up.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon

Thanks. Not much knowledge on them. Reading the article, I spot

As the system contains no explosive components, transport and storage can be undertaken ‘with minimal risk’, Dstl noted.

This looks great. Handling explosives are nasty.


It’s a great idea for sure.

I can’t find anything on how the explode command is passed between the ROV and the dart: wired connection perhaps? There’s also a possibility it doesn’t work that simply.

There seems to be an operations chain: there’s a base, land or mothership; a USV that conducts semi-autonomous operations (the Anglo-French MMCM programme); a ROV connected by wire to the USV, and the dart itself, fired from the ROV. There are also accoustically connected UUVs, and I’m not sure how they fit in, if at all. This is based on a BAES article, with a good diagram.

However, the diagram suggests that there’s a wired connection between the mine and a surface buoy. So perhaps the ROV fires a dart and releases a connected surface buoy, and the command is passed to the dart from the surface.


Perhaps we should replace everything we shore based systems and just do away with ships? Imagine the savings.


Thanks for response.

It is clear, drones needs extensive maintenance, and cannot be deployed “far away” from the base (either land or mother ships). In case of ARCIMS USVs, its endurance is 18 hours, which defines the “range” you can operate them.

There are MCM tasks over seas (covered by Hunt, MCM mother ship, T32 etc) and there are MCM tasks in home water and at forward bases (such as Bahrain).

Why not assign these two tasks to “MCM USV operated from a mother ship” and “MCM USV operated from land”?

Note, the “mother ship” here includes, MCM mother ships and T32 (and even River B2, although with less efficiency because of lack of good USV-recovery systems)

Last edited 2 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

The whole plan is based on the assumption that the Boris bounce in Defence equipment spenind after 2024 actually happens and that the current bout of inflation doesnt significantly eat into this plan by increasing build cost this driving a slow down in Type 32 programme (whatever that turbns out to be) or a reduction in Type 26 numbers. Type 45 replacement is equally or even more exposed.

Boris certainly wont be in power after the 2024 election based on todays psuedo-budget. In addition, Rishi has effectively allowed inflation to cut all Govt spending, which will certainly causie problems and femands for further spending on the NHS and Pensions. The NHS is particular is a black hole where money drains away with little addded benefit and the massive Covid back log is mych too large to be dealt with (the staffing training issues can only be fixed by significant immigration of health care specialists).

Most likley this entire “plan” is no longer economically viable (assuming it ever was on current/proposed defecne budget) and already needs to be revised significantly.

Even though it is now obvious that non-nuclear, non-pensions defence spending needs to head north of 2 % of GDP rapidly, the Govt has no ability to fund any such increase given that we’re alreasy at a record level of taxation and we’re about to see a 2 % decline in living standards due to tax rises alone, before any cost is incurred due to global energy proce rises and whatever real world subsidy the post 2025 Govt needs to spend funding their eco-woke transition to higher cost net green world.

Its a pretty pickle. On balance more defence cuts are likely than no, probably by more gapping and longer programme building lives for Type 26 , 32 and 83 than this timetable suggests.

A larger SSN fleet is also required for Cold War 2 and another £10 billion or so to properly equip the two carrier Strike Groups (although one is likely to become a RN plus USMC airwing asset now).


True. We are not going to have the money to do anything.


Sadly, agree.


There’s plenty of money. £250Bn in working age benefits for starters. That’s before we get to civil service pay and pensions which could all be legitimately cut by 20% as they are all ‘working’ from home. Those with the broadest shoulders and all that. Then there are plenty of taxes which would generate more income if they were lower and the politics of envy didn’t make the optics of dropping them so toxic (stamp duty, corporation tax, dividend tax)

Whilst I fully agree that defence needs more money it – like absolutely every government department – could also do far better with what it has. Building fewer T26s, just like building fewer T45s means the unit cost is higher as the R&D isn’t spread. Money wasted on Ajax. And the biggest line on the defence equipment plan – more than Combat Air and the ship building plan – is ‘defence digital’. £26Bn of whatever that is (probably bungs to some powerpoint jockeys). And then in order to save a few pence they lay up a much needed asset like Wave Knight.

The final point on spending is they of course have a £100bn+ to spend on HS2. This is of relevance, because it is estimated that ever £ spent on Defence R&D in the UK has an RoI of 3:1. i.e. twice as high as the (optimistic) HS2 business case. What that means is that money spent on high end military R&D will actually reduce our tax burden.

We should spend more on defence: the money is there, in many cases it will generate more money and what we do spend needs to be spent wisely on kit we need (ships, fighter aircraft, armoured vehicles and helicopters)


I find the whole idea of HS2 bizarre.

Robert S

You found the whole Idea of Putin Invading Ukraine too. maybe you oughtto just step away from your Computor eh ?


My position on Putin was based on reason and knowledge I thought he would have other options. I wasn’t counting on the US telling the Ukraine to mount an offensive on the Donbas forcing Putin’s hand. Your position on Russia is based on the MSM, bigotry, and ignorance perhaps simple stupidity. Probably the latter. Maybe you need to read a book or two?

Last edited 2 years ago by X
Robert S

“MSM, bigotry and ignorance perhaps stupidity”, the phrase “Pot Kettle” springs to mind. Are you based in Moscow per chance ? you sound just like a Putin worshiper.


Go away troll. You are ignorant and stupid.


I dont pretend to be plugged-in at that level, but when did Biden encourage Ukraine to launch a full scale assault on the Donbas “republics” (and when did they obtain the mobile force weapons to even have achance of doing so quickly enough to avoid Russian Army intervention).

Russian military forces have been building up on the Ukraine border since middle of last year and intensified from December or so, which is when US and UK ATGWs started to be supplied in quantity.

From my simplistic understanding of Ukrainain history, the current issues go back to at least the 1917/23 Soviet civil war (given allied-German forces intervened, I expect deep seated Soviet hostility to the west start then too). Ukraine/Russian cultural and language differences go back even further. It’s not like Moscow ever really trusted Ukrainans or Crimean Tartars through the 30s to 50s.


Most people do, since what’s needed is better regional rail links, not pissing more money into the London needs everything pot.

HS2 was never about levelling up the north it was about another investment to make it easier to commute into London…..


It was a 19th century solution to an ill defined 21st century question.


The Chinese have largely covered their Han heartland with high speed 250 km/hr but ’19th century technology’
But thats like saying 2020 aeroplanes are ‘1903 technology’ when the Wright Bros flew
Or the the 2020 frigate frigate is the technology from the late battle of the Atlantic period


I said a 19th century solution not technology. You never read what I said and went off on a tangent.

HS2 could be a mag-lev monorail. It still connecting two points with a fixed route.

Last edited 2 years ago by X

‘Could be ‘
Lots of things could be , should be or even might be. Doesnt change a thing as its essentially inter operability with other high speed lines here and in Europe.


Not worth it then. How many persons need to go between Brussels and Manchester each day? Actually need to be there in person?

A Eurostar can carry 900 passengers. I don’t see airlines having to fly three times as many flights as they do now and using 747’s to connect Brussels and Manchester………..

When the BBC tell you something do you ever look the numbers yourself and push them around? Or do you just accept what they say?


The issue here is not actually the Manchester Brussels business connectivity, its the tourist connectivity. If the whole of Europe had (or would have) a 500 kph railway network, it would be worth connecting to (ignoring the cost) as it would rival aircraft at a lower cost and better green economics.

The reason why HS2 isnt worth the £100 billion (?) cost is that the additional time saving getting to London from Manchester (not that HS2 will ever go further than Birmingham) is of no real benefit as an aircraft can do it faster and is better solution for high volume tourist connectivity.

This is the entire problem with net zero (although we need to do something significant to reduce global warmingto derisk). The whole concept will also need some hydrocarbons (pending completely radical technology like anti-gravity leviation or whatever). Electricity generation needs to generate a lot more energy that today on an negative co2 basis. By that I mean it power the entire current and future energy requirements and has more to spare to use on CO2 removal technology (ie CO2 to carbon).

Fusion power is probably only Earth based current technological solution unless someone comes up with an idea for tapping into something even more fundamental (atom level strong nuclear force, gravitational energy etc).

At the moment the best we can really do is increase energy use effeciency and stablise population growth. Its shame the world prefers virtue signally (or a return to some form of much smaller pre-industrial, hyper-technology dream with a radical 90 % reduction in global population).

Sorry 🙂

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick

I am an advances on all fronts person. I believe we should be digging new coal mines. Building reactors. Trying this fracking business. And covering our roofs in PV’s if you want.

I am not sure how a trace gas that makes up .048% of the atmosphere is causing us trouble. I think what drives our cycles is that big ball of burning gas at the centre of our solar system. It is worth considering that all plant life dies at .03% and we are in a period if anything of low CO2.

Yes fusion would cure all our problems. I think we will see it.


The physics and chemistry of how CO2, Methane and Water vapour heat the atmosphere through scaterring the infrared end of sun light trapping heat in the atmosphere is very well understood and has been for around 100 years.

As a geologist, we understood (natural) climate change cycles form the geological record (the Ice Age/Intergalcial cycle being the most recent and best documented example) as its a combination of the Earth’s orbital changes (whuich creates a series of warming/cooling cycles) and how plany life responds. Higher snow/ice cover, more reflectivity, less biological activity, leower CO2,water vapour and methane drives cooling and ends up with an atmosphere with around 200 ppm at the Glacial peak.

The opposite cycle then commences and the typical level of inter-glacial CO2 has ended up at around 280 ppm CO2 over the last 1 million years or so. We are currently sitting at c420 ppm CO2 and the climate cycle is a slow response, with a frequency of 50 to 100 years. We have accumulated around 120 ppm of CO2 induced warming, most of which has yet to happen. the sources of this additional CO2 are deforestation, farming, and consumption of large quantities hydrocarbons.

Cutting through the green BS, to understand climate change, you pretty much need to understand then entire Earth’s response to sun light in the context of both the solar cycle and the orbital cycles (which happen on a hundred to thousands of year timeframe in the natural world). No none actually knows whether the sun does have a c500 year high/low output cycle, although it has been inferred from the historical weather records.

Over the last 40 years, our ability to model climate change, both from computer power (data points used) and the accumulation of masses of physical, ecologial biodiversity and geographical/geological data. However, it is a model and all projectinos have known and unknown errors and simplifications built in.

Goingback to the eco-agenda, it is all based on an assumption that 1.5 degrees of warming (above the pre-industrial global average temperature) is the maximum “safe” limit. It may or may not be, but in any analysis risk has to be taken into account alongside appropriate safety margins. 420 ppm CO2 (plus corresponding higher methane and water vapour content) is give or take enough to take us to that 1.5 degree threshold.

Does this meean the world wil lend. Of course not. The global average temperature around 4 to 5 million years ago was 4 degrees (or so) warmer and the climate remained highly suitable for people. However, we dont really have a detail knowledge of the climate except that sea levels were higher and it can be expected that the pattern of rainfall will have beene different, the gulf stream less important, rainfall is likely to be higher, storms more frequent and larger etc plus different species of plant life (ie food crops) predominated compare to today.

The risk is the disruption to the 7 going on 8 billion of us, rising sea levels drowning coastal and river based cities, crop failures etc. [there are theoretical risks that even higher peak CO2 levels can arise during the transisition from the release of methan from permafrost and sea floor methane hydrates, which is concerning].

I’m no woke eco-loon, but the idea that we can do nothing is a massive untested gamble that in any other area we would insist on reducing or eliminating. However, it does not mean that we only have “10 years” left ot save ourselves. Neither does it mean that we can apply business as usaul approach forever. Reducing atmospheric CO2 levels is a medium term global prioirty. The question is how.


Better connectivity, I now live in a world where I work from home, but don’t have mobile access, many of my colleagues can’t even use the video function on teams for the slow bandwidth…..sort that our before a pissing billions on a chugging train line between two or three cities.


The cost of a UK wide fibre network is peanuts compared to the cost of HS2.

If you need to get London 20 minutes earlier get out 20 minutes earlier.


There are actually several (when joined up) existing UK wide Fibre Optics backbones in the UK. The issue is adding the regional, then local then house level connectivity.

High speed 5G mobile tech is probably cheaper than new fibre to the house and almost as fast anyway.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick

FFS. I do know there is a lot of fibre out there.

Last edited 2 years ago by X

Dont disagree, although its London weighting and the Govt property footprint which needs to go IF the Civil Service doesnt go back to offices (it will because most people are NOT as effecient working at home – too many distractions – and many of us dont have the spare space at home anyway.

Agree on HS2, but explained my opinion below.


I think a shipbuilding strategy is a great step forward, I particularly like the idea of having something covering so many areas outside of the MoD. However, the ambiguity of this strategy is overwhelming, lifting its utility barely above the level of a wish list.

Either I don’t understand the plan shown in the article (which seems reasonably clear), or it simply doesn’t accord with the plan I read in the strategy. The claim is made that the strategy is vague and inaccurate by a couple of years. However the plan here appears to suggest the first Type 83 will be in service in 2034, and that the last Type 26 will be in service in 2035, whereas the strategy shows the first Type 83 in service in 2038 and the last Type 26s coming into service in 2042. That’s more than being out by a couple of years.

The strategy only shows a date for the first Type 32, and although I hope Rosyth will be churning them out annually, that isn’t part of the strategy as yet. In fact the strategy doesn’t even assert all five will be built, much less show a schedule beyond the first.

The final thing I’m going to underscore is the mismatch between the statement

“What is immediately obvious is the amount of construction work that will be underway in the late 2020 and early 30s…”

and the defence equipment plan for procurement for surface shipping (committed and uncommitted).

21/22 £1.0 bn
22/23 £1.0 bn
23/24 £1.2 bn
24/25 £1.2 bn
25/26 £1.1 bn
26/27 £1.0 bn
27/28 £0.9 bn
28/29 £0.8 bn
29/30 £0.7 bn
30/31 £0.6 bn

This is the “funding flows as promised”. Does that look like a plan to increase shipbuilding in the late 20s and early 30s? The £5.6bn uncommitted spend over the next ten years couldn’t even support milestone payments for the Type 26 and the Type 32 as shown in the plan above, much less a Type 83 and all the other promised goodies.

Until we get a joined up plan, including concrete and unambiguous dates, and a matching budget to pay for it, real delivery dates will disappoint and the navy will continue to struggle to receive the ships it so badly needs.

David Broome

No mention that for Type-32, it only says “up to five”. Why does that make me suspicious.