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Cam

I thought RFA Fort Vic could only hold three Choppers not 4, and will she be carrying three Merlins with her when she sails east if so what kind??

Also I’ve always liked the look Of Fort Vic and the now gone George, I like the bridge up front instead of at the rear with the tides, also I like how they were fitted for Sea wolf missile silos But never got them, Atleast the possibility was there I suppose!. I hope the new ships are like these ones originally planned and we get three like we need

58F52722-2A58-4F54-87EF-B5BBA8C29518.jpeg
Last edited 4 months ago by Cam
ecewcwec

We can only hope. Sadly, no one in procurement seems to understand that ships need stores and fuel, and seem to disregard the RFA’s importance.

borg

That’s actually not true though.

N-a-B

People in procurement understand it all too well. Unfortunately their hands are somewhat tied by a combination of a fairly unique requirement and a bunch of very shouty pollies demanding that the ships are UK built irrespective of actual capacity……

Due to go around the mulberry bush again in the next few weeks I believe.

ecewcwec

To be fair, I really should have said those who dictate to them what they can do.

ecewcwec

The more we push it back, the more ships we have to replace in a short amount of time, is this approach indicating a possible further reduction in hulls? We seem to be rather good at making the out of service dates of large numbers of hulls come around the same time, instead of having continual upgrade and replacement. The treasury balks at the mention of building a single class of ships, why on Earth do we leave it so that we have to ask for 5 at once? Does someone just want us to be sailing about in rubber dinghies?

Phillip

Can anyone explain why the decision was taken to dispose of Fort George rather than the two older ships? Was it purely that she was bigger and thus more expensive to run?

ecewcwec

From what I can tell, it was more of an arbitrary decision, than anything logical, i.e, we have enough of this type of vessel, sell one.

FlipFlop84

They should have just binned the old forts in 2010 and put all the effort into Ft George and Victoria . But as you say, that would require critical thinkng and not just being arbitary

Sunmack

All part of the disastrous 2010 Defence Review by the Cameron government which included other gems such as axing the Harriers to preserve Tornado. Cameron was just an empty suit who it turns our made it up as he went along whilst reportedly spending most of his time playing candy crush on his phone

Challenger

To be fair the Harrier fleet was down to the bare bones by 2010. It was deemed one aircraft type had to be completely removed to save money and there was no way it was going to be the Tornado.

ATH

Very true. Getting rid of the last of the RAF Harriers wasn’t best for the RN but it was far better for the U.K. than either getting rid of Tornado or keeping a token force of both.

X

If our Harriers had been built to the same standard as AV8x then they would have been worth keeping. But sans radar then no. Tornado was far too useful at the time.

Challenger

Should have partnered with the USMC on it’s Harrier upgrade path in the early 90’s rather than pursuing separate RAF and FAA variants.

Small, niche fleets led to Sea Harrier being binned and the GR7/GR9 fleet continuing but with no radar and limited weapons integration. Fast forward a couple of decades and people seriously suggesting a split F35 A/B purchase makes me despair!

X

Yes. Purchasing A would be the height of stupidity.

DaveyB

But then they binned the aerodynamic BAe “big wing” upgrade for the Harrier, as it would have upset the US after it was designing the Harrier 2. The big wing would have allowed the Harrier to adopt the larger Pegasus as used in Harrier 2. It would add additional underwing hardpoints and perhaps more importantly an increase in the wings internal fuel capacity. The wing was designed for a higher transonic performance along with a better roll rate generated by the addition of leading edge root extensions (LERX). The RAF was apparently concerned about the turning ability of the Harrier 2, so McDonnell Douglas added LERX to enhance its roll rate.

Why was the BAe upgrade binned, as it had the same payload and range as the Harrier 2, yet had a higher cruise speed? Political, to placate the US!

Trevor H

Reportedly… You are being rather crass.
The Sea Harriers were scrapped by Brown. The ground attack Harriers were not really much use as carrier planes without Sea Harriers. The Tornadoes were more realistic in the middle east.

Duker

The Sea Harriers FA2 were at end of life- remember they were mostly 20 yr old rebuilds of the original Sea Harriers, thats why the RN got some GR7/9 to maintain skills
At the time it was thought the F35 was a few years away from entry to service…

NoSea2Rough

Fort George and Fort Victoria are dual role, half Dry Stores/Ammunition and half Oiler. Like a lot of jack of all trades they are a compromise and so are not the most capable at being a stores ship or oiler. However as they were designed to support squadrons of bare bones frigates, they do have significant capabilities to act as command and control motherships and a reasonable self defence capability. They are the first of what I think was originally supposed to be a class of 8, but as the frigates gained capability there was less need for motherships to look after them.

Fort Austin and Fort Grange (Rosalie) are dedicated dry stores/ammunition carriers and have considerably more capability in this role than the new forts. Their mission was to carry the stores for carrier task groups and troops ashore.

The George was razor bladed because she and Victoria were very expensive to run and maintain (gossip said they were absorbing the majority of the RFAs budget for this) and their original purpose in life had disappeared. The decision of which to go was essentially made on the fact Victoria had just completed a refit, and the George had yet to start.

So why keep Victoria and lay up Austin and the Grange? well Victoria could be fitted with the test version of the stores rig that the new carriers needed, the old forts couldn’t.

Last edited 4 months ago by NoSea2Rough
N-a-B

The old Forts also constitute something like 30% of the remaining users of their main engines. Spares are a bit of an issue. RFA and DE&S have also decided that the old Forts will not be allowed alongside QEC irrespective of their rig.

Their flight decks aren’t cleared for Merlin or wokka either.

Last edited 4 months ago by N-a-B
Ian

Hi Philip
Can anyone explain why Cameron and Osbourne sold a Bay approximately 15 years old now and kept old ships well into their 30’s…… time will tell that they were a pair of Dicks…….
Thanks Ian

Cam

Different capabilitys and we had 4 bays so could easily cut one without major capability loss.

Cam

I thought fort George was in really bad shape, so I heard, I live a couple miles from actual fort George on the moray Firth and sadly they are shutting that down also!!

N-a-B

Fort George was the better of the two – ask the lads at Lairds who looked after them. Due to being built at a proper yard that didn’t let PIRA wander in and plant a bomb aboard. Viccy had a very problematic build, commissioning and acceptance, involving transfer from H&W to the old Lairds and eventually to FMRO at Portamouth.

Sipowitz

As I recall the older Fort class (AFS(H)) were required to support the amphibious task group. Although on paper the two classes appear to offer similar capabilities in reality the AFS(H) have a much bigger store capacity (of the top of my head 3-4 times greater)

As mentioned many times before the new Forts being combined stores ships and tankers lead to a “jack of all trades master of none” situation, they simply don’t have enough fuel or dry stores capacity to support a major task group.

Nonetheless they are very capable ships with large flight decks and hangars, masses of spare accommodation and facilities to support a battlestaff etc. but they are large and complex ships and very, very, expensive to run.

Daniel

So attempting some crude maths, based on the figure of 600 tonnes of fuel required for 5 days of carrier sailing, and some information from google about the fuel capacity of the tide class (24000m^3) and the density of F-76 marine diesel (~776kg/m^3). That means a Tide class can hold enough fuel to sustain a carrier for 31 days? Obviously that doesn’t take into account the fuel required for the tanker itself and the escorts, or the aviation fuel for the airgroup, but I would say that that’s a pretty good capability especially when combined with the second tanker working to resupply the first.

X

I would go look and see how much bunkers a QE burns at top speed. And not just economical cruising.

Sea dog 67

One suck from the Fort Vic would empty her since the legislation on double hulled tankers

X

I know all this………

D J

You might. On a public forum, you get public readers. Not everyone reading this web page are at the same level. You sould remember not every response is written directly to you, even if replying to you (as I am). Some like N_a_B are well aware of this. Others- not so much.

Sunmack

I’d like to see the RFA’s equipped with a proper self defence capability given the shortages of escorts. A full suite of decoys and upgrading the now obsolete Phalanx to Sea Ram with two per vessel backed up by two 30mm cannon should be the minimum. The same defensive suite should also be fitted to the Echo’s and the replacement for HMS Scott.
In totality, these are many billions of pounds of vessels with hundreds of crew embarked which often deploy in medium and high threat zones and consequently need to have a decent self defence capability.

Cam

I’m sure most RFA ships have two 30mm cannons

ATH

What would you use to pay for this equipment? Would you cut some other part of the RN force? The extra money the MOD got last year is all gone (and some) in filling the Black Hole.

Gunbuster

So you want to remove a proven and recently upgraded Phalanx that has air and surface engagement capability, on- mount along with at mount ammo reloads and a deep magazine full of penetrator rounds with a missile system with between 11 or 21 rounds that you need to fire 2 missiles per target to get a 99% kill oh and you cannot reload it at sea?

RFAs have decoys(Sea Gnat with Chaff, IR and Active jammer rounds) and 20/ 30mms along with a load of RM to do Force Protection and to man the 50cals, GPMGs and Mini Guns.

RFAs hang well back from the front line . They are not designed to mix it up as a FF/DD does.

AlexS

Phalanx is obsolescent. The USN will not put it in the new frigate chosing a RAM. That tells you everything about its future.
The Dutch just choose to replace the Goalkeeper with a combo of RAM and 76 Oto Melara with guided rounds.

X

And Goalkeeper was already far superior to Phalanx.

Cam

Bigger rounds On Goalkeeper, was the radar better? Or what else made it superior?

X

Both. 30mm and over allows your to do clever things with the rounds. 20mm can only be solid. And yes better sensors.

Duker

The gatling gun fires a 20mm subcaliber sabot projectile using a heavy-metal (either tungsten or depleted uranium) 15mm penetrator surrounded by a plastic sabot and a light-weight metal pusher. The gatling gun fires 20mm ammunition at either 3,000 or 4,500 rounds-per-minute with a burst length of continuous, 60, or 100 rounds.”
It makes it a ‘hit’ weapon rather than fuzed exploding rounds when nearby. It seems to me its advantage is that it tracks and corrects its own 15mm sabot projectiles

Duker

The Goalkeeper used the very powerful 7 barrel GAU-30mm , which also used solid sabot rounds amoung others.
Interesting it came into use about same time as Phalanx, but only does the search and track of target but not track the shots

AlexS

“It seems to me its advantage is that it tracks and corrects its own 15mm sabot projectiles”

It does not correct any projectiles. Today only the Oto with DART ammo does it.
If you are talking that it keeps correcting where it sends its projectiles any AA guns does it.

Duker

The USN will not put it in the new frigate chosing a RAM.”
The RAM has quite a bit more range than the Phalanx

the USN substituted a Searam version for one of 2 Phalanx mount on some Med DDGscomment image

AlexS

Well range is crucial due to faster missiles and everyone is trying to get the max range possible in anti missile work also to make possible multiple engagements. That is why Italian Navy dropped the dual Breda Bofors for the 76 Oto with corrected DART for anti missile work, instead of 4km the fire will start at 8km at least, same for USN/Germany with RAM replacing the Phalanx. You can’t get much more that 2km range from 20mm gun, and ceiling is a significant problem sincew it is inferior to the effective range and any medium drone can go higher and lob missiles down and phalanx can’t do to the drone.
That was one advantage of Goalkeeper vs Vulcan, at 30mm it was much more powerful so more range and ceiling but wouldn’t be much over 3km effective.

Meirion X

A 40mm gun would be better then!

Jamie

Sea RAM can be reloaded at sea

X

comment image

borg

8 people loading, plus a crane !

X

Delicate not light pieces of equipment being moved well above head height on a platform that is moving. So not difficult, but not easy. 🙂

Duker

4 loading and 4 supervising ?
I would have allowed the launcher box to tilt back to the deck ( they have good azimuth angle) and have a small guide rail or 2 inside the box slide out to take the weight, and that way it doesnt have a temporary platform to be installed and all the loaders are at same level and with the loading canister.

X

I see where are you going. I would have made more of that crane TBH. It’s a 3/4 man job I think. Perhaps in war or crisis there wouldn’t be 8? Handling explosives is always done most carefully…….

Supportive Bloke

And only really suitable for the most benign sea states?

AlexS

Nice pics everyone.

Challenger

Frustrating thing is if Fort George and Largs Bay hadn’t been removed from service the RFA would actually be in reasonable shape at the moment – with a back up FSS instead of 2 very old ones laid up and enough Bays to simultaneously deploy to the Gulf and West Indies whilst also fulfilling the primary LSD role instead of having to chose some other others.

Still convinced it was the stupidest decision to come out of SDSR 2010 – and that’s saying something!

Sunmack

I agree with you.

And if we’d built 4 Batch 2 Rivers with a hangar instead of 5 without then they would have been able to undertake the West Indies guard ship role instead of using the Bays.

Challenger

Swings and roundabouts really. Would have been good to see the newer Rivers have hangars but UAV’s will increasingly offer a good solution to most surveillance work.

When it comes to disaster relief a big vessel with lots of space for supplies and landing craft to bring it to shore is far more useful, whereas the Rivers can get into smaller ports when flying the flag so I think that sort of force mix works quite well.

ATH

Very true, the RFA do the disaster relief roll far far better than an OPV or escort ever could.

Cam

But the opvs do a great anti drug and pirate roll, even without the choppers,

X

Diligence. We need to replace Diligence.

Gunbuster

I think they have even given up looking for scrap buyers.. It will go to scrap somewhere but probably outside of the UK.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919725/Diligence_Sales_Summary-O.pdf

Replace It with FSU type containers embarked on a STUFT which is what happened in 1982 when it was called Stena Inspector.

X

If you look at other states you will see that the RN is lacking in surface hulls to support its submarines. If our SSN’s are going to spend more and more time in the Indian Ocean they will need support. A STUFT with containers is not optimum. There are reasons why we bought the ship.

N-a-B

Sadly, the part of the fleet that really needs the particular capability that Dili offered spent the best part of the last fifteen years swearing blind that they didn’t. Despite having more budget than Croesus.

The result is that “the requirement” remains (AFAIK) unendorsed, Dili sits in 3 basin on the disposal list (despite having been re-engined only a few years ago). Ironically, had they chosen to dispose in the early teens when day rates for DSV were high, she’d have been snapped up.

X

It is another MoD(N) / HMG thought train I just don’t get.

N-a-B

Oh that’s not MoD(N) / HMG. It’s actually RN. A particular branch doesn’t want to acknowledge a particular requirement, because then it might have to pay for it…..

X

All facets of the same entity. I am struggling as we head towards 7, probably 6, A-boats how the Submarine Service are going to maintain availability. Modern technology isn’t making submarines simpler and easier to operate; if anything they seem to becoming less reliable. I am old fashioned. I think submarines should be operated on a four for one basis. You can not have one point something available in the real world you can only work in whole numbers. The Submarine Service has gone from being one of the top three to a struggling also ran.

Duker

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/11/royal-australian-navy-hosts-french-navy-submarine-and-support-vessel/

Is this the sort of thing you are talking about ?
The Loire class support ships (4x) are quite small , c 3000 tcomment image

Last edited 4 months ago by Duker
X

Sort of. But Dili is a whole class bigger; about 3 times the size. The Loire’s took over from a class of small landing ships that the French had sprinkled about their ‘imperial possessions’.

The Submarine Service is going to be spending an awful lot of time away. The boats need a secure ‘base ship’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFA_Diligence_(A132)
comment image

Sea dog 67

Well the comment I put on this page regards legislation of double hulled tankers. IE Fort Vic has been removed….BIG BROTHER …or What.

X

It’s there. You used the word S – U – C – K……………

Roger R-B

It is wonderful to see the RFA re-modernised after the Cold War “peace dividend” cancelled the new build programme based on 9-12 AORs in 1991. A fully modern fleet again. UK Limited was fortunate that the RFA fleet of 1970s had been constructed to support the Cancelled CVS programme of the 60s or else there would have been insufficient Afloat Support for Op Corporate.

John G

I hope the Wave Ruler in Seaforth Dock Liverpool has checked her water intakes and pipes when I was there the place was full of mussels and it turned into a major job clearing them out. of our systems.just to keep the lights on.

Darren

“Vice-Admiral Christopher Gardner, Director-General, Ships at DE&S, speaking last week said: “If we want to get back to having a highly effective and productive shipbuilding sector in the UK, we need to learn from those who know how to do it rather than reinvent the wheel ourselves. There is experience we can bring in from international partners and for FSS, part of that might be around design. We have deliberately set the requirement so it does not just lead to one solution, but brings in a range of solutions. We need to understand from the totality of industry, including internationally what they can bring to the design.
If we said it had to be UK-only, we would be limiting options far too early in the procurement process… What we are very clear about, and what Prime Minister has said, is that a significant proportion of build and integration that has to be done in UK.”

Did this not happen with the Tide ships? Learn what Deawoo did well at and learn about what Deawoo did not do well at. Did we learn about shipbuilding in South Korea in this period?

Building warship destroyers, frigates, and submarines is seen as a largely a white collar domain. Building warship auxiliaries as something in between Warship and Commercial practice. Did we learn anything from this commercial shipbuilder in building these warship tankers?

Darren

The protocol, article 16.They know we an beat them. It is gluves off stuff. The North East of Britain, from Humber up to Rosyth and further north on the east coast. Plus the Clyde at Inchgreen.