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John

More gold plating from the MOD when we need a fleet of cheap effective ships. Why are we buying the most expensive ships when we should be buying the most cost effective?
Why do we have to reinvent the wheel/ ship/ tank/ tank/aircraft every time?

Grubbie

It’s not very cost effective to buy ships that are easily sunk. The Guardian seems to have hit the nail on the head by accidentally referring to them as type 21.Very few, if any ships will be exported -MOD, Bae and the unions will see to that. Bae mode of operation is to create a monopoly and them drive it into the ground. We are now out of the business of producing armoured vehicles, non nuclear submarines, small arms, guns, UAVs, targeting systems, etc and fairly unconvincing in many other fields. France seems to be able to do everything on the list other than small arms, Israel everything other than submarines. It’s a disgrace that we have to buy these strategic items, never mind from such a small and unstable semi nation.

AR

the navy and government hardly make an effort to make the navy more appealing

phil

Challenger is uk built ,as is the Warrior ,and CVR(T) (Fair enough apart from stormer the CVR (T) range is old ,Warriors replacement I think is uk built ..And he challenger upgrade is uk ..I will admit a lot of the new wheeled kit is yank ..but is that due to we needed something quick for afghan ,and the yanks had an off the shelf soloution ..There wasn’t the time to develop and trial something in the meantime

AR

cancel 5 f-35’s and the saving would replace the whole r.a.f fleet there are over 200 f 22, tomcats f 111’s sitting gathering dust in the arizona boneyard. the uk armed fshould swallow their techno snobbery and get a decnt deal by buying up decomisioned u.s. kit. we spent godzillions on 2 new carriers when thegiant j.f.k is sitting in bremerton reserve on hold for donation o ras a museum. we could have got herfor a song and her in in comsion .long before now a carrier with a CATOBAR system a ship that carries 60+fighters and nuclear propulsion, which would reduce fuel costs60 fighters

Michael Lewis

The F-14 and F-111 platforms you mention while premier in thier day, are now rather long in the tooth. Both were designed in the 1960’s, and lend very little to upgrades and are very maintanence intense, which is presicely why they were retired. As for the CV JFK, ditto for her. To get her in fighting condition would be hideously expensive.
I do think it would have been wise for the RN to have gone with a proven and very capable aircraft such as the F-18 super hornet. The US Navy is very pleased with this platform which is superior as a naval tactical fleet asset, and would have been affordable for the RN.
I also think it was very shortsighted for the QE class to be built without cats and traps. An entire US Navy sized F-18 air wing with British roundels could have been purchased and deployed and been affordable. As it is, an obscene amount of money has been spent for two ships that will host only one obscenely expensive aircraft that is not even fully operational yet. That all being said, may the senior service be fully successful as it moves forward.

AR

mainly because the R.N. has become so techno snobbish,’gotta have that system,that weapon e.t.c it bungs up the price of all military kit which causes delays at design level procurement and fitting out hence delays and budget cuts BAE (BAD AND EXPENSIVE) MONOPOLY,INSTEAD OF SOMETHING THAT DOES THE JOB. THE U.K. WON’T FOLLOW THE WAY all OTHER OPERATE, BUYING FOREIGN SHIPS AND KIT, TRUE THE U.K DEFENCE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE PROTECTED, BUT NOT AT COST OF MUCH NEEDED ASSETS THAT COULD BE SOURCED ELSEWHERE.A ‘MATES RATE’ ON U.S AIRCRAFT TANKS,SHIPS E.T.C WOULD MAKE THE DEFENCE BUDGET GO FURTHER AND INCREASE AVAILABLE ASSETS QUICKER

Scott

Re “At around £1Bn each the Type 45 and the Type 26 can almost be considered ‘capital ships’, with which few risks can be taken.”

Should risks be taken with any ships? Steel and systems are all replaceable, crews are not and can take many more years to build up the experience to replace the senior people lost. As such the crew is arguably the far more valuable asset. Do not build the Navy’s Snatch Land Rover of the sea, even with a lower budget it is possible to fund a platform that is capable in all respects, if not perhaps as capable as more expensive options.

Scott

My point was not that ships should not be put in harms way, that is par for the course. It was that ships put in harms way should be adequately equipped to have a fighting chance of defending themselves should they need to. A frigate should be capable of exactly that. But f it can’t, well does it justify being referred to as a Frigate? To scrimp on the outfit they have in order to just deliver hulls cheaply does exactly render them Snatch Land Rovers of the Sea.

4thwatch

Not what Nelson practiced. Engage the enemy more closely, etc.

AR

OPV’S ALBIONCLASS? A COUPLE OF STOKERS THROWING CONKERS WOULD ENHANCE THE REDICULOUSE LACK OF WEAPONRY ON THOSE SHIPS.

4thwatch

If equipped for anti submarine work and self defence SAMs they could prove a vital asset anywhere and save the day. We need at least 8 of the very best we can build.

AR

rerunning the warship t.v. programmes might help, as far as i know, no effort to make people consider is made by/for any of the services media should be used more often

AR

build time isn’t mentioned much, competition for fastest build is important, its no good ordering new toys, but if you’ve got to wait too long for them its a waste

Pacman27

A well presented considered article. If we accept that the carriers need 6 escorts each and will operate on a 1 on 1 off basis that then mean 12 escorts. Add an attritional value of 50% and this takes us to 18 escorts just to have a minimal AAW/ASW capability for the carriers, so 30 ships is reasonable without being extravagant and was until recently the recognised size.

There is an opportunity to swap out our minehunters (15) and OPV’s (5) in the near future as we move to the unmanned mine counter measures system and this allied to our current fleet of 19 escorts could be used to fund and build a fleet of 36 escorts over the next 25 years. Giving us a drumbeat of 1.5 ships p.a. Building a single T26 every 2 years is costly and inefficient, buy the steel and build more as the people are already there.

There are some great ‘smaller’ ships out there (Meko A200, Freedom LCS, Formidable class) and these pack a real punch for their size.

I also think we should move away from the multi mission concept if this means that we are building ships that are not fit for task and I really think its time we made the T45 able to defend itself properly.

The NSS will require £3bn p.a. To really be sustainable and give the UK an opportunity to build 3 major ships p.a.

AR

THE BRAUNSCHWIEG CLASS OF THE GERMAN NAVY LOOKS LIKE A GOOD SOLUTION WIKI IT AND SEE THE SPECS,VIDEO. THE SIZE OF IT SHOWS WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH A HULL OF THE OPV TYPE

AR

A PILEOF CASH WAS SPENT MAKING THE SWIFTSURE CLASS TOMAHAWK CAPABLE, THEY ARE NOW SITTING ALONGSIDE IN DEVONPORT AND ROSYTH

Bloke down the pub

‘. Fitting of anti-ship or land-attack weapons will probably have to take a lower priority.’

Surely it makes sense to fit the T31s with land-attack weapons rather than the T26 ?

Grubbie

I have often wondered about that too.It seems to make more sense to put a small gun on the T26 and the big one on the T31.Why risk the most expensive ship with an important job to do protecting the fleet from submarines for shore bombardment?Only recently have I realised just how expensive a 5 inch gun is from Bae.

NavyLookout

Ideally the T31 would have 5″ gun, anti-ship missiles and Tomahawk but as a ‘budget’ vessel these are expensive additions and many believe ASW should be the priority

Bloke down the pub

All images I’ve seen show the T31 with a 5″ Gun. If they were also fitted with a mk41 vls, they could quad-pack their sea ceptors or , if necessary , launch land attack weapons or Asroc, giving them much greater flexibility . Don’t know the cost Mk41 cf a sea ceptor only launcher but it would seem to offer good value.

AR

OTO MELARA GUNS ARE CHEAPER, BETTER THAN ANYTHING BAE COULD TURN OUT.WE DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT FOREIGN CARS ANYMORE SO VALUE FOR MONEY FROM ELSEWHERE ISN’T SO BAD

Stephen

“We don’t complain about foreign cars anymore”. We can’t have that attitude to everything though or we will have ZERO industry in Britain.

AR

taking the de commisioning ticondarogA cruisers from the USN. WE FITTED TOMAHAWK SYSTEMS TO SEVERAL SWIFTSURE SUBMARINES AND PROMPTLY ‘RETIRED’ THEM THE PLANNING AND COMPETANCE OF A MADHOUSE, HOW DO THOSE CRETINS GET THEIR JOBS? THE U.K. SHOULD HAVE A MATES, RATE ON ALL DECOMISISONED AMERICAN KIT.THE AIRCRAFT BONE YARD IN ARIZONA HAS ENOUGH FIGHTERS IN MOTHBALLS TO RE EQUIP EVERY AIR FORCE ON THE PLANET. WE COULD DOUBLE THESIZE OF THE r.a.f FOR THE PRICE OF A FEW F35’S

IanW

“Fitting of anti-ship or land-attack weapons will probably have to take a lower priority.”

An unfortunate elision. The point about land-attack missiles is taken, but a general purpose frigate will be of little use as a convoy escort or acting alone if an enemy vessel can stand-off and fire missiles at it from well beyond gun range.

It’s not unusual for the vessels of even minor navies to come armed with such weapons. When a site whose avowed purpose is to ‘Save the Royal Navy’ suggests we need not do likewise, we have reason to be concerned about the way in which we have come to accept the hollowing out of our armed forces’ ability to protect themselves, let alone take the fight to the enemy.

AR

at least 8 navy’s use the rayatheon rim 116 anti air/ciws system, which at just£998000 a pop shows we are paying over the odds for stuff that prices t45’s and 26’s e.t.c out of the available budget

4thwatch

What I didn’t know was that Absolon class was a Bae design. That means no need for type 26 to be built in Bae yard. We are being ripped off. I don’t like that.

AR

BAE are given an unfair monopoly at the expense of english yards like pompey,birkenhead the north estyards. the BAE fixation is a national disgraceB=bloody, expensive ,and late every time

Tim

Some points on a naval guns…

We generally know when we are going to do heavy NGS; Iraq 1991, Falklands 1982, D-Day 1944, etc. The heavy NGS ships rarely operates on their own and generally the enemy know they’re there. I therefore don’t see the point of making them able to do everything and be expensive. They could be simple utility ships with bolt on CIWS and modular 127mm guns that get escorted by warships that do the other tasks without having to be tied to the gun line.

For other types of NGS the Oto Melera 76mm gun is good enough. I know it’s light but in 2011 HMS Liverpool fired at vehicles in Libya with a bigger gun and they still needed aircraft to finish them off. This action is typical of unplanned NGS and I think a 76mm would still have been ok. It also has the DART ammo for CIWS, Volcano out to 40km and they’re working on a 76mm version of the guided IR anti-ship round.

For anti big-ship work use a missile as they are easy to add and often aircraft launchable as well. They can also do small quantities of land attack like the recent USS Mason attack on a radar station in Yemen. That means big expensive heavy guns on our escorts is something we can do without.

AR

blake or tiger’s 3 and 6 inch guns were the ones we needed, the ships were armoured , but very expensive to crew and operate so, like everything the nation has done wrong they werescrapped.

AR

why doesn’t the u.k have buy back options on warships sold to other navy’s? we could get back the two 23’s from chile and the 22’s from all over, cheaper, faster additions to our sad’ little coastal force

AR

if pompey coul have built drednaught in 1914 within a year, the the clyde yards should be told a minimum of 3 per year is required, the fixation of building ships in scotland and gives BAE an unfair monopoly

FredS

Why not just build a scaled down Type 26 ? No need for a mission bay or Chinook capable flight deck. Surely this would be cheaper than a whole new design !

Drax

Not a cat in hell’s chance of getting 11. I’ll be amazed if we get more than 5, and that’s if the project isn’t binned altogether in the 2020 review. Sorry to be a pessimist but recent history doesn’t inspire optimism.

Paul

They should order 10, to bring escort numbers back up to 24. Get Clyde to build 5 & give the other 5 to a yard(s) in England. Then we’ll have some much needed competition.

Stephen

We need investment in the English shipyards so that there is not only 1 place in Britain that can built entire ships (Clyde). We need to build a large enclosed dockhall so we can build regardless of the weather with the latest equipment.

AR

the government needs to come clean and give the target number of vessels for the next decade ark royal went too early, illustrious was left to rot the later type 42’s could hand should have been upgraded, york gloucester and southampton were due refit,instead, they went to scrap.the whole procurement at the m.o.d is a shambles. no effort to retain, recruitto the services is anywhere to be seen.

johnf

Our politicians, our civil servants and the RN have all been negligent and we now have a navy that is too small and effectively irrelevant. Well done Westminster, Putin is very pleased..

Jim

Build more 26, amortise the cost over more vessels, fix any type 45 problems and critical emerging threats by planning for 2 batch build.

Darren Riche-Webber

What are the staff requirements, can they be met, how do these designs compare with say the Russian Gorshkov general purpose Frigate (a very good looking and capable ship of similar size, a little longer).

4thwatch

The USN is looking at light frigates right now so who knows what the Oliver Hazard Class replacement will look like. My money is on the French light frigate except for its ridiculous ‘dreadnaught’ type bow. Also impressive are the Russian corvette/light frigate design. These are likely the ones you are going to meet in either the sales pitch or conflict of the future.
The moment it steps out, so to speak, it will have to face multi threats including mines and sea drones. In my opinion the subsurface battle will be extremely intense if confronted by a premier league opponent if only because not much else will survive unless its extremely capable. Plus it has to do secondary escort duty.
I think its Gendarmarie role and shore bombardment has to come second. JUST UPGRADE THE RIVER CLASS to do something useful.
I would ditch the MK45 5″ gun especially in its complex automated format.
If its going to do anything it needs to concentrate on a block of Mk 41 silos and a block of Seaceptor and lightweight t/a sonar.
For shore bombardment Its a pity we cant have a lightweight recycled 105mm gun based on the 4.5″ which we will have stripped off all the type 22’s, the type 41’s and prudentially hidden away in some warehouse awaiting reuse. Or don’t we do this?
I find it hard to believe a simplified type 26 isn’t the answer as long as its not a monopoly.
You really have to set up a special organisation to mass produce these things and build many to reduce the costs. The navy almost needs to reopen its own design and build operation or at least provide a framework which is now being abused.

Stephen

We demand that British steel is used to build these ships (not the pathetic 1/3rd used in the T26s). Whatever equipment is needed, get it, this cannot be allowed to keep happening. Royal Navy projects MUST NOT be used to keep foreign industries alive and foreign engineers in jobs.

Stephen

We could enlarge the Royal Navy, and rebuild Britain’s industries, by stopping giving £billions of our hard earned money away to foreign countries (“foreign aid”).

Ron

I,ve looked very carefully at theT31 in concept and come to the following conclussions. First Please dont let BAE get their hands on it, Second Please dont let the politicians mess around to much ahd keep trying to change the designs or concept and Third it is possible to build a very effective medium threat capabile vessel at a reasonable cost.
And if you, or the politicians or the Admiralty dont believe me then take a look at the Formidable class of the Singapore Navy, the only thing thhat seems to be missing is a small missions bay and a CIWS otherwise a very good ship on 3,200 tons.