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Reaper

Why up gun them? Because theyre out gunned at every turn. Like every other weapons platform the UK military has. The only asset that is sufficiently armed is the rifleman.

James Harrington Law

Thats so true, and as the article says these ships are patrol vessels, but just wait they will be sent into the Channel to escort “patrol” the Russians, and others and will be a total mis match. Its a great looking ship and we all know the crew will be fantastic, but under gunned and lack of new technology defensive and offensive assets.

4thwatch

Yes you would have thought Bae would have been embarrassed into fitting 57mm Bofors which they own and market. It really is a disgrace. No excuses. If the Bae big OPV they insultingly call Leander, gets the type 31 contract we might as well pack it in. Don’t even mention the Astutes. Bring back Vospers.

ATH

I’d be very very surprised if BAe gave away a 57mm.
Plus
What would the RN do with one? They have no approved ammo in there system. No training courses for maintainers or operators. The RN could of course set up a system to support the 57 but what would you cut to pay for it? And no neither the magic money tree nor the aid budget will be chipping in.

4thwatch

The USN has a ready supply of ammo. Why not give it a go? Surely we need something between 30mm and 5″.

Sam

Exactly 4thwatch. Make it a dual purpose weapon like 57mm Bofors Mk3, 76mm Strales or even 40mm Twin Fast Fortys to name a few 😊 then the ship could have a fighting chance against an airbourne threat. Its not even an upgun, its selecting a more flexible weapon that kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

Dern

Exactly what good would that do? There is no target that an OPV would engage with a 57mm or 76mm gun that they wouldn’t be able to engage with a 30mm.

OPV’s are sent to escort Russian ships because they’re all that’s needed for it, the Russian Navy isn’t exactly going to declare war by unexpectedly opening up on a small patrol boat and if they do… oh dear? It’s not the end of the world compared to what would be coming. At any rate an OPV armed with a 57mm is still going to loose a fight against a Russian Destroyer or Cruiser just as badly as an OPV armed with a 30mm gun. They’re light warships designed to protect fisheries, interdict pirates, and observe foreign warships in the channel, not fight it out with pear adversaries.

Sam

The 30mm RWS cant bloody engage air threats as it lacks rate of fire and tracking radar, yes it can shoot helicopters but not Jets or Missiles. 57mm and 76mm are high end solutions….40mm Bofors Mk4 or Twin Fast Fortys (DARDO) are a more reasonable solution. What part of the idea of self defence are you not getting???

Dern

1) 40mm can’t engage air threats either (no more than a 30mm) without tracking radar as you so kindly pointed out yourself. Tracking radars are expensive, so what do you sacrifice to put one on your OPV? Scrap something off a Type31? Or a Type31 all together?
2) Explain to me what pirates, smugglers, fishermen and human traffickers have fast air assets that an OPV needs to defend itself against?
3). Adding the tracking radar and 40mm increases the weight of the ship, shortens it’s sea legs, increases it’s maintenance costs, all things that make it worse at it’s job.

4thwatch

My point is that BAE ripped us off bad and now they lost the T31 contract things can only get worse for them if they don’t ‘man up’. 5 sets of 57mm with radar installed is the least I would expect. A sort of buy 5 get 5x 57mm free. That’s how it works in the real commercial world. Apparently BAE don’t operate in that though. The next decade may prove a lesson to them.

Waddi

Put a 57mm on a B2 River , then the civil servants will want the T31 cancelled and more of these ordered! That’s the stupid logic of a country run by accountants.

Sean healy

Absoulute waste of money no hanger what load of shit

Ernest Harrison

These ships are fit for the job they are built for, they are not frigates which we need more of, they are for fishery protection or at Gibraltar against Para Military Police Boats. One comment said they could not outgun a Russia destroyer of Cruiser, This is true but escorting a Russian warship meant a battle the Russians would win, the RAF would just sink the offending Russian vessel. At cost these boats are for fishery protection, anti piracy and odd and sods jobs. Not war fighting….. To have a moan – Moan about the fact the the new carriers have no anti ship or ant air missiles – That’s more like a disgrace. HMS Hermes was better armed in the 80’s with 10 × 40 mm Bofors; After 1970: 2 × Sea Cat launchers.

Ben

Not quite sure what the RAF would fire at a warship? They don’t have any suitable weapons.

Brian

Erm….P8 Poseidon?

Phillip Johnson

30 mm is adequate the role the ships are likely to undertake.
If you wanted to make them more flexible you could have fitted a 30mm on the forward superstructure each side of the mast and kept the foredeck clear for a quick upgrade if the proved necessary.
The cost would have been 1 extra 30.
The vessels built for Thailand and Brazil have weapons mounted in that position and they have much better arc’s compared with a single 30 on the foredeck.

Grubbie

There are no UAVs ,if there were they would need a hanger.Its pathetic.I do agree that there is not much point in up gunning these ships.

BB85

Agreed the lack of hanger to hold even a uav is pathetic. It shows how little effort and pride BAE put into this design. Damen and Navel group are miles ahead of BAE in terms of opv design

Dern

Only reason I can think of for not having a hanger is maybe the ability to briefly take on a merlin was considered more important than a hangar, and that extending the ship to have both would have been too expensive? Shame though because UAV capability would really work well with her mission set.

Tempest414

Very good video on youtube of Camcopter s-100 operating out of a container off a Amazonas class ( B2 River ) looked to be enough room for 2 UAVs in one container leaving space for more kit on the other side in another container

Dern

Someone mentioned the idea of a B2 River having containerised hangars on it’s wings for UAV’s further down which sort of makes me retract my statement about hangars. I don’t think it needs a long term embarked Helicopter and if it can have containerized UAV’s then great.

Tempest414

as I said down thread Hero or Camcopter UAVs can carry I- master radar which would allow them to search 25,000 km2 per hour for up to 5 hours. Also an a nod to the weapons debate camcopter can also carry and fire 2 x LMM

Grubbie

But the RN can’t afford to buy anything like this never mind develop a sovereign industry. Its embarrassing for a great nation to be ripped off and it’s strategic industry comtrolled by a tiny apartheid state.

Grubbie

As pointed out by STRN ,the money spent on reinforcing the deck has been wasted ,as only a very committed Merlin pilot would ever consider actually using it.

Geoffrey Hicking

They don’t need a hanger. They will always operate in range of land based aircraft and drones. They aren’t aircraft carriers, and giving them a hanger would encourage the politicians to see them for something they aren’t.

I myself made that error and I’m quite embarrassed about it. They are not missile boats (i.e. platforms for anti-ship missile armed helicopters) and should not be treated as such.

In the end, arguing for a hanger is just as fantasy fleet as arguing for up-gunning them. There is absolutely no need. Leave them be.

Grubbie

Nothing!A kite and a go pro,less than £100.

Bobs Baradur

I once ask BAE to build me a kite, what with the development costs, sustainment costs,
and baksheesh, they wanted £2300

Gavin Gordon

As OPVs go these are big, fast, stable and the hull is built to a pretty reasonable naval standard, I believe. As the article says (and the StRN site aren’t prone to spin) they are clearly up to their primary task for the most part and for possibly all oceans, and readily amenable to enhancement, should the need arise:- the additional crew space to service such enhancement is self-evidently built in. Should it prove necessary, up-gunning and missile-arming are entertainable concepts (currently, Sea Ceptor as anti-air and secondary anti-surface possible with a 3D). I admit the same puzzlement over no hanger space, since an embarked rotorcraft is primary to a remotely stationed OPV, and all other such handling equipment is in-situ, evidently. Still, it does not take too much imagination to conceive that some furlable system is also feasible on such a hull. The article is reasonably upbeat, even with regard to BAES, and I think we can also afford to relax somewhat, therefore.

Rob N

Thats great but there are many OPVs that are more heavily armed as standard. What we got is a platform with a 30mm gun that are overpriced. It they came with Sea Ceptor and a 75mm then I would be impressed. You could do the same job by bolting a 30mm onto a commercial design. These are ships the RN did not want and suck up funds that could be used on a more use-full ship. Had they accelerated the T26 build we would not have this problem.

Rob N

An example the Knud Rasmussen class is 1700 displacement and has a 75mm gun and can be fitted with ESSM missiles. A more capable smaller ship for less! There are plenty of examples…

BAE are taking the mick…

Rob N

P.S. did I mention that the Knud Rasmussen class also has ASW torpedoes!

Rob N

Or perhaps the Sa’ar 4-class at 450 displacement with a 75mm gun and 20mm Phalanx or 6 SSM… the list goes on…

Rob N

Fearless Class, 500 with:

Anti-air: Mistral missile
Anti-submarine: EuroTorp A244/S Mod 1 torpedoes (first 6 ships)
Main gun: Oto Melara 76 mm gun
Machine guns: 4 × STK 50MG 12.7 mm (0.50 in) HMG

Xyz

Does the Saar 4 have a 5,000 mile range and food for 35 days. These are OPV’s not inshore “day combatants”.

Dern

Exactly! And as I said, what exactly does an OPV need a 57 or 76mm gun anyway? People nicking fish stocks will be just as intimidated by a 30mm pointed at their trawler as a 76mm, human trafficers, drug runners? 30mm more than suffices for that. Pirates running about in skiffs with nothing heavier than an RPG? again a 30mm will make short work of them.

The only reason I can see an OPV needing a 76 or 57 is in a dick measuring contest. Far better to have the longer sea legs, and lower price tag of the 30mm.

4thwatch

Of course they are.

Geo

The armament of other OPVs is only really a relevant comparison if it winds up fighting other OPVs, if it has to take on someone else’s frigates for example, then it’s academic and OPV missions don’t really involve fighting other OPVs. As long as space and weight are reserved to up arm them for any roles they may be utilised in because they are the only hulls handy at some unknown point in the future – space, weight, desk space, electrical generation capability, computer power and accommodation – they can be useful additions to the fleet (and that space for weapons can be as little as magazine space for Hellfire and Stinger missiles to make themselves useful in a great many parts of the world). What I don’t get is the lack of a hanger, thats a serious deficiency, even if the RN doesn’t have enough helicopters to assign to each ship all the time, if the mission needs a helicopter then one will be assigned – and lacking suitable cover it may well be unserviceable by the time the ship gets where it’s going.

Dern

This I agree with… also it means no large dedicated UAV can be assigned to the ship in the near to mid future, which is a shame because that *would* be a usefull addition…

Sean

HTMS Krabi, the Thai version of the Amazonas class built under license has a 76mm gun so no reason why these couldn’t have been equipped with heavier armament from the start.

Andy

The reason they are overpriced is because successive governments failed to order the type 26 .
They where ordered to safeguard the ship building skills hence the huge cost of the vessels .

Remember the navy never wanted them they wanted the type 26 ordered 6 years ago but the coalition would not fund it so to preserve the ship building skills and circumvent EU rules regarding public subsidies for ship building 3 batch 2 where ordered at the cost of £348 million.

Politicians and civil servants to save a £ spend a billion.

Bob

Hi Andy,

Were the 4th and 5th batch 2s also built due to a delayed start in t26 construction? These appear more expensive than the first 3.

Thanks.

Andy

Yes , we spent 500 million on 5 opv , if they had ordered the type 26 6 years ago we could have had 13 type 26 .
Every time you stretch the construction time the costs balloon at the end of the project. So you save 500 million now but spend 3 billion later or cut the program by 5 hulls hence only 8 type 26.

Meirion X

I do not think the RN needs an All ASW frigate fleet, (A One size fits All frigate fleet). It is not just the hull shape that makes the Type 26 effective, ultra quiet, it is the double rafting of machinery etc, which results in great expense.
The RN needs a diverse frigate fleet.
Including the smaller Type 31 frigate, of say about 130m, for more general proposes.
Yes the Type 26 hull could be use to develop a AAW version of Type 26 if funding is available.

Meirion X

The long lead equipment & parts for the Type 26 frigates were only ordered after the 2015 SDSR, so they could Not start build in 2013! The parts SHOULD have been ordered in 2010!

Nigel Collins

Like the Ulstein PX121 (PSV) and land a chinook onboard as well.
https://ulstein.com/vessel-design/px121-1

Harry Nelson

A telescopic hangar should have been added….

donald_of_tokyo

Good article, thanks a lot. Very nice OPV, with good sea-keeping, long endurance, and very long “at sea days” (as I understand, 320 days/year).

As the ship has large growth margin, up-arming “options” are good to discuss, but as a EEZ patrol/constaburary operation OPV, it is very properly armed, I think. For example, any up-arming will not only increase the maintenance load and crew number, but also significantly reduce the “at sea days” = she will lose her figure-of-merit as an OPV in such case.

Depending on the future circumstances, up-arming may be considered, making River B2 NOT an OPV, but a (lightly armed) corvette or (fast-response option of) MHC-hull (MCMV-replacements) with drones added to the waist.

Some comments:
– Are there any photo of Ops. room? Want to know how space are left. (e.g. can a few consoles be added in future, if needed? Or we need to move the Ops. room to somewhere else?)

– I do not think a hangar is MUST in such OPVs. Japan coast guard has many River B2-sized Patrol Ships without a hangar. This is simply because onboard helicopter is very expensive and inefficient (man-power and maintenance). It is needed only if there is NO land-based air-cover. And, a place without land-based aircover can be covered with T31e and Bay (with plastic hangar)?

– Many of the UAV can be stored in 20ft-ISO containers, and River B2 can carry one each on both waists. I think this is good enough.

– I also think the waist can handle some USVs in future, maybe usable for MCM and/or (shallow-water) ASW.

PS If River B2 was based on 2800t Khareef hull (99m long), then a hangar can be there (may build 3 of them in place of 5 1800t-River B2). With River B1 dedicated for EEZ/fishery patrol, they shall be covering other places. Opportunity lost…

4thwatch

The really strange thing is how we have come to accept such a low base line for these vessels, While I accept they are probably speedy, reasonably well found and long legged, to me they are a disappointment. If I were Fleet commander I’d be asking for much greater expectations from the net batch of OPV’s.

donald_of_tokyo

At start, River B2 was replacement for River B1 and 1.5. So, they are even OVER spec for the task.

Now, if RN is to retain River B1 even after 2020, and also depending on the Brexit fishery agreement, River B2 might be mainly tasked for a bit more fighty tasks. Only in such case, their armament will need upgrade.

Again, as an EEZ patrol ship, up arming will significantly DEGRADE their capability, by eating up crew and significantly reducing the sea going days. Very bad choice, I think.

Rob N

They are supposed to be warships of the RN – what I am hearing is that if we give them real capabilities that will spoil them… something HAS to be wrong there. They are massively over specified for simple patrol work and massively under armed for Blue Water work… what are they for? The RN would have done better to get some inexpensive coastal patrol vessels and buy some extra T31. The OPV class (as enacted by the MoD), is a class looking for a role… not a class that fits a genuine need.

Tempest414

I have to say Donald and I have pushed this around for some time on other sites. For me I see these ships taking up a overseas patrol role for the first half of there life i.e Falkland , Med , AP-N as I have said else where I would like to see these ship up armed to a 40 mm Mk-4 mount with 3P ammo plus have 2 UAV’s fitted with I-Master radar. I see this giving this class of ship better all round defence against air & surface threats plus with the I-Master UAV ‘s the capability to search up to 25000 km2 round the ship a hour. As Donald has touched on with the crane these could operate up to two Seagull type USV’s capable of undertaking Littoral MCM and ASW so for me with a little effort these ships could work very well for the RN . to finish this could end up working very well for command with new CO’s starting on the B1’s before moving to the B2’s next on to a T-31 before ending up on a tier 1 escort

Rob N

Hi-

Yes now we have them make them of some use… however I doubr the Government will spend any exert money on them And we will be stuck with the current configuration. As it stands these do not represent good value for money given their limited capabilities.

donald_of_tokyo

Thanks, Tempest414-san

If 3 River B1s are to be retained, and fishery control systems remain to be current efficient registration system, then I agree the River B2s can be up-armed as you state.

But, your plan may cost 30-50M GBP each for the 5 River B2s = in total 150-250M GBP (including new logistic set up).

– What if, with the same cost, all 5 T31e could be equipped with CAPTAS-1 (or even -2)?
– What if RN can add data-link to most of their Wildcat fleet?
Which will you choose?

Also, at least 6 to 9 more crews each will be needed = in total 30 to 45 crews. In addition, the sea-going days will surely be shorter. From where RN can find 30-45 more crews (while still 2 escorts lack crew)? Also, the “5 up-armed River B2s” can provide sea-going days only equivalent to those provided by “4 (or 3) basic River B2s”.

– Up-armed River B2 can be stationed in a bit more “dangerous” locations, good.
– But, in place, at least one (standing) patrol position will be lost (because of reduced sea-going days). With crew shortage, even one more ship may go into “extended readiness”.
Which will you choose?

Rob N-san

Thanks.

> They are supposed to be warships of the RN – what I am hearing is that if we give hem real capabilities that will spoil them…

Not sure.

For me, up-arming River B2 is like “adding CAPTAS-4 sonar to T45 destroyers”. If the task of River B2 is to be changed from EEZ patrol to war-fighting, yes up-arming is must. Similarly, if good ASW capability is to be added to T45, adding CAPTAS-4 will be must. But, River B2 will not be as good as even T31e in such duty, as much as T45 will never be a good ASW platform as T26.

It totally depends on how RN is to design the fleet capability as a whole.

Good thing is that River B2 has some space left for such addition = RN has an option.

Tempest414

Donald where you get 30 to 50 million per ship from to add a 40 mm with 3P ammo

Dern

Rob you need to consider what these ships are for. They’ll spend their lives hunting pirates, smugglers, providing HADR, protecting fisheries. What exactly do you need to do that? You need long sea legs, a good top speed, some armament, and low maintenance costs. You might see them in the Med interdicting human smugglers, in the Channel escorting foreign navies, hunting drug runners in the Caribbean, interdicting pirates off Somalia. These are all jobs the Royal Navy is doing today that does not require a full on Frigate or Destroyer, but needs something more than a little coastal patrol boat like a P2000. The Rivers sit perfectly in that spot for me.

Rob N

Great then buy some cheep coastal boats to do the job. Pre-position them where they are needed. Use the T31s to do ocean work. I am unconvinced by the OPV concept. Not a inexpensive patrol craft and not a true warship. What are they?!

I would sell them off get some smaller coastal gunboats and Buy more T26 or a small number of T31s. T31 in the Falklands, Gulf stationed there with rotating crews. Coastal gunboats for UK and Gib etc. That leaves the T26 to do escort work.

Bif

“Massively over specified for simple patrol work and massively under armed for Blue Water work…what are they for?”

^^^ Couldn’t be put better. Interloping fishermen and smugglers require almost none of the corvette / warship style fittings. Yet any attempt to engage as a warship will see the OPV annihilated. Can it even do reconnaissance when everything else has a better radar and accomodation for air assets?

Why has £100 million been spent on a fishery protection vessel? Or am I missing something?

Dern

You are missing something. River Class OPV’s cost about £44 million, the reason they cost £100+ was because their build times where made longer so that the Yards on the Clyde can keep the workforce they have for the Type 26.

As for what they’re for go back up and read some of my earlier replies.

Dern

Good point on the waist ISO’s I hadn’t thought of that.
It’s funny looking at the displacement of a River after spending a few days looking at Interwar destroyers, the Rivers come in significantly larger than most of those…

Mike O

The amount of crew and equipment stuffed on to those ships was amazing. Perhaps the RN should go back to hammocks for the crew 😁 would save some space. Swap torpedoes for ASM and the old destroyer designs are similar to modern FAC.

Dern

I’d suspect a inter-war destroyer isn’t built to the same surviability standards as a modern OPV though, also the sensor fit and Helicopter capability are waaay superior of course .

Mike O

You are almost certainly right on survivability yet some old destroyers still took incredible amounts of damage and kept floating. I hope I never see it (unless there is a sinkex) but the Rivers could probably take a pounding and keep going.

Mark

Out of interest, are these patrol boats build to naval standards with full damage protection etc. The two patrol boats in New Zealand, Otago and Wellington are both built to commercial standards.. Essentially, just civilian ships painted grey to save money!

Gavin Gordon

As stated, my understanding is that they are, certainly very well for their tasking and hinted to be higher, but I have no figures. For recent comparison, though, two news items are revealing by inference: a) the Norwegian frigate Helge Instad, possibly an example of what is available to more savvy countries than ours (i.e. everyone apparently) being sunk in a slow speed habour collision b) the Irish navy deciding to decommission its home built patrol vessels but retain a much older UK built vessel (ok, I don’t know why, but its food for thought).

Gavin Gordon

Error; not decommission, lay up due to recruitment issues

Rob N

I think they are built to naval standards – however given that they are overpriced and under armed we should have just used a commercial ship and added a gun. As these will never go up against a serious opponent given their limited capabilities we would not have lost anything by buying something off the shelf. These are political ships built to keep BAE happy.

rec

I understand the discussion about up arming, but manpower is critical in the RN. Basically with limited resources in manpower it’s better to have patrol vessels with adequate armament and the capacity to be up armed.
On aviation facilities, even with a hanger , it would be limited compared to a frigate. Much better to go for UAVs operations instead. Any resources for additional helicopters should go 1) Additional HM2 Merlin’s (25 ) and after that then marinised Chinooks (carrier on board delivery, heavy lift and refuelling Merlin’s in flight.

Tempest414

I can’t see how moving from a 30 mm mount to 40 mm will effect crew size but I can see how a 40 mm with 3P will give all round defence

Rob N

It would be better if they mounted a CIWS Phalanx on the front – it could do anti-air/anti-surface and could be run by one operator. It would also put the fear of God into pirates/smugglers etc. The ship has enough to tonnage to take the mount. Also it is non-deck penetrating all it needs is power and cooling water.

I do not think such an upgrade would increase crew numbers. However it would make it more capable. Not that this would happen. As we know the MoD keeps most of its Phalanx in a big shed and not installed. I am sure a future advisory would phone them up and give them a few weeks notice so they can put them on ships!

donald_of_tokyo

Phalanx CIWS will be a good “quick fix”, I agree. All 5 River B2 can be as basic as it is now, and when deployed to “medium risk region”, she can add CIWSs.

Personally, I think one CIWS at the bow next to the 30mm gun, shifted to port-side, and another CIWS at the starboard waist will be good to cover 360 degree. (Also add a small UAV 20ft-container in the port waist.)

This will make the conversion easy.
– just take off the 30mm turret.
– locate the forward (port) Phalanx, using a pre-positioned mount independent from that of 30 mm.
– locate the backward (starboard) Phalanx on another mount.
(- locate the UAV container.)

But, this will surely require significant crew, even without UAV-set. Phalanx CIWS has complicated machine (gatling gun) and electronics, and its maintenance load will be high. May be 6-10 more crew will be needed.

But, since this is temporary suit, it is not a big issue. Currently, the Bay in the Persian Gulf “temporarily” has 2 CIWS. It will be handled as the same.

ATH

CWIS is a backup system. Do the Bays (or the Tankers) operate close ish to land of Yemen without an escort? I guess the answer very sensibly is no. The same would apply to a B2 with CWIS.
The 30mm is fine for chasing Pirates or illegal fishermen off Somalia etc.

Rob N

Not sure if there is room enough to put Phalanx on the sides – I think you would only get the space to put one forward. I do not think you would need any extra 30mm/40mm just some GPMGs and mini-guns should do the trick. As I say it is a nice idea but the MoD would not be given the money for the upgrade.

Sam

I wouldnt be surprised if the MoD gave them a few old Stingers instead lol the Oto 76mm does come in a non deck penetrating model but of course sacrifices magazine capacity. Twin Fast Fortys are another good option as they have the same C Model non deck penetrating turret as the 76mm SR😊

donald_of_tokyo

As River B2 are designed to carry six 20ft-container (2 on waist, and 4 on the flight deck), adding another CIWS to the waist is easy, I guess.

5 RB2 was intended to REPLACE the 4 River B1+1.5. For this task, current armament is good enough. Up-arming will be an option, only when NEW needs come in. A possible scenario is, reduction in number (or total cancellation) of T31e at SDSR2020. In other words, cutting big money, and trying to partly mitigate the loss by up-arming River B2.

Actually, if the River B2 is to be up-armed with a 57 mm gun at the bow, two 30mm canon added with 7.62mm mini-guns, their capability against fast boats is already better than a T23 frigate. But logistics will be a big issue with the 57 mm gun. (if common with T31e, may be OK). 40mm 3P guns will also work well, but with the same logistic issue.

Another option will be 2 CIWS to cover 360 degree, added with 7.62mm mini-guns. In this case, all logistics is already there. This is my point.

Challenger

I don’t think the lack of a hangar is a huge issue with the Merlin too big to be operated effectively and both them and the Wildcat’s in short supply. Small UAV’s would be perfect for surveillance work and i can imagine a small ‘dog kennel’ style structure like the one’s on the Bay Class being a good solution.

In terms of armament i don’t quite get the fantasy fleet insistence that 57mm or 76mm guns and stuff like Sea Ceptor are essentials. Any new caliber of gun is going to require a whole new training and supply pipeline and things like 76mm systems are far from cheap. Any serious air-threat would occur in a scenario and environment where you’d want to deploy a frigate or destroyer instead of an OPV.

Any overseas deployments will consist of flying the flag / providing ‘presence’ and handling non-state, non peer opponents – i.e drug traffickers and piracy as well as providing humanitarian assistance. With this in mind defensive capabilities should be the focus and the most likely threat in the sort of environments we can expect the River’s to operate in are fast attack craft.

With that in mind i’d only go as far as upgrading to the Seahawk Sigma which combines the 30mm with a 7 round Martlet missile canister and exploring the idea of adding 30mm mounts on the port and starboard wing’s if possible to give all round coverage.

Sam

Personally I would replace the 30mm with something like the 57mm Bofors Mk3 as mentioned by people before and add a SeaRAM (Leonardo 76mm SR Strales is also and option) . This OPV has no air defence ability at all and thats worrying. Ships of other nations in this size range would slaughter this class 🙁 The reason why the OPVs NEED upgunning is that they will be used in the Falklands and Gibraltar. Now Argentina has calmed since the loss of the ARA San Juan (RIP her crew) but its still worth having combat capable ships nearby. The bigger issue is Spain as they have violated Gibraltan Waters and have had a guided missile frigate weapons ready antagonising and threatening Gibraltar. My concern is that the OPV could wind up in a fight not of its choosing it wasnt designed for and cant defend itself against

Xyz

Most of the Spanish Navy is close to Gib. In the extremely unlikely situation that Spain starts a no notice shooting war over Gibraltar the armaments of one or two OPV’s will make no difference.

Sam

It would to the OPVs crew….is the OPVs job to surrender or be target practice? For a Navy with precious few ships and even worse recruitment issues, loosing 50 sailors in a conflict because their OPV got blown out of the water because it couldnt fight back is abismal. A Flower Class Corvette could curb stomp this OPV. Apparently Zin Parliamentary Evidence the ships weapons and hanger abilities were mentioned as major issues. Should have went with the Holland class

Dern

No… the OPV’s job is to counter human trafficking, drug smuggling, piracy, fisheries raiding, etc. The ship needs to be designed for the job it is supposed to do, not some fantasy Pearl Harbour scenario against the Spanish.

Challenger

Not sure how much use an OPV would be in Gibraltar. With very small territorial waters and Spanish vessels based minutes away speed is the key. You need small and fast boats that can respond rapidly – albeit perhaps not quite as small and lightly armed as the Scimitar’s.

Hopefully the replacements due will be around the Archer class size or perhaps even slightly bigger but still very fast. Something like a water cannon would be useful to deter the Spanish in a non-violent manner.

More broadly i think we’ll see one of the River’s forward based in the West Indies for anti drug running ops and flying the flag (but still backed up by a Bay in the hurricane season), Forth in the Falklands as we already know, another operating out of Oman on anti piracy and surveillance ops in the Indian Ocean and the 5 based in the UK.

With 1 Type 31 forward based in the Gulf and potentially another in Singapore if we choose to invest more heavily there we’d have a good spread of low-end assets in the key areas and enable the 14 Type 26/45’s to focus on being carrier escorts.

Mike

As a former pongo I would like to see a bigger gun for NGFS, potentially in support of the EMF.

Dern

Mike as a current Pongo, I’m fairly certain that if a situation calls for NGFS it won’t be a OPV parked off the shore but a Type26/31/45/Queen Elizabeth.

Sam

How can a QE provide naval gun fire support??? It has no guns bigger than a 30mm

Dern

No…. but it can use it’s air arm to drop ordinance on targets which, for us lads on the ground, amounts to the same thing: Large explosives on enemy positions.

I should have included Astute with it’s Tomahawks in that list actually…

Simon m

I could see the advantage of up gunning my choice would be lmm/star streak and potentially a 40mm upfront. Also some 0.5 machine guns wouldn’t go amiss. These are not war fighting vessels, but if deployed overseas seeing as we have spent so much money on them it would be churlish not to give them some boost in protection. I don’t think the lack of a hanger is an issue it is unlikely a permanent helicopter would be given but BAE could have added it within the budget given if fact probably could have got cutlass or cut down Leander for the budget!

Sam

Starstreak would be a welcome addition 😊 Upgunning this class isnt about turning the OPV into a frontline warship – its about giving them enough self defence capabilities to survive being shot at. Its the crew I think of 😊 I agree with what you have said. I would like to see the main weapon up front be dual purpose for anti ship and anti missile/aircraft. A Spot for SeaRAM or Phalanx would be good but as a wartime add-on like how the US Coast Guard has room on their new Cutters if war broke out and they needed every ship😊

Simon m

The thing everyone is assuming these will just patrol for fishery protection drugs etc. With the prevalence of al-Qaeda, IS and suicide attacks then with plans to deploy these abroad we cannot assume the threats they will encounter. I would like phalanx but I really couldn’t see this being used as they are even rationed for large vessels and warships at the moment. But lmm/star streak would address multiple suicide attack, FIAC etc. One 30mm at the front doesn’t give 360 coverage, both 40mm and lmm would give better standoff ranges

Grubbie

The usual up gunning mania. Of course it’s worth rememberingthat the RN didn’t actually want these ships

Rob N

Yes you are quite right the RN did not want to spend so much on so little for something they never wanted. These are political ships. Being political they not driven by logic.

Sam

Its Sensor fit is also not great as its a 2D rather than a 3D Active Scan Array

JohnHartley

Why up gun them? Because the enemy are cads who will not stick to the rules that these are not proper warships. Instead they will score a propaganda victory against Britain, whether by sinking them or capturing them.
I agree it would be inefficient to try & turn them into battleships, but swapping the 30mm gun for one of the bolt on, non deck piercing, 40mm turrets, would give them a bit more authority.

Grubbie

Their intended opponents are naughty fishermen and drug runners with pirates being the absolute top end.Big guns will be no help in confronting anything more feisty and they should never be deployed in situations where they are likely to encounter such opponents.

Rob N

Yes and for what you have described a much cheeper vessel could have been bought. What annoys me is that they are such a lot of money for a job that could have been done inexpensively. All to keep BAE ticking over… we should have bought a few coastal patrol boats and spent more on getting T31 for ocean work. These OPVs are neither fish or foul – not really patrol boats and not really warships. They are a terrible choice.

I do not think adding an extra 10mm to their guns will remedy the situation. Wharf can you say….!

Perhaps if they were fitted with UAVs and Good ESM and communications exploitation equipment they could be used as int gathering platforms and special forces assets….

Tempest414

replacing the 30 mm with the new Mk-4 40 mm with 3P ammo will give the ship a all round better defence against surface and air threats that the 30 mm can not match it is not about making the ship more fighty it is about making more defendable. These ships will be asked to do more over seas deployments than the B1’s and with this comes greater risk so the extra 10mm will allow the ship to engage air and surface threats from a maximum range of 12 km and effective range of 8 Km. As I have said else where a lot depends on T-31 but we could see a good usable fleet of

6 x Type 45
8 x Type 26
5 x Type 31
5 x B2 River class

Sam

Compare the Clyde/Forth Class OPV to the Dutch Holland class OPV. The are in separate leagues in terms of capabilities. The Holland has a good 3D Radar (Forth only has a 2D????) and a 76mm SR.

Tempest414

The Scanter 4100 2D radar is a very capable bit of kit and the B2 rivers design can be fitted with a 76 mm as proven

Sam

With the UK “Can” rarely ever means will.

rec

But the Holland class, brilliant as they are were instead of complex frigates. Best to compare the Holland class to the T31

Dern

Holland class also displace 1-2,000 tonnes more, have a shorter range and significantly shorter endurance than the Rivers. Costs more to operate, needs more time in port, can’t go as far. Holland is “more capable” but still could never win a fight against anything other than an OPV, costs more, and does an OPV’s job worse so… River is the better choice for what the RN wants from it.

Rob N

I think the RN did not want it…

Dern

The RN wanted like for like replacements for Batch 1’s with increased ability, the extra 2 where added to keep Yardwork in the run up to type 26, which where unwanted at the time, but then Brexit happened and suddenly every OPV going became worth it’s weight in gold, hence why not only is the Navy now happy to have ordered 5, but is also keeping the B1’s on.

Rob N

Weight in gold Is exactly what we paid to BAE…!

Sam

You are completely missing why the armament needs to change. Its not so much about blowing holes in other ships but dealing with Airbourne threats. The systems I have mentioned are all capable of handling Aircraft and missiles. I am suggesting only a minor upgrade because the 30mm Bushmaster has neither the rate of fire to be effective against air threats nor does it have the explosive power either. Dont forget Russian Aircraft fly close to the UKs EEZ too and have buzzed the type 45s before now

Dern

You seem to be very confused about the role of an OPV and pathologically incapable of understanding the difference between it and a light frigate.
A Russian aircraft is no more going to launch a missile at an OPV to start a war than a Russian Frigate is going to launch an ASuW missile at one, so the point quite frankly is rather moot, Russian fighters are not targets that a OPV is going to engage. You’re asking to gold plate a vessel that doesn’t need it without thinking about what consquence it would have on 1) that ships mission 2) the fleet as a whole.

Simon m

But terrorists off the horn of Africa etc. Won’t see these as opvs they will see them as easy targets for propaganda, if the b2 were only going to employed in UK waters with the protection that brings other vessels/intelligence etc. Then fine but as soon as you talk of deploying abroad surely you need to review your force protection. They they maybe be there for pirates it doesn’t mean only pirates will come to them. This for me is not about light frigates but ensuring those deployed abroad get the best protection and come back safe.

Dern

You do understand that even an RPG or a recoiless rifle is a high value asset in Somalia right? Any Somali target that a 57mm can take out a 30mm can take out too. As for “not only pirates will come for them.” See other conversations about enemy ability to project force without creating an intelligence footprint.

Rob N

Interesting 40mm but unless it has an automated radar guided gun system I do not think it can do anri-air. Trying to shoot down a fast jet by hand I think is hit and miss – mostly miss.

Sam

Ever heard of the Term “Surprise Attack”? Auxiliary Cruisers pretend to be harmless freighters but are capable of sinking warships. Its that kind of rigid thinking that costs lives. Expect the unexpected

Dern

Riiighhht… remind me how many people use those these days?

Simon m

Terrorist groups small boats multiple suicide attacks

Dern

Not at all the same thing as an auxiliary cruiser. Also would have to ram an OPV for any effect to be had. A soft target that needs to close to 0m to be effective… a 30mm can deal with that just as well as a 57mm.

JohnHartley

What if “their intended opponents” think otherwise?

Grubbie

How many fishing vessels or drug smugglers have 30mm cannons?It wasn’t my idea or even the idea of the RN to order these inappropriate vessels.

Sam

Well Grubbie it would appear Egypt has experience with their patrol vessels getting nailed by ATGMs. The Kornet missile wrecked the 26m long patrol ship that was built to Navy standards (Not surprising at Kornet was made to penetrate the latest tank armour) Egypt was not expecting any sort of attack on the ships either. It happened a mile or so from a beach in Egypt. So much for only using them were it is safe.

Grubbie

How would a big gun help?Even if you survive the attack what are you going to do?Spray a coastal town?

Dern

So a considerably smaller ship was engaged by an ATGM and not sunk and suffered no casualties in an area in which one of the best armed and most aggressive non-state actors (somewhere where River OPV’s almost certainly would not operate) where active and that proves what exactly?

JohnHartley

While each mounting & ammo choice will be different, most references say naval 30mm have an effective range of 3km, while 40mm has an effective range of 4 km. That is an extra kilometre between our chaps & whatever threat means them harm.

Dern

So what? You’d just spray the coastal village from a k further away than you would have if you where armed with a 30mm? Neither of those is going to happen.

JohnHartley

You are assuming that there will always be a coastal village within 4 km behind the attackers. Most of the time, there won’t be.

Dern

Not at all. I’m saying operating close in shore against a well equipped force like the Egyptian vessel was, having a 40mm as opposed to a 30mm won’t make a lick of difference because you won’t be able to use it either way.

As mentioned there is no target that you can engage with a 40mm that you can not engage with a 30mm, and as said, the kind of targets a River is going up against are Somali pirates at the high end, 3k out-ranges the kind of equipment they’d be using by a considerable margin. And I emphasize that’s the HIGH END of the threat environment these ships will operate in their normal deployments will see them up against people that are somewhere between unarmed and the odd rifle or machine gun levels of armament.

JohnHartley

Um, extra kilometre of range. Whatever enemy we come up against is unlikely to stick to the rules we decree. Irregular forces with a shadowy state backer, have access to heavier weaponry than the “odd rifle or machinegun”.

Dern

JohnHartley well yes, that’s people like IS, who as pointed out, are expressely not who an OPV is to be used against. Meanwhile the people it *is* to be used against are not armed with more than odd rifles and machine guns. I actually work in some of the areas where these OPV’s might operate so I’ll take my own experience over your conjecture.

JohnHartley

Next weeks lottery numbers please, as you claim great powers of foresight.

Sam

What is your obsession with spraying coastal villages? Again the weapon systems I have suggested are there to shoot down the incoming missile before it hits.

Mike O

If a batch 2 is up gunned what then? Should it then be used as an escort? Should it be sent into dangerous areas alone? Or does it still just plod about the EEZ protecting fisheries?

I am in favour of an increased number of small warships but they should be purpose built and equipped for their intended task as the OPVs are purpose built and equipped for their intended task. I understand the desire for a larger more capable fleet but up gunning OPVs does not seem like the best option.

JohnHartley

An enemy will not strike where we are strong, it will hit where we are weak & score a great propaganda victory.

Dern

The Royal Navy has the option of deciding what assets to send into what areas, it’s enemies do not have the same luxury. ATGM’s and Anti-Shipping Missiles don’t just “show up” in Somalia and the Caribbean, the fact that you can’t grasp that kind of makes your arguments rather moot.

JohnHartley

Wait & see. Pearl Harbor, Falklands 1982, Kuwait 1990, 9/11. History is full of attacks out of the blue, though of course the tensions were there for years. Most tensions burn out quietly, but a few explode into major conflicts. Telling which is which, is beyond me & most governments/reporters/thinktanks/diplomats/servicechiefs.

Dern

As I said you clearly don’t actually know what you where talking about, all of those the capability existed but the motive was misassesed. Here you are ascribing capability that doesn’t exist.

JohnHartley

Defence diplomacy. Some years ago, the RNZN celebrated its centenary. Many nations sent ships. The Royal Navy, the original model for the RNZN did not. We sent a band & a senior officer on a jolly. I realise that the RN lacks warships, but thought it a national humiliation that we had nothing to send. I pointed out that Eire had sent its OPV to Japan. Got the usual moans about the short range of OPVs. I pointed out that the Eire OPV did the journey in short hops between friendly ports. Now the MoD is talking about using RN OPV for long haul defence diplomacy. Good, but Eire’s OPV mounted a 76mm gun & few trouble spots have bad history with Eire. I fear that a RN OPV on its way to a celebration in a far flung friendly nation, may get caught transiting through a trouble spot. While it does not need to be a battleship, it does need decent self defence capability, or a national humiliation follows.

Dern

A Batch 2 River class has a 5,000nmi range and 31+ days of endurance, to put that into perspective she has enough range to transit the Atlantic from UK to the USA with ease. It’s more than capable of simply going around trouble spots if it has to. Increase it’s armament and it’s range and endurance shortens and it becomes more vulnerable to having to transit trouble spots. Bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. That and, as pointed out, the Samuel Becket didn’t need it’s 76mm (which it only needs because it’s literally the heaviest surface combatant the Irish Navy has). You are right though, it needs the ability to defend itself. That’s why it has a 30mm.

JohnHartley

Friendly countries whose naval gatherings we might want to participate in post Brexit, include Chile, South Africa, Kenya, India, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Australia & New Zealand. On the way to those, you pass by some trouble spots.
No one knows, when or if trouble will strike. I live in a quiet Surrey village. The local police station was sold off decades ago, as local crime was so low, that it was deemed to be a waste of money. Yet the High Street was shut today while police dealt with a bomb threat in the local Co-op. We live in a world that is mainly safe, but where trouble can come out of the blue, in the most unlikely places.
Another shame is the adversarial nature of debate nowadays. A compromise on OPV armament might be to say we cannot afford anything new, but will add anything we have got sitting in sheds. After the Falklands the RN bought 20mm GAM-BO1 manual cannons. If we still have them, place one each side on the wings behind the bridge. This is where the export customer has 25mm canons, so the precedent is there. It would just make these OPVs more defendable against a swarm attack of armed speedboats.

JohnHartley

Janes, today, has an item about UAE distancing itself from weapons found in Libya. Javelin anti tank missiles + Chinese laser guided 155 mm shells. Shows the kind of weapon getting into irregular hands in North Africa. Any ship on a peaceful trip from Gibraltar to Naples/Malta/Cyprus, might get a rude awakening.

Dern

All those trouble spots are quite avoidable with a 5,000nautical mile range and 31 day endurance as pointed out. You don’t seem to grasp the idea that more armament means less time at sea = less availability = not as good at their job.

As for Javelins and 155’s yup they are in Lybia. It’s a War zone. EXPLICITLY not the place that an OPV will operate near. And if you think a Javelin can reach Malta or Naples from Lybia you are to be blunt an idiot.

JohnHartley

Please debate without being rude. If these weapons are in non government hands in Libya, they can quickly spread to undesirables with BOATS. That is how they could, perhaps, attack ships who were not expecting any trouble.

Dern

I’ll call them as you see them. You act like an idiot I’ll call you one.
Lybian naval power is non-existent, one of the reasons there is such a need for low end naval ships is specifically because non-state actors attempts at floating fail consistently. Any Libyan boats there are in the hands of non-state actors are very much coastal vessels that an OPV can avoid simply by staying away from the Libyan coast (shocker that… seems like we’ve covered the “avoid trouble spots” over and over again.), and employing air assets to check out before approaching (one of the reasons Helicopter and UAV capability is high on an OPV list but not a big gun).

Luckily the RN and MoD have much better int. assets to draw on than little John Hartley and his open source laptop and bad reasoning.

JohnHartley

I fear you have mistaken a defence website for a “Love Island” chatroom.

Dern

Oh dear. How sad. Never mind. Come back when you actually have a clue.

JohnHartley

You might want to look at the defensenews site. They have an article on how since the Farsi Island incident, the US Navy has been upgunning its Riverine craft. The Mk VI they showed had 4x .50 cal heavy machineguns + 2x 25mm cannons, all on a boat much smaller than the RN Rivers. Perhaps you think the USN are idiots who do not know what they are doing?

Dern

Oh dear John you seem to have gone into a bit of a strawman argument there, pretty typical, to be honest, of people like yourself.

No I don’t think the US Navy are idiots. I think they have different requirements of their navy than we do. For example their riverine craft are often used up river in turbulent unstable nations.

Simon m

But multiple attacks by fast terrorist boats might and are you going to be the one to explain to the parents as to why sailors were killed because the navy couldn’t be bothered to spend a few hundred thousand to give a 100 million pound assets proper 360 protection?

Dern

Simon do you read? Multiple attacks by fast terrorist boats happen only in certain parts of the world. You don’t send OPV’s to that part of the world. Simple. I know it’s hard but do try to pay attention.

James Harrington Law

HMS Forth just back in Portsmouth after escorting Russian Warships found to be fishing in the Channel.

Julian Edmonds

Or should that be phishing?

Grubbie

“Command opportunities for young officers “” providing a presence “”soft power”,this is all code for useless.

Challenger

One viewpoint could be that the batch 2’s are simply a return to normality.

20 years ago the RN found good use for 7 Island and 2 Castle Class and presumably the drastic reduction down to just 4 River’s was driven by budgets and manpower more than operational need. Having only 3 OPV’s in UK waters just about covers the fisheries task but leaves zero capacity to do things like shadow Russian warships or help to police the borders at the same time. Going back up to 8 River’s will go a long way to rectify this.

James Harrington Law

HMS Forth just back in Portsmouth after escorting Russian Warships found to be fishing in the Channel.

Dern

Something she’s perfectly suited for.

Mike O

I will throw my 10 pence worth in and say no no no do not up arm the River B2. OPVs are part of a balanced fleet (which the RN does not currently have). I am in favour of adding mission oriented small surface combatants (not general purpose vessels like T31). Off the shelf equipment exists (much of it British/Britishish) to make potent little warships. These should be armed appropriately for their task. Like the River B2s which are armed appropriately for theirs. I am not really sure what scenario people envisage the B2s needing CIWS, Sea Ceptor, 76mm or whatever.

Great article too. Well made and informative. 👍

Rob N

Let me see – coastal recon off a hostile shore. Insertion of small units. After all why do you need a big helo pad if you do not intend to use helos. …. extra fleet security – with Sea Ceptor the could contribute to anti-air. Sea Ceptor is network enabled and can be guided by other platforms. ESM picket… there are many extra tasks they could do if they were more capable. However we are best off buying more T31 then adding extras to B2.

Dern

None of these fall into t he roll that an OPV are there for. Things it actually is used for: Patrolling the Carribean on anti drug smuggling duties. Patrolling the Med to stop Human Trafficking. Checking on the Falklands to stop Argentinian Football teams landing on them. Patrolling British Fishing grounds to stop Spanish and Icelandic trawlers stealing them. Guiding and escorting foreign naval forces through the channel.

None of these need extra equipment, and in fact it would be worse at these jobs if it did. Anti-Air? Don’t make me laugh. For it to be extra fleet security it wouldn’t just need Sea Ceptor but a whole sweet of military grade sensors and electronics which in turn would make it’s cost sky rocket. It’s an OPV not a Frigate.

As for more T31 instead of B2s? Possibly? But a T31 requires 3x the manning and is more expensive to operate than a B2… bit of a waste using an expensive frigate on constabulary duties, especially when they’re needed elsewhere.

Rob N

Oddly enough to I made the mistake of thinking they were RN commissioned warships… and make have a role in hostilities that may be wider then stopping a drug runner…

Dern

Oddly enough the RN has a wide array of missions, some high end, some very low end, and has to complete them all. By having an OPV that does the very low end roles very well roles it free’s up manpower and assets that would otherwise be tied down on them to have a role in wider hostilities.

Vestdavit AS

An excellent picture of the Port Waist, and in particular the Vestdavit PLR-5000 davit. That is one of 29 systems that we have in service across the Royal Navy!

Bloke down the pub

Before considering added firepower, I’d recommend fitting this containerised system. https://geospectrum.ca/defence-surveillance-products/surface-systems/traps-towed-reelable-active-passive-sonar/ It would be ideal for keeping tabs on Russian subs snooping around UK waters.

Sam

Interesting 😊

Dern

1) How much would it cost and what would you give up for it?
2) Assuming the money is there: Wouldn’t it be better to… not put this on your OPV’s and instead buy a system for your Type 31s?

Mike O

Another good example of off the shelf equipment that can be used to create small, capable, cost effective warships. Similar to this:
https://www.sea.co.uk/maritime/products/krait-defence-system/

Small numerous vessels to compliment their cruiser sized bigger siblings the T45/26s.

GlynH

Heavens sake, if facing a Admiral Grigorovich class frigate then 30mm, 40mm, 57mm or 128mm will make NO difference. This is an OPV, an OPV, not a corvette, not a frigate. It’s designed to rarely stray far from shore, only going blue water in transit. The armament is fine, too many ppl are trying to turn this into a Type 31, which itself is at risk of being under armed. Make Type 31 credible for skirmishes (which with recent budget increases is more likely) and leave the OPVs to bully illegal fishing and drug smuggling. As for comparing it to other navy’s OPVs bare in mind that many of these navies lack or are short of credible frigates and destroyers and thusly OPVs HAVE to fill part of that role; these River’s do not. Shoe horning in a bank of CAMMs, a Phalanx is madness, what next VL-ASROC and Tomahawk’s.

the_marquis

Yeah upgunning the Rivers is madness…what next, 4 multibarrel turrets fitted with 14 inchers, just in case they run into the Bismarck?? they dont need CIWS either, unless the Icelandic fishing fleet has seriously upgraded their trawlers…i’ve witnessed dynamite fishing but never heard of people using anti-ship missiles to catch cod before…

Geo

Agreed, almost totally (OPV’s aren’t really costal, they are designed for 200nm EEZ enforcement), you hit the nail on the head with “This is an OPV, an OPV, not a corvette, not a frigate”, far too many people trying to turn them into corvettes.

Rob N

The fact is we did not need another B2 River. We do need more escorts T31/T26. These B2 use up funds that should have gone to more T31s.

Sam

Corvettes are faster and far better armed than OPVs. I just want the OPV to have a better main gun capable of some Air Defence. OPVs primary weapon should be their sensors with weapons as defensive assets only. The Type 61 Frigate comes to mind.

Dern

But it’s mission set does not require an air defense weapon….

Rob N

Sell them! Buy gunboats…. OPVs are a class looking for a role…

Grubbie

Only after a decent interval,this is exactly what is going to happen. Obviously this will be at a fantastic loss because they were so expensive in the first place and because at least one of them is known to be badly built.
The potential to embark air power would have changed everything, it’s a disgrace, the RNAS were revolutionaries.

Dern

So instead we should use more expensive vessels that can spend less time at sea (and therefore will need more of) or resort to using our high end frigates for things like chasing drug dealers around the Caribbean? Baffles me when people say it’s a class looking for a role.

GlynH

Couldn’t agree more. I won’t deny that these girls have/are very expensive but since they are here and we do have them lets put them to good work. Falklands, Caribbean, Med, Blighty’s own shores . . plenty of deployments. Black Sea, Suez, Red Sea, Persian Gulf . . erm no, that’s Type 26 & 31 territory.

Grubbie

Chasing drug smugglers around the Caribbean to assist the US with their drugs problem is not a genuine mission for the UK. If it was ,we would use commercial vessels and above all aircraft , which the river class conspicuously lacks.
The main reason for a Caribbean presence that it’s a nice warm,safe and pleasant training area.I don’t resent or disagree with this,it’s a good idea,but I note that the RN dosnt consider the channel migrant issue to be anything to do with them. If you excuse “high end units” from drug patrols, etc ,because they are over qualified ,they will just spend all their time rotting alongside in Pompey.They are always going to be overqualified (or at least should be) for anything other than total war.

Dern

Grubbie they are not excused because they are high end units, they are excused because it makes sense to use OPV’s to free up High End Units for other things. A River has nice long sea legs and is cheap to operate and allows us to use Type 31’s to go areas where threat levels are too high for Rivers.

Also *YOU* might not think that the Drug Smuggling issue isn’t something for us, but like it or not, it’s a mission the RN executes, and as long as we are we need to think about what we deploy on it.

Dave

They will be useful ships, even lightly armed patrol ships can signal intent, reassure allies, train crew and cover ground.
The UK battalion in the Baltics is a tripwire, it couldn’t halt a Russian attack, no more than these ships could halt destroyer, it doesn’t matter, the resolve to defend UK interests does matter.
No more than a few harrier GR3 and pumas gave a deterent protection to Belize, it didn’t need phantoms, bloodhound and vulcan.
They are eyes and ears where the UK lacks the numbers of major vessels to deploy.
Anyone stupid enough to sink one knows the consequences of a NATO response.
They will do the job.

Simon m

I agree and at the end of the day the navy will I am sure do a threat assessment, before deploying them to patrol the areas they wish. I have no desire for massively up gunning the vessels.

I think where people have an issue is for the price tag we are not getting value for money in their role of OPV. We all know why and I think if the Navy had just added them to the fleet as direct b1 replacements we would have all moaned at the price and pointed out how overspecd they are as direct replacements. However as additional vessels therefore additional capability. People are therefore reasonably asking what else can they do as they will be able to patrol but at a massively over inflated price.

And the navy themselves seeing how expensive they are and when questioned the difference between b1 and b2 seem to want to push what they can get from these vessels talking about prepositioning abroad, other tasks such counter terrorism, anti-piracy etc.

My concern is with so few hulls in the water that the risk assessment is relaxed and in the wider context deploying these opvs in grey/semi-permmisable areas to me would require a recognition that the current weapons fit would not be suitable. Therefore if we deploy b2 to the horn of Africa, middle east, Pacific etc. It for me cannot go alone or there needs to be a planned, trained and costed reasonable self protection suite.

At the end of the day some civil servant will be doing a risk benefit exercise and it will be for them to sort. I suppose short conclusion nice patrol boats but what else could we have got for the money

Mike

Join the discussion…As an ex Military man I understand the arguments on this forum to up gun these vessels but just as a matter of interest do they have specific positions on these ships to place GPMGs ie , port , starboard and aft which at least would give them some half decent mid range protective power ?

Dern

Mike:
A Batch 1 River class OPV carries a 20mm cannon and mounting points for 2 GPMG’s, and space for up to 25 Royal Marines.
Batch 2 Rivers upgraded that to a 30mm, mounting points for 2 Miniguns and 2 GPMGs, plus a flight deck that can take a Wildcat or Merlin and space for up to 50 Royal Marines.

Ginger

it’s just my opinion that the new Batch II OPV’s need to be fitted with the 57mm weaponry and a hangar. These improvements would allow vessels to be rapidly switched from one sphere to another and allow a Wildcat to be allocated when required.

Ben

If you think what was in / on a Type 12 / Leander Frigate which weighed in 2500-3000 tons, these vessels’ armament doesn’t seem too impressive.

[…] More details about the Batch II OPVs and photos taken on board HMS Medway can be found in the previous article here. […]

ianball Ball

I can only look as some try to discredit are navy. We should be the leading naval force world wide but gov miss managment and crazy un nesseccary cut backs is insaine. We lead the way and must do so again. Seems today we are mearly playing at it. Bring back national service is the only way forward. They pick up the slack and the professionals do the professonal job there trained to do. That applied to all are armed forces. Time to do the right thing. Boris Johnson.