The Type 45 Destroyer is the Royal Navy’s primary Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) vessel. Other than the propulsion issues discussed in depth elsewhere, this article documents what has already been done to upgrade the class and the potential improvements to be applied later in their service lives.
When the first in class, HMS Daring, was launched in 2006 she was seen as being amongst the most advanced warships ever built, boasting the capable Sampson radar and Aster missile system to counter air threats that were proven deadly during the Falklands War and other conflicts. Despite being world-class when entering service, as time passes, systems are at risk of obsolescence following a lack of investment and development post-commissioning. The Type 45s have now been in service for an average of more than 10 years and there is a need for updates to weapons, sensors and defensive systems to keep pace with evolving threats.
Sea Viper evolution (SV-E)
SV-E is the term now given to the intended upgrades to the Type 45’s Sea Viper air defence system. This involves upgrades to the radar, missiles and C2 system with a focus on Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Defence (ASBMD).
While it was only recently that the term ‘Sea Viper Evolution’ became public in a Government response to a UK Parliament Defence Committee report, ASBMD has been a long-standing aspiration of the Royal Navy as ASBMs become as prevalent as the conventional cruise missiles Sea Viper was designed to counter.
The now fully funded Sea Viper Evolution (SV-E) Capability 1 will see the Type 45’s current Aster 30 ‘block 0’ missiles retrofitted to block 1 standard at the Munition Maintenance Installation Facility at Gosport. This involves new guidance software and electronics to enable the interception of ballistic missiles and a new dual AAW/BMD warhead to enhance the probability of Kill (pK) upon intercept. It will also either see the shorter range Aster 15 missiles discarded or upgraded to Aster 30 B1 standard by replacing the first stage booster (currently the only difference between Aster 15 and 30). The gap in very short range (1.5-3km) engagement envelope created by eliminating Aster 15 will be filled by the addition of 24 Sea Ceptor missiles in the space originally left for 16 strike-length VLS (Vertical Launch System) cells.
This enables the Type 45 to engage Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs) of the ~600km range class over an entire 360° Local Area Defence (LAD) zone and greatly increase overall magazine capacity.
SV-E Cap 1 also includes an upgrade to Sea Viper’s primary sensor, the Sampson Multi-Function Radar (MFR), which will undergo major obsolescence management and a significant upgrade to facilitate the growing ASBMD capability requirement.
As part of a preliminary design and risk reduction programme, an initial ASBMD capability was proposed for Sampson to work with Aster block 1 to provide 360° LAD against SRBMs for SV-E Cap 1. SV-E Cap 2 is currently exploring the funding of the Aster Block 1NT missile to provide a more focused ASBMD capability against larger, longer-ranged and faster ballistic threats. Block 1NT would introduce a new, higher frequency radar seeker which performs better against ballistic missiles with Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). This would require Sampson to operate in a sectored air defence mode.
Sampson uses, in essence, two separate AESA radars mounted back to back in a near-spherical radome. It is claimed possible for just one of these two radar arrays to fulfil almost all conventional AAW duties (providing a great deal of redundancy if nothing else), meaning a significant portion of available radar resources can be dedicated to BMD.
Sampson has tested experimental software over the past decade which has demonstrated the use of dedicated sectored air defence zones (usually a ‘fence’ or a wedge of extended coverage wide in azimuth but narrow in elevation), where the radar would utilise greater dwell times (spending a longer time ‘looking’ at a particular area) in order to increase range and fidelity. By designating a portion of the available scanning area as a higher level of threat, detection and engagement ranges can be extended, particularly when used in tandem with Aster Block 1NT on top of conventional 360° LAD protection.
Sea Viper Evolution Capability 1 is a welcome and long-expected upgrade and Capability 2 should similarly be funded with a certain degree of urgency.
The Type 45’s Volume Search Radar (VSR), S1850M, is an L-band search radar that sacrifices the accuracy of Sampson for output power and range. This supplements Sampson by building a broad, long-range radar picture and alleviating Sampson’s volume search requirements. S1850M is developed from the Dutch SMART-L, using the same front antenna but a new ‘back-end’ with a new signal processor from Alenia Marconi Systems and other technology from the Marconi Martello S723 land-based radar.
The original SMART-L has seen development by the Netherlands to an entirely actively scanned system with a new front-end antenna and a particular focus on long-range ballistic missile defence. The UK could benefit from and incorporate this new development for their own ships, or explore in-house options like BAE’s Commander MFR or EWACS radars.
Directed energy weapons
The Type 45’s propulsion problems are well documented in previous articles. Ultimately, the Power Improvement Project (PIP) will see the current 2MW Wärtsilä diesel generators replaced with 3 more powerful MTU Series 4000 generators, greatly increasing the total potential electrical power that can be generated. Whilst the focus of this upgrade is to amend the propulsion system’s faults, the additional power for the ship’s Integrated Electric Propulsion (IEP) architecture, may also facilitate the installation of Directed Energy Weapons (DEW).
The power density of DEWs can vary greatly and consequently so can their effectiveness and ideal use cases. Lower power lasers, such as the American 60kW HELIOS, are used to down small drones and dazzle optical sensors whereas future higher power systems will look to completely destroy incoming missiles and other threats.
The UK has two major shipborne laser programs, the first of which contracts a Thales-led consortium to test a low power laser dazzler on a Type 23 frigate next year. The other, Dragonfire, is a more ambitious programme that intends to produce a much higher power laser system and, it is assumed, develop the UK’s high power laser industrial base and collective knowledge, involving a much larger group of partners.
Installing the Dragonfire laser (or resultant systems) on the Type 45s would improve their defensive capability against simple but numerous targets which would quickly exhaust the ship’s defensive missile systems, a role currently delegated to the ageing Phalanx gun-based system.
Cooperative engagement capability
Originally, the Type 45 was to be a class of 12 ships. Budget shortfalls led to the class being reduced to 8, then 6 ships with the loss in capability supposedly to be offset by planned improved networking capability.
This improved networking capability was part of a wider enhanced datalink and real-time communications scheme known as Networked Enabled Capability (NEC). NEC is described as the coherent integration of sensors, decision-makers and weapons systems in a manner that allows for rapid information sharing, reduced decision-making times and precise targeting.
Within NEC was an initiative to fit the Type 45s with an advanced, real-time information sharing capability and was the primary ‘justification’ to cut the number of ships from 12 to 8. Ultimately, it was decided the class were to be fitted with the American Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). This would have enabled higher-data rate sharing of raw radar information and engagement-ready target tracks, improving the survivability and adaptability of any surface group.
A forerunner CEC system was installed on HMS Manchester, a Type 42 Destroyer, in 2005 and later 4 CEC Planar Array Antennas were fitted above the R-ESM receivers of HMS Duncan as the programme developed, seemingly close to being accepted into class-wide service. However, the option to cancel all CEC developments was taken in 2012, another consequence of the lack of funds following SDSR 2010.
However, the US has continued to develop their CEC capability and it, or similar systems, have been adopted by many other nations. It would be more than sensible for the UK to reverse their decision and adopt CEC to both improve the effectiveness of the Type 45 and improve interoperability with other assets, playing to each other’s strengths where available.
Electronic support measures
The ongoing electronic support measures upgrades are twofold: improvements to the Radar Electronic Support Measures (R-ESM) and Communications Electronic Support Measures (C-ESM).
R-ESM receivers are wideband passive receivers that detect and locate the source of incoming microwave signals emitted by enemy radar. These are crucial to advancing the ship’s situational awareness, particularly under restrictive EMissions CONtrol (EMCON) procedures where the ship’s own emitted signals are greatly, if not entirely reduced.
The Type 45s were fitted from launch with Outfit UAT(1) R-ESM receivers, a development of Racal (now Thales)’s Sceptre XL system and using 8 acquisition antennas of their Cutlass system. This system was originally developed for the Type 23 frigates and was already more than 10 years old.
The UAT Mod 2 programme was an initiative to refresh the antennas used in the UAT Mod 1 system with new, digital wideband receivers covering the 2-18Ghz frequency range. These new UAT Mod 2.1 antennas have now been fitted to the entire Type 45 fleet and to the Type 23s and other vessels (as Mod 2.3).
These antenna upgrades will improve receiver performance but are only a stop-gap solution. An entire R-ESM overhaul is being implemented as part of a wider Electronic Warfare (EW) upgrade initiative, through Increment 1 of the Maritime Electronic Warfare System Integrated Capability (MEWSIC) project. In November 2021 a £100 million contract was awarded to a Babcock-led partnership with Elbit Systems UK and QinetiQ to upgrade and replace the current R-ESM and EW Command and Control (C2) systems.
Communications Electronic Support Measures, like R-ESM, involve passive receivers which detect unknown electromagnetic signals. However, C-ESM primarily focuses on the lower frequencies used by long-range communications (<1Ghz) and their purpose is to decrypt them for intelligence gathering (SIGnals INTelligence (SIGINT)).
The C-ESM equipment has currently been retrofitted to 4 of the Type 45s (Daring, Dauntless, Defender and Duncan). Known as Shaman in the UK, this is derived from the US AN/SSQ-130(V) Shipboard Signals Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Increment F. This included the installation of AS-4293A acquisition antennas, AS-4692 UHF/VHF direction-finding antennas, AS-3202 HF freeboard antennas and below-decks cryptology equipment. This provides a modern SIGINT capability with the option to easily update equipment as the US develops their own upgrades.
Soft-kill defences are those which do not use physical interceptors (bullets, missiles) to defend the ship but other methods of non-kinetic deception and distraction. As part of the Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme, specifically the Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Project, the MoD is beginning to overhaul the Royal Navy’s soft kill and electronic countermeasures.
The Type 45 is outfitted with a suite of soft-kill defences, including the passive radar reflector Outfit DLF and launchable infrared and radar countermeasures system Outfit DLH. However, these are similarly showing their age and thus there are plans to replace them.
Outfit DLF is to be replaced by the Naval Passive Off-Board Decoy (N-POD) by 2025. Very little is known about the system, although it is without a doubt that the system will need to more closely reflect the radar return of the ship it is expelled from as anti-ship missile radar seekers become more advanced and are able to detect and classify individual ship types (rather than simply homing in on the strongest radar return).
The UK has also been working with France on a new active radar decoy under the project ACCOLADE. Developed by Thales, this system has yet to be procured by the MoD but would be a sensible option to fulfil part of the Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Project.
I’m still not 100% clear as to where the SeaCeptor magazine will be fitted, as I’ve seen varying illustrations. Is it between the existing rows of Sea Viper, forward of them ie behind the 4.5″, or behind Sea Viper just forward of the bridge, where Harpoon has been fitted?
See mock-up here. Confirmed by industry sources to Navy Lookout that this is broadly accurate.
This site needs to upgrade its own electronic defences.
It was said as such. But, now with option for Mk.41 VLS, where shall the SeaCeptor silos go?
I propose to
These ships are for combat purposes clearly going to be used as pure AAW ships protecting high value assets (most often QE class). On that basis what good is a Mk 41? The U.K. has no plans to buy any anti air weapons that need this launcher.
Well if we were not penny pinching as per usual, a 16 cell Mk41 could hold 64 “quad packed” CAMM or CAMM-ER, for a total of 112 missiles, a similar “magazine depth” as Japanese, South Korean, US and Chinese ships. Of course being an AD focused ship doesn’t mean 8 VL ASW missiles wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but we have not chosen a missile of this type for T26 yet, so……
Jed has a good point, the ole “Destroyers” ie really “Torpedo Boat Destroyers” were small and fast and cheap, the modern ships with teh Destroyer name are more like what would have been called light cruisers back then,
I would say T45 is a HVU in its own right.
The quandary of modern escorts are that they are essentially high value targets themselves. I suppose that is where your cheaper outer layer of picket ships come in ( T31 or T32).
More like a rowing boats…..
It’s not me, it’s RN who are proposing to add Mk.41 VLS to T45.
And, if it is me, I would like to see SM-6 blk1B to be added. SM-3 will also be a choice. This will allow RN to focus on Aster-30 blk1B and blk1NT, and not go for Aster-30 Blk2. SM-6 Blk1B is primarily an anti-surface super-long-range high-super-sonic missile and also capable of shooting donw IRBMs, cruise missiles, (possibly) hyper-sonic missiles, and almost all AWACS/maritime-patrol airplnae near the horizon (400-500 km away, for 10 km altitude asset).
If needed, FC/ASW might come in, but I do not prefer it.
With Sea ceptor to be added and SV-E to come doesnt sound like the Mk41 VLS is ‘on the horizon’, and would probbaly be shot down if it did appear again.
It will never be fitted. Why would they? The war has come and has nearly gone and we haven’t fired a shot.
Deterrence dear boy. I agree though. Who would want to lose the gym?
The gym? Where the gym should be in a war canoe, in the hangar! T45 doesn’t need an helicopter. They could plate over the doors and have a hot tub too………
No! The gym should be on the flight deck when flying ops are off… not in a funking mk41 silo…….
Not the best ships ever to have served and at a billion each simply not good enough. They can have the most exquisite weapon systems available but they’re not much use alongside in Pompey.
They are good at protecting themselves however.
And Pompey !
Not against submarines they aren’t. Decent hull mounted ASW sonars and ship launched torpedoes to establish a sterile zone around the ship plus a helicopter with ASW detection equipment are capabilities which pretty much every other countries AAW vessels have even though most of those other ships cost far less than a T45.
What sterile zone? A submarine-launched heavyweight torpedo vastly outranged Stingray from an MTLS. And Type 45s can embark Merlins if needed.
What cues the launch of the Merlin?
The knowledge of a submarine threat from a particular area.
And from where does that come if T45 is on its own?
All submarine torpedoes out range ship launched torpedoes. However, standard doctrine for submarines is to launch outside the range of shipboard torpedoes. That gives the ship more time to deploy countermeasures and take evasive action, increasing its chances of survival. That’s why every other navy has ship launched torpedoes even on its AAW vessels
That is assuming that said ship actually detects the SM launching a torpedo in the first place? If done correctly, the first a ship will know a weapon is on the way is when it goes bang, by then a little too late to worry about ship launched torpedoes.
Without a sterile zone as mentioned a submarine can get as close as it needs to get the guaranteed kill s**t. At least with sonar and torpedos the submarine will keep some distance. Merlins aren’t ubiquitous.
Ya think “decent” sonar systems come cheap? The Sonar 2087 we bought from Thales in 2001 for the Type 23 cost £100m EACH (adjusted for inflation), and it’s unlikely that it’s gotten any cheaper since. And where’s that money going to come from?
Bow mounted sonars are cheaper but typically less effective, especially if retrofitted into a ship that wasn’t designed for them thanks to the noise of the ship itself.
Yes, most navies go for more multi-role vessels, but that means they sacrifice in the areas where the Type 45 excels (like the Sampson radar that’s pretty much 2nd only to the AN/SPY-6 on the very latest American destroyers).
And other than the USA and to a much lesser extent, France, nobody else builds their navy around fleet/carrier task force operations. Most nations only have 1 class of major surface combatants so they HAVE to be able to do double duty. We have 2 major specialist classes which complement each other and are much better at their dedicated roles, so there’s no point comparing with other navies when they’re structured differently with different requirements.
And as for the USN, they’ve got such a ridiculously large budget, they can do whatever they want without having to make sacrifices… Though arguably the RN’s Type 23s are still better ASW vessels, and the Type 45 are as good at AAW (just not BMD).
Very well put, I find these constant ‘top trumps’ comparisons about whoever’s two-bit navy’s ships having XYZ fitted rather tiresome. Especially since many who have actually served at the pointy end often seem to agree that these arguments make little sense.
IMO the main issue today for the RN is not lack of capability (yes there are gaps, but it’s world class in the most important areas) but lack of depth (i.e. numbers) in the overall fleet.
I wish they could get both the 24 Sea Ceptor and 16 mk41 for FC/ASW.
They could fit 2 ADLs advanced deck launchers on the hanger roof they can hold 32 sea ceptors quad packed but I fear money will be an object.
I constantly see this recommendation. A little bit of basic research. CAMM is thrown something like 30m in the air, where it tips to the required direction & angle before the main motor fires. I don’t believe ADL is suitable for cold launch missiles. Angle is too low (not enough height obtained). Not a problem for hot launch as the missile main motor is firing from the get go, sending it higher as it turns. Most deck AShM are already launched at a (higher) angle. You are in danger of shooting yourself or another ship (especially something large like a carrier) if you don’t clear the superstructure when the missile turns to the required direction. CAMM turns first, before the main motor fires, which is the reverse of hot launch.
I think I’m a little too young to have heard the saga of T45’s abandoned NEC system when it was first happening. Reading about it now makes me want to either laugh or put Brown and Cameron on trial.
so the numbers were reduced by a third with the promise that the capability would be made up with an ambitious communication system that would facilitate previously impossible levels of cooperation between ships. This system was then abandoned in favour of an off-the-shelf American substitute even as the number of hulls fell another quarter, to 6. Then it was decided that fitting any such system at all would be an extravagant cost and the 50% remaining ships would be fine getting along without it altogether.
treasury brain at its finest!
The CEC replacement was abandoned by Conservative government cuts from 2010. Doesnt seem the test system on Duncan is operational being an ‘orphan’ and from questions asked in Lords the RN doesnt use it at all.
That’s correct, the antennas on Duncan are now non-functional.
Is there any reason as to why they haven’t had the Sea Ceptor upgrade to happen at the same time as PIP, instead of only a few years before they are out of service?
For the first couple, quite simply because although there’s a CGI image, there won’t be a set of manufacturing drawings etc. Which means you can’t actually fit them yet.
For the later ones, watch this space, I suspect.
Drawings! Just dig some holes, weld them in, bish bash bosh and Bob’s your uncle. Or you could use superglue.
More seriously. How long does it take to produce drawings? Even if they don’t have a fully digitised model of the Type 45, is it difficult to figure out how to fit missile silos in a space designed for missile silos?
It is amazing really. We have computer programmes that can design chips with billions of transistors and their connections, yet placing a box of known dimensions into a box of known dimensions when said upgrade was planned for from the initial design of the ship is ‘problematic’ >cough<……
Its the modern conundrum, computer design has made everything take far longer than the days of draughtsmen/women and drawing boards where plans are passed to builders and it was done.
Now computer software – in constant state of updates- is required just to plan the work program for the design stage then the 3D plans then the construction design stages also using different software overlays and then finally the test- implementation software to say its all finished and working.
Remember the talk of ‘installing silos’ doesnt mention the Sea Ceptor own radars to be installed high up, the CIC consoles and the whole electrical and data transfer system and its interface to other combat systems , especially the Aster missiles and not forgetting the phalanx CIWS ( which might attempt to shoot it down)
Thats plenty of ‘too hard basket’ room there, so it might be quietly forgotten especially if it takes money from other programs-the Treasury way.
“Remember the talk of ‘installing silos’ doesnt mention the Sea Ceptor own radars to be installed high up”
Sea Ceptor doesn’t have a radar of its own, that one of the advantages of the system.
Yes. I forgot that the Artisan scan-track radar is used on other types, while on T45 it will use the Samson radar
Lots of spare volume for installing those things you mention. Not short of space in T45’s. And everything is built around expecting more kit. The one thing the RN does well is FFBNW.
Also not wanting to do anything that might slow down the to post PiP trials?
The T45 breakdowns are a UK embarrassment so I suspect there is political pressure to get it fixed and closed off.
I can’t help think that most of the Ceptor work wouldn’t require long periods docked anyway. Most of the prep can be done at sea for cable paths etc or even along side in between routing deployments.
That only really leaves the installation of the pre fabricated missile array (for want of a better word). But that will take time to fabricate.
Nothing but problems and short sightedness.
Can the T45 be kept in the premier league for the best air defence ship? Yes, but the article above shows that it will be second rate to a Flight III Arleigh Burke, with the new combined SPY-6 radar, along with SM6 etc. Especially if it needs to be used to defend against anti-ship ballistic missiles. It could be much better…
The reason is quite simple. If you want to increase the Sampson’s dwell time, so it can look at a given sector for significantly longer. Then you will have to slow its mechanical rotation speed down. To make sure a target, such as a re-entry vehicle or a single stage ballistic missile is tracked throughout its high ballistic path or quasi-ballistic path. You need the radar to focus on its current location and then its predicted track. For something like Sampson, this may mean slowing down the mechanical rotation down so much it stops. Which clearly means that there will now be two fixed dead zones/blind spots between the two radar array faces.
There is a solution, but I doubt the Navy will pay for it. The cheapest and easiest would be to install a minimum of three Sampson arrays in a triangular arrangement on top of the mast. This will then give the full 360 degree view, but at a cost. Electronically scanned arrays have a field of view of +/- 60 degrees from the arrays centre in the horizontal plane. However, from +/- 45 to +/- 60 degrees there is a drop off in transmitter power and receiver sensitivity due to the way the beam is formed. Which is why most ship’s use four panel arrays, to make sure they can use the full power of the array to search for and track targets.
Four panel arrays are the best method for searching for and tracking ballistic targets, whilst still providing a 360 degree field of view. Placing a mechanically rotating pair of arrays mounted back to back high up on the mast, is still the best method for the ship to detect sea skimming threats earlier. The four panels can be mounted lower on the ship closer to the CofG to lessen the top weight affect. But can also have a larger transmitter/receiver area which will increase the effective radiated power (ERP) and the receiver’s sensitivity, thereby allowing it to detect targets a lot further away. Placing the arrays up on the mast, restricts the overall weight and area of the array, thereby limiting the effective detection range.
The evolution of the SMART-L radar to the SMART-L MM. Which has changed it from a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) to and active electronically scanned array (AESA). Has shown that it can search for and track ballistic targets over 2000km away and at medium altitude orbits. It has been used to coordinate SM3 during live fire exercises. But it hasn’t been used for missile guidance probably due to its longer L-band wavelength. Sampson has shown it can track low earth orbit objects and its S-band shorter wavelength gives it a better target identification and resolution. But SPY-6 incorporates both an S-band and X-band radar for a reason. The X-band being a higher frequency with a shorter wavelength, means it has a better chance at identifying the true target amongst decoys. Though the US Navy are expecting the S-band half of the radar to do most of the ballistic missile tracking. But as has been seen with the use of Iskander short range ballistic missiles. Even these carry up to 6 decoys that cover both the IR and RF spectrums. So may need to use both.
To improve the T45 further, so it has a better performance than a Arleigh Burke, it is going cost. It will require the current S1850M to be replaced with a Thales SMART-L MM, as this will give the ship the best chance of detecting a ballistic threat at the earliest opportunity. The two mechanically rotating Sampson arrays mounted on the mast would be kept, primarily to detect low level threats. To give the T45 a better 360 degree ballistic missile tracking capability. It would require four Sampson arrays installed as fixed panels. These would be fitted to the ship with a greater look up angle, so that the blind spot directly above the ship is covered. It would also mean that the number of transmitter-receiver modules (TRMs) could be increased, to boost the ERP and receiver sensitivity.
MBDA have said that the improvements to the Aster will include a new replacement active radar, changing it from a Ku to a Ka band. But it will still be a mechanically steered pulse-doppler radar. There is one that MBDA will soon have that will be better again. Which is the AESA radar being fitted as part of the Meteor upgrade. The Meteor’s AESA is derived from the Japanese Mitsubishi AAM4B missile. It uses Ka band, but as its AESA it will have a significantly better target identification and resolution. Making it easier to discern a true target from its decoys. Apparently this radar is not being considered. The question is why? If its good enough for Meteor, why not Aster? It might be because Meteor is a British MBDA project, whilst Aster is French.
I also believe MBDA could do better than Aster, by using Meteor as a ground launched interceptor. By pairing up the Aster 30’s 1st stage booster and combining it with Meteor’s throttleable ramjet. Means that Meteor will have a considerable speed, range and height advantage over Aster. It would significantly improve the time to target interception. As Meteor won’t suffer the same velocity drop-off as Aster, since Meteor can conserve and pulse its fuel usage. It would also allow for targets between 100,000ft and 130,000ft to be intercepted. Although unpowered by this stage, it should still be able to coast up to 150,000ft.
The next elephant in the room is why keep the 4.5″ gun? At present it is the only means a T45 has in engaging another vessel (DS30 and Phalanx not withstanding), without using its Wildcat. Will it be expected to perform naval gunfire support? Possibly, but its doubtful. Therefore, would it not be better to replace the 4.5″ with a weapon system that is more pertinent to its air defence role? For commonality with the T31, this could be the BAe/Bofors Mk110 57mm autocannon. This system is slated to use the Raytheon MAD-FIRES guided round for use against aircraft and missiles. MAD-FIRES is a sabot round, that is rocket assisted and uses semi active radar homing for guidance. The standard HE shell has an effective range out to 8.5km. The MAD-FIRES should be able to reach further and faster. If the 4.5″ was replaced with the 57mm, it will give the ship a third layer of air defence behind Sea Ceptor. But I would also consider fitting a second 57 system on the hangar roof, using a pedestal mount to hold another 120 rounds. Thereby giving the ship 360 degrees of protection.
Alas, non of these upgrades will happen because, bean counters!
Sadly, I agree.
And we won’t have any beans for them to count soon.
Its lentils now.
Mk8 Mod 1 is the ship’s main ornament. 🙂
It’s an old joke. The original wasn’t very reliable when it chose its moment. And the myth is it was fitted to give the weapons engineers something to do…….
‘Stop and stare’ is not necessary for Sampson BMD by any means. It was found that current AAW requirements could be fulfilled by a single array, meaning plenty of radar resource is available for BMD. The ability of the system to perform complex BMD tracking without impacting withstanding AAW requirements and operations was proved in the 2015 TSAT.
I don’t think installing another Sampson array is possible without serious redesign to the mast structure due to topweight and cooling concerns.
Through on-board missile guidance/acquisition systems the inaccuracy of L-band systems can be mitigated. SMART-L-MM was used in an Engage-On-Remote scenario of a ballistic missile in Ex Formidable Shield 2021, using an SM3. SPY-6 does not, as of yet, have an X-band component.
The two arrays on the T45 are already tilted back by some margin and cover the ship’s zenith angle.
Good points, and I would also argue that having dual redundancy is a major plus point. Another advantage of Sampson is that is is simply cooled by cold air and this must have large benefits over using chilled water (or whatever) for fixed arrays, and reduces top-weight
A simply extra flat panel on top of the Sampson is apparently doable and would fully cover the overhead blind spot. As low level attack is mostly the current threat, is making all the radical changes that necessary? In addition the stare time between panel rotations is very small and not the massive gap that seems to be alluded to.
Replace Phalanx with Bofors 40mm, my take on this. Lasers when ready, but in addition not full replacements. Also fit the 57mm gun to replace the 4.5 inch one as stated, more fitting for air defence or even as suggested, a second 57mm replacing the Phalanx’s.
I’m afraid this is simply nonsense. Far from being cooled by “cold air” 1045 has its own self contained heat exchanger which is in turn cooled from the CW main.
From this very website on the Sampson topic.
“Since SAMPSON works on low voltage and relatively low power (25kW), the antenna is air-cooled, avoiding the complex liquid cooling systems used by many legacy radars. An air conditioning unit one deck below the antenna produces chilled air which is driven by fans up into the void between the two array faces and then forced through small holes in the TR module covers directly on the elements to be cooled.
I am sorry, I was perhaps oversimplifying the Cooling method.
I’ll take my BR over this website any time…….
The description given is correct. Yes, Sampson uses a heat exchanger to get rid of most of the heat produced by the array but that heat is carried away from the antennas by air, not liquid. ‘Air-cooled’ is a perfectly fine description when talking about the antennas themselves.
But not independent of CW. Nor does it reduce topweight. Neither 996 or 997 antennae (as opposed to Tx cabs) used CW.
I had never given this any thought. Are you saying that the CW main (well a branch off) runs all the way up that very tall mast? Wow. Is water pushed up or drawn up? That has to be a few tonnes of water. Up the creek is that pipe gets severed due to damage.
Not all the way up the mast, no. There’s a heat exchanger a deck below the radome itself which cools the cycle of air which in turn cools the radar array.
I had never given the cooling a thought. To be honest if asked I would have said air cooled. It is a lone way up there……..
If as you suggest
“S1850M to be replaced with a Thales SMART-L MM”
and leave Sampson to do its thing with area defence, a la Corporate, then I am not so sure that the T45 is fighting obsolescence in the way that you suggest?
I agree that the 4.5″ gun is superannuated and should be replaced with either the 57mm for commonality with T31 or 5″ for commonality with T26.
Given that there won’t be much time left for the T45s by the time they could get new guns, is it really worth changing them? We would end up having 6 barely used guns without a use.
I can’t see a need for the 4.5″ either, but justifying a 57mm replacement would be difficult and a 5″ gun at £60m each, including ammunition, next to impossible.
The Samson flat plates are rotating at 30 times per second. The AESA modules in each plate array are scanning from the horizon to the azimuth even faster than that.
This idea that the spin time needs to be decreased right down to a pause ‘to see’ an incoming missile just doesnt make sense. Maybe this idea comes from the days of mechanical scan by a single source transmitter receiver.
The software is handling all the data and certainly is keeping up with the very fast mechanical scan and the rapid electronic scan which is happening simultaneously. There is no one peering at a screen to see a blip
Also the latest version of the US Navy flat plate radars, SPY-6 comes in a single face rotating version as well which will be on Ford class carriers and FFG Constellation frigates
It will be several fixed in Constellations.
I got it round the wrong way. That would be for the fixed face versions. The rotating version would be for Nimitz class and Amphib carriers refits
The rotating SPY-6 wont be used with SM3 or SM6.
Stop-and-stare is still a viable method for increasing the detection range of AESAs. It’s how SMART-L-MM gets its 2000km detection range against ballistic missiles. It’s just not one that’s necessary for Sampson to perform Local Area Defence or sectored searching (as mentioned in the article, withstanding AAW duties do not take up all of the time resource of the arrays).
Agree to a point. Sampson rotates at 30 rpm, which is once every 2 seconds.
The further an object is away from the radar, you have to increase the dwell (stare) time. Even though the beam is moving at the speed of light (in air). It still needs time to get there and back again.
With the old mechanically scanned pulse Doppler radar, you couldn’t spin them too fast, as it will throw out the timing for long range targets. An AESA radar can get round this problem to some degree, due to its ability to electronically forward and back scan bloody quickly. Again if an object is a long way off, the “pulse” still needs to get to the target, interact with it and return. By giving the radar a longer dwell time it allows more of the pulse to be received. Thereby allow the signal processing more data to examine. Similarly by slowing the radar’s rotation down, it means the transmitter can illuminate the target for longer. Thereby allowing the receiver an even greater chance (time) of it detecting a weak returning signal.
A few thoughts
As understand the Aster missiles built by Eurosam, a Franco-Italian company, with no involvement by MBDA?
Sampson might be a good radar but showing its age it uses old gen tech, eg the ‘new’ 2015 SMART-L MM uses GaN which gives the power to transmit ~5x RF energy.
S-band not the best against sea-skimming missiles as has tendency to bend upwards before surface horizon, X band is far better as it does the opposite.
SPY-6 (GaN) is an S-band radar, has no X-band capability, USN has recently, February, re-issued RFI for its FXR, future X-band radar.
Would note Lockheed who know all about stealth :), when designing radars for ~2010 MEADS, the “MkII” Patriot system, picked UHF band for its long range stealth surveillance radar and X band for FCR.
MoD appear to have chosen a variant of the Lockheed SPY-7 in the ~$700 million deal for a UK Ballistic Missile Defense Radar, SPY-7 is a GaN radar S-band with its dual polarisation tech to give much better discrimination, also previously chosen in preference to the SPY-6 by the Japanese for its BMD, a smaller SPY-7 version to be fitted to the new Canadian T26 and the Spanish F110 frigates.
Would be surprised if SM-2/6 or 3 ever fitted to T45 as would need major/costly changes to its CMS and radars.
Through acquisitions, mergers and rebranding Eurosam has ended up two-thirds owned by MBDA France.
The improvements to Sampson will please the Americans for when T45 is playing the floating air traffic control tower………
Except that the USN’s own SPY-6 is itself a very advanced system.
It is yes. But the USN think Sampson is wonderful for ‘air traffic control’.
Sorry, not getting the gist of your comment. Is it that the Americans think that’s the only use for Sampson?
I think what he means is that T45 (not Sampson) acts as Red Crown (ie force AAWC).
Yes. But there was no point in saying that as they can’t grasp ‘air traffic control’……….It’s the sensors not T45………..
You mustn’t assume gender either. 😉
Here we go again Government and previous Governments snail pace to get anything done in refits, upgrades etc. No urgency just like a gentle slow walk in a park on a Sunday afternoon. Also get the feeling the Government seems to forget we are a island and most of our imports come by sea.
Dauntless and Daring has been non operational for over 5 years each.
Untrue. Dauntless worked up prior to going to Lairds.
One is reminded of HMS Refit and Repair aka 1916 battle cruisers Renown and Repulse.
It will be interesting to see what they will do with Phalanx. 20mm is obsolescent now and Phalanx be a museum piece by the end of the decade.
Lasers are going to depend on how much generator capacity is going begging.
I’d like to see them converted into Sea RAM and put onto RFA’s, Albion’s and the carriers
There is now more than ever a good argument for ‘up arming’ the RFA.
New solid stores with Sea Ceptor……….
Lasers for offensive action , or laser cannon, dont rely on brute kW power anymore
USMC has the mobile vehicle system or CLaWS
The MoD has consistently stated over the last 10 years it has no intentions of implementing CEC. It would be reasonable for them to look at the NIFC-CA architecture even without taking on the US version of CEC, but I’ve not heard anything about that either. Did the Australians progress the UC2 programme?
It occured to me that the RAF Babelfish initiative could give the Royal Navy CEC-like ability, quickly and cheaply, and would be worth trialling on a Type 45. The RAF Rapid Capabilities Office is working on interconnectedness, while NavyX seems to be majoring on autonomy. Let’s hope they can at least talk to each other.
I don’t think we are getting enough ? pow for our pound from these ships.
They are great anti aircraft ships, ok if you can guarantee a warship won’t appear over the horizon ,or a submarine won’t creep up on them.
pitty they don’t put in the 16 cells (2 x 8 Mk41 Vls) in the space reserved for such.
CAMM can be quad packed in a cell so could have 64 camm or using 1/2 32 camm and 8 cells for VL tomahawk. B1V or LSRAM, would a significant improvement and the canister launched ASM could still be carried on top.
HMS Dragon is having the engine upgrade done at Portsmouth and not CL, this will be be co terminus with the refit