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Yet again the faiilure of the RN to adopt MK41 in a timely manner bites it in the arse. A failure it will shortly compound by fitting CAMM to T26 and T45 in bespoke launchers 🙁

TLAM is great and all, but the gap here is not at the high end: it’s at the 100-200 km “replace 4.5 NGS” requirement. Ideally we’d develop a EGMLRS equivalent that could quad pack in MK41, but in the short term how about replacing 4.5 on the T45 with the 5 inch mount and the Vulcano guided shell, using the already in service Sea Eagle drone to spot?


CAMM on T45 will probably be bespoke launchers, but CAMM on T26 is apparently going to be ExLS and it has a Mk41 silo too, the RN website says:

The City Class frigates will boast significant air defence and surface warfare capabilities. These consist of 12 vertical launch system (VLS) cells for the Sea Ceptor surface to air missile (and another 24 multi-purpose MK 41 VLS cells).

Each cell can house four Sea Ceptors, giving each ship a total of 48 missiles, and the MK 41 VLS provides flexibility to utilise a further choice of missiles to counter threats as they emerge.

So that’s probably more future proof.


So why not just install 48 Mk41 for maximum flexibility? Those 24 Mk41 are going to be in high demand 🙁


Why not 96 cells like an Arleigh Burke? Money of course; we have to make compromises to fit within our budget, but 24 strike length cells is still more firepower than a post-war RN warship has ever had – and assuming the Type 31s are fitted with ExLS in 8 of their cells for 32x CAMM they’ll have the same 24 strike cells to play with. It’s not much in a USN or PLAN context, but 24 strike cells is more than any other European warship at the moment – probably until the upgraded Gorshkovs hit the water.

Jim Camm

Yes… But out of an Arleigh Burke’s 96 VLS cells, most of them will be dedicated to air defence. I’ve heard various speculation about fractions, but 40 being just for SM-2 seems reasonable. Then maybe another 10 for ESSM, for 40 missiles. Another 10 being either SM-3 or SM-6.

Assuming that’s close, the amount dedicated to Tomahawk and ASROC is only about 36 cells, so Type 26 is 2/3 of the way there, considering T26 is only a frigate that started with 36 cells, it’s not awful. The Constellation class Frigate would be a closer comparison and that only has 32 VLS (plus 16 NSM).

Supportive Bloke

Space and design.

#1-3 are in advanced build and we are better with them in the water with a sensible number of VLS slots than as a CAD tiger with ideal slots….

#4-8 could be revisited for 48…..?

Bloke down the pub

Money one thing but also the ability to distribute the weapons around the vessel to maintain operations even if damaged.


There will always be some CAMM on T26, so it makes no sense to buy all MK41 launchers for some of them to always have ExLS in. May as well save some money and just put ExLS straight in the ship, rather than putting a launcher in a launcher. 24 MK41 to 12 ExLS seems like a sensible ratio. Interestingly, this is similar to the Canadian T26 variant, which is 24 MK41 to 6 ExLS (also with CAMM)


The mk41 silos are expensive to buy, maintain and operate and also have very significant deck perpetration and have a lot of weight..the Cold launch silos for the CAMM are cheaper, easier to maintain, weigh a lot less and don’t penetrate as deep….If you want your min CAMM load out to be 48 there is little point in housing them in expensive, complex and heavy MK41 silos.


The problem with the MK41 its $70 for each Type 26 Frigate for there 24 cells and although it’s more flexible they are very expensive for sea ceptor that use a cold launch


Sorry $70 million per Ship

Jim Camm

Cost, weight, volume & don’t need it.
12 cells restricted to short and medium-range air defence (the ExLS is compatible with CAMM, CAMM-ER and ESSM) isn’t taking anything away compared to having all mk.41. The navy probably worked out that they weren’t going to go anywhere without at least 48 SAMs for self-defence. In which case, the full-length mk.41 is completely wasted.

There are still 24 full-length cells to be split between cruise missiles and VLS-launched torpedoes. Considering no previous RN ship has had more than 8 anti-ship missiles, that’s not bad.

But the ExLS SAM battery is located in the multi-mission bay, so space and weight are real constraints there. But it has no impact on the amount of mk.41 they can fit in the battery forward of the bridge.

Supportive Bloke

Maths error

4 x 24 = 96 from Mk41 VLS
96 + 12 = 108 including Mk41 and soft launch?

That doesn’t include and deck canisters for AshM launches….Which could up the numbers to 116 or 124 missiles.

Which is a very big load out.

It will never be that many as at least one row of Mk41 will have something big and heavy duty in it.


If they really are going to put in Mk-41 ExLS cells on the Type-26 then that will be a height limitation I would imagine. They aren’t as long as the full strike length version. Still 12 Cells would allow quad packed CAMM-ER for 48 Missiles and even if you split the 24 strike length to 16 and 8 that would still give you a lot of self defence and some punch. You can plug an ExLS adaptor into the strike length Mk-41 allowing more quad packed CAMM-ER for a total of 112 CAMM and Eight strike missiles.

Not bad for the best ASW platform on the planet. Just have to hope that common sense prevails.


I think CAMM-ER would only be 2 per cell.


You are thinking of CAMM-MR. CAMM-ER is quadpackable.


So it will, that’s useful, cheers.

Jim Camm

For reference, Lockheed Martin’s own advertising material for ExLS clearly shows CAMM-ER in a quad-pack configuration. It’s the right hand most example on the 2nd page. The label says CAMM, but if you zoom in, it’s the ER variant that is depicted.


It will actually have 24 sea ceptor fore and aft = 48 cells and 24 MK41 cell behind the forward 24 sea ceptor alongside the Naval Decoy IDS300 anti torpedo launcher fore as well


All the renders show regular “mushroom” VLS Cells for Seaceptor, I think someone just made a mistake on the RN website. It would be a welcome surprise if they replaced the mushrooms for 6 ExLS behind the funnel and 6 forward of the 24 Mk41 cells.


The only advantage having Mk41 on the T45s brings is TLAM- That’s a huge cost for what the RN could have achieved years ago via various cannister-launched offerings if they’d wanted to. Granted, the range wouldn’t have been as good, but NSM has been around for quite some time, as have a number of other European AShMs with land attack secondary capabilities.
I would agree that there is an interesting space for replacing NGS- one that no-one has really addressed to be honest. Everything on ships is really towards the high end- even NSM fits that bill compared to NGS. Not sure if you’ve seen the GL-SDB that LockMart and Saab (I think?) have come up with, but it’s the US SDB with the launcher from the MLRS system bolted to the bottom. We could do similar with the unpowered (or powered, for that matter) Spear 3, I would imagine. A modified box launcher would probably do the job, but these would take up a lot more space than the 4.5″ or 5″ mounts.
Problem with any tubes is that it forces the ship to come far closer than these days might be considered safe- given how many people now operate drones, drone boats, AShMs, ASBMs, etc. But, if we did go that route, if they could come up with a navalised turret for the same 52 calibre gun used in the Archers we’re buying, at least it would provide some ammunition commonality.

Jim Camm

Are you kidding? Replace the Darings’ main gun? On a ship already most of the way through their service lives? Do you have any idea how expensive that would be to buy enough mk45 mod 4 guns? India recently ordered 13 of them… for $78.5m each!

The Netherlands recently bought 8x 8-cell mk.41 for $13.75 each.
Australia’s recent purchase of 220 Tomahawks cost $250m or about $1.1 each.

So for the cost of 6x 5″ gun systems (not including ammo, and range-extended guided shells aren’t cheap), you could fit all the Darings with 12 mk41 cells and purchase 270 Tomahawks.


Seems task the question whatever is the point of the navy.


The door is that way…..


I have to agree, realistically anything that isn’t a bolt-on option isn’t a worthwhile investment at this stage. The money would be far better spent trying to accelerate existing programmes.

The tagged article about a funding increase is interesting. The government aspiration for 2.5% of GDP, and Hunt’s 2019 call for 4%, are all well and good, but in particular the comment that its the specifics of the request for land attack that are making it attractive.

This begs the question; how does the MOD usually go about justifying its budget? Would being more open and specific with its logic work better?


Maybe we’ve finally got to the point where what the government wants to do and what the military can actually do is no longer the same.

They’ve been cutting and cutting but the mod were still able to deliver. Now they’ve asked to do something and the mod have said they can’t.

Can’t scalp er / storm shadow be fired from the slyvar a50?


I think that was the Sylver A-70. SCALP is taller than the 5M clearance in the A-50.

Supportive Bloke

Yes, it needs the A70 and SCALP isn’t in production anymore anyway.


SCALP is still in production. In France. They’ve got their line working at full speed to fulfix export orders connected to Rafale sales…

The U’s line is also still in existence…its being used for the MLU of UK, KSA and Italian Storm Shadow missiles…which is in effect a complete remanufacture.

Supportive Bloke

But that isn’t the VL version, which is specific?

I was aware of the MLU of Storm Shadow but not of new manufacture.

Supportive Bloke

I agree that was likely the catalyst for that.

I am assuming that there wasn’t a precious Astute free as they were doing critical submarine stuff.

So when Sunak/Hunt said ‘can’t we fire some missiles back from out T45’ and RN said ‘what missiles?’ the penny finally dropped that 500m3 of fresh air didn’t have any kinetic offensive potential?


This is all very troubling and begs the question what are we doing to speed up Defence procurement and production at this dangerous time. We dont hopefully have to take on Putin singlehanded but it maybe time to at least ask: how were requirements agreed upon and met in WW2?
At least we didnt have to wait long to get the ASW weapons and radar required to be bolted on to our Frigates to win the Battle of the Atlantic, which was in fact the priority and deciding factor of staying in business at all.
Where we did have a problem was acquiring the Long Range Maritme aircraft and wrestling them from Bomber Harris.


As the government hasn’t significantly increased the defence budget (allowing for defence inflation) not much can be done.


The best way to look at its is to track the defence budge against risk…high risk times would see a defence budge of 5-6% low risk times 2.5-3% its only since 2010 have we seen this insane 2% figure.


I’ve never before come across an article that claimed Hunt called for 4%, much less a video or something direct from him. Have you? Hunt called for 3% quite publicly at the time. I think this 4% is a mistake.

Mark Tucker

Given Type 26 are getting the Mk41 launcher, adding TLAM to the Type 26 would have to be the quickest and most cost effective way of adding TLAM to the UN Surface fleet.

It will not be quick enough for many, but i Can’t see any other option happening any quicker.

Given AUKUS is likely to delay the the original SSNR program by a few years, buying a fifth Dreadnought class to be fitted out as a SSGN would be a good way to avoid a construction gap at at Barrow-in-Furness.

Armchair Admiral

By the time T26 enters service the FASGW (or whatever it is) should also be entering service to put in mk41 cells.
Fitting nsm to all vessels should be the priority as a cost effective solution. Launchers can be left in place so nsm becomes an addition to vessels equipped with mk41, bolstering the offboard attack numbers.
It seems to me half the readership wants the 5 inch gun to be fitted and the other half wants 57mm fitted. Personally I am with the Venom/nsm camp for land attack, and a 57mm all round as it offers security and persistence against asymmetric attack, drones and so on.
A T26 operating well offshore is ok with a 5 inch as long as it carries decent rounds…guided. decoy..or even Kingfisher/sonobouy.
The camm launcher is cheap and lightweight. The spacing between groups of cells as I read ages ago is to provide nboard maintenance space underneath between said groups. Fitting mk41 at 20? times the cost and weight and Filling them with camm does not seem to make sense when the call will be made to fill them with anti land/ship missiles as well.

Supportive Bloke

For T45 it will be 57mm as the 5” doesn’t fit without changing the magazines. With a non penetrating 57mm on the hangar roof.

As you know I favour 40mm over the 30mm.

I think you could physically fit 76mm but why introduce another calibre?

The advantage of the 5” is that with base bleed / boosted ranges of 75km become real and that isn’t so bad for NGS and is better than T45’sxare dealing with in the Red Sea.

Mark Tucker

The RN is paying the price for not seeing the value in the Type 41 when the Viper missile system was in development. It will not happen now, what is done, is done. Whatever missile is deployed on the Type 83, it will use the Mk41. The NSM is the most we will ever see on the Type 45, even that is a maybe. It is likely the remaining Type 23’s, 26 and 31’s are ahead of them in the que. Given how few we have to do the area defense role, I am ok with that.

Guns are an interesting discussion. My view, is we appear to have it back to front. We are obsessed with fitting the biggest guns on the biggest ships. I would argue that a 57mm on a Type 45 or type 26 would be fine, but the Type 31 needs the 5 inch gun, because I would rather send a type 31 than a Type 45 or type 26 away from a CSG to provide shore fire support. The days of a CSG having half a dozen Air ware fare destroyers is long gone so why are we obsessed with using them for shore fire support?.

The decision to install the CAMM launcher in the Type 45 is an odd one. Yes it will increase magazine depth, but I am sure the money could have been better spent.


What would you have spent the money on? Remember in defence terms the cost of adding Sea Ceptor to T45 is comparatively low. I suspect most of the cost is in building up the stock of missiles rather than the actual installation.

Mark Tucker

The Power Improvement Program for the Type 45 is a higher priority for me.


That’s happening anyway and there’s little more we can do on that. CAMM is one of the best value for money ideas we’ve had.


And it’s not even about CAMM..CAMM is just the enabler… it’s about allowing the Aster 15 load out to be changed to an Aster 30 load out…after the CAMM refit the short range missile Load out will be exactly the same 24 ( just changing the Aster 15 capability for CAMM on a one to one basis)…the big capability jump is moving to loading all the A50 silos with Aster 30s….that’s moving the long range AAW missile capacity from 24 to 48…which is huge…..


The decision around CAMM was not so much about CAMM and increasing the T45s short range missiles.. as that is not what is happening…CAMM and the Aster 15 are close in performance so fitting the 24 CAMM allows the T45 to go from a Aster 30 and Aster 15 split in its 48 A50 silos ( 24 of each I think) to having all 48 of its A50 silos filled with Aster 30s…so it’s best to no so much think of it as having extra short range AAW missiles ( as that will stick at 24) but instead having a boost of its long range AAW missiles from 24 to 48..which is very significant.


And CAMM also has an anti surface capability. So T45 will get a quick reaction M3 Missile able to hit surface targets. Ok it not a big warhead but the Kinetic energy from a 100Kg missile at M3 + is going to spoil someone’s day.


I would go 57mm for the Main gun on the T45 and 40mm mk4s to replace the DS30Bs…that means that you can throw it down the axis of air attack/threat knowing it’s got very good self protection..Naval gunfire support is not something one of our few T45s will ever do…so a strike capability from 8 NSMs will do…if they could fit a second 57mm great…..

agree fitting M41 silos when what T45 really wants is a load of CAMM is a waste of money, time, weight and maintaining crews.

The T26 really wants the 5inch as it’s got some potential for very interning ASW capabilities with kingfisher…it’s also meant to be a global combat ship ( AKA cruiser that we have not told the treasurer about) so needs the Utility of a 5inch gun….but I would also replace the DS40Bs with 40mm mk4s and if possible stick a 57mm on the hanger roof ( it’s not deck piercing if you don’t want it to be).

T31 is just fine as it is….gun wise.

T32…well that was meant to be some sort of autonomous mother ship come literal combantant…so maybe that’s a 5inch gun platform as well and the future primary NGFS platform ?

As a minimum fit before any specialisation ( such as MK41 strike length silos or Aster etc) I think all RN escorts should have:
57mm, x2 40mm mk 4, 24-48 CAMM as a self protection package and short range area defence package ( anti air is the primary risk in every part of the world). With a standard strike and ASuW package of 8 NSMs…


One route for up-gunning the T31, would be to replace the mid-ship DS30s with the Mk4 40mm. Replace the aft Mk4 40 with a Mk110 and replace the forward (B position Mk4 40 with a Mk110. If money is available replace the forward Mk110 with the Mk45 5″. If not fit additional VLS cells. Though as the Navy’s general purpose frigate, it should the one providing NGS and land attack.

Supportive Bloke

T31 is also getting Mk41.

That will be in the water quicker!


A fifth Dreadnought! Those things cost £10bn each! You could have 15 of the latest Taigei-class AIP submarines for the price of a single Dreadnought, or 115 F-35Bs.

Supportive Bloke

That isn’t really true.

The program cost is £40Bn but that includes things like PWR3 and the combat system development and synthetic training environment.

I’d guess the build costs are actually £2-4Bn a copy one you get to #3.


Yes. A rule of thumb is actual build costs are 1/3 of the program cost
And even then the program cost for UK for F35B isnt £87 mill each either

Order of the Ditch

If the Tories wanted to do something useful for defence before they undoubtedly lose this year’s election, a follow on order of an extra 5 T31 would be very welcome.
I didn’t realise out Tomahawk stocks were that low – so low it is very hard to justify using them.
I think the lessons from this saga are:
1) Tying RN land attack to a very small fleet of SSNs is a bad idea
2) Going forward all escorts will need silos capable of taking a land attack missile.
3) RN land attack would save the RAF from having to make as many sorties from Cyprus in this specific scenario. In a future crisis we may not have the luxury in needing to target a location that can be reached from an RAF base like the one in Cyprus.
4) Being reliant on Uncle Sam isn’t ideal. This is why Future Cruise is so important, we need to be at the top of the queue for missile orders.

Mark Tucker

I would argue we are seeing why the USN does what is does with it burkes. A general purpose destroyer that can do anything is always going to be more flexible than a small fleet of specialist escorts. Any savings from having smaller cheaper ships is consumed by the cost of designing three classes of ship each with it own dedicated training and support infrastructure. The Royal Navy is no longer has 50+ escorts, time to stop designing escorts based on the assumption they do.


Absolutely 🙂

That way we can keep current escorts in production at a sustainable rate and ensure they are relevant anywhere


The problem with that idea is that the current budget would only get 1 or maybe 2 T26’s in place of 5 T31. If you’re talking a destroyer with good ASW and AAW capabilities you are talking well over £1B per ship. So the budget might just get 10 escorts.

Mark Tucker

I know that GP destroyer is going to expensive on a per unit basis, but designing ships is also very expensive, so is maintaining dedicated support structures for multiple classes of ship.

Example, from here in Australia, I use the example of our Hobart class destroyer because I know the numbers, A US$10B program produced just three ships. R&D cost $6B, first of class $2B, Second and third $1B each. That was with a reference design with minimal changes, its cost profile was not unusual. Had we built a 4th it was expected to be about US$1.2B, not US$3B.

As we build smaller numbers of ships, designing specialist ships gets expensive real fast. Once you start saying a navy is going have less than twenty large surface combatants, I just don’t see how you justify spending more money designing ships than building them. Add the fact it gets even harder it have the right ship where you need it.

So in summary no, actually the savings you are seeing are not real, because you are spending too much on design and not enough on ship construction. I would argue you would get at least as many because to make the Multi class option work you need steal billions from the construction accounts to fund the R&D spend. Remember the RN has to pay for three first of class boats, they cost more too.


So it makes sense you are saying to make the type 83 a Type 26b like Australia wants to do. Reworking the design.
I’d agree with that for the RN. On almost every level it makes sense and I wont bother to list here. Run them off like hot rolls.


It makes sense until you realise that a T26 AAW would only ever be 2nd rate. The beam and length requirements for a first-class radar system preclude further development and the Australians are already struggling with topweight and seaworthiness design issues on the Hunter class. There has been considerable debate on this topic over on UKDJ with some very well-researched and backed up comments, I suggest you read them.


I would like to see a version of the T26 as an AAW ship..but that’s because I think we need a small core of very high end to protect the CBG and then a number of OK AAW vessels…I also think the T83 is going to take for ever..and we could be producing another batch of 4 AAW focused T26s in a timeframe before the keel of the T83 is laid down…it’s what the French have done….there AAW fleet consists of their horizon which is their dedicated high end AAW..they then at the end of the FREMM production line knocked out a pair of FREMM with enhanced AAW……nothing wrong with a high..medium mix.

what the purists are forgetting is how long it will take to design and commission something like a 10,000+ ton AAW destroyer…we are not getting the T83 until we’ll into the 2040s….we need to keep the churn on the T26 line until it’s replaced on the slips by the T83….

Last edited 17 days ago by Jonathan
Toby J

I’d be wary of telling the Treasury “we want a couple of top-tier destroyers, but we also want an interim air defence frigate that can do 70% of the job”. They will just give you the T26 and tell the Navy “you already have AAW, justify extra ships” so you end up with no BMD and anti Hypersonics.
There’s nothing wrong with medium AA if you have a secure plan to also get top tier. Going for “interim solutions” will hurt in the long run.


I don’t disagree, but I think that’s a funding paradigm problem and one of the fundamental issue in the county..that affectively the treasury have the final say and not the experts…the treasuries job should be to find the money needed, not dictate what or not is procured….I also think the way the world is going we are inevitably going to end up with a 5-6% defence budget ( or we may have even already had a catastrophic war by then and need to be building back losses) I do think by the 2030s we will be well beyond the peace dividend end of history that has driven procurement for 35 years. And will be in a how do we get more hulls in the war paradigm.

which is why I honestly think we will by the late 2020s and early 2030s have had a number of defence reviews that just keep upping and upping the target number of escorts and that we will be rushing through the type 26 builds as quickly as we can…so I honestly think the 2030s will be a focus on how we can get 30+ escorts in the sea….

Yes that would have been fantasy fleets a few years ago…but the penny has now dropped even in the main stream that war is coming.

So I really think the 9 ASW T28s will be followed by an improved AAW version ( that retains the ASW capability) that provides an all round capability…then we will get an immediate T83 build that will end up being constructed next to the last of the tranche 3 T26s…we may even see that improved AAW coming in the 5 tranche 2 T26s…it would not surprise me at all if the batch 2 T26s ended up with enhanced AAW sensors and weapons fit…and essentially have the same to tonnage hull increase as the hunt class..

we now live in a different world from the last 35 years and things will change.


Very true . But in practice the Treasury has ‘its people’ embeded in high level financial roles in the services.

Typically they have zero experience in military financials before they get the job


Because leaving a bunch of naval officers to manage their TLB numbering in the billions every year without trained help in accounting and reporting requirements is always going to end well, isn’t it……


I dont mean ‘untrained’ in accounting – although the person mentioned has an Oxford PPE not accounting as such- but the navy has engineers galore, medical people of all types, legals etc all qualified to the hilt, why not your every day accounting/payroll as well.?

It fact it used to be an actual branch


Given we’re struggling to recruit and retain engineers, loggies and even dabbers, not sure a tiny additional branch is a priority. The finance and commercial teams are all career civil servants which is better able to sustain those skills.


The problem with your argument when looking at the U.K. is that the T31 because it is an adapted existing design from a company that wants to get into the Military shipbuilding business is very cheap. Probably about £280m all in. It’s a class with significant limitations, but it does fulfil missions that HMG requires the RN to perform. The RN needs more hulls than it could ever afford if all the ships were T26’s which have a marginal cost of probably around £650m. The same argument applies to combining T26 and T45 rolls. The huge ship that would result is going to cost so much that even allowing for savings in development and support total numbers would need to be cut to stay within the budget. Standardisation and longer production runs help cut costs but only so much, and certainly not sufficiently to afford 14 very high end do it all ships even if you keep the low cost T31 separate.

Mark Tucker

I will be very surprised if the Type 31 ends up being as cheap as many claim. They told us the ANZAC’s were going to be cheap too. They were, until we started adding combat capability, then things started getting very expensive. Given the talk about adding capability over time, the T31 will end up the same.

We have learned our lesson and it is exactly what we are trying to do with Hunter.


Babcock are on a fixed price contract. They have already tried to get more to cover inflation and been sent packing. I suspect Babcock are on track to lose quite a lot of money on this deal.

Mark Tucker

Yes to build a basic ship with only limited combat capability. If it stays as is, with limited upgrades over time it will stay cheap.

That is not what everybody wants. People want NSM missiles, people want towed sonar array’s. If any of this were to happen, they would not stay cheap.


It was about getting the order in and steel cut..the whole point of building 6-7k tonnes hull cheap with minimal weapons fit was that they would add capacity as the money came in..the RN never had any intention of the T31 always having nothing but a 57mm, 2 40mm and 12 CAMM…if that had been the case they could have ordered one of the smaller options.


With the T31, the tactic of the RN was to get large hulls built that had significant growth potential as the money freed up..and they read the runes and bet money would come at some what the T31s were was the cheapest possible way to get a 6000-7000 ton warship hull in the water..the problem with the Anzacs were that they were built with the smallest hull possible paradigm…where as the T31 was build with a largest hull possible..even if it starts with a defensive only weapons fit.

Last edited 16 days ago by Jonathan
Paul T

If you think the Type 31 will be delivered for £280 million each all in i have a Bridge to sell you .

Last edited 17 days ago by Paul T

Its overall cost for 5 is £2 billion- at some point that number excludes weapons costs, which are pricy these days and maybe ‘government furnished equipment ( paid for separately )

Supportive Bloke

But it got 5 big upgradable hulls into build.

They are likely getting Mk41 and NSM so will add a lot of firepower to the fleet.

Paul T

According to this site a new funding agreement has been reached with the MOD regarding costs of the Type 31 build.


We know the ‘deal’ was £2 billion for 5 , so thats £400 mill each , which includes some weapons systems and there may be others supplied as government equipment.
That price has had some inflation adjustment and it could grow.


The problem with the whole idea of ‘general purpose destroyers’ is that without exception they aren’t general purpose. The Burkes for example are excellent AAW ships but they are god awful ASW ships. No one has ever yet produced a ship with top of the line AAW and ASW capabilities.


I would argue because no one with the knowledge has tried. The UK-good at ASW, the US-good at AAW.
Didn’t the Falklands prove you needed to be good at both and that was against a non peer enemy..
Satellites and drones have changed everything so you are going to need to be dual purpose for sure. Subsea dones being the latest concern.


I don’t think it’s a question of knowledge it’s just not technically possible.


You have different requirements on the hulls and can do brilliant on one and ok at the other..but not brilliant at both…quite and good sea keeping at slower speeds for ASW is a bit mutually exclusive to lots of power and acceleration and sea keeping at high speeds needed for AAW..

Last edited 17 days ago by Jonathan
Mark Tucker

First I have heard that the Burke was that bad at ASW. True the US has dropped ball on ASW warfare, but everything I heard relates to training choices. They have spent their training money on other things. My understanding is that Burkes with crews who are certified for ASW are actually very good at ASW.


It’s not just training. The Burkes were never expected to be the fleet ASW platform they’re just too noisy. When they were introduced the US had the Spruance and Perry class to fill the ASW role the Burkes were designed for AAW. The combination of peace dividend and the GWOT after 9/11 put paid to both the Spruance and later the Perry’s. Now with the threat of the PLAN ASW is back and the US are building the Constellations to fill the role.


Where is a good reference to Burke’s being noisy? I mean they might be, or they might not, I cannot find any references to either the gas turbines or the diesel genny’s being rafted?

However this “Burke’s are bad at ASW” needs a slightly more nuanced investigation:

  • They all carry towed arrays
  • They all have capacity for 2 ASW helicopters (SH60)
  • They all have 96 Mk41 VLS cells, which means an arbitrary number of VLA (VL Asroc)

There are 73 of these ships in service, 92 planned, and that could creep up to 117!

Yes, the USN has a lot of commitments, but if required that is a lot more tails and dippers in any task group than the entire RN could muster, so does one frakkin awesome T26 with a single Merlin and no long range ASW weapon provide a better ASW “capability” than say 4 Burkes, with 4 towed arrays, 8 SH60’s and a say 32 VLA (8 each)…. ?????


USNI is an excellent site with good analysis for general info. The comments section has a lot of USN veterans with first hand knowledge. Going off the top of my head find articles on the new Constellations and scroll down to the comments.


Burkes dont have diesel power gen sets , they are RR gas turbine generator sets


I have been on plenty of ABs and Ticos. The machinery spaces are like going back in time to a Batch 1 T42/22. Huffing big GTs on simple anti Vibe mounts and as for the rest of the machinery they are nowhere near the noise hygiene standards implemented on T23.
ABs only have a passive towed array so again that is older tech. The new Connie Frigates will get the same LF Active towed sonar, Captas 4/2087, as the RN T23 and T26 but interestingly they will not have an active bow sonar.


I disagree the royal navy should go down that path, take each program, had to order 6 type 45 plus 8 type 26 plus’s 5 31s to make each program worth while, if they had gone general purpose then I would guarantee each ship would be more expensive and 10 would have been ordered. At least with specialist ships there is a political story of look what we’re ordering more often and more ships are ordered


I would disagree and so does the USN…they made a big mistake with going for an all AB fleet and they know it..the ABs are essentially just about adequate ASW vessels..and you don’t want only just about adequate ASW as your only ASW platform…that’s why they are now building ASW frigates in large numbers..

That is not to say a bit of all round capability is bad…in the way the USN went far to generalist and is now rowing back and getting some more focused ASW ( they are buying FREMM which is first an ASW platform and second a general purpose platform) the RN went to far into specialist platforms….and has now started building the T26 which is primarily an ASW platform but also a generalist platform as’s not called global combat ship for fun.

so yes an escort needs to be based on either ASW or AAW…ASW needs a silenced hull and machinery..AAW needs speed and power to get to the threat axis quickly as well as al hull that can take a large high heavy radar….so you cannot make a ship that does everything at the very top…you can make a ship that excels at one thing and is not bad at everything else…

So in the ideal world you have a primary AAW ship that can do ASuW, strike and a bit of ASW ( even if that’s blasting away with active sonar to sanitise or chase away) and an ASW ship that can look after itself and maybe provide a bit of short or medium range well as strike and ASuW ( that is what T26 will be).

Last edited 17 days ago by Jonathan

More than just *adequate*
“The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 uses active and passive sonar to enable Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers to detect, locate, track, and attack hostile submarines, mines, and torpedoes.
The system provides multi-sensor track correlation and target track management control, and forwards data to the ship’s weapons and decision-support systems. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 works together with the ship’s active and passive hull sonar, multi-function towed array, sonobuoy processing, torpedo alerts, fire-control system, sensor performance predictions, embedded operator, and team training systems.


You could delete the USN designators and add in anyone elses Sonar designators and you get the same spiel.


Fitting NSM to the T45’s and some of the T23’s will be better than nothing, but with 8 box launchers per vessel and limited stocks to replenish it’ll hardly provide a massive uplift in capability.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


As always = a lot of very useful comments have been made here……

However the really big question remains unanswered = why does the MOD /RN always insist on reinventing the wheel (i.e. starting from scratch) when it comes to developing and procuring its own missile system?

A good example the best overseas R&D practice is to be found n the other side of La Manache.

The French developed, over a decade and a half ago, the Missile de Crosiere Naval. That was a development of their orginal air-launched SCALP. The French naval version simply has booster attached: obviously for effective shipborne launches.

That SCALP missile is well known here in the UK as Storm Shadow. It has been in service with the RAF for two decades; including plenty of operational use in the Middle East The powerful warhead on this missile has proved to be essential when targeting and hitting hardened land target(s).

As we all know (and quite-correctly reported by NL (i.e. above)), since 2022 the Storm Shadow missile has been – when painted in bright yellow and blue camouflage – proven not only to be able to sink enemy ships (i.e. Russian), it can also blow big holes in their vital bridges and bunkers.

That type of innovative “French” thinking – i.e. adapting a suitable missile system that is already tested, proven and in service to suit the task in hand = is always quicker, cheaper and less risky.

regards Peter The Irate Taxpayer

Peter S

It does seem an obvious solution to add a surface launched version of Storm Shadow like MdCN. But I can understand why, with Tomahawk already in RN service, with superior range, we didn’t copy the French decision. The problem with both of these missiles is cost-@£2m each. So they need to be reserved for high value targets.
For sustained attack against more widespread or lower value targets, we really need something much more affordable. If we continue to use Typhoon as the launch platform, Spear3 might be suitable, though its stated range is lower than Storm Shadow. And the in service date has slipped again with integration problems on Typhoon and delays to F35 software upgrade.

Peter S

Just checked the unit cost of NSM-$2.1m, so not much cheaper than Storm Shadow. Range is much lower than MdCN.


a couple of reasons

1) scalp/storm shadow is no longer produced
2) scalp requires the fitting of a hull mounted silo the RN does not have…

simply put it would be impossible to fit scalp to an RN vessel without huge expense….
NSM is a cheap off the self option that a large number of western navies have procured..its deck mounted so requires little work…

Gavin Gordon

NSM certainly will be sufficient. Type 45 is primarily anti-air, for which Viper & Ceptor together will offer an excellent primary mission choice. Type 23 are in the twilight of their longer than envisaged general service lives, so same applies.
Notwithstanding, in addition to both classes having NSM, Ceptor and, finally, Venom will complete surface missile load out for these classes.

Bloke down the pub

I’ve long held the view that, with the exception of strategic weapons, the most expensive missiles are the ones that, having been procured, are never used. Having anti-ship missiles that couldn’t also be used in a land attack mode has been a poor allocation of resources.


There’s a wait to get expensive TLAM, let’s do something cheaper and appropriate for asymmetrical warfare. Modify storm shadow or use lower end drones.

Bloke down the pub

Shorter range I know, but wasn’t Spear 3 meant to be compatible with CAAM launch tubes?


Indeed Spear 3 would be a great addition for ASuW..but for land strike it’s a bit to small..if used as a swarm great for mission killing a frigate, or used for targeting very specific bits of kit like a gun or tank…not much cop for knocking out a hard shelter ect…but as well as the 8 NSM each escort having a few spear three quad packed in a mk41 launcher would add a lot of spear three would not be a replacement but instead an adjunct.


Not forgetting you can also include Spear-EW into the mix. Spear-3 in a vertical launched form, will be able to be quad packed into a Mk41 or Sylver VLS cell. A mix of standard and EW Spears is quite a potent mix. Especially when you consider Spear-EW contains a lot more fuel than the standard version. So it could be used to support NSM.

John Hartley

Other options might be fitting the box, ship launch version of the Israeli Harop suicide drone. Should be light enough to fit on T45 hangar roof. Or South Korea has fitted Spike NLOS missiles to its Wildcat helicopters. The USA says it will fit AARGM-ER to all 3 versions of F-35.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Missiles are one thing. But without our recce birds we are dependent on either the US or the commercial entity partly owned by Airbus so partly owned by the French government for targeting information. Rather like boasting we own the bestest evah rifle but forgetting to mention we have to borrow the telescopic sight to fire it.


Airbus is only 11% owned by French Government , and 11% by German, 4% by Spain. Not really any operational control – they are more interested in jobs

The US also buys a lot of commercial space imaging as well. I think the commercial stuff can pick out out trucks and missile sites


Project Oberon

Jonathan Fenton

Are we still able to have confidence in the ability of Tomahawk missiles to penetrate any half-decent air defence network after what we have seen in Ukraine?


Cruise missiles are aways very they follow terrain…you really have to have both very dense air defences around a target as well as good look down radar to defend against them…

Somerset Navy

Surely the simplest thing to do would be get BAE to use the Type 45 to prove the concept of the adaptable launching system. Two of these above the hangar should fit and would provide the ability to launch up to 4 TLAM. Not a huge amount, but a big uplift in capability.

Failing that, I wonder if the US Navy has any Mark 143 Armoured Box Launchers left we could borrow. Each one had had the space for 4 TLAM.

Last edited 18 days ago by Somerset Navy
Supportive Bloke

Very vulnerable on the hangar roof.

John Hartley

There are 2 gaps in the T45 superstructure, either side of the radio? mast.


RAS point, can’t put them there.

John Hartley

What both sides of the mast?


More pressing question now that HMS Richmond has relieved HMS Diamond is, what is the CIWS on the Type 23?
I know Sea Ceptor is cutting edge air-defence, but a Houthi missile recently evaded the air-defences of an Aleigh-Burke and was only saved by its Phalanx CIWS.
Richmond also has 30mm DS30 guns, but I thought these were developed to defend against swarming boats, not for air defence.


When the Diamond shot down Houthi drones, a couple of them were with the 30mm, which they preferred to use over Phalanx. I shouldn’t worry on that point, especially as the frigates have CAMM so can be “slightly” more trigger happy.


I can understand using the 30mm for slow-moving drones, it’s the faster cruise missiles I’m a little concerned about.


Apparently Sea Ceptor (and Sea Wolf before it) has a very short minimum range, significantly less than ESSM. That’s why the T23 never got a CIWS.


It never got a CIWS for budge reasons..the type 22 batch 3s had a close in weapon system as well as sea Wolf…


And the reason it got it was the UK bought Goalkeeper as a sweetener for the Dutch picking RR GTs for its frigates. They had to go somewhere so they put them on B3 T22 and a couple of CVS.

T23 had zero margin for fitting a CIWS and it had either Sea Wolf or now Sea Ceptor which has a very short min engagement range.


Yes but T23 was a complete redesign post 82. It moved from a TAS tug to a GP frigate and added about 2000tons, so it would not have been an issue to have designed in CIWS. It was like everything a cost vs benefits decision, 6 tons of extra top weight if it’s keep low would not have been an issue to design in…as for later in life I’m not sure, as the removal of sea Wolf and move to CAMM as far as I’m aware actually shifted weight down and possibly would have given some margin as the type 911s were removed and they were high and heavy.

I would say that not including a 6 ton CIWS was probably a cheapness decision over a navel architectural necessity.

Last edited 12 days ago by Jonathan
Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

The lessons of all of the mistakes which were made in our earlier warship designs really need to be remembered – or relearnt – as being the pointers for all future warship design:

  1. The Type 23, the warship which today (and I will add “quite unbelievably”) remains the backbone of the current RN fleet, was originally conceived a very long time ago (1979/80).
  2. As you rightly say it was initially conceived only as a very austere and also very specialist ASW-only ship.
  3. Initially in 1980 the T23 was proposed to be a simple ship with little more than a hanger and what was then the very-new-fangled towed-behind-the-ship-thingy (more professionally qualified NL readers will call this a passive towed-array sonar).
  4. This austerity conceptual frigate design was initially supposed to embark one large helicopter (the so-called flying frigate) being the main “shipboard offensive weapons system”.
  5. Then the RN’s very cunning plan was that several of these frigates, working in a task group, would be supported by a large mothership ( carrying more ASW helicopters).
  6. This trio was extensively described in the (now-notorious) Nott defence review of 1982.
  7. These three development programmes eventually became the T23 + Fort Victoria class + Merlin.
  8. The four key design assumptions behind this very cunning plan were that:
  • The RN frigates were only ever going to operate in the North Atlantic.
  • That the frigates would always be operating in a ASW hunter-killer group
  • Only a submarine would dare attack any UK anti-submarine “mini-fleet in the North Atlantic
  • That the T23 would have maximum lifespan of 18 years


  • Then the invasion of the Falkland’s – initially by the heroic recce party of Argentina elite SMC landing force (Scrap Metal Collectors) – was swiftly followed up by all the landings of all three of their traditional armed forces.
  • Maggie whirled her handbag…..
  1. The war that soon followed showed the folly of that defence review (ie Mr “now retired” Nott’s) very foolish policy of running down the Navy
  2. Frankly that war also showed the sheer folly of many key assumptions that were being made by all of the Navy planners and ship designers at that time….. because being sat in a warm and comfortable office (which cannot sink) does not sharpen the designers and planners mind quite so much as being in action.
  • Therefore, as a direct result of that “rather bitter” experience in the Falkland’s, the whole design concept of the Type 23 was amended.
  • Thus it soon became far more of an all-around warship (admittedly with an ASW specialisation).Thus the gun, seawolf, harpoon and more ECM etc etc were all added in.
  • After 1982, it was felt, by all concerned, that Seawolf was all that was needed for close-in self-defence.
  • That assumption was made because, out of all the UK/RN weapon systems used in the Falkland, seawolf was the standout success story
  • Felt to be no need to have both Seawolf and CIWS
  • Seawolf was also upgraded and improved (i.e. the VLS model) as a direct result of the Falkland experiences
  • However, threats evolve ……
  • Thus by the late 1980’s when the first of the Type 23 were still on the slipways, there were big concerns that the USSR (Note. youngsters may know it as the Evil Russian Empire) was “probably” developing weapons that could overcome these defences….
  • In particular the USN were expecting attacks by submarine launched low-flying cruise missiles and/or saturation attacks by air-dropped cruise misses (launched from the very long-legged Mr Bear) Both were identified by US intelligence in the mid to late 1980’s as being big threats.
  • Therefore, even as soon as the late 1980’s, there were several studies to improve the air defence capabilities of the T23.
  • Thus several proposals were studied to lengthen the Type 23: most often by adding a extended hull “insert/plug” just ahead of the bridge.
  • This extra hull length would have allowed more missile silos forward and also given more space and stability for a better/larger main radar mast.
  • The last of those “drawing board” T23 variants (Yarrows no 2) included, if I remember correctly, two 30mm Goalkeepers (each approx. amidships on either beam) and much-better radar.
  • However these lengthened and improved T23 proposal were simply never fully designed and therefore they certainly never went forwards into production.
  • That simply because the Belin Wall fell in late 1989 ((great shame really).

After that, as every reader of Navy Lookout knows all to well, then Royal Navy frigate building went into a long and deep hibernation (Only to wake up very recently – with a “where the F**** Are We Moment!

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


Yet the T41 is getting Sea Ceptor with 40mm Bofors for CIWS, and T26 is getting Sea Ceptor and Phalanx for CIWS.

Which is why T23 with just Sea Ceptor seems lacking…

Last edited 17 days ago by Sean

The 40mm are primarily there for anti swarm boat protection. When the design competition was being run this was the big fear particularly for ships operating in the Gulf. They can of course do other things but swarm boats were given at the time as the reason Babcock had chosen to spend so much of the budget on gun systems.


I don’t think so. The Bofors 40mm is an anti-air gun that has gained an anti-boat role just as Phalanx has.


Nope, the RN has no plans to fit the off mount fire control radar required to use the 40mm as an anti-missile CIWS – so is it a “Close In Weapons System”? Sure, as long as your target is not traveling fast and maneuvering hard as it needs to be painted every time your main radar on the top of the mast revolves and updates your combat management system – OR – you have a good weather / sea conditions for a visual / IR lock using your EO ‘turrets’ to track the target. It may originally have been an “AA” gun, and it has sophisticated ammo that should be great in the anti-drone and anti-small boat (or USV) role, but not convinced that RN system will be able to use it as an anti-missile system.

As a compare and contrast the Thales RapidFire mount original had its own on mount EO and has more recently been show with its own AESA radar on the gun.


Combat systems can track any targets in its software between updates from the radar. ‘Prediction’ fire control has been around a long time- in battleship days it was electro mechanical- and fractions of a second between real time updates arent going to change the predicted course much


Which is why I specified “fast and hard maneuvering” – as in a supersonic ASM capable of high G terminal maneuvers. At M1 the incoming covers 340m in 1 second. Even a high sub-sonic M0.75 covers 255m – that is a lot of your prediction algorithm says its coming straight at you but its terminal maneuver includes a pull up and dive and or a jink left or right (or both).
Radar that tracks the target AND the outgoing rounds would be preferrable.

Last edited 16 days ago by Jed

‘fast and hard manoeuvring’ dont go together, and you want it to be very low level too? Is this just another version of the *never* can be shot down Kinzhal ?
Anyway the strategy is to target many many km away like Sea ceptor does which can manoeuvre too


I said fast, that is a relative term, missiles being faster than drones. I am not talking about hypersonics be they real or BS, I am talking about Mach 1 – 340m/s, if you think something without a squishy human in it cannot pull hard, 10G maneuvers at that speed you are sadly mistaken. Yes the strategy is to get them many, many KM out, no one is arguing about that, we were talking about Bofors 40mm as a CIWS.


A CIWS doesn’t need its own fire control radar. Phalanx does, that doesn’t mean others need to. Instead the Bofors uses the ship’s own radars and CMS.


Agreed CIWS does not need its own radar or EO trackers. But it is highly advantageous that it does. This is fundamentality down to the resource time of a primary radar. Which is the time it spends doing various tasks.

If you have a ship like the T23, T26 or T31, it has only one primary radar. This radar handles the volume air searches, target tracking along with any gun direction. If it is facing multiple unknown targets at distance and some of these now fly closer on what looks like an attack profile from several directions. The radar is still having to do the volume searches. But it must now also do tracking which uses a different type of waveform. If the CMS decides that the target is a threat, it will direct the radar to follow that target, but also generate another waveform for gun direction. Where it tracks the target but also the outgoing shells, so that the CMS can work out and update the interception point.

By doing these three tasks simultaneously, it uses up a large amount of signal processing time. That could be better spent validating targets rather than tracking them. It’s one of the reasons the T45 has the S1850M and Sampson. It becomes worse when you use a mechanically rotating radar, as you have to use a predictive tracking algorithm, when the target is in the radar blind spot. The prediction could be putting rounds in the wrong place. In a lot of respects the T31s NS100 radar, will be slightly better than Artisan in this respect, as its a newer AESA radar design.

A ship that uses four AESA panels to cover the 360 field of view for both searching and tracking. Will still have some resource time issues. But because they have four individual panels, they normally include a separate signal processing farm per panel. So it can handle more objects and make better use of its resource time.

In essence it would be better if the turreted guns had their own dedicated radar and EO sensor. As the CMS can hand over the tracking duties to them, leaving the primary radar to continue looking for threats.


Goalkeeper did


Reread what I wrote.
Just because a particular CIWS needed its own fire control radar doesn’t mean that all types of CIWS need their own radar.
You goofed again.


This is what you wrote
‘A CIWS doesn’t need its own fire control radar. Phalanx does, that doesn’t mean others need to
I refuted it with a different CIWS with its own fire control
heres another OTO 30mm marlin that needs it- because it gives the best sort of tracking.

Think of the days of battleships with the optical rangefinders at rear of the large calibre turret

Last edited 13 days ago by Duker

What is a T41 with Seaceptor? Have you been smoking weed again?


Drone is not the same as missile…ones travelling at a speed a human can track and Target the other is not DS30b cannot engage and shot down Anti ship missiles.


I agree that if you have a sea-skimming missile coming in at Mach 4, your defences better be automated. However, part of the issue is sensors. If you spot the missile 100 miles away, you have a couple of minutes to do something, enough time to fire CAMM. If you spot it 12 miles away (radar at 30m height), you have only 15 seconds. Getting some ISTAR in the air could make a significant difference.

I’d hope there are no Mach 4 sea-skimming missiles in the Houthi’s arsenal. (I thought Brahmos was that fast, but the Wiki says Mach 3.) despite talk last year about Iran developing a supersonic ramjet powered missile, they don’t have it yet and wouldn’t give it to the Houthis if they did. A subsonic anti-ship missile as might be supplied by Iran, would still give the crew over a minute to react.

Last edited 17 days ago by Jon

Nothing is ‘sea skimming’ at mach 4. They are usually much higher in a very high speed final dive
Exocet at just over mach 1 was probably the fastest actual sea skimmer

Steve S

If the Type 45 is able to be fitted for 16 MK41, as implied elsewhere, would a great fit not be 32 CAMM quad packed and 8 TLAM’s? It would be a dramatic improvement in war fighting ability. No point in having missiles in storage bunkers? Feel free to use a spare missile to shoot me down ????


The problem is the time it would take.
By the time this refit had been through detailed design, procurement and software integration most of the T45’s will have been through their long power upgrade refit. To fit the Mk41 would mean another long period in refit for each ship and that at a time when the RN needs the T45 to step up and cover in part for the aging T23.

Clueless Observer

Fitted for but never with………mk41 VLS should of been fitted years ago.

I wouldn’t want a specialist ASW ship pootling off to launch some TLAMs, it needs to stay with the task force. Rather send the Type 45 which can move closer to a target and still defend itself from airborne threats when launching its land attack missiles.


But the Mk41 wasn’t fitted years ago. We can only affect the future.
In the future the RN needs more T45’s at sea not entering another big refit programme straight after the Repower refits.

Supportive Bloke

That depends if fitting Mk41 takes longer than fitting Sea Ceptor.

I would guess the job is pretty similar in length. If the seatings are in place for the strike length VLS then all well and good.

At some point Mk41 has to be integrated into T26 BAE CMS anyway. That will have been done a while ago.

The bigger issue may be the length of the A50 tubes and do they need to be A70’s to take future BDM versions of ASTER and the new super duper Anglo French anti surface/air missile? As I understand it the seatings are low enough to allow for that.


The seatings for Mk41 were never fitted, not least because the VLS space was also double-hatted as a potential magazine for a five or six inch gun.


And a gym, makng it triple hatted.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The T45’s job is to stay at the centre of the task group. The best place for a TLAM launcher is on the edge of a task group out in the outer ASW screen.

Saying that it makes a change for somebody here to see submarines as threat.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Further to above one of the reasons why the Spruance class were fitted with VLS was to increase silo numbers. Fitting a Mk41 or any strike length VLS into a ship isn’t a trifling thing. Spruance started about 9000 tons.
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The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It should also be mentioned that deep when talking about deep strike isn’t about depth or distance from the front but a measure of importance to the enemy.

Rose Compass

Yes agreed, 9,000 US tons.


The type 45 job mostly is sailing alone . Where is the task group in the Red Sea ? It’s there alone and needs long range land attack . Guys like you always bang on about task groups . Those days are gone . We need warships loaded with land attack and anti ship as they operate mostly alone and not in task groups .

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

T45’s job is to guard the carrier and yes sit at the centre of task groups to provide area air defence. That’s why they were built. They are ESCORTS. That is what Diamond was doing. Working as part of the USN Combined Task Force 153. So it seems those days are still with us does it not? When the carriers go anywhere a T45 will go with them and probably ships from other NATO navies. Together these ships would be called a TASK GROUP or a TASK FORCE.

The reason why guys like me bang on about these things is because that is the state of affairs out there in the real world.

T45 wasn’t operating alone in the Red Sea. And to be honest it cannot operate alone because they don’t have a real ASW capability.

Though I do agree the T45 design should have had as many VLS cells as the Arleigh Burkes. And I have been moaning off and on about the West’s AShM gap for nigh on 30 years now. The main gap that needs plugging is a lack of fast firing DP guns to provide a goodly weight of fire at a cheaper cost. I am surprised you didn’t mention that or didn’t you think about it?

Perhaps a guy like you needs to do some reading before he criticises others?
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Billy Baker

Oh the arrogance.


I wouldn’t want a specialist ASW ship or a specialist AAW ship being the primary vessels for land-attack missiles either.
The general-purpose T31 seems a better use of resources for doing this.


No not really. When the ship gets Aster 30 Block 1NT, these will allow a much greater chance of knocking down ballistic threats. But 1NT is still not in the same class as the SM6, that can intercept threats above 100,000ft. For Aster to match SM6, it will need a much larger 1st stage booster. Therefore, due to the increased length, they will either require the Sylver A70 or the Strike Length Mk41.

There are other spaces on the ship that could be used for additional CAMM launchers. I think it will be more important for the ship to get some SM6 class missiles in due course, rather than a long range land attack option.


How close do you need / want to get to shore targets?
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graphic from

So in the context of the Red Sea, the longest range threat is (currently) 800km.
To outrange that you need a Tomahawk, currently only available from RN SSN, an F35B with Paveway LGB from QE class, or a Storm Shadow or Paveway from RAF Typhoon.

According to Wikipedia the NSM 1a can reach 250km, so in the real “classified” world, it may be more than that, or it maybe less….

So NSM on T23 and T45 is better than a kick in the crotch. The long term answer is FCASW in T26 and T31 Mk41 VLS, but would it make sense to buy more (cheaper?) Tomahawk to hedge against FCASW being late, and to provide some strategic magazine depth? RAF P8 could also carry Tomahawks in the Red Sea context, Yemeni / Houthi air defence being what it is….

Would it also not be cost effective to buy JSM for the F35B fleet, as the integration cost has (or is being) fully paid by Norway, because Spear 3 is well delayed, and it will never be a priority for LM.

Last edited 16 days ago by Jed

Spear 3 is only delayed because the F35B upgrade is delayed. It’s a major refresh that adds support for 40 different weapons, including weapons the USA wants to be able to use on the F35B. It’s not just foreign weapons that are delayed.
Nothing to do with LM ‘priorities’ and unfounded conspiracy theories.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

One of the many things I don’t understand about this place is the enthusiasm for Spear 3.

£85 million for the aeroplane. £10 million-ish to train a pilot. £4 million per bang. All to deliver a weight of HE less than that in 4.5in shell.


Spear has some pretty interesting capabilities, like 4 hour loitering, swarming and EW variant

But it’s primarily a DEAD weapon, the need for which has been well proven in Ukraine. The missile is a lot cheaper than an S400 which I have no doubt it could defeat.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

I wouldn’t expect anything less from 21st century munition. But for that price I would expect it to fly itself to the target and take out that target with a far bigger bang. As I said best part of £100 million to deliver next to nothing. Not good value.


Spear-3 should not be seen as a singular weapon. Sure it could be used against a small attack boat, as used by the Houthis and Iranian Republican Guard. But its designed to be used in a salvo. It will become the RAF/FAA’s primary anti-air defence missile. But it is much more than just that. As it can be used against a very wide range of targets.

In the suppression of enemy air defences. It is expected to be fired as a salvo. Where its expected that a targeted air defence system might knock one or two down, but miss the third and fourth missile. Spear-3 when assigned to a target, will talk to each other to let each missile target a specific spot. Though it can also be programmed to have one missile follow another. Where the lead missile makes the hole for the following to fly through. Spear also uses the same warhead as Brimstone. Which has a precursor and main warhead to counter explosive reactive armour. But the warhead is also programmable, so it can be used for air bust fragmentary, or delayed action against hardened targets.

It’s funny that the USN and USAF are now running a similar program to Spear-3 specifically for the F35, but which can be used on other platforms. These are called Multi-Mission Affordable Capacity Effector weapon system (MACE) and the Extended Range Attack Munition (ERAM) respectively.


Soft high value targets, Fuel and ammo dumps ( just need a ‘spark’) , air defence radars- electronics. Convoys caught at pinch points, higher HQ in a temp base such as a school

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper



If you are sailing around the gulf of Aden, Red Sea…the most distance you will get from the coast of Aden is around 200kms.

John A Brabyn

You guys are way more expert than I on the specific weapons, but I do think it is sad that all we can do right now is send a feeble force of 4 Typhoons from Cyprus at greatly magnified cost due to huge refuelling needs, also dependent on permission from local countries, and drop a few gravity bombs albeit laser guided, would not be possible if the opponents had decent air defences. Something wrong with this picture. In a logical world this would remind the powers that be of the fiction that the RAF can replace the navy.

As usual in these later years, USA is carrying the main load and we are just a token adjunct Hope this will change but not holding my breath. UK now has govt spending close to 50% of economy, not far from communist countries so may not in the near future be able to afford anything serious.




Ok so let’s tackle these in reverse order.

U.K. government spending is not different in terms of percentage of GDP than other Western capitalist liberal-democracies

Communist countries have never used GDP, so it’s impossible to estimate government spending as a percentage of it. In Soviet Bloc countries it was undoubtedly far higher than in the West.
Though it should also be noted in Communist China today, government spending is only 35% of GDP. So you can’t make sweeping assumptions based on ideology.

The UK is a member of the G7, the proposition that we won’t be able to afford anything is ridiculous. It’s simply a question of political will – as demonstrated by the ever growing NHS budget.

Of course the USA is carrying the main load. It’s the world’s only superpower and richest economy.

Nothing feeble about that force of 4 Typhoons as the bombed Houthis will testify. Given the precision of the weapons it’s probably the equivalent of being bombed by several squadrons of Lancaster’s.

During the 2011 NATO operation in Libya not a single Typoon was lost, despite Libya possessing 30 heavy SAM batteries, 17 medium SAM batteries, 55 light SAM batteries (a total of 400–450 launchers, including 130–150 2K12 Kub launchers and some 9K33 Osa launchers), and 440–600 short-ranged air-defence guns. So your statement about the Typhoon not being able to operate if “the opponent had decent air defences” is not borne out by past events.

You complain that the UK won’t have any money left, but complain of the cost of air-to-refuelling for the Typhoons. Yet this is probably the cheapest strike option, instead of sending an entire CSG to the Red Sea or an Astute to fire TLAMs.

The UK has numerous carriers from which strike packages can be delivered. Some are mobile, such as the QE Class carriers. Others are static or ‘stone carriers’, like Akrotiri, Wideawake, Diego Garcia, Mount Pleasant, etc.
You choose the best one for the mission, you don’t just sail a CSG off all the time.


Being a member of G7 said nothing, even though India has a bigger GDP than the UK and India is not a G7 member.
The hard facts are that UK GDP is 18% of China and 12% of USA.

UK armed forces face £17bn black hole

Put the money into where your mouth is.

Last edited 15 days ago by Ken

The phrase is “put your money where your mouth is”, which every native English speaker knows. Another blunder on your part.

The G7 is historically for advanced economies. So while the GDP of India passed that of the UK in 2022 the Per Capita GDP is $2,500 compared to $47,000 for the U.K.

For 2023 the figures are actually;
U.K. GDP is $3tn
USA GDP is $27tn
China GDP is $19tn
But in your eagernesss to post your failed to explain how this relates to the wisdom of using Typhoons to bomb Houthis, which is what this thread is about. Obvious the UK is not the wealthiest country on planet, but number 6 out of 191 isn’t bad.

Yes the UK has a £17bn budget shortfall, but I’d rather have that than the $80bn shortfall the USA has
At least in the UK we don’t have to fear a shutdown of government and military personnel not getting paid because politicians can’t agree a budget.

Last edited 14 days ago by Sean

Why are you so sure UK Defence spending is adequate? You always say everything is OK when quite obviously its not. The whole point of open discussion is it remains open, yet you post endlessly about how everything in the garden is rosey when a majority here are saying its not and that a fudged 2% of GDP is woefully inadequate.
The other thing is the USA hides defence spending in a number of institutions like NASA and the Universities. On the other hand UK inflates Defence spending like Service pensions in the 2% and has recently added the Nuclear Deterrent which is almost a liability to conventional defence since we have so few SSNs and MPA’s to guard them. Both these later items are probably half what is required.
Watching the elusive 2.5% GDP on Defence arrive is like watching paint dry.


£17 bill ‘over a decade’ when defence spending will total £750 billion plus in that decade
Thats just scare headlines not backed by facts


The phrase is “put your money where your mouth is”. Every native English speaker knows there is no “into” in it.

The G7 is historically for advanced economies. So while the GDP of India passed that of the UK in 2022 the Per Capita GDP is $2,500 compared to $47,000 for the U.K.

For 2023 the figures are actually;
U.K. GDP is $3tn
USA GDP is $27tn
China GDP is $19tn
But in your eagernesss to post your failed to explain how this relates to the wisdom of using Typhoons to bomb Houthis, which is what this thread is about. Obvious the UK is not the wealthiest country on planet, but number 6 out of 191 isn’t bad.

Yes the UK has a £17bn budget shortfall, but I’d rather have that than the $80bn shortfall the USA has
At least in the UK we don’t have to fear a shutdown of government and military personnel not getting paid because politicians can’t agree a budget, which could occur this month for the USA.


Off topic, but interesting news from US Army on FARA;
WASHINGTON — The US Army is cancelling its next generation Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, service officials announced today, taking a potential multi-billion-dollar contract off the table and throwing the service’s long-term aviation plans into doubt.

In addition, the Army plans to end production on the UH-60 V Black Hawk in fiscal 2025, due to “significant cost growth,” keep General Electric’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) in the development phase instead of moving it into production, and phase the Shadow and Raven unmanned aerial systems out of the fleet, the service added.
It seems they are going all in on drones.