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Captain Nemo

You have a spelling error:

‘lack of complaint bids’

I was going to attempt a bad joke but gave up.
It doesn’t bother me but I’m sure if you’re quoted you’d like it to be all in order.

A concise assessment, nicely done.

Nemo

Paul from the south

The assessment of Chile’s inability to build and maintain a 6,000 ton ship is erroneous, at this precise moment the shipyard of the Chilean Navy ASMAR is building an icebreaker of 10,000 tons of displacement in its 161 m (528 ft) length newbuilding slipway.
The shipyard has dry docks to serve ships of up to 175 (574 feet) and 245 m (804 feet) of useful length, in one of which is going the program of modernization of Type 23 ASW frigates of the Chilean Navy, the which includes the integration of the Lockheed Martin CMS 330, the Hensoldt TRS4D radar and the MBDA Sea Ceptor missile system.
In fact, the Arrowhead 140 with modifications of equipment and propulsion would be a very likely candidate design for the new building frigate program that the Chilean Navy is preparing to renew its fleet, and expects to begin construction in about 10 years after it. For which he has previously announced requirements for a frigate around 132 m (433 ft) in length and 5,200 tons of displacement.

Regards from Chile

https://www.asmar.cl/download/ficha-rh-eng.pdf
https://www.asmar.cl/en/diques-y-varadero
https://www.asmar.cl/en/construccion-naval/infraestructura-e-instalaciones

Callum

Cheers for the information. Regarding Chile’s next class of frigates, are they looking at domestic production of a foreign design or production abroad? Arrowhead is a pretty good candidate in either case, especially because it’ll feature weaponry that the Chileans already operate like Sea Ceptor.

Domestic production seems ill advised given the fairly limited nature of their needs and the heavy competition they’ll face.

Paul from the south

Hello Callum, Asmar is a public company under the Chilean Navy control that has been building mainly auxiliary ships in addition to litoral and oceanic patrol vessels for it for some time. The intention of the continuous national shipbuilding plan that the Chilean Navy is preparing is that all the surface ships that it needs be built in Chile, for this purpose, they has a program for the development of the ASMAR shipyards, which has involved an increase in capabilities and technologies coupled with a greater complexity of the ships built there, such as the Navy’s oceanographic ship, or the icebreaker with logistic, scientific research and SAR functions currently under construction, interaction with private companies and universities will also be sought. This plan will have its culminating point when the gradual and total replacement of the current Escuadra (Naval Fleet) begins, constituted today by 8 frigates acquired second-hand, 4 from UK and 4 from Netherland, which include some multipurpose ships and other specialized such as Type 23 ASW and AAW L-class (ex Jacob van Heemskerck-class), which are most likely to be replaced in the short term for last time by second-hand ships with the last two Adelaide Class, just decommissioned by the RAN. Therefore, although the objective is to start the local build of the 8 frigates in 10 years from now, it is probably not with an own design, but rather a sufficiently flexible design that be selected through an international competition which allows with a same platform and hybrid propulsion, but with the integration of different sensors and weapons systems maintain the current diversity of capabilities in terms of specialization of functions.

Joe16

Sounds like that build programme and intention would fit very well with either a T31 or a T26, depending on how much Chile wants to spend! A very wise shipbuilding programme overall, on the face of it.

ATH

Maybe, but it’s clear they are likely to want to license a design and maybe buy an equipment package. What they are unlikely to want is a UK built ship.

Callum

Depending on their timetable and how many of their current frigates they’re looking to replace with this first class, they might be open to a split build.

Have the first batch built in the UK with Chilean observers, then build the remainder in Chile. That’s been common practice for other nations building their first domestic warships.

morganstrauss

in fact the t31 is one of the design probably in competition in Chile, with the f310 of Navantia and the new japanese frigate 30dx, all ships of aprox 5000 tons.
we have now 4 uk ships, a 2 centuries history being UK ally. and many of the equipment is common with uk ships.
the chilean frigates sail in the pacific and antartic waters, a hazardous enviroment, so is better use big units. we also participate in rimpac and many other exercises, and will join US carrier task forces, specially with ASW units.
the most probably will be 1 ship build in UK and the rest in Chile, maybe 4 ASW, 2 AAW and 2 Multipurpose at least.
Chile have a inmense amount of territorial waters and have control or responsabilities in a huge portion of the south pacific. for NATO (specially the commonwealth) is very desirable that Chile increase the presence in south pacific and polinesia, and that can implicate have more than 8 frigates, maybe 9.
Chile have a defense budget of 5000 mills dollars and a very modern armed forces (all NATO standart), so the budget for the 5200 frigate project is around 500 mills per ship (with the economy of many system and amunition being transfered from current units, that is a real price of 600-700 mills per units). maybe we cant afford a t26, but we can buy a very interesting new heavy frigate.

Bloke down the pub

Not forgetting that the Chilean navy used to operate County class destroyers.

Darren

Chile’s “Antartica 1” is smaller, more expensive and less capable than the RSS Sir Richard Attenborough.

Paul from the south

 

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul from the south
Simon m

This seems quite a pessimistic article.
Please can you clarify – “The first of class is a prototype” – but design already exists so it’s not a full on prototype? The CMS is already proven with majority of the weapons, the design utilises the flexibility of the Danish to quickly add weapons. Surely this is more an assembly slight customisation/modification build project rather than anything else?

Have you watched the naval news YouTube video with John Howie from Babcock https://youtu.be/Calg1ilk8ys ? He seems an experienced shipbuilder and maintains that the ships can be built quickly and they are confident the build time is a known quantity. The contract was always planned for December this then apart from the election slight delay is still on target. I see no reason to doubt what he says, so therefore why will it take us longer to build and get operational than the Danes? (Unless politicians interfere)
We have 4 years until 2023 so why is it optimistic for 2025 to 2026? I would have thought late to mid 2024 would be achievable?

donald_of_tokyo

I think the fastest we can assume is
– late-2023 hitting the water
– mid-2025 handed over to RN (+1.5 yr)
– late-2026 commissioning and start 1st deployment (+1.5 yr)

For reference, River B2 class OPV, which has 3 type-ships already in Brazil, build in the same company, but different shipyard; HMS Forth (without the screw-glueing issue) time line was
– Launched: 20 August 2016
– handed over to RN: 25 January 2018 (+1.5 yr)
– Commissioned: 13 April 2018 (+1 yr, even with very simple system)
(but had the screw-glueing issue later on, which delayed her 1st deployment for ~1 yr)

Interestingly, around 2025, RN will be “handed over” BOTH the 1st hull of T26 and T31. To find their crew, at least 2 T23GP shall be disbanded prior, I guess. In current plan, T23GP-hull1 goes out in 2023, hull2 in 2024. If any delay of T23 decommission is needed, I think it is only for 1-2 years.

Paul

There will still be Type 23s undergoing Lifex refits, with a Type 45 in refit during this period so there may well be personnel available to crew the new ships without actually affecting availability.

Joe16

I didn’t really take it as all that pessimistic, maybe trying not to be disappointed?
Yes, the CMS is in wide use and the hull is a known design. But the CMS has not been in service with the RN before as far as I know, and I wasn’t aware that Sea Ceptor was already integrated with it? The task of integrating that CMS with the wider RN task force etc. may not be plain sailing at all… As the article says, the hull hasn’t been built in 10 years, so there’ll likely have been some skills and knowledge loss, whatever Babcock say.
On top of that, the sea trials are a set of standards (both civil and Naval) that must be completed for any new class of ship, which the T31 is. Yes, there may be some shortcuts due to the Danish design DNA, but there won’t be many. The first T31 will have to jump through all the hoops and tick all the boxes of the pre-set tests, and that’s a good thing. One only needs to look at the recent loss of that Norwegian frigate to see that; there has been talk that it could be due to the design of the vessel, which Navantia have obviously strenuously denied. Whether it is true or not, it underlines the importance of full testing of any vessel type, derivative or not (testing clearly didn’t pull up the design fault in the Norwegian case, but it doesn’t pay to just assume that a derivative design is suitable because the previous one was acceptable to someone else.
On top of that, you’ve got crew familiarisation with a whole new class of vessel. That takes some time, especially with newly integrated systems etc.

Sintra

“Navantia strenuously denied”
The Norwegian final report has already been released, Navantia was entirely cleared.

Joe16

Ah, good to know. I had heard an initial report went out which didn’t say either way. Wasn’t aware of the follow up.
I think the point made is still good; there are definitely plenty of examples in engineering of even relatively minor changes having major safety and survivability impacts, so full testing is always the way to go with such important and expensive vessels that carry over a hundred people.

Paul from the south

That is not true, the first part already released from the accident investigation report, only refers to the causes of the accident, what happened after it and the causes of the subsequent collapse of the frigate are being investigated in a second stage that is In progress, possible construction or design problems have not yet been ruled out and will be the subject of this investigation.

“Accident Investigation Board Norway Page 3

INTRODUCTION TO THE PART ONE REPORT
This part one report1 contains the results of the Accident Investigation Boards Norway’s
investigation of the sequence of events up until the time when the collision occurred. Information
relating to the sequence of events after the collision, will be included in the part two report.
The further investigation will focus on how the accident developed after the collision, up until the
time when all crew had been evacuated and the frigate was deemed to have been lost. However, we
cannot exclude the possibility that need to revise some parts of this part one report may arise when
further information is collected and further analyses are conducted.
As a result of the scope and complexity of the investigation, it is not possible to estimate a date of
completion for the part two report. The investigation will continue at a high level of activity.”

“Accident Investigation Board Norway Page 152

5. FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS
The AIBN will continue the investigation into how and why HNoMS Helge Ingstad ran
aground and sank.
The main areas for the AIBN’s further investigation are (this list is not complete):
– Mapping of the battle damage repair.
– Investigation of how the systems for propulsion and steering were functioning after
the collision.
– Investigation of cooperation and internal communication in the accident situation on
board HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Investigation of possible connections linked to design criteria/choices for the Fridtjof
Nansen-class frigates. This includes e.g. an investigation of the design with hollow
propeller shafts.
– Detailed stability calculations for HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Further examination of the bilge system on HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Investigation of what decision-making support was available to the crew in the
accident situation and cooperation with dedicated onshore organisation.
This work presumes continued good collaboration with the responsible organisations,
primarily the frigate manufacturer Navantia, the Navy and the Norwegian Defence
Materiel Agency, and that the AIBN is being given unhampered access to relevant
information.
As a result of the scope and complexity of the investigation, it is not possible to estimate
a date of completion for the part two report. The investigation still has a high priority.”

https://www.aibn.no/Marine/Published-reports/2019-08-eng

For us in Chile it is important to know the final result of this investigation, because of the modern designs of frigates already built, the F310 Nansen class, by general specifications, is one of the closest to the requirements known so far of our local shipbuilding plan.

I hope there are no problems with the design, because if more good options there are for our program, better it will be.

Paul from the south

Unfortunately that is not so … yet …

The first part of the recently released accident investigation report only refers to the causes of the collision between the two ships …..

“Accident Investigation Board Norway Page 3

INTRODUCTION TO THE PART ONE REPORT
This part one report1 contains the results of the Accident Investigation Boards Norway’s
investigation of the sequence of events up until the time when the collision occurred. Information
relating to the sequence of events after the collision, will be included in the part two report.
The further investigation will focus on how the accident developed after the collision, up until the
time when all crew had been evacuated and the frigate was deemed to have been lost. However, we
cannot exclude the possibility that need to revise some parts of this part one report may arise when
further information is collected and further analyses are conducted.
As a result of the scope and complexity of the investigation, it is not possible to estimate a date of
completion for the part two report. The investigation will continue at a high level of activity.”

In a next stage that is in progress, what happened after the collision and the causes of the subsequent collapse of the frigate will be investigated, so that design or construction failures are not ruled out yet ….

“Accident Investigation Board Norway Page 152

5. FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS
The AIBN will continue the investigation into how and why HNoMS Helge Ingstad ran
aground and sank.
The main areas for the AIBN’s further investigation are (this list is not complete):
– Mapping of the battle damage repair.
– Investigation of how the systems for propulsion and steering were functioning after
the collision.
– Investigation of cooperation and internal communication in the accident situation on
board HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Investigation of possible connections linked to design criteria/choices for the Fridtjof
Nansen-class frigates. This includes e.g. an investigation of the design with hollow
propeller shafts.
– Detailed stability calculations for HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Further examination of the bilge system on HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
– Investigation of what decision-making support was available to the crew in the
accident situation and cooperation with dedicated onshore organisation.
This work presumes continued good collaboration with the responsible organisations,
primarily the frigate manufacturer Navantia, the Navy and the Norwegian Defence
Materiel Agency, and that the AIBN is being given unhampered access to relevant
information.
As a result of the scope and complexity of the investigation, it is not possible to estimate
a date of completion for the part two report. The investigation still has a high priority.”

For us in Chile it is important to know the final result of this investigation, because the F310 Nansen Class, due to its general specifications, is one of the already built modern designs that are closer to the requirements of our local shipbuilding plan.

I hope there are no design problems in the causes of the sinking, because the more good options there are for our program the better it will be

Challenger

If the first is launched early 2023 then maybe in service by the end of 2024? 2025 does unfortunately seem more likely. 10 years would be good going for a new design with lots of innovation but i wouldn’t say it’s that impressive to select and build an off the shelf hull that’s been around for years and will bare tried and tested equipment.

If they can be built to a fairly tight schedule and on budget i can see plenty of medium tier navies showing some interest in Babcock building a couple, or constructing under licence, or a combination of both. Not just Chile, but also Brazil, New Zealand and a few of The Gulf nations spring to mind.

Good to hear they are planning in advance for this with the ability to build 2 frigates in a covered hall. Once the immediate pressure of getting 5 delivered to the RN is alleviated it would be great to see export orders slotting into a wider build schedule as France and Italy are trying to do with FREMM by tailoring and selling off vessels as they are finished and adding additional units to the back-end of the program to compensate. It’s the sort of flexibility a regular drumbeat and relatively young surface fleet affords instead of the boom and bust build schedules and clapped out 35 year old ships soldiering on.

FSS will surely now have to be led by and assembled at Cammell Laird – with perhaps A&P, Babcock and Ferguson’s providing blocks depending on the specific details or the order.

Also excited to see over the weekend that Appledore is close to reopening with a contract for Faroe Islands fishing vessels!

Simon m

I think the time between selection and announcement would likely to have been giving companies such as BMT, BAE, Steller systems to get their designs off the board in order to have the competition. If the mod had gone the way they did with Boxer (which they have been heavily criticised for) then it is likely they could have been in service. You also have to remember the mod had to push the treasury into providing funding for the programme as it started off without a budget. So although I agree it’s a long time I can see why – BAE would have gone crazy if this had been selected straight away.

Ron5

Incorrect. The Type 31 budget is a piece carved out of the Type 26 line. No additional funds have been committed.

Matt

Hi Challenger,
I would have thought that the tier 2 navies would be more interested in our cheaper, outgoing type 23s than new-build type 31s… but I could be wrong.
Countries in Latin America seem to like acquiring our older kit and it seems to serve them well for many years. Still though… T31 is a really attractive offer
M

Challenger

The Type 23’s Chile picked up in 2006 were all roughly 10-15 years old. So young hulls with plenty of life left in them.

By the time the remaining 13 start to retire they will all be 30-35 years old which is a huge difference. I know various navies are happy to run on vessels a lot longer than we do because they don’t envision deploying them globally for long periods of time with the potential of state on state hostile action. However i really can’t see a country like Chile wanting clapped out T23’s in the 2020’s when they will be prohibitively costly to keep running and something like T31 is being offered.

Interestingly no one was interested in buying the batch 3 Type 22 frigates laid up in 2011 despite only being 20 years old. Make of that what you wish…..

Matt

Thanks for that. Quite surprising regarding the batch 3 T22s, bit of a shame really. Do you think anyone will take up our 23s as they go out of service? Would be nice to see them sold on to another Navy, but with the variety of other new ships out there, I won’t hold my breath.
M

Cam

Bangladesh looks likeley, maybe replace type 21s.

Fedaykin

Bangladesh don’t operate the Type-21, that would be Pakistan.

Bangladesh has just taken on a number of Chinese Frigates and Corvettes plus a couple of ex US Hamilton class and a single fairly modern South Korean Ulsan with more Chinese Corvettes on order so I doubt they will be that interested in taking on Type 23.

Dave

Have to remember the T23 wasn’t actually designed or built to last, really can’t see much life being left in them by the time they are due out of service. They are struggling now.

BB85

The RN is spending a fortune giving them a life extension program. Engines and everything are being replaced, so it will be interesting to see how much life is left in them after once completed, especially if Artisan is not being removed for T31.
I think Chile is looking into its own domestic replacements but if the upgraded T23’s where in better condition than their existing ones they might take them on the cheap, since training etc won’t be a big issue.

Paul

The Lifex refits are very extensive and the vessels are emerging fitted with Sea Ceptor and in some cases new engines. They may well attract interest from Chile and Brazil.

ATH

Well put.

morganstrauss

chile have a t22 batch 2 in excelent condition, but because the engines are tyne olimpus is very interesting buy a t23 to replace her, we have 3, 4 will be good.
this only change the schedule of the new frigates. if we buy another t23, the first in be replace is the t22, but if we buy another t23, we replace first our 2 M class dutch frigates.
so, Chile is the prime candidate for at least 1 t23.
brazil is a good candidate for others, but depend on the budget of the brazilian navy and the Tamandare corvette project.
other South american countries normaly cant afford t23.
Asia is more likely

SUT

Actually, Chile and Brazil, plus I understand Pakistan, all asked for the Type 23-3s. It was the Uk that decided that they would be scrapped and not made available for export. The reason for it appearantly was in the layout of the ESM and SIGINT suites, that were rumoured to be specially capable and secretive, and some capabilities of it could be guessed from the layout of antennas, power supplies, etc.

Challenger

Presumably the interest for T23’s was either around 2010 or 2017-2018 when it was rumored some would be removed from service to deal with the spending black hole.

Purchasing a 15-20 year old frigate makes sense, a 30-35 year old one doesn’t.

Paul

Any vessel can be made to last for an indefinite period depending on how much money you wish to spend? For example HMS Hermes, Batch 22/2 and Type 21. If you are willing to maintain the ships properly then a Type 23 with a Lifex refit including new engines and Sea Ceptor would certainly be worth it at the right price……it an excellent ASW vessel!!!

Paul

The Type 22 Batch 3s had the manual reload Sea Wolf launchers and fitting any kind of VLS to those ships would have been very costly

4thwatch

Maybe Babcock Crane can be sold or leased to Cammell Laird?

donald_of_tokyo

> In particular, the MDBA Sea Ceptor missile system will have to be made to work with TACTICOS and the NS110 radar for the first time. BAE Systems have some painful memories of trying to integrate the MDBA MICA-M VLS missiles fitted to the Omani Khareef class corvettes, one of several problems that delayed the delivery of these apparently relatively simple warships.

I have two comments here.

1: SeaCeptor is now integrated with, CMS1 (BAE-UK), CMS330 (RCN, RNZN and Chillian navy, LM-Canada), Brazilian new corvette’s CMS. Adding Tharles Netherland’s CMS TACTICOS in the list will probably increase its sales chance even more.

2: In CMS integration point of view, I am not sure is Khareef-class corvette is “relatively simple warships” compared to Arrowhead 140.

Armaments are similar (a 57 or 76 mm gun, 12 (or hopefully 24) SAM, two 30/40mm guns, one Helicopter, no sonar, etc…) and 3D Radar is also similar (NS110 is a successor for SMART-S). May be the ESM/decoy kits level differ. As T31 cost (1.25B GBP in 2020 price for 5 hulls) is not much different from that of Khareef-class (400M GBP for 3 hulls, when ordered in 2007, 13 years ago), while the hull size differs a lot, I am very much interested in the level of CMS, which will define the cost and capability of T31.

As TACTICOS is scalable CMS, I am very interested in comparing it with other ships with TACTICOS, especially Khareef-class corvette.

donald_of_tokyo

To supplement.

T31 is 1.25B GBP for 5 hulls = 250M GBP per hull. The hull is Frigate Standard 5800t design, with 30 knots top speed.

Al Khareef corvette was 400M GBP for 3 hulls. Corrected with 2% inflation, it is 520M GBP per 3 = 175M GBP per hull in 2020 money = 70% in cost. The hull is OPV standard 2700t design, with 25 knots top speed.

The hull cost differs a lot, not only size, but also the standard.

From this point of view, I guess the CMS level might not be largely different. Of course T31 will require slightly higher level, but only slightly, I’m afraid. Waiting for any information to come here?

AKM

Why are we using the NS110 radar in the first place? We’re already paying for ARTISAN radars to be fitted to the GP Type 23s why not reuse those as originally planned? Is the NS110 better than ARTISAN and if so why are we using the better radar on the cheap/2nd rate Type 31 and the inferior radar on the 1st rate Type 26?

ATH

As I understand it each of the teams bidding for the T31 had the choice to use “free” secondhand kit or new kit of their choice. BUT if the chose secondhand kit there were responsible for integration with both the ship and the CMS. The bidders had to meet the specification and the price cap as they thought best.
Thales have decided to work with a new build radar of there own rather than integrate one from BAe.

AKM

Thanks for the reply, interesting.

Since I wrote my earlier post I looked up some data on the NS110 and it does seem to be more capable, assuming the marketing guys arn’t being economical with the actualité. Full AESA vs electric scanning in the vertical axis, slightly longer range (280 vs 200km) and apparently heavier (1300kg above deck weight vs 700kg antenna weight). Both use the same E/F-band frequency range and rotate at 30 rpm. Basicly it seems to be closer the proposed lightweight single-array version of SAMPSON that didn’t go anywhere, though with GaN T/R modules rather than the GaA.

I wonder if part of their thinking is industrial advantage; pushing BAES out of providing maritime radars for the RN. Good the Royal Navy if so, though it does make the radar fit on the Type 26’s look a bit crap in comparison.

D J

It looks really crap when you compare with Australian & Canadian T26 radar fitouts. Either ARTISAN or NS110 for a UK T31 low end spec is the best you could hope for. Thales would most likely be pushing a higher end radar to export customers.

4thwatch

Seems to me maybe some of the spare Kit from T23s could be moved to RFAs. RFAs need to become more like warships.

Jd83

Please tell me that isn’t a 12 cell sea ceptor fit out on a 6000t frigate? I know budgets are tight but….really? Is this credible? The previous 24 cell fit seemed about right but an 8 cell mk 41 would provide much greater flexibility and through life value one would think. Lack of ssgm also disappointing. But interesting to note addition of doors to mission bays which may explain the need for a trade off on cost for initial weapons fit.

donald_of_tokyo

To my understanding, number of CAMM is not yet confirmed. In the latest image (although low resolution) in DESider magazine October 2019, it looks like 12 mushrooms amidship. But there are continuously notes for “24”, which was shown in some of the Arrowhead140 brosure.

By the way, the 6000t hull of Arrowhead 140 is officially stated to be “larger than required”, by Babcock guy. In other words, 3500-4000t size of the BAE Leander design or Atlas MEKO200 design was large enough to carry out T31 tasks required.

So, claiming “12 cell sea ceptor fit out on a 6000t frigate?” is (really understandable, but) off focus. It was originally considered to be a ~4000 t vessel, and “only 12 cell Sea Captor for a 250M a piece GP frigate?”, is the more appropriate question, I guess. And, of course, I think 24 is much better.

Ron5

Donald-san, I am going to go out on a limb and say I think the CAMM launchers in that low res picture are two ExLs and not mushrooms.

That would line up with the refresh of Lockheed’s ExLs sales material a few months ago to focus almost exclusively on CAMM. Plus basically being a plug in module, ExLs would much better fit the concept of Arrowhead having a “modular” design that allows for simple customization of weapons and sensor fits to meet customer needs.

The Arrowhead weapons/mission bay space midships is basically an empty, hull wide, two deck high, box from main mast structure back to the main engine up & down takes. That empty box can have many different modules fitted. A lot like Stanflex. The RN version would fill that volume with two boat/container bays, 2 ExLs and space left for anti ship missiles. Other navies could have Type 41’s like the original IH and maybe one boat bay. The combinations are many.

Just a thought.

D J

I understand that you can have the 4 boat bays & the 32 mk41. It appears (to me) that what you loose by the additional boat bays are the Stanflex mounted mk57 (used for ESSM on IH), which go either side of the mk41 on IH. The T31 ASHM option looks to be deck mounted canisters forward of the optional mk41.

Pongoglo

I asked this question at DSEI as the model displayed clearly showed all four boat bays plus a 32 Cell MK 41. The team on the stand confirmed that this was the case and that space amidships had been specifically reserved to allow installation at a future date. It also featured canister launchers for 8 x SSM (4 x 4) and they stated that they understood this to be the long term plan for the RN ships. I also asked about ExLS or whether they were going to stick with the ‘Mushrooms’ and they said that both were under consideration and a final decision had yet to be made, and that ultimately it would be the RN’s call. Personally I could live with 2 x 3 Cell ExLS especially if combined with 8 x SSM, NSM being a personal preference I will confess. To my mind 12 x CAMM is barely sufficient for self defence let alone consort protection, RFA’s or an Amphib force and as JD83 says would be a bit of a let down on a 6,000 ton ship. Here’s hoping – fingers crossed !

Captain Nemo

It’s interesting, I wonder how they assess risk to reach a given number?
it’s clearly not a weight issue with what could be put on that ship, a money issue is more likely but still, curious.
We’ve done the numbers and…… 17, we’ll need 17, no more no less, if it’s less than 17 shot’s we’ll be fine, if it’s more than that we’re screwed either way.

Paul from the south

Here an interesting opinion article from the USA on the issue of missile quantities on a warship … although in this case quad-packs do not apply ……

https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2018/10/ship-magazine-size.html

ATH

With the Guns and the CMS being new to the RN I can easily see it taking 18/24 months to go from the start of sea trials through to the first ship being fully worked up and ready to deploy.
If the plan is two use a two crews sharing two hulls system this will only add to the time.

Stevep

I fail to share the enthusiasm expressed by some posters for these ships. They seem too big and expensive for constabulary and disaster relief missions and under-equipped for war fighting.

They displace more than the Type 23 which they replace and yet the T23 can undertake NGS with its 4.5 inch gun which the T31 can’t with it’s 57mm gun. The T31 wil also be a much poorer ASW platform than the T23 due to its diesel power plant and will lack the ASW torpedoes carried on the T23.

The T23 has 32 SAM’s and 8 SSM’s. The T31 has 24 SAM’s and 0 SSM’S.

The main positive about the T31 over the T23 seems to be the number of small calibre guns it has to deal with small boats. But how much more effective will these be than strapping Martlet to the T23 30mm gun mounts as had already been trialled?

The only benefit of the T31 would have been if their price meant that we bought more than the 5 T23 hulls they are replacing but we all know that the lack of votes in defence mean that there will be no funding for more than the 5 planned.

The T31 seems to me to be a step down from the ships they are replacing in every single respect.

ATH

The big hull and small crew should allow a very high standard of crew accommodation. On a class that is planned to spend a lot of its life far from home this is an advantage to a navy that struggles to attract and retain technologically savvy people.

donald_of_tokyo

> The T31 seems to me to be a step down from the ships they are replacing in every single respect.

Agree.

Program cost for five T31 GPFF is only 40% of that used for five 4200t French FDI, and similar to typical large-corvettes. Thus, T31 is never intended to be “a full replacement” for T23GP. It is virtually a “super long-range corvette”. For example, the T31 candidates from BAE/CL and Atlas were virtually a “super long range Al Khareef class/A140 class corvettes”, and Arrowhead 140 also stays within this regime.

Good sea keeping is nice for crews onboard, I agree. The armaments as said; one 57mm gun, two 40mm gun, and 12 or 24 CAMM is also not that bad. It is focused on close-in self defense, which is very important in operations at Gulf. Lack of NGFS capability is a minor issue, because replacing the 57 mm gun with 4.5 or 5 inch gun will significantly degrade the close-in anti-air and anti-small-boat capability of the ship.

Overall, Arrowhead 140 in 2030s is much more survivable than Amazon-class (Type-21) frigates in 1980s, I think (but sacrificing NGFS and ASW capabilities). Sea Cat was already vintage in 1980, but CAMM is brand new. Big difference,

Paul

The fact we are proposing to replace 5 x very capable Type 23 with 5 x inferior vessels verges on madness considering the demands that will be placed on the RN as it transforms from a Navy sending out single vessels on various patrols to one focused on deploying carrier battlegroups requiring greater use of existing vessels. Unless the Type 31 armament/capabilities are enhanced at build they will bring nothing to the Carrier groups and will be in essence a complete waste of money!!

Sintra

The GP (AKA “we didn’t receive the 2087”) variant of the T23 was far from being a “very capable” frigate”, it’s anti submarine capability was curtailed, it’s main weapons were the 4.5 gun wich had no PGM Capability and it’s Ashm was a first generation Harpoon.
And (again), we actually don’t know what the final configuration of the T31 will be.

Sintra

The TKMS offer was based on the A200 not on the A140, and we don’t know what the final configuration of T31 will be

Geo

If you have either ambitions or pretensions of being a global operator then there is no such thing as too big for constabulary or disaster relief (not that this is really the platform for the latter, thats more of an LPD/LSD job if any are available) and being big means that there is space and weight to equip them properly for war fighting if (and when you need to equip them for war) otherwise you can save your money.

That said, yes, if they were only going to be used for constabulary duties in the English Channel then I wouldn’t entirely disagree but for the Persian Gulf, you wouldn’t want too much smaller and anywhere that the RFA will find itself over extended (the South Atlantic being a good example) you really, really wouldn’t want anything smaller or less flexible, and thats what you are buying with the size: flexibility. If the money was there an extra 5 Type 26’s would have been better, but it’s not so you make do.

4thwatch

Some comments here sound like complaints Pre WW2 of the county class! In fact they worked out well. Big comfortable, fast and long ranged etc, etc; with some significant deficiencies, granted.

JSCL

I agree entirely

Pongoglo

Agreed.

Dean

Anybody know if babcock are intending to recycle the 4.5 from the type 23 to keep costs down? they already overhaul the gun in plymouth as is and its alot cheaper than bolting the 5 inch mount on the front

Ron5

Doesn’t look that way.

Challenger

There are no plans to use either gun system for the Type 31. The 4.5 inch guns from the Type 23’s may have been well maintained but the design is from the 1960’s and doesn’t accommodate guided munitions which are the future of naval gunfire support. By all accounts the 5 inch gun (which does offer a wide variety of shells) is very expensive and both systems are deck penetrating.

I think you can make a convincing argument for the cheaper Type 31 to be employed in the land attack role by taking the 5 inch guns meant for the Type 26 and the latter class employing a combination of smaller caliber guns like the 40, 57 & 76mm in a purely defensive task-group role.

Ron5

The 57mm is deck penetrating too. That’s not the issue.

I think most of the Navy would like the 5″ but the last reliable price I saw for that is $25 million. That’s not too bad actually but it comes with the need for 5 extra crew or a very expensive (> $25million) automated magazine like the Type 26’s. Both of those are kinda killer.

Why that magazine is so expensive eludes me, after all it uses technology that’s used in all kind of commercial environments at a far, far lower price point.

I wouldn’t be so quick as some in just labeling the 5″ as just a NGFS asset. It’s very accurate and useful in anti surface defence.

Ron5

Just some observations:

1. Rosyth is almost completely lacking in any facilities to build ship blocks. Babcocks will need more than a big shed built. Remember the original plan was for Rosyth block assembly with blocks provided by other yards. Not the latest plan which is to build the entire ship there. 50 million will not be enough.

2. Jane’s has reported that some in the MoD expect the final program cost to be at least 2 billion once all the GFE & infrastructure costs are added. To be fair, some of that would be for fluctuating exchange rates. So not only late but over budget too.

3. The rational for the Bae frigate factory on the Clyde was to build & outfit multiple Type 26’s simultaneously. Once the Treasury had insisted on a two year interval between deliveries, that rationale disappeared. Of course this means the ships will be built at less than economic efficiency and millions will be wasted, but the Treasury doesn’t care about that. Of course the Treasury also wrings its collective hands and wonders why more ships are not exported. Duh.

Stevep

I agree a out how short sighted Treasury driven decisions are and when combined with the primary motivation of politicians to use the defence budget for job creation rather than prioritising defence needs it creates lethal levels of inefficiency.

The recent articles about politicians questioning why so few of the RN’s escorts were deployed seemed like a burglar asking a householder he’s robbed a couple of times why his insurance premiums keep going up!

rec

The simplest solution to cover any gap in frigate numbers is just speed up the build rate of the first two Type 26s. And in the second batch increase that two 6 from 5 , to cover the gap in production at BAE caused by speeding up the first two.

ATH

And what’s your simple solution to the extra cash per year and the extra ~£650m for an extra T26?

rec

Three thoughts

1) At a quicker build rate they are cheaper
2) fund national shipbuilding strategy as a 10 year plan outside of defence budget.
3) Reduce Dred nought build to just 3 or even cancel and have a minimum detterent. That would free up a lot of resources for conventional forces

Ron5

Agree. The MoD needs to be allowed to control committed multi year spending plans. Just like with Dreadnought but for lesser programs.

The millions and billions wasted following the Treasury’s “one year at a time” philosophy benefits nobody. The Parliamentary defence committee is on record as saying enough money was wasted in the Astute program with this crap, was enough to buy an additional boat.

As for the Type 45’s. If it wasn’t for the dear departed leader Gordon Brown, the same money could have bought 8 ships not 6.

ATH

May be but.
1. It’s not about just total cost it’s about MOD cashflow.

2. Needs different political choices. BJ and Corbyn have promised to spend spend spend on every thing except defence.

3. Implementing this would be a wholesale recasting of UK defence policy. That’s way way above funding the naval build program.

Will O

There needs to be a wholesale recasting of UK defence policy though. 1.4% of GDP, or whatever it actually is without Osborne’s fiddling of the books, is observably insufficient.

ATH

Depending on the quotes received (and the financial stability of the yards) Babcock may still end up subcontracting out most of the block build and assembling in Rosyth along the lines of the QE.

Jon

Possible, however I think that if Cammell Laird and the other usual suspects were building modules, first steel would be cut next year, not 2021. I wonder if the delay may be for construction facilities to be ready at Rosyth.

If so, do we know when in 2021 the build will actually start? HMS Norfolk (the first type 23) took 19 months from lay down to launch. HMS Forth (first B2 River) took 20 months to float out. So “in the water by 2023” might indicate steel won’t be cut at the start of 2021. Or it might be that construction will be more like HMS Daring (first type 45) taking 34 months.

I don’t want to sound too downbeat, but unless the contracts are signed in blood before the election, anything is possible afterwards.

Ron5

Mr Babcock’s when interviewed after the announcement was very down on farming out work to others. He wants to keep it all for Babcock’s at Rosyth. Don’t blame him.

He did allow that if exports came flooding in and Babcock’s couldn’t meet the demand, that would require them to seek help from other yards.

donald_of_tokyo

Treasury is not free from guilty, but non-existing money is none existing. But, I dare say, RN/MOD has also ignored the efficiency. They are also guilty here.

As you said, T31 budget was squeezed out from T26 budget. In other words, if the whole money was used on the T26 program, total workload (= cost), of BAES Clyde should have been un-changed, but the number of hulls shall decrease.

I understand 1.5B GBP (1.25+0.25B) for T31 amounts to at least two T26s. Why not RN/MOD just accept reduced number of frigates, from 13 to 10, and order all of them to BAE clyde? Just to keep “19 escort saga”, which actually is 14 escorts and 5 super-long-range corvettes, the efficiency was left over.

Alternatively, if “19” was so important, why not order five Leander design as T31 to BAE ? As French Naval shipyard is building Gowind-class large corvettes along with FREMM frigates, BAE Clyde shall be able to build Leander design along with T26, with some blocks built by Cammell Laird. Using the same CMS, the same Artisan 3D radar, the same 30mm gun, in principle it should have been more efficient. If MOD think BAE cost control is not good, then MOD himself shall have tried to correct it, but they throw it away to a word “competition”.

Many chance was there, to keep the efficiency higher. But, all lost now. RN/MOD has selected, inefficient approach, but with diversity. Letting Babcock, which have never build complex escorts, to join the “already too much facility with too less hull” market. As the market (= RN order) is too small, there will be no competition anyhow. Both Babcock and BAES will struggle to survive, needing more money to keep them alive = in-efficient, and any “competition” will be simply selecting one to kill another, in near future.

Ron5

Donald-san, don’t disagree with anything you have written here.

Except maybe the implication that the Navy or MoD is driving this saga. They are not, it’s the Treasury and party politics. If the RN had been given the money and told to get on with it, a very different fleet would have emerged. And a lot sooner.

Most of it comes from that nice Mr George Osborne with his cunning plans to fool everyone that he was spending enough on defense when he was cutting it to the bone. Two faced sh*t.

T.S

To keep two escort suppliers going, numbers will HAVE rise, or the whole point of Bringing in competition based on the NSBS falls on its face and one or the other goes out of business. BAE are likely to doubt the worth of ship building with the low numbers and glacial build times, and if Babcock don’t get any export orders then they stop.
To give both a secure footing in the uk, the MOD will need to either add another batch of T26 on after the first 8, or bring forward the T4X build. For Babcock, we should be ordering a steady drumbeat of one every 18 months so we keep a hot production line and add continual improvements and differing variants. Once the early ones reach 10 years old sell them and replace with better specced ones. More exports are likely this way.
Once we have two ship designers and builders on a steady footing, they can compete against each other for the other niche ships such as LSD’s, hydrographics etc to get better value and a choice of designs for each.

Challenger

Yep, a commitment to a baseline of numbers is the only way the shipbuilding strategy can be effectively implemented.

A second batch of 8 T26 in a AAW variant to replace the T45’s is a must (16 high-end ships, 1 launched every 18 months and a 24 year life span seems a reasonable balance). Similarly more T31’s are needed and as you say sold off and a replaced relatively young to recoup some revenue, maintain a younger, more up-to date fleet and keep the steady drumbeat of construction going.

It’s just a shame that all major surface ship construction has now been concentrated in Scotland when convexly Rosyth would be well placed to build some/all of the FSS blocks and undertake the assembly. Then again i’m glad we went with Arrowhead over Leander so it’s a messy situation.

It’s imperative now that Cammell Laird is provided with the necessary investment to be the lead builder for FSS and all subsequent RFA ships.

Jon

Yours is an expensive strategy. To run £1.2bn ships for two-thirds their natural life before selling on effecively increases the construction cost per year (as you won’t sell for £400K). The strategy also eliminates competition, which increases prices further and eventually reduces quality. If BAES is handed the Type 46 without allowing anyone else a look in, it’ll be over-priced and the Treasury will insist on another stretched build, making it even pricier. A single “frigate factory” could end up like a single submarine factory.

I think it’s better to have three competing centres for construction/assembly. You have to intersperse the high end ship runs with a larger number of low end ones (auxiliaries, OPVs, MCMs, cheap frigates, LPDs, drone-corvettes, etc) to maintain the drumbeats without breaking the bank. This means the RN gets a different balance than it would have wanted. But unless we can get politicians to fund defence more generously we will always be discussing the best compromise.

Ron5

So if one of your yards is more efficient and wins every competition, what then?

Jon

Cost isn’t the only criterion.

A company that already has its yards full, building high-value (high profitability) escorts, won’t be bidding for mine hunters. If it does bid, it probably won’t win it, as it’s not in the country’s interest for one company to get all the work. The other companies will get the low/middle value (profit) jobs, until they can up their game or politics throws them a bone. The more expensive the ship class, the more the competition. It won’t work perfectly, but nothing will. I think it would work better than now.

Ron5

So you will “manage” the competition to decide the winner? No different than today. No different to every other country.

Will O

T26 for AAW? How well would the Artisan lend itself to AAW, in 15+ years? Is it a wise use of £8bn?

Challenger

It wouldn’t be Artisan, it would be whatever comes after Sampson and at roughly 7,000 tons T26 should be large enough to accommodate it.

We will need a AAW platform after T45 and using the basic T26 hull and systems which by then BAE will be very good at building should (emphasis on the last word) keep costs down.

6 very specialized destroyers designed from scratch followed by a large gap and then 8 very specialized frigates designed from scratch is a large part of the reason they will all end up costing £1 billion or more each.

Tobias

Challenger,
Just a question. Wouldn’t a future common Destroyer/frigate hull necessitate an increased hull size compared to the T26 given a potential need for more power (laser, radar etc)?

D J

Sorry, a bit late on this. But what do you think the Canadians are doing? Their T26 is being treated as a aaw destroyer / asw frigate. They are building 15. Australia has been told that there is no problem going to 64 vls without dismantling the multi-mission bay. T26 is a 8,000t ship with a 10% margin. That’s 8,800t max load out. This is what BAE have been telling Canada & Australia & that’s what they (Canada & Australia) are building around. You want to see what T26 is capable of – look at Canada & Australia, not UK. Artisan is a ho-hum radar. T31 is likely to have a better one on the cheap. The Canadian & Australian radars on T26 are very high end (better than Sampson ? – debatable, but better than Artisan? – definitely). You want to see what BAE’s frigate factory would have looked like? They are building it in Adelaide, South Australia right now.

JSCL

Whenever these do join the fleet, it seems that 6,000 tons is a big platform just to get one six-pounder, two 2-pounders, 24 SAMs and a helicopter to sea. I know it is designed to be up-graded, but the MoD does not exactly have a great record in fully arming its warships so that they fulfil their potential. When the Type 31 enters service, unless an interim SSM has been chosen, procured and installed, the ship’s striking range will be defined by the range of its embarked helicopter and associated ASMs. If a Merlin is embarked, then it will have no anti-surface or shore strike capability beyond the range of the 57mm 6-pounder, or possibly Sea-Ceptor in secondary SSM mode against light targets. Neither will it have any meaningful capability to provide gunfire support for troops ashore, including any that the ship itself embarks for raiding etc. It seems to be the feeling that “never mind all that, it is another hull in the water and it only costs about £250 million”. What use they will be if any conflict starts to hot-up remains to be seen but as presently armed they would seem to be a liability rather than an asset.

Ron5

and then there’s the total lack of any ASW capability.

Hopefully their configuration can be up graded with additional funds. Doesn’t seem likely tho’

JSCL

Yes, I forgot to add the ASW limitation.

Simon m

Do we know that it doesn’t have an ASW fit? I thought final details were still to be released? I still can’t see a general purpose frigate not getting at least a hull mounted sonar especially when Thales are so heavily involved. Surely at least rip the ones of T23 or at very very least purchase a UUV such as bluefin in the torpedo bays.

Captain Nemo

Liability is a perfect description, US and Australia positioning and spending on China in the Pacific and the Royal Navy will offer up an under armed frigate and a ferry in Singapore for a seat at the table.
Just a worrisome consideration for our five eyes friends.

JSCL

As you would suspect, I agree.

Paul

Well said. They simply don’t bring anything to the fight except a 12 x Sea Ceptor shot. These vessels are a complete waste of money in proposed form and would be a liability in any war fighting scenario

Duker

The 57mm shell , all up, weight is 6.5 kg , so its ‘a 14pounder’. Not to mention the rate of fire , which is really what counts, 220 rounds per min. Say short bursts of 3 rounds per second in a moving barrage , impact or airburst.

JSCL

Duker, you are quoting the weight of the entire round. The weight of the actual shell, depending on type, is about 2.4kg or 5.3 lb. I think the Bofors Mk4 is an excellent weapon in its class and gives the Otto 76mm Compact a run for its money, but nether of them can provide the true Naval Gunfire Support that a 4.5″ or 5″ is able to provide. The overlap in range and capability with the 40mm Bofors that are also going to be installed on the T31 is also puzzling. I think the weapon fit can only be explained as being entirely constrained by the £250million price cap for each ship.

D J

Duker
In addition to JSCL comments, the 14 pounder is the 76mm (6.3kg shell for HE). The 76mm also has similar 3P type programmable options to the 57mm. Standard max range of 76mm is 18km, ER semi-armour to 20km & guided long range Volcano is 40km, but Volcano shell drops to 5kg. The 76mm Super Rapid can fire at 120 rpm. Combined with a shell that is more than twice that of the 57mm, means the 76mm SR can put more shrapnel in the air in a given time period. It can also fire continuously till it runs out of ammo – something the 57mm air cooled gun can’t do. The problems for the 57mm in NGFS is range & lack of weight against things like bunkers, general reinforced buildings & structures. The 57mm has also struggled against the 76mm in anti-surface tests conducted by Canada (live firing against a decommissioned ship). The 57mm has its uses, it’s just not a good choice for a primary gun on a 6,000t class frigate. It should be noted that Canada are moving away from it back to 127mm for their new frigates (Canada appears to be the only one currently using 57mm on a Frigate).

JSCL

DJ I agree with you. With regards the 76mm, I understand from USN experience that in comparison with the 57mm Bofors, they found it less reliable and required greater maintenance. The 76mm was installed on the Perry class frigates, but now the USN has moved to the Bofors for the LCS classes. However, neither of them compares to a true medium calibre gun for NGS. The 4.5″ was particularly effective during the Falklands war, and its air-burst shells were greatly feared. Until it was scrapped as a cost saving measure in 2010, the MoD had a programme to develop a 155mm (6″) replacement for the 4.5″ Mk 8, which it intended to fit to the existing Mk8 gun mounting. This was to provide longer range and, as you say, greater striking and penetrative power. If the T31 is supposed to be a modern day gun-boat, then it would make sense to equip it with a more powerful gun. The only reason this is not happening, must be cost.

D J

While cost is definitely a factor re the 127mm, both the 57mm & 76mm are roughly the same cost. 57mm gun is lighter than the 76mm gun, both offer smart fused ammo & guided aa rounds. However volcano rounds are not available for the 57mm (even if physically possible, the weight of the shell would be too low to make it worthwhile). While the 76mm requires more maintenance, it’s ability to keep firing continuously is something the 57mm can’t match. A 76mm is a very common frigate main gun, a 57mm is not.

I would also point out that Leonardo also make 40mm Bofors L70 based gun systems. Their new Oto Marlin Light 40 now has a launch customer. If you are trying to maximise possible discounts from a supplier, be it BAE or Leonardo, then a combined order for 15 guns will go better than 10 & 5.

Gavin Gordon

I’m under the impression that the actual order has just been signed.

GlynH

I am desperately concerned about the T31s armaments, as so I am about the T26’s. The T26’s SAM setup is sufficient, CIWS, 5inch, 30mms etc. are fine. What concerns me what is loaded in the Mk41vls. If I had my way there would be x8 vls LRASMs and x12 ARSOCs (I’d love to see StringRay in ASROC but will settle for Mk54s or the Japanese equiv.) The T31s right now, do look like glorified OPVs. I’d bore everyone with the weapons possibilities so I’ll just leave this question . . what standoff capability do the T31’s and for that fact the T26s actually employ?

JSCL

None that I can see.

Ron5

Wildcat and its missiles?

Simon m

As the ISSGW is yet to be decided it’s difficult to say, but the t23GP wouldn’t be getting the weapon either. So you cannot blame that on the T31 or indeed T26 but squarely at mod/treasury & to some extent the RN. The only hope is Babcock have kept so money for integrating the weapon when announced.

To me the missile is not interim when it could be in service for 16+ years. If it was up to me I would look it as a longer term investment & a mixed purchase of JSM/NSM drop the interim and look to develop just a supersonic missile with the French instead of arguing of seemingly trying to develop both.

This would mean both the RAF & RN could have an air launched weapon and anti-ship from the same supplier with commonality. It also has good land attack capabilities, although we’re getting SPEAR 3 the warheads and ranges are not comparable. Perhaps to save money drop Storm Shadow?

I would also buy a Flash sonar and small sonar buoys for the wildcat.
This would mean that which ever helicopter is deployed to a frigate it would have full range of capabilities i.e. asuw and see, but still complimentary (Merlin JSM for antiship).

Captain Nemo

Your problem is that B variant F35 has a smaller weapons bay than A or C, so you’re immediately limited for a common interim option and we have several hundred Storm Shadow, otherwise it would be a no brainer on NSM/JSM.
Typhoon notwithstanding.
Not sure why UK wants stealthy FCASW and French want hypersonic but Jane’s reporting recently that that’s still an issue and you’d presume that UK would draw the line on internal B carriage or they just wasted an awful lot of stealth money (maybe there’s your answer).
My hope would be that common ground is found and that a stealthy delivery module is codeveloped for air launch with a hypersonic booster for surface launch giving the best of both worlds.

GlynH

Simon, indeed I am not poo pooing the design. I can’t however get the LM video with F-18s and Aleigh Burke’s both deploying LRASM. I’m sure you have seen it. Nemo sir, no variant of the F-35 will fit a JASSM or LRASM in its bays. They would and will have to be mounted on wings etc. SPEAR3 looks tidy and precise, no Q here. In the gulf vs. open waters of NAtlantic in a god forbid future conflict against you know who. Long Range AntiShip punch while quietly listening for Akula’s and Yasen’s.

Captain Nemo

Hello,
I didn’t say they would, I said NSM/JSM, which will, just not B variant.
That would add another 500km to target without ruining your stealth profile, I kind of hope the UK holds fast with France.
Nemo

Simon m

Not necessarily awful as the stealth will not be totally mitigated, I would imagine that they are stealth weapons that this would help further. Plus with over a 300km the b could fire JSM before in harm’s way and then look to move and engage targets with SPEAR 3 and a like. Surely it’s better than the proposed fit of just SPEAR and paveway? Any long range weapon is going to struggle to fit in F35B bays.

I’m not against storm Shadow just can’t understand why it’s not integrated on F35 and given an upgrade to make them equivalent of JSM I would’ve thought this would have been cheaper than purchasing an ISSGW and the stock could have been used across the forces. Germany managed to make a ground launched Taurus so why not ship launched?

However, I do know storm Shadow is not maintenance free and most of the upgrades focussed on this.

So far in history, Aircraft seem to be the optimal carrier for ASMs which is why I would like them added to Merlin, Typhoon and F35B.

If we could get a suitable multiple platform weapon with some punch (a NJSM) if you like surely this capability could retained and the future weapon added to the arsenal.

The problem with the UK is at the moment other than the ageing harpoon we do not have a single hard hitting anti-ship missile in the whole inventory.
What I don’t understand is that harpoon is going to be used on the P8, so either this is interim or it is still capable in it’s latest guise & we have dragged our feet for many years not updating the missile which for me is a failure of the RN considering they are the navy and this is the only ASM in the country.

Meirion X

Storm Shadow will Not Fit in F-35 warpons bays, it is 5m long, the 2 bays are 3.9m in length.
The French have a sea launch version of the Storm Shadow, called SCALP. It is launched from Sylver A70 calls 7m long.

Simon m

Thanks, I know it wouldn’t fit, but seeing as it’s a stand off missile surely this isn’t too much of an issue? They surely could be fired from range and then either f35b continues the mission with internal payload or return. Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to turn into a canister launched missile as Germans did with Taurus for Rok?

Captain Nemo

Well, it would depend upon the mission, but on day one you probably want to be sneaky and going deep, targeting command and control. That and a JSM equivalent adds 50% to your strike range, so you can go 1000km in and hit 1500, Tomahawk numbers.

Pongoglo

Some good stuff here and I agree in full, the Norwegians have bought JSM for their F35A and there are images out there showing two carried internally and four under the wings. It is my understanding that the Aussies are also buying JSM for theirs, so the software is out there and should work on ours. To my mind the big limitation of UK CSG currently is the lack of any weapon system able to engage hostile surface combatants let alone go peer on peer, ie mount an effective strike against an enemy CSG. With the weapons currently cleared for our F35B’s the only option would appear to be to rely on stealth and fly right over the top of the bad guys carrier and attempt to get him with a Paveway IV ! To be honest I dont really see not being able to fit JSM internally on the F35B being a huge limitation, at least nothing that a refinement in tactics couldn’t readily fix and well within the capability of the RAF/FAA. The sort of concept I envisage is perhaps a four ship formation of F35B carrying up to 16 JSM on pylons coming in low below the horizon , whilst a further pair operating in full ‘clean’ stealth mode and perhaps carrying internal AAW weapons only, go up front and high acting as scouts. The stealthy pair using the F35’s formidable sensors would then be able to find the target and relay targeting info to the strike group whilst the non stealthy weapons carriers remain over the horizon and out of harms way?

D J

Pongo

Couple of points. Both Norway & Australia are financing JSM, including F35 integration & additional features (Australia has supplied a new passive RF seeker to go with the existing passive IR seeker to make a dual IR/RF passive seeker for JSM). I believe there is talk of back porting this to NSM. However to maximise range of JSM, you need to launch high, ie a high, high, low profile. JSM itself is a low observable missile. The fact that it is external on F35B, is of less import if fired from far enough away. Both the missile & launch aircraft are stealthy in of themselves. It doesn’t matter if the aircraft are ‘seen’ , if they are too far away to do anything about & so long as they don’t see the missile coming. A JSM in high, high, low profile has something like 300nm (550km) range, which is well outside the range of many ship based radars.

Something like Wedgetail (E7A) & P8 may well be a better method of obtaining targeting. While they are big & relatively slow, the range of their sensors means targeting can be obtained from way outside any means of retaliation. It doesn’t matter if you can see the boxer if you still don’t see the punch coming.

Paul

LRASM and ASROC ideally, although Tomahawk in its Block V anti-ship configuration would be good! If Mk41 VLS were fitted to Type 31 and kitted out with LRASM and Tomahawk, leaving ASROC on the Type 26 it would enable the 31 to actually serve a purpose…….

Simon m

That’s very optimistic but it’s really a capability the Royal Navy should have

Meirion X

It would cost around $400m to add Mk 41 capable of firing Tomahawk, to all T31.
The RN would Not be able to afford to fire many to overcome peer air defences!

Simon m

You are most likely correct, but should the 5th or 6th economy in the world not have this capability? Including reasonable stocks of TLAM? Doesn’t seem too much to ask? I think there’s a lot of capability gaps that for a navy of the RNs status and UK status that shouldn’t be there

Todd C Bulgarelli

Hello, everyone. I’ve been reading this site for awhile now and really appreciate all of the information and detail provided by the various articles. As a general comment related to this article, specifically, the slow rate of build:
By the time the RN finishes its complete build programme for major ships, that is–
2 CV
6 DD
13 FF
4 SSBN
7 SSN
Would it not be unreasonable to assume this all might not be finished until around 2040? (Particularly the FF and SSBN)?
This all assumes there are no losses, by either accidents or combat, in the interim . . .
Which means some of the first-built vessels (the DD and SSN) will probably already need to be replaced by the time the magic number of 32 is reached . . .
I’m sure this conundrum has already been pointed out; I just think it’s sad, when one thinks of how back in the 1930s and 1940s many of the great naval powers (and even some smaller navies) were able to have a fairly large number of hulls of various types all in build at the same time; while now it’s a struggle for wealthier nations to build even two or three vessels simultaneously, not to mention it might take as long as a decade between first cutting of steel and official commissioning of vessel.
(And yes, I know there’s been a quantum leap in technology and complication, but still . . .)
Just a general observation on the state of shipbuilding today:(

Simon m

The frigate programmes should be completed by 2036, T31 2028 & T26 2036. If I was BAE, I would seriously be looking at increasing the T26 build rate even if it cuts into the profit margin, as they are going to look inefficient if the Australian & Canadian vessels are flowing our the door. Especially as there would be more likely of securing follow on orders.

I think T45 OSD is approx 2040 (maybe a bit more depending on Sampson growth potential and any future investment in the vessels). So both surface programmes will have completed by then. Generally I don’t believe that the submarine construction impacts on surface combatants. Astute’s reactor is due to be replaced or refuelled 2036 obviously a decision will need to be made before then as to what is viable and most sensible way forward.

I do think at £250 to £350 (increased weapons fit) the RN should be able to purchase at least 1 T31 ship a year on a continuous basis, if this did happen you could be looking at a further 8/9 T31 by 2036. By the time we get there I expect with BMT onboard that a new design will be ready either for AAW replacement or replacement of earlier T31. So by 2036 we could reach approximately 28 major surface combatants or perhaps 30 if BAE can up the rate. There’s no reason as to why Babcock could not also compete for higher end assets they have the knowledge and skills to do so. The next T45 should be nearer the £600 million mark & T26 £500 million.

Todd C Bulgarelli

Thank you, Simon m. I am still sceptical, but you raise a number of very good points. I think it would take a really heavy lift to convince the British public to finance a total of 28 – 30 major surface units by 2036 (rather than the 21 [2 CV, 6 DD, 13 FF]), but, maybe it could happen. I think adding just two more destroyers (bringing the total to 8) and one more Astute SSN (also bringing the total to 8) would go a long way toward increasing the availability of escorts for the CV and SSBN, respectively, but I fear even a meagre build programme such as that would be nixed.

Pongoglo

I agree but I think a follow on class of 5 Batch 2 T31 building on lessons learnt from the earlier ships and ASW refined wouldn’t necessarily break the budget whilst still allowing us to restore overall escort numbers to pre 2010 levels of say 24?

D J

There is also the three spare sonar sets that will become available as the last 3 ASW T23 decommission. You could of course fit them to existing GP T31 as they are NATO ASW rated, but new build with possible rafted engines would as you say, be a smarter idea.

Ron

I really do try to understand the issues with building modern warships. Let me go back 115 years the UK managed to design and build HMS Dreadnought from conception to trials in 24 months. Designed by hand, you know paper, pencil, T square and french curves, and the old slide rule, built by men and rivets and with metal that was up to 250mm thick. Now we have computers, designed with computers, robots cutting the metal, electronic welding, possibly robots doing some of the welding, metal that is 25-35mm in thickness, just under half of the tonnage and takes seven-ten years to build from the design phase not the conception phase. What the hell happened? In WW2 10,000 ton Liberty ships were being built in 7 days could we build a Liberty ship now in that time frame? That would make a good tv program!
Yes I know the ships today are more complicated, but I’ve built communication centers in 7 days with the electronics and cabe work for 10,000 users so that for me is not a reason, I also do it the old fashioned way wit proper cable trees not the new way which well is a cable spaghetti gone wrong.
So, can some one explain it to me

[…] the change in language, respected defence commentator Save the Royal Navy said in an article quoted in the research paper: “There is a big difference between the […]

Paul from the south

Time has passed since this post, but it seems to me that it is correct to add the link to this video with the greeting of First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin to the Chilean Navy, with special attention to the joint work that includes advice on the development of the Type 31 …. can that indicate something or not?
 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wBnXd0A66U&t=29s
 
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Paul from the south

Watch from minute 2:00 to 2:10 in the video