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Rmj

The same with RAF – Hawks, C130s cut. Given F35 replaced Harrier, what replaced GR4?

Deep32

Yes, good point, what did replace GR4’s? Some of its roles are being split between both Typhoon and F35 fleets, but not all – we have lost the GR4’s ‘deep strike’ capability for a long time as both the other fleets can’t perform said mission.

In short, nothing has really replaced them, so another real term cut to numbers.

Pongoglo

GR4 , deep strike mission? Isn’t that what Typhoon with Storm Shadow and F35 in stealth mode and Paveway all meant to do?

Supportive Bloke

Functionally, as you say, other better platforms have taken over.

What real use was GR4 in contested airspace? It was shown to be deficient in Gulf War situations. It was hopelessly vulnerable to shoulder launched weapons.

A lot of those cold war platforms would come up very short compared to Typhoon or F35.

The issue is more the numbers cuts than the capability as other better ways of doing the same job are emerging.

Deep32

Arguably, but they both lack the range of the GR4 especially when fitted with Storm Shadow.
Not really sure how relevant that mission set now is, but in comparison, both Typhoon and F35 are short legged. RN sub launched Tomahawk goes someway to offsetting that loss, but can’t reach everywhere, depending on the location of the firing platform.

ATH

With tanker support the Typhoon and F35 can get to most realistically needed weapons releases points.

Deep32

Yes they can, but the GR4’s didn’t need tanker support for the same round trip. Now we require extra assets to accomplish the same mission set. Everything that Typhoon/F35 has in terms of capability is much better then the GR4’s, except of course range.

With a few notable exceptions F111, Buccaneer etc, lack of range/short legs, is a common weakness in Western fighters both past and present. It is the reason Uncle Sam has such a large tanker fleet and we in Europe also require the extra assets, as does Australia, which has an even greater problem than we in Europe do.

Duker

Comparing the FGR4 and the GR4 in a combat situation can be complicated. But an estimate using the ‘known’ ferry range shows the FGR4 at 2000nm to be a rough equivalent to the old GR4. A combat mission would be radius of course as they need to return.

Pacman27

it should hav been taranis as a loyal wingman to F35 in standoff doing all the fancy EW stuff. But taranis faded into the background. yet another waste of money and opportunity missed

Deep32

Maybe, maybe not. The programme was certainly over budget when they pulled the plug on it.
Dont believe it had that great a payload, not entirely sure what its range would be either, as details are somewhat limited.
Perhaps we need to buy some MQ-28 Ghost Bats from Boeing/AUS instead if we are not going to develop our own UAV, but, they’re not going to be that cheap either. At least they will have a decent range.

Paul Humphries

I’m sure that a post 2010 Tory government has said that they would never let frigate and destroyer number drop below 19. Failed.

Andrew Deacon

The rationale is on Navy Lookout. Saving refits on HMS Monmouth and HMS Montrose keeps the rest going. This may well make no difference to actual availability and T45 situation seems better. Where this falls apart is if something has an HMS Nottingham type incident or T26 and T31 delayed.

Supportive Bloke

Unfortunately that is what you get from the T26 game of chicken and the GP26 -> T31 saga.

Governmental can down the road is a favourite UK game of penny wise pound foolish.

Unfortunately in so many areas of public we are paying the price of not spending enough.

Barry Hooper

A lot of the ships in the last few year’s have had refits

Jonathan

It’s still a fail, yes the T23s are ready for retirement and more money poured into refit is not optimal..but it does not remove the failure of not building the replacement in time…that’s a political, policy and procurement failure. HMG had a lot of years it pissed down the drain.

D J

T23 was designed for a relatively short life span. Ready for retirement? Even the newest is already past their design life.

Rob N

It strikes me as bad planning to have such gaps – we should have built the T26/T31 earlier and faster. The T26 in particular was deliberately put on a slow build – this was a mistake that should be rectified. Also the lack of coordination in upgrades and refit is a missed opportunity. T45 should have its Sea Viper upgrade while the ships are in PIP refit not years later…

Everything is far too slow and uncoordinated, with massive delays.

ATH

Everything is done within the constraints of the overall MoD budget and the RN’s share of it. With more money obviously more can be do and it can be done faster. It’s less clear if more can be done with the current budget.

Supportive Bloke

Also people.

It takes lot of people to build and keep a large fleet afloat.

Ambition to have 17k people working at Barrow alone.

You cannot just magic more and more people to do things like weapons systems upgrade out of thin air. They take years to train.

Also the platform upgrades have to fit into other maintenance windows that don’t clash in terms of areas of the ship worked on otherwise ship availability rates will drop.

David MacDonald

Yes and, if there is not a continuous flow of orders, skilled staff leave to find employment elsewhere; they are unlikely to return. Sadly, our ridiculous “market forces” politicians don’t grasp this.

Supportive Bloke

At least anyone saying drumbeat when it comes to RN orders isn’t laughed at or given a puzzled expression.

That had sunk in.

ATH

Very true. Hopefully the need for build rates at realistically allow for a consistent drumbeat will sink in with some of the commentators on here.

Jonathan

HMG did waste a lot of years, they had been messing around with the replacement for the Type 23 since around 2005….before finally ordering the type 26 in 2017…after wasting the previous five years looking at new hull forms (1999-2005) taking 17 years to get to the point of ordering your replacement vessels was not ideal.

Duker

The wasted years was immediately after the election in 2010. Cameron-Osborne-Fox triumvirate

Jonno

Totally agree. Wasted time = wasted money, time and again.

donald_of_tokyo

Frigates “manned” by RN personnel start increasing by 2025 onwards. Even though they are not “accepted into service”,

  • T31-hull1 will be handed over to RN around 2025
  • T31-hull2 will be handed over to RN around 2026
  • T26-hull1 will be handed over to RN around 2026

“Handed over” means, it is fully crewed by RN personnel.

Negative point of this is, these man-power shall be found. So, additional T23GPs will start going out of service around 2025.

Positive point is, RN-owned and white-ensign flying frigate number will NOT decrease (even though 2 or 3 of them are in initial training phase, and not in service).

Supportive Bloke

Look on the bright side.

At least 13 good big brand new frigates are ordered and committed to with the long lead items all ordered up now.

Jeff

Eight good big brand frigates provided they can run in warm water, and five oversized patrol vessels.

Will we see all eight T26 tied up awaiting repair like the Daring’s? Time will tell..

Supportive Bloke

The five T31 are great platforms that with the known fit plus NSM are potent.

If they get Mk41 VLS they will be very powerful warships.

Sunmack

They are completely useless in the ASW role having no sonar. I’d prioritise sonar over Mk41 for these ships.

In terms of ASW, AAW and NGS they are vastly inferior to the ships that they are replacing and cannot be deployed in high threat areas to the same extent as the T23GP as a consequence.

Supportive Bloke

I wouldn’t be so sure.

If you had a UAV electric tugs away from mother towing a tail with a data link back to mother. That works in calm water.

The tugs could also be submersible and say release a tiny buoy periodically when interesting data was acquired. Control by LF bonger.

D J

Globally deployable but only to calm water. What about the bits in between?

Supportive Bloke

How so if the electric tug is submersible?

D J

Your statement was that this would work in calm water. My query is what about non calm water? Also, what if you need to get up & move? Hull mounted sonar goes where the ship goes, even at 30 knots. What does your submersible tug do if your T31 needs to bugger off. T31 is meant to be a “GP” frigate. Not an ASW frigate or MCM mothership.

PeterS

RN same as the army- it will be alright from @2030. Until all of the new equipment comes on stream, UK should make sure it stays out of trouble.

David MacDonald

The ever dwindling fleet is of major concern but the problems with recruiting may be even more serious in the long term and are probably exacerbated by the targeting of advertising at sections of the population who are simply unlikely to want to join. For generations a significant proportion of recruits (but by no means all) came from families with a service tradition but that link is now largely broken. Other factors such as “work from home”, “work life balance” and the financial need for couples to be both fully employed to don’t help either.

Last edited 11 months ago by David MacDonald
Andrew Deacon

Ongoing Caribbean support is not clear. RFA Wave Knight did one season and now laid up. RFA Argus is now on Littoral Support. HMS Medway is in Falklands, presumably heading back for hurricane season. Last year started with HMS Protector on duty and RFA Tideforce turning up in a hurry with police due to law and order problems on Turks and Caicos. Any offers on this year’s plan?

David MacDonald

We have ongoing and vital responsibilities to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Andrew Deacon

Precisely why I asked the question! Selling point of carriers is Disaster Relief so suspect will be carrier group again, but with HMS PoW still in dry dock, I’d be making sure I have a Plan B but with the state of things there is usually no such thing!

ATH

If HMG decides to do disaster preparedness properly (no idea if the will or won’t) it will have to be a Bay class this summer and autumn. This is fine, the are probably the best thing for the job at the moment.

Andrew Deacon

RFA Lyme Bay looks to be available at the moment. Next year depends if either of the others are out if action or where things go with Littoral Response South. It’s good planning taskings year by year!.

Mark Franks

The danger of continuing capability gaps is that the risk it becomes permanent. The capability is lost and very expensive to get back.
A prime example was the scrapping of the MR4 Nimrod fleet without replacement. The Russian resurgent in Submarine activity around the shores of the UK is a prime example. The UK plugged the gap from NATO primarily the US and Norway.
Begrudgingly the UK bought the P8, the in fighting for funding and treasury meddling was an embarrassment.
To say the RN will be in a better place in 2030 is a mute point.
Tired hulls are being retired because financial resources as mentioned in your article.
Technology cutting edge though it is new and untested and still some way off.
The US Navy is also in a situation similar to the RN, tired hulls and a surface fleet shrinking.

Supportive Bloke

We got lucky in that we had the P8 fleet just in the nick of time.

Last edited 11 months ago by Supportive Bloke
Sean

The Nimrod MRA4 was a bottomless money pit of a project. It should never have even gotten the go ahead after the Nimrod AEW3 flop.

ATH

True, but the reasons for the failures were very different.

John Hartley

Both Nimrod projects could have been a success, but were destroyed by idiotic decisions. Nimrod AEW was first going to be “Hawkrod” i.e. Nimrod fitted with US Hawkeye radar. Nimrod was bigger than Hawkeye, so should have been an easy fit. Instead an overlarge , untried British radar was fitted, which failed. Nimrod MRA4 original proposal, would not have changed wing & engines, just updated the cockpit & systems. That would have worked, as would an all new MRA4. Instead they tried to bolt new wings to old fuselages & created disaster.

Supportive Bloke

There was nothing wrong with the AEW radar IRL.

The problem was that the two mechanically scanning dishes were connected by a very long drive shaft to keep them in sync.

When the plane manoeuvred the forces created by the two heavy ‘dishes’ caused the shaft to torque twist.

The dishes were then out of sync.

This caused the onboard computers to see double (or more) and targets to multiply as they were not passed from front to rear facing or were flagged as lost. The inevitable result was the computers overloaded and progressively failed to remove clutter etc and then hung it crashed.

Could it have been fixed – possibly. But AEW was a totem for getting tough on defence suppliers.

With MRA4 the real issue was ever signing the new aircraft type off it was a hodge podge of different bits.

At the inception it was assumed as it had the fuselage it would be an exustibg aircraft type and would inherit its certification. Haddon Cave had happened and things were tightened up. No can do.

The wings issues had long been solved. But issues persisted with flight controls.

Again MRA4 was totemic of an overrunning project as well as BAE’s perceived approach

So forcing a MOTS solution was pushed.

.

Duker

Never would have been a sucess, as it repeated the same issues of the TSR2 both in the money pit and the split management with different people covering air frame and electronics

The story about a shaft to coordinate the front and rear radar scanners is an old wives tale and physically possible nor necessary. It all sort of worked but it wasnt functional with major side issues , the heart of them was the GEC 4080M computer mainframe was underpowered, even by the standrads of the time. The heat generated by the electronics was a major problem

Supportive Bloke

So how would you have synchronised two scanning dishes in an era before stepper motors were a thing?

They did have to be synchronised for obvious reasons as I outlined above.

That issue was why the 4080M computer overloaded and the performance catastrophically degraded.

Cooling was an issue for all AWACS type aircraft as computers of that era was very sensitive to temperature and chucked out a lot of heat.

Duker

Wheres the evidence for your ‘shaft’ then. The scanners dont need to be synchronised as the screen track is a composite picture anyway showing computer generated ‘positions’

this detailed study doesnt mention any mechanical synchronisation at all, and there were many issues
https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/case-study-on-the-nimrod-project-history-essay.php

But this was one result
‘ “Britain’s Marconi apparently sold at least one example of its Argus radar from the cancelled Nimrod AEW program, which China placed on a modified Russian Ilyushin Il-76 transport’


Last edited 11 months ago by Duker
Supportive Bloke

I’ve no idea what that essay really is as it doesn’t quote primary sources it needs to be treated with some scepticism.

Try reading it carefully

About 1/3 of the way down.

‘ The rotation of the dishes would be synchronised and the signals processed accordingly’

That is rather critical. The processing was arranged assuming the dishes were synchronised.

If the radar picture was, as you suggest, synthetic then the vector maths would be working overtime in that approach and would need to take a probabilistic approach to reconciling the tracks and two divergent incoming data sets.

Some of the computers in the original AWACS were very far from speedy. It is what you ask of a computer that is important.

Duker

Its your idea of a ‘through shaft’ to connect the scanners thats barmy. Which is completely unsupported yet you can find fault with an ‘essay’ thats a reasonable summary for having no sources?
I was considering the flat plate radar scanners pointing in different directions having a single radar picture and that was done in Aegis system ( mid 1970s) before Marconis AEW with 2 scanners . More than likely the software techniques to do this were more widely known, as they still are today.
pic Thunder & Lightnings

xv259-carlisle-940607-199406073932[1].jpg
Supportive Bloke

Look on Wiki – it doesn’t get everything right but this is right.

FASS is a specific radar system.

“ Finally, the advanced design of the radar proved difficult – the FASS method to gain full 360° radar coverage was problematic, involving as it did the scanner in the nose making a left to right sweep, with the signal then immediately passed to the scanner in the tail, which would sweep right to left.[14] However, getting the two scanners to synchronise proved difficult, resulting in poor all-round surveillance capability.[1]

Ref 14 – Hewish, Mark (1981). “Britain’s air defences grow new teeth”. New Scientist. Reed Business Information. 89 (1244): 682–684.

Ref 1 – “BAe Nimrod AEW3”. The Spyflight Website. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2011.

PS I worked in a building close to the A3 in Kingston for 18 months.

Supportive Bloke

Oh and have a look at this:-

https://marconiradarhistory.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/143539212/04103951.pdf

Also states, from real experts, that they were moving electrically powered Cassagrian dishes.

There is actually quite a lot of decently written up and referenced stuff on Nimrod AEW – some of it behind paywalls m.

Sunmack

There’s a lot of posts on here about the technical challenges of Nimrod AEW and MR4. The problem in these two cases and many other areas of poor value for money is the use of the defence budget by politicians for job creation rather than defence

Duker

How come that’s what they do in France, Spain and Italy and seen as successful and growing a countries economy with high value products

D J

Helps if what you support has merit & a good chance of success.

Sunmack

I’m not sure most French products are high value but even they didn’t try to build their own AEW platform.
Countries like Spain and Germany focus on doing a few things well and reap export rewards from it. In the UK we try to do far too many things which spreads the R&D budget too thin and means we often don’t get unit cost benefits as our production runs are too small.

Supportive Bloke

Coupled with the ‘too Gucci’ approach with a close to impossible technical outcome.

Duker

Thats known as the ‘BOAC syndrome’ where the local product built to its requirements can never be better than something from abroad thats just average

X

There is no plan just cuts. Simple.

There is no plan for anything.

The growth areas are corruption and waste.

Jed

So, what did we have left, was it 13 Hunt and Sandown class MCMV, plus 2 MDG (Survey) ships, to be replaced by maybe 5 MW/MDG LSV – 15 down to 5. Please don’t tell me this is not about cuts and budgets.
Replacing 15 with at least 8 of something like the BMT Venari 85, that could carry a 30mm up to a 57mm, to provide at least some “over watch” of its remote assets, and to facilitate patrol and policing roles when needed would provide a far better capability, but at a cost we cannot afford. So once again, its all about the budget and funding.

donald_of_tokyo

RN/RM personnel of January

2020 38,980
2021 39,990
2022 40,270
2023 38,990

Within 1 year, RN/RM lost 1280 personnel. If 1/3 of it is “crew on-board ships”, it means 430 crew was lost…

We know frigate crew was just rotating. Even though 2 Frigates were gone, one was without a crew, and another one’s crew just went into LIFEX-finished T23.

Then, the ~400 is a big decrease. 2 Echos (75×2 = 150) and 2 Sandowns (35×2 = 70) cannot fulfill the gap.

I’m afraid some other cuts to come in near future? Note that the total number lost is ~1300.

ATH

People are as you have said are bigger problem than money.

Last edited 11 months ago by ATH
Supportive Bloke

The problem with retaining people is money? Or lack of it? And awful accommodation standards ashore?

Andrew Deacon

I’m not certain your figures take full account of all the forward basing and rotation that now goes on.
We’ve currently got 5A and 1T sub – in a few years that will go to 7A. RAN may help with the crewing of those for experience? There’s then HMS Dreadnought to bring in and how quickly you can start removing the V boats.

N-a-B

So over the four years, the number is actually flat. I suspect that the 1300 reduction in the last year may actually reflect the restructuring of the RM – and potentially the , rather than any specific reduction in number of seagoing billets.

Its not a “simple” numbers game where shortages are in overall numbers. Where shortages really bite is in having people with the right levels of experience and qualification in the right place. If you don’t have the right mix, you can’t declare safe operation and hence you end up alongside – even if you’re only missing a handful of people.

In the past, the RN has been drafting people between ships at short notice to fill the gaps, which means those people don’t get shore leave and time with their families which in turn exacerbates the problem as they end up leaving because of it. Worse – having left, they’re unable to pass on their knowledge which means its harder to bring on the next generation etc etc.

That lesson appears to have been learned, which is one reason why they had a clear out of NCHQ, freeing up more bodies for the fleet, rather than sending people on back to back deployments. However, that’s also a reduction in shore posts the impact of which remains to be seen….

Bob Lanzer

The Belgian and Dutch motherships being built for the control of autonomous MCM operations appear to be quite versatile platforms – approaching but not reaching what we might see in the Type 32 frigates. They appear though to be more useful platforms overall than the motherships that we are putting together?

David Steeper

Plus requiring larger crews and costing far more both in capital and running costs. Everything is a compromise. I’m sure there are people on Dutch and Belgian Navy websites who are angry that their Navies didn’t go down the RN’s route.

X

Yes of course they are. Rotterdam and Antwerp aren’t important. Send somebody out in a rowboat with a torch and length of pole.

Last edited 11 months ago by X
OkamsRazor

And how would you know since specs for T32 have not been finalised yet. Why make such a foolish statement.

John Hartley

Could HMS Shoreham & Grimsby, get to Ukraine, by using the Rhine/Danube canal?

ATH

Probably not. I think they are to big plus the Serbians are no friends of Ukraine.

Duker

Yes. They tend to be wide shallow draught vessels for the Rhine Danube canal part The lower Danube not so much a problem

John Hartley

Bumf on the canal says it can take max 190m length, 11.45m beam, depth mainly 4m, but one pinch point only 2.7m depth. Perhaps if everything that could be removed , was removed at that point?

ATH

Non of thar help you get through Belgrade.

John Hartley

Serbia is trying to look both ways i.e. be friends with Russia & the EU. Perhaps if they sailed through in the middle of the night?

Duker

The big problem is that while Ukraine is a member of the Danube commission the general rules exclude any naval vessels in transit. Serbia doesnt do anything

Article 30

Navigation of the Danube by the naval vessels of any non-Danubian country shall be prohibited.

The naval vessels of Danubian States may not navigate the Danube beyond the frontiers of the respective countries whose flags they fly save by arrangement between the Danubian States concerned.

https://www.danubecommission.org/dc/en/danube-commission/convention-regarding-the-regime-of-navigation-on-the-danube/

Last edited 11 months ago by Duker
HMS_Yankee

Navies these days seem to look sometimes too much into the long term; technology might advance to make those plans less than optimal or even more there’s the issue one goes to war with the navy you have.

The RN might do well with plugging the gap with something like the Venari 85 by BMT. A sloop type of vessel able to specifically operate autonomous platforms but also act as a more independent warship when needed with some armament. Just have that be the Castle class and have a few more than 4

Bill Crozier

Echo was retired because her certification had run out. RN wasn’t prepared to pay to re certify. Suspect Enterprise is the same. Both suffered a very poor support package from Teeside.
Waves are a lack of personnel in the RFA. Poor that both are c left to whither alongside.
MCMV hulls cannot be replaced as persistent assets by USV. Mother vessels are not like for like on lost hulls. This is capability loss for lack of cash pure and simple. Stop painting as anything less.
Loss of hydrographic persistence in the MCMV/Amphibious world, will not be replaced and can’t be by drones.

X

It makes me laugh that so many here see MCM as a secondary task conducted in peace time from a safe port. They give no thought to a task group having to approach from the sea in war. You would think those who post on a naval blog would understand naval warfare is all about maneuver on the sea. But it appears not.

Challenger

The Royal Navy will of course spin it as being innovative and maximising capability…..but we all know it’s actually a way of trying to preserve the core and higher profile capabilities by salami slicing it’s wider mass for peripheral savings.

Problem is, as the article and many comments reference, that mass is an asset in itself by providing flexibility, training/command opportunities and presence. Reducing the surface fleet down to 20 something frigates & destroyers, a couple of huge carriers and a handful of RFA’s will eat into all of those underlying aspects of how the service operates.

MHPC should have been pursued when the batch 2 River’s were dreamt up to instead provide 8-12 simple but largish platforms to fill the mine-hunting & survey mother-ship roles whilst also providing constabulary capabilities way before this mad dash to ditch the existing hulls. All it needed was a bit of forward planning rather than this constant deferment of decisions until it’s too late!

Duker

This what the engineering manpower is required on T45 and T23
Engineering Department
Lieutenant Commander
2 (t45) 2(t23)
Lieutenant
3 2
Warrant Officer
3 2
Chief Petty Officer
9 7
Petty Officer
15 15
Leading Hand
17 17
Able Rate
33 31
thats 82 for T45 of which the RN has 6 but likely only 1 or 2 at sea at a time
Is it that hard to have 180 engineering that are available for sea duty at a time

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2016-01-26/24282

Other reports from the commons gives trained ratings by speciality ( 2018) of
4280 engineering GS ,
2100 for Engineering submarines,
2790 engineering aviation

Commonwealth Loyalist

Great article as usual, but makes clearer the need for the Treasury Dept to allocate a few more bucks to the basic functions of govt, ie defense, rather than ones they have gradually taken over that extend way beyond their traditional purview and especially their competence.

ATH

Government priorities change because of what the majority of people vote for.

Duker

No one has voted for cutting the Navy ships and resources as they would never advocate for that before elections….in fact the opposite.
But after the election all ‘commitments’ are swept away
this is exact wording from 2010
‘Given our commitment to carry out a Strategic Defence and Security Review, it would also not be appropriate to make in-year reductions to the existing defence budget in 2010/11. ‘
Broken of course

Samuel

it is important to consider overall naval capability rather than just count platforms”

Until you are in a shooting war against peer opponents where you will take losses. The Royal Navy could not afford to take the kinds of losses it did in 1982, Imagine loosing 2 Type 45’s and 2 Type 26 Frigates.

X

Yes. A platform can only be in one place at one time. It might be twice as effective as its predecessor. But then threats it will face be twice as deadly.

Samuel

Precisely. I think the RN should have a rolling ship production, build a class of ship with off the shelf tech and then with every successive batch you update the tech as time progresses. Having a ship building process that never ends will ensure skills are not lost and that the Navy has a constant flow of ships. In wartime you can replace losses much more expeditiously. The old Leander Class was much like this

X

Yes. Just build and don’t stop building. It is rather simple isn’t it?

Hassinger

spot on mate !!!

X

Thank you. We here despite all our many differences know this, but why don’t those who make decisions know? He asks knowing things aren’t that simple.

Jon

I’m sure they know too; that’s the sad thing. It’s just too difficult to change the procedures that were meant to save the country money but end up wasting it by the bucket load.

Duker

Careerism.
Those in charge want something , anything on the CV which has the merest sniff of some sort of action in a massive bureaucracy.
Stopping things rates higher than expediting it.

Duker

Are submarines say , ‘twice as deadly’ ? A torpedo can only explode once, and sure the propulsion and tracking is incrementally better. But twice is a big leap in 20 years for some weapons systems.
Some times the counter measures are the ones that are increasing in effectiveness faster…but not perfect
Another example in the pic, a lot of increased defensive lethality over 20-40 years

searam_hero[1].jpg
Last edited 11 months ago by Duker
Samuel

Mk31 SeaRAM – Raytheon’s next step in addressing the M61 Vulcans limited range by replacing it with an 11 round RIM 116 missile launcher. I do find it interesting that the Royal Navy doesn’t have any IR SAMs bar FIM-92 Stinger. For one they are cheaper than Active Radar Guided missiles and secondly the Type 45s S50 VLS cells can be used for VLS MICA. Its not a capability gap but more of a covering all bases thing. The Royal Navy should definitely look to adding SeaRAM to the Carriers to augment Phalanx. I know the Navy tested it on HMS York in 2002…reading something about its re-load time being a problem compared to Phalanx….on a QE having Both systems should negate that

Duker

of course its obvious , the USN have been going down a blind path for 20-30 years, but not because of lack of money for an upgrade.
They just dont think .

X

The submarine is the weapon.

Louis

RN was woefully ill prepared for the Falklands.
Sea Cat was terrible, Rapier was awful, we had no CIWS and Sea Harrier could only carry two Sidewinders.
With F35, Sea Ceptor, Aster 30, and Phalanx we wouldn’t lose 4 ships.

Samuel

Sea Cat tbf was being used for fleet defence when it was a point defence weapon (Sea Dart should have been providing fleet defence but was tied to an Antique Radar System…the Argentine Pilots themselves attest it was Sea Cat they feared the most). It did get 2 credited kills (1 definitely A4 Skyhawk and an Argentine Tigercat land Launcher left a Harrier with Cat 5 damage and had to be repaired in the factory…a mission kill) Rapier sucked as it didn’t have a Proximity fuse. Argentina doesn’t even have an Air Force today….I was using the FW as an example of a peer level opponent (Adm Chris Perry stated that in War Games theory before the War Argentina was pretty much a level combatant in 1980s) . Against a comparable foe today (Not Argentina but someone else) loosing 4 ships would be really bad for the RN

X

Fleet defence, Sea Cat? Really? They were pooping off everything and anything. All missiles in the Falklands had indifferent records.

Samuel

Fleet Defence specifically within San Carlos…I should have been more clear. The Type 42 at that time was unable to engage low level air threats due to Type 965’s and Type 992Qs very poor performance against targets flying over land at low level (It only improved after the war with Type 1022 and Type 996 Radars…plus tweaks to The missile itself) Sea Cat was the most numerous weapon the RN had at the time (Trust me I would have rather they kept on with STAAG Mark 2 as at least that system would have meant more 40mm/ l60s in the AO) Sea Cat needed to go…that’s unquestioned…Sea Cat was just better suited for use in San Carlos at the time rather than Sea Dart due to it being SACLOS (Except HMS Exeter as she had Type 1022 Radar and was much less vulnerable than the Batch 1 Type 42s with Type 965)

Duker

As does most radars and missiles from that era.

Even this week at a US base in Syria( that must take some contortions explaining away) was hit by a militia drone …the official story is the Avenger/Stinger combination was ‘turned off’

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Louis

But losing 2 T45 and 2 T26 are numbers from a conflict 40 years ago, and if I was to be really pedantic it would equate to losing 2 T45 and 2 T31.
The only country that could do this would be China and they will be able to do this no matter how protected our ships are.

Samuel

Type 31…I can see your point as its closer to what the Type 21 was 🙂 That’s exactly what I mean with your example of China. With decades being required to build ships in the UK, the Royal Navy wouldn’t be able to sustain Operational Losses for very long against a country like China. The more ships the Navy has, the longer the Navy will last in War generally Speaking. As it stands the Navy would struggle to defend the UK Mainland in a hypothetical war as loosing any of the Type 45s will weaken the Carriers AA protection, loosing any of the Type 26’s will weaken the Carriers ASW Protection leaving the Type 31’s and the OPVs being the backbone of the assets available for any risky engagements that may be required. What I believe the RN should be doing is following Admiral Zumwalt’s High Low fleet build…a core of High Capability ships (The T45 and T26 meet that no problem) but a larger force of low end ships (a decent sized force of Type 31’s). The USN built OHP Frigates in numbers and they were really cheap at $122 Million each adjusted for inflation. My concern is that the lack of ships will bite the UK in the rear like it almost did in 1981 under the Nott defence cuts…had Argentina waited a few years the Royal Navy would have had no carriers as Invincible was to be sold and Hermes would be gone too

Louis

Once T31 production gets underway, and with a surge during wartime we could knock them out quite quickly. T26 is a different matter but we could also ramp up production considerably once the frigate factory is built.
USN haven’t really mastered High Low anymore with the mess that is LCS. Arleigh Burke’s are supposedly multi role, only issue with multi role is that being very good at AAW is very easy, a good radar and lots of VLS will do the job. Good at ASW is much harder, a very quite ship needed, good towed array, good ASW helicopter. USN ASW isn’t so good and even when the new frigates enter service only 20 are planned.
T45 is very good but with too few VLS. Not worth it now because it would take ages to get into service and T83 will start replacing them in the late 2030s. 48 Aster 30 Block 1/NT. 16 Aster 30 Block 2 BMD or FC/ASW in strike length silos. 24 or as many CAMM as possible by the funnel in the space there and the 8 NSM. For gun fit I would replace the 4.5 inch with 57mm with another on the hangar roof (if possible). Phalanx would get replaced by 40mm Bofors.
T26 IS very good and too late to make changes (except something like NSM amidships). If possible i guess 8 more Mark 41 VLS would be good but it’s unnecessary wishful thinking from me.
T31 is FFBNW Mark 41 but it was later stated it will be Mark 41 fitted. 24 CAMM, 8 FC/ASW in Mark 41 and 8 NSM will suffice.
Merlin numbers should increase for use on T31. In an ideal world I would sell all wildcats in both Army and Navy, I think they’re pretty terrible aircraft with no dipping sonar and no armament and lack of troop capacity on the army variant.
F35 should increase to 6 squadrons with 2 permanently assigned to each carrier as part of the CVW. 2 more would be for the RAF to use wherever and in case of a war could always supplement the CVW but with land attack, CAS and deep strike speciality.

Duker

Wildcat sold to Korea have dipping sonar, the Thales ‘Flash’ model

Thales-Flash-Dipping-Sonar-812x1024[1].jpg
Supportive Bloke

There is a fundamental difference between T21 and T31 – capacity to upgrade.

T21 had no tip weigh margin or space to put anything. T21 couldn’t be upgraded – a lot of time and energy went into how they could be upgraded: they couldn’t.

T31 is large and has space for Mk41 as well as cannister munitions. There is also top weight and power margin. So they can be upgraded.

AlexS

“Sea Cat tbf was being used for fleet defence”

Fleet defence? It was a supposed point defence.

Sea Cat was disaster, there is no other way to judge it. A more than dozen installations and 1 or less kills.

It would have been much better a 76mm gun or a double barrelled radar guided Breda-Bofors.
But RN had modern fetish and guns were looked down from a past era.

The only sea/land based missile i judge as positive is Sea Dart. For long range high altitude it worked most of the time.

X

Phalanx’s day has come and gone.

The main problem down South was we could no longer field this……..

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And Crowsnest is a poor replacement.

Louis

But Crowsnest is better than nothing, and drones are planned in the future.

X

Crowsnest is crap.

Ah the magic drone………

Samuel

Drones carrying a Full Radar system that needs to be that powerful to detect enemy air threats from 300 miles away….no chance a drone can do it unless its matter/ Antimatter powered lol

Louis

Don’t see why it’d be so impossible. Searchwater 2000 on Asac 7 had a range of 200 miles.
Drones can have an altitude much higher than the 37,000 of E2D.
Drones can also have an endurance of days at a time compared to 6 hours E2D.
A drone could be on station for a day, come back refuel and be up in the air again in no time. If a QEC carried 5 drones a smaller range wouldn’t matter so much because we could have 3-4 in the air. That’s if a 300 miles range radar couldn’t be developed of course.

X

Rhubarb!

Look at the size of the E2’s radar. Crew or no crew you would need a cab that big to lift the thing; never mind the genset and fuel to power it. Further it isn’t just a matter of spotting aircraft, missiles, or ships it is also a matter of controlling missiles for BVR engagements too.

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Rhubarb!

Last edited 10 months ago by X
Duker

Available payload after fueled up is the issue
The monster RQ4 , about the size of a large business jet has 3000lb left over for its mission systems.
Smaller drones maybe 10-15% of that and remember putting all your eggs in the long range sensor basket leaves nothing left to be able to transmit the high bandwidth data back to your ‘mother’

X

As I said the magic drone……..

Jon

An Erieye system fits on a business jet and it doesn’t need magic amounts of power. A twin-engined aircraft is enough. An optionally manned V-22 Osprey could carry it. So could the smaller V-280 Valor. If it were purely an issue of weight it could even carry the E-7’s 3 ton MESA radar. With the new RR engines developing 10 MW between them, I think it would have plenty of power, but what if I’m wrong? Even at half power, you still get 84% of the detection range, so 300 miles isn’t that tough.

Of course all this would be at vast development and operational cost, which is why we haven’t done it. It’s a lot more technologically feasible than financially. A partnership with other countries would be needed.

Duker

The E-7 ‘3 tonne MESA’ radar needs a crew of 12 to operate plus flight crew .
No you cant put in on a business jet for other reasons mostly around your misunderstandings of aircraft balance and payload left after a good fuel load.

Louis

And Phalanx’s days aren’t over.

X

Yes that is why everybody else is fitting 30mm and over…….

Louis

Ok fair enough I’ll accept I was wrong on that one, but with 40mm being adopted on T31, T26 phalanx could be replaced. DEW will probably also replace Phalanx to a certain extent.

X

20mm doesn’t have enough volume for intelligent fusing and enough HE for a nice big bang in an age where missiles are moving faster and even more robust.

Duker
X

Phalanx is past its best. Not really concerned about Americans selling arms.

Duker

So whos buying the 30mm Goalkeeper recently

X

If Phalanx was so supadupa back in the day can you tell me how this came about……..

HMS Illustrious………

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HMS Invincible………

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Why did the RN bother fitting Goalkeeper to B3 T22 or the Albions?

I can tell you why they removed it, cost. But it certainly wasn’t because the Dutch gun was inferior, far from it.

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Last edited 10 months ago by X
Duker

Why was it superseded with the Phalanx in RN service now then ?

15 words or less ? Bonus points for mentioning phalanx was on Illustrious at beginning.

X

Cost. As T42 was pulled out of service the RN chose the cheaper system. You honestly haven’t a clue what you are talking about with these system do you?

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Duker

Thats a T22 , the T42 always was a phalanx boat.
I just listen to more informed real experts….instead of you . Easy choice really

Phalanx has remained in RN service ever since 1982. It was fitted to the Invincible class carriers, HMS Fearless, HMS Ocean and the QEC class carriers. The Type 42 air defence destroyers received the system and also their replacements, the Type 45s. Units are also fitted to Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, being rotated around ships as operational requirements dictate. 

https://www.navylookout.com/last-ditch-defence-the-phalanx-close-in-weapon-system-in-focus/

As for the Signaal system:
In return for the Dutch Navy purchasing UK-made Spey gas turbines, the RN later also adopted the Hollandse Singnaalapparaten (now Thales) Goalkeeper 30mm CIWS for some vessels between 1988-2015.’

Phalanx-HMS-Edinburgh-Jul-2011[1].jpg
Samuel

Phalanx is becoming Obsolete because of the M61 Vulcan, Raytheon already has SeaRAM as its next offering. I can see Phalanx being converted to C-RAM for the Army which it will be around for decades more.

Back to X’s point….E2-D Hawkeye would have been nice if the Carrier allowed for it 🙁

Louis

Phalanx will be replaced by higher calibre guns and DEW, but SeaRam isn’t a direct replacement. When the Spy 1 radar is in BMD mode it cannot target aircraft so SeaRam is more so that the ship has anti missile/AA defence in the meantime. Not necessary for T26 but T83 might get it or a British counterpart.

Duker

Constantly upgraded my friend. The current system is Block 1B, Baseline 2
The Gatling gun can now be electric to provide variable firing rates – conserves ammo. The radars, and add on EO sensors are nothing like the originals

X

You can’t upgrade 20mm. It will and always will be 20mm.

AlexS

20mm ballistics can’t be upgraded like X says.
Dutch Navy is also ditching their Goalkeppers, it will 76mm Oto Melara with guided rounds(8km interception range not 1.5 km of Phalanx) and RAM.

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS
X

Which takes us back to that Horizon feature the oh-so-clever RN didn’t bring over for Type 45…………

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It would have added a whole new layer of defence for T45 with DART and VULCANO.

It is not hard to imagine a T45 with a ‘conventional’ 76mm OM in place of the Mk8 with Sovarponte mounts on each beam and one on the hangar roof.

Duker

Whats ballistics have got to do with it? Rate of fire is better

Thats why Nato has made its soldier level rifles have smaller calibre not larger

X

No. Cleverer fuses and bigger bang.

AlexS

Ballistic = range = more interceptions and with guided rounds there is no need for a big volume of fire.
With Phalanx you are reduced to 1 interception, plus an interception around 1km distance risks even parts of a missile still going towards the ship. Italians replaced their 3-4km range 660rpm Breda Bofors CIWS with 76mm Oto Melara

Last edited 10 months ago by AlexS
D J

You are a little out of date. They have finally admitted that 5.56mm is too small & ineffective. The new thing is 6.8mm (because US doesn’t want to admit that 7mm was right all along).

It doesn’t matter how many times you hit something with a 57mm, it’s never going to have the same outcome as a hit from a single 16” shell (scoring a hit with a 16” is a whole other discussion). Ask the airforce. Sometimes they will load up with 500 pounders, sometimes with 2,000 pounders. 4 x 500 pounders will not necessarily have the same effect on the target as a single 2,000 pounder, even if all are guided. They get to load for the expected target. The average soldier does not get to swap their 5.56 for a 7.62 whenever they want. Changing a naval gun is even harder.

Afghanistan showed that rate of fire doesn’t mean much if it is individually ineffective. Bolt action Lee-Enfield & Mosin-Nagant though were still ballistically effective, even at 800-1,000m ranges. 5.56, not so much, especially from short barrel rifles. They lacked range & if they did hit (even at 300m), they often did not take the target out of the fight.

X

The carriers should have been built around fielding E2.

Duker

Its an offensive weapon system. For obvious reasons it was built around F-35B….which you might not have noticed is called an high level electronic sensor as well as its offensive capabilities, backed up by the Crowsnest for the loitering

X

We won’t have enough Bravos to have on endless CAP. Crowsnest is poor system. I note you are berating me below for the Gannet but happy to push Crowsnest which is already obsolescent.

Samuel

Indeed ????

X

Phalanx is obsolete because of the 20mm round. Why was the RN buying Goalkeeper back in the 80s?

Duker

So you dont know about the contra deal with the dutch over them buying Spey engines for their Frigates
All covered in that obscure hard to find website called ….Navy Lookout
To further increase your knowledge heres HMS York with Sea Ram, which goes even *further* than the ‘obsolete’ Goalkeeper

HMS-York-Sea-Ram-2002[1].jpg
Duker

Do you even read Navy Lookout ?
As missile technology evolved, Raytheon has developed the Phalanx System in response. The original Block 0 system could take two men as long as 30 minutes to reload from pre-linked ammunition boxes. Block 1 increased ammunition capacity from 990 to 1,550 rounds and a new preloaded ammunition loader/unloader cart dramatically reduced reload time to 5 minutes. The Block 1/Baseline 0 (1988) featured better radar to detect a new generation of smaller supersonic anti-ship missiles. B1 Baseline 1 raised the rate of fire from 3,000 rounds per minute to 4,500. B1 Baseline 2 (1991) improved accuracy with an improved muzzle restraint to decrease round dispersion. Block 1A (1996) introduced a new computer system to counter high diving and hard manoeuvring missiles and switched from hydraulic to pneumatic gun drive which could spin up faster’

Thats just part of the improvements, my friend you need to keep up to date , like Phalanx has .
https://www.navylookout.com/last-ditch-defence-the-phalanx-close-in-weapon-system-in-focus/

Samuel

Phalanx is a great system and the problem is purely with the Gun not the mount or Radars or Computers etc. The Guns Max effective range is too small to deal with more modern anti ship missiles. I wouldn’t be surprised if Phalanx minus the gun is re-used for future weapons.

Duker

Thats what point defence missiles are used for …. the distance out to 10km which is beyond the 30mm CIWS.
You may have heard of Seawolf and its successor ?

Duker

You do realise the Gannet radar came from the early fifties and flying in this

AD-5W_of_VAW-12_in_flight_c1958[1].jpeg
X

So………

X

So a system that went out of service 4 years-ish prior to the Falklands War would have be no use in that war? Really?

Duker

It wasnt replaced was the issue. The Gannet AEW was out of date before it flew, but it had wings and catapult launch so was still great according to you.

X

It was a working system which we had in numbers. Crowsnest is too little in too manys ways.

Duker

‘Too little’ is the screen play for all the aircraft on the QEC

Barry Hooper

Government are betraying our armed forces on a massive scale, decommission before replacements are in service

N Reynolds

What happens in the short term if the RN are engaged in action, and how does the RN cover the loss a number ships without the ‘embarrassment of having to rely on our ally’s navies. The once great British Navy.