Options are currently being considered for arming the Type 26 Frigate with land attack missiles.

Nicholas Soames, Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to introduce Tomahawk Land Attack Missile capability to the surface fleet.”

Stuart Andrew, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, responded:

“Type 26 Frigates are being equipped with the Mk41 Strike Length Vertical Launch System which would be compatible with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. A range of candidate solutions are currently being considered in the Concept Phase to fulfil this capability requirement, but in the meantime United Kingdom maritime land attack capability remains ably provided by submarines.”

The Type 26, or City class, will be equipped with the Type 997 Artisan 3D search radar and Sea Ceptor air-defence missiles launched via a 48 cell vertical launching system positioned. The Sea Ceptor silo’s will be positioned on the bow and at the funnel of the vessel.

An additional 24-cell Mark 41 “strike-length VLS” is positioned forward of the bridge capable of firing missiles such as the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile or indeed a future anti-ship/cruise missile.

No decisions have been taken regarding what the long range cruise missile will be, it could very well be Tomahawk or another system. It’s worth noting however that every press event I’ve been to, has mentioned Tomahawk as being the preferred candidate should money be made available.

Last year, Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart signed an agreement to explore future long range weapons for the British and French Navies and Air Forces.

The missile however will not be ready to replace Harpoon until 2030, leaving the Type 26 Frigates without any real means to engage surface warships aside from their helicopters.

The recent military action taken in April against chemical weapons targets in Syria demonstrated the wider range of missile options available to the United States and French Navies for use against land targets, says a report by the Defence Committee.

By contrast, the Royal Navy has only the option of submarine-launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM)—an option that was not used.

According to the report:

“Consideration should be given to extending TLAM capability to the surface fleet, ahead of development of the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon System, which will not be in service until the 2030s.

What will go in the MK41?

Currently, we don’t know. No firm commitment has been made for any of the weapon types able to be fired by the MK 41 but with the first vessel not entering sea trials for quite a few years, the time hasn’t yet come to order anything.

96 COMMENTS

  1. They look like great ships, but as usual underarmed compared to our likely foes in a major war.
    They should do away with the 12 launchers for the the 48 CAMM and instead add 8 canister launched ASM (as it seems the Austrailians and Candians will have) and more MK41VHL. It would make them much more potent and versatile. Wishful thinking, I know. Great ships, one hopes, non the less.

    Regardless, they need long range ASM, both subsonice and hypersonic. When’s the LRAM supposed to be coming into service? I think ASMs over land attack ones are more vital, but both would be good.

    • There is still space for the canisters onboard.

      I suspect the reason for their lack of inclusion on RN models is because they have no idea what will actually be there in 2027.

      I’d bet on NSM/JSM at present.

  2. My question is surely the Mk41 needs to likely fit a land attack weapon, an anti submarine type weapon and an anti ship weapon. I’m just worried that 24 cells isn’t enough to get a meaningful amount of all 3 installed.

      • relying on merlin is ridicules, as it may not be available for a number of reasons such as maintenance , poor weather or already deployed and that’s presuming you actually deployed with one. so it makes complete sense for a ASW frigate to have an organic ASW weapon.

        • It seems after Ikara the RN lost interest in ‘ASW missiles’, why I don’t know for all those reasons you give, so if they take up an option for this type of munition it would be good. There are lots of cells to fill what with 24 planned; 8 anti-ship, 8 ASW, and 8 long range missile seems to be a likely ‘load our’ (as the kidz say!).

          I never understood why the RN never followed the RCN in operating more than one large ASW helicopter from frigates as a norm. There were exceptions to that and an understanding that large RFA’s would be home to multiple cabs if available. The ‘mission bay’ space in T26 could be used as additional hangar space I understand if needed. But this doesn’t have the same utility as hangars opening out onto the flight deck. On a ship as big as T26 these could have been easily accommodated. The helicopter is the ultimate combat module for an escort.

  3. I think I’d rather have the front silo configuration of the RAN T26 which is I believe either 32 or 36 Mk41 (not sure which). Even if only 32 that is 8 more than the proposed RN T26 which if quad-packed with Sea Ceptor gives 32 to replace the 24 dedicated forward launchers lost and if not used for Sea Ceptor gives more anti-ship/sub/land capacity. It also increases commonality between the RN and RAN and probably also RCN builds.

    • The RAN Hunter has 32 VLS if I’m not mistaken, but that’s its entire complement of VLS, so it has to carry it’s AAW missiles in there as well, while the T26 has 24 Mk41 VLS just for strike weapons.

      T26: 24 offensive missiles (LA/ASW/AShW) and 48 Sea Ceptors in their own soft launch cells
      Hunter: either 20 missiles and 48 quadpacked ESSM in the other 12, or weaker defences to carry the same/more offensive weapons than the T26.

      The RN has a less versatile load out, sure, but less capable? No. It just reflects different design requirements. The RN want an ASW frigate that can defend itself and operate independently, while the Australian requirement also featured things like being BMD capable, which requires strike lenght tubes for SM-3

      • Thanks for clarification on the 32. I’m certainly not someone calling for the removal of the midships 24x Sea Ceptor silo, just would prefer added flexibility on the forward silo but admit that 32 x Mk41 is probably appreciably more expensive than 24 x Mk41 plus 24 x Sea Ceptor so I’ll grudgingly admit it’s a reasonable compromise. I suspect that if the MoD ever ran the T26 design on to also serve as the T45 replacement when the time comes the forward silo probably would go all Mk41 on that variant because extra BMD and longer range AAW missile load would trump the extra 24 Sea Ceptor from the forward silo for an AAW specialist vessel.

  4. I share the concern that 24 VLS cells is not very many, compared to a US DDG 51 with 96. However the current Harpoon fit in a T 45 is 8, ( when they have them) leaving 16 for TLAM or successor. I would think that even an Astute with its increased weapon stowage is unlikely to go to sea with 16 TLAM loaded, so it is arguably an increase against current capability. I am also not sure that taking out the Sea Ceptor fit for more ASM capability is necessarily a good idea. After all the primary function of these ships is ASW, so self defence is important.

    • As ASW ships we need to have the RN26 fitted with ship launched torpedoes or use VLS Mk41 for VL-ASROC. That will use up 2-4 VLS Mk41.
      The Merlin or Wildcat Heli are great ASW platforms by are not always available due to weather, servicing or simply being used elsewhere.
      Also I would keep SeaCeptor cells for air defence for ship and fleet. Unless some Aster 15/ 30 are put into the VLS. The RN26 is escort for carrier and that is the where the main strike capability is located.
      But antiship is desperately needed against light fast attack craft and major naval vessels. With Persus a long way off, We should buy Norwegian NSM/JSM asap for Type 23/26 and 31e. Just shame our F35B cannot fit the JSM into its smaller bays.

  5. Also the bigger concern with this programme is the leisurely time scale. Glasgow has been in build for over a year but is not due to be operational before 2025 at the earliest. Bearing in mind the increasing threats world wide this is worse than indolent. There was a very good analysis in yesterday’s Times about China’s aspirations in the China Sea, by 2030 China will have a navy of 415 ships, the US 300. As an American might say, “Do the math”

    • I agree. With RAN and now RCN wins I would prefer to see the T31 budget used to accelerate and expand the T26 program with a view to reducing unit cost. T31 is supposed to happen quickly so at least some of that project funding should be early-stage real cash flow that could be used to accelerate T26 build which should be very attractive to BAE hence a valuable MoD bargaining chip. Revenue recognition rules for complex projects like this are very strict so BAE accountants, management and shareholders will also be frustrated by the slow build schedule.

  6. This is a capability which is with the Silent Service.

    I’m all for it if the spare money is available but if arming these T26 with Land Attack Missiles comes at the cost of cuts elsewhere I’m not as we are duplicating capability.

    T26 should be for ASW defence of our high value assets. QEC and Amphibs.

    QEC with F35 with Stealth and stand off missiles along with TLAM on SSNs is quite enough to attack other countries with surely? Especially if part of an allied operation.

      • Not a hope of Dreadnought having TLAM.

        No way we are going to put our CASD boat in a fixed launch box within 1000 miles of an enemys coast…

        They’ll never leave the North Atlantic either….

    • We launch them in penny packets from the SSN’s. It is good that the latter has the capability but in a way it is a ‘distraction’ from what their main role especially when we have so few. Look at the last time there was a TLAM strike, look as most of the TLAM strikes over the last decade or two, and they are practically media events hardly ‘secret squirrel’! Saying that given the size of the A-boats I was surprised they weren’t built with VLS, but then this is the MoD so I shouldn’t be surprised. If it allows HMG to a PR exercise to support foreign policy then moving this capability (or have additional) is a good thing I suppose.

  7. Ship based TLAM’s are significantly cheaper than sub launched versions. I believe the US has stopped manufacturing the missile, so the UK would need to purchase from the existing US stockpile which is plentiful. I assume any future missile developed between UK and France will need to be comparable with both mk 41 and silver vl systems. Its a capability that should have been enabled on T45 from the begining.

    • How about this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_(missile) – Mach 5 class, 300km range, compatible with Mk41 and A70 Sylver (Sadly means it won’t fit in the T45), and capable as anti-ship or land attack. Maybe pair it with a few MDcN versions of Storm Shadow (I’m guessing it can be made to launch from Mk41 if it fits in an A70) for a lower end capability

  8. Storm Shadow costs the same if not more than a Tomahawk and comes with the additional cost of the air frame, aircrew pilot and risk of losing the pilot. This means the UK can only launch in limited numbers compared to the US who can launch over 100 in a single night. The French really pushed their boundaries when they launched 3 in one night which lets face it is only for news headlines.
    Ideally if the UK was to build 5 GP Frigates I would save on the acoustic dampening on the T26 and cut a hole in the roof of the rear mission pay to install a 48 cell mk41 dedicated to TLAM’s.

    • Let them.

      Do we need to launch 100 in a night?

      Good to have the LAM caoability. No need to be a superpower with it.

      Again I’d speculate at what we are losing to increase LAM capability with limited money and a reported 20 billion black hole? I hope it is substantially less.

      I also wonder if this would get past the treasury? You have Land Attack Missiles Sir why do you want more?

      I worry this is yet more gold plating while the fleet shrinks to even greater levels to accommodate it.

      How much do these missiles even cost?

        • I agree there is a big trade off when increasing ship capability vs ship numbers. This was most obvious when we cut 12 T42 to 6 T45, but I would also say the 6 T45 are far more capable. The biggest disadvantage in my eyes is the capacity to take a loss (God forbid) the government seem ignore this possibility.
          Overall I would take 3 General Purpose T26 armed with 144 TLAM than 5 T31 armed with none.

          • Agreed with that BB85.

            Issue is if HMG keep the commitments the RN has those heavily armed T26 will be off in singletons doing the constabulary jobs the T31 should be doing, rather than kept in groups along with the T45 to deploy as a group in support of whatever carrier is available.

            Then people moan they have no escorts.

            Thanks for the TLAM figure. Considering we are thinking of buying 16 Chinooks which we already posses ( even if they are longer ranged, carrier use, whatever ) for 3.5 Billion dollars then a decent number of TLAM is chicken feed it seems?

            Does HMG want the RN to deploy in well armed CBG and Amphibious Groups, leaving all other standing tasks around the world behind?

            Or does it want both? It cannot do both sufficiently without more money and more numbers.

            I personally choose option 1 with a second tier fleet of cheaper vessels showing their faces elsewhere.

            And my worry is LAM for T26 eats funds into achieving the mass to do both.

            Otherwise, if money is found, by all means arm T26 to the teeth! Goodness it is big enough and our vessels are always under armed.

            Cheers.

      • MoD purchased 900 Storm Shadow.

        It seems the discussions boils down to Storm Shadow and TLAM fit different niches. But seeing at TLAM seems to do OK for the USN I do wonder how much of a difference the difference made. 🙂

        Storm Shadow / SCALP-N has shorter range and is a bit more expensive too.

        One wonders whether this was more about being good Europeans than the defence of the UK.

        Do we need to launch 100 in a night? Not if the US are involved no. If we (or Europe) wanted to do something on our own then 100 isn’t many. Imagine how many it would take to knock an airfield. Of course having enough airframes to carry them is another thing. And if it were alongish campaign, say a few weeks, against a peer enemy we would probably have few planes than when we started.

        All a bit of muddle. We just have trust our betters in the MoD know better and that we mere civilians shouldn’t get involved. 🙂

        • “Storm Shadow / SCALP-N has shorter range and is a bit more expensive too.”

          Only if you believe the official figures.

          Have a look at the physical size, warhead weight in relation to a Tomahawk…they’re pretty much exactly the same. Except that Storm Shadow has better aerodynamics/lift and a newer engine….the range will be pretty similar….Storm Shadow is likely to be more survivable with its LO shape as well, as well as having a better warhead for hard targets.

  9. We’re currently undermanned, short on equipment and most definitely lacking in land attack options for our current and future surface fleet.

    Clearly more needs to be done to address this sooner rather than later!

    “The former commander of the US Army in Europe has warned it is “very likely” his country will be at war with China in 15 years.

    Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said European allies will have to do more to protect themselves in the face of a resurgent Russia, as the US will need to focus on defending its interests in the Pacific.”

    https://news.sky.com/story/former-commander-says-us-very-likely-to-be-at-war-with-china-in-15-years-11534916

    • We shall be fine!

      By then we will be a colony of economic migrants led by a bloke called Corbyn who’s chancellor is a self avowed Marxist, thinks the IRA should be honoured, the armed forces dismantled, counts most of Britain’s potential enemies as friends, and thinks anyone with a slither of pride in their country, it’s culture, history, and values is a racist. That’s us brexiteers and other old fashioned traditional types to the uninitiated.

      Oh and he’s a friend of Russia too. We shall be Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier!

      Me, I’m off to New Zealand!

      • (Chris H) Danele – I am sticking around as I am an awkward b’stard. I fought by peaceful means against the EU concept (while supporting the EEC) for 20+ years and achieved one of my life’s ambitions as an area organiser when we won that vote in 2016. I will not have that taken from me.

        To see the Leftie Guardianistas of the London Metropolitan Bubble who proliferate the broadcast media attempting to deny me and 17.4 Mn others their democratically decided wishes makes me even more determined to fight back. And this time it won’t be peaceful. We are the quiet majority. We always were and why the ‘Establishment’ let alone the media hadn’t a clue they would lose and why they are still in shock. I mean how very dare we NOT like their beloved EU? But deny us our victory? They are clever, deceitful and very well placed people. They create trigger phrases that are not quite what they sound:
        – A ‘Tory Brexit’? This wasn’t a Government policy as the Government of the day hugely supported ‘remain’. So it is a fraudulently label
        – ‘A People’s Vote’? Well we had one in 1975 and another in 2016. The next is due in 2057. Happily I won’t be around to take part! But I will delay my 72nd birthday by a day next March to celebrate the freedom I have fought for. And before a certain individual labels me a ‘kipper’ again I have never ever belonged to ANY political party let alone UKIP
        – ‘Deal, No Deal or Remain’ a question designed to fracture the Brexit vote and consolidate the Remain vote.

        Parliament should tread very carefully over Brexit. They have lined up on party lines rather than on ways to obtain the best deal. The huge divisions in both Tory (very visible) and Labour (there but not so visible) Parties show how fractured it is. And the Prime Minister has had to fight her own backbench Remain and Brexit factions, the Labour Party Lefties and the partisan media. Oh and the small matter of a powerful foreign power called the EU. To get as far as she has is just a huge achievement against massive odds. People forget she has not lost a Brexit related vote in Parliament despite the best and devious efforts of the EU Luvvies in the Lords. MPs need to understand they (on this matter) must deliver what we voted for. Had the referendum been fought on a constituency basis Leave would have commanded a 420 to 235 seat victory. 64% of seats in Great Britain voting Leave. In the 2017 general election 75% of constituencies that were won by the Conservatives voted to Leave while around 61% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave. MPs will need to explain themselves at the next election given that BOTH parties were elected on a Brexit manifesto only last year if they do NOT deliver Brexit.

        • So am Chris. So am I!

          My piece was delivered in a joking manner. I love my nation and I’m not going anywhere.

          I certainly am a UKIP member and make NO APOLOGY to ANYONE for being so.

          UKIP is not an illegal organisation, despite what the howling left claim or what, quite sickeningly, is suggested by teachers in schools trying to brainwash youth with their leftist PC agenda.

          Indeed, if the nation had Proportional Representation it would have over 80 seats with its 12.4% of the vote.

          So come on people, moan for me being a “Kipper” and we will keep pushing Nigel Farage right down the establishments throat. I support that man and his fight against the EU and the establishment for as long as necessary. I have been labelled a “facist” while out on campaign for that man, by people who know nothing of me, my interests, beliefs, qualities, or faults. Simply because I want the UK to be rid of the EU.

          Quite incredible if you think about it.

          So whatever Mr Fedaykin thinks or says….I don’t give a toss.

          I’n my experience most of us “kippers” are Tories sick to death over how things have been going. If a traditional Tory party returns one day with the UK taking its rightful place as one of the worlds independent nations with the EU exposed for what it is UKIP, and others of its kind emerging in Europe, will have served its purpose.

          • (Chris H) Daniele – I was not running down UKIP merely making the point my objections to the EU are not party political. Having said that I have shared a platform with Nigel Farage and our local UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn and have utterly admired his stand against the EU for 20+ years. What he has achieved has been momentous and THAT is why the Establishment morons hate him. They hate achievers…

            It was HIS achieving more votes than the SNP and LIbDems combined in 2015 (and they got 64 seats) that frit Cameron into calling that Referendum but thinking he could win it. His only mistake was to take sides. One could argue that it was Leave voters abandoning UKIP and returning to Labour that lost TM her majority in 2017. It was close as some 750 votes over a few seats decided it. She still won by a country mile though – 20% more seats than Corbyn managed

      • Can we do away with the “quiet” majority thing? People screech on both sides, and by writing paragraph after paragraph on the internet, you’re doing the same as the people you resent.

        (This is not intended as an argument starter, but more a credibility tip.)

        • (Chris H) Evan – I was referring to the occasion of the referendum campaign and vote. The power of feeling was just not seen let alone read by the so called polling experts – and why it was a ‘quiet majority’.

          And with respect we Brexiteers really don’t need to ‘screech’ do we? We won. Its the people who lost that are doing the ‘screeching’ and name calling. Like 700,000 EU lovers in London last week. All wishing to ignore and overturn the democratic wishes of the British Electorate before they have been carried out. THAT was my point – We have a vote, we carry out the wishes expressed in that vote and then after a period of time we can have another vote. This democratic principle was one of the reasons for a Fixed Term Parliament supported on all sides at the time as I recall? That is democracy. But the Remainers are not prepared to wait are they?

          And I am not sure writing something can be classed as ‘screeching’ .. ..

  10. We live in dangerous times. I would say there are many occasions when a visible deterrent short of a carrier group e.g. a singleton TLAM equipped T26 sends an appropriate diplomatic signal. So I think a modest buy of Tomahawks from existing stocks with hopefully a decent shelf life would be a wise purchase and quite affordable.

  11. Couple of points on Mk41.
    It doesn’t take Harpoon. Harpoon only fires from the standard 4 tube angled launchers.
    The 24 strike length Mk 41s on a T26 will be for whatever is bought but it wont be Harpoon.

    • LRASM then. Harpoons is decrepit and now easily defeated by most reasonable CIWS.
      We should but ASROC, LRASM, NSM and Tomahawk on our mk41 vl tubes. Also worth pointing out although these launch tubes are the ready arsenal I am pretty sure most decent warships carry a reload.
      So 24 mk41 tubes is likely not the only weapons load carried.

  12. The prinipal issue for now is having sufficient numbers(!) of capable naval platforms. If that means bona fide ‘fitted for but not with’ in order to aid the number of platforms, that’s fine in my view. Intelligent monitoring of changing international politics over time would SHOULD lead to increased investment in suitable weapons procurement. As a for instance, the archtypical ‘weapons platform’ we currently invest in is the aircraft carrier. So, with due caution – ‘so far so good’.

  13. Arguably, the most expensive weapons systems are those that are never used in anger. As such, it seems to make sense to have one missile that is capable of both land attack and anti-ship strike, as this would greatly increase the chances of it being used, rather than sitting on a shelf until it time expires.

  14. Gosh, surely we don’t need a platform that can actually attack an enemy do we? As long as it can defend itself and run away is all that matters. Why waste millions kitting out our ships to WIN wars!
    Other countries are just mad equipping almost all their platforms with asm and land attack missiles. All the money saved will enable us to buy more ships that can run away from trouble. 😜

  15. But seriously, surely we should have stocks of a variety of missiles to carry out specific tasks. These can then be swapped out depending on the mission type. This should be the case for most of our ship types, even the OPVs should have the ability to have asm canisters bolted in at short notice if needed. Our high end platforms should all have enough strike cells to use a variety of things at the same time, or the enemy will know which method of attack to use depending on which platforms they see us using, ie Predominantly Tlam, they attack with subs, predominantly Asroc, attack by air.

  16. Not arming our warships with ASMs is mad irresponsability. Bit like withdrawing rifles from the army & making do with pistols, or dropping 2 blokes form every football team(9-man squad). Nobody else would ever be so stupid.
    Nobody else would ever be so stupid.
    Nobody else would ever be so stupid.
    Nobody else would ever be so stupid.
    Nobody else would ever be so stupid.
    (Just trying to make a point)

    Pull your finger out HMG & give our ships a fighting chance.

    • This is what I think. The Canadian and Australian models will have 8 cannister launched AShM where we will have 24 CAMM mid-ship, and they (well at least the Australians) will have 32 MK41 VLS at the front instead of the 24 we have. If we had that fit out, and still carried 48 CAMM quad packed in the MK41, we’d have 20 empty MK41 to pack with whatever we wanted with the AShM and AAW roles already met. In out current fit out we’d have only 16, as eight would have to be filled, I presume, with AShM missiles. Now that is a gain of only 4, but there is much more flexibility, and we could for example fill the quad-packed CAMM carrying MK41 with CAMM-ER or an American AAW or, if the needs meet, with less AAW missiles and more land attack missiles.

    • “Type 26 needs LRASM in canister fit?”

      Where would it go? Plus, what are the short and long term options for VLS-launched ASM? If practical that would seem to be a better way to go.

      Is the final destination Spear cap 5? Is that intended to have a VLS option? I think the French launch their naval version of Storm Shadow vertically don’t they? Since Spear cap 5 is intended to be the SS replacement I would hope that will have a VLS launch option when it eventually gets into service.

      • LRASM is a non-starter in many ways. People get confused about when it will arrive. LRASM cap 1 is air launch only, specifically F-18 and B-1, which obviously the UK does not operate.
        LRASM cap 2 is VLS launched (potentially canister launched as well) is not due for the USN until at least 2025, possibly later. It wouldn’t reach the RN until 2027 at the least. That date is really close to the proposed Franco British FC/ASW missiles in service timeline (the MBDA Perseus was a proposal for it). That would replace Exocet and Storm Shadow/SCALP. Presumably it will come in air launched, vertical launched (and therefore ground launched) and hopefully sub-sea launched versions.
        Any purchase of LRASM would jeopardise FC/ASW, and thats not going to happen.

        Thats why an interim purchase of a small number of NSM (or more accurately) a surface launched JSM would make sense. Use them to replace Harpoon in canisters on the deck. Then when FC/ASW arrives transition them to air-launched from F-35 and P-8 where they’ll already have their integration paid for by Norway and Australia. AShM capability restored. If FC/ASW doesn’t come in sub-sea launch variant the Norgies are looking to develop a JSM for subs…
        Job Done.
        SPEAR could bridge the gap for F-35 anti ship work, and P-8 could borrow Harpoon from USN stockpiles in the interim for P-8 antiship work.

        • If LRASM is unlikely to be ready until close to Perseus in-service date then we should fit out type 26s with Norwegian anti ship missile. What’s not to like?
          Stealthy, independently targettable. Cannister or mk41 launch capable. Land attack capable and relatively cheap.

  17. TLAM is already a very old design and by the time the Type26 is in service it will be obsolete.The U.S. is doing preliminary work on a replacement so it would be better to wait for the new Anglo French weapon which is going to be high supersonic maybe hypersonic and hopefully multi use.There will only be 3 Type 26 in service by 2030 so timeframes aren’t that misaligned.
    The RAF needs to replace Storm shadow by 2030 so this also aligns well and total numbers and commonality will be better plus it supports British high tech jobs.

    • Absolutely spot on. TLAM and LRASM for T26 (or T45 if they ever get Mk.41) must be resisted. We need to focus on FC/ASW (MBDA Perseus was a proposal). We’ve got plenty of Storm Shadow and sufficient TLAM from Astute for the time being.

      The capability that needs to be bridged is Anti ship. Even then that is a marginal capability, Sea Venom would realistically take most of the load (we’ve never fired a Harpoon, Sub-Harpoon, Martel, Exocet or Sea Eagle at a live target in 50 years of carrying AShM’s, but we did fire a load of Sea Skua…).
      The only thing we need to do is persuade the Norgies to adapt the JSM to canister launch. The NSM (from which the JSM is derived) is canister launched only, BUT cannot be VL’d or air launched. The changes necessary to fit JSM in the F-35 have meant it is VL capable, it wouldn’t be hard for the Norgies to bolt on the NSM booster and put it in a canister, very easy in fact. Purchase a limited number (say 100) and stick them in canisters on T45 and T26. When FC/ASW arrives in 2030 transition them to air launched from F-35 and P-8. The Norgies and Aussies are paying for the integration on those platforms already. If FC/ASW isn’t sub launched (unlikely as the French will insist it is) the best Astute could hope for would be a sub launched JSM as the Norgies have looked at that already. Without VL tubes the Astute won’t be able to launch the future US cruise missile as all the US boats will have VL tubes…a massive oversight for Astute, unforgivable in fact.

      • Definitely agree that SPEAR Cap 5 is what the end destination should be. MBDA have a great record of delivering good stuff, e.g. Aster, Sea Ceptor and now SPEAR Cap 3 looking extremely promising so I am optimistic about something like Perseus eventually being delivered and being good.

        On JSM/NSM, which I am also a fan of, you say “The changes necessary to fit JSM in the F-35 have meant it is VL capable” but then go on to talk about canister launching. If JSM is VL-capable and we are buying shiny new MK41 silos for the T26 then why wouldn’t/couldn’t we simply go with JSM VL as the stopgap until SPEAR Cap 5 is ready? If it’s only theoretically capable but not actually certified for Mk41 yet I would have thought Kongsberg would be very motivated to get it certified to increase its potential market.

        If we did have to go canister for reasons I am not yet understanding then where would they go? Would they need to go where the midships 24 x Sea Ceptor silo is leaving T26 with only the forward 24 x SC? That seems far less attractive to me than finding some way to use the Mk41 for anti-ship stuff.

        Despite my personal desire to now use the T31 budget to try and capitalise on T26 RAN & RCN wins and get better pricing to expand and accelerate the T26 program, if we do still go T31 a canister-launched JSM would be interesting there. If F-35 and P-8 get JSM then it would be elegant to have canister-launched JSM rather than NSM on T-31 for total commonality and with soft-launch Sea Ceptor silos being able to handle hopefully also the ER variant and MBDA having talked about and even shown mockups of soft-launch SPEAR Cap 3 in the past all that together could avoid the need for costly Mk41 in T31 thus helping it keep to budget and hopefully getting built in decent numbers (absolute minimum 6 but hopefully 8).

  18. If we can wait until 2030’s until we have a viable asm, then by the same logic, why do the raf need air to air missiles for our fighters? Why not get rid to save some money for a few years.
    The RAF would be up in arms if this were the case. We all know the few harpoons we have are unlikely to trouble anyone but those with the weakest of defences, so why is the RN not up in arms over this matter? Then you factor how the RAF has multiple weapon types to attack a range of target types, against what for the RN? A couple of helicopters with torpedoes to attack subs and a few dozen aging Tlams. The underinvestment in offensive weaponry for the RN is criminal.
    Let’s hope Spear 3 and Perseus are ready and effective for the 2030’s. We only have around 12 years to wait. I’m sure our aggressors are happy to wait until it’s a fairer fight 🙄.
    We need to source a stop gap asm, such as the Norwegian offering. After we have our own, our smaller platforms and amphibious ships could use them so they wouldn’t be wasted. We need one off big hitters, and smaller cheaper swarming options in this area.
    We should be developing ultra fast and long range torpedos and arming our frigates, not just helicopters with them again.
    If we can get dragon fire developed, do we need so many seaceptor? That space could be used for more mk41.
    People have said, I’d rather have numbers than all heavily armed, but if they can’t fight they have no point in my opinion.

    • The reason the RN aren’t up in arms is because the attack subs are the primary anti ship weapon and always will be.

      Having said that, yes I want to see a the Naval Strike Missile bolted to the Type 23s and Type 45s tomorrow.

      • That’s all very well, but how many of our 7 attack subs can we put to sea at the same time? At least one would be needed for the carrier in a defensive role. So we might only have 2-3 others. There’s a lot of sea out there, and in a major conflict they can’t be everywhere at once.
        We would need a much bigger sub force to say our surface fleet can do without the ability to take out other ships and subs.

    • Dragonfire is never going to be anything more than a Very, Very , Very Short range last ditch weapon. It certainly is not going to be capable of reaching out to the 25K range of Sea Ceptor.
      Dragonfire may be OK against boat attacks ,drones and Helos and I may be wrong but against even an old school Exocet sea skimmer or a pop up Harpoon I cannot see it dealing with missile threats.
      High power lasers and the maritime environment dont make a good mix.

  19. Interesting to see how the US is looking upgrade their super hornet fleet with some interesting ways of tracking stealth aircraft at long range.

    How the Navy’s New Block III Super Hornet Could Crush China’s J-20 or Russia’s Su-57

    “If you have a single IRST ship, with your IRST, you can get a line of bearing—it’s going to see a hot spot out there, what direction it’s in, but it doesn’t have the distance. You don’t have a weapons quality track,” Kornegay said. “Now if you combine two aircraft, the fusion algorithm, now you have lines of bearing from two different sources. Where those two sources cross, the algorithm is going to compute a weapons quality track on that aircraft. So that’s a huge advantage for the warfighter to see that long before you’re in the enemy’s radar range.”

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-the-navys-new-block-iii-super-hornet-could-crush-chinas-25964

      • Interesting video in this link as well. Between now and 2035, a mix of aircraft with a larger payload and range would make a great deal of sense while at the same time keeping the US happy if we decide to reduce the number of F35 airframes. The new F-18 Growler would also be a welcome addition to our carrier air wing.

        Australia is purchasing both as I understand, so any future conflict in the south China sea, for example, would give us an increased level of compatibility with US carriers and land-based Australian operations.

        https://navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2018/march-2018-navy-naval-defense-news/6000-video-the-boeing-f-a-18-super-hornet-block-iii-is-go.html

        • (Chris H) Nigel – the earliest QE may get any CATOBAR conversion will be at her mid life refit in about 2040. By which time F-18s will be in the Boneyard and acting as gate guardians.

          Australian F-18s are not configured for carrier use and their pilots are not carrier qualified. So I don’t see any relevance above other land based aircraft especially as the RAAF are becoming a 100% F-35A Air Force.

          We already have compatibility with US Forces with the USMC and their F-35Bs. We have taken the strategic decision that compatibility with US Navy aircraft is not beneficial to us and therefore not necessary given our shared operations with the USMC. Being able to operate with the one and only French carrier and its Rafales when it and they are available is irrelevant.

          As for Growlers the F-35B has suppression capability and why the RAF are working up tactics that use a B to suppress radar and other detection systems in a hostile environment and then bring in the Typhoon bomb trucks delivering at distance or close in as necessary. So to be honest we are already working up the ideas you mention and we don’t need to get into buying yet another airframe, its support systems and all the training that goes with it. And what is basically a 30 year old aircraft. We are retiring Tornado for those very reasons!

          By the time QE gets her refit in 2040 Tempest will, hopefully, have already been in service for 5 years and it will have CATOBAR capability designed in. Although I really do believe that by then we will have very high powered aircraft using STOBAR and ramps alongside ‘Mk II’ F-35s using ramps and SRVL. I think the Americans for very understandable reasons have invested in the wrong technology (EMALS) at the wrong time. We may have just got ahead of the carrier game and why the US Navy is now taking a really (I mean REALLY) close look at how QE is performing. A ship that cost some 30% of what the Ford cost and is already well into flight certification and IOC approvals right on their Eastern doorstep

  20. Problem I’m the UK is the treasury decides how many launchers a ship can have, if any. they don’t mind an SSN firing off 5 or 6 while the US fires over 100 but tell them you will build a warship with the capability to fire $100 million dollars worth of weapons in 5 minutes you will have a problem.

    The treasury knows the chances of the RN firing AA or ASM is relatively remote but NATO forces consistently launch a couple of hundred land Attack missiles every 3 years on average and they don’t want the UK to make up a substantial amount of this.

    The treasury and the MOD don’t even think about major war as a remote possibility which is why most of our ships are barley armed. T23’ carrying just 4 seawolf, half of T45 without ASM and t45 missing strike length launchers they we designed to carry are all examples of this.

    • Thats a valid point. If the Prime Minister agreed with the US President to launch a joint strike on ISIS and had an asset available to launch 50 missiles but only wanted to launch 2 while the US launched 100 it would create a bit of a diplomatic row.

  21. It’s pretty simple when you boil it down. Thomahawk are insanely expensive and so we only have a handful of them. Libya demonstrated we don’t have enough to arm our subs, what’s the point of paying for capability within the t23 for a weapon they will never have missiles for. Focus on what we can afford rather than what would be ideal. We don’t need surface ships with long attack missilea and subs, it’s duplication of capability

    • TLAM are cheap for what they are really. Everything is relative. Consider Javelin is like 50 to 75k a pop or a bang if you prefer.

      • The question is what are you going to take out with TLAM, realistically they will be used against the target radars etc on day one of a war, in which case it is far safer to fire from a sub than a surface vessel.

        Once the initial assault has been launched, are they really that useful?

        I honestly think the money is better spent else where.

    • That’s the issue Steve, TLAM’s may be expensive but they are also a vital part of day one warfare for SEAD. If the UK cannot conduct a sovereign action against even a moderate opponent like Libya requiring around 100 TLAM’s then what’s the point of spending GBP 40 billion a year on HM Forces?

      If all we can do its contribute to US missions then we are better off copying EU countries and cutting defence spending by 50%.

      The cost of equipping the RN to be able to launch 100 TLAM’s in one go is pretty small compared to the 7 billion or so we spend each year on an Army that we refuse to use.

      • My point is the money isn’t there. If some money is made available, wouldn’t it be better to spend it on more missiles to fill up the astute (each could in theory carry 30 odd) instead of fitting out the new frigates to fire the missiles.

        What might be interesting, is to buy some more tomahawks to fill up the subs (worst case scenario, we should be able to get 4 of the 7 active and maybe 1 of the SSBM’s could be used also, should give give you the 100 odd target, or realistically around 70 allowing for torpedoes being needed) and then fit the frigates to fire the shorter range, but still useful shadow storm, which we appear to have a higher number of, like the French have done.

  22. Good evening all
    As stated, no decision has yet been taken – these are normally planted questions in preparation for an announcement.
    Whilst Glasgow is years away from putting to sea the systems that constitute the platform are very much in development and in use.
    The most complex part of any weapon system is the integration that makes the whole thing work, Type 26 is going to be a hugely complex fighting platform – we are paying “top dollar” for it.
    The only piece of the puzzle missing now is what is going to fill the 24 Mk41 tubes just in front of the bridge. These weapons will need to be fully integrated into the system that manages it and derisking these things need to start as early as possible.
    The easiest part of warship building is the physical steel construction, that’s why you have a ship builder like Cammel Laird working with a system designer and integrator like BAES to put forward Leander (T31e).
    You have the best of both worlds at a manageable cost, something that will require Babcock to seriously up its game if it wants to win that bid.
    TLAM represents a low risk option, it’s in service now, we have an SO1 desk officer based within the USN programme office so we can help shape the future design of the weapon.
    It’s in use within the USN surface and sub surface fleets and is a proven weapon system. The question is – is it a ship killer? Probably not, this is where we need to look slightly outside of the box and be a bit patient. As Daniele has said, this is an ASW platform first and foremost protecting a carrier from sub attack, surrounded by aircraft that can deal with enemy shipping using different weapon systems – the golf bag approach for those in the know.
    We have a great platform, picked now by another 2 five eye nations (3/5). If you start integrating weapons that are used by your larger ally maybe they will start to look at the GCS and think “maybe we should revisit FF(X) especially now that the Italians are entertaining the Russians and challenging the EU and more importantly the markets with their new budget proposals (including £350m cut to defence budget).

    This is a good time to be in defence, lots going on – decisions are getting nearer, choices are going to have to be made.
    I think we are all standing by, regardless of politics or beliefs.

  23. Does anyone know what weapons are being referred to in this statement?
    ”range of candidate solutions are currently being considered”
    I guess LRASM and Tomahawk. Anything else?

    • The only way the T45 will ever get mk41 is if we start to use them with SM3 for ABM or possibly if we purchase LRASM for a harpoon replacement which seems unlikely.

      • Agreed. Even if T45 does get ABM capability it is also very possible that the MoD might take the Aster 30 NT route to ABM in which case Mk41 wouldn’t be necessary. I would hope that maybe at that point the Mk41 space might get used for a dedicated T26-style Sea Ceptor silo to offload some of the Aster 15 slots (by using SC instead) and leaving more space for long range and ABM in the Sylver silo but knowing the U.K. we’d probably end up trying to shoehorn all 3 roles (short/medium range AAW, long range AAW and ABM) into the single 48 tube silo which for a dedicated AAW vessel tasked with protecting our key assets such as carriers seems an uncomfortably tight fit.

        • Interesting set of views as always.

          I would remind everyone of a few things:

          T26 is the first RN surface ship to have this capability and 24 cells is not an inconsiderable platform, especially when added to 48 SeaCeptor. Whilst 2 x 24 Mk41 would be far better, its still a good fit out and arguably the best in Europe.

          I also believe that T26 can accommodate 2×4 canisters, so again good news.

          8 of these ships are very capable, if we can then add a larger fleet of T31 with SeaCeptor only and fit out the T45 with 16-24 Mk41 this would be an exceptional uplift in capability in my opinion.

          We also still have the Astutes which can use TLAMS as well (which could be reduced in favour of more Spearfish) so it really is a balanced fit out in my view.

          Ideally it would be great to have 48 Mk41 and 24 Sea Ceptor Cells, but this is a cost trade off that I believe is acceptable.

          Its certainly a very capable platform however you look at it

  24. Everyone on this site should research ideological subversion and see what’s been happening to the west since the end of the Second World War

  25. If the Australians and Canadians are designing better weapon capability than we had planned, surely we can use their hard work to make ours better at much less than the normal cost of making changes?
    It makes no sense to me that two smaller economies and navies can do this better than we can?

    • (Chris H) Leo Jones and others above – An excellent discussion but I wouldn’t use the term ‘better’ myself as regards Aussie or Canadian T26s. Different for sure but then you have to have regard to the assets they are already deploying or will soon deploy. We have arguably the most capable ASW Frigate in the world in Type 23 and soon(ish) in the Type 26. We also have arguably the most capable air defence and control Destroyer in Type 45 which is barely half way through its service life.

      To put that into context: A DDG51 Destroyer has far more overall weaponry than a 23 or 45 but is not as capable as either in their specific roles. Therefore why would we try and create another DDG51 with (in those specific roles) irrelevant weapons?

      The RN have a different philosophy to the US Navy, RAN and RCN and nothing wrong with that so before we criticise or offer changes we do need to understand what each ship type’s core role is and why we created that capability.

      Hope this puts some context into the discussion …

      • It does and it doesn’t.

        Vessels that only excel at one task only make sense when you have a large enough navy to have task groups of different types of vessels.

        With the Royal Navy constantly reducing in size, we need multi-role ships that can operate solo. The t23 has decent subsurface coverage, and hopefully soon ish will have decent surface warfare coverage, what it misses is being able to provide air defence for a task group, sea ceptor is just too short range. even though it is a big upgrade on the sea wolf.

        The t26 could have been the universal ship with a minor tweak of also supporting Astar30.

        The approach Australia appears to be taking is to make it more multi-functional.

        • I agree with this analysis and would add one thing, The RN is better (perhaps) than the USN at underwater skills (ASW/MCM) as it trains more on this, not because its kit is necessarily better.

          A T26 with a second bank of Mk41 and a Sampson ( or its replacement) would be unbelievable and for me the best ship of its type in the world. So for an extra £10-20m per ship we can have a real game changer.

          What we need is 13 high end AAW/ASW capable escorts with TLAM and ABM capability and then 25 multi mission T31 that do virtually everything else.

          All need to be multi mission as do the future RFA vessels which need to be joint amphibious/support vessels, otherwise we will always be looking at reducing these specific assets (constant pressure on the amphib and oilers would be difficult if this capability was combined).

  26. Without wanting to stir up a Hornets Nest,and apologies for being incompetent at providing links – watched a youtube video earler ‘Euronaval 2018 :International Exhibitors’ see if your opinions give any room for optimism.

  27. They will buy the latest block 2+ Harpoon for AShM. It will be cheapest, fits with existing systems and the relationship with Boeing is rapidly developing. It is the the easiest interim solution until the Anglo-French missile is ready in a decade. Not sure they will be fitted to T26, but on T45 and T23, which will be around for quite some time, and the T31, which will have none of the ASW obligations.

  28. Its late and I’m tired.

    However, can someone please explain to me why we are looking at T31 when all indications are that the T26 hull is a great, signed off, platform for whatever we want to do in the next 30 years?

    All knowledgeable people seem to say the hull is the lowest cost single item, and the T26 hull is awesome.

    With a bit of will I’m pretty sure you could make it land an F35b or Osprey as well. Maybe even a Chinook with an extended flight deck – swarm facilities for Big Lizzie.

    I am not forces, but I am struggling to see the benefit of a T31.

    • Morning John
      Warships are built as systems now, F31e being designed from the ground up as a GP frigate, even if sonar suite was added later it would still just be a noisy GP frigate with a sonar suite.
      The RN should have stuck to its guns of 10 years ago when C1/C2/C3 was first floated as an idea. This would have meant single designs, a steady build drumbeat and product sets that could be exported worldwide.
      We now have the C1 in the guise of GCS (T26), we will soon know what C2 will look like (T31e) and we have an idea of the different platforms that are going to fill the lower tier roles (River Class and MCMV fleets). As the MCMV fleets reach the end of their lives I think their is a great opportunity for a new class of MCMV, designed in Britain, built at Cammel and Appledore and exported around the world. It’s all about keeping the momentum up now, if we can design and build for ourselves and export this can only bring down unit price.
      Jobs and lower unit cost – win/win!!

      • I agree on the hope and aspirations for MCMV replacement. BMT’s Venari 85 concept looks to me to be one very interesting candidate for a starting point. I would also hope such a project might go hand in hand with another new UK project, one aimed at building a superior alternative to a roughly Schiebel S-100 sized UAV. Such a drone could substantially enhance the utility of the size of vessel that I think we are both talking about for policing (anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and migrant patrol) roles by greatly extending its surveillance reach and, if such a UK project could really deliver, possibly also giving it some modest teeth in the form of LMM/Martlet. I note that the Venari 85 design has a dedicated UAV hangar.

        Is the C2 (T31e) role still a critical/essential one? I worry that with a suitably well-equipped C3 vessel possibly able to do a good job in lower intensity policing roles and the strict £250m per vessel budget for T31e (if enforced) in danger of making it much closer to a C3 than a C1 might it be better using the T31e budget to expand the T26 program and kick-start the sort of MCMV/C3 and drone projects just discussed? I speak from a position of ignorance and would be very interested to hear the counter-arguments.

        • I was thinking this myself, I think we would have been better ordering a higher spec for the River 2 class to include a hanger and larger main gun similar to the Holland Class (without the expensive Radar) to cover constabulary role duties such as anti piracy, people trafficking and drug trafficking. That way we could keep the existing River class for their current role and instead of ordering 5 T31 order an additional 2 T26.
          It depends how successful this T31 is in the export market as that is the real reason it is being requested. The government seems to think we can target sales in Brazil, Chile, New Zealand and some of the Pac Rim countries

          • I remember the Peacock class in Hong Kong.

            That sort of thing? No heli deck though if I recall?

      • I agree, we need less expensive frigates to boost fleet numbers to be used in less demanding roles, the Type 31e will do this job well and they will be a valuable addition to the fleet. Hopefully the Royal Navy get at least 8 of them.

        I believe the Type 31e will turn out to be a great export success for the U.K. too, many nations with smaller economies will be able to get a pretty serious warship for a suprisingly little amount of money and I believe many will be interested. That they are seen to be good enough for the Royal Navy will only enhance their appeal to smaller nations. The good thing about the Type 31e is these smaller nations will usually want us to build them for them, so there will be a good supply of work for British shipbuilding (probably Cammell Laird), and that is good news, and it’s not very often we get to say that about British shipbuilding.

        Like I say I think the Type 31 is going to turn out a great success story for Britain, as has the Type 26. 2 new aircraft carriers coming on-stream, a rise in the defence budget, there’s plenty to be excited about.

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