With some commentators, rightly or wrongly, arguing that it’s “embarrassing” the Royal Australian Navy will be ordering more Type 26 Frigates than the Royal Navy, some perspective is key. 

We all want a larger fleet but in this instance, embarrassment isn’t warranted.

The following was sent to the UK Defence Journal via our contact form and was penned by a user on Reddit. I thought I’d share the comment here, enjoy.

Not embarrassing at all. The Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy are two very different navies, quite literally a world apart. The challenges that they face are very different and so both the structure and composition of the two navies reflect those differences.

The Royal Australian Navy has to deal with the vast Pacific ocean, the huge amount of commerce that travels through it and upon which they are reliant. They also have to do their part to constrain China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and the wider Pacific. For this reason they need a large number (relative to their countries size and defence budget) of capable, long range endurance, surface warships like the Type 26.

The Royal Navy on the other hand is a true blue water power projection navy, that provides the UK with the means to deliver its army (and air force) anywhere in the world. It’s also has the ability to constrain the passage of Russian warships through the GIUK gap or the Strait of Gibraltar – and by extension the Atlantic sea. The Royal Navy also has the UK strategic nuclear deterrent in addition to a large fleet of nuclear hunter killer submarines.

It’s very crudely comparing apples and oranges to simply total up the number of a single hull type. What the RAN doesn’t have but the RN does is a comprehensive nuclear deterrent, the ability to really project power or the means to physically control access to the seas around their homeland. Likewise, trying to replicate the RN isn’t going to help Australia achieve their goals – they don’t need aircraft carriers, what they need are frigates and plenty of them.

It’s also worth pointing out that the RN plans to order a further 5 of the Type 31e Frigate. The RN dwarves the RAN both in tonnage and hulls.


  1. And we are an island. An island that now needs to protect its fisheries along with Gibraltar. And without the P-8s (yet, and when they get here its too few), decrepit E-3s and aircraft not equipped with a credible anti-shipping capability, its arguable how well we are carrying our present duties.

        • smallest continent in the world and the largest island in the world

          Also you may have SSN’s but you will only have 7, for which the RAN are planning 12 long range SSG’s submarines to which balances out the T31-e.

          The RAN has superior amphibious warfare vessels with the Canberra class compared to the current Albion’s LPD but the RN has accesses to a superior logistical fleet with the RFA than the RAN.

          each has its pros and cons, you talk about the strike carriers that Australia does not need which I disagree, the RAN needs to be able to conduct sea denial(SSG’s) as well as sea control(CVS) operations our doctrine is to fight far from home waters protect the HVT (LHD) we cannot expect host nation support, All FPDA nations are within striking distance from the new reclaimed island militarisation by China. Australia can once again expect to be a vital strategic island. The US doesn’t need more fleet carriers thou the would come in handy the US needs the ADF to sanitise the AO from the lurking submarine threat much like what JPN is has been doing.

          • Let’s see the UK do a deal and build a third QE for Australia and forth one for Canada too. Both Countries are our brothers and need to be strong.

    • P8s are better than nothing though.
      Each one far more capable than the previous fleet.
      Not to mention the MOD looking at wedgetail too.

  2. It is important to note that Australia never suffered a recession following the banking crisis of 2008.

    As a result it did not cope with a huge deficit in Government finances which required big cuts in planned government expenditure.

    I hope the RN is able to increase its surface fleet numbers, but given the current and possible threats it would be more beneficial to order more T31e ships rather than the more expensive T26.

    • Yet Theresa May just found 20Bn extra to spend on the NHS…. It’s not that we don’t have the money – we do – this government (and prior governments to be fair) is simply choosing to not spend it on defence. It’s absolutely scandalous and unforgivable but that’s where we are.

      • Just to clarify David, Mrs May will have to increase our taxes to pay for the promised NHS funding hike following enormous public pressure. Such pressure nor the will to pay increased taxes exists in respect of military expenditure.

        You will understand, there are no hidden pots of money. The taxpayer has to pay and that includes servicing the UK national debt of £1.78 trillion which is a frightening 86.58% of total GDP. Mind you, with a national debt of in excess of $21 trillion, even that figure is dwarfed be that of USA, a figure which is unsustainable.

        • Hi TH – you are not wrong in what you say but I for one would pay more in tax if it meant our Armed Forces received proper funding. In addition, I don’t believe the British public understand the true state of our Armed Forces as they are feed a bunch of lies by HMG. E.g. everyone in the know is well aware that SDSR 2015 isn’t – and never was – fully funded.

          As opined often here (and just below), the Foreign Aid budget is ridiculous at 14Bn/yr. How can this be justified? – and ring fenced at that! That is a kitty that can – and should – be raided to pay for the Armed Forces we so desperately need.

          • I agree that the Foreign Aid budget is unsustainable. Part of it is used though to secure foreign contracts. It is not all as it might seem. However, a percentage of it could be cut and yes, diverted to the defence budget which does support armed forces intervention in disaster relief.

    • not too sure if that’s true. but please tell me it true £14bn is a absurd amount when it is going to the likes of china and India who have active space programmes and open handily take our money

      • Actually I believe both countries have asked the UK to stop, but the UK insists on providing “aid”.

        We would be far better providing countries with British produced container homes, Food, mechanical equipment, transport and medical supplies, delivered by a fleet of British built Helicopters (puma fleet initially whilst 50 Merlins are built) from the decks of British built humanitarian aid and hospital ships (say 8) based upon the Karen Doorman design.

        This would give British industry a nice kick start and our military a reserve force if needed.

        Instead of trying to please a nominal sum given by the UN, how about doing something that benefits everyone. The UK does not even collect 50% of some of its crops, which could be made into nutritious soups etc for parts of the world that are starving.

        I really dont mind helping countries out, but lets be sensible about how we do this whilst helping ourselves.

  3. I am. Embarrassed. They are a lynchpin of UK defence. Anyone who says T-31 isn’t because of budget is havin a laugh. Embarrassed. Still.

  4. While a huge matter of commerce clearly flows through the pacific some of that flow heads in the direction of the UK and that same commerce has further to travel to our shores without which we would cease to function so as a seafaring trading nation where up to 90% of our imports arrive from the sea I would say while not embarrassing is nowhere near enough to keep an island nation afloat.

    Dover I believe is still the busiest shipping lane in the world so a large number of escorts both high and low end are required not to mention the requirement to protect the QE class and the SSBN fleet.

  5. Oh come on.

    Yes, I know that 9 frigates will be Austrailia’s total frigate force.

    Ours should be 13 – not 8 A class plus 5 C class.

    Whatever happened to not having a “2 tier” Navy?

  6. Not really embarrassing. The UK has just under twice the GDP of Australia but more importantly has a fraction of the debt, meaning they have more buying power than the UK. They also have a huge amount of natural resources, meaning they don’t need to buy in raw materials.

    The reality is until the UK gets its debt under control, we have to accept cuts and should interest rates raise, those cuts could get pretty significant.

    The big problem for Australia is their armed forces are about 1/4 the size of the UK, based on key manpower and their population would make increasing that significantly difficult. Without boots on the ground, pretty gear is pointless.

  7. Of course it is embarrassing, the UK is the world’s 6th biggest economy and is buying 5 substandard Type 31 patrol boats because it declares that it can’t afford 13 Type 26.

    It’s HUGELY embarrassing.

    • A little embarrassing, however we still have more destroyers and overall frigate force will be larger. Not to mention 2 carriers.

      What I am hoping is that we will get a boost in sailors in the next defense review, so we can actually put all the ships to sea, which would be a big boost in capability.

      If the threat raises with Russia or elsewhere, there is still a chance that a few of the t23 can be maintained for longer, to fill the period until further frigates can be built, however no point having more frigates than can put to sea.

      What will be embarrassing is if the Australian versions are significantly better armed, due to the UK ones being fitted for but not with or equiv.

    • We may have the 6th largest Economy but we have a crippling debt to service day after day. Imagine you earn a figure that equates to the UKs Economy but a Mortgage the size of the U.K. Debt. How are you going to buy a new car, pay all of the running costs of a modern family with that debt around your neck and it’s interest.

  8. Ron5 obviously upset that BAE systems will not get the T31e project now decides to call it a substandard warship.

    I think the T31e will a useful ship for the RN and export markets. A new dawn for UK designed warships.

    Not everyone can afford to spend £20bn on 9 warships.

  9. It is embarrassing, we as a nation should be able to purchase a round 16 ( we originally had 16 x Type 23 until 3 were sold). Added to that the Aussie vessels will be a better breed equipped with Aegis which will give them a vastly superior Anti Air capability whilst we make do with Artisan and Sea Ceptor………

  10. I am not embarrassed by this as the facts will speak for themselves over time.

    The UK will end up with at least 13 T26 as I believe this is the platform of choice to replace T45, which is coming to its mid life point quicker than most would imagine. Add in a better radar and T26 becomes a Burke class destroyer, something I have advocated for some time.

    If we go with Arrowhead 140, this is allows us to have an already proven and large secondary platform for all other duties, if we can get 25 of these into the water as replacement for almost everything else (rivers, hunts,sandowns etc) then we would essentially have a 2 hull surface escort fleet that is world class.

    Our Global Combat Ship (T26) would be the most advanced ASW/AAW frigate in the world and our Global Mission Ship would be the most adaptable platform in the world.

    If we accept that to replace 19 Escorts is going to cost £24bn but we can have 13 of these (say £15bn) and 25 Arrowhead (say £10bn – or £400m each) and save money by not replacing the 15 mine and 6 Rivers then surely that is a great deal and puts us in a far better position, even though our hulls and budget have reduced overall. Money saved on the above can go to a better fit out of the arrowheads, and we still save a shed load of money, whilst increasing capability through the use of unmanned systems (such as mine countermeasures etc.)

    Use the money save from the 21 ships not being replace to create a much larger small ships fleet of P2000 replacements (safe boat Mk6 my favourite) 50 maybe and CB90’s – 200 for the marines instead of PAC Rhibs.

    Time to really go for it and rebalance the navy around fewer more meaningful hull types and get the scale up to where we need it.

    It’s what we will end up with that counts and for me this puts the T26 at the head of the queue to replace T45 and release a load of funding to T31, so great news indeed.

    • “The UK will end up with at least 13 T26 as I believe this is the platform of choice to replace T45”.

      Maybe, but I’d love Gunbuster to jump in here because I have one potential concern about T26 in the AAW role. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% with you and want it to be practical because of what I assume would be economies from using the same basic hull & propulsion design but my hopefully unfounded concern is the radar.

      T45 is arguably the best AAW out there and it has not only Sampson for tracking but also S1850 for wide area search. Although I believe BAE claim Sampson can do it all I’ve read commentary that having the two radars is a big advantage for T45 in flexibility, allowing each radar to specialise, presumably some redundancy and just generally throwing in more compute power. This raises a couple of questions for me – Is a second totally separate wide area search radar essential to remain a contender for best AAW vessel in the world and, if yes, then where could that second radar go on T26? I would hate to see our next generation AAW capability “dumbed down” in order to shoehorn it into a T26 form factor.

      By the way, I am sure you and others will note the irony that, being derived from the Iver Huitfeldt class frigate, the Arrowhead 140 proposal for T31e does actually have an in-service example of being able to host two radars with the search radar at the back near the funnels.

      (Two radars obviously only talking about the big stuff and ignoring other smaller nav radars that might be installed.)

      • Julian,

        I did think about this before posting actually, I think the follow on batch of “enhanced” T26 can easily accommodate the S1850 Radar on top of its hanger, and dont actually rule out an arrowhead AAW either.

        that was actually my real point, by moving to these 2 world class platforms (huitfeldt is already world class – I hope we improve it further) we give ourselves a massive ability to get scale into the fleet and our industrial base, and can choose what we do with each.

        My personal view is that we should use the T26 hull etc as much as we can, and an all encompassing T26 would be a mighty platform to have even at £1bn (lets hope £800m) each.

        We have invested so much into it that we must move it forward, and I dont really see the point to design something new for T45 when we have such a good hull form to start with, spend the money on a better sensor and weapons fit.

        So yes I think 2 radars is the way to go for AAW assets but on which platform I will let others decide

      • T26 with CEAFAR 2 L would give you 2 radars on one mast…oh and its Australian made…that’s a coincidence isnt it…with them buying the T26 design…
        The CEAFAR1 fit gives you a phased array radar for similar performance as say Artisan.
        The CEAFAR 2 L fit gives you another row of phased array panels that give you long range air search.

        The disadvantage is that its a big fit and heavy so it cannot go as high up the mast as say Artisan. That gives you a reduced radar horizon. On a T26 hull its not a hugh issue because of the size of the hull but on a RAN ANZAC which is currently getting that fit it will be a top weight issue and a radar horizon issue.

        • Thanks. CEAFAR 2 sounds good. If the UK were to adopt CEAFAR 2 after the promised RN/MoD evaluation though I would still be much happier if it ended up being CEAFAR 3 (for want of a better name), a blend of Aussie antennae technology and next-generation Sampson back-end architecture and software if that was practical. I fear that simply adopting CEAFAR 2 for our next AAW would effectively be the UK walking away from maintaining a high-end radar design and build capability and be another world-class competence left to wither and die.

      • Indeed AC, but I dont see anyone coming up with a better plan in the halls of power.

        We really need to have a plan now for replacing the whole fleet over the next 25 years and this should be a rolling 25 year cycle.

        We have spent a fortune designing the T26 platform and need to get the most out of that investment, T45 is coming to its end of life around the same time the 8th vessel will be coming off the production line, so it makes sense

        But you are right – if, if ,if ….. someone could make a decision and stick to it….

    • Pacman27,
      I would agree that the MCM vessels go in favour of the flexibility of deployment and capability of USV and UUV countermeasures deployed on frigates, OPVs, RFA vessels as well as shore based, although note we now have 13 rather than 15 commissioned vessels. Not so sure we replace OPV capability with more expensive and greater manning requirements of frigates given they seem well employed on constabulary and other low threat theatre operations but clearly a frigate platform gives far greater flexibility. Where I would differ though is to scale back T31 from your 25x (probably by quite a lot as we do have allies after all) and instead add an SSK capability to RN to double the number of non-SSBN attack subs given the WW focus including PLAN and Russia on sub fleet expansion.

      An AIP SSK capability, say 8x at £400M (or possibly costing less), would complement and overlap with SSN capabilities as quieter, more suited to littoral operations especially in home waters defence as well as special forces and UUV deployment, while SSN are then focused on blue water and long range deployment in conjunction with surface fleets or independent of them.

      These SSK would not need to replicate Shortfin Barracuda or Soryu 4,000 tonne class size and capabilities since we have SSN for that, they would be more like the Swedish A26 under development or the German Type 212 at 2,000 tonnes but with long range, multi-week AIP endurance and the ability to deploy torpedoes and missiles from tubes. Hence they can be less expensive.

      Perhaps not to overlooked is having an “in house” AIP capability enables significant practice using them as “aggressors” against our surface and sub-surface fleet. The AIP threat from actual aggressor nations is significant in both capability and numbers and where we probably shouldn’t just rely on occasional exercises with allies to develop counters to.

      • I am a fan of these, as long as our strategic nuclear building is left intact and indeed enhanced (7 astute is too few on their own and the bare minimum for blue water..

        I think we could have 7 of these for the northern gap and an added bonus is that they provide a great lead in to the nuclear fleet from a training perspective.

        Not against this at all, and actually we wouldn’t have to reduce the volume of T31 to fund it, as it only costs circa £150m per annum if scheduled into the build, or to put it another way 2 astutes.

        The. Only problem I have is the idiots in Whitehall will see that arithmetic and cut the nuclear submarine programme, but that is a risk perhaps worth taking.

    • 50 Mk 6 Safe boats would cost north of 700 Mil dollars…the USN pays 15 Mill each for them and we are not going to get them at that price. Add into that the logistics, spares crew etc and its never ever going to happen.
      Plus they are not that good…They have limited rage and endurance and being aluminum hulled that brings hull fatigue and erosion into the mix.

      • Fair comment GB. but surely we can get something similar to replace the P2000 but offer us something a bit more substantial in the 30m range.

        I take your point but we could do a composite hull at this size of vessel and design our own version. I am not sure when the P2000’s are due for replacement but potentially the tender for the Gibraltar squadron should lead the way, something a bit more substantial, but not too expensive £15-20m seems about right price to me.

        • Here’s a crazy idea. The UK has a maritime history and still has a flourishing industry for mechanical design, materials science, engines etc (e.g. a huge number of the Formula One teams are based in the UK, Graphene was invented at Manchester University, lots of automotive and aero engines etc etc). How about HMG awarding some design contracts to encourage UK industry to come up with a worthy contender in this space. If the Mk 6 Safe boat isn’t that good then that sounds like a gap in the market and an interesting export opportunity (not saying that the USA would necessarily buy them, although you never know, but more the rest of the world).

          • I dont think its crazy at all Julian, I think the MOD should have a design competition for a 30m vessel and a 100m vessel and then put that out to tender. A 100m spartan for instance would surely be a great British success and perhaps could be built in large numbers to replace our OPV’s, border force etc as well.

            First though we need to decide what we actually want and for me its fewer hulls – maybe a little over specified for the lower end types, but able to do more, and then we need fleet management discipline to ensure they have 1 mid life maintenance (yr15) are life cycled into less aggressive tasking as they age and then promptly retired or sold.

            I think we need the following:

            11-19m fast attack craft (CB90/ barracuda) – replace Rhibs and give the RM another option for amphibious landings in contested littoral.

            30m – General purpose inshore patrol craft – replacement for the P2000s.
            100m – Corvette (yes a corvette) replace all OPV’s and minehunters
            Global Mission ship – GP escort/mothership
            Global combat ship – High end full spectrum escort
            Joint Amphibious and Logisitical Support Ship – Multi role ship similar to Karel Doorman class – that would operate in a variety of roles – based on tide class.
            FFT Tide class.
            + Carriers, Subs, Tugs & Workboats and a shed load of unmanned systems.

            What else would we need and btw I think we are 50% there already.

            I have my preferences – we all do. But the strategy is sound and one I think this FSL is pursuing actually.

          • Pacman27,
            I have to say that I wince when I see mention of “amphibious landings in contested littoral” I suppose it depends what you and others mean by that but frankly sending any troops up a contested beach in this day and age seems insane to me. I’d far rather have the equipment and the strategy to put the troops where the enemy isn’t at that point in time, either landing them inshore or farther up or down the coast, or all three. They can then address the enemy on a more equal footing or even with superiority to enable an uncontested landing of heavier equipment.

        • P2000 are ok at what they do. They can take a 20mm fwd if required (FFBNW) and carry a small( Very small!) rib aft. They can carry a respectable number of bods onboard and are OK in a seaway.
          As a CPO in Collingwood I used to assist in taking baby RN apprentices out for a few days on them. The boats belonged to RNR or University Boat Units.
          The big problem we always found was the main engines which where underpowered for the hull and limited top speed…not that doing 25knts in the Mersey estuary in a 30m boat feels in anyway limited….

  11. I look at the whole picture.

    Carriers? SSN? SSBN? Amphibs? RFA? T45 Sea Viper? Royal Marines?

    What are the Aussie equivalents?

    • In regards to carriers the RAN and their Canberra class are capable of operating F35 bs due to their ski jump but at the moment are only ordering the A variant making their the class more of less equivilant to our Albion class. They have no Ssns or Ssbns but do have 6 (in future 12) ssks. In regards to amphibious warfare apart from the two Canberras they also have an ex RFA bay class and a modified vessel of our Round table class so in regards to amphibious warfare the RAN and RN are broadly similar. The RFA massively outclassed the RAN with the RAN only possessing one or two support ships I believe. Their equivilant to the Type 45 is the Hobart class of which they will have three and their equivilant to the Royal Marines is a single batallion of the Royal Australian Regiment (the 2nd batallion i believe) so the UK outclassed them there.

      So in summary although the RAN has only more frigate of a single class they are still outclassed by the Royal Navy but are still a force to be reckoned with.

      • Chris,
        The real point is the the “Effect” the Royal Australian Navy (ADF) are trying to achieve!
        Australia is at the junction of two of the great oceans of the World the Pacific and Indian oceans through which over 60% of the world’s trade travels.
        What are their risks;
        PLAN’s submarine force is the second largest submarine force in the world today. The PLAN currently operates four different classes of conventional submarines:
        Type 039A submarine (NATO designation Yuan-class) – 15 in active service. 5 more under construction.
        Type 039 submarine (NATO designation Song-class) – 13 in active service.
        Kilo-class submarine (NATO designation Kilo-class) – 12 in active service.
        Type 035 submarine (NATO designation Ming-class) – 16 in active service.
        Plus their nuclear submarine force currently has two types of nuclear-powered attack submarines in service:
        Type 095 submarine (NATO designation unknown) – 1 completed to enter service. Unknown number planned.
        Type 093 submarine (NATO designation Shang-class) – 2 in active service. 4 more to enter service.
        Type 091 submarine (NATO designation Han-class) – 3 in active service.
        Now add in North Korean with 70 conventional submarines (true quite a few are obsolete but are still in use), Japan (x22), Vietnam (x6), Indonesia (x4), South Korea (x15), Thailand (x3) etc etc. The area has become very congested subsurface and due to the nature of the region island chains relatively easy to disrupt.
        Therefore Australia has embarked on an concerted effort to combat such potential disruption in a multi-faceted program.
        1. P8-A (12 ordered 7 delivered now operational with 3 more as options) armed with Harpoon missles
        2. MQ-4 Triton (long range unmanned drones x6 on order)
        3. GCS-A (T26 + Aegis combat system) x9 on order
        4. JORN – very long range over the horizon rader system
        5. Wedgetail (E7) AEW&C (x6)
        6. EA18-G Growler (x12) electronic attack and marine strike
        7. FA18-F Super Hornets (x24) maritime strike
        7. F35-A (x72 ordered + additional 28 to be considered)
        The whole purpose is a combined multi dimensional and linked system hence Aegis
        As Australian controlled territory includes the Indian ocean islands of Christmas and Cocos Islands they have fixed bases (read – air bases) to control the entire Indian / Pacific trade route (no aircraft carriers required).
        On the Canberra class they are 27,800t LHDs that can tranfer entire battalions + equipment and able sustain them, they make the Albion Class (400 odd marine force look small/limited). Australia has two plus a bay class which if required could move an entire brigade. Note that this is equivalent to about 85-90% of a USN Expeditionary Strike Force (US has only 3-4 operational at any time), makes Australia a very handy partner in the region and around the world. The Hobart class destroyers are meant to protect the task group (LHD centred)and with 1800t class OPV’s (x12) to add mission systems such as MCM, not a bad scaleable expeditionary fleet. USN in the region would provide the Carriers in a major conflict.
        All of the major ships combat systems are Aegis and include CEC able to use each others sensors, future upgrades to Wedgetail, P8-A’s EA18-G and F35-A’s to align to allow total situational awareness.
        An additional point is that Australia has outlined their Defence acquisition program out to 2030 and these programs although pricey (prices are published as whole of life including design, build, operation and maintaining) have been figured into the program. Planning ahead especially long lead time investments such as major naval units what a strange idea! Welldone Australia

  12. Australia is spending £20bn to get 9 T26 frigates.

    The UK is spending around £10bn to get 8 T26 frigates and just over £1bn to get 5 T31e frigates.

    The Australian deal incurs additional costs for equipment such as CEAFAR, which is more expensive and superior in performance, plus a local build using locally sourced products where available.

    Importantly the Australians have taken a strategic decision to create or maintain a modern shipbuilding industry and are prepared to pay for it.

    The UK doesn’t have the money or political will to incur similar costs, so we end up using foreign steel and inferior weapons, sensors and systems on out T26 and T31E warships.

    Life is tough but we are where we are.

    • You could look at it the other way. Australia is spending £20bn + additional costs for 9 x T26 and we are getting 8 for “only” around £10bn. Yes, we have had to make compromises and the UK ones aren’t going to be as well equipped as the RAN ones but we are getting almost as many ships for about half the cost and it’s not as if the RN ones are going to be by any means rubbish – far from it.

      I do admit that it stings with me a bit too to see the RAN version with seemingly better spec (seemingly because I’m not an expert) – e.g. seemingly much better main radar and the all-Mk41 forward VLS silo being more flexible and offering a bigger missile capacity (had the RN gone that way 6 quad-packed Mk41 would compensate for the lost 24 Sea Ceptor forward silo and the remaining extra Mk41s would have been available for additional other uses or for even more Sea Ceptor).

      My one comfort there is that at least we will have the same superb basic hull so presumably, were the UK to ever need to up-spec its T26s, it could be done and the RAN design would by then have modelled and tested in practice any weight and particularly top-weight issues that needed to be addressed.

      • CEC is overlooked when discussing the RAN frigate. In terms of cooperating with the US, South Korea and Japan it is a significant force multiplier and boost in capability.

    • Total life costs across 30 years – so it isn’t costing them £2bn per ship – its costing them £2bn per ship over the ships lifetime. Not a bad deal at all when seen like that.

      • Yes people tend to forget the RAN and RAAF have tendencies to list the through life of cost of weapon systems.
        One side effect though is it looks terrible whenever they have a plane crash or catch fire. As the news will report the total costs over life instead of purchase price.

        • We’re notch better – I believe our costs include the first 10 years of operations (but could be wrong).

  13. Lots of ifs, ifs, ifs. We are where we are. First, I’m surprised Oz has gone for the T26, although very pleased. Surprised because it is a very high risk project. Very high risk, especially given the U.K.’s glacially slow build programme and having to integrate a complete new radar and combat information system. But they’re obviously very concerned by the Chinese submarine threat, forcing them down this route and also the 12 SSKs. Secondly, I notice a very wise decision by the RAN to fit their T26s with the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system – the single biggest force multiplier you can have when you only possess a few assets. Instead of building more ships the RN could fit CEC to its T45s and T26s and it would be like having twice the number of ships. I’m sure I saw a trial fit on a T45 (or maybe it was just CGI) and Lord West when CNS was promised it in return for reducing the escort fleet to 19 ships, only to be denied it later. Imagine one active Sampson controlling six silent shooters in a task force (2 T45s and 4 T26s). Or a PAAMS Aster being fired under control from an airborn Merlin Crowsnest or a AN/APG-81 on a F-35B.

  14. anybody know if the RAN have selected the helicopter for their T26s. nice photo of a Merlin in the header. !!!

    • whigrubber – the RAN currently use Sikorski MH60R helicopters,these are relatively new so would think they are what will equip their T26’s.

  15. Australian here, delighted the T26 got the nod.
    Our government understands the need to keep an industrial base after the loss of our commercial car industry in SA and Victoria in 2017. Like the UK we had the ability to engineer and build a vehicle from scratch. I believe this has weighed on their decision as well as increasing concern over the militarisation of Asia. T26 seems a good choice if the T23’s anti-submarine capability is anything to go by.
    For Australia this is important, for it confirms the decision to sustain a defence industry that can build from the ground up. The delight on my behalf comes from the decision to use the UK design – it’s been a long while since Australia has done so, and affirms links among the Commonwealth which never should have been lessened.
    Looking forward to seeing the original White Ensign in these waters in years to come too.


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