In a recent report, experts discuss the necessity for the Royal Navy to expand and modernise its submarine fleet to maintain its strategic edge.

The report, ‘A More Lethal Royal Navy: Sharpening Britain’s Naval Power‘ by William Freer and Dr. Emma Salisbury, outlines the current state of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet and provides key recommendations to enhance its capabilities.

Nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) are designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare, and carrying cruise missiles to attack land targets. Modern SSNs are known for their stealth, running quietly and remaining submerged for extended periods without surfacing.

The report highlights the strategic importance of regular submarine patrols: “Regular submarine patrols contribute considerably to deterrence, as an adversary fleet cannot be sure of its ability to operate unchallenged within a patrolled area.” This was exemplified during the Falklands War when the entire Argentine fleet returned to port following the sinking of the light cruiser General Belgrano by HMS Conqueror, an SSN.

The Royal Navy’s SSN fleet currently consists of five Astute class submarines, with two more expected, and one Trafalgar class submarine, which has been upgraded to extend its service life through to 2025.

Both classes are equipped with Tomahawk Block IV land-attack cruise missiles and Spearfish heavy torpedoes. The report notes, “The Tomahawks will be upgraded to the Block V version over the next couple of years to extend their striking range and provide more dynamic targeting capabilities.”

The Astute class will be replaced by a new class of SSNs under the AUKUS programme, a collaborative effort with Australia and the United States. The exact number of SSN-AUKUS submarines for the Royal Navy has not been finalised, with suggestions ranging from seven to twelve.

Recommendations

Additional Dreadnought Class Submarine

The report recommends procuring at least one additional Dreadnought class submarine to mitigate potential delays in the AUKUS programme. “This fifth vessel can be operated as a conventionally armed nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSGN) designed to carry a large payload of strike missiles,” the report states. This would enhance the Royal Navy’s conventionally armed submarine force and provide a backup for the SSBN fleet.

Increase SSN-AUKUS Fleet

The report urges the Royal Navy to order twelve SSN-AUKUS submarines. “Order 12 SSN-AUKUS boats and ensure their design has significant land-attack and anti-ship missile capability, including vertical launching systems (VLS),” it recommends. The integration of VLS would amplify the firepower of British submarines, enabling them to launch a greater number of strikes and potentially serve as a platform for future Hypersonic Cruise Missiles (HCMs).

Ensuring Capability Continuity

The report stresses the importance of avoiding a capability gap between the retirement of the Astute class and the introduction of the SSN-AUKUS class. “Care should be taken to ensure that there is no capability gap between the retirement of the Astute class and the entry into service of the AUKUS class,” it advises.

Collaboration and Workforce Maintenance

To support the submarine industry and maintain a skilled workforce, the report highlights the need to keep the industry active. “This would keep the submarine industry’s workforce active, abating the risk of delays to the AUKUS programme from the need to rebuild the workforce,” it explains.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Jim
Jim (@guest_828850)
16 days ago

Buying an extra Dreadnaught class is a good idea, we can operate two as SSGN as the 4th is only really needed as a back up. If we find the US reducing its NATO commitment in the future then a combined fleet of 5 British and 4 French SSBN’s should be able to maintain 3 SSBN’s on patrol which would in part replace the US Atlantic patrol for NATO. We should make our main national focus producing as many submarines as possible even at the expense of other capabilities. This is the major capability we can do in the world… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_828860)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The design of tge Dreadnought and the Astute successor are particularly to their roles. An extra Dreadnought would be a very poor platform for any conventional weapons. The entire workforce at BIF and all contractors around the country are laughing at your post now

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828903)
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

He’s right on prioritising the SSN capability though. I’d always choose more over extra escorts.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828925)
16 days ago

Totally agree, but if we are looking at home defence and anti submarine rather than land bombardment… what about small, coastal submarines with a limited size crew that have a week or two duration? Cheaper, smaller crews and visible as there is a continuous stream leaving and arriving at base? Short range anti submarine/pipeline protection vessels for what amounts to coastal use and closing down the Western Approaches?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_828934)
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

SSKs don’t have the endurance, payload or powerful sensors of an SSN.
An all nuclear approach is best. Unless luxurious amounts of budget available in which case 4 non nuclear SSNs might prove useful for secondary roles such as littoral warfare, insertion and recovery of special forces and supporting perisher submariner training programmes.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828959)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

You don’t need an SSN to block the North Sea or Baltic. A few short duration subs (not going into power sources – changing too much) costs less, is more ‘visible’ when arriving/departing, and the sensors/armaments are what you want them to be. The North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Baltic are the choke points. Underwater pipes and cables are critical; they aren’t in the middle of the Atlantic.Why use 3Billion SSNs when the alternatives in the critical areas cost a tenth as much each?

Jim
Jim (@guest_828973)
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

If you want to block the North Sea or the Baltic you use mines or aircraft launched from the UK, not expensive vulnerable submarines in shallow water.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828980)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Are you seriously suggesting we mine the North Sea in peace time? The idea is still to deter. And the subs are less vulnerable than a surface option. With aircraft, weather can prove an issue. Countries like Sweden and Germany don’t seem to have an issue using submarines in the North Sea or Baltic – British subs would be North Sea and approaches to the Baltic. Some would be operating in the area between Scotland and Iceland as well.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829004)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

If you blocking the North Sea or Baltic it’s not peace time is it? You can only do that in a war.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_829014)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

OK, so all the navies in the world save money by going to their home ports and pay off the crews until war is declared. Only then do ypu get your crews together and leave port…

Everything has to be in place before a war starts. Cable and pipe cutting will happen before the war officially starts. Submarines slip out to sea and go on station before the war starts. By the time you get your mines laid it’s too late… plus you only want to blockage enemy forces. Mines can’t tell the difference.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_829085)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

What does the threat of being torpedoed do that the threat of minefields being rapidly laid does not? A modern mine of the torpedo type presumably covers an area far larger than a WW2 style contact or magnetic type, and so even a single A400 flying over the North Sea could provide enough of a threat to make a break-in too risky to try. This argument is academic anyway; in any shooting war the NATO aim should really be to hold the Russians back to the GIUK gap and North Cape by aggressively using SSNs to hunt down subs and… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829301)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

We didn’t even really succeed in mining German access to the North Sea in two World Wars so how would you block Russian entry to the North Sea? The Baltic you might have a. Chance though you would have to somehow guarantee free access to NATO assets there while you do it. I think that would be the major effort.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829022)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

If they were SSK, then yes.
I would sincerely hope our SSN would be where they were in the Cold War, in Russia’s backyard, way up north in the Barents, and as you say, in the GIUK gap.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829298)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

During D-Day not one ship was lost to mines after what a 24 to 48 hour De-mining operation. Sorry not sure I have faith that mines would protect the UK, especially in light of the fact we are an island Nation that can only survive with the free access to mass shipping which means we need to de-mine shipping lanes not mine them on mass. Much of Norway is only reachable by sea indeed. Aircraft are an important tool true, but are you guaranteeing they can trace deep diving submarines at will at 100 metres or so some places much… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828987)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Something like the new German/ Norwegian or Swedish diesel subs. BMT also has some useful designs that might be more suited to UK needs and maybe could also be built in the UK.

Last edited 15 days ago by Quentin D63
Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828995)
15 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Whatever does the job Something that could perhaps operate for 2-3 weeks away from base, patrolling along the various cables/pipes, lurking around the various choke points watching for activities by potentially hostile surface or submarine threats. It would need to be stealthy, reasonable speed, decent detection system, offensive weapons capable of neutralizing threats such as submarines or (probably) non naval surface vessels – fishing boats or cargo ships acting to dredge the sea bed…

Jim
Jim (@guest_829005)
15 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

BMT has a couple of CGI videos, they have never built a submarine.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829303)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Have they ever actually built anything? They are the equivalent of architects who use the likes of Arup to actually do the engineering and both oversee the build by the specialist constructors.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_829390)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

It would be a first and they’ll have to partnership with someone else to build them.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829299)
14 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Budget dictates we only buy “Must haves” not “Nice to haves” or impulse buys. That’s across all 3 services, and we don’t have enough must haves of anything. Simple fact is to buy and crew 2 modern SSK you lose 1 SSN 🤔 And it’s always dangerous to buy 2nd best as UK Politicians get the idea that’s all you need. One of the biggest mistakes the RN ever made was in the 1960’s, we were supposed to get 5 Polaris Boats as that is is the optimum number required to operate a reliable and robust CASD. Under a great… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_828961)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Do you always need the gold-plated solution in every situation? Our SSN fleet is tiny and yet we claim to have a Rank 2 bluewater navy, globally deployable. I doubt we could afford very many more SSNs, no matter what this Report aspires to.

Why not have some SSKs for roles where endurance, payload and sensor suite does not have to be ‘top of the range’.

Jim
Jim (@guest_828974)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because we don’t have any roles for submarines that don’t require range and endurance.

We are very far away from the threats we face.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829010)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim, I bow to your greater knowledge. I would have thought we should keep an eye on the Western Approaches, Eastern Atlantic, GRIUK gap (now seemingly called the GIUK gap), Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden etc.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829023)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

😀 I’ve only ever know it as the GIUK mate, not heard GRIUK before?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829241)
15 days ago

Think I might be going back 20 or 30 years there!

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829090)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

To be honest Graham, you don’t want an electric boat toddling around in the western Indian Ocean, it’s to far from home and to open to detection and attack…essentially they are dependent on snorkelling and have less great sensors that’s SSNs which means they are more attack scope dependent…that’s asking for Iran to drop something on it if things got nasty…they are also to slow to evade and run. With GIUK..an electric boat is not a great sensor platform and would have no chance of intercepting an SSN or SSGN making that run. also it’s very clear that Russia is… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829196)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

OK. I hadn’t realised that electric boats were quite so ineffective, despite their numbers and good export sales.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829230)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep the lack of power is essentially crippling compared to an SSN and effects all aspects of how it’s used. 1) they have to be slim and small, which means the Aperture of the sonar is a lot smaller ( what makes the Astute so deadly is it’s very very large flank sonar arrays). 2) even their active sonars suffer being higher frequency lower power compared to SSNs. 3) because of this sensor disadvantage, electric boats are far more dependent on using their attack scopes..which means they are far more detectable by radar. 4)Strategic movement/transit for a electric boat is… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829309)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Mind you they are quieter so an advantage in some scenarios but limited I agree.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829333)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan. In the army we looked at kit differently. Not everything was gold-plated.

We had a range of equipment at various capability/complexity levels and price levels. Our infantry could be mounted in IFVs, wheeled APCs, Protected Mobility vehs, bog-standard trucks (TCVs).
Seems like the Navy don’t want to do that for S/M at least.

Still if there really is no role for an AIP SSK in the RN and if their performance is very limited, then you are right to dismiss them. Not sure everyone agrees though.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829343)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

AIP is to be honest a bit of a red herring that’s simply not as good as a lot of people think it is…it does not remove the need ton snorkel simply because is so rubbish at generating power..if you consider a SSN will have well over 20MWs available power…your average diesel on an electric boat will generate around 3MWs..an AIP system will be at best generating .3MWs…that means an AIP generator is not recharging the battery of a electric boat..it’s just supplementing and elongating the length of time it will be able stay on patrol without snorkelling..but it will… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829393)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks. If so, it makes you wonder why SSNs haven’t completely replaced SSKs. Why do other nations still build and/or buy SSKs?

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829399)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Simply put…lack of nuclear industry..if you don’t have an up and running nuclear industry you cannot build SSNs so the only way to get them is to have a friendly nation that will sell you one ( and that’s only happened twice..India and now Australia).. But in reality most nations that are looking to be either world or regional powers are trying to move to SSNs…but the technology is profoundly difficult…and a poor SSN from an inexperienced nation is not a great prospect. remember the Asute class is the six generation of Uk SSN and that’s now a 30 year… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829488)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan. A very useful answer. You have explained why many countries cannot move to a SSN fleet – but they choose to stick with electric boats and to modernise them, rather than give them up – so they must get some value out of them ie they must match or over-match a threat they consider to be real.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829500)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Indeed they are not completely useless, infact they are good weapons of war… just inferior in so many ways to an SSN and a lot more situational…and if you have say 2.5 billion spare and no access to SSNs but have some small areas/ enclosed sea to defend..4 electric boats is a good buy…but buying them when you could get more of a latest generation SSNs is not sensible. Also drones are something that will probably entirely replace the need for electric boats for basic sea denial in enclosed waters…when you consider its looking like a 50ton large undersea drone… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829654)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks. Interesting to bring in an army analogy. To turn that on its head, the British Army currently has the following indirect fire systems: 81mm mortar, 105mm Light Gun, 155mm Archer wheeled SPG, 155mm AS-90 tracked SPG and GMLRS. In other words a range of systems of varying capability and cost. Still, as you say, the more sophisticated of the blue-water navies have given up the electric boats in favour of an all-SSN force, just that ours is a tiny SSN force. If one SSN is protecting the CASD bomber (a supporting task which is disputed by some), then there… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829988)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Very good explanation, but I’d strongly disavow the Dreadnought as being a U.K SSN, when you pass through “check point Charlie it was plastered with Westinghouse signs.
Valiant, Churchill, Swiftsure, Trafalgar and Astute are our 5 with SSN(A) being 6th.

As for the next generation starting with Dreadnought and Columbia, SSN(A) and SSN(X), they will be very quiet indeed. Just like an EV car compared to a Petrol one.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_829372)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Norway, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands. Italy all have pretty decent SSKs. Do coastal and regional patrols, undersea infrastructure checks need to be /can done by a SSN? Seems a bit over the top. I was thinking that the Castle/MCM/T32 type motherships and UUVs could work more easily with SSKs in this role. Navy Lookout has just done a related article on this.

Last edited 14 days ago by Quentin D63
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829485)
13 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I doubt we use SSNs for coastal patrols (P2000 Archers do that surely) or to check undersea infrastructure.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829308)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Japanese are currently developing a new class to compete with Chinese nuclear subs but I guess it’s mostly in and around the inner island chain which is a great equalising environment but will be interested in finding out more about them and their capabilities and new power set up.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829332)
14 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I take it you mean the Tegai class ?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829307)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Totally agree with your take on that. A drone that can sit for weeks in dead mode is a far better use of electric platforms I reckon. Indeed doesn’t the NG Manta Ray potentially offer exactly this capability with the very aim of sitting on sea beds waiting to strike. It pretty much covers all of the major weaknesses of a manned electric sub and once fully developed much cheaper too and can be expendable in extremis.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829323)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s not as important as hitting the Russian Bastion way further North. Russia doesn’t have the numbers these days and daft as it sounds most days we would be 1 to 1 on Modern SSNs.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829381)
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

OK, thanks. I am sure I am not alone in thinking we, with our blue-water Navy, do not have enough attack subs.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829135)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agree that the bottom line question is whether there is sufficient budget cap available to order more than 7 SSN-A, even stipulating a gradual increase of MoD budget to 2.5% of GDP. There are a significant number of programs competing for funding and the 10 year equipment plan is already projected to be multi-billion £ in the red. Truly unfortunate that HMG Treasury never credits MoD w/ any of additional revenue derived from joint venture defence programs.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829269)
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Simple answer is, yes there is a budget, however the current budget won’t cover everything. We need to rescope our capabilities.

That being said once you go to the cost of having a nuclear submarine program the additional cost of extra boats is fairly marginal.

I would be more than willing to drop other capabilities at sea and on land to pay for more SSN’s if required.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829366)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Understand that reprioritization is one possible sol’n. The next UK Defence Review could prove to be interesting.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829320)
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hard to think how far our Navy has fallen – we had about 30 subs some 40 years ago. Just 7 attack subs is ridiculous.
The MoD Equipment Plan is always in the red – and so it resembles a fantasy fleet in part. Not much that can be done about it, but to hope not to waste so much in the future in poorly managed procurement programmes.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829354)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Believe the die will be cast re virtually all major programs w/ the next MoD strategic defense review. As an outsider, would not presume to forecast the results of a Labour government exercise. Results could conceivably vary anywhere from unilateral disarmament to concerted effort at rearmament. For that matter, don’t have great confidence in Uncle Sugar’s future course. Believe there is an ancient Chinese curse paraphrased as “may you live during interesting times.” 🤔😳😱🤞🙏

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829355)
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Huh…Mr. Google just informed me the curse is that the aforementioned curse is neither ancient nor Chinese. 🥴

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829356)
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

One more time; “…informed me the…” 🙄

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829404)
14 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Very much all hinges on the next SDR/SDSR under Labour. Unilateral nuclear disarmament is well and truly in the past, mainly in the Kinnock era and to some extent in the Corbyn era. Labour (who first decided to build ‘the UK bomb’) have supported Trident upgrades and replacement. I have just scanned their 136 page manifesto on Defence, but there is no indication of significant spending on rearmament. We may just get a ‘keep things as they are’ approach on spending. In the US, Biden seems to be slightly ahead of Trump in the polls, by 2%. I think Trump’s… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829498)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Quirk of American political system: Formal election results are the result of the Electoral College vote, which is determined on a state-by-state basis. Overall vote counts are generally positively correlated w/ Electoral College results, but there have been exceptions to the rule, including 2016. Many pundits predict that the election will hinge upon a few thousand votes in a handful of key states. Believe that election results will be in doubt until well after Election Day, and may be contested in state and federal courts for an even longer period. Hopefully, election results will be contested only in the courts,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829648)
13 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Thanks. We are quite familiar with your Presidential voting system – your election and also stories about the candidates seem to get more coverage over here than our election!

Our system, being First Past the Post (FPP) gives odd results too – UKIP got 3.8m votes but only one parliamentary seat in 2015.

I also hope you don’t have another insurrection – that was all very shocking and tragic that 5 people died.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829322)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham engineer to engineer the price depends on volume to be produced. We built 7 Astutes on an incredibly slow, inefficient drumbeat due to Treasury staged payments, and the need to not interrupt workload. They were offered an 8th at the same overall programme cost, but opted for 7 and stretched it out. They are still half the price of the USN Virginia class and if you set aside no VLS they are equally as capable. The AUKUS contract adds volume to the supply chain whick lowers the cost, so yes we could get more boats if the will is… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829357)
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Hope you are correct in the assessment that larger orders and enhanced rate of production will permit acquisition of additional SSN-A. 🤞

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829380)
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Yep, fully understand that unit price depends on volume. Even if we had more Astute orders and its unit price could fall, then surely SSKs would still be cheaper?

I was floating the idea of a mixed SSK/SSN fleet to bring our attack submarine fleet up to more of a sensible number – ie 12-15. I can’t see that we could afford an extra 5-7 SSNs even if AUKUS brings the SSN cost down.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829890)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s way too dangerous to mix and match and the budget to do so can only come from fewer SSNs. Any fewer that’s it game over as industry is unsustainable, trust me it is presently at the absolute minimum to just tick over. I am going to run a theory by you and see what you think. IMHO most of the reason we are in a simultaneous mess trying to replace most of the Army Land Warfare kit and the RN surface fleet, submarine fleet and auxiliaries is all down one singly reason. To fight Gulf 2 and then hold… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_830116)
11 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

My logic for buying some SSKs was to augment the attack sub fleet which I have also always considered is far too small at 7 boats – I was not anticipating having to decommission a number of Astute class boats to do it! Money to buy SSKs would not absolutely have to come from the pot used to procure Astute boats, which must be running dry quite soon. I have heard the supposition before, that procurement of new core equipment and upgrades to in-service equipment stalled because of ‘the sandbox wars’. That should not have been the case. HMT covers… Read more »

Ian
Ian (@guest_829190)
15 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

We used to have SSKs to bolster the defence of the GIUK gap, where the advantages of the nuclear boats are less clear cut.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829232)
15 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Hi Ian..we had a limited number for green water work…they would have been almost no use on the GIUK..an electric boat trying to intercept an SSN on the high seas is not happening. An electric boats sensors are inferior to an SSNs and it cannot manoeuvre to intercept…its endurance is also profoundly limited…only in enclosed seas under air cover and close to port are electric boats really much use. They are just to limited and vulnerable on the high seas.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829270)
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian

That was because the Soviets had hundreds of submarine’s and we were massively outnumbered and looking at defending the UK coast line.

Things are very different now.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829310)
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Of course our last ones are still operated by the Canadians though in the process of being replaced. Surprised they still seem likely to replace with new SSKs.

GlynH
GlynH (@guest_829281)
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

There is nothing wrong with the sensors on German or Japanese SSKs.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828937)
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Hi Rob. For me, the best assets against Russian SSN are another SSN, ours. We need land bombardment as that is part of a blue water navy’s capability for expeditionary operations. We don’t need to be just coastal defence, that is headed right where myself and others fear Labour will go by hamstringing our military into a Europe based defence force, with all their previous rhetoric on the Pacific and east of Suez, which, hilariously, has faded now there are operations in the Red Sea directly impacting western trade. Withdrawing to Europe and only doing home defence does not detter… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828963)
16 days ago

I’m looking at what I see to be a gap in our defences. A visible BRITISH deterrent that can be seen – yes, we have allies, but they have their own priorities. No good concentrating on the Pacific if you neglect home defence – and SSNs aren’t really the answer in that limited UK-Iceland-Norway area. They amount to overkill and there aren’t enough of them.

Jim
Jim (@guest_828975)
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Russian subs rarely come down to that area. Our submarines must be able to operate in the Bearing sea which SSK’s are not well suited for, that’s why we got rid of them.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828977)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Baring Sea is a problem for the US and Canada, not the UK.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829024)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I would think Jim meant the Barents!

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_829037)
15 days ago

In which case they still have to pass through the Norwegian sea…

Jim
Jim (@guest_829275)
14 days ago

Yes thanks, I meant Barents Sea 😀

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829283)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

It was obvious lol ! The RN in the Bering straight, HMG totally lost the plot.

Meirion x
Meirion x (@guest_829027)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Except for transit missions to the Pacific, under North Pole, that would still be SSN’s?

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_829038)
15 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Sure. I’m looking at European defence. Horses for courses.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829471)
13 days ago

Agree that in an ideal world, w/ MoD budgets comparable to those at the height of funding during CW I, 12-15 RN SSN-A would be both feasible and beneficial. In addition RN could operate a flotilla of SSK for littoral duties. Unfortunately, do not foresee that funding level, short of general war. In reality, believe that any number of RN SSN-A greater than seven, should be declared a victory. Some of the benefits of a SSK flotilla purchase could be realized by modest additional purchases of T-26 and P-8. And at some point there should be a ‘Come to Jesus’… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829474)
13 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Indeed. I’m expecting defence cuts once Labour are in.
I think a lot of rose tinted spectacle wearing posters are in for a bit of a shock.
Delighted if I’m wrong.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_829491)
13 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hmmm… probably should specifically list the following additional SSK operators to avoid unduly ruffling any feathers:
Canada, Greece, Portugal and Turkey. My bad. 🤔🥴

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828966)
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

With you Rob, a supplementary fleet of diesel subs for regional and coastal approaches and undersea infrastructure security, though this might be taken up with the T32 and MCM ships and drones. I think an additional base for ships/subs in the Edinburgh area for more direct access into the North Sea, Scandinavia and further north, so that all subs in particular aren’t just based at Faslane.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828970)
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I would like to see more bases myself. As for using subs – surface vessels can be seen and avoided, drones are subject to weather and possible hacking, subs add uncertainty – except for the fact you KNOW they are there somewhere.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_829087)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rob Young

In reality an autonomous underwater vessel can do regional level sea denial far cheaper than getting an electric boat… Electric boats have some very significant weaknesses not just that the speed and strategic mobility of an SSN cannot be bettered, what most people forget is that SSNs are far better sensor platforms than electric boats…the nature of electric boats require them to be smaller and have lesser diameter slimmer hull form than nuclear boats..this lack of power and lack of surface area means that electric boats cannot have the size, same sonar aperture, lower power and higher frequency acoustic sensors..… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_828933)
16 days ago

An SSN is mission limited, albeit our best platform for anti submarine warfare, insertion special forces and surveillance.
However it’s crunch comes down to either remain hidden or attack.
We need both visible multi role escorts backed up by highly capable SSNs.
We do need more. The Aukus plan is right the RN needs between 12 and 15 attack subs

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828938)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Totally agree, I think 12 is realistic.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_828945)
16 days ago

More agreement here. The RN should ‘never’ have dropped below 12 SSN’s, allowing for 8 Operational boats at any one time. Sadly the current sorry number was set in stone back in the 90’s, as soon as Trafalgar batch 2 design slowly morphed into the substantially larger and vastly more expensive Astute design (thanks to PWR2), coupled with the post cold War decline in defence spending, the numbers were destined to collapse. The RN started the century maintaining 12 boats, 7 Trafalgar and 5 Swiftsure, the sandbox wars started undermining the capability (along with anything else that wasn’t light infantry… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_828976)
16 days ago

Yes I agree.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_828964)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Agree.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829295)
14 days ago

Hi M8 Yep more SSN should be the RN priority. But some of the things Jim comes out with are just so complete garbage ideas. A 5th SSBN would mean we could have 2 SSGN, no it doesn’t it just means we lose 2 SSN worth of funding. And they may well be carrying 26 TLAM or FC/ASW each in a smaller more flexible boat. Not even the mighty USN can waste money on a purpose built new SSBN to just task it as an SSGN, it is just a plain stupid misuse of resources. The Ohio SSGN were just… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829302)
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Thanks for all that mate. You’re the SME industry wise here without a doubt.

GR
GR (@guest_828905)
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Why would that sound so absurd when the is exactly what they did to four of the Ohio class SSBNs?

Jim
Jim (@guest_828908)
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

The common missiles compartment we developed with the USN can handle TLAM as well as Trident 2. The current Ohio SSGN’s are probably the most useful platforms the USN has.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829891)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Wow that must explain why the USA with a Defence budget of over $800 billion pa has never built a new build SSGN nor intends to replace the Ohio conversions with any. An SSBN sized SSGN is OK if you want to off the coast of the Iran and rain fire on it. But in a 1st tier conflict unless you confine yourself to targets near the Sea you need to get within 900 miles of your target and your a 20k submarine operating in the littoral. Much more sensible to just build 10 Block V Virginias with 40 each… Read more »

Exroyal.
Exroyal. (@guest_829119)
15 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

It was done with four Ohios. A task brought on by the start treaty. US had to lose four SSBN. Simple answer convert to SSGN. Three year refit and midlife refuel combined.
The US has used them very much as the iron fist in velvet glove. Having surfaced two at the same time in the Med and Pacific. Nobody laughs when 308 cruise missiles pop up on their doorstep.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829297)
14 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

That’s a serious claim Andrew, are you in contact with them all? Would hate your phone bill.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829950)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

🤣 From Raynesway

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828906)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

With 4:
1 boat in role.
1 boat training/working up to relieve the in role.
1 boat alongside having come off role, leave, maintenance.
1 in refit.
That, I think, was how Deep described things.
So your 5 could not do both SSGN and CASD.

Agree in more SSN though!

Jim
Jim (@guest_828913)
16 days ago

Dreadnaught class was originally envisaged as a class of three. The fourth boat was acquired to provide additional redundancy. The class should have a better availability rate than vanguard class. The V boats have been able to operate with three despite their advanced years. 3 providing CASD with 2 providing an always avilable SSGN capability much like the two carriers should be very doable. Converting an SSGN boat back to SSBN should be as simple as swapping out missiles. It would probably be better to procure the last 2 boats as 16 rather than 12 tubes variant so there was… Read more »

Up Noorf
Up Noorf (@guest_828979)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim,

Dreadnought was always envisaged as a class of four, I’m not sure where you got such an inaccurate viewpoint from.

It isn’t as simple as swapping the missiles. The Ohio SSGNs run significantly different systems to enable their operation. They are also the result of reducing active SSBNs for treaty reasons. It would be a nonsense to make a 5th Dreadnought as an SSGN as it would be a class of 1 with a different launch system to SSN-AUKUS.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_828935)
16 days ago

The Aukus programme is intended to provide likely the Virginia class common missile payload bays. So some VLS tubes either 8 or 16 tubes. That might replace the need for a full fat SSGN

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_828948)
16 days ago

The compromise would be increasing the warheads on 8 trident and using 4 tubes for tomahawk loadout.

The obvious problem being that the SSBN leaves base, gets ‘delauced’ by escorting assets and goes dark in the north Atlantic.

Using the bomber for any other mission
fundamentally compromises it’s core ‘job’.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828952)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Spot on. SSBN must be left to it’s CASD role, firing TLAMs just compromises it’s position!! 🤪

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_829996)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s a daft idea to mixup the two. One is designed to hide away and the other to take risks. I very much doubt the wisdom of operating an SSBN in the Mediterranean so that would severely limit its deployment. A time of open hostilities is exactly when you want it hidden

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_829013)
15 days ago

Hi Daniele, Jim suggested that we procure 5 Dreadnaught Class with a view to maintaining 3 boats on patrol in conjunction the French. I’m not sure that maintaining a 3 boat patrol is possible with a total of 9 subs, but it should be possible to surge a third boat in times of tension – just to make a point. The other situation that might justify the 5th boat is in case we have another unexpected / unplanned extended refit / refuel that would otherwise put excessive pressure on the CASD patrol. Given the the developing relationship between Russia and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829026)
15 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Gotcha mate, the point in conjunction with the French I’d read but did not take as being a central part of Jim’s point.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829054)
15 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It’s easier to run 3 boats on a 9 boat fleet than 1 from a 3 boat fleet. SSBN’s can work at a much higher tempo than we or the French use them. The US has just 5 on the Atlantic fleet and I think they have two at sea.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_831185)
7 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Hi Jim, I take your point, but the RN struggled with three V-boats available with one boat doing a patrol that lasted over 6 months if I remember rightly. I think their woes were largely down to the poor state of the repair and maintenance facilities delaying refits, etc. So reliability has been poor with relieving boats being delayed on to patrol. So perhaps once Babcock have finished upgrading the facilities in Devonport it will be possible for the RN to maintain 2 boats on patrol with a force of 5. If so then the RN and French Navy should… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_829346)
14 days ago

Perfect analysis DM! By this arithmetic however, the RN is one Astute short , with only 7 boats 😉

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_829029)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

CASD is the ultimate nuclear deterrent, 3 BN’s is not enough as the UK is finding out, especially as the platforms get older and require more maintenance. Its 4 minimum or you go for an alternative to CASD and spend the money on other capabilities. 5 BN’s would be nice but as we’re making the same mistakes with the V’s as we did with the R boats I really can’t see it.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece (@guest_829080)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Except you would have to redesign the whole missile launch compartment. So the modified boats would 2 of a class.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829094)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

‘The 4th is only really needed as a back up’ No Jim, it’s the one that’s in refit, so, backing nothing up fella.
Why would we need to supply 3 boomers in the NA between us and the French? The US will always have a boomer on patrol in the NA whether they are part of NATO or not.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829276)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

One man’s maintainance is another’s man’s refit,

I’m sure you’re aware modern submarines (not the Vanguard) don’t need refuelled.

This is a massive reduction in refit times compared to the R boats and even the V boats.

You may need more hulls lawyer in life at which point you just convert one of the SSGN’s back to a SSBN. Same goes if a boat is lost in an accident.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829284)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Very aware of the issues ta, they still need a refit, the modern reactors just don’t require a refueling at the same time. The time difference between the two will vary yes, but a refit or more accurately a LOP is still a refit, as I’m sure you’re aware no!

dc647a
dc647a (@guest_828904)
16 days ago

We could have saved 7 billion if those two substandard carriers had not been built they have made us the laughing stock with our allies and foes… We’ve had to cancel them taking part in exercises, they could have helped with Yemen. That money could have helped to pay for additional Astutes or an extra Dreadnought. The lasted article about them read RN wastes money. When they next go to sea they’ll have to include a sea going tug, the same operational standards as the Russians… This could have been avoided in part if they sorted out the prop shaft… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_828910)
16 days ago
Reply to  dc647a

Absolute bollocks from another Russian bot.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_828949)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Our friends from the Russan troll farm academy have been quiet for a while Jim, don’t spoil it for him, they might take his Lada away….

Meirion x
Meirion x (@guest_829053)
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It maybe Peter S!

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829070)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Agreed. The last thing our enemies want is a CSG at large spoiling their neo colonial plans.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_828936)
16 days ago
Reply to  dc647a

So wrong on so many fronts, technically wrong, background wrong, operational role of the carriers wrong. I can’t be bothered to provide a detailed response to a Putin Bot. How’s the weather in Moscow?

Meirion x
Meirion x (@guest_829052)
15 days ago
Reply to  dc647a

Total Nonsense! Without QE Class carriers ordered, No T45 AAW/AAD destroyers procured either!

Mike
Mike (@guest_828914)
16 days ago

More soldiers, more ships, more aircraft! But we can’t get the people to man and operate them… until we make a career in the forces more alluring, we will continue to struggle… pay, living, concessions, pension… all these need as much investment than just the kit.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_828923)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Morning Mike , your post is spot on mate 👍

Jim
Jim (@guest_828939)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mike

We have to continue to produce more effect with less people. That’s what we have been doing now for 200 years, industrialisation, mechanisation and now digitalisation. We need to play to our strengths of building and operating amazingly advanced and capable platforms like nuclear submarines that are expensive and difficult to build but require just a handful of people to operate and stop fixating on how many boots the Army has. Just like we have done for the past 300 years if we need a big army to face off against a continental power we will buy or rent someone… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829073)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The era of doing “more with less” is an outdated self parody. We do less with even less & risk the future of liberty.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829277)
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Doing more with less is the basis of economic growth.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829290)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

After peak efficiency is achieved I’d argue it only causes decline.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829072)
15 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Reduce the fleet so far with capability gaps the norm & not only are the pay & shift demands off-putting, but if the SHTF your chances of survival are needlessly low too.
HMG always quick to cove its tracks with ingenious sound bites, rarely called out by the BBC.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829291)
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

..cover…

Bazza
Bazza (@guest_828931)
16 days ago

There is a reason the US navy is retiring the SSGN concept with the Ohio class. Everything it can do, an aircraft carrier can do better.

Jim
Jim (@guest_829059)
15 days ago
Reply to  Bazza

The USN is desperate to keep its SSGN’s. it’s why they are building Virginia block V at great expense.

Ron
Ron (@guest_828943)
16 days ago

I totally agree, I do think that our submarine fleet should be 12 SSNs, 4 SSNs with four multi mission payload modules for 28 cruise missiles each and 4 SSBNs. It all come down to cost, I would be happy with a 9+4+4. I keep thinking that the SSN with the multi missile tubes would escort the carrier groups so she could strike coastal air defence systems before the F35s go in. I am going to look at all parts of the report release in a single post, do I as many others agree that the RN needs to have… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x (@guest_829068)
15 days ago
Reply to  Ron

“Possibly a better way would be to have 4 Type 83 and 8 Type 46. The T46 would be a direct follow-on from the T45.”

Taking into account training costs and logistics etc, of running two types of AAW vessels would surely negate any savings on building of two types of whole vessels?

Last edited 15 days ago by Meirion x
basile
basile (@guest_829107)
15 days ago
Reply to  Ron

It’s all well and good to be grand about saying that the RN needs more ships, more submarines, but the problem is where you find the money and where you recruit sailors! I would point out that the RN has recruitment problems!

Phil
Phil (@guest_828956)
16 days ago

Are these the same folks who published the report saying we needed a couple more Type 26s and was it two or four more Type 32s, plus a programme to up arm the ones already ordered? Might be good if they said what the budget and crew demands for all this were.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_828957)
16 days ago

I note that the Report does not suggest procuring some AIP SSKs to augment the SSN fleet. Many countries (at least 40?) still have diesel-electric subs. Have we rejected them too readily?

Jim
Jim (@guest_829060)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ask Australia, every western country with access to SSN’s has dropped SSK.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_829138)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Morning Jim, I think Aus should have a mixed fleet and it’s likely to be more affordable than all out SSN. It’s a bloody big continent (size of the US) and a SSK fleet would do 360 degree littoral, seabourne and undersea infrastructure and regional patrols and would free up the SSNs to do their thing further afield and faster as well as being a very capable backup when required. Closeby to Aus the Phillipines, Indonesia are buying French SSKs, and Canada I think is looking at up to 12, maybe from Korea. Japan also has very capable SSKs that… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Quentin D63
Jim
Jim (@guest_829278)
14 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

France makes SSK’s but it doesn’t operate them, the Australian military is going out of its way to get rid of SSK’s.

Mickey
Mickey (@guest_829367)
14 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

That mix of SSN and SSK is what Canada maybe looking at for its future sub program.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_829374)
14 days ago
Reply to  Mickey

Afternoon Mickey, it’s going to be interesting to see which way Canada goes with its subs and all them 15 T26s… which will be quite a sight to see! 🇦🇺 🍁

Mickey
Mickey (@guest_829391)
14 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Good Morning Quentin, interesting times indeed. The current Canadian gov is listening to defence chief a lot on many issues and subs is something that has sunk in. Pardon the pun.

4 SSNs and 8 SSKS are some of the ideas being floated around.

The T26 are on the eve of being built and an investment has been made to speed up construction of them.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829242)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I bet the bean-counters are delighted with smaller submarine fleets and fewer sailors to pay!

Jim
Jim (@guest_829279)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes it means more money to pay for other stuff like aircraft, ships and tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829337)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Great use of irony!

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829132)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The report is written by people with a limited knowledge of SM warfare mate. With ideas best kept to themselves…. Building a 5th SSBN and using it as a SSGN until needed is utter boll***s, it’s two totally separate roles with 2 very different sets of requirements which are not plug and play interchangable. Not referring to SSKs is a hugh omission and shows a total lack of understanding as to how SSKs operate and what they can achieve. IMO we gave them up far to readily, predominantly on cost grounds unlike some on here like to think. Back when… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829187)
15 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Mate. Was HMS Oberon one of those special fits?

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829203)
15 days ago

At one time yes.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829206)
15 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Ta.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829212)
15 days ago

A few weeks back TPL ran a blog on SM ops during the 80s, from stuff released by records office at Kew I believe. Nothing in somuch detail, but references to mission numbers, areas and names of SM.
I even recognised some of them, which is dredging up stuff from the past. You might find it interesting if trying to collate units etc.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829217)
15 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Mate, I was reading all his posts on that!
Fascinating reading.
Also his stuff on Challenger, and on continuity of Government, another of my side interests!
DMd him myself on a few things I thought might be of interest.
Oberon, I ask as heard a story on her and dry shelter ops. I wasn’t sure if that was even possible with the O boats, thought they needed to surface to offload sneaky boats.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829243)
15 days ago

Not heard that myself, but doesn’t mean they didn’t. We we ran with them we always surfaced as the kit was under the casing/fwd trench. As that was getting assembled we would have to lug the engines up from the engine room. Once fitted off they went.
All a bit different now of course.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829305)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Exactly. That was my (minimal) understanding too until Chalfont arrived on the SSNs ( and the type on, was it Spartan or Sceptre, I forget. )
The story I’d been told was that this chap had “exited Oberon while submerged” which I suspected may be an old Walter Mittey story again as I thought those boats surfaced first then the RIBs, or whatever, just float off as the boat submerges.
So I was thinking “gotcha”!

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829324)
14 days ago

Ah yes, the fore runner to Chalfont, that will be Spartan (trials boat) with her Alamanda fit – more commonly referred to as ‘the caravan of death’ for obvious reasons….unfortunately.
It is possible to get people out whilst dived, via the escape tower, but cramped and v slow. Once out all they could really do is swim away, unless the kit was lashed to the casing. Not really a viable option.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829329)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Thanks. Jury’s out then.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829342)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Final question re this mate. Looking at photos of the O class, what is that bulbous great thing up at the stern?

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829349)
14 days ago

On the stern? Do you mean the bow mate, then that is the housing for the main sonar system. It changed shape from the more cylindrical version to the bulbous design when they got a new sonar system. Can’t remember exactly which new system it was.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829353)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

FFS….Yes, I did. Getting my Bow and Sterns mixed up.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_829340)
14 days ago

Hi DM, I have a slightly off point but relevant suggestion. Source a copy of “Iron fist from the sea – sa recce (Saffa SAS) seaborne operations” (in the 1980s) . Lots of submarine ops blowing up stuff in Angola – Oil refineries and even Soviet Cargo ships – great reding. The author Douw Steyn was a senior operator/commander, so well written.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829344)
14 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Cheers mate, I’ll look.
Was on Y Tube other day looking at a vid about the RM M&AW Cadre.
In the comments was a story about an OP during the Cold War near Murmansk. So within the USSR. Pretty sensational stuff and undeniable if caught.
I know our subs routinely went into Soviet waters, though not suggesting this OP, if it was real, was a sub drop off.
It tallied with another tale I was told first hand, hence my questions to Deep.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_829361)
14 days ago

Fascinating stuff, the silent service

Jim
Jim (@guest_829280)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

If it’s two totally separate roles then how come the Ohio class have been doing it for two decades very successfully?

Answers on a post card.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829285)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Just for you Jim, the 4 and the key word here is ‘converted’ Ohios have had all their trident missile control and launch systems removed and another key word now ‘replaced’ with the launch and fire control systems for Tomahawk missiles.
For those 4 boats to revert to a SSBN role would require them to undergo a refit and rip said installed Tomahawk control/launch systems out and put Trident gear back in.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_829317)
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Thanks Deep. I know naff all about SM but have a great interest and would rather be informed and educated by folk like yourself rather than academics who have zero real-world knowledge.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_828962)
16 days ago

So the next government orders more SSN’s; another batch of T26; brings forward the order for destroyers and leases support ships. Meanwhile I become the new James Bond. Tragically the latter is probably the most likely. 🕵😉

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829074)
15 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Yet preferable to leaning Russian or Chinese & being terrified to speak out against any tyranny ruling over us. If we can’t be bothered to defend our future way of life we’ll lose it. In the late 1930s we had a rearmament program. Today we seem to be firmly in denial.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_829077)
15 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Me becoming James Bond you mean Frank? I’ll give it a go…😉

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829078)
15 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

LOL Geoff. HMG: Shaken but never stirred into action.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_829106)
15 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

👍

Pacman27
Pacman27 (@guest_828971)
16 days ago

I would like to see us have a 25 yr sub plan, building 2.5 SSN & 1 SSBN every 5 yrs, always improving with each batch, but keeping 5he same DNA.

this means, we always have a new SSBN in build ( averting the shocking issue we have with force now) & maintaince is cheaper as all of the force aren’t old and knackered at the same time.

key to this is no expensive LEPs to save money 1 year, but we pay for it in the next 10.

critical capability that we do need to invest in

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829227)
15 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

It isn’t done that way for good reasons. UK uses a generational improvement programme for our boats and the prime reason for that is the cost of designing and building a new generation of Reactors. PWR2 was developed and fitted to 4 SSBN and then 7 SSN, the SSN design used a lot of leveraged carry over from the Vanguards. The Dreadnoughts use PWR 3 and so will the SSN(A) follow ons. FYI if you want to know why trying to build SSN and SSBN in a single facility alongside each is a seriously bad idea just take a look… Read more »

David
David (@guest_828988)
15 days ago

This is probably a really silly question, but why retire the astute class ? Is it a power plant issue or does it become obsolete ? If it’s obsolescence, surely the astute even at the end of it’s life is still dangerous to surface vessels? Could they not be retained for less dangerous missions, freeing up the new subs for the higher intensity stuff ?

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_829012)
15 days ago
Reply to  David

The Astute Class, like the Vanguard Class uses the PWR2 Reactor which is designed for an un-refueled life span.When it is spent its basically game over – you cannot Re-fuel it quickly or easily as was proved with HMS Vanguard.Added to Dive Cycle stress on the Hull there are limits to how far you can extend their lifespan.

Up Noorf
Up Noorf (@guest_829050)
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

This isn’t quite correct. Core H is a lifetime fuelled core, the Vanguard class were retrofitted with this and PWR2 was always designed to have replaceable cores. Vanguard’s refit was delayed for reasons beyond that.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829220)
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

FYI the 4 scheduled LOP(R) for the Vanguards went fine, and there is zero reason not to refuel the Astutes. In fact I’d put money on it !

Oh I forgot Babcock are betting on it happening 🤣

Challenger
Challenger (@guest_829003)
15 days ago

And to think that BAE were offering to build an 8th Astute for the same cost as delaying the build schedule until the Dreadnaughts started ramping up…..and our ridiculous government chose to stick with 7 slowly built SSN’s!

Jim
Jim (@guest_829007)
15 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Yes but as they proudly told us at the time we would save on running costs by not having an 8th boat.

Honestly I’m starting to think there is call for a Treason Trial for Cameron and Osbourne.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_829075)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Definately. We had an inadequate for peacetime armed forces when they took over & yet cut far deeper whilst courting Russian & Chinese investment.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_829219)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Actually you would start with John Major. Much as I hate to say it the decision to cancel number 8 by C, C & O was pretty well an inevitable consequence of Majors inactions. He didn’t order an SSN class to follow the Vanguards, the result was BAe Barrow and RR&A (as it was) came within an inch of folding. When the Astutes were ordered the costs to regenerate the industry were eye watering, which is why the Astutes cost so much. Its also easy to forget that we were up to our necks fighting Bliars wars at that point… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_829326)
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Well, they do now have a safety case and working way for that procedure (thanks to Vanguard) to to be implemented.

Roy
Roy (@guest_829043)
15 days ago

And where is the money for this supposed to come from? Labour has a range of domestic spending priorities and the UK has a deficit of 120 billion. There is simply no money for this.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy (@guest_829172)
15 days ago
Reply to  Roy

I fully agree with your post. Labour will have a Defence review which will take a year and after it conclude that there is no money for additional orders and possibly there will need to be further cuts to fill the procurement Black hole. The RN have always been past masters of publicity and seem to be much more effective than the other services. I suspect these calls for more ships are as much an attempt to get ahead of the pack before Labour start to withdraw our forces to a European orientated role. I would note that the RN… Read more »

Mark T.
Mark T. (@guest_829047)
15 days ago

I am not a military expert, but maybe building smaller submarines with fewer missiles and fewer crew is better? Surely it would be quicker and cheaper to build 20 submarines with 6 nuclear cruise missiles than one carrying 20.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_829071)
15 days ago

Depends a little on what the electorate decide on the 4th July. Can’t personally see Labour supporting the programmes we have running at the moment let alone adding anything especially if it is anything Nuclear or have I slipped into a pararell
universe.

Anglican
Anglican (@guest_829084)
15 days ago

What we need is yasen class subs! Well, our own design so to speak. At t he moment we have nothing like the Yasen class. It’s time we did.

Peter Feltham
Peter Feltham (@guest_829154)
15 days ago

Well we have wasted a staggering 6 billion on 2 Aircraft Carries that seem to break down every time the RN dare to put either of them to sea.We simply don’t seem to have the brains,technical resources or engineering skills to build such ships.Perhaps RR and BAe will make a better fist it with the subs.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829315)
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter Feltham

Rubbish, the US didn’t have an available carrier to cover the Atlantic for a while 18mths ago because of break downs, delays the Bush Class and maintenance they even had to ‘borrow’ parts from a carrier awaiting maintenance to get the broken down one which went into dry dock in its place back in commission as quickly as possible. The French had to cover for a while. The French carrier indeed that was delayed from being commissioned for years because it exceeded nuclear H&S levels. In the end they fixed it by changing the acceptable levels. Queen Elizabeth had quite… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_829319)
14 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Oh and the ‘invincible’ Chinese are by all accounts having problems making their Emals system (a system the US rejected as potentially problematic prophetically) work reliably at all at last look.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829330)
14 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Bravo.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_829345)
14 days ago

Hi DM. Whilst I’m liking the idea of this report to enlarge both the SSN and surface fleet, this is not grounded in reality. A), there is no cash ,B) who will crew these? I’m interested in understanding if the repot scope extends to funding recommendations and budget projections?

The MOD really need to focus on personnel retention and recruitment (i.e. pay). Hopefully Labour will prioritise this.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829352)
14 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Yes, mate. It’s fantasy.
We both don’t hold much faith with Labour defence wise. Maybe they will.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_829341)
14 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Fascinating read- great insights Spy. cheers for posting.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829331)
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter Feltham

Utter cobblers.

Peter Feltham
Peter Feltham (@guest_829378)
14 days ago

Kind Hearts And Coronets…….As you slip under into the deep South Atlantic in a couple of years time whilst waving your flag of St George and wondering where the hell are the replacement spare parts for your badly built Aircraft Carrier I will be thinking of you.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_829389)
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter Feltham

Weren’t brave enough to reply to Spy’s demolition of your nonsense above though, were you.

My dismissal was an easier escape.
Rule Britannia.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_830250)
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter Feltham

Did you hear about the teething troubles on the USS Gerald R Ford? …and that is from the most experienced carrier-building nation in the world. Not to mention the cost. These things are mighty complex and you don’t have the luxury of building a prototype and a pre-production model to spot and iron out the faults. Good job we did not build carriers like the Nimitz class with nuclear propulsion – USS George Washington’s ‘midlife refuelling and modernisation effort was plagued by the pandemic, industrial base challenges and unexpected repair work related to years worth of deployments’.  The ship went… Read more »

Ian
Ian (@guest_829189)
15 days ago

How easy is it to reconfigure an SSBN to be an SSGN and vice versa? If the premise is that having an extra Dreadnought would give us the flexibility to operate 1 as an SSGN, 3 as SSBN and one available as a backup to either the SSBN or SSGN force then the ability to interchange them quickly would be critically important. I doubt that it’s a simple thing to do though.

Robert H
Robert H (@guest_829251)
14 days ago

Where are the crews coming from?
If we have service personnel shortages

Ryan
Ryan (@guest_829382)
14 days ago

Really great idea but can anyone honestly say that this is realistic from either political party in our country at the moment.

Baz Melody
Baz Melody (@guest_829405)
14 days ago

As an Island nation our maritime presence should be a priority along with ASW capability (P8 Poseidon as well). No government is actually going to go with the reports recommendations let alone actually get the funds for 12 new boats. Politically it is suicide unless we are approaching a time where the nation sees it as a need to counter the threat. Politically education, health and infrastructure will always be top and be what the nation sees as a priority. You could argue for SSK’s v SSN’s but we then limit our global capability and we must have that flexibility… Read more »