Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge has outlined plans for the Royal Navy’s Future Air Dominance System, the Type 83 Destroyer, at the Full Spectrum Air Defence Conference in London.
The minister provided an insight into what this system will encompass.
He noted that these new vessels will operate as more than just typical warships. Instead, they will form part of a distributed sensor network.
“They are a distributed sensor network. Effectively a ‘system of systems’,” Cartlidge stated. The Future Air Dominance System is anticipated to utilise a blend of advanced technologies such as Directed Energy Weapons and complex radar sensing capabilities. These systems will operate both crewed and uncrewed.
“Our Royal Navy is building its Future Air Dominance System. Likely to comprise the new Type 83 Class platforms – which will one day replace Type 45 – these are more than just ships. They are a distributed sensor network. Effectively a “system of systems”.
They will be highly automated. Blending missiles with new technologies such as Directed Energy Weapons. Incorporating both uncrewed systems and complex radar sensing capabilities. Able to raise an umbrella over our fleet, contribute to control of the air over a wider area and allow us to maintain freedom of manoeuvre through increased detection ranges.
As the name suggests, dominance is the name of the game. And dominance will be achieved through faster response times and greater lethality over longer distances.
Sticking with our present capability, we continue investing in our Sea Viper Evolution programme. Ensuring our current crop of world class warships have the air and missile defence systems to protect Maritime Task Groups against increasingly more complex threats, including ballistic missiles.”
Britain’s new warship – A Type 83 Destroyer concept surfaces
A concept image, potentially showing Britain’s new Type 83 Destroyer, emerged during a presentation at a naval conference.
The presentation, aimed at shedding light on the current and future advancements in warship design with respect to fire safety and damage control, contained a slide showing a potential concept image for the Type 83 Destroyer.
The following is my attempt at enhancing the image.
The Type 83 Destroyer project was officially unveiled in March 2021 through the publication of the United Kingdom government’s defence command paper titled, ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’. Within this paper, the Type 83 Destroyer was referenced in association with the government’s shipbuilding strategy for 2030, outlining planned sustained investments in naval development.
As of now, the Ministry of Defence has not made public any concrete design details pertaining to the Type 83 Destroyer, though it is anticipated that the ship will proceed into the conceptualisation phase soon.
In February 2022, the Ministry of Defence verified that the Type 83 Destroyer is being engineered to counter the emerging threat posed by hypersonic missiles. Additionally, it is contemplated that the vessel may be integrated into a broader defence framework known as the ‘Future Air Dominance System’. The Type 83 Destroyers are expected to come into service in the latter part of the 2030s, replacing the existing Type 45 Destroyers.
Back to the image, though not high resolution, it provides a tantalising glimpse into what the Type 83 Destroyer might entail. The ship’s sleek design is immediately apparent, with a distinctive hull that prioritises stealth and speed and is somewhat reminiscent of Type 26 Frigate and Type 45 Destroyer. Its streamlined superstructure is suggestive of advanced radar and sensory technology integration. Of note is CEAFAR.
The concept reveals a ship comparable in size to the Chinese Type 055 Destroyer (which is around 12,000 tonnes) and armed with a five-inch main gun, Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems, two 30 or 40mm guns and additional unidentified close-in weapons systems, plus a significant missile payload. The missile payload seems to be divided into two sets of Mk 41 vertical launch system cells, each holding an estimated 64 VLS, resulting in potentially 128 missile cells per ship.