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.
CEAFAR on a British ship?
It’s possible. Back in 2018, I reported that during a visit to Australia, Harriet Baldwin (then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement) announced the intention to look at the feasibility of fitting the Australian CEAFAR radar on future British warships.
Alongside then Australian Defence Minister Pyne, Baldwin announced the intention to look at the feasibility of fitting the Australian radar on future British warships. The pair announced that a capability study to fit CEA Technologies CEAFAR radar to British ships would start in 2019 at the second Australia/UK Defence Industry Dialogue in Adelaide.
CEAFAR is an active phased array radar with a microwave tile-based design. The combination of the microwave tile and the Digital Beam Forming backend provides a modular, programmable and scalable solution, say the manufacturer.
Pyne said CEA Technologies designed and manufactured this advanced phased array radar for the eight Anzac Class Frigates as part of their Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade Programme. The government has also stipulated that its Future Frigates will also be fitted with the CEA radar. You can see it below on the ‘Hunter’ variant of Type 26 purchased by Australia.
Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne MP said the announcement was an important follow up to last week’s dialogue and showed the continuing strengthening of defence industry ties between the two countries:
“Australia and the United Kingdom have much that can be gained from increasing cooperation around defence industry. A great outcome of last week’s dialogue, announced today, is the possibility of the cutting edge Australian CEA radars being used for the future UK Warships. Canberra’s CEA Technologies designs and manufactures advanced phased array radars for our Navy’s eight Anzac Class Frigates as part of their Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade Program and the recently announced Long Range Air Search Radar replacement.
The Turnbull Government has also mandated that Australia’s future frigates will have a CEA radar as one of its core capabilities. I’m excited by the possibility of sharing this great capability with one of our closest and oldest allies and the landmark export opportunity this presents for Australia’s burgeoning defence industry.“
Is it official?
No, not at all. BAE and the Ministry of Defence haven’t commented on this and while the reveal of a potential Type 83 Destroyer concept image may have been unintentional, it has undoubtedly captured the imagination of naval enthusiasts.
Remember, the Type 83 destroyer programme is still in the pre-concept phase.