The Ministry of Defence is to spend £405 million to upgrade the Sea Viper missile system currently being used by the Royal Navy to down drones over the Red Sea.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps was quoted as saying:

“As the situation in the Middle East worsens, it is vital that we adapt to keep the UK, our allies and partners safe. Sea Viper has been at the forefront of this, being the Navy’s weapon of choice in the first shooting down of an aerial threat in more than 30 years.”

We reported previously that Britain was set to become the first European nation to operate a ‘Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence’ capability that can detect and destroy anti-ship ballistic missiles.

An initial contract worth £300m was signed with MBDA last year. The upgraded defence system, using the ASTER 30 Block 1 missile previously used only in French and Italian land systems, will help UK forces combat the increasing threats posed by anti-ship ballistic missiles at sea by developing the missile into a maritime variant.

According to the Ministry of Defence here, the UK will become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence capability that can detect and destroy Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles as it commits to a significant upgrade of Britain’s fleet of Type 45 destroyers.

“The upgraded defence system, using the ASTER 30 Block 1 missile previously used only in French and Italian land systems, will help UK forces combat the increasing threats posed by anti-ship ballistic missiles at sea by developing the missile into a maritime variant. The Ministry of Defence has placed an initial contract for this work with MBDA which, when delivered, will be worth more than £300 million and support more than 100 jobs across the UK – including highly skilled technology roles in areas such as system design and software engineering in Stevenage, Cowes, Bristol and Bolton.”

Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said:

“As we face global uncertainty, alliances and greater defensive capability are more important than ever. Joining our French and Italian counterparts will see us collectively improve the cutting-edge technology our armed forces possess. It is another example of us delivering on the commitments from the Defence Command Paper, helping protect our service personnel when faced with the most severe threats.”

The signing of the tri-national agreement is the first formal step in the upgrade of the six vessels, which will include converting existing missiles to the ASTER 30 Block 1 standard, as well as updates to the SAMPSON multi-function radar (MFR) and Sea Viper command and control missile system, under the full Sea Viper Evolution programme.

The Sea Viper Evolution programme follows the recent contract awards to introduce the Common Anti Air Modular Missile (CAMM) into the Type 45, which will see the missile outload of the platform increased from 48 to 72 missiles. You can read more about this news here.

Last year, I reported that there was concern over the lack of anti-ballistic capability on Type 45.

Concern over lack of anti-ballistic capability on Type 45

The following comes from a formal meeting of the Defence Select Committee, an oral evidence session specifically, discussing the recent defence review whitepaper ‘Defending Global Britain in a Competitive Age’. Just so you know who’s who, Dr Sidharth Kaushal is a Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and Rear Admiral Alex Burton is the former Commander UK Maritime Forces. Stuart Anderson and Mark Francois are both Conservative MP’s.

Stuart Anderson asked, referring to the Integrated Review’s ‘Defence Command Paper’:

“Do you see any particular areas of concern with what has been set out, doctor?”

Dr Kaushal responded:

“I would not necessarily state that the force structure laid out produced any particular areas of concern for me. The temporary trough in capability that the Navy will endure when the two Type-23s are retired will probably generate certain force generation issues, although in all likelihood not insurmountable ones. The Navy, however, will need to look at two key questions: first, the absence of a capability to counter anti-ship ballistic missiles on the Type-45 destroyer. That was discussed in the 2015 strategic defence and security review, as part of a wider ballistic missile defence capability for the vessel, but it was absent in this review, which I thought was noteworthy.”

Rear Admiral Burton also responded by saying “I would just reinforce Dr Sidharth’s view on the anti-ballistic missile defence, which I think was a wrong absence within the review”, he added later “one of the gaping holes within the defence review is an anti-ballistic missile defence mechanism, both at sea and ashore.”

Mr Francois pressed the point, asking “To be clear, a gaping hole, in your words?”

Rear Admiral Burton responded:

“There is a gaping hole in our ability to defend a carrier against a ballistic missile without the support of our allies, so there is mitigation there, but it is mitigation that is reliant on our allies.”

Burton later added:

“The Navy has been clear that there has been a national capability gap, for the last 10 years, at least, in an anti-ballistic missile defence capability. That can be mitigated by working alongside our allies, just like the Americans use our capabilities to mitigate their capability gaps. Firstly, this is known, and, secondly, it can be mitigated.”

You can read the full transcript here.

 

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jim
Jim
2 months ago

This seems years too late already, when will it actually deploy in the fleet, I’m guessing a potential 2027 conflict with China will have come and gone before this is on the T45.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

They’ve probably had to get the PIP done and sorted first and this has probably caused some of the initial delay for the missile upgrade too.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Hopefully they will actually start doing this quickly..even if we cannot get hulls in the water..we should be expediting the refits..anything post the late 2020s is not so much deterring china as helping it decide it’s timeline.

John
John
2 months ago

Great, we can donate these to Ukraine asap.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  John

Ukraine has had. Enough kit from the UK I support the bravery of the people there but we must be feeling the punch in our inventory by now Andrew there is a time when we’ll be drawing back on material support

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

The kit for Ukraine should getting built in the U.K. and the same for replacements for stuff that’s been sent.
As the PMs have said we will support Ukraine until the end.
Not only does making equipment keep the money in the U.K. economy but also allows scale of items allowing the U.K. forces to purchase items cheaper.
I’m not prepared to allow Ukrainians to be tortured and live under a dictatorship just because the west couldn’t be bothered. Ukraine is fighting the war the west prepares for since WW2. The least we can do is help.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

👍Certainly!

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Indeed we need to ramping up our military industrial capacity very significantly..the only way to deter china is if it can see we have the military industrial complex available for a long drawn out war to exhaustion..because china has built that ability…

Not that I want Ukraine to be a battle field, but if the west gives up on Ukraine..it will mean that it’s very likely the entire world becomes a battlefield ( infact it may anyway..but the only chance we have of preventing it is to show absolute will).

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Spot on weakness now will be disaster tomorrow, Russia still thinks we have no stomach any addition to that notion and they will think they can take bigger bites and a revenge fuelled mad one might well seem winnable to Putin and once started as with Ukraine he can’t afford to reign it in and WW3 begins through each sides miscalculation. Shapps can say what he likes but there still seems little sign he and his Govt conpatriots are giving it anything but verbal approval. What worries me most is that they talk big because they can rely on our… Read more »

JOHN MELLING
JOHN MELLING
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Well said..Pat on the back👍
We can not give up on the Ukrainian people!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

That sounds shortsighted to me the Baltic States have given a third of their armaments to Ukraine they know their defence is in Ukraine and I believe ours is too like Britain surviving for two years in WW2 changed the course of that war I believe what Ukraine is doing now is achieving the same opportunity for Europe to at least have a chance of defending itself in the coming years. It seems more and more of those with intelligence in Europe are coming to the realisation this was but Putin’s first step incursions into NATO territory plus the likes… Read more »

Dave
Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

No, we should be increasing support to Ukraine. What we should be doing, and doing urgently, is building the factories, machinery and starting the manufacture of all the defence materials we need from the iron ore to steel to ships, tanks, guns, missiles. We should never have closed it all down and no we must urgently reopen it all. Give UuK companies incentives to build massive amounts for Ukraine and export it to them, not old stuff but new

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

While I am glad this is (finally) happening it is long over due and appears to have been prompted by the Houthis firing ASBMs at friendly ships in the Red Sea. Which HMS Diamond currently has limited ability to intercept. We need to be much more pro-active with this kind of decision making.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gareth
Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Pershing II could hit a ship in the 80’s. Not sure why the MOD seen ABM as a nice to have until a group of rebels started firing ABM. In small fairness is likely that the current Sea Viper can probably engage SRBM like the rebels are firing but the SCS is going to be off limits until we get this on the T45. I’m sure they will go at the usual glacial pace and have it ready just in time for the type 83 entering service. I’ll put it in the category of AESA radar on Typhoon and FC/ASW.… Read more »

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Space and reengineering will be issue. I assume they will leave current radar fit as-is and add alternative upward facing panels…but where…between funnel and comms tower ?

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Didn’t they demonstrate Sampson could track them a decade or so ago.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes in the US pacific missile range.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think, but could be wrong, that was tracking short range ballistic missiles at launch / climb stage. Stand to be corrected but I don’t think Sampson looks directly up ( cant see an incoming BM in terminal phase)

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Wouldnt hitting the missile when it’s directly above the ship likely cause damage to the ship as the debris from the 2 missiles land on it?

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

If you’re the target not much choice

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

You should have. Ballistic is by definition a curve, so as long as your defensive missies have long enough range they should be able to take it out as it curve into the ship rather than at the last minute when its almost verticle.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Will be function of range and target identification. Sampson limited to 400km

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

400km is pretty long though, that’s around a 1/3rd of the range of a chinese anti-ship ballistic missile, which would be still near the top of its arc where it would be a significant distance away from the ship.

the challange taking them out in the past was the speed they travel and the commutational power needed to get accurate target data for something traveling that fast. However Ukraine war has shown that clearly patriot can do it.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The apogee of even a short range ballistic missile is very high so chances of getting blatted by debris would be low.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago

It is possible to add a third top plate to SAMPSON. But it is possible that the ABM radar might be the very powerful Thales set that is already on T45. There is a known upgrade pathway for that. My *guess* is that it is more to do with how the two radars are used together. It could be that both radars are getting the upgrades. It is also perfectly possible that the existing radars and missiles are perfectly good enough to deal with the primitive weapons being used in theatre. Upgrading the radars is distinct from upgrading the missiles.… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago

Indeed…refit everything that can be now..and plow a ton of cash into recruitment and retention…the one area a lot of “money now”could make a difference is retention recruitment and bring the old lost workforce back into the fold…personally I think it’s time to shift the paradigm and tell the public defence spending needs to be back at Cold War levels…5-6%…be honest…actually tell the, china is up arming to the point it can to toe toe with the USN now ( let alone on 5 years)..tell them china is say it will be going to war by 2027..Iran is potentially able… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago

Is that the Thales SMART L MM ?

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Yes, I believe the Dutch used it to guide SM-3 from an AB onto a target a few years back, showing that it could track and target the missile, just the ship couldn’t launch the missiles itself.

pete
pete
2 months ago

indeed. not easy. my own view…if you can upgrade now for what is likely to be a more effective operational threat in 10 years do it as part of impending yard work.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago

Sampson can see to the edge of space but it’s long been proposed to add a third plate facing upwards above the other two to give it much enhanced coverage, accuracy, tracking and thus anti ballistic capability. Don’t know mind whether that would need to be on a new platform or capable of retro fitting to T-45 in its existing or modified location. A third panel fitted separately is an interesting idea though one presumes not trivial considering the present set ups cooling set up. As for Steve’s concern below the idea would be to take out the missile at… Read more »

pete
pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Cheers

pete
pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

on third plate. Was wondering if fitted separately it could be fitted lower down and therefore water-cooling issues may be easier managed.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago

Sampson can electronically steer its beam to track objects above it, it’s why the plates are slopped at an angle. This will just be software upgrade. The Burkes don’t have an up word looking antenna either.

Netking
Netking
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

The Burkes don’t have an up word looking antenna either”

And they seem to consistently intercept ballistic missiles in test and operationally which makes me think the need for an upward facing antenna is another internet lore and not based in reality.

Grinch
Grinch
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Bingo!!

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Yes, no idea who came up what the idea of an upward facing antenna to intercept a ballistic missile. The antenna plates on the Burke and the T45 are all sloped backwards and the AESA beam can electronically steer at a significant angle off its pointed direction. I think it’s about 60 degrees or so. Ballistic missiles are tracked and intercepted before coming near the warship and the missile itself does not drop straight down on top of a target its comes in at an angle which is relative to the angle it was launched at. Actually coming straight down… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

An early proposal for Sampson was 4 panels, so no need to revolve. One of the 4 would have pointed straight up. Remember even WW2 V1 flew in a straight line until its primitive guidance thought it was over target, then it nosed straight down. I think the fear was that modern hostile missiles, might do something similar. Hypersonic glide vehicles launched by ballistic missiles, may be able to do that.

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Sampson is an over the horizon angled radar when dealing with balistic missiles it can track too it’s zenith of attack and its downward trajectory like you said coming straight down would not be possible and on target these missiles fired by the Houthies are angled launched not like the old v2s straight up were they land no body knows kind of deal captured missiles alast week from a Dowleshowed that the build is not very complicated off the shelf electronics with a 50pound warhead with Fxxxing Ball bearings

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Unless its a booster throwing up a FOB system then it just drops re-entry vehicles on your head.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Re entry vehicles don’t come straight down, they follow a ballistic arch, steep angle sure but not vertical.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Well Bae offered up the concept, it’s just never been taken up or financed. I think an upward facing plate broadens and enhances its anti BM capabilities but certainly is not a necessity for it as you say.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

For sure an upward facing antenna would be useful, just not essential. Actually an upward facing AESA array would be very useful for jamming an incoming weapons radar guidance.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Hi Netking, More than just lore I think… Quote from Navy Lookout article: “SAMPSON is by no means a development dead-end and BAES considered multi-face versions with three, four and even five arrays, including a zenith array looking straight up for BMD use. A simplified, reduced-cost vision with a single array called SPECTAR was also being offered for export. At least the more affordable medium-range ARTISAN 3D (Advanced Radar Target Indication Situational Awareness and Navigation) which replaced the Type 996 in RN service was developed rapidly using some of the technology derived from SAMPSON.” In Focus – The Royal Navy’s… Read more »

Netking
Netking
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR,

So it really is a thing. To my untrained eyes, it seems that a missile on a ballistic arc would have to come over the horizon at some point which would put it in the range of radar a pointed in a given direction. Very interesting stuff.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Hi Netking, Ballistics are not my area so the following may be a bit off. However, from what I have read picking up BM’s as they come over the horizon is only really possible with shorter range weapons Intermediate range and shorter, I believe. This is because longer range weapons are at a very significant height before they come over the horizon, so out of range to anything other than very big radars e.g. Fylingdales. So the 400mile range of SAMPSON at the horizon isn’t that far for detecting ballistic missiles I believe. Strategic missiles can get up to about… Read more »

FieldLander
FieldLander
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The issue with longer ranged ballistic missiles is their higher velocity. I am assuming that the ABMs appearing in the Red Sea are not terminally guided. If they are it is much scarier.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  FieldLander

It’s also their apogee…I don’t think most shipped based systems can detect an object 750miles up.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

That is true. However the radar may be able to spot it and track it. But the missile may be traveling above your SAMs altitude envelop. So you will have to wait for it to tip over and dive on your ship. Waiting until the missile crosses into your SAMs envelop. This is the premise of why hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) are supposed to be invulnerable. Which is a lie. Basically they cruise above 150,000ft. Which at the time put them above all endoatmospheric SAMs. SM3 is purely an exoatmospheric missile, so HGVs cruise well below SM3’s engagement window. However,… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by DaveyB
monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I think also the problem with hypersonic glide vehicles is they should be able to manoeuvre so working out an intercept point becomes harder as you don’t know where it’s going to be. If it takes 180 seconds for your long range Sam to reach the target and the target changes direction every 60 seconds there is a problem. Mid course corrections may help.
I’m no expert as to what is and isn’t possible. Hitting 4000+mph objects that move must be tricky.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

As a point of reference SM3 is intercepting targets that are travelling faster than Mach 10. But as they are exoatmospheric, their flight paths are predictably straight, which makes interception easier. THAAD in particular has been used to intercept very high altitude ballistic missiles fired from Yemen at the UAE in 2022. These were at an altitude over 90,000ft. In both cases the targets were not manoeuvring either mid-course or during the terminal phase. Even when travelling at hypersonic speeds, this makes the interception far easier. Though it has taken over 20 years to get to a point today where… Read more »

Netking
Netking
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

“Do it enough times the HGV will only be supersonic.” My understanding is that the HGV is also maneuvering laterally as well to make the prediction of an interception point even more difficult. Yes it is trading speed for maneuverability but so is the missile trying to intercept it and its likely the HGV has a lot more energy than the interceptor. Countering a hypersonic cruise missile like the US HACM(if they can get it to work) is a different level all together as it’s flying much lower in the atmosphere, theoretically below the radar horizon giving the defender mere… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

That’s true but you can increase coverage and definition of what you are seeing with more panels I presume.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Realistically low flying and non stealthy anti ship cruise missiles are a much bigger threat to a warship than a ballistic missile so the concept behind mast mounting SAMPSON is still valid. If anything SPY 1 and SPY 6 are looking dated. A low flying cruise missile can select where to hit a ship taking out sensors etc or hitting the ship on the water line. Striking the ship side also gives a much greater chance of detonating the war head. Any ballistic missile striking a warship at hypersonic speed is likely to face the same issue as Tallboy used… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I do think the US Navy has goosed their choice of how SPY-6 is to be fitted to the Arliegh Burkes. Combining both a S-band and an X-band into a single panel array sounds good. But sill faces the same problems they had with the legacy SPY-1D. In that the X-band radar is placed fairly low on the superstructure and therefore constrains the radar horizon. Where it should be placed as high as possible. The Australian CEEFAR tries to solve this by putting the S-band panels low on the mast and the X-band panels higher on the mast. But again,… Read more »

Netking
Netking
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I do think the US Navy has goosed their choice of how SPY-6 is to be fitted to the Arliegh Burkes.”

It’s interesting that the latest PRC destroyers have gone with a similar setup to the ABs which makes me think there are confident in it’s ability despite the layout and there is capability there that is not disclosed publicly.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Sadly not quite true. Electronically steered arrays be they PESA or AESA have a field of view in azimuth of +/-60 degrees and in the vertical +/-45 degrees. This is the reason why the flat panels are angled to lean back. Otherwise they would only look up 45 degrees Admittedly it is possible for the beam to be steered past these limits. However steering the beam gets less precise, as well as less powerful. It will also introduce a lot of interference. This is to do with how the beam is formed by positive and negative interference. As the beam… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

That is beautifully explained.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks DaveyB great explanation as ever.

Math
Math
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Time has come to work on capability gap. I would have been very pleased to see our Horizon fregates to be upgraded to 72 missiles as well. Air defense is not so strong in France either. But just to be clear: Arrow 3 is of no use against all hypersonic weapons developped by Russia and China. They can simply not intercept this kind of trajectories. MBDA Twister will fill that gap. It is another program and another missile. French Vmax developped with some partnership in US navy is hypersonic missile. It will be later technology incorporated in joint programs with… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

To often we avoid or delay important weapon decisions under the sole expectation they won’t need to be used. This is the answer to that delusion and you never know when it will be required. Imagine the Govt panic if Diamond were hit by these ‘tribesmen’ it could be a Khartoum like incident with the public perception hyped up by the likes of the Mail, with the same sort of confused thinking being highlighted no doubt.

RoboJ1M
RoboJ1M
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I wonder how well we can jam Chinese asbm terminal guidance radar.
Can’t hit what you can’t see and a close miss isn’t going to much but get everybody wet.
Don’t forget they have to hit a tiny moving target from space at Mach Too Fast.

Marked
Marked
2 months ago

Timescale? Or is it the usual 2030 if we are lucky nonsense?

Adrian
Adrian
2 months ago

This just highlights the already known fact that china/Russia/Iran have around 10 years to take advantage of the fact we’re not only got capability gaps we have capacity gaps too. Many western countries are on the same position but the UK does not seem to have any urgency to reduce that time period. I see it as no coincidence that the wests military is at its weakest (in comparison) and the talk of war becoming louder. I’ll go back to 91 gulf war, Russia came, it saw and the leaders decided they didn’t want any of that – yes other… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian

Not just that..china is now a military power house..that has kept itself under the radar..so as not to disturb…PLAN is now huge and bigger then the USN…it gets bigger every year by around 10 major escorts. It s ready for war and knows the USN is not going to grow..so it can be open about it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Good to see.
But £705 million total? Said initial £300 million and now additional £405 million.
Again, here is where the money goes, not on extra ships and personnel.
Tier1 kit is expensive.
We need a better balance because we clearly cannot have both extra mass and the bells and whistles.

DH
DH
2 months ago

Hmm, as usual MD well pointed out. 👍

Netking
Netking
2 months ago

Tier1 kit is expensive.”

This!!!!

You can’t do tier 1 on the cheap. Either increase spending significantly or scale back your ambition and focus on a few things that are most important.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

It is expensive, but a much needed upgrade. What is somewhat at odds and difficult to understand, is why this upgrade will take until 2032(NL Twitter) to apply to all six T45’s?
Agreed there are many elements combined to make this capability viable, but 2032, doesn’t make sense!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

On the face of it, just seems like another case of drag things out to spread the costs and maximise the profit for the contractor.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

That is of course entirely possible, but, in the current climate, given that the profits for the contractor should be largely the same, surely the quicker these improvements are implemented, the better position we will be in? Especially if SoS Def comments about a war within 5 years are to be believed!
The country isn’t as strapped for cash as it makes out, it’s how they choose to spend it that matters.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Indeed, and enough for billions in tax cuts as a pre election bribe.
They’ve lost my vote….and as for Labour, well, they’ve never had it for the similar reasons.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

At this rate, there will be nobody left to vote for mate! 🤣🤣

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

That’s the problem! There isn’t a 3rd established centrist party. Lib Dems no thank you.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

Perhaps we need to start a new party, UKDJ and go on a ticket of Britain Defence first!! Can’t be any worse than the rest of them. 😆

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

What a great idea. If nothing else it would create publicity for defence. You and GB the obvious naval spokesmen.

klonkie
klonkie
2 months ago

Hi DM – Might you be up for MOD shadow minister?😉

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

Definitely! 😳🤪

klonkie
klonkie
2 months ago

niceeeee! 🙏

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

The do you actually realise we are heading for a war party…I’m not sure we would get any votes..people hate bad news even if it’s correct.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago

Try and find an independent to vote for..or if you have to spoil you ballot..just make sure you use your obligation to put the paper into the box.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I agree mate, let that be in no doubt. Too many have died for that right.

Smickers
Smickers
2 months ago

Agree strongly with every word
The political classes of not only here but the US and Europe are making me continually shake my head in disbelief.

FieldLander
FieldLander
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Cashflow.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  FieldLander

Only in the sense that they are not prepared to prioritise defence above other issues I suspect.
The cutting taxes gag prior to a GE tells you that money is available, just look at where the govt spent it’s money in 2023. By numbers, Defence was 6th on the list. The other five all had in excess of £100+ billion spent on them. Debt payments came in just under at £97 billion.
It’s all about how we spend it.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Well china has very specifically said it’s going to war by 2027…it’s told it’s own population it is..when you enemy rearms at a profound level ( the US department of defence estimates that chinas spending on it’s military is actually around 10times what it says it is…China official says it spent 290billion on defence..or 1.7% of its GDP..the U.S. suspects its actual spend is way way above that..17%?..which would make sense as even if you just look at its navel build you need to have dropped at ton of cash if in 3 years you have commissioned a balistic missile… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes, think that we in the West have been caught on the hop and out-thought over this. Other than increase stocks of various munitions rapidly, get as many/much high end stuff through maintenance/back into service pdq, not really to sure what else we can do? The next few years might just be a tad fraught.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Indeed,chat on X seems to say that these upgrades are dependant on the Sea Ceptor work being done first,which im not too sure why that would be the case.If it is true then Defender will be the 1st,followed by Diamond and Duncan.Daring and Dragon are taking an age post PIP to return to the Fleet,their Radars have undergone maintenance and Upgrades,i wonder if this work has already been done on them hence the delays ?.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Granted you do have to wonder why its going to take so long given world events?
8 odd years to upgrade 6 ships, finances notwithstanding, is it just 2-3 people working on this! 🤔

Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

No because we need to keep ships active, cant dock the whole fleet for upto a year for this.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Agree we can’t just dock the entire class at once. We currently have 2 T45s in maintenance in Pompey, not sure why some/all the work can’t be done now. It is not beyond our capabilities to sort out all 6 ships in the next 3-4 years.
If we were in a shooting match it would be done as soon as a ship came back into port would you not think?

Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Sure but were not in a war, and the T45s are having to make up for the aging frigates rn. Also PIP is more of a priority than this, so rather than adding more work we need Daring and Dragon out so Diamond and Duncan can go in for a full PIP/CAMM, cause then all the destroyers will have PIP out of the way

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

No, we are not at war, but Im sure that we would rather have this capability before any shooting starts, not afterwards. If the assessed threat is within the next five years, then that is surely your time frame for the upgrade? PIP is a priority task, but so is this, and has been for a decade or more if you read whats been said in the article. CAMM also requires the Sea Viper system to be upgraded, if all the blocks are in place, there is no reason why CAMM/ASTOR Blk 1 upgrades cannot be implemented at the same… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Indeed, there are a few points to consider. 1) china thinks of war differently to the west..to china the political war is even more important than the economic war and kinetic war..china is already attacking the west..in the political warfare sphere….an area it considers vitally importing in winning its concept of the long war…if you can overcome your enemy before he deploys his army..that is the greatest victory…. 2) The only way to prevent a war is to convince china we will fight the long war…that means showing intent…everything we do or don’t do will go into the mix of… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

If there’s money there’s always an option to build two A140/T31 AAW types to bulk out the fleet and complement the upgraded T45s, especially litorally, and all prior to T83.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

This option would only work out, if this type of vessel is fitted out with the same missile system as a T45, Aster 30s, and CAMM. With a compatible radar to go with it like a FREMM AAW frigate.
Iver Huitfeldt frigates have got X-Band radar, which the RN don’t use.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

I’m not sure the Chinese agree with you, we are not yet in a kinetic war…the Chinese believe in the concept of the long war…the political war, economic war, preparations for kinetic war, preparation of your population etc these are all war activities recognised in Chinese strategic think on what war is….and anyone who has studied Chinese strategic thinking knows we are already at war.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

China has supposedly adapting its economy to be less vulnerable to outside problems. I say supposedly as I’ve only heard it once and not looked into it. What I heard was chinas government thought it wise to take a hit on growth by making its economy more domestically focused or something like that. By no means would that make economic suffering not happen just less is the thinking. I’m still not sure apart from Taiwan what or who China would want to be at war with? Taiwan is on its own really. When the PLA attack they will surround the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

in regards to china prepping its economy for war you have to read the Babbage papers ( it costs £30 to access unfortunately) as this is the major academic work with all the references and evidence around changes in the Chinese economy.. in regards to Taiwan…if the U.S. turned around and said we will not defend Taiwan then it would be as you say..china would envelop and would very likely obliterate its ability to fight and overthrow the government with a coupe of weeks. It would be a problem but not a catastrophe. The issue is that the US has… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Possibly because conversion to Block 1 would entail conversion (or possible replacement) of all Aster 15 by Aster 30, thereby creating a potential vulnerability re very close quarters engagement envelope w/out CAMM coverage? 😳

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Deep, believe Aster will be involved in virtually constant upgrade cycles (e.g., Block 1, Block 1NT, etc.) henceforth, until missles are withdrawn. The forcing function will probably be ChiCom missile upgrade developments–the storm clouds are gathering. 🤔😳

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I suspect that you aren’t far from the truth there. The rate we are going I can see us having ships at several different capability steps as opposed to just one step.
Bullies are always wary of a show of strength/determination, we in the West(Europe) don’t appear to be on that page.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

👍

Grinch
Grinch
2 months ago

I think you will find the 405 million includes the 300 million. It’s the same contract that was placed a year ago dressed up to look like new news.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Grinch

Thanks, I hope so.
And they’re masters at repackaging old news into new as you say.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago

Come on, you can squeeze more than 24 CAMM in there. Don’t waste the space!

Donaldson
Donaldson
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Get rid of the 4.5 then we’re talking

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Donaldson

An 57mm gun could go on a raised platform, below in front of the bridge?

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Agree the 4.5inch is functionally pointless for any realistic tasking of a type 45…other than putting a shot across the bows….( it’s not going to do fire support) so put a gun that has more utility than a shot across the bows…the 57mm would be perfect…

Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

That’s the space for the cruise missiles

Jon
Jon
2 months ago

When George says reported last year, he means he reported two years ago that he reported last year: so three years ago, and the two frigates for the chop are Montrose and Monmouth, not Westminster and Argyll. Still, there’s a definite sense of deja vu.

I wish George would delineate a little more clearly where a current article ends and the previously reported background information begins. Usually it’s easy enough to spot, but a ruled line or something for clarity wouldn’t go amiss.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jon
Daniel
Daniel
2 months ago

So Aster 30 block 1 not 1NT? I thought it is 1NT as we was looking and interested it, also it is in final second phase test at moments? So is it rush to buy block 1 or something I missing?

Add it quad CAMM replace aster 15 when upgrade both same time will help lots

Last edited 2 months ago by Daniel
Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Daniel

We’ve had 48 cells on the T45 since 2009 and quad packable CAMMs since 2014.

T23s should have had 128 instead of 32.

T45s shoud all have 32 Aster 30s and 64 CAMMs by now, even without additional cells being added.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

CAAM didn’t enter service with the RN till 2017,and who has managed to Quad pack them and in what ?.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Search “camm missile quad pack” and the first result is on the MBDA website about quad packing them into Mk41 silos. I don’t think anyone has done it but obviously it can be done. Whilst we didn’t get it into the RN until 2017 the first successful vertical launch was 2011 and the MOD issued a contract in Jan 2012. My point is; lots of missiles have been an option for ages. It is only now that we’re starting a project for more silos and it will be a few more years at best before we get them so perhaps… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Well if no one has managed to do it that means your ‘since 2014’ a bit suspect then 😔

Coll
Coll
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Type 45 uses sylver VLS.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Yes I know, but its physically the same size. Internal width is 560mm, CAMM ER diameter is 190mm, CAMM is 166mm. I’m sure quad packing is possible, we (our government) just chose not to pursue it.

Coll
Coll
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

And I’m sure the bean counters will also favour the test program if Naval Group cooperate.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coll
Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

The T23 frigate, does Not have the hull depth for Mk. 41.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

👍

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

I believe MBDA discussed a triple pack in a Mk41 but never seem a quad packed CAMM.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Search “camm missile quad pack” and the first result is on the MBDA website about quad packing them into Mk41 silos. I don’t think anyone has done it but obviously it can be done.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

I think the only work done was to measure that they do fit. It would take more work to actually get that into service. While it is interesting a Mk41,sylver are hot launch launchers while CAAM is cold launch. Be aswell having a cheaper cell launcher for CAAM that can fit the missiles in perfectly making best use of the space. Could even consider double stacking to get more missiles. Place them down the side of the hull of new ships as they are slightly armoured and blow out can occur outwards. As usual it’s all money and that’s one… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Check also Lockheed Martin Mk41 VLS and EXLS. Both have been modeled for quad packed CAMM.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

You can’t quad pack old Sea Wolf tubes!

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I didn’t mean that. According to MBDA CAMMs can be quad packed into a MK41 and the dimensions of which therefore mean that there is enough space in a T23 for 128 of them. New tubes needed. My point is, once CAMM became availlable around 2014 it became possible for us to have lots of missiles, but we chose not to on either the T23 or the T45.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Not enough depth in Hull for Mk. 41 on a T23. T23 designed before Mk. 41 came into existence.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Daniel

Sea Viper Evolution is going to be done in two phases. Phase 1 are upgrades to the T45’s Sampson and CMS. But also Aster Block 0 to 1 standard. Phase 2 is the introduction of the Aster Block 1NT missile.

So Phase 1 gets the ship ready for ballistic missile defence. The Block 1 missile is capable of intercepting ballistic threats. But the Block 1NT includes a much better radar. Giving it an even better chance of interception.

So why is Aster Block 1NT not being introduced with Phase 1? Probably cost.

Darryl2164
Darryl2164
2 months ago

While welcome it means more time in dock for the t45s

Grinch
Grinch
2 months ago

Old news dressed up as new

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

The RN should squeeze 4 more type 26s out of the programme and adopt the Australian GMF frigate design whereby mission bay is lost to add a 96-124 MK41 VLS silo in its place giving a huge missile battery similar to a Tico cruiser. That will add a huge amount of firepower to the RN.
So get the 8 ASW versions done asap then switch to 4 GMF design.
HMG get it done. It’s time to rearm right now.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Not sure about the mega VLS T26 design at the moment. The T26 itself is not supposed to be a missile bus; its whole concept is for the deployment of other modules to complete its mission. I agree we need a vessel to carry a load of VLS, but this would better fall into the T83 design than an existing frigate. The T26 VLS only makes sense if, as the Australians have done, you add a new, more powerful radar to turn it into a true AA asset as well as ASuW and AAW. We could put a S1850 radar… Read more »

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

The type 45 could have the flight deck and hanger shrunk to allow just a wildcat and that would free up space. I’ve not seen one with a merlin let alone a chinook recently.
It’s how much do the navy want extra cells over current capabilities. 48 aster 30 + 24 CAAM in current projections.
Let hope the 45s last long enough for replacement to enter service.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

My point was about the problems with blindly following VLS numbers without also providing the means to be a more rounded warship. Personally, I would focus on improving missiles for the T45s, while pushing for more VLS on a rounded T83.

Adrian
Adrian
2 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

The type 45s are large enough for even more missiles than that but realistically 72 missiles is about as many as UK inventory will stand without other ships starting to reduce numbers.

Bit like the tomahawks on SSNs, we probably don’t have enough to fill all the Astutes at once

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Disagree Sailor boy. The type 26 programme is live, it isn’t another ship design that requires huge sums of money finalising and passing through tiers of review. It is a design proven and in construction. Like the type 31 we should Be simply concentrating on churning out escorts that are in build in serial production. As per the NSP (national shipbuilding plan). The GMF frigate design of type 26 aka hunter class with Aukus could have CEFAR radar set and ditch the mission bay. Give the RN a missile truck able to go toe to toe against a whole surface… Read more »

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

As mentioned below, the Australians seem to be having issues with top weight having added loads of new kit even before GMF. Mk41 is heavy and so is CEAFAR, so combining the two will cause large problems for thr designers. GMF would be nice but given our proximity to the North Atlantic seaworthiness is a more pressing issue than for the Australians. In addition, the Australians lack a full carrier and SSNs, so of course they will need better ASuW as it is their primary method of attack. The purpose of T26 is to keep a carrier safe while it… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Not possible a T26 of GMF, without seriously enlarging the hull to add stability to the design. That’s why the T45 has a larger beam than T26.
We might as well build a few more updated T45s in the interim, until T83.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Not worth it. Use the money to speed up T26 and get T83 #1 into build at the end of the decade. In my head, I put T83 alongside Tempest in terms of timeline along with SSN-AUKUS. All three would be worth spending more on rather than scrabbling for short-term capability.
I’d rather have 8 T83 cruisers in 2035 than 2 T45s in 2030 and 4 T83s in 2040.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I’ll have what you’re drinking Mr Bell!! Like it! Common sense on the T26s isn’t it? RN should be able to have the same.

Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Australia has in no way accepted the additional VLS, and we want to make use of the multi mission bay

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Yes and true, but it does show what can be done and that’s a good thing. Personally I’d like to see MK41s on the T45s as there’s supposedly the space already, that’s potentially 32-64 quad CAMM to complement the 48 Aster. And FFBNW up to 4*4 NSMs space and weight permitting. Especially if these vessels are going to go for another 10-15 years. And 4*4 NSM can be put on the back roof of the T26s if required. There’s quite a few options as there are priorities.

Last edited 2 months ago by Quentin D63
Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

I think the Aussies will have a split Hunter class first 5-6 will be ASW optimised. Rest GMF design. For ASW against Chinas large numbers of ssks and developing SSNs the Aussies will have rotational force West and Virginia/ astute class able to handle the task of hunting and killing Chinese subs

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I think we need to be careful about doing that- the Aussies are having trouble with getting that much heavy kit into the T26 without making it top-heavy from what I’ve heard… Plus they’re coming in very expensive and using US systems, so we couldn’t just copy/paste over here.
Not saying that some additional hulls couldn’t/shouldn’t be added to hot lines, but it’ll take more work than one might think to make an AAD T26.

nicholas
nicholas
2 months ago

I found the longer transcript interesting, I do wonder what the point of committees like that is if they have no powers. On the issue of ballistic anti-ship missiles the following comment was of no surprise. ‘The Navy has been clear that there has been a national capability gap, for the last 10 years, at least, in an anti-ballistic missile defence capability. That can be mitigated by working alongside our allies,…’ If Trump gets in next time he is likely to withdraw from Nato and operating with foreign navies (I don’t agree with this but look how a lot of… Read more »

Mike
Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  nicholas

Last paragraph hits nail on head. Europe is one of the richest places on earth, it does massive amounts of trade via the sea routes – but where is its effective contribution to keeping the sea lanes open? Yes, the RN is in a bad way at the moment, but that would be mitigated if eu partners pulled their weight.

Perhaps it is time for an eu armed forces. Probably very slow to react, and very cumbersome, but at least there would be a single point of contact for allies to discuss with

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

This looks like old news in that we knew there was to be an upgrade. I think HMS Defender is already in refit for PIP and will be fitted with NSM and Sea Ceptor. I suspect she will get the other Sea Viper Evolution phase one upgrades too. However I think the ASTER 30 block one just involves a software upgrade and a new warhead. So the MOD could tush this into service on the current T45. Perhaps even get some from French/Italian stocks until we got our own. That is what I would do.. get the T45s in the… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago

Alot of nonsense here. “Sea Viper…., being the Navy’s weapon of choice” If Sea Viper is our RN’s weapon of choice, why has HMG only allowed us 6 warships carrying it? We know the answer-cuts, penny pinching regardless of the consequences. Also the reckles folly of previously limiting the ability of our Asters to no BMD capability. Someone seems ignorant too that SEA Viper is already the maritime version. “SEA-” being the clue. Ministers etc really should do their homework better! I gave up after that. Great news if we are biting the bullet & getting ABM capable missiles for… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Frank62
Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

France and Italy are also only just investing in ABM for their destroyers, and they only have 2 suitable candidates each currently.
And the reason sea viper is only on the T45 is because both the new frigates use Mk41 which cannot carry sea viper, and dont have a high end radar suite like the destroyers.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Italian FREEM demonstrated ABM capability and they also want it in their PPA Full.

Hugo
Hugo
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Good to hear then. Those PPA are very odd, they should really just call them frigates.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Even their hull is odd. It looks like the Italians still remember the Battle of Lissa and so have fitted a ram bow to their new patrol vessels…

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

Do you mean T31, and T26?
Both T31 and T26 will not have a high end radar, so will not be able to proform Area Air Defence(AAD), like a T45. Which is what vessels the UK needs at the moment.
RN would not be able to use missiles like sm-3 in Mk. 41 because of the radar limitations.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Yes we made the same mistake by not fitting T42 withPhalanx before the Falklands conflict. We knew they had limited capability against low level threats but we did nothing and we lost Sheffield and Coventry because HMG wanted to penny pinch. The USN at the time had fitted Phalanx across their fleet.

Bruce Palmer
Bruce Palmer
2 months ago

Hopefully, whoever wins the next election will not pay off more frigates and replace them with row boat mounting machine guns.*
*Fitted for but not with

Mike
Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Palmer

Sadly, following the peace dividend, society just doesn’t value defence as much. All politicians know that a billion on nhs / benefits gains them more votes than a billion on defence. And they go where the votes are rather than good of nation. Similarly, many below mid 30s have a very negative view of British history, ignoring all the good and only focusing on the bad. They see uk as imperialistic and wanting to go back to days of empire – this could be because they are 1st or 2nd generational arrivals into uk who only came for economic reasons,… Read more »

James
James
2 months ago

Still no Tomahawk missiles for British destroyers . They are impotent against Houthis offensive wise

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  James

NSM is being fitted when time alongside permits- more than sufficient for dealing with the situation in Yemen, and at this point quicker into service than TLAM I would expect.

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

10 years to start to fix something, probably another 5 to 10 before the fix is in place… Can the civil service actually love my slower it is just as if they are deliberately setting out to destroy the country. First advising people to destroy all our industry so we can’t supply ourselves anything and then scrapping more and more equipment, ships, planes, tanks, even lorries until the defence cupboard is bare while the russians, Koreans, Iranians and Chinese are all adding to their capabilities, someone in power in the UK, someone in power for 50 years, wants us to… Read more »

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

So what capability does the USN have? I know the Aegis system was being upgraded to incorporate BMD a couple of years ago, but I don’t know if it’s widely deployed yet.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

I believe all the forward-deployed Burkes in Spain have it, and will comes standard on the newer blocks that have been built- don’t know exactly where the crossover is though. I’ve read though, that ABM for the Burkes is an either/or capability; they can’t do normal AAD and ABM at the same time because of the way that the radars and suchlike have to search the area. I don’t know if/when that will be resolved. I would imagine that the pairing of Burkes and T45 off the coast of Yemen manages to mitigate that. Will be interesting to see if… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The USN has 19 Arleigh Burkes either in construction, fitting out or undergoing sea trials- that is a decent number of surface combatants with the latest BMD variant of Aegis.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Thanks for that, good to know! Wonder if the latest version allows for simultaneous BMD and AAD…

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The missiles certainly don’t
SM3 seems to be purely for exoatmospheric targets with SM2 and SM6 for endoatmospheric missiles and jets. So they have to decide beforehand how many ABM missiles they want to carry, while the T45 is supposed to be using the same missile for both.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Handy to have the breakdown, thanks

Netking
Netking
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

They have been able to do both simultaneously since aegis baseline 9 if I remember correctly. They usn expect to have 65 surface combatants(AB and ticos) fitted with some version of baseline 9 by 2025. They latest test in 2023 had them intercept a ballistic missile and a number of sea skimming cruise missile targets simultaneously which apparently is currently the most stressing form of attack for a surface ship.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Glad they got that sorted! That’s a pretty complex attack

Mike
Mike
2 months ago

The increase in missile load out capability is great news.

But with the proliferation of drones, its easy to cheaply produce multiple swarm attacks that could overwhelm defences / use up all loaded missiles.

Extra missile capability needs to be backed up by cheap / high loadout weapons such as 40mm bofors, and DEW. The red sea looks a good test centre for Dragonfire (with the back up of the missiles etc to keep people safe during its developmental progress)

Ian
Ian
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

The issue in the Red Sea is that the escorts have to defend commercial shipping as well as themselves, i.e. short range weapons aren’t going to be useful unless the ships are in convoys with one or more escorts very close by. Escorting convoys has its own problems.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall
2 months ago

Badly needed, Sea Vixen is getting dated. But I believe that it will be 2032(!) before the upgrade is completed, far too late. However, another ad-hoc project only reluctantly approved and funded as a reaction to events. I’m hoping that the next (presumably) Labour government will launch a Strategy Review in to the future Royal Navy (including RFA and RM). This to describe in detail where the country needs it to be in 5, 10 and 15 years, and ringing fencing the money needed to achieve this for as far forward as possible. If the conclusion is that all the… Read more »

Nick Paton
Nick Paton
2 months ago

Good Day from China,

How often have we discussed over many years about the need for increasing British Defence spending?

One does live in hope that the politicians will wake up and massively increase the budget! It’s seems completely irresponsible that things have been left so dire!

Peace dividend was never a realistic option.

Nick

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 months ago

£405million? where have they found that? must have in a broom cupboard at the MOD.