A £299K contract has been placed with Leonardo to support the ‘Identification Friend or Foe’ system installed on then Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

According to the contract award notice:

“The Secretary of State for Defence (the Authority), through the Surface Ships Combat Systems Group (SSCSG) Project Team within Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) intends to place a 21 month contract, with up to two six month option periods for a maximum duration of 33 months, with Leonardo UK Ltd. for the Support of Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF).”

The Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier’s IFF is a secondary surveillance radar system fitted to the two ships.

“It forms part of the QEC Mission System and contributes towards situational awareness, identification and Air Traffic Control operations within both vessels. It is considered that this contract can be placed using the negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice pursuant to Regulation 16(1)(a)(ii) of the UK Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 for technical reasons.

Leonardo UK Ltd. is the existing service provider and only they possess the necessary expertise, means and know how essential to delivering and supporting the IFF capability as it is a bespoke technical solution fitted to QEC.”

The notice also explains why Leonardo was chosen.

“It is not feasible for another supplier to achieve the required technical performance, as they would not have the specific technical knowledge, tools and means which the current supplier has at its disposal.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
71 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 days ago

Sorry to rant on this but any news on any additional defensive systems FFBNW for both the carriers yet? Surely something is being planned? Anyone know?

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Nothing announced but I hope 30mm are replaced by 40mm and Phalanx replaced with SeaRAM/Gun Phalanx mix (two and two maybe?) 40mm would offer better protection from air targets and is technically something we’ve been operating for 80+ tears. SeaRAM to engage missiles further away and the ‘gun’ Phalanx to tear up FACs. I’ve also seen mock ups of lasers mounted on Phalanx so maybe those two. Sea Ceptor seems unlikely.

Tim Hirst
Tim Hirst
2 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Non of this is going to happen. The 30mm guns have been dropped, so I don’t see any chance of the 40.
SeaRam is both expensive and not in service/supported in the U.K. system. If, and it’s unlikely, the RN was to fit SAM to the QE class Sea Ceptor would be much more cheaper overall.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
2 days ago
Reply to  Tim Hirst

I meant the SeaRAM which is the RIM-116 on a Phalanx mount, would be slightly cheaper and easier for support contracts. Unit coast of RIM-116 is $988,000 whilst a SeaRam-Phalanx mix is about £ 500k.

Last edited 2 days ago by Goldilocks
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

And the through life support is humongous.

No Sh*t true Dit …When we initially bought Phalanx back in the late 80s the parts catalogue once had a “Hexi-form Rotational Compression unit Size 1/2 316 SS “. It cost over 70 quid. It was a half inch UNC Stainless nut! We rapidly wised up to that and sourced them ourselves.

By anything American on a FMS and its cheap…Supporting it is where they make the money and that aint cheap.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

If the Hexagonal compression unit cost 70 quid how much did they charge for the Phalanx unit assembly maintenance Toolkit that comes standard with each weapon also available from either B&Q or wickes?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 day ago
Reply to  Tommo

We where paying 120quid for a one inch paint brush in BMARC 20 and 30mm toolkits to apply the grease with. That was using the NSNs from the parts books which meant that BMARC provided the spares directly. . Or you went to the paint shop, talked to the dabbers and got a brush that cost pennies.
Toolkits have always been a bone of contention.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yeah those toolkits for single 30mm and twin 30mm same tools for each no variation same cannon just one mounting had two cannon we’d only maintain one fully before starting on the second so as not too mix up components yet the powers that be gave us 2 tools kits for 1 mounting but 1 set of gauges mind you they did supply 2 bore benchmark scopes for the twin the MOD is good at doing things in duplicate or triplicate the greasebrushes / paintstore brushes a good example

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 hours ago
Reply to  Tim Hirst

The advantage of 40mm is the smart ammunition and commonality with T31.

It may just come to pass.

It *might* be waiting for some aspect of T31 program to come to fruition?

Steve R
Steve R
2 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Personally I’d rather we not bother with SeaRAM and wait until Dragonfire is ready, then put two or three of those on the carriers, plus on the Type 45/83 destroyers and Type 26s.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Dragonfire wont have the same range or stopping ability as a missile system.
Its not going to be a star wars turbo laser. It will be good for targets out to a few Km…slow movers such as drones and surface small boats.

Steve R
Steve R
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

SeaRAM only has a range of 10km, mind.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve R

Dragonfire will be around 3-5 km… Weather dependent.

Steve R
Steve R
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Didn’t realise that.

Makes me wonder why we’re bothering with it if it’s that limited. Lot of money for not a lot of bang.

Steve M
Steve M
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Everyone knows how effective those Turbo Lasers are/were/will be !!!!!!!! especially against small fast targets 😂

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 hours ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

As with all these things they become, better, smaller, cheaper over time.

Tactics then improve once the system is in service.

I agree a 40mm has a lot going for it.

Marked
Marked
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Probably won’t happen until they need to deeply to somewhere that’s getting a bit hot, then it’ll be a rushed UOR.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
2 days ago
Reply to  Marked

When will people get it into to their heads that the QE carriers have a defence it’s called CSG more “little guns or little rockets” are an irrelevance.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Yes. They are, in reality, the best defended airfields we have.

andy a
andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

I do agree with you on that but why are we the only serious carrier operator that doesnt have real defences on baoard, Or do we know better than all of them?

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
2 days ago
Reply to  andy a

There is a difference between “doing what you’ve always done” and thinking about things in a “holistic” sense. Less is often more if done properly. The USN are incredibly conservative in many respects, just as the USM are almost the opposite.

Andy a
Andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

I don’t think less is more in missle defence terms, we carry less firepower than any serious navy

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
2 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

That’s because you haven’t bothered to read past responses on this site on the subject. Less IS literally more if you have a 2 missile 1 hit system as opposed to the RNs 1 missile 1 hit system. Keep up!

Andy a
Andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Except the difference that made t45 far superior have pretty much gone now with latest Burke. There new missles, new radar and new computing power. Most everyone thinks there is little difference except British as we justify our cuts by claiming we are better and so is our kit! We don’t even have cooperative engagement which makes a strike group far more efficient in missle defence. I see no proof to justify except hope why an under armed t45 is worth 2 burkes that are armed to teeth or that an aster is twice as affective as SM. I hope… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
2 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Would these be the same Burke’s that are due to enter service in 2023 and are facing serious cost escalation and performance problems with their new radar?

Andy a
Andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

T45 at £1billion didn’t have any issues or delays did they. I merely fail to see any one except the British saying they are miles superior to AB platforms, I can’t find any experts that think vanilla aster is better than the new SM missles. Yes t45 are good but where does all this so-called proof that we can do with out point defences that 30 other navies think are a minimum? Sounds like hope or arragance to me

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
2 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Look up DaveyB who has posted detailed and knowledgeable posts on the matter, ignorance is not bliss.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 day ago
Reply to  Andy a

RN ships have had Link in various forms for years.
You can shoot at a link target/track. The need to illuminate a target for someone else’s missiles isnt required for RN systems that are now 100% active homers.

Andy a
Andy a
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yea but that’s not co operative engagements

Andy a
Andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Oh I have read them and most experts seem to think the new SM missles are while more expensive but superior to our vanilla asters

Steve R
Steve R
2 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Because we put the “real defences” outboard. I’d rather have two or three Type 45s over any number of seaRAM or similar missiles on board the carrier.

Andy a
Andy a
2 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Funny how the US has far more escorts, firepower and still puts point defences on board? So do french…. And everyone but us

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
23 hours ago
Reply to  Andy a

We removed Sea Dart from the Invincible class to fit more of it’s primary weapon systems. Aircraft. The escorts are designed for the role, they are the perfect tool for the job. So the carrier can concentrate on generating combat air power. Rather then trying to be a big destroyer. If a carrier, any carrier has to use any of it’s close in defence systems, then the escorts have failed, and all will probably be lost. The layered defence system has proven it’s potency many many times. The investment has gone into Sea Ceptor and Sea Venom. And in the… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
23 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Well they are networked sort of but fail to have cooperative battle where one unit takes charge ensuring different units are targeting most efficient targets as we cut that to save. Cash, short sighted as in future I don’t believe the threats will give humans time to get involved. All other info is very interesting and all (and I love the RN) but if the US with probably double our firepower in a strike group and far more missles ans ships still thinks far more guns, missles and point defences (and last ditch weapons) are needed at the “oh sh*t”… Read more »

Last edited 23 hours ago by Andy a
Robert Blay
Robert Blay
22 hours ago
Reply to  Andy a

It’s pretty simple really. The US has a vastly larger defence budget. But not every USN warship is as capable or equipped as many think. They sail with empty missile tubes just like we do. It’s a constant balancing act between the money available, and achieveing the defence requirements of the day. The other nations you mention have fewer escorts and even less capability than we do. But it’s all pretty irrelevant. That’s why we exercise with so many other nation’s, to make the most of each nations experience and capability. Interoperability is vitality important, and working together achieves far… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
20 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

All very interesting but if navies with less capabilities and more capabilities all think our defence systems are lacking it’s very arrogant to think we know better than all these other navies. Even current navy chief engineer I’m friends with agrees soft kill RN is second to none but in hard ware terms were always behind everyone else
Also US ships may not have a full missle load out but show me any other blue water navy willing to have no anti ship missles for 8+ years?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
11 hours ago
Reply to  Andy a

knobody thinks the RN is lacking. We have anti ship capability with Astute class, Sea Venom and Martlet. We also know the chances of anyone using large Anti ship missiles is very low. Of all the capability gaps, this one worries the RN the least. And they are the subject matter experts.

Andy a
Andy a
10 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Again funny that the RN doing something no other major navy would consider. Arrogance?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 hours ago
Reply to  Andy a

Why would you think it’s arrogance? Money is tight, and other capabilities are further up the priority list.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Sea state dictates Flying stations, that’s the catch Okams Razor

Sean
Sean
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Less so with VSTOL aircraft.

Tommo
Tommo
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

That’s a lot of fuel used for taking off if you go vertical ie time on station is cut , Landing vertically is a different matter

Sean
Sean
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Except they don’t, they use the ramp for take off and a slow rolling landing.
Both possible in higher sea states than cats and traps allow.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Sean

I did serve on the Invincible so I am aware, the old Harriers never launched vertical landed yes , but rough weather often curtailed flying stations deep swell breaking over FX meant no flying

Sean
Sean
1 day ago
Reply to  Tommo

Yes really bad sea states can curtail all flying. But as shown in the Falkands, cat and trap operations are curtailed in sea states where aircraft like the Harrier and F35B can still continue to operate.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Sean

Wouldn’t like the C126 for an F35B because of rough weather damage

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 day ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

With respect OR, we get the “CSG thing”. A few of us here are just making the simple point that all key ships should all have adequate defensive armament. Maybe we don’t truly know what that all means and it would obviously include EW but our carriers clearly have four non-used areas for such things.

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The issue is twofold. You will loose flightdeck parking space and below-decks facilities to fit a VLS, which you will need for Sea Ceptor, and its better to give more to the escorts (which is what we are doing – Type 45 having 24 Sea Ceptor and 48 Aster-30, and Type 26 48 Sea Ceptor). Close in defence is needed – and maybe another Phalanx would be a good idea (the three on each ship do not give 360 degree cover – I’m sure they were cross-decked from the two Invincibles with Phalanx). One of the 30mm slots could be… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by James Fennell
DRS
DRS
2 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

For the sake of 25/50 mil you are putting 1-2k lives and 3-6bn of kit at risk. SeaCeptor on the outside of the main superstructure on the fore and aft would be good and believe there is some allowance for this already . Perhaps 12 either side it is 12 less things phalanx needs to worry about. AT the 30 mm positions. Should HMS Queen Elizabeth be fitted with her own missile defences? | Navy Lookout Last ditch defence – the Phalanx close-in weapon system in focus | Navy Lookout And since we are talking Fantasy CIWS I would also… Read more »

fantasy-CIWS-qe-pw.png
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 day ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Hi James, I have to disagree with you re possible CAMM locations as I don’t believe there’s any need to penetrate the deck. If you look at French, Italian and US carriers there’s space made for their SAM systems, usually built out from the hull forward and aft. I understand that SAM systems could well and truly interfere with air Ops so doable locations will be restricted and yes maybe not workable at all. Look I’ll be first to say I’d like an additional 4th Phalanx if no 30mm’s are being added or 4x40mm + 3 Phalanx’s over adding any… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 day ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yes I guess Type 56 or ExLS VLS can be used alongside the deck, but pricey – and would it really be a good use of scarce funds? Looking at the new Indian carrier Vikrant, which bristles with lots of guns and missiles (designed by Italians BTW), however its elevators are only big enough for one small jet (MiG 29 size). Also the flightdeck is awkwardly designed with limited parking space and helo operations interupt fixed wing. If you fire off those weapons you also stop air operations – will flyco want to keep his jets on the deck in… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by James Fennell
AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yea, in Cavour the Aster are in external boxes.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

T45, and T23 will do the job nicely.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 days ago

Having no real missiles system on the pride of our fleet is crazy,can you imagine it HMS Vanguard which was once our capital ship with no Guns sailing the Globle.🤔

Sean
Sean
2 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

We had no self-defence weapons on HMS Ark Royal from 1969 through to 1979 when she was decommissioned…

except for her aircraft of course.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Sean

Didn’t she have seacat fitted in 69 after her refit when her boffas were removed ?

Sean
Sean
1 day ago
Reply to  Tommo

You right, the source I was quoting was incorrect. Others show she had 4 SeaCat launches from ‘73 onwards – whereas the larger Eagle had 6.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Sean

Remember seeing the Eagle bouyed up in Plymouth waiting too be Disposed of from our Barracks you could see her flightdeck growing weeds and grass Sad ending that was 76

Tim Hirst
Tim Hirst
1 day ago
Reply to  Tommo

So no real self defence system then as Sea Cat was probably the most useless bit of kit ever fitted to an RN ship.

Tommo
Tommo
1 day ago
Reply to  Tim Hirst

If you had a good Aimer when switched too Manual/ manual or Auto / manual not Auto /auto you at least had a chance

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 day ago
Reply to  Tommo

No self-defence then.

Tommo
Tommo
6 hours ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I know it’s only November but have just seen Lidls Christmas advert .They are way ahead of the Navy with their Laser technology as shown on all Commercial TV channels Can’t wait for said Laser too be on sale in their middle aisle hoo !hoo! hoo!! Take note MOD

DRS
DRS
1 day ago

Seems my comment has gone AWOL. Anyway, for the sake £50M you are putting 1-2k souls and 3-6bn of kit. We should add in SeaCeptor and potentially 40mm Bofors with 3P too. One way of doing it may be as per below. MOked up arcs and coverage and given relative ranges that you can engage at, time is the main issue here:

I think there is allowance to put in SeaCeptors in the same areas as the 30mm on the outside of the superstructure, plenty of space there.

fantasy-CIWS-qe-pw-response-time-arcs.png
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 day ago
Reply to  DRS

If only sticking weapon systems on a ship was that easy everyone could do it. Upper deck space is very tight on a carrier. Ignoring the guns and missiles for now you will still need to mount EO/Radar directors for the guns. These will have tracking arc restrictions and limits on transmission arcs especially over the deck ( Laser rangefinders and RF pencil beams across the flight deck are not good!). These will limit the guns firing arcs. Location of any SeaCeptor data link domes . If wooded by the ships superstructure they cannot pass info for mid course updates… Read more »

DRS
DRS
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

All very valid points Gunbuster, it is not easy but again it is all a multi layer insurance policy. Main problem I see with Phalanx is with some of the newer missiles fielded it doesn’t give you much time to deal with leakers eg brahmos2 gives phalanx 2 seconds to engage and neutralize. It is fine when you had 10-15 seconds but the game has moved on for anti-ship missiles. Adding in 40mm or SeaCeptor at least gives you more margin.

Tim
Tim
22 hours ago
Reply to  DRS

Phalanx doesn’t get just 2 seconds against Brahmos. Sure, the Brahmos is only 2 seconds away when the earliest intercept could happen, but the radars should see the missile much earlier (especially from high up on a carrier) and it can start firing earlier so that the entire last 2 seconds are an aerial minefield of 20mm. And my maths and Wikipedia info says: max range 6000m, velocity 1100m/s and 75r/sec. So start firing 5.5 seconds before the missile reaches the 6km out position. By the time it does there are 75×5.5 rounds in the air plus 75×2 more about… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
7 hours ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Polar diagrams for possible mountings should have been in place when forward thinking designers work out where weapon systems are to be fitted So fitters would be aware of all blind arcs before installation

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 day ago
Reply to  DRS

With you DRS but there are other equally valid opposing views here.

Tim
Tim
22 hours ago

So back to this contract. Its £300m of our taxes over 2 years. That’s enough for 30 well paid people spending all of their time looking after a box on a ship that is somewhere else. What do they do and how much did this device cost in the first place?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
20 hours ago
Reply to  Tim

Thought it’s 290k not million. Must be important or it would not matter or get a mention

AlexS
AlexS
44 seconds ago
Reply to  Tim

IFF antennas are now quite complex with several modes and even phased array.
Make a search for an Italian FREMM and below the radar there is a collar that is the IFF.