French magazine Le Point has reported that a Russian aircraft had flown over frigate Aquitaine over the weekend and was fully-armed.

France, the US and allies are considering a military response centred around cruise missile strikes after accusing the Russia-backed Syrian government of being behind a serious chemical weapons attack.

Aquitaine is equipped with 16 cruise missiles and 16 surface-to-air missiles. It is currently operating off Lebanese shores alongside US ships as part of the force fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

“The flight took place several days ago, passes by military aircraft over warships are things that happen at sea. When it is deemed too close, the opposing party is notified” according to a source quoted in Le Point.

The Russian air force has already carried out similar flights over Western warships in the past, pictured below is a Danish ship being buzzed by Russian aircraft.

Image result for French warship buzzed by Russian combat aircraft in mediterranean

The FREMM class, to which Aquitane belongs, is a class of multi-purpose frigates designed for the navies of France and Italy. The lead ship of the class, Aquitaine, was commissioned in November 2012 by the French Navy.

In France the class is known as the Aquitaine class, while in Italy they are known as the Bergamini class. Italy has ordered six general purpose variants and four anti-submarine variants; the last two Italian general purpose FREMMs will have anti-aircraft warfare, anti-ballistic missile and surface attack capabilities.

France has ordered six anti-submarine variants, and two air-defence variants. The class is also one of the five finalists for the US Navy’s FFG(X) program.

84 COMMENTS

  1. Will we be sending the Type 45’s to protect the American and French navies?
    Things are clearly hotting up in the Med and exposing our lack of investment once again at a time when we may verwell regret it.

    • I was just wondering that. Does anyone know if we actually have any surface vessels deployed in the Med currently? I believe HMS Duncan is currently deployed in the Adriatic. I would hope that with tensions hotting up the MoD have had the foresight to position a Astute or Trafalgar class in the region to carry out strikes if required.

      • We will participate via an Astute with Tomahawk or Storm Shadow from aircraft based out of Akrotiri. Strikes will hit Syrian only sites, worst Russia will do is attempt to shoot down the missiles. They know that attacking a NATO ship opens up WW3.

        • What gives right NATO to strike Syrian sites? Someone told it was chemical attack without any evidence? Like Iraq, Bosnia(Markale), Kosovo(Rachak)? Just to remind you these were excuses for military interventions and after some time all were proven as misinformation. There is a line. I think Russia will attack NATO ships if they attack Syrian cites. NATO should rethink if they are ready for nuclear war without winner for Syrian oil

          • Thats certainly one weird take, ‘Syrian oil’ where did that one come from, thats always the same refrain isn’t it whatever the evidence or logic of the particular situation this we are discussing. If you want evidence then don’t make stupid claims based on no evidence whatsoever that support them. It has noting to do with Syrian oil and anyone with half a brain would realise that. Whatever action is taken will not make Syrian Oil remotely more available to western use so lets forget that particular Looney tune shall we and stick to the known realities. As for the lack of evidence well there is evidence plenty of it for a chemical attack its a matter of whether one decides its enough or not. However as the Russians refuse to allow in objective observers as it stands its going to be difficult (as is Russias tactics all along) to get 100% evidence. Strange indeed and interesting that this is Syria yet the Russians are calling all the shots (literally) for the Syrian Government. Now we see that the Russians reject out of hand an objective report on the Salisbury attack, I guess its far easier to twist the facts when you either stop all objective investigation and/or insist upon your own subjective investigation and only publish your own version of (invented events) to suit your argument. The irony of their position and indeed their convenient acolytes would be amusing if the whole thing were not so serious.

            As for their threats its impossible to read them in any sane way since the last time Russian planes were shot down they ended up 6 months later selling defence equipment and making Presidential visits to the country they so threatened with vengeance. They most scary part is as in the thirties being so scared of the threats you end up giving them free reign and confidence to push further and further and expect to get away with anything and slip into a war when standing firm becomes far too late but no other choice to resist is possible. Its a tricky line to run but refusing to contemplate it simply pushes that line to your front door.

      • Why do you think the Americans need a Type 45 to protect themselves if thats the case, then they should scrap all their destroyers and cruisers and only rely on the two or three b type 45’s that can be put to sea at any given time. The sm-2 and sm-6 misses are very capable all on their own.

      • In terms of UK assets, I’m not overly sure what exactly is in the region. Duncan visited Croatia recently, and both Enterprise, Echo, and a Point Class vessel are also in the region. Not too sure on frigates or the RFA.

        • rump backpedals on Syria missile threat…………………

          Fools(USA and allies) rush where angels(Germany,Italy,Holland) fear to go

          Its already 1 up to Russia:
          https://russia-insider.com/en/russian-navy-launches-live-fire-exercises-syrian-coast-amid-expected-us-strikes/ri23084

          USA,Uk and France should be ashamed of themselves…

          Libya…………………………….Failure
          Afghanistan…………………..Failure
          Iraq………………………………Failure

          Every where they fish,they only catch mutant fish..leaving chaos and deaths around achieving no clear goal or vision

          Let the wise read and woke up…Don’t get manipulated by the press and your government

          • Yeah Russia is making a great job out of Syria isn’t it. Equally their excursion into Afghanistan was the originator of the present mess. Plenty of other killing fields in the Balkans too we could mention so probably best to have two lenses in your binoculars don’t you think before you mouth off. As for you stoking up the rhetoric seems rather childish don’t your think and perhaps you should be ashamed of yourself don’t you think. It would be far better if everyone cut out the lunacy but Putin and Trump are just two sides of the same coin in reality but in this case its Putin who has ramped up the rhetoric and threats prior to Trump opening his big mouth.

          • By the way if you are foolish enough to read that as Trump back peddling as the BBC did briefly this morning then you truly are deluded this guy for good or bad will not hold back when he decides to let go. Lets see who is right over sex few days shall we for I see it as simply him muddying the water as to timing not the actual act. Like it or not him not taking action now would make it much more dangerous of the West in the future not less.

          • “Equally their excursion into Afghanistan was the originator of the present mess”

            I think you need a history lesson

    • Nah,
      The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is been sent to the Med consisting of guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Farragut (DDG 99), as well as the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). The Destroyers USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) they will also be joined by the German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) which by all accounts is a pretty impressive Air defence platform and familiar to the Truman strike group More than enough fire power for the task at hand. The UK if it takes part would be better off offering Akrotiri to the French, and as a fail safe landing strip for damaged aircraft (However the Tarmac glider runway at Kingsfield (above Dhekelia ) might be closer. The relocation of a Sentinel, E-3D and an Airseeeker to WSBA would greatly enhance the ISTAR capabilities for any strike, naturally the listening posts at Ayi Nic and Troodos will be doing over time.

      Funny enough The Saudis have also stated they would support the above.

      • This is in addition to the Rota based destroyers of the USN’s European Standing Force. All BMD capable. The Donald Cook which was buzzed today is one of them. Probably at least 1 Ohio class SSGN with 150+ tomahawks loaded and at least a couple of Virginia’s or improved LA class. Putin can only hope his on scene folks there don’t overstep and get their reproductive organs rhinoplasted…

        Cheers!

  2. According to Sky News their is an Astute class sub on station in the Med.
    Makes more sense than a Type 45 for a missile strike.

        • It’s not a simple matter of counting VLS – which many people tend do to. A “Burke” has a generation old PESA radar system which can only track and fire one missile at the same time and can’t handle saturation attacks. A Type 45 can handle up to 1000 objects and fire the entire load of VLS at once if it needed to. Beyond that, a Type 45 has more advanced electronic warfare capabilities so this scenario would never likely happen.

          It’s actually the other way around – one T45 can do the job of many “Burkes”.

          • Actually, the older BMD capable Burke’s can’t track and shoot at both missiles and and ballistic missiles at the same time. The new Flight 3’s being built rectify that problem with the AMDR.

            https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/amdr/

            The Tico cruiser Normandy is the AAW commander and the ship’s AEGIS system will take control of all integrated AAW in the group if it comes to that. It prioritizes, assigns targets, and also the ships which will fire the missiles against the targets which the AEGIS has computed a firing solution. It’s old but very effective.

            Cheers!

        • The updated versions of AEGIS are very capable, the system is continually upgraded, its a far cry from the system that was installed in the ships when built. I doubt a U.S. battle group would be under protected with their own ships I dont believe that they have to beg for a type 45 every time they put to sea. the type 45 with its small missile load out is a bit overated, given that the ship itself has had so many problems.

          • The other point to remember is PAAMs is a one shot one kill system, AEGIS and SM-2 is not considered a one shot one kill system so it needs a lot more missiles.

          • As was previously stated, the 48 VLS on T45 is massive when its sensor and CMS capabilities are taken into account. Burkes need more missiles to have the same kind of effect and are still prone to saturation attacks. It’s like comparing apples with oranges. I’d rather a T45 in that situation than any other AAW.

        • That high mounted radar of the type 45 gives it a real advantage over the superstructure ones of the AK

    • A Type 45 destroyer would have no weapons capable of hitting Syria except for a 4.5 inch gun, and I doubt it wants to get that close to Syria. An Astute however could easily carry a dozen or more cruise missiles, and would launch while submerged, then disappear. Russia has no ASW aircraft in the Med, and cannot cover the Med with ships to detect an Astute or even upgraded Trafalgar SSN .

  3. Maybe we might see a new phase of warfare, where hitherto opposing side who have never exchanged blows, actually contemplating albeit limited? The old triggers of the Cold War are no longer considered as relevant if political commitments are to be made good. Limited US /Russian conflict may be a strong possibility in the coming years. If it’s not over Syria then some other unsuspecting nation.
    Russia is now a truly global military player, and will want to expand its overseas bases to ensure the West knows the score and risks? The US is still by far the most powerful of the two counties, yet big dogs have respect for smaller canines; as they can attack the most vulnerable of targets. Putin knows he will face more military challenges and must have some idea just how far any conflict can go, before we all fry.

    • Russia is only a local power it does not have the money or means in naval power anyway to project its power ,putin is just throwing the last dice as Russia will decline in the future, he knows that and thats what makes him dangerouse

    • Russia is now a truly global military player,

      Actually it isn’t as Dave 12 points out. It is only able to deploy to Syria as it already had a base there. Its biggest asset is Nuclear, however in a conventional setting, it hasn’t the means to transport, sustain a sizeable force. (remember it didn’t get the Mistrals it wanted) and other than its SF, the rest of the armed forces are pretty piss poor as seen in Georgia, Chetneya and Dagestan(during the Beslan hostage taking) whilst Putin has ordered his generals to sort that out, the miltary is still gripped by a malaise of bullying. Alcoholism and bad management. Currently Russia is only effective around its own sphere of influence , that may change in the future or it may not. In contrast China coming from nowhere, has surpassed the Russians in the ability to power project and I personally believe that all this grandstanding by Moscow is actually indirectly aimed at Beijing whom they know will take no crap, rather than the indecisive West who by its very nature will leave everything to the last minute and then hold a meeting and review 12 hours after the deadline has passed.

      • I stand by my thoughts that Russian needs to demonstrate its global reach. To maintain the vision that Putin appears to be creating, Russia needs to enlarge its international profile as seen in various countries of late. Sirya fits into that doctrine and Russia will be acutely aware of not wanting to be seen to be backing away from its obligations.

        If a conflict between the West and East is unavoidable, I’m sure it would be short-lived but, I fear Russia’s response would be immediately effective and damaging. In such a scenario, logistic capabilities and possible long-term weakness in its ability to conduct a protracted war, would not be that vital? Trump needs to understand that Russia has to back up its threats. One possible answer; is for Russia to lead a campaign to hunt down the germ warfare depots and destroy them?

        • Russia is effectively a dying nation, it has very little in the way of wealth creation other than oil and gas both of which will become less effective at income generation as the west becomes more energy self sufficient over the next couple of decades, more importantly it’s population is decreasing quite rapidly at around 0.5% year, with both life expectancy and birth rates dropping significantly.

          Russia is essentially doomed as even a regional power of any significance, this does make it dangerous at present.

          • You’re right Jonathan,

            The Chinese are already eyeing Siberia across the Amur. Putin knows this… Not much they can do about it come about 2050 or so when Russia basically loses the ability to be a great power due to lack of population. China will move then.

            Cheers

          • All nations are dying according to some schools of thought. Russia’s capability today is what concerns me now. We should all be concerned by what you are prophesying, as dying beast tend to lash out!

          • Ever thought with a £2-£3 billion monthly trade deficit why we are so keen to go to war?? Given your views on Russia!

            Why do you think this action has been taken over the holiday period whilst parliament is in recess? why didn’t war monger May recall parliament before going to war?

            This could all turn very nasty, and it seems all you are concerned about is what type of weapons we might have or not, I think that is pretty dim.

  4. The UK’s sovereign bases in Cyprus seem very vulnerable; the Russians could put a non fly zone over Cyprus, and could in extremis attack the airfield. UK has no ability to counter cruise missiles or Iskander SSMs. Brits reliant on USN SM3 and French and Italian Aster 30. ALARM was taken out of service years ago so UK has no anti-radar capability either.

    • We have Land Ceptor but I am not sure how many we have in service with the RAF regiment, but the can engage missiles and aircraft.

      • None.

        RAF Regiment had its SHORAD Squadrons cut years ago.

        Rapier FSC with 16 Regiment RA and they are not in Cyprus.

  5. We would be nuts to fire an insanely expensive tomahawk missile, in a half hearted attack (i doubt we really intend to take out the syrian regime). Only the US can afford to do something like that. My expectation is we will provide midair refueling or surveillance and nothing more.

    Watch me eat my words.

    • Is it feasible for Tornados and Brimstone to cripple Assads helicopter fleet? If so that would be a suitable punishment. Swamp the S-400s with Tomahawks from the west and attack from the east with US and French aircraft out Qatar?

  6. I wonder whether it is significant that the threat to strike the missile launch systems (aircraft, ships and submarines) was made by General Gerasimov rather than Putin himself. I’m also concerned that the Russians would use a NATO strike as a pretext for a ramping up of tensions in the Baltics. They have the ability to launch and sustain effective military operations in that area.

  7. (Chris H) Sadly we are playing Putin’s game and only he knows the rules. He is provoking the USA and the UK to do something barely legal (we cannot get UN approval as was proved this week) which will allow him to do whatever he pleases ‘in defence of my country’ if any Russian people are injured or assets damaged. And of course he already has the ‘damaged assets’ set up in a hangar in Syria.

    He has been able to play us for a bunch of mugs because we respect International Law and he doesn’t. And because we (the UK) does we cannot launch ANY attacks on anyone over the Salisbury affair or the chemical attack in Syria. We have NO legal mandate to do anything. Trump can do what he likes (and will) and Macron will tag along looking for a bigger share of US Defence spending than we get but that does not make it right.

    Its very frustrating we cannot remove Assad but we tried illegal Regime Change in Iraq with the Yanks and didn’t that all work out well? Throw in a very aggressive and hacked off Putin and God knows where it would end.

    Sadly I think we have to sit this out, wait for Putin to do something really stupid and then see if we can muster UN approval. Doubtful again given the Russian Veto …..

    • I agree with a lot of that Chris especially the last few paragraphs but just to add, under international law and according to the UN Assad is a legal democratically elected leader who officially asked Russia and Iran for assistance, the only countries who are there legally are in fact Russia and Iran, Syria is a sovereign state and any country conducting military operations in that country including the US, Israel and Turkey are actually breaking international law.

      Not long ago Assad was riding down the mall staying in the Queens bedroom, but of course that was when Syria was selling its oil in dollars and very much in the US sphere of influence.

  8. Going to be one of the odd ones out here but I think we should stay well out of it, I see Donald Trump has been well and truly devoured by the American deep state.

    If anyone genuinely believes Assad would gas his own people a few days after Trump said he wants to pull US troops out of Syria they need their heads testing.

    I see the BBC and Guardian are in full playing the drumbeats of war mode.

    I’m not going to post links again because of moderation but the times of Israel and the BBC both have articles right now on their website about rebels using Sarin gas, rebels being caught with sarin gas, a UN investigation in 2013 proved the rebels used them on their own people. Assad is guilty until proven innocent in this one because every single report has been “unverified” yet he is guilty.

    There is an actual genocide going on by the Myanmar military, 650k have fled with mass murder and rape widespread, the UN are convinced a genocide is taking place in a former British colony and it makes headline news once or twice, does anyone ever wonder why? that is a genuine military intervention i would get behind, just like we should of intervened in Rwanda in 1994.

    • I agree with your last paragraph. I’d suggest what is happening to white farmers in former Rhodesia would also be worthy.

      I take your other points too.

    • There have numerous genocides carried out in Burma, since late 1940’s. The Karen have been fighting for independence for over 60 years, the British promised them autonomy upon independence, but they have endured massacres and ethnic cleansing ever since, and they are only one minority group, Shan state, Kachin people have all suffered, and no one came to their aid. The Rohingya are seen as Bengali immigrants or indentured workers who shouldn’t be there and the Burmese military used to butchering other minorities is used to these tactics.

  9. The Sovereign airbase on Cyprus is highly vulnerable. For starters it has no ground based air defence. Further the aircraft that take off from the base are within the engagement envelop of the S400 system. The obvious answer would be to put a T45 off the coast. But could we afford to place a ship this capable on a continuous cruise off the coast just in case? Possibly for the short term until the sabre rattling dues down, however what is need is a permanent GBAD system perhaps CAMM based there!
    Has anyone picked up on the rumour that Russia have sent a pair of SU57s (Pak FAs) to Syria for testing?

  10. SoleSurvivor, I am with you on this one. There is an over hasty rush to blame Assad for the gas attack without the evidence to back it up. An attack on Assad now will merely prolong the war and play into the hands of IS and the other jihadist groups who make up the main opposition (leaving aside the Kurds who are our most obvious allies, but whom we have betrayed to placate the ‘Little Sultan’ in Ankara). Do we really think a bunch of Islamists backed by the ‘fascist’ regimes of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are a better alternative to Assad? Surely we have learnt by now that Western attempts at regime change in the Middle East are doomed to failure and simply lead to more chaos and suffering for ordinary people.

    I would also question the

  11. Sorry meant to go on and say I would also question the talk of chemical weapons as a red line event. It makes little difference to people if they are blown up or gassed, the effect is the same… they suffer, die and are lost to loved ones! I find the notion that chemical weapons are somehow worse a rather offensive notion. A person who gasses innocent men, women and children is no worse than someone who blows them to bits with artillery shells or executes them with a pistol.

    • Couldn’t agree more Andy.

      Interesting point about the chemical weapon red line, it’s like yeah kill civilians by normal munitions and we will be upset, but use chemical weapons and it’s a red line and we will get involved, doesn’t make that much sense but then not a lot does in this debacle.

  12. Russia is where we were 30 yrs ago, Still thinking its a global super power with in reality nothing but its nukes ( albeit impressive nukes ) & some limited aging conventional weapons systems, An Economy the size of Italy cant stand up to America & Putin when pushed wouldn’t dare to.
    the West should strike Syria with Force so they think twice before using chemical weapons again .

    • Never assume sanity in matters of all consuming Pride and the most fickle and sacred of virtues Honor.
      Did Japan think it could win all out war with America? No.
      Did Emperor Franz Josef have any choice but to attempt avenging himself and his country on Serbia? Did every other major Combatant truly have a choice after that or were they prisoners of their own Honor and Duty and as all wielders of power and influence not a little Pride?
      Do you think men like General Robert E. Lee and General Joseph Johnston or their President Jeff Davis really believed that their was any chance of victory in autumn 1864? That the Confederacy had by then any chance of winning, against the crushing material and numerical advantage of the Union? Honor and Pride are along with Duty some of the most necessary virtues of man. However never assume that they mean someone will act predictably or rationally.

      In all of these cases someone used the logic of “,they/he wouldn’t dare,”. They did not get the freedom of action they wished. What they got was the blood of countless men and women in far off fields. Because of the using of that logic they assumed they were the only ones with Duty and Honor. The only ones who felt the burn of slighted Pride.

      • Elliot-only read your post after I had sent mine and must admit you make the same point much more eloquently. It is a depressing certainty that we will have another World War some time in the future and that it will probably signal the end of Mankinds stay on the planet. There are egos aplenty all round-in Israel,Iran,Syria,the USA and many Western nations and of course arguably no. 1, Putin’s Russia. The alignment of the planets has placed the unpredictable and not very bright Donald Trump in the White House. His erratic behaviour-one day insulting Kim the next wanting to meet him, combined with the chest baring Putin in charge of macho Russia gives us the most dangerous combo for many decades.
        Scary stuff!

      • Actually Franz Josef was rather alarmed by the response of his Prime Minister (he was away from Vienna I believe) but he reluctantly went along when told that the KuK armed forces HAD to respond to such an open challenge. He should have said NO obviously in hindsight.

        Cheers!

  13. We are facing an extraordinarily dangerous situation and could literally be engaged in a Nuclear War within a few days. Enjoy participating in these discussions but am surprised by the matter of fact tone of some of the above posts discussing this peril as though we all planning to take part in computer war games!
    The massive traumas experienced on are planet in history have often been initiated by the egos or foibles around single individuals-Archduke Ferdinand comes to mind! In this case we have Putin suffering from chronic and incurable”Small Man Syndrome”. This character with his soccer fan bravado probably won’t back down and could conceivably start throwing Nukes in a few days time. Throw Trump in to the mix and you have the Powder Keg we are all sitting on!!

  14. (Chris H) It will take a very brave Theresa May to acknowledge the truth, stand up and say to Trump ‘This aggression will be illegal and we are having no part of it’. She could show what happened in Iraq when Bush and Blair made the same mistake and we have precedent because we declined to follow Obama in lobbing Tomahawks at Syria years ago.

    As someone else pointed out whether we like it or not Syria is an independent, sovereign Nation State and we cannot just go invading / attacking because it does something in its own territory we do not like. That Russia is involved in a very deep way, by invitation no less, is truly worrying. But they are there totally legally. As are the Iranians

    The dangerous game being played here is also made more deadly by the subversive antics of Israel who do stuff we know nothing about and then create a false situation. We do NOT know who launched that chemical attack and so we can, legally, only stand back and pray for the innocent civilians killed and injured in this civil war that has its flames fuelled by Israel, Iran and Russia.

      • (Chris H) Steve M – So if it is Assad we still have no legal basis for attacking his country. And if it is Israel (or another 3rd party) then surely we would be attacking the victims … either way we come out looking rather stupid ….

        • Frankly if it ends with the use of chemical weapons in Syria being stopped I don’t particularly care if it was legal.

  15. Presumably desire would be a T 45 and a T23 in close proximity covering off all the possibilities of Russian action.

  16. Russia have sortied a pair of corvettes to shadow the USN from its port in Syria as stated in the Times today.
    Are people seriously suggesting the chemical attack was carried out by Israel, they would have nothing to gain. The attack would have carried out by Assad’s lot as he’s has previous for the chlorine/sarin cocktail as has been identified. Further it has been reported that the attack was carried out because the rebels who surrendered Ghouta refused to give up their weapons when leaving.

  17. Aquitaine is a nice looking ship. I know our T23s are good sub hunters and have given sterling service but in a world of flat, sloping sided, fullwidth superstructures with minimal external clutter to reduce RCS I can’t stop myself thinking how dated they look. Then again, that’s also true of the Arleigh Burkes, and don’t even get me started on the Ticos.

    I know, it’s all about functionality not looks but I still can’t stop myself having at least an initial reaction to the aesthetics of various ships even if I do ultimately dismiss it in favour of judging them on capability.

  18. I have to say, when you look at an American carrier group, it has such a range and scale of capabilities. AB’s have 96 mk 41, Rico’s even more md there are several of each type. BMD capable, torpedos and multiple missile types including anti ship and land attack.
    Although our ships are capable in specific areas, you have to ask the question if our carrier group will have all the tools it needs to face any situation. Low on silo numbers for saturation attacks, very few missiles for actually attacking etc. We base a whole capability on one ship, which if taken out by a sub say, would leave us totally defencless in that area. Our attack platform is totally in the hands of our F35’s, what happens if our carriers flight deck is hit and damaged?we can’t take off as we still require a take off run. We then have only merlin wildcat which I would think would be blown out of the sky in minutes in full scale conflict. The US carrier group can cover each other and is so well rounded. We desperately need this overlap and expansion of attack capability options.

    • They are a superpower.

      We are a major power.

      We can only do do much with the budget available, which is more than most.

      Otherwise agree with all of your comment.

    • The carrier is not totally helpless if a F35 can’t do a rolling take off as they can still take off/land vertically. Yes it will have either a reduced payload or fuel load but it will still get in the sky and perform a CAP.
      I still find it perplexing that the T45 is still by rights an anti aircraft platform with a relatively small SAM load. It has the capability to be so much more, so why isn’t it?
      Russia/Putin must play out the situation, they can’t back down else they loose face and credibility. Trump will never back down, his past business record is pretty ruthless and by all accounts and gets a kick out humiliating his opponents. There will be a missile strike but it will be on Syrian chemical weapons storage/manufacturing sites. Oh hang on, didn’t Assad hand over all their chemical weapon due to an earlier attack!

      • President Trump relies on his military staff for military advice. He knows what he doesn’t know, where he needs advice. That’s how he operated his businesses, that’s how he operates as president. His ‘instability” and “stupidity” are greatly talked about but he went from $40 million to $2.5 billion net worth. Unstable stupid people don’t do that. He likes to be underestimated and likes to keep opponents guessing. The US does not need anyone’s help, but would like to know our greatest ally at least is not actively opposed.

    • When T26 comes into service we will get at least some Mk41 so, with sensible missile choices, could add a second attack capability in our CBG in addition to the F-35Bs. Nothing like the number of Mk41 silos in a US CBG I grant you but, as Daniele pointed out, we are never going to be the USA.

      On T45, with only 6 likely yielding only 2 deployable at any given time and at least one CBG needing protection at any given time, I think it is OK to accept that T45 is a dedicated AAW asset and treat it that way.

      With the above in mind, will the next generation ABM-capable Asters be longer and need Sylver 70 launch or will they fit in the Sylver 50s already installed? If the later then maybe for T45 evolution we should accept that we have more pressing needs for the funds needed to add the FFBNW Mk41s and instead should use some of that space to add a bunch of those much cheaper stand-alone ExLS launchers to quad-pack Sea Ceptor. That would increase total loadout quite significantly and leave all 48 of the Sylver 50s for Aster 30 including the ABM version. We will probably be using those recently Sea Ceptor qualified LM 3 cell ExLS units for T31 and probably T26 too so will be placing a big order anyway.

      BMT’s Venator 110 technical brief shows 2 x 3 cell ExLS fitting in the same deck space as 1 x 8 cell Mk41 and I believe the FFBNW space on T45 is for 2 x 8 cell Mk41 so presumably up to 4 x 3 cell ExLS could be added to give an extra 48 Sea Ceptor. Deck penetration would likely be less than for Mk41 modules so a bit of space might even be left at the bottom, maybe not enough headroom to maintain the gym but possibly some storage space. If that new LM ExLS module is long enough to take CAMM-ER then even more flexibility is added. I suggest this might be the most cost-efficient way to give a worthwhile uplift to the T45 loadout.

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