HMS Argyll demonstrated her firepower alongside the UK’s allies in the Asia Pacific region as part of an exercise, say the Royal Navy.

The frigate has been working alongside navies from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in the South China Sea

Commander Toby Shaughnessy, the Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll, said:

“It is a great honour to be representing the UK in Exercise Bersama Lima in this way. The opportunity to exercise with our partners in the Five Powers Defence Arrangement allows the UK to demonstrate its long term commitment to regional peace and security.

Slightly further ahead, we look forward to hosting the chiefs of the US, Japanese and UK Navies on board for discussions towards the end of the year.”

According to a Royal Navy release:

“As well as night-time gunnery practice, maritime security and boarding operations involving Argyll’s Royal Marines and Wildcat helicopter, it was a chance for the Type 23 to show the capability of her new Sea Ceptor missile system.

The £850m weapon system was launched in May and is a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles. The exercise was also a chance for sailors to sample life in allied navies by swapping ships for sections of the exercise.

HMS Argyll’s participation in Exercise Bersama Lima is a demonstration of the UK’s continuing commitment to the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.”

35 COMMENTS

  1. I have to say, the more you think about it, the more pointless our frigates and destroyers seem other than defensive last ditch protectors of other assets.
    Seaceptor – range about 50 miles if I recall, defensive
    CIWS – range of few miles, defensive
    Main gun – range of around 30 miles
    Any near peer aggressor will just launch a load of missiles with ranges of 300 miles and maybe much more soon from ships and planes, and saturate.
    What can our frigates do to fight back? Nothing, just hope the defensive systems work every time and that they don’t run out of bullets and missiles.
    And if they are lucky enough to be fitted with Harpoon? I would think most enemy ships will have far more Sophisticated missiles to shot the miserly 8 we could muster back.
    Imagine a t23 coming up against a Chinese type 51! Anti ship missiles by the tens coming at the t23, with only a handful of seaceptor to take them out. Chinese win every time.
    Therefore, what’s the point in the platform if it doesn’t stand a chance? All of our potential major adversaries seem to understand they multiple ways of both attacking and in numbers and from range. We just don’t seem to get it, or am I missing something?

    • Agreed! Why they don’t install VLS systems on all our battleships baffles me. They even left room for it on the type 45s but didn’t commit

    • You do appear to be missing something, a brain. T23 are designed as anti-submarine and general purpose platforms. T45 is an air defense escort platform, I would say they both are adequately equipped for the intended roles they have been designed for, defensively and offensively. What do you want a fleet of 30,000tn Kirov class cruisers??

    • Sea Ceptor range,

      CAMM: <1–25+ km
      CAMM-ER: <1–45+ km

      Can attack crossing targets too unlike Sea Wolf.

      Mk 8 Mod 1 gun and mount range 27.5 kilometres

      I don't like working in KM's but there you go. 🙂

      Anyway no the escort is still the most flexible asset we have. It is seen as the smallest unit that is truly self deploying as it were.

      Yes a bit 'under gun'ed' as it were. But you have to remember electronic warfare too.

      As some of the more sensible commentators here have said it is a shame the Daring class was built on the cheap as the surface escort is still the most economical way of disposing of submarines. Sea Viper is better than Aegis, but at least the Aegis ships contribute to all round defence.

      Bit harsh I think. Not that it matters. 🙂

      • Id agree to an extent because deploying solo tasking and underarmed is imprudent. However, deploying as carrier battle groups and as part of international groups there’s mass. Also escorts are there to defend carrier strike, amphibious ships and supply and transport ships. Arguably in the asw configuration they’re not purely defensive. In the aw role destroyers can also shoot down aircraft. Greater focus on CBGs and fully fitting out the vessels we have (perhaps with additional SSN) is the right way forward rather than getting into cruisers.

        • You have lost me friend. Clarify,

          ” Arguably in the asw configuration they’re not purely defensive. In the aw role destroyers can also shoot down aircraft. “

          • Hi Steve. In ww2 the rn had hunter groups of frigates operating independently from convoys searching for U-boats transiting. During the cold war, NATO practiced forward deploying naval assets to attack the Soviet navy in their bases and the North sea before they could attack Atlantic convoys. During the Falklands, destroyers placed themselves to the west of the islands to interdict evemy aircraft. It could be argued that this is offensive rather than defensive.

    • ASMD is a well tried and tested evolution on ships. The RN practice it a lot especially at Thursday Wars using Hawks and Falcon Aircraft to simulate attacks. The Falcons simulate Search Radar aircraft and the Hawks the missiles. Nothing focuses you attention better than the EW set operator blowing his whistle and screaming out a Search radar or Homing head designator and a bearing. then all the SOPs kick in.

      To start with, launching a missile from 300 miles does not in any way guarantee a hit.
      First you have to find the unit you are going to shoot at and to put it bluntly its a big ass ocean. For a max 300 mile range missile that gives you nearly 300k Sq Miles of ocean to search and aim into.
      If the target is using LPI radar or is on EW listening only then the attacker will need to use radar to find the ship. The targeted ship can detect the radar at at least twice the detection range of the searching radar. Now add into that stealth hull design and the chances of being found or identified as a warship (as opposed to say a trawler or cargo coaster ) are slim. Modern radars dont for the most part show a blip on a screen. All that you see is synthetic track info that is fused with other sensor data ( EW, Sonar, INT) to provide identification. At 300 miles+ how do you know what is and is not a warship? (And dont believe what AIS tells you . Warships can spoof AIS data to read what ever they want…false positions, names, speed ID Numbers…)

      So say you do find what you think is the ship , you get its position and pass the info to the shooters….while all this is happening the target ship knows what is coming and is up revving and moving off in another direction, on another course different from the original one passed by the targeting aircraft.
      The shooters launch.
      Not all the missiles will work. Some will hang some will not function correctly. Nothing works at 100% all of the time. So of say 20 missiles launched at least 2 will fail in flight.
      Even at Mach 2 a missile will take about 20 mins to fly 300 miles. The target ship will be at max speed, throwing out decoys, sowing confusion and distraction chaff and presenting its least radar attractive profile. The ship could have moved nearly 10 miles from the original aim point in 20 mins.
      Also consider that the speed and type of missile is a factor.
      Is it a high diver or a sea skimmer? That affects when the homing head comes on to find the target. If the targeting ship knows the seeker head in use ( and it will do from EW or Int reports) it will know how to counter or beat the geometry of the seeker head homing basket and look angle. If you can get out of the basket the missile wont even see you so it wont lock on.

      The range closes, more decoys go out, seduction chaff and floating seduction decoys, IR decoys.
      If needed Hard Kill goes into the air with missiles flying out to max range.
      Active off board jammers go up.
      More Missiles go up.
      Finally Close range guns.

      Ok the reality is that if someone decides to launch 10-20 ASMs at a single frigate sized target chances are some will get through. But is a nation really going to just suddenly decide to do that without any warning or indications?

      So Launching all those missiles where does that leave the shooter?
      For a ship it would be out of Anti Ship Missiles and turning for home.
      For aircraft, launching 10-20 ASMs would require a substantial effort in Aircraft.
      Add up the numbers of search aircraft, shooters, escorts, tankers…thats probably 20-30 aircraft.That is a major effort on anyone’s part. Very few nations can put together that kind of effort.

      • “Ok the reality is that if someone decides to launch 10-20 ASMs at a single frigate sized target chances are some will get through. But is a nation really going to just suddenly decide to do that without any warning or indications?”

        The first rule of warefare (in my book) is to not let the enemy know what you are going to do. So to answer your question, ‘yes’ I think some nations or terrorist groups could decide to do that without any warning.

        The fact is, is that we never knowing what is going to happen; we can only construct possible scenarios. I would therefore prefer for a ship to be both offensively as well as defensively armed. And our ships don’t have much of the former.

        Not only that, but having offensive armament gives out a signal that we are both capable and ready to fight, and there is a certain psychological advantage to that.

        • As mentioned below, SSN provides an impressive offensive capability and so will the carriers when fully in service with F-35B development past the point where the appropriate weapons integrations have been done.

          In asking for more offensive capabilities on frigates one could also flip Gunbuster’s scenario around where in the flipped-around scenario some hypothetical future RN is the aggressor and some hypothetical peer or near-peer enemy the defender. If that enemy is a peer or near-peer I read Gunbuster’s response as saying that in order for the RN to wield an appropriately effective ship-bourne offensive capability against a peer enemy it would involve more than shoving 8 anti-ship missiles onto a frigate.

          In closing it’s also worth mentioning that the T26 will have 48 dedicated Sea Ceptor silos for immediate area defence thus potentially leaving the 24 Mk41 for other stuff which, depending on what we buy/develop (develop as in Spear 5 eventually I hope), could host a not insignificant offensive capability.

      • To add to Gunbusters excellent reply, if the balloon was going up, you are totally forgetting the modern capital ships of our RN, our Astute SSN’s.

        Even if a totally unprovoked mass attack took place and happened to be successful, a single Astute could and would devistate most Navies.

    • Chinese Troll alert.
      Nice dissinformation. Sow that feed of doubt, right?
      Enjoy the crash of your economy while the West endures, bitch.

  2. Erm, these are supposed to be defensive ships and your moaning that they’re mainly being used for defence? If your argument is they will fail against a saturation attack than so will any military asset if the enemy just decides to chuck enough stuff at them.
    I have a feeling the Navy isn’t going to send a single ship out to get sunk if they have the slightest feeling that they could happen so I think your seeing a worst case scenario and claiming every ship should be able to defend against that.

    • Peter, I’m not moaning. I am only stating my concern. Can you please tell me how almost purely defensive assets can win a war?
      Other nations navies are becoming kitted out with a broad range of capabilities. I could understand your argument if we had some ships heavily armed for attack and others orientated more towards a defensive role, but I’m struggling to see that we do. Our astutes are the only one I can think of, but we have so few they can’t do it all by themselves.

      • T.S. I agree.

        Also I would say all of our armed forces’ mind-set and behaviours seems to be concentrated on providing target practice for the ‘enemy’ little by way of any sort of offensive capability to be used as a deterrent – nuclear stuff aside.

        i.e. No big conventional strategic bombers (crumbs we invented the Grand Slam etc.), run down main battle tank numbers/manufacturing capability, soldiers with pop-guns, and a Navy with only a few costly short-range jump jets.

        I applaud what progress has been made this year at least, but the RN surely should be thinking about building some sort of light/medium/heavy cruiser to actually give an offensive capability if needed. What about a tri-hulled stretched version of the T45 with room for all sorts of added offensive kit (e.g. directed energy stuff, big nasty ship-killing long-range hyper-sonic missiles)?

        Listening to “our Gavin” today in the Defence Select Cttee. on the telly, even he did not seem to understand the need to nurture our National strategic ship-building capabilities.

        • Genuine question because I’m not an expert but if the U.K. were to consider building some sort of “light/medium/heavy cruiser to actually give an offensive capability when needed” why would it be better/necessary to go that route rather than more SSN? The Astute is pretty deadly to other ships/subs with a TLAM capability as well and a next-gen Astute that incorporated a single Common Missile Compartment configured for TLAM (giving at least 24 I believe, perhaps even 28 TLAMs) would be deadlier still.

          • Julian, I’m no expert either. Yes Astute class subs are great – we need more of them (or smaller versions) – but very expensive. In the general conventional deterrent sense I suspect a big flag-waving modern heavy missile cruiser or two, would make a mad despot think twice before pressing any buttons.

            Also, as I understand it, the submarine game is all about detection and the technology race. Spies have a nasty habit of grabbing any details of technology advances for our subs, so how vulnerable would they be if things got nasty? In WWI and WWII the subs eventually came off second best.

            My point really is that across the board the UK military thinking should consider shooting something back.

      • Try a little history. The battle ship (outside of a little shore bombardment here and there) became obsolete in WW2. Offensive ships? Carriers, submarines and amphibious ships. Everything else is defending them. It is a proven concept.

        • Mike. Yes. You are right. That is the classical received wisdom on the subject. (R.I.P HMS Vanguard – last UK “battleship – check out YouTube video of its chopping up).

          However, what I am suggesting is something different. The world and technology have moved on. “Players” like Russia and China are expanding and we basically need to re-build our Commonwealth trading links so the RN is seven more important today and new ships take ages and need to be afforded. Manning of them is also an issue.

          So for my threepennethworth I am suggesting we contemplate a platfom type – larger than a T45 – but has modular/cost saving systems, with a high level of automation, and with loads of room for “offensive,” hard-hitting, long-range, non-nuclear modern weapon systems. To at least act as a deterrent or to shoot back if needed. Might also inspire naval-minded peeps to proudly join up.

    • everyone said sea dart was the bees knees before the falklands, the seaslug on my ship (antrim) missed a slow moving hercules off south georgia in 1982 the proof is in the eating.

    • These are Defensive Ships, It matters not one jot the range of the Defensive Missiles or other Armament, as long as they are Affective at doing the job they were Intended for. I.e. Defence. Look back a few Decades and you will see how We managed to Defend This Island against seemingly overwhelming and Superior forces. We Managed pretty well then and That enabled Us to build up and go on the Offensive. Fast Forward to 1982 and, Actually, We did pretty well too despite all the other Luck (Good and Bad) and Circumstances that surrounded our eventual Victory. That’s the British way. It’s been our way for 100’s of years now and It ain’t going to stop any time soon. What does worry me though Is the Ignorance of successive Governments as to the way they have Devastated the Recruitment of Everyday People, Willing to Die for This Country. Just look at the Recruitment Figures.

  3. Handy screens for the offensive aircraft carriers, of course, and would operate, as they do now, as part of a coalition against tier one foes.

    • Needs are met by different capabilities as technologies changes..

      A squadron of F35b will cost as much as Daring, give or take the odd shekel. So to have a cap say we need two squadrons of them. So instead of 12 Darings to replace 12 Sheffield class we end up with some Darings and some F35b for a better layered defence than we could achieve with the old mighty Invicibles. Saying that some a bit aggrieved when numbers are chopped perhaps just to save some money. If perhaps the government said we are buying this instead of some of that and were explicit it might quieten some of the debate. Most of the latter is generated by the tax payer being kept in the dark.

    • analleged inpenetrable screen of the best was pierced by a conventional swedish submarine (gotland). who got through this’creen’ and carried a point blank 4 torpedo mock attack on the carrier reagan this sub cost£100 million. set against the£1.4 billion for 1 astute i’d rather have 14 gotland type submarines for the same price. latest boys toys or what do we want, expensive toys with glossy broshures saying how good they are, or, more of a cheaper platform and spend the savings elsewhere the nation needs to make up its mind , more, or possibly less effective and extremely expensive toys which, if todays reports of the germans being able to field no submarines, theirs are all busted.we’ve got the daring class issues, the americans zumwalts keep breaking down twice blocking the panama canal. lets have 14 new hunter killers with crews less than 80, no more astutes(overhyped and ‘jinxed’)

  4. Good points T.S. but the RN has been undergunned/powered since the 60’s. Can’t see that changing. No Harpoon? Ridiculous! Sick and tired of cost cutting and dumbing down. Either we man up literally, or just shut the f*** up and let 300+ years of a genuine effective fighting navy slip beneath the waves. One politician with balls not enough. Dreadnought must be halted and conventional forces revitalised. What do you think the chinese are doing? Building surface ships to challenge the US by 2030! Our contribution to that area will be interesting to see especially if our free trade agreements come off with Oz and maybe Singapore and other countries who may feel threatened by chinese expansion.

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