Cutlass Fury 2019 is the largest Canadian anti-submarine exercise since the mid-1990s with 22 warships from Canada, the USA, UK, Spain, France and Germany committed to the 11-day exercise, alongside jets, helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.

Canada say that the exercise will focus on tactical training meshing different practices, equipment and ideas so that all participants can work seamlessly together. According to a Royal Navy news release:

“For good measure, air defence, board and search and amphibious operations are also included to test personnel on and above the waves, as well as beneath them. Cutlass Fury leads into Northumberland’s principal mission of the autumn, taking her place in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s carrier strike group as the future flagship conducts training off the coast of the USA on her Westlant 19 deployment.

It’s the first duty of Northumberland to shield the carrier task force from the prying eyes of hostile submarines as Queen Elizabeth embarks British front-line F-35 Lightning stealth fighters for the first time. Joining her in the ring of steel around the 65,000-tonne carrier will be Type 45 air defence destroyer HMS Dragon, Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton, as well as Wildcats from 815 Naval Air Squadron.”

RFA Tideforce will provide tanker support – fuel, stores, food and fresh water if necessary – and Lima Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, based in Plymouth and a medical team will also be embarked in the carrier say the Royal Navy.


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1 frigate & 1 destroyer ? I realise that there will be other naval vessels but I hope when a purely RN CSF is put together it will have rather more protection than that.


They don’t divulge Astute or any other SSNs/SSBNs position/station.
I’d say it’s likely, there’ll be an SSN within the Westlant19 strike group, especially when you consider the preceding/regional ASW exercise that Northumberland will be involved in.


You would hope that an SSN would be available for any CSF that’s put together.


Its a sad fact, but with only 6-7 escorts available for ‘peacetime’ deployment, the two escorts committed to QE represent’s 1/3rd of the entire force. If you allow for one escort in home waters, one forward deployed, one for NATO / global deployment, the 2 committed to QE leave only one possibly two left. At current fleet levels, two escorts, possibly three is all we have for QE. Hopefully, we can build more than five Type 31e and increase the escort fleet back into the mid twenties. I think that one of the takeaways from the current Iran tanker situation… Read more »


A sad summary of the current state of the RN.

Steve R

Hopefully they’ll give T31e a decent armament. It doesnt need to cost the earth.

I’d say arm it with the following:

– 76mm gun
– 8 NSM in two quad-pack canister launchers
– 24 VLS tubes to be filled with a combination of Sea Ceptor and Tomahawks.
– Phalanx CIWS

Shouldn’t cost the earth as much of it can be liberated from the T23s as they retire, apart from the NSM missiles themselves.


I don’t wish to sound like devils advocate, but adding the obvious Merlin/wildcat armaments that list sounds quite expensive.
Sea Ceptor, yes! Sea Ceptor ‘and’ Tomahawk on a 31e? Wishful thinking?

Daniele Mandelli

No Merlin. Not enough available and they are for the tailed T23s, carriers, and eventually T26. Not T31 doing constabulary tasks.

Wildcat yes.
Main Gun yes.
An ASM yes.
Sea Ceptor yes.
Some sort of ASW capability, yes.

CIWS should be on all vessels as standard in my view given the relative cheapness of the system compared to other systems but you just know how the MoD like to penny pinch.

TLAM? On a surface vessel? Agree not happening, and not needed either in my view.


Can’t see why they don’t increase anti-swarm capabilities by installing quad-packed Sea Ceptor on the existing 45s (Sylver) VLS system, especially for Gulf Op’s.
They could still retain Aster alongside…


How or what I would like to see as a CSG is QE+2xT45+3xT26 +1x SSN+1xTide+1xFSS. What I think could be an idea but I don’t know if it is possible remove Aster 15 from the T45 and quad pack Sea Ceptor, if 24 of the launchers were quad packed that would give 24 Aster 30 and 96 Sea Ceptors or 36 Aster 30s and 48 Sea Ceptors if you want long range hitting. The T45 really does need to have the Mk41 VLS system installed. This way we can put to sea two powerfull CSGs if need be with two… Read more »

Glass Half Full

What are you going to put in the Mk41? We don’t have any Mk41 based missiles qualified and integrated into the ship’s combat system. If you want more missiles than quad-packing CAMM into Sylver then just keep the 48-cell Sylver for Aster (including adding Aster 30 NT1 perhaps in future) and add CAMM cells, deck mounted aft the Mk41 VLS.


Glass Half Full, I agree that we don’t have in the RN at the moment any missiles that need the Mk41VLS. Lets though reverse the question, what can’t you put into the Mk41 VLS, it means that the RN could take any missile that Europe or the USA has. A warship is not designed for peace but for war that also means that it needs to take what is availale where ever she is if that means the Standard missile then so be it, if that means VLASROC then ok. The Mk41 also gives the future ability of Perseus, Aster… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Ron, my point isn’t to question the use of Mk41 over Sylver on future warships, such as T26. Or the possible FFBNW of Mk41 on T31. I agree with both. The point is that if we added Mk41 to T45 tomorrow then we may have to wait close to a decade before there would be anything worth adding, with the possible exception of SM-6. If we have to wait a decade then the end of life for T45 is well in sight at that point. Most of the missile options you list are either at end of life or not… Read more »

Meirion X

Are you aware that Japan is buying 73 SM-6 missiles from the US(FMS) for $3.3 Billion, that is about $45 million each! I can Not see RN buying any of them!

Glass Half Full

I think you’ll find that purchase is for SM-3 not SM-6. SM-3 is a very expensive missile currently with the majority of the missile cost still in RDT&E (research, development, test and evaluation). In 2018 the US spent $986.5M on 6 missiles for RDT&E with an additional $624M to procure 34 missiles for use. So for US use the cost is ~$40M each at present.

SM-6 is just under $6M each for 2018.

Meirion X

@ Glass Half Full
Thanks, for spotting my mistake of SM-6, instead of which should be SM-3 missile.
I can imagine those Treasury bean counters, making a run for it!!

Meirion X

It would be extremely expensive to integrate every missile into all VLS systems. In that case a missile like VL-ASROC will only be needed on a ASW vessel like T26, launched with Mk. 41, the same with Aster BND, is only needed on a T45 with Simpson radar.
I think Aster 30 would also be useful on T26 with Mk. 41.


Meirion X, thats the point, it is the weakness in NATO the weapons and systems fit of one contry does not always match that of a second it like building and buying a car for one fuel only to find that when you pull up to a garage they have a diffrent one. I remember the same problems in the late 70s early 80s with the Cheiftan tank we used 120mm rifled whilst the rest of NATO used 105mm smooth bore. NATO then moved to the 120mm smooth bore but we still used rifled. It is an issue that Russia… Read more »

Meirion X

The T45 was designed with extra space, to allow it to have upgrades, unlike the previous T42 which was cramped, e.g. diesel gen upgrades, 2 old ones taken out, replaced with 3 more powerful new ones.
The Mk. 41 space, is just Space, like a empty room, now being use as a gym!
Yes, I agree that space can be used to install Sylver A-70 cells if need be.
The sensor network you forgotten name of is called, Cooperative Engagement Capability.
It seems it is the question of priorities with the MoD!


Thanks, I knew that someone would remember the name.


should make for some good pictures of Q.E in a task group


Bear in mind that this exercise is really just an extension of sea trials and integration of the F-35- it’s not even a proper military exercise as we would think of one. This is more similar to the launch and recovery trials that the USS Ford was doing last year, and I’m pretty sure that was done with no escorts, or at most a couple. At the end of the day, it would be a misallocation of resources to put more than 2 escorts (and maybe an SSN) into what is effectively a second stage of a slow and iterative… Read more »

Meirion X

I agree with you!


I think the GRF is going to be working up at the same time this fall. We’ll probably see some pretty pictures of the pair sailing together.