The purpose of this article is not to examine yet again the much discussed propulsion problems of the Type 45 but rather to consider how the type can remain relevant in the face of significant threats posed by advanced aircraft and missiles.

Hence, this article will primarily review the destroyer’s current and future armament fitout. At the launch of the first T45, HMS DARING on 1 February 2006, the then First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, declared that she would be the most capable destroyer ever possessed by the Royal Navy, as well as the world’s best air-defence ship.

These are significant claims, and while there is considerable evidence that the T45s are indeed the RN’s most capable destroyers it has ever had, the assertion that they are the world’s finest air-defence destroyer is debatable, at least in their current configuration.

This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Kelvin Curnow. Kelvin’s particular area of interest is naval aircraft and aircraft carriers. He is a keen writer and over the past fifteen years he has had a number of articles published in different journals.

NOTE: For the purpose of this article Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) and Ant-Ship Missiles (AShMs) are designated by the latter nomenclature.

FILE PHOTO: A Type 45 being constructed in Govan.

BACKGROUND

The lessons learned from the tragic loss of the Batch 1 Type 42 (T42) destroyers HMS SHEFFIELD and HMS COVENTRY in the Falklands war led to a very different approach when a replacement for the T42 was considered. The T42s were built in three batches. The first two batches, comprising ten ships, were followed by four Batch 3 ships which were 12 metres longer and possessed better sea-keeping qualities.

The Batches 1 and 2 were cramped and this affected the number and type of weapons which could be carried. Worse still the six Batch 1 ships were equipped with the ancient Type 965 or 966 ‘double bedstead’ air search radar and the Type 992Q radar used to designate targets for the gun and missiles which lacked Moving Target Indication (MTI). Both radars therefore lacked the ability to detect moving targets at low level, or with a land mass behind them. These deficiencies led directly to the loss of two T42s and severe damage being inflicted on HMS GLASGOW.

However, the situation changed when the two Batch 2 T42s, HMS CARDIFF and HMS EXETER arrived in theatre. Both were equipped with the Type 1022 L-Band, long range Surveillance, and Target Identification Radar (STIR). Most importantly the Type 1022 added a MTI capability. With the benefit of better radars and combat system EXETER shot down three Argentine aircraft and an Exocet AShM by GWS-30 Sea Dart Surface to Air Missiles (SAM).

Launch of HMS Duncan on the Clyde.

The latter claim was disputed. However, supporting evidence for the Exocet shoot down could come from the verified kill of a similar first generation Iraqi Silkworm AShM by a Sea Dart fired from HMS GLOUCESTER. On 23 February 1991 during the First Gulf War, the battleship USS MISSOURI, escorted by GLOUCESTER, the Type 22 (T22) frigate HMS LONDON and USS JARRETT, was engaged by two Silkworms.

One missile crashed into the sea, the other was intercepted and destroyed by the Sea Dart. This action was in many ways prove to be a watershed in RN thinking, both confirming its previous experiences in the Falklands war and setting the pattern for future warship design and tactics. Two essential lessons arose from this one engagement. First, JARRETT’s Raytheon Phalanx 20 mm Close In Weapons System (CIWS) designed specifically to shoot down incoming AShMs was placed in autoengagement mode but failed to engage the Silkworm and instead targeted chaff launched by MISSOURI. Second, LONDON which carried the MBDA Sea Wolf SAM, which like to Phalanx was an anti AShM system, did not engage the Silkworm. This reflected the earlier Falklands experience when the missile failed to engage Argentine Exocet AShMs.

HMS Daring, the first Type 45, was launched in 2006.

Likewise, in various Middle-East conflicts the Phalanx has failed to intercept incoming AShMs, the first occasion being in 1987 when the USS STARK was accidentally attacked by an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1 which fired two Exocet missiles at the frigate. The failure of both ‘last ditch’ weapons systems gave rise to consideration of how to effectively protect ships against AShMs particularly as these  develop in sophistication and can now attain hypersonic speeds or be fired over a ballistic trajectory.

DESIGN OF THE TYPE 45

The Type 45 is often negatively compared to the American Arleigh Burke design which is equipped with ninety-six BAE Systems (BAES) Mk 41 Universal Vertical Launching System cells (thirty-two fore and sixty-four aft). They are allocated for SAMs, Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and Honeywell Subroc Anti-Submarine missiles although the mix is varied in order to meet specific mission needs.

For a maximum Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) load out seventy-two cells carry forty-eight Raytheon RIM-66 SM-2 and eight RIM-174 SM-6 Standard SAMs, together with sixty-four Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) which are quad packed in sixteen cells. (These are figures for Flights I and II ships, Flight IIA vessels have an additional six Mk 41 cells.) Interestingly the Burkes were not initially equipped with the Phalanx CIWS, close-in defence against AShMs was provided by the ESSMs.

A Type 45 launched a Sea Viper missile.

They are now equipped with at least one Phalanx. In comparison the T 45s have forty-eight A 50 Sylver cells for MBDA Aster 15 and Aster 30 SAMs. Additionally each ship is equipped with two Phalanx CIWS, while four T45s may be equipped with eight canisters for Harpoon missiles at any one time, the Harpoons having been removed from the Batch 3 Type 22 Cornwall class frigates when they were decommissioned in 2011.

These figures would appear to afford the Arleigh Burke class an overall superiority in terms of AAW capability. However, there are some factors which are not apparent in the statistics which tip the balance in favour of the T45. The Burkes are equipped with the Aegis combat system which currently uses the Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D(V) S-band radar featuring four passive electronic system arrays (PESAs) as the primary system for threat detection, searching and tracking targets at a range of 189+ nmi (350+ km). Being a PESA radar it cannot provide target illumination for Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH) missiles of which the SM-2 and ESSM Block 1 are the most widely used examples. These missiles must be guided to a target by three SPG-62 continuous wave illuminators (CWIs) controlled by a Raytheon Mark 99 fire-control system. This places the Burkes at a considerable disadvantage if a destroyer was to experience a saturation attack of twenty to thirty AShMs because the mechanically steered SPG-62 can only guide a limited number of SM-2s at once.

Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon at sunset.

These shortcomings will all begin to be addressed from 2023 on Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers which will be equipped with the introduction of the AN/SPY-6 active electronic scanned array (AESA) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). Together with active radar homing (ARH) SM-6 and ESSM Block 2 missiles these destroyers will be formidable AAW and ballistic missile defence (BMD) platforms and gain superior capabilities over and against the T45.

The T45 features the BAES SAMPSON S band AESA multi-function radar (MFR) which is primarily used for fire control, although it can also carry out long range search to a distance of 216 nmi (400 km). It is the radar component of the Sea Viper air defence system, the other being MBDA Aster SAMs. SAMPSON features two back-to-back planar arrays which rotate at 30 revolutions per minute leaving no area of the sky without coverage for less than 0.5 seconds. Being smaller and lighter than fixed radar arrays such as the AN/SPY-1D(V) or the Thales Nederland Active Phased Array Radar (APAR), SAMPSON is sited approximately double the height of either and consequently has a considerable advantage in its ability to detect sea-skimming targets over a longer range. Early detection of such threats was one of the lessons coming out of the Falklands war as was the necessity to have the maximum number of missiles available to bring to bear on incoming targets.

HMS Daring escorting US Navy carrier, the USS Enterprise.

Being an AESA radar SAMPSON has inherent advantages in countering a saturation attack with the ability to simultaneously illuminate and steer Aster missiles to thirty-two or more targets. The US Naval War College has suggested that SAMPSON is capable of tracking 1,000 objects the size of a cricket ball travelling at Mach 3, consequently emphasising the radar’s performance against high speed stealth targets. SAMPSON is complemented by the BAES S1850M PESA L band volume search radar capable of tracking of up to 1,000 targets at a range of 216 nmi (400 km). It is also capable of detecting stealth targets, and is able to detect and track missiles in the outer atmosphere at short range, therefore making it capable of forming part of a Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (TBMD) system.

For long range defence against AShMs the 65 nmi (120 km) range Aster 30 and the 130 nmi (240 km) range SM-6 are currently the West’s most advanced shipborne SAMs. Both missiles feature inertial guidance and active radar homing. The Aster 30 has a terminal speed of Mach 4.5, the SM-6 Mach 3.5. Both are designed to provide area defence. The Aster is fired on a one shot one kill basis and features a unique combination of aerodynamic control and direct thrust vector control called ‘PIF-PAF’ through which the missile is capable of high speed end manoeuvres. Together these features are claimed to give Aster an unmatched kill (Pk) capability. In addition to providing anti-aircraft defence, the SM-6 is designed to perform terminal phase Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) as are the Aster 30 Block 1NT/Block 2 BMD missiles. American practice is to ripple fire missiles with at least two directed at each target. (Perhaps recognising the practice of firing multiple Standard missiles at one target, the South Korean Sejong the Great class destroyers carry no less than one hundred and twenty-eight missiles of different combinations.) Hence, the T45’s seeming disadvantage of carrying fewer SAMS is offset by the number of missiles directed at a target, forty-eight Asters prospectively destroying the same number of targets, while ripple firing ninety-six Standard missiles would normally be required to achieve the same outcome.

HMS Dauntless.

IMPROVING THE T45’S ARMAMENT

With a displacement of 9,400 tons full load, the T45s are nearly twice the weight of its T42 predecessor at 5,350 tons (Batch III). The T42 was constrained by its size which inhibited its growth potential. An initial proposal was for the T42 to be equipped with both Sea Dart and Sea Wolf SAM systems for long range AAW and point defence against AShMs respectively. However the T42 was too small to accommodate both systems particularly the Sea Wolf missile system which was both large and heavy. The Sea Wolf system meant that the three batches of T22 frigates were both larger and heavier than the T42s. In the Falklands war Sea Wolf suffered from problems with hardware failure causing launches to fail, and computer malfunctions causing broken lock onto targets.

Nevertheless, there is some argument that had COVENTRY been equipped with both Sea Dart and Sea Wolf she may have survived the 25 May 1982 attack which sank her. Consequently, in designing the T45 provision was made for a multi-layered AAW capability with Aster 30 missiles providing long range area defence, Aster 15 missiles short range defence and Phalanx CIWS providing ‘last ditch’ defence against AShMs. This considerable capability is enhanced immeasurably by SAMPSON, arguably the most capable naval radar extant. Yet, while the T45s are a considerable improvement over their predecessors and match or exceed the capabilities of other Western AAW destroyers they can nevertheless be improved in their armament and sensors.

HMS Defender along with one of her seaboats.
Gun Armament

The inability of chaff to prevent the destruction of the ATLANTIC CONVEYER in the Falklands war demonstrated to the RN the limitations of passive defence systems. This was later reinforced by the inability of chaff fired from the MISSOURI to decoy the incoming Silkworm AShM. Both events confirmed that the greatest defence against incoming missiles was via a hard kill. What is also apparent from attacks by AShMs is that the Phalanx CIWS has failed in every instance to shoot down an incoming missile. In addition to the MISSOURI and STARK incidents, on July 14, 2006 Hezbollah fired two Chinese made C-802 AShMs at Israeli warships one of which hit the corvette INS HANIT. The HANIT possessed sophisticated a multi-layered missile defence capability including a Phalanx CIWS, Barak 1 anti-missile missiles, chaff and ECM and an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system which was activated at the time of the attack. These should have detected and brought down the AShMs but did not. With respect to both this and the STARK incident it was claimed that their ship’s defensive systems, including Phalanx, were switched off. Despite there being some evidence proffered to support these claims, it seems either implausible or negligent that ships operating in war zones had their principal defensive systems turned off.

HMS Diamond.

A far superior alternative to the Phalanx would be a system which combines a gun and missiles to provide defence against incoming AShMs.  In my article for the UKDJ Wartime Operations – Employing the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers[1], I noted that mounted on the DS30M Mark 2 remotely operated 30mm cannon turret Thales Martlet Lightweight Modular Missiles (LMMs) and Thales High Velocity Missiles (HVMs) would provide a formidable anti-surface and anti-air capability. Jed Cawthorn supports my opinion in relation to this option and further adds that ‘I am no fan of the Phalanx, it was introduced to the RN…in the early 80s…so hope to see it retired in favour of a more modern and capable system’.[2] In the same article he gives a detailed analysis of weapons options for the Type 31e (T31e) frigate, much of which also can apply to the T45. In particular he notes that the with the T45 unlikely to be used for Naval Gunfire Support (NGS) a good option for the ships would be to replace the BAES Mk45 Mod 4 127 mm/ 4.5 inch main gun and Phalanx CIWS with the BAES Bofors 57 mm Mk3 gun in non-deck penetrating mounts.

There is a strong case to support this argument. The gun can fire up to 220 rounds per minute out to a range of 10.6 miles (17 kms). With a greater range and firing a heavier round the 57 mm gun arguably has a greater Pk than the Phalanx CIWS. Additionally, the gun can fire BAES Ordnance for Rapid Kill of Attack Craft (ORKA) projectile which is a one shot-one kill round fitted with an imaging semi-active seeker. It can be guided to its target through laser designation or autonomously by downloading an image of the target prior to firing.

HMS Dragon behind F-35Bs onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

In development is the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES) rocket propelled projectile. Fired from the Bofors 57 mm gun, it will combine the speed, rapid fire and the availability of the rounds of a gun weapon system with the precision and accuracy of guided missiles. Both ORKA and MAD-FIRES use enhanced ammunition rounds able to alter their flight path in real time to stay on target, together with a capacity to continuously target, track and engage multiple fast-approaching targets simultaneously and re-engage any targets that survive initial engagement.

The current and future ammunition possibilities provide the 57 mm gun combined with the Sea Viper missile system would provide the T45 with a greater capability to defeat cruise missiles, AShMs, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aircraft as well as surface threats simultaneously.

Missile Armament

Janes reported in May 2014 that the UK was committing more funds to explore the development of the T45’s SAMPSON radar and Sea Viper missile system’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defence capabilities. This followed a live firing event hundreds of miles north of Kwajalein Atoll in the Western Pacific Ocean, where DARING successfully demonstrated the ability to detect and track at considerable range two medium-range ballistic missiles. Further signalling the UK’s intention to equip the T45s with an ABM capability, in March 2016 Britain and France announced a joint procurement programme with the intention of France acquiring MBDA Brimstone anti-tank missiles and Britain acquiring Aster Block 1NT missiles capable of intercepting medium range ballistic missiles which have a range of 539 nmi – 808 nmi (1,000 – 1,500 km). Once purchased the ABM Aster will match the capabilities of the SM-3 and SM-6 Standard series of missiles.

However, it is not the capabilities of the Aster missile which is questioned when the subject of missile armament is raised in relation to the T45. As noted above, negative comments are directed towards the T45 with respect to the low number of Aster missiles carried. Increasing the number of available anti-aircraft missiles could be achieved by replacing eight Aster missiles with quad-packed MBDA Sea Ceptor missiles, increasing the load out to seventy-two missiles. The Sea Ceptor (also designated the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile [CAMM]) is an active radar homing missile which requires no fire control or illumination radars. It has a speed of Mach 3 and a range of 13.5+ nmi (25+ km), although Janes have reported that the missile has achieved a range of 32 nmi (60 km).

HMS Duncan fires an Aster 30 missile.

The CAMM-ER (CAMM-Extended Range) has a range of 24 nmi (45+ km). The Sea Ceptor has similar characteristics to the Aster 15, with a high rate of fire, 360 degree coverage and a high degree of manoeuvrability the missile can provide defence against saturation attacks by supersonic AShMs as well as aircraft. In addition to its primary role the RN has confirmed that the missile has a limited surface-to-surface role with the capability to engage small naval vessels.

Beyond this limited capability should the RN determine to equip the T45s with a more substantial AShM capability many possibilities remain open. With the Harpoon Block 1C missiles in RN service now obsolescent they will be removed from both T23 frigates and T45 destroyers by 2023. Anti-surface capability will rely entirely on the Martlet and MBDA Sea Venom lightweight AShMs carried by Leonardo Wildcat HMA2 helicopters. However, in an acknowledgement that a heavyweight AShM would be required to sink vessels larger than a corvette, in March 2019 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) document which sets out the general requirements for a Harpoon replacement to potential contractors.

These requirements for the Interim Surface to Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) include capabilities to provide over-the-horizon precision anti-ship strike and a terrain-following precision maritime land attack. Missiles in contention to meet this requirement include the Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) AGM-158C, the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) and the Saab RBS15 Mk 4 ‘Gungnir’ (Odin’s Spear). These missiles will be canister launched from the T23s. However, if the T45s were to be equipped with AShMs it would make sense to launch them from sixteen strike-length VLS cells for which provision has been made aft of the existing Sylver cells. These could be either the Mk 41 VLS which can accommodate the TLAM, LRASM and Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC), or the Sylver A70 VLS for the MdCN derivative of Storm Shadow. Logic would suggest that a purchase of the LRASM which could be used on both types of vessels would be the more suitable choice. Whichever missile is chosen in the interim, by the early 2030s both the T45s and T26s will be equipped with the MBDA CVS401 Perseus Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Weapon (FCASW).

HMS Duncan with her Wildcat Helicopter.

The T45s have no provision for anti-submarine weapons which are carried instead by an embarked Wildcat or Leonardo Merlin HM2 helicopter. A decision to install the Mk 41 VLS would bring with it the possibility to carry ASROC, but bringing yet another weapon type into RN service would appear unlikely especially given that the missile’s design dates back to the early 1960s.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

That the T45 is at the forefront of modern AAW destroyer design is without question. How to maintain its superiority in the face of growing and far more complex threats is now a question which should be addressed by the RN. Particular attention must be given to the number of missiles carried. One possible and innovative solution comes in the form of the BAES Adaptive Deck Launcher (ADL) which has four Mk 41 cells positioned on a ship’s deck in much the same way as any other canister system. The great of the ADL is that it can launch all current RN and USN missiles via its Mk 41 cells.

Quad packed into two ADL’s Mk 41 cells the T45 could carry thirty-two Sea Ceptors without the need to reduce the complement of Aster missiles. The greatest benefit brought by the ADL is that unlike VSLs it can be replenished at sea. Given this development and other rapidly growing technologies, the future possibilities for the expansion of the T45’s armament and sensor systems are considerable hence there remains the probability that the type will indeed be among the world’s best air defence destroyers for some time to come.

[1] https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/wartime-operations-employing-the-queen-elizabeth-class-aircraft-carriers/

[2] https://uklandpower.com/2019/09/19/type-31e-light-frigate-weapons-options/

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pompeyblokeinoxford
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pompeyblokeinoxford

Interesting article with though with several errors. To my knowledge the Harpoon cannot be VLS launched, and SUBROC?

Kelvin C
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Kelvin C

My mistake, you are correct in both instances. The Subroc missile has been long retired and it is the Asroc missile which is fired from the Mk 41 VLS. The Harpoons are fired from canisters, the proposed VLS launched Harpoon did not transpire.

Cam
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Cam

Really interesting read, I like the aster 15s being replaced with sea ceptor but quad packet giving many more.

Rob N
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Rob N

I think the ASTER 15 should not be replaced as it is more capable then Sea Ceptor. Instead the extra 16 VLS tubes should be fitted with 12 tubes full of quad packed Sea Ceptor ER (48 missiles). The 4 remaining tubes of the 16 can have extra ASTER 30. I would also swap the current main gun foe the Bofors 57 mm With smart amo. Also replace 30mm with 2 Bofors 40 mm guns. This would give: 52 ASTER 48 Sea Ceptor ER 1 x Bofors 57 mm 2 x Bofors 40 mm 2 x 20 mm Phalanx I… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins
Paul T
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Paul T
Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Ideally suited for the Type 31’given their high rate of firepower and ability to engage land targets too.

It would also give them a unique advantage when deployed to patrol international shipping lanes from small attack craft.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

asters are big things, the ceptor vls pods are a more flexible mounting option

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the best and most obvious way of improving the t45, is to give it another 6 sisters

AndyCee
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AndyCee

Interesting… maybe replace the 4.5″ gun armament with the same as the Type 31s – the 57mm “main” gun, and 2 x 40mm in non deck penetrating mounts replacing the Phalanx systems. From what I’ve read, the 40mm mounts are effective CIWS and weigh less than a Phalanx mountings.

Like the idea of quad packed Sea Ceptor too, can’t see it happening while there are still stocks of Aster15s though…..and the ADL maybe becomes the default launcher, replacing Harpoon, for AShM/ASCM

BB85
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BB85

I read somewhere the RN only ordered something like 100 Aster missiles and rotates them around the ships. So on deployment it wouldn’t surprise me if we only carried half the total number of missiles able to be carried.

Ben
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Ben

If I remember correctly, the original order was for 150 Aster 15 and 300 Aster 30. These stocks have never been replenished either.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

I don’t think we ever bought A15 because SeaCeptor was coming…..

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

These numbers are reasonable when you consider that the weapons have a shelf life that is shorter than the operational life of the ship. I’m not sure how feasible it is to re-life munitions but missiles have the added complexity of component obsolesence, particularly the chips. So it makes sense to stagger the buy over a period of time.

The question is will we replenish stocks as they are used / life expired. If we don’t then we effectively disarm the ships…

James
Guest
James

That cannot surely be true?!! Ridiculous if it is but then again wouldn’t surprise me. Is the shelf life of these missiles known?

David Stephen
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David Stephen

That seems reasonable. Remember you can’t reload at sea. If all six Type 45s are fully loaded with 32 x Aster 30 & 16 x Aster 15 then that only requires 192 & 96 missiles of each kind. 300 & 150 seems about what you need for 8 fully armed Type 45s with a margin left over for training.

AndyCee
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AndyCee

Seriously?! Wow….

andy reeves
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andy reeves

REMEMBER PHALANX FAILED TO ENGAGE THE TWO EXOCETS THAT HIT THE USS STARK. WE RELY ON TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT IS TRUSTED SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY LOOK GOOD IN A CATALOGUE.

AndyCee
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AndyCee

@Andy Reeves
Is the version of Phalanx in service now the same version? stark happened in 1987, if memory serves?
That said, phalanx is at its core an ‘80s system – 40 years in service now, so probably an upgrade or replacement is overdue

David Flandry
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David Flandry

Jeezuz H. Krist.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

a bit like the carriers deploying with minimal fighter numbers, make the vessel un creditable

Paul T
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Paul T

AndyCee – yes if NGS is definitely off the table for the T45 I’m with you, BAE 57mm Mk3 for the Main Gun Mount,2 x Bofors Mk4 40mm Mounts replacing the current Phalanx CIWS,and if the ADL System is viable then that would be a good way to increase Missile loadout and gives the option of other types.Its interesting that the French Navy has the option of a Sadral/Mistral point defence Missile Launcher System on the Hangar roof – as Gunbuster has said previously on here the RN trialled the SeaRam System on the T42 but weren’t impressed with it… Read more »

AndyCee
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AndyCee

Yeah, using the same fit out at the T31 seems logical and efficient.

Looking at the pictures above there does seem a blind spot for all round coverage by point defence systems on the T45 – dead astern. Your solution on the hangar roof would resolve that.

Rob N
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Rob N

Yes you could put a Phalanx on the hanger roof. Swap out the side mounted phalanx foe Bofors 40 mm. Also add the Bofors 57 mm Instead of the current main gun.

Can the current 30 mm be swapped for Bofors 40 mm. That way you could leave the phalanx in place.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

phalanx is overrated

Spyinthesky
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Spyinthesky

Do remember reading recently a defence of the T 31s using the 57mm over the 76mm that it has some advantages, depending upon the role expected so overall it’s a pretty close choice they claimed between those two guns but can’t remember the details sadly.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

agreed with the 76mm rapid 76mm, quickly installed, cheaper, able to carry out N.G.S dependent on range and target type 76mm is=to a three inch gun, sobig enough for most needs.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

The Aster 15 can be upgraded to 30 or NT with additional booster as that is essentially the only difference between the 2 – this would then increase our stocks of Aster 30 as well. Replacing Aster 15 with Seaceptor is a no brainer for me and could double a T45’s weapons load overnight. If you remember when Duncan was buzzed by the 17 or so Russian jets earlier this year it would simply be overwhelmed as each jet can launch multiple missiles. given this is an AAW asset – it really does need to up arm massively. 64 Camm… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

the international change from 4.5 inch guns to he 76mm is becoming the norm especially with what the thais have done witheir batch 2 river derivative a76mm oto melara gun and two 30mm cannon fitted aft of the bridge wing with the y hope to negotiate and fit martlet to them both, its name KRABI has seen it designated as a light frigate, or corvette. surely the u.k should do the same to its batch 2 rivers the ones the R.N currently operates would as corvettes enhance the front line ships total considerably,every other navy with rivers designate them as… Read more »

AndyCee
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AndyCee

Given the T31 is going down the route of 57mm/40mm I’d prefer to see those mounted on the River Batch 2s. Upgrading them to make them more front line does run the risk that they may be seen as (inadequate) replacements for some of the T31s or even T26s, which would not be good

Sean
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Sean

I’m liking the idea of the BAES Adaptive Deck Launcher (ADL), not just for the T45, but T31, etc too. The ability to reload these while at sea is a huge advantage, especially for a strike group with a RFA in attendance.

In Falklands style situation it might even be possible to add them to requisitioned merchant ships!!

andy reeves
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andy reeves

i’d expect the martlet system will evolve and become more popular.

Harry Nelson
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Harry Nelson

If only there was the will and money……..

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

We have the money. The government chooses to spend it elsewhere.

Andy P
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Andy P

Enjoyed reading that, thank you.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken
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The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Excellent article , very informative

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

ASW? The glaring gap. The MOAS set is sub optimal for £1 billion ship. T45 isn’t an escort, but something that has to be escorted.

Matt
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Matt

Agreed! I get the reasoning behind ships needing to have specialisations, but quite frankly a cheap light sub would give our £1bn 45s a right challenge.
[email protected]

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

USN destroyers have towed array sonars…

However if money is tight I would rather see it spent on upgrading The ships primary role. The lack of missile numbers should be addressed urgently. I think HMS Duncan was swarmed by 16 Russian Jets in the Black Sea if each jet carried 2 ASM that would be 32 inbound missiles. The T45 would only be good enough to fight off one major attack. That is just not enough! Who ever came up with the idea that only 48 missiles would be required needs his/her head examined…

Robert blay
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Robert blay

It explains in the article why they went for48 missiles.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Yes I read the article. However the number of missiles carried is just not enough for combat persistance.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

So you think then that the RN wasted money with T26 going for SeaCeptor and Smart-L? The money should have been concentrated on ASW?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves
Trevor
Guest
Trevor

If they have been caught out then they are not very good, are they?

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Depends how much intel they got before they were intercepted. Do you think our SSN’s have never ever been detected?

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

I don’t know, I never watch Russia Today.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Responses like that are one of the reasons why forums like this aren’t taken seriously.

Trevor
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Trevor

I don’t take Russia seriously… except when they are filling up perfume bottles with nerve gas. Merry Christmas.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

You should take them seriously. But pretending Third Shock Army is going to crash the Inner German Border isn’t taking them seriously.

Simester
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Simester

I like the idea of the Adaptive Deck Launcher, but where would it fit on the Type 45? I can’t see where there’s room.

James M
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James M

Not sure how big it is, but maybe where the harpoons are currently?

Simon m
Guest
Simon m

I think there’s also space behind where the phalanx are not sure how much but hopefully 3-4 cells depth and could require sacrificing phalanx or relocation (but not sure where).

If basing where harpoons currently are this takes away option of mk41 VLS although could be a cheaper installation, I’m unsure if ADL would provide the same number of cells unless it can be double decked – which seems possible but not on offer currently from BAE.

Tim uk
Guest
Tim uk

Surely we need across all ships the proposed US long range guided shells coming out of the 4.5? The VLS launchers with cruise or anti-ship should be a given and also some provision for a capable lazer.

Simon m
Guest
Simon m

The 4.5 inch no longer has development in terms of ammunition and therefore we would need to very expensively replace it with the 5inch gun. Although to me a useful addition as whilst protecting amphibious forces it may as well provide ngs. The expense cannot really be justified considering the primary mission, fitting of a 57mm would therefore bring commonality with T31 and give a somewhat long ranged CIWS. Again TLAM is nice to have for AAW ship that is in many’s opinion low on SAM numbers considering the hypersonic threat. Therefore if we could afford both a VLS and… Read more »

T.S
Guest

I would Like to see 12 of the existing cells quad packed with standard seaceptor, and 12 more quad packed with Camm-er, and the remaining 24 cells with Aster 30 for a higher performance for the rarer occurrences. That would give an anti air load out of 120 missiles, a huge increase for minimal cost and could be done immediately. If more funds became available, then add the 16 mk41 with the hope we could quadpack 8 of them with Spear 3 and the remaining 8 for a heavyweight ASM. Spear 3, including the EW version proposed, could then be… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

One of the most informative articles I read on here.
Thank you.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

In relation to cost.

“The Government of Finland has requested a possible sale of four (4) Mk 41Baseline VII Strike-Length Vertical Launching Systems. Also included are spares, handling equipment, test equipment, operator manuals and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, training, technical, and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical support. The estimated total case value is $70 million.”

https://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/finland-mk-41-vertical-launching-systems

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

“Each Type 26 will be equipped with three 8-cell MK 41 VLS modules. BAE Systems’ initial order includes nine MK 41 VLS modules, enough for the first three ships of the class.”

https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2018-03-01-BAE-Systems-Awards-Contract-to-Lockheed-Martin-to-Supply-Vertical-Launching-System-for-Royal-Navys-Type-26

tomuk
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tomuk

This article had the potential to be interesting but is full of errors.

The most glaring fundamental error is that Aster missiles have active RF seekers like CAMM/Sea Ceptor, and the SAMPSON radar doesn’t illuminate the target as stated in the article.

Also the author doesn’t seem to acknowledge any of the upgrades to Phalanx made in recent years.

FourFiveEight
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FourFiveEight

I’m not sure I understand your point here. Are you saying that Aster is fully active, like CAMM? he states in the article – ” (SM-2 and Aster) are currently the West’s most advanced shipborne SAMs. Both missiles feature inertial guidance and active radar homing.” Secondly, he talks of Sampson illuminating the targets, he is referring to the constant track and update of the targets for mid course guidance, all of which puts the missile in the best position to save it’s flight energy while achieving a high PKill. It’s clear that the active Aster doesn’t need any terminal guidance… Read more »

Frank62
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Frank62

With such an appallingly tiny escort fleet we can’t afford to have our T45s so limited in ASW capability. Could the triple ASW torpedo mountings be fitted?

Frank62
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Frank62

Also we need to keep a decent sized main gun for decent NGS & anti-ship back up. By all means replace the Phalanx with 57mms-it could also replace the 30mm bushmasters which have virtually no AAA ability.

AndyCee
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AndyCee

Is NGS likely to be a requirement going forward, especially as the amphibious forces are looking to move to more of a raiding stance…?

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

No way is T45 going near the gun line. And I can’t see the MoD swapping in a 5in to give access to modern munitions for anti-ship. Medium guns with conventional rounds aren’t ship killers. I would though replace the Mk8 with a 57mm or 76mm. I would lose the hangar to fit one aft.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Surely losing the Hangar means losing your Helicopter capability – too high a price to pay In my opinion.The Italian Navy has managed to put an Oto Melera 76mm Strales mount on their new PPA Design on top of the Hangar so it should be possible to fit a 40mm or 57mm surely comment image?itok=uTW0B8Bb

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

T45 will either be next to one of our carriers or one of their carriers. Or surrounded by other assets with organic aviation or close to land based aviation. Never mind the RN is running our of Merlin……..of all varieties. As I said above T45 without proper ASW systems is a thing to be escorted. In fact I will say it is a HVU because SeaViper is so good. Surely a T45 optimised for its singular purpose of AAW would be a better asset? A 76mm or 57mm on every arc slave into SeaViper system. And perhaps inner layer of… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

are we ever going to know what the tests of dragonfire were? if it does then if it can be produced quickly enough, the unit itself looks like it could be fitted in all kinds of locations on a ships structure

Rob N
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Rob N

If you are in close enough to Use ship mounted torpedo rubes you are already on borrowed time… leave ASW to the frigates and air defence to the destroyers. However I do think they should be well equipped with ant-torpedo systems soft and hard kill.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the prosecution of asw warfare with the R.N SOMETIMES CONFUSES ME (easily done) there is always modern anti air missile system, but no obvious asw weaponry, it appears that every warship is becoming more reliant on whatever the ships helicopter can carry and leave the whole task to the chopper

Frank62
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Frank62

For decades RN FFGs & DDGs carried lightweight ASW torpedoes, but these have been ommitted in the T45s. In a real war our asw choppers are very vulnerable. Complacency & incompetance doesn’t adequately cover RN practice in our tiny, hamstrung escort fleet. We’re failing to cover our peacetime commitments as it is & in war the needs would outweigh our ability several fold, so the lazy, negligent assumption that we’d always have enough ships availible to deploy balanced forces (even before an enemy knocks a few ships out) to cover each others capability gaps is ludicrous wishful thinking. Ardleigh Burkes… Read more »

Ron
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Ron

I have been saying this about the gun fitout of Royal Navy warships for some time, I keep thinking it would be better if the T31 got a refurbished 4.5inch gun until we can afford more 5 inch guns and the T45s get the 57mm gun. Phalanx CIWS should be replaced with the 57mm and just possibly the OPVs should also get the 57mm, two 30mm with LMM/HVM. All ships should keep there 30mm outfit but with attached LMM/HVMs including the carriers. So that would give the T26 a 5 inch plus two 57mm, two 30mm withLMM/HVM, two mini guns… Read more »

T.S
Guest

Ah, so Camm-er cannot be quad packed? The only issue with your suggestion is where to put the asm box launchers if seaceptor are installed as extra in the current space where they would go. I can’t see there being space on the roof like the T31 with all the radar stuff.

Ron
Guest
Ron

@T.S, It is my understanding that there is a space designed to accomadate the Mk41 VLS system between the Aster VLS and 4.5 inch gun. I thought at first that the Mk41 was in front of the bridge where the Harpoon missiles are at the moment, but it seems not so the box launchers would be where the Harpoons are presently located. It was the reason why I was always confussed with 16 Mk41s and not 24. So the Sea Ceptor farm would be located between the Aster farm and the 4.5inch gun which would become the 57mm gun. Sea… Read more »

Rob N
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Rob N

It would be nice to have the Sea Ceptor ER but if they cannot be quad packed the standard ones will have to do.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

The space for MK41 is in front of the bridge, aft of the silo and where harpoon is occasionally bolted on.

Ron
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Ron

Thanks.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

comment image

Ron
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Ron

Thanks Steve, when looking at the diagram it looks like the Mk41 void is aft of the 4.5in which is what I also remember reading somewhere. Gunbuster says its in front of the bridge and I’ve learnt to trust his comments. So as per normal confussion reigns.
Maybe someone on board a T45 can say where the Mk41 are meant to go.

FourFiveEight
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FourFiveEight

Alas, GB is wrong on this one. The space is most definitely aft of the turret and forward of the VLS silo.
Of course, you could argue that fwd of the silo is also fwd of the bridge, so I’m sure GB would say he was still correct on that point 🙂

Ron
Guest
Ron

So it should be relitivly easy to install a Sea Ceptor farm, using the 16 Mk41 size equates to 64 Sea Ceptors thaty give an overall capability of 32 Asters 30s, 8 Aster 30 1NTs, 32 Sea Ceptors and 8 sea Ceptor-ERs plus 8 NSMs or RBS15 IVs. That would give any airforce a bad day at the office. Can we just fix the T45 propulsion system and if not build new hulls and transfer the electronic and weapons fit. Steal is cheap, the T45 has the capability and the capacity to do the job, but some idiot of a… Read more »

James M
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James M

based on a rather quick google, there’s nothing saying that the Aster 30 Block 1NT or the Aster 30 Block 2 will require a different cell to the Block 0.

It would make sense to design them to fit into an A50 too, as that preserves the market of everyone else that uses the A30 already, and allows increased capability for the lowest cost. MBDA will know they’re less likely to get sales if anyone that currently uses the A50 VLS will have to buy new VLS cells to use newer missiles.

Ron
Guest
Ron

I hope that your right, its just that I’m wondering if there would be an extra booster for the 1NT or Block 2 BMD. If that is the case then it will not fit into the A-50. I did notice that DCNS states that the A-70 is for SCALP and the A-50 for the Aster 15/30. What make me think that the Aster 30-1NT or 2-BMD might need a bosster, when I look at the RIM-174 it is almost two meters longer than the Aster 30, this I assume if for the extra flight ceiling of 34km and the extended… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

quite a few modern warships fail to use the’b turret’ position well enough.with a bigger purpose built frame, martlets in bigger numbers could augment other equipment

andy reeves
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andy reeves

often wondered if ships were built with torpedo tubes, it would reduce the need for additional weapon fits elsewhere

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

opv’s should get a 76mm OTO MELARA gun like the KRABI, the thai fit of that, plus two 30mm cannon aft of the bridge wings with negotiation ongoing for martlet to fit to them makes sense. and could/should be the way forward for the R.N’S rivers

dan
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dan

Hard for a weapons system to shoot down an incoming missile when it’s turned off. lol

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

Now what do Robin Blay and Gunbuster think of this article (if I may ask)?

Simon m
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Simon m

Considering it is now looking likely that the bofors 57mm will arm the T31 frigate. It makes sense to adopt this for T45. My the other upgrades I would wish is to use the space for 16 cell mk41 aft of the current silo as well as the adaptable deck launcher in the space in the middle. If it’s possible if the ADL could be double decked i.e. tactical on the bottom & strike length on the top even better. It’s difficult to judge the space but I would’ve thought if this could be done 6-8 strike and 6-8 tactical… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

57mm? its 2 inches, may as well put a sailor with a shotgun on the deck

Challenger
Guest
Challenger

Quad packed CAMM, whether in the existing VLS if possible or in additional MK41’s has to be at the top of the list. 48 missiles on such an expensive AAW vessel has always been a major flaw for the class as is the seemingly pitiful stock of Royal Navy munitions generally. Agree that Phalanx should be phased out and replaced by the 40mm mounts proposed for T31 given it’s rate of fire, punch and dual anti-surface capability. They could arguably replace the 30mm cannons across the fleet as well given it’s lack of AAW credentials – only the recent trials… Read more »

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Interesting article but as stated below a few error and in my opinion some simplistic nice to have assumptions that do not account for the joys of system engineering or weapon system practicalities. Guns Phalanx has had a lot of upgrades. It is now equipped with a THIM and TV system for use not just as a radar directed stand alone bullet chucker but also as a valuable anti surface swarm attack weapon. Its stand alone. It does not need input from the ships weapon systems or sensors just 440v and sea water cooling. 30mm are there for anti surface.… Read more »

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Soft Kill has come a long way since the T42 which was basically the corvus 3 inch rocket launcher. This was used for distraction chaff and It works. The reason that Atlantic Conveyor was hit was the exocet was distracted by chafffrom its original target and then locked on to conveyor. DLH Sea Gnat took over from 3inch and SRBOC launchers and is an integrated decoy system. It can launch distraction patterns , seduction patterns and IR decoys. It is integrated into the Ships system and using wind, course and speed it calculates the optimal seeding pattern to decoy a… Read more »

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Gunbuster, Interesting and informative as ever. Nice to be reminded of the nightmares that system integration can generate! I did read somewhere recently that MBDA were looking at the possibility of integrating the CAMM missile into Sampson / Sea Viper (can’t for the life of me remember where!). Not sure if they went ahead with the initiative or whether they are still looking at. Your point about cooking off adjacent weapons is an issue I have sort of wondered about in the past but more from the prespective of in coming fire on the forward third of the ship.… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The trouble with removing the 4.5 inch is that your then removing navel gunfire support as a role. That’s about a 30% drop in the present capability, once the type 26 frigate replaces 5 of the type 23s that’s a capacity reduction of around 55%. What’s worse is the only NGFS platforms left will be our ASW platforms and these roles are not compatible in any way.

What it shows is they really should be putting a medium gun Capable of NGFS on the type 26s.

Paul T
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Paul T

Jonathan – The T26 will have a Gun capable of NGS,I think you mean T31e yeah. ?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes utterly confused due to Christmas

Julian
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Julian

With the U.K. carriers coming into service plus the fairly regular political desire for the U.K. to join the escort group for other allies’ capital ships, not to mention our own other capital ships (the Albions), and given the limited number of deployable vessels we are likely to have at any one time from a fleet of only 6 T45, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to consider the T45s as dedicated AAW vessels so things like ASW and NGS become mute and the question becomes is T45 good enough for modern AAW requirements, potential swarm attack, etc? T45’s sensors… Read more »

Glass Half Full
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Glass Half Full

Nice to see the options presented in the context of the vessels most likely specialised role. Another option you might contemplate would be to deck mount the CAMM cold launch cells aft the current silo. That same deck mount solution might also be applicable to other vessels, either as a permanent install or an optional one similar to the Stanflex operating principle but without major deck penetration.

AlbertStarburst
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AlbertStarburst

Really interesting article Kelvin.
I’ve said this before, but i think the UK needs ships with more offensive capabilities – not just defensive. A light(?) cruiser based on maybe a stretched tri-hulled version of the T45 would be a way forward. i.e. Extra space for offensive long-range hyper-sonic stuff and lots more power generation for lasers etc. Of course dosh, will, and strategic thinking are the issues.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

T45 should have a been 12k tonne ship global cruiser from the start. It was obvious from the early 90’s that the Indian Ocean would be the main naval concern of the early to mid 21st century.

SeaViper is awesome. But would the RN have been better off with actually getting 12 Aegis ships with ASW? The RAN are getting better value from the RAN from the Hobart’s than RN from T45. (Never mind the RAN getting more T26 and the halving of our SSN numbers.)

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

My fantasy fleet AEGIS Destroyer of choice is South Korea’s King Sejong The Great Class,pretty impressive Armament whichever way you look at it.As for a Cruiser the Italian Navy has a DDX project to replace the two Durand De La Penne class Destroyers ,that’s about the closest to a modern day Cruiser that exists in Europe that I know of,i think the Royal Navy is looking at it so fingers crossed !.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

A slightly different tack. Perhaps the most effective addition for T45 and the RN would be Cooperative Engagement Capability. Rather than invest more armed capability into the T45 platform itself, leverage its sensor and management capabilities for fleet wide effect with whatever is loaded in T26 Mk41 and potentially even T31 in future, not forgetting the carrier F35Bs. T26 might then carry Aster ABM capability that is unlikely to fit in A50 Sylver … or SM-6 and SM-3 if that path is chosen, along with VLS land strike missiles. ASM might be VLS (T26) or canister (T26 and T31). Wait… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

On balance SeaViper should have been built around Standard and Mk41. UK politicians as always too quick to go down the European route. SV could then evolved into an add on to USN systems and those of allied navies dependent on US tech like RAN and the JMSDF.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Perhaps, although I have reservations about becoming too reliant on US systems and especially missiles to the exclusion of other options. Competition may result in advances and different approaches/priorities that otherwise might not happen, along with the strategic benefit of avoiding dependence on just one solution across all of NATO. For example Meteor seems to generally be considered the best BVR AA missile currently, AIM-120D may have similar range but doesn’t have the ramjet flexibility. It is also worth observing that the two Mk41 US missiles of most interest are SM-6 and SM-3 which cost ~$5M and ~$20M respectively, export… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Do you think that a T45 has ever left the wall with a full silo? There is more likelihood of the T45 firing missiles in ones and twos in the next bun fight which will be more than likely a ‘less than war’ situation. Even in a peer-peer situation would the T45 survive ever fire enough missiles to replenish? Then we have to factor in SeaCeptor and EW. Lastly if there was a peer-peer war do you think the price of the missiles might not come down? And how is being dependent on the French any better than being dependent… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Perhaps re-read of my post? You seem to have latched onto my comment to interpret it as a criticism of US sourced weapons. It isn’t. It is simply pointing out that there is value in having multiple approaches, one of which is redundancy in solutions, the other more important reason in my view is the potential to leap frog or develop entirely different capabilities. In a peer-peer war we would be very unlikely to have time to mass produce missiles to reduce cost and industry isn’t set up to mass produce them anyway. We’d fight with the stocks we have.… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

If you reread my post it obvious I am saying that we never have full silos in peace time so the cost of the weapons isn’t much of a factor.

I would prefer we were making our missiles and didn’t have to buy from either the US or the French.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

GHF – The Sylver system is pretty Flexible ,but with the benefit of hindsight perhaps the T45 should have been fitted with A70 Silos instead of A50 from the outset.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Hindsight is wonderful isn’t it. At the time of course the only missile for A70 would be SCALP which we clearly weren’t interested in so not surprising why it wasn’t selected. As I’ve posted elsewhere, leaving T45 as is … or possibly adding deck mounted CAMM aft the main silo … is as far as I would take the platform and instead add CEC to leverage T26 Mk41 silos and possibly even T31 cells for greater overall fleet capability.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

According to BAe the T45 was designed with both A70 and Mk41 in mind. The lower deck directly below the A50 VLS was designed to be used for the extended length of the cells. Whether this can still be done, as the space has probably been used for other things now, I leave to Gunbuster?

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

Fine article with something important to say. To be fair to to those who went down south and never returned, they were asked to fight a war their ships were not designed to fight. It should remind us that it is not systems good or bad that fight for us, but men of courage. They shall not be forgot.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Can a single shot the Aster PiffPaff ensure adequate Pk against the emerging hyper-sonic maneuvering threats? This surely is a major requirement for future Type 45 AAW improvements. Of course the same requirement applies to Standard, ESSM and CAMM on other vessels.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

In general the faster/larger a missile goes the more difficult it is to do sharp agile manoeuvres. So a large Russian hypersonic missile would less manoeuvrable then the light highly agile ASTER dart. Some sources give the ASTER dart as doing 60 G manoeuvres, plus they have jets that literally push them sideways to intercept. Even if they do not hit they have a proximity back-up fuse. So if any missile can stop a hypersonic it would be ASTER. In practice if Sea Viper sees the target early it should be able to do an intercept. ASTER 30 is no… Read more »

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I don’t like the Phalanx CIWS, it’s clearly not fit for purpose anymore, it’s outdated and it’s been outfoxed on numerous occasions…Au revoir.
One of the contributers mentioned the 57mm Bofors gun instead of the Mk 4 which has a much better rate of fire and range, have this coupled with the Sea Viper and a couple of 30mils and you’ve got a decent ship’s defence.
As far as the offence goes………well, the possibilities are bloody endless and bloody as far as I can see..

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Yes. Even with electronics growing ever smaller a 30mm plus nature gives you all sorts of fusing options that a 20mm doesn’t give. T45 will never go near the gun line. In a real world conflict it will be stuck right in the centre of a task group surrounded by other ships. As I said above it is HVU in its own right. I would mount a fast firing medium gun aft as I said somewhere above even if it meant losing the hangar. As you say 30mm plus CIWS where possible. Boost the VLS capacity both in terms of… Read more »

the_marquis
Guest
the_marquis

Interesting article – just wondering what about future laser technology for missile defence? How far away is that from being widely adopted, and if it is close then is it worth us doing an interim upgrade? Could the MOD afford to do such an upgrade even if it were necessary? And in terms of naval gunfire support, is there any merit to building a specialised Monitor type class for this role, freeing the T45s and T26s for AAW and ASW tasks respectively? Or would this be a waste of money given how it is not often used and the costs… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

In a navy with enough hulls that would be a job for T31. Given the accuracy of Vulcano even the 76mm would do. The Danish ship T31 is based upon could mount two 76mm at A and B. During the Falklands I think the RN fired about 5000 rounds of supporting fires. Sounds a lot but it isn’t. Consider that RAN DDG’s in Vietnam were firing 16000 rounds-ish ever deployment. T45 will never go on the gun line. We have 6 hulls. Too valuable. Saying that that isn’t an argument to say a medium gun is wasted on T45 far… Read more »

the_marquis
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the_marquis

Hi Steve, yes I agree that the T31 could be gainfully employed in this role, as the type will likely be deployed on its own in low intensity conflicts, and in high intensity conflicts the T45s and T26s will most likely have their hands full with their principal warfighting roles.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Mmm that’s got me thinking – how big a Gun can be fitted on the River Class ? Imagine a 4.5 or 5 inch Gun equipped River,reasonable mobility to get to any Hot-Spots around the world,capable of going close to shore (or in American terms the ‘Littorals’ ) and not too expensive to risk,it could be an ideal Gunboat.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

You would be better with an even bigger gun on a bigger hull much further out. Remember the reason why lots of shells are fired was due to a lack of accuracy. Now PGM means you have more enough with one or two rounds. Where this impacts is of course CAS. How many PGM artillery shells could you be bought for the cost of say an F35 plus the cost of say the 5 or so pilots who will fly it during its life, never mind all the support? Of course that is just one aspect of why you want… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the best way to improve the t45 is to give it another 5 sister ships and cancel 1 dreadnought

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Nah. We need 4 SSBN’s. We mustn’t confuse SeaViper and the ‘barge’ it is bolted on to. The question is, perhaps, can we get SeaViper to sea on a cheaper platform that is capable of moving at fleet speeds? Seeing as we will want at least one SeaViper equipped ship at the centre of any task group I think it is viable. That would leave the proper ‘destroyers’ to do the more combative things. If we could risk detaching a destroyer without decent asw to do anything in a peer to peer encounter. T45 isn’t worth replicating. It is a… Read more »

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

In this piece, I’ll address the electronic warfare upgrades the ship could have to enhance its capabilities. I don’t feel the article delves in to this aspect. The T45 is often compared with the USN Arliegh Burkes and rightly so. The T45 does not have the multi-role capability of the Burkes, but it could get near it, especially if the extra VL cells are fitted. According to BAe, the Batch 2 T45s were supposed to be longer, with an additional hull plug to incorporate more VL cells. Shame they got cancelled, but does that mean the current batch 1s can… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

A hull plug would have changed the length to beam ratio, thereby reduced the top weight that can be carried or reduced stability of the vessel.
It is important to have a low length to beam ratio to carry a lot of weight like towers on a ship.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

its one area i admire the russians for, if theres a foot or so of deck,they’ll put a weapon on it.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

The SPY1 radar can provide target illumination for semi-active radar homing missiles. The reason it does not, is that by transmitting in continuous wave you lose the ability for target interrogation and volume searching. Hence the reason for the dedicated illumination radars.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

The hanger area could be redesigned or rearranged to host another silo, like AB’s,
or replace existing hanger by pop-up hanger from the flight deck, maybe.