Home Sea RFA Tidesurge signs ‘bond of sisterhood’ with Korean warship

RFA Tidesurge signs ‘bond of sisterhood’ with Korean warship

RFA Tidesurge and ROKS Daegu will follow each other’s progress, share ideas, cultures and experiences.

Having been built side-by-side at the DSME Shipyard in South Korea, the respective crews of the two vessels have watched each other’s ships take shape over the past couple of years; the craft were even launched within two days of each other.

According to a Royal Navy press release, a friendship has grown between the two ship’s companies, a friendship the South Koreans wished to cement with a formal sisterhood ceremony – a long-standing tradition in the Asian country.

“That ceremony took the shape of more than just signing a piece of paper, but a football match and a traditional Korean meal hosted by the officers of the Daegu.

The Brits were treated to a film on a history of the Korean Navy – only formed in 1945, but now 170 ships and 70,000 sailors strong. And the Koreans learned about the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, life aboard its ships an some of the recent humanitarian missions RFA vessels like Mounts Bay have been involved in.”

“The sisterhood ceremony between Daegu and Tidesurge was a special occasion for two ships starting life together in the same yard, building together for the future,” said the RFA vessel’s Chief Officer Andy Ford.

“In this tradition two ships form a lifelong relationship based on mutual respect, a wish to learn about one another’s culture and to strengthen the bond between our two nations.”


  1. Daegu would make an excellent contender for the t31 project and available at around US$250m including extensive weapon and sensor fit.

    But the UK doesn’t build warships overseas, we prefer to build them here at double the price and half the capability.

    • Mike – slight exaggeration sir! Yes more expensive but no less capable (when compared on a strict like for like basis). And maybe we demand certain capabilities from our ships that other countries do not. Or they do ‘more smaller’ rather than ‘fewer larger’. If you get my drift?

      • Chris if you look at the proposed weapon sensor fit for a daegu class frigate then compare to what the UK has specified for the T31, you will see the daegu far exceeds the proposed T31.

        Sorry don’t buy into certain capabilities story line.

      • Yes.

        I think the Korean navy follows the US navy system in terms of unit or production costs of the ship and does not include certain systems, like missile systems etc. The price or cost of this ship, is for the ship, unlike The Royal Navy which includes the lot. So the Royal Navy ships look a lot more expensive than it is to build. This is consistent with the price of the MARS tankers put at 452 million pounds but does not include the 160 million (so-called) UK content. This also neglects the tax clawback factor too. Many put this at a basic round figure of 40%. If a UK yard/s consortia were to build those tankers at 452 million pounds, they would of in fact cost 272 million for the MOD (could UK firms build those ships for that, or indeed a foreign competitor? To say, oh well the Korean Government takes their tax from that is irrelevant). If built at say 700 million pounds here, they would have cost 420 million pounds after all factors (only basic, and not including other factors in terms of consumer purchasing clothes fuel and other taxes that go on and on, energy, materials if bought here welfare investment in more efficient facilities etc) of this 40% clawback is taken into consideration. The Waves, I think the first doubled hulled tankers the UK built, (only a bit smaller than the Korean military warship tankers built for us shamefully given away because of eu empire rules) and came into service in the early 2000s, with a US exchange rate (around year 1998) give them a cost of around 100 to 105 million. If you take tax clawback into consideration, they cost around 63 to 67 million pounds to the UK with a lot of money kept in the UK, and no UK content is added to this!

        So the bollox and the, they are better than us and half the price, myth, type comments are of no use when what we need is a proper intelligent cost v benefit analysis study.

        I don’t think buying from abroad is any taxpayer value for money, but the government has to say this, due to certain policies.

        When this eu rule came about, it was assumed those contracts would stay in eu, but to eu eyes, it is still good as money stey in what it sees as a country (eu). I a tiny funny way good way, the UK government said sod this, we will go to a non eu country. But it is still more expensive. From what I have learnt, South Korean Wage rates in 2007-2008 were at 6-7 (in a 1 to 20 scale), with Britain at 10, that was before the 2007 Pound fall against the WON too. The hourly production rate in the UK has been hurt by just building warships and needs to be addressed. Building the new Fleet Solid Support Ships in the UK (the real important part of the UK national shipbuilding strategy) will carry on from the Polar ship. The Carriers were the advertising hoarding that showed what we can do. Would have been even more impressive without official intervention and them making cost more and taking longer.

    • I agree Mike, the direct cost of the Incheon-class frigates are lower when compared to the Type 31 with its reduced spec.
      With the defence budget looking very strained at present (with the possible cutting of the Albion’s etc.) there is a good argument to only look at the balance sheet and buy a Type 31 from a yard that can make them cheaper than us.
      Maybe treasury would be inclined to do this, but there are two main aspects that encourage the UK not to do this.
      1. The strategic need to keep warship building skills within the UK over the long term, as set out in the recent national shipbuilding strategy.
      2. The potential to export warships.
      The benefits of these two points initially appear arcane, with the strategic need almost rooted in cold war ideology, but both points are critical and complement each other.

      Having numerous warships exported to several countries ensures parts supply for the vessel are more cheap to produce due to a larger volume of vessels requiring them. It is even economical (to a point) to slightly subsidise the cost of the vessels for overseas clients just to ensure an large enough number of similar vessels are built so the future spare parts production reaches economic viability.
      The boring statistics covering spare parts of such vessels show how much they cost over the lifetime of a warship, they are not cheap.
      This factor alone is an important sales point to convince future customers to actually buy our warships: cheap(er) spare parts. It also keeps our warship suppliers in business during the slower years between builds.
      Creating such self-supporting environment ensures that strategic businesses are less negatively affected and we end up keeping skilled workers etc.

      The useful part about the Incheon-class frigate project, and other similar builds, is that it can be used by savvy government contract negotiators as an example of what one can get for $230 million (£180M).
      UK businesses hopeful of securing the £250 million per ship contract will have to adequately explain why they have less weapons/sensors than these cheaper vessels, and those explanations will have to be convincing that the less obvious benefits are real, and not simply due to higher salaries etc.

      As it stands right now, the armed forces are in for some harsh cuts, so to try to weather this new storm we can only benefit by concentrating on our own ship building abilities which we can use to slowly build warships (during the lean period), and hopefully benefit from selling some over the longer term.

      Cheap is great in the short term, but the damage it would do to our warship building may be very expensive and time consuming to repair when we need to rely on it in the future.

  2. Shows it can be done and the spec is decent

    I am a big fan of the Rim-116 and think all our vessels should have at least 1 installed (4 for the carriers) cheap and effective.

    so £250m for a T31 would seem doable if the Koreans can build this for £180m, surely plenty in the kitty to fit them out with Mk41 and some other bells and whistles as well as allow for RN standards.

    • If we can do something similar for this price – then we really should look at buying 10 hulls from the Koreans and doing fit out in the UK – I know this won’t go down well and am against it in principle, but this is where we need to be value wise.

      I do admire the Koreans with their shipbuilding.

      • We have 2 billion-pound capital ships to defend and other global responsibilities at the same time, but are still living in the dark ages of “rule of 3”. I say lets do it – anything to get the White Ensign fluttering above the worlds oceans again..

      • Why not crew our navy with foreigners too, it would be cheaper after all and that is the only thing that matters, right? Wrong. Why not give every single industry to foreigners while we are at it, it will be cheaper, then we will have zero jobs in Britain, but it will be cheaper.

  3. Agree on all points above.
    Our armed forces cannot be held hostage by constant home builds at ruinous costs. Mix it up a bit to get some cheaper hulls.

    • Bollox. UK warships are competitive in price with equivalent foreign warships. Don’t believe your morning Daily Chip Wrapper or the random Putinbots that post here.

    • We are not using our navy to keep foreign shipbuilding alive and foreigners in well paid jobs. Do the French, Germans or Italians do this? We are not being the only major European country to do that either. That would be humiliating.

      We have to invest in British shipyards to make them efficient as competitive.

  4. Sorry – It is absolutely a destructive and suicidal way of thinking that ‘foreign is better and cheaper’. We have, as a country, happily exported our jobs, investment and development capabilities for decades to foreign countries who now have a grip over our trade in certain areas. And this is in every industry not just shipbuilding. When I started out after school at 16 as an apprentice Jig & Toolmaker (in the mid ’60s) we led the world in practically every industry. And now?

    We CAN still be the best and innovate better than most as projects as diverse as Crossrail and the QE Class carriers have proved but we need to keep investing HERE to train school leavers, motivate young people to make things again and improve homegrown engineers. Because when you stop making things you are nothing.

    Given that some 40% of any project is labour cost then just by buying and building here we save 40% right off. Plus we then capture the tax, NI and later the VAT generated by that home funded workforce. It is this sort of beneficial circle that drives an economy. The Tide Class are of course good ships but all we did was fund thousands of South Korean jobs and their economy rather than our own. And this isn’t me flying my Union Flag, looking like some John Bull character and dancing to the Protectionist music. This is hard nosed economics where what goes round comes round.

    And then of course there is the wider supply chain employment and investment that adds further benefit to our economy. So I really do not have a problem if we pay more for a Frigate, tanker or whatever built here as overall it costs the country less in the wider and more important economy.

    And lastly I get seriously hacked off seeing hard earned UK taxpayer money being shipped to other countries for their benefit. If a private company wishes to ‘buy foreign’ that is a matter for them (and isn’t it instructive how many ‘foreign’ companies are investing and buying UK manufacturing companies). But when it is public money it should never be shipped abroad. It should be used for OUR benefit. After all its OUR money and, in this case, they will be OUR ships.

    Rant over. As you were…

    • Chris

      I do not have a problem with what you are saying in principle and would be delighted to have British built kit for our service people, but at the same time I want those service people to have the best kit possible and clearly the current situation means that 1) we are not getting value for money and 2) our service people are getting sub standard equipment that often have few weapons on them.

      We need to be competitive as a country and I am more than happy to pay £250m for a UK version of the Deagu class – but it needs to have more going for it and the politicians need to accept that we are creating/maintaining an industry in a post Brexit world.

      If none of the above applies – then I think we should get the hulls from the most competitive yard possible.

      • No it is not at all clear that the UK is getting “value for money” by buying foreign kit.

        Go look at current contracts for F-35, P-8 Posiedon, Apache helicopters, JLTV landrover replacement, and tell me they are great bargains.

        The Type 45 destroyer is the world’s best AA destroyer bar none.

        The Type 26 will be the best anti-submarine warship in the world bar none.

        The price of both warships (around 650 million each) is much lower than the only other warship in the same class: the US Arleigh Burke.

        • 6 t45 destroyers cost £6.5bn

          So even an idiot can work out each t45 cost just under £1.1bn each. Plus another 500m to fix the propulsion problems.

          • That cost is for everything. The production build alone for the Arleigh Burkes is higher than the type 45s. The propulsion problems were caused by number crunchers sourcing cheap components, I am to believe.

        • Would rather the RN had Flight II, IIA or restart Arleigh Burkes than more overpriced BAE garbage….

          I hope Venator, Spartan or Arrowhead wins the T31 competition

        • Ron5 – I am not sure the T45 is the best AAW vessel in the world, I think the FREMM, The F125’s and the Huitfeldt and Nansen Classes are all comparable vessels and in some cases better overall.

          I think the differentiators are the crew, its training and perhaps the radar (but I am not so sure about this – as there are pro’s and cons to the radars used).

          I for one really like the Danish Absalon and Huitfeldt class vessels, the latter of which has been certified for ballistic defence I believe.

          The T45 cant really defend itself – so I have real concerns about it and whilst capable it looks as due to government incompetence they cost 2-3 time more than a Hutfieldt or FREMM which are both very very good ships.

        • Yes.

          If UK yards had built the MARS tankers, they would of in effect, been built for around 272 million pounds. Could a South Korean yard do this? The waves were built (albeit back in the late 90s early 00s) for around 100-105 million pounds including this UK content that gets added (100 million, 50 million, 10 million) today for the new tankers. So they cost the UK just 63-65 million by being built in the UK. I guess if back then EU rules was in place, and a South Korean Yard had put a tender in for the Waves at say, 90 million. They would have cost, 90 million. Plus all that money/wealth has been exported abroad and not circulated within the UK.

  5. Not saying foreign is better, the problem some parts of our industrial base are simply uncompetitive.

    Multitude of reasons for this, but can be done to make our industry competitive? If nothing can be done then why should we continue to build on shore?

    The ROK ships use Rolls Royce engines and wildcat helicopters, we should be spending out resources on areas where we excel rather than paying over the odds on uncompetitive products because it’s made in the UK.

    The only exception are areas strategic importance, such as nuclear powered submarines. I do not UK shipbuilding to be of strategic importance.

    • British industry is DELIBERATELY un-competitive. They have waged war for decades against British heavy industry and they are still waging war against it to this day. They will not be happy until British heavy industry is destroyed, every last bit of it.

      They deliberately destroyed every large British shipyard capable of building ships on 1 site. It is inefficient and un-competitive to have only tiny shipyards, each incapable of building a decent sized ship by themselves, hundreds of miles apart, with the expense associated in transporting blocks hundreds of miles. That is why they deliberately made sure this happened. In spite of their lies they WANT British shipbuilding (and every single other British heavy industry mind you) tiny and un-competitive. It is all deliberate. This was their plan all along.

      End this deliberate warfare against British heavy industry which has been going on for decades. No other major European country is waging deliberate warfare against their heavy industry. We do not want this either. We do not want to be the ONLY major European country with ZERO heavy industry of our own.

      We need to have at least 1 large shipyard capable of building large ships on 1 site. But first the deliberate and organized war against British heavy industry needs to stop.

  6. The Philippines purchased two light frigates from ROK in 2016, cost of contract including munitions, missiles and torpedo’s US$337m

  7. To add to my comment/reply below. This bond of sisterhood should not make us go all weak and gooey, and say, oh yeah, let them have the fleet solid support ships (1 billion pounds), because it’s cool, cuddly, nice, friendship, and all the rest of the stuff written above. The bonds will be seen, when we build our own Fleet Solid Support Ships. Nothing came back in return from those MARS ships lost abroad.

    • Exactly! They were 4, large ships for our navy. They would have be invaluable to British shipbuilding. The same as the 3 large solid support ships for our navy are. If we get them, which we damn well better when British shipbuilding is on its deathbed, we will have the facilities and experience to bid for cruise ships like France, Germany and Italy do. It is vital that we get these 3 solid support ships for our own navy. If the capacity is not there, invest, it will be more than worthwhile.

  8. The UKindustry/MOD alliance was destroyed by political rules and what the then labour government thought was cheaper on the face of it. They delayed the carriers by 2 years to save money, but overall it has cost more. This is the mentality.

  9. The issue with the Incheon and Daegu class is they have as Figates go short legs 8000km vs French/Italian FREMM 11000km or 12000km, T26 13000km (planned). Hence the designation coastal defense frigate it ways roughly 3600t and has the range of a 9800t Destroyer. They had to cut the fuel capacity to cram everything in.
    A good design but not suitable unless like Korea, the Philippines, and the other potential customer Israel, all of your enemies are close by. Otherwise they would need to be a little larger to hold enough fuel.

  10. I enjoyed the arguments and counter argument and i learn a lot form what you have to say. Therefore let me say I dont expect to see the word ‘Bollox’ this is not the Daily Mail. You disagree then come up with a counter argument.

  11. What alot of people seem to conveniently forget when it comes to building these MARS tankers overseas is that due to full capacity of UK shipyards sharing QE work none actually tendered for the build. Lets not let facts get in the way of people dripping though!

    Darren, the bond of sisterhood is a personal arrangement between two ships and is not a diplomatic agreement between nations. This is a traditional part of Korean culture and doesnt require any quid pro quo in regards to FSS.


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