The Royal Navy’s future is looking bright, but let’s not count the chickens just yet…

It’s fair to say that of all the branches of HM Armed Forces, the Royal Navy has the most reason to be hopeful at the start of 2021.

With Wildcat and the various new anti-ship missiles now well into operational service, the UK Carrier Strike Group 21 having departed on the first combat deployment yesterday and the revelations of the overdue Integrated Defence Review indicating that the Navy will grow in the coming years (unlike the RAF and Army), it’s hard not to be overjoyed for the UK’s oldest Armed Forces branch.


This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal By Jon who many of you know as Defence Geek on Twitter and Discord.

The DefenceGeek is a self-proclaimed #avgeek with an involvement in the RAF and MoD since 2013. Although his day job is not defence-related, his knowledge and passion for the topic and Open Sources Intelligence (OSINT) has led to almost 4,000 followers on Twitter and he assists the UK Defence Journal team as the server Administrator and developer for the UK Defence Community Discord server.

You can find him on twitter here, we fully recommend you go and follow him. You will absolutely not regret it.


But as with all promises of hope and good news, it’s probably worth not getting too excited just yet. Yes, the Integrated Review has promised that the UK surface combatant numbers will increase again (eventually becoming 6x Type 45 Destroyers, 8x Type 26 Frigates, 5x Type 31 Frigates and an unknown number of Type 32 Frigates), but promises can be broken, and at the moment the Type 32 Frigate is not technically confirmed in budget plans – it was merely announced by PM Boris Johnson.

Image of a Type 31 Frigate via Babcock.

Those paying attention to the announcements will have noticed that mention of the plans for a new class of ‘Littoral Strike Ship’ disappeared and instead funding to modify an existing Bay-class vessel seemingly replaced the concept.

This may have been due to recognition that the budget for a new class of amphibious vessel doesn’t presently exist, bear in mind that funding for new classes is currently heavily directed towards the Type 31 Frigates, SSN(R) replacement for the Astute-class and the Dreadnought-class SSBN projects (not to mention the upcoming unmanned mine-warfare vessels).

The issue with this is that the lack of funding isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and with HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark due to leave service in 2033-34, the Royal Navy is going to need a replacement for these two ships. We could potentially see an announcement of a 4-ship class to replace the Albion, Bulwark and incorporate the Littoral Strike Ship plan, but for the time being this is just speculation.

HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

We also have to bear in mind the announcement of the Type 83 Destroyer. The last 80-series ship class was the Type 82 Destroyer, of which only one ended up being built (HMS Bristol). The 80-series designation indicates a destroyer class larger than the standard, which when we bear in mind the Type 45s displace over 8,000 tons, suggests that the Type 83s could potentially be cruiser-sized vessels.

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

One would hope that we’ll see one Type 83 replacement for each Type 45 built, for a total of 6 ships; however, there was meant to have been 12 Type 45s to replace the Type 42s on a one-for-one basis, and given the £1bn unit cost of a Type 45 and the promises of all the technological and weaponry advances of the Type 83, these ships could prove to be so expensive that we see the Destroyer fleet cut further, maybe even cancelling out most of the surface combatant number increase brought about by the Type 31 and 32 Frigates.

FILE: F-35Bs on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The other major issue facing the Royal Navy at the moment is the status of the UK’s F-35B purchases. Originally the UK committed to the idea of buying 138 aircraft, and placed an initial order for 48 jets a few years ago. At the time of writing, half of this initial order has been fulfilled, with 3 aircraft based in the US for testing, 8 onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) as she deploys for CSG21 (also known as Op FORTIS) and the remainder being based at RAF Marham for pilot training.

The 1st Sea Lord has indicated that the purchase will be expanded to “60-80 jets” which will be a necessary increase, but again this is technically unconfirmed and either way suggests a huge drop in the originally planned order (worth remembering this wouldn’t be the first time. The UK was due to have 232 Eurofighter Typhoons but later cut this order back to 160).

The Integrated Review says that the cut in F-35 orders will help fund Project Tempest, which aims to replace the Typhoon in the 2030s-2040s timeframe, but so far as we know at the moment, the Tempest will not be a STOVL (short-take-off and vertical landing) airframe unlike the F-35B, meaning the Navy will have to keep the F-35B and find it’s own replacement for that airframe in the 2050s-2060s.

CGI of Tempest via BAE Systems.

In short, although the Royal Navy may have seemed to come off better from the Integrated Review, we will have to wait and see how much of the promises made in the Integrated Review come true.

One would hope most of it will, but if the 2010 and 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Reviews were anything to go by, come 2025/2026 we’ll be seeing cuts again as funding priorities change yet again…

So let’s not count our chickens before they hatch.

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Andrew D
1 month ago

Great article all so very true ,over the years had my hopes up for our Armed forces to get this and that then to get less or not at all .

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

If QE/PoW get AAG during a refit, then a STOBAR version of Tempest becomes possible around 2040. When money is tight, the priority will be hull numbers for propaganda, rather than fully kitted out warships. Too many “fitted for, but not with”. What is the point of T31, if it is under armed & just an over large OPV? Either it is a fully armed warship, or it needs to be kept away from conflict, which surely defeats the object of a frigate. Cutting T45 from 12 to 8, then 6, has left the RN with too few AAW Destroyers.… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Well I’ll go to the bottom of our stairs, ive never heard that argument before…

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I agree its not new. Its been going on since the 1998 SDR, that Gordon Brown failed to fund.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I expect the PRC will try to bankrupt our defence response by outbuilding us on cutting edge units, like US did to USSR. Over here our only long term answer could be continuing to increase our pool of allied nations in order to present a harmonised political and technical front. That seems sound, and is apparently what we’re aiming for with (a) a few high capabilities and (b) more numeous ‘PPP’ – i.e. presence platforms with potential! Yes, I’d prefer the bells and whistles right now, particularly if I was crew tbh, but all Navies spend the vast majority of… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Tempest will most likely exceed the weight limit of the proposed AAG on QE carriers.

Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

JH, I don’t really see the point of STOBAR since it seriously limits how much ordnance and fuel an aircraft can take off with (e.g. see the Russian Su-33s and Chinese J-15s). The stupid thing though is that the cats & traps that are being considered to launch drones from the QE and PoW would be powerful enough to launch and recover a fully loaded Gripen. Why don’t we approach SAAB and contract them to build the Sea Gripen variant that has been proposed before but never built? Maybe other countries that use F-35Bs would be interested in a collaboration?… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

A potentially very bright future. And i think the funding model used for the T31 could make future classes of warships more affordable and less likely to face cuts if the MOD sets funding per unit ceilings. We can’t go on spending over 1bn for one Frigate, with constant changes to the requirements. If we want 6 T83’s or more, then tell industry we aren’t going to pay a penny more than say 750M per vessel, and it’s up to them to come up with the goods. As long as the vessel design is highly flexible, we can upgrade and… Read more »

Karl
Karl
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Common sense that. The dithering and interference have always meant a reduction in numbers. The contracts, at times, are laughable. BaE has got away with murder for decades. I seem to remember Ocean costing £150 million because she was built on commercial lines ( correct me if I am mistaken please ) Now it seems costs spiral out of control. Procurement is a mess. I was involved way back in SA80 trials. We said it was cr-p then but nobody listened. So they ended up with a “rifle” that did not work and required millions to rectify problems that should… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Karl

😄I like your honesty. You are right though, some truly shocking decisions have been made at times over the last 40 years. But I truly believe we are turning a corner, and the technology advancements that have been made are making our goals more realistic. The defence review wasn’t all bad news, with some pretty ambitious requirements and changes we need to make our Armed Force’s fit for purpose for the next couple of decades.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Karl

The SA80 was not designed by gunsmiths, but by engineers good in themselves but no experience of guns. Its now a very good rifle.

Good old Van Lyden made a pig’s ear of the German rifle a few years back.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

The problems were many and varied Trevor, every part of the project was miss handled … The early stages made progress, but from the late 1970’s on, it took a turn for the worst. It’s now a ‘good’ rifle, the current A3 rifle is the firearm it should have been when first issued in 1985. Reliable and accurate, yes, but it’s still a dog’s breakfast ergonomically, poorly designed from the offset and no number of rebuilds can fix that. It should have been scrapped in 1984 when the serious nature of its design and material defects were well known and… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

With a bit of luck the 5.56 will be replaced with the new 6.8mm the Americans are testing now.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Karl

A 50% war ready fleet of Chieftain and Chally1 in the late 1980’s would be extremely optimistic Karl! Take Gulf War 1, our MBT fleet of 900 was at its peak, yet they had one hell of a job scraping up 150 combat ready Chally1’s. A good friend was in BOAR during the mid 1980’s, he used to tell me how laughable the readiness actually was. It would have taken months of intensive build up to make the ‘on paper’ strength of BOAR reality! I would far prefer to have smaller, well equipped and supported forces, then larger numbers of… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Part of the problem with the changing specs is the slow build. The length of time from issuing the contract to the ship or later ships hitting the oggin means new and shinier stuff has come along or there have been ‘lessons learned’ from the earlier ones. Its a bit of a catch 22. I’m not arguing for the slow build but its what we do generally. At least the simpler T31’s will be getting fired out quite quickly soon. As you say, the T31 looks like its going to be the model for the T32 and hopefully there will… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Speaking of old dogs, that’s how i feel this morning after my first COVID jab yesterday 😄🥵🥶

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I hear ya bro, I wasn’t too bad but felt like a hangover without the baggy swede the next day. Better than getting the Corona AIDS though. 😱

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I got by 2nd weeks ago… Rule Britannia.

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 month ago

Don’t count the chickens even after they hatch. The government giveth, and the government taketh away.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago

To my simple mind (!) it makes more sense to build Hulls and have them in the water regardless of capability ….. well If you think about the cost difference between the T26 and T31, It’s obvious really…. Just a shame we can’t afford to equip them properly but hey ho, I’d rather see 5 T31’s with the ability to bolt on some scary bits than a Cad Cam Concept that takes 20 years to build.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Agree Cap’n. If you have the hulls you can upgrade them quickly but they cannot be built as during WW2, in a few weeks. The days of churning out military hardware at a rate a-la-Spitfires for example are long gone.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

With you Cap’n. Hulls themselves do fulfil a hatched chicken role. Then the bird has to mature from a little fluffy thing into something with a beak and long claws.
We had a cockerel called Henry who was still dialled into his velociraptor heritage. Magnificent beast, big and burnished bronze. Killed himself by coming at you straight through glasshouse panes once too often.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago

6 destroyers seem a little too small don’t u think?

Max Jones
Max Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

It’s not massive but for the relatively specialised role of fleet air defence it’s enough to provide 2 for a carrier with at least one spare which isn’t bad – much better than any other European nation, even some with comparable fleet sizes like Italy and France with 4 each (at the moment both operating only 2 modern vessel on par with the T45, the others older/smaller models).

Maybe a compromise with a vessel that could perform other roles but with enhanced air defence capabilities beyond the basic defensive nature of CAMM.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Max Jones

actually the French have 11 destroyers. 2 of which are to be de commissioned and 2 of which are really not considered destroyers (horizon class) but still that leaves a gap of 1 destroyer between us and the French. i mean we could get lucky and maybe sink it in a small naval skirmish but r u willing to take the risk?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Where did you get 11? They have two Horizon class and two others that are over 30 years old due to be replaced in 2022 plus.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

aquatine class. they are de facto destroyers.

Max Jones
Max Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

The Aquataine-class are anti-submarine frigates – comparable to the 8 ASW Type 23s. Ironically the four you ruled out are the only four actually AAW destroyers. By UK definitions, a destroyer is an air defence warship so France has four – the two Horizon class and the two ageing Cassard class. The Cassard class will be replaced by two FREMM/Aquitaine-class with slightly improved AAW capabilities, however these will still be inferior in weaponry and radar quality to the Type 45s. If you are going by displacement, then the UK will have 19 destroyers when the Type 26s (8,000t) and the… Read more »

Paul C
1 month ago
Reply to  Max Jones

That is my understanding of it as well. Do not forget also that the final two Aquitaines with enhanced AAW are not additional units. Alsace and Lorraine are the 7th and 8th ships that were already in the programme out of at least 17 originally planned. The only class directly comparable to the T45 is the Horizon, 2 of which were built for the MN and 2 cancelled.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

In that case you need to count in the 13 T23’s. 19 RN vs 11 MN.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

fair point. the remaining French frigates are surveillance so that leave us with 16vs 19. so we hold a numerical advantage. shame just every time i put in strongest countries it just comes up with france stronger then us!

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Hi Nate I don’t think you need worry about France being stronger. It is not currently and is not likely to be in the future, although apart from pride it wouldn’t matter if it was.
The only comparable group is in amphibious operations. The MN have the three Mistrals, we have the two Albion class and the Bay conversion soon. The MN have the helicopter capability but no docking, we are the opposite.
Elsewhere we have the advantage above and below the surface.

Max Jones
Max Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

You shouldn’t see it as much of a rivalry, but for the sake fo comparison: Submarines – We have larger and more advanced submarines with land attack capabilities while they don’t, however they will soon catch up on that capability. ASW Frigates – They have larger and more advanced ASW frigates (FREMM) with land attack capabilities but we will soon take over with Type 26 – just leap frogging as each passes in cycles. GP Frigates – Capabilities of Type 23 unmodified and La fayette are comparable. Replacement for La Fayette will have better equipment than T31 but inferior range… Read more »

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate m

Yes mate, I’d prefer the original 12 but 6 Is better than none I guess….. Let’s just hope our “Leaders” have made the right decisions over the last few decades …. Stranger things have happened.

Nate m
Nate m
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

ya I think we need educate the country on defence matters. and tell them that immigration and that kinda bs is a lot less important. plus at the moment conservatives are no better then they were during the inter war period! And the public is fine with that! the public really need a wake up call on defence matters other wise we would be “late for school” and the consequence will be much worse then detention.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

In idle moments I used to wonder what the names of the axed 6 would have been-Drake,Defiant, Dreadnought…?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Danae
Decoy
Demon
Delight
Dervish
Duchess

Good old names from the previous Daring class. Drake is already in use, and Dreadnought does suit the submarines, though I am aware they were named years after the 6 were cut. Defiant is pretty nice though!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Demon and Defiant I’d have gone for, the others are a bit dull. I’d prefer to have seen some F names used for a Batch 2, fitted with more VLS and/or 5” gun. Although I dont know if T45 could have the extra 16 VLS between the existing and gun, if 5” was fitted vice 4.5”. At the moment the gun has 360deg train judging by the deck circle (although oresume much if the aft sector is unusable for firing!?) – more VLS would notably impinge on that, but then T23 has a restricted arc due to the proximity of… Read more »

Paul C
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

I heard that the 7th and 8th had the names Duchess and Delight pencilled in for them before cancellation. Not sure if this is correct but there were complaints in the media that the names were too soft and should be more warlike.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Devonshire

john
john
1 month ago

The day those clowns in Westminster keep a promise will never happen

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

The defence command paper did mention MRSS ( up to six) for the early 2030s which will presumably replace Albions. The £40m upgrade of a Bay class to better support littoral operations will I guess be an interim fix. There are real areas of concern even for the RN: the minehunters will be replaced by unmanned systems but there is no mention of new motherships for these. Belgium and Netherlands have ordered 6 each (2000 tons+). Using scarce frigates routinely on minehunting duties looks like a cut in overall capability. The Type31s are going to be very lightly armed yet… Read more »

Neil
Neil
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Personly I think they shoud not go for type 32 and just add extra hulls for t26 and t31

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil

If the Type 32 is ment to deploy LXUUV’s, it will need a deeper floodable stern with doors at rear, then the Type 26 stern.
To lower a very heavy LXUUV from the side of a ship, into the water, will capsized a ship. Ok with lowering light boats etc!
The T26 stern does not look deeper enough for this role.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Peter S, you make assertions without evidence as if every employee of the MOD is an amateur and you are not.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

What assertions? Everything I referred to is set out in one or other of the recent Defence papers or the MOD 10 year equipment plan and the NAO report on it. The Integrated Review covered a vast area of potential risks with the Defence Command paper providing more detail of the UKs more global future presence. My only comment was that the funding will not be sufficient to deliver that ambition. Clear evidence of that is that despite a 4 year injection of £16b, all three services are still facing actual cuts. The MOD, hampered by the short term approach… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

You are right to be sanguine. There are to my mind two key issues arising from the defence review: 1) There is NO NEW MONEY on the table. BJ’s cash injection will only cover the MOD’s current and projected blach hole debt. So we will not even be able to retain the current depressed number of fast jet aircraft, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and warships for long. Essentially, the equipment budget is miles short, which is why the army is fielding a raft of elderly 30 and 40 year-old equipment and – on a real-world count – the RAF is… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

😄

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Arent the MCM motherships going to be MRSS and T32? I think the NL/BE are a mistake – still one trick ponies but now even bigger ones. Tempest isnt a gamble – its developing a new combat air platform. A gamble would be the US “digital century series” concept that has no idea how it will slash time (ie cost) when every aspect of the digital era increases time and certification (safety) isnt being compromised nor is combat ability. The UK seems sane for once in this area (vs missiles replacing them and then prioritising strike aircraft). More Tr3 Typhoons… Read more »

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

RN has plenty of MCM mothership candidates.

  • An ex-RN admiral (worked on MCMV) stated River B2 OPV is capable of carrying MCM USVs.
  • He also mentioned chartered ships can.
  • A Bay in Persian Gulf is said to be going to operate MCM drones.
  • Also, if it is ARCIMS system, it can be carried on T26. (only in high threat environment, I guess)
  • Of course, T32 and MRSS will follow.

Looking forward to see one of the River B2 actually operating MCM USVs. In principle, it can happen relatively in short time frame.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Every new combat aircraft is something of a gamble. The USA bet the house on a single aircraft to replace 5 existing types and in terms of the programme aims, it has been a failure- years late, massively over budget and still needing huge sums to achieve block 4 integration.( Block4 is now estimated to cost >$14b). Britain with Italy does not have the USAs resources to persist with a struggling programme. So BAE must get this right first time. They need to be held to account for key milestones and should carry the entire cost burden of failure. This… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

F35 hasnt been a failure, that isnt sensible to say given what it can do and what has been delivered, although the idea one thing could replace so much was always daft. The costs simply reflect nobody wanted to be honest about what it actually takes to do this, similarly time. But one aircraft in 3 such different variants all of which do their advertised role is unprecedented. There is literally no point in being so bullish with BAES, their answer is simple “ok, no particular skin off our nose we wont do it then and we’ll just make a… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Not all the equipment for RN warships is procured thorgh the contractor/builder, by the contract for vessel. Equipment is often procured direct from the manufacturer by the MoD, provided as GFE.
An example is the new hull sonar Type 2150 recently fitted to HMS Portland.

The RAF does Not have enough pilots, to fly all the Typhoons in the present fleet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

Encouraging article Jon.
“With Wildcat and the various new anti-ship missiles now well into operational service”.
So is it your understanding that Wildcat now carries both Sea Venom and Martlet ?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The last news I heard was 2022 due to a fifteen-month delay. Sea Venom’s first flight trial was back in Feb 2020

It will be interesting to know if this has changed.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nigel Collins
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thx

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thx. Must admit I was hoping it would be sooner.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

HI Paul,

I have seen a head on picture of a Wildcat with a full load of 20 Martlet missiles strapped down on the flight deck of a T45 (on Navy Lookout I think). Looks pretty mean to be honest 🙂 but that would suggest that Initial Operating Capability has been achieved.

I think Nigel is right about the Sea Venom, IOC in 2022. Full Operating Capability in 2024 for both missiles I believe.

Cheers CR

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thx, 20 Martlets look like a challenge to target. Each one needs to be individually guided onto its target right? Bit like Starstreak.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It’s worth noting that they’re taking Sea Venom along with them on the deployment.

Wildcat with 20 Martlets sure looks mean!

Max Jones
Max Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I saw a couple people mentioning the 2022 date for Sea Venom.

That’s the full operating date, but 815 NAS has confirmed it is already operational and will be deployed on Wildcats for CSG21 so we now have both available.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Gents All, thx for your info.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Great article which concentrated on platforms, although there is other kit to think about. So 2020 looks like another ‘Year of the Navy’ in some senses. I find it amazing that the debate on the funding for the replacement for the Astute class of SSNs is up and running as well as work being ongoing on the Type 32 project when we haven’t even built the first Type 31s yet, whilst the army struggles to get a first timely & significant upgrade for 20-year old major platforms (CR2, WR, AS90) – and fails as in the cae of Warrior CSP.… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

2021, I meant!

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

I can’t post a link for some reason but if you go to Sky News they have a great video of the RM using jet packs to practice storming another ship. Just shows that relatively basic platforms like the Rivers can be up-armed significantly by deploying more advanced tech.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

They have some videos on Youtube as well. The flying marine lands back on the RIB!

I take it this is a trial / demonstration? But your point is is a good one. However, the kit would need to be improved to allow the flying marine to ditch it prity quickly or he / she would be a sitting duck to anyone ‘defending’ the target ship. Nevertheless, I think it is a huge improvement in the mind set of many in the RN / MoD with regards to new ideas and new tech.

Cheers CR

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Not sure if that is more or less dangerous than when I was jumping off the RIB aiming to hook an arm over the ladder and then get up it enough to stop the next rising wave taking me off!

Would save on the lick out that was climbing the side of a tanker in full kit

(Not ex booty btw, but spent fair bit of time attached with them however)

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago

Thanks for good summary.

On T32, I am always wondering how the total cost would be? Is it better than “more T26?”.

  • If £2B total = the same to T31, cost of adding drone handling gears means armament level will be even less than that of T31.
  • If £3B total, I understand it amounts to nearly FOUR more T26s.

T26 has a big mission bay. In its late phase of production, unit cost is at minimum. Lack of building capacity can be solved by block building approach (with Babcock and/or CL?).

Last edited 1 month ago by donald_of_tokyo
Daniel
Daniel
1 month ago

My understanding was that Type 26 unit cost is projected to be ~£1.25B, meaning that for £3B you would get less than 2.5 additional Type 26.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel

Considering detail design and initial inefficiency, if the unit cost is 1.2B and with an order of 3 unit, T26 batch 1 contract must be nearly 4B GBP. But, it is not.

So T26 unit cost is surely much cheaper than 1.2B GBP.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago

Sorry, … must be nearly 5B GBP.
typo

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 month ago

Interesting article Jon but given the present circumstances I think you could afford to be a bit more upbeat. I don’t think this government is a follow on from the others There have been concerns on UKDJ about whether we would have both carriers operating together They are but won’t be fully capable until somebody sorts out the F35 position. Similarly, only s few weeks ago, for the third time , it was the Albion and Bulwark that were going to be scrapped. They are staying with their original OSD. The Royal Navy itself seems confident that the LSS concept… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago

One thing I would like the RN to adopt on all its vessels is the Stanflex system

This could be a very efficient way for ships to be FFBNW, whilst having the actual products available in the background.

we could implement this across the whole fleet and use the same rotational and maintenance processes we currently use for Phalanx.

For T31 and the Rivers in particular this should be a no brainer, and we should also implement on all future ships.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
1 month ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Understand your point, but not convinced. Stanflex exists there for 30 years, and have never been popular, although its modularity and flexibility has clear merit. So, surely there is a sever drawback in the system. As you know, modular-system increases weight and size (by definition). And its interface system must be high-tech to accommodate high-end equipments, and as such always confronting the problem of being obsolete. Modular/canistered something will be good, but it will NOT needed to be Stanflex. For example, Stanflex covers only, 3 inch gun (5 inch gun does NOT use Stanflex), Mk.48 VLS for 12 ESSM, 8… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago

I agree that not everything needs to be Stanflex, but the benefits of having a mechanism to remove and maintain some of the smaller systems like we do with Phalanx must be a good thing, and given the fact we are building ships (t31 in particular) that is designed for StanFlex and initially seems light on VLS, this could be something we look at.

plumbing in the interfaces is one of the biggest things and StanFlex gives you this option up front, what and whether you fill it is another thing entirely.

Hisham Al-Saqaf
Hisham Al-Saqaf
1 month ago

We salute this British move, but Britain must learn from the mistakes and failures of the past. The policy of miserliness, indecision and excessive bureaucracy cost Britain a lot in the past and it must get rid of these archaic policies.