The Type 26 Frigate has the potential to be one of the most capable warships the Royal Navy has owned in decades but only if funded appropriately.

The City class will replace 8 of the 13 Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE. The programme has been underway since 1998, initially under the name ‘Future Surface Combatant’. The programme was brought forward in the 2008 budget at the expense of Type 45 destroyers 7 and 8.

The original working model for the ship put the length at 141 metres long and gave a displacement close to 7,000 tonnes. In late 2010 it was reported that the specifications had been reduced in order to bring down the cost from £500m to £250-350m per ship. By 2011 new specification details began to emerge of a 5,400 tonne ship emphasising flexibility and modularity. The new design is 149m long, has a top speed of more than 26 knots and accommodation for up to 200 people. It is expected to have 60 days endurance and have a range of 7,000 miles at 15 knots.

It’s no secret that the Type 26 is designed with modularity and flexibility in mind to enhance versatility across a wide range of operations ranging from counter piracy and disaster relief operations to high intensity combat. The final BAE design had a large amidships mission bay instead of the stern well deck featured in previous designs. BAE have commented regarding the mission bay:

“A key feature is the flexible mission space, which can accommodate up to four 12 metre sea boats, a range of manned and unmanned air, surface or underwater vehicles or up to 11 20ft containers or ‘capability modules’, and the most advanced sensors available to the fleet.”

This versatility of roles is enabled by mission bay, capable of supporting multiple helicopters, UUVs, boats, mission loads and disaster relief stores. BAE say that a launcher can be provided for fixed wing UAV operation and  it’s well known that the flight deck will be capable of landing a Chinook helicopter for transport of embarked forces.

The relocation of the bay amidships from stern could possibly mean a decrease in the volume of space available to the equipment carried but the new design would seem to have space enough for a few large boats or other large-scale systems and material.

The value of the mission bay cannot really be understated but it’s only part of it, the variety of firepower carried is key to the variety of tasks a high end warship can perform.

What kind of weapons will the vessel have?

The type is expected to be armed with BAE’s 5″/54 calibre Mark 45 main gun. It will also be armed with two Phalanx CIWS (close in weapons system), two 30mm DS30M Mark 2’s and the standard complement of miniguns and general-purpose machine guns. The Type 26 will have Sea Ceptor silo’s on the bow and at the funnel of the vessel. Additionally, it will carry MK 41 Vertical Launch System positioned behind the Sea Ceptor silo’s.

Once integrated with the Type 26, the MK 41 VLS will offer the Royal Navy “unparalleled flexibility and capability” say BAE, but only if money is made available to fill it.

“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful partnership with the Royal Navy, and we look forward to working with BAE Systems to integrate the MK 41 VLS with the Type 26,” said Paul Livingston, Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK Rotary and Mission Systems.

“The MK 41 VLS will provide the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships with a proven and cost-effective vertical launching solution.”

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.

Image result for mk41 tomahawk
MK 41 VLS on the USS Hue City.

“The signature of this contract is another important milestone in the ongoing delivery of the UK’s Type 26 program,” said Mike Holstead, head of the Type 26 program at Defence Equipment and Support, the Ministry of Defence’s procurement organisation.

“The vertical launch system will be a key part of the capability of the new frigate fleet, and an essential tool for Royal Navy in operations to defend the UK and her interests.”

Nadia Savage, director of the Type 26 program at BAE Systems, said:

“As momentum builds and GLASGOW, the first of three contracted next generation City Class Type 26 Global Combat Ships, takes shape at our facilities in Glasgow, we are delighted to place this contract with Lockheed Martin. The Vertical Launching System contributes to our overall combat management system and will further enhance platform flexibility and capability, which are core to the design of the Type 26.”

What can go in the MK41?

The MK 41 VLS is capable of launching anti-air, anti-submarine, surface-to-surface and strike-length missiles. Being able to hold Tomahawk cruise missiles, ASROC anti-sub munitions and potentially, the next generation of anti-ship missile is a huge deal as this would ensure that these vessels would be one of the most versatile British warships in decades.

File:VLS Mk41 Tomahawk 20100622-1.jpg
A Tomahawk missile launches from a MK 41 vertical launching system

The next generation of anti-ship missile bit is especially important as Royal Navy ships will lose anti-ship missile capability when the Harpoon missile is withdrawn with a replacement not due until ‘around 2030’. While news on an interim replacement circulates, it is not known if it will feature on the Type 26. As we reported previously, Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart signed an agreement to explore future long range weapons for the Royal and French Navies and Air Forces with the aim of replacing the Harpoon anti-ship missile and the Storm Shadow cruise missile as well as an array of French weapon types.

French arms procurement chief Collet-Billon said at the meeting:

“We are launching today a major new phase in our bilateral cooperation, by planning together a generation of missiles, successor to the Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow. The FC/ASW (future cruise/anti-ship weapon) programme’s aim is to have by around 2030 a new generation of missiles.”

The missiles however will not be ready to replace Harpoon until 2030, leaving the Type 26 Frigates without any real means to engage surface warships aside from their helicopters.

The Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon programme will look at options to replace and improve existing Naval and Air Force weapons systems in the next decade. Lasting up to three years, the assessment phase will help to define the missile designs and reduce risks to inform decisions about the next stage of the programme.

What will go in the MK41?

Currently, we don’t know. No firm commitment has been made for any of the weapon types able to be fired by the MK 41 but with the first vessel not entering sea trials for quite a few years, the time hasn’t yet come to order anything.

Conclusion

The key factor that will determine the true capability of these ships is really quite simple, the funding put in place to fit them out properly.

Without proper funding the vessels will not be fitted out to their maximum potential with the wide range of weapons they’re designed for and as such are likely to see the vast sums of money already spent on their design and build, spent in vain.

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BB85
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BB85

I don’t think the government has a clue about what missiles it will put into the MK41. It feels like they will be empty until this future anti ship / cruise missile is delivered.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Let’s hope we get a Atleast 4 mk41s quad packed for an extra 16 anti air missiles.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

If you need extra CAMM, replacing the mushroom lanchers with stand-alone ExLS would be better. Easily double the 48 CAMM into 96, or even more.

Also it will be cost effective.

Even when you install ExLS canister into Mk.41 VLS, you need dedicated front-end-electronics box for CAMM (It is the same with TLAM, needing dedicated electronics box added to Mk.41 VLS). No merit on putting CAMM on Mk.41.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Makes sense, why we are having two different types is stupid.

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

I agree entirely, and the main problem is exactly how you have worded that. ‘The Government’ don’t need to have a clue – they should be led by the advice of the experts with the RN instead of being guided by the Treasury. They are happy enough to be ‘led by the science/experts’ in their response to COVID. But insist on sticking their very breakable noses into matters they are devastatingly ill-informed, to have anything even vaguely resembling a legitimate opinion on – such as offensive & defensive weaponry of Navy Frigates. RN should be insisting that the Mk41 silos… Read more »

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

“Contempt for every single class of politician” sadly, you me both…

julian1
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julian1

You should take a look at the US politicians. At least Brit Politicians are often honourable enough to resign with a media which will name and shame them and force them out. Over here, they seem to do what the hell they like and get away with it. And that’s before I get started on that great eejit Trump…

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Julian1,

All things relative – our lot seem to be getting worse. Even so they do manage to come together in the national interest from time to time, for example, something the US parties seem to have forgotten how to do. Very sad.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

We do have an issue of a similar nature here, Julian, but it seems more an affliction of our special political advisors at present.

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

No chance of ‘what’s his name’ doing anything much if he gets elected. I hear he’s hibernated in his basement, so no worries there then!
Could be a boring 4 years or whatever.
Don’t US voters despair at some point?

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

They do follow the advice of the RN, but ultimately, somebody has to pay for it all, and it’s a balance, between cost, the threat level and ‘do we actually need them right now’.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

On the face of it that’s true, but procuring equipment based on ‘do we need it right now’ puts you in a predicament such as Iraq & Afghan in the early Noughty’s when lads were cutting about with shite from the 90’s that was falling to pieces, and getting us killed left right and centre.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Things have come on a long way from then, I served in Afghanistan, and the equipment I had was superb, can’t keep comparing everything to how it was 30 years ago.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

As did I, and the equipment on the first tour left an awful lot to be desired. As did the equipment in Iraq. By the time I went the second time it had indeed improved – due to a massive public and media shaming of the dire state of affairs and the UOR’s that followed – that wasn’t 30 years ago I’m afraid. My point – you need the kit for ‘if’ it kicks off, rather than scrambling around like a headless chicken when it ‘does’ kick off. The legacy of Herrick & Telic is a British Army with more… Read more »

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Weston and Robert, The UK has always had a strange relationship towards its military. Even during the Nepoleonic Wars the RN was quickly reduced in numbers whenever there was a Peace Treaty. Dunkirk came as a direct result of the, “it could never happen again”, mentality post WW1. On the plus side once we get behind the services we do tend to pull our fingers out (assuming responable political leadership). Best example of the latter is in 1918 during the German Spring Offensive. Just when the Army was on the ropes the UK population, despite food shortages etc, rallied… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

I wish we could produce half of what Germany does today, granted we still make lots of things but not as much as before.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

The tours I did the kit varied massively, 2001/2 pretty shit as Rfn said, 2006, still shit, 2008, a damn site better in every respect due to the UORs, then 2010 bloody good. I see both sides of the coin here guys and maybe being a bit of a fence sitter (sitter I said!) I concur with both of you. Cheers boys.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Cheers Airborne, keep well buddy. 🤙

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Filling them from day 1 might be robbing another vital funding line for equipment we might actually need, today, right now. No number of VLS is going to protect you from COVID-19, or a cyber attack, those are the real threats. And while everyone would like to see our warships all bristling with the latest toys and weapon systems, it’s a balancing act between need, the threat level faced, and cost. The T26 will be very capable, and like all major weapon systems, they will be developed over time. It’s not a reflection on our political system, which happens to… Read more »

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

I’m not saying everything British is crap. Far from it. No one wants to see Russian style frigates bristling with unnecessary and un-integrated kit. They want to see the kit we have fulfil its potential. It is a reflection of our political system, as the forward planning hits the reset button every 4-5 years when funding is re-evaluated. It would not be difficult to allows appropriation of funding from future budgets to improve efficiencies and cost savings on production runs in the current budget. That’s what happens in every other manufacturing sector world wide. It is a political decision to… Read more »

Robert Blay
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Robert Blay

Well, can’t argue with that, good response mate.

Andy P
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Andy P

Late to this interesting debate between Robert and Rfn, can see both sides but sorry Robert, tend to lean to Rfn’s argument. I can’t say about all the ‘Gucci’ gear you’ve mentioned but I can say that at least some of it isn’t what its cracked up to be. The UK spends a shed load on equipment and I’m happy with that, we also seem to waste a hell of a lot. I know you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs but I’m not convinced by all our omelettes if you follow the analogy. Good to see a healthy… Read more »

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

Aye it’s good to actually talk instead of people shouting at each other don’t you think?

I’m a big believer in if you only have 8 ponies (Type 26) they cannot only have 1 trick.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Tru dat bro, tru dat.

Agree that its healthy to have a reasonable debate on here too, we don’t even have to agree but its nice to keep it civil. Far too many quick to lose their sh1t on here.

Thanks to you and Robert for the constructive discussion.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

You not think, you just speculate.

Supportive Bloke
Guest
Supportive Bloke

I’m less negative even about empty VLS. The entropy hurdle to putting a MK41 compatible munition in existing VLS is far less than if you have to cut up the ship first. UOR for MK41 compatibles are then very possible and even if test firings have been done and publicised the oppo don’t really know if you have the tested weapon in the VLS or not. Where it went wrong on the T45 was not fitting the relatively cheap silos from day one. Blame Gordon Brown for that. I’m sure the RN would by now have a few VLS munitions… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

Great write-up

Cam
Guest
Cam

And only 8.

4thwatch
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4thwatch

I am puzzled by the continuing of the Phalanx. If it was me, with the introduction of the 40mm on Type 31 I would abandon phalanx and the 30mm and replapce them with 4 x 40mm.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

Not sure 40mm gun is good for anti-air, or ASM defense. To date, 40mm 3P is NOT popular as AAW CIWS (surely great as ASuW CIWS, though). 57mm might be OK, I guess, with future MADFIRES AAW guided rounds.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Separate mounts need separate trackers be they radar or optical. The firing solutions then start to get complex having to calculate the difference in height and position on the ship between the Gun line of sight and the tracker line of sight. Without these corrections the radar will track the target and the mount will shoot the shells parallel to the targets path, not at the target. You also need to allow for parallax error and engagement ranges…lots of Trig calculations that add small errors into firing solutions that can add up to relatively large first round miss distances. On… Read more »

Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

The Mk4 Bofors mount we are supposed to be getting with the T31 will have the shell tracking radar, but I have also heard it will have the optical backup. It’s not unreasonable to think it could also mount it’s own dedicated search and track radar, much like Phalanx or Goalkeeper. The radar that both of these systems use is pretty dated and we could have something that is not only more robust, but also smaller. It would have to be a multiple fixed AESA panel radar to give it a wider field of view. Mitsubishi produce a radar that… Read more »

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

Not sure. I do not see any such radars in the latest rendering of T31. It looks as if it relies on simple EO-FCS for both 57mm and 40mm guns. Both mounts do not have “shell speed measuring radar” (look like), either. I understand current T31’s 57mm and 40mm guns are only with 3P round, controlled via simple EO-FCS, and I’m afraid it is not so good at ASM defense (but they will be very very good at anti-fast boat swarm defense). Upgrading the 40mm and 57mm will be doable, but will not be cheap. I would rather simply add… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

No renderings or Info from those in the know has mentioned anything about on mount trackers. From what I understand everything is off mount except for the possibility of muzzle velocity radar on the actual mount. Sticking a search and tracking radar on mount would be a major redesign of the mount and require through deck penetration which the 40mm mount avoids. A major issue with goalkeeper compared to phalanx was the below deck footprint. It was huge. A whole compartment for the radars tracking and search, the magazine, gun Control system and the associated chilled water cooling all added… Read more »

Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

That’s my point. The 40 and 57 can easily have a tracking radar fitted that is part of the mount, lightweight and pretty much maintenance free, as it would be completely digital. As the guns are controlled by the CIC and I believe linked via a data-bus. This can be utilized for the radar data as-well or a dedicate data-bus installed. It would still be a self contained plug and play weapon system, but with much more capability. BAe show the 40 with a below deck loader, will we not be getting this also. As the gun plus mount only… Read more »

T.S
Guest

Well I am hoping they will be filled with quad packed Spear 3 including the EW version as they can be used for land attack and as a swarming small asw. Using the AW spear to spoof whilst 3 or 4 with warheads take out vital ship systems to get a mission kill even if they cant sink it outright. We also need to see development of an Asroc type booster for our Spearfish torpedoes and soon. It surely wouldn’t take more than few years to design? We have the torpedo, just need the booster. USA now consider its Asroc… Read more »

T.S
Guest

Sorry, make that a MILAS not a MICA.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

Most of what you say makes perfect sense, which is why it’ll likely never happen!

Bill
Guest
Bill

Fitted for, but not with. What’s the Latin for that and we can have that stamped as the RN’s motto on every letter heading.
‘The most heavily armed and capable vessel of its type in the world’ Will we ever see that again with regard to a RN warship? I doubt it.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

It still bugs me that we are putting mushroom farm VLS on these capable ships. 24 Sea Ceptor VLS look to take as much deck space as 24 MK41 which can hold 96 Sea Ceptor!!! The same can be said for ExLS and Sylver cold launch VLS both of which MDBA say can be quad packed – makes no sense at all. Bugs me every time I see an article on these ships… Another maddening thing is that according to articles (including one in Think Defence) I have read SPEAR 3 could potentially be packed into the shorter ExLS /… Read more »

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

Spend billions getting the ships in the water then penny pinch a few million per ship & in turn, nerf them operationally.

The problem you have is they will get compared like for like vs. the T23 they are replacing, and as long as the bare minimum boxes are ticked – the bean counters will be satisfied. Even though they could be so much more capable with such a small amount of further investment.

See what happens with the Aus & Canadian ships when they hit the water – they’ll likely have the bells and whistles our could have had.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Yeah, but Australia and Canada don’t have the full spectrum capabilitys we do, a few fancy Frigates does not make a global power.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

True, but a long logistical masterpiece also doesn’t make a global power if it doesn’t have teeth – or worse depth for attrition. You can have as much ISTAR as you want, but ISTAR doesn’t sink ships on it’s own – and ground taken with air superiority doesn’t hold itself without well equipped & armoured ground troops. As an example the MOD could easily sell off some unused estate land and generate hundreds of millions that could easily pay the relatively nominal costs of increasing capability quite substantially on T26. To say the money ins’t there just isn’t true. It’s… Read more »

julian1
Guest
julian1

The Times reporting today that Department Overseas Development will be merged with Foreign Office and budgets merged. Will be interested to see how/if that impacts UK defence budget – hopefully some will be transferred particularly for RN assets in the Caribbean for example.

JohnN
Guest
JohnN

Here are the configuration details for the RAN Hunter Class FFG: https://www.navy.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Hunter_Class_Fact_Sheet.pdf The RAN ships won’t use Sea Ceptor, but instead use quad packed ESSM (eventually ESSM Blk2). Instead of 24 Mk41 VLS on the RN ships, the RAN ships will have 32 Mk41 VLS, it has been said that the base RAN design allows for an increase in the number of Mk41 VLS if required in the future. The planned load out for the VLS will be SM-2 and quad packed ESSM, but the RAN also plans to procure the much longer ranging SM-6 for both the DDGs and… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

This is my concern too, we can buy the sharpest Armani suit in the world but if you’re wearing your trainers with it, its still looks like a bag of crap. If we’re going to do it you might as well do it properly. We have form for not doing that.

Paul42
Guest
Paul42

I don’t think they are actually using the mushroom farm silos from Type 23. The ‘mushroom’ only came about because the Sea Ceptor missoles are longer than sea wolf and it wasn’t really financially viable to fit new silos.

BB85
Guest
BB85

All of the renders provided by BAE for T26 and Babcock for T31 show mushroom farms. I hope they are trolling or just making it obvious they are CAMM launchers because like you said the mushroom farm was installed on T23 due to length constraint and to save money. If Land Ceptor (or whatever its called) can be packed into tight launch cells, there is no reason it cannot be done on brand new ships, even if they don’t want to pay LM for EXLS launchers. Time will tell.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Dead right ChariotRider. I really don’t think we are exploiting the benefits of cold launch enough due to, as Rfn_Weston says, penny-pinching on the last few pennies of multi-billion pound budgets. If you look at the land version of CAMM mounted on the back of trucks it makes it pretty apparent how launchers can be close-packed with minimum extra framing/structure needed around them due to no exhaust gas and all the launch mechanics being housed in the missile canisters. As I posted yesterday in the comments on another article, investing what probably wouldn’t be a lot of money in a… Read more »

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

All your proposal comes true if a fraction of T31 program cost is reused. I do NOT think RN needs 5 GP T31. 3 will be enough, as they are replacing T23GP, which only goes to sea 85 days a year. If a T31 goes to sea 140 days a year (not much different from 2010’s average), 3 T31 can replace 5 T23. Cutting 5 T31 into 3 will save only ~600M GBP including GFX because all the initial cost remains.

But, 600M GBP will enable all options you proposed.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

With one forward deployed, this plan of only three T31 procured, would leave the RN with only 1 available T31 to be deployed if one is at port for crew leave and maintenance!
One will be needed to relave the forward deployed T31 at crew change over time.
Some T23s have been inactive for over 2 years due to LIFEX.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I forgot to add, that 1 T31 will be needed to train and exercise the relief crews of the forward deployed T31.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

Thanks, Merion-X-san

I am not comparing 5 T31 vs 3 T31, but “what RN currently has = 5 T23GP” and “3 T31”. And, I am simply proposing so to make T26 “reasonably armed”, not to cut anything. Just shifting resource from one to another.

Surely, 3 “fully operational T31” can cover all the jobs “currently done by 5 T23GPs”. I think this is sure.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Maybe 3 “fully operational T31” can cover all the jobs “currently done by 5 T23GPs” if they do nothing more than the current T23s and given that we haven’t been fully utilising T23s. However, if T31s also undertake littoral ASW and/or MCM roles using their mission module spaces then this wouldn’t be true.

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

Always need 5 of most things. That’s why 4 fingers and 1 thumb come in handy. Sorry about that.
But seriously, 5’s are generally the minimum way forward for warship classes, economy of scale aside.

Rugger13
Guest
Rugger13

I concurr on what you stated about ASROC and interim AShM. The Spear3 is a interesting mix to the fit out. A compact lightweight replacement for Tomahawk.
If only we could have 48 VLS tubes fully fitted for all possible scenarios. Even the S. Koreans and Japanese fit their latest ships with lots of VLS.
As for the 30mm DSM, aren’t they thinking about fitting the martlet missile on it too. It’s been tested with no issues. I just hate relying on a helicopter for swarm threat defence especially when in tight seaways in bad weather or when refuelling.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah their destroyers are far more armed also and japan has 26 odd destroyers!!…

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Not to pick on you, but “Even S. Korea and Japan” is often suggested for comparison, implying they are somehow a bare minimum. However, look at the neighbourhood they’re in and the potential threats they face. Japan has disputes with China and Russia, both of whom are geographically very close to Japan. Not to mention N. Korea flying missiles over Japan. For the UK it would be like China being where Norway is, with Russia where France is. S. Korea is about the same.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

I think people should just copy and paste their standard complaint into every article.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Sure… Meanwhile the Chinese seem to be ordering their 31st and 32nd Type 54A frigates, which each have 32 VLS.

These VLS are not 100% comparable to the MK41, they are a lot bigger. They are wider and come in lengths up to 9.5m.

I am sure they don’t go to sea empty.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Wow. Are many should we build then ? 40?

More to the point should Australia build 40. After all they actually live on the region.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Britain still has territory in the South Pacific and we still have obligations to the region, we even still permanently base a few thousand troops in Brunei. And we have a defence pact with ex colony nations like Malaysia and Australia.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

What we have is the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Not so much a pact as an agreement, to paraphrase Pirates of the Caribbean. Important but not a treaty that obliges action.

Andy
Guest
Andy

If you are asking how many VLS vessels we should have, then yes 40.

We should copy what China are doing, we should have a long term program to build Type 31’s in batches of 5, after each batch we should upgrade sensors and weapons and go again with Type 31A/B/C/D.

We should do this for many years until we have 24-32, selling older ones as we go. Each batch should continue to cost around 1.25 Billion.

Yes, Australia should do it too. We could both be involved in a Pacific campaign that will cost a lot of frigates.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Yes. That’s the strategic plan… keep building and either sell on second hand or sell new ones to navy’s that want. We don’t match with China.

DJ
Guest
DJ

Australia decided to build 12 x 5,000t submarines instead.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

For interest, regarding RN Gibraltar Squadron replacement of Scimitar and Sabre.
Existing URNU P2000’s to be sent, temporary or replacement not yet clear.

https://twitter.com/NavyLookout

ian L
Guest
ian L

If you take an amble over to “The thin pinstriped line” blog and take a look at June 15th article Sir Humphrey is of the opinion that a River class OPV is going to be foward based at Gibraltar.

Ian L

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Good spot. Perhaps they are being swapped out for a couple of Archer class. A tad heavier and able to carry a 20mm.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I’m afraid everyone that the chances of the RN T26 getting ASROC, Tomahawk or a new anti-ship missile are somewhere between minimal and zero.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I don’t think our surface vessels should get TLAM anyway.
What T26 needs is excellent air defence, excellent ASW capabilities, and some ASM.
Was Ikara any use when some Leanders had it?

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

I’m curious to your thinking on the lack of TLAM Daniele, its another option for a diminishing fleet. The skimmer launched ones are easier to reload (I believe) than the S/M launched ones. While boats now aren’t really used as anti ship vessels, its still remains a core task and again with limited platforms means our TLAM launching capability could be ‘busy’. Stick 4 or even better 8 in a silo on a skimmer and you have more flexibility.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Hi Andy. Simply that the Land Attack role is a task for our SSN. I doubt HMT would fund the duplicate. If money were available to buy them to go on surface units I would rather that money go on more ASM, for which we are lacking, or even CIWS on all vessels. At the moment we have Stormshadow and TLAM. Few nations have either the TLAM capability or SSN. I quite agree on your points on flexibility mind, and that our SSN could be too busy in the Barents Sea to use them. Though we never see them fired… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Yes Daniele, I’m an ex sundodger the SSN fleet have been all ‘shooter’ boats for a while. Reloading a S/M of any weapons is an alongside job and historically the storage for any weapons has been limited, especially when carrying trainees and those needing to keep in date, the ‘bomb shop’ doubles up as spare accommodation. If ‘we’ were to deploy a boat on a war patrol then it might be different, you’d have a full load but as the S/M fleet is both meagre and busy (sounds familiar eh ?), it might take a while to get things in… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Fair comments Andy.
Is it moot anyway the TLAM debate, I read it is going out of service?

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Hi mate, I’m not sure if TLAM is on the way out, you’d have to assume it will be replaced by something newer although we’ve plenty of recent examples of not bothering. Should we be worried….

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Yes!! TLAM is one of the UK’s niche capabilities I would hope were maintained!

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Yep TLAm is an alongside job having loaded onto boats in Diego in the past.

Paul42
Guest
Paul42

The key problem here is our stocks of the torpedo tube encapsulated Tomahawks are very, very limited. So limited as to be ineffective due to the simple fact we cannot launch in the numbers required to guarantee an effective strike when you take into consideration the very latest air/missile defence systems

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

I’d say the main issue with TLAM is that is it a non-stealthy subsonic missile, which significantly limits its practical use. Its only going to be less relevant at the end of the 2020’s when T26 become operational. Its perhaps about the easiest air target a peer or near-peer adversary could hope to have to counter. While updated electronics and comms help in the latest variants, the missile would struggle to be effective against the type of A2AD that Russia or China would have in place. If its not a deterrent to those two countries then it makes no sense… Read more »

Paul42
Guest
Paul42

Maybe, maybe not. The Mk IV anti-ship Tomahawk is a pretty good buy! The RN needs to abandon projects which might result in a missile in 2030 if we’re lucky and buy the best off the shelf – The Mk IV and LRASM enabling us to deal with vessels at sea and even a good distance away even in port.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

You have to be kidding. A non-stealthy subsonic anti ship missile, its hardly viable today, let alone in the 2030’s against a peer adversary. A T31 could handle it, let alone something more capable. Your only hope would be a saturation attack, which probably means emptying your ASM silo against one ship and it still may not be successful.

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

I think the Australian & Canadian versions of T26 will be well armed, but fear the RN versions will be missing the weapons they need. I would arm T26 with 8x Tomahawk, 8x LRASM, 8x Asroc in the Mk41. I would add the torpedo launchers that Australian & Canadian versions will have. SeaCeptor is great, but we should add a few CAMM-ER as well, to keep aircraft armed with anti-ship missiles away.

Steve R
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Steve R

To be honest just 8x NSM/Harpoon Block II on a pair of canister launchers bolted onto the decks would greatly improve the Type 26’s punch for a relatively low cost.

Bob2
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Bob2

Hi Steve,

Do you know if a vls NSM offer any benefits over canister launched NSM?

If not, should we not simply go for the canister version to free up more mk41 tubes?

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Not that I’m aware of.

Canister launchers are cheaper and as they’re simply bolted onto the decks of ships. They an be easily removed and put onto other ships if needed.

Bob2
Guest
Bob2

Hi John,

If Camm-ER can be quad packed that would be great, if not there might be better medium/long range SAMs we could put in the mk41s.

JohnHartley
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JohnHartley

I assumed that CAMM-ER does not need to be in Mk41.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

CAMM-ER has a larger diameter then CAMM, so maybe Not quad packable.

DJ
Guest
DJ

CAMM-ER has a smaller diameter than ESSM though, which is quad packable. There has yet to be a definitive answer from anyone that actually knows.

john melling
Guest

Diameters of both-

CAMM: 166 mm (6.5 in)
CAMM-ER: 190 mm (7.5 in)
(canister, 27.5 × 27.5 cm)

This I read somewhere that –
CAMM ER will fit in the TACTICAL length Mk 41 as it has a canister height of 4.4metres?

Trying to find conclusive info on it is like extracting blood from a stone ;P

Bill
Guest
Bill

I have just read that ‘TIDERACE’ has returned?? After a 5 month revamp!! What the flying fox is going on! A revamp? How many millions for that and the three others after a year or so in service? Yep, foreign build, save money. Not.
More haemorrhaging of the budget.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

It’s nothing to really worry about. It has been five years since she launched, so she needs to undergo a Lloyds survey to retain her certification. Some existing issues have taken longer to rectify than first thought and undoubtedly, the delay to the inspection/refit of Tidespring would have impacted on Tiderace. It’s to be expected as they are a new class of ships, remedial issues are to be expected and CL + its workers need to develop an understanding of the new ships. It’s not haemorrhaging the budget – these events are planned for and allocated funding accordingly. I’d rather… Read more »

Bill
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Bill

All points taken and acknowledged; l was actually looking at the ‘in service’ date of August 2018.

Lusty
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Lusty

Yes, it’s a bit of a shame that the works have taken so long. Hopefully the next two Tides can go through the process quicker.

Cam
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Cam

Forth will never live it down!

Lusty
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Lusty

Poor Forth! Thankfully, she’s now a fine addition to the fleet.

Watcherzero
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Watcherzero

The FC/ASW aka Anglo-French Perseus Mach 5 cruise missile has been pretty quiet for an approaching 10 year program, haven’t heard anything to indicate it was cancelled though with updates in 2019 indicating the program was still in active development.

peter french
Guest
peter french

The Mod has form in skinning the spec and undergunning Ships , planes et al and one has no reason to doubt that will happen to the Type 23 , Sad but true, If perchance they break the habit of a life time and fully arm then the numbers will be cut ,
Spurious reasons will be given and the best example was the Labour Government who first ordered 12 then 8 then 6 type 45 destroyers giving the lame excuse the Type 45 was “more capable ” than they thought” . absolute hogwash

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Forget Mk 41, go for Mk 57 VLS. Its smaller, more modern, can be squeezed into smaller spaces and has a longer length…

Cat amongst the pigeons….GO!

Helions
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Helions

Totally agree with you on that GB…

Cheers

Joe16
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Joe16

It was a big enough endless debate when we had just 2 systems to choose from…!
I know very little about Mk57, so these would be just my initial thoughts: If it is cleared for the same systems as Mk41, and not signifcantly more expensive then it makes sense, although for a frigate-sized vessel does it have enough draft to cater for the longer length? I know you said it can be squeezed into smaller spaces, but I’m assuming you mean footprint rather than overall volume?

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Like the T 45s and T23s the UK is not adverse to having VLS launchers poking out above 1 deck and building a silo complex around the exposed top part. It’s an elegant solution that the USN has not gone for.

Joe16
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Joe16

I’m still a little puzzled by the choice of Mk41 VLS, when all of our current and future agreed weapon systems are European and thus Sylver compatible. I know that Mk41 gives us options for any number of existing and future US systems, but we don’t have any agreements in place for them at the moment, and a lot of them conflict with current running projects (that we would have to pay extra to clear on Mk41 rather than share the Sylver integration with European partners). Another thing that I only found out just now, in Sylver’s favour, is that… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

My theory is that they want to be able to give vague statements around exploring buying x or y and talk about future capability like its already brought.

Paul T
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Paul T

Indeed to reiterate what has been said on here before, the MK41 makes sense for the choice of Weapons currently available which might add some useful capability but look to be phased out in the near future (TLAM/ASROC) whereas the Sylver VLS seems to make more sense for the Weapons that will hopefully be available in the next ten years or so.The open Goal that was missed in my opinion was that the Type 45’s should have been built with A70,for little extra outlay that would have provided more options at a stroke.

Joe16
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Joe16

I know what you mean, I’m not sure how much more expensive A70 is, but can’t have been much in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, a few small costs were cut from T45 that I think should have been considered- CEC being the one that I think would have made most difference. I can just about understand not fitting strike-length cells to an air defence destroyer, but the lack of ability to provide networked targetting and launch across the fleet and beyond is a major mistake in my book. My understanding is that we have an alternative system in… Read more »

Glass Half Full
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Glass Half Full

In a word Joe I’d say “insurance”, particularly wrt to high end missile systems where the US is currently leading with SM6 and SM3 for ABM defence. I want the FC/ASW program to be a success, along with Aster 30 Block 1 NT and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD but where does that leave a Sylver equipped T26 if they aren’t or significantly delayed? Probably having to bear the full costs of having to qualify US missiles for Sylver as perhaps the only country in the world to do so. Conversely, I’d be amazed if MBDA isn’t planning on qualifying… Read more »

Joe16
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Joe16

Yes, I certainly had our previous discussions in mind when I was typing the above- you make an excellent point. I acknowledge there is some risk attached to the future missile progammes that we’re a part of, but my understanding is that they are set to deliver a product equal to the American SM6 and SM3. They also involve UK industry, which the US ones don’t. Unfortunately, I think there’s a case (especially with UK/European defence) that unless you go all-in on a project, then it’ll fail, or take a lot longer and deliver a sub-par product. If we give… Read more »

Glass Half Full
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Glass Half Full

Is the UK involved in Aster development though? I may be wrong but I thought it was purely a French/Italian development by MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales, collectively Eurosam. Not that I am averse to sticking with it, in the same way that I see NSM/JSM as desirable for the UK despite no involvement in that either.

DJ
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DJ

Wouldn’t the French just buy the Italian one that already handles the MU90? It’s canister rather than vls, but it already exists.

Joe16
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Joe16

They may very well do- an system that I didn’t know existed! I guess the advantage with VLS is that there’s an element of mix and match that having to bolt on multiple different cannisters doesn’t give you. But you’re right, not having to pay for development may be attractive for the French.

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

Being aware that defence costs will always be an issue (unbelievably more so post China’s helpful contribution), then I’d still take more comfort in maintaining capably designed unit numbers than concern over whether they’re likely to be kitted out full spectrum from the off. I take note that we have a considerable family of modern missiles either in the offing or capable of boosted delivery, plus a hat in the ring for available options like NSM. Then procurement more or less comes down to risk assessment. What we cannot afford, certainly in naval terms, is any further cuts in unit… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins
DJ
Guest
DJ

Note to Author – I think you have listed the wrong model of main gun. They are supposed to be getting the newer mod 4 version which is 62 cal, not the older 54 cal gun.

Darren hall
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Darren hall

Nice, if we get it.

Simon
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Simon

I realise that defence procurement is a difficult and expensive business, not least with the need to keep up with technology, but to have warships without the means to engage directly with other warships through anti-ship missiles is ridiculous.

Graham Haxell
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Graham Haxell

The Australian version which is called the Hunter class has had its displacement increased to around 10,000 tonnes and length also increased to accommodate all of the specified hardware [especially the radar system], so is there likely to be a similar modifications to the RN version?

4th watch
Guest
4th watch

I dont understand why with the T23’s now nearing the end of their lives and some even likely being decommissioned early, the build rate and in service date of the lead ship, HMS Glasgow is so woefully slow. It may make sense once the first of class is built, proven and in service to then have a steady build rate which keep the yards operating economically. But to drag out the building to full ops of Glasgow as first of class for a truely glacial 10 years is madness. It symies an attempt to enable get the class built more… Read more »