The Type 4X, the Type 45 Destroyer replacement, is just an early concept at this stage but a variant of the Type 26 Frigate is officially being considered for the job.

The UK Defence Journal has been speaking to Paul Sweeney, former MP for Glasgow North East and former shipbuilder. We have been told that consideration is already being given to the development of an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the Type 26, a variant that will function as a future replacement for the Type 45 Destroyer fleet – the programme is currently referred to as as T4X.

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

For a little bit of context, Paul Sweeney is a Scottish politician and was the Member of Parliament for Glasgow North East until the last election. More importantly for the purposes of a discussion on shipbuilding, he was formerly employed by BAE in Glasgow. Paul has worked with the APPG for Shipbuilding which published the results of inquiry into the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, taking evidence from a range of maritime security stakeholders and industry.

It is understood that the Ministry of Defence have an aspiration is to achieve continuous shipbuilding with the Type 26 programme in Glasgow beyond the current planned number of eight vessels.

Sweeney told me after attending the steel cutting ceremony for the future HMS Cardiff:

“It is clear that we now have a unique opportunity to create a truly international naval shipbuilding alliance with Canada and Australia with Type 26 (both countries have purchased the design) – and consideration is already being given to the development of an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the Type 26 as an eventual replacement for Type 45 – known currently as T4X.

The aspiration is to achieve continuous shipbuilding with the Type 26 programme in Glasgow beyond the current planned number of eight vessels.”

I’ve also been told that the 4X project has a nickname, ‘Project Castlemaine’. Pun intended.

What’s happening right now with the Type 26 Frigate build?

Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total with three in the first batch, the contract for the second batch will be negotiated in the coming year.

Ordering in batches is common for projects of this size around the world and was last seen with the Royal Navy for the Type 45 Destroyers and recent Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Type 45s first batch order was for three vessels for example.

The last vessel in the class is likely to be in the water by 2035.

Sections of the first Type 26, HMS Glasgow, in Govan.

When asked about what comes after the Type 26 on the Clyde, Sweeney made mention of the desire to keep building a new vessel based on the Type 26 Frigate.

“Discussions are at a very early concept stage, but the merits of continuous build using T26 as a common family was clear from my conversations with BAE directors and MOD decision makers.”

“They said they were ‘keen to make the numbers work’ on it”, he added.

The Type 45 Destroyers are expected to begin going out of service in the thirties, perfect timing given the last Type 26 Frigate is expected to be launched in 2035.

Is the Type 26 Frigate suitable for hosting the required sensors for anti-air warfare work?

The Type 45 destroyers use the SAMPSON radar with the PAAMS missile system, now referred to as ‘Sea Viper’ in UK service. SAMPSON itself is a multi-function dual-face active electronically scanned array radar produced by BAE Systems on the Isle of Wight but it’s a big, heavy and expensive piece of kit.

SAMPSON provides surveillance, target tracking and missile information and on the Type 45, the radar sits nearly 40 metres (131ft) above sea level at the top of the ship’s distinctive mast.

However, some defence commentators have expressed concerns over whether or not the Type 26 Frigate hull is capable of supporting the system and required mast.

HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 Destroyer, at sea off the Scottish coast.

Addressing this, Paul told me that the vessel is capable of being fitted with a radar mast similar to that seen onboard the Type 45 Destroyers, the mast that puts some in mind of the ‘Coneheads’ from TV.

“The Type 26 is of sufficient beam to be fitted with a tall Sampson type MFR radar mast – especially given the latest composite design options – so there is the basis to have a common hull type and family of ships: ASW, GP and AAW.”

What does this approach mean for UK shipbuilding?

In a previous discussion, Paul pointed out that the aspiration for shipbuilding in the UK according to officials, would be to have two main yards for warships. The first being the Clyde with its Type 26 frigates and an eventual replacement for the Type 45 destroyers and the second site, currently somewhat up in the air given no contract has yet been awarded, would focus on building Type 31e Frigate.

“The Ministry of Defence want to get to a position where there is a constant rolling production line of Type 26/Type 45 successor and a second production line of Type 31e – building both lines permanently. As older ships leave service or are sold abroad, new vessels enter service.”

We all remember the proposed ‘Frigate Factory’ for the Clyde, dropped by BAE after the UK Government scaled back and slowed the pace of the Type 26 Frigate build. Could such an approach finally see it built? Well, I once again asked Paul.

“This opportunity would enable the proposed ‘Frigate Factory’ or Modern Dock Hall concept to be realised, which would finally deliver the purpose-built shipyard infrastructure to maximise shipbuild efficiency, which is similar to the level of investment that is being made in Adelaide by Australia and in Halifax by Canada for their respective Type 26 frigate programmes – that will ensure that the Clyde will then be in pole position to win further export orders for third party countries which are not interested in ensuring domestic build (e.g. New Zealand) as the cost significantly reduces over time and reputation of the ship is established.”

Sweeney also discussed the Type 31e, echoing a concern that many commentators have also expressed, that the vessel may ultimately detract from the Type 26 Frigate programme.

“There is also now increasing doubt that Type 31e will ever live up to its expectations on cost, capability and delivery schedule. Perhaps it might be best to emulate what Canada and Australia are doing and focus our efforts on an increased drumbeat of Type 26 production at a purpose built national naval shipbuilding centre of excellence.”

Given the aim being aspired to for two main UK production centres for fighting ships, this would in my view make long term orders from the Government more feasible as hopefully the cost may be reduced through efficiencies that are inherent to a large, single site.

HMS Forth in build at Govan. Image by Ian Dick via flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Currently, ships are largely built in Govan and floated down the river to Scotstoun to be fully fitted out.

Such a commitment from the government in the form of more long term orders would perhaps enable BAE Systems to invest in the kind of frigate factory/modern dock hall discussed in previous years with all of this putting the industry on a more secure and sustainable footing.

It’s not a new concept either. Doing work like this would maintain relatively constant production, similar to the Arleigh Burke class in the United States which has now been in build for decades with each batch being superior to the last.

So, what does this all mean?

A Type 45 Destroyer replacement based on the Type 26 would provide a tangible means to meet the aspiration of continuously producing two standard classes of ships for the Royal Navy, allowing for a more sustainable UK shipbuilding industry.

Our terrible interpretation of how T4X might look as a mix of Type 26 and Type 45.

As I’ve said time and time again, the UK needs a better way to effectively sustain its shipbuilding industry, let’s hope we’re heading in that direction.

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Dave in Pompey

I’ve long wondered if a stretched T26 hull with MK41 silos would be a useful T45 replacement or in an ideal World provide additional AAW capability to the Fleet.


Yeah let’s hope shipbuilding gets steady constant work for decades. wouldn’t the T4x be Atleast 2000t smaller than the type 45.
And I do think we still need a smaller cheaper frigate like the 31 for gp duties, Let’s hope we get 10 of them.

Andy P

I think the ‘general purpose’ frigate has its place, as long as there’s commonality of equipment it can be cheap and useful platform. Stick a gun on the front and a vertical launch system with a couple of 30 mils, miniguns&GPMG’s and a paraffin parrot on the back and…. voila. An escort vessel for The Gulf or Guardship duties. I fear though with our budget constraints we tend to the ‘eggs in one basket’ approach, understandable maybe when you weigh things up from the bean counter view but one super dooper ship can’t be everywhere.

Gavin Gordon

Well, although quoted as circa 2K tonnes smaller, it is virtually the same length and beam as T45 – and appears at present more ‘massive; an interesting conundrum perhaps, Cam. Either, way, it’s no ‘frigate’ – outside of it’s current ASW designation.
Let us hope the MOD, et al continue with this very sensible build philosophy, particulary in a world becoming observably more unstable.
I love it when a plan (appears to) come together!

Matthew East

Not really. The weight largely comes from what a ship is fitted with and the Type 26 is still very empty in regards to the British version. The Australian version for example exact same length and beam yet will come in at 8,800+ tons with growth margin still left aside. So getting to the same displacement as the Type 45 isn’t an issue what is the issue is getting beyond that (Which is natural as you increase capabilities). While a few meters shorter an insertion of a block section could lengthen the hull (As the Koreans did with a version… Read more »

Meirion X

The Arrowhead 140 has plenty of potential as a GP frigate, with a beam of over 19.5m it could have 1 RR MT30 + other gens. installed to provide power for future laser warpons. The Arrowhead will be able to handle much greater warpon load then the present T23s, it looks like it will have a load out of the new I-SSGW missile required. This new surface warpon will become available from 2023. By procuring more then 5 Arrowhead 140s, this will give the UK the ability to meet worldwide commitments again. The Arrowhead is not ment as a replacement… Read more »


The beam of a Type 45 is 2% greater than that of the Type 26 – 400mm of a 20.8m bean to be precise.

This could easily be compensated for in the masts design/construction materials or in the very worst a reduction in mast height by 200/300mm.

I think the only area of growth margin to really consider would be the infrastructure requirement for direct energy weapons to replace CIWS.

4th watch

It will need powering up so a bit of length is essential to slot in extra power plant. Extra length also gives extra stability. All not so difficult with electric drive. T’birds are go!


in my opinion i think this is a great idea, to continue to build ships based on the type 26 hull to increase efficiency instead of building a completely different hull, the type 26 is a very capable ship and an anti air version of it is not a bad idea.


I guess a lot would surely depend upon the expected weapons fit for such a vessel expected to come into service from the mid to late 30s into the 40s and beyond no doubt. Would it be similar size or would it require a lengthened hull form I wonder to give the flexibility it might need for the type of anti air coverage (and general purpose requirements if any) that will have to go beyond the T45 one presumes. Or would sophistication and reduced crew size enable it to do all it would need within the present relative size, no… Read more »


From the Aussie and Canadian designs, we know 32 Mk41 will fit up front. Ideally, we want somewhere from 64-96 VLS to keep them relevant with foreign designs. There are 3 speculative options as I see it: 1) hull plug forwards to allow a single large VLS farm. 2) use the mission bay space aft of the funnel 3) replace the 5″ gun with more VLS It all comes down to what compromises you want to make. Option 1 gives the most capability (plus a longer hull means it’ll likely be faster as well), but it requires the most alteration.… Read more »

andy reeves

and sort out the best location for a ceptor silo for the carriers!!


Oh that’s easy, starboard rear side. If the carrier is sailing into the wind for flight ops, any smoke and debris won’t be carried over the flight deck

4th watch

If its fitted with traps or angled deck for drones that wouldn’t work.


What are the odds it will be four such ships? In terms of dimesions, there isn’t a million miles of difference between Type 45 & 26? Judging by the gestation period of the Type26 & 31’s we won’t be seeing these new ships anytime soon!

andy reeves

whatever ship, be it frigate destroyer or carrier, a simple matter always troubles me, the british ship industry doesn’t produce the ships quickly enough the worlds first battleship was built using shipbuilding techniques a hundred years ago. what’s more, they did it in 12 MONTHS!!!!! with this in mind, is it unreasonable for the clyde with modern abilities to required to produce TWO SHIPS PER YEAR?after all 4 years from start to finish for a batch 2 opv is a laugh!

James M

Andy – the shipyards are likely capable of churning ships out at a much higher rate than they do. The issue is it costs the MoD more each year, as they’d be paying for 1 or 2 full ships, as opposed to around half the cost if its 1 ship every 2 years (although this isn’t entirely accurate, slower production does increase cost somewhat, such as with the QE class). The MoD budget is assigned each year, and so the bean counters want to spread the costs so it looks like they’re saving money, even if it ends up costing… Read more »

r cummings

This is the central point ref our shipbuilding and warship procurement – money. The tight and ever-diminishing defence budget only allows for 19 escorts and there isn’t enough money to equip these fully. There seems zero prospect of getting more money from this HMG. While the yards could build two or three escorts a year, we can only afford one. That one needs to be split between (currently) Govan and Rosyth. Which means not enough work for the yards, greater cost per ship, not enough escorts for the Navy – and so no chance of a ‘frigate factory’ in the… Read more »


Scottish politician recommends T31 be cancelled and all warships be built in Scotland.

Hard to believe. I’m shocked.


They haven’t a clue the SNP!


What happens if Scotland moves for independence were and what happens to the building of ships then?


Build the new destroyer in the north east and a batch of 31s in Plymouth to provide resilience and competition

Steve H

It’ll be the death of the Scottish shipbuilding industry if wee Krankie gets her own way, that will cost Scotland a lot of jobs and the people will be even more annoyed with her.
With the potential of ongoing work for decades at the shipyards for the Royal Navy, it will severely dent the Scottish economy but eh…. she knows best of course…..

Meirion X

Th SNP and other left’s, seem to keep echoing Putin’s lines, to keep the RN as small as possible!

andy reeves



TBH I would rather the focus was on Type 45 having a mid life refurb with the full length vertical tubes fitted than a rush to build their successor.


Well if the build date you indicate is taken as fact and notably dates dictated by the last of the last T26 builds then the in service lifespan of the T45s would look to be well short of for example the T23s (from 89 I believe so already up to 30 years old) and I suspect the proposed lifespan for the T26s. So he has a point on those bare indicators. However maybe the T45s (or some at least) would be retained for a while or the build times for the T4X would be extremely slow before they actually come… Read more »

Glass Half Full

The T23’s are actually operating way longer than intended. In consequence the longer life is driving the expensive refits. The NSS highlighted this as a problem, recommending shorter in service life with the RN and then selling on in order to maintain a cost effective build schedule.


The T45s will have been in service almost 30yrs on the timeline in this article.
I think we should bin mid-life refits and build new ships every 8mths, selling at around 18yo, giving a constant modern fleet of 27. 13 Type 31s.




Good move MoD. replace the Type 45 with a larger Type 26 and then design and build a 6 ship anti-ballistic missile, anti-surface, land attach, anti submarine Cruiser in the 12,000 tons class. If done within the next 10 years in conjunction with the Type 31e Frigate, this will enable the Royal navy to increase it surface / escort fleet to a more sustainable size. My suggestion is 4-6 of the new cruisers; 5 of the new Type 4x destroyers; 8 Type 26 Frigates and 8 Type 31e. In addition refurbish and maintain 4 of the current Type 45 and… Read more »


That’s a hell of a wish list. I suppose we all enjoy to to build these ‘fantasy football teams’ of Fleet characteristics but the funding isn’t there for even half of what you’d like. I’m getting a little confused really as to what constitutes a frigate/destroyer/cruiser these days with the Type 23 and 26 both being heavier than a Type 42 and bigger than what much of NATO calls a destroyer. Then you have China with the Type 055 calling it a destroyer when it’s armament is in the same class as a Ticonderoga. If you’re worried about the timetabling… Read more »


I work with commonwealth sailors, they arent always the reliable type. Out of a ten year contract i expect you would only get about 3 or 4 years of sea service from them

Paul T

The Italians are looking at a future Large Destroyer type ship (DDX) there might be a chance of a tie -in.


Sounds as if the RN is looking at the same type of hull extension program that the USN is doing with the ABs. As long as the hull can adapt to changing size, power generation, and weapons fit then why not? Size wise I’m sure that hull plugs for both beam and length can be engineered if a larger hull size is required although this would probably require a more powerful propulsion fit to meet battle force speed requirements.



It would be interesting to know what the max number of VL silo’s would be on the T4X if they used the mission bay for additional cells.

We could be talking over 100 cells which wouldn’t be far off the Ticonderoga class. We all know the treasury would ensure it was fitted for but not with. But its still a good option.


Interestingly, the Tico’s and DDGs have such large magazines of missiles because they have to fire at least a salvo 3 at a supersonic target. you soon get through them at that rate.
Viper, and indeed Ceptor, being active and much more modern, do not need that rate of fire for similar targets. So UK magazines are effectively “deeper” than the paper number when compared to the USN.


That may have been true in the past. The reason for using the twin missiles approach is that the older missiles used semi-active radar homing. Even Patriot uses twin missiles to take out targets. This is one of the reasons why the Tornado was shot down during the Gulf war. The pilot managed to evade the first missile, but in doing so got struck by the second – just don’t mention IFF and itchy fingers. The ship’s semi-active homing missiles rely on reflections off the target that has been transmitted by its tracking radar. As the target manoeuvres, the reflections… Read more »


That’s all very well, but lets get some hulls in the water first!


Yes, and build 8 of them to replace the 6 Type 45s.


Well here’s an idea. Why not replace a Type 45 with …. A new updated Type 45. Leave the GA alone and update the equipment as required (i.e. with all the additions and amendments made to the existing Type 45.). This would be cheapest option to replace the Type 45. The Royal Navy will then have three Standard Classes of Ship (Type 45, Type 26 and Type 31) allowing for a more sustainable UK Shipbuilding Industry. Build the updated Type 45’s at Cammell Laird, Type 31 at Appledore and build the Type 26 on the Scotstan. Each yards design team… Read more »


Where would the money come from. This to me is pie in the sky.

Richard Prust

It’s not pie in the sky, if we like it or not the Type 45 will need replacement and soon by navy ship design standards. The first of class has been in the water for 15 years. 10 years life left tops. It would take 3 years to build a new Type 45 and most of the equipment could be moved from the vessel being decommissioned. If the concept of 4x above is adopted it’s a basically a new design, all the ga will change, hydro Dynamics plus stability that’s very very expensive work. Plus it takes upto 10years to… Read more »

Ian B

To be perfectly honest, all three services have their hands out at present. HMG will have no option, with the worlds newer threats and general rearmament, but to increase its military budget, especially as the UK looks away from the EU towards the “Five Eyes” Alliance which will require it to cover more of the globe as a truer Blue Water Navy it used to be up to the 1990’s cuts. What’s not discussed is the impact of technology. Take the mast and radar, as ships have a towed array, a “drone” type tether could extend the ships radar and… Read more »

Matthew east

The problem with that is you have 3 different yards building 3 different ships and not one of them building enough to make it sustainable long term. The teams at those 3 different yards would become redundant to needs at end of the build and laid off. A decade later new people would be hired and a premium paid to restart it all over. The RN doesn’t have the scale any more to support so many yards. Even australia with 12 major surface combatants will only be building them at one yard and a smaller yard for the OPV’s and… Read more »


That’s a fair point, I’d been planning on asking the same thing. If the T45 is the larger hull form, why not use that as the basis rather than the T26? I know that the T26 is technically a bit newer, but can’t imagine the design is that much more advanced? Would it not be reasonable though, to use the T45 for the T4X and then T26 for T2X? T31 in its Arrowhead 140 form is a great option for GP frigate, but I’m still not sure how many other countries will buy it. Maybe licencing the T26 design to… Read more »


Isn’t the point that a T26 is designed from keel up as a quality AS ship, whilst the T45 is a dedicated AA ship. Simply putting sonar on a T45 would not work.


Yes, you’re absolutely right. My apologies, I’ve re-read my post and it’s not as clear as I meant it to be. I was commenting on suggestions that the T26 could be used for a future replacement to the T45 as well as be updated to replace itself in the ASW role. I was suggesting that, due to its greater size, the T45 makes sense as a platform for development for the future AAW destroyer (T4X). As you correctly point out, an AAW destroyer doesn’t need the extra quiet hull and propulsion stuff that an ASW platform has, which reinforces the… Read more »


Sounds like a policitican mixing wishful thinking and trying to buy votes in one swoop.

The whole similar setup to the t45, tells me actually he means it can’t support it and would need to be something less substantial. Wish comes back to wishful thinking.

Would be good if they had a long term plan in mind but I highly doubt it, especially with the concerns around Scottish independence.


Certainly can’t see Bae giving any go ahead to a ‘Frigate Factory’ any time soon, or in Scotland any time at all forseeably, unless the Independence movement goes decidedly in reverse. Would be mad to invest heavily there for the foreseeable.

Richard Prust

Well here’s an idea. Why not replace a Type 45 with …. A new updated Type 45. Leave the GA alone and update the equipment as required (i.e. with all the additions and amendments made to the existing Type 45.). This would be cheapest option to replace the Type 45. The Royal Navy will then have three Standard Classes of Ship (Type 45, Type 26 and Type 31) allowing for a more sustainable UK Shipbuilding Industry. Build the updated Type 45’s at Cammell Laird, Type 31 at Appledore and build the Type 26 on the Scotstan. Each yards design team… Read more »


T4X should be a competitive process much like the Type 31e.

If Arrowhead 140 is successful, the odds are T4X would go to an up-gunned Arrowhead 180 or something similar. Say they’re twice the cost.

Could double the AAW fleet.


Would be interesting to know how that competitive process is going, it seems from the outside that the MOD has a price and spec in mind that is massively dis-aligned with what industry can provide for the small numbers being purchased.

Meirion X

I do like the Arrowhead, plenty of capacity for upgrades. Would be better to have IEP integrated from the start of build.


I have been told many, many times that ship*building* is one thing, but the UK also needs to maintain ship *design* authority.

This does not come from continually reusing the same hull for everything… however advantageous it is for economies of scale.

It’s a difficult balance.


Good point

Gavin Gordon

If you’ve a good basic hull design, why not continue to use it? Plently of opportunity to exercise your skills in adapting to requirements, as already touched on in earlier comments.


Yup, plenty of design elsewhere.


Well if we’d stuck to the original plan of a single hull design to provide 8 ASW frigates and 5 GP frigates (aka Type 26 Project) then we’d already have in place what this MP suggests, whilst still having the T45’s in service. Instead that got cut under that buffoon Cameron, and we got the Type 31e Project instead. The Type 31e design might sell, though it’s going to be very difficult for it to match the Type 26 design’s export success. As for export sales to other nations, I doubt we’ll sell a single Type 31e except for those… Read more »


I disagree, I think we will get exports for the Type 31.


At the £250m price point they’ll be popular in South East Asia.


I think you need to look at that market more carefully. Unless the Pound plummets, that price is way too high. The only one who finds it cheap will probably go for the Type 26/4x.

Would need to do a LOT of lobbying to break the plans of those with long term license deals.


I would have to agree with IwanR. Especially when you would be competing against the Chinese and South Koreans. At best you could hope for sales of Licensed-built ships at local South East Asian shipyards.


It would be great to see this kind of forward planning realised. If SAMPSON and a credible number of VLS tubes can be fitted to the T26 platform, then this would be great. Personally I would try and speed up the T26 build and be able to bring the T4X hulls into service so they operate alongside the existing T45s, but I know this is wishful thinking. It would be nice to be able lock in future ship numbers and adapting existing types where possible saves a lot of time. However, given the frequent twists and turns in the frigate… Read more »


Don’t forget the sherbert

Meirion X

I very much think the era of lasers and rail guns will soon be with us in a decades time. Warships will need greater power generation capacity for these new warpons of the future. Yes the RN will also need Zumwalt type vessels in the future.


In which case, would the CODLOG system of the T26 be enough to handle it? Or would we need to up-power it, maybe switch to an IEP solution and how difficult will that be? Or would it be better to build a brand new laser weapon ship type that would form part of a task force alongside the T26/T45/T4X?

Meirion X

Your future escort (DDG) will need laser warpons for short range defence, making CAMM and Aster 15 obsolete. Maybe Aster 30 still might be useful, but uses becoming obsolete in 2040s. The future escort will still need warpons like Perseus.
A IEP solution is a certainly for a future escort vessel. It could look like a Zumwalt amd needing 70+ Mwatts of power.


I’m not as expert as most on this site but in my opinion, there seems little if no difference between a destroyer and a frigate. I understand that the shockingly small Royal Navy has no cruisers or corvettes which is beyond belief.


It varies from fleet to fleet, but in the RN destroyers are larger, air defence platforms, whereas frigates are smaller ASW/GP vessels.

Cruisers and Corvettes fulfill two roles that the RN doesn’t currently need. Modern cruisers are basically big destroyers with enhanced flagship facilities (and the RN definitely doesn’t need more command platforms given its size). Corvettes are coastal defence ships, and there aren’t any really any threats to the UK that are best countered by those


Thank you for this information. Very kind.


Been banging on about this for 3+ years now so glad to see common sense may be prevailing. I would go further and build the first batch with the Sampson replacement and be done with it. Moving the artisan onto T31. As for VLS I think we can go with 24 Mk41 Strike length and then 48 Mk41 tactical length VLS, this will provide one hell of a capability, with 24 x Aster30/NT, 96 Sea Ceptor and a selection of 24 Tomahawks or JSM’s etc. 144 missile load out is very sensible and provides massive flexibility. The benefits of the… Read more »

Steve Curtis

Pessimist that I am, SDSR 2015 – at least 19 Destroyers/Frigates. 8 Type 26, 5 Type 31e, 6 Type 45 = 19 – what new build? Argument will be the Navy got an extra 5 OPV’s…..). Mid 2030’s, shipbuilding in yet another crisis.


I honestly don’t think things can get any lower number wise than they are unless corbyn gets elected. Even then I think ships would increase they just won’t carry any weapons and they will be for humanitarian relief efforts of some sort. Prob painted white too.


Now that the contributing nations orders are coming to an end,the Eurofighters sticker price has fallen through floor.Bae systems, I am calling your bluff, with all the development costs amortized,the learning curve summitted and all the advantages in critical mass coming from the Canadian and Australian orders the price of another couple of type 26 should be about half, what can you do? Should the greedy bastards surprise me, this is the way to go, the type 31e is a dreadful plan as it meets non of our strategic objectives, being designed abroad and panic built in small numbers by… Read more »

Meirion X

The Above comment by G, is a Degrade of the usual comments we get on this site.

It is Utter Garbage!

This Anti-British Troll has the Cheek to post on here! With No shame!

I hope the Editor takes note!

A. Smith

I name this ship ‘Type 46′.

They will be produced after the six Type 26 are completed. The type ’46’ should have static radar and we can could sell the design to the Americans as an Arleigh Burke replacement.


6? More like 8.

Unless you are of the mind that only 6 will be built.

Meirion X


Troll G, was BANNED from Save The Royal Navy webblog a few weeks ago for disruptive and insulting behaviour and disrespect for ex-service men/women.
His comments are mostly disinformation!


Perhaps your idiot SAS wannabe freinds might turn up here as well.

Daniel John Powell

Great move, if it is actually happened. 6x Type 45 update with laser defence also 2 change missiles Aster-15 with Camm and replace aster 30 with Anti ICBM defence aster block 2 missiles or other type Rim-161 standard 3 aka sm-3 and boat around UK to protect or fleet protection from ICBM or anti ship ICBM would be sense. And additional of 6x t4x for basic fleet air defence destoryer with quad pack camm and with aster-30 (or quad pack meteor SAM version if we go for it for number of missiles) This will be better and strength royal navy… Read more »

Meirion X

For Anti ICBM defence to work, a aster 30 missile will need to be launched when a ICBM is in its boost phases, so relatively close to a launch site. So a intercepter missile can reach and destroy the ‘Warhead Bus’ at ‘post boost’ before the release of warheads.
It would be very difficult to destroy individual warheads raining down at hypersonic speed.
A T45 would need to be much further afield, then around the coast line of the UK, to be effective anti
ICBM system.

Daniel John Powell

Ah it is a reason USA pushed other countries to set up around closer to Russia. Ie Poland and Turkey, Korea, Japan?

So there no anti ICBM defence against to hypersonic warhead?

That make a sense for British don’t purses focus ICBM beside anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) so aster 30 block 2 can do this job?

Sm-3 is should able cos they reach much long range than aster 30 block 2.

Is dragonfire laser can solve this problem but what range it can go? Depend power generation? So rail gun can shot down ICBM?

Meirion X

Daniel your questions are mainly right, presently there is No anti ICBM defence against a hypersonic warhead coming down to earth. One propose of the development of Rail Guns, is for more effective ICBM defences. But you would not want to hit warheads with hypersonic projectiles, it will split them open with radioactive contents. So a rail gun would need to fire a projectile to hypersonic speed at the ICBM, maybe at it’s guidance unit, the fuel tank should explore too, or the ‘warhead bus’ to dislocate it, the warheads would still reenter atmosphere, but far off target, they most… Read more »


I’m pretty certain that a hyper-sonic sabot fired from a rail gun will not activate a nuclear weapon. It will not have the fully surrounding compressive force to initiate fission/fusion. The sabot may have the mass to punch through the plutonium/uranium ball which may cause it to “fizzle” rather go reactive and basically turn it intro a dirty bomb.
A significant number of rounds will need to fired to guarantee a hit however.

Daniel John Powell

Meirion X and Dave, thanks.

It is would be hard to get target to hit in accurate in very very highly speed even with guidance.

Gosh if hit wrong place will turn radioactive cloud in high attitude all over it is will be worse than impact as would spread every where.

So win-win for who attackers use this ..

Meirion X

Daniel, Nuclear warheads have being dropped accidentally by aircraft, and in aircraft crashing in the past, they did not explode. The warpons have safety switches that prevent them exploding when in the wrong location. So nuclear weapons falling on the wrong location don’t usually explode, other classified means of preventing them exploding might be employed.


Some of those dropped bombs very nearly exploded apparently.

Meirion X

Not true, the high-voltage battery was not activated, so could Not power the neutron generator to detonate the primary bomb, also it had no tritium booster(liquid), not injected, due to it Not being armed. Modern nuclear bombs will have classifed methods of arming and disarming nuclear weapons.


Well I deliberately said “apparently”. But, as I am guessing you know, 2 bo7mbs were dropped on North Carolina in the ’60s. One fell without it’s parachute and on landing went into the armed position. Obviously it did no go off, but not without first trying! And LOTS of nuclear bombs have been dropped accidentally … all over the place. And that just the ones from America that we know about.

But apologies, I have wondered of topic. Best for us to remain sanguine about the matter.


Not quite, If a Plutonium “football” gets hit by a rail-gun round, either it will be smashed apart into small chunks or get vaporised. If the football is vaporised the radiation will be highly dispersed and will only generate a slightly higher background radiation count. If the football falls as chunks, yes these will be very radioactive, but they will be highly localised.
The dirty bomb concept is to spread highly localised radiation over a smallish area. It is perceived as an area denial weapon. Unlike a full nuclear explosion which pretty much destroys everything depending on its yield.


What a good idea, Oh wait I’ve been saying that for ages, take the T26 lenghen it by 10-15 meters forward of the bridge and a T45 electronic fit, possibly retaining the T26 sonar suite, anti air, anti ship should be either the 56xMk41 or 56xA-70 in the bows, retaining the T26 midship Sea Ceptor. Possibly upgraded turbines might be needed. What a good CV escort ship it would be, in theory it should be more cost effective than the T26 or T45 as it will be using current designs and technology with upgrade, so nothing really new would be… Read more »

Meirion X

ASW warships trend to sit low in the water, particularly the stern, while destroyers sit high in the water like the T45. Any attempt to convert a frigate into a destroyer needs to be thought through thoroughly! As I said in a earlier post, power requirements for future warpons like rail guns will be much greater, so a larger hull for power generation capacity in that area of midship as well.
So obviously, current systems will become obsolete in the next two decades.


What on earth are you talking about?Perhaps they could let some water in to make it sit lower.
Type 45 is already a mobile power station, it dosnt work like that.


I do not know about waterline issues etc… but power generation for modern weapons must i deed surely be important.

Meirion X

Just to clarify the water line issue, I mean that ASW vessels seem to have shallow sterns, most likely to access TSA, which might not be useful to a destroyer because of centre of gravity issues(CoG).
Mast head height and weight will also affect the CoG of a destroyer, which has to be balanced out in another section of the ship.
Most likely why the T45 has a deep stern.


The Mast Head height is the key matter. With increasing missile speeds you need to increase the radar horizon, that means get the array higher! If T26 can handle this, then an acoustically silent AAW destroyer/frigate can only be a good thing. If not then we need a better design or newer technology to defeat the hypersonic missile threat.


Ok, I am going to shoot myself down in flames here. Rooney, you are correct in that the SAMPSON would need to be 90-100ft above the waterline, the beam of the T26 and T45 has a 40 cm diffrence it does not sound much but does make a big diffrence. I have not seen the SAMPSON array but from the little technical specs I have been able to find it would seem that the array will also need a coolant as it generates 25kw (25 steam irons) of energy which means heat. It might also mean the wave guide would… Read more »


There has been a lot of discussion of the future development of the Sampson radar. As it stands the dual faced radar placed high on the T45 will give a faster detection time of a sea skimming missile compared to static panels. The radar rotates once every 2 seconds which with the dual antenna faces gives a much better near real-time picture of what is happening around the ship. As threats get faster, the radar will need to memorise where the missile was last seen and predict where it will be when the beam sweeps off the target i.e. in… Read more »


Davey B, thanks for that, learnt a lot.
You said that SAMPSON does not require a wave guide, then how does the signal get from the array to the processing unit?
I’m not trying to be stupid with my question, I work or worked in comms mostly micro wave radio relay links/ tropo links so I aplied that tech to the radar system.
I like the idea of the combined Sampson and the SMART L MM into a single mast. That should save deck lenght meaning that the future DDG4X would not need to grow to much in size.


Microwave ground data networks operate in a similar way to PESA radar. However, in an AESA radar, all the high power elements are contained within the antenna array assembly, hence why there is no waveguide. There will be monster power cables though, for the transmitter side of the element. The frequency creation and amplification is done within the TR module. This allows for more “creativity” on how the waveform is created, but also allows it to almost instantaneously switch from one style to another or change its centre frequency within the band. This is one of the reasons why AESA… Read more »

Simon m

For what little I know it sounds good to me would make a impressive looking beast as well!

Meirion X

Thank also for this info!

Mick Nicholson

CEAFAR is S band (although an L band version is in development). It is much lower power than Sampson, SPY-1 or SPY-6thogh and that hurts ECCM. It should be noted that Sampson is over 20 years old and I’d based on high power solid state technology that has developed enormously (mostly for mobile phone systems). I’d be surprised if a lower weight, easier to cool version couldn’t be produced with a 6 face fixed system.

Mick Nicholson

Sampson is an active radar, there are no wave guides.

David Broome

I am fascinated that New Zealand is mentioned in relation to the Type-26. The extant MEKO based ANZAC class are undergoing Mid-Life’s and will serve into the 2030s; confirmed by the 2019 Defence Capability Plan. The Type-26, while ideal for the Pacific are also a Tier 1 capacity when our existing frigates are general purpose (GP); the ubiquitous ‘built for but not with’ towed sonar array and SSMs. The longest range weapon in the entire New Zealand Defence Force are the Penquins delivered with Australia’s failed Seasprite programme (which New Zealand made work). The upshot is that a Type-26 in… Read more »


Arrowhead is based on a ship with similar radars to the T45 and more silos.

Granted the Mk 56 isn’t the Mk 41. But there’s also scope to replace one of the superfiring guns with another silo farm.

All this at a quarter of the original price point.

More Escorts, more SSN’s – and more F35’s. Better accommodation for service families – this is the opportunity cost.

David Broome

I see where you are going but the Arrowhead is ideal as a GP frigate with the potential to become a high end war fighter if needed. It would be wrong, I believe, to use it as a basis for a T45 replacement given the hull is designed in the 2000s whereas the T26 Hull is a generation later. The RAN’s Hobart Class AAW Destroyer is basically similar in weight to the T26 and packs a 48-cell Mk41 VLS. That’s why it makes sense to re-use its hull for the T45 successor. I do agree with you that those who… Read more »

Major Bob

Unless NZ ups it’s paltry defence expenditure of around 1% GDP! Time for NZ to stand up and get to at least 2% of GDP instead of relying on other nations to do all the heavy lifting.

David Broome

You have no argument from me on that score given the Christchurch Earthquake and the more recent Kaikoura event showed that we need more vessels, more aircraft and more boots. At least the current Minister gets that and has been able to get 4 x P8A’s, 5 x C130J’s and a low-mileage vessel to provide Hydrographic and Diving Capability as well as support for LPD’s (that I hope will become LHD’s). What’s missing are: RNZN – Another frigate with towed sonar arrays and Naval Strike Missiles for all surface combatants, an Icebreaking OPV for the deep south with coaxial LMM,… Read more »


I believe that will cause us to create even less ships if we get rid of dedicated destroyers.

Levi Goldsteinberg

May just as well do the opposite; a significantly cheaper hull thanks to existing expertise and economies of scale, with a quicker production time and a proven power plant and sea worthiness. May even allow for an increase in the number of destroyers hulls

Levi Goldsteinberg

The TAX class? Crikey, guess the Treasury has already poked its fingers into the project


The RN would do well to open broader development discussions on an AWD destroyer version of the Type 26 with the RCN, who intend for a handful (3?) of their 15 Type 26s to be a dedicated AWD variant, to recover that capability lost with the previous retirement of the RCN Iroquois-class destroyers.

Steve Rose

Whether they use a stretched T26 hull or something different, in the meantime we should make the most out of our 6 Type 45 destroyers and arm them to the teeth. I think 48 surface to air missiles per ship may be enough but what they really need is OFFENSIVE weaponry. The greatest defence is attack so fit strike length VLS and arm them with NSM until Perseus is ready. Can NSM be put into quad packs like Harpoon, if that makes it any cheaper? I’d rather see them fitted with only 8 missiles than none at all. With only… Read more »


Yes, NSM can be canister launched. Last year the US Navy bolted some on the rear of the USS Coronado.

Meirion X

In the late nineties the MoD procured 900 Storm Shadows, these warpons can be converted to SCALP,
Storm Shadow + booster, which can be fired from Sylver A-70 cells.

Steve Rose

Storm Shadow would be great against land-based targets but not as an anti-ship missile. For that I think NSM would be best. It can be fit into strike-length VLS tubes or quad-packed which would be cheaper.

A modified version can also be fitted to the F35, providing us with an airborne and ship borne platform for offensive anti ship weapons.

I’d also say we should set up the Typhoon to be able to carry and fire NSM as well so in times of war we can strike any approach enemy ships close to the UK.

Simon m

Unfortunately, I don’t think T45 will get offensive weaponary the reason for that is they will spend most of their life life tied to an aircraft carrier with massive offensive capability. The F35 will hopefully get a dedicated anti ship missile, but will definitely have SPEAR 3 which will be Capable of anti-ship ops. This is looking increasingly likely by the make up of the I-SSGW which is currently being allocated to T 23 towed array only. If I was to arm the T45 I would choose TLAM due to it’s range it can prepare the ground for air strikes… Read more »

Mr Rhubarb Rhubarb

What might be better from export POV is an AEGIS Version. Also more likely to get ongoing investment to Keep it ip to date than PAAMS


I am all for this concept in some ways as it would make sense to reuse an excellent Hull with built in acoustic quietening. However, the T4x will be coming on line in the mid 2030’s and the demands on the Hull are only going to grow: To match peers missile silo numbers will have to grow significantly, as will weapons types. Rail guns will be coming online and are very large by the looks of it and require enormous energy production. Lasers will be common place by then, and I would expect a destroyer to have one if not… Read more »

Meirion X

I Very much agree with you T.S


I agree with concerns about size required for appropriate energy generation and storage capacity; both the rate of generation and the storage capacity will be important – storage relatively local to the weapons to be able to meet the near-instantaneous energy discharge required for a shot and rate of generation so that the storage can be recharged as quickly as possible after firing to deal with swarm attacks. The two factors are somewhat inter-related; if local energy storage is enough to power multiple weapon firings that allows at least a limited salvo without needing to care about power regeneration rate… Read more »


This has been something that seemed common sense for a very long time (I’ve banged on about it for ages, as right at the inception of the t26 BAE have marketed it as having a high end AAW option and a number of senior RN types advocated it). The US are officially coming around to the whole paradigm a bit before us in that hull form seems to have hit a sweet spot and lots of RD/changes and buckets of money in that area is not producing significant gains for the cost. That’s why the US after spending buckets has… Read more »

Meirion X

I have come to a opinion, that a future DGG, based on the present size of the Type 26 hull, will Not be bigger enough to accommodate future power generation capacity, maybe 2 RR MT30’s + other gens., to meet the future warpon system power requirements e.g rail gun, and multiple lasers guns. To compare, the USN’s Zumwalt destroyer has 2 RR MT30 turbine-generaters installed. I think the stern also needs to be deep as a T45.
I very much think, the writing is on the wall, of what this points to, Zumwalt type vessels.


Look,it just dosnt work like that, you only need power instantaneously, you need a super capacitor.
Zumwalt is completely useless and has bankrupted the USN.There are no shells available for its guns, never mind directed energy weapons.

Meirion X

Please Ignore the previous poster, Troll G who was BANNED from the STRN webblog for bad behaviour.

His Trade is Disinformation!

That previous comment may mean our adversaries do not want us to have such warpons as I have commented on.




Picking up on a comment in this article and linking to the article on the market for naval radar systems. Surely a focus should be to invest in light weight mast and radar design now. It allows the T4x concept to progress but also could allow the UK to capture a share of the 15b market for naval radar systems.


So, no takers on my bonkers idea, then? If you missed it, my idea for a AAW T4X hull would be to extend the T26’s length, which would enable the installation of additional VLS cells. Admittedly, this would upset its stability, as the beam would be too narrow. As it would be next to impossible to add additional beam by the form of plugs without significantly upsetting the ship’s speed. To compensate for this, my thoughts would be to add outriggers to each side to create a quasi-trimaran. This would significantly increase the ship’s stability allowing the carried weight to… Read more »

Meirion X

DaveyB, your idea may have to be trialed usind scaled down models of a type 26 frigate. Any modellers on here!




Meirion X, if I remember correctly the RN did trial a trimaran I think she was called RV Triton, I’m not sure but I think she is hanging around somewhere in the South of England. Don’t really know what happened to her after 2015.

Meirion X

Ron, she was moored at Great Yarmouth unit July, now been moved to Hull, in Alexandra Dock.
She is owned by Gardline. She is due to be sold again over the next year.

Simon m

I think it was used by the Americans to help validate some of the plans for littoral combat ship. We probably deemed it too expensive to pursue especially for bigger ship designs


I don’t think you’d even need to extend the hull; it would be a better solution to lose space in the mission bay (perhaps to combine it with the hangar space) to get a 24 cell mk41 silo amidships, which with the existing 24 cell CAMM and 24 cell mk41 fore would be more than enough.

Meirion X

I would not be surprise, that Mk.41 vls to become obsolete from mid 2030s, be be replaced with something else. It has been around since mid 1980s.


A general nautical question which could be related to the T4X requirement. The two LCS designs both use Roll-Royce’s water jets for propulsion. I appreciate that it will allow the ship to operate in shallower water. But does it have any other advantage over a traditional well manufactured propeller?
I think I remember that one of the supercats that operated from Weymouth damaged the harbour wall due to its waterjets.


if the government is serious about the fleet expansion, then its good to see a forward looking programme which, i hope will not decend into the same farce as whats going on with the type 26, now we’re in the same game withe t31 whatever the outcome the u.k should not just look ahead at expansion, but also how fast can it be achieved, the rate at which warships can be produced, i’ve always thought that not enough emphasis has been given to build rate.a lot of the work for building in modular work can be done at any factory… Read more »

Simon m

Although very unlikely, considering the American aircraft carrier group protection is based around the Ticonderoga class if the uk were to mirror this 2-3 T26 cruiser variants could create a command vessel with a powerful armaments both air, surface and subsurface. Each one virtually tied to QE class allowing other escort vessels of the task group to leave and do independent tasks. The RN I believe considered this with the last carrier project and the Type 82. If a 3rd was built it could be ideal for an ARG. Be nice but probably pie in the sky! In terms of… Read more »

Meirion X

@Simon m
Only one Type 82 was built, out of 4 planned , the others were cancelled after CV1 carrier project was cancelled. T82 would of been classed as a cruiser
In its day.
If you lengthen the hull of the T45 it will affect the beam ratio, to length, and this will affect the stability of the ship.
Sorry to disappoint you!

Simon m

They lengthened the t42 with no issues?

Meirion X

The Type 42 did not have a very heavy tall radar like Simpson, or a VLS. Batch 3 T42s were lengthened by 13m and beam increase by 0.6m, Compared to Batch 1&2s. T42s did suffer from hull creaking.


First & foremost an adaptive T26 Frigate aka the T4X concept would be a step backword’s ,smaller ,lighter & most of all less capable , after all the increased need for missile space or a reduction in capability & since the T45 destroyer is already restricted in it’s capability due to restricted missile carrage the whole thing becomes even more desastrous outcome . then we come to the whole problem of the T26 frigate a ship designed around an all purpose , multi role disaster relief/aid ,litteral combat , assualt landing/support , anti sub hunter ,ocean combat vessel etc etc… Read more »


Personally, this is how i think we should be shipbuilding. Rather than having to develop a hull, layout, pathways, etc for each class, why not develop a single hullform for that generation of frigates; primarily as ASW as that role is more critical for the hull but with fore thought of the minor adaptions required for AAW. Someone pointed out that this could reduce the design work and could lead to loss of skills/jobs, and it would if we asked them to build a standard hull each generation of frigates. But I disagree, this enables us to ask for more… Read more »


Personally I believe it will be a new hull in practice. BAE may use the 26 hull form as some sort of technical reference the same way the Astute started out as “Growth Trafalgar class”. But by the time you’ve widened it lengthened it fitted an extra 24 silos minimum provided for the Sampson mast and power and cooling plus growth margin, it will in reality be new. Not DDX new but still a definite evolution rather than a re-use.
Which is not a bad thing IMHO, as long as the RAN are on the same page.

Roger Sharp

Just to say, I’ve found this thread very helpful and most informative. It’s unusual to see such a high level of informed debate. Defence procurement is a ghastly thing to get right for so many reasons. Predicting the future is a mugs game. Predicting exactly who and what threat is the priority to combat is virtually impossible in the current geo-political situation, let alone that of the future. It does occur that there is much talk of ships being “more capable” than their predecessors, but that must always be the case given the length of service involved. No matter how… Read more »


Firstly , let’s remember that our Type 45s are the envy of many navies – they are extremely capable, and any replacement should be an enlarged version with a greater weapons load out and a greater number of hulls. Sampson with Astor is reckoned by serious experts to be better than Aegis and the SM2……that’s a major plus for the RN. Type 26 is a Frigate – keep it that way. Our new AAW Destroyer needs to be bigger and better than the vessel its replacing.


A lot of posters have assumed that the next Destroyer needs to be bigger than the Type 45’s. I would agree that it needs to be better, as it will need to deal with an environment 30+ years on from when the Type 45 was designed, and the threats that the Type 45 was envisaged countering. I don’t necessarily see that it needs to be BIGGER though. Type 45’s (and Type 23’s even) are, by the definitions I use, technically Cruisers already, as is the Type 26 that we are building. Mast height IS important, and that has implications on… Read more »

Steve R

And more of them!

John Godden

As an Australian, when I looked at the type 26 frigates it immediately occurred to me that the multi mission bay amidships could also be used for housing extra VLS capability, so turning them into a guided missile frigate or a destroyer was certainly an option. I have every confidence that if GB goes ahead with modifying the design as AWDs then Australia will do likewise. We only have three AWDs in a very challenging strategic environment.
Any chance you could lease us an Aircraft Carrier? ( A couple of submarines would come in handy too! )