The fate of HMS Westminster, a Type 23 frigate, was a focal point of discussion in a recent Defence Select Committee session.

The deliberations featured Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse and Admiral Sir Ben Key and shed light on the challenges of maintaining an aging fleet amid transitioning to newer vessels.

During the session, Mark Francois MP raised concerns about the longevity and maintenance of Type 23 frigates, particularly HMS Westminster. He highlighted the extensive time and cost involved in refitting such vessels, questioning the economic viability of refitting HMS Westminster, given its advanced age and condition. Mr. Francois pointed out that “Some of them [Type 23 frigates] will have to serve for 35 years in order to make everything fit, and that is way beyond their service life.”

In response to inquiries about the status of HMS Westminster, Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse acknowledged the challenges but clarified that “Work continues today with Westminster in preparation for her upkeep. No decisions have been made.”

The discussion also touched on the broader issue of fleet renewal. Admiral Sir Ben Key addressed the balancing act between maintaining operational fleet capabilities and transitioning to newer ships. He noted, “It is going to be a minimum of four years to refit Westminster, we think, but that work is going on at the moment. That takes us to 2027.”

Mr. Francois also expressed frustration at the slow pace of shipbuilding and refitting, suggesting a more efficient approach. He criticised the prolonged refit times, asserting, “Four years to refit a frigate—even by British standards, you could build one from scratch in as much time.”

“There are strong rumours that HMS Westminster will not be refitted, because she is in such a poor condition. She is so old—poor thing—after many years’ loyal service to the Crown that you have written her off, because it is not economical to repair her, so we are down to 16 [escorts] for the next few years.”

Back in September, I reported that Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster’s refit and future status had sparked queries in the House of Commons. The Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, John Healey, sought clarification on the vessel’s status and the plans for its modernisation.

HMS Westminster played a significant role in Operation Atlantic Thunder 22 in September 2022, where it discharged two Harpoon missiles in collaboration with US forces, leading to the sinking of the decommissioned US frigate, USS Boone.

Regarding the status of HMS Westminster, John Healey asked the Secretary of State for Defence, “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the status of HMS Westminster is; and whether his Department has made a decision on modernisation.”

In response, James Cartlidge, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, stated, “HMS Westminster remains in Devonport dockyard and is part of a modernisation programme being implemented to all Type 23s that are in upkeep. We do not disclose the fine detail of forward availability forecasts to preserve the operational security of the Fleet.”

Adding to this context, HMS Westminster was recently moved from the Frigate Support Centre to 4 Basin in Devonport. This move, likely for a long-term lay-up, signalled a possible decision on its disposal.

This development followed reports from 2023 suggesting that the ship’s intended two-year refit, started in October 2022 to extend its service until 2028-29, was abandoned. The decision was attributed to prohibitive costs and the deteriorating condition of the vessel.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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John Manger
John Manger (@guest_766119)
6 months ago

What do their lordships mean behind ‘not disclosing fine detail’? Is the Type 23 prone to overmuch maintenance ? Does it ‘break’ more easily than it should. Is it a poor design from a maintenance perspective? Was maintainability designed in?

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_766173)
6 months ago
Reply to  John Manger

The Type 23’s were only designed for a short lifespan…. They are way past what was originally intended…

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_766287)
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I’m assuming that other T23s will, as they age, suffer from similar issues. Losing one T23 might be a misfortune but to lose many might be a problem as the T26 & T31 replacements are a little way off. It would be excellent if a technical solution were possible which might extend the life of these vessels.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_766364)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

I thought you were going to say “to lose many looks like carelessness”. Which would not be too far from the mark, where our government is concerned. Similar age Ticonderosa and, even more aptly, Arleigh Burkes are going strong due to a legislature that mostly forbids decommissioning, whilst voting adequate funds for maintainence & modernisation. Separate example, but still notable, is the AV8B Harrier derivative. Still in service alongside F35B long after we spun the usual excuse that it represented an obsolete platform, and decommissioned before above replacement anywhere near availability. Capability gaps being another favourite pastime here, together with… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Gavin Gordon
Dave
Dave (@guest_766424)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Agreed, we should stop decommissioning things and ADD new stuff, as shown many times in many places the old works as well. We need more, more of everything. The russians manage with a smaller economy, hell the Swedish even build their own planes with a smaller economy. Time to realise the civil servants who really run this country are trying to break it so the russians can have it for free

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_766441)
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Agree 👍

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766486)
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave

What you mainlining? Do you need more tin foil?

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_766609)
6 months ago
Reply to  John Manger

They were built to be commissioned for 18 years. The fact they are even running is quite impressive to be honest. The fact is a 30 year old ship will need a lot of work to keep it running..infact every ship needs a lot of work to keep it running the sea is constantly trying destroy ships and boat, through both chemical reactions and dynamic forces.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766120)
6 months ago

Austerity delaying T26 (GCS) coming home to roost.

Which is why the T32 order is needed to prevent T45 being thrashed to death.

No point in overusing £1Bn ships (ok the ships only cost ca £500m but the project cost was ca £1Bn per hull) when a £300m one will do the job.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766131)
6 months ago

Morning SB, Agreed. Unfortunately, I am getting ever more concerned about the T32. I am getting serious deja vu with the current T32 programme. If it was down to me I would scrap it as a seperate programme and simply order an extra 5 Stretched T31’s. It is a considerably streamlined process compared to developing and procuring an ‘entirely’ new frigate, which under Treasury Rules the T32 probably is. It would also put considerable limits on those who would try to gold plate everything, it would use the same supply chain and simplify production transition from one batch to the… Read more »

Mark P
Mark P (@guest_766139)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I couldn’t agree more, scrap the T32 program and stretched batch II T31’s seems the logical route but I would say five was to many due to the recruiting issues. No point building ships if there is no one to sail them but at least three would give the RN a little more depth. I would agree with five normally but it’s time to be realistic what is achievable. We need to make sure that there is surfactant resources for the six MRSS needed, this another program that needs to push forward before it starts to slip back further.

RobW
RobW (@guest_766169)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark P

Quote from recent Navylook article: The official Out of Service Dates (as of 2016) were RFA Mounts Bay (2031), Cardigan Bay (2031) RFA Lyme Bay (2032), HMS Albion (2033) and Bulwark (2034). The precise retirement date for Argus is unclear but she has been extended in service “beyond 2030”. In order to replace these vessels on a timely one-for-one basis then the MRSS project needs to proceed quickly and deliver more than one ship per year. A decision on this multi £billion project is unlikely to be made before the post-election defence review which will probably take place in 2025. Completion of the first… Read more »

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_766389)
6 months ago
Reply to  RobW

If the type 32 is canned or delayed, rosyth could build MRSS.
I see bulwark and Albion getting a life extension or 1 of them anyway.
The bays will require looking at nearer the time to see condition.
Argus seems to be built different and keeps going.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766493)
6 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

The Albions are very likely to be extendable as they were very well built.

The Bays may or may not be as they were not so well built.

Argus was built with very good quality thick plate and actually very well made. Which is why she is able to soldier on.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766568)
6 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

I can’t see the MRSS being built at Rosyth, simple reason is it’s the only Dock at present for the QE’s and I think it has to be kept available as part of the contract. More likely H&W if it does OK with the FSS, which to be honest makes more sense. Block builds by CL, Appledore and themselves and all on the West Coast.
It would be an act of folly and political suicide to regenerate H&W build capacity and workforce and then close off its future pipeline for orders.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766192)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark P

Hi Mark, There is a rather depressing article on Navy Lookout (still on the frontpage) reviewing the RN’s troubles with recruitment and sadly it seems the they have scored something of an own goal with the new selection process they have introduced. It appears that it rejects rather too many people, the sense you get is that the selection process forgets that they are dealing with untrained civvies! So I would order the 5 extra ships which would not turn up until the mid 2030’s and then pile the pressure onto the navy to get a grip and improve the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_766290)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

If you are simply ordering more of the same it would make sense to wait until the supplier is pushing you to commit because they are about to complete the existing order. You would then have ships in service and would be able to see how much value you are getting for your money.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766454)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

I certainly wouldn’t order anything until Babcock have actually delivered the first T31 and it’s been in service a year. Rosyth / Babcock have never built a single warship from scratch and I’d want to kick the tyres before committing £££’s to more. The 1st of any class is always the slowest, uses the most man hours and encounters all the problems. That happens at even the most experienced shipyards, never mind a new one. The design / build is de-snagged, lessons learned and incorporated in the next build and so on (just see T45 build for details). The bit… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766494)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

It is very true that Babcock have to produce T31 #1 before further orders. But that can be an incentive.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766569)
6 months ago

Or Big Stick 😉

Mark
Mark (@guest_766351)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yeah I see that article and watched the parliament select committee talking to the first sea lord sir Ben Key about the state of the recruitment, it’s all quite depressing.

marc
marc (@guest_767163)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Rejects far to many people like the RAF pilots for instance.

RobW
RobW (@guest_766153)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Have the desired specs been made available for T32? I get that it is intended to host drones, but not why T31 cannot do this in its intended form. Is it the flight deck? Another batch just seems the obvious choice, even if it is just 2 or 3.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766199)
6 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Hi Robw, No they haven’t, is the quick answer. However, we can infer a lot from the published responses from the main contractors BAE Systems and Babcock. Babcock have offered a T31 development with a 2m increase in length (stretch) and a smaller Merlin capable flight deck in place of the current Chinook capable version. The freed up space is given over to a larger mission bay. There is an article on Navy Lookout if I remember rightly. So my grand plan for the RN recapitalisation would be 5x Stretched T31 and 2 to 4 additional or Batch 3 Type… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766307)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Personally I would wait until HMS Venturer is complete, fully tested and has achieved FOC before ordering another Batch of whatever variant ot that platform.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766489)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I don’t think there is a need to wait so long as later ships in Batch 1 will be modified to reflect lessons learnt anyway. Prince of Wales had differences when compared to Queen Elizabeth. Some were designed in from the start, others were applied as a result of lessons learnt apparently. Such processes are pretty much standard these days, it seems. Plus if you are going for a stretched version of the T31 you need to get on with the design changes as there will still be quite a few design review hoops to jump through before the modified… Read more »

David
David (@guest_766343)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Outsourcing recruitment seems to have been an absolute disaster. So what do they do? Reverse the policy? No, they double down on it.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766487)
6 months ago
Reply to  David

Hi David,

Apparently the current selection process is in-house..! They are rejecting so many people that most basic training courses have so many spaces on them that there real questions around the value for money of even running some of them.

Another recent article on Navy Lookout suggests that the RN gets 80 application per day..! and they are still under strength. To suggest that the vast majority of those applicants are unsuitable is just plain silly – something has gone badly wrong with recruitment and training.

Madness.

Cheers CR

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766577)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It is a thought process problem.

Are the recruits suitable to be trained as opposed to being ready to be trained?

TBH the solution is probably to be less selective upstream and more selective down stream and see how much people improve.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766591)
6 months ago

Couldn’t agree more, mate.

No one can predict how an individual will develop when the training starts…

Cheers CR

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766575)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Isn’t the question – what kind of drones are to be deployed?

ASW and AAW drones may well need a big flight deck.

Other kinds of subsurface drones need something else?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766582)
6 months ago

Quite likely mate.

I was merely repeating what I had read, not commenting on the Babcock offering.

However, the Batch 1 T31 have a large flight deck so a Batch 2 with a smaller flight deck and bigger mission bay may provide a useful mix of capabilities. It may also be a sensible way forward given the rate of development of autonomous systems.

Cheers CR

Nick P
Nick P (@guest_766154)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Absolutly agree with the above comments. I have thought a T31 with *rafted engines*, a bow sonar and a 127mm gun. The extra cost of the equipment could be paid by the saving costs of a new design.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766200)
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick P

Hi Nick,

That would be one option, but the RN appears to be more interested in being able to carry uncrewed systems. Babcock have offered stretched verion of the T31 with a small flight deck and big mission bay. You probably won’t be happy to learn that everything else is pretty much unchanged – but it is early days yet.

Cheers CR

C Verrier
C Verrier (@guest_766227)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I’m still not entirely convinced the T32 wasn’t a bit of off-the-cuff ‘government-by-press-release’ by Boris that the MoD then had to hurriedly backfill into an actual programme.

I agree that it makes far more sense to just have more T31 hulls – even if the fit-out is different. Its puzzling why this isn’t the obvious choice.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_766300)
6 months ago
Reply to  C Verrier

I too suspect it was a BJ invention. Just uprate a batch 2 T31 to be more capable.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766327)
6 months ago
Reply to  C Verrier

That’s what I think as well and it has cfreated a programme that the RN doesn’t need. The T31 isn’t even in service yet, so hardly out of date…

Just build a few more… Simples..!

Cheers CR

David
David (@guest_766344)
6 months ago
Reply to  C Verrier

Or was it just that clown “mis-speaking”?

Ian
Ian (@guest_766346)
6 months ago
Reply to  C Verrier

Always my thoughts…Boris opened his mouth and put his foot in….
Why build 5 T31 and then start another design…. So MOD…. Just build batch 2-T31 the batch 3-T31
I think the T22 came in 3 batches and the first batch were quite different to the third batch
Thanks Ian

Jon
Jon (@guest_766136)
6 months ago

Just call me Lord Dave; so nice to see him back. If we want a second tier AAW to bulk out the Type 45s as they go through Lifex, the T31s will be already halfway there, with CAMM and Mk41 VLS. The radars could do with an upgrade, and we’d probably end up spending £400m rather than £300m, but it wouldn’t be too difficult. I’d rather T32 or T31/B2 had a touch of ASW about it, even if it’s not conventional rigged. More hangar space for both a Merlin and a Proteus at the same time would be useful. We… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_766141)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

With you both. Order 1-3 more T31s while in build and prices are low. If the UK wants to be able project into the Indo- Pacific 3-4 of these in the region would be pretty substantial leaving the other 3-4 for North/South/Med and CSG and free up the T26/T45s. And, or, get a bloody move on with the T32 or the competition will take over… Lol 😁

Last edited 6 months ago by Quentin D63
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766185)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

The AAW radar would be networked from QEC and T45 which both have to top end air search. Skimmer radar will be Sampson on T45.

T31/32 can just have missiles that can be directed and handed off to a T45.

T45 is the specialist AAW platform and has all the radars and specialist trades on board. No sense in duplicating that.

T31/32 doesn’t have the top weight margins for the really big heavy radars to sit high enough.

Hugo
Hugo (@guest_766191)
6 months ago

UK has not invested in CEC, so we can’t actually network ships together and use the frigates as extra missile capacity like you say.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766211)
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugo

It went down a different path than CEC. If you read between the lines of various announcements this was announced in the last SINKEX that various assets controlled missiles fired from other platforms. Thing is CEC, as was, isn’t the right solution for now. This is a *made up* example of how it *might* work. You don’t need much data exchange for T45 to say to T31 ‘send a missile to X, Y, Z coordinates at this sector vector hand off control at A, B, C coordinated; encryption key is “sdfjejfjfjoowod243235” secret key is preshared in an OTP table that… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo (@guest_766215)
6 months ago

Intresting

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_766304)
6 months ago

All fine & dandy IF a T45/QE is available & present. Often they’ll be alone, so need enough kit for their own survivability & mission capabilities. We’ve a tiny fleet so it’s rare that ideal force composition will be on hand.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766317)
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

We are taking about high intensity operations here?

The Swiss Army knife approach is an illusion. Each ship will cost more than RN could ever afford.

I’m thinking more as in what would have been ultra useful in ‘82….

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_766340)
6 months ago

From the DSEI show, Babcock did have their A140 model, which included a long range search radar (SMART-L type) on a rear mast near the hangar. Along with a forward mast mounting four AESA panels, though not to the same scale as CEAFAR. So I think there is scope for additional radar capability.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766341)
6 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

SMART-L is air search?

In a CSG situation is another big sky searching radar going to add much?

It is a question of bang for limited bucks which is why I keep droning on about remote……

I was more getting at the inability, weight wise, to put a radar real high to look for skimmers.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_766450)
6 months ago

Hi SB, as per Jon’s comment below. The T31’s NS100 will be some 30m above sea level, which may not be the same as the T45s. It’s still has a better radar horizon than an Arleigh Burke. I personally believe both the T26 and T31, should have a second primary radar, primarily for the volume air search role. Both ship’s are overly reliant on Artisan and NS100 respectively. It is a single point of failure that could have dire consequences for the ship, if the radar fails or is damaged. I can definitely see the T31 being tasked with being… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_766468)
6 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

When the LRG concept gets fleshed out with the MRSS, I think the T31 will find a natural home outside of Hormuz. I also hope to see CAMM-MR on T31, even in the CAMM 6-pack silos. If the Poles can put them on the Mieczniks, why not?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766482)
6 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

NS100 is an economy level fit.

I agree T26 needs a secondary and maybe T31.

I simply don’t see how you financially deal with turning everything into a polished AAW platform?

I agree about Sea Ceptor -R versions being used to widen capabilities.

Jon
Jon (@guest_766495)
6 months ago

By not putting Type 83 into Concept, we are effectively pushing the build contract date back, relying on T45 Lifex (which I think most of us expected anyway). That means we are pushing back some pretty high expense items from the late 2020s to the early 2030s. Adding some AAW to T31 should therefore be achievable, even alongside T32. Obviously not polished though: this is definitely second tier on the cheap.

Not sure about the knock-on operational costs and the crewing requirements of increased capability/complexity. Also not sure about the cost implications of a build gap at Govan. B3 Rivers?

Jon
Jon (@guest_766360)
6 months ago

T31 is essentially an Iver Huitfeldt, which already has a second Smart-L radar, so I know for sure it has all the top weight margins it needs. That class has over a decade of service and we’d have noticed.

While you are right in suggesting it could be slaved to a T45, it also needs to be able to work apart from a T45. The issue is, what happens if there are no T45s available? That’s the whole point of creating a second tier AAW rather than just a missile-toting gun boat.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766573)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

It only has 1 Smart-L but a full European APAR as well, same as the German and Dutch AAW Frigates. Only bit they forgot was to actually buy some SM2 / 6 missiles for about 10 years. Now done that.

DH
DH (@guest_766250)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Agree with the ASW, more the better. 👍

Dave
Dave (@guest_766425)
6 months ago

We should also build some more t45 and when as reported we want some flat deck qe with catapult we should just build a few new ones like that and have say 4 or more aircraft carriers. If we stopped spending money on 5 star hotels for immigrants, millions on mps hen houses and billions on creating more complex tax rules, anti motorist measures, gree bullshit and jobs for diversity etc we could instead spend it on making sure are armed forces are in a position to defend us when (no longer if) the russians and Chinese arrive

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766129)
6 months ago

Wouldn’t surprise me if they did scrap her. There comes a point where it any machine simply cannot be repaired. At which point you either scrap or renovate, the latter is in effect a remanufacturing process. The best example of renovating machinary I can think of is heritage railways rebuilding old steam locomatives and that only works because the people doing the job are volunteers… The navy isn’t into renovation or last least it wasn’t. Sad state of affairs and a damning indictment of past decisions to cut / delay investment. Just when the threat really starts to ramp up… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_766134)
6 months ago

Ok my ten’peneth from doing an awful lot of stuff on Montrose when she was out here, and I oversaw several packages on her. Steel erodes and wastes. Its a fact of life. Numerous factors such as location onboard, preservation status, maintenance and Cathodic protection systems affect the amount of wastage. Replacing steel plate that is in the hull shell is a massive issue, decks not so much. Work in way internally can cost more than the actual steel being cropped out and the new being welded in. Isolating fuel tanks, cleaning them for gas free, painting, air testing. In… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_766143)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Finger in the air, what would it take (time/cost) to convert Argyll or Iron Duke to ASW standard? Could most of the extra equipment be ported from Westminster?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_766419)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Min 18 months.
Major reworks required for power systems to provide the 600v aft to the winch for the active transmitter.

Steel works in the winch well and quarterdeck

Install cables and cabinets in the ops room space and the aft SIS. Set to work, trials.

Jon
Jon (@guest_766432)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thank you.

I see the latest article in Navy Lookout is suggesting that it will have to be considered, but I wonder if we can afford to have another frigate out of service during CSG 25. Even a GP one.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766224)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi GB from grey and gloomy Derby. Am I right in thinking that her intended OOS date is still 2028 ? Which means that as she was launched in 1992 she will have been afloat for 36 years. Not bad for a hull designed for an 18 year life and honestly I’m not surprised the MOD are dithering about refitting her or not. If they take 4 years to refit her and it costs £100million for 1 year service that IMHO is nuts ! We have 13 frigates on order so the RN fleet numbers are contracted to remain stable,… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766426)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Could be hallucinating, but believe Deep32 has stated previously that Babcock developed and RN has (partially? totally?) funded a similar FRC conversion project at HMNB Devonport. Additionally, wouldn’t the logical additional QE class repair facility/drydock be located at H&W in Belfast, eventually? ourse, could also be totally adrift at sea w/ comments. 😁

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766427)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Of course…🙄

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766463)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Good Morning. Not sure about that it may be referring to the £750 million being invested at Devonport for support / refit facilities for the SSN/SSBN boats and the decommissioning facility. I’ve seen nothing about the how or where we are going to refit the T31/T26 etc and last I heard no contract has been agreed. Business dealing with UK MOD Rule No1 ! No contract = No investment. As for H&W yep it has just sooo much to offer in terms of facilities and access to the Atlantic. It’s the obvious long term choice, but it has to rebuild… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766527)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Hmmm…very interesting potential alternative. 🤔 Apparently logical; realistic chance of implementation?

Jon
Jon (@guest_766446)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

If Westminster is refitted, the OOS date could be extended. I’d be thinking roughly four/five years after it comes out of refit. So if it had come out of refit 23/24, it would be OOS 28/29. If it comes out of refit in 2028, you could expect it to be okay up to 2032/33. In the past, the Navy was a lot more rigid about planning, but we saw when Tony Radakin was 1SL they thought again about getting the most bang for the buck which saw Monmouth and Montrose retired early and other T23 OOS dates extended to take… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766484)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

The problem with that approach is that the few remaining platforms do crazy miles and hills (and other bits) get knackered.

DH
DH (@guest_766257)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks for the hard work Gunbuster.
👍 👌

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766259)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hopefully, accelerated build and refit
schedule is maintained for T-26, T-31 and T-45. 🤞 Problem re escort availability thus resolved over time.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_766371)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I’d say difference between your legislature and ours is that yours sees the need to maintain units in order to meet worldwide commitments. Ours is too fond of demanding similar commitments, but without the tiresome necessity of putting adequate upkeep money where its political mouth is.
Our carriers are a fortunate godsend; less in existence because of coherent forward thinking, more due to Brown locking the Treasury into eye-watering penalties for cancellation in order to guarantee Scottish employment – Yes! – pork barrelling……
Rgs

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_766420)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Cough…Tico Life Extension…Cough. How to spaff a billion up a wall and not actually achieve any Lifex.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766422)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

And the entire Little Crappy Ship (LCS) class from concept design through accelerated OOS…🙄

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_766545)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Yes, I steered (helmed?) clear of mentioning the L🤑C🤑S, but it was represented in the above ‘!’ & ‘……’ With the QEs we’ve an example where we actually struck lucky with a) design efficiency, b) fortuitous timing. Cushty ☺

Last edited 6 months ago by Gavin Gordon
ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766576)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

They do seem to be finding some interesting uses for the LCS2’s, it seems it’s dawned on them that having a fast ship with shed loads of space may be pretty handy. Containerised TLMS, MCM mothership and even as a fast transport.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767090)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

It would be beneficial if USN could find some productive use for them, albeit a role extraneous to the original intent and purpose. 🤞

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_766659)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I was on one a few weeks ago for a look see. They are …Interesting. The maintenance concept is CLS which we had in place for T23 decades ago and proved then that it is unworkable as a system. They obviously didn’t read the memo, went down the same road, hit the same roadblock and are taking the same diversion that the RN did. Now they are increasing onboard maintainer knowledge and have shore-based service tiger teams to do alongside maintenance. Flying a CLS Contractor out Buis class, putting them in a hotel (4 *) for 2 weeks to change… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767091)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Wasn’t CLS also the original maintenance model for T-45, as well? One does wonder what is discussed at joint RN/USN conferences and symposia. The intent is to discuss and share best practices, not necessarily to party hearty.
There is (or should be) a practical limit to the amount of alcohol that ahould be consumed at the O’ Club during the course of these meetings. 🤔😉

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_766554)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Mm. Still, a House that votes to maintain vessels, if you’re serious about matching vaunted ambition with adequate fleet units, does have a certain appeal, GB. And there’s still the Arleigh Burkes…….

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_766353)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Great reply again and good doses of common sense GB! They can always extend the T26 build by 1-2 and the T31 by a few or bring on the T32. It’s going to be interesting what can be cross decked from the T23s when they retire. At least stuff is happening!

Last edited 6 months ago by Quentin D63
Airborne
Airborne (@guest_766387)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Another gem of info from GB! The subject matter knowledge on here is second to none. 👍

monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_766396)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The navy should be trying to get some kind of deal for dropping numbers with regards to a new ship. An extra frigate ordered from the money saved.
They said 4 years for a frigate refit is too long. Later it mentions 2 years for Westminster refit.
I wonder if the first part is referring to another frigate having a 4 year refit or that’s how long Westminster will take.

geoff
geoff (@guest_766414)
6 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Morning GB.As always,great comment and info from the horses mouth. Even for people like myself who have only a superficial knowledge of subject, it makes perfect sense to accelerate the introduction of new hulls. The decision whether to replace rather than repair is a universal question across hardware in general-have the same issues in the Building Industry here in SA in which I am still involved.
Cheers from Durban

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_766166)
6 months ago

Another daft asset gap is the result of poor planning and fiscal management. The MOD needs to ensure a ‘one in one out’ policy for all assets.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_766202)
6 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Hi maurice10,

I think we are well past that approach, me thinks two in one out, given the threats we now face…

Of course, Westminister bubble and there is no chance…

Cheers CR

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier (@guest_766313)
6 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yeah – they play with fire by opting for one-out…one-in with a five year gap in the middle

Theyve managed to get away with it for years, and probably pat themselves on the back for meeting budgets. And then one day it’ll go badly wrong except they won’t be at MoD anymore and it’ll be the new guys problem.

Martin
Martin (@guest_766178)
6 months ago

One ship left to fall apart, not enough crews, delays in new ships, State normal. The high ups in the navy need to get a grip or move on, Shameful display of dithering too busy showing off our not many planes aircraft carriers. Excuses excuses as always.
Extending the life of old crew heavy ships is just a way trying on paper to save money. River class patrol boats, too big , under gunned, more could have been added to hull that size.

BobA
BobA (@guest_766189)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

crumbs, do you literally sit stewing in your pants with a pot noodle and depression waiting to vent on this stuff?

Martin
Martin (@guest_766195)
6 months ago
Reply to  BobA

Truth hurts, get over it. Next time I will dig out my rose tinned glasses just to keep day dreamers happy. Off to take my meds now and get a bombay bad boy on the go.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766210)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

The simple truth about the B2 Rivers is that they were a necessary expedient caused by the 2008 decision to not build T45 no7 & 8. That caused a gap in the BAe work stream and due to the terms of business agreement HMG had to either pay compensation or order some extra ships. So 5 batch 2’s were ordered with the necessary systems and weapons to perform the function of OPV’s as cost effective infill work. Unusually MOD didn’t twiddle, fiddle or add too much to the existing Modified VT OPV designs except for adding a CMS, extra damage… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_766242)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Ah an out standing reply, thank you

Martin
Martin (@guest_766183)
6 months ago

not worth refitting her, sadly, she would be in dock till may be 2026 by which time would too old. Scrap her and save the money.

Geoffi
Geoffi (@guest_766203)
6 months ago

Tragic that Parliament is reduced to tracking and challenging the Admiralty about individual vessels….

James Brown
James Brown (@guest_766218)
6 months ago

And one by one the fleet shrinkage continues…

Barry Larking
Barry Larking (@guest_766231)
6 months ago

The blame for this shambles lies with the man who was brought out of deserved obscurity this week to be the Chinese pick for our Foreign Secretary, the noble Lord Cameron and his familiar, George Osborne.

DH
DH (@guest_766254)
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Heh heh, Barry made me giggle ☺️ ta.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_766308)
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

They hold a lot of the responsability for the nadir of our armed forces & wider public services. Maybe that’s what all that dodgy Russian & Chinese money bought?

David Smile
David Smile (@guest_766350)
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

They should have left “Call me Dave”, in his pig, or was it a sheep hut.
Although some have speculated he has been in both 😉

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766578)
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

And here is me thinking it was all down to his predecessor who stuffed up BAe by cancelling the last 2 T45’s to “accelerate the GCS project” and didn’t follow up on it by actually doing so. The real reason was he probably needed the money for the 2 QE’s being built in his neighbouring constituency.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_766247)
6 months ago

At the time the first T23s were commissioning, the RN was talking up warships ideally having an 18-year lifespan. That was a forlorn hope but the T23s were never designed for a 30+ year lifespan. It is not worth the candle trying to recussitate Westminster.now, it would be an enormous cost for a few more years service. Far better to use the money for a new build, such as the MRSS or new MCMV class. The problem on escort numbers is that the drumbeat of orders stopped abruptly. From the first T23 in 1990, HMS Norfolk, the navy commissioned one… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766272)
6 months ago
Reply to  Cripes

There is a degree of geopolitical necessity that did permeate upwards and even out of the mouth of the chancellor Mr Hunt who is the son of an admiral.

I would not rule out a defence increase in the autumn statement.

It shows that Cameron’s first visit was to Ukraine and he made some strong statements about support that will have had to be agreed to be funded before he made them.

I also think that the real intelligence picture is closer to one of Russian desperation and lack of materiel that we may be realising.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_766581)
6 months ago

I agree with you and do think we may be in for a pleasant surprise. The underlying issue that has handcuffed us were the interest payments on the National debt (last year it was twice the entire defence budget). That’s now back under control so they have wiggle room to do the right thing and also do what Brown did with the carriers, make it so expensive to cancel anything they got built.

Or they just throw it away on Tax Cuts and try to bribe a hung parliament out of us.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766585)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The general defence situation has deteriorated so far so fast that we are pretty much forced into it.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_766665)
6 months ago

He has plenty of ground to make up though, SB. Without delving into Dave’s actual record on SDRs, his last firm leadership promise was to stick by the country’s EU referendum decision come what may. Until immediately announcing ‘FIT’ and concentrating on his personal Golden Age. Then up he pops, fully televised in the role of Credible FS, announcing his steadfast support for UKR – come what may i.e. whatever transpires in the USA; or maybe until Labour relieve him & PM of true consequence As for the aforementioned TV show, two things crossed my mind:- Firstly, Zelenskyy was an… Read more »

Tom
Tom (@guest_766252)
6 months ago

Are there many type23’s still in service? The ‘refits’, is that to upgrade stuff, or broken down bits? (sorry I’m not a sea person in any way shape nor form)

Is the government dragging out their length of service, in order to save on the cost of new ships? Is that counter productive, and less cost effective?

Jon
Jon (@guest_766428)
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

There are 11 Type 23s in service including HMS Westminster: 8 anti-submarine (ASW) and 3 general purpose (which means not fitted for ASW). They form the backbone of the fleet and are due to go out of service between 2026 and 2035, although as can be seen by Westminster they may not make it that far. Replacements will start to become operational 2027/28. Every five or six years, they have to undergo a full inspection, thinning steel replaced and defects made good. Often during these refits, the opportunity is taken to upgrade things too. Sensors might be refurbished or replaced,… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Jon
Robbo
Robbo (@guest_766286)
6 months ago

Whatever type they replace it with better order the steel plate now while we can still produce our own re Scunthorpe/Port Talbot

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_766330)
6 months ago

£100m was budgeted for the refit of Westminster. That now sounds hopelessly inadequate. If it turns out to be say £200m: (i) Where will the extra money come from? What will be cancelled(?) (ii) The refit is expected to deliver only one more commission of 3-4 years in active service, that is very expensive on a per year basis. (iii) Maybe the best thing really is to give up on her put the money towards some of the other items on the long list of things that the RN badly needs.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd (@guest_766347)
6 months ago

This has Grant Schraps written all over it. The £100 million will now be allocated to some project that has caught his eye.

Schraps knows nothing about the RN whatsoever. Neither does Sunak. The Sea Lords had better watch their arses in case they ask “how come this expensive ship has been allowed to get into such a state” Oh and by the way, how much does it cost the just keep it tied up alongside?

Jon
Jon (@guest_766362)
6 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Let me suggest something heretical, at least as far as this forum is concerned; Grant Shapps will learn! Defence isn’t like energy or transport. Defence costs things up in dead bodies. Spend enough time hanging around and even the thickest person will get it, and as much as I don’t like him, I don’t think Shapps is thick. He may be focused on the next election, but he will have no choice but to engage. The world situation is too damned obvious.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd (@guest_766434)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Schrapps has managed to royaly mess things up in every government department that he has run. While your post is interesting, I don’t think Defence will be any different. He’s not Ben Wallace and pull in more money. Watch out for yet another “efficiency” drive culminating in capability cuts somewhere

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_766443)
6 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Put a smile on David Cameron’s face.🤗

Coll
Coll (@guest_766345)
6 months ago

Strip it, and I would like to see it in a museum.

Jon
Jon (@guest_766431)
6 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Martlets are new to the Wildcats. A new version of Sea Venom is coming into service. NSM is being added right now. Spear 3 is right around the corner and capable of testing from Typhoons. Four new anti-ship missiles. Time for a SINKEX.

Coll
Coll (@guest_766984)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Nar, give it to Portsmouth or Rochester museum.

David C Stevens
David C Stevens (@guest_766352)
6 months ago

I would suggest the old moniker of “mothballing” ships for future considerations.Sail her down to Halifax and use it as a stationary training vessel for type 26ers that are upcoming for the RCN.Maybe all of your decommissioned ships could serve your own Naval Reserve as stationary weapons platforms ,radar early warning ,air defence ,logistical command and control,arsenals ,RMC barracks,bivocing personel,and the list goes on and on.Why waste thier capacity?You don’t nessacarily have to take them out to sea , just berth them and maintain a limited militairy capability.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_766370)
6 months ago

Given this situation, I wonder if the RN might recommission HMS Montrose? So currently only 10 Type 23’s left?

geoff
geoff (@guest_766415)
6 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

Howsit Klonkie!

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_767382)
6 months ago
Reply to  geoff

hey Geoff- how are tricks Mate? Hope your well.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_766444)
6 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

Maybe worth looking into if she’s in better shape than Westminster ,but there again it is HMG were talking about 🤔 🇬🇧

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_767383)
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

😜

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766485)
6 months ago

I said a few weeks would we be better scrapping the un-LIFEX 23s and spending the budget on extra T31s, especially when you take note of what Gunbuster said about renewals

Now we have availability for tasking thinking, simple reduce the taskings accordingly and we meet the criteria. Simples.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766535)
6 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

You are right, with the benefit of hindsight investing in new builds rather than old Ships is the way to go, but the T31 is probably being built as quick as it can, admittedly the T26 is being speeded up.

Geo stat
Geo stat (@guest_766624)
6 months ago

If she is done…..she is done…..lets not waste money on fixing a turkey

Paul C
Paul C (@guest_766633)
6 months ago

4 years for a refit what a joke, it took us 3 years to build Westminster, alongside Northumberland and Richmond.
Agree the other 2 sisters next or are they at different stages in the life cycle?

marc
marc (@guest_767162)
6 months ago

Take it from me they are all fit for nothing but scrap and that is after refit.

stevie
stevie (@guest_767500)
6 months ago

Its goes to show how the cuts to the navy and ships worn out before their time ,poor maintenancehas played apart in this to save money ships laid off that could still serve the crown .its seems our government are so short sighted in this area and as we know we have more pen pushers in the M O D then servicing personal .what the point off two of the biggest carriers we had and our escorts are so small in number , still the US will bail us out , like in other areas, ,the Westminster will end up… Read more »