Despite what would appear to be years of minimal action, the Government insist they are continuing to ‘investigate the potential’ of operating Type 45 Destroyers in a ballistic missile defence role.

The information comes from a written Parliamentary question.

Julian Knight, MP for Solihull, asked in a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to modernise the UK’s missile defence capability; and if he will make a statement.”

Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, replied:

“Further to the commitments in Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, and subsequently endorsed by the Modernising Defence Programme, the UK is investing in a ground-based radar, which will enhance NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence system. We are also investigating further the potential of the Type 45 Destroyers to operate in a Ballistic Missile Defence role. We will continue to support research and development initiatives and multinational engagement through the UK’s Missile Defence Centre.”

British officials at a summit in March last year said that the Royal Navy is considering arming its destroyers with the new Aster missile version, dubbed Aster 30 Block 1NT.

The missile, a wide area defence missile capable against 1500 km-range ballistic missiles, was again discussed at a recent defence industry panel in Glasgow.

At the UK-France Security Summit, the two nations pledged to work jointly on complex weapons. According to a joint statement:

“We are fully supporting the long term strategy to jointly deliver effective military equipment in the most efficient manner while minimising national constraints and strengthening our common defence technological and industrial base.

In support of this, Defence Ministers signed in September 2015 an Inter-Governmental Agreement enabling full implementation of Centres of Excellence into MBDA, a key step towards creating inter-dependence between us around key missile technologies.

We also intend to develop in 2016 a portfolio approach to strengthen our industrial links and jointly address the current and future operational requirements of our forces. In that respect, France is for instance considering Brimstone 2 for next standard of Tiger combat helicopter and the United Kingdom is considering the Aster Block 1NT for equipping its T45 Destroyers.”

The programme also aims to “extend the range to hit incoming ballistic missiles”.

At the start of last year, Italy also joined the ‘Aster 30 Block 1NT’ programme.

113
Leave a Reply

avatar
27 Comment threads
86 Thread replies
43 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
42 Comment authors
Geoffrey Hicking4thwatchDaveyBSteve RPaul.P Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

This is an essential role for the T45, particularly with out of area deployments.

Callum
Guest
Callum

Agreed. With the T45s being almost singlehandedly responsible for defence of the carrier group from air attack, they need to be equipped to handle emerging threats like hypersonic and ballistic missiles. Sea Ceptor and Phalanx aren’t physically capable of stopping either of those, so its weapon the fleet seriously needs

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

this kind of article reinforces the need for more destroyers, even if they they are not quite the vessel that the t45 is

The Big Man
Guest
The Big Man

Agreed. If the T45 is still at the head of its game, which we are led to believe it is, not just by our own forces. Then I wonder how much new ones would actually cost. From memory they were £1.045m each, BUT this was partly because the order was halved and so the R&D had to be amortised across 50% of the hulls. To order new ones now would not have any of the original cost attached to it. Clearly systems and equipment make up a large amount of the overall spend, but they should be well under the… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Navy struggling to pay for 5 type 31’s so no chance of more 45’s!!

Cam
Guest
Cam

But it’s the government not the navy, we British had navy’s far bigger when we weren’t as rich as we are now… We were far poorer actually.

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

here here!

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Given that the government is going ahead with the T31 programme and there’s potential for more than 5 ships, whether a second batch could include some more specialised for air defence. Tell me if I’m wrong but I think it would be feasible for a T31 to be fitted with Aster 30 missiles, say 32 of them, and be given the same radar as a T45. If this is too expensive then possibly it could piggyback off the T45s own radar and sensors via data link; it could use the info gathered from the T45 to track and target enemy… Read more »

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

*T31 would be Robin to the T45s Batman. Stupid autocorrect!

Herodotus
Guest

A huge gap in our capability. Defence of the UK should be paramount and come before offensive capability. A welcome step forward…but we should have a system like patriot for land deployment!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

a big purchase of the land ceptor system around the uk would be a major step forward the nations ability to defend itself.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

I would prefer Aster over Sky Sabre. And an OTH radar system like the French NOSTRADAMUS or the Oz Jindalee Operational Radar Network to look out for the Russians.

I always thought this is what the TA / AR / ‘citizen reserve’ should have been doing…

Jeremy Stocker
Guest
Jeremy Stocker

Neither Patriot nor Aster can intercept ballistic missiles with the speed – and so range – to reach the UK from any likely launch point. They’re not the answer for the defence of the UK itself. As for Land Ceptor, it has no capability against ballistic missiles. For ‘conventional’ air defence you’d need so many around the UK the cost would be prohibitive – and to defend against what? It’s needed to defend particular high-value targets when the threat assessment warrants its deployment, but no more. To defend the whole of the UK against BMs, the only sensible answer is… Read more »

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

This is a serious question, but what are the chances that anyone would launch ballistic missiles at the UK that were non-nuclear? Our protection against nuclear attack comes from our deterrent. I’d have thought that any ballistic missile attack against the UK may be perceived as a nuclear strike and therefore we’d respond in kind. Any potential enemy knows this and also that it is impossible to know if ballistic missiles flying at us are nuclear or conventional until they hit. I doubt anyone would launch conventional ones at UK mainland as they risk of us believing it’s a nuclear… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

You could bring the country to a standstill with 200 conventional cruise missiles.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

True but it wouldn’t necessarily need anti-ballistic missiles for that; regular Aster 30 missiles would be sufficient defence against cruise missiles.

My point was more about homeland protection against ballistic missiles.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Is Aster 30 really the best missile against terrain following cruise?

Alf Alfa
Guest
Alf Alfa

How many countries poses 200 cruise missiles? Excluding allies, not many- Russia and China perhaps. If one of them chucks that number of missiles in our direction were probably going to end up going nuclear.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

I could actually scupper the country with 40 cruise missiles. But as we are only talking theory does it matter?

Pete
Guest
Pete

Dont the Russians have sub launch capability from clodser to our shores… Or are proclaiming they will have shortly?

Jeremy Stocker
Guest
Jeremy Stocker

No amount of missile defence will counter the scale and sophistication of Russia’s capabilities which is why, as Steve R points out, we have to rely on deterrent threats of retaliation. As to Steve’s point about nuclear v. conventional threats, having a secure second-strike capability means we don’t have to threaten ‘launch on warning’ in order to deter others. We would never want to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike only to find out that the original attack was a conventional one. Missile defence for the UK homeland is about deterring and defeating non-Russian threats where we have a less stable… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The question is would any PM nuke a Russian targets if Russia took out say 50% of the UK’s generation capacity?

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

How do you define close? 3M-54 has a range of 600km.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Aster 30 can intercept short range ballistic targets.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Spot on.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Not enough of the type 45s to offer viable ballistic missile defence and screen a task force from air attack. If the RN is going to be the country’s only BMD then we better order another 4 at least. Maybe a type 50 destroyer based on type 26 frigate hull but with Sampson and aster 30 1NT

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

A T26 based AAW ship with Sea Viper would be a useful complement to the T45 and eventually a full replacement. In meantime, T45s need to get additional SYLVER 50 (or 70) launchers and Aster 30 Block 1NT with the necessary software upgrades to Sampson, etc, to tackle the ballistic missile threat.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

Is it me or does Europe have a half-hearted policy when it comes to protecting its peoples; from the ultimate weapon system? Yes, we all know about the need for deterrent and by nullifying the ‘Bomb’s’ effect; we ultimately increase the likelihood of war, by destabilizing the balance. But what about rogue states or terrorists, should we not be actively spending on antiballistic systems to counter that threat?

Herodotus
Guest

The short answer Maurice is yes. When does defence expenditure actually apply to defence activities….rather than macho-strutting mine is bigger than yours capability?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I actually agree with Herodotus. While I support Britain having expeditionary capability what is spent purely on supporting and defending the home base? Which should not be ignored, especially if Russia is indeed the threat many make it out to be.

What assets do we have that are purely defensive? The RAF Radar ASCS, QRA assets, the MPA capability when it arrives could be construed as such, the Fishery Protection Squadron, various Army reserve units, fixed infrastructure like the varied C3 facilities, small elements of SF with a home CT role, radiation and bio detection systems…

Not a lot.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

I believe that our latest bunch of Politicians have absolutely no interest in the protection of the very people that contribute to their comfortable retirements.

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

Totally random thing, but I think we should stop calling them destroyers. There are no torpedo boats for them to sink, and they aren’t the primary defence against subs any more. They have an immense armament and are the primary AA defence for carriers. In WW2, battleships held that function and form. Give ’em a good last-ditch anti-ship armament like the Americans do their Arleigh Burkes, and they’ll represent a WW2 fast-battleship quite well. We should either give them a sensible new classification…. or call them battleships. Yeah yeah, I know everyone will disagree, but it would be nice to… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Back in the day a certain Batch 3 T22 sailed into Guz and unrolled a big capital C over the ships side to cover the F. The powers that be had a major sense of humour failure. The UK does not do cruisers or battleships. ASW is done by Frigates and Anti Air is done by Destroyers, irrespective of their size, displacement or armament. If the RN start calling stuff a cruiser or battleship they get into a world of hurt because they then become capital class ships and that entails commanding them with 4 ring captains and Heads of… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

I apologise for my ignorant and childish fantasd fleet comment. Thankyou for educating me.

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

If you look at their capabilities and size they (T45 and T26) are more accurately cruisers.

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

Problem is, they’re supposed to stay with the carriers (or at least the Type 45 is). That sort of mission profile forbids cruising.

The Type 26 might be closer to a cruiser though if it can sail independent of a task force.

Herodotus
Guest

Defence issues were never focussed in the past on the British people….it’s more about national interests than the personal security of our citizens. Our defence services are more about political projection than the security of Bert Bloggs!

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Feck Me, HERO, I think we just agreed on something. In a round about sort of way.

Herodotus
Guest

I suspect that we are both cynics…of slightly different political persuasions!

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

I’ve never voted for any political Party, Just Brexit. It’s my Belief in the Independent Stupendousness of this Country based upon our enormous History and Success against all adversity.

Nothing Racist, Sexist, Political or Subversive.

For me, It’s all about being able to Breath, Express our thoughts, make our own Laws, Rules, Decisions and plot our direction of travel.
As a self Employed, Business owner, I’m maybe a tad Biased/Ambivelent as to the workings of Tax Payer Funded Career Work shy/Avoiding Privileged, Hoorey bloody Henries/henrietta’s.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

I also believe, we are seeing the True Colours of our So Called Leaders In all their glory.

They are acting in a way I last saw as a Kid In a Playground some 50 years ago.

Anyone with half a brain cell would do better than Voting for any of these Idiots, In my opinion.

Time for a total Overhaul of our So called Rulers me thinks.

Now, where did my great, great, great grandad hide that Guillotine ?

Lee1
Guest
Lee1

You could do pretty much all of those things by being in the EU… If people bothered voting properly in European Elections… But as a self employed business owner I might be a tad biased… 😉

Pete
Guest
Pete

Hmmm. The more borders and the greater the diversity of currency the greater the potential for the worlds true powers… The financial industry… to charge us for forex commissions, travel insurances and build justifiable hedge and hidden profits into transactions as well as facilite speculation and risk. Is EU perfect… Far from it… Does it make life easier and provide a check and balance to other global entities… (national and multi national)…. Certainly does. Cultural identity, values and freedom /diversity of thought dont come with a border. (a walk through say Inverness compared to west end of London will demonstrate… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
Guest
Geoffrey Hicking

Palmerston might disagree there.

Herodotus
Guest

Hmm but Palmerston was an odd individual. Go look at his ‘Follies’ ….magnificent but a great example of ‘Francophobia’.

Cam
Guest
Cam

I hope the type 45s do receive it, we should have Ballistic missile defences considering we are a nuclear Ballistic missile holding country!. And let’s hope they might receive the small number of MK 41 VLS silos that they were fitted for but did not receive. The Ozzie’s Hobart destroyers have 48 mk 41s and also have torpedo tubes, they do seem like nice destroyers. You would have thought cutting our type 45 destroyers from 12 to 6 they would have all the bells and whistles… it’s a shame whats hapend to the Royal Navy.

Alan Garner
Guest
Alan Garner

“minimising national constraints”

IMO this could be far more efficiently achieved for a medium power like the UK by having export potential a major factor in all national procurement programs, rather than participating in similar disastrous multinational programs that have resulted in such huge waste, delay and bureaucracy in the past, all in the name of avoiding risk while creating more.

T.S
Guest

Good good good, let’s maximise the potential of the T45’s, they have cost a small fortune so would be senseless to not fully kit them out. Does anyone know the costs involved? Are we talking launch tubes, the missiles and some software to work with Sampson, or is there a lot more to it?

Mark L
Guest
Mark L

The MBDA press release says the Aster 30 Block 1NT is the same size as the exisitng Aster 30 soo it will fit in the current Sylver launcher. There must be a lot of software changes to locate, track and engage a ballistic missile. Those in the PAAMS C2 will be very similar across the French, Italian and UK versions but the Sampson changes are obviously UK specific. Given the development costs and the small market the missiles will be very expensive.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

The Aster 30 Block 1 as used on the French land system is the same as the RN missile just with a software update. This system has some ABM capability. We should implement the update on our ships. Then we should buy Aster 30 Block 1NT that has an enhanced radar for more ABM capability. We should buy a land system to cover theUK and not us T45 for UK land defence.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

This “ground based radar” quoted which the MoD mentioned ages ago, any further news on what and where this will be?

Will it be like the two deployed by the US at Menwith Hill for tracking?

Or could we use the existing Sampson radar atop Portsdown at the LBTS?

Trevor G
Guest
Trevor G

With every passing year the decision to truncate the T45 program at 6 is looking more and more like a major strategic error. There is no way that operational ships at any given time are going to be able to provide simultaneously area defence of a carrier strike group out of area and also BMD defence for the UK itself.

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

Then we really will have bugger all escorts to do anything else! If the government wants to keep piling more and more tasks on the RN, which is great, then we need more ships to be able to meet that requirement! With the RNs traditional tasks in the Atlantic, tasks in the Med, Gulf, South Atlantic, Home waters, West Indies, and even more growing tasking the the Far East more ships will be needed, quick. There is this recent talk of ‘ASW Corvettes’, which of course replacing the entire RN escort fleet is terrible but if the can supplement the… Read more »

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

But I will say BMD is necessity, but is adding to the very limited Type 45s really the best option??

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Indeed, I reckon the Gosport Ferry would be a Valuable Asset and Launch Platform In times of need, together with the Torpoint Ferry and that other one on the Clyde.

3 amazing Defensive Options providing direct cover for our few remaining RN Sites.

It’s not like we have much else left, is It ?

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

My point is, there are 6 Type 45s, at least one is required for the carrier group, that leaves one or two others for other deployments, if one is expected to patrol the UK for BMD that leaves only one or none for other duties. The fact is 6 was never enough, ships are a lot more powerful today but they still can’t be in more than one place. The RN was expecting 8 Type 82s for the one carrier expected in the 60s-CVA-01. 19 escorts is not enough for a nation with ‘true’ ‘global ambitions’, at least not if… Read more »

Matt C
Guest
Matt C

What is there to discuss? Ballistic missile defence capability is a must-have for anybody possessing a carrier.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Here Bloody Here mate.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

It would appear that the most practically ‘useful’ application of bdm on Type 45, at least in the medium term, would be as a defence against ship-killer missiles; this being an intrinsic extension of the vessels’ task force duties.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

A steady drumbeat of the type 26 hull form would appear to be a very cost effective way forward for the UK. Too late for T45 In that role, but in any case T26 is probably a better long term solution – it is virtually the same size as T45, after all. Produced regularly in both an ASW formatted hull and a ‘simpler’ AAW / ASuW hull format, as required, it is difficult to envisage any major drawbacks. Type 31e was the export concept that T26 has already clearly fullfilled to a great extent. Type 31 increasingly appears a relatively… Read more »

David Branney
Guest
David Branney

I believe the Navy are going done the same route with the Type 31 as they did with the Type 21s. When it mattered, they were found to be seriously flawed and used as sacrificial pawns when providing support for the San Carlos landings. It’s all very well putting numbers back in the fleet. However, I really hope whichever design is used that the focus is providing a ship that can properly defend itself when the time comes. A ship on patrol will need to fight with whatever is fitted at the time and hope it has enough to respond… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Hello, David. Yes, I did have Yemen in mind to some extent when I posted. Certainly, patrolling a war zone is not to be conflated with piracy operations, and indeed HMS Daring subsequently covered a similar role with credit. My final comment was a somewhat lightweight allusion / potencial ‘solution’ to same. Still, there are numerous law-enforcement / presence opportunities out there to consider dividing a fleet between low level and high level assets, I think. As with yourself, I feel that Type 31 could end up as neither one thing of the other, if we’re not careful. Furthermore, it… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

If we have only 6 and say 4 are operational at any one time, would there be a spare T45 for UK BMD defence if the 4 we have are deployed with the fleet? Using a 45 sitting in the Thames Estuary, North Sea or where ever is in many ways a waste of a very precious resource.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Nail, Hammer and Head spring to mind.

As long as London Is Protected then Feck everywhere else.

Personally, I’ve developed a long term Theory (based on decades of observation) that London Is the Centre of the entire Universe and everywhere else Is just, well, not even that Important.

Saw It in 82 and I’ve seen It ever since.

R.I.P. To all the Service Men and Women who have paid the ultimate Price.

OOA
Guest
OOA

Makes you wonder at the calculus in the MOD to have decided hitherto not to invest in BMD. No doubt it has been looked at and discounted in favour of other priorities on what seemed to someone like good grounds – probably still does given the wishy washy answer.

It’s articles like this that make me wish more people cared about defence. Do most people even know that they are relatively defenceless in comparison to many of our neighbours? I very much doubt it. When did it stop being something we care about?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Younger generations not being taught respect and admiration for our military from the get go in school, or even our history. Some exceptions of course. Pride in our armed forces and their history has flowed in my veins since childhood. General lack of patriotism, linked to PC. No defensive wars in modern times save the Falklands. No Cold War to concentrate the mind, and peoples fears, though that is changing and arguably never really left. Wars of intervention into Iraq and the the mess that has made. Smaller armed forces leading to less exposure of British population with the armed… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Once again Daniele, I have to agree. The 1982 “Adventure” was a mere blip In the mindset of recent History being taught In Schools all over this Country though. Despite the Enormous Effect and effort, not to mention Sacrifice so many made.

I wouldn’t be at all, surprised If we were made to feel Guilty In future years, either.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

What strikes me Captain, is the reverse in the USA. The admiration and adoration of their armed forces, and their nation, and flag. The Stars and Stripes are on show in peoples gardens and yards, openly, without shame or apology.

Here? How many times have I read of incidents where a flag has to be taken down to avoid offence?

To whom exactly?

This is Great Britain, or have people not noticed.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Yup, once again Daniele, We are having to Apologise, Time and Time again for the mistakes of our Forefathers. Personally, I’m done with all that stuff, Way before my time, Way before my Kids time too. Much rather concentrate on the Future and all the Positives that We might just be able to add to said Future, Given the Chance. Proud Brit that I am, but , Excuse me when I come across as a bit nostalgic. The World has not Known anything like the British Empire, Ever, Before, Or after. And just look at the state of It now.… Read more »

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

‘Mostly for the good’, people always forget that bit and focus solely on the few bad stuff it did! I am from the younger generation than many here(I believe anyway), and although being brought up between England and Ireland I was always taught in the British education system about how bad the empire was and how we should feel ashamed of ourselves really(subtly), but when I began to actually read what this nation and the empire has done. We were taught about the empire and slavery but barely any mention of the fact that the Brits were the first people… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“And you have to notice that the most well off nations today are the ones that were under British influence, even the African ones!”

I generally agree, but I don’t think Zimbabwe ( the once bread basket of Africa ) are doing too well.

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

It was the bread basket of Africa when it was in the empire. The problem with Zimbabwe is that it got in the hands of Mugabe, a man who Britain supported, who stood in front of the UN many times, a man who destroyed his country and its institutions, set up by Britain! A man who committed mass genocide on his own people!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree Keith.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The biggest test is the rule of law and democracy, a test that shows a big difference between the British empire and all others. The British empire created more democratic nations that follow the rule of law than all the other European nations put together.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Historical events should always be judged within the moral context of the time in which they occurred. Was the event inappropriate within its own context or forward thinking and enlightened ? Effectively nothing in human history can be considered enlightened through a modern lense, so you can’t use the modern lense to judge historic actions. We are (generally) a far less brutal and cruel population than ever before seen in history. Only 2 lifetimes ago our decendents would have happily sat and watched a child hang for steeling, slavery and killing were normal activities. This means we can only judge… Read more »

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

None of this will change until we have people in Parliament, MSM and other key positions who are thinking differently (with a few exceptions) from the present bunch.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Guilt.

Like the ongoing campaign of guilt over the Slave trade? To which Corbyn was in schools a few months back spreading the word to the easily influenced. Or those wanting Nelsons Column torn down, because he supported the trade in that time in history when standards were different?

Here’s one for you by comparison. How many Italians want all the Roman ruins of Rome torn down due to the depravity, wickedness, child molestation, and all the rest of many a Roman Emperor, like Tiberious, like Trajan?

None I’m aware of. It. Is. History.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

Exactly.

Paul Bestwick
Guest
Paul Bestwick

Ask Mongolia when they are going to tear down the statues of Ghengis Khan? Expect to be asked to leave town rather quickly.

keithdwat
Guest
keithdwat

oh just saw this! I made very similar points in my reply as well!

Paul Bestwick
Guest
Paul Bestwick

For all those wanting to restart the T45 production, I don’t see it happening. The last was commissioned 6 years ago and was launched 9 years ago and the place they were built was on the Clyde which is busy with the T26. To me a follow on ship to the T26 specialising in AAW comes too late to provide a solution. Now one of the entrants in the T31 competition is based on an existing AAW destroyer, if we are serious about increasing the AAW protection of the fleet surely we should go with this option, obviously this will… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Remember this is not about home defence, there is no realistic situation in which the UK is likely to be attacked by a limited number of theatre or intermediate range ballistic missiles. If our home islands are attacked by ballistic missiles, it will be with ICBMs and probably many at once. It’s my understanding that is still only possible to stop an ICBM with an exoatmospheric interception, and I don’t think there is at present any shipborne missile deployed that can do this, only a very limited number of land based systems. But it would be great if we could… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree on CASD. Against other nations at least.

A terrorist with a dirty bomb or low yield backpack nuke, no.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The only defence against that are security and intel services, which I always think is a good spend.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Well in that field we are well provided, as we both well know.

David Branney
Guest
David Branney

Notwithstanding the argument against the practicalities of defending against an ICBM attack. The most likely attack would be by a rogue state or player who had access to a medium range ballistic missile. As an example, the distance between Algiers and London is 1659km. This puts us firmly in the range of a medium range ballistic missile such as the Shahab-3. I’m not saying we have any issues with Algeria, but as a theoretical example especially as there is a lot of empty desert and mountains in Algeria, where anybody can hide. Now imagine if a group of nutters got… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yep that was my thought too. Use the Sampson at Portsdown.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

David the reality is it takes a significant effort in money and resources to have a medium range ballistic missile capability, look how hard Iran has had to work. Your also not going to be able to move these to the North African coast without being noticed. At which point the french would have a fit and blow it up. I would be very worried if the MOD threw money at a resource because of a very low risk marginal threat. That can be managed in other ways (intel, political power and blowing it up in a strike). If your… Read more »

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

In this case I must disagree. We as a Nation have used the rest of Europe as a shield for to long. It’s one of the reasons that the Bloodhound successor was scrapped, as it was believed that to reach the UK first you have to go through Europe, with their myriad of air defences. We do not have enough T45s to provide a constant UK based ABM defence. Their primary role is defending a task group, which would probably require at least two. The T26 equiped with Sea Ceptor may be able to intercept a ballistic missile, but I… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Forgetting defence. I’ve just seen the news. Jesus H Christ Notre Dame!
A treasure of culture, historic, irreplaceable, took centuries to build!
I’m almost in tears.

Rob
Guest
Rob

They have just announced that they have contained the fire so the structure should be ok. I’m sure they will rebuild and are saving much of the art. Hope no one was hurt. Awful sight.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

The art! The statues!

Rob
Guest
Rob

This is one of those capabilities that joe public would assume we already have. Most seem to have no idea that we actually have very few assets dedicated to home defence.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Perhaps for BMD rather than tying up a sophisticated and expensive Type 45 destroyer, what we should have is an ‘armoury ship’. Same radar and tracking systems as per the Type 45 but basic hull and lots of VLS tubes for the Asters.
However, given the Type 45s radar can track objects over an area the size or Eire, surely two or three shore facilities, featuring the same radar and Aster launch tubes could cover the whole of the U.K. and at a cost of less than one Type 45?

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

1) ABM defences reduce the deterrent effect of nuclear missiles.
2) There aren’t enough Type 45s for this duty if they are to be focused on carrier escort.
3) ABM missiles for carrier escorts could reasonably counter Chinese DFS-21 ballistic anti-carrier missiles – if you think they may be a threat to our carriers.
Conclusion – Scarce defence funds would be better spent on other projects.

dan
Guest
dan

The big downside to being a BMD capable ship is you end up spending most of your time in 1 or 2 small areas going in circles in order to be in a position to shoot down a ballistic missile from either N. Korea or Iran. That’s basically all the US BMD destroyers and cruisers do.

Martin
Guest
Martin

With anti ship ballistic Missiles like DF26 ABM is no longer a nice to have capability on T45 but vital for defending the fleet.

mac
Guest
mac

Translation:

“We’d love to do it but we haven’t got the money”

Fat Dave
Guest
Fat Dave

An important step, as would having a land based, long range air defence system. I agree with previous comments: there are too many gaps in our defence capabilities. And the purchase of 2 unnecessary aircraft carriers has contributed to this lack of balance. Given the defence budget and current manning, these 2 white elephants will hamstring us for decades.
We don’t have enough frigates and patrol aircraft, we don’t have any SEAD platforms, we haven’t bought the more capable F-35 version and the list goes on.
Arguably, the army – albeit still too large – has a reasonably balanced construct.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Balanced? With a mass of infantry in 1 Division with no support, armoured brigades without organic recc assets save battalion recc platoons, Strike Brigades a mix of wheels and tracks with all the firepower tracked, negating the rapid mobility concept of wheels. 16 AA and 3 Cdo lacking in supporting assets.

I’d say the structure of the army is actually a unbalanced mess.

As for the carriers being unnecessary, that depends on what you might want your navy to be capable of doing.

But yes, too few escorts and MPA certainly.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

Mr Mandelli, I couldn’t agree with you more, the army is in total chaos, Strike is a great concept if done properly, which we are most certainly not doing. We have 33 Inf battalions with only 4 being armoured, the rest are light or PM, why is that? Because Light inf is cheap and it’s a political nightmare to disband an Inf regiment. We could be going down to 2 Challenger 2 regiments, the rest will be on CVR(T) (for now) or light Cav? Why? Because Recce regiments are cheap. The entire combat strength if the British army will be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I agree BV. Defence companies pockets. CASD. SSNs. CVF. High tech C3, networks like DII. UKSF. ISTAR. All top end stuff enabling interoperability with the US but leaving us lacking in the basics. Enough escorts, combat power in the army, artillery, and so forth. Take the debacle leading to Ajax. Years of initial gates, appraisals, concept studies, followed by more of the same, which resulted in 1 billion spent by the British Army for not a single FRES vehicle procured at one time. The end result as you say is 4 Warrior battalions, plus 4 Boxer Battalions in the Strike… Read more »

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

“CASD. SSNs. CVF. High tech C3, networks like DII. UKSF. ISTAR” Most of that is Navy kit or joint services, out of the Army budget what are we spending taxpayers money on? it is not as if we are supporting huge stocks of armoured vehicles now. Development wise, FRES was a cluster, Scout was infuriating, why are we so bad at procurement? I have sat in many a meeting with the defence industry and they all seem to have way too many overpaid lawyers and not enough real experts. The British Army has reached a point where it is now… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yes fair comment they are Joint or non Army. I really do not know. Some on here have mentioned much of the budget goes on the AAC, but is that really possible with around 70 helicopters? Looking at the issue of Infantry Battalions. 4 Warrior, 4 MIV ( Boxer? ) 2 Para, 1 Gurkha in our 5 deployable Armoured Infantry, Air Assault, or Strike Brigades. Another Para Battalion is in a useful role as forming the greater part of the UKSFSG and such is almost always engaged or with assets deployed. So 12 out of 31 usefully employed in deployable… Read more »

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

It does seem that half of the army is sat doing nothing and will be useless in an all-out war. Looking at some budget websites we spend billions on land equipment, not sure what land equipment it is referring to, nothing new has come online for years and that can’t just be the maintenance bill. I have spoken to plenty of defence industry chaps over the years and they assure me that they are not ripping off the army, they can only make a certain percentage of profit ect. and blame increased costs on the MOD terrible contract writing. We… Read more »

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Question for the knowledgeable. Is Aster NT able to intercept s supersonic AShM?

Rob
Guest
Rob

A French Horizon class frigate has shot down a sea skimming target drone travelling at mach 2.5, so yes. I believe the next phase of development is for an Aster BMD missile for hypersonic interception (mach 5 and above).

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Thx
So I’m thinking that notwithstanding carrier based F-35B capability, in an expeditionary scenario Aster NT looks important for the RN to guarantee sea control in the face of an increasing number of longer range and faster ship launched, sub launched and coastal defence ‘cruise’ type missiles.

David Branney
Guest
David Branney

Its a question of maths and especially timing. The current Aster 30 has a published speed of Mach 4.5. This puts it in the low end of hypersonics, however the Kh15 is designed to dive on the targeted ship at over Mach 5, whilst the Zircon (3M22) is supposed to go up to Mach 8. This gives a combined meeting speed of Mach 9.5 or 12.5, which is bloody quick. As was shown during the Gulf War when the US deployed Patriot in Israel, a number of Scud got through. This wasn’t because the system couldn’t detect or track the… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Thanks David, very informative. For me this is vital to protect a RN carrier group. The T45s really should have this as soon as is practically possible. Sailing the QEC through the South China Sea in range of a whole load of ballistic missiles seems daft without better protection. Add MK41 VLS for good measure to allow for a greater number of Asters and other weapons too. We can hope!

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Thanks. Very informative.

Joel Evans
Guest
Joel Evans

This is good news, if it actually leads anywhere, but I think there may be a greater priority in reinstating cooperative engagement capability on the T45s. My understanding is that they’re currently unable to provide or receive target tracking data from other platforms, which as an air defence platform is pretty dire (considering some of the high volume, high speed threats they’re potentially going to be facing). In my opinion, we’re more likely to be needing our T45s to prosecute an air target identified by another RN/allied ship in a task group than we are to be knocking ballistic missiles… Read more »