One Careful Owner

The Royal Navy Type 22 Frigates, HMS Chatham, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Cumberland and HMS Cornwall, were withdrawn from service as part of the SDSR and the MoD have now announced their disposal intentions.

It is the Disposal Services Authority (DSA) intention to invite expressions of interest in tendering for the Type 22 Frigates (HMS Chatham, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Cumberland and HMS Cornwall) for the following:

  • Further Use
  • Sinking for an Artificial reef
  • Recycling

At this stage the DSA does not require interested parties to specify which Vessel/s they wish to bid for.

It is the DSA intention to award at least one vessel to a UK Ship Recycler; this is in part to secure detailed knowledge of the UK’s capacity to recycle vessels. Any decision to award to a UK Ship Recycling company will be made in accordance with transparent and objective evaluation criteria which will be issued at the Invitation to Tender stage.

A sad day of course but time marches on.

HMS Cumberland

From the MoD

formally a Warship Frigate F85 was built at Yarrow Shipbuilders, Glasgow UK in 1988 and is now lying at HMNB Portsmouth. The vessel ceased service on the 23rd September 2011 and is due to be tendered early 2013.

HMS Cumberland Lynx Helicopter Flies Over HMS Cumberland in the Indian Ocean


HMS Chatham

From the MoD

formally a Warship Frigate F87 was built at Swan Hunters Shipbuilders in Wallsend UK in 1989, and is now lying at HMNB Portsmouth. The vessel ceased service on the 20th October 2011 and is due to be tendered early 2013

HMS Chatham In The Mediterranean

HMS Campbeltown

From the MoD

formally a Warship Frigate F86 was built at Cammell Laird ship yard Birkenhead UK in 1987 and is now lying at HMNB Portsmouth. The vessel ceased service on the 7th July 2011 and is due to be tendered early 2013.

HMS Campbeltown, a Type 22 Frigate, conducted a helicopter exercise over the Red Sea.

HMS Cornwall

From the MoD

formally a Warship, Frigate F99 was built at Yarrow Shipbuilders, Glasgow UK in 1988 and is now lying at HMNB Portsmouth. The vessel ceased service on the 20th October 2011 and is due to be tendered early 2013

HMS Cornwall

Incidentally, the new pages on where the story comes from have links that go nowhere except an error page.

Come on MoD, get it together!



About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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Rev. Spooner
December 17, 2012 10:54 pm

…*formerly* a Warship…


December 17, 2012 11:00 pm

Very sad. Very sad indeed. :(

December 17, 2012 11:23 pm

At least they pretty much got their 25 yrs in, unlike Norfolk, Marlborough, Grafton, Largs Bay, probably one of the Albions if CVF needs more dosh, etc

December 17, 2012 11:55 pm

Fine looking ships, bristling with weapons and withdraw from service with plenty of life left in them.

They only really got 20-23 years service a piece, although as Wstr points out at least they weren’t scrapped 5 minutes after commissioning like some of their unlucky contemporaries.

December 18, 2012 4:48 am

I wonder if this will mean we finally get harpoon transferred across to T45.

Aussie Johnno
December 18, 2012 5:58 am

Good question Martin!

December 18, 2012 7:10 am

Just a shame you cannot as easily move the sonars also….

December 18, 2012 7:12 am

does anyone know what happened to the harpoon launcher’s from the previous T22’s?

December 18, 2012 8:56 am

Looks like the Harpoons and guns have gone to the warehouse. The Seawolf launchers haven’t though. Always strikes me as odd that we underarm our ships especially compared to the French or Italians. Harpoons to T45 is a no-brainer, assuming of course they are not past their sell-by date, which they may be. Also why not strap those Seawolf launchers onto an Albion?

Not a Boffin
December 18, 2012 9:34 am

Because GWS25 is essentially unsupportable……

December 18, 2012 9:48 am

Ow, that’s true. Some systems are bolt on. Others are not.

December 18, 2012 10:03 am

Good point easy to forget that Sea Wolf in its original form is 30 year old technology! May partly explain why, what on the face of it were very capable ships, being sent to the scrap yard.

December 18, 2012 10:09 am

What strikes me is that we have been the only first world nation to fight a traditional naval campaign since WWII maybe Korea and neither side fired a single ship mounted ASM despite both sides having quite a few. And T42 and several other vessels did not posses them but were part of a TF that did.

Which is the point.

If T45 needs to fight ships it won’t be alone it will be part of a TF with air cover, helos, other vessels and SSNs. They won’t be operating on their own in an area where there is a surface threat and it looks like its going to kick off.

T45 no more needs Harpoon than a tank needs a SAM system and a 155mm howitzer on the same chassis. Harpoon is an expense that is not necessary on T45 and I don’t get the continuous hankering for it. We have the best AAW vessel in the world but its not good enough because it doesn’t have some old missiles that it doesn’t need and would never fire.

December 18, 2012 10:51 am

@ Phil – If a Mexican stand off turns into a fight which is the most likely scenario I think for ship to ship combat then a big ASM like harpoon may be just the ticket. I agree it’s a secondary weapon but it does not mean that it’s not highly useful in certain circumstance. if we already have the launchers and missiles then why not transfer them across. How much could it really cost? Also we should not forget that with so few escort vessels we need to get as much as possible out of each of them. Can we afford to have something like T45 only able to operate in a task force.

December 18, 2012 10:52 am

@ Waddi

You are also forgetting the trackers (they are big bits of kit) need a home on the ship too not just the launchers (which aren’t insubstantial) then it needs to be plumbed in. As NaB said it is very old tech now. But lets say it was a pristine and fully functioning it is a system that can knock a 4.5in shell out of the sky at supersonic speeds so not exactly impotent. VLS version with solid state giros is even better. If SeaCeptor does offer real improvements on the latter then it will be some system.

December 18, 2012 10:58 am

It would cost a lot since the missiles have limited life at sea and if they were embarked as a matter of routine then that’s money from something more useful.

Mexican stand off? If there was such a thing it will be part of a TF. Probably international and almost certainly with air and SSN cover. That’s the point. These vessels won’t go near a shooting war on their own. They get out out as single ships on ops where there is presently next to no risk of a fleet engagement.

There’s no real need for them. Are you going to put your prized AAW asset within ASM range of another fleet, energise and then fire when you have other vessels more suited to the task of ship killing and indeed other assets? No you won’t.

December 18, 2012 11:12 am

@Phil: if T45 was really going to only be part of a task group, fine. But a destroyer like this will often be working alone, and to be without any effective defense against even a fast patrol boat (which Harpoon has done very well against off Libya and the Gulf) is rather foolish. No, the 4.5 won’t cut it..

December 18, 2012 11:19 am

Oh phil look what you’ve done!,

Wf fast patrol boats lynx sea skua seemed quite useful.

December 18, 2012 11:27 am

I agree you shouldn’t break the bank in getting ASM onto T45 as it’s a secondary capability, but if we already have Harpoon systems and they still work then id like to see them put to good use.

I don’t like the idea of any escort ship, especially one that could well spend a lot of time working alone, having no credible surface defence.

December 18, 2012 11:41 am

@ Phil – if you look at the numerous mexican stand off’s in Asia at the moment or some that we have been involved in in the FI they do not involve task forces. Sending a task force may well inflame the situation. However not having a substantial medium range anti surface capability leaves an asset like T45 vulnerable to a vessel who does have such a capability if thing’s turn hot fast. The vessels don’t have to be armed all the time either. if it has the launcher onboard then you have no way of knowing if the missile is in the tube or not however the detterant is there.

December 18, 2012 12:02 pm

@Mark: Sea Skua is useful. But it has a very limited range, the warheads are small, they can only be launched if there is a helicopter available (we’re only carrying 1 these days) and the missiles are so old they are practically out of service :-(

December 18, 2012 12:30 pm

I’m not clear what you guys think a few Harpoons are going to do against a swarm of Iranian attack boats…

The T45 advantage in combat is its bloody great range and ability to dominate the skies within that range. It shouldn’t be getting into one-one one ship fights.

The hypothetical naval engagement argument irks me; we equip our ships against their likley threats and for their indended roles, not like the Americans who can afford to throw every last bit of kit possible onto a platform.

If the marine threat changes to the degree where surface vessles are a threat; thats exactly why the T45 has a spot left for Harpoons on its deck. But that isn’t likely to happen more quickly then we can buy some and bolt them on.

December 18, 2012 12:41 pm

@phil. Ref no ‘ship mounted ASM’ [SSM?] engagements – correct as stated, although you can think of the strike against HMS Glamorgan as virtually ship-to-ship (with East Falkland as the enemy ‘vessel’ – ARA Este Malvinas if you will) or at least surface-to-surface as they were MM38s (ship-launch configured model of the Exocet), that had been flown in and repositioned onto trailers.

December 18, 2012 12:42 pm

Nobody is going to be sending a multi billion pound AAW destroyer in some sort of Mexican stand off thousands of miles from home. It’s bollocks. Whatever the Asian navies are getting up to its not how we work. Enemy capital ships do not loom out of the mist and pump our ships with ASM with no warning. Doesn’t happen. It’s fantasy. If the threat assessment says likely enemy surface action with first rates then there will be a TF there. We even use TFs to fight men skiffs. And nobody can even use the ubiquitous Falklands example either. Or even GRANBY where all the Iraqi vessels or the vast majority were done in by helicopters and planes

December 18, 2012 1:04 pm

@ Phil

“Nobody is going to be sending a multi billion pound AAW destroyer in some sort of”

HMS York in the Falklands 2010

You don’t seem to see what I am saying the enemy ship does not have to come out of no where they may be sitting of a drilling platfom or something else for days before things suddenly get hot.

@ Steve D – not thinking about Iranian gun boats rather an Argentine frigate.

December 18, 2012 1:07 pm

Will harpoons (or any other missiles – TLAMs?) not fit in T45’s vertical launch tubes?

December 18, 2012 1:18 pm


Harpoon is designed to fit in it’s own bolt on cannisters, it won’t go in the vertical launch silo’s. Tomahawk would require a larger silo than currently fitted, plus the T45 only has 48 (they should really have 64 or 72) which should be prioritised for Sea Viper.

I’m all for fitting Harpoon to T45, although I’ll accept that it’s not a priority. IF we still have some spare and operational surely bolting existing ones on would need minimal funds? Plus they are still in service on T23 so it’s not as if it’s a limited/dying system which won’t have the support infrastructure and spares etc.

December 18, 2012 1:19 pm


Long-term I think both T45 and T26 should get the NSM, Perseus would be great but you could be waiting around for a very long time, that’s if it actually gets built at all.

Jeremy M H
December 18, 2012 2:01 pm

Frankly if you are worried about anti-ship weapons I on the Type 45 I would think the LRASM-A would make more sense. It should (famous last words) enter service around 2015 as it is based on JASSM-ER which is already flying. The range brings it more in line with the range at which you would want a type 45 to operate. It should comfortably out range most of the high speed weapons out there and is low-observable. It will be a far more capable weapon than the NSM for destroyer sized ships.

That would be a more expensive add-on to be sure but I agree with the others that I don’t see either NSM or Harpoon as being worth it. I don’t want to operate within Harpoon or NSM range with a type 45. Personally I doubt anything gets done but if I am going to bother to do something in that regards with the Type 45 I think it would involve spending the money and putting in more VLS cells so I could carry LRASM-A and (by default really) TLAM. Anything short of that is a waste of money in my view.

December 18, 2012 3:01 pm

@ Jeremy H – I like the idea of LRASM-A as it fits inside the Mk 41 VLS. if we install the Mk41 silos in the middle of the T45 then this would also give us the ability to fire TLAM. Eventually as something like Perseus comes along we can change over the A50 silo’s to A70’s. This would mean that we could easily mix and match the missile load allowing us to choose from the best US or European missiles with no need to go through costly conversion’s. As missiles become smarter and more plug and play this should become easier. It would also allow us to benefit from using our current TLAM supply chain with no need to resort to SCALP (n) which is expensive in comparison.

Jeremy M H
December 18, 2012 3:45 pm


Yeah, it would have a high up front cost but would give you the widest variety of weapons fit for the things which in RN service are the highest of high end ships. Really it is more about TLAM (or its follow on) than LRASM-A (Or any ASM for that matter) in my view. The ships are far more likely to fire those than the ASM’s but being able to throw 4 or 6 in the silos would give you a standoff reach of 900ish KM’s with a weapon that will likely be networked pretty tightly with F-35’s the RN will be operating or do just fine on its own.

Supposedly one could put Perseus (if it ever gets developed, I am not convinced it will at this point because it is going to be very expensive) in Mk 41 cells so that would eliminate the need for refitting A70s and save a good amount of money there.

December 18, 2012 3:59 pm

It would be nice if Perseus would fit in a mk41 launcher. I would still like to see at least some of the A50 silos switched to A70 though eventually. Anything like a future Aster 45 ABM will need the longer cell. I have seen guesstimates of £500,000 per silo which does not seem too much. With the eventual replacement of Aster 15 with quad packed sea ceptor we should have more than enough space onboard for an impressive range of capabilities.

December 18, 2012 4:45 pm


I can’t think of a situation where against worsening tensions with Argentina we wouldn’t have the threat of a sub lurking in the area to disuade them from such attacks. In any case, what would Argentina gain by starting a shooting war?


The issue with simply taking a weapon system and bolting it onto a ship is intergrating it with that vessles search radar and control systems, and then fully testing that setup prior to deployment. Its unlikely to be overly complex, but it would still cost a reasonable sum and require a month or two in dock, followed by sea-trials for comissioning.

December 18, 2012 5:02 pm

The escorts that went south in 82 were worked up for surface warfare.

The fundamental role of a navy is to sink the ships of the enemy. Probably the best “place” for an “escort’s” ASM missiles is on it’s helicopter. But considering the small cost, as a percentage of the whole system cost, of missiles (screwed to the deck) and medium gun not to fit them is an economy too far. Even if viewed as a defensive measure they are worth it; as an instrument of denial. A shrinking fleet and redundancy has to be considered too; as does the possibility we may not always be acting with the Americans. Or perhaps the Indians, Russians, and Chinese are just dumb?

December 18, 2012 5:13 pm

York was not operating on her own. Why are the blinkers put on when it comes to allies?!

December 18, 2012 5:40 pm

” In any case, what would Argentina gain by starting a shooting war?” – Sorry, I just had a flashback to 1982 ;-)

@Phil – If we were talking about a new system with all the expense and “faff” that that entails, then I would agree with you; but we are talking about transferring an existing system onto a platform which is already “fitted for” it, so why not?

Jeremy M H
December 18, 2012 6:09 pm


Frankly were I the RN I would scrap them so that having Harpoon does not keep me from getting something more capable I could actually use and need later. Harpoon just does not have a lot of utility on a Type 45 in my view. If you are that close things have gone horribly wrong already.

December 18, 2012 6:19 pm

“@phil. Ref no ‘ship mounted ASM’ [SSM?] engagements – correct as stated, although you can think of the strike against HMS Glamorgan as virtually ship-to-ship (with East Falkland as the enemy ‘vessel’ – ARA Este Malvinas if you will) or at least surface-to-surface as they were MM38s (ship-launch configured model of the Exocet), that had been flown in and repositioned onto trailers.”

Now I don’t get into definitional debates but I have to say you’re pushing it calling a ground launched Harpoon “virtually” ship launched! It was also virtually space launched! And unless we plan to ground a T45 and fire off the Harpoons then…

December 18, 2012 6:24 pm

“If we were talking about a new system with all the expense and “faff” that that entails, then I would agree with you; but we are talking about transferring an existing system onto a platform which is already “fitted for” it, so why not?”

Because, and I am sure a naval type will back me up on this, when missiles go to sea they have a shelf life. Now I am not sure if they either have to be decommissioned or re-manufactured or somesuch, but that is an expense. It is an expense that a cash strapped armed forces does not need. I’d bet the farm that most of the time a T23s Harpoon tubes are empty or half empty because carrying them means extra expense on the missiles.

So in an Armed Forces that has to make every penny count it makes no sense to spend money on a capability that will never be needed and has not been used despite fighting two (Im going to count the Gulf now too) naval campaigns. Which brings me to the point about fast attack craft, I am sure Chris B would love to delve back into his Airpower Survey to tell us exactly how many Iraqi vessels were sunk by airpower? I can pre-empt – I believe it was almost all of them. Despite a HUGE, HUGE American naval presence with well over hundred ASM Harpoon launchers.

Jeremy M H
December 18, 2012 6:37 pm


The fact of the matter is that Harpoon is just flat not going to be used that much by the US anymore, particularly in congested and well traveled waters. You don’t have enough control over the thing once you fling it off your ship to use it with confidence. For dealing with things like missile boats for the most part aircraft can approach within easy range for much safer weapons to be used. They don’t have a lot of anti-air weapons after all.

Harpoon is a great weapon if the only thing out there is a hostile ship…or the situation is such that hitting something else is not that big of a deal. Generally I don’t see such weapons being cut loose in anything short of WWIII and why newer western anti-ship weapons are likely to be heavily data-linked to allow a man in the loop to make decisions further along in the targeting chain.

December 18, 2012 6:41 pm

I completely agree Jeremy!

AShMs look very compelling on paper but vessels should simply not be putting themselves into position to fight other surface vessels – which they won’t be if they are operating as part of a combined TF which they will be. And then you have the ROE problems you mention which I think are overlooked by many but are actually very real limitations.

December 18, 2012 6:41 pm

@Phil – Yes good point re shelf life of missiles, though I do like Martin’s point about the deterrent value of at least fitting the tubes; test fire a missile now and again to keep people guessing.

Re ships on dry land. Well, the Chinese think it’s worthwhile :-)

December 18, 2012 6:47 pm

There’s FACs and then there’s shitty boats people call FACs to frighten people. And besides, as I believe Mark pointed out, Iraqi FACs got their arses handed to them by simple Lynx and air strikes. FACs are very vulnerable and if we are likely to be up against proper FACs then it will be as part of a TF. If they are shitty little things like speed boats armed with RPGs and bombs then T45 has something like 13 or so guns. Shooting wars at sea where two or more naval vessels clash do not suddenly spring up. It is far more likely that an air strike occurs ala USS Stark and even then whilst the strike itself was a surprise given the context that it happened at all was not so surprising.

December 18, 2012 7:46 pm

@Phil: on what do you base your comment “if we are likely to be up against proper FACs then it will be as part of a TF”? I don’t see a single T45 patrolling the FI or a similar location having a choice of enemies. If there’s multiple major surface combatants heading it’s way it would obviously be well advised to run like hell, but there’s a lot of straits we keep eyes on where an multiple FAC’s with could unmask rapidly. A 4.5 won’t reach very far, and even Sea Viper will rapidly run out of missiles if the offenders sit out of Mk8 range.

December 18, 2012 8:10 pm

On what basis? On the basis that Her Majesties Navy does not send single combatants into a war zone on their own and unsupported.

The model of a lightning flash war is a bankrupt one.

We do not have ships happily puffing around contentious waters suddenly assailed by swarms of enemy warships. The rapidly unmasking enemy made up of FACs is crap since proper FACs are owned entirely by nation states and we are not in the habit of having exposed individual vessels bobbing around Iranian waters, certainly not since the good show the Navy put on a few years ago. A vessel that I believe was armed with Harpoon?

You’re shoe horning unlikely scenario’s to fit your idea of what kit should be hung on a warship.

If T45 needs to deal with some speed boats, it has 13 guns. If it was in an area where tensions were high and a visit from a few Iranian FACS was expected then it would be operating as part of a TF. It would not be stuck out like a bulldogs bollocks on its own, unsupported and forsaken!

As for the Falklands, seriously, the Argentine Navy is worth more as scrap now.

Jeremy M H
December 18, 2012 8:22 pm


Even then Harpoon is hardly the answer. I don’t think Aster has capability against surface targets. It is not that type of weapon for a few reasons. Or were you talking about having too many incoming weapons to deal with?

Regardless Harpoon is just not a great solution in those tactical situations. What you really need are helicopters appropriately armed with something like a Hellfire or something along the lines of an SM-2 that you can command guide into the target very quickly.

December 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Harpoon seems to have missed more than it has hit. Seems to do more damage when it is fired accidentally!

It is interesting that US forces sank more Iranian vessels in the 80s using laser guided bombs, Standard SAMs and cluster bombs than they did using AShM or even air launched missiles.

December 18, 2012 10:58 pm

We decided we didn’t really need that many ship’s helicopters. Or a missile. Because something else would do it. We didn’t need something else, so we didn’t need it, because airpower on the carrier would do it, but then we decided we didn’t need so many expensive jets because the RAF would do it. Now we’re deciding we don’t need so much RAF…

Aussie Johnno
December 19, 2012 12:23 am

Just reminding everybody that the Block II version of Harpoon has an embedded GPS which gives it a (limited) land attack capability. A 500lb blast frag warhead isn’t going to take out a hardened target but it would make a mess of anything else in range. Fitting your T45’s with the launch ramps and the control consoles gives you options and that is what warships are about. I have no idea if the RN has Block II but it is just an upgrade kit. Fitting harpoon from existing stocks would be a better option than wishing for Tomahawk.

Jeremy M H
December 19, 2012 2:30 am


Hey, I 100% agree with you regarding the overall attitude of the EU in general and the UK to a much lesser degree regarding defense. It is a bit lax for my liking.

I just think that the Harpoon is not really the right match for this particular ship that came up (the Type 45) and would not be right for the Type 26 either for that matter.

Harpoon is nearing the end of its service life and represents and out of date method of warfare. It was basically designed for an environment where there were virtual free fire zones if the Cold War went hot. It was not designed for confused situations with neutrals about. It certainly was not designed to engage fast attack craft (though it can it is massive overkill).

LRASM-A would be a bit different. It has a lot more range than Harpoon and should have a much smarter seeker and be network enabled so that a man can be in the loop. It is a weapon of the future. Plus I would guess that one could get some comparatively cheap land attack versions (JASSM is only about $700,000 a pop and the whole thing may just be dual purposed anyway because if it already has GPS on it for mid-course than why not) and get a reasonably 900KMish land attack weapon to supplement TLAM. Harpoon, even in the II variant just does not have the range I would want for a land attack weapon. The biggest drawback though is that its biggest supporter is about to move onto the next thing.

December 19, 2012 7:02 am

On what basis? On the basis that Her Majesties Navy does not send single combatants into a war zone on their own and unsupported.

Seem to remember an incident on the Yangtze some years ago, think they even maid a movie 

December 19, 2012 7:50 am

>if we are likely to be up against proper FACs then it will be as part of a TF.

I must ask, what is this love of co-dependency? Combined arms is an important concept, but it does not mean choosing codependency when independency is right around the corner.

Parliament would be thrilled if it finds out that it could have sent One Vessel for a task, but had to send 2-3 because the Navy deliberately split the required capabilities across sevel vessels.

December 19, 2012 8:50 am

Just to add something else to the equation the F35 does not have a dedicated AShM. The Norwegians are pushing for the NSM but it may not fit inside the B version. So a CBG couldn’t rely on fast jets to defend itself against surface warships, bar getting very close to drop a bomb. If F35B can carry Storm Shadow (that’s the plan at the moment but these things can change) you would think would do the job, but could it breach a CIWS?

December 19, 2012 9:54 am

Hi Waddi, Re
“The Norwegians are pushing for the NSM but it may not fit inside the B version. So a CBG couldn’t rely on fast jets to defend itself against surface warships”
– with NSM’s range you won’t need to be overly concerned about retaining stealth for that kind of tasking
…just hang them on the outside (can’t remember the weight, ie. which pylons could take them, but anyway only the software from V4 will support them)

December 19, 2012 10:45 am

arkhangelsk said “Parliament would be thrilled if it finds out that it could have sent One Vessel for a task, but had to send 2-3 because the Navy deliberately split the required capabilities across several vessels.”

True. And I will add that this goes back to all the porridge here a few months back about the term “General Purpose” when applied to escorts and large surface combatants. All the RN’s escorts are general purpose in the sense that have some capability in every area. Too many focus on the first rate capability whether it be AAW or ASW and see past the more general capabilities. Take AAW. There is a mix of high end area weapons like Sea Viper and less capable (but still potent) point defence systems like Sea Wolf. A mix and variety of systems across hulls. I say again a warship’s role is to inflict violence on the enemy; for an escort that means not only AAW or ASW but attacking ships. The reason why a state wants a navy is to control or deny an area of sea to stop the movement of ships. It is all about ships. Um. Nobody says to a tank crew you don’t need helmets, body armour, individual weapons, or the GPMG next to the commander’s hatch. To treat naval warfare platforms like the simple atomised approach allowed for land forces shows a lack of understanding. The sea is a vast hostile environment which means everything has to go with you. Armies operate in small areas within bubbles of mutual support; they don’t have to worry about the land swallowing you up if things go south. Even if you operate as part of a task group with balanced capabilities there is still a need for redundancy. Not everybody can turn up with an OPV or a minesweeper and say that have contributed. And even today we do send ships to places on their own. The Argentine navy may never put to sea again, China may only want to make iPads, but it still isn’t an excuse for RN ships not to have the basic capability to close the enemy more closely, shell them, rocket them, and bring about the destruction of HM’s enemies. I think one or two spend too much time MoD doctrine with its borrowed vocabulary from the world of business, swallowed too much of the purple kool aid of jointery, and forget history and its more simple direct lucid lessons.

None of this is getting my ham prepped……. :)

December 19, 2012 11:35 am

This article translated by Google so you will have to use some imagination shows the French Horizon class, complete with Block 3 Exocet (land attack capability); Torpedos (something the T45 doesn’t have),and claims to use the Torpedo Defence system not just defensively but offensively as well. Does make the T45 look like the poor relation.

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 12:52 pm

What people on here never talk about is that an anti surface engagement is dominated by picture compilation.
This is by far the most difficult thing to do. It is all well and good to talk about 500 mile range ashm with mid course guidance but you need real time targetting info. Fine if you are a super power with enough sattelites and comms tech.

Generally over the horizon targetting for an individual unit will rely upon embarked rotary wing assets. This brings engagement ranges down as combatants simply do not have the capabilities to maintain a full RMP at extreme ranges or the ROE to have such an exclusion zone in anything other than a full on shooting war.

NSM is a genuinely stealthy missile capable of mid course guidance with land attack capability and a range of 100nm. It also never goes active making it extremely difficult to detect and a hard kill only option. Personally it is a scarily good missile, it is also designed to use terrain masking in the littoral.

ref F35 the norgies are developing JSM for F35.

December 19, 2012 1:14 pm


I would agree but the last time this came up did you not critise me for suggesting with harpoon we needed to know/see what we’re shooting at and as such harpoon ship based is quite limited due to roe.

Anyway I think nsm is a penguin replacement any chance we could fit it to merlin also.

Jeremy M H
December 19, 2012 1:44 pm


RE: Storm Shadow

I don’t really “get” this weapon and have been trying to figure it out for a very long time. It is heavier than its contemporary weapon(1,230 KG vs 1,021 for JASSM)but has less range (250km vs 370km) and the same warhead. Even the KEPD 350 which is heavier (1,400 KG) out ranges it comfortably (500 KM). Looking at the weapons Storm Shadow should have longer range.

Normally I would assume someone is lying and short selling the thing. But I just don’t think that is the case here. For whatever reason the thrust needed for Storm Shadow is 1.8 times that for the JASSM(5.4kn vs 3.0 kn. That means more fuel consumption and shorter range for a given airframe size. The speeds of the weapons are going to be pretty comparable as well. I have the same question about Naval SCALP (the same weapon modified and fired out of a ship). It is sold as a thousand KM’s plus but it is damn near the same size as a TLAM which has 1,700 KM’s of range. If it had that range they would say it equals TLAM, but they don’t.

These missiles, for that given size, ought to go further. They seem over-powered (engine thrust wise) as well. In regards to F-35 (any version) the biggest annoyance for me would be that you can’t carry the things on the midwing pylon (too heavy) where you could carry JASSM there. That enables you to carry gas on the inboard wing pylons for a very long strike mission. Not a huge deal for the US (they will use B-1’s and B-52’s for long range ALCM strikes) but a big deal for pretty much everyone else as a squadron of F-35’s able to do that lets me reach out and touch people at around 1,600ish KM’s (push out to around 2,000 plus if I have the ER version) with high precision and relatively low risk. If I hang Storm Shadow on my frame I can’t carry extra gas and will have a drag range decrease (so will JASSM so I just estimated the above based on a range increase for more gas and a penalty for drag), plus a shorter ranged weapon.

It seems to me that somebody screwed up the aerodynamics or over-engined the Storm Shadow, at least relative to the competition out there.

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 1:55 pm


Without going back to my post I was probably getting at the fact that a ship can provide its own over the horizon targetting and surface search out to 75nm.
Hence my point about NSM and range. NSM is a longer range ship or shore launched alternative to Penguin. The new JSM will be air launched and designed for F35 internal carriage I do not know if even a Merlin could carry one.

Jeremy M H
December 19, 2012 2:02 pm


I do like the JSM and hope it is a piece of kit the US elects to pickup in reasonable numbers as a quick reaction weapon for F-35’s. My main worry with it is that for the US at least it is a very, for lack of a better term, Baltic oriented weapon that does not leverage other US capabilities that APATS mentioned. If you are going to invest in P-8’s and MQ-4C’s you might as well put weapons in VLS cells that can take advantage of what those platforms do. In a networked environment I basically see LRASM-A as an extended magazine for those platforms. They can stay relatively unnoticed and simply provide mid-course updates needed to get the weapons where they need to go.

December 19, 2012 2:26 pm

@ Jeremy M H re Storm Shadow

Um. One word Europe. As for range well I have bashed the RAF enough over the last week but I all will say is the shorter the range the more dependent on fast pointy aeroplanes, tankers, long strips of concrete you become. It is a very clever missile but I wonder what “we” gain over TLAM. As I have said loads of times imagine if T45 came with an aft silo full of TLAM (and the same for T26.) An escort sitting in the Med or the Gulf would be in range of most of what the UK would want to TLAM. All good fun.

December 19, 2012 4:05 pm

@ Jeremy H – I have to agree about Storm Shadow. Its range is inside the range of the S300 and S400 missiles which are surely the weapons it is designed to defeat. It’s shorter range also prohibits larger aircraft such as a converted airliner as envisaged in FOAS from being able to effectively deploy it. How hard could it have been to add a bit more fuel for a 500km range but as X says maybe that would mean less need for fast pointy things :-).

@ APATS – I agree about NSM being more useful however it won’t fit inside a VLS and will require dedicated launcher’s. The thought of being able to use a VLS for TLAM or AshM is appealing on grounds of flexibility and simplicity.

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 4:24 pm


Unfortunately there are not a lot of vld launched ashm options out there. Making an ashm vls compatible increases the missile length by fitting a booster.
Playing the devils advocate not using silo space for an ashm frees that space up for other missiles.
I know some people say that by using an exposed launcher increases risk of damage but the Skjiold class use a pop up launcher.
It is an in service highly capable system that would not break the bank.

December 19, 2012 4:43 pm

If Kongsberg have any sense they should buy an old BAE factory and offer to make the NSM/JSM here. Would be a sizeable order especially if bought for the F35 as well.

If the NSM can be containerised then a bolt on to whatever new Corvette/Black Swan the MoD is thinking of would be useful.

December 19, 2012 4:51 pm

Doesn’t Excoet have armoured boxes? It isn’t the missile getting hit that is the problem it is all the gubbins to launch it coming to grief as ASM goes in through the ship’s side straight into ops. If only they were would return to a touch hole, “Have a care! Giving fire!”. Woosh!

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 4:58 pm

Waddi if NSM fits on a Skjiold it will fit on any Corvette we build but if you git your Corvette with ashm/sam/sonar etc you end up with a small expensive ship that you may get 5 of for the price of 4 T26.
Modularisation makes it even mote expensive, see the LCS

December 19, 2012 5:10 pm

Where does OPV score over a frigate for range and endurance? It doesn’t. Do we get extra RFA to make up for the OPVs’ short legs?

December 19, 2012 5:24 pm

On Storm Shadow, I remember hearing or reading somewhere (might have been from MBDA) quite recently that the 250km range represents the range when cruising all the way from launch to the target at low altitude, and would be greater if launched from altitude, and/or set to follow a higher altitude approach.

Also, let’s not forget that SS is about 25% faster than a Tomahawk and has the BROACH warhead, which solves the primary deficiency of TLAM (which struggles to penetrate hardened targets).

“Which brings me to the point about fast attack craft, I am sure Chris B would love to delve back into his Airpower Survey to tell us exactly how many Iraqi vessels were sunk by airpower?”

— Ha! You really think I’m going to go fishing through 800 pages of practically wall to wall text just to find that out? Pffff please!


143 boats, including 12 of the 13 missile boats (The other one legged it to Iran). There doesn’t appear to be a breakdown of which aircraft did the most with what weapons, just that the Yanks considered the Lynx/Sea Skua combination to be, quote; “the most effective weapon”.

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 5:46 pm

Chris B

Lynx and Skua is very effective against FAC without a SAM. Every helo mission on either probe or attack is prosecuted iaw an numeric risk number. The GW missions were low risk as we had air supremacy and opponents with no SAM capability.
A lynx with skua is not a good option against a larger target with even a moderate SAM/radar capability.
Ashm missiles and current rotary wing capabilities are designed to be complimemtary not exclusive.
You yourself pointed out the vulnerability of fixed wing mudmoversvs ir sam a helo is even more vulnerable

December 19, 2012 7:14 pm

Firing from the inside of the ship “return to a touch hole, “Have a care! Giving fire!”. Woosh!”
– Visby/ RBS15 combo does exactly that, as there was no appetite to compromise on the expensively acquired stealth
– the gases coming out through one side as the missile leaves through the hatch on the other, and rises to its operating altitude, is quite a sight

December 19, 2012 7:19 pm


Phil just wanted to know the numbers. That’s all I offered up.

All Politicians are the Same
December 19, 2012 7:35 pm

Chris B

We all know figures without analysis are useless. Plus it was obvious why he wanted them. :)

December 19, 2012 7:59 pm

@Waddi – Thanks for the nice Horizon link.

Seeing those twin single 76mm turrets got me thinking – why have twin turrets gone out of fashion? (except on X’s twin 8in gunned fantasy destroyers of course).

December 19, 2012 8:10 pm

@ WiseApe

Unless of course you are Italian in which case “more is more” the Andrea Doria has a third turret on top of the hangar! As well as AShM and Torpedo, in this case Teseo.

December 19, 2012 8:52 pm


Yes, yes. For clarity I meant the computery bits and pieces. Of course you can just hide the missiles behind structure…..

@ WiseApe

Modern systems deliver enough weight of fire. Mk8 mount delivers 24/25 rounds per minute. Its predecessor the Mk6 with twin 4.5 deliver 12 per gun.

Jeremy M H
December 19, 2012 9:45 pm


I know that Storm Shadow does those things (a bit faster, different warhead) I am just not sure of the operational utility of them. BROACH is the same weight as the TLAM warhead so it could be fit (in some fashion) if really wanted. It was considered for JASSM and they decided to use a different warhead but again it is the same weight. The speed thing is a small enough number to be irrelevant really. None of the weapons can be employed against a mobile target from range really. I can live with a drop in range for speed but I want to gain some additional utility doing it and that means multiple mach weapons in my view. I want to go from a train ride to an airplane ride. Not from a train to a slightly faster train.

For the target set of cruise missiles I just don’t see any of those improvements as being worth trading off any range in my weapons. As someone said Storm Shadow is firmly within the engagement envelope of some S-300 and S-400 systems (admittedly still a tough, long shot) but one can’t exactly move violently with an aircraft if you are carrying two huge missiles on it. You can go low with the aircraft but then that range thing comes back into play again and your ability gets less and less for every compromise one makes.

I am a fairly simple man in regards to weapons. I want my cruise missiles rangy, numerous and cheap (hence why I like JASSM) because the whole reason for having them is to not put aircraft at risk and to overwhelm an IADS with numbers on day one. I can then use JDAM’s, LGB’s and the rest to deal with hard targets later. There are limited target sets in the world where hypersonic missiles and long range weapons with penetrating warheads would be of great utility. If I can have those weapons as compliments to a large inventory of general purpose ones I would take it.

December 19, 2012 11:15 pm

“Seem to remember an incident on the Yangtze some years ago, think they even maid a movie”

I claim my ten pounds I knew someone would mention it. But let’s not base our current decisions on foolish ones made by men long dead in a very different world.

December 19, 2012 11:21 pm

“I must ask, what is this love of co-dependency? Combined arms is an important concept, but it does not mean choosing codependency when independency is right around the corner.”

Massive, eh?!

I can’t understand your thought process at all. So, we should be designing 150,000 ton arsenal / cum carrier / cum AAW / cum ASW vessel that can be independent?

How many first rate navies have sent their vessels into a shooting war all on their own? And how many utilise the concept of groupings of vessels able to accomplish various missions…

Cruising around in a low to no threat environment flying the flag is very different from being in the heat of a conflict.

December 19, 2012 11:25 pm

Well yes its obvious why I wanted them. I wanted to show that FACs are monstrously vulnerable. Precisely for the reason you state they were so vulnerable APATS!

And thank you Chris!

December 20, 2012 7:46 am

No worries Phil.

@ Jeremy,
I wouldn’t get two excited about some of those S-300/400 systems. The history of Russian arms procurement and sales suggests to us that there will be just enough money to buy one or two of the very long range, very fancy missiles, with enough extra to shoot one or two for the cameras.

Then the arse will fall out of the budget and the remainder of the system will be built around much less capable systems, the kind which end up on the export market.

The problem with your plan of using TLAM to take out the enemy IAD is that those are precisely the kind of high value targets that get buried away in hardened bunkers where your TLAM isn’t going to be able to hit them. I suspect you’d be able to inflict some damage, but there will be limits. SS allows your aircraft to attack hard targets without having to unduly expose themselves to enemy fire.

One other thing that’s worth pointing out is that at the minute SS is simply an air launched weapon, so size constrains its range, but le French are working on a naval version which should push the range barrier about as far as you would ever realistically need it to go.

December 20, 2012 8:58 am

@ Chris B

I accept the utility and effectiveness of storm shadow. However I just don’t get why it has this shorter range. It could not have been difficult to add an extra 100 – 200 km of range. Sure SS is a big weapon at 1200 KG and 5 meters long however Tornado has carried bigger with JP233 coming in at over 1500 kg and 6 meter’s long. My RAF conspiracy spidy sense is tingling again :-)

Could it be so that only a high performance fighter-bomber (cough cough Tornado) have been able to deploy it rather something like a converted A340 airliner.

EADS are rumoured to have offered the French an A340 conversion with three rotary launcher with a total storm shadow capacity of 24 missiles. A pair of these aircraft could have delivered half of the initial barrage used against Libya on the opening night flying from the UK with no need for AAR. If storm shadow had a 500 Km range this could have been done form some where over the South of France. While going with in a 250Km range of an S300 is safe enough for tornado it would be suicide for a large aircraft like an A340 especially at high altitude. I would really love to see the RAF with this type of strategic capability however I think the Tornado focus of some of the top brass prevent’s such solutions.

If we are going to use expensive missiles then we need cheap aircraft to deploy them. Using expensive aircraft like Tornado or F35 to fire million dollar missiles is an economy of scale we can ill afford.

December 20, 2012 9:40 am

“Could it be so that only a high performance fighter-bomber (cough cough Tornado) have been able to deploy it rather something like a converted A340 airliner.”


It is this, just a little bit more, and more, and more, and just a tincy wincy bit more, philosophy that means kit never sees service. We have a precision stand off munition with a penetration warhead, a capability we could only dream of at one point, and now its not good enough. Because we should have squeezed more out of the design. Where do you stop? The line has to be drawn. Storm Shadow has been used in anger a large number of successful times with no losses.

It’s a sophisticated, complex weapon, I am sure if it had been easy or conducive to just bang on a few hundred kilometres here or there then they would have. And the range is probably longer than we are told and probably very, very dependent on aircraft altitude and speed.

December 20, 2012 10:51 am

Regarding Storm Shadow, I think there is an issue with the Missile Technology Control Regulations, which say what you can export in the way of missiles. Apparently, when the Saudis bought it, MBDA complied with MTCR by fuelling the missiles enough to fly the range permitted by the treaty, and no more. Naughtily, they then told the customer that if they needed more range they could just fill the tank to the top, giving them 100kms or so more reach.

These posts refer:

December 20, 2012 11:07 am

@ Alex

Interesting read about Storm Shadow. It would certainly explain the apparent differences in performance between JASSM and SS. If it’s true I will take back all the bad things I said about the RAF :-)

Role on the A340 bomber :-)

December 20, 2012 11:17 am

Martin said “A340 airliner”

During the Kosovo war USAF tankers were orbiting above the region. The “fast movers” would come in, drop their ordinance on the Serb’s decoys, then fly up to refuel, and then fly off back to base. A good chunk of the time the tankers were in range of Serbian SAMs. And most of the targets were targets of opportunity but planned strikes. The Americans are now moving more and more to drones, while we seemingly want to replicate a 20th century approach by hanging expensive ordinance, off expensive planes, that are dependent on expensive tankers, all needing lots of manpower, that all have to come within range of the emeny, and all so we can deliver in comparison to the American a penny packet of weapons. Doesn’t add up really. Much better to have drones and missiles with sufficient range to fly themselves onto the target. Surely it is better to launch more weapons from a platform that has other uses and requires the minimum of manning? GW1 was over 20 years ago and all I am suggesting is rhat the UK should have looked at that late 20th century model. Some here though are still stuck in the 1940s and 1950s. The failure of imagination here is almost tangible at times and quite painful.

December 20, 2012 11:22 am

“The failure of imagination here is almost tangible at times and quite painful.”

Oh I must agree.

It is amazing how far the imagination can range when it doesn’t need to pay a particle of heed to reality. One day x, you’ll shift some global paradigms – just keep plugging away.

December 20, 2012 11:35 am


“all needing lots of manpower, that all have to come within range of the emeny,”

Sorry im confused are you advocating reversing the decision to replace the tornado sqn with reaper uav.

December 20, 2012 2:55 pm

@ Martin,

Tomahawk is about 20ft or so long. A naval version of storm shadow will probably come in about the same and with more range than the air launched version.

Honestly though, the range question is a bit of an odd one. 100 miles is plenty enough range really. Pilots just twenty years ago would have dreamed of the ability to fire a thousand pound warhead at a target without even having to get anywhere near it. It’s arguable that weapons like Storm Shadow do more harm to the prospects of “stealth” aircraft than any new radars do, because it throws up certain question marks over their need.

I can’t see a converted airliner becoming a mass cruise missile bomber though. The US used B-52s to launch cruise missiles, but that’s a whole different prospect of operations. The main issue with an “airliner bomber” is that it costs a lot of money and you still need expensive air superiority aircraft to escort it, so you might as well just delete the airliner and put the cruise missiles on the escorts.

@ X,
I highly doubt the tankers were just wandering aimlessly over enemy territory. Considering a number of combat aircraft were shot down, tankers running circuits right over enemy defences would have been knocked out of the skies like sitting ducks.

And your plan involving missiles and drones has some fatal flaws. One, the number of missiles required would be beyond the ability of any fleet to carry. You’d need arsenal ship after arsenal ship. Two, they would only be able to hit fixed taregts pre-selected in advance. Three, you mentioned drones and the Kosovo war together, a war in which nearly 50 drones were lost.

Jeremy M H
December 20, 2012 2:56 pm


I don’t disagree that the range is going to be longer than what is published. That is true of many, many systems out there. What bugs me about Storm Shadow is the engine. Whatever the published ranges for the weapons are we know that the engine on Storm Shadow has a Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption of 2.43 lb/lb*hr and that on the JASSM has a TSFC of less than 1.2 lb/lb*hr. Being of similar weight and presumably fuel loads that is going to make a huge difference when it comes to range.

@Chris B.

Believe me, I am none to excited about the S300 or S400. Most nations won’t field a lot of them (though China and Russia are possible opponents the US at least has to plan to deal with and will have them in decent numbers) and we would need detailed engagement envelope data for the weapon at those ranges.

As for using TLAM against IADS I never said fire it at command bunkers. But there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. TLAM works just fine against launchers, long range radar sites, power transfer stations ect that are all major parts of the system. There are plenty of other weapons (JASSM is a penetrator, JDAM, JDAM-ER, JSOW ect are all penetrating weapons) to use.

As I said I don’t mind at all having Storm Shadow as part of my kit given unlimited options. I do think it is a particularly bad fit for F-35’s (see an earlier post on the impact of carrying it) and it seems like it should be more capable from a range standpoint than it is.

December 20, 2012 3:11 pm

@ Chris B

With a long enough range an airliner bomber would not need a fighter escort. I agree about your point with cheaper non stealthy aircraft deploying stealthy cruise missiles. It’s just a question of what is the best aircraft to use. 4th gen fighter’s ain’t exactly cheap either and the ability to launch just one or two such weapons as storm shadow is insufficient in my mind for the cost. I agree that a weapon like SS is a quantum leap in capability and should be exploited better by air forces around the world seem to be stuck the notion of using fighter bombers to deploy such weapon’s which just does not make sense to me. fighter bomber’s lack the range and the capacity in my mind to truly exploit the capability of such weapons as SS.

Maybe an A340 conversion is not the right aircraft for the job but I don’t think Tornado is either.

December 20, 2012 3:28 pm


Do you think wiki sfc values are accurate or even the values used in some manufacturer data is accurate. Does the jassm work yet or are they still having issues hitting what there supposed too. Same carriage issues with jassm on the b version.

I keep getting getting told that tlam is really easy to shot done some even crash regularly yet x has us using them for everything.

To assume that stealth cruise missiles removes he need for “stealth jets” is I fear missing the point some what. As was seen in nearly every conflict since 91 air defence networks are tough to bring down yes these stand off weapons can remove some of the most capable bits but other capable bits move around chance tac what adding signature reduce does is add an additional layer of survivability to a platform ( building as much survivability into a platform from the start is the cheapest way to do it) it allows the a/c to operate over assumed higher threat areas with more safety I could be wrong but I suspect f35 will be operating without wing stores for considerably longer than just 1st day war on any future battlefield. This also does not mean very capable dass systems won’t allow you to do the same but they ain’t cheap and at some point they won’t be enough on there own were just not sure when that point is yet.

Martin if the enemy have fighters that could be an awfully long way away

Jeremy M H
December 20, 2012 3:38 pm


I tend to agree with you in regards to cruise missile exploitation. The demise of the long-range bomber and capital ship was premature for many military forces.

I think the three best things the US military has done recently are

1. The SSGN conversions.
2. The B-1, JASSM-ER combination
3. The profusion of cheap, accurate glide weapons

All of these allow me to generate a tremendous amount of incoming weapons in a short space of time and simply overwhelm an IADS. The funny part is no one ever really credits it publicly. You will hear all the time about how carrier groups could be swamped with incoming weapons when the defensive problem at sea is actually a lot simpler with a vastly higher concentration of weapons in a given space than almost all land targets. A carrier group might have 300ish plus SAMs of various types packed into a pretty small area where they can all cover one another along with 3-4 high end radar systems, a high end airborne radar system 6-10 point defense systems and a couple squadrons of fighters. They either win or lose on that one spot.

But then no one ever talks about the fact that an S-300 based IADS system can simply be overwhelmed in the same way. If you can generate a base of fire that lets you throw several dozen (or in the case of the US several hundred) cruise missiles at the components of an IADS and then trow some VLO platforms, anti-radiation missiles and jamming at them as well that is going to be very very hard to survive. Fighter squadrons simply can’t generate that base of fire. A dozen fighters might let you fire 2 dozen cruise missiles. A dozen bombers could let you fire off 144 to 288.

The defensive problem for 95% of the nations out there is worse because they have a ton more area to cover and a lot of critical targets to provide coverage for. You can build a dense system on your coast but if the missiles can fly around it and blow apart your infrastructure then it won’t matter. You have to cover much more depth and width defensively. If you don’t have coverage in depth than losing a section of your “fence” will give the other side basically unimpeded access to your interior. If you are too spread out then you can’t really expect to do more than slow people down. It is a very tough defensive problem.

I believe that an attack on a high end IADS will involve such tactics. You will look to swamp it with inbound weapons and then use things like the F-35 and F-22 to strike down quickly on any fighters or surprise systems that pop up trying to engage your incoming swarm of weapons. The cruise missiles are accurate enough that even if only a portion of them get through they will wreck critical targets and the system beings to lose cohesion quickly as radars, command centers, communication switches and power relays go off line. A little hole in the system opens you up to being gutted by when it is followed up by large numbers of cheaper and more powerful glide weapons cued by networked aircraft like the F-35 either from their own bays or other aircraft on call that can exploit gaps in radar coverage.

December 20, 2012 4:07 pm

@ Jeremy,
Launchers, radars etc can be moved around. The key component in the system is the control centres.

@ Martin,
As Mark said, those missiles are going to have to have a very long range to evade an unfettered enemy air force. Thinking about targets like Tehran, you would need a significant amount of range just to avoid having to overfly Iranian territory, let alone avoiding the reach of their defences.

@ Mark,
I did say arguable as opposed to guaranteed ;)

I think even with “stealth” there will still need to be an investment in DASS and SEAD systems, so I wonder if the use of SS on fixed targets and falling back on SEAD and DASS to mitigate risks might make the case for “stealth” more tenuous?

December 20, 2012 4:24 pm


Oh definitely stealth isn’t a guarantee either it a extra layer of protection it just makes the dass systems job easier. Sead is being linked very much to aesa radar technology and none specialist weapons. You can bet on stealth aircraft using standoff weapons too.

Jeremy M H
December 20, 2012 7:11 pm

@Chris B.

Most launchers and some radars can be moved around. Some long-ranged radars can’t move at all. Most can’t be moved easily and almost none of them can be useful if turned off and moving. Most of the really dangerous SAM’s can’t fire on the move either. With space based support and EW support the key radar components (specifically the long-range, low frequency radars that could bother an F-35) can be targeted with a high degree of fidelity. If you tear them down and move them (the big ones take anywhere from an couple of hours to a day to setup somewhere) then I win by default because I get to hit all my other targets without you being able to fight back.

December 21, 2012 10:57 am

Looks like will be ready on 2015 as a US Navy stop-gap Harpoon replacement. Not sure whether it is fast or manoeuvrable enough to get past CIWS? If so makes a compelling case for upgrading the T45 silos and may explain why Harpoon remains on the warehouse shelf for now.

December 21, 2012 11:11 am

@ Chris B

The tankers sat above Kosovo often in SAM range go read up on it. A bit sly to make a jump to say I said they were just wandering around above Kosovo.

As for the need for arsenal ships. Go again to look how many TLAM (and SS) fire in a campaign compared to the US. One 60 cell silo worth of weapons would probably do two “Libyas”. If every T45 had an aft silo and each T26 came with say 120 cells and we didn’t say buy 100 F35a at what will be approaching it seems £100million a copy we could use that mony to fill those silos over and over. The UK (and Europe) firing 1 missile to the US’s 20 each time there is a war is unsustainable. We need to take responsibility for our own defence.

December 21, 2012 3:39 pm

@ Jeremy,
Most Soviet model SAM batteries have their own mobile radar units. You’re not going to track all of those with satellites. And I doubt they’d all be on the move at the same time. Not to mention the fact that you could use observers to assist. At some point you are going to have to go after a significant number of hard targets of various natures. TLAM will not cut that.

@ x,
There is zero evidence to suggest that tankers operated within the range of SAMs during the Kosovo campaign. If you have some, by all means share it, but as far as can be established it would seem the tankers went nowhere near enemy SAM defences.

As for the TLAM’s, again, TLAM does not have the penetrating warhead of the storm shadow. So no, a TLAM cannot replace a SS strike, unless the target is soft.

So you put 120 TLAM on every Type 26. God only knows where you expect the Sea Ceptor to fit now, but hey. So you have all these TLAM. They can only hit fixed, relatively soft targets. And you’ll quickly run out and they can’t be replaced without returning to port. So now what do you do?

It’s just… beyond me. The US has the largest capacity to fire TLAMs from warships of any nation on earth, yet they still invest a mix of land and sea based aircraft. I don’t see what you think you’ve caught onto that they haven’t?

TLAM, and other cruise missiles in general, are a nice little punch to have, especially in the early days of a campaign and make a decent strike weapon if you’re on a very tight budget, but they’re not really a replacement for proper aircraft.

Jeremy M H
December 22, 2012 12:49 pm

@Chris B

I don’t fundamentally disagree with you that TLAM can’t do everything. But it will play a huge role in overwhelming an IADS early in a conflict while whatever weapons system of your choice goes after the heart of the system. At this point it does not have a penetrating warhead simply because no one wants to foot the expense of putting on on it. The air frame could pretty clearly carry it if someone wanted it to.

@ Mark

I tend to not trust Wiki on highly political articles but the TSFC of micro-turbo jets is pretty non-controversial and I took the time to read the source material that backs it up. Frankly that kind of stuff is just not secret because the builders are pitching that engine for all manner off applications. The specs for things like this are going to be fairly well known and there does not seem to be a compelling reason to lie about it.

As for JASSM it is doing just fine. They resolved the problems with it, the USAF is going to buy nearly 4,000 of the things plus foreign buyers and it is going to be the basis of LRASM-A. The ER model sailed through testing in really good time as well suggesting that the core issues with the program are resolved.

December 22, 2012 1:21 pm

@ Jeremy,

I’d agree that having as many TLAM as possible (practicallity and finance considered) on hand is desirable. I just think it has to remembered that the sheer scale of modern warfare means that TLAM stocks (in terms of deployed weapons, in theatre) would be depleted quite quickly. Even the Americans struggle to sustain more than a few days worth of the kind of effort they put out early in wars.

Rather than putting a penetrating head on TLAM, it’s probably better to just to wait for (or pitch money into) the French program to develop a larger, Naval SS. Depending on how it’s put together, it might be possible to convert some of our existing stock of air launched SS into Naval versions?

Jeremy M H
December 23, 2012 1:15 pm

@Chris B

That inventory thing was true in the late 90’s. Current levels are around 3,500 in the US Navy I believe. I would like to see the USN develop a land strike version of LRASM, which is itself a version of the JASSM. No reason not to really.

I believe the cost of Naval SCALP is around $4 million plus a unit at the moment. That is the big drawback of the thing.