One of the first multi-part series on Think Defence was called a Ship that is not a Frigate, so called because it was a few thoughts on how the Royal Navy could create a class of vessels that could operate in the area between the RFA logistics support vessel and the frigate or destroyer, specifically on a range of non-war-like tasks that constitute the bulk of peacetime deployments.
The reason I called it ‘not a frigate’ was because it was not intended to be a frigate on the cheap, or a surrogate frigate, and to emphasise the point so that people would not get carried away by adding medium calibre guns and cruise missiles.
The reason this article is ‘still not a frigate’ is because that still stands.
If one wants a Frigate (light or global) ask those nice chaps at BAE to design and build one for you.
So, why bother, the simple point, the whole raison d’être for this, is one of cost, trying to squeeze the maximum utility from the smallest pot of cash. A class of ships that fulfils a plethora of roles that are less than high-intensity combat, and might use some notional future budget for an Argus and Diligence replacement, and perhaps with a nod to future mine countermeasures and survey budgets.
These ships would be either a conversion of a second-hand civilian vessel, or largely based on a civilian design with minimal modifications during build.
And that is all this is, a thinking out aloud piece on whether such a ship is possible, desirable, that’s for you to decide!
But don’t take it too seriously.