More Details on Type 26

More details are emerging on the Type 26 Combat Ship.

The contract is for the assessment phase only, 4 years and £127 million

It is being termed the ‘Combat Ship’ and likely to be the larger of the Future Surface Combatant, so the C1/C2 concept seems to be still alive.

The baseline design suggests a 141m long vessel, displacing 6,850 tonnes equipped with a towed low frequency sonar array and two launchers for the Future Local Area Air Defence (Maritime) system firing the Common Anti Air Modular Missile.

Other options include a vertical launch system for Tomahawk, SCALP or a modified GMLRS. Harpoon and a main gun also remain options, a choice of 127mm, 155mm or even a refurbished 114mm weapon.

Aviation facilities include a Chinook flight deck and hangar for a Merlin and UAV, the UAV possibly housed in a supplementary ‘dog kennel’ hangar.

Beneath the flight deck will be a large mission bay and stern dock to hold 4 9m RHIB’s, a torpedo system and a wide variety of mission modules.

It is also anticipated that the Type 26 will have an ether all electric or hybrid electric propulsion system providing a range of 7000nm at 18 knots. The ships compliment is expected to be in the region of 150 plus an embarked force of over 30.

Current planning assumptions are for a quantity of 10, so that will be 6 then as the detailed assessment phase delivers a better understanding of the Type 26’s capabilities.

Main Gate is anticipated towards the end of 2013 with production starting soon after, the lead ship is planned to be in service in 2021, some 8-9 years after main gate.

The initial element in the assessment phase will be an 18 month assessment of options, looking at what combinations of equipment like weapons and sensors will make the final cut. The last element will comprise detailed design work.

The plan calls for a yearly drumbeat starting at 2021. This means the Royal Navy escort fleet will be reduced to 15 as the Type 22’s and Type 23’s are withdrawn, up to 16 in 2037 and back up to 17 in 2038.

Of course this is all subject to those best laid plans and even if those plans actually come to fruition the first of the type will come into service 27 years after we started the process.

Future Surface Combatant has been held up in various design studies for years in a parallel with the CVR(T) replacement we looked at in an earlier post. The Future Escort project started in 1994 as a study to investigate options for the replacement of the Type 22 and Type 23 frigates. In response to a 1998 question in the House of Commons, the government stated that it was still a feasibility study.

As the years rolled yet more studies and yet more in service date extensions came out of the MoD, the only tangible result was a shed load of artists impressions, models and a whopping bill.

So here we are in 2010 with a cast iron firm commitment, to, err, do some more designing and studying.

Back to square one, except this time we are paying BAe to do it for us.

Well thats alright then.

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13th Spitfire
March 30, 2010 2:15 am

Well at least it is not some f***ing international cooperation which will spiral out of control the moment it begins.

March 30, 2010 12:41 pm

when you say:
“This means the Royal Navy escort fleet will be reduced to 15 as the Type 22’s and Type 23’s are withdrawn”

are you only including frigates as ‘escorts’, or you including destroyers too (T45)?

March 30, 2010 1:52 pm

13th Spitfire said: “Well at least it is not some f***ing international cooperation which will spiral out of control the moment it begins.”

Oh yeah, because it would be a real nightmare if we actually had FREMM’s being built in British yards right now, and commissioned in this decade not the next one !

March 30, 2010 3:08 pm

Thought I would share this view with you:

13th spitfire
March 30, 2010 3:33 pm

Jed, though I share your sentiment I am still very sceptical about international cooperations – they always seem to screw up. I cannot think of any that actually went down well.

phil Darley
March 30, 2010 4:09 pm

George, that artice just about sums up my view on the T26. As I said in my first post. This looks like a pile of SH1t. I see nothing to change that view. Why do we need 4 years and 127million quid to redesign another T23!!!!

For Fcuks sake will someone get a grip of the Navy and the MoD!!!!

March 30, 2010 4:25 pm

Regarding the Register
Much of what it says is quite true.
It needs a number though.

How about 402,960,000?

Does anyone know what that number is?
How about £402,960,000?
Any better?


£402,960,000 is the cost of keeping a single Apache Gunship air borne 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
46,000 x 24 x 365.

I realise thats not a merlin, but I dont know the Merlin number.

A flat deck cargo vessel with 8 Merlins would cost less than a T26, and in a desktop wargame beat the pants off it, but in the real world, where wars can start at any time and last for years?

During Battle
The T26 can have its active Sonar on all day every day without a problem.
Those 8 Merlins need an hour in maintenance for an hours flight, so straight away its 4 out 4 at home, but the Marlins win

During War
The T26 can have its active Sonar on all day every day without a problem.
Well, now its harder.
The Falklands war lasted 74 days.
For 60 of those, the fleet was monitored by the Argentineans.
It would cost £66,240,000 to keep a single apache airborne for 60 days.
How many would we want airborne?
10? £660,240,000
50? £3,312,000,000
100? £6,624,000,000

During Peacetime
The T26 can have its active Sonar on all day every day without a problem.
Those merlins are suddenly looking like an expensive way of providing day to day sonar coverage.

Trite as it is to say it, Merlins would win the battle, T26 would win the war.

March 30, 2010 5:38 pm

Dom I suspect Merlin would be even more has it has 3 rather than 2 RTM 322 engines, and is much bigger and heavier than the Apache, so those engines will drink more. Also stingy govt is only paying to upgrade 30 out of 40 (?) remaining HM1 to HM2 standard, so it’s not like we would have a lot of Merlins available anyway !!

March 30, 2010 6:10 pm

I figured fuel would be higher on the merlin, but £46k an hour covers a lot more than fuel.
I couldn’t even guess what spares are like for either and how often they wear out bits, how much it costs to train pilots for the respective platforms ect.

Thats pretty funny

March 30, 2010 11:09 pm

Having read Lion’s Donkeys and Dinosaurs, I can attests that Lewis Page has a very good grasp on what is wrong with the way the armed forces are equipped, and some very good ideas about how to make it worse.
(which considering what our armed forces are armed with, is some feat)

Also if you didn’t gather from the article, Lewis Page has a personal gripe with escorts.

March 31, 2010 12:21 am

Lewis Page isn’t really worth talking about in my opinion some of the ideas he backs are ok and others completely barmy but generally I think he has an axe to grind. Anyhow I notice he points out the same thing I went on about in the other thread the Type 26 as proposed is an updated Type 23 in ways. Albeit with added design features that are incorporated into a much larger modernised hull so it is better suited to the wider scope of operations now expected of a frigate today. Everyone is talking about helicopters and I think we would all want whatever new frigate to be able to carry two Merlin sized helicopters. Especially if it’s meant to come in at nearly seven thousand tonnes or almost twice the size of the existing type 23 frigate which can already carry a single Merlin it should be possible.

Random poll question who here would be ok with the UK maybe possibly just swallowing our pride and buying the FREMM of course modified a bit just because we like paying more etc? I know I know it would be politically nigh on impossible but with the current mess who knows and the shipyard constituencies aren’t exactly Tory friendly.

The main thing that still concerns me above most things is simple hull numbers and the capability of those individual hulls especially if they are going to lack area air defence cover from a Type 45 destroyer. If we do somehow get 10 of these in addition to the 6 Type 45’s then that is 16 then add a possible 10 C2’s it’s still appalling considering that the 32 escorts in the SDR was maybe below what the RN needed. Mind you if the carriers get binned as some people seem to think the Tories might then those numbers would be adequate for a much reduced presence if we concentrate on key areas. For Instance concentrating on the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Mediterranean as well as the odd foray into the Arabian Gulf when we need to look good or like we are still a naval power people should know about.

March 31, 2010 10:46 am

Dont know a great deal about it, so my thoughts may be wrong.

Firstly, its a ship designed for the clear calm waters of the Med. Would it survive the harsh conditions of the far North or Far South Atlantic for long? Does it possess the stability to operate in those much harsher conditions effectivly?

Secondly, FREMM isnt multirole, its variable role.
Both carry short range air defences as standard
Both carry harpoon/exorcet as standard
Both can carry two Merlins as standard

The FREMM then needs to start making decisions.
Either, it has sonar, or it has a gun and land attack missiles.
T26 should carry both as standard.

The T26 appears to be a much stealthier design

March 31, 2010 2:27 pm

Dom – in response to FREMM questions:

DJ: “Firstly, its a ship designed for the clear calm waters of the Med. Would it survive the harsh conditions of the far North or Far South Atlantic for long? Does it possess the stability to operate in those much harsher conditions effectivly?”

You have obviously never sailed in the Med ! The weather can be horrendous, I assure you !! However it is a good question, but the French will operate their FREMM all over the world, and so you should take that this 6000 tonne warship would have not problems at all in the north or south atlantic – honest :-)

DJ : “Secondly, FREMM isnt multirole, its variable role.
Both carry short range air defences as standard
Both carry harpoon/exorcet as standard
Both can carry two Merlins as standard

The FREMM then needs to start making decisions.
Either, it has sonar, or it has a gun and land attack missiles.
T26 should carry both as standard.”

Greece is buying a General Purpose variant. We could easily equip this hull with GP gun, Harpoon and VLS for CAMM – no problems :-)

However I think the Italian version can only carry 1 x Merlin – I think a folded Merlin is still bit bigger than a folded NH90. So if only one Merlin is a sticking point, then this might be a fail :-(

DJ: “Thirdly The T26 appears to be a much stealthier design”

True indeed, T26 is a design study, FREMM exists, its design is older, but honest, I doubt there is very much in it as far as radar cross section goes.

March 31, 2010 2:28 pm

I’m sorry I mentioned the Register article now! :-)

I’m not sure that I am very well qualified to talk about the pros and cons of the T26, but it does seem that in the 21st Century we need to be thinking in different terms than Frigates and Destroyers, and one vessel should be capable of performing both/many tasks.

March 31, 2010 3:32 pm

Good point, I’d feel less stupid if I’d not recently read quite a bit on Roman Naval losses to weather during the Carthage Wars…

I was under the impression Greeces FREMMs lacked sonar, that the deal was either land attack or ASW.

I actualy felt strongly enough about the article to blog about it myself so I’m glad you posted it.
(I’m on “my telegraph” if anyone cares what my favourite pizza is or wants to see my puppy)

Had the author not been so rabidly anti warship we might have had a lot of common ground.

Only a few weeks ago we were all discussing the merits of using a Bay Class mothering CB-90’s and Lynxs in fisheries protection, anti piracy and disaster relief roles, a task it really is better than escorts at, all the time.
My ideal “Strategic Raiding Force” would have quite a few of them to provide a massive, if short term, capability boost, when needed.

March 31, 2010 5:30 pm

Dominic – I do hope your not inferring that I am old enough to have served His Imperial Majesty in the Roman fleet ? :-)

Ref our favorite bloke from The Register, there are a bunch of designs for a ship on PhotoBucket that someone has designed, they are sort of Helicopter / small boat mothership type designs, and I always found them quite interesting:

‘HMS AboukirBay Mothership’ (on Photobucket)



ThroughDeck with Ski Jump

Richard Stockley
Richard Stockley
March 31, 2010 6:35 pm

Euan, FREMM or Absalon, we can build them in our shipboards. Why design a completely new ship at umpteen million when we can borrow a foreign design.

March 31, 2010 8:56 pm

Hi Dominic – I checked out your blog. I’m glad posting here inspired you!

As for Roman Naval Warfare in the Republican period – sounds an interesting topic – I’m not as Au Fait with the Punic Wars as I should be!

With my limited knowledge of this topic – the FREMM seems a reasonably good compromise that could be built more quickly and possibly cheaply, but am far from expert on Naval Warfare.

So I am guessing that some of you know Lewis Page from old?

March 31, 2010 9:36 pm

Well I don’t know Mr Page personally, I had done my 10 years in the RN before he started his 9. But he was a diving officer and MCMV Navigator.

So put it this way, when I joined my first Minesweeper as a simple lower decky, when we got deployed to the gulf in 87 the skipper thought I was the best thing since sliced bread, because I was the only person onboard who knew anything about “above water warfare” or “anti-air warfare” – I might as well have been an fully fledged Principal Warfare Officer (PWO). I only mention this because Divers and Muppets (Mine warfare specialists) are not usually regarded as well rounded individuals with an encyclopedic knowledge of maritime operations. In all fairness I am no expert on mine warfare or EOD either…. :-)

April 1, 2010 2:08 am

So no real objections so far to the possibility of buying FREMM from the French? I thought I would just put it out there to see what people thought, I myself don’t have many problems with the design, Although the things I do notice is the CODLAG rather than full IFEP which may be a solid and valid requirement from the Royal Navy and MoD depending upon how the T45 get’s on. Also the lack of CIWS is a tad concerning especially since the main anti-air setup is Aster which has a reasonably long minimum range. I would also point out that the FREMM carries a single Merlin or dual NH-90’s although the French and Greek version carry a single helicopter of the NH-90 class. The reason why I like FREMM is because it is more or less ‘The’ modern frigate and a good all rounder whereas the T26 lacks the longer range anti-air defence offered by the Aster family. Basically the Type 26 as we can see it is not really that well armed compared to many modern Frigates or smaller craft why it bothers me is because the RN or the UK is meant to be a first rate naval power. If I were going to go for the FREMM I would be after at least 12 in total to replace the current frigate fleet with a much smaller frigate fleet but clearly with a better all-rounder. I would split the 12 into 2 types the ASW type of which about 8 would be needed and another 4 loaded up for carrying land attack missiles.

The reason I’m pretty concerned about the C1 not really having teeth in the Air Warfare and therefore sensor department is because we simply don’t have enough Type 45 destroyers to cover a task group. Also for what we might be paying for the C1 £400Mln then frankly it better be quite good as a FREMM is about the same or less depending on which variant and what equipment etc. The much mentioned Absalon is something stupid and south of £200mln the planned AAW frigate version is also south of £350Mln and a Type 45 is about £600Mln without the non-recurring costs. So yeah for £400Mln it better be much better than what I’ve seen so far or BAE are taking us for a bloody ride.

Richard we could indeed build them here however I say both of them not either or I know it’s being extremely optimistic of me but it’s what I think. The Absalon would of course be the C2 as it is multi-role and flexible whereas the FREMM is a well armed warship which is what the C1 should be not a warship missing teeth. Currently the Type 26 as we know it is about as well armed as the Absalon although not really as flexible or as roomy nor as cheap to build and operate a bit disappointing to be honest.

Richard W
Richard W
April 2, 2010 11:12 am

Not related to the T26, but Defense News report a raft of other UK defense orders last week. Just when you might have thought that the penny has dropped that the UK has to purchase basic equipment in adequate numbers and not waste funding on development projects, the orders apparently include four new missile systems:

– 330M on a new munition to loiter in flight before it is assigned a target – it’s not stated what sort of target requires such a capability

Richard W
Richard W
April 2, 2010 11:24 am

(sorry about that glitch)

– a Brimstone varient to equip Harriers and Tornados, should there be any of those left when the missile is ready
– a replacement of Sea Wolf – apparently Sea Viper isn’t going to be that
– a cruise missile for the JSF – which we don’t own yet and may never own
– plus an upgrade to Storm Shadow and a joint Anglo French missile for naval helicopters.

One wonders how much money will be spent on these programmes before they are abandoned as being too expensive for the small number of platforms to carry them, and why it wasn’t spent more usefully given the T23 and T26 CIWS, or reactivating frigates, minesweepers and air craft now mothballed due to lack of funding.

April 2, 2010 3:07 pm

Or Erm! Getting the Nimrod fleet back into service oh wait too late now way to go MoD, maybe bounce it off the MRA4. Another thing that would have been a better spend is scrap the $1Billion for the 3 RC-135 and re-equip the three MRA4 test aircraft to replace the R1’s. Woops slipped my mind that since it might actually be a good idea that’s it written off by the Government and MoD folks.

-The Loitering munition would be Fire Shadow it seems like a good idea for supporting troops without helicopters or fast movers but only really useful in some situations I think.

-Would that Brimstone be the dual seeker variant if so I thought it was already in service and if it is in service what is this new variant?

-Sea Viper or Aster is meant to replace the Sea Dart basically the area air defence missile capability. CAMM is meant to replace Sea Wolf part of a program called FLAADS for the Army and Navy to use which is what this missile program would be I think. The thing is they have already tested the system with live firing etc so it should be nearly ready to be rolled out to the Armed Forces if not why not?

-A Cruise missile for the F-35 sounds interesting but why does it need its own missile what about Storm Shadow although it would have to be externally carried.

-Maybe Storm Shadow is finally getting some sort of mid-course update feature added so that it’s more flexible than having to load targets on the ground, I hope so at least.

I don’t suppose you could post a link to the Article if and when you reply to this comment, thanks in advance.

phil Darley
April 2, 2010 4:43 pm

Euan et al I have not seen this announcement but I am guessing that a new cruise missile for the F35 might be the air-launched version of the Konsberg NSM a joint development for LM I believe.

I am with you on the rest:

Brimstone dual-mode already in service? what else is there. I think this is more of the MoD’s double reporting ploy.

StormShadow upgrade? No idea!!! longer range would be nice.

CAMM! I hope this is not cancelled as it has the potential to be a really fine weapon. I must confess to not understanding the delay here, after all its just an ASRAAM isn’t it. What else do they need to do with it? Match it to the Naval radars / sensors and fit in Vl silo!!! Select launch vehicle and sensors for Army version. How about MAN 15tonne and Giraffe! sorted. Now get on and build the bloody thing.


April 2, 2010 5:58 pm

I kind of hope we are getting the Joint Strike Missile for the F-35 as it would be a good idea to have a fast jet deployed anti-shipping missile especially from carriers. Brimstone Dual is in service if this and the RAFD are to be believed.

Apparently they have been quite successful and have fired off quite a few of them already this might just be an update to incorporate lessons learned etc who knows.

Yeah I agree with you on Storm Shadow a longer range would be nice as 250+ KM is not really that far if you’re up against air defences without stealth or just want to hit something far away. Although maybe its short range is to keep a clear divide between it and sub launched TLAM when pondering strike missions. Yup I realise it sounds daft but politicians looking at strike options are pretty daft at times especially when it comes to the Armed Forces. I would still love a mid-course update feature or something to allow the pilots to designate targets while airborne for instance an ESM/ECM fix on a radar.

CAMM is a bit like ASRAAM it uses technology from that missile but it is a bit bigger therefore with a longer range which is good. Apparently the missile is basically meant to work with a variety of sensors as it’s not designed with a particular one in mind apparently meant to be part of a distributed network.

As for a land vehicle platform well have a look at this

That image was also shown in Jane’s

Also here is a video you might have seen before but who knows

The one thing I would say if CAMM cannot be quad packed in a Sylver launcher which I cannot find confirmed anywhere. Then frankly in the naval arena it’s really a complete waste as ESSM would and still is a better choice especially since there has been talk of an active seeker version.

Random side note: The Danish kick butt http ://

To use the links you’ll have to remove the space just before the colon. (Admin is there anyway you could allow certain people to put links in comments for instance an approved list?)

April 2, 2010 6:42 pm

Hello, when I try and post something with links in it I just get an automatic rejection saying that my comment seems too spammy. Does that automatically get added to your moderation list even although the comment does not get posted? So that you can approve it for the comment to then appear later.

paul g
April 2, 2010 10:13 pm

just did a copy and paste on sea viper hopefully answer some questions

Mystery of missile test failure solved for new destroyers

02 April 2010
By Matt Jackson
Defence correspondent
The weapons system for the navy’s new destroyers is one step closer to working after an investigation into test failures.
The MoD and its commercial partners were left bemused when the multi-million-pound Sea Viper system failed in November during routine testing, as revealed by The News.

It is the main defence weapon for the £1bn Daring class destroyers, the first of which is due to enter full service at the end of the year.

But an investigation into the firing off the south coast of France found that it was a design flaw with the Aster missiles – rather than a problem with the launcher or control system. The missiles are now being redesigned and a new firing is planned to check if the system works properly.

An MoD spokeswoman said: ‘Some production weaknesses in the most recent batches of the Aster missile have been identified and these are being corrected through minor re-design work.

‘Sea Viper is undergoing a rigorous test programme to ensure that all aspects of this complex system have been thoroughly trialled and any problems resolved before it enters service.’

Four test firings of the Sea Viper System have so far taken place – but two have not met their trials objectives.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who sits on the Commons defence committee, said: ‘I am very sceptical about this – are we really to believe that a whole batch of missiles was just made wrong for such an expensive system? If you read this in a novel it would be believable, but when it’s a programme that is already late it’s incredible.

‘I think the only way we can be certain that the problem is resolved is when these missiles are fired from a moving ship, and not from a static platform off France.’

The MoD has said the problem with Sea Viper is not due to cause a delay to the delivery of the system to HMS Daring and Dauntless.

The first test firings of the system are planned to happen on Dauntless, the second ship to arrive in her base port of Portsmouthstions on here.

April 3, 2010 11:14 pm

Admin thanks for the responses, generally when I get the automatic ‘your comment seems a bit spammy please try again’ page I will always try again. I’ll fiddle around with it until it gets posted and I can see it when I refresh the page so I’ve not had a comment not appear before. If it gets added to a moderation queue when I see that page then apologies for causing extra additional entries to that queue by fiddling around.

phil Darley
April 4, 2010 12:14 pm

Euan, thanks for the link. Yes I have seen before; old age prevented me from retaining that memory ;-)

I do fear that CAMM will getted CANNED! especially the Land version. The MoD seems to think that we will never again be threatened by air power!!! I read recently (Janes or Defence News or similar, yep brain failing again, that they we withdrawing the Stormer based Starstreak this year!!! That means we have no mobile air defence at all. As I have stated before, nobody else is doing this. The French amongst other are enhancing their GBAD (Ground Based Air Defence) not dismantling them (SAMP-T etc).

The MoD site has just published the final flight of the Nimrod MR2. Might be prudent to wait until MRA4 is actually in service! Are the MR2’s really that unsafe; or is someone trying to save a few quid? Continuing on the Nimrod theme, I am with you on the R1 issue. Buying Rivet-Joint at this stage is madness. We have overcome most of the MRA4 technical issues, to cut the programme now just does not make any sense at all.

April 4, 2010 12:50 pm

Are ground based air defences good enough to bother keeping?
I quite often hear about X country having formidable ground based air defences, but I never actually hear of them doing anything, except failing miserably.

phil Darley
April 4, 2010 8:06 pm

DominicJ, Is GBAD worth having? I guess the answer is… Depends… In the Falklands we did not have adequate air cover and our GBAD was bloody awful and ships were sunk and people died die to lack of both air and ground based air defence…. plus lack of ship based air defence for that matter. Who knoiws what the future holds?

I would want to have this tool in the toolbox rather than be found wanting!!!

April 4, 2010 8:50 pm

Hey Phil good to know you’ve seen it before. The thing is that video was posted up almost 2 years ago now so I really think they should be about ready to get the missile accepted and either into service or into production.

About the GBAD it’s always been my belief that we should have a more robust air defence system in this country for deployment or for the unlikely event of having to protect ourselves. The Army should have a tracked mobile system such as Starstreak alongside something like CAMM for covering themselves. While the RAF and RAF regiment provide area and theatre air defence coverage by deploying both fighter aircraft and land based long range air defences alongside airfield protection systems. For instance MEADS or SAMP/T providing area coverage alongside the Millennium gun system or Skyshield as it’s known to provide airfield defence and C-RAM either that or stick with Centurion. Although the current belief is that fighter aircraft is the best route for providing the most effective air defence which does have a large dose of credibility although additional GBAD is insurance.

Dominic it really depends I believe upon trying to keep a wide range of options open just in case they are needed, unpredictable world and all that. Also air defences fail for known reasons if we learn and are smart enough we could make them work and simply employ them better with and adequate fighter force. Even although they do fail look at the amount of hassle the NATO allies went through to ensure that they had whacked the air defence systems in the 1990’s both Gulf War 1 and Bosnia etc later. Yes they still failed but that was against the might of NATO and they were a massive pain in the backside and required hundreds of SEAD and DEAD missions to neutralise. Just refreshed the page and yup Phil agrees and makes some great points in support.

In reply to the Nimrod, basically they are trying to save a few quid, the aircraft are old and need replaced yes, but lots of time money and effort was expended making them safe only for use. Then literally after that work was completed the political masters decided that they would withdraw the aircraft. Money is one reason but I suppose you could always argue that they also done it for the PR value of doing so although that value was most likely far overvalued compared to the stick of leaving us without.

phil Darley
April 4, 2010 11:14 pm

Euan, I agree with your thoughts on GBAD. I would expect us to have pretty much as you describe. It is folly to expect that there will always be air cover and rely soley on that. Its just never going to be 100% or even near it.

I have always found our total lack of AAA puzzling, especially when you hear pilots talk about how much they dread AAA!!!

We have so many gaps in many aspects of our defence its scandelous. There is almost no duplication or fallback position for anything. I am thinking particulary of the ship based air defences. No ship has the full range of defensive systems it ought to have. Too much reliance is placed on other ships providing the assets that a given ship does not possess. What this means is that no ship is really able to defend itself adequately. It is also some what strange to have to build and deploy another ship or ships just to provide the protection that could be provided by one vessel if it had been provided with the full range of weapons.

To me its a bit like a builder only turning up with one tool, and another workman has to attend with another toolbox carrying a different tool to complete the work!!!

April 5, 2010 12:59 am

Thanks Phil it does make sense since the likely future is going be expeditionary warfare in a very unpredictable world however in the past not so much. We did kind of have some sort of GBAD which was bloodhound until the late 80’s so at least we did have something, the operative word being did. Although it was a static system designed to protect against soviet air attack which was important during the cold war unlike today where we need mobility above most things. However something would still have made perfect sense for the odd time we needed to venture abroad since we still had strong global links. A point in time that should have really pushed the idea forward as you pointed out would have been in the aftermath of the Falklands war where better GBAD would have helped save lives.

These days especially would be a good time to think about getting better GBAD especially if we might expect to appear somewhere rapidly before fighter aircraft can be deployed and supported. Not to mention the headache of actually getting permission to use someone’s airfield to Fly combat air patrols day and night or keep an AWACS airborne to watch for any intruders into the operating area. Even then the interceptors or CAP’s still have intercept a threat before they have done what they came to do so it’s too late and they have already headed for home. I would also add with the Carriers looking a bit half baked they can’t really be counted upon too much especially with no decent AEW.

The arming of warships is always a sticky topic for instance ideally you want 3 layers of air defence, such as Aster 30, CAMM and a CIWS which is what I would have on the Type 45 destroyer. I would be quite happy with the C1 frigate to only have CAMM and a CIWS but with the option to upgrade and use Aster. However if there are not sufficient numbers of T45’s to create an area bubble then I would want the frigates to have the full 3 layers carrying and deploying Aster as standard for the 3 layers. On top of all this if available there would either be land or carrier based air cover cued by AWACS to keep any air threat further away and out of their own detection range so they detect your ships. Having a destroyer and a frigate should still be cheaper than going for Arleigh Burke class destroyer type do everything while costing a fair bit so less hull numbers as well as doing a better job. That is of course in theory which never seems to quite work out in the real world as some nations seem to be building highly capable ships for very reasonable prices.

One ship that can handle itself fine against just about anything would be this,
The South Korean King Sejong the Great class yours for about $1Billion or there abouts, roughly the same cost as a Type 45 DDG. 3 have been ordered so far and some expect including me to see another order for another 3 to be placed if the Chinese naval build-up continues.

April 5, 2010 8:59 am

I certainly wasn’t suggesting fleets are deployed without any air defences, but I thought armies were much more capable of dispersing to render air attack ineffective.

I was aware the landing zone on the Falklands was referred to as “bomb alley” but hadn’t realised it had actually caused many casualties.

phil Darley
April 5, 2010 2:58 pm

Euan, I could not agree more. The C1 needs at least CAMM and CIWS. IF we had 12 T45s maybe, just maybe you could get away with no Aster 30 on the other ships.

I do hope that the T45 does get CAMM and a decent CIWS. I know it has provision for 2 x Phalanx in each side (amidships I belive is the term ;-) )

I guess with Aster 15, the need to CAMM is reduced somewhat. What bothers me about the T45 and others (T26 looks to be the same, probably as its going to be based on the same hull) is the practice of only having one location for the VL silo’s. To me that is very foolish. As I have said before. One lucky shell or straffing from a fast attack craft and all the VL silo’s could be taken out, rendering the ship almost useless!!!

The carriers are turning in to a complete waste of money, too few aircraft, the wrong kind of aircraft, no decent AWACS and virtually no self defence. It would take half of the available fleet of T45s just to defend the carriers, let alone be available to defend the rest of the fleet. If the Navy does not get more escorts with enough weapons on them the Navy will be so unbalanced it will be next to useless in a real war.

April 5, 2010 5:58 pm

As far as I am concerned we need 12 Type 45’s to provide adequate fleet air defence anything less is not feasible or at least not in my opinion. Less means every other ship should be well equipped therefore more expensive and less clearly defined as for instance and ASW frigate fudging the lines a bit more. With 12 type 45’s then I would be happy with frigates with CIWS and CAMM as they should be operating in or near the fleet bubble projected by the T45 so would still be adequately protected. I would be building 6 new batch 2 T45’s with an additional VLS aft for LAM’s and BMD possibly a dual hangar as well if the rear superstructure arrangement is buggered around with. I agree with what you’ve pointed out hence why the additional launcher would be aft rather than an even bigger main VLS.

The reason I would give the Type 45 CAMM is to increase the missile numbers just that simple at the moment it carries 48 missiles and that’s it, I would have it generally carry 32 CAMM and 40 Aster 30. Although the mixture of missiles could vary depending on what is deemed ideal for a given deployment but generally I would keep a large fraction of Aster 30 for the primary Area air defence role. This would of course be alongside 2 Sea-RAM launchers amidships as you pointed out although I wish they would hurry up and fit it with Harpoon and generally get the class into some reasonable form.

The Carriers are starting to annoy me as well to be honest the F-35B is not going to be great so I would jump on board with EMALS and get it, although it has problems the yanks NEED it to work. So I would jump on board with EMALS buy some E-2D’s and then buy either the Super Hornet, F-35C or possibly even the Rafale. A proper carrier based air defence layer plus the full 12 Type 45’s would give us a proper layered naval air defence capability almost unique amongst European allies apart from the French of course. It would make things interesting having a decent navy again especially if the US starts shifting most of its naval power back into the Pacific we would really be filling a void left.

April 5, 2010 7:32 pm


If we had 12 x T45, which I fully support, they don’t need CAMM – its nice to have, but not necessary layer, 48 x Aster 30 and 2 x MK49 21 round RAM launchers in the midships CIWS position. Don’t need SeaRAM as the T45 has sophisticated radar and ESM to cue the RAM missiles.

Carrier – EMALS is adding more expense and is no more, actually in fact is less of a working system than F35 – add French cats and traps an buy 50 Rafale !!

phil Darley
April 7, 2010 12:34 am

Jed, you are correct the CAMM would be over-duplication of the Aster 15, although a nice to have. I agree that a full blown 21 RAM launcher would be better than SeaRAM but not at the expense of a CIWS, it needs to be in addition to surely. The whole point of a layered defence is to have capability at all levels:

Aster 30 medium to long range
Aster 15/CAMM/RAM Short/Inner Layer missile
CIWS point defence (last chance)

Your suggestion really only gives the T45 2 layers. I know RAM has a much shorter range than Aster 15/CAMM, so could be thought of as a CIWS, but you then have an ALL missile 3 layer system. To me its a bit like taking the gun off the Typhoon and adding Python 5. It has a shorter range than ASRAAM and by all accounts is more agile, but its still a missile with their inherent short-commings.

April 7, 2010 3:15 am

Yeah Jed I agree with that point, it’s nice to have and not really necessary but so too apparently is the entire armed forces according to some people. I mainly like the missile count flexibility you lose 8 missiles and gain 32 smaller shorter ranged missiles for shooting down anything coming at you on the deck. I personally think Aster 15 is a complete waste of space as it’s only got a 30km range and takes up a whole launch cell to itself whereas the ESSM can be quad packed and has greater range. Therefore I would basically withdraw Aster 15 and change the booster over to the larger Aster 30 booster as the minimum range is well within the CIWS envelope and you get more area AAW the main role.

EMALS is still essentially a paper system but it’s a bit like the F-35 the yanks really need it to work and will make it work or they could be up shit creek without a paddle or catapult. If it is made to work it’s a better choice than Steam catapults for all the reasons the yanks want the thing in the first place and the CVF are all electric anyhow. Oh and French catapults don’t you mean American catapults AFAIK the CdG uses a version of the C-13 catapult and the arresting gear would also be American. As for Aircraft Rafales Super Hornets or the F-35C if it works would keep me happy although the Super Hornet does have US commonality and the specialised Growler variant but E-2D non negotiable.

April 7, 2010 2:12 pm

Phil said: “I know RAM has a much shorter range than Aster 15/CAMM, so could be thought of as a CIWS”

RAM is a Close In Weapon System ! Just because it is a missile not a gun does not change that, so its not to be thought of as a CIWS it is a CIWS – its a last ditch weapon. The benefit of a MK49 is 21 shots, against about 3 bursts from a Phalanx, and I have not idea how many from a GoalKeeper or a Millenium, but your not getting 21 engagements out of any gun system before it needs reloading.

I am not a proponent of gun based CIWS. Unless there was a 40mm version of Goalkeeper maybe. The smaller medium calibre types do not have the range to prevent your upper decks being stripped clean by shrapnel if they cause the target to explode or simply break up. Of course in a FI type anti-Close Air Support jet role they are useful, but as an anti-missile system I am doubtful. Move up to a real medium calibre gun and the OTO Melera 76mm radar guided sub calibre dart round of the ‘Strales’ system looks great, so I would quite happy to see port and starboard mid-ships 76mm mounts !

Ref not adding CAMM I purely trying to be pragmatic under the current budgetary pressures :-)

April 7, 2010 4:21 pm

I’d generaly prefer a gun system because its my understanding that they have a quicker reaction time from detection to interception.
A gun can react if you only pick it up seconds before impact, whereas a missile would need the incoming threat detected some distance out, a failed intercption, and then a RAM launch.
Could be wrong though.

As to the specific weapon.
Feel free to use a 4.45inch naval gun fireing buckshot for all I care, just as long as it works.

I actualy meant that as a joke, but could a large gun operating like a shotgun create a viable barrier?

Phil Darley
April 7, 2010 9:44 pm

Jed, I have no problem with RAM I just believe that a ship still needs a gun system as a last ditch defence. DominicJ has stated the main reason for keeping a Gun based CIWS. Other navies also have both, I know this is probably leading to a 4-layer system on some ships, but surely the cost of lives and equipment alone make it worthwhile.

I agree that Phalanx is too small at 20mm. I am all for a 40mm CIWS, especially if it can be a development of the CTA! I have previously thoight that the 27mm round should have been developed as a Naval weapon. I believe the Germans did develop a Naval version but don’t know if it was ever adopted.

With regard to your comments on ESSM. Surely with a range of 50km and being semi-actively radar guided its closer to the Aster 30 than the Aster 15. Now I only know what I read on the web, but the Aster is a far more potent weapon than ESSM!!!

I agree that its a bit daft having what is essentially a IR weapon (CAMM) taking up space on ship equipped with Sampson, but surely they same thing goes for ESSM or am I missing something?

If we want more missiles on the T45, for example (and I would agree with that) do we really want to adopt another waepon system when CAMM is going to be in such wide use. That would add a whole new set of traing and logistics needs that we can do with out. Not to mention that CAMM might end up being a whole letter better than ESSM!!!

April 8, 2010 2:00 am

Dominic – I don’t believe a gun has a faster reaction time – SeaRAM uses the same mount to slew a brace of RAM missiles as it uses to slew the 6 barrel 20mm gun. How fast the gun slews and trains is only part of the system – what about the fire control system ? Also at ultra short range it does not matter, ref my point about the upper decks being swept clean of personnel by shrapnel.

Phil – apologies for confusion but you misread my last post. I did not say ESSM as in NATO Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile – I said ESM as in Electronic Support Measures or “passive radar intercept” used to cue the RAM missile, which is a dual mode missile with passive radar (or anti-radiation) and IR seeker.

CAMM is a active radar, although I personally think there should be an IR variant too – but no I am certainly NOT advocating a move to ESSM instead of CAMM !

Finally the Germans have deployed 27mm at sea, and I am all for the 40mm CTA to replace the current 30mm mounts – every ship should have four of them in an Israeli ‘Typhoon’ RWS mount with a 7.62mm GPMG over the 40mm and its own EO/IR :-)

April 8, 2010 7:52 am

As I said, I may be wrong, I just thought a gun based CIWS was much more reliable as a point defence weapon than a missile.

“Also at ultra short range it does not matter, ref my point about the upper decks being swept clean of personnel by shrapnel.”
Might seem harsh but better to lose the command staff of a frigate than the command staff, rest of the crew and the frigate.

If a missile gets in that close, I dont think damage limitation is a bad goal to strive for.

If Rolling Airframe Missiles can provide a better chance of savng the ship, fine, use them, but at that range, its my understanding that we are talking about saving the ship rather than taking no losses.

April 8, 2010 12:22 pm

Dominic I am being as callous about the loss of seaman-operators on the upper scuppers as u are!

I am more concerned about large bits of metal travelling at high subsonic or supersonic speeds taking out Comms antennas, radars or damaging weapons systems and thus resulting in enough damage to effect the capability of the unit to fight i.e. a “mission kill”

April 8, 2010 12:46 pm

Hadnt really considered that bit.
Even so, its a calculated risk.

Unless of course, I am incorrect and SeaRAM not only provides a better chance of preventing shrapnel damage, but also a better chance of saving the ship.

phil Darley
April 8, 2010 1:31 pm

Jed, sorry for the confusion, as I say age is a crual mistress!!! Yep fine, CAMM al the way. I was doing a bit of surfing and could not find a definative answer on the CAMM guidance. some articles mentioned active radar, whilst others IR!!!

If it is radar then CAMM and Aster 15 do seem to counter each other out. When I was suggesting CAMM for the T45 it was on the basis that it was IR and hence gave another dimension to the anti-air response.

The Navt really does need to sort out its guns. It has far too many types/calibres and even the same calibre will not work an other weapons!!! That’s plain mad.

I am fully with you on the CTA40 and the numbers involved. You are right in that these systems do need their own targeting system for redundancy if nothing else.

I can see, you can see, everyone on this and other Blogs can see, so why the fcuk do we not implement it? Its not just the money as some of the changes (standardisation of guns/calibres and weapons would actually save money in the long run.

Some of it is arrogance and plain stupidity!!!

J Waller
J Waller
April 9, 2010 5:48 pm

About the Phalanx CIWS and recent Sea Viper development. (From extracts)

The Phalanx Block 1B PSuM (Phalanx Surface Mode, 1999)ciws, derivative of Block 1A, counters the emerging littoral warfare threat. This new threat includes small, high-speed surface craft, small terrorist aircraft, helicopters and surface mines. Phalanx accomplishes these engagements through an advanced search and track radar and a stabilized FLIR that provides passive thermal tracking capability, becoming a truly multi-spectral weapon system. Block 1B also incorporates new optimized barrels which provide improved barrel life, improved round dispersion and increased engagement ranges.

The FLIR’s capability is also of use against low-observability missiles and can be linked with the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system to increase RAM engagement range and accuracy. The Block 1B also allows for an operator to visually identify and target threats. It is being supplied as an upgrade kit to revamp existing Phalanx weapon systems to the 1B configuration. ATK’s 20mm Mk244 Enhanced Lethality Cartridges (ELC) is being provided to the 1B variant for enhanced performance. Phalanx 1B is an evolutionary, rather a revolutionary, enhancement of Phalanx to counter the changing threat.

In April ’06 the Royal Navy ordered 16 Phalanx Block 1B upgrade kits through a $57 million contract awarded to Raytheon. Kit deliveries were expected to start in September ’07 and complete 6 years later. The Royal Navy intention with the purchase of Phalanx 1B weapon systems was to improve its ships’ performance in the littoral environment.

20 allied nations have purchased more than 850 Phalanx ciws.

I think the RN currently has 20 Phalanxes on ships, with the Bay and Wave classes “fitted for but not with” 2 per ship. There is 16 on t42s and 3 each on Ark Royal and Ocean. Potentially 12 can go on the t45, 8+ on RFA ships and 20 on t26.

So will they order more? If so why does the MOD prefer Phalanx over SeaRam. Costs, Politics (bad for MBDA etc..), commonality (systems, ammo etc.)..?

The Dutch have just recently announced the Goalkeeper CIWS is going to be upgraded, there is the new Millenium 35mm CIWS, and many more CIWS’s.


02 April 2010 by defence correspondent

“Mystery of missile test failure solved for new destroyers but an investigation into the firing off the south coast of France found that it was a design flaw with the Aster missiles – rather than a problem with the launcher or control system. The missiles are now being redesigned…

MoD spokeswoman said: “Some production weaknesses in the most recent batches of the Aster missile have been identified and these are being corrected through minor re-design work.”

J Waller
J Waller
April 9, 2010 6:17 pm

Also, will the Goalkeeper CIWS be decommissioned following their ships decommissioning? Should they be upgraded like, I guess Thales Netherlands(?) is going to do?. Can the retiring vessels be sold off? Does anybody know anything about these potential sales? Yes I think the t26 programme sounds a bit wrong. I think a t26 of some sort will definitely be built in good numbers. I think it might need more things that we don’t know of; a good combat system, ship design element etc… But maybe what is being proposed will meet all the criteria, even cost with this being calculated considering high UK costs, economy benefits, low service life costs, “safe” design etc… Could old RN phalanx mod 1a’s be converted to SeaRam for use on the t26. Does anyone know how many mini-guns and heavy machine guns has been stated/suggested (t45 as well)? Do RN surface ships use portable infantry missile launchers on ships like other navies do?

J Waller
J Waller
April 9, 2010 6:53 pm

Also the royal artillery has 10 Centurion/C-RAM modified Phalanx Block 1B Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems (LPWS) trailer mounted. The US has 22, the only others apparently. I liked the vids of them in Iraq on youtube. Night sound and tracer light show. Maybe they are in Kuwait now, or Camp Bastion or Kandahar airfield.

J Waller
J Waller
April 22, 2010 2:06 pm

Hi, can I please refer all who have commented to for more information. In this discussion many subjects are informatively discussed with information that a few of u seem to not have know. So if you want to be informed on the t26 and fsc then please go to this blog. Does anybody have anything to say to my previous comments, I’d appreciate a response. I know there isn’t much posting on this website on the navy, but the subject doesn’t have to go dormant. Thanks think defence!

J Waller
J Waller
April 22, 2010 4:01 pm

Sorry everyone, can u please ignore my last comment apart from the link. The following is also a good forum on the t26

April 20, 2011 6:14 pm

Um. I have been thinking that Absalon/Ivar Huitfeldt may be the way to go. That is the engine fit of the IH coupled to the Absalon upper structure. Tentatively I think all the bits gell. Though the extra engines eat into the flex deck space that would still be a large area back aft at 02 level for towed array handling. And keeping the Absalon’s upper deck arrangement means 2 Merlins. Weapons fit as per Absalon too.