Tornado or Harrier

On the list of inexplicable decisions spewed forth from the SDSR is to withdraw Harrier and reduce Tornado.

So is this a sensible decision?

Of course not, it would have been much more sensible to stick with the plan, reducing Tornado and Harrier in line with the introduction of F35 and Typhoon. A two type fleet has long been the accepted strategy and it makes a lot of sense, maintaining the carrier strike capability, albeit at a modest level and using a combination of Typhoon and F35 to provide air defence, interdiction, CAS and ISR in the long term. Armed UAV’s would also be inserted into a future strategy, perhaps changing the numbers of system integration of both the two planned types, but essentially it was a sensible and coherent plan.

The problem with sensible plans though is they have to be funded, so in a decision reminiscent of asking which leg you would like chopping off, a decision had to made.

Neither option is in any way shape or form desirable.

In the context of the SDSR, the first priority is Afghanistan and quite rightly so. Are those Admirals really suggesting that Afghanistan should not be first, second and last?

Brimstone, a valuable low collateral weapon, only the Tornado can currently carry it but the Harrier could be converted but this would add an additional cost even though some of the work has been done.

The CRV-7 rocket pod is only carried by Harrier, although the Apache can and does also carry CRV-7

The Tornado also brings Storm Shadow and a 27mm cannon to the party. The former isn’t much use in Afghanistan but the latter definitely is and Harrier has neither. If we are engaged in any offensive air operation in the next 5 years outside Afghanistan and beyond that Storm Shadow would be a serious capability loss although it could be integrated onto Typhoon.

The Harrier uses the Sniper targeting pod and the Digital Joint Recce Pod but the Tornado can carry the enormously valuable RAPTOR pod and the Litening III targeting pod. RAPTOR is on par with the capabilities offered by the U2 and has the advantage of being able to be data-linked to the ground for immediate image analysis and exploitation.

Tornado can also carry the ALARM anti radar missile, unlike the Harrier and has a radar, again, unlike the Harrier.

The Harrier can also use more austere runways (as proven to be a decisive capability at Kandahar) and can of course operate from our Illustrious class ‘aircraft carriers’, what is left of them.

Training aircrew is twice as expensive for Harrier but Tornado needs two, flight costs per hour are similar but Harrier is actually the most expensive at £37k per hour compared to the Tornado at £35k

The Tornado was supporting operations in Iraq so it made sense to deploy the GR9 to Afghanistan, it not being very sensible to have two fast fleets in the same theatre for the same task. GR9’s have performed magnificently well in Afghanistan, absolutely no doubt, feedback seems to be that for the pure CAS role, it has many advantages over Tornado. But Tornado delivers military affect beyond CAS, especially in the ISR realm.

Tornado has significantly greater range and speed than the Harrier and the second crew member, whilst self evidently expensive, adds a great deal to current missions.

Both types have seen extensive action but Tornado can carry out a greater range of roles than Harrier although in some it could be reasonably argued that Harrier is ‘better’

One of the reasons that the GR9 was replaced with the GR4 in Afghanistan was in order to retain carrier operation skills and exercises in the MoD news feed confirm this. It must also be said that Joint Force Harrier had been flogged to the point of exhaustion in Afghanistan and to put it bluntly, needed time to recuperate and recover, in all senses. Could we really have relied on the 2 squadron JFH to cover the role of Tornado in Afghanistan for the next 5 years?

I am not sure.

And ultimately, it was this that was the deciding factor.

The Tornado has a larger fleet and more sustainable aircrew capacity for supporting Afghanistan, this trumps the loss of maritime strike and some of the other finer points of weapon carriage and CAS performance differences.

The Tornado fleet isn’t being maintained at a high level though, it looks like it is being reduced to the bare minimum (18 airframes at readiness) to solely support operations in Afghanistan to the 2015 time frame, with some small additional contingent, and likely rapidly retired after that. Hopefully, Typhoon will be available in sufficient numbers and with the appropriate system integrations. We may find ourselves in a position of only having a reduced Typhoon fleet until F35C comes into service post 2020/2024.

The decision is not about absolute savings, quite clearly getting rid of Tornado would have saved more but which saves us money whilst being able to maintain operations in Afghanistan and beyond.

To spice things up we have had a passionate defence and appeals from various quarters, supporting their favoured option. Also as usual, the ‘ex somethings’ in the Royal Navy seem to be most vocal so it might be worthwhile looking at some of their claims.

The latest example is a post from Vice Admiral John McAnally at the Phoenix Think Tank. It is very rare that I reference another blog but some of the contradictions are not to be missed.

  • Claiming that in using the Afghanistan issue we are institutionalising preparing for the last war, what, eh, it’s a war that we are busy actually fighting now and will be for the next 5 years. How is that the next war?
  • Using the Falklands as a justification, please, this is getting silly now, surely that is preparing for the last war!
  • The same site argues that STVOL is rubbish when it is the F35B doing it in order to talk up the F35C yet when it comes to the Harrier, it is an essential capability
  • Claims that a Harrier can carry Storm Shadow with only a little extra investment, really?
  • It then fills a whole basket of dubious claims like the Typhoon costing £200m each
  • And finally, insists that we retain a capability that hasn’t been used in any serious way for in excess of 30 years in favour of an aircraft that has seen more or less constant use for 2 decades in multiple theatres across a range of CAS, interdiction, SEAD and other missions.

So in the context of no decision being actually very sensible, the decision to retain Tornado at the expense of Harrier is at least understandable, despite what a bunch of ex Navy officers might think. One might argue that the deletion of MRA4 would actually have a rather greater impact on maters nautical than Harrier but that’s just my humble opinion.

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Sven Ortmann
Sven Ortmann
November 10, 2010 11:11 pm

No modern avionics, low survivability against light damage, short range, old; generally a short-range ground-attack aircraft against low capability OPFOR

Almost no modern avionics, low survivability against modern threats, optimised for low-level attack (a largely outdated concept), old, fuel costs roughly as high as for Typhoon training; a bomb truck, but against sophisticated OPFOR not good for much more than launching stand-off missiles.

90’s technology multi-role combat aircraft which is better and more multi-role in later batches and didn’t get all planned missiles integrated yet.
We can expect improvement programs for Typhoon, for export if nothing else. There are enough typhoons for pretty much all jobs and it’s a reasonable choice for the 2010’s and early 2020’s.
The problems are really Meteor development, munitions integration, early Batch deficiencies and the lack of a successor for the mid-2020’s when PAK-FAs will be more numerous than Typhoons and the American 90’s tech stealth extremist aircraft will long since be countered technologically, too.

November 10, 2010 11:44 pm

May one ask why more CAS isn’t being performed by Apache?

If it is too slow to use against the Taliban it would have been absolutely useless against the Soviets.

There is no point in discussing Tornado v Harrier even though your argument is as compelling as ever. Then again the same could be said of GrandLogistic’s views on his site.

I suppose Tornado will be better for flying from Djibouti when we follow the US into Yemen. That is the French let use there bases, though I bet it will be unsurprisingly outside the remit of the mutual defence treaty.

I doubt Typhoon will ever get to Afghanistan……….

El Sid
El Sid
November 11, 2010 12:47 am

Has Apache’s availability got any better since 2007?

At least the RR engines means that ours get to keep all their toys, unlike the US ones that have had to leave their Longbow bits at home.

AIUI a particular problem with using Apache for COIN is that when they hear them coming they just blend in with the civvies, whereas they have less time to do that with FJ’s. It’s much harder for a couple of T-80’s to blend in with the surrounding Ladas.

A demonstration of RAPTOR can be found here :

It’s also claimed that they can read the time on the Big Ben clockface from Southampton – so you can watch people without them knowing you’re there.

Also worth noting that the £35k vs £37k includes depreciation, the marginal cash costs will be much lower (and potentially could favour one or the other). I’m still interested in this reengining which seems to be the big difference according to the Times letter – is this fitting Typhoon EJ-200’s or something? I note :

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what would be the cost of providing new engines for Tornadoes to get them through to their planned exit from service.[HL3336]

Lord Astor of Hever: There are no plans to replace the Tornado GR4 engine before the aircraft’s current out of service date of 2025. Therefore the cost of providing new engines has not been investigated.

Under the capability upgrade strategy (pilot) programme approved in December 2007, 96 Tornado GR4 aircraft will receive capability upgrades between 2011 and 2014 at an estimated cost of £303 million. This number of aircraft is sufficient to maintain the operational capability of the Tornado GR4 forward available fleet until 2025. There are currently no plans for the aircraft to receive any further capability upgrades after 2014.”

That was on Monday. So the admirals’ figure for £1.4bn of new engines appears to be total tosh.

November 11, 2010 12:54 am

My money, all 50p, is on us retaining Typhoon after 2020, with no other fast jets on land or at sea. With a national (public and private) debt of GBP 4.5 trillion (twice GDP) we’re screwed, and Whitehall’s still catching up with economic reality.

Maybe the Typhoons will get Caesar radar, conformal tanks and thrust vectoring added. Probably not, with only export models enjoying these. (When it comes to the generation of aircraft after Typhoon, everyone will be buying Indian or Chinese…)

Just a thought, TD – how about a Think Defence debate on what the UK’s defence posture would look like, with, say, half the current budget? What do we *really* need? What would things look like if we suffered major national decline and faced domestic instability, fuel shortages and a dinky little tax base?

I don’t think it’s an extreme probability that drastic cuts will continue, especially not if we double dip or endure a decade of stagflation. Look at the way Argentina fell in the 20th Century – one decade a beacon of prosperity and liberalism, then in succeeding ones an economic basket case.

November 11, 2010 1:24 am

mmmm’ why did you call the post Tornado versus Typhoon when it just perpetuates the Tornado versus Harrier argument ?

Tornado and Harrier are very different types of aircraft, originally designed for very different tasking – as per usual I will blame the politicians, we should not be discussing which one is better than the other, it SHOULD NOT be an issue, just cut the DfID budget enough to keep the Harrier in service with the RN until its replacement is ready !

However I do take issue with: “In the context of the SDSR, the first priority is Afghanistan and quite rightly so.”

Why is this quite rightly so ? If the government flatly refuses to fund the armed forces on a war footing, perhaps it could pay of even more of its deficit by withdrawing from Afghanistan completely and immediately ??

“Are those Admirals really suggesting that Afghanistan should not be first, second and last?” – what Admirals have the temerity to question the governments foreign policy, how dare they !!


Your completely wrong, the average Harrier GR9 is actually a younger airframe than Tornado, and how does it not have modern avionics exactly ? However I agree that the RAF could survive just fine on a fleet of 200 Typhoons – preferably having sold on the Tranche 1 airframe and completed the pre-planned procurement of Tranche 3B – again preferably with all the enhancements mentioned by Matt.

Finally – x, I agree ref Apache. Probably same cost based fleet management issues, would be nice if we could recast Apache Longbow as scout/recce in place of Lynx Wildcat and buy another 60 or so Apache without the radar (could Westland re-open the line ???)

Ramblings complete now………

November 11, 2010 1:33 am

Ooops yes, forgot to mention – the constant harping back to Falklands by retired Admirals.

I suggest its more about the ability to do something on our own, than the actual retaking of the Falklands.

Yes its true that comments about leaving ourselves wide open to the Argentinians for ten years can be interpreted as silly but stranger things have happened:

My joining of the cold war RN was postponed because all the instructors where “down south” fighting a ‘hot war’. When I did join the Argentine (Exocet and CAS) threat was added to the Soviet Threat, and yet I spent most of my naval career in the Gulf – who didn’t see that one coming either……. never expected to be sweeping Iraqi mines, escorting tanker convoys through the straits of Hormuz, or going to war to liberate Kuwait !

However, as I say, I think their comments are more about the capabilities to do something as big and as complicated as Operation Corporate, on our own. We can argue all day about the carriers, but getting rid of a Bay class for example is plain stupid, for the saving it hardly seems worth it.

So harping on about the Falklands is not so much planning for the last war, as planning for to use sovereign, full spectrum, ‘conventional’ war fighting capabilities on our own, to achieve or own objectives. If your happy with coalition or Euro-ops, then no worries……

Sven Ortmann
Sven Ortmann
November 11, 2010 2:01 am

Jed; “old” and “younger than xy” are not logically excluding each other.

Even if the relative age was of relevance as you suppose; please not that I argued pro-“Typhoon only”. The correct comparison would thus have been Harrier2 vs. Typhoon, which turns Harrier2 into the clearly older aircraft.

Harrier2 lacks modern avionics because it doesn’t have them. Its equipment is largely 1980’s technology. The Sniper pod (which will cost one of few pylons) won’t change that it’s got no SAR and GMTI radar modes (having no radar), no ECM to speak of, no HMD or other modern avionics features.

November 11, 2010 2:41 am

Sven – OK point taken ref Typhoon, however just because Harrier has no radar does not mean it is devoid of modern avionics – by the way it does have ECM, both threat warning and one of only UK tactical aircraft (until Typhoon) to have built in jammer ! And yes, I believe the HMD was integrated after Jaguar was decommissioned.

Anyway, I agree, Typhoon is more modern than the ‘legacy types’ but we aint got enough of them yet.

November 11, 2010 9:02 am

The Question should not be, “does the strategy fit afghanistan”, but “Does Afghanistan fit the strategy”.
The British will be pulling out of Afghanistan before 2015 even if The Mayor of Kabul is shooting Taliban from behind his desk.
In the long term, its irrelevent.

Tornado Brimstone is as replaceable by Apache Hellfire as Harrier Rocket is replaceable by Apache Rocket.
The Tornado 27mm cannon is equaly overshadowed by the Apache 30mm cannon.
Its also barely used, 292 rounds were fired in iraq the first part of 2008, 1256 rockets were used in the same period in Afghanistan.

The chances of an offensive air operation in the next 5 years are virtualy nil, but thats further arguement for pulling Tornado now and bringing the Typhoons up to spec.

Raptor fits on a drone and is supposed to be added to Typhoon. Alarm and Radar are also Typhoonable.

I think Harrier would have been stretched, but its not alone.
Typhoon is coming on stream and can deal with some of the load.

But my point stands
The Comparison is not Harrier to Tornado.

Its Harrier and Typhoon to Tornado and Typhoon.
The “advantages” of Tornado are meaningless, because they wont be capability gaps *Overall*. Because they will be done (better) by the Eurofighter.
The Disadvantages of Tornado are real disadvantages, because its stuff Typhoon doesnt do either.

Imagine the debate was GMLRS, AS-90, 105 Light Gun.
We wouldnt be argueing ditch the light gun because AS 90 is better.
It is better, but GMLRS and AS90 isnt as good as GMLRS and LG.

The best aircraft we can have is undoubtably Typhoons upgraded to T3 with a full weapons loadout.
To pay for that, we would need to pull Tornado.
With the change left over, we can operate Harrier.

Phil Darley
November 11, 2010 9:03 am

Admin, I think you asked the wrong question here as all we seem to have got is a willy waving contest between to two aircraft (and alot of that was inaccurate).

The real issue is that by removing the Harrier before its replacement we lose ALL the skills associated with Carrier operations. That is the major issue. In my view we simply needed to scale back the numbers of both Tornado and Harrier (Golden Fleets if you will) to support Afghanisan and keep our Carrier skills going. The second thing is to make sure we get enough Typhoons and equip them fully so they can take over from the Tornado.

With regard to the Russian 5th gen fighter PAK-FA. I doubt whether this is more than an aircraft that looks like an F22, rather than a true competitor, even if it is, A fully developed Typhoon, with CAESAR, Thrust verctoring EJ270 and Meteor would give it a run for its money. Failing that (have a look at page 8 of this months Airforces magazine. It seems we brits have been developing a Stealthy airframe as part of the Tornado replacement (AST 425), so it might not be all UCAVs after Tornado/Typhoon afterall.

Richard W
Richard W
November 11, 2010 9:59 am

The Typhoon banner had me puzzled too.

If a choice had to be made retaining Tornado stacks up: it offers more utility and has a longer forward in service life span than Harrier. If Tornado had been sacrificed to allow the navy to use Harrier until the arrival of the F35, what use would be the Harriers when the navy handed them back to the RAF in eight or nine years time? And could we conceive the RAF living just with Typhoon for that period.

Obviously much depends on what you think happens next. Some people seem to be thinking and hoping that the F35 is going to serve in land-based RAF as well as on carriers with the navy. I tend to think not, at least in the foreseeable future; the current government has signalled the F35 purchase (an expensive aircraft) will be the bare minimum to equip the carriers. So unless there is a big step up in funding for jets by a future government (unlikely) the RAF will not receive anything in the initial order for F35. If the RAF is to order any new jets in the next 10 years it is more likely to be an inventory top-up of the relatively cheaper Typhoon – if the production line is still open to supply them.

November 11, 2010 10:54 am

“So in the context of no decision being actually very sensible, the decision to retain Tornado at the expense of Harrier is at least understandable”

Sadly agreed.

November 11, 2010 11:15 am

Richard W
The Tornado offers more utility than the Harrier, but neither exist in isolation, which provides utility not provided by Typhoon?
The Tornado Fleet probably has more hours left in it, but are already planning on storing half the Eurofighter buy, we dont have a shortage of airframes, but a shortage of funds to run them.

Neither Harrier nor Tornado has a life cycle that extends beyond 2020, whether the airframes can fly or not, no ones going to pay to put them in the air.
If the RAF isnt happy with T3 Typhoons fully integrated with our weapons fit, sack officers until someone with a brain steps up.

Your right about F35 though, everyone seems to have missed that the final order will be 80 max, enough for two carrier air groups, its much more likely to be 40, enough for two carrier air squadrons and spares.

The “best” outcome remains Airforce with 200+ T3 Typhoons with full weapons loadout.
FAA with the minimum operational Harrier wing, replaced with F35C/Rafel around 2020, hopefully 80-90 to allow a carrier tasking and a land/carrier tasking.

As for PAK-FA
I simply refuse to believe this thing exists.
As they say it does
It was initialy planned in the 80’s, like Raptor / Lightening II / Typhoon. At this point, the USSR was a generation behind us technologicaly, as demonstrated by the Israel/Syria conflict over Beka

The USSR collapsed and military spending more or less ceased for a decade, whilst the western programs continued apace.

Russia had a bit of a gas boom 2000-2010 and military spending increased, but enough to make up 10 years lost and a 10 year handicap?

Well, no.
Because its desperatly looking around for a partner, India is considering putting in $6bn of development money.
Development money? Isnt this thing already flying?
Well, something is flying, so are these fancifal F35 beating stats measured from whats flying now, or what they hope it will do after $12bn of further funding?

I’d guess the latter.
So, all going well, Russia will be introducing an F35 type plane, in a decade, given likely funding problems and development problems, more like two decades.
I would be surprised if Typhoon is out of service before Russia fields another fast jet.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 11, 2010 11:55 am


Have to say that the cost per hour figures put out for MP’s look very suspect.

One basic question is what is the background to these figures, are they historical cost or are they replacement cost?

If they are replacement cost then I wonder what they are using?

Old design / old costs bulked up for inflation?
Old design but built today?
A new aircratf dumbed down to old standards?
Finally a new aircraft with modern capabilities?

As always with accountancy the answer is what you want it to be. Reality, well that is another mnatter and when the truth is out the stuff is built and paid for.

November 11, 2010 12:22 pm

Hi all,

Not been commenting much recently as there are so many people more knowledgeable than myself making valid contributions. Despite the benefits of reduced types, I agree with Phil D that a small golden fleet of each type would have been preferable. At the same time, the whole Typhoon fleet should be upgraded to T3b with Conformal tanks, full weapons integration and thrust vectoring to enable the retirement of the Tornados as soon as possible afterwards.

Again, despite not wanting to quote Lewis Page – here is his take on it – – apart from the comments about the fleet numbers, he makes a few valid points.


November 11, 2010 12:40 pm

Page says Harrier?
Looks like Tornado was the right choice after all.

I will not discuss the Page page, I would be unable to control the language used.

November 11, 2010 12:48 pm

@ Mat – “Just a thought, TD – how about a Think Defence debate on what the UK’s defence posture would look like, with, say, half the current budget?”

Five multi-role brigades

4x squadrons of AD typhoon
2x squadrons of swing-role typhoon
1x flight of FI typhoon (all perfectly doable with 160 airframes)

6x destroyers
9x frigates

November 11, 2010 1:16 pm

So, presumably the Storm Shadow is going to be integrated onto the Typhoon once Tornado is retired?

November 11, 2010 1:31 pm

TD said “Now corrected, too many sherries I think”

He says with Christmas approaching; will you get Lewis Page in as cover? :)

November 11, 2010 1:37 pm

Perhaps we should scarp both Harrier and Tornado. Get some RAF/FAA over to the US to be trained on F16. Pay the US some money to refurb’ some F16, some spares, ordnance, and AVCAT. And then add these onto US squadrons in A-stan. Perhaps we could even pay US maintainers a bounty to do extra tours in A-stan. That way “we” are pulling our weight and aren’t spending too much. Heck we may even get more than 10 airframes up and running.

November 11, 2010 1:50 pm

10 airframes is an airfield limit and a funding limit, not an RAF one.
Khandahar is one of the busiest runways in the world, we could build a second strip and maintain 30 Tornados in theatre no problem. No one wants to pay for a second runway and the extra flight time though.

November 11, 2010 2:17 pm

@ DomJ

I know Khandhar is busy and short of space. But I didn’t realize that the space issue was the reason why we only had ten airframes. Perhaps what is needed is a plane able to take off from shorter runways……. :)

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 11, 2010 3:37 pm


Consequently it is missing the most important part:

Accounting basis – Historical cost or replacement cost?
Without that info the figures are about as useful as a bucket of warm spit.

I also wonder why they are using both depreciation and amortisation?
Depreciation – Is there a “Glass’s Guide” for fast jets?
Forward Servicing – Planned maintenance?
Deep Servicing – Renewal / upgrade?

What is the working life of a Tornado?
3000 hours in the air?
Harrier any different?

I take in the Tornado engine replacement would be classed as “Deep” if it was ever going to happen, not that it will as it would put up the cost of a Tornado hour and that doesn’t seem to the answer required.

Finally who is this guy Lewis Page?
Why is he so universally disliked on here?

November 11, 2010 4:15 pm

“Accounting basis – Historical cost or replacement cost?
Without that info the figures are about as useful as a bucket of warm spit.”
The Cost of maintenance and fuel is the actual cost of maintenance and fuel.
Theres nothing historic or replacement there.
What exactly are you trying to say?

“I also wonder why they are using both depreciation and amortisation?”
“Depreciation and Amortisation is probably a single catagory, rather than “depreciation” and “Amerotisation”.

“Depreciation – Is there a “Glass’s Guide” for fast jets?”
Pretty much, most combat jets are expected to last 6000 hours, but an hour cruising at altitude is a loss less wear than an hour afterburning at 30 ft.

“Forward Servicing – Planned maintenance?
Deep Servicing – Renewal / upgrade?”
Other way round, forward servicing will be general maintenance at the airfield, deep servicing will be taken apart and properly serviced.

“What is the working life of a Tornado?
3000 hours in the air?
Harrier any different?”
Most are designed for 6000 hours, but thats an average.

“I take in the Tornado engine replacement would be classed as “Deep” if it was ever going to happen, not that it will as it would put up the cost of a Tornado hour and that doesn’t seem to the answer required.”
Deep maintenance is when new engines would be fitted yes, but its also when replacement engines are fitted, a fast jet engine doesnt last 6000 hours.

Lewis Page.
He’s a self important little twit who thinks he knows better than anyone else in the entire world, when in reality, he’s a Carrier Fanboi.
He thinks the escort fleet should be scrapped and ASW/AAW should be handled by carrier based helicopters and fast jets.
He refuses to accept that 5 ASW Merlins running 24/7 would cost more than the current escort fleet to run.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 11, 2010 4:55 pm

DJ @ 4.15

Historical cost accounting and replacement cost accounting are two different ways of looking at the cost picture of an asset.

Very important when you are trying to do a financial analysis of a 25yr old plane vs a 10yr old plane. What value do you associate to the different planes, what they cost to buy or what they would cost to replace.

25yr old plane = £6mill each
10yr old plane = £25mill each
Both are sunk costs so how do offer a level playing field for the analysis? However their useful lives will be different and that needs to be taken on board.

Consequently historical cost accounting and replacement cost accounting would provide two different answers when applied to the Harrier vs MRCA / Tornado issue.

Servicing, Deep vs Forward, I got it right even if I don’t know the exact lingo.

Engine replacement: 3000 hours life vs 6000 hrs for the airframe then the issue becomes like for like against an upgraded unit, as the subject of Tornado and engines was raised by a Harrier partisan the issue is a bit clouded to my outside eyes to say the least.

Therefore I am looking for some background and context to appraise that particular claim.

Finally any thoughts as to what will happen to the Harriers being retired early?

Any thoughts on their potential value and who would buy them, India?

Phil Darley
November 11, 2010 5:29 pm

Admin:may have been a tad OTT with Alot inaccurate… more like a bit/some….

No HMS (Helmet Mounted Display) has the HMS from the Jaguar upgrade (fitted before it was scrapped early asa well).

No modern avionics.. As part of the GR7/9 upgrade it got an extensive avionics upgrade which enable it to carry a much greater range of weapons

which leads me on to my final point. I believe that the GR9 can take the Brimstone weapon (it uses the same interface as for Maverick!!

My main point is that we need both, they compliement each other and to make willy waving comparisons does not address the real issue. It should not have been a choice of one over the other. They do fifferent things, its just that in Afghanistan they doe the sane thing and even here they compliment each other. A mixed fleet would be better than one type.

Somewhat Removed
November 11, 2010 6:55 pm

Anyone suggesting we should use Apache in Afghan for close air support is once again back in fantasy world. Troops on the ground desperate for air support, Apache can only do 160kts, a fast jet is the only option. Apache is armoured, but at such low speeds it won’t take too many Stinger/SA7’s to knock it down. Helicopters are vulnerable in Afghanistan – ask the Russians.

TD, another good post, thank you. I’m still disappointed by the comments of various Admirals regarding the state of the fast jet fleet and the insistence on retaining Harrier, but it’s not like I can do anything about it, is it? Personally I am beginning to envy the Fleet Air Arm – how many exchanges to the USN and MN are going to be in the offing over the next 10 years? Want to bet that money has been put aside to train our people on their carriers?

November 11, 2010 7:04 pm

“The Tornado also brings Storm Shadow and a 27mm cannon to the party. The former isn’t much use in Afghanistan but the latter definitely is and Harrier has neither.”

On the point of the 27mm cannon , have the MoD ever looked at using the gun the USMC put on their Harriers?

Somewhat Removed
November 11, 2010 7:22 pm

Quick dip back into fantasy forces – it’s a crying shame we never bought the AV-8B Harrier II+ (or called it GR10 or FA3 or something) – full on bomb truck with an air defence radar and provision for AMRAAM. Could have had the bomber and the air defence fighter at the same time.

November 11, 2010 8:12 pm


Lewis Page

Unpopular with many “experts” because

1. He goes back to basics. Very much of the “what’s the easest way to get x amount of destruction onto the enemy in a cost effective way” – every other consideration is largely irrelevent.

2,He askes some VERY awkward questions about the methods used.

For example, (and I paraphrase):-

He questions the point/ cost effectiveness of specialised frigate/ destroyer class warships.

Why for example spend 100’s of millions trying to create a 28 knot capable 5,000 mile range, beautifuly hydrodynamic high quality specialist weilded gas turbine powered frigate hull; when you can buy off the shelf (say) a point class (with more power) that can do 25 knots and go 12-18,000 miles unrefueled for say 75 mill a pop built in a commercial shipyard, (and repairable in any shipyard in the world).

Onto which you can drop say a load of anti sub helicopter, or a Aegis radar and shed loads of missiles? (A Strategy not that far from Japan/Korea’s v large destroyers).

Thats enough to REALLY get up the nose of the RN and it’s supporters who believe in ‘Proper’ warships that are fit to be crewed by the square jawed succesors to Nelson and Fisher .

OH YEA and why just exactly do we have, (nearly) more admirals and commodores than actual warships.

He opines that Tanks and heavy armour are dinosours on the modern battlefield. Even in afghan.

That vastly to much of the Army (and other forces) are shiny arsed “Powerpoint Warriors”.

Obsessed with saving ‘their’ regiments./Squadrons/division of the Navy.

Ditto more Generals that actual combat brigades let alone divisions?

Why do the RAF have it’s own private army, and why about 70 odd RAf on the ground for every aircraft in the air?

Dito Air marshals – what is a WING Commander doing in charge of a squadron?

3. Why is the britsh defence budget essentialy pi**ed up the wall by BAE, and some unarguably incompetant procurement of which CVF is just the latest.

SO he gets up the nose of everyone, with an axe to grind on behalf of every service.

Read Lions Donkeys and Dinosours by that author.

NO, I do not agree with everything he says, nor some of his conclusions.

But he does ask some VERY awkward questions.

SOME, of those who oppose/ rubbish him, have never really engaged with his arguments, and can barely contain their appoplectic rage at him for example; suggesting that a Navy does not need frigates, the Army Tanks and Heavy Artillery, and the RAF Tornados. Insted of considering his arguments this is taken as showing how little he knows about anything.

After all the only ‘proper’ way to shoot down an aircarft is with a fighter.
The only ‘proper’ way to sink a Destroyer is with another destroyer.
The only ‘proper’ way to destroy a tank is with another tank.


Having posted this I suspect I will now be subject to a verbal kicking to which the term ‘SH*TSORM” could be applied.


November 11, 2010 8:24 pm

i have an inherited copy of lions led by donkeys, i really should read it one day.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 11, 2010 8:35 pm


I think it is his attitude and style of writing that really wind people up. He does make some good points and some really bad ones but he makes them all in a slightly condascending “i know best” manner. This winds people up, especially Senior Naval Officers who don’t see why somebody who left the RN as a very Junior SO2 should be able to question their judgement and do so in such a manner.

To answer the point about Ships, your point class would then need to be fitted with a combat system to operate all the kit you have put on it or modified to have a flight deck fitted. Its RCS would be huge (remeber this is a DD replacement not a carrier) the engines welded directly onto the deck plates and merchant props would be very noisy and its thermal signature massive.
The Japanese “Destroyers” are actually LPH’s, the new one is 248M long and displaces 24,000 tonnes and has had the aft vls silo removed. The Japanese SDF is not allowed to call them LPHs or carriers as they are not classed as defensive weapons under the treaty drawn up at the end of WW2.

November 11, 2010 9:19 pm

All politicians are the same.

I perhaps over simplified, or the post would have just gone on and on.

Senior Naval officer are heavily critised in the book, (and elswhere), neither the rank of the critic, nor a sly tone, should of itself invalidate his criticisms. Sometimes it is the little boy who points out the King has no clothes.

Aegis type (or type 45) combat management system do cost a packet far more than the hulls they sit on, but why pay so much for the hull? Radar X section good point (But at wild guess I recon shipyards can do angles). Current designs of Russian submarines have been made significantly quieter by “Commercialy available” technology. OK maybe cargo ships are too noisy; but Modern Cruise liner customers do not appreciate having their filling shaken out, and they can be made very quiet.

I was talking of the ‘Prince’ class, and Kongo Class which are reported as being based on the almost mythical
‘Commercial standards’.

BTW I’m not sure that Ships Radar cross section or ITR singnitures are that important.

After all it’s radar will be sending out “Bloody great here I am” signal”.

That quote was made in relation to the F22 and I have never understood as to how any thing that emmits directional radio transmissions can be stealthy.

November 11, 2010 9:23 pm

Admin, the Harrier Gr9’s of 41(R) Sqn was just testing brimstone on the harrier airframe, flying with dud rounds under the wing… soon after, this review came and put a halt to it… but indeed; its laughable some thoughts storm shadow was gonna be implemented on it XD

I agree, it would have been better to reduce the number of tornadoes and retain a reduced number of harriers; but then again smaller numbers means higher maintenance costs… sadly its not a perfect world.
I also agree on the confusing nature of the Naval ex-sometimes ranting about the harrier… the huge loss to the Navy was the loss of Nimrod, their SSBN’s and any subs will now have a harder job getting safely out to sea… heck, we’ve lost that capability now, and with the glacial replacement of the Nimrod R1…our armed forces will see what the nations univercities will see…a huge brain drain and loss of skills….who knows what the cost will be to regain them when the placements come…if they come…

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 11, 2010 9:56 pm


If you read the stuff I put into the general SDSR topic 5 / Navy you will see that I have similar thoughts on what the future holds for naval architecture.

My main point is that we are currently in the middle of a size revolution, a step change to larger warships on the basis that the value proposition has been transformed in the last 20 years due to the increase in the speed of commercial shipping, design re-use and increased chunking and modularity.

All this falls onto the lessons of the Falklands where 50kg of rocket fuel took out a Type 42. It was a case of compare and contrast with the USS Spruance that was twice the size and looked as if it had room to grow compared to the RN design which looked as if someone had tried to pour a gallon in a pint pot.

Fragile was the only way I could describe all the post 1965 RN designs and given that the maxim about the bomber always getting through seemed to work in the Falklands meant that we seemed to have designed our ships with an in built glass jaw that got worse as time moved on.

Leander = More robust than T21’s.
Counties = More robust than T42’s.

This is the reasoning behind my points about building large boxy hulls with armour and deep A/Tor bulkheads to make the ships both more capable and more robust.

My thoughts are that you would build the hull and marine systems to a sailable condition but with appropriate voids and then add in all the weapons systems in containers with just the connections to be joined before the vessel is ready to go.

If the weapons systems are seperate from the basic hull and can be retrieved in a controlled fashion then the weapons containers can be mixed and matched throughout a ships life.

To my mind the C3 vessel should be a 6’000 ton £50mill colonial sloop with an update package available at a limited fixed cost to make it more useful if that is what is required.

On the man himself I have found a couple of his articles and he seems to be a bit of an iconoclast but his job has been made easy by a military establishment that likes its gold braid and its cushy desk jobs.

Finally come aircraft stuff:

How many Tornado squadrons do we have?
F3 / Fighters?

How many Harrier squadrons do we have?
How many Typhoon squadrons do we have?

I too don’t understand whay it had to be one or the other, Harrier of Tornado?
Is the RAF / military establishment so inflexible that there was no other way?

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 11, 2010 10:06 pm

All PATS @ 8.35

How much space does a battle management system take up?
Not the desks consoles for the grunts to stare at clourful screens, just the hardware that makes up the system?

4′ x 4′ x 4′?
8′ x 8′ x 8′?
8′ x 8′ x 20′?

Any idea what the processing power is behind the system?

I think that the weapon system load of any ship should be laid out on the floor of a large hangar so that the scale of the issue can be appreciated without crys of “but we’re special”

Also if the only reason the the top brass don’t like Mr Page is that he is different from them suggests that they have much to hide and have become very sheltered in their outlook.

November 11, 2010 10:45 pm

FBOT said “50kg of rocket fuel took out a Type 42.”

True. But consider,

And is Leander a fair comparison for T21? Shouldn’t you be comparing Leander with T22? Same result though!!

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
November 11, 2010 11:07 pm

Sorry to come to this late. Just some random musings on all your random debates, there seems to be three strandas here atleast! :-).

Bromstone/Stormshadow seem to be mentioned in the choice to keep either Harrier or Tornado, I suspect it wasn’t a high priority capability in the decision making as the Taleban seem to be a little light on MBT’s, so complaining about keeping Harrier because it isn’t type certified on Brimstone, is like complaining that Johnny Taleban is lacking capability because he doesn’t possess any heavy artillery!

If the ex-RN whosits *really* wanted to keep JFH so that the FAA could maintain Fast Jet skills, then maybe the MoD should see how much of the ongoing costs could be met by reducing the number of Admirals to, say, 1 per RN fleet plus one each for every HQ installation?

Staying on the RN, surely the “open letter” was only written because now that Harrier is disappearing, the CVFs are looking increadibly shaky as there are no actual aircraft to fly from them? And as the “whole point” of the RN is to get as many Grey Boats into the water as possible . . .

Re, Lewis Page. The man has all the wordsnithing skills of a tabloid journalist which isn’t surprising as he writes for the tech. worlds version of The Sun! Maybe if he posted on this blog, then he would come accross differently. Come to think of it, maybe Lewis is already moving among the Great and Good of TD under a nom-de-plume alredy! :-P

FBOT, I like your points about using commercial techniques in military equipment, but it’ll never happen. Military equipment just isn’t made in the quantities that would benefit from a rigorous application of production-line/detail-design techniques. The likes of BAE are more like Thomas Chippendale than IKEA. After all, all those pictures of Wellingtons and B-17’s coming off production lines in Vickers and Boeing were abberations caused by “surge production” during wartime. Once hostilities ended we went back to making planes at 1-4 per year and ships 1 every two!

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 12:32 am

DD @ 11.07

“we’re special” = The cry throughout the ages of the myopic, the one club golpher and the economically illiterate.

As some US guy said, allow military inflation to run wild and you are unilaterally dis-arming yourself.

Soon we will have a navy that consists of a rowing boat with a shotgun, a picture of a Trident missile and the band of the Royal Marines.

Trend the navy both in ship numbers and warm bodies and it all gets a bit fuzzy on the 17th April 2036.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 12:39 am

X @ 10.45

Fair point but he made it home.
Did the warhead commit suicide and did a reactive armour job on the missile fuel tank at the point of entry.

My point on this what would have happened if the missile had hit the USS Spruance?

Has anyone put reactive armour on the side of a ship?
Any thoughts on the Soviet blind alley that was the system before reactive armour?

Went by the name of “Drozd”?
more suited to a ship than a tank?

Sven Ortmann
Sven Ortmann
November 12, 2010 2:10 am

“As for PAK-FA
I simply refuse to believe this thing exists.
As they say it does
It was initialy planned in the 80′s, like Raptor / Lightening II / Typhoon. At this point, the USSR was a generation behind us technologicaly, as demonstrated by the Israel/Syria conflict over Beka”

I think you mix PAK-FA up with MiG 1.42.

PAK-FA appears to be a child of the mid or late 90’s, is as such comparable to the F-35 (originated in early 90’s concept, not 80’s as well) and younger than the F-22.

Bekaa was about 70’s technology and Syrian incompetence, not about West/East technology. In fact, the Russians were introducing the AA-11 with helmet visor at that time and were thus technologically vastly superior WVR. The West was still using Sparrow (and the Frenchmen had only their Super 530), which allowed for at most engaging one fighter with it before the enemy would be in dogfight. The Russians could have sent MiG-21 as first fodder wave and would then have slaughtered F-15 and F-16 with AA-11 from their MiG-29, overall kill ratio could easily have been 2:1 in favour of reds.
THAT was the situation of the early 80’s state-of-the-art.

The HV+AA-11 shock of 1991 (Eastern German missiles and MiG-29 fell into FRG hands) wasn’t highly publicized, but it was as huge as the Sputnik shock.

Navy What Navy
Navy What Navy
November 12, 2010 6:37 am


Shipyards can do angles, they can also do hydrodynamics and reduce the the thermal signature (which is very useful for a Sub coming to PD to get a firing solution and positive ID) if required by ROE. The new 45s have a very large and distinctive signature through a periscope. It is also very handy for an IR missile. Your point about Cruise Liners is slightly misplaced, it is not noise within the Ship that is the issue but noise radiated into the water. So you end up rafting the propulsion. Now we have angles, and rafting we are half way to a FF/DD anyway.

I have never been on a KONGO but the hull and superstructure are very much like an Arleigh Burke. She has 4 gas turbines for propulsion and 2 MK 41 vls silos. Unless inside is more Caribean Cruise than action stations I fail to see where the commercial bit is.

FBOT Interesting, you are discussing a step change in Warship design. Up until WW2 Ships were built to get hit and survive. The Sinking of POW and Repulse showed that no matter how well armoured you were you could still be sunk by an aircraft. So we moved away from armour towards systems designed to shoot down aircraft and prevent being hit. The aircraft carrier reigned supreme. What some people are suggsting is that the advent of new ASM technology means we should now expect to get hit and armour accordingly. Interesting argument, what we are lacking of course is any conflict to test the theory.
FBOT Your point about the Falklands is slightly skewed in that we had some Ships with aluminium super structures there and FF/DC technuiges 40 years out of date.

November 12, 2010 8:06 am

he Typhoon costs £70-90,000 an hour to run, airframe depreciation is £10k, so either way, its irrelevent.
I would guess they use purchase price not “value”, UK accounting has very little scope for guessing what the “true value” of stuff is. For good reason, see Mortgage Backed Securities.

The Apache is used in ghanners and the boots on the ground love it.
It can hang around for quite a while, unlike a fast jet, is far far more accurate, and for the situation, carries far more firepower.

People do shoot down Pages arguements on a regular basis, he just refuses to accept he has lost.
It costs £46,000 an hour to fly a 2 engined Apache.
If we use that a reasonable price per hour for a three engined Merlin, we can work out that its costs £402 MILLION to keep a single ASW Merlin airborne for a single year.
5 24/7 Active Merlins would cost more than the entire escort fleet.

That is why Lewis Page is a moron, and that is why we have “expensive” Frigates.
A Merlin is cheaper to purchase, but once you throw in operating costs, the Frigate becomes cheaper before the year is out. We still use Merlins, because they are awesome, but we restrict their use to when we need that extra capability, because its unaffordable to use all the time.

The Problem with armour, is they can always build a bigger gun.
You could probably armour a ship to shrug off an exocet, but people will just build a slightly bigger exocet.
The amount of armouring required to shrug off a storm shadow would be extreme, and they can just fire a “Davey Crockett” sized mini nuke. Armour to resist that, and they can fire a tactical nuke. If you somehow armour against that, they can throw a strategic weapon at you.

November 12, 2010 8:40 am

PakFa is (in my mind) a merging of the last Mig and Suk jets put into design studies by the Soviets, which puts them as counters to F22/F35/Typhoon.

True, Beka wasnt a match between the best both sides had available in the late 80’s, but the technology involved was of a similar era.
The Syrians should have won, even if it was with heavier losses, instead they were completely routed.

Yes the Vampire was impressive, but a short range missile does not an airforce make, and perhaops I’m mistaken, but wasnt western docrtine at the time NOT to get into such fights anyway?

But, thats not really relevent, even if they had closed the gap by 91, they immediatly lost another decade, which would put the PAKFA on a footing with the current crop, just 10 years late, and counting.

“What some people are suggsting is that the advent of new ASM technology means we should now expect to get hit and armour accordingly. Interesting argument, what we are lacking of course is any conflict to test the theory.”
Which personaly, I think is a bad idea, because nothing has fundamentaly changed since PoW/Repulse/Bismark/Tirpitz/Yamoto went under.

November 12, 2010 8:59 am

Dominic J raises a good point about armour. Even the old Iowa class battleships with their steel belt armour would fold like a newspaper if a modern heavyweight torpedo exploded underneath them, due to the blast and subsequent collapse. You just can’t defend against the sheer power of it.

If we up-armoured ships, missile designers would evolve a torpedo payload for their closing attack, or design new warhead types, maybe thermobaric.

November 12, 2010 9:19 am

Being an outsider my sources of information can only be 2nd hand: –

Comments by the wide(ish) network of Current and former service friends.

That ultra reliable source of information the internet;(like wow I never realised Elvis arrived on earth when he crashed his spceship at Roswell). But does include this site.

Official sources Janes etc.

Published works both technical and for more general readers.

So I will ‘fess’ up, (as I did when I started posting), I have no great technical insight to offer.


All I can say is that several Navy websites state that the Kongo and Prince class hulls are built to ‘commercial standards’ Whatever that may mean.

It is clearly demonstrated that modern commercial shipp is getting faster and faster, as it gets bigger and as the laws of hydrodynamics kick in. There are Panamax commercial ships now crossing oceans, whose standard opperating speeed is such that modern frigates would strain every rivit (yes I know there all wielded these days), and just simply break down if they tried to cacth one or even keep up for long.

One can argue about the tactical, actual need for a frigate to catch a ship in the open ocean, But it has to be relevant to OPV anti smugling anti Terror etc.

Size is indeed the new black, as we are talking about 6,000 ton ‘frigates’ Built on the basis that ‘thats as small as we can get away with. In an early age that would be a cruiser.

It’s when the CVF and its escorts are cruising the ocean at 17 knots and the Emma Mearsk or one of its bretherin cruises by at 25 fully loaded, (burning whole lot less fuel per ton); Ditto the queen Mary 2, I cannot but ask myself, why if very large hulls that could take all the kit you could ever want, can be bashed out by Polish /Finnish/ South Korean yards for what in Destryoer / frigate hull terms is penuts, are we going in the right direction?

Again (I cannot I accept find the reference), but one respected website reported that the latest Russian subs were much quieter due to adobting weastern commercial noise attenuation practices.

I know this will upset Admin TD to quote him in support of Lewis page, but he has asked the question/ made the point that commercial rig supply type vessels can make perfectly good minor combatants, perhaps the time has come to look at major ones.

Properly designed using commercial steel (not fancy armoured plate), large hulls can endure huge anmmounts of damage (with the exception I admit of the heavy weight torpedos).

Non essential Space can be as effective armour as steel.

re opperating costs.

So the 20 or 30 people opperating each helicopter cost more to pay feed and be-pension that the 200 or so on a Frigate?

The helicopter only cost £40,000 odd when it is flying, it is not the case that somewhere in the world a british frigate is activly involved in anti sub warfare/ training, 24/7/52. most are either in port or doing drug/pirate duty.

By the way everything I have ever read written by any senior navy men including the US, stresses the importance of the frigate/ destroyer as a helicopter platfrom. Recently descriped by OIC of the anti prirate opperations off Somalia as “Essential”. THe frigates main anti submarine asset is its helicopter, no one builds frigates without them, n- must be a reason for that.

For some things we can buy Ikea.

Lewis page May or may not be ‘a moron’.

His conclusions may sometimes be wrong, but he asks the questions we should be asking.

When all you have is hammer all problems start to look like a nail. Is the answer to anti submarine / patrol / anti piracy problems a frigate? Or are we simply turning it round and saying we need a frigate, now what can we use it for?

I am prepared to be wrong, I like a good argument!


Perhaps you should read Lions Donkeys and Dinosours.

November 12, 2010 9:41 am

Putting the Falklands argument to one side, I think that not have any air cover for the fleet is a serious issue; this relates not to just the demise of the Harrier but also the Nimrod. The RAF will talk of basing and over fly rights, but in reality I cannot see how they could provide a rapid and sustained response beyond 500 miles of the UK to a size even similar to 9 Harriers flying from a thru-deck cruiser.

One thing we can learn from history is that things can change very quickly and it (history) has a tendency to repeat itself. Losing key capabilities that will take years to regenerate (if they can at all) is a serious mistake; I put the FAA losing the Harrier in to this category. Losing the Tornado would not have meant the RAF would have lost the capability to fly fast jets.

One “dumb” question – Are the Sea Harriers still in mothballs? If so, would it be realistically feasible to make them operational and what would the cost be? I am assuming that these will be scrapped now if they haven’t already.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 10:16 am

DJ @ 8.06

The question relates to the costsings put out to MP’s and the Harrier vs Tornado debate consequently what form of accounting being used will have a huge effect on the relevance of the numbers.

Consequently as I have said before the numbers as presented have as much value as a bucket of warm spit.

£10K per hour for the Typhoon means that the airframe was procured for £60mill excluding engines.
£10K x 6’000 hours = £60mill.

Then the question has to be where does the other £25K go?
It looks as the old MOD contractor game is being played out in full view of the populace.
Step change in abilities eans step change in costs.
Has no-one in the MOD every heard of Total Quality Management?
That is agree on the output standards you want and then then go after the cost structure with a hatchet.
All a bit 90’s but when it comes to managing costs I fear the MOD is so behind the times it has still to find out who shot “JR”.
Love your comments about accountants in the UK. Naive in the extreme, given the fact that US companies working with the more exotic financial derivatives had to work through London so that they could be provided with a badge of quality.

City regulation, accountancy standards, institutional greed = Take a bow.

Regarding the Bekaa valley, you are missing a couple of important points if you want to use that as an arbiter of the relative abilities of Soviet and US technolgies.

1) The Soviets sold watered down “export strength” stuff to non European allies.
2) The pushed the MiG lightweight fighters into the export market, they kept back their heavy fighters for their own use or if they did sell them they were mature designs with “export strength” avionics.
3) The US had better allies doing the fighting, they had 8 years to plan the engagement, they introduced a step change in their capabilities and they attacked a force in transition.

Consequently it was a great victory but the Soviets took the next step with their HMS and the Mig-29 / Su-27.

Where we are now is open to conjecture with people using Soviet WP – NA – Kitchen sink technology trying to put holes in the side of ships and people with money invested in development of the F-35B trying not to put holes in the top of ships.

As always the military industrial complexes are winning most of the battles.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 10:58 am


On the subject of capital ship losses you make my argument for me.

Catastrophic loss has always involved detonation of the magazines.

Dreadnought type ships with 4-5 turrets on less than 27,500 tons / 90′ beam were hard to armour to an acceptable standard standard against shellfire and almost impossible to design with basic anti-torpedo defences. Hit the area of the magazine and something was likely to happen.

Consequently the magazines could be detonated by shellfire and torpedoes if the hit in the right place.

PoW / Musashi / Yamato were sunk by aerial topedoes, lots of them, in an environment where they had little or no air support. There is a lesson to be learned from this but is not the one you are trying to make.

Consequently the armour issue is very much alive and the next step is to lever in commercial techniques to develop a ship that can survive the detonation of 500Kg of explosive under its keel.

The starting point would be a ship with a main girder and transverse bulkheads to the same size and strength as a Maersk “E” class.

The next step is selective armouring to protect the engine room and the magazines.

A beam of 130′ will help in this respect as a 30′ deep anti torpedo bulkhead is something that RN ship designers in WW2 could only dream about.

Consequently mauin gider strength and an enhanced commercial double bottom will help against proximity fuzing on torpedoes.

Deep bulkheads will help against contact fuzed torpedoes and armour will help against S-S missiles.

The post WW2 argument against armour, that someone will always build a bigger gun does not work in today’s environment. Bigger the “gun” the bigger the target and the easier it will be to shoot it down.

This is where the anomaly fits in, the only catastrophic detonation and sinking of a modern 1930’s battleship, the Roma in 1943 by a r/c glider bomb.

To do this it needed a 1000kg warhead dropped from 20’000 feet and continously monitored / controlled throughout its descent, hugely impressive but that threat is not credible in todays environment.

Please note that the corollary to that statement is the need for better magazine protection not that this size of warhead will automatically sink a heavily armoured battleship.

In keeping with her bloodied but unbowed reputation HMS Warspite was hit by two of these missiles and lived to tell the tale. Heavily damaged but the structure stayed sound and the magazines were not compromised.

RN damage control at its best in contrast to the Ark Royal debacle.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 12, 2010 11:00 am


The Bekaa valley was an enegagment between possibly the most highy trained air force in the world equipped with front line equipment on ground of their choosing against a poorly trained and equpped air force.
Syrian Migs had no AWACS capability and only front and rear threat sensors, the ISAF E2s were able to vector modern fighter aircraft in to positions where they could engage the Migs from their blind spots with all aspect AIM9 missiles. Any outcome other than that which occured would have been unbeleivable.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 12, 2010 11:08 am


All the modifications needed to a Maerk E class ship would mean that what we would end up with would be a big expensive warship and trust me if you have seen the data on the forces generated when a Spearfish heavyweight torpedo detonates below the keel of a ship all you have done is buld a bigger noisier target easier to find and incapable of conducting a TCM as it cannot turn quickly enough or obtain the correct speed quickly enough to fully utilise the decoy systems.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 11:12 am


OIC @ anti Pirate patrol.
From what he said he must have been driving a GP T23?
That is no fancy towed array unit.

My point regarding Frigate vs Merlin is that both have their place and the strawman arguments being put up by the figate lobby smack of desperation.

Merlin usage = £50K per hour approx.
That might be a figure and with certain provisos the right figure but it is still un-thinking MOD style nonsense.

Total Quality Management = You know what you need, then you work flat out to lower the costs.
The result will not be Merlin usage costs of £50K per hour, they will be £10K fully accounted / £5K marginal costs.

Fag packet analysis sure but the blind acceptance of the ludicrous figures generated by MOD economics needs to change.

Given the example of the A/S warfare example the easy answer to further reduce the costs is to fit an off the shelf mid range sonar to the big and chunky HMS Lewis Page for continual monitoring and fly the Merlins when there is a high threat or a need for increased vigilance. The issue of the £5K per hour marginal cost would still stand.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 12, 2010 11:18 am


We already have the ASW sorted with ultra quiet T23 fitted with 2087( a sonar so good it is a swear word for submariners) and a lovely big Merlin weapon carrier with dipping sonar on the back. This combination is undoubtedly the best in the world and for the first time in years has the sun dodgers worried.

November 12, 2010 11:29 am

I’m sure in the Falklands, Belgrano was sank with the oldest type of torpedo still in UK service.
It had a much heavier warhead than the newer torpedoes, new ones being designed to destroy unarmoured vessels, Belgrano being a WW2 era heavily armoured cruiser.

I have no problem using ships built to commerical standards, certainly for Helicopter/Landing ships, even for war ships, I dont rate many vessels chances of surviving even AT weapons.
Back to South Georgia, a team of Royal Marines wrecked a frigate with rifle, machine gun, AT rocket and Carl Gustav fire.

Regarding operating costs.
The UK provides ASW patrols in the North sea 24/365, we pick up Russian Subs trying to get from Russia into the open Atlantic, keep tabs on them for as long as we can, before they disappear and attack US CBGs, the idea being that they cant lose themselves until they need to come back to port for food.

It is cheaper to provide those patrols with Capital expensive but Operating cheap Frigates than Capital cheap but Operating expensive Merlins.
The Towed and mounted arrays keep their general position marked, and every so often a merlin pops over to confirm/pin point it.

Really, the same arguement can be made of using a bay as an anti pirate role, the bay is cheaper than the Frigate, but both are marginal compared with the operating costs of a single helicopter.
Is a bay, a Super Lynx, and half a dozen CB90s a better platform?
Absolutly, lets do that.
A Bay and 6 Super Lynxs would cost a fortune.

“THe frigates main anti submarine asset is its helicopter, no one builds frigates without them, n- must be a reason for that.”
No, the main asset is the Towed/Mounted Sonar array, the best is the helicopter. But the Helicopter is so expensive, it is only used when the best is really needed, which isnt all the time.

Does the platform carrying the towed array sonar need to be a “frigate” with naval gun, CIWS, self defence AAW system and ASM system, in the peace time North Sea probably not.
But it does need to be a ship and it does need that sonar, and if it wants to do its job in a war time north sea, it needs that extra kit.

I thought SeaHarrier had been sold to the Indians, people who usualy know more than me think we still have a few in storage somewhere. Its very doubtful our active harriers will be taken to Salisbury and used as target practice, they’ll go in storage, even if its bad storage.
Cost of reactivation, a lot, but within acceptable limits, for a certain value of acceptable.

The hourly operating cost of a Typhoon is £90,000 (newer figures say £70,000). The none “depreciation airframe wear” costs make up 85-88% of the total costs.
Even a massive swing in wear and tear is utterly irrelevent

“Love your comments about accountants in the UK. Naive in the extreme”
Do try to avoid being condescending, I AM A COST ACCOUNTANT. There may be scope to say “my bonds are worth X even if the current market price is half x” but fixed assets are valued at purchase price minus acculmulated depreciation, even land thats worth 10 times what you paid for it. I know, my employer is one of the UK’s largest land owners.
Now it could be that the MoD works out replacement values for its kit to feed the government more accurate numbers, but its very unlikely, and as I said in the first place, its irrelevent, being 15% of the total costs.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 11:42 am


In Oct 73 the IAF got a kicking.
They used 1967 tactics against a wiser and more capable enemy.
Consequently they had 8 years to plan, organise and execute their answer.

Even at the civil engineering level the move Syrian move to the Bekaa valley was sloppy and rushed.

Regarding the effectiveness of a heavy torpedo against a large ship of any kind is an interesting issue but you have to look at the basic girder strength / flexural rigidity of the vessels involved.

The size and scale of the Maersk “E” class along with the heavy duty transverse bulkheads every 45/50′ suggest that it would take more than on hit to sink her especially if the design was modified to improve its robustness.

Ship would be shorter – 330m vs 420.
Two rows of blast boxes / armoured containers arranged at the ships sides. These would be from the bottom to the top of the main deck.
Hangar and flight deck slices would be added to the top of the main deck and then joined together to generate a continuous strength element.
The ships vitals would be pre-fabricated slices made to fit the hull container voids.

That is 40′ long, 70-80′ wide, 40-50′ deep.
Watertight, rigid and self supporting.

Consequently the ship becomes a composite structure, much stronger than the basic hull of the donor design.

Main point is that steel is cheap and air is free.

One point I would make on this issue is the experience of the IJN in WW2. Started the war with superb destroyers, introduced the revolutionary new 3.9″ gun vessels.

However they all got sunk in the traditional manner as did the RN and USN vessels of that time.

Desperate for escorts they developed the “Matsu” class, thrifted version of a real destroyer but quicker and cheaper to build. They sank in the traditional manner.

Really desperate for escorts they developed a smaller more basic vessel which went through a number of iterations making it more and more basic until it was effectively 7 boxes bolted together.

The point is as they got simpler, they got harder to sink.
There must be a lesson to be learned from this.

November 12, 2010 11:47 am

“The post WW2 argument against armour, that someone will always build a bigger gun does not work in today’s environment. Bigger the “gun” the bigger the target and the easier it will be to shoot it down.”
Even if a ship if floating after a more realistic hit from a couple of enlarged exocets, it will be mission killed.

And of course, your idea was tried, and found wanting.
You cant armour everything to resist everything, so if you just armour the important bits, the enemy attacks everything unarmoured, and you sink anyway.

“if you have seen the data on the forces generated when a Spearfish heavyweight torpedo detonates below the keel of a ship all you have done is buld a bigger noisier target ”
Indeed, and if you somehow build a ship that can survive, well, we’ll build a bigger spearfish.

If you make a merlin sized helicopter that flies for £5k an hour, you could happily sell it for a few billion £ to any arms company in the world.

TQM might be fine when your making 10 million cars a year, it doesnt work small scale.

November 12, 2010 11:54 am

Ok, your ship gets hit by a spearfish, one compartment buckles, the compartment is sealed off, redundant systems kick in, it can still fight, at a reduced capacity until it can dock for (major) repair.
Can it survive two spearfish buckling two seperate compartments?
How about three?
A modern submarine has 6 tubes, and if a target is big enough, no reason not to fire them all.
The Titanic was unsinkable too, unless 5 compartments were breached.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 12:02 pm

All PATS @ 11.18

Once you have achieved the performance level you want the next step is make it affordable.

The question is to split the system cost from the platform cost. Any ideas on the cost and size of a towed array?

DJ @ 11.29

No worries it could be worse, you could have been in Audit.
It is one thing to bury the bodies, it is another to have to dig them up.

Main thing is that when it comes to accountants reverse engineering looms large in the skill set.

There is the answer, now generate a question for me.

I do, have done financial anlysis, management accounts, financial controller dealing mainly with design and development.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 12, 2010 12:07 pm

DJ @ 11.54

Ship will have between 16-20 compartments.
Subm would be reduced to ramming the BUF to stop it.

Navy What Navy
Navy What Navy
November 12, 2010 12:25 pm

Guys a torpedo like a Spearfish does not hit the vessel. It detonates under the vessel creating a pressure wave that lifts the vessel up and the as the pressure wave under the cessel dissipates the vessel comes down adn breaks its back.


Splitting the sytem cost from the platform? Putting a 2097 sonar on another vessel would be less effective as they are not as quiet. So to make it super quiet we put in CODLAG propulsion, fixed pitch propllers, raft everything to the max. Have 2 generators supplying all power and propulsion on 1 deck when runnig in ultra quiet mode and you are back at a 23.

A sub has 6 tubes but it can reload them.

Peter Arundel
Peter Arundel
November 12, 2010 2:09 pm

FBOT, a modern destroyer / frigate would not survive a modern torpedo strike.

I doubt a supercarrier would be operable after one. I doubt it would be afloat after two.

November 12, 2010 2:49 pm

I accept that underkeel exploding Torpedo is a ship killer.

But even the soviets had to ‘upcalibre to 24 inches (i think) in order to get one big enough to sink a Nimitz with their wake homing torpedo.

I acccept that if you build a bigger mouse someone will build a bigger mousetrap. And am not in favour of the reintroduction of armoured belts etc.

However worth pointing out both Arliegh Burke, and later nimitz/ G ford class are stated to have many tons of Kevlar armour in them. AS I believe to the latest German ones.

I accept that in anti sub warfare to be quieter is to win.

It is also the case that the Larger the ship the quieter it can be made more easily.

Several ref works on my shelf make refference to the fact that bigger western cold war SSN were quieter that soviet counterparts, in part becuase of better technology, but also becasue they were bigger.

In fact the French Rubis clas with it’s TEDS drive was unexpectedly noisy partly because it was so small.

Also back in 80s before Gulf 1 when the Iranians were mining the straits of Hormouz the very VLCC that the Americans were supposed to be protecting, went first in the convoy because its hull was strong enough to survive the mines, the warships weren’t!

Why does it have to be bay and 6 super lynxes? that would be the dedicated ASW fit, for specific high sub threat opperations.

For the general Bay most of the time in most of the places we need to be it can be Bay and 2 Cougars, and two ec 635 (or medium and small chopper of your choice), plus some marines and CB 90’s.

Are we planning a shooting war in the North atlantic any time soon? I did tell FBOT that there were elements in th RN who could not wait for the Red banner fleet to get back in the game so they could have a ‘proper’ enemy, I was only joking!

BTW would not the longer ranged mechanically simpler ship require less in the way maintenence and underway replenishment, further reducing the opperating costs relative to shorter legged Frigates.

As for Radar stelth I was given to understand subariners almost never use radar, but do use radar detection equipment because the ‘stealthy warships use it thus rendering stealth pretty useless.

Just some thoughts, happy to be proved wrong.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 12, 2010 3:12 pm


Will to take points in order but probably just ramble.
Not sure where you got bigger is quieter. Quietness comes from a variety of things. Fixed rather than controllable pitch propellers. Rafting of equipment. Using engines that do not require a gear box. Discipline onboard. Bigge equals quieter is not something I have come across.
Beleive theKevlar round vital areas is protection against shrapnel and small arms fire whilst operating in a littoral environment with increased asymetric threat.
Yes a longer range simpler ship would require less maintenance and refueling. Just a thought though, would it be able to get into many of the places a Frigate can? e.g up the river in Sierra Leone ala Chatham.
The point made about radar stealth technology was I beleive ref a missile threat, a large RCS would make it far more difficult for a decoy to seduce a radar homing missile. Warships operate under something called an “EMCON” plan emssisions control. The threat dictating what active sensors and comms are used. If the threat is high but radar has to be used by a group of warships often 1 will build the picture and push it out to the rest on link.

November 12, 2010 3:26 pm

@TD – Thanks, I know the guys are welcoming here! :-)

– Apparently there WERE 11 SHARS at RAF Shawbury and 9 at Culdrose for Flight deck Training but I don’t have any bang up to date info. Some Links here talk about them:

The latter says that there are now 12 FA2s at Culdrose and 2 T8s.



Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
November 12, 2010 3:47 pm

I saw a programme last night that has made me question whether or not all this is academic anyway.

It was on Channel 4 & called Britains Trillion Pound Horror Story.

I knew the deficit was very bad, about £155 billion or so this year alone. I did not know that we are in fact in debt to the tune of roughly £4.8 Trillion.

I suggest all this may be academic as noone from anywhere has even a suggestion of how to start paying this off. Therefore how are we going to fund the military, let alone anything else for the next 5,10 or even 15 years?

Soon, someone is going to call time on all of our crazy borrowing, what do we do then?

Are we heading for a full scale default?
If not, where is the money going to come from?

November 12, 2010 6:37 pm

The Dutch have some armour to their new OPVs.

CVNs have armour to protect the reactors.

And the Mexicans have used armour recently too.

Armour should only be used to protect vital points such as OPs, steering flat, bridge, around wave guides etc. Double bulkheads etc. to “slow” explosions are better than armour these days.

November 12, 2010 9:13 pm

All Politicians

Bigger is quieter for the same reasons that the generators on antisub ships mine sweepers are in the upper areas. The greater the distance between the engines and the water, the less radiated noise.

November 12, 2010 9:36 pm

Further all electric ships are quieter as there no direct route for vibration from prime mover to propeller. And the propeller on those vessels will be fixed pitch. (That the reason why Leander was quieter than T22……..)

November 13, 2010 12:19 am


Modern fast ferries and cruise ships are moving all electric drive in particular the AZIPOD has rapidly take hold for good practical reasons.

Does anyone know if they are quiet enough to be used on warships?

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 12:34 am


Sorry for talking ships on the Harrier vs Tornado post.

Need to try and keep my points short.
Basics for me are that modern warships are too small with little potential for growth and they are fragile to the point of absurdity.

The late 80’s mine campaign showed up the point perfectly, the oil tanker was protecting the warship from a deadly threat, a 1940’s mine.

Making a ship more robust does not mean that it will be immune from damage just a case that it will have some fight left after the first blow has been struck.

Please note the following

CVN = Large USN carrier.
CVF = QE type carrier.
VLUC = Very large Utility Carrier / container ship economics @ £500mill a pop to include point defence weapons.
Air wing extra.

DJ @ 11.47

Nuclear weapons – Game changer no matter the carrier involved. Consequently outside the scope of the discussion.
Armour – “All or nothing” is a lot better than “Nothing or nothing”.
Once the concept of armour is accepted then the optimal solution can be sought.
Bigger Spearfish – We wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Soviet moves to a 24.5″ torpedo suggests that they saw a CVN as a difficult ship to take out.
TQM – The cry of we are “Special” rings out across MOD land where the laws of physics and economics do not apply.

Navy? @ 12.25

Platforms – T23’s are old fashioned marine engineering in a number of areas, 10K tons with IEP and modern diesels plus targeted upmarket military techniques would come in at around £150mill for the basic boat and be quieter than the ship it replaces. Just a case of using root cause analysis to find out what makes a boat quiet and not just gold plating evry mechanical system on the boat.
As mentioned before, noise is waste and waste is run out of town in commercial organisations.
Also a 24m beam means that some of the diesels can be placed well away from the waterline if that is the magic ticket to a quality ASW platform.

Peter A @ 2.09

Heavy torpedo = Spruance class in shallow water.
The ship itself was big and flexible but it still looks very fragile. Compare and contrast with a 10K ton vessel based on an OSV hull with heavy scantlings, armour both internal and external and a 5m deep A/Tor bulkhead. All that and a 50% beamier hull.

IXION @ 2.49

Thanks for reminding me of the tanker / frigate inversion.
24″ torpedoes = Holy grail of underwater ship killers started by the Nelson and Rodney of all people.
24″ Soviet torpedoes = The Nimitz connection looms large.
Cannot hope for a VLUC to be more robust than a CVN.
However a real go at cellular construction as in IJN small escort vessels could be interesting.
ASW and quietness = T23 looks to be the standard to meet, no issues with me just that TQM could help get the costs down to meet that standard.
Armour = I think it needs to be looked at as a way to improve survivability. An external belt looks a goer to keep out the bad guys 40mm stuff.

All PATS @ 3.12

Frigate suitability = Up a river in West Africa is not the place for an ASW frigate with a replacement cost of £400 mill at least. It was the perfect job for the £50mill frigate, 6K tons of iron and steel.
The RN has too few hulls and its range of capabilites is too narrow. Having a T23 that thinks it is an Insect class is not the way to go.
EMCON emissions plan = HMS Sheffield?

X @ 6.37

Armour = Tomorrow’s agenda, all todays vessels with their oil canning hulls just invite the local yahoos to take a pot shot at them. Robust plating would be a start, ice resistant hulls would be better but I think that “armour” is the next step.
If it only takes on missile hit to take out £400mill / £1bill’s worth of kit then I think something is wrong.
Double bulkheads = Good, I would suggest a “Blast Box”, an armoured container, 1″ plate all round with baffles and oil drums stuffed inside.

If the T26 sorry GCS comes out at 10K tons there will be plenty of opportunity to stick on 1K tons of armour / blast protection.


I think that the typical RN gallon into a pint pot increases the sound output of a ship as everything is piled on top of each other with little space for optimum placement of systems and components.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
November 13, 2010 12:48 am


Actually, there are several videos in that link I posted including what looks like a Leander but the real point is that they are all lifted out of the water by the explosion. An explosion that will bodily lift an 8000 ton Spruance and break it’s back will, at the very least, disable and almost certainly sink a 10,000 ton vessel no matter what it’s beam is and, since the modern torpedo explodes under the keel, will be unaffected by the anti-torpedo bulkhead no matter how deep it is.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 12:50 am

M (Civ) @ 3.47

Didn’t see the programme but I have heard of the number.

The £4.8 trillion is a kitchen sink job that only tells half the story. It is being used by dog boiling polititians to shroud wave so that they can take a hatchet to the welfare state.

I can live with a scalpel but I fear the law of unintended consequences will kick in sometime soome, probably just after the last Harrier heads east.

Back to the number, the analysis I saw was partial in that it only recognises what we owe and not the other side what we own. Add in the fact that a lot of our debt is owed to other people in the UK and the picture does not look quite as bleak.

We will not default because –

We have North Sea Oil.
We have a floating exchange rate
We have a lot of slack in our manufacturing sector capabilities.
BAE Systems will start exporting major warships.
The low pound will lead to import substitution and potentially more exports.
The English middle class are quite versatile.
People will buy our assets, either at home or abroad agin in part due to the low pound.
We will buy 3 series BMW’s instead of 5 series BMW’s.
We will consume less and save more.
Less foreign holidays and more foreign tourists.

Main thing is times are tough but we have come through the last years relatively unscathed, at least in comparison to the bloodbath in the 30’s.

Main thing is the figures are not as bad as the programme suggests.

Richard Stockley
November 13, 2010 9:16 am

Nothing like turning up late to the party as everyone else is leaving!

I will believe the idea to scrap the Harrier is a good one when I see a Tornado take off from a grass airstrip. I’ve witnessed a pair of Harriers do it in unison and it truly is an impressive sight. I believe the decision was purely political to deny the Fleet Air Arm of fast jets.

Penny’s worth over.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 12:16 pm

Pete A

The discussion is at 6’s and 7’s.

The issue regarding the heavy torpedo related to its ability to disable a large CVF type vessel, 90K ton USN against a 90K VLUC based on the platform / component set of the Maersk “E” class.

Add in the fact that the Soviets went up to a 24″ torpedo suggests that a CVF sized vessel is a tough call for any 21″ torpedo. However the main issue stands, a heavyweight torpedo is probably the most efficient / effective anti – ship weapon at the moment.

The second point is that given the nature of containership construction, main girder strength that supports vessel lengths in excess of 400m’s and the transverse bulkheads every 45-50′ plus an ability to deal with 100K tons of cargo suggest that the ship is very tough indeed and the my mind the equal of a CVN in terms of battle resiliance.

With regards to what size and shape the T23 replacement should take, I think both designs would be under pressure (no pun intended) from a heavyweight torpedo.

GCS / T26 MOD spec = mod’ed T45 hull – 7-8K tons / 150m x 21 x 5-6m (ex sonar).
GCS / T26 FBOT fantasy navy spec = OSV type hull – 10-12K tons / 170m x 24 x 5-6m (ex sonar).
Ice strength hull and plating, oversized main girder and 1000 tons of armour both internal and external.

Consequently a tougher and more resiliantship all round.
Heavyweight torpedo proof, that would need lost of work.

However looking at all the videos that are out there a couple of points can be made,

USS Fletcher = 70’s oil canning at its worst. It does not look a very resiliant ship.
USS Iwo Jima = resiliant against air launched weapons but I could not find footage of the topedo exploding only the ship sinking.
Consequently I do not know if the failure was catastrophic, the ship’s back was broken or extened / continuous due to incremental flooding.

All the videos are very interesting but the main lesson would be what can be done to increase the survivability of naval vessels in the future?

The main point is that at some time or other, under a particular set of circumstances the bomber will get through and the ship will be hit with something.

At present the ships are so fragile that a bow and arrow would cause some damage if it landed in the right place. That was not the case even in WW2, consequently we have lost something regarding effective ship design.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 13, 2010 1:48 pm


You make a point against your own case. The fact that the bomber will at some point get through and sink you was the reason that the expense of Armour was done away with in favour of systems that would shoot the bomber down. We have not even discused the concept of shaped charges.
We could combine armour and systems but all we would do is win a temporary reprieve before bombs and missiles became bigger and we end up on the receiving end of BLU113 warhead mounted to a GBU 28 laser guidance system.(designed to penetrate 22 feet of concrete or even worse the new MOP designed to penetrate 200 feet of concrete.
In the meantime we have put a lot of extra weight on the Ship, some of it top weight, playing havoc with GZ curves, aceeleration and stability.
I like your main point about Survivability and with bombs that can penetrate 200 feet of concrete out their and torpedoes that can break a Ships back the answer would appear to be not get hit. So we have warships, they have ideally small RCS to allow effective use of decoy systems against incoming missiles. They have restricted IF signatures to again maximise decoy effectiveness. They have engine configurations designed to allow quick accelaration to allow torpedo decoys and mvres as well as FBA mvres. The ASW ships have rafting, Gas and electric propulsion plus fixed pitch propellers and state of the art sonar to allow detection of the Submarine before it can fire a torpedo.
My point is that we design state of the art Warships that can take the fight to the enemy. Kill their subs before they get into a firing position and engage aircraft and missiles at max range from the force. Plus all we have discussed here is sinking and destroying. Even your 12,000 tonne OSV hull with its large radar and thermal signature, inability to get to optimum speed for release of asm and torpedo decoys plus lack of manouverability for FBA and TCM mvring would still be a mission kill when hit and at the end of the day that is all the enemy have to do. Stop us completing our mission.
Rant over and having said all that I believe there is still a place for Commercial type vessels away from the higher intensity war fighting role but they must be built to decent standards. The current RN River class OPVs were discovered to leak smoke like a seive through the supposed smoke and waterproof midships bulkhead guaranteed by Vospers.

November 13, 2010 2:48 pm

The river class problem was just crap manufacturing/.

Just remember we had to reinforce several types of frigate and destroyer, built to RN requiremsnts.

Somewhat Removed
November 13, 2010 3:01 pm


I’m afraid APATS is right – we design and build warships to a certain standard for exactly the reasons stated above. Some armour is necessary I would agree, for example kevlar around critical spaces, but even that isn’t going to stop a determined opponent with weapons of 20mm calibre and above. The way ahead is, as APATS pointed out, to avoid getting hit in the first place, by installing advanced sensors, reducing noise signatures, etc – all of this costs money.

Yes, warships are vulnerable to the low-tech weapons available to the lower end users – the boat that punched a hole in the USS Cole was basically an improvised mine. But they always will be – big tankers are only more resilient through sheer size and compartmentalisation. As a further point, the tanker you referred to as being sent through the Straits of Hormuz ahead of the USN was in ballast. 100-150,000 tonnes of tanker full of seawater is going to soak up a lot of mines without sinking – they would hardly have done that with a tanker full of crude, or we’d still be putting out the fires.

Your frustration with the expense of current projects is understandable – there are 150,000 or more Servicemen and women out there who would agree with you in one way or another. But the costs are usually a result of the MOD interfering in the contract, for example, delaying funding, changing specifications, these are usually the reasons such projects spiral out of control. Take Nimrod as a classic case in point – if the MOD had just said ‘build us 21 new Nimrods’ we’d have them in service now. Instead we wasted billions trying to reuse the fuselage, which didn’t fit the multi-million pound wingsets because they were all hand built. But going 100% down the commercial line isn’t the answer either. We need to consider commercial practices, true, but there will always be a need to compromise and that is where the money goes.

Find me a MOD civil servant capable of writing a decent watertight contract and I’ll buy you a beer. Assuming of course that the Integrated Project Team doesn’t get involved in defining the specification of the beer, insisting that the beer is at least 75% British, and the bartender doesn’t mind me paying him next year. You’ll end up with a glass of wine costing £50.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 3:17 pm

All PATS @ 1.48

I have to say that I must have hit the spot to get a response like that from you. It offers nothing to a real debate but tries to put forward for demolition areguments that I never made.

Consequently keep it real and deal objectively with the points I have made.

1) CVF is too expensive.
£500mill would get an adequate replacement using COTS stuff and existing commercial hull forms.
2) Our patrol fleet, all 23 or 19 of them, is too fragile, they lack resiliance and an ability to absorb damage and still function effectively.
The issue is not to stop all potential weapons but to stop some of them. Currently we stop nothing.
3) The bomber will always get through, if you have an issue with that then you are what an optimist would call an optimist.
As an aside is the RN confidence in countermeasures to meet all threats the reason that we skimp on the CIWS fit out of all our ships?
I fear that confidence is misplaced and smacks of an arrogant officer class that wants to keep its perks rather than spec vessels appropriately.
4) Survivability is not an issue, the bigger moustrap argument.
This really is rubbish when confronted by the reality that 50kg of rocket fuel can take out a Type 42. If anyone wants to build bigger and bigger bombs then they will need to fund bigger planes and missiles to carry them which in turn generates bigger and less manouverable targets for our active countermeasures to neutralise.
5) 12K ton OSV based T26 / GCS – bigger radar and thermal signature?
These claims are unsupportable, medium speed diesels are better than GT’s and slopes / angles will help with the radar issue. Current RN standards are mid table not class leading so we have a lot to learn.
6) The GZ curves stability issue is nonsense.
We have a beamier, heavier vessel with more weight at or below the waterline and enough reserves to fine tune to get it completely right.
7) Acceleration, not an issue with a full hybrid / IEP powertrain. Couple of fancy batteries in containers providing extra oomph for a couple of minutes to replicate a T45’s power to weight ratio.
Design re-use achieved as we then use all the T45’s passive / defensive tactics.
However I think this issue will dissolve under detailed scrutiny, if it was so important then we would be building ships with a T21’s power to weight ratio.
8) Quietness for ASW stuff.
Nothing in the design I was putting forward will cause the vessel to any noisier than a T23. The issue is to generate that level of capability without gold plating everything in the hull.

The main point that I can take from your post is the fact that you are one of those who hanker after old certainties, WP – NA – Kitchen sink warfare where the “Reb Banner” fleet comes out in full battalion strength with no quarter asked or given.

However that is not today’s world and the current strategy of building ever fewer, expensive but untimately limited vessels is not the way forward.

Add in the fact that RN vessels have looked anemic for the past 90 years and we cannot work with more of the same. Our ships have no real world presence and the RN alway’s travels first class.

Given recent designs we are travelling Ryanair but paying BA prices.

T23’s doing “Dickson of Djibouti” impressions is not what is needed or where we need to be.
T45’s at £1bill a pop is not what is needed especially if it has only got a single VLS silo.
T23’s doing WI guardship duties is not what is needed …
LPD’s without a full flight deck, all a bit 1950’s but we still built them.

Hopefully I have answered all your points, I do fear that RN ship design is in a bit of a trough at the moment. They need to look at alternatives.

We need more hulls in the water, the £50mill frigate / 6K ton colonial sloop is out there and we need them. It might be soft power or constabulary duties but we need to have an increased presence.

Finally and actually to agree with you regarding build standards, some articles from non UK sources suggest that the workmanship on some vessels is terrible and that might be one of the reasons that export sales are usually to our friends and family rather than through success is highly competitive open competitions.

There seems to be a common thread through this that suggests that the Clyde was the only area with consistent abilities after SH went down 15 years ago.

Consequently no need to rant, the only definite is that the RN is on the wrong track and contractor inefficiency and profit margins will reduce it to the point of irrelevance.

Not where I want to be.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 3:34 pm


The standards you highlight are partial, limited and inward looking. If we were world beaters then the world and their wives would be beating a path to our door.

They are not.
Everyone wants to go and look at the Absalon not a T23.

The issue for me is that as the RN has shrunk since the second world war so has the range of abilities and differing viewpoints. Add in the total failure of British industry to deliver and things are not looking good.

We are currently a 70’s revival group, all NA ASW with a bunch of WAFU’s looking for a new role.

Interesting stuff about the Tanker War.
My only issue relates to the arrangements when the tanker was full of crude, you know heading out towards the open ocean, where was the escorting warship?

At the front ready to take one for the team, that is be disabled, possible sunk by a mine or was it hiding in the wake of the ranker in a similar manner to the way in?

I know the answer my money is on.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
November 13, 2010 3:43 pm

FBOT, thanks for your reply, obviously i didn’t consider it in those terms :)

I don’t always comment on every topic but i have tried to read a lot of whats here @ Think Defence.

The most fully thought through idea i’ve read on here was for the C3/OPV, whatever you want to call it. The particulars were to use a modified Oil/Gas Platform Support Vessel. Big an tough to handle a rough sea, good tried and tested propulsion and very long ranged.

I don’t quite agree with the very minimal armament that was suggested, add something like SeaRam in a separate launcher and a few more 20mm guns and the Navy would have a very usefull ship.

Think of all the things something like that could do.

Instead we send a full scale under-armed war-fighting ship.

November 13, 2010 4:15 pm

Poor old TD he posts a beautifully argued, well researched piece about aircraft and we turn it into a ship argument!

However I do think the arguments here are relevent across the board.

I have learned that 24/7 anti sub work goes on.

That the cheapest way to do it is with a hull sonar and a towed array.

That helicopters cost even more of a fortune to run than than I thought.

That RCS and IR stealth might actually matter.

(Although see report in Airforce magazine about F35 getting butt kicked by old unstealthy su33).

However so far I remain to be convicnced that COTS componants, and even whole ships, cannot be made to “Do” for most RN purposes at considerable savings.

Bigger ships can be made quieter cheaper, components can be cheaper to buy off the shelf, easier to fit/ replace/ repair, good qulaity commercial hull steels can be used and simply welded rather than exotics.

(It is one of the reasons that a desktop computer tends to be more powerful and cheaper, and more relaible than a laptop, and cheaper to fix when it breaks).

Size is not all bad,if properly designed, it increases: –

Speed per HP
Damage tollerance.

THe Queen mary 2 with gas turbine engines desinged (unlike other liners) to cross oceans and handle the worst the atlantic can throw at her, with all that luxery, and SOLAS requirments for her passanger cost £460 million.

She makes CVF look like life boat. I’ll repeat that, £460 million, if we strip out all the Casinos and swimming pools (some saving there I am sure), we could put Billion pounds worth of military kit,( the complete set up of a type 45 for example) on tha thull with all the aircraft handling kit, and still get it half the price of QE class.

ALL of the “RN knows best old boy” types should consider those figures.

November 13, 2010 4:24 pm

QM2 is an extreme example.

But published figure talk of over £100 million spend on designing next frigate hull, without any actuyal designs being agreed on (Never mind manufaturing costs of hull).

You the life time costs point class – fuel are quoted at jsut ove £200 million.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 13, 2010 4:58 pm


I have not answered your points. I did and you just made them again anyway. So I will work through them one at a time.
1. I do not like the cost of CVF but the going rate for an aircraft carrier seems to be in the billions rather than hundreds of millions. I would love to see a properly costed CV using commercial hull forms that would meet the required standards.
2. Currently we stop nothing! This is just wrong, the last missile engagement involving the RN saw HMS Gloucester shoot down a silkworm heading for a US CVN. Please do not make things up.
3. If the bomber will always get through we should just give up as the bomber will always achieve “mission kill” regardless of some armoured containers. Pleas explain the snide comment about perks?
4. You harp back to a poor example of outdated CBRNDC from te Falklands this has moved on a long way from there. Also the bombs I was using as an example can be carried by F15 size FBA So no need to build bigger planes.
5. Simply sloping an OSV hull will not produce a modern Frigate type RCS. The shape wil have to be altered not just sloped. Door and sharp edges covered. radar absorbent materials incorporated. Medium speed diesls are often used as well as GT sprint capability but most modern FF/DD are now direct electric. Getting rid of the gear box and having a synchrodrive reduces noise.
6. You have misunderstood the problem, FF/DD want to be slightly unstable. this allows them to turn quickly when mvring for a TCM/FBA.
7. It is not about pure power to weight it is about the ability to change speed rapidly to attain the desired spped to maximise efficiency of counter measures for radar ASM. (this may involve a drop in speed) cannot say anymore on this without going over the line allowed on a public site.
8. So you are going to raft every piece of equipment on board, baffle the doors. Design a propulsion system where when running quietly the generators in use are up on 1 deck and design special FPP props to stop cavitation. That plus the hull form is what is required. I do not think there is any real appreciation here of how quiet a T23 is when running in ultra quiet mode. To give a “theoretical example” A Trafalgar class SSN with Sonar 2076 may be passively able to track the Emma Maersk at 40 mile plus it may not get a 23 in ultra quiet until inside a couple of miles.

T23 dickson of Djibouti? Chatham was a T22 (please do a bit of research) and ask the guys on the ground how comforting and useful having a 4.5 gun at their back when in there was.

T45 has the potential to be an awesome bit of kit. the space is there for a second silo. the stupidly high unit cost is down to the MOD cutting the order to 6. if we had built 12 overall unit cost would have dropped massively. i have head another 6 would oinly have been £500m each.

Agree on the T23 on WI guradship duties. The RFA are good at doing this with a tanker or bat class. They need manning supplemented to help disaster relief ashore though.

The LPDs did not lose the flight deck they lost the hangar deck and yes this was a tragic decision.

I was talking about the commercial built vessels. The River class and Ocean both built to commercial standards have been the worst Ships we have for reliability.

Can I go onto your next post?

Absalom is a great bit of kit! Large flexible and a true jack of all trades with the ability to be good at several. I would love to have some in the RN. They would sit under the 45(AAW) and C1T26 ASW/ASUW

Have not read much about the tanker war but can tell you what is supposed to happen. Basically if hyou can clear a route by mine hunting then this route will become the centre line of what is known as a Q route and will be cleared to a certain width either side. Tankers would then be led through this route by an MCMV or other warship using precise Navigation. The advent of DGPS makes it far easier for Tankers to stay on the centre line without a leadthrough. If the route is not cleared then the MCMV will have to hunt its way through whilst leading the tanker. They can only hunt at about 4/5 knots and as this is below the steerage way of many tankers that could not stop in time even if the MCMV did find a mine this is far from ideal. So the SOP would be a massive initial effort to clear a Q route followed by convoys being led through.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 7:57 pm

All Pats @ 4.58

I ask the same questions because you do not answer them.
You answer the questions you want to, even if they weren’t asked. You build up strawman arguments and you put words in my mouth.

Consequently your answers come over a bit shifty and a little bit self satisfied. On top of that you manage to contradict yourself on a regular basis. Absalon is a quality piece of kit, agreed though it may come as a surprise that it is commenrcially based / spec’ed to a large dgree.

The trick is to take commercial tech and “style” it as a warship. It certainly seems to have worked as it seems to have fooled you.

The biggest issue is the forces mentality that shines through your response unable to do the jump between what you know and what is out there. Spot the arbitrage available by raiding the civvy street marine catalogues to get cost effective solutions to military problems.

The issue is that is we can’t or won’t do it then somebody more attuned to the real world will do it for us at our cost.

Couple of updates on the listed points.

1) CVF costs are beyond absurd.
Are you happy with the £600-800mill estimate to convert each CVF from JSF B to C?
I know I’m not.

2) Crack shot, one bullet both feet.
I talking about the structure of the ship reducing the effects of anything that gets through.
That is threats that manage to get through the various defensive layers.
If you need to shout about particluar incident then I must have hit a raw nerve.
The Silkworm mentioned is a Chinese copy using their 1980’s industrial base of a 50’s Soviet concept, sort of Morris Oxford with wings. All very Flash Gordon but completely out of date by 90/91.
They were so limited that they could be tracked by WW2 vintage Bofors stuff. Consequently run of the mill for a T42.

3) If one missile means mission kill then we are more fragile than I thought. The ghost of Jackie Fisher seems to loom large in all these discussions, it once was speed now it seems to passive countermeasures that will save us. Wrong then wrong now.
Perks – Too many admirals not enough ships.
Perks – 14% reduction in headcount, 14% reduction in the wage bill, I think not.
Perks – The CEA changes will cause more grief at the top of the tree than any kit reductions.

4) Strawman time, more robust ships will not stop everything but they will stop some things generating a “mission kill”.

5) RCS and steelplates, this is where we need to start thinking. If the commercially based Absalon can do it better than a T23 or a T45 then we have the metal bashing capabilities sorted.
As an aside didn’t the RN trash stealth / RCS when the T23 came out?
Was behind the curve then even though it was brand new in comparison to other designs. T45 continues the trend. Point was made that stealth evaporates the minute you have to do something active True then, true now?

5) GT’s are a luxury we can’t afford. Med speed diesels are getting quieter as a by-product of more efficient / higher pressure injection / combustion processes.
IEP is mainstream, liner propulsion systems are sound reduced to keep the punters eating / spending / sleeping.
Consequently don’t fear what you don’t understand.

6) It easier to make a stable ship unstable than an unstable ship stable. As noted in my answer the required characteristics can be worked into the basic design.

7) Again if it is braking you want that can be worked in, without the need for extra upmarket batteries. The question is we are currently trying to make a 8K ton T45 act like a 4K ton T23. The jump to 12K tons should be OK.
The issue is what do you do with a 65K ton CVF or an 18K LPD?

8) Strawman time again, Maersk “E” class in for the VLUC concept not a T26 replacement. Cruise liners will be quieter than a container ship.
Love the way you compare 150K tons at 25knots with 4K tons at 5knots. You need to do better.

Dickson of Djibouti – Even better shot, both feet and a ricochet up your nose.
If it was Batch 3 T22 then that is worse than I thought.
Only 4 available and we have one off Somali dealing with “pirates”, incredible. RN willie waving?
Dhow / ribs / RPG’s / AK 47’s – If we need a 4.5″ gun on our most capable A/S platform to sort out that problem then it is no wonder the Iranians took the proverbial out of us.

T45 costs – It just gets worse and worse.
We know it cost £6bill for 6, all in including development costs.
Development costs were originally split 3 ways.
Missiles = Existing
Radar = I new’ish, one existing.
Sensors / odds and ends = Not sure but looks carryover.
Battle Management = New’ish but really a derivative of an existing design?

Unit costs of the ships themselves, the marginal cost of the programme, the following figures are out there:

Ship = £850mill / Share of Development = £900mill
Ship = £650mill / Share of Development = £1.8bill
Ship = £500mill / Share of Development = £3bill

Either way it was bad value.
Even if the £500mill price was a desperate effort by the builder to get No’s 7 + 8 then you have to ask why did we pay 30% more for the earlier ships?

BAE greed?
MOD uselessness?

Tankers I will leave for another day as you seem to be doing my job for me.
In a hole, stop digging.

Kentish Paul
Kentish Paul
November 13, 2010 8:18 pm

Please people, this is a post concerning concerning aircraft. Why is virtually every recent post about ships? Please use the previous one concerning the Navy. As this is my first comment I will gather my thoughts and post again later.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 13, 2010 8:58 pm


You are commited to your argument I will give you that. I agree with you on CVF costings and especially the cats and traps mod, indeed I said I would love to see a fully costed civilian design that would do what is required.
2. You now argue that armour etc will reduce the effectiveness of anything that gets through and indeed it will. All that happens then is an increase in salvo size. their exsists a table that details how many ASMs of different types are required to guarantee a mission kill on all foreign warships. The bad guys have an equivelant table. You do not apologise for your absurd claim that we stop nothing instead arguing it is an unfair test.
3. Do you know anything about passive and indeed active countermeasures? Hard kill soft kill integration?
4. They will stop some things, of course they will. Is that worth the extra hits they take by invraese RCS reduced mvrbility? Extra cost of armour. I don’t know but funnily enough no ship builder out there is building armoured civvy warships.
5a. Absalon which i have already said is a great bit of kit , Absalon is a warship, look at it! Look at a picture of it next to the 45, Dutch Prov De Horz class, German saschen or the new Norwegian frigate. They are all warship designs, Absalon was based on an upgraded design from the Thetis class Frigate.
5. You do not actually make a point here, I can draw you a schematic and explain from a warfare point of view the pros and cons of COGAG,COGOG, Diesel direct drive FPP, Diesel direct drive CPP, CODLAG, Direct electric, azi pods, propellor v propulsor, nuclear. What do I not understand? Yes ocean liners do not make much noise where the passengers are but they make a hell of a lot of noise under the water but then you have never listened to one on a passive set have you.
6. Of course they can be worked into the basic design it looks like a warship when you have finished.
7. The LPD has and I assume CVF will have different Torpedo Counter measures.
8. Ok fair one, but I was making the point that these things are extremely quiet and we will really struggle to replicate the world beating ASW platform we have with any form of commercial design which given the proliferation of SSKs throughout the globe would be a worry.
I was talking about Sierra Leone not Somalia! I am not however going to make a snide comment. Your cheap shot about the Iranian disaster shows that you however are not above that.
You will get no argument for me about paying too much for T45 I was merely pointing out that we would have got them cheaper had we bought the 12 we were meant to get.
MOD procurement and contract writing is a disaster area.
You are frustrated by what you see as the RN having to have the latest shiny toys and “bugger the costs”. We are frustrated by how much we end up paying for platforms. You are convinced we can have equally effective or more effective platforms if we use merchant designs and manufacturing standards as a basis. There is definitely room to explore this in certain areas. problems that exsist are that Ocean built to civilian standards has been a nightmare and for some things 2nd best is not good enough.
I do beleive however we have common ground, If the Odense shipyard can design and deliver Absalon for under £150 million in todays money then I would have no problems with commercial shipyards bidding for future designs if they can deliver on time and meet the spec required. I think that commercial business practices will drive down costs and improve efficiency but also the end product will look more like Warshisps we have and are designing now than armoured merchies as they are the best solution.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
November 13, 2010 9:29 pm

Kentish Paul, this is too interesting to move :)

FBOT & ALL Pats.

We know Ocean has had some problems, or still has problems.
Can i ask why you think the RN or the MoD(N) does not try this….

Take a very good & carefull look at Ocean, then build another, an evolved ship if you will, that fixes the problems.

Why not do this?

I know Ocean was built to last about 20 years, so it’s not as though noone saw this coming.

Have to agree on the Absalon, it shows the way forward.

About the Type 45, i have never understood why the Type 42’s were not replaced earlier. I mean, that i think it’s a bad idea to keep a Ship/Aircraft/Tank going for a full 30’ish years before finaly getting it’s replacement. I understand about wanting to get your money’s worth but not keeping up with new Tech & replacing a ship, aircraft, tank or whatever could cost you.

It is as though there is a cycle and that cycle will be followed no matter what, changes in technology we will ignore until we build the next lot. I know we upgrade them, but it’s not quite the same thing.

November 13, 2010 10:21 pm

“Why is virtually every recent post about ships? ”

Ships are more interesting. And the FAA dresses on the wrong side.

paul g
November 13, 2010 10:30 pm

evolved ocean, that’ll be the japanese helicopter destroyer (not allowed to callit a carrier) present size is perfect and cheap, so good they’ve supersized it and checked before building it that current VTOL fit in the hanger! ie aircraft like the V-22 oo get that forward thinking can’t have that at main building.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 13, 2010 10:45 pm


One question I have to ask, you seem to be RN, consequently and you a techie, a desk warrior or a salt horse?

Various propulsion systems don’t bother, this is not Mastermind and I don’t need a history lesson.

One thing you might want to brush up is your geography, please find out where Djibouti is and then work out what operation I was talking about.

The Iranian comment was a cheap shot but I am reliably informed that Nelson was doing 3600 rpm when he found out.

Now on to the main event: Absalon
In this I think that are really Lewis page in disguise and have been making it easy for me to get my point across.

The Absalon and her AAW derivative is a commercial hull tarted up look and act like a warship.
Quality tart job, she is probably the ladyboy of tart jobs.
But still a tart job, commercial component set made up to look like a warfighter.

Where was she and her sister built – Odense.
How much did she cost – £150mill is my guess.
If this cost includes the complete fit then it is good value.
Any ideas on the cost of a 1K’um CIWS? She seems to have 2 turrets.

What is their bread and butter – container ships.
What ship was building at the same time – The Emma Maersk.
And no I am not making this up.

On a similar note your info on the history of the concept is very interesting:

Absalon = Based on the Thetis class “frigate”.
“Frigate” more like an OPV / colonial sloop.
Seemingly its hull is based on a larget trawler.

Please check out Defence Technology International – June 2008.
There is a link on the Absalon Wikipedia page.
Tells you all about the next gen AAW frigate version.

Looking like £180mill each for three.
Not sure the scope of the contract and if any of the stuff going into it would be considered “Government Sourced”.
However the figure is a good starting point.
Heavy duty, looks to be better than a GP T23 fit out.

Consequently, and this is the main point.
COTS / commercial hulls for warships have arrived …
… in Denmark.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
November 13, 2010 11:03 pm

Paul, that is what i mean!

Why did they not plan to get a team together after Ocean had been in service for say 15 years. Talk to the people who run it, the people who use it, go over it with a fine tooth comb.

Find out what works & what needs more work.

Then design & build a better replacement.

I begin to think that MoD(N) is full of people who are just putting their time in or that Gov. has just said forget it, there is no money for sensible idea’s like that.
Make do with what you have, your not getting anymore!

The aircraft thing makes me wanna cry.
We spend money on real high performance/tech jets instead of buying what we really need.

I refer to the F-20 Tigershark. Lockhead Martin would not put it into production, no very expensive, long lead time, development work needed see?

What is the main AD threat to the UK, bombers, light aircraft, hijacked jets, other people’s tactical jets?

I mean really, we need Tranch3 Typhoon for QRA in the UK?
No, we need aircraft like that to scare the crap out of other counties.

November 13, 2010 11:26 pm


Chill guys!

Properly argued oposing views fine “having a pop” is silly.


Ocean liners ferries, are not quiet to listen to, because they are not designed to be quiet to listen too. the technolgy exist allready from not just the marine field to raft/nodalbeam mount/- activly cancelvibration in all its forms. making the machinery quiet is simply not going to be that expensive.

Dutch are widely reported to be using commercial ship building practices and designs in their warships.

If Ocean is giving trouble after 15 years then it wasn’t built right in the first place.


We are not going to see the return of of armoured belts for warshps way too expensive.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
November 14, 2010 12:03 am


You say that armour is too expensive, why?

Cost of the base material?
Cost of processing / shaping?
Cost of increased hull framing?
Lack of experience / awkwardness in scheduling the build?
Lack of ability to produce large scale plates?

Something else entirely?

Consequently any background or info on this?
My thoughts that is just a another set of pre-fab panels to be scheduled into the build.

An external belt would appear to be quite straightforward.
Any info on the cost of armour plate?

5 x normal large plates?
10 x the cost of large plates?