A Ship that is Not a Frigate – Part 5 (Operational Concepts)


Operating in singles, multiples and a part of a larger force the key attributes of SIMSS is flexibility and adaptability.

SIMSS is somewhat of a blank canvas and it is likely that uses will be found for it beyond its initial design and operational concept.

When testing the concept of SIMSS it might be interesting to compare it against recent deployments and standing patrols.

Libya, instead of a frigate and mine countermeasures vessel a single SIMSS could provide for non-combatant evacuation, special forces support mine countermeasures, small craft interdiction and even land attack.

The Caribbean, equipped with a range of disaster relief supplies, workboats, helicopters and embarked sappers SIMSS could provide hurricane relief to impacted communities. In the drugs interdiction role the same helicopter, multiple UAV’s, a small detachment of RM/civilians and a group of fast response boats would be able to cover a large area.

South Atlantic, basic presence patrolling would be combined with an embarked force for training opportunities.

Gulf of Arabia, using its workboats, tasking support equipment, diver support and unmanned MCM systems, SIMSS could combine the MCM and MCM Tasking Support role

Looking in more depth at the various equipment and personnel combinations for a couple of roles

Piracy and Smuggling Interdiction

Although the impact of piracy is often overstated and the role of the naval component similarly inflated the fact is sending billion-pound destroyers or half-billion pound frigates to carry out this task is lunacy, fair enough if they are all you have and equally fair enough if they were actually effective, but they are not.

A SIMSS pair could effectively dominate a large area, each carrying the following

  • Wildcat helicopter
  • Royal Marines security detachment
  • Royal Navy small boat crew team
  • Civilian legal and welfare team
  • Containerised medical facility
  • Containerised secure prisoner storage
  • Multiple UAV systems
  • 2 RHIB’s
  • Containerised small craft fuel dispensing system
  • 4 CB90 style 20m fast patrol interceptor craft

A third SIMSS could also provide logistic support, thus sustaining the capability in theatre for a long time.

This shows the tremendous flexibility of SIMSS, it’s the large spaces and configurable work areas that make the difference.

Comments on the Part 5 post so they are all in one place

PART 1 – Introduction

PART 2 – Roles and Requirements

PART 3 – Design Discussion

PART 4 – Modules and Payloads

PART 5 – Operational Concepts

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