There have been a number of studies and programmes that looked at a Type 22 and type 23 replacements, the Future Surface Combatant or FSC programme being the most recent. Future Surface Combatant assumed there would be two classes of ship, the C1 and c2.

An updated version is at the link below

C1 was called the Task Group Enabled Surface Combatant that would undertake high intensity combat tasks such as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)

C2 was called the Stabilisation and General Purpose Combatant that would follow the C1, providing less capability than the C1 but at a lower cost

Supporting the FSC programme was the Naval Design partnership, an experimental commercial entity that comprised expertise from BAE Systems, BMT, Thales, VT Group, QinetiQ, Babcock and BMT with support from other industry partners like Rolls Royce and Converteam. The objective of the NDP was to translate the outline requirements into concept designs that could be advanced through to demonstration, construction and support.

The UK has spent a lot of time and money looking at a replacement including a range of exotic pentamaran designs but the latest, and now thankfully confirmed, programme is the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

Following the 2010 SDSR two distinct changes took place; the first was to emphasise economies of scale in delivering the FSC requirement via single acoustically quiet hull, thus collapsing the previously different C1 and C2 designs into a single common hull.

The second was to concentrate much of the design effort into delivering a design that was both suitable and optimised for export.

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The Global Combat Ship concept was born.

Since the March 2010 £127m assessment phase contract was let to BAE, leading the Naval Design Partnership, a couple of designs have emerged. The first included a stern ramp, a stepped hangar, offset Phalanx, Harpoon amidships and a curiously small superstructure.

Type 26 previous design
Type 26 previous design

I must admit to having some trouble with the length of time and cost for this given the modest technological ambition, expertise built up during the Type 45 and CVF design phase, modern computer aided design techniques and high degree of systems reuse from the Type 23/45/CVF but if it produces a stable exportable design that enables production to commence at a reasonable cost then who am I to argue, perhaps I am hopelessly underestimating the design effort, again!

People might look at other nation’s designs like the SIGMA, MEKO or FREMM for example and wonder why we can’t just buy from them but it is the government’s industrial policy to retain onshore the ability to design and manufacture complex warships with complex weapons.

This means BAE will be designing and building the Type 26 whether anyone likes it or not and because of the advantages of onshore design and build feeding money back into the economy, they might not be as expensive as imagined.

Whether Type 26 will actually find partner nations or overseas customers in such a crowded and well provisioned market is debatable.

Australia, Malaysia, India and Brazil have been mooted as potential partners. In January 2010 I wrote a short piece about ship design collaboration with Australia and New Zealand, picking up a Jane’s news story about information exchange agreements between the three.

Rather than exporting the whole ship I think we should concentrate on exporting sub systems like weapons, propulsion, combat management systems, sensors and countermeasures but we will see how the export potential of Type 26 plays out. There is also have the 15 year Terms of Business Agreement with BAE to consider, the build rate and location might dictate the overall cost, capability and quantity mix.

The latest design shown, the product of the Capability Decision Point programme milestone is the same, more or less, that the one seen earlier this year.

As is the norm with these things small pieces of the complex, ever changing and rather blurry jigsaw puzzle have started the slow process of slipping into place.

We must remember that Type 26 has only recently passed Main Gate 1, is not due into service for nearly a decade and the detailed design work that will conclude in a couple of more years will see many of the points of discussion and uncertainty eventually clarified until we can all be clear what the propulsion system is, what those mystery silos on the funnel actually contain and what type of land attack missile it might even be fitted for!

Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI 2013
Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI
Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI 2013
Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI
Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI 2013
Type 26 Global Combat Ship DSEI 01

The video above is obviously different from the first  iteration with the strange dog kennel hangar, Scan Eagle launch rail and rear boat ramp but still seems vague in some areas, exactly as one might expect for a design that has only had the basics confirmed. Some of the rendering looks incomplete and therefore any image analysis should have a very clear ‘subject to confirmation’ stamp right through it.

I am going to split this post into two parts, the ship itself and a later piece on its use and possible futures in a wider context.

This is what we know so far about the ship itself with a few guesses thrown in based on available information and the recent Type 45 and CVF builds.


The working assumption is for 13 but we should be very clear that no final decision will be made until the Main Gate decision in a few years, after the design work has completed and equipment budgets confirmed for the crowded equipment plan.

Whether the Type 26 was supposed to replace the Type 23’s or both the Type 23’s and Type 22’s is open for discussion but it is unlikely that numbers will be greater than the stated assumption of 13.

There is a break point at 8 as this is the number of the expensive Sonar 2087 that are fully expected to transfer from the Type 23 to the Type 26.

The final quantity is wholly dependent on cost but it is hard to envisage less than this number.

The remainder will non ASW optimised general purpose variants.

Whether the General Purpose variant will be exactly the same as the ASW variant minus the Sonar 2087 is again, unclear.

Type 26 will therefore very likely be a ‘fleet within a fleet’ and it is these lower specification general purpose types that will probably be subject to any reductions in overall numbers.

A cynic might suggest they are the cannon fodder in the upcoming budget battle.

The oldest Type 23 is due out of service in 2023 with the rest following as the type 26 comes into service

The youngest Type 23 has an out of service date of 2036 so changes to those dates accepted, the Type 26 will be a long programme.

The envisaged out of service date for the Type 26 is 2060.

The target production price for a Type 26 is reportedly £250m to £350m each which might sound like a bargain (or not, depending on your perspective) but let’s not forget the major systems that are being pulled through from the Type 23 are both not included in that headline cost and represent major cost drivers in any naval ship.

Much like predicting night following day I don’t think I would be challenging Mystic Meg if I said the likely number of Type 26’s frigates is therefore going to be somewhere between 8 and 13.

General Design Approach

The Type 26 is a conservative design and the majority of systems are either already in service with the Royal Navy, will be in service with the Royal Navy or in service elsewhere.

There will be new systems but the Artisan radar, Sea Ceptor missile; combat management system, countermeasures, sonar and other sensors will likely be pulled through from the Type 23.

Missions bays are not at the cutting edge.

Of course we might all want to see sexy pentamaran designs combined with exotic waterjet propulsion and sharks with laser beams and everything but the grim reality for the Royal Navy, and other services, is that the days of risk taking with ambitious project specifications are well and truly over

Unrestrained cost growth in the majority of all the services recent major programmes have seen to that.

Risk is the new dirty word.

From a previous Royal Navy publication (page 120);

To reduce programme risk, and in keeping with the principles of through-life capability management, there is a drive to maximise pull-through from the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, Type 45 destroyers and ongoing Type 23 capability sustainment/upgrades, in an effort to both reduce risk and capitalise on previous investment, and/or existing system inventory. So while the Type 45 is characterised by approximately 80 per cent new to service equipment and 20 per cent reuse, these percentages will be effectively reversed for Type 26

In today’s climate I doubt very much whether the Type 45 would have progressed and the Type 26 has been characterised by many as an evolved Type 23, which is not that far from the truth.

As such, that is not necessarily a bad thing, the Type 23 has no doubt been a success story and a measured evolution, de risked on the Type 23 and Type 45, should see the Type 26 enter service with a reasonable expectation of cost restraint and likelihood that everything will work as advertised.

The value of everything working upon introduction is also not to be underestimated, for me at least, this is one of the best features of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship’s general design approach.

Hull and Accommodation

BAE state the hull will be

Approximately 148m length and maximum beam of 19m with a displacement of 5,400 tonnes

This is longer than the Type 23 at 133m long but only 10% or so.

The general trend for most types of military equipment is to increase in size so this is to be expected.

Improved accommodation standards and more computing equipment are just two of the size drivers and designing in expansion space means adaptability and lower cost changes in the future.

148m for the Type 26 is only 5m shorter than the Type 45 which as we know is a pretty large ship.

The displacement figure quoted is ‘light’ so full displacement will be greater depending on what those big empty spaces will be filled with.

There has been some emphasis on construction modularity and ease of upgrade leading many to confuse this payload modularity like the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship but they are not the same and the vast majority of the Type 26’s systems will be ‘plumbed in’ in conventional style.

In line with contemporary ship construction methods there has and will be a great deal of thought and effort put into ease of upgrade, reflecting the likelihood of major systems change over the life cycle of the ships. Blown fibre optic cable, block construction, COTS computing hardware and prefabricated internal fixtures like accommodation spaces are just a few of the features that will keep construction and refit costs down.

The clean lines, facetted construction and carefully chosen materials are designed to reduce the ships electromagnetic signature although there are of course obvious limitations in this regard.

On the BAE datasheet it states there are 118 crew members with additional accommodation for 72 with these figures based on the May 2012 baseline design but older sources that describe the earlier design iteration states a larger crew of 130 with 36 embarked personnel.

If correct, and not a typing mistake, it would indicate a smaller core crew but with a larger number of embarked personnel, I assume, depending on whether the Sonar 2087 is fitted or how many helicopters, unmanned or other mission systems are embarked.

The Type 23 has a nominal crew of approximately between 170  and 185

Without seeing a detailed breakdown it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions but the cost savings of being able to operate a ship doing broadly an equivalent set of tasks with nearly 30% fewer crew will be significant.

A 1998 Parliamentary Answer on the crew size of the Type 23 is interesting

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans exist to reduce the complement of Type 23 frigates by refitting with less manpower-intensive equipment; and if he will make a statement. [27887]

Dr. Reid: There are no plans to reduce the complement of Type 23 frigates by refitting with less manpower-intensive equipment. Manning implications are taken into consideration when the Operational Requirement for future ships is considered; however, the size of the complement is affected by other considerations such as the manpower needed for damage control and fire-fighting.

The Type 23’s routinely embark more crew than they have bunks for so it will be interesting to see how the crew/embarked personnel mix works with the target reductions. These reductions are delivered by increasing automation and having more reliable equipment onboard that needs less routine maintenance but as the US Navy have discovered with their LCS programme, initial estimates of crew size that are supported by reliable equipment and automation do not always come to fruition.

By way of another contrast, a more recent ship like the Type 45 Destroyers that are still coming into service has a normal compliment of 185.

One thing is certain though, whatever the final number they will have much improved accommodation facilities compared to the Type 23, yes, including iPod charging points!

Accommodation spaces will probably be unisex and similar to those found on CVF and Type 45, as supplied by Strongbox Marine

CVF Accommodation - Strongbox Marine
CVF Accommodation – Strongbox Marine
CVF Accommodation - Strongbox Marine
CVF Accommodation – Strongbox Marine

Wonder whether they will go with the light oak, cherry or mahogany finish?

Click here to view the brochure.

There will no doubt be those that hark back to the good old days of mess decks but modern ships need modern people and modern people need modern accommodation. Those aboard will be deployed for long periods and I find nothing unusual whatsoever with wanting to provide them we as good facilities as reasonably practicable.

Retention of skilled personnel is an important factor in cost management and if people are leaving because their accommodation is more like the Cruel Sea than than a modern working environment then I would suggest those crusty old sea dogs take their nostalgia elsewhere, perhaps they miss weevils and scurvy as well!

Stern wedges or transom flaps as featured on the Type 23 will probably make their way into the Type 26 design as a means of reducing fuel consumption.

Power and Propulsion

The ASW mission influences the hull design and means of propulsion, the ability to tow a sonar array with a low acoustic signature hull and propulsion system and carry out ‘sprint and drift’ manoeuvres are essential to anti-submarine warfare. Whether this will continue to be the preferred tactic or off-board meshed sensors carried on UAV’s will become the preferred option in the future might inform discussion, but in the timescales that the Type 26 design must be finalised, those traditional concepts will still be relevant.

The commenters at Think Defence really are a keen eyed and knowledgeable lot, so far they have deduced from news reports that the oft rumoured CODLOG propulsion system seems increasingly likely.

From this story on Defense News;

The executive said the propulsion ITTs covered gas turbine, diesel engine, gearbox and electric motor systems

Jane’s backed this up with a confirmation and subsequent piece in the Engineer also described CODLOG as the preferred option.

So, CODLOG it is then.

Although this is the first absolute confirmation it has been widely predicted. If we go back to our discussion on the very first concepts in March 2010 a combined diesel/gas turbine was thought likely and a year later in the October 2011 DSEi edition of Warships Technology magazine options such as a Rolls Royce Compact MT30 or General Electric LM2500 were discussed in the same piece that pretty much confirmed they would be combined with diesels in a CODLOG setup. It had also been stated that CODLOG was the preferred baseline in the Royal Navy public ‘brochure’;  A Global Force 2011/12, click here to read.

The Royal Navy publication gave a little more information and stated that the power and propulsion system would comprise;

…combining four high-speed diesel generators and two electric motors (to achieve diesel-electric cruise speeds up to 18 knots) and gas turbine direct drive (for a threshold sprint speed of 26 knots)

Other systems will be available should customers want them and it did make the point that studies are still ongoing.

CODLOG stands for COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas although it is sometimes also called CODELOG

Diesel engines are used to power an electrical generator driving electric motors connected to the two drive shafts.

The single gas turbine is connected to the drive shafts via a gearbox.

The diesels are used for cruising speeds with the turbine being used for high speeds. This is economical but a single turbine is obviously a ‘single point of failure’

The Type 23’s use the CODLAG system, the crucial difference being the A for and, it is complicated stuff.

The intercooled and recuperated (ICR) WR-21 as fitted to the Type 45 is based on RB-211/Trent technology and is designed to provide high levels of economy at part loads, in comparison with other turbines which are less efficient at anything less than full load. The cost of the WR-21’s and associated machinery was £84 million for all 6 Type 45’s.

Click here for a detailed document on integration details for the WR-21, very interesting reading for people like me who don’t have a clue!

By using the Rolls Royce WR-21 turbine, the same as the Type 45, we can provision a simple extension to the recently signed 6 year £20m support contract that uses the Class Output Management approach, or contracting for availability.

That is one avenue to leverage commonality but the WR-21 implementation on the Type 45 is almost unique and considered by many to be an evolutionary dead end, the WR-21 was not specified for CVF for example.

The higher power (36kW instead of 25kW) Rolls Royce MT-30 turbine, based on the Trent, will be used in CVF.

If Type 26 uses the MT-30 then it would equally make sense to combine the support arrangements with CVF.

Rolls Royce MT30
Rolls Royce MT30

Either option provides commonality benefits but many consider the MT30 the better option of the two.

Rolls Royce MT30 Marine Turbine
Rolls Royce MT30 Marine Turbine

Although BAE have released requests for proposals/information from other propulsion manufacturers it would seem unlikely that anyone other than Rolls Royce would be selected.

Rolls Royce are developing a compact variant of the MT-30 and some reports indicate that this combined with 2 MTU diesels rather than the four in the RN magazine will be the preferred option for Type 26, although the final configuration remains unclear, as much of the Type 26.

The Tognum Group are joint owned by Rolls Royce and Daimler and MTU Friedrichshafen are a subsidiary of Tognum so the synergy is obvious, even though the Type 45 and CVF uses the Wartsila 12V200 generating set. CVF also uses the Wartsila 16V38 and 12v38 generators as well so using MTU diesels instead of of Wartsila ones would be a departure.

The drive shafts will likely be connected to low noise fixed pitch propellers as fitted to the Type 23 where each shaft can run on diesel powered electric drive at about 90 RPM or about 13 to 17 knots.

The image below shows a Type 23 propeller as displayed in the National Maritime Museum.

Type 23 Fixed Pitch Propellor
Type 23 Fixed Pitch Propellor

The slow rotation speed and fixed pitch propellers are used to lower the cavitation generation speed and radiated noise that might interfere with the sonar systems.

The general purpose variant of Type 26 could possibly use a different type of propeller which might offer advantages.

Speed for the Type 26 is quoted as 28 knots plus with a range (at 15 knots) of 7,000nm, a comparison between the Type 26 and Type 23 will be difficult at this stage though.

Sensors and Systems

Computing Environment

BAE will be introducing a shared computing environment based on modern blade server architecture and operating systems virtualisation on the Type 23 and this will be transferred to the Type 26. Given the rapid rate of development in computing equipment and long timescales between design and introduction of the Type 26 this kind of technology, mundane and ordinary in the civilian world, will allow the ships computing environment to avoid obsolescence issues that limit effectiveness and drive up support costs as manufacturers struggle to find stocks of Intel 486 processors for example.

The pace of change in IT equipment seems as rapid as ever and in a decades time when the Type 26 is in service the computing power on offer in the open market will no doubt be hugely different than that today.

By the time Type 26 leaves service in 2060 who knows what will be the norm at PC World.

Data growth is a key issue and by enabling the use of commercial hardware, opportunities to exploit this increasing amount of data can be realised at reasonable costs.

Future unmanned systems will no doubt add to this data growth and the Type 26 must be ready for it.

If I was looking for a stand-out item from the recent news on Type 26, this would be it.

Combat Management System

The primary interface between the ships equipment and its crew will be the combat management system and this will likely be the latest iteration of the Outfit DNA(2)/CMS-1 from BAE.

In January 2011 BAE were awarded a £47m contract to support the combat management systems aboard the Type 23 Frigates and RFA Argus.

A good description of what a CMS does can be found at the BAE contract award press release;

The CMS assists a ship’s command in detecting and countering threats to the ship and any surrounding forces by managing all relevant external and internal information provided by the ship’s radars. It integrates this information with the activities of the anti-air weapons systems as well as other sensors and weapons.

The press release describes the Joint Support Solution which is a wider commercial framework incorporating the same systems on the Type 45, CVF and future ships.

In March this year BAE were awarded another related contract, in conjunction with QinetiQ. The £45m awardcovers specialist test, integration and approval of naval combat management systems and this, or at least a future extension/variant, will likely include work on the Type 26 programme.

BAE DNA2 Combat Management System
BAE DNA2 Combat Management System

The Surface Ship Combat Systems (SSCS) DNA system has had a difficult introduction into service.

Originating in the Surface Ship Command System (SSSC) programme it was selected in 1989 after another advanced combat management system had failed. Does anyone remember Token Ring or IEE802.5, DNA(1) used this with fibre optic networking and combined such cutting edge systems as 3.2Gb storage arrays, Pentium processors and colour displays!

The Type 45 command and combat system is an evolved derivative of the DNA(1) system with elements from other programmes and run over a fast Ethernet network.

It wasn’t until 2010 that the first Type 23, HMS Montrose, put to sea with the upgraded DNA(2) system, 4 years after the initial contract award to BAE that would also see the same system being deployed on future surface vessels and another variant for submarines. A significant feature of DNA(2) is that it is based on commercial hardware and software.

Problems soon became apparent including an incident on HMS Argyll in which she was unable to engage with her Seawolf missiles and inconsistent air contact tracking between consoles.

These have been overcome now and by the time Type 26 enters service the system should be fully mature, phew

Electronic Support Measures

One of the great capabilities of the Type 22 was an advanced set of signals intelligence systems.  A recent announcement that the 6 Type 45′s will probably get the latest US ‘Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Increment F’ system from Argon ST was very good news.

This from ASD News

The UK is procuring SSEE increment F as a Cryptologic Electronic Warfare Support Measure (CESM) replacement program for the Cooperative Outboard Logistics Update (COBLU) currently fitted on Type 22 Frigates and it will be the future maritime CESM system fitted on the Type 45 Destroyers. It is expected the UK will be able to fully absorb and utilize the Communications Intelligence (COMINT) system and capability.

SSEE is an evolutionary programme designed to be incrementally upgraded with new computing and storage systems, exploiting the rapid advances in commercial computing systems.

The official notice of a foreign military sale said;

The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has requested the sale of seven Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Increment F, seven Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules (SAASM) GPS Receivers, and seven System Signal and Direction Finding Stimulator packages, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, support equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, testing, publications and technical documentation, Fleet Information Operation Center upgrades, installation, life cycle support, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $90 million.

The system has been delivered under a joint US/UK project called COBLU or Cooperative Outboard Logistics Update which was to replace the existing AN/SSQ-108 based OUTBOARD system

It would be nice to think that the Type 26 would get the same.

In May 2012 Thales announced the award of an earlier contract to upgrade the Royal Navy major surface fleet with their Fully Digital Radar Electronic Support Measures (RESM) as part of the UAT Mod 2 programme.

Under the terms of the new contract – the UAT MOD 2.1 & 2.3, advanced technology will be now be introduced to the UAT RESM equipments fitted across the RN surface fleet and associated land-based training equipments.

The technology provides excellent system performance in the modern dense radar environment. This enables the ship to operate in all operational maritime theatres, including the littoral environment, and provides the RN with world leading electronic warfare support and emitter identification technology.

By digitising the RF signal at the antenna, the majority of the receiver functionality is implemented using software and firmware algorithms. The system is therefore easily upgraded and new signal analysis tools are easily introduced, keeping the RESM capability current in a rapidly evolving operational environment.

The approach also maximises the use of commercial off-the-shelf hardware, making the RESM significantly more reliable, easier to maintain and lowers the total cost of ownership.

The brochure says this;

They also contribute to tactical situation awareness by identifying emitters, reporting new activity and generating signals intelligence data in real time

The Type 23 uses the Thales Scorpion Radar Electronic Counter Measures System, click here for a brochure

One would also hope that the Type 26 will be similarly equipped.

Cooperative Engagement Capability

In the latest images, the square panels underneath the Artisan radar are for the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) but it was announced recently that whilst there was a desire to incorporate CEC it has been taken off the shopping list for the Royal Navy.

Maybe at some point it will be purchased but it does seem unlikely, there are more important things to spend a finite budget on and with data linking available via other means maybe the benefits of CEC are overplayed?

Type 26 Mast Details
Type 26 Mast Details

The main mast design is reminiscent of the Type 45 and in stark contrast to the Type 23 and even the newer USN ships; this is an area where the RN and other European naval forces are way ahead.


Having invested so much money in BAE/QinetiQ ARTISAN Type 997 3D E/F-band radar and other electro optical and ESM systems across the Type 45 and Type 23 it would seem basic common sense to fit them to the Type 26 and this seems to be the case.

Click here for a brochure.

There will also be a number of smaller radars for flight control and navigation.


Sonar 2087 is an installed variant of the Thales CAPTAS 4 and is a very high specification Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) fitted to 8 of the Type 23’s.

Although it was primarily designed for blue water operation it still has a great deal of utility on the Type 26, despite the increasing trend towards operations in shallower waters.

The image below shows the Towed Body being deployed, this being the transmitter

Sonar 2087
Sonar 2087

The Towed Array receiver is deployed through the bell shaped entry on the centreline.

Sonar 2087 Stern Arrangements
Sonar 2087 Stern Arrangements

The Type 26 graphics show a similar arrangement although the apertures are protected by retractable panels to reduce signatures when not deployed.

Type 26 Frigate
Type 26 Frigate

The schematic below shows the handling equipment layout for both the Towed Body and Towed Array.

Sonar 2087 General Layout
Sonar 2087 General Layout

Sonar 2087 can be operated ‘hands free’ up to Sea State 6 and to a depth of 250m.

Detection in shallow waters is a problem because underwater obstacles might prevent the safe deployment of long towed arrays, fresh/sea water mixes, tidal impacts on water conditions, unpredictable and variable salinity/temperature, reflections from the sea bed and underwater obstacles and even concerns about underwater wildlife may limit the use of low frequency devices. Ambient and directional noise from man made and natural sources also confuses the overall acoustic picture.

Because of the smaller areas involved accurate sea bed surveys and sediment analysis, sometimes called Rapid Environmental Assessments, can be used for ASW. This kind of technology and processes are more often used for survey and mine countermeasures but research continues at a pace and one capability may very well utilise another. We might see the kinds of USV’s now routinely used for covert survey and seabed analysis carried aboard a Type 26 in the future. Other promising research avenues include exploiting so called ‘non-cooperative’ sound sources of opportunity, other ships that just happen to be in the area for example. The returns from these can be passively received into the detection and analysis software, cunning eh.

To cover the shallow water detection requirement active dipping sonars from a Merlin helicopter and hull mounted high frequency sonars seem to be the way to go for the short term although the subject is a fiendishly complex one, real science.

In the future, these higher frequency systems may be operated from unmanned surface vessels or even helicopter type UAV’s with sensor information relayed back to the Type 26 or an airborne Merlin.

The large mission bay could be used to carry this type of unmanned surface and sub-surface vessel.

The hull mounted Ferranti/Thomson Sintra Type 2050 sonar on the Type 23’s has a long and complex history with many changes of ownership but the base product is now part of the Thales UMS 4110 family and utilises much of the processing and display console systems as the CAPTAS 4 or 2087.

From Jane’s;

Sonar 2050 is the medium-range, medium-frequency hull-mounted attack sonar for the Royal Navy fitted to the Type 42 destroyers and Type 23 and Type 22 frigates. It is the successor to Sonar 2016 and is compatible with both bow and keel variants of the Sonar 2016 array

Whether the Type 2050’s will be transferred to the Type 26 or a new purchase of the UMS 4110 (or another type), is not yet known.

Thales are responsible supporting Royal navy major sonar support including the 2087 out to 2018 as part of a 10 year £230m contract.

Communications and Other Systems

The Type 26 will most likely be fitted with the full and usual compliment of LF, HF, VHF, UHF, internal wireless, SHF satellite communication systems and Link 11, 14 and 16 JTIDS.

It might even get Link 22

The Type 45 communications were designed and installed by BAE, Thales and EADS Astrium, the latter responsible for the Satellite Communication Onboard Terminal (SCOT) 3 equipment with Tods radomes.

Paradigm Secure will now likely design and install any SCOT systems on board the Type 26, with the new SCOT 5

(incidentally, the SCOT 5 link has some interesting information on Skynet 5, REACHER and the new BANTAM terminals)

Meteorological, navigation, IFF and platform management systems might be transferred or taken from the Type 45 design, including those from Kelvin Hughes, Raytheon, Rockwell and Northrop Grumman.

The Mission Space

A modern, flexible and multi role these days is nothing without a ‘mission bay’

The previous design iterations had a multi-purpose mission bay underneath the flight deck with a stern ramp but the current design looks like it will be co-located with the aviation hanger.

Type 26 Stern Ramp
Type 26 Stern Ramp
Type 26 Frigate Stern Ramp and Mission Bay
Type 26 Frigate Stern Ramp and Mission Bay

I suspect this change has been prompted by the difficulties in integrating a flexible mission space with the physical needs of the Sonar 2087 components and torpedo defence system, when these are installed there is very little space for anything else, certainly not a launching ramp and handling equipment for anything beyond the smallest boats.

If you compare the image above with the Sonar 2087 arrangement further up in the post it seems to be lacking in provision for the towed array.

The centreline boat ramp is exactly where the 2087 array opening is which makes me think the original design omitted this, was this an oversight or something deliberate?

If it was an oversight then that is pretty significant, wonder if the MoD paid for that ‘correction’?

I have commented before that most major military systems must now have as part of their sales pitch the words ‘humanitarian assistance’ and the Type 26, it would seem, is no different.

The T26 GCS will be a multi-mission warship designed for joint and multinational operations including complex combat operations, maritime security operations such as counter piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.

Sir Mark Stanhope

Whilst the Type 26 will be multi-purpose I would much prefer those purposes be wholly military in nature, delivering a tiny volume of humanitarian or disaster assistance from one of the most sophisticated surface combatants in the world does seem rather wasteful, perhaps we should drop the pretence and just admit that it is a warship

Go on MoD, don’t be ashamed.

That aside, the removal of the stern ramp is interesting; the stern ramp method allows launch and recovery of small boats and potentially in the future, unmanned surface craft, whilst the ship is underway at a reasonable speed and sea state.

Conventional davits will have to be used now but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is compromised

A stern ramp might allows small craft to be deployed at higher ships speeds but will be constrained by greater sea states, sea states that can still be accommodated using davits.

Much like many of these detailed design decisions, there are no right or wrong answers, just a different set of compromises to meet a range of requirements.

Click here for an interesting paper on the pros and cons of different approaches.

As the Royal Navy Mine Countermeasures, Hydrography and Patrol Capability (MHPC) programme moves forward and starts to deliver it will be interesting to see what might end up on the Type 26. MHPC is not about a ship but is more about the systems used to deliver those requirements and we may yet see a Type 26 carrying systems from the programme.

Click here for information on Royal Navy mine countermeasures

Access to the mission space will be challenging, depending on the internal arrangements it might be either through the aviation hangar or side access door(s). Moving 4 tonne when empty 20’ ISO containers, securing and then connecting them to ship services will be no easy feat and unless some of the more advanced fastening and securing methods are used they will have to be secured using traditional chain and jacks, this creates some measure of space inefficiency in an already space constrained space.

A single, partitioned, space with an overhead gantry crane that is combined with the aviation hangar would offer the maximum flexibility and again, this might have been one of the drivers for the change. Using the additional space for an extra helicopter or handful of UAV’s would not have been possible if it were under the helicopter landing deck.

Whether this single combined space is feasible, safe or desirable, not really sure?

The latest graphics show a number of retractable doors providing access to the mission space and/or boat hangars and the BAE web page says;

A key feature is the ship’s flexible mission space, which can accommodate up to four 12 metre sea boats, a range of manned and unmanned air, surface or underwater vehicles or up to 11 20ft containers or ‘capability modules’, and the most advanced sensors available to the fleet

11 20’ ISO containers represents a big space, so whether this text actually relates to the new design is open for discussion, I am sceptical that it will be able to carry 11 20′ ISO containers.

I also tend to think that the ‘mission bay’ on a vessel the size of Type 26 is a bit ‘trendy vicar’ and its utility somewhat over stated.

With accommodation for embarked personnel in the main ship, most of the offensive and defensive systems already designed in and space limited it is difficult to see in the short term what the mission space will be used for beyond the Captain’s Range Rover, a gym or stores for an embarked force.

The point is though, to be prepared as they develop, as the undoubtedly will.

Weapons and Countermeasures

The Type 26 will have a plethora of weapons and countermeasures, it is a combat ship after all.


Countermeasures are not often discussed but are advancing all the time and many consider them more effective at protecting against anti-ship missiles than CIWS.

In 1994 GEC Marconi were awarded an £80m contract to develop their Siren system to fulfil the Royal Navy ‘Outfit DLH’ requirement.

It was designed to seduce inbound anti-ship missiles using a launched RF countermeasure (Mk 251 Active Decoy Round) fired from standard 130mm SeaGnat launchers. The system was also to utilise the existing Seagnat launch control systems.

21 ship sets and 720 rounds were obtained with the final cost being in the order of £103m.

BAE Siren Naval Countermeasure (Outfit DLH)
BAE Siren Naval Countermeasure (Outfit DLH)

It did not enter service until 2004, 10 years after contract award.

The product description is;

Siren is an advanced decoy system designed to protect ships from missile threats by luring incoming anti-ship missiles away from their target. Launched from a 130mm decoy launcher it uses a two stage parachute system which slows the decoy round down at a pre-programmed time before deploying a second stage parawing, under which the advanced programmable electronic payload descends to detect and counter the missile threat.

The ability of Siren to generate sophisticated jamming waveforms is unique amongst the worlds limited types of naval decoys. The Siren payload contains some of the most up to date RF, digital and analogue electronic circuitry available, enabling the round to quickly detect, identify and track threats to ships. Siren is able to handle multiple threats simultaneously even in dense RF environments.

Siren eventually passed to BAE and then to Selex, a Finmeccanica company; click here for the brochure.

Type 23 frigates also use the Mk 251 Siren so again, a straight transfer to the Type 26 might be the most appropriate solution and there are possibly some left over from the Type 22 depending on shelf life, which also used Outfit DLH and a range of decoy rounds. The Type 23 uses the ALEX system to manage inputs from the ships ESM system and control launch.

In March this year Navy News covered the Type 45’s decoy trials, click here to read.

In addition to the advanced Mk 251 Siren the Outfit launcher systems can also use RF distraction (chaff) and IR decoys such as the Chemring Mk 216 Mk 1 Mod 1 and Chemring Mk 245 IR

BAE Siren Naval Countemeasure round being loaded aboard HMS Ocean
BAE Siren Naval Countemeasure round being loaded aboard HMS Ocean

Chemring manufacture the NATO Standard Chaff round but also produce a newer range of slightly larger rounds including IR and RF rounds. To support increasingly larger decoy payloads they have also created an oversize round that still uses the 130mm form factor called the Large Payload Carrier that looks like an RPG-7 round.

Instead of using the traditional fixed tube launchers Chemring have also recently developed the Centurion trainable launcher that can carry 12 130mm rounds.

The Centurion is so cool it has it has its own web site.

Because it is trainable instead of the fixed launcher of the Seagnat it can more precisely deploy the decoy rounds and has some degree of independence of ship position. In November 2011 Chemring finished a successful demonstration of Centurion to the Royal Navy but orders have yet to materialise.

Perhaps the Type 26 will be the launch customer for Centurion?

Fitted to the Type 45 is the Airborne Systems IDS300 inflatable RF decoy could also be installed to provide additional defence. This is a self-inflating octahedral shaped corner reflector that floats on the surface and unlike chaff, is persistent, able to float for 3 hours in sea state 4

It is a simple and low cost system.

Short range protection against torpedoes for the Type 23 is provided by the Ultra Sonar S2170 Sea Sentor Surface Ship Torpedo Defence System that comprises;

an acoustic passive towed array, towed acoustic countermeasure, single-drum winch, processing cabinet, display consoles, 2 expendable acoustic device launchers and 16 expendable acoustic devices.

The image below shows the Sea Sentor decoy launcher

Type 26 Frigate details showing Sea Sentor submarine decoy system
Type 26 Frigate details showing Sea Sentor submarine decoy system

The second rear door on the stern on the new graphics will be for the towed elements of the S2170 system.

This is an impressive system and likely to transfer to the Type 26.

Surface water drenching systems can also be used to reduce IR signatures in addition to the passive techniques of shaping and masking.

The Royal Navy is one of the few to have suffered at the hands of anti-ship missiles and it should come as no surprise that there exists a comprehensive set of countermeasures on existing surface combatants, the Type 26 should hopefully be no different.

Close in Weapon System

The position of the Phalanx Close in Weapon System (CIWS) has been the subject of much debate.

On the Type 45 they are amidships as shown in the image below from one of our commenters, ‘Desk Jockey’

Type 45 Destroyer and Phalanx CIWS
Type 45 Destroyer and Phalanx CIWS

From Babcock Marine;

Babcock undertakes equipment procurement from the US original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Raytheon, and will supervise the installation in HMS Daring at Portsmouth Naval Base. Once the installation of the two systems is complete Babcock engineers will then commission the systems, culminating in Naval Weapon Sea Trial (NWST) including a towed target firing.

The installation of Phalanx 1B in HMS Daring represents the 5th and 6th fit of the 1B system. Under a contract held by Babcock as prime contractor to upgrade 16 Phalanx systems to the 1B system capability on Royal Navy vessels, the company has previously been responsible for two installations of the upgraded systems on Type 42 destroyer HMS York and on fleet replenishment ship RFA Fort Victoria.

In addition to providing the 1B upgrade installations, Babcock has a ten year support contract for the 36 Phalanx systems, based on providing availability of the systems throughout their life on board ship.

Putting the Phalanx fore and aft provides good arcs of fire in the longitudinal direction and allows the ship to be turned so as to present a smaller aspect to an incoming missile whilst still retaining the innermost layer but there might be issues with ammunition resupply and maintenance given its close proximity to the Vertical Launch Silos. Although arguably unlikely, having a team in this area replenishing ammunition would prevent a missile launch. The mount immediately in front of the aviation deck and on top of the hangar area might also cause problems in use by showering expended link onto the deck that would need clearing before helicopter operations could commence.

It is interesting to wonder why the Type 26 will differ from the Type 45 in this regard.

No doubt detailed airflow and operational analysis will determine the optimal position.

By the time the Type 26 comes into service the Phalanx may just be leaving and there is the small point that the Type 23 isn’t fitted with them anyway. With usage in a land role, likely deployment on other ships and the withdrawal of Goalkeeper there might not be enough to equip the Type 26.

The latest graphics seems to indicate a Phalanx type system but closer inspection throws up an interesting possibility.

This is a bit of fun, making too much of an incomplete rendering in response to a jolly wheeze on behalf of the graphic artist but those shown could easily be mistaken for a Raytheon Defender, the laser version of the Phalanx.

Type 26 CIWS Detail
Type 26 CIWS Detail
Raytheon Defender Laser CIWS
Raytheon Defender Laser CIWS

From the Raytheon website

The Navy-Raytheon team combined the Navy’s Phalanx Close-in Weapon System’s sensor suite, used for terminal defense to protect ships from missile or artillery attack, with six solid-state fiber lasers. Simultaneously focusing on airborne targets, the team shot down four unmanned aircraft over the Pacific Ocean to mark the first successful laser shoot-down over water

Click here to see the laser Phalanx in action

Whether Type 26 will have enough power anyway for a laser Phalanx is a point for discussion in the future.

One might even argue the need for a CIWS has been reduced given the likely efficiency of Sea Ceptor and the increasing effectiveness of soft kill systems, but if this ship is intended to go into harm’s way then I think it is not unreasonable to suggest a CIWS should be fitted as part of a layered defence, or at the very list, the ship fitted for one.

Anti-Air Missiles

In January this year further details on the Sea Ceptor were revealed, a missile that will be replacing Sea Wolf on a one for one basis aboard the Type 23 Frigates (although other videos show a 2×6 quad packed cell arrangement) and transferred to the Type 26 as it comes into service. The Type 23’s Sea Wolf missiles will start the upgrade path to Sea Ceptor before the Type 26 build process and Sea Ceptor will also be fitted to Type 26.

Sea Ceptor is part of the wider complex weapons commercial construct and will be developed in a £438m contract with MBDA and was previously called the Common Anti Air Missile (Maritime)

A number of silo arrangements are possible, using a Sea Ceptor specific design or quad packing in Sylver silos, multiple versions have appeared in the various marketing videos released so far.

Sea Septor Missile Graphic (FLAADS(M))
Sea Septor Missile Graphic (FLAADS(M))

One of the advantages of a complex vertical launch silo is its ability to be filled with different types of weapons, given the Sea Ceptor is both compact and likely the only anti air missile carried it makes little sense to put them in the SLYVER silo. Sea Ceptor uses a soft launch mechanism, the missile is pushed clear of the silo by compressed gas before the rocket motor ignites. The SYLVER’s hot exhaust gas management system would therefore be redundant; hence the graphics seen so far have shown Sea Ceptor in its own simple silo arrangement, 4 missiles per silo.

This video below shows it aboard what looks like a Type 23 although the missile shape, size and number of missiles per silo seems incorrect.

The new graphics show a split silo configuration.

Type 26 VLS Details
Type 26 VLS Detail

The smaller cells seem to be arranged in two 3×4 blocks, if these were the quad packed version as shown on the graphics and video above that would indicate a total missile capacity of 96, well in excess of the Types 23’s 32 Sea Wolf missiles.

There is also the matter of the mystery silo on the funnel.

Type 26 Funnel VLS
Type 26 Funnel VLS

They appear to be two rows of 12 and very similar in appearance to the front pair. If these were for Sea Ceptor then that would mean a potential missile fit of the same number, 96.

Does anyone else have doubts that the Royal Navy will have a ship that carries 192 anti-air missiles, a six fold increase on its predecessor?

Apart from the obvious answer that it is a joke designed to get the online world abuzz it might be some form of vent or possibly a vertical launch system for decoys.

Another possibility is that each cell is actually a single missile, this would put a completely different spin on the arrangement with 24 missiles in the forward area and 24 missiles in the funnel VLS for a total of 48 missiles, much more credible.

Who knows, whatever the final arrangements, Sea Ceptor will be a significant improvement on the already potent Sea Wolf.

Medium Calibre Gun

The Future Maritime Fires Concept Phase is due to complete in around now so no doubt the lessons from Libya, where HMS Liverpoll fired over 200 rounds of 4.5” ammunition, will have played a large part in informing the study. With the cancelling of the BAe 155mm TMF project that used the gun system from the As90 Self Propelled Gun, the choice of a naval gun has narrowed.


Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the replacement of existing warship guns by ones of 155mm; and if he will make a statement on his policy, with special reference to (a) the future frigate fleet and (b) Type 45 destroyers.


Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

No decision on the calibre of the new Maritime Indirect Fire System (the new naval gun) has yet been made. This will be taken when work to consider the available options under the Future Maritime Fires Concept Phase is complete in around mid-2012.

The Maritime Fires Concept, of which the Maritime Indirect Fire System (MIFS) is part, is being delivered in conjunction with the Niteworks Partnership and is expected to be met by a medium calibre gun (MCG). The other part of MFS is the Maritime Indirect Fire Precision Attack (MIFPA) is expected to be delivered using missile systems, potentially Fire Shadow.

Maritime Indirect Fires (MIFS)
Maritime Indirect Fires (MIFS)
Future Maritime Indirect Fires project
Future Maritime Indirect Fires project

Naval Gunfire Support has a great deal of utility and used much more often that many of the more esoteric systems, the Falklands, Iraq and Libya being recent outings; it is much cheaper than using air delivered munitions if circumstances permit and can use a graduated force model where a well-aimed smoke or illumination round that signals loud and clear the next one will be of the type that goes bang can influence subsequent activity or neutralise threats both on land and at sea.

The existing 115mm/4.5” Mark 8 Mod 1 gun aboard Royal Navy vessels has its origins in the late sixties and has given excellent service but how reliable they are now is apparently an open question. The HE Extended Range round uses base bleed to propel the round to a maximum range of 27.5km and the existing illumination nature is also still available. In order to maintain a sustained rate of fire of 16-20 rounds per minute and accommodate the more powerful ammunition types the barrel is 62 calibres long. It has seen extensive service including action off the Falkland Islands (8,000 rounds), Iraq and Libya.

As we know though, there is not a large installed base on which to spread development costs of precision, proximity, IR illumination or smoke natures so the open market seems an obvious place to look, especially given the 155mm TMF concept has now been cancelled.

There are a number of options but probably only two realistic ones, the BAE 5” Mark 45 and the Oto Melara 127mm Compact and Lightweight.

The Mark 45 Mod 4 from BAE, as used by the US Navy, South Korea, Denmark, Australia and others, is a 5”/127mm system with a 62 calibre barrel and is capable of a rate of fire up to 20 rounds per minute.

The Oto Melara system comes in a Compact form and the newer Lightweight version with a 64 calibre barrel.

In 2010 Babcock and Oto Melara signed a Memorandum of Understanding to offer the Light Weight Medium Calibre Gun System to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the Type 26 frigate.

To quote the sales blurb;

The Oto Melara 127/64 LW gun is capable of firing up to 35 rounds per minute. The production turret weighs less than 29 tons and the ‘peppered’ muzzle brake with an aluminium shield keeps cost down, improves maintenance and reduces radar cross-section. The gun uses an advanced ammunition handling system, consisting of four revolving drum magazines holding 56 ready-to-fire rounds of more than four different types, allowing flexibility in ammunition selection and a high rate of sustained fire. It is capable of anti-surface and anti-air defence, and area engagement. The new Vulcano ammunition is capable of precision engagement at ranges previously only achievable by missile systems but at a fraction of the cost.

After many years of very expensive trials the US Extended Range Guided Munition was cancelled, leaving the USN without precision gun launched land attack round but Oto Melara have continued to persevere and have introduced the Vulcano range of munitions.

Vulcano has both an extended range unguided and long range guided nature that is used with the 127mm gun to deliver rounds out to 120km.

The Type 26 doesn’t necessarily need the precision guided ammunition straight away, it would provide a simple upgrade path and despite doubts about the explosive content of guided shells it would still offer a significant capability, have the potential to reduce the need (therefore cost) for air delivered precision munitions and allow the Royal Navy to take advantage of a mature user base.

The Royal Navy finds itself in a good place in this equipment choice, both are mature and effective systems with growth and an established logistics base i.e., they are supportable.

Land and Maritime Surface Attack Missiles

The first design iteration of the Type 26 showed amidships Harpoon launchers but they have disappeared in the latest version.

The ship launched anti-ship missile is somewhat of a curates egg, of course a modern combat vessel has to be able to destroy the enemy’s vessels but this has both a low probability of use, complications with identification in cluttered environments and complex rules of engagement issues that lead many to question the value of them.

The Wildcat, and possibly Merlin HM2, will carry the Sea Skua replacement, the MBDA Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW), click here for a brochure.

This might provide the optimal solution when combined with the Wildcat launched LMM for smaller vessels and it could be argued that the real ship killers are submarines anyway. We might also consider the ability of modern fast air delivered weapons in the anti-ship role as a realistic alternative.

Perhaps of greater benefit and likelihood of use would be some form of long range (beyond the range of helicopter launched systems and the medium calibre gun) land attack missile.

When we discuss missiles for the Type 26 many people automatically assume that it should include Tomahawk and whilst having diversity of launch platform is always ‘a good thing’ it would take up a lot of space and add significant cost as we would need to introduce the US Mk 41 vertical launch silo.

A post Libya Jane’s Defence Weekly reported on a Royal Navy lessons learned document in which the two major shortcomings were a lack of precision land attack capability and organic unmanned ISR.

It quoted Colonel Pierson RM, the Deputy Director of NATO Operations in Libya;

It was evident that the Libya campaign showed the need for precision fires, [perhaps the Lockheed Martin] Guided Multiple Rocket Launch System (GMLRS), from the sea base, deep into enemy littoral territory.

The Naval Strike Missile from Kongsberg might be an interesting option. This will also be integrated onto the F35 so commonality benefits could be realised if we chose to purchase it for the F35’s, unlikely, but it is an option. With a 150km range the NSM weighs 400Kg with a 125kg warhead and can attack a mix of land and surface targets. This would also have the added benefit of being integrated onto the F35 for commonality all round.

The NSM has been criticised by some because it is not hypersonic or other sci-fi features but I think that is misplaced, the NSM has taken a reasonable line with regards to balancing capabilities against cost and development time. It would be a great addition to the RN and RAF armoury but whether it would find a place in the equipment programme with the Complex Weapons initiative commercial complications are another matter. The Stand Off Land Attack Missile, based on the Harpoon is another option and there one or two others but neither of these fit into a vertical launch silo so if the graphics are correct, not likely to be obtained.

A cheaper option might be to use the Team Complex Weapons Fire Shadow loitering munition although it would be no substitute for a land attack cruise missile or dedicated anti ship missile.

These might be silo launched but one would have to ask the question why, there is no need for salvo launching and the simple box/rail launch method is cheap.

Silo launching might look good but it adds additional cost.

The next most obvious contender (despite me thinking that a navalised GMLRS would be very cool) is the SCALP(N), a variant of the RAF Storm Shadow missile with much greater range (reportedly in excess of 1,000km) with the ability to be launched from the SLYVER A70 silo system and even a submarine.

The French Navy will be receiving SCALP(N) 150 missiles to arm their FREMM frigates.

If we really want to spend a fortune, the CVS401 Perseus concept missile from MBDA (click here for a brochure) will also provide plenty of options, potentially replacing Storm Shadow for cross service commonality post 2030.

These choices will also impact the decision on which vertical launch silo to fit, the US Mk41 that we would need for Tomahawk or the DCNS SYLVER that would be needed for SCALP(N) and Perseus.

We already have the SYLVER in service on the Type 45, although in the shorter A50 version and the image below does have a whiff of SLYVER about it, we can easily convince ourselves it is an A70 in a triple 4×2 configuration.

Type 26 Forward VLS Details
Type 26 Forward VLS Details

This would therefore lead the discussion towards the SCALP(N) and Perseus rather than Tomahawk.

The image below shows an A70 silo being fitted to one of the new French FREMM frigates, the Aquitaine

Sylver A70 Vertical Launch Silo
Sylver A70 Vertical Launch Silo

As we discuss these things we should  stop and ask ourselves why the Type 26 needs a long range land attack weapon when there already exists two launch platforms for the Tomahawk and Storm Shadow anyway, the Trafalgar class SSN and Tornado with Typhoon and Astute in the future.

If we do integrate Storm Shadow on the F35B that will be another, crucially, a sea based aircraft.

Launch platform diversity is never a bad thing and the cost differential between a submarine launched Tomahawk and a Mk41 launched version is significant but is it enough of a difference to overcome the additional cost of the Mk41, I doubt it?

Would the cost of integrating Storm Shadow on the F35B be less than fitting SLYVER 70’s and SCALP Naval to the Type 26?

From the early 2020’s, when Type 26 will be entering service, the UK will have the ability to fire Tomahawks from Astute submarines and possibly, Storm Shadow from Typhoon. If we add Storm Shadow, F35B and CVF to that list we would have a flexible and powerful combination able to launch precision cruise missiles with different capabilities from both land and sea.

Despite the images and mood music about cruise missiles and the Type 26 I have to wonder if there are better things to spend our diminishing budget on.

Land attack cruise missiles would therefore be at the bottom of the shopping list for Type 26 which would also make the Vertical launch Silo’s for anything but Sea Ceptor also of questionable value.

Small Calibre Automatic Weapons

The new images show both M2 and Dillon Aerospace M134 Miniguns (click here for a brochure) in 12.7mm and 7.62mm calibres respectively.

It is not unlikely that a selection of automatic weapons will find their way onto the Type 26 to provide local defence.

Fitted to both the Type 45 and Type 23 are the MSI 30mm systems.

These mounts have a long heritage with the first designs being introduced in the early eighties with the 30mm RARDEN cannon. In the mid-eighties the Royal Navy selected the Oerlikon 30 mm KCB to replace all existing 20mm and 40mm automatic cannons as a post Falklands lessons learned exercise. First entering service in 1988 they have been continually refined and the latest version is the DS 30B Mk2 equipped with offboard sensors, the ATK 30mm Bushmater Mk44 cannon (instead of the Oerlikon) and Seahawk fire control systems that are replacing all previous versions on the Type 23 by 2014 in a £15m contract with MSI.

It is officially called the Automated Small Calibre Gun (ASCG)

MSI Defence DS30M Mk2 Automated Small Calibre Gun (ASG)
MSI Defence DS30M Mk2 Automated Small Calibre Gun (ASG)

The Seahawk fire control system uses an electro optical detector and laser rangefinder developed by Chess Dynamics.

Seahawk Electro Optical Fire Control System
Seahawk Electro Optical Fire Control System

Click here for a brochure.

MSI Defence has also developed the Seahawk SIGMA, a remote controlled system that combines the Seahawk Mk2 already in service with the Royal Navy with a 7 cell Lightweight Multirole Missile

MSI Seahawk Sigma 30mm ATK and Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)
MSI Seahawk Sigma 30mm ATK and Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

The LMM will be coming into service with the Royal Navy soon and carried aboard the Wildcat helicopter so may well be being carried aboard anyway when a Wildcat is embarked instead of a Merlin.

It might seem like overkill but it does provide a relatively low cost weapon that exceeds the range of the 30mm cannon without using an expensive Sea Ceptor (should that be delivered with an anti-surface capability)

It also provides a low cost defence against UAV’s

Seriously, what’s not to like?

On the Type 26 graphics the 30mm systems are mounted near the hangar on sponsons to provide excellent arcs of fire.

Type 26 Frigate DS30M 30mm Gun Mount Position
Type 26 Frigate DS30M 30mm Gun Mount Position

Of course, they will be direct transfers from the Type 23’s.

There has been some discussion about swapping the Bushmaster Mk44 for the 40mm CTA cannon that will be installed on the Army’s FRES and Warrior vehicles.

Normally, I am all for ruthless commonality and would this is generally a good idea, not least because of the extra punch and sharing of support costs as the Mk44 is unique to the RN in the British armed forces, but swapping would not be simple or cheap.

The weapon, fire control and each ammunition nature would need to be certified for naval use in a highly complex EM environment, the fire control system modified and the mount completely changed to accommodate the CTA’s unusual feed mechanism.

ATK also manufacture an air bursting nature, the PABM-T, should that be deemed worthwhile and negates one of the stated advantages of the CTA cannon.

Extra cost for marginal benefit so not sure it would be worth it.

If commonality were a driver then we might also look at the M230LF used on the Apache attack helicopter.

ATK are currently exploring marinisation of this weapon in the United States, one to watch perhaps.


The Type 23 has a Magazine Launched Torpedo System (MTLS) that uses 2 twin launchers for the 324mm Stingray Mod 1 lightweight torpedo. There is an automatic reload system that has 5 torpedoes for each launcher, a total of 18 torpedoes are therefore available although I am not sure if these are routinely carried.

A Stingray Training Variant Torpedo is fired from Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster during an exercise. After spending much of her 7 month deployment in the Gulf and Indian Ocean region conducting maritime security operations in support of the UK's long standing commitment in the area, Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster took some time out to undertake valuable training. During this training period, the ship undertook her keyrole training in the form of Anti Submarine Warfare and tested her torpedo firing skills. The TVT (training variant torpedo) as it is commonly known was fired to test the launching capabilities and also to test the sonar capablilites and training of the operators. Within minutes of the training finishing, HMS Westminster undertook a spot of gunnery training.
A Stingray Training Variant Torpedo is fired from Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster during an exercise. After spending much of her 7 month deployment in the Gulf and Indian Ocean region conducting maritime security operations in support of the UK’s long standing commitment in the area, Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster took some time out to undertake valuable training. During this training period, the ship undertook her key role training in the form of Anti Submarine Warfare and tested her torpedo firing skills. The TVT (training variant torpedo) as it is commonly known was fired to test the launching capabilities and also to test the sonar capablilites and training of the operators. Within minutes of the training finishing, HMS Westminster undertook a spot of gunnery training.

The recent article in the Engineer indicated that the Type 26 would carry a similar system so this would likely be another system directly transferred from the Type 23’s.

Click here for a brochure and here for an image of the launcher

Helicopters, Small Boats and Unmanned Systems

Helicopters and Hangar

As covered in the mission space section the helicopter hangar may be combined with it.

The latest graphic shows a single roller shutter type door that provides access to the hangar and it will be likely fitted with an overhead gantry crane like the one designed by Seward Wyon for the Type 45.

Royal Navy Merlin Mark 2 Helicopter
Royal Navy Merlin Mark 2 Helicopter

The Merlin HM2 will normally be carried by the Type 26 although the naval Wildcat may also be used depending on requirements. The HM2 version on the Merlin is an incredibly powerful and sophisticated system that is combined with the numerous capabilities of the Type 23 to create a formidable team.

The Wildcat, as we know, will be replacing the Lynx.

Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter trials onboard RFA Argus
Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter trials onboard RFA Argus

Equipped with a range of sensors and weapons it will be a worthy successor to the Lynx, in the maritime context it makes a lot of sense.

The two missiles carried will be the Sea Skua replacement, the MBDA Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW), click here for a brochure, and the Lightweight Multirole Missile.

FASGW(H) Missile
FASGW(H) Missile

As part of the Team Complex Weapons construct the LMM was ‘reversed’ into an existing production and long term support contract, thought to be for Starstreak. Because the threat that Starstreak is designed to counter is considered lower than when it was placed in production this seems like a sensible and flexible approach. Thales have a support contract with the MoD for Starstreak out to 2020 but it is not known if the commercial arrangements have also been modified to account for fewer of those missiles and the introduction of LMM, one would imagine it’s all in the small print.

Fulfilling the Future Air-to-Surface Guided Weapon (Light) requirement it will be one of the primary weapons of the maritime variant of the Wildcat helicopter.

Wildcat Helicopter and FASGW-L (Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile LMM)
Wildcat Helicopter and FASGW-L (Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile LMM)

Aboard the Wildcat it has been shown in a couple of configurations, 5 and 7 round launchers

Designed to attack small targets like inflatables, fast attack craft and surfaced submarines for example, what marks the LMM as something rather special is its relatively low cost, the motor for example was value engineered by Roxel to a specific cost and the guidance and much of the control system has been taken from the Starstreak.

The second distinguishing feature is its small warhead when compared to the larger Hellfire or Brimstone missile. This precise and low collateral damage warhead will allow it to be used against a much wider variety of targets. The warhead is a blast/fragmentation type weighing 3kg; compare this with 9kg on a Hellfire and 8.4kg on a Javelin.

The missile weighs 13kg and range is given as 8km with only a small minimal range, 400m, unlike the precision guided 70mm rockets that need a considerable distance. The fuse uses a laser proximity system and the missile itself is only 76mm in diameter with a length of 1.3m. The use of a laser proximity fuse is designed to allow the missile to be used against non-metallic targets, inflatable boats being the obvious example.

If we take the overhead view and apply some very approximate scaling, the helicopter landing area is approximately 30m long by 19m wide.

Type 26 Overhead View
Type 26 Overhead View

A Chinook is just over 30m with the blades turning with a 6m overhang from the front of the fuselage to the tip of the front rotor; evidently, it will be a tight fit.

Merlin is just under 23m tip to tip.


The BAE Type 26 datasheet states that it will be able to carry up to four 12m sea boats in its ‘flexible mission space’

The Type 23’s are equipped with a pair of BAE Pacific 22 Inflatable Raiding Craft (IRC) which use an inboard engine driving a waterjet propulsion system. They are fitted with a range of communication and navigation equipment, use a single Henriksen hook for lifting and lowering and operate at speeds in excess of 30 knots

Pacific 22 RHIB
Pacific 22 RHIB

These 7.4m 2.2 tonne boats may well be transferred or newer boats purchased such as the BAE Pacific 950’s or even the Holyhead Marine Offshore Raiding Craft in service with 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

The retractable doors covering the boat hangar/mission space present a number of problems for boat launch and recovery, the Type 45 faced the same issues.

On the Type 45 the launch and recovery systems were provided by the Italian company MEP Pellegrini supplied through MET Marine

In the video below (from about 40 seconds) the Pacific 22 and Pellegrini retractable launch and recovery system is shown.

A similar system may well be fitted to the Type 26 although it will need to handle the larger 12m boats.

Unmanned Systems

I must admit to a fundamental dislike of the word ‘drone’ as it portrays a lack of understanding and amateurishness, the unmanned systems carried aboard type 26 will be exhibit anything but drone like behaviour.

Even at the lower spectrum of operations the enormous flexibility and capability enabled by unmanned systems is a real force multiplier (sorry to use that term by the way)

It is depressing to think that the Royal Navy has been so slow to unmanned party, the reasons are of course largely financial but despite testing a number of systems like the Insitu Scan Eagle several years ago nothing has been introduced into service.

The Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle has an interesting history, initially designed to assist tuna fishing fleets it has evolved into a mature, low cost, flexible and highly effective family of vehicles and payloads. A few months ago it notched up its half million flying hours milestone.

ScanEagle Launch and Recovery
ScanEagle Launch and Recovery
ScanEagle Launch and Recovery
ScanEagle Launch and Recovery

The same Libya lessons learned document mentioned above also added that there was a requirement on RN Warships for;

Unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), such as the brilliant live feed, full motion video provided by [Boeing] Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle

This would be an immediately available and capable system but with minimal industry involvement, anyone see a problem.

Despite testing the Scan Eagle as part of the JUEP programme some years ago the MoD has now published details of a requirement for a rotary wing maritime UAV.

From Flight Global last month;

The UK Ministry of Defence plans to complete a capability concept demonstrator (CCD) programme by March 2015 to investigate the utility of equipping the Royal Navy with a rotary-wing unmanned air system (RWUAS) post-2020

There a range of off the shelf rotary wing maritime UAV’s such as the Saab Skeldar, Schiebel Camcopter and Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Firescout but a cynic might say none of these are AgustaWestland and therefore unlikely to be adopted. QinetiQ proposed reusing Gazelle airframes but this would be trying to use an obsolete airframe that might have issues with support in the long term.

Agusta Westland (now owners of the Polish helicopter manufacturer PZL-Swidnick) have proposed a conversion of their SW-4 light helicopter.

PZL SW-4 Unmanned concept for the Royal Navy
PZL SW-4 Unmanned concept for the Royal Navy

Any takers?

We should not overlook the potential for surface and subsurface unmanned systems, again, studies are still in their early stages and related to the MHPC programme.


The Type 26 will be a powerful and flexible surface combatant with a wide range of systems, sensors and weapons to support its diverse mission requirements.

CVF has now been settled, more or less, the next focus for the Royal Navy will be the Type 26 and specifically, cost constraint.

In the next post I am going to have a go at trying to put all this techno hardware into some sort of operational context.

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This Post Has 542 Comments

  1. Aussie Johnno

    Very impressive, I hate to think how many hours went into this.
    Another 800 posts coming up.

  2. Brian Black

    The C1/C2 concept hasn’t necessarily been killed off entirely; not if the MHPC vessel grows into a light frigate. Though I’d expect that would threaten the GP T26 if it did.

    A slightly different number to consider for the embarked troops is 34, plus 86 additional berths provided by modular units in the GP’s spacious shed.

  3. RW


    Comprehensive as we have learned to expect, many thanks

    Personally I believe that the CAAM launchers are singletons for a total of 12+12+24 = 48

    Therefore the larger silos are for land attack or other larger missiles; the number is required to maintain an export potential and to counter the perceived lack of silos for the Type 45….. Which will at some point need to have its silo count upgraded and increased (at extra cost) and then the incorporation of quad packing of CAAM to get back into the numbers game with the Aegis equipped destroyers out there

    With the Type 26 CAAM count respectable and the positioning of these benefiting from the advantage of the missiles cold launch (silo size) allowing them to be placed outside the normal design areas, dedicating the prime space for the larger silos becomes possible.

    I believe that the missile mix may not have been fixed but the silo mix and count is a future proofing move.

    If the CAAM singleton silos are noticeably cheaper (as I expect) they give the Type 26 an advantage in overall silo count available when working to tight cost constraints and while ensuring it is maintaining a modern air defence.

    I’d be interested to know how large a cold launch missile can be, has anyone tried the technology with storm shadow sized missiles? , I agree Fire shadow may be part of the mix, but I’d expect it to be fired from the mission bay’s on a sledge rather than taking up valuable rapid response silos.
    I think you are bang on regarding the Raytheon Defender and that’s very well observed.
    Given the power output of the Zumwalt which uses only 25% of its electrical generation when travelling at 28 knots I wonder how much additional power generation type 26 has when the turbines are operational.

    This need for power to support lasers would seem very relevant to a future combatant like type 26 but there has been little discussion of this, wonder what the real deal is.
    Re UAVS I think they have done the best they could to provide for a range of possibilities but that limitations on launching water bourn craft has been impacted by the fact that MHPC will probably be deployed on smaller vessels.

    So Type 26 is faithful to the ASW role and very competent as a general purpose frigate, but we now await the final upgrade to the fleet which will be some type of C3 Venator like MHPC orientated vessel , one which has yet to be defined and whose specification can wait while the systems it deploys mature

  4. martin

    @ TD great post and a lot of good new info.
    On Naval Gun
    Fingers crossed for the OTO 127mm. Given that it’s a system already in manufacture I can’t see that it is a budget issue buying some precision Vulcano rounds from day one. They don’t have to be on every ship all of the time. Unlike large missiles these could even be flown out on the helicopter to a vessel tha needed them.
    On Land Attack Missiles
    If the general thinking was to not have some form of land attack missile on the T26 then why would there be any silos other than those small ones for Sea Ceptor. The RN does not operate a VLS launched torpedo and I can’t see all that space being devoted for Aster 30.Weather she carries them or not I think all our surface ships should be fitted with strike length launchers.
    While I am all for keeping the missile system British or European my concern of the SCALP (n) is that is seem’s to cost three of four times as much as TLAM and offers less capability. We would also have the problem of not having a convenient store of the missiles to replenish our stocks meaning that unlike TLAM we would have to buy several hundred from day one as we did with Storm shadow.
    On UAV’s
    It still pisses me off the the RN has no moved to buy something small and cheap like SCAN eagle. Having a rotary option would be desirable as well but given the low cost of something like Scan eagle it would really seem prudent to have both with a initial purchase of scan eagle in the next year or two.

  5. martin

    @ RW – I don’t agree about the T45 silo’s. Replacing Aster 15 with quad packed Sea Ceptor and slotting in the 16 strike length launchers in the middle would give one T45 the ability to carry something like 96 sea Ceptors and 24 Aster 30’s with the option for 16 more Aster 30’s or 16 land attak missiles. That gives her the ability to shoot down the entire air force of most countries single handed. I know the US favours 96 cells on the Burke but with quad packing it seems an expensive waste of money.

  6. martin

    @ Brian Black – I thought MHPC was the replacement for c3 not c2. If any thing it seems to me the C1 concept which was more like an ASW destroyer at nearly 7,000 tonnes has been killed of in favour of a C2 type vessel in the mid 5,000.

    I hope we get more info on MHPC soon it seems too have gone worryingly quiet as of late and it is something we desperately need.

  7. Simon257

    Very informative TD, as always. Looking forward to part 2

    A couple of quick questions.

    1: Have BAE got the gig to build all 13 Ships or will Appledore and Cammel Laird Ship Yards have the opportunity to bid for T26 build contracts?

    2: Why would you use a full size helicopter as a UAV, you might as well embark a second manned Wildcat. You would be able to carry 3 or 4 MQ-8Bs instead of a Gazalle or a SW4. I thought that the whole point of having Rotary UAV’s was their small size, thus being unobtrusive and that you carry quite a few of them?

    3: Has the NSM got the clout to be a One Shot Ship Killer Missile?

    4: If we go for the OTO-MELERA Gun, who will supply the Ammo, would the shells be made in the UK or Abroad? Just wondering on supply issues if we were involved in a situation where the supply country might have a problem with our involvement?

  8. RW

    that’s my point,…. Type 45 needs the additional silos and the quad packing to be able to function in the future, with type 26 they have avoided this upgrade and made use of CAAM from day one

    type 45 may have needed to start without CAAM but I don’t think it was smart to leave out the 16 silos that space was reserved for , maybe they just looked to save money and keep options open

    thepoint about parity with the US is that the type of attack will likely designed/developed against US capabilities so you need to keep pace with the US or risk becoming an easy target

  9. WiseApe

    Excellent post, especially for those of us less “clued up” on the history of this project. I especially appreciate all the links in the article (are you going for some kind of record?).

    Simon257 has already mentioned most of the points I wanted to raise, but of course the burning issue, hopefully covered in part two, is: will the embarked marines be equipped with bayonets, or should some other bladed weapon be considered? Should keep the army crowd interested. :-)

    Laser CIWS! Reality is edging closer to fantasy.

    PS – I think you may be optimistic on ASW numbers; just because we’ve got 8 2087 sonars now doesn’t mean we’ll certainly see 8 T26 ASW; what if one of the sonars is lost or damaged? Perhaps being pessimistic on GP numbers, especially if we win export orders.

    PPS – do you think RN is looking at Merlin for ASW version, Wildcat for GP version? Is there a big difference in operating costs between the two?

    Looking forward to part two.

  10. martin

    @ RW – I think the only reason those 16 cells are not fitted yet is the treasury does not want the RN to have more strike launchers so it can’t fire of barrages of million dollar missiles. The Cells only cost around £500,000 a piece and given the ships billion pound price tag it hardly seems like much of a saving. It my understanding although I could be wrong that the 16 cells could be fitted relatively easily with no need for any refit just along side using a crane in a couple of days. I can’t imagine the conversion to quad packed Sea Ceptor will cost much either. Having capacity for 64 Silos in my mind is more than enough for T45.
    I agree with you about the US, however in the field of anti-ship missile defence I feel we are way ahead. The size of the VLS on the Burkes in my mind is far more about space for lots of TLAMS. They also fire Asroc so need more space for this.
    Given reports of our T23’s carrying only 4 Sea Wolfs on operations in Libya I would be very interested to know just how many missiles a Burke usually carries.

  11. Jonesy


    “Has the NSM got the clout to be a One Shot Ship Killer Missile?”

    Depends on what you define kill as?. If its the burning hulk slipping beneath the waves then no NSM’s not going to reach the mark. Then again relatively few missiles, short of the P-500/700 soviet-era heavyweight supersonics, will.

    What it will do is mission kill a ship…Shiny Sheff sank under tow and Stark and Hanit had to port in at the rush after medium/light AShM hits all with significant casualties. Put a ship in port for couple of months repairs and workups and, for most modern actions, its effectively the same as sunk.

    As the contention often made here goes many naval services, European most notably, have reduced frontline warships to numbers where attrition just cant be covered. If you can send a ship home it could well be the OpFor cant replace it and you gain significant advantage…even just from a light missile hit.

  12. martin

    Is this just part 1? I think TD has covered everything in great detail? Short of looking at options for toilets silver ware in the mess I can’t see anything else to discuss :-)

  13. x

    Wardroom not (officer’s)mess. Sailors are accommodated in messdecks. When Royal is aboard ship their messdecks are referred to as barracks. Female sailors’ messdecks are informally referred to as the Wrennery. Officers have individual cabins not messdecks.

  14. martin

    @ X – sorry wardroom is what I meant, Hope I am not in trouble with the blue mafia :-0

  15. x

    @ Martin

    I am not Andrew. The Navy is a nice place to visit. But you wouldn’t want to live there….

  16. Challenger

    A very comprehensive and informative post TD!

    I can’t see anything wrong with most of the weapons fit.

    48 Sea Ceptor isn’t a bad number to deploy with (more than T23 anyway) and it wouldn’t be difficult to quad pack instead if the need suddenly arose.

    I agree with TD that a decent and layered defensive armament should allow Sea Ceptor (lord I hate that name!) to be preserved for the more serious threats. I would love to see Sea-hawk Sigma installed!

    I really really hope the strike length VLS aren’t just future-proofing and will actually carry some sort of offensive weapon. Otherwise the T26 will be of questionable utility, essentially a ship that will be able to defend itself and tow a sonar…not really a good enough reason to spend 350+ million.

  17. AKM

    RW, cold launch is used by the Russians on their land-based S-300P launchers. These are big 1.5-2 ton missiles in the same size class as Stormshadow (as seen on this video: )

    The problem with cold-launch for naval missile systems is; what happens when the rocket motor doesn’t fire and the missile falls back and hits the ship? Bad enough when you’re firing 100kg SeaCeptors, considerably worse if you’re firing big cruise missiles. At least with a more complex two-stage missile if the initial booster doesn’t fire the missile stays in the tube, and if the main stage doesn’t fire it’s no problem as the booster has already taken it clear of the ship.

  18. WiseApe

    “not really a good enough reason to spend 350+ million.” – This is a good point. Given that much of the weapons, sensors and systems are being ported over from T23, what is our £250-350 million paying for? Can’t just be plusher crew quarters – could it be that a big slice of that budget is for the sort of strike weapons and UA/SVs that TD discusses?

    I do hope those funnel-side thingies turn out to be silos and not air vents like SI said, he’s clearly never watched Star Wars. :-)

  19. IXION

    TD as you have in your own highly knowledgable style, pointed out the detail. A lot of the detail you provided of weapons power choice etc is as usual authoritative and lodgical.


    Why are we studdying a computer simulation and pontificating on every lump and bump on the side of the ship? I doubt if even those in the know, know what they are all for really. Bear in mind that even the T45s will almost never have a full silo of everything!

    Patience young wombles; all will be revealed by our lords and masters over the next few years.

    BUT….£120 mil for a fecking animation, of what is turning into a t23 mod 2.

    Christ I’m in the wrong job!

  20. Simon257


    What I mean by a “One Shot Ship Killer Missile” is that I personnally would want to put an enemy ship and its crew on the sea bed permanently at the first attempt and not waste time and effort in trying to finish it off. Crews can easliy be sent to crew other ships, and its the crew that’s the most important part of any ship. Sorry to come across as so blood thirsty.

    USS Stark and HMS Glamorgan both made it home after being hit by Exocet. Although granted Glamorgan was in much better shape than the Stark due to where the missile hit. It didn’t take long for the RN to get her back to sea. As I remember visiting her when she came to Swansea in 1983.

    Do Harpoon, Exocet or any western anti-ship missile system, have the capability of sinking a ship with a single missile strike?

  21. Challenger

    @Ixion + Wiseape

    You’re posts both touched on what I was thinking about the T26 but from different angles.

    I’m quite concerned about it becoming essentially a T23 mark 2 which I don’t think is good enough for the 350 million that will be spent.

    Better defensive weapons, a bigger main gun, new anti-air missiles, bigger hangar and more are all good refinements that are important to the design of a future high-end combatant. The T23 has been a good ship and it’s of course important to evolve certain systems for a new generation.

    However this is a opportunity to push very useful and important capabilities in-to service, paramount among them of course being a decent land attack missile.

    Otherwise you end up with a ship that tows a sonar and can defend itself, which just aren’t good enough reasons for the money spent and for putting a 5000k ship, not to mention 100+ people in harms way.

  22. Mark

    Gd overview TD

    There is supposed according to be around 350 people working on this program over 4 years thats a lot of man hours to design a new ship. Some of the systems maybe reused the ship is new. I bet a fair amount of money that hiring 350 lawyers for 4 years would cost you more than £120m ixion.

    I would also point out adding lots of deep strike missiles maybe all great but the UK does not have the recon assets to target all of the said long range missiles unlike the Americans who do. So you just cant increase the missile load out and hey presto we have deep strike from a ship.

    I do not like the rolling in of development money to individual ship/tank/aircraft prices and would so like the mod to stop doing it. Much better splitting the development, production and support costs into the three area. We choose as a country to develop things and that should be put fwd as a choice as the cost shown accordingly. Type 45 cost just around 640m each not 1b the rest is development money especially when comparing to other things in other countries who exclude such things.

  23. Challenger

    @Simon 257

    I’m no expert, but I doubt Exocet or Harpoon are large or potent enough to sink a ship the sort of size you were talking about, unless it was a really really lucky hit!

    They look like firecrackers compared to some of the Russian and Chinese stuff.

  24. Anixtu


    “The diesels are used for cruising speeds with the turbine being combined with the diesels for high speeds. This is economical but a single turbine is obviously a ‘single point of failure’

    The Type 23’s use the CODLAG system, the crucial difference being the A for and, it is complicated stuff.”

    With CODLAG the GT and DG driven electric motors run together for high speed: AND.
    CODLOG implies that the electric motors are not providing power to the shaft when the GT is running: OR.

    “Fitted to both the Type 45 and Type 23 are the MSI 30mm systems based on the ATK Bushmaster Mk 44 30mm cannon.”

    T45 still has KCB derived guns from recent photos. Anything out there about plans to go Bushmaster or ASCG?

  25. WiseApe

    ” the UK does not have the recon assets to target all of the said long range missiles unlike the Americans who do” – that’s o.k. we only shoot at what the Americans tell us to anyway.

  26. IXION


    350 lawyers for 4 years would cost you about 12.5 mil at legal aid rates.

    With 80 % re-use- 350 mill a pop is atarting to look really expensive..

  27. Think Defence

    Anixtu, is my explanation correct then?

    Must admit its pretty difficult to get your head around!

  28. Anixtu


    Your description would be correct for CODLAG, but not CODLOG. To restate, with CODLOG propulsion, power is provided to the shaft EITHER by an elecric motor OR by a gas turbine connected to the shaft via a gearbox. NEVER both at the same time.

    Some commentators on your previous article have been somewhat loose in distinguishing between CODLAG and CODLOG and the news articles on other sites have not all been worded in the clearest possible way.

  29. Swimming Trunks

    @TD – another excellent and comphrensive post.

    RE: Modular mission space. Not huge but useful, espcially for future proofing/UV’s. If an amphib is a transit and the Black Swan is a pick up then the Type 26 is an estate?

  30. Think Defence

    Have changed the post, does that clarify it?

  31. Mark


    Someone should have told lord Saville he was ripping us all of then!

    Well 350 people working for 4 years is in the range of 3m working hours. I think lawyers get paid more than 4 quid an hour.

    Well have to disagree on that I’m afraid. New hull and accom new engines upgraded or new it systems. Moving some guns and a radar over is all well and gd but they still need integrated.

  32. Anixtu

    Yeah, that’s better. :)

  33. ALL Politicians are the Same

    TD, Once again an excellent post.

    I think that with the improvement in both DGs and Electric Motors since the T23 that the installed power from the DGs will be increased. The 4 DGs on T23 produced about 1500kw each, we can now look at far more powerful units and more efficient electric motors. if we can push the speed on DG electric up to 20kts then the GT will be used far less often. Some of the talk of 4 DGs may have been due to the fact that T23 has 4 of which 2 are mounted on 1 deck well insulated and far above the waterline helping quiet operations. Obviously size becomes an issue. Could we see 2 big powerful DGs in an engine space and 2 smaller ones somewhere like 1 deck, allowing for lower speed silent running and 20kt DG cruise. Obviously that would not be good for commonality. The other point is power for the new “photon point defence lasers” I want at least 2 ;)

    On the subject of an Anti Ship Missile, not fitting such a missile to the T26 would remove the capability of neutralising other surface units other than with a helo or gun. There may well be some resistance to this. Also no land attack missile (which would be slightly compensated if the Oto Breda gun is purchased) means the only anti ship and land attack capability will be via SSN or CVF. Given the often Independent operations that T26 may be tasked to undertake then the Strike length silo is a nice option to have and also the possibility of fitting something like NSM on a requirement basis.

  34. martin

    @ Mark – I agree about pricing. The Aussies take it to a higher degree and include through life servicing cost’s which is the main reason for the apparent price difference between Canberra and Juan Carlos.

    @ Wise Ape

    “that’s o.k. we only shoot at what the Americans tell us to anyway.”
    Probably the reason the treasury won’t allow strike length VLS on surface ship’s

    @ Matt – That’s good news about the RN trial of scan eagle. Lest hope they sort it out.

  35. Simon257

    What chance is there of T26 carrying both the NSM for anti-ship strike and a Navalised Storm Shadow (SCALP N) for Deep Land Strike?

    Can’t see the MOD getting the NSM’s land attack capability past the Treasury!

  36. Chris.B.

    I don’t even want to imagine how long this took to put together. Nice.

  37. Mike W


    What a phenomenal post! I am now settling down to assimilate it. Shouldn’t take more than a few months.


    “However this is a opportunity to push very useful and important capabilities in-to service, paramount among them of course being a decent land attack missile… Otherwise you end up with a ship that tows a sonar and can defend itself.”

    Well, not really. The Type 23 has 4 tubes for Stingray. As TD has said, “The Type 23 has a Magazine Launched Torpedo System (MTLS) that uses 2 twin launchers for the 324mm Stingray Mod 1 lightweight torpedo.” He also quotes from “The Engineer” that indicated that the Type 26 would carry a similar system. (That is all apart from the air Stingray (or successor) carried by the helicopter).

    That means that the ship will be capable of doing much more than simply “defending itself”. With the above and the new 2087 sonar, it will be able to engage in full-scale anti-submarine warfare, aggressively hunting subs, if the need arises. That is not to say I am against adding any of the capabilities you mention. In fact, I am all for them, including the Land Attack missile!

  38. ALL Politicians are the Same

    MTLS is a defensive system, you really really do not want to put the Ship that close to a submarine. If you detect an inbound torpedo then fire one back down the bearing as you begin a TCm yes. To aggressively hunt Submarines you need a weapon carrying helo, or at a push a system capable of “flying” the torpedo to its entry point.

  39. IanB

    The strike length cells give a tempting possibility of choices (if ever funding allows):

    1) CEC with limited no of ASTER 30 for better air defence

    2) ASROC fitted with stringray for ASW standoff

    3) LRASM-B which is the TLAM replacement now under development by DARPA for the US Navy, its a hypersonic land attack missile with a anti ship capability, (should be ready for when the first Type 26 is commissioned and be retrofitted to the Type 45)

    4) Vertical Launch Fire Shadow

    5) POLAR Rockets (as per mentioned in your Previous Posts), developed from GMLRS. It has a really small warhead, but can be quad packed into a VLS launcher giving 96 relativity inexpensive missiles

    6) or ATACAMS to give a bigger range with a bigger bang

    It would be great if these weapons systems could be obtained that would give true flexibility ( before anyone says we are skint, i know)

  40. Red Trousers

    Ahh. Mention of GMLRS and ATACMS on a boat. Got my vote. It’s got to be better and a more cost-effective use of HMtQ’s limited funds than buying three separate floaty little systems (CVF + JCA, T45 and now T26) that all try to be the most self-protected boat in the water against an air threat. Got some floaty real estate going spare? Then fill it full of stuff that is going to make OPFOR cry.

    (I read a good Master’s thesis by a USN Lt who had both engineering experience and a tour as a warfare officer on a USN destroyer – summary: the engineering problems of aiming an MLRS launcher from a ship can be met without much difficulty)

    @ Jonesy. I was astonishingly grumpy with you yesterday, and intemperate in language. I offer my deep apologies.

    @ TD. Also my apologies to you – it’s your blog and you should not have to put up with that. But, I have to say, writing a second T26 post so soon after the first, and with the promise of a third to come is approaching “cruel and unusual punishment”. I know the airships post is well overdue, but do you really plan to inflict all of this nautical misery on me until I actually submit it?

  41. Jonesy


    “What I mean by a “One Shot Ship Killer Missile” is that I personnally would want to put an enemy ship and its crew on the sea bed permanently at the first attempt and not waste time and effort in trying to finish it off. Crews can easliy be sent to crew other ships, and its the crew that’s the most important part of any ship. Sorry to come across as so blood thirsty.”

    The old and oft-quoted quip, specially by the dolphins community, is that you sink ships by letting water in the bottom and not by letting air in the top!. Its a truism that does hold. See pic below:

    MV_Vereshchagino is a sub 55m 1200ton coastal merchie that was in the wrong place when the Russians decided to test fire a shore battery P-35 heavy antiship missile from Sevastopol in 2000. It was fitted with an inert warhead but it was still best part of 4 tonnes slamming into the hull at just-supersonic speeds. Not only was the ship not destroyed, as you might imagine, she was patched back up and is still operational apparently today!.

    So you begin to see how much of a challenge it is to sink a ship with a missile. Had that P-35 had an armed 1000kg warhead then sure the coaster woul have ended up in kit form, but, the weapon needed to get such a warhead to target is considerable and needs the most extreme of platforms to launch them.

    “USS Stark and HMS Glamorgan both made it home after being hit by Exocet. Although granted Glamorgan was in much better shape than the Stark due to where the missile hit. It didn’t take long for the RN to get her back to sea. As I remember visiting her when she came to Swansea in 1983.”

    The Stark and Glamorgan were both effectively put out of action and between them 50 lives were lost…men who werent all that easily replaceable…especially in the South Atlantic. Stark went home as soon as she could be made ready for the transit and Glamorgan took no further part in the Falklands action…albeit only a couple of days of action remained…the fact is still there though!.

    “Do Harpoon, Exocet or any western anti-ship missile system, have the capability of sinking a ship with a single missile strike?”

    Frigate sized or above I cant think of one. The biggest hitters are Harpoon, RBS15 and Otomat that I can think of…Otomat is credited with blasting a 6m wide hole in a 40’s era DD so it could possibly open up a light frigate quite badly, but, on the bottom would be stretching it a bit.


    “I was astonishingly grumpy with you yesterday, and intemperate in language. I offer my deep apologies.”

    No hard feelings here RT…fully expect to disagree with you again down the track somewhere mate!.


    “3) LRASM-B which is the TLAM replacement now under development by DARPA for the US Navy”

    LRASM-B was cancelled earlier this year if memory serves….its just the subsonic -A variant now. Also there is an issue with the rocket efflux on GMLRS and ATACMs which means naval deployment is a no go.

  42. Think Defence

    RT, just been reading a post over at Chris.B’s place about slop jockeys and improvisation as an antidote.

    Am working on matters aeronautical next, then I will get back to the green, honest

    I agree on GMLRS/ATACMS on a boat, its one of those ‘makes complete sense and will be cheap as chips so it will never happen ideas’ I am afraid

    The reason is that is impinges on two services, the RAF and RN, and a shit load of the equipment plan that is underpinned by all those lovely manufacturers and their flappy rotating doors

  43. Red Trousers

    Jonesy, thanks for your grace on that. I can also back you up on the sinking ships anecdote, except with airships. You take an airship down by ventilating the roof, not the sides or underside. Given that most missiles tend to be launched from below, and all counter-measures are designed to seduce missiles to lower sacrificial parts, it’s quite hard to take one down at all.

    @ TD. Good to hear. There are now less than 1400 posts until normality should be returning…..

  44. ALL Politicians are the Same

    ATAMS block IVA is anything but cheap.
    In 2010 UAE paid £600 million for 220 ATACMS missiles and 24 launcher kits. Not really that cheap. It can move a 500 pound warhead 190NM. Now Block IV Tactical TLAM comes in at £1million a missile can fit in a Mk41 silo that can also accommodate other munitions and can move a 1,000 pound warhead 900NM. TLAM should be marketing a ground launched version not ATACM a maritime launched variant.

  45. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi TD, a gold mine of information!

    You lost me in Oerlikon being selected, to be standardised on, and we have ATK Bushmaster Mk44?
    – I knew about the early Rarden being dropped, for good reasons (RT might want to tell us how long it took to fire the 100 shots at a T-59s turret?)

  46. Red Trousers


    different horses and courses.

    TLAM’s selling points are big bang and long range, which optimise it for operational / strategic level strikes against point and hardened targets. Also, the terrain following capability for operating through AD-intense environments on Day Zero missions.

    That’s not what NGS should be about. NGS is about area effect and rapid response (well , at least that’s what it should be about from the end user’s point of view). You don’t get either from TLAM, but you do from the MLRS family.

  47. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, Indeed which is why I back the combo of TLAM for strike and NGS from the 5 Inch Oto Breda.
    I just could not let the “cheap as chips” comment go.

  48. Red Trousers


    a couple of minutes? Something like that. It was about 50 rounds a weapon. If the commander can stop bouncing up and down, yelling orders into the radio, jumping onto the turret roof to get a better view (not always the case in my turret), he can get a reasonable rhythm going with loading clips of three. To compensate for my own Tigger like behaviour and excitement, my gunner used to load his own rounds, being both a brilliant gunner and left handed, so he wasn’t much slower than the manual stated for 2 man operation.

  49. Red Trousers


    sling a million quid to dstl for a study on MLRS on a boat, and if vindicated, there are several dozen spare launchers doing not very much at all in the Royal Artillery. Everything else on the T26 is going to be hand me downs, so why not MLRS recycling? The launching unit itself has about the swept footprint of a 4.5 gun, without the need to go three decks down. Use that space for missile storage. At a rough guess, you’d get 24 RPCs in a 4.5 gun below deck space, If so, that’s 144 grid squares removed before you need a replen.

  50. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, 144 grid squares from the man who advocates ROE as a restriction on using 4.5 for warning shots! Not to mention the worlds outlook on cluster munitions. I think the combo of the ability to conduct precision NGS out to 65Nm combined with the ability to fire normal range and dumb extended range shells as well as carry out all other roles associated with a MR gun swing it towards the 5 Inch LW.

  51. Red Trousers


    what Oto Breda gun is firing out to 65 nm?

    Point on ROE is that you are not going to get allowance to fire warning shots beyond visual range and I was making the point in relation to operations short of war. If you’ve got eyes on, fair enough, but the error budget and met calculations for warning shots is going to make it impracticable. What happens if you sink a yacht full of Americans making a perfectly legal passage from one island to another?

  52. x

    A T45-esque ship with the 62(?)cell VLS fore (AAW) and aft (cruise choose your flavor), one in the Med, one in the Northern Indian Ocean and “we” would hit a good chunk of anything we wanted to hit.

    One of the mantras here is we can’t do everything. But I think many here would reduce the RN to OPV and MCMV and have squadrons of land based FJ to launch stand off munitions than have a frigate/escort/surface combatant than can do everything from ASW to NGS to deep strike to cocktail party to pirate chasing to SAR. The argument never seems to run here other services giving up stuff always RN. The tri-service, Sunday black & white war film, salami sliced model is intellectually idle. Better 12 x £100million aircraft and support cast of 230 or so than can only one a couple of things and are awkward to move than a ship that can travel 8000 miles, do arrange of tasks, with a supporting cast of what is for T26 120 or whatever. Hurts me head it does.

  53. Mike W


    “MTLS is a defensive system, you really really do not want to put the Ship that close to a submarine. If you detect an inbound torpedo then fire one back down the bearing as you begin a TCm yes. To aggressively hunt Submarines you need a weapon carrying helo, or at a push a system capable of “flying” the torpedo to its entry point.”

    Well, thanks, APATS, for that. I bow to your superior knowledge, as I am a landlubber. You will notice, though, that I did mention the helicopter with air weapon too.

  54. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT The new Oto Breda 5 iNch LW will fire guided Vulcano Ammo out to 65Nm. Combine with scan eagle or other live feed UAV and you have a precision system. It cam also fire non guided extended range ammo out to 40Nm and standard 5 inch ammo hen that is all that is required.
    Warning shots are best fire from within visual range, has more impact if vessel sees where they are coming from.

  55. Mike

    Grand post TD, always like looking at T26 design, something we still do well… but you should have put in a smallprint “subject to terms and conditions with the RN finding the funds from its budget…”

    I really like the idea of cross decking some of the equipment from the ’23 to the ’26… sure, it means not the cutting edge, but would avoid the ‘fitted for but not with’ mantra of ’45… then again, each has its benefits and pitfalls.

    Interesting stuff, looking forward to the next installment.

  56. Red Trousers


    thanks for the link, but I am still giggling. Can you point me to a NGS munition that has a proper bang when it gets out to 65 nm, not something that’s got 3.2 kgs of explosive and as much shrapnel as you can get from a sub-calibre round about the size of a baseball bat?

    {EDIT, scaling that to something we all know about, it is slightly less lethal than an 81 mm mortar shell. Well woopy doo, but it’s hardly a war winner}

    The Vulcano seems like a solution in search of a problem to me.

  57. SomewhatInvolved

    Thanks x, well said, fully agree (second bit that is!).

    TD, cracking post. Couple of observations, as Anixtu said I think the T26 will be CODLAG not CODLOG. The electric motors are usually fully integrated into the shaft and are not easily disconnected or removed.

    On the propulsion front I would agree with many that the WR21 is an expensive and unreliable option, and following recent export success the MT30 promises much more. I would also expect to see only one – with the improvements in diesel electric drive and probably more powerful diesels, only one GT will be needed (especially at 36MW) to achieve sprint speed. It would probably be coupled via a split gearbox of some type, not unusual in current warship propulsion design (I’m sure the Germans use something similar for their CODAG plant).

    Will the GP and ASW ships be a ‘fleet within a fleet’? I don’t think so – the only difference between the two ought to be the provision or not of the towed array, as everything else is a case of manning and selecting the right aviation asset. The expense of making the ship acoustically low-profile will be in the design and trials stage. After rafting machinery on 8 hulls, it’s a pretty desperate designer that then saves a few quid not rafting on the rest of the class. Acoustic modules and other such bits are normally required anyway on the diesel and gas turbine engines, usually supplied by the manufacturer, so I really don’t think the non-TA ships will be any noisier. Commonality is a great tool for reducing cost and increasing reliability, so I think the two will be nearly identical.

    On the boat launch and recovery side, I think there are distinct advantages in this design, mainly because the same launch and recovery crane/davit is likely to be an extension of the cargo handling system integral to the mission bay. If that’s the case, and the cranes extend far enough, the T26 could in theory onload and offload cargo alongside without the need for support. A single launch/recovery/handling system would be better future-proofed for whatever the ship may be called upon to handle.

    I think this ship is turning out to be one of the most cost efficient projects the MOD has ever undertaken. It seems to me that risk has been reduced or addressed in nearly every aspect of this ship’s design, in ways that are common sense and which do not depend on expensive, one-off or exotic solutions. This will be rugged, dependable, reliable and effective way into the future. How many other MOD projects of late could say the same?

  58. SomewhatInvolved

    RT, small shells are not war winners but they limit collateral damage. Precision munitions with small kill radii are what we use today and what we require in future – Brimstone is a prime example. It’s all about getting past the targeting restrictions. It is why the 4.5″ is not effective, because with an error in first salvo of potentially 800 yards, it cannot be deemed to be accurate enough for precision targeting.

    Amazing this, a matelot knowing about targeting…

  59. ALL Politicians are the Same

    When 7 or 8 land on top of a certain hut in a camp or a SAM radar with another 4 or 5 arriving on the 2 launchers in the space of 20 seconds fired from a vessel 20NM offshore in the dark hitting targets 30Nm inshore that never ever knew the vessel existed I am sure they will be giggling as well.
    They are not designed to make a massive bang. They are designed for precision.

  60. Challenger

    @Mike W

    Afraid that the Stingray torpedo launchers fitted on the T23 and will in the future probably end up on the T26 are a last ditch defensive weapon which would only be used in a desperate situation.

    I don’t disagree that the sonar and helicopter combo is an effective anti-submarine system. However the sonar is the bit that has to be tailored to a specific ship and vice versa, the helicopter can be operated from any platform that has the space. This stuff is a frigates bread and butter and has been for many years, not disagreeing with that in the slightest.

    What I am saying though is that a new class of ship is a chance to really think about the modern needs of the RN and to implement meaningful changes. It’s the point where people can look at land attack weaponry, a step up in anti-ship capability, a new main gun, a more comprehensive and layered defensive screen, a mission bay and plenty more.

    It looks as if we will see a fair bit of innovation in some areas. I’m just fearful that in other areas we won’t. I really don’t want to see what’s essentially a new T23 that has better defensive armament and decent sonar but nothing more because that isn’t taking advantage of the situation to introduce new/improved capabilities that the RN could really use.

  61. x

    @ Somewhat

    The amount of crap I spout there is always a point where everybody agrees with me.

  62. Red Trousers


    we may be at cross purposes. NGS to support land forces should be an area effect with massive firepower. It may not be used too often, but when it is you want to see the entire hillside hit all at once, with enough shrapnel and explosive hatred to shock OPFOR’s survivors for 300 yards in every direction into putting up their hands.

    If you want to drop little pinprick bombs onto precise targets (a perfectly reasonable thing to do in other scenarios), there are a lot easier ways of achieving it than crossing a component boundary over a comms system stretching from an observer on the ground to a ship well beyond VHF range, and with both ends needing to see the same picture. And, under UK rules, the authority to fire comes from the observer on the ground (or in the absence of an observer, the targeting cell in the relevant HQ, but certainly not the ship itself).

  63. x

    I thought as a rule of thumb one naval gun equals one conventional artillery battery. If there are 3 surface combatants that is basically one artillery regiment or a brigade’s worth. That is hardly Western Front circa 1917 but in modern terms it is a lot of fire.

  64. IanB


    Can i point out the ATACAM has a slight advantage over TLAM in its ballistic trajectory against terrain following flight.

    So ATACAM/GMLRS(POLAR) can be used against urban targets (where missile comes down directly onto the target rather than flying into the side of the target).

    Certain groups do love fighting from protected areas such as hospital car parks, school playgrounds etc where they know they are safe from TLAM, but not death from above.

    Also TLAM is fairly easy to shoot down when you know its coming ATACAM is impossible unless you have a patriot battery somewhere.

    Just read the LRASM-B just got canned, so no replacement for the Harpoon and TLAM, but they are developing a TLAM with a Anti-ship capability

  65. Red Trousers


    but it does not. Rate of fire is less important than spread of impact, and one thing you certainly cannot do is lift and move fire on order. Eight AS90 barrels firing at rapid is a lot more impressive than single naval shells arriving over a period of time, even if the explosive weight is about even. From observation, the NGS always tends to arrive onto roughly the same piece of turf, which is pretty useless.

    However, you are not the only person to believe this. Lots of people do.

  66. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, The 5 inch gun can fire dumb 5 inch shells to provide fire support at normal ranges with an increased bang and a rate of fire of 25 rounds per minute. As in Al Faw when 3 RN Ships and HMAS Anzac were on the gun line. The precision attack capability with guided shells at long range is new.
    As for stretching a component etc, well during OUP the authority to fire was delegated to the spotter on the MPA. Also bear in mind that we are talking accuracies of less than 25ft here more in common with a missile than a gun. Also the Ship utilising a UAV in future may well have a live feed allowing the Ship to authorise fire itself. We do train people to be able to do so.
    Ian B
    ATACAM does have some advantages but it is not “cheap as chips”. Not many TLAM have been shot down in fairness but they do a different job. the USN did look at developing a NATACAM but cancelled it due to expense and its very niche capability. after the initial theatre entry capability precision vertical urban strike moves towards the Army and if the USN/USMC need it then aviation fulfills the role.
    Believe the USN are looking at a hypersonic demonstrator engine but will introduce a development of the old TASM in the meantime. Maybe we should be looking to push Perseus development and get the US onboard.

  67. Red Trousers


    you are still in targeting and strike mode (ie without boots on the ground). I am talking NGS. They are different. What you want for targeting is very different from what you want from NGS.

    The whole conversation started with talk of MLRS family weapons being launched. Clearly, no one is going to suggest that for precision use, but you have not suggested anything other than the gun for NGS use, and it is a pretty poor weapon for that. First round who knows where, when it does get going it then tries to explosively drill a single hole in the ground at two second intervals, and is completely unreactive to lift and shift. Just not what you want in NGS.

  68. Anixtu


    “as Anixtu said I think the T26 will be CODLAG not CODLOG”

    I emphatically did not, and have not, said that. I have not seen anything clear and definitive from RN, MoD or BAE, but most secondary sources currently indicate CODLOG. There was reportedly a BAE presentation at an event in the spring that stated CODLOG quite specifically.

  69. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, we could not drill a hole in the ground with 4.5 if we tried, it is simply not accurate enough. You get quite a spread of shot, as for lift and shift, Liverpool engaged 4 targets in its first NGS mission during OUP. Hey but what do I know about Naval Gunfire support?

  70. Mark

    Maybe mistaken but I don’t recall ever hearing that we sent mlrs to the gulf in 2003. If that’s the case it mustn’t have been to high up the list of things we needed considering that was about as high intensity as it gets for the uk. I fear we’re attempting to make up uses for army stuff we no longer have a use for.

  71. ALL Politicians are the Same

    An edit to my above but cannot get function to work.

    MLRS is pretty unbeatable for shock and awe but what the proposed 5 inch mount on the T26 brings is.
    1. Precision shelling out to 65Nm.
    2. Full range of constabulary functions.
    3. Abilty to fire 25 rounds a minute in support of amphib ops without having to be a shore or have a base to fire from.

  72. Red Trousers


    lift and shift is within a fire mission, not between them. Micro variations ordered to each or all of the barrels firing within the overall rounds allocated. Can a naval ship react quickly to individual adjustments between rounds fired to “add 400”, “left 200”, “drop 200”, “Right 200”? No, it cannot, and chiefly because it is typically over 2 radio circuits, and the decimals need to be converted into lat/longs, and then applied given knowledge of the ship’s course and speed, and there is not time for that in between rounds.

    How quickly were Liverpool’s targets engaged in those 4 missions? Anything less than 4 minutes for all four targets is hardy breaking into a sweat in terms of fire missions. We called 703 fire missions (each of multiple rounds, missiles or bombs) in less than 15 hours in GW1. Can a frigate cope with that?

    {EDIT, and forgive me as I am in full “bid mode” at the moment and ruthlessly editing our bid documents to eliminate “so what?” statements}

    What is the practical value of your statements 1-3?

    Precision shelling with what impact (ie the 81mm bomb). Where’s the ISTAR?

    What are constabulary functions, and how are they not also capable of being undertaken by other systems?

    25 rpm. So what? What impact does this have if all of the rounds land in the same place? After the first, everyone local is dead and everyone not too local has run in the opposite direction. (it really is the flogging the dead horse analogy. The horse died with the first round. No point in bouncing the mud about endlessly)

  73. Simon

    Can a naval gun do MLSI yet? That really is a terrifying effect.

  74. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, You do know that we can now convert automatically and as proven during OUP with the spotter on the MPA we had one radio circuit so generally the 2 or 3 corrections required to be applied took seconds few. With a Ships UAV we can be down to looking at a picture in the Ops room and making corrections internally therefore being on zero circuits. What you refer to as lift and shift we call “corrections’ A shift would be to shift target.
    703 different fire missions in 15 hours is hardly the job of an FF/DD that typically carrier 200-250 shells. Bear in mind the same platform in between supplying NGS for an AMPHIB OP not an entire invasion may also be.
    1. Utilising her helo on a surface search to find and engage enemy FAC.
    2. Using Sonar to guard against enemy SSKs interfering with any landing.
    3. Monitoring any airborne assualt and maintaining readiness to provide AAW cover as required.
    That is why it is a multirole Frigate and not an artillery battalion.

    The rounds do not land in the same whole we could not do it if we tried. I have been part of many NGS serials and the safest place to hide would be the first hole.

    Constab Ops.
    1. Warning Shots.
    2, Diasabling Fire.
    3. Fire designed to neutralise a surface threat.

    A 81MM mortar bomb that can fly 65Nm and land on a specific vehicle/building and can then drop another 10 within 10 feet and 12 seconds will still kill you. ISTAR on an advanced FF could be UAV, Satellite feed etc. It is a precision capability that we currently just do not possess.

    However given the accuracy it is very much like asking where the ISTAR is for a TLAM strike.

  75. Red Trousers


    as the entire of TD seems to be fantasy fleet at the moment, let’s just agree the utility of a FF with both a Oto gun and an MLRS launcher. There’s lots of space, once you strip out the multiple redundant AD systems.

  76. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT. I am so not biting on multiple redundant AD systems. “Photon lasers” though, how cool is that?

  77. x

    @ RT

    If “they” can get a robot to spray a car evenly within tolerances of a few microns I should think “they” could be able to get a gun mount to move a few minutes or whatever between each shot to hurt more blades of grass across a greater area.

    Remind me again about the MLRS bomblets are they permissible or not?

    I thought the whole idea of manoeuvre when applied to amphibious warfare was to land where the enemy aren’t entrenched? And surely if we are to attempt another GW1 or GW2 we will be only doing so with Americans? Anything else will be small scale against small scale enemies with small scale weapons requiring small scales of fire.

    If this an argument for more ships with more mounts keep it up. :)

  78. Red Trousers

    You are not meant to bite on the redundant AD systems (can’t see what good that would do, chewing missiles and launchers, but each to their own). You are meant to see the futility and £waste given that we’ve already bought CVF + JCA plus T45 and that no one since 1982, and before then not since 1944, has anyone ever tried to attack one of our ships from the air.

    Not to say it won’t happen, but in terms of systemic risk mitigation at the MoD level, we appear to be putting all of our money into the AD of ships at sea basket, and bugger all into anything else.

  79. Red Trousers


    no, it’s the human input you need. Sure they could automate a few metres here and there, but you need the man on the end telling you which way to go depending on how OPFOR is reacting.

  80. ALL Politicians are the Same

    RT, Nobody since 1945 has ever got to Calais. The Army has never fought on British soil since Culloden. Actually we did suffer air attacks in 1950 during the Korean war.

    On a serious note. T26 has Sea Ceptor so she can protect herself when on independent tasking and as it is a good system it allows a modicum of protection to other vessels in company.
    The whole principle of Layered Air Defence is to ensure that the Mission essential unit or units reach their objective. that may be a convoy of troops, A carrier or an Amphib.
    The firts strand to this is airborne early warning and combat air patrol. this may be E3D and ground based fighter or Carrier based AEW and fighter cover. This allows the recognised air picture to be maintained and hopefully any enemy missile carriers to be engaged before they fire their missiles. Inside this we have long range Air Defence ships to engage, enemy aircraft that get through, or missiles or pop up targets. then we have the Frigates who can generally only protect themselves unless in the goal keeping position to look after the HVU. The Frigates primary role will be looking for enemy Submarines.
    Finally we have any ship fitted CWIS.
    Now given the the fact that an SSK that fires a sea skimming missile at the HVU from 20Nm after making a silent approach automatically trigger an air threat and that FAC firing surface to surface missiles become an air threat. Hezbollah terrorists with a C802 are an air threat, the layered approach as used by all navies is the best way to ensure that the MEu actually arrives where it is meant to.
    A MLRS instead of sea Ceptor is not much use when the T26 cannot engage the pop up missile which hits and sets on fire an amphib or troop carrier.
    Ships compress targets and casualties, a mssile strike or air raid against a battalion spread out and dug in or able to scatter will cause a certain amount of damage. A couple of big anti ship missiles hitting the same battalions troop transport will cause 50% plus casualties.

  81. x

    @ RT

    If we are hitting several acres of hill side how can the FOO do more? If you want to react to enemy movements we are back to one shot per target? Confused.

  82. Red Trousers


    typically, you’d call for fire on the centre of a position, but after getting onto target you then walk the whole box back and forward, left or right. It is a very generous and progressive system: you want to give every member of OPFOR his own personal donation of 155mm shrapnel, whether he is at rear left or front right, and there may be several hundred metres between them. But you do it applying it to the most threatening first.

  83. x

    @ Red Trousers

    I see what you are saying it is a question of resolution. You are walking 8 barrels at once across a target area. I am suggesting 3 barrels do the work of eight (because of their greater rate of fire) but you are saying that won’t work. Right I get you.

  84. SomewhatInvolved

    Anixtu, sorry, must have misread. How do you achieve CODLOG? Do you think the motors would connect via a gearbox and clutch? I can’t see that being particularly clever. How else would you achieve CODLOG? CODLAG makes much more sense to me, as the setup is simpler and, in keeping with the spirit of T26, is proven.

    Or do you mean that at higher powers the GT driving the shaft effectively does not need the motors to assist it, therefore the motors require no power supplied to them, thus effectively achieving CODLOG?

  85. SomewhatInvolved

    x, APATS, just to add something on this. I believe the Army is capable of producing what’s called a ‘sheaf’ pattern with an artillery battery, which can be manipulated to cover different sized areas at different intensities of shellfire. A tight sheaf would bring higher effect in a smaller area, vice versa for a looser sheaf. Apparently it’s all codified and laid down in what passes for Army doctrine.

    The 4.5″ can’t do sheaves because of the limitations of the fire control system. It’s something we would hope to acquire in any future gun system, and would be a very easy modification to the existing gun system (if anyone could persuade the budgeteers to release the funding).

    I think the precision attack capability will be far more critical – if you give a ship the ability to hit time-sensitive targets with a low-collateral damage weapon, it fits far more with the likely operations we’d be involved in.

  86. McZ

    Very well done post indeed.

    One thought on missile-armament: I share the view, that we won’t get the Kongsberg NSM.

    Through Team Complex Weapons, we will get FASGW-H, which is around 100kg, carried Lynx. Additionally, there will be SPEAR 3 (, which is a different beast also at 100kg with 100km range, to be integrated with F-35 and Typhoon.

    So, we may have 2 candidates, who maybe applicable to the cold-launch-VLS-tubes fitted for Sea Ceptor (which are basically the same 3×4 canisters as will be used for the land-based version; therefore, it would always be possible to bolt another silo on deck).

    What we should do additionally is to bring CAMM to the Wildcat. And maybe we should develop an ARM-version, alternatively fromd SPEAR 3, which may happen to be a better fit. (From the pictures I wonder, if SPEAR 3 has a loitering capability. The missile itself looks to be quite modular.)

    I guess, the fitting of Tomahawk would only add risk and cost to a program, which should produce vessels in the first place. It would be nice to have, but again I question whether T26 is the right platform. We could put tons of those on a converted container-vessel. Or we could finally use the T45s room reserves. Accepting that a hit-and-run cruise missile attack has to be done in contested waters, this would also be a much safer bet. (But then, we may have to renumber them to T83.)

    Perseus is an interesting concept, but I cannot see this happen in the next 10 years. Too many overlaps with Storm Shadow.

  87. Red Trousers

    “at what passes for Army doctrine…”

    I should say “wash your mouth out with soap” or something similar, but doctrine has little place on a battlefield. It’s too late by then. What you need are drills and skills. Doctrine is for courses, thinking about, adapting and trying out on exercises, then adopting what actually works and making it second nature.

    Have not heard it called “sheaf” before, but the description is about right.

  88. ALL Politicians are the Same

    SI, That makes sense that the army would be interested in a method of actually covering an area prior to an assault, they have been since Nosey was a lad. Would think it must be a reasonably simple thing to programme into a mount though.
    Agree with you on precision attack. A really significant capability upgrade.

    “Godfather says that doctrine is the last refuge of the unimaginative” Quote from that USMC Lt Col in Generation Kill the HBO mini series about 1st Marine Recon in Iraq 2003. Who I believe stole it from General Mattis.

  89. John Hartley

    The T26 looks ok, but so did the early renditions of the T45. Then the MoD/Treasury started cheese paring & out went Harpoon/Tomahawk/Torpedos/CEC/155mm gun/ tough hull. So we ended up with a merchant ship in drag.
    I fear the same will happen with T26.
    Mind you, if Israel bombs Iran next month, war will come a decade before Whitehall is ready.

  90. x

    If the gun’s elevation is altered between shot unless the target is at an extreme range the shells can be made to land on target at the same time. The OM 127mm Vulcano systems can throw out a shell every 1.5 sec. More than enough time to move the barrel, alter elevation. 6 shot salvo from 3 ships. Done properly the FOO would be controlling the guns from ashore.

  91. Red Trousers


    what you don’t want is 18 shells arriving in 3 places all at the same time. What you want is 18 shells arriving in 18 places within a few hundred yards of each other at the same time. Can this be done, and then reliably repeated with another 18 shells arriving all relatively add 400, left 200, and then again and again and again?

    After that, you still have the issue that 127 mm is a bit of a pop gun. Not much HE, not much effect. I know it is the last vestige that connects Trafalgar to the modern Andrew, but to be honest, it’s a little overtaken by the years.

    APATS says there are only some 250 rounds on board. So, after the first 15 minutes, what then?

  92. Think Defence

    Does multiple round simultaneous impact require a stable firing platform, how does that work from a bobbin up an down ship?

    Is it possible?

  93. x

    @ Red Trousers

    Um. I think the OM mount with Vulcano is a bit ahead of the humble AS90. If a company like OM can get a mount to track a sea skimming missile doing in excess of 500kts and hit it I should imagine working a firing solution to hit a field moving at 0 kts with a pattern of shells shouldn’t be too difficult. The mount is only a machine no different from say CNC machine. Actually it is probably a lot simpler. Heck you can iPhone and Android apps to do ballistic profiles for rifle rounds; I should hope a multi-million pound arms company could come up with something more sophisticated.

    I am going to post the Vulcano video again.

  94. x

    @ Think Defence said “Does multiple round simultaneous impact require a stable firing platform, how does that work from a bobbin up an down ship?”

    Oh dear. It is late isn’t it?

  95. ALL Politicians are the Same

    @TD A gyro stabilised computer controlled command system fed mounting can do some clever stuff. What it can do depends upon the program. As SI said current mounts are not programmed to replicate the army sheaf style pattern.
    It is all slight irrelevant though because until RT works out how to get his AS90 mounts in position to support an amphib assault they are just cargo and Naval gunfire Support is not designed to support Ops in land. That is why one is an artillery asset and one a multi role maritime asset. Given the army uses a lot of 105MM calling a 127mm a pop gun is a bit rude surely.
    Though precision extended range munitions will allow a surgical input.
    As for current NGS, Royal and iraqi alike were quite impressed (for different reasons at (Al Faw).

  96. Red Trousers


    not ever suggested AS90 mounts. I did suggest a MLRS mount, which is entirely different. And NGS is designed to support Ops inland – that’s the point, and the clue is in the name. Other forms of precision effects also delivered by the gun have other purposes, all no doubt equally valid.


    all possible. Point is, they have not yet. And as SI pointed out upthread, normally the first round is somewhere within about 800 m of where it should be, so there’s a way to go yet.

    (Reviewing Oto’s literature, it’s also all dependent on a GPS fix. Let’s hope OPFOR don’t have a GPS jammer, because there’s no plan B)

  97. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Rt Actually the Vulcano rounds have a back up Inertial Motion Unit. T hey are also working on an IR head for use against surface vessels.
    Actually NFS it is called Naval Fires. Of which NGS is a small part. It is designed to support operations within the range of its weapon system. The other 2 elements are maritime based air and maritime launched missiles.

    I agree that an MLRS mount would be nice but it would have to be an and not an or. Or we could park one on the Flight deck of a Frigate and use it for initial firing ahead of a landing. Fire the lot of , reload repeat a few times, then push the launcher over the side. :)

  98. Jonesy

    “(Reviewing Oto’s literature, it’s also all dependent on a GPS fix. Let’s hope OPFOR don’t have a GPS jammer, because there’s no plan B)”

    Isnt GMLRS similarly dependent on GPS….so the GPS jammer that bollocks’ up Vulcano fire is also hobbling a notional GMLRS capability?

  99. Brian Black

    “…we appear to be putting all of our money into the AD of ships at sea basket, and bugger all into anything else.”
    “…out went Harpoon/Tomahawk/Torpedoes/CEC/155mm…”

    That seems to be the problem with the surface fleet; 95 percent defensive, when what you really want are ships that put the willies up the enemy with just the thought of their offensive power. We’re going to reach the point when no enemy will ever attack the fleet because: A, they’ll never succeed, and B, because the fleet is no threat to them for its lack of offensive capability. The ships are becoming irrelevant redoubts that enemies can afford to ignore.

  100. Red Trousers


    I would not get too excited about RN frigates having a utility beyond supporting amphibious landings. When was the last time one did anything other than a cocktail party circuit since 1945? I mean, did something only a frigate could do? Ummmm… Even in the Falklands, frigates were not used in their proper role, and do not either appear by their presence to have frightened off Carlos Fandango. Difficult in the face of cold hard facts to make an argument for us to be spending money on them, as they don’t have a role outside of nautical dreams, nor contribute much at all.

    You can write that large for the entire Navy.

    If your frigates are so ruddy useful, perhaps we can deploy HMS Wonderful to Helmand for 6 months next year instead of 3 RIFLES? The entire boat that is. All 6,000 odd tonnes, dragged through the desert. Seems a stupid idea.

  101. Red Trousers


    no. GMLRS has 3 guidance systems, all non-interdependent, only one of which is GPS.

  102. Jonesy


    With no degradation in precision?.

    Genuine question – all I know about GMLRS it is the Germans reckoned the rocket exhaust was corrosive and damaging to the firing ship so backed away from it for their F125 capability set.

  103. Red Trousers


    yes, degradation in precision: I don’t know how much, but it would not be more than the basic MLRS which relies on ballistic computations. When you are removing grid squares, the error budget is a bit of a moot point unless it is gross.

  104. Jonesy

    Doesnt the basic MLRS overcome the unguided-ballistic computation issue by bussing out 600-odd submunitions?. Something that is now frowned on and would have us back on CNN’s bad boys list faster than Amnesty International and the Guardian could start wringing their hands?.

    So effectively the same GPS jammer that hobbles OTO also turns MLRS from ’70km sniper’ to screaming tabloids ‘mass murdering war criminal’?.

  105. martin

    @ X

    The cluster munitions prohibitions bill 2010 stops UK armed forces from using any form on cluster munitions including the MLRS rounds. It removes a hell of a lot of the effectiveness of the system.

    I have to say I don’t agree with this Uk policy and I think if we ever had to fight a high intensity op 1982 style with out US assistance we would be at a major disadvantage.

    I think it would be a big mistake not to fit T26 with Strike VLS. One idea that I liked is fitting both T26 and T45 with a mixture of Mk41 and A70 VlS. That way when a new weapon comes along that we like we can just buy a few.

    with modern weapons becoming more plug and play this gives us a greater option. If the US does develop an anti ship TLAM it would give us a decent option for both T45 and T26 with out the need to fit harpoon.

    I do hope we develop Perseus but I can’t see such a complicated system coming in at less than several billion which is just not in the mod budget for the next 10 to 15 years and we probably have better things to spend the money on. Not much export potential for such a destructive weapon either.

    With the Vulcano ammunition, We will be buying a gun for T26 and it has to be off the shelf. The Otto 127mm seems the best option so if we are buying the gun we may as well buy the precision ammo. Its not the kind of thing we are going to use to bomb the beaches of Normandy but even just a few rounds on board a ship gives increases the utility of a vessel greatly. Around 40 % of the worlds population live with in 100km of the coast well inside the Vulcano’s range.

    Does any one know if it would be possible to swap the 4.5 out on the T45 for the 127 Otto or is their insufficient room?

    I take James point about the limitations of the 127mm round. It would have been nice to have the 155 however if we are talking about time sensitive targets possibly in urban areas then the 127 should be fine for most tasks an in some better with a smaller foot print.

  106. Aussie Johnno

    A general question to anybody who may know.
    Everybody is automatically linking the Volcano round to the OTO lightweight 5″64.
    Is there any particular reason why the Volcano round could not be used with any 5″ NATO standard mount?
    I acknowledge you would need to use an extended barrel to achieve maximum performance with a given propellent load but would the pure ballistic performance of a Mk45 mod 4 62cal be significantly different to the OTO 64?
    The OTO light weight is an attemt to do what has failed multible times before. That is to produce a 4.5 or larger naval gun that can reliably sustain more than 20 rounds a minute. So it needs to be treated with some caution. With only one turret a reliable gun is worth more than a jammed gun.

  107. Red Trousers


    the Vulcano has a CEP of 20 metres, Oto claim. That’s not very precise, and even less useful in urban areas where buildings get in the way. The explosive carried is too small to have any notable effect if it impacts up to 20 metres away (and the round’s casing is thin metal shaped for aerodynamic efficiency, not for creating large amounts of shrapnel). The direction of attack is fixed, unlike air-dropped munitions, and the time of flight at maximum range has got to be well over a minute, more likely 2 minutes, which again rules it out for time sensitive targets even if the observer is directly plugged in to the ship. There is no mid-course guidance on the round, and no ability to steer it into a safe area if a bus full of schoolchildren arrives in frame.

    Whatever the merits may be of hurling 3.2 kgs of explosive 65 nm away to land within 20 metres of the desired point, time sensitive targeting is not among them.

  108. SomewhatInvolved

    Johnno, there are concerns amongst some of my colleagues about the reliability of Oto Melara which I guess is why the competition is still open. I would imagine there is no reason the Vulcano rounds cannot be fired from a standard 5″ except for the data connection which would upload the coordinates. That would have to go in once the round was loaded to overcome the time sensitivity issue i.e. at the breach. Apart from that, should be possible.

    RT, 20m CEP is as good as anything else guided by GPS and meets the definition of acceptable precision to a targeting board. Naval gunfire is just one weapon amongst many. A PNGS round, even if it does take 2 miuntes to get there, surely is better than a Typhoon armed with Brimstone which is half an hour away, or worst case, nothing. It is not a perfect solution – but it is very useful. Aren’t we trying to get away from chasing down idealistic projects costing billions in favour of something available now, which works?

    You seem to be making every effort to discount precision NGS in favour of navalised GMLRS, but if the vaunted Germans couldn’t make it work then I suspect it is a moot point.

  109. ArmChairCivvy

    RE “Just read the LRASM-B just got canned, so no replacement for the Harpoon and TLAM, but they are developing a TLAM with a Anti-ship capability”
    – actually, In January already
    – instead of the high and fast B, the subsonic stealthy A is based on JASSM
    – in the interim, the TLAM will step in (even that will take to 2015, but Perseus is for around 2030, so not so bad afterall).LRASM guidance set has been tested already, wonder if they will end up on the modified TLAMs?

  110. jedibeeftrix

    “unless some of the more advanced fastening and securing methods are used they will have to be secured using traditional chain and jacks”

    In the US there is no problem having manned ISO containers operated from the deck and fastened via the standard clamps (jacks?).

    However, this is not permissable (for civilian use at least*) in UK waters.

    Does the fact that:
    1. this is not a civilian use
    2. it is not operated from an open deck
    Make any difference to the likelyhood of mission containers being fastened via standard ISO clamps?

    If the above do not affect the final equation then we might be looking at Admin’s more ‘advanced’ fastening and securing method…………..

    * or so i am informed by weatherbeaten aberdeen types.

  111. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Johnno,

    Here’s a fast and reliable one for you

    I admit that 50-60 t for the twin turret is quite hefty, but the article ignores a later single-gun turret used by Finland and Indonesia. It was fitted on vessels of only 1200 t full displacement.

    RE “The OTO light weight is an attemt to do what has failed multible times before. That is to produce a 4.5 or larger naval gun that can reliably sustain more than 20 rounds a minute. So it needs to be treated with some caution. With only one turret a reliable gun is worth more than a jammed gun.”

  112. martin

    @ RT– I understood it to have terminal laser guidance. I don’t think it will be all the useful but as I said before if we already have to buy the gun then having at least a few rounds on board a frigate won’t cost much and may come in handy one day. I take your point that it’s not all that precise or that big a war head. However any weapon available in going to have its limitations for time sensitive targets especially when civilians are near by. If it an option between firing some of these rounds from a frigate or not being able to do anything then it’s worth having. Again nice to have it if does not cost too much. Kind of like TLAM on the Type 26.

  113. x

    @ RT re GPS

    I would watch that video I posted. In an age where every military force depends on GPS extent I think you will find OM have thought about that problem.

    I don’t understand about the 800m. I will go back up to read what SI said. Um. If you are out with guided ammunition you put in fresh co-ordinates and move the fall of shot. More easily done with PGM from OM127 than conventional munitions from AS90 (even with its gunnery computer.)

    As for not being there yet in the Late Medieval period cannon killed more gun teams than enemy. There has to be a starting point.

  114. Brian Black

    Re, SI’s comment on data connection for the gun. This is an extract from the USN’s archive that makes me wonder whether the Oto M love-in is misguided and whether buying into a US system package as a whole would be better/simpler.

    “Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) provides the ship with the on-board ability to plan GPS-only Tactical TLAM missions and modify in-flight Tactical TLAMs to new GPS coordinates … Additionally, TTWCS will become the cornerstone for Land Attack Weapons Control by the integration of the Naval Fires Control System, the Extended-Range Guided Munition, and the Land-Attack Missile fire control system with Tactical Tomahawk.”

  115. x

    “if a bus full of schoolchildren appears in frame”

    That is a risk with any munition fired from any system. There is a point where buttons and peddles are pressed and triggers are pulled. Reminds me some of the rhubarb spoken about Storm Shadow during Ellamy. “Better than TLAM just in case.” In some ways it is part of the same argument about soldiers only firing when fired at or battalions not being allowed to take sniper rifles on peace keeping missions. I know rogue regimes put civilians in harm’s way and I know the media likes to inflame occurrences of collateral damage. But there comes a point surely where the games has to be played or why be there? When do the deaths of few outweigh the deaths of thousands and suffering of thousands more? All it is an argument not to do anything. It is a binary decision, them or us. One hopes the Chinese play to the same rules. If not to quote a line from my favourite film “we’re stupid and we’ll die”.

  116. x

    @ Martin

    I was being a bit naughty as I know about cluster munitions from GMLRS. The point I was alluding too was exactly the one you make out that without them the system is neutered. In Afghanistan it is basically being used a single tube PGM because we have it not because it cost effective. Well perhaps more cost effective than putting a Tornado into the air. My understanding is that there is a few RA bods in a tent. They get fire missions. Prep the launcher and whoosh! All looks rather civilised and apart from the tent and sand could be a corner of an OPS room in a ship or a UAV piloting facility in Nevada.

  117. Anixtu


    “How do you achieve CODLOG? Do you think the motors would connect via a gearbox and clutch?”

    That is one of the questions I have regarding CODLOG. I am not an engineer, but are there not problems with motors acting as generators if turned by an outside agency? So a clutch seems likely, though a gearbox would be superfluous.

  118. Simon257

    Ref: GMLRS in Afghanistan.

    When the RA crews manning the GMLRS Launchers get the call to conduct a fire mission, Once they get the green light to launch a missile from HQ and Air Traffic Control. They have to jump in the MLRS vehicle, drive to a specified launch site, which is well clear of anyone or anything else, then they conduct the launch. Then once done they drive back to the tent for a brew!

    The reason they launch from a safe distance is that the smoke fumes that are released when the missile is launched is that their not very good for you!

  119. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi BB,

    What’s the date on the archived USN piece? Namely, the naval long-range guided round is one of the cancellations. So is the gun, to go with it, but other countries have bought it regardless (minus the munition).

  120. Dunservin

    @James / RT / Whatever

    “…Even in the Falklands, frigates were not used in their proper role, and do not either appear by their presence to have frightened off Carlos Fandango. Difficult in the face of cold hard facts to make an argument for us to be spending money on them, as they don’t have a role outside of nautical dreams, nor contribute much at all.

    You can write that large for the entire Navy.”

    – The entire Navy, eh? You’re really showing your true colours now. Opinionated ignorance (even bigotry) at its worst and my BS meter, flickering on amber at the best of times, has just shot off the scale w.r.t. your professed lofty and well-connected former status in the Army. No reasonably senior Army officer would have displayed such scorn or ignorance of non-Pongo capabilities (e.g. naval fires) although you might well have picked up a few buzz words on board the Sea Cadet training ship HMS Bristol. As for a senior Army officer assuming the role and duties of a Trooper for two weeks during an operational deployment (let alone nine of them!), do you really think I was born yesterday?

    – Consider yourself ‘outed’. You are the Army’s equivalent of Lewis Page (world’s authority on the RN following his premature departure as a non-PWO qualified Lt) and I claim my £5. Such a shame as you have spun some cracking dits along the way. :-(

  121. Brian Black

    Hi, ACC. That’s not so recent a document; a good few years old. Was trying to find some more up-to-date information on how they run things, but I think I’d be there all week.

    The individual bits n bobs are probably less relevant than their overall principle of piping all their precision fires through the TacTom system to make a fully integrated package. Whether that is relevant to T26 depends on how attractive the rest of their weapons are, but I believe our subs’ TLAM control system is American – there’s no uniquely British weapons control system for it, so if we went on to put TLAM onto the T26 we might end up with an integrated system by default that would make other US precision weapons easier to plug in. I don’t know whether that would also tie in to a TLAM based anti-ship missile.

  122. ArmChairCivvy

    re TD’s propulsion links
    – have not got to them yet
    – but reading up on FREMM, the point was made that the Italians went for CODLAG whereas the French went for CODLOG, as the overall structure is more simple (fewer things to fail during long deployments;the single turbine on T26 failing is not[?] catastrophic single point of failure if the ship does close to 20 knots without it)

  123. ALL Politicians are the Same

    On CODLOG, the French have selected that for their FREMM have they not with the Italians selecting CODLAG. I still struggle to understand why CODLOG would be much cheaper.
    OTO actually claim a CFEP of less than 20M, it will of course be dependent on GPA accuracy which can vary.

  124. Brian Black

    “Even in the Falklands, frigates were not used in their proper role.”

    Frigates in the Falklands carried out their typical ASW role, as well as the new Lynx helicopters they carried. Frigates deployed small commando teams, they carried out surface and land attack with Wasp helicopters, they provided NGS and they caught anti-ship missiles – all of which seem to be proper frigate roles. What improper roles did they perform?

  125. Anixtu

    “It’s all bloody Greek to me!”

    Some of it isn’t very well translated.

    I suppose we are looking at something close to the French variant FREMM propulsion plant in layout. I note that one of the ‘features’ of the Italian version is that the electric motors can be used in reverse as shaft generators. Evidently clutches for the electric motors are not required as they are not mentioned on the French version.

    I still have no idea what the benefit of CODLOG over CODLAG is.

  126. SomewhatInvolved

    Cheers TD, good links. I’ve got it now.

    The difference between CODLOG and CODLAG is the relative position of the gearbox to the electric motor and gas turbine. Don’t nod off, there’s a point eventually!

    In CODLOG, the EM appears to drive through the gearbox via a clutch. Even though the motor doesn’t need to be geared, it still drives through the ‘box, probably connected directly to the output shaft. At higher speeds, the EM is evidently de-clutched allowing the shaft to be driven purely on GT power. I have no idea what the benefits are. A clutch, particularly if it is a SSS clutch, may also have issues when trying to go astern – a SSS clutch would unwind if you reversed the motor in this setup.

    In CODLAG, the motor is never disconnected. Consequently the gearbox only turns when the GT is driving. The obvious benefit is that you have eliminated a source of noise – the gearing. Gearing is a significant noise source and can be a classifier to ship type, class and even name. It’s one of the weaknesses in a submarine’s nuclear plant. The EM can still add a couple of knots top speed even when the GT is driving, as T23 can do, and when connected will function as a generator when slowing down, again as done in the T23.

    The DCN pamphlet on FREMM is, I think, wrong – it is a CODLAG setup, not CODLOG. Unless the FREMM has some sort of electrical cut-out system preventing any power going to the motors in GT drive, or they are somehow able to lift the brushes from the shaft motor automatically, then technically it’s CODLAG. Again, I have no idea what the particular benefits of a CODLOG system are, but CODLAG works, is simpler, quieter and more importantly, proven. I think the only difference between the T23 and T26 propulsion trains will be the presence of just one turbine driving both shafts through a dual-output gearbox, rather than the twin Speys.

    x, 800m error first salvo is the potential maximum deviation of an unguided shell from the predicted impact point, at maximum range, caused by variations in wind, atmospherics and gun barrel wear that cannot be compensated for fully. Once the first round lands, and it’s deviation measured by the spotter, subsequent corrections can be applied to walk the fire onto the target. Obviously with a guided system this goes away.

  127. x

    The Americans get Excalibur 155mm round within 4 metres of their intended target 95% of the time. At $50k per shot. What is that about £32k a shot; about 6 hours flying time. How much is Brimstone a pop? Or a SDB?

    Unguided 155mm rounds have a CEP of 50 to 200 metres.

    Volcano is even better. If there were no real advantage why would OM bother to develop the system?

  128. Anixtu


    “Unless the FREMM has some sort of electrical cut-out system preventing any power going to the motors in GT drive,”

    Like a switch? ;-)

  129. SomewhatInvolved

    Oh ha ha very funny.

  130. x

    @ Somewhat says “It goes away”

    In a ham fisted way that is what I am saying.

    Re: Clutches

    You wouldn’t rotate the mass of one those motors if it could be avoided, would you?

  131. SomewhatInvolved

    The motor is integral to the shaft, so it makes no difference really.

  132. x

    Yes they are aren’t they?

  133. BUG

    Excellent post buddy! I haven’t read it all, I’ll save that pleasure for the weekend; real life project work interferes with my pleasure pursuits……….if I may I’ll link if off our little Aussie site.

    Pity is that the RAN is unlikely to pursue Type 26 as they have a preference to use the hull of the Hobart-class AWD programme where BAE have a less-than-glorious part, an ever-declining one.

    Its gonna be a hard ask to see Type 26 overcome that.

    To my mind the gun is going to be 127mm. The only question is which one. 155mm is a dead duck IMHO.

    SEA CEPTOR (yes it is a horrendous title, Idiots guide to titles)has the potential to be a major winner and I love the cold-launch system. Definitely a system for the future and one to be watched closely.

    More to follow after this weekend……..

    Regards, BUG

  134. El Sid

    @Brian Black
    Things are pretty fluid in surface warfare at the USN right now, they have just finished a big AoA, so no doubt we will see announcements coming out over the next few months. As ACC says, the near term plan involves adapting existing subsonic missiles to target ships. So you get :

    TacTom anti-ship – SSGN, SSN, Mk41
    JASSM-ER anti-ship (aka LRASM-A) – tactical air and eventually Mk41.

    Obviously we can’t know final costs yet, but JASSM-ER is currently half the range and half the cost of TacTom.

    The big question is where they go after that, and that’s what this review was about. LRASM-B hasn’t been completely killed, but it’s down to trickle funding. I can see them maybe doing a “Sizzler” variant of Tomahawk or LRASM-A.

    It’s also worth keeping an eye on what’s happening on their smaller ships – they seem to be going for a 3-stage process on the LCS. Start off with the pop-gun Griffin, then a near-term requirement for a horizon-range missile (which fits Sea Spear rather nicely), and OTH at a later date.

    From our point of view, for short-range stuff some kind of hybrid of Sea Spear and CAMM seems inevitable, the combination of the Brimstone anti-ship seeker and being launched from the Sea Ceptor VLS seems pretty irresistible – our own mini-Mk41. As an aside – I prefer to think of SeaCeptor as Sea Sceptre, at least Sceptre is a proper RN name (and a proper word for that matter).

  135. martin

    @ Dunservin
    – Consider yourself ‘outed’. You are the Army’s equivalent of Lewis Page (world’s authority on the RN following his premature departure as a non-PWO qualified Lt) and I claim my £5. Such a shame as you have spun some cracking dits along the way.
    The plot thickens

    @ Brian Black
    “Frigates in the Falklands carried out their typical ASW role, as well as the new Lynx helicopters they carried. Frigates deployed small commando teams, they carried out surface and land attack with Wasp helicopters, they provided NGS and they caught anti-ship missiles – all of which seem to be proper frigate roles. What improper roles did they perform?”
    You are right, I seem to remember those frigates actually disabling a submarine by dropping a depth charge from a helicopter. That’s pretty “frigatie” stuff if you ask me. Not to mention naval gun fire, air defence and using the hull as a mine sweeper.

  136. Mike W


    “What I am saying though is that a new class of ship is a chance to really think about the modern needs of the RN and to implement meaningful changes. It’s the point where people can look at land attack weaponry, a step up in anti-ship capability, a new main gun, a more comprehensive and layered defensive screen, a mission bay and plenty more.”

    Sorry, have only just seen your reply (some time ago now). Wouldn’t disagree with that at all.

    One of the real problems was mentioned by John Hartley in a much earlier post:

    “…we appear to be putting all of our money into the AD of ships at sea basket, and bugger all into anything else.”
    “…out went Harpoon/Tomahawk/Torpedoes/CEC/155mm…” (re: the T45)

    and developed by Brian Black:

    “That seems to be the problem with the surface fleet; 95 percent defensive, when what you really want are ships that put the willies up the enemy with just the thought of their offensive power.”

    We seem to be getting some platforms but not all the necessary systems to put on them. That seems to be running contrary to the declared MOD policy of a few years ago of not putting so much emphasis on the procurement of platforms but more on weapon systems.

  137. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Mike W, When the MOD look at systems they look at the Fleet as a whole. In fact they look at the armed forces as a system able to cause effects. So we have an effects based system”. Due to realistic budgetary constraints duplication of effects will attempt to be minimised.
    What they then look at is how these effects tie in with foreign policy and also Defence Planning Assumptions. So currently there may not be money in the pot or a justification to fit a missile based land attack capability to a surface vessel. As the effect of these missiles duplicates the abilities of the SSN and be replicated by airborne assets.
    So what we tend to see is evolution not revolution and with one eye on cost and military inflation. The T45 project was hampered by number cutting which meant that design costs on some pretty cutting edge systems made up a much larger proportion of individual unit costs.
    Remember however that T42 had no AShM capability, no 155MM, no CEC, and no land attack capability.
    Type 45 has a vastly superior combat system and radar combined with a next generation missile. It has the growth room for Strike Silos and a new gun if required. AShM could also be fitted if the requirement arose. It was not a well handled project and suffered from Political decisions but had delivered an improved effect vs the Type 42 all be it in smaller numbers.
    T26 equipment is still to be finalised but the evolution from the T23 is clear to see. 2087 vs 2031, Sea Ceptor vs SWMLU, Possible CWIS vs none, Mission Bay vs none, upgraded MR gun. Also the possibility of strike length silos. the AShM fit or lack of on T26 will be interesting as this would be a down grade in capability vs its predecessor.
    So T45 and T26 are there to deliver at least the effect that their predecessors had within the system and if T26 does get a new gun and strike length silos quite a bit more effect in some areas. So actually the Fleets Offensive/Defensive posture has if anything been improved.
    The Elephant in the room is of course the “2 white ones” and the effects they will be able to bring. The primary effect in anything approaching a war time situation for T45 and t26 will be the protection of the Carrier and other HVUs.

  138. martin

    @ Mike challenger and Brian Black

    “…we appear to be putting all of our money into the AD of ships at sea basket, and bugger all into anything else.”

    In fairness to the navy I doubt they or anyone else could have anticipated the budget cuts the service is being faced with now and the severe lack of funds for even small projects. Getting as many T45 hulls as pos was the best idea given the available info and I still think it will be the best solution in the long run.

    We have a large number of CIWS and harpoons from other vessels that can be fitted and as I have said before I don’t think the lack of a strike VLS is down to lack of money more treasury politics.

    Western Anti ship missiles like harpoon and exocet are dated systems and I think spending more money on additional systems on T45 would have been wrong.

    CEC and Torpedo’s are firmly in the nice to have but no essential category.

    I do agree the 155 is a shame and it would have been a great capability to have on all escorts but would I trade even a single hull for it? probably not.

  139. Mike W


    Well, that is a cogently and incisively argued case and all within the space of a few minutes! It is also a convincing argument. Thanks for taking such trouble to write a detailed reply. It has opened my eyes more than a little. You haven’t by any chance worked in the MOD’s public relations department, have you? (And I don’t mean that at all sarcastically).

    We have been told that the MOD’s budget has now been balanced. Perhaps that will mean the availability of more funds to purchase desirable weapon systems.

  140. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Martin, Western Anti ship missiles like harpoon and exocet are dated systems and I think spending more money on additional systems on T45 would have been wrong” . There are differences in thinking and I half agree with you mate.

    MM40 Block 3 Exocet does some pretty good stuff.
    Anti Ship Missiles seem to fit into 2 categories big and fast or smaller and slower. Now most people on hear hear the name Brahmos and think we should head for the life raft. It is a big mach 2.8 missile but despite claims on wiki, it is not stealthy (look at it) so i will detect it earlier, it goes active so I may or may not be able to jam it and it climbs then dives meaning I get an easier shot at it. It is a frightening opponent but it is the sort of reason we develop things like the T45.
    Now look at the Nrogie Naval strike Missile. it is stealthy, no sonic boom and far less heat signature. Flies low all the way in with very clever guidance and never goes active as it simply selects your ship from its database and hits you at the waterline. Also a very dangerous opponent.
    Perhaps it reflects aircraft progress which used to be in both East and West about speed, height and payload but has become about stealth and precision. Of course a mach 3 properly stealthy silent missile would be nice.

  141. Mark

    The navy have spent quite a bit updating merlin, buying wildcat and new anti ship missile for wildcat not to mention the purchase of two rather big boats that carry a pretty reasonable land attack capability. Not to mention the significant uplift in amphib capability which offer a reasonable land attack capability. So I think its not just air defence they’ve concentrated on. Do you need torpedoes on a surface ship if you now have a anti torpedo defence system, evade then attack with the helicopter. Do we need a anti ship missile on a ship if it’s helicopter has such a capability or it’s new gun system has that capability. T26 looks about right so far, a move on scan eagle or fires scout comes before a strike length tube and a missile to go in it IMO. I do think it a remote possibility of a single frigate on some distant station requiring to fire tomahawk all on its lonesome at some target. For the uk the response strike group as a whole must be seen as the offensive capability and what that group brings.

  142. Challenger

    Just to be clear, I think that both the T45 and the T26 are/will be massive improvements over their respective predecessors and that a lot seems to be going in the right direction.

    However I think that the declining number of hulls should drive the need for an increase in capability per ship beyond the simple evolution of existing designs. The frigate of history was expected to tow a sonar, transport a helicopter and defend itself as best as possible. The frigate of the future needs to be far more capable and independent than ever before.

    Improvements in defensive weaponry and systems does not increase the utility of a ship, it just makes it tougher to send to the bottom of the ocean!

    I hope we do see a larger main gun, better anti ship missiles and some strike length silo’s + something to put in them. However it’s hard to be optimistic when one know’s the history of the RN on these matters and the current financial situation.

    We shall see, I just hope we aren’t left looking at a new and improved T23, because although that will be good It will be nowhere near to what a new frigate could/should become.

  143. ArmChairCivvy

    APATS reminds us where the T45 costs came from, as for the root cause; Defence Industry Daily DID of today has a similar story of how doing too good a job can get the programme declared a failure (cost, not performance, wise):
    “The RAND Corporation looked into the root causes behind high cost increases in the Army Excalibur artillery round and the Navy’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs. In the case of Excalibur, *smaller ordered quantities* was the primary driver for its Nunn-McCurdy cost breach. Looking for a deeper root cause, that reduction was *triggered by the increased precision* of modern artillery.

  144. Tubby

    Re: Strike length VLS

    Does anyone know if we are going MK41 or A70 for the strike length VLS tubes? If we are going A70 is there any evidence that French Navy will look at a A70 based VL version of Exocet? I have read that there were plans for a VL version of Exocet but I have not found anything concrete.

  145. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Tubby, Well certainly not in time for FREMM anyway. here is a good bit of CGI

  146. ArmChairCivvy

    Thanks APATS, nice vid

    At first I was starting to doubt myself as the Italians were able to fit two helos for something like 5m extra length, and the vid was showing double hangar doors.

    But by 4:45 elapsed time it was back to the Aquitane,as headlined for the CGI video, when the aviation detail was shown ( a single hangar & door).

    As you say, the AShMs are moving fast ahead (I think the Italians will get their double-the-range Otomat before the similarly improved Exocet coming around).

  147. Think Defence

    Quick question for you salty old sea dogs then

    With a fixed pitch propellor how do you pop her into reverse, is it simply a matter of selecting reverse gear?

    What difference would CODLAG or CODLOG make in this?


    What do you think of that CODAG WARP on the South African Meko’s, I think it looks damned sexy but thats as far as my analysis goes!

  148. WiseApe

    “Perhaps that will mean the availability of more funds to purchase desirable weapon systems.” – Duck! Low level bacon. Speaking of which…

    @TD: “Buccaneer low level” – nice use of understatement.

    About these laser CIWS, just how good/powerful are they? Does the laser need to track the missile (I mean stay locked on it for a few seconds) or is penetration of the missile instant? Also, burning a hole in the missile may not actually do any damage unless it penetrates into the propellent (boom). Or have I got this completely wrong?

    @Dunservin – never get on the wrong side of a man who has a photo of himself on his privvy wall. Disturbing.

  149. ALL Politicians are the Same


    You make a FPP ship go astern by reversing the direction of rotation. So you reverse the wiggly amps in the electric motor or select reverse in your gear box.
    T23 can only go astern using electric propulsion the GT will drop out when astern is selected as it is a non reversing gear box. As for CODLOG, I still do not fully understand the difference so my answer is the same unless the gear box is capable of reversing the direction of the shaft.
    Will need to look at the SA thing.

  150. x

    @ TD

    The Invincibles had fixed pitched propellers even though they were COGAGs. That had huge reversing gearboxes the size of good bungalow. When they delivered the gearbox for Invincible to Vickers it was a hot day. They failed to keep the low loader moving and it sank about a foot into the road. Much merriment ensued.

    I am not going to comment further on this CODLAG CODLOG business as I believe your confusion on the subject TD is catching. I forgot the propulsion layout of T23 today and I blame you for it. :)

  151. Anixtu


    “With a fixed pitch propellor how do you pop her into reverse, is it simply a matter of selecting reverse gear?”

    What APATS said for electrical propulsion and x provides another option. For medium and slow speed diesels, the engine turns in reverse. For steam turbines astern power is either through a gearbox or a separate astern turbine.

  152. John Hartley

    If you only have anti ship missiles on your helo, what happens when its being maintained? Or 100 miles away chasing pirates/submarines/speedboats?
    With the RN cut from 50 escorts to less than 20, there is likely to be only one ship on station, so that one ship better be able to handle most tasks.
    Or the RN becomes a joke & is ignored by friend & foe alike. Yes, fire Tomahawks from Astutes, but with only 8 or less SSNs, there will not be enough boats in a shooting war (may start before November US election).

  153. Think Defence

    What do people think of my theory on the move from stern mission bay to adjacent to the hangar then?

    Could BAE really have forgot how about much space the 2087 and 2070 fit takes up, the original cutaway very definitely has what looks like a small Towed body drum but nothing at all for the array

    Am I talking bollocks?

  154. x

    @ John H

    The UK fires TLAMs for “us too” reasons. If we stopped trying to do everything and concentrated on a few things we could fire lots of TLAMs.

    You need missiles screwed to the deck yes. But imagine the benefits of Merlin lifting a Harpoon class ASM. It can travel many times the distance a ship can steam in an hour. It is the perfect sea control platform. Imagine a squadron of ASM capable Merlins onboard CVF. Sometimes it as if helicopters are second class machines compared to fixed wing aircraft.

  155. WiseApe

    @APATS – you’re comments on NGS were very illuminating. Not aimed at me, but thanks anyway.

    No takers on laser CIWS – are we all assuming they’re a flight of fancy? I think a form of charged particle beam to fry a missile’s electronics would be more promising, but doesn’t deal with the problem of a chunk of metal and propellent coming your way at speed.

  156. Challenger

    @John Hartley

    ‘With the RN cut from 50 escorts to less than 20, there is likely to be only one ship on station, so that one ship better be able to handle most tasks’.

    That’s the crux of the matter isn’t it. Our 7 Astute’s will be thinly stretched, with the 1 or 2 on station probably only carrying AT MOST a dozen tomahawks between them. Same goes for CVF, even if 1 of them turns up just how much offensive air-power is it going to muster? 12, even 18-24 jets are going to struggle to have much clout when you factor in fleet defence.

    With so few escorts they need to pack a punch and contribute to the overall effectiveness of the fleet. I really think that single role ships specialising in air defence or anti submarine work are a luxury we can no longer afford.

  157. ALL Politicians are the Same

    John H, I am sure that the Govt has planned how the MOD “effect based system” will operate in the event of a shooting war in the Gulf.
    1. Will we want to get involved?
    2. if we do, in what way? This will be done in talks with the US and after looking at detailed threat assessments including Irans Most likely COA and Most dangerous Course of Action.


    i would love to see a land attack capability on a surface vessels but given the SSN and RAF capability with the Carrier to come it is for me a lower priority than an AShM and state of the art AAW and ASW capabilities.
    Then we will decide what forces we need to have in the AOR. Note I say forces because while we may not have enough TLAM shooters we can cause a similar effect by using RAF air power from Qatar. Responses to major events have to be thought through in a tri service bigger picture manner.

  158. John Hartley

    We assume the enemy will give us enough warning to get the right kit on station. Why?
    Chances are, we will have to go with what we have got. Then we will discover if Brown & Cameron, have left us naked.
    I would not want the UK to get involved in the Iran/Israel punch up, but fear we might get dragged into it.

  159. Mark


    Maybe at 1 point there wasn’t going to be a towed sonar was the original mock up when we still had the two classes.

    Why must a frigate do everything on its own. We have never done that through out history we’ve held fleets back at base and used frigates to scout and patrol. The fleet is the striking force not the frigate on its Todd.

    The Indians in 2010 paid 170m dollars for 20 harpoon missiles (i believe ares are nearing end of life so will need to be nee) at that rate it’s 1.3b dollars to equip all surface vessels how many t26 go to pay for a weapon never used with a very low probability of ever being used and where we have several other options already there. Nsm is nice but I wonder who close to it spear 3 could be for helicopter and jet launched weapons

    Challenger we only deployed about 60 jet in gw2 and less than 30 for Libya rocking up with 24 jsf is rather a substantial force and capability.

    Wasn’t one of astutes plus a bigger bomb shop north of 30 weapons I assume one would carry at least half with tlam

  160. Challenger


    I agree that anti-air and anti-ship capabilities are the priorities when it comes to the surface fleet.

    Anti-submarine warfare is of course also important, though id say that the most potent all in one defence against a sub attack is the Merlin and not the T26 itself.

    If their were a few more Astute’s and a bigger stockpile of Tomahawks, plus a firm commitment to carrier aviation beyond 1 ship with 12 jets then id feel better about limiting the surface fleets capabilities.

    As it currently stands it may not be an A1 priority but I think that an effort should still be made for strike length silo’s and land attack missiles. Flexibility is key. Better to have multiple options on the table then put all our eggs in 1 basket!

  161. Challenger


    Hmm, well It’s a matter of opinion and depends on the threat but I don’t think 24 jets is a particularly formidable number if you have a substantial group of ships to look after first and foremost, with only the leftovers being tasked with offensive operations.

    I’m not sure how many Tomahawks a Trafalgar or Astute would carry in-to active operations. However I don’t really think it matters when it seems that they only ever fire a couple, probably to get a spot in the tabloids!

  162. x

    Navies are meant to sink (stop) ships. Saying that a warship doesn’t need that capability is rather like saying there is no need for a navy.

    Obviously the Russians, Chinese, and Indians didn’t get the memo.

  163. John Hartley

    In our history, we had three large fleets, red white & blue. Now we have a token force spread thin. One ship, on its todd, may have to do the task we would have done with half a dozen in the past.

  164. Mark


    Well it’s slightly over half a us carrier groups strike jets and I’m not quite sure who were fighting on our own that requires a significant number more.

    X yes except the navy could use heli launched anti ship missiles as we have done, heli launched torpedos and a nice new big gun with precise ammo or a submarine with topeados or fixed wing carrier assets so it’s not like there’s nothing else.

    I would disagree the strike fleet still exists in the response task group a frigate deployed on its own would be with a allied fleet In all but those islands.

  165. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Challenger, We are buying 48 F35B initially. We have TLAM SSN and the RAF as well. Duplication of ability costs money. The merlin is potent and so is T23 but working together the total is greater than the sum of the parts.

    John H “Chances are we would have to go with what we have”. Go where do what? We have an SSN E of Suez, the US has 2 CBG and several FF/DD with land attack capability., as well as USAF from Qatar and Diego Garcia. How long to deploy Tornado with Storm Shadow to augment land attack?
    What the US would be interested in is the 4 MCMV the ASW capability of the T23 and the AAW capability of the T45. An extra 18-20 TLAM would make very little difference beyond a purely Political statement.
    As for Red white and Blue, times have changed and we no longer cruise the world enforcing our will on people via gun boat diplomacy. we have defence planning assumptions, Intel prep of the battlefield. Deployment briefs and realistic tasking.
    We also have economic reality.

  166. Challenger


    I know we are buying 48 Lightning’s initially, what’s you’re point?


    I believe US carriers often deploy with more than 48 aircraft.

    Even 24 jets will be a stretch for us, my point was that if you’re facing a half decent enemy and have you’re own task force operating off the coast then a significant proportion of you’re assets are going to be tasked with fleet defence, not offensive operations.

  167. Mark

    Challenger they do operate with more than 48 a/c but not fast jets. They usually consiste of 3 navy hornet sqns and a marine corp Sqn of 10 jets each and a 6 A/c growlers/prowlers and they struggle with that at present.

    Which enemy that’s the point and you have to remember its a force as a whole I thing it’s more than realistic to say the RN could do this with the ships we have on order
    Which t26 could plays a big part and the US see this as capable for up to medium level operation

  168. ALL Politicians are the Same


    My point is that if you are going to be facing a threat then you put 36 jets onboard not 12. The usage then becomes a tactical problem dependent upon the threat in all 3 environments and the assets available to you both organic, shore based and allied. Also HMG quite sensibly looked at the world and make defence planning assumptions including one where we would not take on a peer opponent outside of a coalition that cannot be handled by the forces possessed.

  169. x

    @ Mark

    Sea Skua equals 4.5in shell. Harpoon equals 16in shell. A single 4.5in shell isn’t enough. If the helicopter can loft the latter all well and good up to a point. But as was pointed above only if the aircraft is serviceable. Even though the ship and helicopter are a system, the ship is the basic building block and should be able to deploy a ship killing (stopping) weapon by itself without depending on the aircraft.

    We have few SSNs available, the best ship killer, we need more not less capability.

    Irrespective of whether we are working with allies it still doesn’t mean that our navy shouldn’t be able to field a variety of ship killing (stopping) weapons. As I said it is the raison d’être of a naval service. It is a fundamental. Perhaps we should scrap Typhoon and just concentrate on transport aircraft? Or scarp the infantry and just do field engineering? Surely our allies will do this is model that can be applied to all the services? No? Thought not.

  170. All politicians are the Same

    I think there are 2 parallel arguments here. To clarify my position I think an AShM capability is extremely important. I would like a land attack capability from surface units but can see why we may not get the capability initially.

  171. Challenger

    @Mark + APATS

    X touched a little on what I have been vocalising in my last few posts.

    I am not in the slightest saying that Astute and CVF + Lightning won’t be formidable, in fact in terms of quality I think they will be great!

    I just believe that the size of the future fleet may mean that these sort of assets can’t be relied upon %100 of the time. Even when they are present they are only going to be able to deliver a degree of offensive power and it’s always good to have some more. So although I agree it isn’t a tip top priority I still think it would be dam useful to have some extra offensive capability spread across the fleet.

    Plus I agree with X about the mentality of coalition warfare. If you take that to it’s logical (extreme) conclusion then you could cut and scrap almost everything thinking ‘oh well what’s the point in keeping this or that, someone else will take care of that’.

  172. Challenger

    @Mark +APATS


    Although to be honest as long as we maintain/build up a decent SSN and carrier aviation capability then I agree our finite resources shouldn’t be immediately spent on land attack for T26.

    Perhaps build the ships with strike length silo’s as a means of future-proofing, utilise them in the short-term as a way of quad packing Sea Ceptor and then see where we are at in the 2020’s, both with the global strategic picture and the off the shelf missile options.

    Anti-ship missiles however (even if it’s bolt-on JSM) is something I really think we shouldn’t scrimp on!

  173. All politicians are the Same

    Challenger I agree and the strike length tubes portrayed in the CGI of t26 hopefully indicate a fitted for but not with scenario at least.
    However there is a budget to met and if it is within T26 budget fantastic, if not then it will go. You can never have enough offensive power but we have to operate within the realms of budget and Defence Planning Assumptions which make HMG policy on required capabilities outside of a coalition very clear.
    When the military second guessing Government policy is taken to its extreme it paints a far more frightening picture than requiring a coalition to accomplish certain Operations.

    Agree with your PS post.

  174. Ant

    Seems an eminently practical idea. Avoids a heavy expensive gearbox, whilst also giving a degree of resilience against damage by separating drive trains.

    Against: Allegedly the wake “lights up the radar signature from hundreds of miles away” when switched on (an unattributable comment on an internet forum about the South African MEKO design).
    How much this matters, if true, and whether it is open to masking with a bit of thought, I am not qualified to judge.

  175. Challenger


    ‘To clarify my position I think an AShM capability is extremely important. I would like a land attack capability from surface units but can see why we may not get the capability initially’

    Ha-ha, right so I think after all that we basically agree with each other!

    Question: We both agree that anti-ship missiles are important, what are the alternatives out there?

    Without any VLS options is it going to have to be JSM or the equivalent?

  176. All politicians are the Same


    Looks like it yes and no qualms here, it looks like a very capable missile.
    though some confusion about NSM and JSM. NSM is the ship launched version and JSM an upgrade with longer range and better data link capability. It talks about it as an air launched weapon but also as shore launched. So in theory should be able to be ship launched unless upgrades are absorbed into an NSM block2.
    In short yes at the moment the most up to date version of NSM/JSM would seem the obvious choice. It also has a limited land attack capability.
    Of course the US are reintroducing a version of the TASM (Tomohawk anti ship missile) as an interim solution which will be Mk 41 compatible.

  177. Mark


    If there is a major chance of anything serious happening we’ll have more than one ship prob why we have several east of suez now and if not ours it will be a ship from another navy. You can use more than one shell/missile cant you its not like we have no capability. If your helicopter isnt available you use your gun or withdraw and shadow until it is or support arrives.

    As for your other straw men yes thats exactly what weve done and perhaps should do in other areas. But its not a case of scrape typhoon and concentrate on transports thats like saying scrap t26 and just concentrate on carriers. harpoon or the such as i understand is only for large ships over the horizon not what we likely to face any time soon to warrant such an out lay. Ive never seen any comment or report form a operation weve been involved in that said we were lacking ship to ship missiles or the ability to sink other ships plenty of other things mind.


    yes everything would be nice but then we cant afford burkes at 1.2b a pop. Theres space there should the threat change but i dont see it as a priority any time soon. As each service will control its own budget it would be interesting to see what the navy would cut to pay for it.

    WE have anti ship missiles and we should keep them but with new long range accurate guns tighter rules of engage are ship to ship anti ship missiles still required or relevant ive seen little evidence to say they are for anything other than taking on the Chinese fleet.

  178. Swimming Trunks

    An old concept but what people appear to want – a modern day cruiser; excellent all rounder for flying the flag, with the resilience and weapons to make it survivable and offer a punch.

    Won’t be cheap… But maybe we can buy capabilities gradually…

  179. Observer


    The Nautilus laser needed a few seconds (~4?) to burn through the casing on a missile’s fuel tanks, there was a youtube vid of it somewhere once upon a time, might still be up.

    There used to be a problem with “energy density”, i.e the amount of energy per square meter, that could be stored with batteries/capacitors. You’d end up with huge batteries. Not to mention the “time to burn” is a serious disadvantage as opposed to a one/two shot kill mid-calibre gun system. Compared to missile based interceptors, you can only (I know the term is “service”, just don’t like it) target one missile at a time as opposed to ripple firing cells of VLS interceptors.


    Problem with using only a helo based anti-ship system is that if there is decent enemy AA in the area, helos are very vulnerable, which leaves either you keeping out of the enemy’s way or sending in a suicide mission. At least with a ship based system, you got two possible courses of action (ship and helo), which allows you to exploit possible loopholes or force a multi-threat engagement and complicate the aggressor’s management system.

    You are correct in saying the old usage of frigates were as scouts and PVs and the battleships/cruisers/battlecruisers/carriers as shipkillers, but might I point out that you currently don’t have anything above a destroyer anymore? At least until some ships that shouldn’t be mentioned get commissioned. So who are these “scouts” going to scream for help to? The US? Some problems are purely UK problems, you shouldn’t expect others to follow you in lock step all the time. For example, no US forces could intervene down South in 1982 or it would have become an international incident.

    And as for the “we never use it” argument, that is a very short sighted viewpoint. It’s like saying “some ships have never sunk, so why not cut costs by removing the lifeboats and lifevests?”. You don’t need it often, yes, but when you do, you really do. The price of not having it when you do need it can be in extreme disproportion to the cost of not having it at all. Like lifeboats and lifevests.

  180. Challenger


    I can imagine the new Tomahawk being quite pricey, and also ties us to the Mk.41.

    The reason I put JSM is because I imagined that any acquisition would preferably be in conjunction with fitting it to our Lightning’s as an air launched weapon (you can never have enough standardization and commonality!).

    I agree that the NSM/JSM is the best option currently out there.


    I think we are all now in the same ballpark of saying that it will be preferable to future-proof the T26 for land attack capability but not initially go down that route if the financial situation doesn’t permit.

    I suggested using some strike length silo’s to quad pack Sea Ceptor (still hate that name) and then reviewing the situation when the ships go through their first major refits, so in 15+ years time.

    With anti-ship missiles I think it’s one of those things that aren’t often used, but like Stingray torpedo’s they are a comforting addition to a layered defence.

    If Lightnings aren’t around and the Lynx is out of action for whatever reason then it may be a useful bit of kit to have, although hopefully we will never see a ship get in-to that situation in the first place!

  181. All politicians are the Same

    Mark, The whole point of T26 is an evolution of T23 which has an AShm capability. So if T26 did not have one it would be a retrograde step. The current requirement still talks about VLS which may be the reason for non portrayal.
    I of all people are not arguing for an Arleigh Burke. What tighter ROE have you seen that restrict AShM engagements? Also whilst each project is given a budget the central budget will remain with MOD. harpoon may well be unsupported by the time the first T26 enters service.
    Not to mention that we are hoping to export some of these or at least the design. would help if we could show it can fit an AShM like every other Frigate I can think of in service with other Navies. They could all be wrong though?

  182. John Hartley

    All Pol
    We do not have economic reality. In the 80s, defence was 4% GDP, now 2%. Yet we have increased foreign aid from 0.35% GDP to 0.7. Mrs Thatchers EU rebate was given up for nothing by Blair. The coalition has not sacked a single diversity outreach co-ordinator or climate change flunky.
    We have harmed industry, tourism & small business with high taxes. We still do not spend enough on transport & energy infrastructure.
    Yet we give the speculators in the City, £375 billion of QE, nearly free, to play with without risk. Its only the little people who get robbed of their savings & pensions.

  183. Mark


    So you could use fastjet launched weapons or your sub if there is an air threat and gun which can shoot 60nm with accurate ammo at what point is it enough. And as type 26 is post 2020 we have said flat tops in service. Yes down south Atlantic is uk only but what does Argentina have which requires harpoon on top of everything else. You have to have planned for uk only ops first and foremost then what you offer to a coalition I agree we also have a finite budget.

    Lifeboats would be your only other option so it’s not entirely the same thing.


    I was under the impression we had to identify the ship before shooting it maybe not. We’ve gapped other area before now with much less cover. You only need to show it can take the missile it doesn’t provide a case for the uk to buy such a missile. Would also say the west has prob dropped more nuke weapons that fired ship launched anti ship missiles in anger.

  184. Observer


    Fastjets are not a cureall, it takes 30min in Afganistan to get CAS to a location, which was why the US Marines insisted on intrinsic support weapons there. A lot can happen in 30min, worse if you have to change the weapons loadout. A F-35 on CAP isn’t carrying any AShMs and the ready 5 is usually air to air armed.

    A 76mm is good up to ~30km. A Harpoon is good to ~120km. As for what you can use a Harpoon on? Any ship, and though rare it had an option as an anti-bomber role though the odds of that are extremely low. But it is getting old in the tooth though. I’m not adverse to rummaging through old Warsaw Pact stuff and seeing if it could be “Westernized”, their entire doctrine revolved around defensive AShMs so no surprise that they’d be a bit better at it. Harpoons are the cheap disposable AShMs of the West.

  185. Observer

    “Would also say the west has prob dropped more nuke weapons that fired ship launched anti ship missiles in anger.”

    How many nukes has the West dropped in anger? :)

    And while the “big” countries have not used AShMs often (their tactics are air control in numbers), the “middle tier” countries have been using them on a fairly frequent basis, most recent that comes to mind is the SPIKE NLOS.

  186. All politicians are the Same

    Mark, The GPS guided Vulcano round is not designed to kill moving Ships as they will have moved by the time the shell reaches them. Believe a round with an IR seeker head is being developed for engaging boats at a shorter range where you do not want to use a missile.

    we have 7 submarines only and carrier air will be available how often outside of TG ops?

    The Argies have 4 Destroyers and 9 corvettes that all carry Exocet.


    The US fired a few during Op Preying mantis in the Gulf. The Israelis have used a few. We generally do try and update the RMP as we have always done and Id the target and there are a variety of methods of doing so.

    Every time 2 groups have Ships have tried to sink each other or have been engaged from the air or land in the last few decades AShM have been used. Plus if I have some and you do not it makes closing to fire much more attractive.

  187. Mr.fred


  188. Observer

    I know mr fred, which is why Mark’s comparison to number of AShMs fired in anger non-viable if he’s going to take one as “total use including experiments” and the other as “in war”. It’s an attempt to “lean” the argument to one side.

    And considering that the Japanese Kemptai units that were responsible for major massacres in Singapore were from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we’ve absolutely no objections to seeing them burn in hell. Karma’s a bitch.

  189. Red Trousers

    If torpedo attacks on ships remain relatively successful if infrequent, and ship-launched anti-ship missiles appear to be much less successful (with CIWS and RAM and other close-in defensive measures improving all of the time), why the concentration on equipping ships with AShM? It would seem the bang-for-the-buck is slanted in favour of getting torpedoes into the water, either from submarines or from surface or even air platforms.

    A USV with 24 hours of endurance, a datalink for route guidance, some basic on-board ISTAR and the ability to get to within 5 nm of a ship before detaching a modern torpedo does not sound more complex than a UAV, and probably cheaper than devising ever more clever ways of being a high speed missile and evading interception by another modern missile or radar layed gun system. Something RIB-sized would probably do.

  190. Mark

    Apas did the harpoon the Americans fired not miss and they sunk the iran ship by gun engagement and several jets.

    Am I right in think we have 5 way to sink a ship
    1 by sub
    2 by a helicopter
    3 by a ship gun
    4 by a ship fired missile
    5 by a fixed wing jet or mpa

    We don’t have 5 now but will reconstitute some capability post 2020 and should have improved numbers 1-3 so is there any possibility at all we could save several hundred million quid and say well have 4 as fitted for but not with. It is it so likely to be used that we most absolutely have it.

    Observer the west I take as NATO and aus newzeland Japan. US used one or 2 as apas says got into a spot of bother doing it they also used 2 nukes. Rare at best

  191. Observer


    There was a study I saw once, I’ll see if I can find it again, that the hit probability for a single AShM was in the 50s for a self defending target.

    As for the missile torpedo, try the Sea Lance, UUM-125 I think it was.

  192. All politicians are the Same

    RT, Torpedoes have a shorter range so getting close enough to fire them and getting away again is problematic. Missiles can be fired from further away and the really smart ones can accept mid course data link corrections.

    An extreme scenario would be.
    So for instance if you had some F35B with Joint Strike Misiles and satellite coverage versus a group of hostile surface vessels 500NM away you could fly the aircraft out 380 Nm and launch at 120Nm undetected. The missiles would drop to sea skim and could receive updates to ships position via datalink. Even in the terminal pahse they simply select their assigned targets from their programmed IR database and hit them with a 120kg warhead.
    Never go high or active and as a stealthy sub sonic design difficult to detect unless the OPFOR are good and very alert.

    More common engagements happen at closer ranges with ship launched missiles utilising organic rotary wing assets, MPA or UAVS for over the Horizon Targeting. But engagement ranges are still far above that of a torpedo.
    There is a publication in existence that looks at different ships and the number of missiles required against them.

  193. All politicians are the Same

    Mark, 2 harpoon missed, 1 hit another vessel in seperate engagement. SM2 in its secondary anti surface role scored several hits.

    1. We have 7 submarines.
    2. Unless you are prepared to accept a risk factor that almost certainly includes the loss of your helo they will not close inside the Stand Off Distance of the target (STOFD). this is the max range of the SAM system onboard prob rounded up to next even number. Which is why the shorter ranged smaller warhead missiles carrier by Helos are optimised for use against fast attack craft.
    3. Ships Gun is very much a last resort against a surface combatant. The BAE 57Mm and Oto Melara Strales 76MM are both very good against small craft but if we are trying to fire 4.5 or even 5 inch against another FF he will already have fired his AShM at you. Oto breda are looking at an IR head for their gun to allow it to engage smaller craft more accurately.
    4. We have harpoon now on t23 and will hopefully have an up to date missile for T26.
    5. We have no MPA and harpoon was taken off them before they ever left service. Since the withdrawal of sea eagle the RAF have no AShM in service.

  194. Observer


    And each of them have their own problems.

    1) Subs: Subs are ambush killers, if they are out of position, it’s hard for them to chase down their target. Mobile minefields is the most common description of them.

    2) Helicopter: Good choice for thinning out small boat swarms, but a lot of military ships nowadays have at least a basic air defence fit. Having a SAM popped off at a helo is bad news.

    3) Ship Gun: It’s more a coup de grace solution as you have to get in close. It is viable, just riskier.

    4) Missile: Good range, can finish the fight in 1 shot if you get lucky, but it is the most obvious threat, and so the one with most countermeasures against it.

    5) Air Support: Safest solution,long range killing, similar to Ship launched missiles. Heavily dependent on support, needs a carrier. In a high threat environment, might not have the luxury of going after ships as their primary job is air-defence, which is why their most common loadouts are pure AAMs

    And the US used 4 during Praying Mantis. 3 hits, one miss due to a prior triple hit by Standard Missiles, used as an anti-ship missile I might add. So that’s 7. In one op.

    Add in Israel, India, Syria, Egypt, Iraq (USS Stark accident) and Argentina and you get a picture of pretty heavy usage worldwide.

  195. Red Trousers


    no doubt, but my question is really about lethality IF OPFOR can get a torpedo to within say 5nm when compared to even the gucciest sea-skimming missile. One for one, what would you rather face, a modern AShM at 5 nm or a torpedo at 5 nm?

    Getting it there is of course an issue, among many. In littoral or congested seaways, it is easier than in empty blue water. A modern USV can be pretty stealthy, and apparently more so if riding in parallel but maybe a mile away are a pair of sacrificial slightly less-stealthy USVs with popup radar reflectors and heat sources to occupy the 4.5 gun crews.

  196. Observer

    The link I put up shows a total of 222 missiles fired pre-1992 (3 fields, undefended target, defendable target, defended target) on record. Hardly “never used”. More accurately, “never used by the UK”.

  197. Swimming Trunks

    ” Getting it there is of course an issue, among many. In littoral or congested seaways, it is easier than in empty blue water. ”

  198. All politicians are the Same

    RT, MM would depend on what sort of ship I was on and what type of missile and torpedo it was. generally a missile will do less damage if it goes off. Modern anti torpedo systems have seen far more work recently though.

    ref the 3 USVs it would depend completely on the ships posture and sensors active. A 4.5 turret is not manned and firing is under direction of the PWO and Ops room team who are building the entire RMP. Target fixation is knocked out of them at an early stage.

    The point I am trying to make is that an attack like this on an unsuspecting Frigate cruising somewhere peaceful would have a good chance of success, against a fully alerted and ready Ship or ships it would have far less chance of success.

    The other snag is that as I try to close and launch my Torpedo carrying USV the OPFOR fire some AShm at me from 100Nm away.

  199. Observer


    Yes torps are bad news. Lethality wise you’re right, but the effort needed to get it there is a killer. So yes, if something has to hit you, better an AShM, but if you’re talking about a face to face fight, I’d rather the other guy be armed with torpedos. That way, I have a chance of killing him first without him firing a shot.

    Actually, I’d wait for the economic crisis to blow over first and go buy Chinese. :) The Taiwanese have a Ramjet missile that is the supposed successor of their Harpoon, the Yong-Feng III (Bravewind III) I think it was. Skip the R&D and low tech Harpoon, go for a better one. It apparently trades out 1 for 1 with the Harpoon tube launcher for a box launcher with one of these, and Taiwanese equipment is supposed to be US compatible, might be adaptable to UK systems.

  200. Red Trousers


    yes of course, but I think OPFOR will be looking to play to our weaknesses. Don’t particularly want to get completely side-tracked on Iran / swarming attacks etc, but they do seem to me to be one reasonable example of a potential OPFOR that has at least thought through how we Europeans and Uncle Sam operate, and adjusted accordingly, within their own budget.

    If we may, take a T45 with the current fit-out, and also the new T26 with the proposed fit-out, and place them a few miles apart in international waters in the Gulf. Put them on full war-footing, and expecting some form of hostile act, except time / place / method NYK.

    A barrage of AShM from the Iranian coast is likely to get knocked out of the sky by T45, but the T26 is also going to be busy investigating several sonar contacts from 2-3 Iranian SSKs. Both the T45 and T26 Captains are completely in their comfort zones, congratulating their crews on doing good jobs at their specialist AD or ASW disciplines, and exhorting them to do more in those areas. Gradually, both rely on the complementary ship to keep them safe from threats either airborne or sub-surface. A flotilla of MTB-type manned craft moving about on the limit of observation is another concern, and has the T45’s helicopter keeping tabs on them.

    A pair of – or is it three? – minor radar contacts is seen, but are less exciting than everything else going on. Another series of missile launches is detected and tracked – another incoming attack? The minor radar contacts get closer and diverge, becoming more threatening. The T26 helicopter is elsewhere dipping some sonar, the T45 helicopter monitoring the MTBs 50 miles away.

    As they close, the pair of minor contacts is seen instead to be two loud ones (in radar terms) and one quiet one. Can’t be engaged by missiles as the radar range gate and velocities don’t work for AD missiles, only by NGS. The loud ones are engaged, but obstinately keep bouncing back increasingly big radar signals and apparently rising up from sea level. Are they helicopters? Unsurprising, as they are 2 USV RIBs towing largish metal foil helium balloons which make a magic radar return, but do not get sunk when the USV is. It really would be a bugger if the Iranians work out how to inflate and launch another 15 metallic helium balloons as the USV gets crunched.

    Meanwhile, the third stealthy USV launches a Spearfish type torpedo at 5 nm.

    Is that then panic stations in the T45 Ops Room?

    (Apologies for the over-detailed scenario. Having been accused of being a sea-cadet earlier today, I’m indulging myself. I used to write all of the scenarios for 1 (UK) Armd Divs exercises)

  201. All politicians are the Same

    RT, The T45 will be the AAWC and run the Anti air battle but he will speak to the AAWO on the type 26 (PWO covering the air battle) assigning targets as required and updating threat direction threat, enemy actions and his read of what is going to happen. Onboard both ships the air picture compilers and supervisors are updating the air picture and ensuring the Command has the entire picture.
    The Type 26 will be coordinating the ASW battle via another PWO providing the sitreps over the circuit to the 45 who will not only have an AAWO running the surface battle but another PWO looking at the ASW battle. On both Ships experienced ASW coordinator senior rates and action picture supervisors as well as sonar crews will be building the picture.
    One of the Ship will be running the surface battle via the 3rd PWO or experienced CPO and providing the updates. We train to fight all 3 environments simultaneously with 1 ship. Regular updates in the ops room and between out stations will provide the big picture including the internal state of the Ship and any repair priorities. the Co whose job is to look at the big picture will end these briefs with his command priorities.
    Your comment about Cos and comfort zones etc could not be further from reality had you tried.
    the new radar conatcts would immediately have the complete attention of the surface desk as the new potential air raid would be the job of the air desk. They would now be priority number 1 with Electro Optical devices and radar used to scan them. On a good radar the balloon trick is quite obvious, we have people who actually do write scenarios far more dastardly than this one you know. Also the USV would be shining radar of some sort.
    if the Wildcat has missile boats at 50Nm it would immediately be vectored towards these targets. If they are visible at 12Nm the bloody balloons show you where to look then they are not going to be alive at 5Nm. we would also appear to have not launched any of the T26 mission bay carried USVs for self defence or utilised the helos for a surface search on the way out or the UAV on the T26 for local RMP and live feed.

    RT, it is interesting but about as valid as me writing one for 1 Armoured even though I have read red storm rising, chieftans, sword point, team yankee, red pheonix, cauldron and vortex as well as 3 op tours with dust on my boots.

  202. Red Trousers


    well, I can write far more plausible scenarios about what I do actually know about…;) But it is always good to challenge the experts. Lets hope the plan works (and also green-equivalent plan).

    I do recall a very serious RN officer on ACSC taking on the Red role on one of the exercises. This is a man who could one day well be CNS – took command of a T23 at age 38 so no slouch, later he ran the ARG as a 1 star. His big idea – debated furiously in the wash-up by various RN senior DS and by Prof Geoffrey Till who was senior academic – was for metal bodied rockets to be fired in the general direction of Blue Forces ships. No explosive, guidance, whatever, just cheap and cheerful rockets fired in the general direction, and getting up to about 30,000 feet before ballistically plunging back to earth somewhere in the region of the Blue Task Group, completely inert. One of the dstl scientists did some calculations and it was less than £10,000 a rocket including all R&D. But his rockets, fired at odd intervals completely screwed up Blue forces as they banged away with expensive AD missiles, and eventually ran out of the AD missiles.

  203. All politicians are the Same

    RT, ref the guy on ACSC, innovation is great but eventually the purely ballistic profile and complete lack of any in flight manouvering and no emissions would give the game away. Would work once for a while. its effect would be completely dependent upon somebody in Blue forces being clever enough to realise what all the clues added up to.

    sometimes simple is good. I have also heard several people argue that what we should have had in San Carlos water were a load of barrage balloons moored with reinforced steel cable. Nothing as fancy as mounting radar or missiles, simply giving enemy aircraft something else to worry about and avoid.

  204. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi APATS, RE
    “4. We have harpoon now on t23 and will hopefully have an up to date missile for T26”

    Everyone here seems to be in agreement about the suitability of NSM/JSM. What has not been mentioned yet is that that at least the newer one can do contour flying not just vertically but also otherwise (e.g. around an island and maintain the low level path and wholly passive terminal approach).
    – it cost a tad over USD 200m to arm the class of 5 FACS, so make that pounds for inflation correction
    – we would probably never have more than 5 of the T26s at the same time in a threat environment warranting the missile load (as long as it is allowed for in the design)… cheap as chips, in the way of insurance? Don’t know what Harpoons did cost, at the time

    Observer’s link provided the statistic that for vessels up to 7000t a mission kill is achieved with 30% of the Exocet- sized missile hits (in all likelihood equates to one)compared to what it would take to sink the vessel
    – can’t think of any credible scenario in which the OpFor would possess warships bigger than that

  205. Mark

    Well all il say is lucky that the sea skua replacement is being designed as a long range standoff weapon of over 25km which I would think keeps it out of the range of the vast majority of ship based air defence system.

    But perhaps more important the RN twice in both cluttered environments and over 200miles from land have sunk a number of vessels in several conflicts and none by a ship based anti ship missile. With the us also finding it less than useful in its own single ever engagement may explain it removing it from its own vessels. But hey if we have a billion quid to spend on a ship based anti ship missile to counter the proliferation of destroyer sized vessels in open ocean warfare mores the better.

  206. x

    25km = 13nm

    I know the Chinese have medium range SAMs than reach out to 32km.

    Might be good against little ships. But it is the frigates and destroyers we should be concerned about.

  207. Observer


    Why am I starting to get the sense that your objections are more “in principle” than “in fact”?

    25km is NOT long ranged as SAMs go. The basic ASTOR has a range of 30km. Out of MANPAD range yes, out of ship system range? Not likely. SeaCeptor is too short ranged to intercept though, so there is the cut off point. IIRC, one of the secondary functions of a Harpoon was “anti-bomber”, which has the implications that a helo might be a valid target for it too.

    “With the us also finding it less than useful in its own single ever engagement may explain it removing it from its own vessels”

    When? References? If you’re talking about the LCS, that wasn’t because of “lack of AShM usefullness” but more of them screwing up the NLOS missile project.

  208. Observer

    “But perhaps more important the RN twice in both cluttered environments and over 200miles from land have sunk a number of vessels in several conflicts and none by a ship based anti ship missile.”

    And the RN is the only navy in the world? Why not compare the Israeli Navy vs the Syrians and the Egyptians. Styx vs Gabriel ShMs with a fair number of ships sunk. Or the USN in Op Praying Mantis? Or the USS Stark which ran afoul of an Iraqi Exocet?

    Armed Forces are like a game of Jenga, you can yank some blocks out, but do too much of it and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Getting rid of a ship’s primary anti-ship weapon comes close, and might even have crossed that line already as it cripples one of the main roles of the ship itself, to kill other enemy ships.

  209. Jonesy

    Re SSGW got to admit to being caught between two stools on that one.

    The issue for SSGW always comes back to RoE and the very real propensity for the things to clear off and find any target they fancy after you launch them. Sink a couple of car ferries full of nuns and orphans and see how fast “Global Media Inc” becomes your fiercest enemy.

    The pic I added earlier shows a shore-fired P-35 that did just that (sans nuns/orphans!) and I know of a USN Outlaw Hunter TASM test that saw the inert test object TASM decide that its real target was the UNREP ship coming out to the group involved in the testing and had to be aborted.

    Firing long range active radar guided missiles into crowded sea lanes is an exercise in faith. Trying to coordinate a short-latency swarm attack on the heels of a wave of shore-based AShM’s that could conceivably hit whatever they please is, again, something that talks more of the devoutness of the raid commander than his military proficiency!.

    Positive targeting control means a positive ID on the target and the valid expectation that, during the missile flight time, nothing else is going to interpose itself on the target bearing. Short missile flight times help this of course. Anyway its looked at RoE favours having a shooter platform close enough to the target to make a clear ID prior to weapon release and to be able to evaluate the surface plot for the likely success of an attack.

    Marks position on the chopper carried light AShM coming in right about there. FASGW(H)/ANL is looking to be some kind of Skua derivative with a similar seeker section to JSM and with 4-round carry on Wildcat looks good news. SPEAR Cap3 at 2m length and 54nm range also looks like it could offer a lot to the Wildcat/Merlin fleet if it can be made chopper/surface launch capable.

    The problem, though, is that sticking missiles on helicopters and sending them off on SURCAP does two things.

    1) Knocks back the range and endurance of the helicopter. Murphies law clearly states that the exact moment that the opfor FAC flotilla appears on the scope is the same one you have to turn round and head back to mother for more fuel.

    2) Eats through the airframe carry life of the missile. Nothing electronic, and few things mechanical, likes vibration – anyone who doesnt believe me is welcome to take their PC and give it a damn good shaking for a few hours…when you’ve had it fixed and are back online then I’ll say ‘told you so!’. Missiles have a finite length of time that they can be mounted on an aircraft station before they need to be decertified, checked and recertified for use. Burning through that carry life flying circles in the sky is wasteful when inventories are small…as they are today.

    There is a school of thought then that says choppers are or should be just the eyes for ship based missiles and never the twain should meet. The Italians took this a step further with Teseo in that the Otomat would be fired toward and underneath the upthreat chopper….the helo taking control of the missile for the terminal phase to target. They do also deploy the Marte lightweight AShM though!.

    Like I said then, bottom line, many stools…difficult to know where to sit.

  210. SomewhatInvolved

    On the subject of ASM’s, has nobody put any thought in just why the West as a whole, and the US specifically, has not developed a new ASM in years and is only now looking for an ‘interim’ solution in the TASM? Bear in mind that the USA is buying NSM as an air-launched weapon to equip the F35, not a ship-launched weapon.

    Harpoon and Exocet, the two mainstays of Western antiship firepower, remain unchanged as active, subsonic missiles. Otomat has some new targeting capabilities, but is also essentially unchanged. Storm Shadow/Scalp remains a land attack weapon. The West has studiously avoided developing two-ton, hypersonic, swarm attacking brutes like BrahMos, Klub and Yakhont, yet the Indians, even with Switchblade and BrahMos, are still purchasing new Harpoons. The interim TASM is yet another slow, active guided missile without any of the Russian/Indian/Chinese surprises like the Klub. And even more oddly, the Flight IIA Arleigh Burkes were built without Harpoon at all (though I know full well it’s bolt on, for the Americans not to add it in is unusual), relying perhaps on the Standard, an air intercept missile, as it’s only ranged ASM.

    I do not fully understand the West’s attitude but something about the setup does not seem right; there are too many contradictions. In fact it’s downright odd when you consider we have missiles that can swat satellites and ICBM’s, imminent ship-based laser defences and the most expensive Harrier ever developed. Why is the development of new weapons, such as Perseus, only coming about now?

    The only positive I can shed on this is that we still have a lot of faith in Harpoon. The airframe may be old, but the seeker is much newer and is very good. We know how to use it, and are still content that Harpoon could overwhelm the defences of most of the new warships in service today. Only true AAW destroyers, most of which are Western anyway, would be able to shrug off a coordinated attack. A great many of the worlds warships still rely on dish-like fire control radars which can only engage one target at a time, so they can be overwhelmed. And no matter how many kilometers range is claimed by a SAM system, it still cannot see through the curvature of the Earth and thus a seaskimming missile (and a helicopter for that matter) can get very close before being picked up.

    I’m not proposing that Harpoon is amazing – it’s old and we really do need something newer. But the lack of a super-sexy missile like BrahMos is as much a Western doctrinal issue as it is a UK policy issue.

    However, if you want to look at success rates, our most successful ASM is British and has been in service for years. We have 10 ship kills from 15 engagements dating back to 1982, and the latest version is imminent. No matter how much we might like a big new missile, Sea Skua is apparently our preferred weapon of choice!

  211. Think Defence

    SI, would it be fair to say that big supersonic missiles are defensive weapons designed to counter the Western navies superiority in all other areas and in general, since the Otomat/Harpoon/Exocet Cold War days have not faced an opponent with a worthwhile navy that could not be overcome with submarines and destroying them and their nations military infrastructure whilst still in shore with submarines and air launched precision munitions

    So I would suggest the reason the West has not developed a Brahmos or equivalent is because we just don’t have the need for it

  212. martin

    If we don’t have Anti-ship missiles on the T26 and we don’t have land attack cruise missiles then we should really be asking what the point is. At £350 million each with radar and towed array transferred over from existing vessels it’s not exactly cheap.
    Khareef is being built in the UK today for nearly 1/3rd the cost of T26. Khareef has Anti-ship missiles and Mica. Its price also includes sonar and radar.
    Now that they seem to have cut the aft mission bay out I have to ask the question how much more bang for the buck are we getting over just simply buying a stretched Khareef with hanger space for a Merlin and modifying eight of them to take the 2087. It seems to me the limitations of the Khareef in range and speed would more than be offset by the ability to buy 36 of them for the price of our 13 T26’s
    I realize the T26 comes with its reconfigurable mission bay but in reality this is nothing more than a big gap in the middle of the ship. We don’t have and as yet have no plans to ever field a mission module. Is this space going to simply be able to cater for humanitarian missions?
    Removing it’s easy access to the water at the aft of the ship and only having a single access for boats and everything else at the side of the ship seems to be to reduce the effectiveness of the entire concept to the point that it’s not worth having.
    In the past few years the T26 has gone from a 6,500 ton ASW destroyer armed with a 155mm gun, light phased array radar, anti-ship and land attack missile with reconfigurable multi mission bay for £500 million to a 5,400 ton offshore patrol vessel with a big gap in the middle armed with only point defence missile and 127mm gun for £350 million.

  213. martin

    @ Challenger and Mark
    With a stock pile of just 60 TLAMS for the entire navy I think it’s doubtful and SSN will ever carry more than a handful. Just enough to get a picture on the front page of the sun.
    Looking at the T26 from a historic picture its more like an anti submarine cruiser than a traditional frigate. Given the small numbers in the fleet every major surface combatant should be able to conduct AAW and ASW as well as land attack.
    It make sense to have different ships like T45 specializes in AAW and T26 is ASW but the days of highly specialized vessels capable of only operating in a fleet are over for the RN and nearly over for the USN.
    On VLS
    I am hearing the term fitted for but not with spring to mind. The fact that for no reason at all we choose to fit A50 instead of A70 on the T45 and we are yet to fit the 16 spaces on them says to me T26 will not get a Strike length VLS for purely political reason’s. The only reason the SSN fire TLAMS is that they fit the standard torpedo tubes to the Treasury can’t say no. Unless the RN finds another weapon that requires a strike length launcher (possibly Aster 45 at some point) I don’t forsee us getting anything. The other RN option might be to scrap harpoon and buy TLAM anti ship missiles. This way we could fit Mk 41 on T45 and T26. Typical UK politics.

  214. Mark

    This is of interest and may reinforce si point

    Observer the ship launched anti ship missile was a total of two one of which missed the rest of the engagements are from aircraft and guns. The reason I excluded israel was most of those engagements were using corvetts or fast attack craft and we don’t use harpoon for those.

    X maybe facing off the Chinese needs harpoon on a ship I agree the odds of that happening to a lone British frigate?

    My issue is we’ve had a number of chances to use then in a number of conflicts we choice other means to sink ships that’s why I wonder if represents value for money to replace them especially with a number of other options all of which are being improved.

  215. x

    @ Mark

    Well if two task groups meet who do you shove forward the escorts or the HVUs?

    Even in these days of UAVs and satellites frigates will be patrolling on their own. What about targets of opportunity?

    We are talking a 1.2% 2.4% cost of the entire system for four to eight missiles.

    We are talking millions of square miles of ocean.

    What about war on multiple fronts in a multi-polar world?

  216. Brian Black

    Some folks ar suggesting that as the Royal Navy hasn’t sunk a great deal of ships with ship-mounted AShM, then we don’t need them in the future.

    Consider what might have happened if HMS Conqueror had either not found ARA Belgrano, or an attack order was not given before it slipped away.
    You’d have the prospect of Belgarano closing on the task force, with guns able to engage at 25km.
    In defence of the task force, Wasp helicopters could use the lightweight AS-12 missile. AS-12 were used in the attack on the Sub, Sante Fe. Nine missiles fired, one failure to launch, four missed, and four succeded in damaging the sub. Another attack on Stanley’s town hall saw both missiles miss the immobile target.
    Lynx helicopters could have launched the lightweight Sea Skua. On one occasion four missiles were fired at an 800tonne patrol boat, which while damaged, still managed to return to the mainland under its own steam.
    Those missiles would have been of questionable utility in an attack on an armoured cruiser.
    The only effective weapon available to the task force would have been 1000lbs unguided GP bombs, which would require the sub-sonic Harriers to fly directly into a barrrage from 15 6″ guns, 8 5″ guns and assorted 40mmm and 20mm cannon fire.

  217. x

    @ SI

    I think Europe was hoping the US would bear most of the weight with the war at sea. The USN would be using SSNs and air power to sink the opfor. I have said before the USN have regarded Harpoon as a second battery weapon for a while.

    As for Indians, Chinese, and Russian having a range of missiles well they have a range of platforms and a range of missiles offer them a range of options. Does the term saturation attack meaning nothing?

    If we have no intention of sinking the opposition why put to sea? Are we saying in effect that the Chinese, Indians, and Russians are, well, a bit stoopid? Or are we expecting to kill all there missiles, that our SSNs get firing solutions on all their ships, and what the SSNs don’t sink one or two of sub-sonic missiles will meander in and stop a few ships because if China, Russians, and Indians can’t build ASMs obviously their AAW capability is a bit crap too?

  218. martin

    One issue i can see with not have Anti ship missiles on board is similar to removing guns on fighters. We all assume that engagements will happen BVR. However the most likely scenario I can think is a stand off between an RN frigate and another warship over drilling exploration or fisheries as we are seeing in the South China sea now. The vessels may be in close proximity for several days. If the foreign vessel suddenly decides to engage with an Anti Ship missile we might be able to intercept the first one or two. However with out the ability to shoot back logic would dictate that they would eventually get through the Sea Ceptor and CIWS systems.

    Is just having a 127mm gun as the only no helicopter based anti ship solution enough? Maybe the torpedos’ could be brought to bare (if we get them) but this may take too much time.

    The other issue with only having a helicopter based solution is that if a potential enemy knows the helicopter is not working i.e. they have shot it down then they can come in very close to finish a vessel off with only having to fear the 4.5 or 5 inch gun.

    We have never used SLBM’s once. However having them provides a deterrent. Could we look at Anti ship missiles in a similar fashion giving a frigate or destroyer a deterrent value?

  219. x

    @ Brian Black


    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    For me all this talk of kit etc. is all a game of Top Trumps. I don’t want T26 to go to war. I don’t want to drown Chinese sailors in their hundreds. I don’t want anybody to be killed. But military power has its place in balancing the world order. I find it bizarre we are discussing whether a major naval unit needs the capability to attack other warships.

  220. x

    @ Martin

    I would go to look at the specifications of the Argentine Brownes. In a game of arg bargy in the South Atlantic, a less than war situation, close in as you suggest, a brave captain in a Brown would be be able to best a T45.

  221. martin

    @ X

    ” I find it bizarre we are discussing whether a major naval unit needs the capability to attack other warships.”

    I agree with your statement. We have not fought a major all out pier on pier war since 1945. However we maintain the ability to do so to provide a deterrent to ever having to do so.

    I am increasingly fed up with attitudes and design philosophy that put things like humanitarian aid at the fore front. Its seems to be a way in the mind of military leaders and politicans to justify military expenditure. However we should not need to justify military expenditure beyond its deterrence value and a last ditched insurance policy.

    Putting a major naval vessel to see with out the ability to independently sink another vessel of similar size is just silly.

    As you so down south could be a prime example of where an RN vessel may be engaged by hostile forces on its own with no help with in weeks. When the Argies kicked off about T45 being sent I did think it some what funny. Air defence is something we have pretty well covered in the S Atlantic with Typhoon. T45 would have been in serious difficulty even a small group of corvettes or an SSK. Even if she had been able to get her lynx in the air how effective would Sea Skua have been against several targets moving in from different directions armed with exocet firing it at close range.

  222. SomewhatInvolved

    x, calm down dear! I haven’t questioned the validity of naval power, merely wondered why the West has collectively neglected to push on with developing new anti-ship weapons. I’m quite happy with the idea of saturation attack, thank you, merely wondered as to the apparent split philosophy of the Indians in their ASM loads. With BrahMos and Harpoon as well as others, it suggests to me that their primary focus is east, not west, and is a counter to expanding Chinese ambitions. Export Harpoon is not the same as what the UK/US have bolted on to their ships.

    Anybody can deliver a killer blow at point blank range. Point is, they wouldn’t let an Argie get close enough to threaten with Exocet. If tensions are high enough to indicate that war is imminent, nobody is going to run around with anything unidentified within Exocet range.

  223. The Other Chris

    Spent the last few days in and out of the dentist. Gave me a chance to read the comments as a whole and jot down some points either in answer to questions, as a summary, or where topics have been missed or misunderstood.

    In defence of Type 45
    – AAW Platform;
    – Significant capability improvement per hull over T42;
    – PAAMS (Sea Viper) System *not* CAMM(M) (Sea Ceptor) system;
    – Blend of Aster 15, Aster 30;
    – Can not (currently) quad-pack a PAAMS variant Aster 15;
    – Anti-MRBM capability via Aster 30 and Aster 30 Block II;
    – “Strike Length” launchers (i.e. A-70, Mk.41) will mean ATBM class weapons.

    Think about that last point for a minute. Several commenter’s want TLAM/AShM (or similar) or question why A-50 was fitted and not A-70. Cost is not a major factor when the launchers are relatively cheap. On a PAAMS Platform, a “Strike Length” VLS allows fitting of future Aster 45 (MEADS? Need some help here.) and that threatens the ICBM’s of certain factions.

    Although few in number, these vessels are serious news. They state that we not only want, but can achieve, a measure of control over an area of the sky centred on these assets.

    In defence of a T23 Mod 2
    – T23 are considered a success;
    – Workhorse of the fleet;
    – Hull life coming to an end;
    – Limited ability to upgrade systems beyond current extension projects;
    – Current extension becomes the baseline T26 load-out;
    – T26 architected to enable easy fitting of the next upgrade, and likely the upgrade after that;
    – T26 considered a success if T23 (considerable) capabilities not lost;
    – As mentioned before, it can be reasonably anticipated that T26 will achieve this at reasonable cost;
    – T23’s phased out as T26 phased in.

    That last point: While we still have T23’s in the water, we still have T23 capabilities.

    Fully embarked
    – Vessels not carrying a full complement of equipment;
    – e.g. 4 Sea Wolf missiles embarked during OUP;
    – @El Sid mentioned this was an adequate load-out and more could have been shipped;
    – @Sol has discussed many times on his blog the difficulties embarking a full complement of aircraft on it’s own aircraft carriers;
    – @APATS discussed a normal force of 12 F-35B’s being carried onboard a CVF and that this can always be surged.

    Oto Melara 127/64
    – Can still fire standard 5″ shells;
    – Vulcano ammunition one option;
    – Selects and mixes ammunition from four available drums;
    – Programmable FCS;
    – MRSI amongst the various engagement patterns available;
    – Vulcano deals with GPRS jamming (as per videos posted by @x) inertially and with target designation;
    – Same video portrays naval engagement, again with target designation;
    – If Vulcano ammunition features are in development, still have a quality 5″ gun.

    Naval Strike Missile
    – Existing missile, in production;
    – Selected as JSM;
    – Commonality means that once a system has been qualified for one variant F-35, very (relatively) simple to roll out to other variants;
    – UK would find it easy to acquire and operate JSM from F-35B fleet.

    – SYLVER A-50/A-70;
    – Mk.41;
    – SYLVER is not a pure cold launch technology, hot exhaust venting is built into each cannister;
    – Accepts cold launch systems;
    – A-70 so called “Strike Length” variant can launch TLAM.
    – Given commonality with PAAMS, CAMM(M) (including quad packed Sea Ceptor Aster 15 based missiles) and capacity to launch SCALP(N) this would be the likely choice for T26 VLS.

    Torpedo Tubes
    – Not limited to pushing Torpedoes out;
    – Are the T23 tubes big enough to fire off a cannister launched TLAM?

    Stern Ramp on T26
    – Change in design most likely due to reduction in size;
    – Mission Deck is primary “innovative” feature of T26, compromised if retained under helicopter deck during the shrinking in particular;
    – Original concept had room to the side of the ramp to swing TAS out through ramp, though likely some difficulty in operations while towing the array as well?

    Israel vs Iran
    – Difficult to not get involved given the Oil shipping in the region;
    – Though have a look at the likes of the Habshan–Fujairah oil pipeline avoiding Hormuz.

    Phalanx and Nautilus
    – Imagine that a neat upgrade path from Phalanx 1b to a Nautilus LaWS wouldn’t be too tricky.

    Platforms for Payloads
    – Concerns raised over ships that primarily defend themselves;
    – Think of these vessels as Platforms;
    – Payloads are being developed;
    – Would be worried if we didn’t have a Platform ready to put the Payloads on when they become available!

  224. ALL Politicians are the Same

    SI, “Nobody is going to run around with anything unidentified within Exocet range’.

    Given the extremely limited ground attack capability of the 4 Typhoons. The limitations of 4.5, the lack of AShM, is the 45 just going to go back alongside or clear out of the AOR? Those are the options if we do not have an SSN available.

    Mark FASGW(H)/ANL is a Helicopter Launched Anti-Surface Guided Missile aimed at delivering a solution to meet the UK and French military requirements. The weapon is designed to undertake both offensive and defensive maritime missions against targets ranging from Corvette sized vessels to Fast Inshore Attack Craft. The missile is designed for the AW159 Lynx Wildcat, NH90 and Panther”

    This what we are buying the new helo missiles for.

    Martin, There is a mission Bay in the T26 which will be able to launch and recover via the stbd side. As for mission modules, which ones would you like? Want to turn an FF into an MCMV? It will be able to carry USV if required which will be handy for FP and possibly UUV if we develop one with a use.
    Calling a quiet, mission bay fitted, merlin and 2087 capable platform that can also carry a UAV, may have precision attack 127MM gun and will have AAW capability out to approx 16NM whilst indications are it will be fitted for strike length silos and OPV is a little unfair.

  225. martin

    @ SI – If the argie vessel or vessels are dispatched to take over or just harass say a drilling platform then I am guessing the RN vessel will have little choice to get in close. This kind of thing is not going to get the UK to dispatch a task force.

    It may be in BA’s interest to sink an RN warship for domestic morale reasons. It may just be a pissed off Argie skipper who knows? However we can’t always assume engagements will be well predicted or happen at range.

    If the argies did sink an RN warship over an oil dispute what would we do? Especially if the Argentines were holding the survivors? What would be the resulting effect on Britain’s place in the world?

    This is the country that is still debating the morality 30 years on of sinking an enemy naval vessel in a war that was threatening a British naval task force. Hardly a detterent.

    I still don’t understand why Harpoon has not been cross decked to T45. We must have tonnes of the things sitting around now.

  226. x

    @ Somewhat

    I am not wound up. I am getting my thoughts and questions out as they occur. That is why is sounds a bit sharp. I am busy too.

  227. A friend of Mr Gladstone

    Surely the only way for the RN to build a case for Scalp-N in the T26 or T45 is to point out that loading Storm Shadow onto your entire F35B airgroup on the CVF would still only provide 24 Storm Shadows fired at the cost of rendering the entire F35B force useless for the sort of deep strike on the first day that the F35B is supposed to be for. Fitting 16 S70 lauchers on each escort would be expensive, but it would ensure that F35B could be used for the purpose it was designed for.

  228. martin

    @ APATS – You are right that OPV is unfair. I am just worried that the thing keeps trading of capabilities but still seems to cost a hell of a lot. Is there possibly a better option available?

    There is a lot of talk of UUV’s and USV’s but nothing is even on the drawing board. I am all for leaving room for development however the T26 now seems to leave lots of room for future stuff with out focusing on the things we need today.

    Entry for UUV’s or USV’s or small boats will all have to be done by a single crane and door access on one side of the ship. That would seem to me to massively reduce the ability to deploy these things over the previous incarnation which had stern ramp and two side access doors.

    While the graphics do show some form of Strike VLS is this just there for export potential? The fact that it also shows smaller VLS for Sea Ceptor and the RN has not announced any form of land attack missile purchase beyond SSN’s or an anti ship missile than can be launched from a VLS seems to indicate to me that T26 might get neither.

  229. Mark


    Yes and I accept that I think you would agree is the most likely anti ship situation well face corvettes down. The question that I’m perhaps not expressing very well is. Are we likely to face a destroyer size ship threat without subs or air cover and if that’s the case is a ship launched anti ship cability the go to weapon which we need to be spending money on or is it as remote a chance as being hit with a meteor.

  230. Brian Black

    If relying on a handful of SSNs as the only offensive anti-ship weapon, consider also that at least one of the perhaps two subs that makes it into theatre will be mooching around in a TLAM launch box waiting for a firing order, and largely unavailable for other tasking.
    And while marvelling at the ability of the surface fleet to defend itself against incoming missiles, consider that without a relevant offensive capability those ships might as well be parked in Portsmouth for all that they would achieve during the next sea battle – unless it’s Navy doctrine to try and bankrupt and demoralise the enemy by shooting down all its missiles.

  231. The Other Chris

    @Brian Black

    While we still have T23’s around, we still have that capability.

    By the time there are no T23’s around, new offensive Payloads will have been developed.

    I don’t see the gap you’re seeing.

  232. Observer


    Which incident are you refering to? The link you reposted has a consolidated list at the back showing 222 AShMs fired pre-1992, hardly “never fired in anger”. And the problem with taking out the Harpoon is the lack of AShMs. If you’re going to fixate on a single missile type, you’ll miss the point. Point being that AShMs are still very effective and widely used in war, and that any ship without them is operating at a severe disadvantage.

    “The reason I excluded israel was most of those engagements were using corvetts or fast attack craft and we don’t use harpoon for those. ”

    You’r not very familiar with naval ship loadouts are you? Asian region, it’s common for FAC/PVs to run with 4-8 AShMs while corvettes can go from 8-16 Harpoons or more. Admittedly, during the war, Israel was using Gabriel missiles, which were old missiles, we retired them ~1980s, their newer Saár class corvettes do come with 2×4 pack of Harpoons.

  233. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Martin, The Graphics I am looking at show 2 large door and 1 small door on the stbd side. Not one door, the small door is probably a boat bay as a boat has to be ready for a man overboard scenario 24/7 at sea. the first Ship will not launch for 12 years! if ever there is a case for lets wait and see what is available in 10 years and but off the shelf then this is it. I would actually be horrified if BAE or the MOD were attempting to design a T26 Specific USv or USV now.
    Now you are second guessing the silo arrangements from a base line CGI. The T26 requirement talked about a VL AShM. Now it may be that someone somewhere knows what that is going to be hence the CGI or they are simply going to purchase and bolt on something like NSM. As for smaller sea Ceptor VLS tubes, alot of people have talked about quad packing in bigger launchers but do we know if that works? is it perhaps easier to put them in single cells for reasons that we do not know about.

  234. Brian Black

    On TD’s ponderings of the moving mission bay. Wot I reckon, is that a stern mission bay would be compromised on the ASW variant, of which we are ordering eight; while an upper-deck mission bay would only be compromised on the AAW variant (by additional launch silos), of which we are ordering none.
    The only potential loss is an Absalon style ro-ro capability (not sure if that was ever envisaged for the T26 anyway), which might not be relevant to RN operational concepts given the RN and RFA lift capacity.

  235. SomewhatInvolved

    Really? Argentine warships taking over oil platforms would not draw a military response? I’m not getting into the South Atlantic war debate – the Argentine war machine is outdated, decrepit and ineffective. The ‘taking over the islands by stealth’ argument is also bollocks. Argentina can’t even keep it’s economy stabilised, and is not presently capable of mobilising the huge funds necessary to conduct military operations, which would ensue if they decided to attack an RN warship. Even if it was lucky enough to score a hit with Exocet, hardly the most terrifying of missiles to us, it would die shortly thereafter, unable to defend itself against a Typhoon with it’s piffling Aspide system, too far from home for effective fighter cover. It is nothing but talk from a nation barely able to hold it together.

    Tonnes of Harpoons sitting around the place? Really. From where exactly? Bearing in mind that we only ever arm those ships that are deploying?

    So a ship can’t identify anything within a 40nm range without an SSN? Really? Electronic intercept of radars? AIS data transmissions? Helicopter investigating anything stupid enough to be steaming around with radars and AIS switched off? The fact that any warships sailing from the mainland for the islands, having just spent days alongside stocking up on war materiel, wouldn’t be tracked from the second they left port? Come on people, some credit please!

  236. Observer


    Depending on internal politics, occasionally, regimes have been known to do a bit of sabre rattling to distract internal dissent. It is a bit of an extreme example, and I have severe doubts that Argentina will follow the pattern, but remember North Korea and the military provocations it did (shelling S.Korea, killing a corvette) just before the succession of Kim Jong Un? No need for a war billing, just toss a round and make a lot of noise. As for being hit by an Exocert or any other AShM? No thanks. Other than the loss of life, a “mission kill” is a very high possibility. He may die, but that’s small comfort with a hole in your ship and casualties.

  237. ALL Politicians are the Same

    SI, If the last paragraph was aimed at me. I never mentioned Identifying anything. I meant that once identified the T45 has no means other than ceding the Battle field to keep a Exocet equipped Ship outside of 40NM.

    The Typhoons down South are a very early software update and as CBFFI would you risk your only cover against air attack to attack a Ship with SAM system using laser guided bombs (if they even have them). Given that the balloon has now gone up you COG is the runway at MPC and the ability to reinforce quickly.

    I fully understand the Political reasons for not fitting an AShM to the 45 down South but it does not make me any more comfortable with the military limitations it brings.

  238. martin

    @ SI – My scenario was a relatively benign situation of Argie vessels harassing an oil platform in the FI EEZ. Not an invasion which I agree is silly. However in a Mexican style standoff with one or two argentine vessels very close to the platform would a T45 sit twenty or thirty miles away or would she come in closer?
    Such a scenario may last for days but may turn hot in the blink of an eye.
    In terms of developing weapons for T26. With developments times as long as they are now if they have not started it won’t be ready in time for the first T26. I can’t see uncle Phil allowing for the development of anything that’s not in his budget until well after 2015. We may go off the shelf however I am not aware of any VLS Anti Ship missiles today that we could buy. Maybe TLAM and maybe Exocet in the future. I agree that we may be putting too much interpretation into a earlier design video however with recent MOD policy can you blame us for being worried.
    I was referring to the Harpoon Launchers from the T22’s

  239. x

    @ Somewhat re those Islands

    I was off on a tangent replying to Brian and not contributing as such to the main thrust of the current discussion.

    I was clear I was talking about less than war situation a la Cod War. In such scenarios the occasional exchange of gun fire is not unknown. The Browne’s gun is the equal of the Mk8 mount. The Browne’s all have 4 twin 40mm mounts. Never mentioned Exocet. Never mentioned SSNs. Never mentioned Typhoon (though if the RAF wanted to strafe a ship with cannon that was replying with radar layed 40mm gun for them.) I am little too obsessed with the Argentines being an asymmetric threat and being clever down South. Sorry for the confusion. Must press on.

  240. Observer

    Cod War?

    That’s low! Biological Warfare! :)

  241. martin

    @ X – Its a good point, If two NATO members can get this heated over something like cod imagine the potential down south over something like oil. Especially if it is found that the FI does have billions of barrels.

    I don’t see the guns on a Typhoon or the limited air to ground capability as being a deterrent to BA firing on an RN vessel. BA may calculate and quite rightly too that our response would be purely diplomatic. Just look at S Korea with the sinking of the Cheonan if you are not prepared to go to war over such incidents which we would not be then diplomatic pressure means very little.

    Argentina is increasingly prepared to violate international protocols and an incident like this could be a very real possibility in the next few years.

  242. x

    @ Martin

    The pattern for TD thread:

    All threads turn into navy threads, navy threads turn into Falklands threads. :)

    Yes you would be silly to take on Typhoons in the air or try to land on the islands. Engineering a situation at sea is probably the way to go. As I keep saying the Argentines don’t need to win.

  243. Jed

    Ref: ” I am not aware of any VLS Anti Ship missiles today that we could buy.”

    There are 2 – almost…..

    Yanks are re-investigating TacTom as a VLS based resplacement for Harpoon as part of their wider effort, which also includes an air launched sub-sonic weapon (a version of JASSM ?) and a new design supersonic AShM.

    The French have already investigated changes to the SCALP-N which is vertical launched from Sylver A-70 for land attack from their FREMM variant. I saw an article somewhere saying that an a minimum it would require just software changes to the IR seeker and target identification library; but that they wanted to add additional bits, inlcuding a two way targeting datalink.

    So we have potential for prudent evolutionary development of two VLS missiles that already come in land attack form – making dual use missiles that can take on either mission is in effect another element of “modularity” providing for a general purpose ship design able to provide multiple “effects”. As we already have Sylver, and SCALP-N has some commonalities with our air launched long range strike missiles (including components built in the UK ?) it would seem silly not to investigate this route ???

  244. martin

    @ Jed – I would love to see both Land Attack and anti ship missile variant of Storm Shadow. My concern is the price. The French paid Eur 950 million for just 250 SCALP (n). Nearly four million per missile is quite and well outside the MOD budget for the foreseeable future.

    The treasury is going to hit the roof if the navy starts firing land attack missiles at this cost.

    Anti ship version of Tomahawk would be great but its still very much just on the drawing board at the moment and who knows how much it will cost. The USN is not exactly known for its prudence.

    Does any one know why there are not presently any VLS launched Anti Ship missiles? Is it something to do with size or ability to fire at low inclination?

  245. Mark


    ship launch anti ship missiles, not air launched or any other I’m specifically taking about ship launched anti ship missiles and is there a need for it. There has not been 200 of those fired infact there’s been 2 by any western navy.
    Maybe you can explain then with all options available in Iraq and the Falklands why we didn’t use the ship launched anti ship missiles if it so brilliant why wasn’t it the number 1 choice if its such a disadvantage not to have them..
    The point I was making in relation to israel was not what missiles they carry but what we do to attack the vessels they attacked and as we did in 1991 (with all options available) we’d used helicopter launched anti ship.

  246. x

    Size no. BraHmos is longer than TLAM, but not quite as heavy.

  247. martin

    @ Mark – We did not use it because our SSN’s took out an Argie cruiser and the rest ran away. However if the SSN had lost contact it may have been a very different story. Like a fighter with a gun you should never have to get close enough to use it but it does not mean its not worth having and in some instance vital. Not having it gives an enemy the ability to exploit a weakness.

    If for example an Argentine vessel in peace time started chasing a T45 what would it do to keep at a safe distance? Run away? send the Lynx to engage? At least if you have Harpoon on board you can be reasonably sure that if he does fire you will be able to respond with deadly force immediately he will know the same thing.

  248. The Other Chris

    “Does any one know why there are not presently any VLS launched Anti Ship missiles?”

    Until the latest batch of designs, when have we needed them to be launched vertically?

    Prior and current vessels have carried the likes of the Harpoon and their generation of launchers.

    By the time the T26 achieves enough numbers in the water to affect our anti-surface capability, there will be a suitable payload ready to drop into the launchers.

  249. The Other Chris

    “If for example an Argentine vessel in peace time started chasing a T45 what would it do to keep at a safe distance?”

    What would the Captain of HMS Dauntless do? Smile knowingly that one of our SSN’s (TALENT? ASTUTE?) had likely been tracking the vessel for some considerable time already, and go about his business.

  250. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Mark, The Belgrano was sunk whilst the TG was well out of range. The longest range missile AShM in the TF was the 30 odd NM range MM38. Also Conqueror used straight running torps, should we get rid of Spearfish?

    If the Argentinians had sortied then yes you would have seen an AShM engagement. They had success with air and land based versions.

    1991 was exactly why we have helo launched AShM capability. The Iraqi navy was operating in poorly charted possibly mined littoral waters using patrol boats with no AAW capability. That is an integral part of their capability. Engaging a SAM armed Ship in open ocean is definitely not. especially given the limited range they can engage at.

    We then look at cost.

    A Lynx Wildcat costs £27 Million pounds, A Merlin Hm1 £39 million pounds plus whatever they cost to upgrade to HM2 status. Then we of course look at the risk to crew lives and training costs as your preferred option against a SAm armed FF that may fire an AShM at you. of course you also lose an integral part of your ASW capability in a multi threat environment when they get shot down i.e. Your weapon carrier if a wildcat and you weapon Carrier and dipper for an HM2.

    Now Poland ordered 52 NSM land based and all the assorted launchers telemetry radars etc for $110 million. call it £75 million pounds. As the project matures costs generally lower and ship based missiles are fed by Ships sensors so some costs would be less.

    Even at £1 million pound a missile we could buy 130 missiles allowing for 8 per T26 with a couple for test firings and a couple of reloads for £130 million spread in incremental buys between 2018 and 2032. less than £10 million a year. Hardly blowing the entire budget yet preventing a 5,800 tonne FF being unable to engage ships 30 years older and 200 tonnes smaller than it.


    We have 7SSNs mate now if you think 7 allows one E of Suez and down South fair enough.

  251. x

    Martin says “Run away?”

    Brave Sir Robin ran away,
    Bravely ran away away,
    When danger reared it’s ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled,
    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about,
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet,
    He beat a very brave retreat,
    Bravest of the braaaave, Sir Robin!

    The RN aren’t in the habit of running away. And with only seven SSNs can we really assume there would always been one available? Only at times of real tension. But what is real tension? How many times does HMG pull away from doing some other task to go south? How difficult is it to get a firing a solution on a ship that is harassing one of you own from only a few cables away? Do we wait until after the harassing is stopped and it has turned for home then sink it? If it fires on ours once is it enough to justify us sinking it?

    All academic. This ground is so well trod it has sunk….. :)

  252. ALL Politicians are the Same

    @TD The link makes sense, an incredibly useful capability to have.

  253. SomewhatInvolved

    Good, appropriate backtracking noticed.

    We do not routinely arm the Type 23’s deploying south with Harpoon anyway. And as for Type 45, well, ask me again next year.

  254. The Other Chris


    Imagine that ScanEagle with NanoSAR, NightEagle or Integrator will all be in contention as Insitu’s offering.

    Schiebel will undoubtedly offer the CamCopter.

    You mentioned the Saab Skeldar and AugustaWestland SW4 variant.

    In the same vein is the QinetiQ/Northrop Grumman Gazelle conversion.

    Would the MQ-8B be offered given the shift to the larger MQ-8C?

    Given the Type 23 decking, it looks like Insitu/Shiebel as the finalists.

    Money on Scan/NightEagle vs Integrator?

  255. The Other Chris


    “ask me again next year”

    Diarised. If I manage to figure out wtf I was trying to remember, I’ll be sure to hijack a thread about Challenger III or similar.

  256. Jonesy

    On the UAV link absolutely brilliant news.

    Incredibly odd set of requirements though. An endurance of 8hrs and ‘later requirement’ to loft a radar eliminates nearly everything on the market!. Scheibel S-100 and SAAB’s Skeldar cant do either, Scan Eagle might get the endurance but is carrying a box of matches by comparison. The spec appears to be written for something more like MQ-8B, A-160T or whatever Westlands are going to do the the dinky PZL chopper to make it into an MQ-8B or something radical like Bell’s Eagle Eye.

    If they stick to the set requirements its an absolutely massive deployable ISTAR capability uplift being proposed!.


    You mentioned earlier that T26 was being limited having just a ‘point defence SAM’. FLAADS is an area capable system…its not a PDMS.

  257. ALL Politicians are the Same

    Jonesy. it does say potentially carry a radar and an AIS receiver. Chuck it out and see what comes back.

  258. The Other Chris


    Insitu Integrator pretty much on the money in their direction so far:

    – Limited flightdeck required and frugal storage;
    – 24h endurance;
    – Commonality of equipment (i.e. ScanEagle Starter Kit available for UAS Beginners);
    – Day/Night via IR;
    – Rangefinders;
    – Selex Radar etc;
    – Target designation in the works;
    – Payload bays, hardpoints and outboards.

  259. martin

    its great news but I wonder how they can squeeze a UOR past the treasury that can’t be used in the stan.

  260. The Other Chris


    Who says it can’t?

  261. Think Defence

    Thats what I was getting at, there is no way this is a UOR for Afghanistan because there is Desert Hawk, Reaper and Hermes 450 already there so if its a UOR that means it urgent and for an operation!!

  262. martin

    @ the other Chris, there is very rarely an SSN down south and it takes two weeks to get there. Any potential incident like I ma describing would be well over before it got there.

  263. martin

    @ The other Chris

    As TD said I thought it had to be for an operation. Unless they are thinking Syria at some point I can see how its a UOR. My understanding is UOR’s are funded from the treasury contingent budget.

    I don’t care how we get it as long ass we do I was just curious.

  264. Anixtu

    UORs are not just for Afghanistan. Basing it off an RFA sounds like Fort Vic on OP KIPION. MoD read RT’s ideas about pirates shooting down helicopters and have already found a solution. ;)

  265. Jonesy


    The lightest practical maritime radar that Selex does is the Seaspray 5000E. This is analagous in size to the Bendix RDR-1700 that the MQ-8B has flown. It also has AIS receive capability.

    The 5000E tips in at 45kg. Far beyond the abilities of a very light air vehicle such as the Insitu units to deploy.

  266. WiseApe

    @Observer – thanks for your thoughts on laser CIWS; as I feared, not quite a wonder weapon yet.

    @Challenger et al – I seem to be alone on this site in liking the Sea Ceptor name; very Gerry Anderson; I can imagine Troy Tempest launching Sea Ceptor missiles from Stingray!

    @John Hartley – “Yet we give the speculators in the City, £375 billion of QE, nearly free, to play with without risk. Its only the little people who get robbed of their savings & pensions” – as Bob Mills is want to say on Fighting Talk, ” I didn’t come here for a lecture on communism” :-)

    @Everyone else – you all seem to be assuming that our F35Bs are going to get JSM, but I have seen nothing to confirm this. NSM/JSM is not in our inventory – Meteor will be shortly and yet there are no plans to integrate it on F35B, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. (But if we do get it, what about replacing those Typhoons on “those islands” with JSM equipped F35s?)

    Re anti ship missiles – I was of the “but we hardly ever use them” way of thinking re main guns before APATS put me right and I have been persuaded as to their desirability by the comments above. Supply follows demand (a lecture in capitalism!) so someone is going to develop a VLS missile because practically everyone wants one – we may actually be spoilt for choice when it comes time to equip T26.

  267. x

  268. John Hartley

    Amused to be called a communist, when others think I am to the right of Adolf.
    I regard myself as a late 19C Liberal, socially progressive, but a believer in strong defence & sound finances/good public infrastructure.
    Re anti ship missiles.
    Harpoon & Exocet are long in the tooth, but the latest versions have GPS & a limited land attack capability.
    T45 may have room for 8, but I would settle for 4 as a minimum deterrent capability(conventional).

  269. Swimming Trunks

    ” o be provided as a contractor-owned, contractor-operated system, the UAS should have a loiter time of 8h while operating 111km (60nm) from its launch platform, the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation says. Candidate air vehicles should carry an electro-optical/infrared sensor, and have the performance required to track fast-moving surface targets. Further capabilities could potentially include a maritime radar and automatic identification system receiver, it adds.The selected type will initially be based aboard a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, and subsequently on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. “The system must be able to operate alongside an existing aviation detachment,” according to a draft requirements document released in mid-August.”

    Well this strikes me as a requirement for either pirate chasing or Iranian FAC tracking. Would be useful in Carribean but I can’t see that being an urgent requirement. Action in or around Syria an outside chance?

  270. x

    National Socialism was a left wing political movement.

  271. WiseApe

    @John Hartley – I hope you took it in the spirit intended – apologies if not.

    Of course, if you want to deter, your Harpoon/Exocet cannisters need only be clearly visible, not actually occupied!

    X said: “National Socialism was a left wing political movement” – Uhmm.

  272. The Other Chris


    Not saying that we have JSM in our inventory, I’m saying that once JSM hits the Qualified list for F-35 in general, the integrated modular architecture* will allow that system (weapon, ISTAR, whatever) to be used on any F-35 variant. It would be a far simpler exercise to purchase, fit and use a system developed for another fleet on our own fleet compared with any previous aircraft.

    *Name escapes me right now, I’ll dig through my previous posts and materials later. This is a one of several massive USP’s for the F-35 in general.


    Selex are developing a radar in concert with Insitu for the Integrator.

    Similar developments for the target designation as well.

  273. Jonesy


    That link’s talking about a SAR/GMTI set though?. PicoSAR is pretty much there now. Thats a 10nm range (modest res.) imaging sensor. The article mentioned a maritime radar which is an entirely different thing.

  274. x

    @ WiseApe

    It wasn’t National Small Government, Free Enterprise, Christian, family before state, free speech, etc., etc. was it now?

  275. John Hartley

    Yes amused, not offended.
    Millitant Middle, is a shorter version of my beliefs, or should it be “My Dream”?

  276. IanB

    I must admit i got caught out by using out of date info on some of my suggestions by people who must get Defence Project Bulletins with their daily paper. :)

    But i have to ask if the TLAM/SCALP-N is going to be too expensive/over the top for the Type 26 and as most people have a favourable opinion of the NSM. I wonder if it is feasible and cost effective to make the NSM VLS launched say a SVLYER A50 which would give a ASM with a good strike capability.Any views?

  277. Chuck Hill

    Re Anti-ship cruise missiles: Why is there not a similar outcry against beyond-visible-range AAW missiles. They also have been very seldom used and are much more expensive.

    Re Land Attack cruise missiles: Informationdissemination recently pointed out that they might actually be a cheaper alternative to carrier based aircraft considering all the costs of manned aircraft. Perhaps more importantly land attack cruise missiles can be used to minimize the hazards of employing the increasingly limited number of manned aircraft by degrading the OPFOR’s AAW capabilities. If the Type 26 has the capability, it opens up options and might, at least, keep your enemies guessing (shell game anyone). Do you really want to tie up a scare resource like an SSN waiting to do this, if you have other options. Surely it has other things to do.

    Strike length vice shorter launch systems: The cost cannot be that much different. Going with shorter lengths inevitably limits your options, why would you want to do that?

    Ship specialization: US Undersecretary of the Navy has declared the USN does not need frigates. I don’t necessarily agree, but I also question why the RN would make the Type 45s with out giving them a fully developed capability in all warfare areas. It seems the carriers could have gotten by with fewer escorts if this had been done.

  278. ALL Politicians are the Same


    You guys put everything on one hull at over a Billion a pop and still have enough critical mass to cover your tasks. If we had gone down that road we would have ended up with maybe 10 all told.
    Though it would be nice to think the type 45 may grow capability wise during its life cycle.

    The USN also sees ASW work slightly differently, utilising submarines more and also extra aviation assets. An Arleigh Burke is never going to be quiet enough to have a passive range advantage over an SSN.

    It works well as you have the money and numbers of DD/SSN/Aviation assets to make it happen.

  279. Observer

    Just out of curiosity, why the need to VLS an anti-ship missile? The USN does it, but is there a need to follow them? The VLS system is a part of the ships AD capability, swapping out air defence missiles for anti-ship missiles reduces this capability, especially when you can box launcher AShMs to the deck itself. Helps with reloading too. Only possible hang up I can see is interference with stealth, but that is avoided with good design.


    There is absolutely no way a heli-borne AShM system is going to have the capabilities of even a mid-tier ship-borne one, simply being free of the weight restrictions of needing to be air carried, not to mention the relaxing of the size factor allows for a massive increase in capabilities. You don’t hear anyone propose having a sea-skua do loitering do you?

  280. IanB

    @ Observer
    I dont think there is a need for VLS for a pure AShM but i think the direction is pointing to a multirole missile that do both Anti-ship and land attack and this makes a difference. AShM maybe between 4 and 8 so strapping to a deck is not a problem, land attack upwards of a dozen at least so deck surface area matters.

  281. Observer


    That’s true, but in the context of frigates, VLS cells are already limited in number, having to share makes the problem even worse. There simply isn’t enough deck space for 12 more TLAM/TASM VLS cells, which is why I really would prefer not dual roleing the VLS.

    Of course another solution to limited top hull area could be side firing missile tubes similar to the in-hull torpedo tubes currently in use by some ships. Could help with reloading too, but it’s trickier than a bolt on system. It is possible, but my impulse is towards KISS first.

  282. martin

    Does any one know if Aster could have a secondary anti ship capability like SM2. Its not a massive missile but anything travelling at mach 4.5 is going to spoil your day.

  283. Aussie Johnno

    Martin, Aster has an active homing head while SM2, as with most versions of Standard, are semi active homing (SM 6 which has an ABM role is active).
    SM2 will basically home on any target that reflects the radar signal that the illuminating radar(Mk 99 in most cases but also APAR) is transmitting. So hitting a ship is a matter of the ships director pointing at it, Which incidently limits the use of Standard in an ASM role to within the radar horizon. Same would apply to Seadart.
    Active homers like Aster rely on the transmit/receive head in the missle so it comes down to the capability of the homing head to descriminate a ship which sounds pretty much like software.

  284. Mark


    Wasn’t me on the type 26 and sea ceptor I think it’s a excellent capability upgrade.


    I think the Norwegians would disagree but I’m not sure what loitering has to do with it.


    All true but as you said the subs engaged the argies first and I would suspect had we gone to the next layer in a such a task force the carrier jets/mpa with an anti ship missile would have been next up. Prob followed by helicopters we I think we used in the falkland to sink Argie ships and finally ship launched.
    And no apas as the subs only have 1 type of torpedo that would leave no capability. It’s also interesting to note we removed sub harpoon without replacement.

    My problem is such a layer approach would still happen in any serious operation. I struggle to see the uk putting a type 26 in a position of having to hold the line on its own as similar sized vessels from whoever attack it. But I’ve hijacked this thread long enough.

  285. Think Defence

    Mark, hijacking a thread is all part of the fun :)

  286. martin

    @ Aussie – Given that Anti ship missiles are a rarely used item but very nice to have it would be good to have a secondary capability on Aster to engage surface targets. As you say its likely a software issue more than anything else.

    @ Mark – I never really understood having an anti ship missile on an SSN anyway so not much of a loss.

    If Conqueror had lost the Belgrano I suppose its open to debate what would have happened next. The real issue was the mechanical failure of the Veinticinco de Mayo. Obviously the next stage would have seen Sea Harrier deployed but this would assume that we knew where the Argentine task force was. Sea Harrier would likely have been very blooded flying up against Argentine T42’s.

    Ship launched Anti Ship missiles are definitely a last resort but still one well worth having I think.

    A dual use Surface to air missile or land attack missile would seem the best option for me for the future rather than developing three costly separate systems.

  287. Observer

    @AJ & Martin

    IIRC, they removed the fire director for the SMs when the USN ships were refitted, at least for the Oliver Perry class, and I think for the rest as well, so as of date, none of the Standards can be used as an anti-ship missile. Could be wrong.

  288. The Other Chris


    I see where you’re coming from with the Maritime Radar requirement.

    PicoSAR is an AESA and part of the same family as the Seaspray 7000E on the Wildcats. The software on the Seaspray is capable of operating the AESA for detecting and tracking small craft (GMTI).

    It’s a jump in logic, I’ll well admit. The angle I’m thinking of (and acknowledge I did not previously describe well enough) is:

    – Would this level of GMTI be sufficient for the requirements?
    – PicoSAR may support this mode sufficiently at sea (to be confirmed);
    – Would not be a huge jump to develop the PicoSAR further through additional modes or via variants;
    – The other modes in tandem with the EOD and Targeter on the Integrator would provide a decent combination of sensors.

    If Integrator were to be selected it wouldn’t have to use the PicoSAR specifically, but we now know that a suitably sized and powered AESA is at least feasible at those sizes, power and resolution restrictions accepted.

    The nice thing about AESA is that given the range of hardware supported bands, most of the challenges are software-solvable.

    Commonality with the Seaspray on the Wildcats may be bonus.

    Some brochure links for anyone interested:

    [1] PicoSAR
    [2] Seaspray 7000E. Note the Air-to-Air MTI mode. As recently commented on @Sol’s blog, the LMM has an air-to-air function (likely dating from its Starstreak heritage?). A semi-active laser seeking mode is also in the works.

  289. Jonesy


    PicoSAR is not a maritime surveillance radar. Its an imaging sensor with about about 10nm of range at modest resolution. The GMTI function is restricted to staring FoV for dwell duration. Whether it uses an AESA front-end or not is irrelevant.

    Think of it more like an optical sensor with really rough resolution but true all-weather ability and you’ll have the capability that PicoSAR, GA’s Lynx and those kind of very light radar payloads deliver.

    Seaspray 5000E is about the lightest of the ‘proper’ maritime surveillance radar payloads (also an AESA and also possessing a basic air-air Velocity Search mode). Its also too big for an application like the Insitu’s so, if that is deemed a desirable capability growth path…as the requirement appears to detail, it absolutely rules out the lighter end of the UAV spectrum.

  290. x

    @ Martin re SSN and missiles

    It is a stand off capability. The SSN would be able to hear the target at the range of the ASM. The range of the missile is what 60nm. That is what two hours steaming for the ship? 25 minutes at best speed for say Merlin. Submarine moves at 30 odd kts. Dog leg the missile’s journey in. Consider Pi x Diameter gives you your search area. Consider that the submarine will hear the noise of any successful contact too.

  291. The Other Chris


    Always appreciate the insight, thank you :)

  292. martin

    @ X – I suppose its okay in the middle of the Atlantic during world war three but I can’t see lobbing missiles at groups of ship blindly is a good idea today.

    Id an SSN can use an acoustic signal to fire an anti ship missile can a surface ship do the same? Kind of puts thing back over the horizon.

  293. Aussie Johnno

    Martin/Obervour, a GP missle would certainly simplfly things but the other problem with using AA missles as ASM’s is that they don’t have a radar altimeter so they cannot fly a sea skimming profile.
    Standard had to fly a ballistic profile. That and the missle plume made it a bit obvious.
    On the USN and directors, they have pulled the after director and the Mk 13 launcher arm from most Perry’s (not sure all) as the SM1 fitted to the FFG’s was declared obsolete.
    Usable SM1 were reserved for use by friendly nations who had purchased surplus FFG’s (Poland, Turkey Eqypt…).
    The USN Perry Class FFG’s were supposed to get RAM welded to the top of the Mk 13 Drum but it never happened. All other USN CG and DDG’s use the Mk 99 and will until the Zumwalt turns up with phased array illuminators!!
    The RAN has modified its FFG’s to use SM2, at considerable expense. Took about 4 years to sort out the combat system but SM2 is now operational in the RAN with quite a boost in the RAN FFG’s capability. The Block 2 version of the Harpoon has also been declared operational recently on both the RAN FFG’s and ANZAC’s. Block 2 is dual ASM and (limited)land attack.

  294. x

    @ Martin

    Sonars (and their supporting systems)are damned sophisticated pieces of kit and nations do keep libraries of signatures. We mustn’t get too Clancey-esque but the range and precision is good. They could discern a collection of enemy ships and roughly know its consist. And yes I suppose TAS deployed from surface ships could be used for OTH intelligence gathering. Noise travels about 4 times faster through water than air. One things that makes me laugh here sometimes is given the length of TAS, their sensitivity, and the processing capabilities in vessels is how quickly some dismiss frigates and yet think MPAs can cover all our ASW needs. This begs the question if the MPA is good, how much better must be a system considerably bigger actually sitting in the water?

  295. The Other Chris



    The PR from the MOD rates Astute as being able to track ships “3,000 miles away”.

    Apples to Oranges with respect to an ASW frigates focus? Still two kinds of oblate/prolate spheroid fruit?

  296. x

    @ TOC

    I don’t think it is proper to discuss what these things can and can’t do in detail. Broad strokes.


    I see it is because I said The SSN would be able to hear the target at the range of the ASM. I was thinking of surface radar pictures. I was trying to say that submarine had greater scope for targeting use sonar, not that submarine sonars are limited to a few tens of miles.

  297. x

    @ Swimming Trunks

    Spanish seem to be quietly successful at warship building. I was looking at the Kenyan navy the other day and half their fleet, the newer half, is Spanish. I suppose if you have the EU paying for your infrastructure you can afford to shove government elsewhere.

  298. ALL Politicians are the Same


    IN 1982 we had Sea Eagle which we no longer have. What an AShM gives a ship is the ability not to be simply forced away by the requirement to remain outside of the range of any potentials vessel AShM as the OPFOR know that they can fire at you but you cannot fire back.

    Martin, Problem with sub harpoon was that it left a massive smoke trail above the firing position and any aircraft etc aloft could see this. It also did not sea skim instantly so radar detection was a possibility. You also had the issue of targeting at 60Nm without another asset to help and if you closed to do it yourself what good is a 60Nm range. With Spear Fish attaining its anti surface tick and TLAM becoming available it was decided it was no longer worth it.

  299. Jonesy


    “The PR from the MOD rates Astute as being able to track ships “3,000 miles away”. Apples to Oranges with respect to an ASW frigates focus? Still two kinds of oblate/prolate spheroid fruit?”

    With cap doffed to x’s comments on OpSec I dont think its letting much slip to say that the PR quoted is….erm…..subjective!. Astute CAN hold a contact at extreme ranges as, at certain depths/pressures/temperatures, conditions are right for sound channels to form. Stick a sonar transducer into a deep sound channel and you will get contacts from extraordinary distances. Hey presto tracking at 3000nm range!.

    There’s nothing very new about this and certain marine mammals, well versed in acoustic propagation themselves, also use these kinds of channels for communication across whole oceans.

  300. Think Defence

    Can I ask a favour of you chaps

    If you post on any other forums or blogs would you mind banging a link into this article?


  301. The Other Chris



    Incidentally, recent ads popping up for me have been quite relevant.

  302. Think Defence

    Its not them mature dating ones is it Chris!!! :)

    Or are they just the ones I keep seeing

  303. The Other Chris


    Hah! How do we get those kind of ads?

    I think x needs one about a certain Jessica…

  304. martin

    or some Rhubarb

  305. martin

    @ Aussie – I take your point about ballistic trajectory of AA missiles in the anti ship role. However I was kind of thinking for use against small attack craft or corvettes with the land attack missile having a secondary heavy anti ship missile.

    Its just a guess but I could imagine it to be easier to attack a small craft with a missile coming down on it rather than trying to sea skim.

  306. x

    @ Martin said “or some Rhubarb”

    Rhubarb is a serious matter. Not unlike ships.

    Harpoon does have its failings. But I spoke about the theory behind the submarine launched weapon not Harpoon in particular and whether the idea was sound or not. That can be read in dozens of books on modern naval warfare. I never said it was or wasn’t a good idea. All these missiles produce considerable amounts of “smoke” at launch and flash too for that matter. Surprising how far little lights “travel” at night at sea; so the flash from a missile launch would be visible even over the horizon if somebody was looking in the right way at the right time. Nature of the beast I suppose. Never gave an aircraft being above to see all this happening a thought. As I said I was more about theory than judgements on whether it was bad or good. I suppose in a group of ships there will be an aircraft aloft perhaps two or maybe more. (A regular commentator here often speaks of all escorts being built with hangars with capacity for two Merlins. Forget who exactly.) The aircraft still has to travel to the area of the launch, dip, and shoot its torpedo. Of course any helicopter performing ASW screening operations won’t be at altitude. Certainly not at the 700m required to see the missile launch let say for a Harpoon (as apparently that was missile I was talking about) at maximum range what about 60nm. Different matter if this is say a carrier group with ASaC/AEW capability. But a small group of escorts may not have such a platform. Again we are back to then assuming as always here that the large shipborne systems can’t detect anything, but then going on to assume that the small systems in helicopters and torpedo head will miraculously always find the target and kill it. I suppose it is fog of war and all that. Anyway never said missiles were wrong or right just relaying the theory.

    EDIT: Of course a surface ship would be b*gger entirely because not only would there be a smoke trail but a few thousand tons of metal covered in grey paint at the launch point. “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” as somebody once said.

  307. Paul J. Adam


    Harpoon flies pretty high at the start of its flight, whether launched from ship or submarine: it’s pushed up on a solid-rocket booster to at least several hundred feet, and glides for a while as the turbojet starts up. Once it’s in powered and controlled flight, *then* it steps down to midcourse altitude. That initial “bunt” is what can allow it to be detected at long range.

    It’s a good system, but the submariners didn’t seem to mind losing it too much: hanging up a huge “HOSTILE SUBMARINE SHOT AT YOU FROM *RIGHT HERE!!?!* sign never seemed to appeal to them that much. Surface units have less of a problem, for the reason you give… also, their bunt height is much more consistent and predictable, since they’ve got a stable and predictable launch from a steady platform at sea level, rather than a buoyant capsule fired from a torpedo tube that coughs out the missile when it breaks surface.

  308. WiseApe

    @Chuck Hill – “Re Land Attack cruise missiles: Informationdissemination recently pointed out that they might actually be a cheaper alternative to carrier based aircraft considering all the costs of manned aircraft” – sshhhh, Spreadsheet Phil may be listening!

  309. All politicians are the Same

    Paul j Adam,

    With even Frigate sized surface units gaining UAV persistent surveilance capability, sub launched AShM and small boat attacks are going to become more difficult. The ability to have a UAV with quality night and day optics overhead investigating contacts and monitoring a wide area will make a massive difference to a Ships ability to maintain the RMP.

  310. x

    @ PJ Adam

    As I said I was talking about the submarine launched missile in general not Harpoon. And didn’t make any judgement on whether it was good or bad. Harpoon wouldn’t be the first weapon foisted onto a service or branch because somebody else thought it a good idea. No somebody else decided I was talking about Harpoon when I wasn’t. As for it being a tell tale well I have had the same reservations about those submarine SAM systems that some are developing. They really are asking for trouble. More modern anti-ship weapons with greater range who knows? A submarine attacking with a torpedo might be unlucky enough to be underneath an ASW helicopter. If it were a group of ships that was being attacked by a torpedo there could be a significant number of helicopters and sonars ready to hunt down the enemy vessel at what half the distance of the Harpoon attack? Would have to be pretty switched on helicopter crew to see the missile, vector straight on to the con trail. At 150kts 60nm is what about 24 minutes flying time. The submarine could be what 15nm in an arc away from the target in any direction at any depth under a nice thermocline at the time. Get to launch site, dip, listen, dip, shoot torpedo with a range of what 6nm, which if I understand correctly is mostly expended going around in circles. So 6 / 3 gives a diameter of 2nm approx. Of course if we have this mystery aircraft overhead can we assume it is also overhead when a Tomahawk is launched? Or won’t it be? Or do we only launch Tomahawk at enemies without navies and omnipresent aircraft? Or do we assume that TLAMs are only launched way out at sea? Way out at sea where SSNs attack ships without air cover…….

    All very interesting. Glad it is not me making these decisions. As I said it is a fog of war thing.

  311. All politicians are the Same

    A quick note on TLAM launches without getting too technical. they are fire from “launch baskets”. They have a high level of planning involved including flight corridors. Baskets and flight corridors are designed to avoid shipping. Unlike a sub launched AShM engagement where the tether attaches the sub to the target within a certain range; the extra reach of TLAM allows far more freedom to plan the mission. Sanitisation of the basket may also occur as well as utilisation of other ISTAR assets.

  312. x

    Considering the amount of planning a TLAM launch takes. And considering “we” are using the vastness of the ocean to cover ourselves makes me wonder why “we”, the UK, would use the SSN as a platform of choice when a surface vessel can hide in the ocean too and has better communications with the outside world just in case the mission has to be scrubbed because of the proverbial bus full of orphans and nuns is driving by the target. And if TLAM strikes are made from as far out as possible to avoid being spotted from say the air, makes me wonder where this mysterious aeroplane comes from even further out to sea to watch for these hypothetical submarine anti-ship missile launch………

  313. All politicians are the Same

    X, I was not meant to post on your posts.

    I would like to see a surface capability for Land attack but we seem to have commited to Sub launch.

    Ref the “mysterious aircraft”. A ship or TG will look at OPFOR capabilities e.g intel assesment of targetting ability both by firing platform or other associated assets, ability they have to communicate etc. Then physical factors, TG/FF SOA limiting lines of submerged approach, shipping concentrations, FV concentrations, water depths, any known patrol patterns. Also choke points when will the OPFOR be able to predict your position. You take all that and the ASW coordinator comes up with a plan to best use the available assets to protect from attack.

  314. x

    @ APATS

    No you weren’t. But you keep doing so. Martin asked about theory of submarine launched anti-ship missiles, I relayed that theory as I understand it with out making any value judgement.

    As for the mysterious aeroplane. I think my point is that in the fog of war anything can happen. And I would say the submarine, chasing about s=as blind as a bat, is probably as much risk firing a spread of dumb torpedoes, a guided torpedo like Spearfish, or slinging missiles. And the fate of ASW force is in the hands of the Almighty too. You naval bods plan because it is the only way of managing and quantifying risk in a very complex environment. And that is understandable. But mid-Atlantic or mid-Pacific or the vast Southern Ocean, further out then any TLAM strike would be made, further out then land based air craft can reach I would wage even crapity-crap submarine launched Harpoon the launching submarine would have a good chance of escape. Can we really argue that Spearfish fired with 30nm gives gives a better chance for the submarine when the opfor’s assets and sensors don’t have to reach or as far to retaliate? As I said above the 24 minutes means the attacking can be any where in 88 square miles of ocean by the time a Merlin arrives in the area and that area even if the submarine is moving at 1 kt is getting bigger. That it isn’t accounting for the confusion of a surprise attack. Ops rooms are vigilant. Look outs on bridge wings may be pumped for action. But action is still action. Even if the submarine had travelled at full speed it could be anywhere on arc over 50 miles long. And none of this takes into account depth these numbers are all into 2D. Again I note the Chinese, Indians, and Russians are keen to develop these weapons. Then again they are probably building submarine SAM missiles too which as I said above are really rhubarb…….

  315. All politicians are the Same

    X, Ok but for the sake of a discussion and as an interesting talk reference tactics without being too specific. You assume the helo would immediately go to the launch point and dip whilst the SSN opens at 30 kts. I reckon neither would happen.

    Firstly any capable units would go active and then the helos would react.

    Now the SSN has effectively 4 directions to scoot in. one is towards the target, Hence the reason to go active with surface units. Rembering that an SSN is effectively blind at 30kts as ASW Coordinator you know look at any shallow areas that he may not want to approach at 30kts. You then want to utilise your suitable assets to drop buoys beyond the SSN furthest on circles and then actively dip whilst all other ASW aviation assets get in the air.

    An SSN driver would more likely evade at 30 kts for minutes few then rely on stealth.

    On 2d and suprise attacks.

    There is little defence against a true suprise attack in any form of warfare. if you are at a peace posture and you get attacked the result will be bad.
    As I pointed out in my last post a TG or ship that has a reasonable expectaction of being attacked by a submarine will use OPFOR capability, their own capabilities and physical factors to formulate a plan.

  316. All politicians are the Same

    In addition to my last post I do not actually think that a sub launched AShM is a bad idea. merely that it has its issues. Modern advances may well have made it extremely viable. Also the sheer knowledge that a sub has the ability makes any ASW action more difficult.

  317. Observer

    Just being pedentic, but the land attack Tomahawk is the TLAM. The anti-ship Tomahawk is the TASM.

    Think a 688-class sub carries a 12 cell VLS that can fire TASMs, so it already is an idea in place, not to mention the converted Ohios into SSGNs

  318. martin

    @ X – the only reason we use SSN’s to launch TLAM is because the torpedo tubes are standard with the USN. Otherwise as with T45 you need to get into a big debate with the treasury over VLS. Probably the reason Astute is being built with no VLS when new Virginia Class and the newer Los Angeles class have them.
    It pisses me off some times the way our military is funded. Through deck cruiser’s being another prime example of the same nonsense.

  319. martin

    @ Swimming Trunks

    That is an interesting point about modern warships and armour. During the cold war when facing a nuclear threat the need for armour was seen as pointless. However now we are far more likely to be facing conventional threats.

    Anti Ship missiles like Silk worm and Exocet would have a tough time taking out a decent sized even lightly armoured ship. Imagine all five Argentine Exocets in 1982 fired against something like HMS Vanguard. Probably would n’t have made a dent in a ship designed to stand up to a barrage of super sonic 16 inch shells. With recent experience the Army is moving back to heavy armour maybe its time for the navy to do the same.

    Don’t get me wrong I am no advocating anything like a battle ship just better armoured frigates and destroyers.

    Modern Torpedos that run under the Kiel before detonating at a distance probably rule out Torpedo blisters but armouring decks and super structures against surface fire should be practical enough.

  320. The Other Chris

    Clearly with Astute Block II’s we need to discuss Non-Horizontal Humanitarian Relief Delivery Packages (Submersible): NHHRDP(S).

  321. John Hartley

    Agreed, Air is free , steel is cheap.
    The hull on the Queen Mary 2 liner is 50% thicker than usual to cope with freak Atlantic waves, yet it did not add much to the cost & was do able as a private money making operation.
    The Royal Navy should copy QM2 for the thickness of its future hulls.

  322. Peter Elliott

    As I understand it the QM2 is simply built to old fashioned ‘Liner’ specifications: ie designed to go through heavy weather in order to get from New York to Southampton as fast as possible.

    Most other modern ‘liners’ are actually built to a ‘cruise ship’ spec which means they are designed on the assumption of avoiding really heavy weather either by sailing round it or by taking shelter in a port.

    A similar argument to ‘freak waves’ but more plausible. After all if ‘freak waves’ are as freaky and unexpected as they are claimed to be then surely all modern cruise ships would be built with a QM2 style hull?

    (I suspect modern warhsips are closer to the ‘liner spec’ anyway. Why else could HMS Manchester go out in the Carribean hurricane season when all the cruise ships were lined up in port?)

  323. The Other Chris

    Air is free, steel is cheap… unless you need to uprate your prime mover, gearbox, generators and turbines or you take your damage control requirements to a point where you need more crew and more automated systems… and you’ve not limited your dry dock and berthing options… or… or…

    What’s a 50% thicker hull to a shaped explosive warhead with or without penetrators and delayed fuse? Is the QM2 hull 50% thicker than a normal civilian hull? Is a warship hull that thick anyway?

    If you’re seriously considering armouring a vessel, you need to get really serious because it’s comparatively cheap to build a missile that will penetrate, especially within ship class lifetimes, which means Chobham/Burlington/Dorchester style solutions and they are neither free nor cheap.

    We should then also talk about ice ratings.

  324. x

    QM2 is not unusual in having thick steel for she is a liner. The definition of a liner is a ship that runs schedule passenger serviced whatever the weather. Liners are not cruise ships. Rather like a frigate can do patrol tasks, you can go for a cruise on a liner, but a cruise ship cannot do what a line can do. Cruise ships are built for volume out of weaker steels with less sophisticated less powerful engines. A cruise ship captain will avoid weather that wouldn’t bother a liner too much.

  325. Peter Elliott


    She is unusual becuase no-one else is building Liners these days.

  326. x

    @ Martin

    I was pulling APAT’s chain………..

    FWIW Astute should have VLS tubes to bring her into line with USN. And I often say T45 should have had the strike length tubes from the get go. None of this whining growing capabilities tosh. Joined up thinking. Reducing SSN numbers, T45 always with carriers at the sharp end.

    You can all return to your discussion about armour. Racing is about to start…..

  327. x

    @ Peter E

    Not unusual in terms of the definition of a liner.

    The first time I saw QM2 I was spending the weekend in the SS Shieldhall. Stood on her auxiliary steering platform while the man made mountain of steel pirouetted into her berth as easily as a shopping trolley move only a 200ft away if that.

  328. Challenger

    Been absent for a couple of days and so I’m trying to catch up.

    The debate on the T26 weapons fit seems pretty simple to me.

    Land attack would be a fantastic way of spreading capability across the fleet. I don’t think anyone would say no to greater offensive power, especially when SSNs are in short supply and the CVF picture is far from certain. It isn’t however a top priority and it’s far from clear whether its inclusion will be financially viable.

    Anti-ship missiles are something that are rarely used (especially by western fleets) and should be seen as a last ditch system as part of a layered defence. The idea of a ship without any anti-ship weaponry doesn’t sit well with most people. Carrying a Lynx or the equivalent is a potent form of attack capability; they are however complex machines and it’s clearly not a good idea to rely on one system for the potential survival of a large ship and hundreds of people.

    So the way forward =

    Give T26 a certain number of strike length silo’s when they are constructed. In the short-term these could be used to quad pack some Sea Ceptor if no decision on land attack is initially made. In the long-term the RN will have plenty of time to weigh up the financial considerations and shop around for a new missile that can retrofitted.

    In conjunction plan to fit a nice and simple, ‘bolt on’ ASM. The NSM fits the bill perfectly as being basically an evolved and higher specification Harpoon. It’s not world beating, but adequate for the job. The other benefits are of course possible integration with the F35 and also a limited but present land attack function.

    I can’t really see a better way.

  329. SomewhatInvolved

    Or just upgrade existing Harpoon seekers to Block II standard or higher. Harpoon launcher bolt-on position is between the mast and funnel. The missile still works fine. Problem solved.

    EDIT May have done this already. Snippet from DID – note customers and components:

    May 21/12: An $11.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for *GM-84 Harpoon and SLAM-ER components. Orders are from the US Navy ($4.3 million/ 39.2%) and, under the Foreign Military Sales Program, the governments of: Australia ($2.9 million/ 26%); Britain ($237,005/ 2.1%); Canada ($241,015/ 2.1%); Egypt ($39,834/ 0.4%); India ($59,428/ 0.5%); Japan ($916,182/ 8.3%); Kuwait ($79,668/ 0.7%); Pakistan ($246,452/ 2.2%); Saudi Arabia ($313,751/ 2.8%); South Korea ($537,786/ 4.9%); Turkey ($1.1 million/ 10.2%); and the United Arab Emirates ($67,431/ 0.6%).

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in August 2013. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-12-C-0058).

  330. Jonesy

    It was my understanding that the new ‘TASM’ variant wasnt a dedicated antiship missile….rather it was a standard TacTom with a few conformal ESM antennas and a small MMW terminal seeker in the nose. As I understood the published concept it was a dual-use anti-ship and land attack weapon?.

    If we are going to fit a LACM to the ship anyway, as the strike silos appear to hint at, does this TacTom variant cover the contingency that we need an antiship capability without obliging us to add extra systems. Even for the existing GWS60, if we are in for Blk2, there is the need to integrate the capability into the 26’s combat system and inventory manage the weapons themselves.

    If we are, really, going down the route of organic VTUAV-based persistent surveillance/ISTAR then we may well have the battlespace management capability to exploit 200km+ ranged missile shots in a manner that we’ve not seen the like of before. The TacToms will be embarked, in all likelihood, on a routine far-far away deployment anyway, as they are in the Fleet subs, for contingency and coercive reasons. If they are going to be there anyway, and can do antiship, where’s the need for something else that brings more maintenance overhead?.

  331. Swimming Trunks

    Strikes me this argument for a single type of strike missile is similar to the argument that led to HMS Dreadnought; Similary the argument for organic UAV’s sounds like the argument for Cruiser and Battleship flying boats/float planes…

  332. The Other Chris

    Everything Old is New again.

  333. Observer

    lol ST, just this morning I was wondering if it was possible to chuck a seaplane variant of a FJ on board a frigate. Probably not, best case is probably a dedicated prop-seaplane with radar, and helos are more versatile anyway.


    AShMs are not “last ditch” systems. They are the longest range anti-ship weapon you have. This actually makes them the 1st choice of a response, not the last choice. You won’t go “I got a range of 120km on my Harpoons, guess I’ll let them get within 30km and use my guns first.” No, you get a confirmed target, guess what gets shot 1st? And yes, I know aircraft have a longer engagement range, but most of the time, aircraft are more focused on air defence. You need to plan strike packages, not just throw them off the deck.