The Type 26 Global Combat Ship – Equipment

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.

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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Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
August 27, 2012 3:36 am

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

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 27, 2012 6:07 am

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.

August 27, 2012 8:43 am


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

August 27, 2012 9:38 am

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 9:53 am

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 9:58 am

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 10:02 am

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?

August 27, 2012 10:16 am

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

August 27, 2012 10:21 am

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.

August 27, 2012 10:57 am

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 11:02 am


“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.

August 27, 2012 11:02 am

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 :-)

August 27, 2012 11:10 am

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.

August 27, 2012 11:16 am

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

August 27, 2012 11:18 am

@ Martin

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

August 27, 2012 11:32 am

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.

August 27, 2012 11:45 am

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.

August 27, 2012 11:48 am

“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. :-)

August 27, 2012 12:23 pm

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!

August 27, 2012 12:35 pm


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?

August 27, 2012 12:45 pm

+ 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.

August 27, 2012 12:46 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 12:52 pm

@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.

August 27, 2012 12:54 pm


“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?

August 27, 2012 12:58 pm

” 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.

August 27, 2012 12:59 pm


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..

August 27, 2012 1:15 pm

@ TD

Strictly speaking is it an exclusive or not or, and exclusive or not gets confusing for some. Or not……

August 27, 2012 1:16 pm


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.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
August 27, 2012 1:20 pm

@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?

August 27, 2012 1:29 pm


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.

August 27, 2012 1:30 pm

Yeah, that’s better. :)

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 1:51 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 1:54 pm

ref: the Navy testing the Scan eagle Uav a few years ago.

Apparently they are going to be doing more trials of it later in the year, this time on a vessel deployed to the gulf.

August 27, 2012 2:58 pm

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 3:37 pm

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!

August 27, 2012 3:43 pm

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

Mike W
August 27, 2012 3:48 pm


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!

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 4:02 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 4:04 pm

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)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 4:25 pm

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?

August 27, 2012 4:28 pm


“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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 4:40 pm

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…..

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 5:01 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 5:03 pm

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?)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 5:07 pm


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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 5:09 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 5:13 pm


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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 5:19 pm


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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 5:27 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 5:39 pm


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?

August 27, 2012 5:41 pm

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.

Mike W
August 27, 2012 5:50 pm


“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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 5:54 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 5:58 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 6:14 pm


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.

August 27, 2012 6:19 pm

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?

August 27, 2012 6:23 pm

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…

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 6:25 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 6:29 pm

@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.

August 27, 2012 6:32 pm

@ Somewhat

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

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 6:44 pm


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).

August 27, 2012 6:53 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 6:56 pm


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

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 7:06 pm


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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 7:12 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 7:17 pm


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.

August 27, 2012 7:21 pm


“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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 7:24 pm

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?

August 27, 2012 7:27 pm

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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 7:32 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 7:34 pm


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)

August 27, 2012 7:39 pm

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

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 7:44 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 7:56 pm


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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 7:59 pm

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

August 27, 2012 8:07 pm

@ 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. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 8:09 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 8:13 pm


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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 8:34 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 8:35 pm

@ 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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 8:54 pm


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.

August 27, 2012 8:59 pm

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 9:07 pm

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?

August 27, 2012 9:15 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 9:27 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 9:33 pm

“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.

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 9:35 pm

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.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 27, 2012 9:50 pm

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.

August 27, 2012 9:51 pm

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.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 27, 2012 10:04 pm


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?

August 27, 2012 10:21 pm

@ 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.

August 27, 2012 10:28 pm

@ 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?

ALL Politicians are the Same
ALL Politicians are the Same
August 27, 2012 10:31 pm

@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).

Red Trousers