Type 45 Destroyer, Time to Fit The Strike Launchers?


When the T45 was created it was intended to have the ability to launch land attack cruise missiles. Space for 16 strike length vertical launchers was placed in-between the 48 Sylver A50 cells. With the over runs in the T45 project the strike cells were not initially fitted however they were to be part of the ongoing T45 upgrade and sustainment program. With SDSR 2010 and the subsequent cuts to the MOD budget the concept of fitting these cells seems to have gone away all together and there has been little if any mention of them for several years.

Type 45 Missile Silos
Type 45 Missile Silos

Since SDSR 2010 (the review which clearly stated we would not get into another war until after 2015) and with one war in Libya fought  and possibly some form of intervention in Syria to come, I would like to ask the question, should we now look to fit these cells as part of an Urgent Operational Requirement?

Every conceivable operation that requires some form of Suppression of an Enemy’s Air Defence (SEAD) will inevitably involve firing sum 100 – 200 cruise missiles in relatively quick succession. For the past 15 years or so the UK has relied on SSN’s to deliver this capability. However an SSN is an expensive piece of kit to do such a relatively simple job. With only 7 SSN’s in the fleet there are arguably not enough to perform this vital role. Indeed one Royal Navy SSN is permanently held in the Indian Ocean at all times specifically to give the UK a forward deployed ability to launch TLAM’s. This generally leaves only one other SSN to cover all other tasking.  An SSN using only torpedo tubes is also arguably not the ideal way to launch a large number of cruise missiles in quick succession.

From Kosovo to Libya, Royal Navy contributions in delivering TLAM’s could be at best described as token support to the US Navy with no more than a handful being launched at any one time. If the UK was ever required to conduct a SEAD operation without the USA then it would struggle to launch even a quarter of the required number of weapons even with most of our SSN fleet and the rest of Europe’s navy’s combined.


There are two possible options for fitting strike length launchers to the T45. The Sylver A70 is essentially a longer version of the A50 launchers we currently use. The advantage of using this launcher is that the additional 16 cells could also be used for holding extra Aster missiles and possibly in future an Aster 45 ABM. The big disadvantage is that the TLAM we currently use is not rated for launch from the A70 and it may be difficult, expensive or impossible to qualify it to do so.

That would mean that we would have to rely on the Storm shadow derived SCALP (n) missiles made by MBDA. The missile is slated to come into service by 2014/15 and testing appears to be going well. It may even be far more capable than TLAM with some reports quoting a 1400 KM range, better targeting, better ability to hit hard and buried targets and a low radar cross section. However the French are reported to have paid some EUR 950 million for 250 of them which means it will be on the region of 4-5 times the cost of TLAM. We would also have to go to the expense of operating an entirely new missile and we would not be able to quickly resupply from the abundant stocks of the US Navy in times of war, instead having to rely on much smaller French stocks or new build missiles.  With the likelihood that T45 will eventually carry quad packed Sea Ceptor in its A50 launchers the additional magazine space will also likely never be needed for Surface to Air Missiles either.

The other option is to fit the Lockheed Martin Mark 41 Strike Length Launcher used by the US Navy. LM are on record as saying they believe these launchers could be fitted to the T45 relatively easily however as far as I am aware there has been no detailed design study carried out.

The main advantage of opting for the Mk 41 is that it would allow us to use the same TLAM we currently use for our SSN’s. It would also give the T45 access to the full family of USN missiles from SM 3 to LRASM as well as any future missiles developed by the US navy. It will also provide commonality with the Type 26 frigate which is expected to carry the Mk41 as well. In addition to this LM recently signed an MOU with MBDA to integrate Sea Ceptor onto the Mk 41, a move that could well see the entire MBDA family of missiles from Aster and Mica to Scalp (n) available for launch from the mk 41.

The cost of these vertical launchers is rumored to be in the region of $500,000 each so equipping the entire fleet could possibly be done for around $50 million.

With tensions rising in the middle east I do not foresee it as being a major issue to get the government to stump up such a small amount of money from the treasury contingency budget. This would radically alter the capabilities of the T45 destroyer and would save us having to have an SSN East of Suez where we also have a T45 based as well. The mk 41 would seem to offer by far the best solution presuming it could be fitted with relatively little difficulty and no need for a major refit. If mk 41 can’t be fitted then we should see if we can get a decent deal from the French for the SCALP (N). It might even be possible to buy sum of their 200 for a knock down price.

We might then consider swapping out the entire VLS system for mk 41’s when Daring comes in for her first major refit, assuming all MBDA missiles are integrated into the mk 41 by then.

The only possible flaw in my plan I believe is the treasury itself. Indeed I believe it is the treasury who has kept strike launchers off of the T45 thus far. They may be happy enough for an SSN to fire off two or three missiles alongside 90 or 100 from a US taskforce. This is sufficient to grab a headline or two of “British and American warships firing TLAM at the nasty dictator”. But the thought of an RN taskforce launching $50 – $100 million worth of missiles in a few minutes all paid for from the contingency fund is likely too much for them to bare. However I doubt they would ever say as much and using an Urgent Operational Requirement may just be the way to get it past them. Surely even David Cameron could see the logic in such a small additional investment for such a large capability.

  1. Phil says

    An important question to answer I believe is this:

    Why were the SSNs selected to carry TLAM and not surface warships?

  2. Bob says

    I will probably be corrected here but I am pretty sure that you are wrong here. My understanding is that 16 additional cells would go forward of the current ones and directly behind the main gun. If you look at the pictures you posted there does not even seem to be room for the modules between the current ones.

    Anyway, with just six AAW detroyers and the QEs woefully protected with their own systems it would be much wiser to use those cells to carry additional ASTERs. The RN’s strike capability would be best enhanced by integrating Storm Shadow, JASSM, or JSOW-ER onto the F-35, obviously the decision to use the B over the C reduces the munitions carrying capacity and the range but when terribly bad decisions are made over a period of decade you have to deal with less than ideal solutions.

  3. S O says

    “(…) cruise missiles (…) For the past 15 years or so the UK has relied on SSN’s to deliver this capability. However an SSN is an expensive piece of kit to do such a relatively simple job. ”

    The problem is rather that sub-launched missiles are capsuled and produced in smaller quantities. As a rule of thumb such missiles are almost twice as expensive as surface-launched ones (which are slightly more expensive than air-launched versions).

    A navy task force deployed to the Med surely has some logistical support ship, right? And there’s surely some allied ground within a thousand miles radius?
    It should be possible to launch the cruise missiles from long containers, capable of truck, rail and transport ship deployment and operation.

    You need no destroyer or frigate for the launch of missiles which have IRBM range. To think so is plain unimaginative.

  4. Danny says

    This is probably a painfully naive question for the regulars….. Can missile silos be ‘restocked’ at sea or does the ship have to return to port? It would seem to massively limit overall firepower if the latter. It would also leave a ship vulnerable to attack once most of the missiles (especially defensive
    anti-missile missiles) had been fired,

  5. S O says

    @Danny: The problem isn’t the reloading procedure (theoretically possible at sea), but the very small national ammunitions tocks.

    The USN is said to not have enough missiles to reload all its warships even only once, for example.

    The RN’s cruise missiles stocks have been greatly depleted as well, and initial purchases were rather few.

  6. martin says

    @ Phil

    “Why were the SSNs selected to carry TLAM and not surface warships?”

    Basically because the T23 program was well under way in 1991 when the USN first started firing off TLAM and neither T23 or T42 could be easily modified to carry them. As there was an SSN version designed to fit a standard torpedo tube it meant we could easily carry it on our SSN’s with minimal modifications.

    @ Bob

    “Anyway, with just six AAW destroyers and the QEs woefully protected with their own systems it would be much wiser to use those cells to carry additional ASTERs.”

    only one T45 will normally accompany the carrier leaving another one spare much of the time. Also with 48 cells possibly able to carry up to 192 Sea Ceptors, not to mention a T23 or T26 carrying 50 or so do we really need more SAM’s.

  7. martin says

    @ Danny

    I would doubt anyone would ever try reloading TLAM at sea. You would need very very calm conditions and having a 6 tonne missile dangling next to a radar that cost several hundred million pounds could be embarrassing to say the least with a small breeze. smaller missiles like CAMMS have much more potential to be reloaded at sea but at 100 kg or so its still tricky on a rolling deck.

  8. Chris Werb says

    I don’t think the TLAM is capsuled in the way Sub Harpoon was and honestly can’t see how the sub launched version would be more expensive than surface launched one.

  9. martin says

    @ Bob

    “The RN’s strike capability would be best enhanced by integrating Storm Shadow, JASSM, or JSOW-ER onto the F-35”

    But much cheaper to put these launchers on ships that we already have.

  10. Bob says


    We are getting F-35s anyway- may as well equip them with stand-off weapons. Using ASTER cells for CAMM on T45 would be especially dumb and yes we need more AAW missiles. In case you hadn’t noticed the RN now has half the number of T45s it thought it was going to get.

  11. David Bober says

    The FREMM has 16 cells for navalised Storm Shadow (air launched version already spec’d for F-35B). So let’s fit the Type 26 with a SYLVER A70 launcher instead of the Yank VLS.

    Then, as mentioned, by sufficient war stocks.

  12. Challenger says

    Good post!

    I’m personally in favor of the Mk.41 for the commonality it brings and the lower cost and less complexity it and Tomahawk have over A70 and Scalp. Add to that the fact that Perseus is still largely a concept drawing and id be uncomfortable with the idea of going for a system that won’t be able to accommodate current and future American hardware if/when it’s required.

    I agree as well that with quad packed Sea Ceptor both T45 and T26 are going to be able to carry plenty of SAM (even if they deploy with less than a full load on a day to day basis).

    My worry would be that getting the money and political backing for strike missiles/silo’s on T45 would come at a price, possibly leading to the T26 being ‘fitted for not with’ a land attack capability. Anything of this nature installed on either the T45 or T26 or both is going to need a much larger stockpile of missiles as well. The MOD needs to be prepared to invest in the ordnance as well as the system, otherwise it’s a largely impotent move and would offer no increase in capability over our current SSN set-up.

  13. Bob says

    Why on earth would the UK want Scalp-Naval when it can have the far superior and cheaper Tomahawk Block IV? We already have Storm Shadow which is pretty crappy next to JASSM-ER (now the technical issues have been resolved).

  14. Peter Elliott says

    From my point of view it makes sense to standardise the launchers across the fleet, includign the strike lenght cells. The we can load up with whatever mix of missiles is suitable for that particular patrol: land attack, anti air, anti ship or anti ballistic. A couple of reservations:

    1) For a UOR you first need an Operation. Would HMG be prepared to come above the parapet with this? Everyone is actually quite nervous about Syria despite the rehtoric. Maybe planned upgrades at refit would be more acceptable publically.

    2) Do we know for sure that Mk41 has been selected for T26? It makes a lot of sense but I haven’t seen Sylver definitively rules out yet.

  15. as says

    The tomahawk does seem to be rather overpriced. it is a modernised 30 year old missile. though it might be that we are just not getting a very good deal. we do seem to overpay for US equipment.

  16. AJ says

    The current missile silos are arranged as 2 banks each containing 2 rows of 12 silos. So it isn’t clear how an additional 16 launchers can be added to the existing configuration. Putting them forward sounds feasible as it would extend the missile bay forward by 4 cells. However there doesn’t appear to be enough space without getting to close to the 4.5″ gun?

    Having chosen the Sylver silo system I don’t see that it is realistic to add a different launch cell with the costs to maintain 2 launch systems. Much as the Mk41 launcher provides access to all of the standard US missiles. I assume, for a variety of reasons, the RN made the choice to buy a European launcher & the Aster missiles from MBDA. This was carried over from the original European Horizon project with France & Italy.

    Replacing the current medium calibre with the 127mm Oto Melara would be very desirable although this isn’t likely before it is fitted to the T26. Which means it is 12+ years away! The T45 should have enough space to take the larger gun and still fit the additional 16 cells. Upgrading the T45 before the T26 isn’t realistic in these cash strapped budgets since the RN would have to maintain 2 gun systems with the T23 using the old gun.

    I think the RN should have the capability to launch TLAM type missiles from the surface ships, Until the T26 arrives only the T45 can be upgraded to carry them since the T23 cannot. Given the small numbers of Astute SSN’s we don’t have a realistic ability to launch TLAM’s in any quantity to be effective.

  17. Challenger says

    @Peter Elliot

    I think an eventual all mk.41 fleet is the way to go as well. Annoyingly I think Sylver is still a contender to go on the T26. Sea Ceptor has it’s own canisters with their nifty compressed gas launch system so they aren’t a problem. The only thing I’m not too clear on is whether Aster 30 is compatible?

  18. martin says

    @ Bob
    “We are getting F-35s anyway- may as well equip them with stand-off weapons. Using ASTER cells for CAMM on T45 would be especially dumb and yes we need more AAW missiles.”
    All those weapons you suggest are likely to be fitted to F35 anyway. Why would it be dumb to quad pack CAMM’s in A50 cells. The missile has almost the same range as Aster 15 (25km vs 30Km) and may well be more capable. You get four for the loss of only one Aster 15. Seems like a genious idea to me. Yes the RN only got half the T45’s it hoped for but what was the rational for 12 T45’s anyway? It would make little sense having so many now the rest of the fleet is so small.

    @ David Bober
    “The FREMM has 16 cells for navalised Storm Shadow (air launched version already spec’d for F-35B). So let’s fit the Type 26 with a SYLVER A70 launcher instead of the Yank VLS.”

    Then, as mentioned, by sufficient war stocks.

    Why when MBDA are likely to fit out all their weapons for mk 41. Why cut us off from USN supplies and weaponry and where do you get the budget to buy “sufficient war stocks” of navalised Storm shadow. This would cost at least £ 1 billion if not more. I recon we could find many better uses for this sort of money.
    @ Challenger
    “leading to the T26 being ‘fitted for not with’ a land attack capability.”
    It’s a slight risk but as the current T26 designs show no space for harpoon and any future AShM is likely to be vertically launched from a mk 41 I would doubt T26 would not get the launchers and if it has the launchers it will have the land attack capability.
    @ Bob
    “far superior and cheaper Tomahawk Block IV?”
    Granted its cheaper but what is superior about it? TLAM is pretty long in the tooth.

  19. Observer says

    Just to clarify a point, what do you guys want or see the Type 45 as? An air defence ship is a given, but what else? Anti-ship destroyer? Shore missile bombardment vessel? Anti-sub vessel? LPD? Everything at once?

    Once you figure out what you want it to be, the equipment fit sort of settles itself.

  20. Bob says


    What do AAW destroyers usually do? That would be the rationale for having them.

    Correct, those weapons will be fitted to the f-35, thus that is a better way of improving the RN’s strike capability than squandering precious VLS cells on tac-toms; that was my point.

    And every VLS cell crammed with CAMM is a cell that can not be used for ASTER-30 which is the primary weapon of the T45 class. If you want to use the 16 additional cells on T45 then use them either for more ASTER-30s or more usefully for an ABM capability.

  21. JS123 says

    Even if you do install the additional launchers, launching 16 missiles isn’t any more of a symbolic gesture than firing just a couple from the subs. Kinda pathetic that the UK can’t defeat Libya or Syria by itself. Best option would be a wave of Tornado’s from Cyprus.

  22. Challenger says


    I think the point that is being made is that if you swap Aster 15 for CAMM you can pack more missiles into fewer silo’s thus having the space for more Aster 30. It’s not a question of either/or.

    Hypothetically you could have 30x Aster 30, a whopping 72x quad packed CAMM and still have 16 strike length silo’s with Tomahawk or the equivalent. Although the T45 should remain primarily an anti-air escort I think the time for niche ships doing very specific roles has long gone.

  23. Challenger says


    ‘TLAM is pretty long in the tooth’

    It is, which is why I think we need to think of a switch to an all mk.41 fleet and the further use of Tomahawk as just one step in an ongoing progression in capability.

    As Peter Elliot says adopting mk.41 would give us access to all kinds of missiles and allow a RN frigate or destroyer to have a tailored mix of different ones for different jobs in the way that a tailored air-wing does for a carrier.

    Start with Tomahawk and then follow the Americans in adopting next generation land-attack and anti-ship munitions when the time comes.

  24. All Politicians are the Same says

    I was always led to believe that T45 was built with enough space to incorporate an extra silo rather than simply tubes between the existing ones forad. Never having served on one I may be wrong.
    The problem with TLAM from an SSN is twofold. The first is clearing the launch basket area where the submarine will fire from). the second is the number of missiles carried and that can be fired at once. The astute class has 6 tubes so in theory could fire 6 TLAM but that would require the CO to not have a Spearfish in a tube. Now given the fact that he is about to broadcast his position to the world in general I would argue that this would take some convincing. once they have fired the salvo, the first though is to clear the datum rather than hang around and reload. So an SSN based TLAM solution is that you are always going to be restricted. The appeal was that when we bough them the US were already using them so it was relatively cheap.
    If it is true that the entire MBDA missile range will be incorporated into MK41 and we would hopefully go for the MK57 system then I can definitely see the attraction of both refitting totally onto T45 and as the only silo onboard a T26.
    This is simply due to the incredibly varied loadout that you could carry and the fact that nobody knows what is inside the tubes.
    An Arleigh Burke can carry a mix of quad packed ESSM, TLAM, new SM-6 missiles and SM-3 ABM and nobody knows the mix unless you see their OPSTAT unit. A T45 could supplement Aster 30 with long range SM-6 and ABM SM-3 whilst quad packing sea Ceptor to avoid using more expensive missiles on pop ups. Obviously the T26 would be more restricted due to the lack of a MFR but even then TLAM or quad packed Sea Ceptor would make it a potent platform.

  25. martin says

    @ Peter Elliott
    “For a UOR you first need an Operation.”
    Not really, the RN is currently using a UOR to get UAV’s onto the T23.

    “Do we know for sure that Mk41 has been selected for T26? It makes a lot of sense but I haven’t seen Sylver definitively rules out yet.”
    Not for sure but it is widely rumoured. There would be almost zero point in having A70 on board as T26 won’t carry Aster and there is little else that could be fired from A70.
    @ AJ
    Here is a picture of a Mk 41 VLS as you can see there is no gap.


  26. Bob says

    Even if the number of cells on the T45 was increased to 64 it does not have enough cells to to use words like “whopping”. The T45 is primarily a carrier for ver large and powerful radars best used in the AD role, its missile compliment in its limited number of cells should be focussed on that mission- ASTER-30 and ideally an ABM variant.

    Leave deep strike to the submarines and F-35s. Just a shame we got the wrong F-35 for the mission.

  27. Peter Elliott says

    You can argue that the UOR for scan eagle is based in (a) the wash-up report from Ellamay and (b) the safety and security of the current operational patrol in the Gulf.

    But I take your point that there is some leeway in the UOR system. But if we suddenly started splashing noticable sums of millions on new VLS specifically for TLAM then people would be entitled to ask: “why and what for?” to which the glaring conclusion at least in the eyes of the media would be: “in order to blow up Syrians”. If that’s not the reason then why not wait until SSDR 2015 for a measured strategic review along with everything else.

    And indeed wait for T26 main gate and T45 refit main gate (if that happens) too.

  28. martin says

    @ Peter Elliott

    “noticable sums of millions on new VLS specifically for TLAM then people would be entitled to ask: “why and what for?”

    Its only $ 50 million or so and arguably these ships should have had them fitted several years ago as planned. One could attach lack of cruise missile capability onto the failing so Ellamay as well and as I wrote we are keeping an SSN near the Gulf to provide TLAM capability already so one could argue that its needed for the mission there as well.

    I take your point about Syria but given the frequency we seem to launch these things with even with out Syria I am sure we will be hitting some one else with them soon. Also maybe a little diplomatic pressure like the RN tooling up with TLAM would not be such a bad thing in the current Syria situation. One of the disadvantages of not having TLAM on our surface ships is its difficult to send a message when your major offensive weapon is a Lynx helicopter and a 4.5 gun. T45 is too big and too expensive to be a one trick poney. She was never designed to be so either hence space left for strike launchers

  29. Jeremy M H says

    I think the debate between TLAM or SCALP is pretty academic. They are going to do roughly the same thing. I would not want to throw a dozen at a decent IADS if results were critical. Neither weapon is exceptionally stealthy, though I would guess SCALP has TLAM beat in this respect. But neither of them is likely to waltz through an IADS on that basis alone.

    To me cruise missiles are a numbers game. They are used for two things in my view. The first is to service a lot of targets in a very short amount of time. The second is to swamp IADS. Both rely more on numbers than anything else so I would say buy whatever is cheaper and that you can get in greater numbers if your ambition is to go it alone someday.

  30. martin says

    @ Observer
    “Just to clarify a point, what do you guys want or see the Type 45 as? “
    With such a small fleet I think it has to be a bit of everything.
    @ JS 123
    “Even if you do install the additional launchers, launching 16 missiles isn’t any more of a symbolic gesture than firing just a couple from the subs.”
    Two T45’s firing 16 each and 2 SSN’s firing 12 sounds pretty potent to me. That’s half what the USN managed on the first night of Libya.

  31. Jeremy M H says


    I agree with you that I don’t see how the RN can let the Type 45 be one trick ponies for a long period. With limited hull numbers and the overall size of the Type 45 it makes sense to me to pack some firepower onto those ships for a whole bunch of reasons already listed here.

    Libya is one of those situations where I think getting the whole picture of what is needed is complicated. I would be interested in a professional opinion on what would be needed to roll back a decent IADS without B-2’s and F-18G’s operating in support. I would guess the numbers would go up by quite a lot when you factored in attrition from shot down weapons.

  32. Observer says

    My thinking is more along the lines of Jeremy’s. If you want the destroyer to be an air defence ship, a NGFS platform and an anti-ship/anti-sub platform, it is all possible, but once you hit missile based shore bombardment and SEAD, you start to need numbers of land attack missiles, which leaves the ship in the unfortunate position of having to make a choice.

    Of course, the beauty of VLS is that you can configure the ship for anything you want by what you load into them, but I really am not sure if you have enough VLS to configure a Type 45 for land bombardment AND other roles at the same time, so it’s more likely that if a ship is designated as a shore bombardment ship, that is probably the biggest key role it would hold.

    Personally, I would try to convert a freighter into an arsenal ship. Always liked that concept.

  33. Jeremy M H says


    I tend to agree. The USN passed on the Arsenal Ship concept largely because with the fleet being made up almost exclusively of ships with 90-120ish VLS cells you simply didn’t need to do it. I think ESSM quad-pack really changed that game as it frees up a ton of cells for other uses. There is really no problem having a Burke with the following load out in your fleet.

    36 SM-2
    12 SM-6
    6 SM-3
    48 ESSM
    30 TLAM

    In a CVBG with 3 destroyers equipped like that and a cruiser that can take another 30 or so rounds of whatever you end up with a crap ton of weapons to begin with. Before ESSM I think they worried about running out of cells if they wanted to carry 30 TLAM. Now it is not so much of an issue. I think that shows how important ditching Aster 15 for a quad-packed missile could be for the RN moving forward.

    For the UK an Arsenal Ship might make sense. In practice the USN did eventually get them but in the form of the SSGN’s. I honestly think US thinking against a major IADS at this point is to swamp it with cruise missiles and gut it with stealth aircraft. Putting JASSM-ER onto B-1 first was a dead giveaway on this in my view.

  34. All Politicians are the Same says

    @ JMH

    “There is really no problem having a Burke with the following load out in your fleet”

    That is of course if you can afford to spend $220 million on missiles :)

    I would be pretty comfortable for a full non specific mission loadout on T45 to be. If we refitted to 62 Mk41/57 cells.
    36 Aster 30(of course these could be SM-6 or an ABM or an upgraded Aster)
    48 CAMM
    16 TLAM

  35. Jeremy M H says


    Yeah, defense ain’t a cheap business sadly…

  36. Ron. F says

    Why do we need VLS on all 6 destroyer’s and hopefully 13 type 26? Surely it makes sense just to use the type 45 for the role of SEAD/land attack? The type 45 was designed specifically to have the room to fit TLAM. Then lets not forget that assuming you had room for 16 TLAM missiles on each ship you need 304 missiles just to actually use all those VLS cells you have spent money installing and the space they require. As Sea Ceptor doesn’t even need VLS, it seems like your putting VLS on to the type 26 unnecessarily.

  37. Engineer Tom says

    The arsenal ship concept is defiantly one that pops into my head as a solution to this issue, with the rover class being decommissioned in the next couple of years how much would it realistically cost to get rid of the RAS setup and fit it out with as many VLS’s as possible.

    This gives you a proven vessel with minimal crew and at minimal cost, not counting the missiles.

    Also this could be an incentive to restart the CEC talk as the launchers could provide additional SAM’s if working alongside a T45.

  38. ChrisM says

    TLAM on T45 would give huge flexibility (in fact you don’t even need many missiles, it is the silos that scare people)
    We have so few subs now that we cant credibly threaten everyone at once. And currently an RN ship off the coast isn’t all that scary.
    However if the press start shouting about the “Cruise missile armed RN Destroyer off the coast of Tinpot Dictatorship X” then the relevant dictator/warlord might get a bit anxious about his nice palace/weapons stores getting an unwelcome visitor or two. You don’t always need to overwhelm an IADS to make a point.

    And it would be worth it just to see the Argentinians get even more arsey when a T45 turned up in the Falklands :-)

  39. John Hartley says

    Warship World & Warships IFR have numerous mentions of space being left on T45 for Mk41 VLS, so I would go for it if it was down to me. Also the Trident alternative review looked at an Astute variant with 16 VLS Tomahawk tubes. If we have not started building Astute no 7 yet, the having Astute 7 & 8 with 16 VLS conventional TacToms would be useful.

  40. Mark says

    There’s no point in having all these shinny missiles in tubes if we do not the capabilities to provide targets for them. I’m lead to believe the ability to effectively use tomahawk goes far beyond just having the missile on a boat.

  41. x says

    ChrisM said “Tinpot Dictatorship X”

    Steady on there chap. We are more plastic teacup than tinpot……..

  42. The Other Chris says

    One further aspect not fully discussed here, but previously mentioned on TD, is the political scenario.

    Fitting “Strike Length” launchers to an AAW asset for the purposes of carrying a Land Attack Missile of some flavour adds a further dimension that @APATS has touched upon above – namely the introduction of Anti Ballistic Missile capability to what, in the T45 vessel, is widely reported as a premiere Anti Air Warfare platform.

    Whether this be RIM Standard Missiles (i.e. SM-3) in a Mk.41/57 with modifications to Sea Viper, or the long discussed Aster 45 being loaded into a Sylver A70 (or Mk.41/57), either way the fitting of such a launcher – regardless of intension – moves UK AAW assets from Theatre Level to Strategic Level AAW capacity with Low Earth Orbit engagement options.

    This carries… complications.

    With regards to other missiles, I am not opposed to the addition of Camm(M)/Sea Ceptor munitions to T45 for Air Defence options, however this should not be at the cost of AAW systems such as Aster 15/30 loadout.

    Note the overlapping but still distinct lines between AD and AAW systems.

  43. Jeremy M H says


    That is a very good and often overlooked point. It is very hard to pull systems of weapons apart and buy bits and pieces of them for that very reason.

  44. mike says

    Mark ” I’m lead to believe the ability to effectively use tomahawk goes far beyond just having the missile on a boat.”

    Amen to that, that is the issue when people who only think of the boat/ship. Intelligence, Reconnaissance/ISTAR is pretty much part of the weapon system as any other weapon on the ship, however it relies on systems that certainly are not available on board.

    If we expand TLAM or similar capability, we will need to in turn expand the ability to target them.

  45. Red Trousers says

    Non knowledgeable (about Andrew matters) question, but honestly posed. If the answer is “lots of TLAMs” if we want to be a credible strike force, then surely…

    Why not commission a smallish cargo ship to have some large number of TLAM launchers built in where they normally stack the ISOs? Say 48 or 72. Mount a couple of Phalanx either end of the thing, build in the world’s best C4 suite for targeting purposes, protect it with a T45 and you’ve got the best of both worlds for much less complication than retro-fitting T45 (and I suspect overall less money).

    (Make it a mid-size cargo ship with space for spare TLAMs and one of those clever cranes on the deck for shifting cargo about, better than an RFA turning up and trying to swing spare missiles across a gap)

  46. All Politicians are the Same says


    ” I am not opposed to the addition of Camm(M)/Sea Ceptor munitions to T45 for Air Defence options, however this should not be at the cost of AAW systems such as Aster 15/30 loadout”

    I have to disagree with you here. Aster 15 may have a slightly longer range and I say may as CAMM is 25km plus and 15 is 30km. It may even offer slightly superior performance. However 12 aster 15 or 48 Sea Ceptor is a no brainer. the other reason is that sea Ceptor can accept cueing from anything that provides an input to the Command System so whilst designed to operate with 997 and obviously even better with Sampson but if Sampson is down with Sea Ceptor you still have missile capability.


    I do not think the answer is lots of TLAMS. I think the added flexibility of strike length silos offers a lot. Your arsenal ship is fantastic but we still have to protect it and everyone knows what it is for. A T45 with 64 Mk41/57 cells is just that. Only a few people know what is in those cells. So it can deploy on patrol with a variety options at its disposal.

  47. Simon257 says

    I’m sure that when we last discussed the T45 and TLAM. Someone mentioned that the ships gym, currently takes up the space where any extra VLS tubes would be?

    With so few RN Surface Vessels, we simply cannot afford to have one trick ponies. So even the T26 should be fitted from the start with the capability to launch TLAM or equivalent. It would hopefully make the design more attractive to Australia and Canada and maybe even the USN.

  48. Red Trousers says


    I’ll take your word for it. However, are the T45 cells reloadable at sea? I dimly recall someone saying they were not, which appears to me to be a serious limitation, if that is indeed true.

    There’s also a cost angle to muse over. Costs of delivering 1000 lbs of explosive with precision at TLAM range, over other options such as jets dropping bombs and associated launch platforms, vs submarines etc. I suspect that pretty soon the argument for a dedicated missile launching ship, if based on a commercial cargo hull, look quite reasonable.

  49. All Politicians are the Same says


    No at the moment nobody reloads VLS at sea. Not sure that internal reloads on even an Arsenal ship would be safe or practicable because remember you are not just dropping a missile into a hole you have to refurbish the”cell” as well.
    Don’t concentrate on TLAM, what having Mk41/57 silos gives you is flexibility. In each one of those 64 cells you could have 1 TLAM, 1 Aster30, 1 SM-6 (long range advance US missile), 1 SM-3 (Anti Ballistic Missile missile), 4 Sea Ceptor. In the future you could have the Long Range Anti Ship Missile.
    All anybody sees is a T45 destroyer with a VLS Silo which may deploy for up to 6 months with an extremely flexible mission load out which can be changed anywhere we can work munitions alongside and fly munitions into.
    Of course the cheapest way of firing loads of TLAM would be a barge or ship but it is then the ultimate oen trick pony and actually ties up an escort to protect it anyway.
    warships 2 biggest attributes in my opinion are.
    1. Flexibility.
    2. Endurance.
    Strike length silos hugely increase number 1.

    You could then add commonality by building T26 with X Mk41/57 cells from the outset.

  50. Red Trousers says


    Rather dubious that T45 cannot reload at sea. Seems dangerous to me. On the current pattern (not some future upgrade) what’s the maximum number of missile a T45 can fire before it has to toddle off to a friendly port to reload? And is it enough to reliably defeat some swarm attack of cruise missiles or aircraft?

    I wouldn’t see the missile barge as a one trick pony, particularly if the missile ship could have all of those various type missiles loaded into it. Just lots and lots and lots of them.

    Anyway, with all of this net centric goodness now available, what’s to stop a T45 well up threat being able to call for fire from the missile ship well away and control its’ missiles in flight? Of whatever type? (Obviously, this would be pointless for short-ranged stuff, but is more sensible with increasing missile range) Then it can keep hold of its’ own missiles for when they are really needed.

    I’ve always thought the problem with T45 or similar ships is that you’ve got both sensor and weapon in the same platform. Get the sensors up threat, keep the platform central seems more intuitive to me, and you have some redundancy in the sensors.

  51. x says

    The mistake was building a ship as large as T45 with only one VLS. Hull, silo, and missiles to fill it would probably cost as much or a little over the cost of two F35. Don’t forget we are paying FSTA over £400 million pa so we can have tankers to allow us to conduct Op Ellamy Marnham style raids. Never mind personnel costs. The value of having a platform that can perform more than one task at long range with high endurance in financially straitened times shouldn’t be underestimated. But good old UK MoD salami slicing and maintaining traditional roles wins out over value for the taxpayer.

    Imagine if we had to fight an FI style conflict and we had available to us 3 to 4 twin silo T45, enemy airfields taken out the night of the landings, force multiplier for our FJ, etc. and so on.

  52. All Politicians are the Same says

    Reloading VLS at sea is something that has just never been done. As I said it is the ability to repair the actual cell launching system that appears to be the issue. Plus if you are going to carry spares why not stack them vertically and call it a silo? I am sure NAB would be able to offer a better explanation.
    Type 45 has 48 cells currently so could pretty much engage every aircraft the Argentinians have operational :) If we had 64 Mk41/57 cells instead we could have an AAW loadout of 40 Aster 30 and 96 Sea Ceptor.

    The barge is a one trick pony as it is only dragged out in case of war so it immediately sends a message and ratchets up tensions. Unless it is going to carry out all the other tasking as well in which case it is another warship.

  53. Observer says

    Actually, reloading at sea was done before, the 1st generation of Mk 41s came with a crane for that, but they found that reloading at sea was troublesome, tricky and dangerous and so they thought: “Sod this!” and shelved the idea. So no more Mk 41 cranes. Once upon a time, long long time ago. And the crewmen who didn”t have to reload at sea lived happily ever after.

    ” Unless it is going to carry out all the other tasking as well in which case it is another warship.”

    Still loving the idea, even if it turned into a BBG :)

  54. All Politicians are the Same says


    I never knew they actually tried I had heard that from the moment that they introduced Block IV SM2 it could not cope with SAM rounds and it could never lift TLAM so other than ASROC was useless.

  55. Red Trousers says


    “Type 45 has 48 cells currently so could pretty much engage every aircraft the Argentinians have operational”

    We’ve only got 6 of those boats, and given the working assumption of 1/3 of the assets being available at any one time, 96 cells doesn’t sound like very many to me, particularly if OPFOR is Syria with lots of AShMs or a cunning country with the ability to fly lots of quite cheap UAVs as dummies. Iran, for example.

    Take a typical dictatorship with a shoreline, and some idea that at some point it is going to seriously piss off Uncle Sam and the west, enough for them to send some of their fancy T45s. I wonder how difficult it would be to develop a system of cheap and throwaway aircraft or missile decoys? Nothing too fancy, just enough to cause a missile to be launched. A couple of days of that and all of the western ships are empty.

    There was a man called Paul van Riper who thought exactly the same. Embarrassed the USN no end. And his findings are all over the internet, so you can be sure that Iran and the like have read them.

    I’m sure you’re right, it has all been worked out quite carefully, etc. But it seems pretty risky to me if we know they can’t be reloaded at sea.

  56. Think Defence says

    RT, watch the videos in the Club K post I have just published just for you :)

  57. Engineer Tom says


    That capability was called CEC (Collaborative Engagement Capability) and i believe It was scrapped at the last defence review as too costly.

    One example of how it would work is two T45’s working together, one ship in close to land where it is possibly unable too see aircraft coming from inland due to terrain, whilst the other stands offshore or in a different position so it is providing over watch either sharing it’s radar image with the other T45 or launching it’s missiles and guiding them.

    This concept would of course work across all classes and possibly shared with the RAF and Army as well.

    The arsenal ship could be kept in extended readiness in the UK or forward deployed to save money, though I personally would have two and rotate them in and out of extended readiness/maintenance, though I would never have one deploy without a T45 as a command and control vessel.

  58. All Politicians are the Same says


    1 in 3 is to keep an asset on station 24/7/365. In a crisis you would be amazed what you can get armed and get to sea. In 2003 we took the generators we had just taken out, put them back in over a weekend ammunitioned the Ship recalled the ships company and sailed in a week when we should have been on leave and maintenance.

    Why on Earth are we fighting Iran or Syria on our won, that is way outside DPA.

    “Take a typical dictatorship with a shoreline, and some idea that at some point it is going to seriously piss off Uncle Sam and the west, enough for them to send some of their fancy T45s. I wonder how difficult it would be to develop a system of cheap and throwaway aircraft or missile decoys? Nothing too fancy, just enough to cause a missile to be launched. A couple of days of that and all of the western ships are empty”

    Of course unless we knew they were building them and unless we actually had half a brain and fingerprinted their signature so stopped firing at them. They would be better spending the money on real munitions.

    I have read the report on the Van riper exercise and what most people do not point out was that it was massively computer simulated or held in the US. It imposed restrictions on both sides, Blue Forces had to switch off automated defence systems in the vicinity of merchant traffic which red forces then attacked them from. They were not allowed to establish an exclusion zone either. Blue forces were forced to move inside the choke point, Red forces also had limitations imposed on them.
    The point is that the response of the Blue force Commander was shocking in demanding a rest and he got his ass kicked and lessons were learnt.

    To expand on the previous poster point on CEC.

    i think the best use is described as, your Airborne early warning Asset detects a sea skimming missile 80NM from the force. Now at the moment it can see it and feed it into link but you cannot engage it until the firers sensors can detect it. With CEC as soon as it is in range your T45 can fire a missile and the AEW asset take charge of it and guide it to the target.

  59. Chris says

    Eng.Tom – I never really liked the CEC concept. Too many autonomous emitters shouting “I’m here!” into the ether – more RF noise than a Nokia panicking about a lack of connection. I guess in blue water ops the radio chatter would be moderately benign – lowish range in the middle of nowhere – the idea of fitting it to land units and helo support was just bonkers.

    That being said, most tactical nets these days seem to default to uncontrollable polling which sort of snuffs out the ability to maintain radio silence, even when the radio operator keeps his mits off the PTT pressel. Whatever happened to the quaint old idea of breaking radio silence only when there was something vital to communicate?

  60. All Politicians are the Same says


    The Maritime side have been doing link, the predecessor of CEC for years. No mitts anywhere it is all encrypted data. CEC is simply a means of the Wepaons systems of every unit that receives the picture being controlled and guided by a unit that has the raw sensor data. So an E2 Hawkeye can see a missile that is at an altitude of 10M 100Km from the force. The Arleigh Burke cannot but the E2 can guide the Arleigh Burkes SM-6 missile to engage the target.
    it is not about too many emitters. Link has always been cyclic, each unit in the “playground” is given a sequence to receive and then transmit, it loops round extremely quickly. You can receive without transmitting. You can also choose how you filter the data received. So in the case of something like an E2 airborne it can be the only transmitter, perhaps with 1 Arleigh Burke as back up and radar guard ship. So every unit in the Carrier Battle Group receives the picture but only the E2 and 1 Arleigh Burke contribute, only 2 emitting units. the E2 can however control weapons from any unit in the CBG (permissions allowing) to engage targets that it can see.

  61. Chris says

    APATS – I spent a little time working CEC. Its a long time ago now – maybe your view that its no different from L16/L22 is right, but my dim memory was that there was no such thing as a passive receiver. A bit like LANs – no ping sent, no message sent back. But like I said its years ago now and memory might not be accurate. Or of course the system design might have moved on after I left it for other stuff.

  62. Opinion3 says

    The CEC concept is similar to that proposed for the F35, personally I think it is money well spent.

    We do need more missiles and we also need more platforms. The T26 has been specifically ear-marked for strike length, I suspect we might be endangering capabilities or numbers if we fit out the T45s.

    I’d go for the Mk41 launchers, spend my money on F35 and Tiffy weapons integration and ensure that the T26s and MARS SSS are built. I’d be happy for our glaring gaps in capability to be highlighted so that quick fixes / UORs don’t become the default solution.

    Sorry Mr PM we can only fire 16 missiles …..

  63. Jed says

    1. We wont get any of the above – go ask the Treasury

    2. We wont mix MK41 and Sylver in a single hull

    3. Extra space for additional cells on T45 is I believe aft of existing cells, not fwd, and not in between

    4. SCALP-N has an upgrade path, unfunded by the French I believe, but it makes changes to the Imaging infra-red seeker software to add an anti-ship mode and adds a bi-directional data-link for off board targeting. The US is still discussing its AShM options, but the supersonic LRASM variant appears to have been a victim of Pentagon budget cuts, so the sub-sonic version (i.e. eventual Harpoon replacement) does not seem to offer anything over a developed SCALP-N. So either way 16 cells on both T45 and T26 would offer dual capable anti-ship / land attack capability.

    Just a question to everyone – do you really think the only scenario in which having a long range anti-ship / land attack missile is massed fires against an Integrated Air Defence System ??? I can think of plenty of other scenarios where they could be of use, launching anything between a pair, and full ship set of 16 !

    5. Cooperative Engagement Capability – “engagement” not guidance, Aster does not use a ship based guidance radar like ESSM and some Standard variants, it is an “active radar” guided missile. Thus CEC is about high fidelity radar track data and the bandwidth to pass such high fidelity data from sensor to shooter (where they are different ships), and then from either ship to missile via its own datalink. It’s different for USN where they still use their semi-active homing missiles, but I think the CEC effort was for data link equipped missiles, not for one ship to “gather and guide” another ships ESSM.

    Oh and because Aster is autonomously active guided, just like CAMM/SeaCeptor, it can also be launched down a bearing provided by passive EW sensors, or even Electro-Optical sensors, this is a function of the command system, not the radar system; obviously does not constitute an optimal engagement profile though !

    6. Use of CEC, just link L11 / L16 / L22 is governed tactically by the Emission Control Policy – if your silent, your silent. If your light up your massive air defence radar then you might as well be transmitting your picture too, as it will make no difference then :-)

  64. All Politicians are the Same says


    Whatever form it takes, sensor fusion and data sharing are bound to be massive force multipliers. The T26 may have been ear marked but it seems to have been ear marked to have a combination of Sea Ceptor Specific cells and a strike cell. If an agreement has been struck to quad pack Sea Ceptor in a Mk 41/57 silo the there is no excuse to have a type specific cell. Once that happens if MBDA make the rest of the range 41/57 compliant there is no excuse not to go to one silo/cell type. It will almost inevitably be cheaper over the life times of the ship simply in spares and courses and even if not offers such a massive advantage in logistics it should be an easy decision.
    To sum up, no chance, we will muddle along with sylver A50 on Type 45, augmented by some Asylver 70 cells, type 26 will have some Sea Ceptor only cells and a few mk 41 because the newer 57 was too expensive. save a 1 hundred million up front but pay an extra billion in the next 10 years in making munitions for different silos, maintenance course and support.
    oghh and I have put no price on the operational capability lost.

  65. The Mitcake Maker says

    Oh well bit late to the party but never mind. Yes I think it is time to fit the 16x Strike length VLS cells to the Type 45’s and I think they should be Mk 41s for the reasons stated above about a wider choice of missiles, low cost, Type 26 etc.

    @ RT

    Like the idea of an arsenal ship however I might have missed something when skimming through your posts but you’ve only said you’d have it protected by a Type 45? What about subsurface threats? You’d also have to tie-up a 26 or an astute to cover that area and I personally think this starts to use up the limited escort/sub fleet. I’d soon have CEC and “spread the wealth” amongst the ships in a taskforce.


    Here’s a little scenario I’ve thought of based on a Syria type situation after 2020 where we may need to perform strike missions, SEAD/DEAD and insertion of special forces units to secure/destroy WMD’s as part of a coalition . The elements of the RN’s active RFTG are dispatched, primarily; 1x T45, 2x T26, 1x CVF and 1x LPD.

    The Type 45. Fit the Type 45 with, harpoon (already happening), CEC and 16x Mk41 VLS. Potential load out: 32x Sea Ceptor, 40x Aster 30, 12x TLAM, 4x SM-3 (just in case they possess a few SCUD type missiles), 8x Harpoon. The Type 26’s. Built with 32x PMDS cells (based on current design) and hopefully fitted for and WITH 24x strike length VLS (Mk 41). Potential load out: 32x Sea Ceptor, 12x TLAM, 6x VL-ASROC, 6x VL-AShM.

    This gives the taskforce, 112 VLS cells (64 Mk41/48 Sylver) and 64x PMDS cells. Allowing the taskforce to deploy the following weapons at their maximum ranges;

    CIWS systems = approx 2 NMI
    96x Sea Ceptor missiles for PMDS = 13.5 NMI (approx 3x the range of RAM)
    40x Aster 30 missiles = 65 NMI
    36x TLAM = 900 NMI
    20x AShM missiles (harpoon+VL-AShM) = approx 120 NMI?
    12x VL-ASROC = approx 12 NMI

    Therefore the taskforce surface combatants have a combined total 136 SAM’s and 36 TLAMs to fire during the campaign without re-supply. But hang-on what about CVF? Well assuming that a Syria type situation we would want to deploy 24x F-35s this means we’d have to reinforce the active FAA squadron with an RAF one. 24 aircraft would allow us to carry out an opening strike 300nmi offshore with 48 StormShadow missiles. For the next week or so after the initial strike from CVF we should quiet happily maintain the following; 16x F-35 for CAP producing 3-4 aircraft per sortie 24/7 and 8x F-35 to conduct 3 strike sorties each, each day. Assuming the initial strike from the StormShadow’s and TLAM’s is enough to degrade the GBAD enough allow the F-35’s to operate with internal weapons only we can still drop 24,000-48,000lbs of Paveway II/IV’s each day for a week quiet happily.

    Therefore in another Syria type coalition, we can launch an opening strike of 84 TLAM/StormShadow missiles and follow that up with flying 24 strike sorties per day for a week dropping 24,000-48,000lbs of explosives, whilst maintain a 3-4 plane CAP. Which I personally think is not a bad effort to a coalition operation and definitely is probably the most complete and best package fielded by a European nation. Also remember because we have 2x CVF and 2x LPD we could conduct an operation like this any day of the year, unlike our Gallic neighbours who could only do this part-time because of only having CdG.

    Anyway that’s my two penny’s worth, and I shall stop taking this thread of a tangent with my mad ramblings.


  66. Engineer Tom says

    The side of CEC, in relation to just the RN, that I see really being beneficial is the protection it would provide during an amphibious landing when you have a fleet of vessels close in too land. You would leave your AAW vessels sitting further offshore with your carrier even further back, the AAW assets would then control the airspace launching long range SAM’s and then directing the short range assets of the landing fleet, whilst simultaneously directing the air assets flying off the carrier and providing them with a radar picture.

    Then if you add an arsenal ship into the mix, taking the USN concept of a 512 missile vessel and halving it, and if you had an even split of A30’s to TLAM’s that gives you 128 Aster 30’s, to add to the probable 24 a T45 would carry as a maximum, You have a formidable air defence network.

    Plus as a bonus you have 128 TLAM’s to play with.

    This is envisaging a situation where you are using air dominance rather than stealth to protect a fleet. As the RN learnt in 82 air dominance is the way we need to go.

  67. martin says

    @ Ron F
    “As Sea Ceptor doesn’t even need VLS, it seems like your putting VLS on to the type 26 unnecessarily.”
    You need it for Anti Ship missiles at the very least as harpoon is going soon. At only $500K a pop why not have them as well. There are many future potential weapons that may use them from Torepedos to UAV’s. Having mk41 on T26 future proofs it and allows us to develop new toys with almost every NATO navy.
    @ Engineering Tom
    “The arsenal ship concept is defiantly one that pops into my head as a solution to this issue”
    But we already have 6 big fat destroyers with space for 96 land attack missiles so why not just use the ships we have. Even a cheap arsenal ship is going to come in at several hundred million and will need a crew and fuel so around another £10 – 20 million a year and to make it worth while we would have to put at least 100 missiles on it at a cost of another $100 million and there is zero chance the treasury would allow that.
    @ The Other Chris
    LM have looked at fitting SM 3 onto T45 either in the A70 launcher or via the Mk41. They believe that both options are possible as the T45 uses a similar mission system to the Burke. They radar is the big issue and would likely require some software changes.
    Aster 30 block II also offers some very interesting options for ABM but I think it will require longer launchers than the A50 as well. A T45 armed with both ABM and TLAM in the gulf would be quite a statement and asset.
    @ RT
    “for much less complication than retro-fitting T45”
    Its not a retrofit, these launchers are part of the design. Apparently installing them (at least the A70’s) could be done in a few days on the dockside.)
    @ X
    “The mistake was building a ship as large as T45 with only one VLS.”
    Burkes are bigger and only have one silo. Only the Ticonderogas have two VLS silos and they come in at 10,000 tonnes.

  68. Opinion3 says


    Do you know if weapons are built to suit specific silos? I had rather imagined that the weapons were common and the silos were engineered to be compatiable. The French made a brave decision in creating a competitor to the American’s silos. There is clearly a need for competition, and MBDA and Airbus have both made dents in previous lucative monopolies held by US firms. They have without a doubt been brave industrial business decisions.

    It is however a French decision to go with the Syvler development and I am in two minds as to whether we should be supporting them or whether I hear Sir Humphrey saying the word ‘Brave’.

    The full flexibility of being able to swap in and out missile solutions seems entirely sensible and should happen. Doubt it will and the argument that a T26 wouldn’t have no CAMMs is a strong one.

  69. Observer says

    1 or 2 silos? Thought VLS came in packs of 8? Or 4 for the mini one? And those ships definitely have more than 8 missiles. Or do you mean 1-2 clusters of VLS 8 packs?

  70. x says

    @ Martin

    You are saying that I am saying 2 VLS in one 8000t ship? Not sure I said that. I wouldn’t get to hung up on the specifications of a hypothetical never to be built ship. My point was simply for the cost of two FJ added to Daring’s cost, the hypothetical Daring, we could have a class ship that could have carried enough strike missiles to cover our contribution to an allied effort. One in the Med and one in the Gulf would have covered most of our security needs,

  71. Bob says

    Red Trousers gets it. 6 x T45 with 48 cells each is nowhere near enough given the likely availability of those vessels and the probable necessity to use multiple missiles for single target engagements. Add the growing proliferation of ballistic missiles and its clear what those 16 extra cells should be used for- not Tomahawk or crappy SCALP-N.

  72. pab says

    The idea of an arsenal ship is attractive but as pointed out is very much a one trick pony. It needs protected and targeting information provided.

    If VSL silos could be containerised, then how about putting the containers containers on a Bay while part of a task force? It then has protection and targeting information provided by the other assets.

    Once the missiles have been launched, the containers could be put over the side and the helicopter spaces then used.

    Or, put the containers on STUFT and send the ship home once all missiles have been expended.

    I’m not sure if we’ll ever need more than a good handfull of TLAMs anyway (just to piss off the Argies!), we don’t have the clout to back up a large strike unless operating with the US and in that situation, just let the USN use their TLAMs…

  73. Engineer Tom says

    @ martin

    Yes, if you start from scratch and design and build a brand new vessel, to defence standards it will be an expensive exercise. The concept I envisage is taking an existing vessel, a good candidate would be a rover class fast tanker, due to be replaced by the tide class soon. All you would need to do is remove the RAS setup and install 16 mk41 silos l, plus just the equipment to maintain the missiles and launch them. That should be possible for 50-100m.

    The only problem is the missiles, that would have to be overcome by negotiating with the treasury.

  74. The Mintcake Maker says

    Quick question for somebody with more knowledge about the T45’s than myself. What occupies the space underneath the Harpoon launchers? (If that’s not classified info).

    My thinking being that in the short to medium term we will finally decide the final spec for the T26’s including (hopefully) what VL-AShM they will use. Assuming that there already is enough room to add 16x Mk41 VLS cells to the VLS nest currently on the T45’s, removing the Harpoon launchers looks like it would give enough room to install another 16x Mk41 VLS cells. Giving us a total of 32x Mk41 VLS cells to use and 48x Sylver VLS cells for a combined 80 VLS Cells (only 16 short of a burke).

    Then we could load the type 45 with;
    32x Sea Ceptor (assuming that CAMM is quad-packable in both MK41 and Sylver)
    40x Aster 30
    16x Tomahawk
    8x SM-3 for BMD defence
    8x VL-AShM

    I think that’s quiet an acceptable load out for a ship and it would probably make it the premier destroyer sized vessel fielded by any European nation. It would be able to defend itself and provide taskforce AD, have the same if not greater strike capability as one of our SSNs currently does (I’m not sure how many TLAMs they regularly carry) and in the above load out can carry out limited BMD or part of a wider AD/BMD if it was equipped with CEC.

    Surely a T45 armed with 16x Tomahawk missiles is of equal deterrentas an SSN with 16x Tomahawks? People seem to be forgetting the Type 26’s will also be fitted with hopefully 24x strike VLS cells, assuming that 8x cells are taken up with VL-AShM, that leaves another 16x cells free to fit whatever we want, maybe extra Sea Ceptor or SM-3 missiles (assuming CEC is fitted to the fleet) or another 16x Tomahawk missiles. In a situation like Libya we deployed 1x Destroyer and 2x Frigates, today if that was a T45 and 2x T26 equipped with strike length VLS we could launch around 48 Tomahawk missiles. Not as many as the Americans fired in Libya (approx. 150) but much more than we fired (approx. 10?) but much better than anybody else.


  75. Peter Elliott says

    So to develop the these themes further and answer the question of: How should the UK go about a future SEAD operation against a capable foe?

    I can identify three main steps:

    1. Find the targets: (a) using sattalite images begged, borrowed or stolen from our allies (b) from special forces inside the country (c) by getting Sentinel as close as we can without it being shot down.

    2. Fire a strictly limited number of TLAM from (a) single SSN which moves its location to fire 3 salvos of 5 missiles each (b) Surface ships (both T45 and T26) that have strike length cells but whose primary role is to protect one or more HVU ships. Say a maximum of 30 Land Attack missiles carried across the task force.

    3. High volume attack using air launched Storm Shadow from (a) Land based Tornado / Typhoon supported by AAR. One sortie per night, 2 missiles per aircraft, 24 aircraft deployed (b) Carrier based F35B operating up to 3 sorties per night, 2 missiles per aircraft, 36 aircraft embarked.

    Net effect approx 15 missiles from SSN, 30 from surface ships, 48 from land based air 216 from ship based air. Total possible effect in a ‘Defence main effort’ scenario just over 300 cruise missiles fired on night 1.

    If that’s not enough then we are overmatched so probably best not to play.

    And given the disproportionate effect of the air launched missiles and the overwhelming precondition to identify 300 high value target its maybe not so important to spend on LA capability from surface ships right now.

    I’d still fit the strike length cells when it can be done cost effectively – but mostly for future Anti-Ship or Anti-Ballistic missiles to be honest.

  76. The Mintcake Maker says

    @ Engineer Tom

    Assuming theres space below where Harpoon is and the current space for fitting an extra 16x Mk41 VLS, £100m would buy us enough MK41 VLS units to fit 32x cells to each T45 and 88 Tomahawk missiles (enough to fit 16 to 5 of the 6 T45s + a few spares) and we would still have 60ish Sub-Tomahwaks for surprise/surgical attacks with SSN’s (allowing each Astute/Trafalgar to carry around 8 + a few spares).

  77. a says

    Don’t need a dedicated arsenal ship, just a containerised launcher. Sadly Mk 41 cells are slightly too high to fit into an ISO (266 inches) but still – something the same length and width as a TEU, and twice as high, should easily be able to fit eight Mk 41s, and the weight would be roughly the same as a fully loaded TEU.
    Want to put a few TLAMs off a coastline? Plonk a couple of those containers on the deck of an RFA.
    Want an instant arsenal ship? Plonk forty of them on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales.

  78. Engineer Tom says

    Yes, a containerised system would be very effective for TLAM, we could stick a couple in a field in Cyprus for example, but I think we would still have the issue of buying the missiles.

    I like the concept of the arsenal ship as it is a huge force multiplier, with 256 cells, you could supplement both air defence and land attack assets of an existing fleet. To field that many cells you would need more than 3 extra T45 if they were upgraded to even 80 cells.

  79. The Other Chris says


    Fitting an ABM to Type 45 is definitely feasible whether that be SM-3 or Aster 30 B.II / Aster 45. Note I categorise Aster 45 separately.

    The Sylver A70 or the Mk.41 is needed for either as you require a 7m+ launch tube to house the missiles with additional stages. I doubt the Mk.57 will be fitted as that is a fairly bespoke fit for the Zumwalt-class but you never know.

    It’s the “statement” this ABM capability makes that is the problem here. Does the UK really want to aggravate the ICBM equipped superpowers in this manner?

    To be clear, I’m looking at Russia, China and even to a lesser extent the USA here.


    I agree with you on the numbers advantage of CAMM(M) and I’d personally love to see a silo arrangement that accommodates both CAMM(M) and Aster 15/30 in enough numbers.

    Aster 15 alone is such a hugely capable missile, especially in conjunction with PAAMS(S), that we’d be remiss to lose the capability. 50% faster (Mach 4.5), huge aerodynamic fins in comparison to CAMM, PIF system for terminal maneuvering (60G!), larger warhead*, 180mm diameter combined with greater power source for its active electronics.

    Any room to fit the native CAMM(M) cold-launchers on a T45 along with a “Strike Length” VLS, if we’re going that route?

    *Admittedly estimating here. 15kg known for Aster. 10kg known for the ASRAAM base underlying the CAMM design, though both Aster and CAMM now have directed fragmentation warheads as opposed to ASRAAM’s burst fragmentation.

  80. Think Defence says

    The arsenal ship seems to pop up regularly for discussion but the problem is twofold, one, the cost of the missiles and two, the cost of the missiles!

    I suppose you could also argue that you are putting all your very expensive eggs in a non military vessel, no damage control, questions on the crew and self defence.

    I think the answer is distributing your missiles on as many platforms as you have, if we have TLAM then why not ground/ship launchers, if we ever buy the NSM/JSM why not have it onboard ships, fast jets, trucks and whatever else?

    Distribution in launch platforms with a common missile makes sense, if you can afford the missiles that is

    You might be genuinely surprised but I do like containerised solutions as well because it multiples the potential number of launch platforms

  81. a says

    Sorry, just noticed the Klub post – fairly relevant. (And very slightly James Bond-ish. I hope the missiles elevate with an ominous humming sound.)

    And, yes, TLAM etc are expensive, and this doesn’t really get round that…

  82. a says

    TD, also good points. You could even put a container or two on the flight deck of a T26 or a T45 if you were willing to give up the helicopters.

  83. Engineer Tom says


    I completely agree with your point about spreading out the missiles if possible but I see two disadvantages
    a, no one has made a self contained TLAM launcher in years and how would you go about venting the exhaust on a flight deck etc,
    b, the physiological advantage you gain from the arsenal ship, that a container on a RFA just doesn’t give.

  84. Peter Elliott says

    Given that range is the one thing TLAM has bags of I don’t see the justification for clogging up the flight decks of task force ships with containers full of it. We need those flight decks for ASW anyway. 10 containers of TLAM is no use on the bottom of the sea becuase an enemy SSK snuck up on your taskforce unawares.

    But a containerised TLAM sytsem that could be flown by Atlas or C17 into an in-theatre airbase has much more to recommend it.

    In my example above it would allow you to eliminate the 2 squadrons of land based fast-air, and concentrate on providing land based ISTAR and AAR to support the embarked Fast Air which becuase of its better proximity to target can generate the best sortie rates. That in turn would allow the carrier more freedom to manoeuvre into the optimum position as dictated by the threat scenario.

  85. Engineer Tom says

    Any land based/capable version of TLAM would have to be developed independently of the US as they aren’t allowed to have them due to a treaty with Russia.

  86. ChrisM says

    Air deliverable containerised TLAM launching system. I am liking this.
    Pretty cheap for much effect. We might even only really need to knock up one working example for some demo videos.

    The Argies get feisty – photos get out of a handful of containers at Mount Pleasant with suspicious cabling. Could be the real thing, could be a DIY project by the local RE. If the world gets arsey we show them that they are just normal containers being used as a big beer fridge. But is it the same containers…..

  87. Peter Elliott says

    I’d forgotten that treaty. So we would be talking about an Anglo-French project then. The ship launched MdeCN is supposed to have 1,000km range. So a containerised air-portable version of that would hit the spot. Although like tomahawk at 6.5m in length you would need to use a 40 foot container rather than a standard 20 foot one.

    “Any land based/capable version of TLAM would have to be developed independently of the US as they aren’t allowed to have them due to a treaty with Russia.”

  88. All Politicians are the Same says

    My point on Aster 15 is why? It is purely a money saving exercise, it is simply the Aster missile with a half length booster. This means it does mach 3.5 not 4.5 and has a shorter range. Therefore from a military view make them aster 30 and use quad packed CAMM for closer ranged work.

  89. Peter Elliott says

    Dimensions of an 8-cell Sylver A70 VLS are given as on wiki as 2.3m x 2.5m x 7.5m

    Stick that inside a 40 foot container (2.44 x 2,59 x 12.22), still leaves room at one end for a hudraulic mechanism to stand the VLS upright and an electronics compartment with data link to the firing terminal, which could also come out on a pallet if necessary.

    One 40 foot fits inside an Atlas for 8 missiles. Two fit inside a C17 for 16 missiles.

    Fly them out to Mount Pleastant, Akrotiri, or Oman inside 24 hours from the UK and job done.

    As mentioned elsewhere the only problem is how many missiles to carry in stock. They’re bigger than storm shadow and the only common use would be on ship-board. And unlike the Americans the French won’t be sitting on a huge stockile either. And the unit cost will no doubt be higher.

    I’m not any kind of expert but based on what others have said I’d want to carry a stock of 300 missiles with maybe 12 x 8-cell launch containers launchers to be able to perform a night 1 SEAD operation [which is what we started off by talking about]. That would allow you fire a 100 missile salvo before pausing to reload.

    At least on a land base you can reload the VLS unlike at sea. You are perfectly located right on the end of a logistics chain. And there’s plenty of space to lay everything out.

  90. All Politicians are the Same says

    Only a couple of issues. We know the US has signed a treaty on land launched cruise missile systems. Did they perhaps indicate that none of their NATO allies would develop or deploy such a system either?
    Also you are asking a country to launch an attack from their territory, not launch aircraft, or refuel anything but physically fire the warhead from their soil.

  91. Jed says

    Just sack the Nuke deterrent, refit the Bombers as SSGN and Bob’s yet deep strike uncle !

    We would have a capability to match that of USN, bringing us a “command seat” at coalition planning sessions ???

  92. Bob says

    I have just realised that Martin said that Tomahawk was “getting long in the tooth”- no it is not, it has undergone continuous improvement with further modifications funded in the FY14 budget.

    It would be better if one knew what one was talking about before making churlish pronouncements.

  93. mike says


    You make similar comments re Storm Shadow.

    FY14? That’s US I imagine? But has the MoD(N) followed suit in implementing the updates? Because I am unsure we do, we certainly haven’t with other naval missiles, such as Harpoon.

  94. Engineer Tom says

    @ APOTS

    We didn’t sign the treaty so it doesn’t apply to us, unless later treaties we did sign include it I am unsure, but regarding just that treaty we aren’t covered.

    Getting permission to use it could be problematic, but the Falklands and maybe Cyprus should be fine, otherwise we could fly it out to deployed vessels when needed.

  95. a says

    “We know the US has signed a treaty on land launched cruise missile systems. Did they perhaps indicate that none of their NATO allies would develop or deploy such a system either?”

    Not explicitly. And the INF treaty (which is the one involved) was US-USSR only.

  96. Peter Elliott says

    For sure it would go easier from sovereign bases rather than allied ones. Luckily UK does still have some of both dotted round the world.

    If permission were denied then you would be back to the 3 squadrons of Carrier Air, supported by land ISTAR and AAR, flying multiple Storm Shadow sorties from as close range as its safe for the task goup to get. The last bit is I guess unknowable and would depend on all sorts of situation specific things.

    As for the treaty I don’t think UK or France are signitories. But that probably wouldn’t stop Vladimir’s teddy coming out of the pram if it suited him show his displeasure.

  97. All Politicians are the Same says


    I never saw it as an either or. After the initial SEAD phase you need manned platforms to allow spacial awareness and quick reaction. The containerised idea is great but to me it lacks the flexibility of strike length maritime launchers which can be used for other things. Of course I am biased :)

  98. The Mintcake Maker says

    Why bother going to the trouble of developing a container based system when we could probably ask or pay the US for the design for this mobile launcher and attach it to something like a MAN SX 8×8? Land mobile Tomahawks yes please.

    Secondly a quote from wiki, with regards to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

    “In March 1986, negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union resumed, covering …. There would be no constraints on British and French nuclear forces.”

    So by the looks of things we’re good unless there is a newer treat that we’ve signed up to with regards to intermediate-range weapons.


  99. Bob says


    Difference is, next JASSM-ER Storm Shadow is a poor choice.

  100. Observer says

    TD, spreading the TLAMs out does increase platform survivability, but if you need the numbers to break through, doesn’t that mean you would have to recall a lot of your ships from other taskings as opposed to a single ship? And add to the delay in waiting for the furthest one to arrive before you can proceed?

    As for vulnerability, isn’t that about the same as guarding your carrier?

    And the cost of TLAMs, well, that is true, but remember, spread out or concentrated, numbers, hence cost, are the same. 100 TLAMs in one ship as opposed to 100 TLAMs spread across 5 is still 100 TLAMs.

    Never did like the size of those Tomahawks. Too big for my taste.

    BTW, containerized TLAMs did exist. They were in an armoured box launcher for the Iowa battleships. Huge buggers. No more Iowas now, hence no more box launchers.

    APATs it’s not the size of Astor 15, it’s the size of the launcher. A smaller launcher might fit where there is not enough space to put a full sized SYLVER 50, allowing less space wastage. This was before quadpacking came out of course. Now, you might as well quadpack CAMM/ESSM, but before these were invented, an ASTOR 15 would have worked for point defence and saved a bit of space as well.

  101. Chris says

    TMM – good choice of truck & Tomahawk. According to sketch engineering they fit just fine – physically room for 4 wide, 2 high, except they are heavy and the mounting pod would need strong elevation mechanics – delete the two inboard ones on the lower level to make space for the elevation stuff (and computers and power distribution and the like). Six to a truck then.

  102. mike says


    Well, the difference is the former is much more recent and was fully funded by the US… Storm Shadow we went alone with even our partner – France – wanting its own flavor. It still gives us a capability we never had – and is certainly not as decrepit as you seem so eager to think, sure; we should have joined in with JASSM but well, it didn’t happen. Maybe its long term replacement?

    But I ask again, what block are our TLAM’s? Are they the same standard as the latest block when we purchase them? (meaning the replacements from Ellamy are of a different block to the rest of our stockpile?), or have we, like with Harpoon, just not upgraded? I guess that’s info for people in the loop only.

    And also, to everyone, both with SS and expanding TLAM numbers, what about expanding our capability to independently (as in UK forces only) target them?

  103. Engineer Tom says

    The point of containerisation is that it aids with transportation, and that it can be deployed on a ship. That design is purely land based though I daresay the mechanics in it could be fitted in a container. The control system will be out of date though, so probably not worth it compared to just starting from scratch.

  104. Peter Elliott says

    Been playing with the old 1,000km circles on a map.

    From Akrotiri we can cover pretty much the whole of Syria.

    From Muscat and Djibouti you can cover pretty much the whole of Yemen and a decent chunk of Iran. But even from Bahrain you won’t reach Tehran.

    Girbraltar has got Spain all stictched up and between Culdrose and Marham you have French and Germans in your sights too ;)

    From Ascension and Diego Garcia we are sadly only going to be shooting fish. And Buenos Aires is sadly just a bit too far away from Mount Pleasant :(

    Did I hear someone suggest we move Australia a little bit to the left…

  105. The Other Chris says


    Great point, I’d admittedly not considered that.

    Not entirely convinced that CAMM(M) is as effective as Aster 15. Let’s assume it is for the next question:

    Would you replace all Aster 15’s typically carried with CAMM(M) on a 4:1 (Quad packed) ratio or would you carry additional Aster 30’s alongside CAMM(M)?

    As an aside, it’s quite nice to be able to discuss munition ratios rather than empty launchers. If we were running low on CAMM(M) stores, for example, we could deploy Aster 15 stores and vice versa.

  106. The Other Chris says

    Re: Underway Replenishment (UNREP) of VLS

    Copy/Pasted/Neatened from a comment on another thread:

    Looks like all VLS systems need to be reloaded with Port Facilities. The USA tried a system that included missile reloading called FAST in the 70′s (?) which was a precursor to STREAM [1] for UNREP in general, however it required crew who were needed elsewhere.

    In 1988, the “UNREP Journal” (Quote reproduced in [2]) carried an article before the launching of Arleigh Burke:

    – “When the going gets tough a great amount of ammo will be expended in a short time. The next urgent requirement is to quickly reload those empty magazines and be ready for whatever follows. Underway replenishment is the only answer for the fleet commander and we need to do it better.”

    More recently in 2009 an UNREP engineer from NAVSEA reported on the status of Rearming Cruisers and Destroyers at Sea [3]:

    – “There is no system to rearm VLS weapons at sea. Cruisers and destroyers must return to port to rearm.”

    These are american documents, however I’m sure they represent the current situation for the Royal Navy as well.

    Niche development opportunity for a forward thinking supplier? Sacrifice a VLS silo for a rearming mechanism?

    [1] Miller, M.O. and McLachlan, M.J. (2007). Underway Replenishment Control Systems.

    [2] Greg. (2010). VLS Underway Replenishment: When will the Navy get serious?

    [3] Miller, M.O. (2009). Underway Replenishment System Modernization.

  107. Peter Elliott says

    I guess that VLS has eveolved a lot to the point where it now constitutes the primary weapons system for an FF or DD – more so than the gun and the helicopter.

    As such you could argue that the whole ship should be designed around the VLS and that should include re-loads: either magazine fed from beneath or with a built-in crane from above.

    Would radically change the shape of the whole vessel and not be cheap to design. I suppose if the USN ever designs a new Missile Cruiser we could see something like that.

  108. Observer says

    If it can be reloaded, that is just a repeat of the old missile launching systems like Talos, which isn’t a bad thing, just that VLS carries all the rounds ready to use.

    TOC, it was done before. There was a 5 cell Mk 41 with a crane in the original series. Think some ships still have the crane, but still don’t do UNREP, way too dangerous and the crane was also way too short if APATs was right (which I think he is). A swinging 1 ton missile smacking someone into a wall is going to leave human paste. More likely though you will just get broken legs or crushed hands. A pitching deck is not a good place to do cell aligning. The desire is there, but the environment just refuses to cooperate.

    Tomahawk Armoured Box Launchers do exist.

    PE, what about a variant of it? IIRC the Russian Backfire bombers had a 5 shot rotary missile launcher. A set of 6 of them buried vertically (in concept, not take the actual hardware and twist it 90 degrees, not a good idea) and fed with a powered magazine below deck could work. OTOH why not just line up all the missiles in VLS silos to be usable all at once? Would there be an increase in ammo storage? Or are we going to sacrifice weapon readiness for no perceptible gain? We need a study done on this, too little info.

  109. Peter Elliott says

    I suppose the point about being able to reload at sea is to combine it with RAS.

    So you fly the replacement missiles out in a chinook or similar, roll them into the hanger on a sled, then feed them into a HMWHS which eventually pushes, pulls and slides them into the firing position. All without anything flailing about in the fresh air on the end of a cable.

  110. All Politicians are the Same says

    @ Observer

    It seems that when we made the switch to VLS somebody said “why keep these in a magazine when we can carry them ready to fir in a silo?”.
    The T22 Frigates used carry refills for Sea Wolf and in a conflict zone these were often carrier in compartments that were perhaps not designed for that use :)

    A good point, you may be able to carry as many missiles on board in a silo as in a magazine but not as many as an RFA can carry. Now an aster 30 is 4.9M long and weighs in at 450kg, TLAM is 6m long and weighs 1600kg. Br 67 tells me that the max weight on a heavy jackstay is 2 tonnes so it should not be impossible.

  111. Observer says

    APATs, why am I not surprised things like that happen? :)

    The 2 more or less easy to reload systems that I can think off right off the top of my head are the Sea Dart/Terrier system where they reload by sliding the missile vertically up, or the Talos system where they slide it horizontally.


    And yes, black and white video. The systems are that old.

    I can see them being used for Tomahawks or Harpoons, but not for AAW where you just might need to “fire everything!!!” as a last ditch defence. On the other hand, the quadpacks might not be as awkward to handle as the longer cells.

    Maybe we can split the baby? Large area defence missiles reloaded back in port, self defence weaponry like ESSM/CAMM reloadable at sea? Harpoons and Tomahawks where you don’t need to really launch huge numbers of them immediately off a reload system?

    Er.. putting it this way, I do see an unfortunate proliferation of subsystems that all have different logistics and training requirements. Might not be such a good idea after all.

  112. The Other Chris says

    @APATS said “…often carrier in compartments that were perhaps not designed for that use”

    Eek! Which minds me of the following quotes:

    “Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.”
    “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

  113. Engineer Tom says

    For a reloadable Tomahawk system you are talking about redesigning the entire ship or waiting 35 years till the next destroyer is built, it is just not feasible plus it would take up more internal space than VLS does due to the fact VLS has no movement routes etc etc.

    Reloading VLS via RAS and a crane built into the ships superstructure is more feasible but you would need perfect conditions, reloading VLS at sea from stocks carried onboard is out as a where would you store them and b if they weren’t stored in the fwd end of the vessel how would you get the from the aft to the fwd.

    This is one area I think the MOD has figured out perfectly the most efficient way of storing and deploying missiles is VLS, the only limitation is deckspace.

    if you had a vessel dedicated to just firing missiles a reloadable system could easily be fitted, this would become more efficient the bigger the vessel is, especially if there is plenty of depth to the vessel where you could possibly load from below, or the setup I like would be to have the equivalent of torpedo tubes tilted up at 45 deg, possibly only 8-16 of them, and a system to change out the cells rapidly, with the majority of the ship being a magazine. but if you have a ship that big you would have plenty of deck space for VLS so a reloadable system isn’t needed.

  114. El Sid says

    On T45 space – the VLS space is for’ard of the installed VLS, not in between or aft. There’s space for deck-mounted launchers like Harpoon aft of the VLS, but you can’t put VLS there. Wait a moment…here’s the official word :

    “space is also provided in front of the current PAAMs silo for a further 12 silo multi role launcher silo, dependent on the requirement. Additionally, the option of fitting a [Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon] laucher abaft the PAAMs silo has been built into the ships design”

    As has been mentioned, VLS UNREP is one of those things that has been tried but the USN has not persisted with. Having said that, they’ve started taking an interest again at a high level, the distances involved in having to return to port for reloads is a much bigger problem in the Pacific than in the Norwegian Sea, and it also chimes with their current emphasis on sweating their assets by keeping ships forward as much as possible. So don’t be surprised if you hear more on VLS UNREP in coming years. In the meantime, quadpacking helps a lot. If you could do it for CAMM, you could do it for a Brimstone/SPEAR derivative too….

    As for putting things in containers, if you had an SSM for Sylver A50 then that would fit better in a 20′ container, even with some launch gubbins on the end. I assume a LRASM would fit, a JASSM at least is the same length as an SM-2 so would fit in a tactical length tube.

    On vertical rotary launchers – that’s how the Russians do it with SA-N-6 and SA-N-9. It takes up more room, and it’s a lot easier if you’re cold launching – but it does mean you don’t need a swaying crane to reload your launcher. I guess we’re committed to Sylver now, but SA-N-9 might be a model for dedicated CAMM launchers?

    Not just Backfires that have rotary launchers for AS-16, the B-52 and B-1 had them for launching SRAMs, and now they’re doing versions for JDAMs and the like.

  115. All Politicians are the Same says

    @ El Sid

    Do you have a source for that quote? I have found so many different opinions. Just sent an email to an oppo trying to get a definitive.
    I found this on navy matters ” The Type 45 will initially carry 48 Sylver A50 launchers, but the ship is designed to carry up to 64 – including strike length Mk 41 or Sylver A70 – and full space, services and structural provision has been made so that fit of the extra silos is very easy. “

  116. El Sid says

    I made sure I gave an embedded link in my post – it comes from the RN website as of 16/06/2010.

  117. All Politicians are the Same says

    @ El Sid

    Just looked like funny coloured writing. ;) That article does not say whether or not the current silo has room for cells in the middle. i will endeavor to get a definitive answer.

  118. Opinion3 says

    The ships reportedly do have space in front of the 48 cell Sylver A50 system to accommodate another 12-cell launcher, but they will not initially be fitted with one. DCNS’ Sylver A70 is an obvious option, but there has been talk of retrofits involving a BAE/Lockheed Mk.41 strike-length VLS there instead. Either VLS choice would give the Daring Class the space to host land-strike missiles, though Britain’s current naval doctrine assigns that role exclusively to its nuclear-powered fast attack submarines. Choosing the Mk.41 would also allow the ships to add SM-3 missiles, if additional upgrades were made to the ship’s datalinks and combat system.

    from http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ddg-type-45-britains-shrinking-air-defense-fleet-04941/

  119. The Other Chris says

    Raytheon have tested SMART-L radars with the full Standard Missile family, including SM-3. The S1850M on the rear of the T45 is a derivative.

  120. All Politicians are the Same says


    Yes and to provide info on a data link for a long range interception or against a ballistic missile that is great. However not much use against multiple targets closer in simply due to the characteristics of the radar.
    Good news for ABM use though.

  121. Mike wheatley says

    (1) Sylver A70 vs. Mk 41: As far as I have been able to determine from online research, the Sylver has a deck area of 6m2 for an 8-cell module, whilst the MK-41 (strike length) has a deck area of 9m2 for the same. Sylver also weights half as much.
    So, in general, it would be choice between 16 Tomahawk vs. 24 Scalp-N. (Which really should have its own name, it is so different from the regular Scalp / Storm Shadow.)
    If an expert here knows differently, please do correct me!

    (2) CAMM is soft-launch, and very light, so it can have a very light VLS, which can be put in unused nooks & crannies, unlike the hot (Sylver) VLS that needs a central position.
    So, I would expect to be able to add some CAMM launchers without needing to quad-pack into the (hot-efflux-compatible) Sylver.
    So you get 32 Aster-30 + 16 Aster-15 + 32 CAMM (own launchers elsewhere on the ship) + 16 cruise missiles in the 16 new Sylver-70 VLS.
    Again, experts please correct me!

    (3) Having been on a T-45, the warning marking for the gun barrel nearly touches the front of the VLS block, whilst there is a ~big~ space behind it. The T-45’s really fool your perception – they are a lot bigger than the T-23’s – there looks like enough space to fit 12 harpoon facing port, plus 12 facing starboard, plus a big blast deflector in the middle.
    Or, better yet, space for a lot more VLS, some of which could hold Exocet block MM40 – which some of the literature says can be done.
    This being “better” because then we can say we have them, (and use them once or twice,) the other side draws a big 200km “here be Exocets” circle around our T-45’s, and we then fill the silos with something we will actually use.

    (4) Is 48 missiles enough? Or is the inability to reload at sea ‘A Problem’ ™ in practice?
    IIRC, the Falklands saw 7 (?) Sea Dart capable ships fire a total of 42 medium-long range SAM missiles between them.
    So, um, yes, 48 per ship is enough, IMHO.
    Also, not much point extending your magazine size into the design space where you are more likely to be sunk than run our of missiles. (Design questions to answer: What was the half-life of our ships in 1982? What was their average number of shots-per-day? How does their magazine depth, in days, compare to their half-life?)

  122. martin says

    @Bob –
    “I have just realised that Martin said that Tomahawk was “getting long in the tooth”- no it is not, it has undergone continuous improvement with further modifications funded in the FY14 budget.”
    It’s still and old missile with little attention given to stealth features. The insides though are pretty advanced and continue to be updated.

    @ mike
    “Y14? That’s US I imagine? But has the MoD(N) followed suit in implementing the updates? Because I am unsure we do, we certainly haven’t with other naval missiles, such as Harpoon.”
    We use the latest block IV TLAM

  123. martin says

    @ El sid
    “The Type 45 has the capability to adapt the current MCG to a 156mm weapon, space is also provided in front of the current PAAMs silo for a further 12 silo multi role launcher silo”

    Seems like a strange place to put he Silo’s as it would affect the main gun? Would also mean that they would have to cut open the deck to fit them. and it seems strange why there is such a large gap between the A50 cells when other warships don’t have them.



  124. SomewhatRemoved says

    Type 45 is an air-defence platform. Period. The ability to quad-pack SeaCeptor (it’s a crap name but lets use it please) will allow the RN to ditch the Aster 15 missiles, which will be returned to MBDA for remanufacture into Aster 30’s. That gives T45 more long ranged missiles that were designed for the outset to be able to counter the shit-scary BrahMos, Onix, Klub and other high-end ASM’s that Syria, amongst others, can bring to bear against Western warships. Type 45 is proving itself every day to be better than an Arleigh Burke or Tico at air defence and has an amazing future ahead of it. FYI the additional cell space is in fact in front of the current silo, and you have a choice – more missiles, or a 5″ gun, not both.

    The strike capability you are all begging for will be carrier based. If we jump the gun now and blow millions trying to fit TLAM or SS to Type 45, you will scotch TLAM integration on future Astutes. Submarine based TLAM has the distinct advantage of being completely unlocated before it’s launched, so you can do a ‘Conqueror’ and say you have submarines off the coast ready to shoot – when in reality it’s still 1000 miles away and probably still loading up. As has already been pointed out, we may only fire off a handful of TLAM in each ‘campaign’ but its still reported as ‘UK and US strikes’. So why waste millions when you still get the same strategic media effect?

    Panicking over TLAM would also scotch the long ranged gunfire capability of Type 26. We may have the 5″ gun, we haven’t yet got the precision extended range ammo. Would you rather fit a handful of TLAM (that cannot be reloaded at sea) on a destroyer that would be better used for air defence, or would you rather have an 80-100km gunfire capability on ALL your escorts (which eventually, we will get)? Come on people, isn’t it obvious? A precision shell with kilogrammes of explosive is, in today’s precision-targeting world, far more desirable than hundreds of kilos of TLAM warhead going off.

    And just to finish off, if you go begging to the Treasury for missile money, three things will happen. First, you will be asked what capability you are prepared to give up to pay for these missiles. Second, you will be asked to justify your request when we have a sovereign airfield that is a damn sight closer to Syria than Marham was to Benghazi. And third, you will be laughed out of the office with your credibility in tatters.

  125. Bob says


    Wrong again; TLAM Block IV focuses heavily on RCS reduction and other survivability measures.


    Spot on. T45 is an immensely powerful AD vessels and any additional capacity it has should be used to enhance that mission. Especially as there are only six of them.

  126. mike says

    @ Martin

    Cheers :)

    At least with that asset we’re keeping pace, as we chuffing well should with such capability.

    If its been a struggle to get Harpoon onto the ’45’s, and even then its crossed over from retired hulls, I cant see this from happening. Unless Dave really wants to be shown to be contributing more missile strikes alla USN, rather than the single figures we can manage now.

  127. Alex says

    £100m would buy us enough MK41 VLS units to fit 32x cells to each T45 and 88 Tomahawk missiles (enough to fit 16 to 5 of the 6 T45s + a few spares)

    *This* is what the Treasury has been moaning about all these years? “We can’t put the VLS on the ship, someone might buy the rockets! it would be so expensive!” and the bill is £100 million?

  128. Peter Elliott says


    Upthread I glibly sketched out that 36 FJ on board the carrier could, by flying 3 sorties each, fire over 200 Storm Shadows in a nominal 24 hour period as part of a ‘Day 1’ SEAD operation.

    Would be interested to know if you see this as viable?

    If so it puts our slack dozen TLAM from either an Astute or a Destroyer into some sort of context.

    Also do you beleive we have the ability to identify and locate the top 200 targets within a hostile country right now? Or are we dependent on ‘someone else’ to help with this critical part of the mission?

  129. Bob says

    Peter Elliott,

    No, we are almost completely dependent on the US for that sort of information.

  130. Martin says

    @ Bob – When was I wrong the first time?

    Do you have a link showing significant RCS reduction on Block IV TLAM, I am unable to find anything. s far as I was aware the main upgrade of block IV was two way data link.

  131. Peter Elliott says

    So in terms of a business case to HMT that is where we should be focussing our attention, not on things that go bang, of which even in these hard times we already have quite a selection.

    “we are almost completely dependent on the US for that sort of information.”

  132. SomewhatRemoved says

    Peter, sorry but I’m not a CSG expert, just a humble front-line PWO (and a TAS at that!). However, all of the above is current thinking across the board. It is going to take years to generate the carrier capability because we haven’t done it for so long, but then again the MOD knew what it was sacrificing when they shelved Harrier and concentrated on the long term recovery of offensive strike power. But I would be surprised if the carrier was ever given 200 SS to launch – have we even got 200 in inventory? That I don’t know, but SS is a costly beast as already stated.

  133. Observer says

    Can the 5-inchers hit 80km? That is quite impressive, GMLRS range in fact.

  134. SomewhatRemoved says

    OTO Melara are claiming up to 120km for Vulcano. But remember it is a sub-calibre round so not full 5″ hitting power. Still, we are all about precision these days, and OTO are working on an IR-guided round as well (long ranged anti-ship gunnery anyone? Oh yes…). If they can stack that tech into a shell then the option to laser designate should be technologically feasible. I rather like the idea of a Type 26 delivering NFS with a small UAV providing targeting and designation, something like ScanEagle or similar. Now that’s a capability that has a lot of relevance today!

  135. BigDave243 says

    As to the main topic of discussion I will leave that to more educated minds than my own.

    However I did pick up on one little thing mentioned above and it didn’t sound right.

    @Peter Elliot

    ”One 40 foot fits inside an Atlas for 8 missiles. Two fit inside a C17 for 16 missiles.”

    I’m afraid thats wrong with regards to the C-17. The cargo floor of a C-17 is just over 68 feet in length (not including the ramp) so you couldn’t fit 2 40 foot containers inside. Before anyone says put them side by side, thats equally impossible mainly due to the restraint require to secure them the aircraft floor.

    Anyway sorry for going off topic there. Equally sorry if Ive trodden on anyones toes. :-/

    For what its worth I think fitting the mk41 VLS onto the Type 45 is exactly what that platform needs to stop it being (an admittedly very good) one trick pony. With fewer hulls and less money we need our ships to be able to multi task now more than ever.


  136. Observer says

    Somewhat, what about skipping the laser designating and use an EO sensor instead? You can bypass the spotter and simply fly the round into the target like you would a plane. This would also have the advantage of the closer the round flies, the better you get at picking specific spots to hit as opposed to lasing the target where you only pick a general area to hit if the target is moving.

    Another possibility is to just fire a round into a general location and do some target spotting as it comes down. Enemy hiding behind islet? Fire a round high over the obstruction and take a look. That makes the round multipurpose recon/attack, which I believe will be fairly useful.

  137. Frenchie says

    When I think we’ll pull Scalp which cost € 850,000 per unit, while we are stifled by the taxes, I’m sick. Especially that we are here only to show that the United States is not alone in this story.

  138. a says

    Can the 5-inchers hit 80km? That is quite impressive, GMLRS range in fact.

    LRLAP. Rocket-assisted base-bleed shell. Under development now, but the plan is for a 5″ or 155mm shell to fly 100 km (53 nm) and hit with a CEP of 50m. They’ve got 45 nm in tests earlier this year. http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=75215

  139. a says

    I should say that story refers to the 155mm version, but they are planning a 5″ version as well. It’s not just that I can’t do metric conversions.

  140. The Other Chris says

    I believe @SomewhatRemoved is referring to the Otobreda 127/64 option for the T26 firing Vulcano ammunition which is a discarding sabot guided/inertial submunition.

  141. jed says

    Just a thought….. for no real reason…

    NSM is 3.96 m with its little booster to blow it out of its launch tube, so with a slightly larger booster for vertical launch it might fit in a Slyver A50…… and its cheaper than either SCALP-N or TLAM …..

    I wonder how much to design, test and integrate ?

    Of course we could just replace Harpoon tubes with NSM tubes, probably even cheaper !

  142. x says

    I thought removing infrastructure supporting OPFOR’s airpower was helping the group air defence effort? Or have the Americans been getting it wrong?

    It may not may accountants happy expending ordinance at approximately £1 million per shot, but again consider the conflict around those islands as an indicator of losses of both and material. You cannot argue shutting down the five closes airbase to the TF during the operation wouldn’t have been a force multiplier. No pilots to train. No aeroplanes to build. All launched from a platform that is capable of doing lots of other tasks.

    If Syria does go hot do you think the USN/USMC air assets will go feet dry before those 6 airfields (and other assets) have received a good shoeing from TLAM? I know USAF air assets won’t be in Syrian skies until they are made safe by the USN.

    It isn’t a question of the UK affording two FJ airforces. It is whether we can afford to let the RAF buy F35a when next generation missiles launched from ships can do the job cheaper. Never mind spending money on ISTAR capabilities. And as I have said lots of times here that is why the RAF need F35 more than the RN because without it there is no successor to Typhoon, no real expeditionary capability (if moving 8000 tons by road a thousand miles across a safe land mass is expeditionary), and the force is reduced to a tactical budget carrier a la RNZAF that might as well be subsumed into the RLC.

  143. Paul says

    If I understand it correctly then the best option is to have a large cheap to run aircraft able to carry large numbers of missiles in an internal bomb bay, it then needs to have long range, with great low power loiter capability ( anyone see where I am going yet), great electronic warfare capabilities, and space for relief crew so it can do long duration missions with air to air refuelling.

    That would be Nimrod….oh bugger…..

  144. John Hartley says

    The trouble with Tomahawk is that it was mainly designed to carry a compact 200kt nuclear warhead. The conventional version seems a waste of a good guidance/propulsion system to deliver a relatively small bang. Flicking through a WW2 planes book, I found an illustration of an Avro Lancaster with an 8000lb bomb. Hmmm, fit folding wings, guidance/propulsion & some cheap stealth shaping , for one potent cruise missile. Too big for a torpedo tube, but could be launched out the back of a C-130/A400M/C-17.

  145. Engineer Tom says

    I wonder if the USAF would ever turn the MOAB or MOP into cruise missiles, might need to invest in a bigger propulsion system or 10.

  146. Think Defence says

    John, sounds like a good use for those Tranche 1 Typhoons!

  147. x says

    I see an opening here for something TD has lacked and which all real defence sites need, a bring back the battleship thread. Oh yes! There is deep penetration for you.

  148. Observer says

    x, all warships are “battle”ships, just that some are more battle than others. :P

  149. alien8ted says

    @ Mike Wheatley
    “(2) CAMM is soft-launch, and very light, so it can have a very light VLS, which can be put in unused nooks & crannies, unlike the hot (Sylver) VLS that needs a central position.”

    The apparently wasted space between the two rows of Sylver silos could be such a nook or cranny. Probably 3 of the suggested 4×4 launch cells would fit. This would provide 48 missiles for close range defence, with 48 Aster 30 for area AD. Pretty decent!

    Loosing the little old 4.5″ gun (swap for a token 57mm?) to allow 12 strike length Mk41 cells for TLAM or Aster 30/45 also sounds like a good trade off. Still got 8 Harpoons for ASuW.

  150. Opinion3 says

    Battleships …. the problem with ours is they are kitted out and called ‘Defender’ and ‘Daring’, nice names but hardly battle-ly – like the kit.

  151. Observer says

    Look on the bright side Op3, it could have been worse.

    Daring is one “L” away from being called something even less battle-ly. ;)

    Think the crew might even call her that behind the captain’s back, sailors being the irreverent lot that they are.

  152. x says

    @ Observer

    What I am aiming for is BrahMos in a sabot in a giant caseless round, multiple barrels, belt fed in a triple mount. I think we would need 5 as a bare minimum…….. :)

  153. Observer says

    Pfft, real warships come with rams. :) Complete with hortator and drums and three banks of oars with slaves.

    I’m old fashioned about these things.

  154. x says

    @ Observer

    Remember you are talking to the person who believes his country’s FP squadron should have ships with ice strengthened hulls just for that very purpose.

  155. Gloomy Northern Boy says

    @Observer & x – hate to disagree with you chaps, but real warships come with a quarterdeck, 74 long guns and a couple of bronze nine pounders mounted at the bows…

  156. Chris.B says

    @ x,
    “What I am aiming for is BrahMos in a sabot in a giant caseless round, multiple barrels, belt fed in a triple mount.”

    — Pfff. If you wan to play fantasy battleships then go for an Iowa-class sized ship with the big guns replaced with MK.41 silos. You’d end up with about 3 Arleigh Burkes worth of silo space, a radar mounted so high it would comfortably surpass a Type 45 for horizon scanning, 10x whatever Destroyer sized gun battery of your choice for shore bombardment and defence, and you’d still have space in the middle for something like more Harpoons or Tomahawks, or a bit of both. Now that really would impress.

  157. Opinion3 says


    That ship sounds like my MARS SSS handed over to the battleship department. I’d be offering a new build 35,000 – 40,000 (mgt) shell. There will be plenty of room for a small fleet of armed helicopters Apache? and some UAVs.

    The UAVs will be new build. Sadly all the best names have been taken, Wasp, Hornet, Mosquito – but there is one left……. No-See-Umms

    ‘No-see-ums will take the fun out of being the enemy, just like the insert version do a hike or camping trip pretty quickly. The name no-see-um is just one nickname for the biting midge (which isn’t battlely enough for me); some people call these nuisances punkies, sandflies, or midgies. The aim is to have the annoying habit of distracting and puncturing things i.e bitting – hard.

  158. Brian Black says

    A few folks have mentioned the cost of Tomahawk missiles.

    The simple, obvious, and uncontroversial solution is to return the Trident missiles to America, take a couple of Vanguard submarines out of service (cut crew numbers accordingly), and fit the remaining two boats for TLAM.

    The recent report on Trident alternatives said that replacing the Vanguard boats with just two (Trident) submarines could cut annual operating costs by £1b, as well as saving £5b on the outlay for the replacement boats.

    Even the most trigger happy government would struggle to launch a billion quids worth of TLAM every year.

    The prospect of a lurking Royal Navy submarine armed with scores of Tomahawks would be much more of a concern for our enemies than an equally expensive but impotent Trident boat. A couple of TLAM boats would be much more use to us militarily, and cheaper than the nuclear system too.

  159. a says

    The simple, obvious, and uncontroversial solution is to return the Trident missiles to America, take a couple of Vanguard submarines out of service (cut crew numbers accordingly), and fit the remaining two boats for TLAM.

    Shouldn’t be too risky from a cost point of view as the Trident – TLAM conversion has already been done for several of the Ohios. $700 million per vessel, apparently, at Electric Boat. Presumably cheaper for the Vanguards, as they have only 16 rather than 24 missile tubes, so call it half a billion dollars per V-boat. Full load with TLAM would be 112 missiles (seven per tube) at about, what, $600k per missile. Numbers look good…

  160. Lindermyer says

    Except of course the risk associated with no longer having CASD.
    Cutting SSBNs to 2 gives us a part time deterrent (3 boats is at best marginal).

    We (the UK) either maintain an effective deterrent (for us this is CASD = 4 boats) or we scrap the deterrent altogether.

  161. a says

    Lindermyer: scrapping it altogether is what Brian was suggesting. The missiles go back to the US, Vanguard and Victorious get scrapped altogether and Vigilant and Vengeance get converted to SSGNs. I misread him the first time too.
    Worth making the point that Syria is yet another war in which the Trident fleet will be utterly irrelevant.

  162. Lindermyer says

    @a I took the suggestion as retire 2 V boats and reconfigure 2 V boats and then buy 2 successor boats or is the suggestion to buy the successor as SSGN not SSBN.
    BB could you clarify this point for me please, (yes possibly im being thick)

    Worth making the point that Syria is yet another war in which the Trident fleet will be utterly irrelevant

    Unless of course Assad is considering lobbing chemical weapons our way in which case Knowing that he will soon be president of the worlds largest glass car park may discourage him.
    Its hard to say how effective Trident is, how do you qualify wars that haven’t happened because we have trident.

    For the record Im on the fence re keeping the deterrent, but I do believe do it properly or not at all.


  163. Gloomy Northern Boy says

    As always the flaw in the argument is the political one…no Government that scrapped CASD would do so in order to have and use a serious underwater “Gunboat” with oodles of TLAM…they would do it to prove their leftist/ internationalist/pacifist credentials, and as a precursor to further defence cuts…re-allocating the savings to something really vital to the national interests like DfID funding for gender awareness courses in Somaliland…

    On the other hand, a production run of 7 Successors that could be used for both purposes and would alternate between the two might be a jolly good idea…but not at all what was being proposed.

  164. x says

    i find it troubling that this switches between support for SSNs with ballistic missile modules to SSBN carrying cruise en masse without pausing for breath…….

  165. Gloomy Northern Boy says

    I’ve nominated you for First Lord, so your call in the end…


  166. Engineer Tom says

    Surely a cheaper option is a surface arsenal ship, yes it has to be defended by other assets but it would significantly cheaper, and if you need to deploy TLAM at very short notice stealthily you still have Astute. The main factor against an arsenal ship, the cost of the missiles would no longer be an issue, the 700m figure to refit a V boat to SSGN would buy 500 missiles and still leave 200m to buy a cargo vessel and fit all the kit to it.

    Regarding using a class of sub that is capable of carrying nukes will rule out many friendly ports to the boats even if we declare that they aren’t carrying nukes. We also won’t be able to use them in the South Atlantic openly due to the fact they are nuclear capable.

  167. tweckyspat says

    I say again, deception is the key here. Scrap a v boat and build 2 new conventional SSGs which look like SSNs (HMS Fortitude and HMS Taxable if you will) net result, a more useable fleet and although for real we have a CASD which is far from C, it is much more AS

  168. Brian Black says

    Sorry, Lindermyer, I may have left some unintended ambiguity in there. But a is correct, no nukes.

    I do think a sub with a large battery of conventionally armed cruise is more use to use to us than a sub armed with Trident missiles.

    With nukes swapped out for TLAM, no need for continuous patrol, so retire the two oldest boats early. We’ve already shelled out a large wedge of cash for the replacement boats and the dual role missile compartment, and ending continuous patrols will not extend the service life of the Vanguards, so go ahead with building the first two replacements on the existing schedule – only as conventional SSGN rather than SSBN.

    It pays for itself, with the change to pocket too. And two aircraft carriers as well as two missile boats is still big-league stuff.

    I think people overestimate the power of Trident to protect us. The example of the threat of nuclear retaliation protecting us from chemical attack is a bit shaky. A nuclear response from Britain would have to be proportionate and appropriate; an attack on the scale of the Syrian attack, and even substantially larger, would not warrant a nuclear response and so Trident would not deter it. There is also a question of who do you nuke; using September 11th as a template, if that had somehow involved chemical or nuclear material, who on earth would America nuke? Baghdad, Kabul, Abbottobad, Hamburg, the Florida flight school?

    Trident is largely ignored by adversaries because it is overkill for too many scenarios. And the belief that jihadists or Kim Jong Un or whoever is out to nuke Birmingham is very much paranoid catastrophising. Terrorists and rogue states have agendas which are not fulfilled by getting themselves obliterated by nuclear counter attack. Even the suicidal terrorists are not out to trigger the assisted suicide of their entire ideological group.

    The threat of a hundred Tomahawk and Stormshadow though, that is the kind of thing that plays on folks’ minds – whether that’s in Argentina, Syria, Libya or elsewhere.

  169. The Other Chris says

    “Worth making the point that Syria is yet another war in which the Trident fleet will be utterly irrelevant.”

    Unless it’s a powder keg and the nuclear deterrent deters any thoughts of silly missile (or other) targeting by a conventional opponent…

    The madness of the likes of deterrent fleets is that we just don’t know for sure if they will work, are working right now or have ever worked. Has the worry of nuclear warfare deterred a conventional conflict?

    Would you feel safer without the V-boats?

    Just Red Teaming here, btw. Not trolling.

  170. Brian Black says

    Engineer Tom, sticking 500 cruise missiles onto a ship makes a massively tempting and vulnerable target. And we don’t have spare ships to operate another task group, so you need to build more escorts and auxiliaries while a nuclear sub is capable of independent deployment for months.

    The idea of using a second hand cargo hull for your battleship does not make a cheap battleship, it makes a crap battleship. If you stuck all the stuff from a Type 45 onto an old container hauler, you wouldn’t end up with a cheap destroyer, you’d end up with a crap destroyer.

    As well as gaining protection through discretion, a submarine missile launcher carries strategic weight through the belief that it could be out there targeting you, even if it isn’t.

    The South Atlantic nuclear free zone does not prohibit nuclear propulsion or conventional cruise missiles.

  171. Lindermyer says

    My Original reply appears to have vanished.

    @ BB Thanks with you now (it could just have been me being thick)

    I still disagree with you though, to maintain skills all 4 boats are required also saved costs aren’t that great when you consider that sunk design costs are over 2 hulls not 4. I also seem to recall that the USN isn’t over enamoured with SSGN concept either.

    Now If you were to consider building 4 new astute Mk2 with 6 -12 VLS in place of successor SSBN I would be right behind you.

  172. Brian Black says

    We don’t need four missile boats to retain skills or protect the industry, as you say, more attack boats could be ordered instead.

    On costs, we will have started paying for long-lead items on possibly the first three Vanguard replacements by main gate, whether the decision to build goes ahead or not. Design work on the subs and missile compartment has long since begun and racks up costs.
    Cut the replacement boats, and the government would have to consider the industry and whether to build more SSN; but it was reported that the difference between two and four missile boats was £5b in capital costs and £1b per year operating costs, in 2006/7 pounds.

    It should be cheaper to cut all four replacements and build four Astute derivatives instead, though building two SSGN would still be cheaper than retaining CASD.

    Getting the CMC into service would allow for any future US sub launched missile to be used by the Royal Navy. Extended range cruise missiles with a longer length, or narrow long-bodied multi-packed ballistic missiles could be developed which wouldn’t fit a regular TLAM silo. The CMC silos can also be configured as vehicle docks, and US developments in that area might not fit a smaller sub silo.

    In future we do need vertical launched TLAM as you suggest. The US don’t use the torpedo launched TLAM any more. I think there may only be a couple of users of the torpedo launched variety. Fitting a VLS section into future SSN would potentially allow us to form a common US-UK missile arsenal, cutting costs and avoiding the problem of not holding sufficient missiles. If not going the whole hog, we could still potentially buy from the American’s holdings to replenish TLAM stocks faster than placing a new order.

  173. Lindermyer says

    Im Pretty sure it has to be 4 New Boats be they SSBN/SSGN or Astute 2 simply to maintain Drumbeat .
    Edit as you stated.
    A lot of the early order stuff could be used on any of the above (excluding CMC).
    Pound to a penny that the 5 Billion saved wont work out like that , its guaranteed some cost will increase on 2 boats compared to 4 and this wont have been factored in call me cynical (or Doris).

    Regarding VLS on Astute Im sure at some point it was claimed that installing VLS reduces the agility of the Boat, whether that is because the Boats larger or it actually causes a structural issue I don’t know, but this was alleged to be a factor in sticking with torpedo Launched TLAM.

  174. Engineer Tom says

    @ BB

    My concept of an arsenal ship is not meant to be anything like a Battleship, it is meant to be a floating VLS silo basically, yes it needs defending but I envisage it deploying unless you are sending a battle group somewhere, when recently have we undertaken a TLAM strike without at least a week or two build-up if not more. regards kit for it you wouldn’t need any radar except to navigate, only the VLS and kit to maintain and launch the missiles, regards the ship used for 100M you can buy a MARS tanker surely for 200m you can get a new one vessel based off the same hull kitted out with VLS launchers.

    I only bring this idea up as in previous discussions the biggest con has been cost of the missiles. Regards using subs to threaten TLAM strikes, if you got rid of Trident and the V boats as proposed you could replace with 1 x Arsenal ship plus 3 x Astute, this could provide more in the way of stealth threat especially if you could add a small number of VLS launchers to them without pushing the cost up. But an arsenal ship would be there to provide a real punch behind any strike whilst allowing escorts to concentrate on ASW and AAW.

    Also with regards to Syria if the hypothetical arsenal ship had sailed out of Portsmouth a week ago (ignoring the vote in parliament etc.) Assad would be worried. Especially if it only deployed in a crisis.

  175. SomewhatRemoved says


    You clearly don’t get the CASD argument – and yet you clearly explain exactly why it is impotent in the face of Assad’s actions and isn’t a deterrent to North Korea, Iran, etc.

    It isn’t a deterrent to those nations. It never will be. A nuclear deterrent is to deter a nuclear state. Which nuclear state is pointing a very large number of ICMS’s at the UK right now? Russia. There you have it.

    Until the US and Russia (and for that matter, China) decomission their strategic nuclear deterrents, we will maintain ours. It isn’t any more complicated than that.

    Do you seriously propose that a nuclear cruise missile arsenal is a deterrent? Because you are suggesting that you would willingly pull the nuclear trigger. Nobody in their right mind would launch a nuclear weapon, whether as a first strike or in retaliation. There are two ways we could be attacked. Suitcase bomb on the Underground (i.e. terrorist delivery), or a missile attack. In the event of the former, who exactly are you going to shoot back at? Which large population centre are you going to remove from the planet in revenge? In the latter case, we know where it came from – so are you going to remove a population centre in reponse now?

    A nuclear deterrent deters a nuclear threat. It does not deter a conventional or asymmetric threat.

  176. SomewhatRemoved says


    I’m fairly sure that Assad wouldn’t be in the least bit more or less bothered about an ‘arsenal ship’. He is within strike range of half a dozen airbases to which the West have access as well as a couple of carrier groups with their attendant cruisers/destroyers, also cruise missile armed, plus doubtless there’s an Ohio SSGN lurking with its ready arsenal. He knows full well the West can kick seven bells of s**t out of him, no matter where it comes from, and having it all concentrated into one handy target makes life much easier.

    To make your hypothesis work, it would need to be capable of defending itself and with that much invested in one hull, you can’t afford to make it vulnerable. As a consequence you spend over $2BN and call it a Zumwalt class.

  177. Brian Black says

    Hi, Somewhat removed. It’s as though instead of reading my comments, you heard Chinese whispers about them via a dozen other people! :)

    Tom, sticking 500 Tomahawk missiles on a hull makes a battleship. At least by my definition.

    The 500 missile figure comes up occasionally on this theme. That would just be excessively disproportionate for the independent military aspirations of this country. By the time we were looking at that great a number of missiles being required, I think we would have to assume that we’d be part of an American coalition and that they’d bring along a few of their own.

    A substantial strike capability would have to be properly defended. A more appropriate idea of a Royal Navy surface arsenal ship IMO would be something like a land-attack version of a T45. A big hull with 30, maybe 40(?) holes for TLAM; a helicopter one end, a gun the other; SeaCeptor and all the other regular bits and bobs.

  178. x says

    I see Call me Dave is giving £52m more to Syria. Or as I read 52 more TLAMs…….

    As Brian says arsenal ships are flawed. We don’t need a land attack version of T45. More T45-come-Tico.

  179. Opinion3 says

    Having the Mk41 silos on the T45 would, with CEC, enable the T45 to offer BMD. The US developed anti ship, anti sub missiles would also be available.

    Not as important as Crowsnest, granted, but something of an upgrade that sounds more than a bit useful. Presumably the same thing can be achieved with CEC and Mk41 equiped T26s. Some P8s would complete what should be standard protection for the Nation & Fleet.

    Its quite a big shopping list.

  180. Mike Wheatley says

    @ Option3
    Aster also has BMD capability, and a growth path to better BMD capabilities.
    It is important to understand that BMD is not a binary yes/no capability.
    The range of the balistic missile (BM) is determined by its velocity, which also makes it a harder target to shoot down.
    Aster-30 II seems to be capable against short ranged ballistic missiles, and Aster-45 would be get into IRBM territory. SM-3 seems to have an IRBM capability now. Longer ranged ICBMs are the class that America’s GMD program is intended to handle, but that looks technically too hard to achieve.

    Ship based theater defence against IRBMs is useful when at war with the following list of countries:

    So, very low on the list of priorities.


    Mk-41 would allow use of a hypothetical future US anti-ship missile. For which there is no funding.
    Conversely, Sylver should allow use of Exocet block MM40, which exists now. (But isn’t qualified in Sylver at the time of writing – although VLS compatability was a design goal for that missile.)

    Mk-41 would allow use of Asroc. That missile doesn’t seem terribly popular, though I don’t know the detailed operational reasons for it lack of use.

  181. x says

    The trouble with T45 is it started out as an escort to be built in numbers and has become essential a single role ship. As I have said before if T45 had been designed from the get go as a specialised AAW ship it would have looked differently. There would have be no need for a hangar meaning a 8000 ton IEP ship could easily have accommodated a second VLS aft (and better arcs for QF 57mm or 76mm mounts, or SeaRAM like system. You could accommodate say 8 to 12 VLS ASROC to contribute to ASW screen; especially if the T26 comes with twin hangars. Imagine replaying that war again. Look at how much shipping and how many aircraft we lost . Set the cost of all that equipment against the cost of enough TLAM to close down say 3 to 5 airfields, or at least seriously hinder their operations. We fire TLAM in penny packets anyway. If our imaginary T45, even 6 of them, came with 50 TLAM we would only need say 150 missiles for the ships in commission about 2 or so F35b’s in cost . But if we did need them in numbers we would have the ability to move them. And in such a situation CVF would be there anyway. Of course I am not an accountant…….. :)

  182. Roderick V. Louis says

    Why don’t main stream news media and Parliamentry committees cover/report on this issue??:

    MOU between Sea Viper missile manufacturer, MBDA, and Lockheed to certify Sea Vipers and other MBDA missiles/weapons for use with Lockheed’s Mk 41 family of launchers**…

    Raytheon’s BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack cruise missile can only be fired from surface ships using the MK 41 launcher system…

    “MBDA, Lockheed Martin sign missile launcher tie-up”:

    BAE to Manufacture Mk41 VLS for US Navy:

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ddg-type-45-britains-shrinking-air-defense-fleet-04941/ :

    “Britain has been considering adding a set of Mk-41 cells to the Type 45 destroyer, in order to hold SM-3 ballistic missile defense missiles.

    “… giving the Type 45s two things they don’t currently have: (BGM-109 Tomahawks), snap-launch anti-submarine defenses (VL-ASROC), and a larger array of air defense missiles that offer excellent coverage against saturation attack… ”

    ** http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/us/products/naval-launchers-and-munitions.html

  183. Repulse says

    The reality is that the T45s should be the RN capital ships for the 21st century. The problem is that they are half finished; adding Harpoon (though it’s limited in it’s capability) on 4 is going someway towards moving in the right direction, but TLAM, BDM, CEC and an upgrade in sonar should in my view be a priority. We should move on from them being seen just as Air Defence vessels.

    TD proposed it a few years ago and I’m still swayed by the argument – we should have 12 (ish) top tier T45s over building a larger number of half-way house T26s. I have become less convinced that the world (or the RN) needs a bunch of jack of all trade expensive Frigates sailing around the world. Okay, ASW (based in the 2087 sonar) is still needed but why does the T23 (which was a “simple” and cheap design) need to be replaced by a ship almost twice it’s size and which is now being pitched as a half way T23 / T45 ship.

    The time for building more T45s may be gone, but the next first tier design we are looking at should be a T46…

    In my view the RN “war fighting” fleet should be based around 3 classes:

    – T45/T46 “Capital” ships – fully pimped
    – Light Patrol Frigates ~ Blackswan / Venator II types, capable of towing 2087, stealthy, modular bolt ons and with a bit more omph (25kts+)
    – Specialist MCM / Survey ships (forget the P in MHPC)

    I’d also like a replacement for the P2000s of course, but they are small change in comparison to the above :)

  184. x says

    I would say Sea Viper alone is enough reason to regard T45 as a capital ship HVU. Sea Viper is that good. And I suppose it obvious I would welcome their use as a platform other missiles for other uses; strike, BMD, and dare I even think about a heavy AShM? Perhaps that is how we should view T45 as the carrier of the RN’s large missiles, a sort of escort, heavy missile?

    I have high hopes for T26 with Sea Ceptor and TAS covering all the GP bases. And possibly as the route to building up escort hull numbers again. Sea Ceptor is a different beast to Sea Dart, but I see T26 only operating close to land under the cover of CVF (F35b and AEW) and a Daring. Away from coasts Sea Ceptor is a real jump over Sea Wolf so “we” will be better off.

    All looks good.

  185. Repulse says

    @x: re T45, agree.

    However, they should be an offensive weapon in their own right alongside the CVF, with a screen of cheaper escorts (patrol frigates) with TAS, CAMM and Wildcat; all joined up by CEC. T26 is overkill in my view.

  186. Repulse says

    Also, it seems that the RN focus is very likely to remain in the Med and Gulf regions, so to replace the Sabres & P2000s, I would like something like the Kilic class:


    Forget the Harpoon maybe and add LMM instead, but would add an additional layer of defence against swarm attacks etc, also a small landing pad for a small VTOL UAV.

  187. Challenger says


    The Kilic class look pretty impressive, I have long been thinking we should get in on the fast patrol boat game with something a bit larger and heavier armed than the current P2000 and Sabre mix.

    Perhaps have around 10 sparsely fitted with a single machine gun for UK patrol duties but a few more fitted with a 30mm mount and LMM that can be propositioned in Cyprus and the Gulf to provide close in protection for task-groups as well as coastal/port security.

    I mean it’s clearly not a priority, but I don’t think things like CB90 (will we ever get them?) can really fulfill coastal/river/port security ops on their own. With the current patrol boats getting long in the tooth and the presumable low cost of such a program I think it’s justifiable.

    Anyone know how long the current P2000s and Sabres will last?

  188. Observer says

    For the Singaporean navy, in light of operational experience in Iraq, there is currently a push for the next generation OPV/frigate to be a USV/RHIB operating “mothership”. Apparently, a multi-axis attack by suicide skiffs once got through because the guardship could not catch them all. It is anticipated that such attacks would become the favoured tactics of suicide insurgents, hence the focus on multiple sub-unit interceptors to simultaneously engage multiple threats on widely divergent bearings aiming to get past the guardship. In cases of a multiple threat, the ship would dump RHIBs/USVs and head to intercept one target while the sub-units would engage the others. Capacity isn’t finalised yet, but a pair of small boat slips is confirmed to be part of the design.

    It seems to be a solid concept of anticipating how an enemy would act and taking steps to counter it, so no complaints there. I just wished that they had not called it a “Littoral Mission Vessel”. I’m not the only person with my nose out of joint by the fad following naming scheme. Monkey see, monkey do isn’t exactly a compliment.

  189. Paul Padley says

    Concerning reloading VLS at sea and choice of Sylver versus Mk41, if I were the RN I would look to a requirement to standardise on preloaded LM eXLS canisters and for these to be insertable into the VLS of my choice.

  190. Think Defence says

    So the answer to the question is yes, but for many reasons other than lobbing TLAM

    Seems fair enough to me

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