How to Square the Circle for the Next Generation of Patrol Ship Designs

A paper called ‘How to Square the Circle for the Next Generation of Patrol Ship Designs’ from A Kimber, BEng, CEng, MRINA, BMT Defence Services Ltd, UK and B Thorne, BEng Hons C Eng, MIMechE, BMT Defence Services Ltd, UK.

Summary

BMT Defence Services developed the “Venator” concept in 2007 to investigate and illustrate the design of a platform which would deliver capability through the use of off-board systems and would allow a common class of platforms to  individually embark different mission equipment’s. Since the original concept BMT has continued to evolve the concept  and the underlying understanding of capability.

This paper presents aspects of this further work, including the use of capability mapping and characterisation methods to  better understand the required operational performance and a balanced affordable design. It explores the interrelationship between capability characteristics and the platform’s design parameters. It also examines design orientated  issues such as the integration of off-board vehicles into future minor warships, appropriate levels of survivability, and pragmatic levels of modularity that can be achieved in future designs.

The paper uses the most recent evolution of the Venator design to explore these themes, illustrating the aspirations for a future “Patrol Frigate” and the constraints faced by the naval architect in delivering practical and cost effective solutions.

A particular theme of the design development is the exploration of “flexibility” and what can be achieved within a  design and how such flexibility can be managed through the capability mapping and characterisation methods.

Click the image to read the PDF

RINA BMT Warships Paper 2013

H/T Simon 257

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IXION
September 1, 2013 5:10 pm

I like the discussion about hull size in particular.

I have long made the point that there is a difference between a ‘coastal patrol vessel which can be a few hundred tons and a true Ocean going offshore patrol vessel that needs to be Leander sized at least.

It is noticeable that the Irish navy although hamstrung by lack of cash would like larger OPV’s not because of some desire to strut the world but to better cope with the weather off the west coast.

x
x
September 1, 2013 8:01 pm

If money were no object I would replace the River’s with BAM’s.

And my current thinking for FI FP (Clyde) and perhaps for “law enforcement) in WI would be a brace of these,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikishima_(PLH_31)

http://www.os-dream.com/img/shikishima_02.jpg

Superb hull, adequate speed, great range, and good aviation facilities.

Quite like the colour too. :)

Repulse
September 1, 2013 8:03 pm

Read the article a few weeks ago, very much food for thought. Like the modular vs batch thinking.

Repulse
September 1, 2013 8:10 pm

Patrol Frigates should definitely be on the SDSR 2015 shopping list. If the MCHP programme is a way off then I vote for these over GP T26s. Give them good ISR capability, self defence weaponry, modular offensive weapons, hanger for a wildcat and decent speed / range… lovely :)

Overseas
Overseas
September 1, 2013 8:45 pm

Bachelors in Engineering (Hons), should know how to spell ‘capability’ consistently, especially when they get it wrong and then right within a sentence of one another.

Entertaining read, wonderful tables and all that, great fun. Total fantasy. More ships cut at 2015, runs on planned classes reduced. No new OPV class. Will run what we have into the ground and then just sack off having a surface fleet by 2030.

John Hartley
John Hartley
September 1, 2013 8:57 pm

I thought the minimum comfortable length for an ocean going patrol ship is around 110 m.

martin
Editor
September 2, 2013 2:06 am

I like the new Venator design. Much Better having a dedicated hanger for a helo rather than the roller thing they had before. SDSR 2015 is going to have to roll out some form of plan for MHPC otherwise we are likley to lose the entire capability (or yet another holiday)

F**k knows where they will get the £1.8 billion from. ANyone know hoe long the current vessels could realistically stay in service.

martin
Editor
September 2, 2013 2:09 am

Maybe our answer is to stop junking ship’s at 25 or 30 years. Everyone else the USN included seems to have vessels in service much longer than we do. If an SSN can stay in service for 40+ years then surely an MCM or frigate can.

Kernowboy
Kernowboy
September 2, 2013 7:08 am

Is it me or does it not look a little similar to the Khareef class corvette ordered by Oman?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
September 2, 2013 8:18 am

– Somebody more expert than me will no doubt confirm, but I seem to recall it is a G/P flexible design based on that, or on which that was based (not sure which came first)…

Hows the surf down there?

GNB

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
September 2, 2013 8:23 am

Perhaps at least part of the reason for scraping ships as early as we do is the fact that we now have such a small fleet but retain the requirement to keep a warship building industry. However, there are some jolly clever chaps on this board who know all about dimensions and stresses and the like and I am sure one of them will be along soon to give us a scientific answer to your question.

P.S. Have any SsN s stayed in service for 40 years? I can’t think of one. Some of the Soviet stuff is pretty old but it is getting massive refits before being returned to sea after spending a couple of decades tied up alongside.

Lindermyer
Lindermyer
September 2, 2013 8:36 am

I assume that the requirement to keep a ship building industry is part of it On which note why don’t we have a 18 month say drumbeat on warship deliveries. But area of operations is a big one too, haven’t the T23s lasted about 10 years longer because the soviets went away and they weren’t constantly bobbing around the North Atlantic with a TAS.

Its also probably easier to to introduce a new type every 20 – 30 years than completely rebuild / refit with the latest technologies.

regards

Rocket Banana
September 2, 2013 8:46 am

I guess we just don’t build in enough margin for growth. What is the going margin? 10%?

We therefore need to build bigger ships in the first place :-)

Challenger
Challenger
September 2, 2013 11:38 am

I wish we would stop trying to reinvent the wheel with major warship design. Id like to see the UK adopt a similar approach with the T26 to what the Americans have been doing with the Arleigh Burkes, produce one general- purpose. high-end combat ship with newer evolved batches replacing the older ones on a steady drumbeat, cutting out the stops and starts of complex redesign, main gate approval, setting up a new production line and so on.

I remember reading how their were some voices in the late 90s and early 00s calling for the T23 to continue in production after boat 16 to replace the remaining T22’s (and maybe eventually the earlier T23’s themselves) due to how quickly and cheaply they were being stamped out.

Lindermyer
Lindermyer
September 2, 2013 11:47 am

@challenger

Mostly agree with you there although to retain skills and innovation my thoughts are say years 1-12 ASW Hulls
Years 16 -20 AAW Hulls years 20 -25 GP Hulls. Year 25/ 27 (depending on Hull life Introduce new class restart ball rolling.
The pause in the middle is where the UK builds Amphibs/ carriers etc and is used to produce the detailed design for the AAD variant.
Along with a Drumbeat Submarine and MCM/patrol fleet
*RFAs and Oddball (Scott / Endurance) as and when, If we could arrange a drumbeat of RFA in UK ports even better.

Regards

Observer
Observer
September 2, 2013 12:37 pm

Well, to be fair CR, the US did go off the rails temporarily with the LCS and Zumwalts until the resultant mess and jaw dropping price tag shocked them out of their dream, so the Burkes were not really first choice, more like “most survivable choice” in a cost vs effect sense. Translation: It’s one that they can most afford and is least likely to end up as a white elephant.

IXION
September 2, 2013 3:26 pm

Observer

‘Translation: It’s one that they can most afford and is least likely to end up as a white elephant.’

Should be stamped on the forehead of every decision maker on every procurement project..

El Sid
El Sid
September 2, 2013 4:41 pm

@IXION/John Hartley
A past Venator paper discusses the size thing in some detail :
http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/1057650/BMTDSL-Venator-Conpaper-INEC-Apr08.pdf

110m is nice but a lot of the rules on eg stability standards change at 90m-ish which can lead to a step-change in cost, so that’s why a lot of minor warships end up around 90m at the waterline.

Another Venator paper talks a bit about modularity etc :
http://media.bmt.org/bmt_media/resources/33/Howtechnologyisleadingtoanewvesseltype.pdf

@Challenger
Id like to see the UK adopt a similar approach with the T26 to what the Americans have been doing with the Arleigh Burkes
We’re getting there – not least because now we’re effectively down to a single shipyard making escort vessels surface combatants which concentrates minds wrt industrial strategy, plus the Astute thing reminded people of the importance of drumbeat. The T26 is intended to be much more flexible in that regard, along the lines of MEKO and FREMM/FREDA – but move to a VLS and associated combat system is so disruptive that the T45 was always going to have to be a Dreadnought-style clean sheet design rather than a spiral.

The Burke thing is not without problems – you need to buy a decent number to keep a shipyard busy and you can get so excited about churning out ships cheaply that a certain inertia sets in, you’re reluctant to spend the money in developing a new design even when it’s long overdue. While the potential of the Mk41 is huge, the ships are built to a Cold War design that is showing its age, most notably in terms of spare power/cooling for the next generation of radars but also things like RCS, room for embarked troops etc. Ideally they would be building their equivalent of a T45 by now, but it feels so much more comfortable to build a Flight III Burke even if it’s going to be compromised and still cost about as much as something based on the Zumwalt or San Antonio hulls.

x
x
September 2, 2013 5:36 pm

I see this thread has already been blighted by the GP curse……………..>shudder<

Speed would be a better deciding metric than displacement, as manoeuvre is the fundamental weapon of naval warfare.

An OPV needs to do just over 20kts say 22kts. on occasion if more speed is needed use a helicopter to fill some of the gap.

A frigate needs to do in excess of 25kts say 28kts and a little more, it is a fleet asset. That is where the now defunct FF came from, frigate fleet, as opposed to FE, for frigate escort.

The other differentiator should be equipment levels. A second rate frigate needs second rate capabilities for air, surface, and subsurface combat. By second rate I mean point weapons not area weapons. So a second rate frigate would have a PDMS, a gun (perhaps AShM as they are cheap), and a hull mounted search sonar with either a helicopter or say ASROC; plus appropriate sensors but not perhaps (sophisticated) EW. An OPV needs only the gun.

I would say any "patrol" ship over a thousand tons is an OPV. A modern frigate would be to me anything over 3000t. Therefore a navy could own a class of 3,500t frigates and a class of 5000t OPV. But the former would still have the greater utility.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 2, 2013 5:50 pm

Surely OPV’s should be designed for the task of patrolling as in the River-Class it is designed to operate in a set area ie within a few hundred miles of it’s base, yes they can go much further if needed, but they are slower than a Frigate. If we want to use them for some of the RN commitments we need to forward deploy them like the Clyde, wouldn’t it be nice to have one in Gibraltar, also stick one off the Somali coast and keep it resupplyed by meeting up with a RFA in a friendly port when it needs to, or just buy locally. This would free up more expensive assets. and they can also be operated at a much higher efficiency as they don’t have all the hardware to maintain, supposedly a River-class spends at least 275 days a year at sea (according to the RN’s website).

Rocket Banana
September 2, 2013 8:38 pm

Challenger,

Id like to see the UK adopt a similar approach with the T26 to what the Americans have been doing with the Arleigh Burkes

Couldn’t agree more. The T26 hull design concept should ultimately replace the T45s as well. Morph the design for current requirements continually.

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 3, 2013 12:27 am

I think the OPV / small patrol type is something we cannot afford at the moment. My pennies would be spent on

1. Ensuring all the T26s are produced.
2. Ensuring that the MARS SSS is a decent utility design. I’d go large and fit for but not with. It would end up being a cross between a San Antonio and the proposed designs available of the MARS SSS JSBL ships.
3. CEC or equivalent
4. Fully kit the GP T26s

I don’t have a problem sending expensive frigates to patrol for pirates, as long as they aren’t continually stationed / tied up doing ‘the beat’.

The MARS SSS would help with longer term deployments like the gulf.

x
x
September 3, 2013 6:41 am

I see no point fitting a dock to ship that does not need one. It robs volume, adds complications, and therefore adds costs and reduces value.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 3, 2013 7:44 am

Isn’t MARS (Tide-Class) just meant to be a Replenishment vessel, nothing fancy a commercial vessel to support the QEC, they cost just over 100m and will do the job needed of them. As soon as you start saying lets add all this equipment suddenly they will skyrocket in price and will have to be built in the UK (another price increase). Yes they will be extremely vulnerable in a warzone, but they are meant to be defended by the fleet, and if you start give them Amphib capabilities they will start to be utilised for that and so won’t be available to do their job which is support the fleet, not the operation the fleet is carrying out.

Out of interest San Antonio CLass vessels cost 1.6bn each.

x
x
September 3, 2013 8:02 am

@ Engineer Tom

I think there was an artist’s impression shall we that showed a future of RFA that could do everything from replace the Bays to service CVF to replace the SA80 and even Typhoon. Ship’s have high utility, but that doesn’t mean multi-purpose. As I said manoeuvre is the fundamental weapon of naval warfare and it is from that capability (to move a long way as a self contained system) the ship’s utility is born. Bigger ships are more economical. Using a Fort as an ASW platform (base for ASW helicopters) is one thing, that is utility. A tanker/ solid stores ship with a dock would be an example of a multipurpose vessel and would probably be a failure.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 3, 2013 8:46 am

@ x

I agree that multipurpose is an area that people like to think is where we will save money/be most efficient, and using Fort Austin for ASW makes sense as it isn’t a tanker, it carries supplies, and I can see the future being to areas within the RFA support and replenishment. Support would be things like the Fort Austin or the Bay Class etc (yes I know Amphib is currently RN), they would carry out transport of equipment, Amphib ops, and could be utilised as a patrol vessel, ASW or MCM base ship and many other uses. Replenishment on the other hand should be specialised vessels like the tide class built purely to carry the fuel and supplies to the fleets or deployed vessels acting as the supply chain.

Challenger
Challenger
September 3, 2013 9:42 am

@El Sid & Simon

Obviously we can’t hope to match the scale and ambition of the Arleigh Burkes with the T26, and I’m aware even the USN has been essentially forced into sticking with a safe design after all of the problems with the Zumwalt’s and LCS’s. However I certainly think we need to keep going down the route of ending up with 1 basic hull for our high-end combat ships which can then be evolved and produced in different variants. Perhaps not for 40-50 years in the way the Americans are, but for the replacement of the T45s at least. Having less than 20 ships in service makes the idea of 2 completely different classes rather ridiculous.

@Opinion3

Yep, T26 and MARS SSS are the clear priorities before we even think about cheaper/smaller patrol ships. The one exception id consider making would be to buy 2 patrol ships in a HTMS Krabi ‘evolved River’ configuration to work as a pair around the Falklands which would be a relatively cheap way of relieving the need for a high-end escort on constant patrol and allow HMS Clyde to beef up the Fisheries Squadron or be put on another tasking.

@Engineer & X

I like the idea of MARS SSS having additional features so long as they don’t cost the earth or encroach too far onto the ships primary role.

So I’m fine with a large flight-deck and decent sized hangar, a stern ramp and davits for small boats could be pretty useful in offloading stuff as well as personnel, medical facilities spread across the class could perhaps indirectly replace Argus as well if we can’t afford to properly replace her. However I agree with X that a well-dock is a step too far. We need a stores ship with some additional features to make them more useful, we don’t need a weird replenishment/amphibian hybrid!

Observer
Observer
September 3, 2013 12:48 pm

On the other hand, an LCU or two is very, very useful in transferring stores and personnel between ships, especially 2 ships with well docks, or even shore to ship or ship to shore, so even if someone came up with a stores ship+ well dock, I can’t say it’s totally a wrong concept either. My navy doesn’t have dedicated stores ships so we ended up using the amphibs for dry stores transfer and used them as low intensity anti-piracy patrol too. Endurance (no pun intended) is pretty good as the amount of stores that it can carry allows it to stay away from home for a long time. Which isn’t really a surprise considering that it is essentially a cargo ship, just temporarily not carrying 2 legged cargo.

One of the interesting takeaway lessons from the Aden Gulf piracy patrol was that the value of the LCU as a shuttle vessel was way out of proportion to the value of the craft itself. Maybe it was the composition of the CTF with few ships having small craft capability, but there were a lot of requests for usage of the LCU, so if you can swing it, it might be worth a well dock. Deploying Protector USVs from the back can’t hurt too.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 3, 2013 1:57 pm

@ Challenger & Observer

I see the point of utilising some of the stores ships for other duties but, I don’t see that Tide-Class falls into that category. It is a tanker designed to operate with the QEC’s and Amphib’s as part of a fleet, or act as a logistics chain back to the nearest supply base. They are replacing the Leaf and Rover class which similarly used purely for supply, any attempt to give it other duties or make it so it can operate independently of the fleet means that its job as a supply vessel is hindered. I would see an ability to carry a Merlin, in a hangar and land a Chinook for, VERTREP as a must and also a pair of RHIB’s, these two capabilities gives it an ability to Board vessels or act in a SAR role. To aid in a humanitarian response they can carry containerised facilities to be used shore side whilst it returns to get more supplies. Otherwise any more built in capabilities will just go underutilised or will cause the ship to be diverted from its main purpose.

Observer
Observer
September 3, 2013 2:07 pm

Ug… tanker ship. No way that can be used for other duties without making a mess. You’re right. Dry stores ship, yes. Liquids? No, no way in hell. Those ships are a mess of piping. I’m not even sure it is worth putting a helo on board. Does RAS use helos to carry the hose over? Not sure, but I doubt it. Think it was a boom and hose system. So even a helo is limited use in the ship’s main role and the hanger will take up valuable space and personnel.

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 3, 2013 3:24 pm

@X & @ET

MARS SSS Military Afloat & Reach Sustainability Solids Support Ship. The program consists of several different ships, of which only the MARS FT (Fleet Tanker) Tide Class has progressed beyond drawing stage.

A solids support ship, a sea-basing ship and hospital ship have all been part of the proposals at various times. The current SSS version I refer to combines the sea-basing JSBL and SSS proposals into one design, and it is this which causes apprehension as there is logic in the argument that it might be a bit like a swiss army knife, jack of all trades and master of none.

Size gives volume, volume gives flexibility and these ships are required for replacements anyway. The real question is the concept of sea basing a valid one and is a wet dock over kill?

I think a wet dock provides extra flexibility over and above a RORO or Steel beach design. Being restricted to certain methods is not good.

Access to port facilities is unlikely for forced entry. The point of the design is that it not only supports the fleet but the land and air operations too. Without means to reach land, and land air assets it can’t properly do this.

As for the expense of the San Antonio. The Americans do tend to spend a lot on their ships. They come kitted with too. But look at it this way, for the price of a Daring class destroyer they have a newly designed and built boat fitted with Mk41, stealth features and a full electronic self defense suite plus C4I. It is four times the size and vastly more flexible. It will never be a destroyer, but capable of firing off tomahawks, remote mine hunting, resupply of the fleet, maintaining Chinooks and other air assets, maintaining land assets, maintaining small sea assets, it can resupply via beach, port, air and at sea.

Guarantee of resupply and throughput are important, ensuring assets are in working order is crucial, but things go wrong, assets get damaged so having facilities to repair and maintain your equipment is important, that is one of the extra facilities this MARS SSS design offers.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 3, 2013 4:12 pm

Maybe this could be looked at from a different angle, when we come to replace our amphib forces in 20 years time we should look at what capabilities we could give them regards; resupplying other vessels, I somehow don’t see that the government will in anyway, before we have to replace the Albion’s and Bay’s, look to expand the RN’s amphib capability except maybe to replace Ocean but surely they will use QEC to take up some of that work. It is a good idea in the future to utilise stores ships to bolster amphib capabilities but unless they get lucky and the cyclic nature of RN procurement means they are replacing the amphib and stores vessels in the same timeframe they won’t want to mix the capabilities.

Regards Helo’s on the Tide Class, they have the ability to carry limited dry stores, including containers, I presume this capability will be used mostly for food etc.
‘Replenishment will be provided from three abeam Replenishment at sea (RAS) stations for diesel oil, aviation fuel and fresh water. The vessels will have a flight deck and will provide a vertical replenishment at sea capability.’

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 3, 2013 4:34 pm

@ET

The Tide class is a good design at a good price. The RR RAS beam is new and very useful too. We are getting as many as we could reasonably expect given the diminished fleet size. These are called MARS FT.

There is still a need to replace the solids ships. Indeed the PAC report just published was critical of the carrier programme not covering all bases

“4. The component elements of the programme will be delivered piecemeal, reducing the benefits from the sums invested. There is a two year gap between the planned delivery and initial operation of the first carrier and aircraft in 2020, and the early warning radar system Crowsnest in 2022, which is essential to protecting the carrier and its crew. In addition, some support shipping will be 30 years old when the carrier comes into service but the Department does not yet have funding to replace them.

Recommendation: The Department needs to align the delivery of the various component projects of Carrier Strike to make the most effective use of its significant investment. It must provide decision makers with the necessary information to prioritise and allocate appropriate funding for the programme and the support shipping to operate the carriers, as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.”

The question is – is sea basing and extra amphibious & hangar/flight deck capability something worth acquiring.

I say yes, and with a higher priority than extra patrol boats.

By their nature the ships will be big, volumous and empty. The Bay class doesn’t have hangaring, nor can it remain at sea for sea basing without resupply. The JBSL is designed to support the repair of armoured vehicles etc., a helicopter cannot, nor should it try, be the means of transport of inoperable heavy equipment in need of repair.

When we used the landrover things were easier, do we need to consider again how we do things. Yes.

x
x
September 3, 2013 4:43 pm

All I see when I see a dock is lots of steel, pumps, pipework, extra load for prime movers, extra cables, an increase in surface area to be painted; additional structural concerns etc, etc, and so on.

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 3, 2013 5:42 pm

@x

What a more welcoming feeling than stuck in a boat wondering how to board the mothership! :-)

x
x
September 3, 2013 6:11 pm

@ Opinion 3

:)

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 3, 2013 6:32 pm

@ Opinion3

Could we be utilising the second Albion Class better?

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 3, 2013 8:57 pm

@ET

We could but the reality is that there is a need to replace the solids replenishment fleet. Whilst there is no budget at least it is on the white board and has funding for development, design etc.

Argus and Ocean will need to be replaced, whilst this is not due until the 2020s it isn’t actually that far away. Both the Albion class and the three Bay class ships are pretty good and have plenty of life left in them yet. Argus provides a large platform for training, and hospital facilities. Ocean has hangar, mexeflots and obviously a deck for whirrly birds.

IMHO I don’t think there is a chance of Ocean being replaced with a LHD or LPH, but could the MARS SSS replace the functionality of both Ocean and Argus ……. I think that is the thinking.

I really don’t think the CVFs are that multi-functional. Sure they are massive, and very capable but they are so expensive and can’t be in more than one place. Having a separate, closer helicopter asset – an Ocean replacement – is important.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 5, 2013 3:22 am

TD, a good find the H of Commons report of the 3rd of Sept… you did not take long finding it (2nd of Sept!).

NAO has, over the years, upheld the Carrier contract as a ‘model’ piece. This (from the summary) strikes quite a different note:
“The current carriers’ contract is not fit for purpose as it fails to provide industry with any real incentive to control costs. The Department has not been able to transfer delivery risks to contractors and has struggled to manage its relationship with UK industry.

Recommendation: The Department must establish clear cost and time baselines for the completion of the carriers, which the Department must use to monitor progress.

7. Despite having some 400 staff working on Carrier Strike there is a risk the Department is not managing the programme effectively. Although the Department employs some 400 people on this programme, it may not have the right procurement skills to manage the risks in delivering Carrier Strike effectively. We recognise there have been cuts to this function, but question whether the team is now the right size or if further significant reductions are possible. We are concerned that the Department’s staff are wasting their time with bureaucracy and duplicated effort in having to make detailed checks on the operations of contractors, raising a question as to the quality of the contracting process.”

The blame is put firmly on the Dept (that’s where the Committee’s scrutiny is mandated), but what about the industry? Did Gordon not write an open cheque and we are now being ripped off?
– someone in the know?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 5, 2013 3:34 am

As per x “I think there was an artist’s impression shall we that showed a future of RFA that could do everything from replace the Bays to service CVF to replace the SA80 and even Typhoon” the Canadians, too, kept churning these out for many years… and in the final competition (has it been decided yet?) there were only conventional designs, including the German Berlin Class, in the running.