A game of I SPY(D)in Barcelona

Just a nice view

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No I haven’t lost my senses the above picture was taken by myself last weekend whilst in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Whilst it has no images of military equipment or more importantly to our esteemed site Master & Commander “Think Defence” some shipping containers it is of relevance to this article. For the curious it was taken half way up the Sagrada Familia “Gaudi’s” seminal masterpiece and proof that some projects can be even slower then the FRES program with a ground breaking in 1882 and a projected completion date of 2026-ish.

Anyhow modernist architecture aside this next picture should give you a better idea of what I want to talk about.

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What we have is two F100 Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates sitting in Barcelona harbour, on the first evening of my trip to Barcelona I was walking down to the harbour with an old friend when we happened upon the above sight. Rather excited I dragged my long suffering friend around to where they were docked and on closer investigation found that they were the first of class Álvaro de Bazán and third of class Blas de Lezo. I also found out that they were going to be open the next evening for the public to tour. My friend had no choice we were going to be returning the next day with me justifying it with the words “it will make a good article on Think Defence”.

Made in Europe
Before I go into depth about the actual tour and the photos taken I think it is worth having a bit of a think about the state of European military ship building in the last few decades. Looking back in the 1950’s and 60’s the UK was still very strong when it came to warship exports in particular the excellent Type 12 Leander finding itself in many a foreign fleet. By the time we reached the 1970’s the decline in UK ship building had set in and the Germans with their MEKO concept  really reaped the rewards often ironically replacing worn out British vessels. In many ways the Germans have dominated European warship exports through to the late 90’s with an honourable mention to the French who have made a few interesting (Saudi Arabia) and in some cases controversial (Taiwan) deals.

For the last decade the market has again started to shift, within Europe Navantia the major Spanish ship builder has come on leaps and bounds managing to capture some contracts from serious customers. A combination of improved quality and significantly lower prices has opened up some new and unexpected markets. If you had told me in the 1990’s that Norway would be buying a Spanish ship in the future I would probably of laughed. Nevertheless Norway now operates five Álvaro de Bazán derived SPY(F) AEGIS equipped frigates…

There has been plenty of talk about how to restore major warship exports from the UK and many do see the Type-26 myself included as a hopeful step in that direction. With the recent visit of HMS Daring to Australia it should be noted that Australia is a key target market for the Type-26 and there has already been some tentative work to entice the Australians into joining the program. For me the major thorn in that idea is Australia’s increasing relationship with Spanish ship building. There are currently two major ship procurements for Australia that are both being serviced by Navantia of Spain:

  • Project JP 2048
  • SEA 4000

The former being a variant of the Juan Carlos class LHD the latter a derivative of the Álvaro de Bazán class. In many ways  the decision making process that led to the decision to buy a derivative of the  Álvaro de Bazán shows up the problems facing the UK competing in this market.

Not as capable but good enough

It is interesting to note that a variant of the Type-45 was put forward for SEA 4000, alas it didn’t really have a chance. The RAN wanted AEGIS, the Standard missile system, a ship closely configured to US specifications and affordability. Trying to adapt the baseline Type-45 design to those requirements was going to be a tall order and nobody was particularly surprised when the offer was rejected. What is more interesting is the decision to buy a Álvaro de Bazán derivative. Aside from the Blohm + Voss offering there were effectively two realistic choices for SEA 4000:

Whilst the Gibbs & Cox evolved Arleigh Burke was classed as superior in all respects the contract was awarded to Navantia in 2007. In the end the Álvaro de Bazán was lower risk and significantly cheaper, in other words it was good enough for their needs.

I have seen this comment crop up recently about the Álvaro de Bazán class and Navantia:

“Navantia has got very good at building American ships”

With their significant US system fit, affordability and improved quality the latest Spanish offerings are very attractive. The Álvaro de Bazán class is the first Spanish warship to include ballistic resistant hull material and has anti vibration mountings for the propulsion and major systems. They also include the AEGIS combat management system and AN/SPY-1(D) radar. The propulsion and weapon systems are also entirely American of origin, you are effectively buying a US ship but from a European yard.

The Tour

To get back to my little trip, we returned to the harbour on Saturday evening and after queuing for about an hour we were walking towards these two Spanish warships camera in hand ready to learn about their secrets.

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The first thing I noted aside from the rather handsome sleek lines was the large number of small eyelets and small boxes dotted all over the hull side. If you expand the bottom image you can just make them out, the boxes were randomly dotted about and about the size of a small tub of margarine. I doubt they help the stealthy aspects of the vessel but neither of us could divine their purpose.

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The side on views here give a good look at the AN/SPY-1(D), SPG-62 illuminator and the Harpoon quad launcher.

The truck had just arrived to drain out something smelly.

AEGIS1

In the bottom picture a rather butch lady sailor with a cap tally for the Álvaro de Bazán awaits to help the public board the ramp onto the Blas De Lezo (NO SNIGGERING AT THE BACK). We were slightly delayed boarding as a VIP in civilian clothes had just arrived with much saluting all around whilst he was piped aboard.

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A rather nice view of the Seahawk Bravo more of which later, the group on the right were some Marine Commandos demonstrating some rather nice equipment. The picture also nicely shows the deck handling rails for the helicopter.

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Looking forward from the helicopter deck you get a good view of the hanger and the various antennas and systems employed by this class. In comparison to the Type-45 it is certainly cluttered and the need for the illuminator to guide the SM-2MR is a throw back in many ways.

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I did wonder if the modernist influence of Gaudi played a part in the design of the ships bell.

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Now on the Álvaro de Bazán for the interior tour another couple of nice shots of the Seahawk Bravo before we step inside.

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The person greyed out to the left is my best friend trying not to look embarrassed as I start taking pictures of pipes and small boxes,

AEGIS3

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Some nice pipes, what did interest me was labels aside it really did feel like a ship that has come out of a US yard. I have had the chance to walk about a few US Perry class and at least one Arleigh Burke, the Álvaro de Bazán felt very similar. Considering Spain licence built the Perry class and the Príncipe de Asturias was based on a US design the American influence is strong. Build quality also appeared  to be good with equipment mounted on sound deadening rafts (albeit she felt well lived in if that makes sense). Of special note in this picture is the kegs of liquid refreshment and the scooter (obviously the captains personal transport).

Anybody understand Spanish?

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What secrets are behind this door? Locked close, a security keypad and some rather clear signs stating that unauthorised are not welcome. Considering its location under the bridge my guess it has something to do with the AEGIS systems and is more then likely the Combat Management Centre.

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The surprisingly cramped bridge, I must admit I was rather nervous taking pictures in here not wishing to have my camera confiscated.

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Some nice pictures of the modern bridge displays, you can see the combined LM2500/Caterpillar 3600 propulsion displayed on the screen. The operating system appeared to be Windows derived and the crewman didn’t stop me so far so good.

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Bridge console mounted on sound deadening raft, curiously the crewman did pass comment when he saw me crouched down taking this picture.  Not understanding Spanish beyond knowing how to say “Hello”, “Thankyou” and “Can I have the bill” I rather weekly replied “English” which appeared to placate him.

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Erm well it’s a ladder

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Stepping outside the bridge we get some nice shots of both vessels, can anybody ID the canon?

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The foredeck with the MK41VLS and the MK45 MOD2 visible.

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Various nautical stuff old and new.

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The Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D 3-D multifunction radar arguably one of the most important components fitted to the ship.

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A really good view of the Blas De Lezo (I told you no sniggering) and one of her two Harpoon quad launchers, also of note is the crane for lifting the embarked ribs.

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The spacious mid deck with a Harpoon launcher.

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Nuff said!

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More secrets.

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On the foredeck we get a good view of both vessels and the MK41VLS, the F100 class has 48 cells which can presumably be quad packed. Considering that this VLS is in consideration for the Type-26 it was interesting to see it up close. I am not entirely sure what the radar director sitting directly sitting on the roof of the bridge is, my guess it is for the main gun but I could be wrong (answers on a postcard please).

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The 5″ MK45 MOD2 installed on this class, according to the data plates in the last picture this turret has been overhauled by IZAR at some point. The Australian Hobart class will be fitted with the Mark 45 MOD4 and it is also proposed for the Type-26.

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The rather tired looking Seahawk Bravo, here we have the ALQ-142 ESM system and optional nose-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) turret.

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I would love to know the story behind that nose art!

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The Seahawk Bravo does not have a dipping sonar unlike the Foxtrot and Romeo models so the main sub hunting sensors are the towed MAD and APS-124 search radar. Spain has actually procured some surplus Seahawk Foxtrot with the dip but the venerable SH3 is still the primary type used in that role with the Spanish navy.

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One of the Seahawk flight crew spins a yarn, had a good chat with him about how they prosecute a submerged target using a combination of his limited English, my limited Spanish and a whole load of arm waving.

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A picture of your intrepid author discovering that it isn’t that easy to climb into the cockpit of an SH-60 Seahawk.

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My feet and the steam driven cockpit dials of the Seahawk Bravo, just for comparison and to show how much things have changed the picture below is of a Seahawk Romeo cockpit.

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Well that’s it folks, I hope you all found this interesting. The chance to have a close look at what is a significant warship type with strong export potential was not to be passed up!

The question is will the UK be able to claw back some of this market or are we destined to be a systems provider leaving steel bashing to other countries with cheaper labour costs?

To finish a picture from earlier in the day outside the Sagrada Familia, a flock of Nuns

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(Editorial note: I have intentionally blanked out the faces of people in this article but left the sailors and nuns as is. The sailors were happy with photos whilst Nuns are not real people – according to Father Dougal)

85 Comments
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Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
October 22, 2013 9:01 am

What a fine morning-offering !
Great topic.
Great report.
All on indeed a substantial design- and construction-effort… (“No, not the ‘habits’…”)

Thank you.

Andrew J Boulton
Andrew J Boulton
October 22, 2013 9:19 am

Informative, amusing, and well written. What more could a reader ask for! Thank you.

dave haine
dave haine
October 22, 2013 10:05 am

V. Interesting. thanks, Fedaykin.

I would like to think we get back some of the business we had with the Leander, but I don’t think we will with the T26- not saying it’s a bad design or vessel, it’s just pretty high level for a lot of cash-strapped navies.

If we come up with something like T26-lite, just a basic hull and superstructure and open systems architecture with a range of machinery/ propulsion options, and a range of sensor/ weapons options i think we will have a chance. Maximum customisability means wider customer base so If it’s a properly modular-design, there’s an attraction there. We could offer a range of packages from bare-ship to turnkey. Make it easy for customers to buy, and they’ll buy.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
October 22, 2013 11:09 am

It is just they way we word it in the media and pitch it to other countries, for our media we will go on about how it is such a complex and advanced vessel and how we need these really expensive systems to make it work, then when we try and tell other countries to buy it and add whatever they want in the way of systems there will be confusion. We need to proceed with it as a flexible design and explain properly to both sides that it is a good cheapish basic vessel and that the systems are changeable to suit the custoomers needs, but that the UK needs the high end stuff.

I don’t think this makes much sense, but I am trying to say we need to look carefully at the image we portray of the vessel’s design.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
October 22, 2013 11:14 am

Excellent report, thanks

I also think T26 will suffer, if you think the following nations bought British ships post 1945 like Leander, Type 42, Daring, Alvand, Niteroi etc. India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Holland (bought Leander design), Iran, Brazil, Oman & Malaysia

I do not see any of them now as obvious markets for British ships or designs especially as many have now partnered with other nations ship builders (Australia), have there own design capability (India) or have political issues (Iran, Venezuela). I think it is interesting that we have not exported any large British destroyers or frigate designs since the early 1970’s when we built ships for Brazil, Iran and Argentina.

Since then we have only built a handful of smaller ships like the Omani Khareef & Malay Lekiu class. Oman has very strong links to Britain and will probably continue to buy British but Malaysia has more recently also bought German MEKO’s.

Personally I think the German MEKO designs, Spanish designs, new competitors like China and Korea and the new French/Italian FREMM ships have a better export future. Like the USN the RN has gone for such large specialised ships we tend to struggle to offer something more mid-market or with different capabilities. I think the Type 26 will fall into the same hole. I think we also need to build some mid-level ships like a Singapore Formidable class in order to rebuild fleet numbers and offer a design that is attractive overseas. Type 45 was expensive in part because we now build so few ships that we no longer get economies of scale.

The one positive note is that many nations are still keen to buy Royal Navy ships second hand like Chile, Romania & Brazil. It helps to generate business for British companies like Rolls Royce and BAE in support and maintenance.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 22, 2013 11:25 am

Great article.

One advantage we may have with Australia and T26 is that the US is not replacing their OHPs with another Frigate design. Spain are putting their Santa Marias through a mid life upgrade. So if Navantia wanted the contract they would have to come up with a new design.

DJF
DJF
October 22, 2013 12:13 pm

The picture labeled as ships bell is actually a picture of the ships gong, the ships bell would be up on the focsle. The pictures showing the focsle and the forward bulkhead of the superstructure has a bell but it has its canvas cover on. The gong looks very similar to what is on US ships.

Vessels over 100 meters are required to have a bell and a gong for signaling in low visibility

Challenger
Challenger
October 22, 2013 1:06 pm

Brazil were reportedly looking to buy around 6 T26 as part of a wider package including derivatives of the Wave class tankers and River class patrol ships. I’m guessing as well if Australia and NZ go in for it then that will be another 8+ units. I’ll admit that apart from those it’s hard to imagine many more buyers for the T26 except for penny packet orders from slightly more left-field customers but who still have strong ties to the UK like Malaysia or Oman.

Successful marketing will depend on convincing interested parties in the modular flexibility of systems that they can install and the range of specifications on offer.

One of the big difference between the 1950s and 1960s and today is that most customers (Brazil and Australia in particular) will want to build the T26 under licence instead of buying the finished product from a UK shipyard, surely that will effect how lucrative the project will be for British industry?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
October 22, 2013 1:16 pm

@ Challenger

Depends if they want to buy the kit from us ie GT’s etc, or buy local, and the UK will in a way benefit as the most likely company to build them in Aus is BAE(their design in a way) who send their profit back to the UK.

El Sid
El Sid
October 22, 2013 2:50 pm

I wouldn’t have quite such a rosy view of Spanish shipbuilding. For one thing it’s been artificially sustained by government subsidies through the Noughties that Brussels has been cracking down on – the original privatisation of the civvy yards was prompted by one investigation into €1.2bn of subsidies, and now they’re going after another €3bn paid via a classic complicated Noughties financial structure to the entities that sold civvy ships, which cut the sticker price by 30% but which could end up bankrupting most of their civvy yards.

Navantia have their own problems – they didn’t win any new contracts between 2008-11 so the work is running out and they’re losing around €100m/year, to quote from the government official overseeing them : “Navantia is entering an alarming deterioration in its results,” he said. “And these continuing and recurring losses will make it necessary this year for Navantia to look for external financing, because with its resources it cannot maintain its activity.

And they struggle to deliver – just about every major deal they’ve done with a third party has ended in acrimony. The Norwegians complained about poor QC and rust on the Nansens – it’s notable that they went elsewhere for the supply vessel to support the Nansens.

The S-80 design was nicked from the French, adapted by the Spanish so it couldn’t float, and they’re still reliant on subcontracting the tricky bits to Barrow. The not-floating thing means it’s going to be hopelessly late and over-budget, it’s a Nimrod-scale cockup.

The Hobarts seem to have echoes of Swan Hunter designing the Bay class – relations with the Aussies almost broke down completely at one stage with them complaining that they’d been sent blueprints that were a load of rubbish, and blamed Navantia for one of the keel blocks ending up the wrong size. Admittedly some of those Aussies worked for BAE so one suspects not all the blame lies at Navantia’s door, but the problems do seem to go beyond just that one keel block.

So they seem to be falling between two stools, they don’t have a sufficiently strong technical team to deliver projects reliably, but whilst they’re in the Eurozone and subject to EU rules on state subsidies, their costbase is too high to compete with Korea or Poland. And they can’t look to their bankrupt government to bail them out with new contracts. Europe has too many shipyards, and Navantia doesn’t seem to be “special” enough to be one of those that survive – increasingly you’re going to see more of the Danish model of getting the basic hull built elsewhere and with only the high-value integration work happening domestically.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 22, 2013 4:03 pm

With our economy showing (limited) signs of recovery, and an urgent need to rebuild high-end manufacturing, a sensible Government would encourage BAE to bid for Navantia…do the less technical aspects of the build in Spain, do the high-value fit out in the UK…

Won’t happen of course

GNB

x
x
October 22, 2013 4:14 pm

Super stuff. Thank you.

WiseApe
October 22, 2013 5:04 pm

” We were slightly delayed boarding as a VIP in civilian clothes had just arrived with much saluting all around whilst he was piped aboard.” – I’m sure if X had known it was you waiting in the queue… ;-)

I wonder where the nuns parked their bus.

Chris
Chris
October 22, 2013 5:25 pm

WiseApe – ref bus – maybe it just moved in a mysterious way? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7CpkzJU9kA

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 22, 2013 5:25 pm

– Hope you planted a couple of remotely detonated charges somewhere below the waterline in case the Gibraltar business ever turns nasty…

A precautionary Gloomy…

x
x
October 22, 2013 5:28 pm

@ Wise Ape

:)

Negotiating the surrender of Spain to Gibraltar has been hard work…………

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
October 22, 2013 5:31 pm

@ x

I wonder how much money Gibraltar need to just be able to buy Spain from their creditors. :p

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
October 22, 2013 5:46 pm

Great report and very interesting piccies.

I’m afraid I have to differ on the F100 being handsome ships. They make the T45 (which is no looker) appear stunning in comparison and must have fallen out ofthe ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Fdumph, Fdumph, Fdumph…….

A few observations –

Can’t quite discern what the fittings on the shell are, but suspect it’s a combination of OB discharges with some RCS shielding, lights and maybe eyeplates for lifting arrangements for the stabs (bit of a SWAG that last).

The “noise raft” is in fact a shock mounting for that bridge console.

T26 is very unlikely to be an export leader (at least in terms of build) for the UK for a number of reasons.

1. It’s too big. The “5400te” you see bandied around is a particular measure of weight, not necessarily the real one. A large part of the reason it’s so big is the accommodation provision – not the numbers, but the standard, which is way in excess of most navies (with the exception of Canada and Australia) requirements. The chosen propulsion configuration also has something to do with that. She’s a 145m ship – a lot bigger than most target export navies will be after.

2. Any sale to “first rank” navies will be on a licence build basis. Canada has a National Shipbuilding strategy to support and Australia has similar concerns. That means yards in Canada and Australia will be required to build her. They won’t settle for bits and bobs at the end of the build.

3. The emergence of South Korea (and possibly Japan) as real export yards. It’s been coming for a while, but what it means is that any thought of repeating the Leander experience ought to be canned now. Back then the UK was largely competetive when it came to warships. That ain’t the case anymore. Brazil, Malaysia and China will soon be (maybe are already) complicating the plot.

The best we can hope for is that one or two nations, preferably larger ones like Australia and Canada buy into the project and licence build (as noted above supporting our marine equipment industry). Unfortunately, T26 is not a “MEKO in waiting” – she is too big for that and her arrangement is driven by a number of unique factors that make it a little difficult to re-arrange her to suit.

I’m a bit puzzled by the idea of BAES buying Navantia. Why would we “offshore” high-end manufacturing that is already done in the UK – particularly when we’re already looking to reduce UK capacity between the Clyde and Portsmouth?

Topman
Topman
October 22, 2013 5:52 pm

@ NaB

‘ her arrangement is driven by a number of unique factors that make it a little difficult to re-arrange her to suit.’

What is it drives the T26 design that makes it likely to be so unappealing to many countries that it could be exported to?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 22, 2013 7:02 pm

@NaB – My suggestion was a bit tongue in cheek, but being serious for a moment getting basic hull construction done somewhere cheap (provided quality standards can be assured) but then fitting and finishing in UK Yards might be a more sustainable model for the future – especially if we can offer a range of options and costs in respect of the fighty elements of the build to meet the needs of a wider range of customers.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we do something like this with HMS Ocean? And the Aussies are certainly doing it with the Canberra Class…

We might even look to work with them, the Kiwis, the Canucks (possibly others?) and create a genuinely beneficial world-wide military/industrial partnership…

GNB

Rocket Banana
October 22, 2013 7:43 pm

My own climb up the spiral staircase of the Sagrada Familia had a much better view. A nice pert, taught bottom with white cotton barely clinging to it leaving little to the imagination. Oh, how disappointing* that she didn’t speak English ;-)

* Disappointing for me. Extremely fortunate for her :-(

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 22, 2013 7:47 pm

@Simon – don’t start – before we know where we are the more libidinous members of the Alphabet Soup will join in, we will all be on the naughty step, and the Boss will subject us to Iron (Container) Rations until Christmas!

GNB

McZ
McZ
October 22, 2013 8:09 pm

@GNB
“With our economy showing (limited) signs of recovery, and an urgent need to rebuild high-end manufacturing, a sensible Government would encourage BAE to bid for Navantia…do the less technical aspects of the build in Spain, do the high-value fit out in the UK…”

BAE needs no yard-capacity, which should be roughly equal cost wise to british shipbuilding, depending on exchange rates. BAE needs diversification, something only Embraer or Bombardier can deliver.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 22, 2013 8:20 pm

– genuine questions – can we build basic hulls as cheaply as Spain, Poland, Korea? Am I wrong in thinking a lot of the profit is in the clever stuff that makes a Hull into a Warship?Why Embraer or Bombardier? Any views on tie-ups with Australians etc ?

Cheers

GNB

banner man
banner man
October 22, 2013 10:09 pm

That nose art of the leprechaun and the word “Failte” (Irish for welcome) is odd…

Overseas
Overseas
October 22, 2013 10:13 pm

Really nice pics and report, enjoyable read and viewing. Thanks. Re the tour, all ships screens (if the navvies were doing their jobs right) would have been sanitised. One would guess that all the rooms with a ‘No Entry’ would certainly have screens displaying stuff that some people would pay good money to see… Room under the bridge likely to be the C&C, yup.

@ Challenger and Andrew Wood. Just a quick one about the prospects of T26 sales in the Gulf region, its certainly not going to happen. Far too big a vessel and endurance for what prospective customers are after, and our apparent great relations with countries such as Oman don’t mean lickity when we deliver something as simple as the Khareef OPV a couple of years late.

That last ship building programme Oman had tendered for was for 3 smaller OPV’s (around 75m) and the deal went to ST Marine.

My own view: Not sure why BAE didn’t try and market the Clyde-version River Class OPV’s. Very similar to the knockoff ones that Brazil just bought on the cheap from them after the T&T deal went south.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
October 23, 2013 7:08 am

Topman – the propulsion configuration leads to a certain number of machinery spaces in specific places. If you wanted a different propulsion configuration (for example diesel mechanical, or two smaller GT) then you rapidly run out of room, end up shifting bulkheads and/or end up butchering the upper decks to make it work. Which means that your stability performance changes, your system and hull drawings change (considerably), which contrary to popular belief means that it really isn’t the same design.

GNB – Navantia are comparable in expense with our own BAES. This persistent notion that you can somehow build the hull and put the “fighty bits” on later is not actually true. Ocean as delivered did not have extensive “fighty bits” as she is primarily a carrier of movable “stuff”. She was built in Govan which at the time was a commercial yard to attract the 9% shipbuilding intervention fund subsidy, which meant that “military” features could not be included until she was outfitted by VSEL in Barrow. The use of “commercial standards” or more precisely the use of “end of line” or cheap as you can get it Chinese ME equipment is one of the lessons learned on that ship – logistically she’s a nightmare. In terms of things more resembling a combat system, that was later fitted to the ship some years post delivery at a cost in the high tens, low hundreds of millions.

The Aussie LHDs are being built the way they are primarily because of capacity constraints. None of the Aus facilities are large enough to build that size of ship and doing it in parallel with Hobart is another driver. The bit that is being fitted in Australia is the island, which gives BAES (ex Tenix) some workshare and in the place where they feel more comfortable. It’s not because the Spanish are dramatically cheaper, its just more efficient to build where all outfit items (including a lot of the ops stuff I suspect) is already in the hull when delivered.

The “basic hull” as people call it is a misnomer. Have a look at the photo of people in the passageway and then have a look at the deckhead, festooned with cables and (probably) chilled water pipes. The other side of the bulkheads will be compartment crammed with electronic cabinets. You don’t put any of that in once the ship is structurally complete if you can help it. The access issues typically increase labour costs by a factor of four or more. It’s all interdependent and best done (particularly for outfit dense ships like DD/FF) in one place.

QE is funnily enough a case in point. The long drawn out period post float out but before she is delivered is because the blocks above the hangar deck cannot be fully outfitted before erection at the ship. However, the lower blocks (with main machinery, magazine handling systems, ops room, accommodation) are heavily fitted out and well on the way to having all their systems commissioned (eg pipe systems pressure tested and flushed, electrical systems live etc). That’s because it is always more efficient to get your outfit items in the ship and inspected, integrated etc. With QE, the need to do a distributed build (because no one yard was big enough to build and erect the ship) means that the big blocks are as complete as they can make them. They have no choice but to b8gger about with the uppoer blocks because of their size and shape, driven by the hangar configuration.

Mercator
Mercator
October 23, 2013 8:40 am

Just a quick heads up for you guys. In Australia, Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) is a fully government owned entity and right now, BAe and ASC are both desperately bidding for a bit of work to tide them over until the end of the decade when the frigate and submarine replacement programs start to come online. In that fight, I would not bet upon the government owned outfit coming off too badly and as a consequence, BAe might not be in fabulous shape to take on work as lead shipyard in the future frigate program. There is a real possibility that the BAe Williamtown shipyard will close when the AWD work winds up.

If the government owns a facility, it seems very likely to me that they would be the first stop for significant work. I don’t think that rules out the type 26 as a prospect. In fact, I would rate it as favourite. But ASC is bound to dust off their plans for an AWD-lite (with a different radar and combat system) as another option and either way, could still end up being the lead shipyard. A lot will depend on the timing for the sub program. The new government has yet to make any decisions about that.

a
a
October 23, 2013 10:20 am

proof that some projects can be even slower then the FRES program with a ground breaking in 1882 and a projected completion date of 2026-ish.

Have a look at the St Vitus Cathedral in Prague… ground broken 1344, building topped off 1929!

IXION
October 23, 2013 10:42 am

But SF cant be compared to Fres.

SF was designed one way, built another, the original specification was changed multiple times, the plans were never completed by the original architect….

Where as FRES………..

Chris
Chris
October 23, 2013 11:13 am

a, Fedaykin – don’t forget FRES hasn’t delivered yet – there’s still the possibility it will run longer than the cathedral projects… Also. Worth remembering these cathedral projects set their objectives right up front (make a big expensive church) and stuck to them until completion. FFLAV/TRACER/FRES by the end of the first 10 years had trashed its original intent and was busy ‘refining’ (as in starting from scratch) its objectives. In the same way we look at the huge cathedrals built centuries ago and marvel, do you think in centuries to come FRES will be looked back upon as something truly monumental?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 23, 2013 11:31 am

@NAB

Yes, the propulsion system may be difficult to alter but from an operators point of view why would you want to alter a system that works well. Offering excellent endurance, quiet ASW ability and a good sprint capability?
It really on makes sense in the heads of Politicians trying to keep companies happy.

Peter Elliott
October 23, 2013 1:05 pm

APATS

I guess it depends what they have in their fleet already.

If everything they have is diesel and they have no gas turbines they could be wary of the impact on their logisitics and support arrangements of introducing a different type of prime mover.

Imagine a slightly fanciful example. If the US had offered us a Nimitz ‘MOTS’ to meet our CVF requirment, we could evaluate it as a proven system with superior perfromance to gas turbines. And imagine they had offered it at a cometitive price. But we still wouldn’t have touched it becuase of the shoreside and regulatroy impacts of getting into nuclear propulsion for surface ships.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 23, 2013 1:10 pm

“Have a look at the St Vitus Cathedral in Prague… ground broken 1344, building topped off 1929”

Yeah, but the clue is in the name – all that dancing.

Its damn hard to get stone laid whilst doing a Reigen in three dimensions. Then there were the changes in fashions; when some pillock introduced the madrigal the best part of a century went by whilst they tried to work out how to accommodate the double left-step whilst laying mortar. They had only just got that sorted out when the Gavotte arrived from Italy, the kissing dance, and you can imagine what happened to building workers productivity when snogging crumpet arrived on site. Recent historical analysis has shown that Fabritio Caroso, the italian Dancing Master imported to teach the workers the new step, was beaten to death with a whiffle stick by Paddrick O’Flynn, the site foreman, who “Just wanted to get some stone, not maids, laid” .

Attempts to improve productivity after the end of the Napoleonic wars by importing former Pipe-Sergeant Hamish, “Mad Jock,” Fraser (late of the Gordon Highlanders) to reach the masons men-only highland dancing were not as successful as had been hoped – in hindsight his ambition to have a 64-some reel danced over, and up and down, scaffolding plus the import of builders from Bulgaria was never going to work. Mind you, though the topping out was not unduly delayed by the introduction of the Charleston, its a good job the Jitter-bug craze did not hit early, other wise the Cathedral might still not be finished.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
October 23, 2013 1:36 pm

APATS

For our requirement, it’s mostly fine. Just making the point that not everyone is after a high-end ASW ship and might be happier/more comfortable with a GP ship sans GT and EM. Which would be problematic.

Or they might fancy a ship with one or two of Mr GE’s market leading turbines, which again would mean a fairly drastic revision of the plant. If your fleet is mostly LM2500 powered, would you want to buy a Rolly’s powered ship?

Normally this wouldn’t be a major drama, but the particular choice of machinery (and method of power generation), coupled with the actual arrangement on T26 does not easily lend itself to change.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 23, 2013 2:11 pm

@ Mr H.Llama – outstanding – do you do stand-up?

Amused, thus less Gloomy

dave haine
dave haine
October 23, 2013 2:48 pm

@ NAB

I see what you’re saying about the ‘basic hull’ that I so blithely went on about much earlier. And what you say about different types of propulsion systems, and indeed different manufacturers, needing different layouts, and therefore bulkhead positions within the hull.

However, I presume that certain things have an optimum position on any vessel, say for example, any air defence radar. It seems obvious that the best place for that would be as high up any mast as you can get it, equally it seems that the gun is always on the bow. Within the ops room it would strike me that the layout would be broadly the same from navy to navy. indeed from the pictures above even the monitors are just standard monitors.

So you design the vessel’s system architecture to be generic, you could even use a generic IT system (eg MS Windows I know there are Windows based aeroplanes now, has it ‘invaded’ vessels yet?) from personal experience I prefer ‘unix’ but Windows is pretty universal, so….I know this is done in aeroplanes, it being estimated that about 10% of the wiring in a cockpit doesn’t need to be there, because of customer preference. That way anything that customer requests is an add-on, maybe just plug and play.

Can a vessel be designed in this way? Is it feasible?

Topman
Topman
October 23, 2013 3:40 pm

@ NaB.

Thanks for the info.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 23, 2013 3:53 pm

@Nab

I see where you are coming from but having experienced the nightmare that EM drive can be cannot see any reason to change to it. Could you specify FREMM with EM drive?

What would prevent an LM2500 going in instead of an MT30 if secced before build?

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
October 23, 2013 6:19 pm

Dave

Not sure what you’re aiming at. Radars and guns are (relatively) speaking the easy bits. It tends to be accommodation, machinery spaces etc can be very different depending on practice and custom. As can ops rooms – they are very different across different types of ship (albeit some of that being evolution).

APATS

T26 has EM drive in a CODLAG (not the full EM you’re referring to which I assume is LPD) – point being there are four prime movers on the ship, one of which is the MT30. If you go away from the EM part, you need a low speed drive of some description be it diesel mechanical or cruise GT, plus your boost, plus a set of generators. Hence more uptakes / downtakes and funnel/ mack space. The point about the MT30 vs LM2500 is that one is significantly more powerful than the other, which might mean you have to have two LM2500s, which is a completely different gearbox / shaft arrangement etc. T26 has gone down an entirely understandable avenue from a UK requirements & industry PoV. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will play elsewhere….

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 23, 2013 6:49 pm

Dave Haine, re Windows on ships.

At least the Hunt Class mine ships are using Windows as a ship control system to run the ship’s systems from bridge to propellors (I forget the acronym). I know because I looked at some tender documents today to perform the information assurance validation work on them, which we may or may not bid for (it’s a very small piece of work, the last company doing it went out of business, hence the need for this piece of work to be done). It’s hardly enterprise scale.

But my eyes bulged when I read the technical architecture document. This is a new system they are putting in (I don’t know which company had that contract). Windows XP. Jesus H Christ. Win XP and the related Server packages are going out of support in April next year….

I’m fully aware of the measures that can be taken to insulate and isolate out of support OS, system lock downs and so on, because that’s a small part of what we do. But it’s hardly ideal as a place to start from, and severely limits the ability to integrate new systems into the overall architecture in the future, and that becomes bloody expensive.

Chris
Chris
October 23, 2013 7:06 pm

RT – yeah but… WinXP is far better than 7, 8 or whatever else is new. Couldn’t believe the Win7 PC I bought refused to work until Big Brother Microsoft had checked I was good enough for it. So do you really want all your new military hardware to only work if a live satcom link to Kirkland WA is in operation? Do you want all your secret data saved to some Cloud of servers in God knows what country? I want machines to be independent, consistent and secure – as in data stays firmly where its put, not where the OS chooses to copy it.

Rant over…

dave haine
dave haine
October 23, 2013 7:06 pm

@NAB

I think you’ve answered my question. I was trying to work out if you could design the vessel so that weapons, sensors and management systems would just be plug-ins. But there’s no point if the machinery spaces can’t be made similarly ‘plug-in’ (for want of a better phrase).

So really you have to persuade the customer to accept your hull/ machinery combination, or design a new one.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 23, 2013 7:15 pm

@NAB
I guess as a non engineer I set less importance on changing a perfectly good propulsion system than I do being able to offer the weapons and sensor packages that the end customer may want. (probably wrongly).

LM2500 gen 4 is up to 32MW and a single unit is used on FREMM. So yes less powerful but installed on FREMM, though I notice the French have diesels.

Interestingly enough I am having to use a VPN to get past the Spam filter.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 23, 2013 7:33 pm

Chris,

Sensible answer. There are ways around all of the worries you list. The MoD is big enough to get around that. Microsoft have a special Government division in the UK (and no doubt every other big country) to identify what off-standard features need to be built into their COTS products to gain Government buy in. Hell, MS will do that for big companies and vendors too. They won’t do that for domestic customers.

Real world answer for the domestic customer. After trying to work my home PCs in every flavour of OS since DOS 5.0 via the Windows iterations up until Vista, I finally had enough one night and splurged a shocking amount of money (to me) of about £1350 on the latest Mac in 2010. It just works. Upgraded last night to the latest OS X Mavericks (for free) and the now 3.5 year old machine seems like a teenager on amphetamines – positively zinging along. Haven’t had a system crash in the last 3 years.

The problem is that I missed Windows 8, and bought my daughter a Win 8 laptop for her birthday (typically, she hadn’t saved up the 50% for a MacBook that was her end of the bargain, and to boot wanted it to run a game that isn’t ported to OS X, so it had to be a Win 8 machine). Bloody hell! It’s like trying to decipher the Rosetta Stone. Where did the Start button go? All sorts of odd things happen if you move the mouse, the colours look like you’ve been mugged while having a hangover, and there was a further £150 odd to spend on upgrading application software. I feel fleeced.

dave haine
dave haine
October 23, 2013 7:40 pm

@RT-
Funnily enough, everyone appears to be going to ‘vxwork'(Boeing) or ‘integrity’ (Airbus). Seems like windows might only be a fad. Although i am waiting for Apple’s i-plane, where it’ll tell you where you want to go, but it’ll look good while doing it.

wf
wf
October 23, 2013 8:30 pm

@dave haine: Vxworks etc are embedded OS’s, with a minimal set of OS calls. General purpose OS’s like Windows or a variant of Linux suitable for things like a warship command system are rather different beasts with far more capabilities. Apart from the reliability issues with Windows, which have largely been solved, the advantage of using an open source OS like Linux are:-

– you can choose to include the only features you specifically require
– you can leave the OS unchanged if you don’t need to change it, since you have the source: no need to upgrade or worry about “losing support”
– you can pick and chose your support vendor if required
– compiling both the OS and the application with the same toolchain will greatly reduce build errors

I suspect no one would choose “Windows for Warships” again :-)

Think Defence
Admin
October 23, 2013 8:48 pm

APATS, weirdly, your IP address range sits square in a known spam server range :)

By the way, everyone, the only sure fire way to avoid Mr Spam Filter is to log in

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 23, 2013 8:57 pm

[Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: DNSBL Spam]
@TD

I cannot get any to go through at all from my home IP address even when logged in. As of this afternoon. This is from a proxy server in Berkshire and a post this afternoon was from a different location in same town.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 23, 2013 9:08 pm

TD,

Login? uhhhh, where? I get 3 boxes to fill in: Name, email address, comment. Then click “Post Comment”. Your cookies autofill the name box once I type R, my onboard OS X autofills the email box, then obviously I write some utter tosh in the comment box before clicking, and the comment either appears (yay!), or not ( :( ) but does appear after an hour and a half, or doesn’t appear at all ever ( :( :( ). It’s a bit of a lottery.

Bite the bloody bullet, cost up a decent spam filter, then ask us to fund you for it. You’ll know just how much we really love you when you see the collective riches we offer…. ;)

SR
SR
October 23, 2013 9:08 pm

Nice post – at least someone is getting out and about and having a look-see! Sadly I remember the time I went up the Sagrada Familia – Sept 11 2001. Rather took the shine off the day.

Bell, gong, whatever – it’s bloody awful! Lots of European navies prefer to have their bells near the bow whereas the RN has traditionally retained them at the stern. Stems from the very old association with the quarterdeck as the centre of the ship’s activity and the maintenance of time. Lovely stuff, tradition.

40 deg south
40 deg south
October 23, 2013 9:37 pm

Someone (NAB?) commented up-thread that the size of 5400 tonnes was simply too big for many export sales. I’m not sure that applies to the ANZAC replacement.

ANZACs weigh in at 3600 tonnes, and are having significant top-weight issues issues on both sides of the Tasman Sea. I’d be very surprised if both navies weren’t looking for a replacement that was at least 25% larger, which is not far short of the T26. The need to provide a high standard of on-board accommodation applies down under, where both navies are experiencing huge retention issues.

Australia seems to have a clear preference for either American of American-compatible equipment, which may count heavily against a T26 deal. NZ will probably get what Australia gets unless our politicians consider it too expensive, which is probable. In which case we can expect a pair of patrol vessels armed with a water cannon and a helicopter apiece, for transporting crack teams of cross-cultural communication and diversity advisers into any Pacific trouble-spots.

Think Defence
Admin
October 23, 2013 10:29 pm
Reply to  Fedaykin

Just a quick comment before shut eye

Am going grey at the whole spam thing at the minute. My old solutions was great, rarely produced false positives and rarely let spam through. Because TD is booming traffic wise (aggregating over 3 million hits a year now) the old solution is not suitable. Hence have been trying loads of alternatives, some paid for, some free.

To be honest, none of them are as good and poor old APATS and others are getting sin binned on a regular basis, I understand people losing patience.

Am working on it, trust me (you might have noticed fewer posts in the last couple of days)

Site reliability is bang on now, the current host is briliant, but not cheap

As for asking for donations, it is coming, the traffic now demands at least a grand a year just in hosting.

Bear with me guys and thanks for your perseverance, TD is not my full time job you know :)

Chris
Chris
October 23, 2013 10:44 pm

Fedaykin – I’m sure there’s lots of shiny widgets in Win7/8 for the software Magpie to covet. Personally I hate the Janet & John Playskool interface that Office earned after Office2003 (the last professional version from my perspective). No doubt done so any 10 year old could prod big icons and make kool stuff happen. It all got worse when Win8 insisted I had to wipe fingers over the screen like a 3 year old. I hate to think what they’ll inflict on us next; I assume it will involve e-nappies and be full of cr*p.

Moreover, if Win7 is so good, why does the only Win7 PC I own spend the first 5 minutes after power up configuring upgrades, the entire time its running downloading more upgrades, and 20 minutes after I try to switch it off installing upgrades? After I hadn’t used this particular machine for a month or two there were so many updates the full life of the battery was consumed in configuring downloading and installing more flipping upgrades and the battery died before it finished. It was so busy dealing with its own software updates it was virtually useless to work on. Vastly better than XP?

If you ask me the entire history of Win7 looks seriously amateur. And that’s being kind.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 23, 2013 11:18 pm

Morning Boss – we know you run the site for fun, and appreciate your effortts – as @RT says, charge us – with 159 subscribers at a quid a week that nets you eight grand plus – where do I sign? Arsing about with :@RT, trying to wind up and learning from the Alphabet Soup collectively is certainly worth that…

…and I’m from Yorkshire!

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 23, 2013 11:28 pm

GNB, steady on with the “arsing about with RT” comments… could be seriously misconstrued, which would do neither of our reputations any good….

Peter Elliott
October 24, 2013 8:42 am

I still use Office 2003 becuase I prefer the interface over what came after. But I am occasionally hampered by the lack of functionality viz too few coulmns on a spreadsheet. Swings and roundabouts.

Overall I have no problem with new releases having new functionality. But there does appear to be a degree of marketing led pressure to have interfaces that are ‘fresh’ and ‘modern’ that I find frankly annoying. If I could have the latest fuctionality with a 2003 style user interface I would be very happy. But then at age 35 I suspect fogeyism may be setting in.

The answer is perhaps to make more use of open source alternatives which are less commercially driven towards giving people the ‘latest’ everything whether they want it or not.

dave haine
dave haine
October 24, 2013 8:48 am

@TD- your efforts are always much appreciated, i’m certainly happy to subscribe (quid a week sounds a bargain to me!)

@RT- the last big airline I worked used a unix based system, known as ‘Core’ (those who are in the know, will straight away know which company) which was easy to use, never, ever crashed despite the best efforts of IT staff and aircrew. Mind you, they spent £12m on it including customisation- started out as an American Airlines gate management system- we got hold of it and developed it into a full blown Operations Management and crew briefing system, then sold it back to two american airlines, a Mexican one and Air new Zealand- all suggested by a consultancy who I have to say impressed everyone greatly by their ability to cut through all the empire building and bulls**t, and grasp the requirement, by actually talking to the potential users (they even did a couple of nightshifts with us, to fully understand the ops room).
Typically after the company was taken over by the Germans it was all thrown out, for a european (read german) solution that wasn’t half as capable and windows based, and couldn’t handle four airlines in five countries (We had been running a UK, a German and a Scandinavian airline, from a single UK-based Operations room). The operations centre was also moved to Germany, to a German airline, who could barely run itself, let alone three others. The redundant UK staff did very well out of the resultant discrimination case. Anecdote over….

Anyway, we are about to replace our household PC (Win XP), and I was seriously thinking about going to the dark side. Should I persuade the wife to go Apple? Or buy another PC and use a unix based OS? (I know OSX is basically unix). We have various ipads etc (although the wife has got an extremely good win7 tablet at work)

As an aside the wife had to go win7 when she set up her company. As an optician, she picked an optical management system called Acuitas 2, from Ocuco, which according to one of the developers, over a beer, will never be used on anything Apple, because when Ocuco approached Apple to get software rights so they could develop an OSX based Acuitas, At first Apple, said only if it is exclusive to OSX, and the win based one ended, when this was rebuffed, apple wanted to insist on a quality veto, on all OS versions of Acuitas, as you might imagine, this was also scorned (Ocuco are actually a very big player in this market- but are still willing to work for the one outlet practice, and they have a stunning Irish sales girl). Apple then tried to insist that Ocuco, pay a licence for every OSX-based product Ocuco sell… yes thats right, Ocuco develop it, sell it..then pay apple for selling it. Irish two fingers to apple, then…..(anecdote 2 over)

Chris
Chris
October 24, 2013 9:34 am

Fedaykin – no personal attacks going on here; just first hand observations. Office2003 was the best of the bunch (in my opinion) – I still use Office2003 on all machines including the Win7 one. Office2010 is where it regressed to Infant School interface (specific objections: the ‘ribbon’ as I think they call it uses far too much screen area; the icons are jumbled in a 2D area not stretched in a line; they are fixed size so no scaling possible – compared to the thin strings of icons I organized around the work area in Office 2003 in which all the icons I use regularly are visible all the time 1) the screen area lost to icons is far more, and 2) I need to remember which ribbon group to bring forward for each icon sub-group because they are so clunky they now no longer fit on the screen together) Bear in mind I followed the progression of Office97 Office2000 Office2003 in which the functionality grew each time but the structure of the program interface evolved in continuously recognizable form. The step change to the modern user interface from a professional user’s point of view was unnecessary and, frankly, a bit of an insult – like we pathetic Users couldn’t possibly understand the amazingly clever software functionality but were trusted to prod big coloured buttons; mere Users having such tiny brains compared to the gargantuan megabrains of the software developers. Like I said this is just an opinion based on my own use of these programs, but trust me I really did feel insulted when the professional-looking interface was replaced by the childish one.

As for Win7, I did find the not too obvious setup options to return the appearance to the older ‘classic’ style, where I can structure the screen to suit work. Somewhere along the line someone decided that the PC and specifically the operating system upon it deserved to be the most important reason why we buy computers. They are not. Computers are as much a tool as a pad of paper and a pencil, or a semi-trailer of an articulated truck – when’s the last time you noticed who manufactured the big trailer you just overtook? The machine is there to support the applications, and the applications to support the work, communication or leisure activities of the User – as a User and owner of the machine I should never have my work/communication/leisure activity interrupted, slowed or denied because the operating system ‘thinks’ its internal needs are greater than mine. Instead of breaking into my time maybe all this operating system important reconfiguration should use some of the 98% System Idle Process time the Task Manager tells me about.

Maybe from a developer’s point of view its better. In my experience the Win7 machine has crashed a couple of times; so has the XP machine. Neither seem more robust than the other. At the data/process level I like the ability (on XP) to move data to specific directories and manage it without the operating system denying access. An example – one application from a famous software company initiated an Update Checker that could not be controlled; it ran to the parent web domain on a continuous loop, slowing and in some cases breaking other applications running on the PC. I eventually found the program and deleted it as there was no way to reduce its level of interruption. Without intervention or invitation the parent website did a background reinstall of that software element with consequent reversion to snail-pace PC performance. This delete/reinstall cycle happened maybe a dozen times before I had enough and removed the industry standard program from the PC. I now have a replacement from a small software company and its working quietly efficiently and without evident overhead processing. Had I not had access to all the directories spread around the file structure I would never have isolated the file that was trashing the performance.

My real issue with Win7 is the volume of change – to my (non-software) engineering brain the original operating system as released must have been very poorly tested – I cannot justify the huge number of patches any other way. I would not accept daily visits from technicians demanding access to my new fridge to remove dodgy parts and replace them with different ones, even if all the upgrades were free – the fridge would have been sent back as unfit for sale within a week. I feel as annoyed about having bugs fixed after product release in software products as I would about hardware fixes to physical purchases. As for the volumes of change, I accept XP changes will dry up, but in my recollection they were never to the volume I have seen on Win7.

Like I said there’s no personal attacks here – your experience of Win7-and-later/Office2010-and-later are evidently positive. Mine from the viewpoint of a user of a PC as a tool (not an end in itself) is that the older versions of OS and Office were less obtrusive, more intuitive (sorry but to me they were), less frustrating and more productive.

Just my opinion.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 24, 2013 10:26 am

@RT – Sorry old chap – mind you between your sniper at 500 metres out and my ferrets to consume the evidence, I’m pretty sure the rest of the Alphabet Soup will avoid drawing any untoward conclusions…

GNB

dave haine
dave haine
October 24, 2013 10:52 am

@fedaykin-

It is a shame that Apple take such a proprietary view of their system- from an opticians point of view (ie my wife) the displays on apple equipment are far,far superior to win based monitors. So much so, that in the test room the visual test monitor is an Apple Mac even though we cannot link it to Acuitas 2 [good tip for anyone who needs their eyes tested- look in the test room, if they’ve got a traditional test chart up on the wall, and very little else apart from a PC in the corner, go elsewhere- Using a monitor allows the optician to get far more accurate data, and, with all the other kit, like retinal cameras and field screeners allows for a fully integrated test, with results being downloaded directly to your clinical record with no clerical/ writing error.] I would also suggest you go to a proper independent eyecare provider too, might be a bit more expensive, but the good ones really are eyecare specialists, not just glasses and contact lens retailers. [Wife’s support statement over].

Anyway, despite all that in my previous post, we’ve got various iPads and have rather liked using them, and as we need to replace the home PC, (win XP and full), mainly of my photos. Do I go to the dark side, and enter Apple’s little walled garden? Or stay looking through windows (see what I did there?…lack of humour? Pah!)

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 24, 2013 11:45 am

” I would also suggest you go to a proper independent eyecare provider too”

I cannot support that statement enough. I’ve been having trouble with my vision for nearly two years and the normal optician (i.e. spectacles seller) kept telling me there was nothing wrong with my eyes. Last month my GP sent me to an independent eye care specialist and what a difference in quality, depth and variety of diagnostic tests and discussion (first consultation lasted nearly two hours), with the result that problems have been diagnosed and, hopefully, can now be fixed.

Apologies for going totally off-topic.

dave haine
dave haine
October 24, 2013 12:53 pm

@hurstllama- Pleased for you, hope you’re sorted out in quick time.

@fedaykin- many thanks, will consider most carefully.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 24, 2013 6:30 pm

Dave Haine,

sorry for the delay to your original question: very long day out.

Of course, it’s only my opinion, but one I find increasingly held by many in the IT industry. Some flavour of *ix. I prefer Apple, but others like the more open architectures of Red Hat and Google Chromium has supporters as well.

The penalties previously associated with getting Win * and *ix to play nicely together have largely been solved. I genuinely can’t think of anything that can’t now be done, or which will be a problem in the future. Sometimes software developers will not port their applications at the same time, so you might be stuck on an older version of the application for a while (Microsoft guilty of this with their Office for Mac, but I use iWork which is better IMO for 99% of everyday stuff). More and more apps are in the cloud anyway, and Java is great at being OS agnostic. We’ve deployed enterprise wide Oracle back end databases with Java front ends and it all went pretty swimmingly.

One point that I really do like about Apple is that they invest a lot of innovation into system interaction. I’ve got both a magic mouse and a multi-touch trackpad ( http://www.apple.com/uk/magictrackpad/ if you haven’t met one before) co-existing with a keyboard and small Wacom Bamboo and stylus over the same Bluetooth connection, and just pull whichever is appropriate for the task at hand slightly nearer to me. So, typing, browsing, writing or drawing, and object manipulation in Keynote or Omnigraffle ( = Powerpoint and Visio equivalents, but rather better in both cases). There’s a simple remote and an equivalent to a Playstation controller as well, but I don’t need either.

As they are all reasonably small and don’t require cables, the footprint on the desk is still only about the same as a standard 101 keyboard and mouse mat.

Good news from Apple a couple of days ago: free OS upgrades for life.

I’m biased, although not an apostle. Buy what suits you and any specific applications you need to use. I can’t see myself buying a Windows machine for my own personal use again. Macs are probably 150% of the purchase price for an equivalent PC, but then mostly you don’t need to spend through the life of your system. In my experience, anyway.

(AFTERNOTE: Apple do a “Cinema display” I think they call it, a beautiful 30 inch monitor with correctable colour calibration and able to display the highest resolutions. I think the film and video crowd go for that. anyway, it has a range of connectors into it, so your wife could run her eyesight charts from a PC straight into that as a standalone monitor.)

McZ
McZ
October 24, 2013 7:04 pm

@GNB
“genuine questions – can we build basic hulls as cheaply as Spain, Poland, Korea? Am I wrong in thinking a lot of the profit is in the clever stuff that makes a Hull into a Warship? Why Embraer or Bombardier? Any views on tie-ups with Australians etc ?”

No, we can’t build as cheaply as these. Even the Dutch are building their vessels in Romania. Can Spain build vessels as cheap as Romania? I guess no. So, what?

Any export customer of the T26 will build on domestic yards under licence. This is not due to huge building costs in the UK, but because of selling new vessels to a critical domestic populace. Buying Navantia makes only sense, if you want to sell vessels to Spain, and if you can live with the losses the company is making. We don’t need another Iberia-bailout.

BAE is lacking in civilian programmes. Bombardier would deliver just that.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Bombardier are around the same size as BAE. Unless they’d be willing to sell off just the aircraft business then I doubt BAE will be buying them anytime soon. Embraer is a far more juicy target, but still very expensive and with potential complications surrounding the Brazilian government. Not sure if they’d want to let a company like BAE buy a large chunk in one of their key players, especially when they’re on the up and up.

dave haine
dave haine
October 24, 2013 7:55 pm

@RT-
Ref ‘Cinema Display’ Funny you should say that- her equipment supplier, said, and indeed sold, much the same thing (actually turned out to be an ‘all in one’ with cinema display) at the mo its running on OSX, so it won’t link to Acuitas, but this isn’t a big issue as it’s just running test charts and demo video’s. Fedaykin suggested something called Bootcamp, so we’re going to have a chat with ocuco and see if we can integrate successfully (and I can have a chat with the lovely Sorcha…..mmmmmmm)

I am tending to Mac (fedaykn pointed out their basic quality, too)….I like unix and open source appeals to my non-conformist streak, but one of my most used progs is Photoshop which I’m not sure works with unix…but research is needed. Thanks for your reply- you have clarified my thinking nicely.

dave haine
dave haine
October 24, 2013 8:27 pm

@ Chris.B.-

….And with BAE being heavily involved in the US defence industry, something that the Brazilians, I understand are keen to demonstrate their independence from.

Can’t see BAE being able/allowed to buy Embraer. Merger with Raytheon is more likely, or buying Textron. With the success of ‘Air Astana’, I could see BAE moving into air carriers, which would make the sale of their aircraft leasing company a little odd.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 24, 2013 8:34 pm

@ DH,

seems the Cinema display has been updated to Thunderbolt: same monitor, single connector. You’d need to ensure that the PC graphics card has a mini-Thunderbolt “out” connector, but quite a few do. ATI Radeon for example.

So it looks like your wife has several choices:

1. Largish iMac running Parallels, with the specialist eye Win eyesight test software in a Windows partition.
2. PC with a Thunderbolt connector running software to a Thunderbolt display.
3. PC running to A N Other large flatscreen Gucci monitor.

All 3 probably viable. The message is, she’s not tied to either PC or Mac if she wants the electronic display for the eye charts. I think the Apple’s USP is their ability to colour correct for ambient light, and they auto dim or increase power based on ambient light. I don’t need such a display, but the serious film / video people do. Might be of relevance to your wife?

banner man
banner man
October 26, 2013 1:40 am

Mate do you mind if I post the pic of the Seahawk with the nose art up on another forum to see can I get the story on it please.

I’ll of course link back to here.

dave haine
dave haine
October 26, 2013 8:02 am

@ RT, Fedaykin

Had a discussion with the lovely Sorcha (mmmmmmm). Upshot is they’re working on an update to integrate the mac into our Acuitas, which they will download into our system by the end of the week as part of the normal support cycle. All I have to do is the USB thing that Fedaykin describes by Thur, then they do the rest.

As an aside, we’re already running Win 7 pro. (Ocuco recommended it, and the 64bit version too).

So many thanks to both.

Apologies to Fedaykin for induced thread creep.

Flynner
Flynner
October 29, 2013 9:17 am

Will the T26 be open to using American equipment, or is that the very reason Australia is getting in early with discussions about the ship with GB? I can’t see them moving forward with a design that can’t.

If they go with a larger hull, does that open up other avenues for their radar system (more power), or will they be committed with installing the latest (or just bigger) version of CEAFAR?