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shark bait
shark bait
February 11, 2015 11:12 am

Perhaps they need one of these – Solar Impulse – Mobile Hangar: http://youtu.be/_ZmR0h8K75c

If the the rivers are to be the future for overseas constabulary, operating a helicopter for the full duration of the deployment will make them many times more useful, especially in the humanitarian role, and a hanger will be nessesary.

Perhaps something similar to the inflatable hanger could be integrated into the side of the deck, and then be automatically deployable with the touch of a button. The hangar could be designed to use the cranes as internal supports to make the inflated structure more rigid.

Martin
Editor
February 11, 2015 11:15 am

pitty he does not have a helicopter.

Hopefully the trial goes well and this is a role than can be handed off to the River Batch 2 to free up the RFA and Escorts

Martin
Editor
February 11, 2015 11:18 am

The bay’s used an inflatable hanger on APT (n)

I would have hoped that the River Batch 2 would have at least came with a telescopic hanger but no such luck

shark bait
shark bait
February 11, 2015 11:44 am

they really do need a hanger. As the captain said the river is very similar to what Caribbean navy already operate so it could be the possibility where the royal navy cant much extra capability than they already have.

I too hoped they would have a telescopic hangar and i feel retrofitting one will be impossible. Which is why I dont like the new rivers much.

I also like his comment “if the navy went to war, I would not go to war in this ship”. I think the captain of any surface vessel would say the same thing during a conflict against a well equipped adversary.

WillS
WillS
February 11, 2015 12:52 pm

@shark bait:
“I too hoped they would have a telescopic hangar and i feel retrofitting one will be impossible. Which is why I dont like the new rivers much.”

Ahhh, but a hanger might make them look sort of corvette-ish. And corvettes, at least according to the RN’s leadership (those 80+ Admirals and Commodores) must be avoided at all costs lest their appearance interfere with dreams of swanning around the world pretending to be in charge of a USN CSG. Being a USN bolt-on seems to be the height of the RN’s ambitions these days.

Too cynical? Maybe.

Dunservin
Dunservin
February 11, 2015 1:07 pm

No helo, flight deck or hangar? Max speed 20 kts? Ship’s company 35? Limited C4I and appropriately skilled personnel as back-up?

I can imagine this poor chap’s frustration when asked to recce a disaster zone, perform CASEVAC, move emergency stores and equipment between inaccessible places, interdict smugglers in go-fasts, provide useful numbers of manpower ashore, render force protection or any combination thereof. As for participating in mutually-beneficial multi-threat exercises with regional forces…

No wonder he looks tired. At least he and his vessel should be able to cope with the local fishermen. However, as someone has already pointed out, the locals are quite capable of doing that themselves ;-) :

http://papaboisconservation.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/caribbean-fisherman.jpg

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 11, 2015 1:09 pm
MSR
MSR
February 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Among other quotes of the Captain’s that we should note is his observation that Severn will not be in the region for the hurricane season. Presumably, at that time, Severn will be replaced by a “proper” FFG/DDG with the assets and depth of resource that the locals have come to expect of a member of the grey funnel line.

The Ladroit is a very impressive concept, and one of several available elsewhere that make BAES’s batch 2 River look incredibly dated and needlessly limited. While I can’t speak to the detail or material quality of Ladroit’s build, it has received favourable reviews and the Gowind family of designs in general seem very tight and tidy. No reason at all why you can’t have a hangar on circa 2,000 tonnes displacement.

Other options include the Sigma series from Damen Schelde which is selling well, and which DCN presumably hope to replicate with Gowind. The UK is really missing a trick in not having anyone offering a scale-able range of cheap designs to offer to the global OPV/Light Frigate/Light Amphib market.

For further comparison there is also the version of the Holland class without the integrated mast (2 of the class have it, 2 of them have a more basic OPV-style fit, instead). That has the size, endurance, hangar and even a strengthened/thickened outer hull skin intended to defeat small arms fire! I rather think it would outclass HMS Severn in this role without necessarily putting the wind up the anti-corvette brigade.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 3:30 pm

@shark bait – “I would not go to war in this ship.”

One 20mm and a couple of GPMGs for a ship 261 feet long that tops out at 20 knots? Hell, I’d rather go to war in a WW2 110 foot subchaser – one 40mm Bofors, three 20mm Oerlikons, twin .50 Cal, “Mousetrap” AS rockets, depth charges, and capable of 20 to 25 knots (depending on engines mounted).

I keep hearing about “fit for but not installed” going on the theory that if war breaks out, or is about to, you’ll have time to mount whatever a ship is “fit for,” or that the ship won’t ever need what it is “fit for.” Pardon my frankness, but that might be the way to run a yacht club, but it ain’t navy. Does anyone truly think that there will be time to acquire and mount weapons that these ships are “fit for?”

I don’t.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 4:20 pm

In my opinion, the River-class ships should have an OTO Melara 76mm/62 mounted, at a minimum, a couple of 30mm DS30M Mark 2 naval guns, and a Phalanx 20mm CIWS. Should also be a way to put about four Harpoon (or equivalent) tubes on the thing somewhere, too.

As for a helicopter hangar, put a pull-out tent on the back of the superstructure to enclose the flight deck when the helicopter needs servicing. If foul weather is forecast, fly the helicopter to a bigger ship or a land base.

Money for the weapons systems would be a lot cheaper than replacing the whole damn’ ship.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
February 11, 2015 4:55 pm

I love this youtube, showing off what HMS Severn is doing there. It has fairly clear message what is tasked to her and what is not.

I also love to see a helicopter hanger on River Batch.2s. However, if it comes to whether you REALLY need it or not, it depends on the tasks and supports they can get in the vicinity.

For “surveillance”, as mentioned by captain, you do NOT need a hanger IF you have a support from fixed wing patrol aircrafts. It could be Islanders/Defenders, i.e. simple aircrafts, surely cheaper than a Wildcat. This is the same for fishery protection.

For anti-smuggler, it depends. I assume a no-heli-OPV with Islander-class-aircover may work because she is not alone. There are allies elsewhere.

For SAR, yes helicopter is needed. For disaster relief, yes better be with helicopter.

Thus, a ship without heli-hanger can do something, while one with helicopter can do it better, in the Caribbean ocean.

On the other hand, I do NOT like to have any heavy weapons onboard these OPVs. It will greatly reduce the “cheap nature” of OPV operation, which is the ONLY MERIT they have. If you do it, I am afraid you are starting to “eat” budgets off DD/FFs, which is already very tight. UK does not have “blue water coast guard”, while there is a clear need for large EEZ patrolling (as well as counter-smuggler operations in Caribbean). That’s why you need River class OPVs, I suppose.

In Japan, we will never mount heavy weapons in our coast guard cutters. With this, we operate 432 ship and boats, 72 aircrafts with only 13 thousand man and 1 Billion BGP annual budget.

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 5:00 pm

@Kent
Cannon class WW2 era destroyer escort (72 built , 1 still in service with the Philippines Navy)
Displacement: 1,240 tons standard
1,620 tons full load
Length: 93.3 metres (306.1 ft)
Beam: 11 metres (36.1 ft)
Draft: 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) full load
Speed: 21 knots
Range: 10,800 nmi at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers
201 enlisted men
Armament: 3 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 guns (3×1)
• 2 × 40 mm AA guns (1×2)
• 8 × 20 mm AA guns (8×1)
• 3 × 21 in. torpedo tubes (1×3)
• 8 × depth charge projectors
• 1 × depth charge projector (hedgehog)
• 2 x depth charge tracks
Things aren’t what they use to be ;-)

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 5:13 pm

@Donald
Our Royal Navy manpower stands at 33,000 regulars so you are quite privileged to have 13,000 for your Coast Guard alone. In terms of us arming OPV’s which are manned and paid for by the Royal Navy but perform what you would class as coast guard work they chose deliberately not to up arm them not for cost reasons but so our politicians don’t compare them to the infinitely more sophisticated frigates and destroyers we have so precious few of and whose numbers dwindle consistently.

Dunservin
Dunservin
February 11, 2015 5:15 pm

I have often heard it remarked that a warship more normally revolves around its ‘paraffin pigeon’ (helicopter) than vice-versa, so important is this air asset to general maritime operations including humble SAR.

Even when a ship is fitted with a flight deck, there is more to carrying a helo around at sea than putting up a tent to use as a hangar. It also entails the installation and certification of appropriate fuel storage and transfer systems, heavy duty lashings, stowage of aviation stores and spares, specialist firefighting & rescue equipment and extra manpower including aircrew, maintainers, flight deck personnel, survival equipment specialists, etc. If the ship uses a helo as an extension of its weapons system, this entails certified magazine arrangements for air-carried weapons plus air ordnance specialists.

The capabilities of a ship and helo combination are greater than the sum of their parts and the larger and more stable the ship, the wider the helo operating envelope.

@monkey

The Naval Service currently stands at 30,000 regulars comprising 23,000 RN and 7,000 RM personnel.

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 5:29 pm


An even stronger comparison , Japanese Coast Guard at 13,0000 and the Royal Navy , also tasked with some of those duties, 23,000 including a deterrent :-(

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
February 11, 2015 6:00 pm

If you are going to put a hangar or a 76mm gun on to the River Class you in effect need to start from scratch or go for the Khareef and pay three times the price. For the hangar the obvious think is where? (when you consider the crane, FDO position and ISO containers) and the gun you need to rip out the deck below to fit all the kit in, and then you need the computers/sensors etc to fire it. Also what do you need to shoot a 76mm round at that a 30mm can’t deal with in a non war situation and all these extras cost lots of money, not just to buy but also to modify the design to fit them.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 11, 2015 6:11 pm

Both of those (the gun as a designed-in option) on a 1,450t vessel
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/ladroit-offshore-patrol-vessel/

Can’t remember having seen the price.

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 6:27 pm

The Japanese Coast Guard also undertake their governments tasking for hydrographic and oceanographic surveys so can wipe the cost and crew from HMS Enterprise, Endeavour and Scott from the RN .
They will shortly have 3 Shikishima class heavy patrol vessels in service ( 2 active , 1 in build)
Displacement: 6,500 GT
Length: 150.0m
Beam: 16.5m
Draft: 9.0m
Speed: 25 knots
Range: 20,000nm
Stop it monkey your hurting your self now :-(

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 6:48 pm

The Khareef just happens to be a family member of the VT 80m OPV family with a hangar, it isn’t necessarily an example of how you would build a Helicopter Patrol Vessel.

Perhaps a look at something like the Austal 80m MRV if that’s the direction of travel?

Specifically the variant proposed for the Australian Ocean Combat Vessel, given it’s an evolution of the Independence-class and built on procedures developed from lead-in projects such as Fast Sea Frame so it’s had an opportunity to have been informed on small crew helicopter flight operations and handling?

Peter Elliott
February 11, 2015 6:52 pm

Makes a huge amount of sense to me that if you’re going to have a lightly armed patrol vessel you may as well make it big do that (a) it can stay out showing presence forever without resupply and (b) it can keep station in proper shitty weather and (c) you can fill it up with almost any kind of supplies, aid, or mission kit imaginable in the event of a screaming emergency.

shark bait
shark bait
February 11, 2015 7:00 pm

@msr, “The Ladroit is a very impressive concept, and one of several available elsewhere that make BAES’s batch 2 River look incredibly dated and needlessly limited”

Couldn’t agree more, rivers look a generation behind what others are now producing. The ladroid is a nice looking ship and I would certainly be an advocate of purchasing a derivative of it , and then using the rivers for MCM.

On the toping of arming OPV, I don’t see the point. Its extra cost for something that doesn’t have enough room for big offensive weapons, or enough defensive weapons. Tasked against an air , sub surface or surface assault, from anything bigger than a canoe, they will be able to do very little. Unless you have a helli in which case your capability is x10

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
February 11, 2015 7:07 pm

We have to remember that the only reason we are getting the Batch 2’s is to provide work to the Clyde between QEC and T26, either we gave BAE 300m for nothing or 350ish and got 3 OPV’s. The reason we are getting the design we are getting is because it existed, was around the right cost, was proven and critically was a BAE design. Any changes made between Amazonas and Batch 2 will have to be paid for.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 11, 2015 7:15 pm

They economised on the steel grade, it became thicker, and thereby the bonus RE the Hollands:

“even a strengthened/thickened outer hull skin intended to defeat small arms fire!”

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 7:24 pm

@Engineer Tom – If 57 meter FACs can carry 1-2 76mm guns, it should be relatively easy to fit one on a 90 meter OPV, likewise the associated fire control equipment (assuming something more sophisticated than the FCS for the 30mm gun is needed). If you will reread the comments, we were addressing the captain’s comment that he wouldn’t go to war in the Severn. For that matter, with the 30mm DS30B gun’s 30×173 mm ammunition the 5100 meter effective range is dwarfed by the 76mm’s effective range of 16,000 meters, providing the ability to engage multiple targets (aircraft and missiles) before they get to the ship. If you’re calling what is happening in the world “non-war,” then you should read more stuff outside the engineering field.

With the lawlessness in the world and lack of accountability for advanced weaponry, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if criminals get, or have, access to missiles that outrange the 30mm DS30B gun. A few high-speed boats with missiles, and the HMS Severn could be completely disabled or sunk.

BTW, the USCG 82 meter Famous-class Medium Endurance Cutters mount 76/62 guns. Why would they need such a thing? (They also have hangars for their helicopters. Just sayin’.)

If war did break out, as opposed to “non war,” how long do you suppose it would be before HMS Severn could be relieved/reinforced or otherwise protected? At least HMS Clyde has a Typhoon flight to come to her aid.

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 7:24 pm

Followed up on the Australian requirement and found this from our favourite Australian steel bashers , the Austal MRV 80
http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.austal.com/Resources/Deliveries/4a74c8d1-9ece-4ea8-8693-bcf8493e31cf/mrv-80-data-sheets-sml.pdf&sa=U&ei=YKrbVMeLGsTUasHegeAD&ved=0CAsQFjAA&sig2=87QNKIZewtsjCCdiqDp7zA&usg=AFQjCNH7K3KVgy8Nh_9AoB0KkjrKfJ6hiA
A baby Boeing type LCS expanding on their knowledge with builds on the LCS programme and their other multihull designs. If BAE do eventually get tired of trying to build surface ships in the UK , who would you prefer to buy the yards , the government NFW!!! , Austal or Damen ?

monkey
monkey
February 11, 2015 7:32 pm

@Kent
On land the UK Gov has realised that even people who use bed sheets for clothes can be deadly adversaries even with limited technology and has driven the purchase of the MRAP and rethinks on FRES et al but at sea? RADIO MESSAGE TO COMMANDER OF HMS … OPV , WAR BROKEN OUT , FIND NEAREST SAFE HARBOUR AND SIT THIS ONE OUT CHAPS WHILE WE LOCATE SOME WEAPONS FOR YOU… END MESSAGE.
P.S. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU HMS CLYDE .. IF ARGIES SHOW UP REFER TO FILM ‘THE AFRICAN QUEEN’ AND IMPROVISE… STOP

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 11, 2015 7:43 pm

Martin,

“The bay’s used an inflatable hanger on APT (n)”

Not inflatable. Rigid steel structure. Also not just on APT(N). Cardigan Bay has/had one for MCMV support.

http://www.rubbuk.com/projects/marine/apfalmouth.htm

Kent,

“Does anyone truly think that there will be time to acquire and mount weapons that these ships are “fit for?””

You have misunderstood something. RN OPVs aren’t fitted for much.

As for other units, you must have missed many of them gradually being fitted with much of the FTR equipment since entering service.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 8:08 pm

@monkey – Nice! I’d put a bigger gun on it, though. I figure a 57mm would be enough since they embark a helicopter (presumably armed).

Yes. I would put bigger guns on just about everything out there. That’s just me.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 8:19 pm

@monkey – Radio message follows: Admiralty from Captain, HMS OPV. Please provide definition and location of “safe harbour.” I have opened up the weapons locker and issued all seven rifles and and all 210 rounds of ammunition to some good chaps. The rest of the crew are gathering wrenches, prybars, and kitchen knives. The 30mm gun crew have high morale and are spoiling for a fight. God Save the Queen! End message.

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 8:22 pm

Was thinking more along the lines of the OCV variant of the Austal MRV 80:

http://pds27.egloos.com/pds/201301/01/78/a0041278_50e2e9402f5b9.jpg

and

http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/bmpd/38024980/1562116/1562116_1000.jpg

Note: VLS (ESSM?), Harpoon(?) and SeaRAM(?) along with davits, MH-60 class helicopter and CEAFAR/CEAMOUNT (hence ESSM speculation over Sea Ceptor).

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 8:37 pm

@Anixtu – The RN OPVs don’t need to be fitted for much to put a 76mm gun on the foredeck. I’m not even suggesting the Vulcano ammunition for it. It’s not like I was suggesting a 127/64 or 5″/62 mount. Just don’t let me provide the requirements if you don’t like weaponry, ’cause I like guns. :D Missiles are good, too, but not to replace GUNS! :D

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 8:48 pm

IIRC @NaB mentioned there’s not enough room below for a deck penetrating mount.

EDIT: Worth remembering River batch 2 has a reinforced “mission deck” and increased stores compared to common-variety OPV’s.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 8:48 pm

@TOC – Not enough room for a deck penetrating mount on a 90 meter OPV? Seriously? The Austal MRV 80 shows a deck penetrating mount! BTW, the MRV 80 OCV version is just the ticket! Missiles and guns!

Rocket Banana
February 11, 2015 8:56 pm

What is the purpose of the huge flat space at the rear of the ship?

Did they forget to put a slipway in the stern for a nice fast interceptor? At least that way they could actually catch some bandits!

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 8:59 pm

@Simon

Tricky to make it out, but it’s there behind the variable-level RORO loading ramp in this rendering of the basic variant:

http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/6910/images/139313/large/2-mrv80.jpg

Challenger
Challenger
February 11, 2015 8:59 pm

I have to concur with a lot of commentators regarding these batch 2 River’s lack of a hangar being a serious issue when it comes to the kind of long endurance constabulary work many of us would like to see them undertake.

Has anyone actually heard definitively whether or not telescopic hangars could be potentially fitted?

Although i still see Atlantic Patrol North as a special candidate for a modified merchant vessel, RFA manned, forward-based, with a couple of helicopters and the appropriate facilities, some fast boats, a boarding team and full to the brim with humanitarian aid.

Has the MOD ever even approached DFID and tried to persuade them that if some of the funding came from them it would make sense in the long-run? It’s well within their remit after all.

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 11, 2015 8:59 pm

Kent,

“The RN OPVs don’t need to be fitted for much to put a 76mm gun on the foredeck.”

Yes, something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-inch_M1902_field_gun#mediaviewer/File:3-inch_M1902_field_gun_at_the_1st_Division_Museum_tank_park.JPG with containerised magazines on the container/flight deck might be a practical solution. May need to consider the ammunition routes carefully.

Sparky42
Sparky42
February 11, 2015 9:21 pm

The P50’s and P60’s of the Irish Navy have 76mm fitted, I can’t see why if the RN had wanted them to have 76mm that the River’s couldn’t. Of course now its flogging a dead horse but you get what you ask for.

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 9:31 pm
Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 9:31 pm

@Anixtu; @Sparky42 – The HTMS Krabi, a modified River-class OPV, has a 76/62 on the foredeck. Just sayin’.

@Anixtu – Cute. If we want to go old-time, let’s go here: http://www.victorianshipmodels.com/antitorpedoboatguns/Hotchkiss/Resources/hotchkiss53mmpho.jpeg
I believe it wouldn’t require a deck penetrating mount, and you could put some nice ammo boxes against the front of the superstructure. Of course, you’d need a gunnery officer in tropical whites next to the mount with a brass telescope to adjust fire. :P

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 9:42 pm

@TOC – But,…the “mission deck” isn’t anywhere near the foredeck, and you can stack bags of beans and cans of meat pudding anywhere!

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 11, 2015 9:51 pm

Kent,

“If we want to go old-time, let’s go here”

That’s not 76mm. I am trying to keep weight down, and adopting a land pattern carriage allows flexibility for use by the landing party. I am fairly sure that just propping the limber against the bridge front will not meet the naval magazine regulations though, hence the containerised magazine aft.

The Other Chris
February 11, 2015 10:03 pm

@Kent

I hear you, but the situation is accommodation is below decks on the fore IIRC from @NaB’s description.

The arrangement works for the current mounts (DS30B, presumably something like an M variant or SIGMA in future) however the current design is optimised for the increased cruising range (these are the stores I was thinking of, you need 6,000nm plus to sail from UK to FI).

The helideck is strengthened beyond Clyde’s to handle Merlins. That affects stability.

The foredeck is unlikely to be strong enough to mount a 76mm or support a hole for a penetration. If it were strengthened, that would affect stability as would the heavier turret above-deck.

Below deck there’s the obvious need for ready and long-term magazines as well as handling (armour, weight, stability factors there as well) but less obvious is that given we know accommodation is there, there’s unlikely to be sufficient high power provision running through the section.

Rather than punch a hole in a River, if you want anything heavier than a 30mm you’re probably better looking at a completely new design.

e.g. Damen OPV 2600

http://products.damen.com/en/ranges/offshore-patrol-vessel/offshore-patrol-vessel-2600

Datasheet:

http://products.damen.com/~/media/Products/Images/Clusters%20groups/Naval/Offshore%20Patrol%20Vessel/OPV%202600/Documents/Offshore_Patrol_Vessel_2600_DS.ashx

@TD: Note all the ISO Containers under the flight deck!

@Simon: Note the positioning of the ISO Containers, which admittedly prevents a stern ramp but does allow for a CAPTAS-1 TAS.

Repulse
February 11, 2015 10:30 pm

To say that an OPV has no value in a war is utter cr*p and ignores what has happened for a very long time, e.g. take what you can get your hands on, upgrade as much as you can and use it as a stop gap until you get your sh1t together. If the navy had to expand quickly an pimped OPV design is exactly what could be built quickly and in numbers.

Why the RN decided that downgrading the armament for the Batch 2 Rivers vs the Amazonas-class really does baffle me… Not having a hanger is just negligence.

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 10:35 pm

@TOC – I suppose you’re right, but it seems a shame, especially in light of this: http://cdn2.shipspotting.com/photos/middle/7/8/7/2075787.jpg The HTMS Krabi has the armament that I believe the other River-class vessels should have – one 76/62 and two 30mm mounts.

The Damen OPV 2600 is a nice ship, too. The hangar is a nice touch, don’t you think? :D

Kent
Kent
February 11, 2015 11:14 pm

@TOC – I think the USCG Hamilton-class High Endurance Cutters have the range you require, a helipad, and a hangar. They had their 5″/38 turret replaced when they were updated, but they still have a gun or two.
Displacement: 3,250 metric tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: CODOG system
2 × Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8-1/8-12 12-cylinder diesel engines generating 7,000 hp (5,200 kW) and 2 × Pratt & Whittney FT4A-6 gas turbines producing 36,000 hp (27,000 kW)
Speed: 29 kn (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nmi (26,000 km)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167
Armament: 76 mm cannon, 2 × 25 mm Mk38, 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System) 6x .50 caliber machine guns
Aircraft carried: HH-60 J Hawk, HH-65 Dolphin go ship to ship as needed
Aviation facilities: hangar

The Coast Guard has seven of them left on active duty. Maybe you could lease a few.

shark bait
shark bait
February 11, 2015 11:49 pm

, what situation would you envisage an OPV would be useful in a fight.

IMO they dont have the space to be useful. They dont have the space for many defensive aids. Any competent enemy in their proper ship could keep attacking and quickly run down any defense an OPV might have. They they can try and run and suddenly realize their little diesel engines aren’t fast enough. In my opinion they would be pretty much hopeless against a moderately equipped enemy.

But then again is my also opinion any surface ship will be hopeless against a well equipped enemy.

Chuck Hill
February 12, 2015 12:18 am

Regarding the Batch II ships, obviously they could have been built with a medium caliber gun because the Thai version has been built with one. I also suspect a hangar could have been incorporated if it had been accepted that the ship would only operate smaller helicopters and not the Merlin.

A gun with associated fire control system and regular operation of a helicopter are likely to drive up the crew requirements from 35 to closer to 80. That would obviously drive up the operating cost substantially.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_endurance_cutter

Chuck Hill
February 12, 2015 12:25 am

Regarding the utility of an onboard helicopter. My calculations when I used to do this sort of thing as a Coast Guard officer was that the helicopter flying two sorties a day increased our surveillance capability about 50% compared to the ship alone. In that respect two simpler ships might be a better investment than a single ship with a helicopter capability.

On the other hand there are some things you cannot do without a helicopter. The region has a lot of smuggling using high speed boats that can outrun patrol ships, but they cannot outrun an armed helicopter. The US Coast Guard uses helicopters armed with a 7.62mm machine gun for firing warning shots and a .50 cal. sniper rifle for disabling fire. These helicopters have deployed on both RN and Dutch Navy vessels in the area.

Chuck Hill
February 12, 2015 12:39 am

Regarding the wartime use of these types of vessels, while they will probably never directly oppose regular enemy naval forces, they do have a role.

Sea control in the form of regulating commerce, enforcing blockades, preventing the use of merchant vessels for clandestine purposes are all appropriate tasks that could be performed by patrol vessels of this size while freeing more capable ships from these mundane tasks. All these tasks require a capability to do boardings not unlike their peacetime duties. There might be some insights into both missions and weapons requirements here: http://chuckhillscgblog.net/2012/02/10/what-might-coast-guard-cutters-do-in-wartime-part-2-coast-guard-roles/

Aubrey's Shadow
Aubrey's Shadow
February 12, 2015 12:59 am

One of the most re-assuring aspects of this, for me, was the clear and succinct way the Lt Cdr came across. No waffle, no management-speak; clear and confident for his age. And no red roses stuffed down the barrel of his pop-gun. I hope he goes far.

Chuck Hill
February 12, 2015 1:06 am

The Royal Navy really needs to be bigger. The US EEZ is the largest in the world, but the UK EEZ is the fifth largest and is about 60% as large as that of the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone#United_Kingdom
The US Coast Guard has over 40,000 active duty personnel and includes about 40 ships of over 1,000 tons full load. Plus a lot of aircraft.

mickp
mickp
February 12, 2015 9:21 am

I think the River B2s are as they are for a cost reason in terms of build and running costs. If they as suggested just replace the B1 Rivers then they are perfectly adequate for fisheries and UK water patrol with the capability as proven by HMS Severn to deploy in a low key flag waving and reassuring presence role to BOTs. They are more capable than Severn on terms of space and probably could deploy UAVs like Camcopter to enhanced surveillance. I would hope however we can keep then as well as the Rivers provided it does not eat into T26 numbers. As they are more capable I might look to forward deploy one to WI and the FI, bring Clyde back and base it in Gib.

If for whatever reason we decide a helo capable patrol vessel is needed I would go utility and range rather than gucci. There’s the BAE 90m (basis of Khareef), the various Venator designs or the Damen 2600 for starters. I like the latter as it does seem more versatile with ISO space etc, not unlike the original Venator design so possibly a role as secondary ASW escort if the balloon went up?

None of these however have the utility of a T26 and I think that is where our limited resources should be focussed and on as large a buy as possible – i.e. commit to at least 13

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 10:03 am

Kent,

“Maybe you could lease a few.”

Nah, you’ve de-fitted them for Harpoon, sonar and torpedoes and fitted a *smaller* calibre main gun. What’s with that? ;-)

Chuck Hill,

“A gun with associated fire control system… would obviously drive up the operating cost substantially.

Not just the crew requirements but the (re)introduction of a calibre and type of gun adding to training, ammunition, parts, etc. overheads for a class of 3 vessels. 4.5″ Mk8 or 5” Mk45 are the only plausible options for a gun larger than 30mm.

Martin
Editor
February 12, 2015 10:21 am

@ chuck – our eez is not as un- defended as it appears. On top of the RN fishery squadron we have our coast guard and our tax office has its own little navy as well. In addition Scotland has three OPVs and many of our overseas territories like the FI also have small patrol craft.

They all basically cover the same tasks as the USCG.

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 10:45 am

Martin,

HM Coastguard are a life saving agency only – no law enforcement or maritime security.
Customs no longer operate the cutters, they have been passed to the Border Force which does do law enforcement, covering both the customs tasks and immigration.
The Marine Scotland vessels are pure fishery protection – no other law enforcement or maritime security operations.

This contrasts with USCG where a much larger proportion of the vessels and personnel are capable of law enforcement and maritime security operations.

You missed out Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board, the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the RNLI to round out the UK agencies and organisations conducting missions analogous to the USCG. :-)

The Other Chris
February 12, 2015 11:09 am

Almost certain that if the Amazonas themselves had DS30B side mounts rather than their unstabilised 25mm mounts the new Rivers would (could?) receive their own extra DS30B’s as the T23 units were replaced by DS30M’s and the B’s became available.

The RN just doesn’t have 25mm’s in inventory. Maybe the old 20mm’s could be equipped, however there’s precious few of them and that would necessitate a change in stores and handling again.

We still have M134 miniguns as well as the likes of GPMG’s, Javelin and HVM (soon to switch to Martlet as well?) in inventory available to us if we need to rapidly up-gun an EEZ Patrol for some reason.

Take a look at the typical Hunt/Sandown fit and compare to the new Rivers. They moonlight as patrol vessels from time to time.

Repulse
February 12, 2015 12:02 pm

We all know the reality is that the Rivers are not under-armed due to cost reasons, but political reasons with the fear that it will somehow impact T26 numbers. That’s the real issue, capability vs cost is exponential – with the Rivers being of low capability even a modest increase in costs will result in significantly more capability.

I understand the mentality that we “must” have first rate kit, otherwise the US will not ask us to play. But that was more relevant 10-15 years ago when the US defence budget was ballooning. Now days, they are more happy to play with anyone that has something real to offer. Even low tech in the right place and at the right scale will be considered valuable – one death star sat in Portsmouth may be less so.

Not A Boffin
Not A Boffin
February 12, 2015 12:52 pm

One last attempt to explain in terms that even the fantasy fleet halfwits can understand.

The three Rivers being built on the Clyde are only being built because the TOBA would otherwise require HMG to give BAES a substantial amount of money to pay for employing the number of shipwrights, platers and welders (aka “steel trades”) that are required to maintain a complex warship building capability in the UK under the terms of the TOBA, to sit around making tea.

The steel trades are currently under employed because the vast majority of the PoW steel work has been completed and is either at Rosyth, or in various stages of “outfit” (which requires fitters, sparkies, joiners and other such effeminate types) in Govan and because the T26 design is not yet capable of being approved and contracted to allow steel unit fabrication to begin (as was the original plan).

In order to provide useful work for the steel trades, they need to build something. However, that “something” cannot consume any of the following – significant effort from design staff (they’re all busy trying to fix T26 – they don’t all need to be, but that’s another story), cash (so no complex systems) or large numbers of outfit trades (again, which means something simple).

What that means is that they have to build a design that requires the absolute minimum amount of re-engineering (so no fantasy guns, or hangars etc, etc), because the only design that is reasonably modern, meets the requirement for minimum effort and cash is the Amazonas.

Even then, in order to get the ship to comply with what the RN wants (Naval Ship Code, Lloyds Naval Ship Rules NS3 notation, RN hab stds etc) they’re having to put quite a bit of engineering effort in, because the Amazonas is designed to a mix of standards, including LR Special Service Craft rules, that were acceptable to the Trinidad and Tobago CG and possibly the Brazilian Navy.

Someone is probably going to start wibbling about Khareefs, or Krabis or even HMS Clyde at this point, to which the response will be (in no particular order, you’ll have to figure it out) :

1. RN standards as above.
2. Range and complement
3. Stability issues

These ships are being built to plug a work gap on the Clyde, to cost the absolute minimum and to absorb the absolute minimum shipyard manpower (and thus avoid affecting other programmes). The only effect T26 has on them is the requirement for steel trades work in the first place.

Dunservin
Dunservin
February 12, 2015 1:02 pm

“…capability vs cost is exponential… even a modest increase in costs will result in significantly more capability.”

Often argued but it usually works the other way round, i.e. even a modest increase in capability will cost significantly more. Think of all that a heavier weapon implies in terms of hull and deck strengthening, additional space (especially if there are significant deck penetrations), platform stability, power supplies, sensors, fire control system, magazine arrangements, safety & certification, ammunition handling, maintenance, RADHAZ, extra specialist personnel, in-service support and configuration control.

MSR
MSR
February 12, 2015 1:15 pm

, I don’t think it’s about wooing the US with expensive toys. It is much more… as you actually suggest… about the US being interested in anyone with something useful to contribute. And sometimes a simple, grey hull with a few interested people on board is useful.

Generally speaking, I don’t go in for playing hypothetical games in which an OPV is upgraded into some kind of pre-dreadnought battleship, with a dozen calibres of gun poking out in every conceivable direction. However, my definition of OPV most certainly jibes with the basic USCG mission profile: an aviation capability for fast boat chasing/law enforcement, surveillance and rescue; a decent EO and radar sensor suite, including fire control for the next requirement; a 57mm or 76mm calibre main gun in addition to any other MG armaments. I haven’t specified an impressive top speed because the trade-offs needed to go fast for any length of time put you squarely in frigate procurement and operating budget territory. No, better a good sustained speed, and this only adds to the need for an aviation capability, because that’s what you’ll be doing all your chasing with.

And why the above? Because I fear that one day we’ll see a headline proclaiming how a lightly armed vessel under the white ensign has been left in smoking ruin by two or three go-fasts with madly motivated crews armed with RPGs, HMGs and AKs (or even MANPADs – only money is the object), operating not unlike the MBTs/PT boats of a previous era.

And who will get the blame? Not the politicians. It’ll be the RN’s fault because they chose to send a nearly unarmed OPV to do a frigate’s job, and the public will not be sympathetic if they get wind of the reason this was probably done: because the RN was afraid properly equipped OPVs would cut into the frigate fleet.

If you thought the 2007 Iranian Embarrassment was bad enough, you wait until a patrol boat gets smacked good and hard by people who don’t play by Queensbury Rules. If that happens the service may never recover, certainly not in terms of its reputation or perceived value.

Any one of the Irish Naval Service’s OPVs is more terrifying at any time of the day than a River class of either batch. And the deep irony of this is that the Irish boats were knocked together in timely and cost-effective fashion by the UK’s smallest and pluckiest ship builder, while the batch 2 Rivers are being bought at three times the going rate (thanks to TOBA*) and will be built, slowly, by the UKs biggest and most technologically advanced contractor.

*for the money we could have had four or five B2s at least!

monkey
monkey
February 12, 2015 1:21 pm

We must order first rate in these times as it takes so long to build and commission one , keep to weapons release at four years or more even for an established design. We will make do if things get a more urgent I am sure.

MSR
MSR
February 12, 2015 1:22 pm

@Not A Boffin, speaking for myself I firmly get your point and wasn’t under any illusions. My principle criticism of the Batch 2 Rivers is that the TOBA price tag is exhorbitant for just three hulls, even with the implementation/ratification of construction standards involved to correct the mish-mash seen in the Amazonas. We may as well have bought a couple more, then happily retired the Batch 1s and happily had a spare hull or two to forward deploy.

It’s called making a virtue out of a (political/industrial) necessity. Someone might then say that building more than three hulls would have pushed the build schedule too far right and started to interfere with the steel cutting for the Type 26s. On two counts I would then reply with bollox, plural.

Testicle 1 would be that Type 26 ain’t gonna start on time, anyway, and those in the know knew it a while ago.

Testicle 2 would point at the much vaunted ‘Frigate Factory’ and the much-hyped Clyde workforce, and wonder why they couldn’t have managed to build four or five quick and easy hulls in the same time frame, if they are also supposedly capable of building world class complex warships.

Rocket Banana
February 12, 2015 1:24 pm

Basically we need a Wildcat and CT40 (commonality?) on the batch 2 River Class.

We could probably get away with a retrofitted telescopic hangar.

In fact I’m wondering if we could use some old Lynx rather than naval Wildcat as it’s somewhat overspecced for something that needs to take a few bods, a couple of .50 cal and a Javalin.

Clive F
Clive F
February 12, 2015 1:32 pm

Water under the bridge, but could we have built a new Bay (instead of 3xRiver B2) with a hangar and then sold one of the old ones. Should be a good market for 2nd hand a bay?

monkey
monkey
February 12, 2015 1:52 pm

Keel to weapons release about four years is what I thought I typed :-)
On the TOBA thing as we are paying it and getting our nice new OPV’s because there is an issue with T26.
1/ no order placed due to Scottish referendum – gov fault
2/ no order placed due to General Election – gov fault
3/ no order placed due to lack of design resolution due to MoD – gov fault
4/ no order placed due to combination of all of the above – gov fault
£350,000,000 later :-(

Martin
Editor
February 12, 2015 1:54 pm

@ NAB – I think most of us fantasy fleet morons get what your saying. But the fact is we are buying three ships for £350 million. I get why we are buying them but the fact is that we have them and we need to do something useful with them.

I don’t believe for a second the design could not be modified to incorporate a small hanger at little extra cost. I believe the only reason they don’t have a hanger is that the RN does not want to give the treasury an excuse to cut frigate numbers.

I have no desire to see a 76 mm or anything else on them beyond a hanger.

mickp
mickp
February 12, 2015 1:56 pm

@MSR – I do wonder if we will see another few more as at this rate I like you see further slippage with T26

However, all this up – gunning of the B2s is only ever relevant if it is proposed they are used anywhere other than UK EEZ fisheries stuff, benign patrol or a bit of overseas reassurance patrolling. One would hope there are no such proposals thus they can stay as they are either as B1 River replacements or a bit of added flex to sail around the caribbean or Gib. Personally as that MOD paper said (I can’t find it) I think they will just replace the B1 Rivers. Hopefully one swaps with Clyde though to get a newer ship in the FI.

If we can keep to at least 19 DDs/FFs I don’t think there is need (or resource) for any sort of light frigates that other navies have. Basically our OPVs are T23s / T26s which in fantasy fleet land overmatch any other OPV. Where I think something else would need to be considered was if the T26 order fell below 13, unless we were taking that strategic decision to quite certain taskings

So I’d say take the B2s for what they are and lets see BAE / MOD / any others involved crack on with getting the T26 design fixed (finalised and issues resolved) and moving forward with orders otherwise the term ‘halfwits’ might be justifiably directed elsewhere.

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 2:23 pm

Clive F,

“Should be a good market for 2nd hand a bay?”

We got a pittance for the last one we flogged off and the next nearest offer was about 50% of the winning bid.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
February 12, 2015 2:30 pm

@Monkey

Sorry if you feel I think small of RN. No, it’s the opposite. I really think RN is doing incredible work with limited manpower.

My point on “Japan coast guard” issue is that, we operate many OPVs with only a 20-35 mm cannon, with or without helicopter deck, and most of them WITHOUT a hanger. The design concept there is to make it as cheap as possible to increase the number of hulls.

For example, Ojika class PL has 2000t FL, 20kt, 4400 nm range, 91 m/11m (Length/Width), with flight deck but no hanger. Armaments are a 35 mm and a 20 mm cannons only with 34 crews. So, it is quite similar to the River B.2s. Thus, River B.2 and also B.1s “as it is”, are normal OPVs, nothing short. It is well designed to be as cheap as possible to operate, with moderate sea going capability, which is the key issue for OPVs in coast guard duties. (The purchase cost includes TOBA issue, as NaB has mentioned)

This kind of OPV is a perfect match for Caribbean operation. You never use medium calibre gun for EEZ patrol nor anti-smuggler operation. The only issue is helicopter, but most of the air cover tasks could be better done by land-based fixed-wing aircrafts, with only exception for SAR (and disaster relief).

Even in real war, I have no idea an OPV with a gun doing anything better than those without. Its too lightly armed for NGS in front line. In the back, it can do nothing against submarines, which is the main threat. Actually if you buy an ASW kit, you shall kit it for the 9th T26 or to the 6 T45s and make it multi-purpose escort. However, an OPV with a Wildcat with is missiles may do some real work. So that’s why I think it is “better be” (but not must be) with a hanger.

MSR
MSR
February 12, 2015 3:26 pm

@mickp

[QUOTE]However, all this up – gunning of the B2s is only ever relevant if it is proposed they are used anywhere other than UK EEZ fisheries stuff, benign patrol or a bit of overseas reassurance patrolling[END QUOTE]

The problem is that I don’t understand why ‘reassurance patrolling’ is necessarily lower risk compared to the regular type of patrolling that would be taking place right now if HMS Severn was a Type 23, instead.

Where is it written that HMS Severn, on its reassuring pootle through former colonies, won’t encounter a dangerous situation that imperils both it, and those it seeks to assist, which the depth of resource of a properly equipped vessel would make light work of?

I read ‘reassurance patrol’ the same way I read ‘routine surgery’. There is no such thing.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 12, 2015 3:34 pm

MSR – the Clyde Frigate Factory does not exist and will not until a couple of years after the T26 is ordered. The only people who hype the Clyde workforce tend to be the Clyde workforce themselves!

Martin – It’s halfwits, not morons – there is a difference! As for hangers, the Rivers have got hundreds if not thousands of them. Unless you meant hangars of course. The trouble with putting a hangar on the ship is that it might encourage people to believe that the ship is designed to embark a helicopter, as opposed to being capable of landing one on the ship to transfer pax etc. What that means is that you need to add berthing for an embarked flight of about 8 bods (or remove it from the austere 20 bod troop messes), useful AVCAT stowage, demin water plant, air briefing room, air maintenance room, big enough for all the air pubs, an UMMS terminal for the cab, pyros store, S&E kit store / wkshop, air spares store, ASE store etc etc. Plus (in all probability) a winch/PRISM type system etc etc and a magazine (that isn’t next to a machinery space) if you want it to carry any weapons at all.. Most of which needs to be as close to the flightdeck as possible.

That’s a lot of space to find and will add weight as well, even if you have some form of telescopic hangar.

Nobody ever said that buying these ships was a good idea – the sooner they are recognised for what they are and consigned to replace the River B1, the better.

MSR
MSR
February 12, 2015 3:38 pm

@Donald, you make a good point, but forget one thing: the Japanese Coast Guard is bigger than many navies, and has a lot of vessels at its disposal (20 or 30 vessels of 70 metres or greater, and 1000 to 3000 tonnes, including the monster Shikishima class of 10,000 tonnes!).

By comparison the Fisheries squadron (which runs the River class) has 3.

The Japan Coast Guard can deal with not having a flight deck on every hull, or a hangar on every flight deck, because it’s got the numbers and, therefore, the depth of resource. HMS Severn is out on its own.

Over on the MPA thread I’ve been making the argument that whatever MPA the UK might buy should be the best it can buy for the money, because there will not be very many units (very likely less than 10) so they had better be individually very good or be a waste of money. This has led me to wonder if the P-1 isn’t a better bet than the P-8, as it is a custom-designed MPA.

Thus, by the same reasoning, if we’re only going to have 3 OPVs in the entire fleet, we better have 3 good ones!

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 3:56 pm

MSR,

“Where is it written that HMS Severn, on its reassuring pootle through former colonies, won’t encounter a dangerous situation that imperils both it, and those it seeks to assist, which the depth of resource of a properly equipped vessel would make light work of?”

In the same document that says it is OK to send an RFA armed with nothing more than rifle calibre weapons into the same situation.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
February 12, 2015 4:01 pm

@MSR

I understand your point.

But, still a better OPV is a cheap and simple one for me. Any complex addition will decrease sea going days, increase crews (which you need to strip out of DD/FFs), i.e. make it “less effective” as an OPV. As NaB pointed out, a hanger supporting a helicopter operation is by no means “simple addition”. If you are not going to “really use it”, you should better be without it.

For OPV role, yes, air cover is needed. The matter is how you are going to achieve it ; by a helicopter hanger, or by deploying a small flight of Islanders/Defenders (or like) from airfields in the vicinity.

So, if you are building them as a replacement for River B.1s and operating them near Britain Island, a design WITHOUT a hanger is “the good ones”. If you are retaining B.1s and use the B.2s in Caribbean ocean and other places, and decide not to have a small flight of Islanders/Defenders, then a design WITH a hanger will be “the good ones”, I agree.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 4:05 pm

@Donald

Why is air cover required for an OPV role? Are we talking ISR or other roles? If it is ISR then there are means of achieving this that do not require complex flight deck and hangar solutions.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
February 12, 2015 6:47 pm

Looking at the profile of the Amazonas I think you would have to either lengthen the vessel or move the funnel forward to fit a hangar on, either way that would be a major redesign. Not to mention you would lose the crane and the ISO container capability, and that is only to add a hangar not all the other compartments needed to operate a helicopter.

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 8:01 pm

@MSR – “Reassurance patrolling” is exactly the same thing as having an unarmed security guard. It might make you feel better, but all it provides is another victim for an armed, violent aggressor.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 8:19 pm

@Kent

Unlike a security guard maritime threats are very much Intel driven and an OPV with a 30mm game, hmg and mini gun is anything but unarmed. That could easily be supplemented by something like Javelin.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 12, 2015 8:25 pm

Its a bit of a toss up as to whether money is more cost effectively spent with DFID than via the TOBA. Maybe with DFID, as even a ten percent goodness derived / efficiency rating with DFID more than 5 miles inland is more than these little boats will ever achieve.

Actually, as thoughts turn to spring, can we have a DFID/ Navy rugby match? It’ll be a more even contest.

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 8:26 pm

@NaB – This “fantasy fleet halfwit” understands why the River doesn’t have a bigger gun, and, yes, I know the RN doesn’t use the 76/62. This “fantasy fleet halfwit” just thinks a ship operating independently in a remote location (e.g. FI) should be able to protect itself from credible threats. With all the capability the River-class could have, it’s just a shame that you have a RN captain saying he wouldn’t go to war in his ship, ostensibly because it’s just a slow, defenseless target. I think a 30mm is a fine weapon for a little patrol boat, not for a warship.

Henceforth, I shall refer to all the RN River-class vessels as SDTs for short. Have a nice day!

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 12, 2015 8:30 pm

Which is why APT(S) is a DD/FF tasking, not an OPV…….

Challenger
Challenger
February 12, 2015 8:35 pm

Seahawk Sigma would add a bit more firepower with as far as i understand little-no modification.

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 8:36 pm

@APATS – Javelin? The FGM-148 2500 meter anti-tank missile used by the infantry? Yeah. That makes a big difference. Are you familiar with the term “intel failure?” I am, intimately. If you don’t have a big enough gun to handle the possible threat, you’d better be able to out run it. The older SDTs and the SDTs Batch 2 can’t do either.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 8:48 pm

@Kent

Unlike you I am extremely current with maritime threats and Intel and also the actual capabilities of maritime threats in an asymmetric environment which is what an OPV in the Caribbean would have.
Have you ever even been to sea? We are not talking about a conventional threat we are talking about people in a go fast bouncing up and down with an RPG and some machine guns.
Want to guess at effective ranges? So yes a 30mm firing He from a stable platform backed up by Hmg and mini gun with A CLOS missile out to 2.5 km makes a big difference.

The Other Chris
February 12, 2015 8:52 pm

Given the DS30B can fire while underway it’s arguably more “fighty” than the latest USN “FF’s”… :p

monkey
monkey
February 12, 2015 9:03 pm

APT(S) Atlantic Patrol Tasking South
From wiki “The commitment consists of two warships; either a guided-missile destroyer or frigate accompanied by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel. As of 2014 HMS Portland (F79) and RFA Black Rover (A273) are assigned to the task”
This covers all the BOT’s down there , Falklands , South Georgia , South Sandwich Islands,St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristian Cahuna. And a nip down to the British Antarctic Territories if the ice breaker needs some help .
With 6 T45 and as little as eight T26 and our APT(North) and the Gulf and the Horn of Africa and tasking for a Carrier Battle Group and another Amphibious Group and T45 being re-engined will we still cope in a dozen years when the T23’s have gone? Anyone venture we may run short of hulls ? Good news for the yard on the Clyde as the situation will force further orders of some sort of high capability vessels .

mickp
mickp
February 12, 2015 9:24 pm

@Challenger – agreed that would be the obvious upgrade for the B2s. Might even, with a bit of 4×2 and a couple of extension leads, get another 2 30mm on where Amazons has the 20 or 25mms assuming stability is not impacted. That’s it though – perfectly capably then of overmatching whatever it will run into during its intended duties.

That said, I do agree with Kent that we tend to under arm all our vessels as a rule at the outset and then retrofit later, either as a consequence of events (FI 82) or because we have left overs (Harpoon T45)

Repulse
February 12, 2015 9:29 pm

@Challenger – “Seahawk Sigma would add a bit more firepower with as far as i understand little-no modification.”

Burn the witch :)….

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 9:39 pm

@NaB – “Which is why APT(S) is a DD/FF tasking, not an OPV…….”

HMS Portland returned to the UK in January from that tasking. I have yet to find out what ship relieved her. What does that leave in the South Atlantic? Clyde.

Repulse
February 12, 2015 9:41 pm

@shark bait: “, what situation would you envisage an OPV would be useful in a fight.” – I never explicitly said a “fight”, I said useful in “war”. Coastal patrols, mine laying, convoy escorting, ferrying reinforcements, surveillance, ASW helo platform is to name just a few.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 9:43 pm

@Kent

“@NaB – “Which is why APT(S) is a DD/FF tasking, not an OPV…….”
HMS Portland returned to the UK in January from that tasking. I have yet to find out what ship relieved her.”

HMS Dragon is on task, I knew this but 30 seconds on google confirmed it is in the public domain so the inference nobody replaced her to support your spurious argument is not very clever.

Repulse
February 12, 2015 10:20 pm

Further to @Challengers point, I would also have added two 20mm SEAHAWK LW mounts

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 10:21 pm

@APATS – You are skilled in the Google Fu,…I suppose. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/operations/south-atlantic/atlantic-patrol-tasking-south Maybe someone should update their website. in the meantime, thanks ever so much for easing my concern.

BTW, my opinion that the SDTs are underarmed is not spurious merely because it is at odds with NaB’s, and presumably your, opinion.

Haven’t been to sea as a naval person. Haven’t noticed that “intel” in any service is omniscient. Haven’t noticed that “the threat” is static, either.

Chuck Hill
February 12, 2015 10:31 pm

I have come around to a rather unconventional conclusion about what we need for armament on OPVs. There is potentially a need to act to stop a unconventional threat as well as for self defense. The threats I anticipate might be eight small, fast and highly maneuverable or larger and more difficult to stop.

The gun is really mostly there as a signaling device to fire warning shots across the bow of a vessel you want to stop, so the 30mm is perfectly adequate.

For stopping the small fast and highly maneuverable threats it appears something like Brimstone (or Hellfire or Griffin) would be very effective and have a minimal impact on the cost of operating the ship.

Because I include in the asymmetric threats the use of medium or large merchant ships used to introduce armed men or destructive devices, I see the need for an effective ship stopper. And because the larger vessels can have improvised armament like anti-tank guided missiles, recoilless rifles, heavy machine guns, or anti-tank or anti-aircraft guns, I would like to be able to engage them from a distance where they cannot individually target critical systems on my ship. The weapon I would like to have doesn’t exist in the US inventory, it is a small (12.75″) anti-surface torpedo that can home on the ship’s propeller.

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 10:34 pm

@TOC – Our “newest FFs” are being scrapped as quickly as the clowns in Washington can make it happen. Their replacement(s) will have:
1x BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun, 400 rounds in turret and two ready service magazines with 240 rounds each.[8]
4x .50-cal machine guns
2x Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm guns
21x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Surface-to-Air Missiles
Other weapons as part of mission modules
-or-
1 × BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun, 400 rounds in turret and two ready service magazines with 240 rounds each.[9]
One Mk 49 launcher with 21 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Surface-to-Air Missiles
4 × .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
2 × 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster II guns (part of SUW module)
24 × AGM-114L Hellfire missiles (planned part of SUW module)[10]
Other weapons as part of mission modules

Oh, and helicopters!

Depending, of course, on whose data you believe. Sounds pretty “fighty” to me, but I’d put a bigger gun on it. :D

(No excuse for the Arleigh Burke-class NOT to have 8 inch guns!)

The Other Chris
February 12, 2015 10:39 pm

Those are the FF’s I was referring to. Given the Mk 110 struggles to fire while moving the new Rivers aren’t far off… :p

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 10:44 pm

@Chuck Hill – Not a bad idea, but the torpedo needs to be bigger, fast, and long ranged; something that could “stop” the target with a single hit far enough out that it couldn’t possibly hit your vessel with its improvised armament. (Some ships have more than one propeller.)

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 10:48 pm

@TD – “Fully acknowledge this might be a bonkers idea.”

Not “bonkers” at all, IMH(albeit to some people, incredibly ignorant and “halfwit[ted]“)O. It would be better, of course, if the RN would start replacing their 4.5” guns with 5″/62 or 127mm/64 mounts as soon as possible since the Type 26 seems to be vaporware. :D

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 10:49 pm

@ Kent

“BTW, my opinion that the SDTs are underarmed is not spurious merely because it is at odds with NaB’s, and presumably your, opinion.
Haven’t been to sea as a naval person. Haven’t noticed that “intel” in any service is omniscient. Haven’t noticed that “the threat” is static, either.”

it is not about the threat being static it is about understanding the possible caps and lims of sea mounted weapons. Basically without going to gyro stabilised war fighting style mounts you are limited. we did not make up the threat from hand carried weapons on the sort of vessels likely to be encountered in the Caribbean there was a great deal of research done and viable threat ranges and tactical considerations drawn up.
That is what drives the “threat” to be countered.
the ability to upgrade beyond this “hurdle” is totally different from land based systems and that is why i asked the question about ever being to sea, it brings its own issues.

@TD

We have trialled this before and the current solution for Ff/DD is the advent of the 9 month deployment.

Kent
Kent
February 12, 2015 10:54 pm

@TOC – Well, the “new” FFs do have two more 30mms and a close-in SAM mount… I’d put a 76/62 on them, but that’s just me. B^D

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 10:57 pm

TD,

“could crews be rotated, is the infrastructure there to support routine maintenance,”

AFAIK there are no ship repair facilities in the Falklands. This would leave you dependent on Chilean or more distant yards. RFAs typically go to Montevideo or Simonstown.

The RN and USN have consistently failed at rotating crews on frigates or destroyers. Google “sea swap” for the USN story. ISTR the RN version has been covered here before.

Permanently basing the FF/DD on station wouldn’t change the requirement for an RFA.

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 12, 2015 11:03 pm

AIUI Clyde is permanently IVO the Falklands. APT(S) FF/DD and RFA can be anywhere in the South Atlantic, e.g. Sierra Leone over a week’s sailing from the Falklands.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 11:08 pm

@TD

True support to a complex vessel semi permanently deployed is very difficult. The 4 MCMvs in Bahrain have their own deployed FSU (Fleet Support Unit) 25-28 personnel, have cleaning and ships husbandry locally sourced and their general maintenance periods supported by ASRY (Ship yard in Bahrain), to support a singleton or duo of FF/DD type vessels to the same level would require a considerable uplift in capability and facilities.
Th US get past this by numbers and facilities but in Japan (7th fleet) and the Med (6th fleet)they have access to allied facilities capable of such support and long term attached vessels. in the Gulf they support MCMVs PP and CG cutters as well as Ponce but larger units are deployed under OPCON as either CTF 50 (CBG) or CTF 50 (DESRON) and these are deployed rather than semi permanently deployed units and are not supported for large scale planned maintenance in theatre.
given that our primary FF/DD deployments are K1 and K2 (gulf) and ATP(S) it would seem that the 9 month deployment is the best option.

monkey
monkey
February 12, 2015 11:20 pm

@APATS
The Fifth fleets base is getting a $500m+ makeover so perhaps they will get better facilities on shore to support themselves.
TD pointed out the upswing in off shore exploration , a exploration rig arrives from west Africa next month , which could provide some crossover or are they a pretty independent lot who make’it happen’ ,within the regulations of course :-) and we would not like to rely on potentially spurious support. I have delt a little with the offshore crowd but that was twenty plus years ago , maybe they have tightened things up since then, they were very good but put an awfully more down to experience than the book.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
February 12, 2015 11:21 pm

@APATS

Thanks for pointing out.
OPV air cover is for ISR, yes. And yes, you can go with either, a land-based simple airplane, a ship based helicopter, or any UAV assets operating from land or/and the ship.

Yes, in ISR for OPV, Scaneagle or Camcoptor will help a lot, I agree.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 11:32 pm

@monkey

“The Fifth fleets base is getting a $500m+ makeover so perhaps they will get better facilities on shore to support themselves.”
You refer to NSA2 which will expand their footprint onto the dockside via a new bridge (now open) over the highway but includes no plans to maintain FF/DD in theatre.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 12, 2015 11:53 pm

@TD

I believe but am not an authority on the specifics that everyone will get 2 weeks leave as part of the 9 month deployment. This will inevitably be trickle fed but even on a current 6 month deployment every FF/DD generally has 14 day maintenance period where readiness may well be down to R48.
At 48 hours notice it is and has been proven to be entirely feasible to have assets/personnel in the UK at R24 back in theatre in time.

shark bait
shark bait
February 12, 2015 11:54 pm

why does an opv vessel need a big gun? Its not going to be used for anything more than making it look vaguely more like a warship than a fishing boat.
@chucks mention of brimstone (Sea Spear) could be useful for self defence against a kind of threat they could realistically tackle.

I’d stand by the point its best off getting any fighting capability from a helicopter. That way you have a nice modular system, its easy to put weapons on board if needed, and easy to remove them when checking up on fishing boats in the north sea.

@TD Falklands infrastructure is terrible, one reason why serious oil companies are holding back. With the current price of oil its not expected any one will fork out the capitol and build the structures needed to support a large offshore operation. When it does eventually happen it think I think your comment of a semi permanently home port a frigate in the Falklands sounds reasonable, especially if the Argentines stand by their threats about oil extraction.

Maybe base at Diego Garcia, that marginally closer than Portsmouth!

monkey
monkey
February 13, 2015 12:22 am

@APATS
So nipping round to borrow a cup of sugar then :-)
I think any infrastructure growth in the FI will be a long process as pointed out above , low oil price etc , but sharing these type of facilities would seem a good base to plan from , permanently deployed major unit of some sort with crews rotating in the same way as the HMS Clyde crews or ARMY/RAF personnel on the islands do. Obviously for major maintainance work a rotation of the vessel through a UK facility would be required. I can see the aspect of rotating actual units and their associated crews so everyone benefits from the experience and does their fair share in the South Atlantic though.

Dunservin
Dunservin
February 13, 2015 12:36 am

@TD

Nine-month deployments, including two weeks of mid-deployment ‘station leave’ coinciding with a maintenance period, were the rule for RN DD/FF until the 1980s when social/retention pressures dictated otherwise and 6-7 months became more usual. However, ‘Black Watch’ (i.e. key permanent crew members) of SSNs have had to endure 10-month long deployments in recent years, with others having some form of break, and even an 11-month deployment on this occasion:

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2013/may/23/130523-trenchant-completes-record-breaking-mission

“Submariners from HMS Trenchant received a joyful welcome home to their base-port in Plymouth after a record 11-month patrol by a UK attack submarine. The nuclear-powered submarine was met by about 200 families and friends at HM Naval Base, Devonport, after 335 days away – the longest Trafalgar-class submarine deployment – beating the old record by HMS Tireless by 12 days… The deployment covered 38,800nm (the equivalent of 1 ¾ times around the world) and the submarine has spent over 4,700 hours underwater – the equivalent of 6 ½ months. Of Trenchant’s crew of 170 (of which 130 is the maximum at sea), seven have been ‘Black watch’ – aboard for the entire deployment.

More about the ‘new’ nine-month deployment periods for DD/FF in this message from the Second Sea Lord:

http://www.nff.org.uk/news/1043-message-from-second-sea-lord-nine-month-deployments

“…For those deploying for nine months (and to emphasise, this is not all deploying ships), all personnel will have the guarantee of two weeks pre-deployment leave, a four week mid-deployment support period alongside which will include a two week leave package (in addition to the annual leave allowance) with free flights back to the UK, and four or five weeks (depending on whether Christmas/Easter or summer) of post-deployment leave. Throughout all of this the current standards for time ashore versus time away will be rigorously enforced to ensure harmony is protected for individuals…”

Plus ça change.

IXION
February 13, 2015 7:46 am

Tangent alert!

Perhaps NAB can help.

What was wrong with updated Castle class?

It had weight and space for 76mm and other weapons.

I wonder how the crew requirements were reduced for the River class.

And I am going to proudly shout my ignorance.

No RN ship should put to sea without 360 degree CIWS and decoys etc…….

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 13, 2015 10:13 am

Terry Tangent can be dealt with thus :

1. Castle was designed and built by Hall Russell of Aberdeen in about 1980 IIRC. That means her stability, structural, accommodation, fire protection and escape and evac standards would be very different from those today.
2. Hall Russell & Co died in 1992. I’d wager good money that no production information (as opposed to the ships datum drawing pack) survived.

Both those factors mean “someone” would need to completely redesign the ship and produce production information for it, in next to no time and for no money, in order to have a cat in hell’s chance of meeting the requirement, which let’s remember, was mostly about providing steel trades employment on the Clyde. Complement reduction will have been achieved through using unmanned machinery spaces and reduced engineering numbers.

Nice ships, but a bit like suggesting we dig out the T22 drawings and build some of them. And no, let’s not start that hare running.

Anixtu
Anixtu
February 13, 2015 10:26 am

Chibi!

mickp
mickp
February 13, 2015 10:33 am

I do like the story that when the Castles were built they were looking about the best solution for a gun to first round kill for a terrorist vessel and a Centurion 105mm cannon was deemed the best and most efficient but after gold plating bells and whistles were added, the cost went through the roof and the Castles ended up with a 40mm

The Other Chris
February 13, 2015 11:16 am

@NaB

“Nice ships, but a bit like suggesting we dig out the T22 drawings and build some of them. And no, let’s not start that hare running.”

Aww, and there I was thinking we could have a chat about dusting-off the T12L plans and simplifying the superstructure! We could even debate efficient placement of hangers and hangars!

Martin
Editor
February 13, 2015 11:21 am

@ TD – I’m guessing your joking :-) about the Lego models of a T45. Then again nothing would surprise me with BAE. They are great at CGI just not actually building warships.

IXION
February 13, 2015 11:43 am

NAB

Is Terry Tangent an insurgent who attacks from the side. :))

Thanks for info.

I am firmly in the ‘Size is important’ camp, and I regarded the reduction in length from Castle to River as retrograde, and insofar as Rivers have had any problems they have been size related.

I understand potential stability issues. When operating helicopters in open waters.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 13, 2015 12:00 pm

Don’t confuse “stability” with “ship motions or seakeeping”. Two different things, albeit with connections….

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
February 13, 2015 12:21 pm

@mickp, IF they were dilly-dallying (with the Centurion gun) at around 1980,then not much home work had been done as this was around

“If you simply want a general-purpose backup/low-value target/bombardment gun, then nothing before or since has beaten Bofors’ TAK 120 mentioned by Olof. 80 rpm is pretty good going for a single-barrel 120mm gun; it had a water-cooled barrel so it could keep this up for a long time, and it didn’t weigh too much either – less than 30 tons. Given that it first appeared 40 years ago, it is easy to imagine what it would be capable of by now had it been developed (possibly less than 20 tons and 100+ rpm?).”

Quoting our old friend Tony Williams on another forum (2007).

Peter Elliott
February 13, 2015 1:00 pm

NAB so what in layman’s terms is Stability?

In my murky civilian imagining I currently have: “how the thing behaves once water gets in”

MSR
MSR
February 13, 2015 1:25 pm

@Chuck
[QUOTE]
Because I include in the asymmetric threats the use of medium or large merchant ships used to introduce armed men or destructive devices, I see the need for an effective ship stopper.
[END QUOTE]

Your torpedo idea is nice but strikes me as more expensive and technically risky, and less visually intimidating, than the already well-established approach of putting a big gun on it… which leads me to the following:

@shark bait
[QUOTE]
why does an opv vessel need a big gun? Its not going to be used for anything more than making it look vaguely more like a warship than a fishing boat.
[END QUOTE]

Why does the Irish Naval Service, of all people, stick 76mm on theirs? Why have the Turks put one on the Krabi? Why did the RN put 76mm on the Peacocks patrolling out of Hong Kong? Why did the Danes put 76mm on their little Stanflex 300 vessels of just 300 tonnes displacement? Why did the design team of the Castle class consider a 105mm tank gun, as @mickp observes (you can read more about this in ‘Rebuilding the Royal Navy’).

Because 76mm stops ships better than a 30mm. As Chuck says, a 30mm is a signalling device.

You can also access a range of advanced munitions developed for the 76, including guided rounds for AAW, and anti-missile rounds.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 13, 2015 1:44 pm

@MSR

Apples and pears, look at the job and location of each vessel you talk about. The Irish for instance have no FF/DD.
As fo 30mm as a signalling device, ever seen one fire? Know anything about its caps and lims? Like chuck I thought not.

IXION
February 13, 2015 2:01 pm

NAB

Please allow that a layman upon getting aboard a ship might be worried if he was told ”

she has good sea keeping but is inherently unstable”

monkey
monkey
February 13, 2015 2:03 pm

The 30mm from the Mk44 Bushmaster can fire a HEI High Explosive Incendiary out to 5000m , even at that range it will penetrate any superstructure and hull steel work with ease. At 100 to 200 rounds per minute could rake from stem to stern a ship very quickly causing some hull damage but more importantly setting fires through the length of the vessel not to mention explosively damaging internal systems. You do not want that ;-)
As APATS says the Irish vessels have a 76 because its their lead vessels, flag ships if you will , so the Admiral of the fleet has to have a big one :-)

MSR
MSR
February 13, 2015 2:46 pm

@APATS
QUOTE: Apples and pears, look at the job and location of each vessel you talk about. The Irish for instance have no FF/DD.

I don’t follow. Perhaps I’m just dim, but I don’t understand the relevance of having, or not having, frigates or destroyers, given that many who have those things also have OPVs.

Why did the RN spring for a whole new calibre for the Peacocks? A unique weapons fit with unique training and maintenance requirements and logistic tail. Yes, 30mm is impressive, but doesn’t necessarily bring a ship to a stop in a timely fashion.

Across the world constabulary OPVs will have one significant need in common: the need to stop a vessel in extremis which is not co-operating and which may pose a significant threat, whether they are organised criminals, smugglers, hostage-takers, pirates, or the new boogey men of the age: suicidal terrorists. Sometimes you may need to do this by physically rendering the vessel inert. By putting holes in it, smashing the engines and letting water in, not relying on the extremely imprecise science of hoping to cause secondary fires. This is what’s called a ‘credible capability’.

@APATS, @monkey
I think, if I was the Irish Naval Service, I would quite rightly take exception to those remarks. They were happy for some time with 40mm Bofors on the Emer class, but experience and a view of their requirements has clearly led them to settle on the bigger, more expensive 76mm which has, necessarily, increased the unit cost of their ships… and they have never had much money to begin with. If they felt they could do with 30mm, do you not think they would?

monkey
monkey
February 13, 2015 2:49 pm

If you want big guns on a corvette size boat look no further than the USS Wyoming BM-10 , 76m long , a little over 3000t and 2 , yes two , 12″ guns , big enough for yah ? Ok how about four 4″ guns just for giggles .
http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wyoming_(BM-10)&sa=U&ei=hw3eVLHGKcyrU8TwgeAD&ved=0CAsQFjAA&sig2=IImdp60GVRJSUh4J_96wjg&usg=AFQjCNHJdzW0DZLThoQIkuI6130EiWIA2Q

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 13, 2015 2:53 pm

There are two ways that a ship can sink, usually described as LOBLOS, which is Loss of Buoyancy, Loss of Stability. Loss of buoyancy is fairly self explanatory – at the extreme end, Mr Archimedes is no longer able to support your weight. Partial loss of buoyancy means that you end up floating at a deeper waterline than designed, which is where reserve buoyancy comes in. However, that then gets you into loss of stability, which is where the ship has insufficient righting lever to return to the upright position when disturbed, which tends to lead to the ship capsizing at the extreme, or allowing ingress of water through downflooding points like hatches, air escapes, downtakes etc – at which point Mr Archimedes takes another holiday.

Stability is fundamentally the vessels propensity to return to its natural position after disturbance (ie by turning, or by wind loading or shift of cargo). There are intact and damaged criteria which are basically measures of the ships ability to remain upright in various loading conditions and with varying degrees of damage. People are beginning to look at dynamic stability criteria (which essentially assess the effect of wave action on stability – particularly when damaged), but fundamentally. it’s a measure of the righting lever and to a degree, reserve buoyancy.

Seakeeping basically covers how the intact ship responds to waves, primarily in roll, pitch and heave, but also considering slamming (ships keel hitting the sea at high speed) and deck wetness (green water over the weatherdeck) as well..

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 13, 2015 3:07 pm

“Why did the RN spring for a whole new calibre for the Peacocks? A unique weapons fit with unique training and maintenance requirements and logistic tail”

Probably because back then the following applied :

1. 4.5″ too big for the size of ship required
2. But because the Peacocks were HK guardships facing off against PRC (ie NOT just an OPV), something meatier than a 20-40mm required. Not that combat was necessarily expected, but if you’re going to willy-wave a “proper” turret mount looks more impressive.
3. Alternate UK calibres and mounts (4″ or 3″) retired with HMS ships Mermaid and Tiger
4. OTO 76mm was easily available off the shelf and was a NATO standard mount and round.

It’s also probably fair to say that back then we paid slightly less attention to the logistic implications of having additional calibres because we had a much bigger fleet and the impact of that cost was proportionally less.

monkey
monkey
February 13, 2015 3:24 pm

@MSR
Nothing intended to the Irish Navy , just humour from a fellow mick ( I can trace my Irish ancestry back to the fourth century ) With the right radar and fire control the 76 is a true multi-purpose weapon with great range , anti-ship, land bombardment , anti – aircraft and even anti- missile, why we don’t use it is by choice to keep the range of munitions down but as OTO-Merla keep doing more I guess that argument is harder justify.

Clive F
Clive F
February 13, 2015 3:33 pm

In Summary:
1. We had to buy something made on the Clyde
2. “Metal bashing” had to start quickly
3. Minimal design time / input could be used
4. The design had to meet all UK /RN standards
5. That left us with 1 option
6. New “B2’s” will put off replacement time by 10 years+
7. They have a flight deck that can accommodate any RN helicopter
8. Hopefully if we sell / give away B1’s the running costs will have slightly decreased and the flexibility etc has slightly increased.
Sure a lot will disagree, but given the starting point, don’t see we could have done much better (unless we got BAe to make them for less, but they had the “best hand” and played it well.)

Tin hat on

Clive F
Clive F
February 13, 2015 3:42 pm

Agree TD

The Other Chris
February 13, 2015 4:03 pm

Have a feeling the Samuel Beckett’s OTO’s are optically targeted (EO turret above bridge?) rather than a more elaborate FCR/EOFCS/Datalink combination system that can leverage the more exotic natures, features and networking.

If your 76mm sighting arrangement limits your ability to identify, restricts your range and provides the same probability of hit at speed and sea state compared to that of a 30mm arrangement that can also inflict severe disabling fire rapidly you can accommodate other factors such as cost, space, weight and whether the weapon is effective in other areas as well.

Seem to remember this being the driver behind the RN’s switch from listing guns by calibre to instead referring to them by Mount instead (e.g. a shift from calling A turret a Twin 4.5″ to Mk 6 Twin in the first Leanders?).

Mounts/Systems put a cap on the effectiveness of the weapon carried in the mount. Maybe Ireland plans to upgrade the Samuel Beckett’s systems if hostilities approach? In that scenario the RN’s response would unlikely be to upgrade the Rivers, it would more likely deploy the FF/DD/CVF’s. Ireland don’t have that option.

It’s also why I was teasing* @Kent about the new USN FF’s (formerly LCS) last night. The 57mm Bofors in the Mk 110 is a proven weapon elsewhere, however on the Freedom and Independence classes hull vibration at cruising speeds are reportedly causing issues with targeting leaving the vessels with only their two smaller calibre weapons effective when at speed. Soon to change with the SSC batches equipping ASM and supposedly correcting the issues.

q.v. decision to fit the Zumwalt’s with Mk 46 mounts (carrying same 30mm Bushmaster as the DS30B/M) instead of the Mk 110 mounts.

* Apologies Kent, I’m quite drawn to the flight facilities on the Independence in particular

Peter Elliott
February 13, 2015 4:21 pm

Thanks NAB – always good to find out the proper definition of something you only sort of thought you had grasped!

shark bait
shark bait
February 13, 2015 6:01 pm

@MSR, I understand the benefits of a 76mm gun, but you start doing anti-ship, land bombardment , anti – aircraft and anti- missile with your OPV, and you no longer have an OPV, you have a frigate, only a less capable one than everyone else.

The royal navy does not need a light frigate. It needs real frigates to escort our expensive new carriers and to play games with the Americans. It needs some cheap ships to maintain a presence and take out drug traffickers and pirates in their little fiberglass boats, so when our nice new frigates come along they don’t waste their massive capability on a couple of Somalians in a canoe.

Challenger
Challenger
February 13, 2015 6:55 pm

@TD

Agreed that the gap in shipbuilding and the need to plug it is the real issue that should be more closely questioned.

Not counting all of the Future Surface Combatant stuff the T26 has had 5 years and counting of design. I’m sure NaB will pipe up with some very good reasons why it’s still not left the drawing board but (and i’m the first to admit i’m no expert on this stuff) all i can think when i look at the situation is that this isn’t some radical sci-fi design like the Zumwalt or a case of trying to create an all singing all dancing, cleverly modular vessel for pennies like the LCS. Apart from the mission bay (correct me if i’m wrong but essentially an empty space in front of the hangar?) the T26, whilst looking and sounding to be a decent T23 successor isn’t that groundbreaking.

It shouldn’t be this hard to design a frigate, although i accept that the suits dicking around with the maximum tonnage is probably a significant part of the problem.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 13, 2015 7:22 pm

As I’ve pointed out numerous times, there is no good technical reason for it still to be “on the drawing board” other than MoD and BAES painting themselves into a corner and being unable to take a decision to get out of it. The latest noises have me incredulous that no-one senior has started having some of the team beaten to death with their own shoes………..

The “suits” may be unhappy with the deep displacement – which causes one type of issue, but the more serious problem is less to do with weight and more to do with arrangement/configuration and possibly one particular aspect of the requirement (which btw has nothing to do with Mk 41s or other weapons systems). Until that gets fixed, the hundreds of people in Filton and Scotstoun can iterate to their hearts content. All they will do is cost money.

monkey
monkey
February 13, 2015 7:45 pm

With the mission deck all at the same level as the flight deck and passing all the way forward to just behind the mast , then spanning the beam of the ship except where it waists down at the hangar door to accommodate the funnels etc and having overhead beam(?) cranes running full length and width and then mounting kit all above this while accommodating the 22′ rotor head of a Merlin. All that puts a very big roof space to support and for good measure cut some big holes in the walls to deploy 24′ RHIBS / 20′ Containers with associated cranes and I can see it getting difficult. Oh yeah from under this huge space you have let the crew have escape routes,separate RAS routes ,lifts , vents , servicing ducts . I am sure there is a good reason why the mission bay is not below the flight deck but….

Challenger
Challenger
February 13, 2015 7:49 pm

@NaB

As you allude to the reasons for a 5+ year design phase and endless tweaks/delays may be very good, but that doesn’t make the situation acceptable.

Also I understand the reasons for the batch 2 River’s, TOBA, the need to build something that’s simple and already designed etc. I am of the opinion though that if we are going to construct them and pay £300 million whilst we’re at it then they should be put to good use rather than simply replacing their older relatives.

The RN doesn’t need corvette’s or light frigates, what it needs is as many high-end warships as it can get it’s hands on, but with 3 basic and cheap to run patrol vessels on the books it’s makes sense to try and use them to alleviate the pressure on the wider fleet if possible. Not that it will actually happen.

shark bait
shark bait
February 13, 2015 8:13 pm

as the report from the national audit office stated the MOD had a big change to its procurement strategy which hit part way through the T26 procurement. This will inevitably mean things need to be redone so the right paperwork has the right label on it.

This time round, a lot of time has been spent on making the T26 designs highly developed and scrutinised to make the design as low risk as possible. The MOD cannot afford cost overruns in this project and they are taking there time trying to ensure its done right. I cant blame them for being careful about spending billions of pounds.

Its far better than having an order deadline and rushing it though with a supplier who under quoted just to win the contract. I cant blame them for taking their time (although whether thy pull is off is another matter entirely) .

@challenger , couldn’t agree with that last paragraph more. Lots of high end, and a few cheap as possible craft so the quality ships aren’t wasting their time on menial patrol tasks.

Kent