The Type 29 Global Combat Ship

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It seems by the time the Type 26 Global Combat ship gets to the manufacture stage it should really be called the Type 29.

The MoD announced today that it had awarded a contract to BAE…

The Prime Minister has today announced a major boost to the UK’s shipbuilding industry as the Ministry of Defence signs a contract with BAE Systems worth £859million

The contract will deliver…

The new contract will include investment in essential long lead items for the ships, shore testing facilities. There will also be investment in key equipment for the first three ships – such as gas turbines, diesel generators and steering gear – allowing suppliers to plan, invest and secure their workforce on the project.

So no ships then, just more designs, some shore facilities, and bits of 3 ships.

It was reported by the BBC that the contract will ‘support progression’ to the manufacturing phase.

Apart from the usual guff about transformation and new ways of doing things the simple reality of the Type 26 is still far from a tangible design and welding work.

Type 26 has a long pedigree, like FRES. It came out of the Sustained Surface Combatant Capability pathfinder project in 2006 that ultimately went nowhere but you might remember the C1 and C2 concepts. Planning had actually started in 1998 with the Future Escort Project with trimaran hullform proposals, remember RV Triton

The Concept Phase progressed to Initial Gate in March 2010 after the Future Surface Combatant, another name for it, also faded away. SDSR 2010 merged the types into single design of vessel based on an identical hull, 8 were to be ASW optimised and 5, General Purpose.

None of the costs for Future Escort, Future Surface Combatant or others appear in T26 costs by the way.

As it wended its way through the investment approval process it was announced that approval would be split into Main Gate 1 and Main Gate 2. Main Gate 2 would come at the end of the Assessment Phase and constitute the bulk of the project. In November 2011 the Capability Decision Point concluded which identified the key assumptions and baseline design upon which detailed design work could continue in the assessment phase. The Assessment Phase was extended from December 2013 to July 2014 and then again with it planned to conclude at the end of 2014.

This would allow the Main Gate 2 decision to be made and production to commence immediately after.

As we know, this didn’t happen, hence the Offshore Patrol Vessel order to keep selected trades in work at BAE (they would have to be paid in any case courtesy of the Terms of Business Agreement (TOBA))

Type 23 frigates are planned to start going out of service in 2023 (HMS Argyle, launched in 1989), a short 8 years from now.

The approved cost for Type 26 Assessment Phase was £158 million and as at 31st March 2014, the actual costs were £173m, some £15m over. This against a contract award in March 2010 to BAE (leading the Naval Design Partnership) of £127m.

We have all seen the various designs, seen talk of exports to every nation in the known world and discussed the subject at length over several posts on Think Defence.

Type 26 was billed as a low risk solution, after all, the vast majority of its major systems are off the shelf or will have been designed, developed and integrated with others vessels underscores this.

From the pointy end;

  • Medium calibre gun, already in service with a number of naval forces
  • Mk41 VLS, likewise
  • Sea Ceptor and Artisan radar, fitted to Type 23 under separate design and development contracts and transferred to T26
  • Sonar 2087, as above
  • Countermeasures, Phalanx and 30mm cannons, walked over from T23
  • Propulsion and power, we already know from T45 what not to do, major systems off the shelf
  • Combat management, navigation and communication, likewise
  • Chip fryers, as fitted to QE!

All good stuff, a sensible evolutionary design that will de-risk major systems outside of the design and build phase, plenty of room for growth, compliance with modern standards and expectations, endurance for extended deployments and improvements in certain key areas like the Mk41 VLS, mission bay and medium calibre gun.

What’s not to like, nothing, that’s what.

But the question is, what will the contracts awarded so far actually give the MoD?

  • Some nice graphics and a final design
  • Shore facilities and 3 (count em) sets of gas turbines, diesel generators and steering gear.

A billion quid plus change, plus the costs of additional external cost audits, the FSC, Future Escort costs which will not appear in any Type 26 numbers, Artisan, Sea Ceptor and a few other systems.

But don’t worry chaps, the target manufacture cost at last official airing was £250m to £350m

Laughing-Men

 

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All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

Did you perhaps never bother considering that shore support facilities are pretty essential to the ships and that these things are all rolled into the final per hull cost. which is why T45 rolled out at £1BN per hull but further units would have cost half this?
R&D and essential shore side support is divided amongst total hulls but why let that get in the way of you being able to post a funny picture?
Site becoming more tabloid than broadsheet every day.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@TD

Only certain pieces are being transferred from T23 and how many of these are already supported or fitted? I never ever said that shore facilities not PAAMS was the reason for the £1Bn price tag, i actually said “R&D and essential shore side support is divided amongst total hulls” so they add in together.
T26 will bring its own challenges and requirements, what people and sadly you fail to realise is that when building a new warship design there will be several contracts involved not just a simple xBN pound for y hulls award. it is only at the end that you do the costing per hull. So you entire concept of a “manufacture cost” along with your obligatory snide picture is invalid because such a contract or cost does not exist in isolation. :(

martin

Just one thing to say on the T26 build saga AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

How hard can it be to sign a f**king build contract for a frigate.

£350 million has already been pissed up the wall on the B2 rivers. It’s not even a case of our previous issues where we did not have the cash to make the orders. Now we have the cash but no design to build. Zero chance this will get done before the election now so it will have to wait for the long drawn out process of SDSR 2015. God knows how long that will take.

All this would not even have been so bad if the B2 rivers were a useful design but they are going to be able to do little other than replace the existing Rivers which we only bought a few years ago.

Worst of all not a single person will get fired over this. Can you imagine loosing your employer £350 million and not even thinking it might cost you your job.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

There is a clearcut Formula for all projects that have an “F” in their name. Take CVF for starters:

“estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.

– when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn.”

ADD the shoreside and you have a round £7bn.

So FSC becomes
– not the latest official 250-350m
– but 500-700m
Per Hull, shoreside now included. And with all those hand-me-downs! I.e. they willcost the same as the shorter batch-run T45s, effectively.

Anyway, we have now sailed into a safe harbour, as ships so not bring out new, dubious commentators in the same way as topics starting with “U”.

“Nothing wrong with Tabloids APATS, makes for a nice humorous diversion from the depressing reality.”

The Other Chris

T29?

Thought for a minute we were also getting C3/MH(P)C.

IanfromBerks
IanfromBerks

You can see what is going to happen, the cost will escalate, then HMG will say ( after any election) “We can’afford13, we will have 9 instead”.

Trust me I’m a politician

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

Looks like this is the extra bunce for BAE to try and get the design right, some money for the Clyde consolidation / ship factory and long lead items. All sensible, but frankly all dependent on having a ship design that can pass its certification and move to production drawing.

It should also be pointed out that the history back to T22/23(R), then FE, then FSC, then C1/C2 to GCS and T26. TD is a decade out in his origins. T22/23(R) actually kicked off about 95 and then became FE in 97, before being FSC in 99. Several attempts to navigate the approvals process from the first attempt in 99, again in 2003 and 2006-ish all fell over because MoD preferred to cut fleet numbers and/or extend T23. Not an option now.

The issues such as they are, are primarily naval architectural. Perfectly soluble with sensible people allowed to make decisions. One hopes the days of weapons engineers in charge are over.

martin

@ NAB

If the issues are solvable then one would have hoped they would have been solved a long time ago without the need for a £350 million gap fillies for vessels that you have pointed out are of virtually no utility.

As TD points out they were not short on time to get things ready having started in 1998 and they are not even short of money. It’s running our armed forces this way that has left us in the s**t so badly with a £34 billion a year budget being pissed up the wall.

martin

No doubt many of the same people responsible for the f**k will be writing in the telegraph to tell us how shocking it is than we only have an escort fleet of 14 because the T26 program only delivered 8 vessels.

Repulse

In my view it strengthens the need for a RN Arleigh Burke type class approach with evolutionary enhancements.

Repulse

I know I’m in the minority seeing value in small in smaller ships, but the RV Triton looked a great design for a OPV(H) – why did the RN decide not to at least use the investment to further this area?

dave haine
dave haine

Because it was revolutionary… And our civil servants, service chiefs and ministers nowadays run shrieking to the safe haven of ‘what we already know’, preferring to peak out from the undergrowth…

…No Dowding, Fisher or Haldane anymore.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

Always liked Triton and the Trimaran concepts… shame RN decided against.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@DH

It was not revolutionary it had advantages and disadvantages note that that type of Hull is anything but prolific among warships even today.

Challenger
Challenger

@NaB

‘Looks like this is the extra bunce for BAE to try and get the design right, some money for the Clyde consolidation / ship factory’

Oh well that’s fine then! How much money has so far been spent on ‘getting the design right’ and how much more will be pissed away before they actually arrive at something workable?

As Martin said it’s a f**king frigate! A nice looking and sounding one admittedly but still a frigate, do other nations building comparable vessels take this long and spend this much!

Also does BAE actually put any of it’s own money into building the frigate factory or consolidating the Clyde? Or does it expect every penny for every aspect of the venture to be funded out of the national pocket?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers

It’s a bit of a shame that the MOD has already wasted so much money on boats we don’t need (Nellies, T45s, the latest 3 little dinghys) that the inevitable defence cuts post SDSR 2015 will probably mean they won’t get these boats that might actually be useful.

stephen duckworth

Imagine a future were the RN is using trimaran design frigates , the worlds largest military spender is looking for a fast stable design to cover a perceived gap that has developed as its primary warship has grown too lardy for littoral work and far to expensive to risk inshore. They look east across the water and choose a proven ship design which they evolve and build under licence with lots of lovely IP royalties flooding our way . Instead they looked west and bought into a car ferry.
p.s. All ready had a rant on the open thread on this one , we will end up with max 8 ASW T26 ( more likely six)if we are lucky and no GP versions. By the time ship four is laid down a new design process will start for basically an Arleigh Burke type combined AAW/ASW, you might as well do one thing while doing the other.

Peter Elliott

TD the money wasted on programmes that never made it into production are the natural consequence of taking an investment holiday. We cut our armed forces in half since 1991. Consequently we decided that we “didn’t need” lots of the previously planned new kit. Unfortunately the programme development costs were already hard wired into the overhead. So they went to waste.

Could we have saved more by ruthlessly terminating these programmes in the 1990s? Probably. But the skills atrophy of Trafalgar>Astute would have been repeated all across the estate.

The other option would have been to ‘scrap and build’: to keep buying new kit at small scale and ruthlessly retire anything in need of ‘midlife’ upgrade. Tornado, Warrior, T23 all scrapped or sold before their time to make way for the new equipments. Politically tricky but probably better VFM and definitely better industrial policy. We didn’t, that’s history now.

If (and it’s a big if) the forced have now arrived at a stable scale then the wastage of ‘non programmes’ should drop out quite naturally. Because thing don’t get cancelled when we really, really do need them.

Peter Elliott

Challenger the customer always pays for capex. Either it borrows the money and pays upfront or the supplier borrows the money and claws the payback through the price. That’s how capex works.

Today the UK government can borrow at almost zero cost and certainly for less than BAE. So it actually makes financial sense to capitalise the ship factory that way. The side benefit is that the price for the ships themselves will be a more transparent unit cost. And politically an easier sell because of it.

What it does show up is the long term uncertainty over the number of units. By paying for the factory separately both BAE and MoD have dodged the question of how many units will eventually be ordered. Don’t blame them. Its almost certainly because HMT and No.10 have still yet to accept the new reality of a resurgent threat and the need to spend credibly on defence (the 2%). Now that is the worrying bit.

martin

@ Monkey – don’t the USN already have a trimaran optimized for littoral work that they are not very happy with.

Mark
Mark

Is this ship likely to be bought by anyone other than ourselves?

Challenger
Challenger

@PE

Well i’m aware and accept the fact that a customer always has to pay for the production costs one way or another so stumping up for the frigate factory is as you say just a more direct stream of funding that’s then separate from the unit cost per ship.

So i can backtrack on that point, but what about ‘consolidating the Clyde’. Should the closure of Govan or Scotstoun also being funding by the state?

Aubrey
Aubrey's Shadow

It is truly a woeful tale, and entirely avoidable, but there is a fundamental problem at play here, and it’s not unique to Defence either. The politicians we elect, and then appoint as Ministers are often unwilling and invariably unable to exercise power effectively at this level – probably because they have never done it before in the military or industry. I wonder sometimes how many of them would pass the rigour and scrutiny of a Senate appointment hearing. I write as if this is a new phenomenon, and if you’ve slept through Thucydides, you’ll know it was almost as bad 2,500 years ago.

The problem is that there is nobody in authority who has control of the situation; nobody banging tables, and getting civil servants, military officers and industry captains to jump. The incumbents are hostages to processes which they allow to plod along, without ever taking control and of course we see the results. There is no leadership and drive. I’ve seen this at play, and capable politicians can make things happen, but they have to be brave and forceful enough to take charge, and it helps if they have a solid knowledge of their brief rather than a parachute aide memoire.

Although I think that so many of the answers (even if we haven’t ever got all of the questions) lie in more Astutes, nevertheless, I think that we need a surface fleet of 25 FF/DD as well, It’s just the minimum necessary for an economy of our size, with global interests, submarine proliferation threats and levels of international instabilty we haven’t seen for years.

The problem now will be building pressure on capable FF/DD numbers in the early 20s, as the Type 29s inevitably slip, in addition to Type 23 obsolescence and irrelevance in all but the ASW and policing role. I think that I’d be seriously tempted to push the 3 (?) remaining, un-sold/scrapped Type 42s through an overhaul to get another 10 years life out of them as simple GP ‘frigates’; can’t see why they couldn’t fulfill Gulf pirate work, Caribbean duties and for now, South Atlantic work. Even at £50m a pop for sticking some Harpoons on them, 30mms, miniguns and a general tart-up, for 10 years of hull life would be a bargain. And it could keep Portsmouth docks fed for another 2 or 3 years. Seems a retrograde step perhaps, but years of under-investment in new hulls and delays in the 29s are starting to bite and 3 more GP frigates would be very useful.

Then stretch the 23s OSD dates, and order 19 Type 29s to manage the fleet up to 25. Do this in one contract over 10-15 years, to screw the price down, and you’d see how many ‘free’ builds we’d get compared with ordering batches of 5 and then 4, which is the risk scenario. I’d imagine that you’d get 19 for the price of 16. This is also the best way to generate exports; at 2 hulls being built every 12-18 months, there would be slack available to release some to other customers, and when there is a hull about to go down the slipway, and a long production run commitment, the attraction to export customers is so much greater. Commitment creates confidence, lowers production costs and speeds up manufacture. Also, we’d somehow have to involve Portsmouth in this business, if I had my way; I’m not comfortable about putting all our eggs in one shipyard basket in a potentially break-away region.

They make it so bloody complicated, it’s untrue……

Keith Campbell
Keith Campbell

TD,

Construction of warships involves the awarding of multiple contracts, not a single one “for manufacture”. This looks like it marks the beginning of the construction phase of the Type 26. The hulls/superstructures themselves (what the Americans are now calling the sea frame) will only be ordered later. All evidence that I have seen indicates a logical development programme for the Type 26 concept & the ship, with modifications over time but without any of the abrupt course changes and programme terminations & restarts we have seen with FRES.

Peter Elliott

Suspect the costs to get the Type 42 serviceable and back to sea would be eye watering. Quite apart from material condition they must be riddled with obsolescence issues. But the real killer would be skilled manpower. The engineering person ell with that experience must be long gone. If you did want more Patrol Ships it’s the Batch 2 Rivers or nothing.

What you say about speculatively over building T26 for export has some merit. Even if we only expect to operate 13 we should plan to build 16 on the assumption we will shift a few along the way. It worked with T23. Adopting that Tempo at the outset gives us an inbuilt war contingency for little marginal cost.

Peter Elliott

TD the root cause is the same: the shrinkage of the force size leading to an investment holiday. It’s not pure incompetence. But it is still a mind boggling waste caused by trying to carry on ‘business as usual’ when the financial resources weren’t there. The 1997-2010 government mostly at fault for that.

stephen duckworth

@Martin
I should of said alternative future were they were brought
the concept into service and bought into our design rather than the modified Australian car ferry.

Peter Elliott

To elaborate it’s at TB/GB issue. Blair wanted to be the statesman on the world stage but he never held Brown’s feet to the fire to make him write the cheques that SDR98 required. Brown in turn didn’t have the political interest to force a more pragmatic foreign policy approach. So the MoD was left to muddle through, during which time all their available effort was going into UOR for Telic and Herrick. So its little surprise that both FRES and T26 were left to bleed programme cost without delivering anything tangible.

Peter Elliott

Now with the current lot it is much more of an issue of competence. Between them Fox, Hammond and Fallon have been pretty successful in driving financial control and accountability. But they are only now starting to get into the detail of technical capability. Like how to run a Naval Design Partnership so that you actually get a workable ship design. As NAB hints it sounds like the wrong specialism may have ‘captured’ the programme for a while.

stephen duckworth

Hopefully we get at least a half dozen first rate ASW frigates out of this to perform their designated roles of keeping the CASD safe and the CBG supported , all else I think will be secondary to Adm Z’s plans for the RN’s role . Next on the list is obviously some form of Amphibs , at least two . How long and how much will they sting us? Before anyone says why don’t we just buy the Mistrals they almost certainly won’t be compliant with whatever standards and there is no 10+ year design process to spin out is there?

Peter Elliott

Replacing Albions with Mistral 1:1 is superficially attractive.

But having hard won a functioning NDP we need to use it if we want to keep it. Depending how T45 goes we might not need another Destroyer design until 2030. So if they’re not designing a RN LHD what are they going to be doing?

France and NATO between them need to conserve and rotate the available Mistrals. Germany and Poland could maybe take 1 each to show their commitment to the Baltic States.

India or Brazil will want to build their own. Australia just bought LHDs. NZ and Canada probably have no requirement. The Far East will build their own if they want them.

Peter Elliott

TD the number of active ships in the fleet is all about operating cost not about procurement. We were not short of ships. We retired T22 and T23 hulls to save manpower, not steel trades.

WiseApe

So can we assume that at least these items “… 3 (count em) sets of gas turbines, diesel generators…” are settled on and will be consistent throughout the class?

kernowboy
kernowboy

Just bite the bullet and go with an UK version of the FREMM, any additional costs going to moving it to UK standards.

I’d prefer the Italian version as the base standard with a double hanger

Swap the LM2500 for the MT30

If we can’t go the Mk45 5inch go we go with the Oto version (no downgrade there) and if the Mk41 won’t fit we should look at a mix of A50/A70 Sylver silos – 32 silos.

BAE can invest in the Naval Scalp through MBDA and the ships can be built in the UK …. it may appeal to some nations who traditional buy British.

We have 16 tubes for Land Attack missiles – would be interesting to see if the A50/A70 can fit Kongsberg JSM VL missile under develop and 16 tubes with which we can quad pack the CAMM (64 air defence missiles)

So for the RN

144m long
Type 997 Artisan Radar
Type 2050 bow radar – Sonar 2087 for ASW versions
1x OTO 127/64
32x Sylver A50/A70 – 16x Naval Scalp, 64x CAMM
1x AW101, 1x AW159
2×4 Harpoon
2x Phalanx CIWS
2x 30mm

the Italian contract was €5.8bn for 10 FREMMS so about €580m each or £470m each.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

This might help clarify if any export orders will be on the near horizon

Small Naval Efforts Thrive, Larger Ships Lag

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/show-daily/idex/2015/02/21/mideast-naval-programs-warships-frigates-corvettes-patrol-amphibious-idex-navdex-dhabi-saudi-kuwait-egypt/23508519/

‘Fast patrol craft, offshore patrol vessels and corvette-sized warships continue to dominate most naval needs in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, even as political and financial instability concerns grow. Larger and more expensive programs, including frigate or submarine acquisition, remain an elusive goal for many navies.’

Peter Elliott

TD – I stand by the comment. The reason we have not enough ships is not because we built too few and too late. It is because we have been desperately to save the wage, training and pension cost of sailors.

Fix that problem and we can easily build enough physical units for them to operate. We had the budget to build 8 Astute. We chose to build 7 for the same money to save on the wages and on-costs of the 8th crew.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

TD I agree most navies just play about in their own waters. So how many potential navies does that leave us to sell to? Nations like Australia already having recently invested in frigates, Canada will be looking but will the T26 be at the right price for the international market?

@PE

‘We had the budget to build 8 Astute. We chose to build 7 for the same money to save on the wages and on-costs of the 8th crew.’

In other words we did not have the money for 8. If you cannot afford the insurance for a Ferrari, then you cannot afford a Ferrari.

kernowboy
kernowboy

Think Defence

Contracts can be cancelled. Think of the NIMROD MRA4 debacle. Best not to waste that sort of money only to buy from an external source anyway

Simply because we don’t buy one generation of ships doesn’t mean we can’t continue with other versions – derivatives of the River class for example all the way to the armed Khareef class. The German Navy doesn’t buy all the MEKO types

After all, the Dutch in one generation, built Van Speijk class frigates before going back and building the Kortenaer, Karel Doorman and De Zeven Provencien frigates.

In an era of ever decreasing budgets … £859m in a contract which also items such as shore testing equipment, engines etc. can easily be reinvested in the alternative with BAE Systems given the sop of other items purchased for the new vessels plus the construction occurring in UK shipyards

Peter Elliott

Don’t disagree DN – but we should have awareness of where the main cost drivers are. It isn’t crap procurement that is causing the manpower shortage.

It’s the manpower costs that are determining the reduced size of our forces, and that in turn is what has stressed procurement and is driving cost, delay and waste into the equipment programmes from FRES to Typhoon to Shipbuilding.

wirralpete
wirralpete

@TD&PE….
Agree with PE on manpower cost reductions being primary driver of cuts to armed forces and of the civil service manning of the MOD being outsourced to contractors.
I have postulated in the past that the reduced crewing requirements of t26 (125) to t23 (180) and also of Astute (98) to Trafalgar (130) may allow leeway for a small increase in the numbers of both fleets heading towards the mid 2020’s. The big ‘elephant’ in the room being how do we crew two QEC carriers without an uplift in RN manpower.
Think the next SDSR may not be as harsh as we think given improving govt tax receipts amid general GDP growth. We may indeed dip below the mythical 2% for a few years until deficit removed but in cash terms with GDP growth and consequent tax receipts, a flat plus 1% equipment increase in budget is doable, we could fudge the 2% and commit to restoring it in the 2020 – 2025 timeframe.
Oh yes and my favourite hobby horse of having public duties and red arrows et al funded from crown estates revenue rather than the surplus being swallowed up by the treasury! ;-)

Jed
Jed

Its the lack of integrated long term thinking that pisses me off. On the T45 pages of the old Navy Matters site, there is discussion of how variants of the T45 were proposed as replacements for T22B3 and T23. A longer stretched variant to replace the T22’s and a shortened version to replace the T23.

Even with changes to machinery (as we have now learnt that the T45 plant might not be so great after all) there would have been massive commonality in hull, ancillary machinery, communications and command systems, identical bridge etc etc and the cost savings of a long production run of a modular hull (different lengths and arse end’s for towed array etc) may have been substantial. Yes, the RN may have received less than perfect ships, but we are back to gold plated versus 75% good enough.

So yes, TD is right, the surface combatant programme into the T26….. it is in indeed the naval version of the FRES saga !

Overseas
Overseas

Scrap them. As has been said, Nimrod-esque, but whatever. Not worth being bent over the barrel by BAE Surface Ships again, and again, and again. It’s not incompetence, its collusion between supplier and client and gross, gross corruption.

Frankly we should be outsourcing our military equipment, even warships. We wont of course, because defence ministers and senior BAE management have bills to pay, mortgages to sort, taxpayers to screw.

FWIW, I’d happily ask Huntington Ingalls if they wouldn’t mind building a dozen UK-variants of the National Security Cutter. They’d be more than happy to expand their current run of eight and we wont have to go through the problems associated with first and second in class. We can fit all the extra bobbins on when they arrive.

But that’s fantasy land.

The Other Chris

Weren’t the T45 variants proposed when significantly more acoustic deadening was in the design and later dropped?

Small mercies for the whole fleet, altered versions may have provided even more of a headache for replacing the engines.

Mark
Mark

TD

Yes it would seem we are again destined for a UK only bespoke ship. Coming from the aerospace industry I find it odd we are fixated with designing and building ships independently with almost zero chance of having any other country operating the same vessels or subs.

MSR
MSR

@Jed

I take your point: I have long envied the evolving designs that led the USN from the Tico to the Spruance (common hulls and power plants) and ultimately to the Arleigh Burke which they have now stuck with for some time, evolving the basic design from Flight I to Flight IIa and most likely to a Flight IIb or III before long. (I grant you, they wouldn’t have stuck with the Burke quite this long given the choice, but they are reaping the rewards of a low unit cost and a practiced and efficient shipyard building them.)

And I thought a stretched T45 ‘cruiser variant’ batch 2 would have gone a long way to addressing the shortfalls of the design. I also thought a trick was missed in not developing the single faced SAMPSON, a lighter weight, cheaper alternative targeted at the frigate market, and which could have equipped capital vessels, as well, providing a common radar architecture for the fleet just as Aegis has done for the USN.

But that short version to replace the T23s was just horrible. A short fat hull which would never have been as quiet as the T23 (or the T26 if we ever get it).

Regarding low build volumes, low manpower, low everything…

I think the RN is going to have to add the word ‘corvette’ back into its dictionary at some point. A hangar-equipped corvette (or Patrol Frigate, if you prefer) could do anti-piracy/smuggling, presence/surveillance and still contribute something in a hot war as a light/close escort, and could probably be done on a crew of less than a hundred if we returned to single role specialist hulls as was once the vogue.

Under the original S2C2 plan that led to T26 (T26 is not a direct descendant of the Future Surface Combatant – that one died and was replaced, wholesale, by S2C2) this corvette probably equates to a C3 with elements of C2 thrown in to beef it up a proper light General Purpose warship, with a distinct emphasis on it being General Purpose, which would keep a lot of expensive specialist gear off it (and thus keep costs and manning down).

A corvette program would be a far better inheritor of old T23 equipment like Artisan, but the 2087 TAS would still go to the T26 as the fleet specialist ASW platform. The General Purpose corvette could then support the T26 and MCM fleets by acting as a lilypad for ASW/MCM aviation assets (I say assets in order to cover both manned and unmanned), or taking over protection of the fleet train and freeing up T45/26 to pursue their specialist roles, or forming the bulk of the escort for the ARG.

Retire all the River class (batch 1 and 2) to get 3 or 4 additional corvettes and settle on a surface escort fleet of three classes.

There is a caveat: we would need to buy more RFA ships to get the corvettes where they needed to go and keep them there for a useful period. Alternatively, we can re-visit forward basing. Singapore looks like a good candidate (I already think we could use a couple of SSK based out of Singapore, but that’s a fantasy fleets idea).

EDIT

@Overseas

I will take a bakers dozen National Security Cutters off the shelf right now and call them Patrol Frigates. Job done.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

The NSC cutters cost over £400 million a pop and that is without the systems we would need.
We are going Ff/DD and OPV mix far better suited to tasking than Corvette.

mickp
mickp

I’m not sure about this ‘using bits off the T23 for the T26’ idea anyway – I think the timing is not going to work in our favour. Maybe for the first few vessels but thereafter won’t Artisan be old hat? Might also question why we are proposing to upgrade all the T23s.

I’m all for trying to keep 13 T26s but the prolonged process may leave some of their kit out of date and prompt a end to the T26 (after 6 to 8 ships) and worst case that’s it but hopefully into batch 2 territory with a better AAW radar, making it truly a GP escort

The Other Chris

Most of the T23 upgrades are de-risking the new systems for the T26.

mickp
mickp

@TOC – can see that logic, as long as there is not too large a gap between fitting on T23 and transfer to T26. The transfer should be as de-risked state of the art kit and not sub par 2nd hand stuff.

@MSR – I’m with the DD/FF and OPV fleet mix – provided we maintain DD/FF levels at around the 18+ mark for a credible tasks group escort and our long legged standing commitments. A cut in DD/FF number mean we either cut those long legged tasking or look to some alternative ‘cheap’ long legged patrol frigate – more like a Thetis than a corvette type – to cover some of the more benign taskings or FRE / TAPS back up. I hope we maintain the 13 T26s and it doesn’t come to needing another type. Down the line I’d hope the MHPC or MH capability may prove additional patrol / ASW options but that depends on the vessel type chosen.

Our biggest single capability gap remains MPA

wirralpete
wirralpete

@Mark…
Think your forgetting PAAMS was a collaboration on missiles and launchers and combat management, we just went with a more capable radar by all accounts to keep a sovereign capability.
We’re now going MOTS as regards small caliber guns and 5 inch gun, mk41 launchers anti-ship and land attack missiles. As well as MOTS diesels gas turbines and transmissions.
Also we’ve developed a rather neat solution for local area missiles with CAAM (a development of ASRAAM ) with huge export potential- to be sold via MBDA a collaborative european missile producer.
And sonars through THALES, 2087 variants of which are sold to all and sundry.

As regards the ship itself then i think you have to go unique ..see the Horizon type where different requirements were insurmountable with french and italians…. we have requirements for much longer legged ships than the other european countries and differing manning requirements to the Americans.

I think if you take off all the above expensive bits from the price you get a design bespoke yes but one that isnt compromised and suits our specific requirements at a not unreasonable cost … provided you build enough of them. (And export a few, or the design, using UK produced expensive kit )

Overseas
Overseas

Apats

Yes indeed, a cool £400mn for a 4500 tonne platform. It would be £500mn per ship after fitting the VLS (ditch the 57mm).

Maybe some savings in economy of scale, perhaps.

These GCS will cost £500mn each and more, after all the extra ‘costs’ are added, and will come decades late if at all. And for what? A Type 23 (Batch 2). The Cutters would arrive far earlier and more quickly replace the T23’s (and requiring 60-odd fewer crew members too).

We should take advantage of the benefits of joining US build streams and join their programmes, seeing as the single (military) shipbuilder the UK has is so obviously disinclined to doing a proper job.

Mark
Mark

Wirralpete

No hadn’t forgot the paams system, I just don’t see that we are operating that differently from the french, they operate pretty much in the same locations as us and have the same scale as we do.

I’m not sure how different our requirements really are with others and how much we make them different to ensure that they are different. And that’s not just for ships.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@overseas

So you would be happy with 450 million and have no gun, no strike silos, no ASW capability and no mission bay?
No thanks

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@mark

The difference between ourselves and the French is we have enduring presence in places like the Gulf where we have K1 and K2 DD and FF plus 4MCMVs 2 RFAs and an Hq. The French dip in and out.

stephen duckworth

From the £859m you can remove the quoted £200m for the Frigate factory , say £59m for shore facilities (drydock 6 @Portsmouth) leaving £600m over three ships for the propulsion and steering gear. (The MT30’s and generators for the CVF’s came in at £96m for 4 so £25m for the single MT30) . So £200m per ship and 700,000 man hrs per ship at £100 ph(?) and £10m for steel gives £280m per ship basic plus all the other stuff . BAE System should be able to bring these in at £400m or less by my fag packet calcs.
997 Artisan 3D radar-FREE
2087 towed Sonar-FREE
2050 bow sonar-FREE
SCOT-5 satcom-FREE
IRVIN-GQ DLF decoys-FREE
8 × 6-cell CAMM VLS canisters-FREE
3 × 8-cell strike-length Mk 41 VLS -£?
1 × BAE 5 inch Mk 45 naval gun – £?
2 × 30mm DS30M Mk2 guns-FREE
2 × Phalanx CIWS-FREE
2 × Miniguns-FREE
4 × General purpose machine guns -FREE

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

@PE

‘It’s the manpower costs that are determining the reduced size of our forces, and that in turn is what has stressed procurement and is driving cost, delay and equipment programmes from FRES to Typhoon to Shipbuilding.’

Manpower has only recently began to bite. The programmes you mentioned were ongoing during a period of platforms taking priority over personnel and with larger budgets. Miss management (either our own or someone else’s) has been the common denominator in all our major projects since the early 90’s. Inception to delivery takes too long full stop. we would have had FRES if they had just written out the requirement and then let industry build some prototypes. Typhoon has and is a nightmare to be honest how long did it take to get into service and when will it reach it’s full potential?

Overseas
Overseas

Apats

Is that what I said? I don’t think it was, but hey ho, as it goes.

Mark
Mark

Apas

Ok so we keep ships permantly in the gulf and the French don’t ( I may prefer that method but that’s a government one). My question would be this say we had agreed with the french several years ago we would buy the fremm but we wanted to build for example the aft end ship block in Portsmouth for all fremms but we’re happy for final assembly in a french dock. Also we would fit the artisan radar and the camm missile in place of the French radar and aster. Would the RN rather be accepting the first fremm this year at a rate of 1 a year from now or is it happy to wait another 7-8 years to receive the type 26 to replace type 23.

DN

Typhoon first flew in 1994 was delivered to the RAF in 2003 became operational in 2005 took on qra in 2007 became multi role in 2008. It’s fully potiential is limited only only by what people want it to do which hasn’t been thought of yet.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@Mark

After the common destroyer programme we were once bitten twice shy. A permanent presence creates huge extra capability requirements, K1 and K2 come with specific requirements, K2 is currently ASWC for Cog BG

Peter Elliott

DN you misunderstand me. I am not referring to failure to recruit or retain. I am referring to the cost savings from ‘Salami slicing’. The biggest juiciest saving that gets the Treasury salivating most is the reduction in planned manpower levels.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers

Monkey,

There is excessive use of the word “free” in your post. This is the defence industry, in which there is no such thing as “free”***. Integration at the very least costs “lots”, and “lots” is dependent on how cocked up the previous procurement has been, how many changes of requirements, how fucking stupid the IPT Leader has been, and how much net margin the company concerned needs to make (plus 10%) to keep the City quiet.

*** clue. Look at the small print of any defence company official letter/email etc. Does it say “Registered Charity”? No.

Jennings
Jennings

What adjustment to fleet size do we make for attrition in the event of a conflict? You can’t just knock ships up, can you?

The way this Government’s review had it was: “The Royal Navy will be equipped with 19 frigates and destroyers to protect a naval task group and meet our standing commitments at home and overseas. These will include six new Type 45 destroyers and new Type 26 frigates. This force, though smaller than currently, will provide military flexibility and choice across a variety of operations from full-scale warfare, through coercion and reassurance, to presence and maritime security (in particular protecting trade and energy supplies). ”

So how big is this “task group”, what could it do and how much battle damage can take before the rest of the Navy can’t meet the other normal jogging tasks?

Mark
Mark

Apas

Hindsight is wonderful but considering how things turned out perhaps we made the wrong call twice. If your saying that a type 23 can undertake those roles and by inference it must be more capabile than a fremm asw frigate fair enough I’ve no knowledge of either. I suspect had industrial partners been more amenable on the common destroyer the government would have changed any outstanding RNs requirement issues to suit once the radar issue was sorted.

Given that the RN force structure is shrinking and the defence budget which I see little to suggest it will change, if the requirement of permanent presence is what is driving RN ship costs up and making them uncompetitive for foreign sale then its time to start asking the government to stop doing it if no more money for defence is forthcoming.

stephen duckworth

@RT
The implication by the RN is that they are saving money by not demanding brand new everything and are making do with what will be 30 year old kit. As you say though by the time the kit has been tested, refurbed , retested , reinstalled , retested etc costs will incur.
@Jennings
There will be little or no room for losses, we have 6 AAW Destroyers of which eventually a least one at a time will be in deep maintenance to fix their known problems ,the engines for one, and another in minor overhaul leaving no room. The same will go for the T26 to an extent at some point. Missions will be prioritised and co-operation with our allies will be essential. A purely British task force ala 1982 will be very unlikely though.

martin

@ Mickp – I don’t think we need to worry about artisan becoming old hat. The US has shown that a phased array radar can stay relevant for decades with upgrades and I don’t see any new tech beyond phased array likely to cause any revolution any time soon.

T26 is a great idea, If the cost stays in the £400 million range then it’s way cheaper than FREMM or anything the US might have. They just need to start building the thing.

@ TD – I don’t think T26 can be compared to FRES unless the program is canceled again and they start over. It is hopefully still on course to deliver something.

martin

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/2015/02/21/france-egypt-frigate-fremm-dcns-rafale-export-corvette/23674673/

A few more interesting details about FREMM sale to Egypt. with note to the €800 million price tag and the question of just how much did the French tax payer have to subsidize these sales.

I don’t think the British public or press would let our ministers off with such deals.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Stark contrast there to T23s with availability in mid-80s (%).

So, why would the T26s be more like T45s than T23s? RE. “There will be little or no room for losses, we have 6 AAW Destroyers of which eventually a least one at a time will be in deep maintenance to fix their known problems ,the engines for one, and another in minor overhaul leaving no room. The same will go for the T26 to an extent at some point”

Nick
Nick

Martin

I would suggest we should think of the Egypt deal as a clever way to maintain Key industrial capacity. French austerity programme (driven by German Eurozone policy) needs to cut government spending; defence has been a major recipient already. More cuts were likely to come. Surely, this allows he French government to avoiding taking decisions (because of short term austerity driven defence cuts today) that would effectively eliminate a key industry.

The French government can issue bonds today to fund the entire programme at a fixed rate less than 1 % (ridiculous I know, but that’s the Eurozone low risk “discount” compared to the UK/USA). The project finance cost for the Egyptian government will be higher than 1 %, but lower than they could finance themselves. On top of this the margin on the equipment sold will keep the French defence industry going. This is all paid for by very cheap finance. France government can safely slow down the acquisition of ships and aircraft for its own use (cutting the defence budge in the short term).

Whilst financing the Eqyptian government is risky, government to government debt does tend to get paid eventually. Egypt is also (defence) financed from the US and Gulf States, so it might not even pay this cost itself.

For all we know there is a wheeze where this sort of financing doesn’t get reported as Government debt either (much like Private Finance/PPP debt doesn’t in the UK government books). The French government is much less allergic to national debt that the UK government (or at least the Tory end) is.

The UK has one major advantage over the French if we chose to do something like this; we can create Money out of thin air by creating pounds (Quantitative easing). We have already invented 375 billion pounds worth (equivalent to funding the government deficit for about 4 years), which has largely been spent on bailing out the banking sector. This is on top of the amount borrowed to actually fund the deficit (average 100 billion pa for the last 5 year). The main risk of printing money is inflation; but as we have seen there is too little demand in the UK/world economy today for this to be a serious short term consideration.

BTW I know government debt raises some peoples hackles, but as a % of GDP, government debt exceeded 100 % of GDP between 1915 and 1963 (ish), peaking at over 200 % just after 1945. Government debt has yet to reach 100 % of GDP, whilst the nation/world is in the middle of the worse economic crisis since the 1929/1939 depression. There is some slack here, especially if you’re investing for the future.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

@PE

‘The biggest juiciest saving that gets the Treasury salivating most is the reduction in planned manpower levels.’

I agree but it is not this that has caused the problems with the projects. How many design studies do we have for every new major project? how is that driven by the reduction in manpower? the carriers were not over budget due to adding sudden automation due to a lack of manpower form cuts neither where the T45’s, Astutes or FRES.

@Mark

Tornado which was a tri-national project first flew in 1974 and was introduced into service in 1979–1980. So that’s 5ish years from first flight to service and with the added bonus of being able to do exactly what it said on the tin. A Typhoon dropping a Paveway on a target illuminated by a Tonka in Libya is hardly multirole in this day and age especially when the Typhoon was meant to replace the Jaguar as well. We all know why it has dragged out a bit with some of the partners being less than forthcoming with funds but still.

Mark
Mark

DN

Typhoon also did exactly what it said on the tin it assumed the air defence task which was its primary mission. And no it could and did self designated over libya and that was available from 2008 which at the time was the only paveways in UK service. It took some time for tornado to take over the air defence role from its first flight it was a matter of priorities for the respective airforces.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers

I once put an extra million onto a contract (sole source, easy to do). Pure bunce, and solely because the IPT Leader was a cunt who had been fucking us about.

He retired as a full Colonel, and had the nerve to LinkedIn me asking for a job.

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo

If you want to build escorts with reasonable price within your country, you shall continue to build it. I was a bit surprised that you were all so much in hurry to produce T45s and CVFs. You built 6 T45 in 6 years, and are going to build 2 CVs in 3 years. If you have split it to a T45 per 2 years, and 2 CVs in, say, 6 years shift, you would not be needed to order River B.2 for TOBA.

19 escorts with 35 years life. Simple calculation shows 1 ship per 1.8 years.

It is the same for T26s. If you are to build only 8 to 9 ships, you shall take it into account that you have about 20 years (24 at most) before you need T45 replacement. In other words, if the first T26 is entering service in 2022, you shall build it in 1 ship per 1.5 year pace, at the fastest.

If you really want to export warships, you shall focus on light-frigates or corvettes, as noted elsewhere. I see almost no chance for the “light-cruiser-like” T-26 frigate to be built in Britain for export. Only hope is to sell its design to, say, Canada, Australia, Brazil and NZ, although with very small possibility.

There is almost no country in the globe, who cannot build frigates on its own and also needs a “cruiser-like” large frigate. Its the same for France and Germany: what they are selling is light frigates (La Fayette, Floreal, MEKO200, or corvettes), never a real frigate.

# Up to here, I am “serious”.
# From here, I admit I am talking a personal “fantasy fleet”.

In this sense, promoting Khareef-class makes sense for me. Introducing, say, 3 “99m-class OPV based corvette” has ALMOST NO MERIT to RN itself. But, if, only if, you have a budget to build 9 T26s, you can think of making it 8 T26s and 3 99m-corvettes.

Here, the top requirement for the corvette is to enable to build 3 of them with the same amount of money for the 9th T26, INCLUDING ALL THE DESIGN WORKS. At the same time, the second top requirement is to make the operating cost of these 3 vessel as a whole the same as a single T26. Thus, these corvettes will have no SAM, no S2087, and possibly no SSM other than those mounted in the helicopter. All these armaments must be designed to be “fitted for” but not with. Only a 5 in gun, a CIWS and a Wildcat. It must be diesel propelled (and hence up to 25 kt in its speed) and have a complement of only 50, including 7 (TBC?) for Wildcat. Quite limited vessel, BUT that is what is needed in the globe.

With this design, I believe, there will be a chance to export it.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

Mark

‘Typhoon also did exactly what it said on the tin it assumed the air defence task which was its primary mission’

Ok I may have been mistaken when I said the Typhoon relied on the Tornado for target designation, but was not Typhoon always touted as a multi role aircraft and when it was delivered it could not fulfill any air to ground. This aspect was rectified by our own programme to integrate the lightning pod and paveway and was not part of the overall programme, so it did not arrive being capable of doing what it said on the tin.

Considering the airframe was meant to replace the jaguar which could carry a number of air to surface weapons the addition of the capability of dropping an LGB is hardly multirole. What was the state of weapon integration on the Grippen when it entered service with true swing role capability?

Mark
Mark

DN

Yes but it had been agreed with all the partners that it would initially be delivered with air defence capability and ground attack would be added at a later date we accelerated the ground attack capability when it was decided to retire jaguar early. Beyond paveway and crv7 I’m not sure jaguar used any other ground attack weapons in UK service when it left service.

I’m not sure what gripen had available when it entered service. I do know it took the same length of time from first flight to being delievered to the Swedish airforce as typhoon did.

martin

@ Nick – your assuming that Egypt will pay the full price for what it’s buying. That does not seem likely to me. I can’t imagine British taxpayers being keen on subsidizing a foreign military like Egypt. The press would have a field day.

Also it’s the real interest rate you have to take into account on government borrowing. we still have inflation and France does not so every year that debt becomes more expensive.

Nick
Nick

Martin

we have a different political tradition than France. Its commonplace to see Hollande (or predecessor) signing big multi-billion deals just as many large French corporations are part government owned or controlled (eg Airbus). The UK government seems to act a facilitator for UK plc (and unfortunately a rather poor one at that).

If it became a choice between loosing a national strategic capability and finding a way to subsidise it we would close the facility (eg AFV manufacturing and Military ship building the way we’re going). France (or Germany for that matter) would rather keep the capability and finance exports of existing designs.

Are you sure our way is better in the long run ? Wouldn’t BAe plc have been better off with its stake in Airbus in the long run rather than selling it to pay for its US acquisitions ? This is a UK Industrial strategy question of some importance. Oh, I forgot, we don’t have an industrial strategy.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

Mark

But was that another decision taken after the fall of the USSR when the peace dividend was the main goal of all politicians, it was a way of saving money from the project as the Germans pretty much did not want Typhoon at all after 1990 especially with the costs of reunification looming large.

The Gripen may have took as long but when it was delivered it was capable of doing everything that the programme had been asked to deliver.

Mark
Mark

DN

The entire production contract decision for typhoon was taken well after the fall of the Berlin wall. I’m not so sure gripen was capable of doing everything when delivered, what weapons and missiom were alvailable to gripen at IOC?

I know the A and B versions were incompatible with nato standards and had no aar capability and were restricted on flight endurance with the crew support system onboard because that was the reason they brought bae systems on board which resulted in the upgrade to the C standard the sweds operate today.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

Mark

‘The entire production contract decision for typhoon was taken well after the fall of the Berlin wall.’

Is that not what I said? the decisions were taken after the fall of the USSR and Germany wanted out of the project full stop. Wasn’t that why the contract had been written to penalise any nation that withdrew and which came back to haunt us when it came to signing for tranche 3 or was it 2?

El Sid
El Sid

@DavidNiven
Libya was as much about meatware as hardware. We only had a few Tiffy pilots trained on air-to-ground, and even they had little combat experience (on Typhoon at least), whereas the Tonka pilots had been plinking Terry in the desert for several years. So they used their skills in target ID in complex environments, the Tiffies had the latest mapping/comms electronics for coordination with other forces. Makes much more sense than sending them out in unmixed pairs.

@Martin
UK CPI inflation is 0.3% year-on-year.

@Nick
BTW I know government debt raises some peoples hackles, but as a % of GDP, government debt exceeded 100 % of GDP between 1915 and 1963 (ish), peaking at over 200 % just after 1945. Government debt has yet to reach 100 % of GDP, whilst the nation/world is in the middle of the worse economic crisis since the 1929/1939 depression. There is some slack here, especially if you’re investing for the future.

Justifying debt by comparison with WWII will lead you into all sorts of trouble. Borrowing money does not necessarily create wealth in itself, but for certain it takes economic growth from the future and moves it to the present day. So much of the spending in WWII came at the expense of the economy in the 1950s-1970s – arguably the growth in the 1980s was only possible once the inflation of the 1970s reduced the impact of the wartime debt. But you can blame the cancellation of CVA-01 and TSR-2 on the debt inherited from WWII – if we hadn’t had the debt interest to pay, we would have had an extra £1.0bn/year in the government budget. Right now we’re paying £48bn/year in interest – without that we could double the defence budget, cut income tax AND bung some money at the NHS.

Trouble is that government has little concept of what “investing for the future” actually means. If HMG had assigned Chelsea Barracks to civil service pension funds or the Crown Estates and borrowed a mortgage to redevelop into luxury flats, that would generate a rent income for centuries to come that could be offset against taxes. That’s a use of national debt that deserves the term “investment”. Instead the term has been so abused that it now covers all sorts of non-capital spending which doesn’t produce long-term income that can cover the debt interest, let alone the principal.

ChrisM
ChrisM

@RT
Didn’t he ask you for a job because he thought you owed him a favour after he signed off an extra £1m for your company? I thought that was how the revolving door worked?

stephen duckworth

@ChrisM
“IPT Leader was a cunt ”
If you swung a £1m add on just for giggles on a contract past this guy would you want him working for you , better to point him at your opposition and say we don’t have a position at this time by they might :-)

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth

A couple of daft questions:

1. Type 45 and Type 26 are quite close in size. Is it intended that if the UK wanted/needed more destroyers they can be made out of a Type 26 hull?

2. Would there be any roles that could be fulfilled by a trimaran based on a Type 26? The extra deck area would give space for, erm… containers! Would it be too wide? Too pointless?

martin

@ A different Gareth

The T26 was conceived to come in an air defence variant so its entirely possible that it will eventually replace the T45.

As for a Trimaran, It would be an entirely different design and I just don’t really see any point in a Trimaran for a frigate.

@ Nick

Only time will tell if the Franco German protectionist model is better than the Anglo free enterprise one. BAE for all their faults is a pretty dynamic company. Dassault in comparison is a joke. Airbus has been successful but I think largely on being a pan European company. Its doing everything it can to break its state link. Its profit margins are ridiculously low which is the main reason BAE sold its stake to focus on higher profit margin businesses in the USA.

Airbus can’t gain access to the US market in the same way as BAE which was one of the reasons they wanted a merger.

I am often amazed just how long the French have kept their state intervention model going while maintaining a fairly high productivity level. However the wheels are coming of now and its hard to see them going back on.

State intervention can be a good thing though when used correctly. Just look at Rolls Royce. Our main national champion had to be taken over by the government to stave of bankruptcy. The company was able to reform and go back into the market place and do very well.

If RR went bust today the government would certainly step in. If GE in the US went bust I would guess the same would happen. The trouble with French intervention is its ongoing basis which requires the government to pick winners and losers.

From a UK perspective Typhoon has been a fairly big export winner with real contracts signed with the Saudi’s and other in the gulf. For the French Rafale is a liability requiring public financing to sell to Egypt and probably to India as well.

In terms of industrial strategy and national champions Airbus bolts together bits of planes in France because French industrial strategy requires air planes to be made in France. Meanwhile the UK with no industrial strategy does not make a single plane yet has the second largest aviation industry in the world.

which is the better result?

Would you trust either Cameron or Hollande to run a sweet shop let alone decide the industrial future of the UK? Because that’s what national strategy requires.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

T26 has NEVER been conceived as an Air Defence Ship or variant thereof. The requirement – all the way back to 97 onwards, has been pretty much as it is now. ASW primary role, with surface warfare, land attack and local air defence.

A lot of kit-obsessed fantasy fleetists have convinced themselves that it should have an equivalent area AAW capability to T45, but that has never been a consideration in the programme.

Rocket Banana

NaB,

But in order to compete with the likes of FREMM on the international market it has to have it as an option, does it not? Maybe not to the level of T45, but the rate we’re going with these things they will be replacing T45 anyway. ;-)

Has the need for exportability been dropped?

martin

@ NAB

BAE hs certainly considered an air Defence variant for the export market

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/britains-future-frigates-06268/

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

A speculation piece in the DID (without any input from BAE natch) does not a credible option make.

ISTR making the point some time ago that exportability was unlikely to make much difference on this class.

That is not to say we shouldn’t consider it – and by all means have the design set up such that customer-demanded kit / capability can be substituted for the RN kit, but one has to be realistic – the navies who want the high-end ASW capability that we require will want to build it themselves (USN, Japan, Korea, India, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, even the Aussies and Canadians). While it is conceivable that one might be able to get a couple of ships licence built for one of those countries or a couple of others like Norway, it simply is not going to have shipyards hooching with new builds, as Lord Drayson so fondly imagined. The market simply is not there atm.

Although there is a market for smaller, less developed ships, there are two problems with that. Firstly – the RN does not and will not have a requirement for small, short-legged ships plastered with ASuW kit, until we transition from being a blue water navy with oceanic reach, to a pure coastal defence force. Pirates and druggies are not the requirement drivers, they are merely opportunity tasking while undertakeing other roles. Second – the asian shipbuilding industry is rapidly becoming capable of servicing those demands themselves. VT had to work exceptionally hard to land the Khareef, despite being one of the historic suppliers of choice to the Omanis.

The only way to get a sustainble UK shipbuilding capability is to support it, BUT and this is where we’re falling down at the minute, ensure that its MOD customers are capable of holding it to account. Letting it spend £160M putting more detail into a non-viable design is a classic case in point – the issues needed to be caught much earlier and fixed before the systems engineers were let out of the box. That neither BAE or MoD were capable of identifying this and doing something about it in a timely fashion illustrates our failings perfectly.

The other thing that would help would be to allow that industry to access a very limited number of commercial contracts for specialist vessels (primarily offshore MPSV, DSV, OSCV or similar) that would maintain skills, spread the overhead and potentially allow the industry to grow a sympathetic client base – much like the Norwegians do. But that is an EU renegotiation issue……

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

heard a rumour that Nansen Class are looking för Møre capable missile defence…will it mean replacing ESSM or adding to it?

latest publicity has been favourable (RIMPAC):

“Only a single NSM was fired during the exercises, Rostad said, although the Fridtjof Nansen also launched two Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, the ship’s primary surface-to-air weapon.

The frigates of the Fridtjof Nansen class are the only warships to carry the SPY-1F radar, a lightweight version of the bigger SPY-1D sensor fitted on other Aegis ships.” as per defencenews; the rumour from elsewhere

The Other Chris

Likely looking at SM-2. SM-6 wouldn’t be outrageous, but would be dependent on the performance of the SPY-1F.

You would expect a desire to increase Mk41 cells in either case, as you would lose out on the ESSM quad packing. Possibly something that Sea Ceptor could mitigate for them if placement for cold launch boxes could be worked.

The Other Chris

Sorry, hit Post accidentally.

Caveat with regards to Sea Ceptor replacing ESSM is similar to discussions with replacing Aster 15 in that the Nansens use the active AEGIS versions which has target and discrimination advantages, if not the raw kinematic advantage Aster 15 has.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

i used to think the Nansens were a model acquisition:
– here’s themoney
– youdecidehow many hulls & what to put on them

now they can’t man them all, ,but on the other hand, the kit needs upgrading

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

s300 is limited to 15 FC channels; guess no one (exc. those operating s400) knows about them, ifsuch a limitation still exists.

not sure all the features that come with AEGIS are pure positives? however, the Nansens seem to have mismatch between the sensor capability and what can be fired with their assistance?

The Other Chris

The Nansens’ are believed to be packing CEC to interoperate with their extensive Nørge-American land based systems as well as US assets. There’s also targeting for the Skjølds to consider as well. This was further hinted at with the interest in MQ-4C as a communication node (q.v. BACN) as much as for broad area surveillance in a sympathetic sensor bandwidth.

But on the face of it the Nansen sensors do seem to outmatch their armament significantly. You could argue that, similar to the UK and maybe more so, they have need for very capable sensors given the regions they need to operate in without suffering too much degradation in poor (sensor) weather.

I’m sure the SPY series and AEGIS has its problems like everyone else does.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

V interesting..
I am aware of the drones discussion with the supplier at the one end of the table and the Norgies and us at the other end, but what is BACN?

Observer
Observer

From the context, I’m guessing (B)? Airborne Communications Node.

The Other Chris

Specifically Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, but it’s more a reference to the entire topic of bandwidth and I feel BACN is a good entry point for a new reader.

The US (and the rest of us) are critically aware that sharing the sensor networks and engaging cooperatively that we’re developing requires large amounts of bandwidth with processing and analysis occurring at the right place. There’s also issues with splitting out highly stealthy communications to the rest of the network that are not so equipped (e.g. F-22 to F-18’s).

Far more material than can be covered in comments or just one article. Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), Multifunction Advanced Weapon Datalink (MADL), Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT), Advanced Tactical Datalink (ATDL), Intra-flight Datalink (IFDL) as well as Link 11/16/22 along with using AESA as a datalink are all associated technologies in a complete web, but well worth putting in the time to research.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
The Other Chris

Ooh, six years eh? ;)

Nick
Nick

The joys of government. I was obviously under the misapprehension that the Type 26 design had been finalized, whereas the wording

In parallel, we will continue work better to understand programme schedule, cost and risk. This
approach draws on key lessons from the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier programme by
ensuring that the ship design is sufficiently mature, the supply chain is fully mobilised early in the
programme to de-risk material supply, and a full joint analysis of programme risk is completed
before awarding a build contract.

makes it clear that the design isn’t final at all (I know NaB has been saying this for quite a long time). As someone highlighted earlier, we have been designing this warship class for over 15 years. Gobsmacked hardly starts to sum up my feeling on this subject.

How long will it take to build and fit out on of the yet to be fully designed ships these days ? For 2022 to be the initial target date for delivery of the first unit, it seems like that there is a least another year or two of design activity.

Nick
Nick

Its not like we don’t know what the weapons and equipment fit will be is it ? That’s already been decided (and much of it bought or on order for type23 refit).

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

Just to clarify.

We haven’t been designing these ships for fifteen years. The requirement has stayed broadly the same since 99 (with one excursion into la-la high speed territory circa 2004) and the project has had several restarts, but there has not been a “design” being worked on for that period.

What happens is that in the pre-concept and concept phases, design work is undertaken to flesh out what the requirement looks like physically, so it can be costed – at concept level – for the submissions to the IAB. Until relatively recently (2010?) the project never made it through main gate, usually because someone could say, we’ll just extend the T23/cut hull numbers and spend the money on something else. Now the T23 are beginning to struggle, that’s no longer an option, so having passed IG, the design should start to get fleshed out properly.

The reason you can’t just pick up the “old” designs and move them on is that standards and proposed systems change or their details become clearer. Hence in 99, FSC looked at Aster 15, whereas now you’re looking at Sea Ceptor. In 99, the 6″ MCG was still in play, now it’s Mk45 mod4. The Great White Turbine was flavour of the month in 99, not so much now. Accommodation standards were different. MARPOL 12A was not an issue in 99, it is now. E&E policy has changed, etc etc.

This is not to excuse where we are now. There are some fairly obvious flaws in the design arrangements that can and should be fixed. That they have not been to date is primarily due to lack of an overall authority, MoD/RN insistence on owning the “arrangement” but being reluctant to allow it to change and a flawed cost model that allegedly prevents certain options (that would probably go a long way to resolving the issues) being considered affordable. And way too many people doing detail too early in the name of “risk reduction”. Great if your chosen design path works, not so great if that isn’t right and you’ve hundreds of people burning hours that may or may not prove nugatory.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Nick,

Time boxing is a techhnique normally used for speeding up projects. Looks like here it is being used for not sstarting any earlier than absolutely necessary:
– first t23 to be withdrawn in 2023
– allow a year of sea trials for first-of-class t26, 2022
– there is a point where constructing slowly becomes appreciably more expensive than doing things at a”normal” pace… There you have it, your couple of more years of designing

Chris
Chris

Nick – I don’t have knowledge of the T26 programme in any depth (although a lecture given by BAE to IET members was illuminating) but if this programme mirrors FRES then it might not be entirely BAE’s fault. Shock horror. The biggest issue with FRES was no-one in MOD had the guts to state “This is the capability we want, here is the requirement, go build it now.” Instead there was an interminable merry-go-round of studies and assessment phases and technology insertions, each study round taking the full term of office of the initiating desk officer. The reports would be reviewed by the new officer in post and because the world had moved on the studies’ recommendations were no longer just right for the job, so a new study with new ‘more realistic’ requirements would be kicked off. Every now and then the programme name was changed to hide the total lack of progress, but for those on the inside it was clear “the CVR(T) Replacement Programme” has been running since the mid/late 1980s and hasn’t delivered yet.

The IET members’ meeting hinted that much the same issues had affected their ship design (I think I first tripped over “the Type23 Replacement Programme” when it was Future Surface Combatant) such that they were still in the study-report-assessment-reappraise-restart loop – this was October 2012. It was moderately clear that BAE had just presented their latest study to MOD and had already had feedback that changes were needed.

Sometimes the obvious culprits are culprits, sometimes they are the fall-guys taking the blame to keep the customer sweet. Most times its a mix of the two, but the balance of fault is rarely even.

NaB – thanks; your third paragraph puts detail to the constant moving target view I picked up.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

That
” The reports would be reviewed by the new officer in post and because the world had moved on the studies’ recommendations were no longer just right for the job, so a new study with new ‘more realistic’ requirements would be kicked off. ”
Is the sophisticated equivalent of an infantryman not wanting to do battle shooting himself in the leg through a loaf of bread… Can’t be proven that inability to engage was self inflicted.

I do attach as much blame to the macro circumstances and the squeezing of the proverbial elephants through a door that was getting ever smaller.

martin

Would be interesting to see a study of just how much has been spent on design studies by the MOD over the past two decades. I bet it adds up into the tens of billions.

Design studies were fine when we had a larger budget nd were trying to push the technological frontier but given our current budget I think we need to rationalise the process some what.

Countries like Italy have forces a similar size to us with a budget of 1/3rd of what we have. Would be interesting to see a comparison on how much they spend on design studies.

Chris
Chris

Martin – it wouldn’t affect current UK shipbuilding, but the studies in the Land environment were not only broad and deep, but competitive too. So multiple parallel studies would be done by as many industrial groupings as MOD chose to engage. This is the reason why there were for example both Lancer and Sika TRACER design/mock-up/prototypes. You have to believe the studies produced more documentation than the modern bid process demands, so each team at the end of each revised study probably delivered multiple 4-drawer filing cabinets worth of detailed reports which were within a few months worthless. Marvellous.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

It’s nowhere near tens of billions. Prior to the current (post 2008-ish) effort, I’d put it at below £50M.

To recap – T22/23(R), FE, FSC spent less than £10M (in those year £, not doing conversions) in the years 97-99. That excludes the money on RV Triton, (circa £25M all told). When the project team was closed in 2000, the money stopped and the output thus far was filed.

The next go around the buoy (circa 2003-2004, the high-speed half-wittery, if memory serves) was fairly brief, so if anything like £5M was spent I’d be surprised. When it didn’t get through IG, the team closed, the money stopped and the output was filed.

Then you got Pathfinder in 2006-2007 which probably ate another £5M.

I make that £35M or so if you include Triton.

Then you get to the NDP efforts post 2007, leading up to Initial Gate to 2010. That would be another £10M or so.

After that you’re into the big bucks of the Assessment Phase where large project teams stood up and you really start to eat money – something like £160M or thereabouts and counting. Nothing like all of that is nugatory – far from it. But what you are doing when the design is not right is paying for a project team that burns shed loads of money and at some stage will be sitting there spinning wheels.

Big handful figures and my recollections, so there’ll be some dates awry, figures adrift in that. Still, very far from tens of billions.

Peter Elliott

Follow up question is: what are we running studies of now and do we expect actually to buy anything after?Presumably UV, Crowsnest, MPA are all burning up hours. But equally all 3 could be tangible and much needed capabilities by 2020. Are we burning any money on studying things we’re not going to buy before 2030? Taranis or a new heavy Tank or some other exotic whiz – bang?

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa

@TOC

“The Nansens’ are believed to be packing CEC .”

I can assure you , they dont.

“But on the face of it the Nansen sensors do seem to outmatch their armament significantly.”

Not really….The SPY-1F radar is based on the same obsolescent technology as the SPY-1D (meaning magnetron powered PESA tech) but it is smaller and much much less powerful, and simply lacks the brute force strength (and range ) of its bigger cousin. And unlike the 1D it doesnt support any form of BMD .
It is however adequate for short/medium range AAW engagements with ESSM/SM-2, though the latter is probably unlikely given the Nansens limited number of VLS cells ( they have room for , and will eventually be fitted with 16 MK41’s, but thats it.)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

thanks MKP,

I picked up the missile defence as future priority for Nansens from a Nordic cooperation report ( that was given as a one-off, whereas potential was found in CV90, NH helos, future corvettes…).

if it is not a secret, which systems are in the running?

Nick
Nick

NaB

Thanks as ever, very illuminating. My question/thought would be what exactly is a design in this context. I would think (guess) broadly speaking you’d want to have a 3D CAD model of the ship, broken down into a fairly detailed level. Into the design space you’d then fit you desired equipment and weapons etc and budget for the number of crew needed (which leads into crew space etc etc).

I appreciate that as the concept changed, the design would change to reflect the new concept, which would mean that you end up with multiple designs over time. These would have various individual names.

In case of the Type 26, we have had a series of conceptual models (both CGI and physical models and drawings) for at least 12 months or so. I had understood that we have pretty much made our minds up on the broad equipment requirements and especially the weapons and electronic payload plus helicopter capacity/space.

The current announcement seems to mean that this published conceptual Type 26 design is at such a high level, that before you can actually start building and costing the programme BAe now need to go off and do all the detailed design work which is needed to actually build the warship, cost the programme and determine the implementation timetable. As a sop, we have also placed (or will place) some orders for long lead time items on the basis that the specific requirement here will not change it is safe to do so.

I don’t actually know how much cash we have spent on the Type 26 design to date (over 100 million ?), but it seems like we will have spent about the cost of one hull on the design so far, plus quite a bit more on the previous concepts (50 million + by your estimate).

Nick
Nick

Chris

Whilst I doubt that BAe are entirely faultless, the customer (MoD) is paying so it isn’t unexpected that BAe to ask them to pay for it. I guess in the olden days, when the design was inhouse, the cost was much lower (now BAe margin) and the inhouse design would continue to change until it was decided to start construction. Also I guess designs were more evolutionary then as well.

Peter Elliott

What I take from NAB ‘ explanation is that since 2010 we have wasted money by doing design tasks in the wrong order: working up details before the overall arrangement was stable and viable. All that work will now have to be revisited. This sounds like a failure of management more than anything else.

martin

This article kind of sums up all our issues with exporting warships.

The saudi’s our biggest defence customer are preparing a $16 billion dollar contract to renew their Eastern Fleet ,an area where we have more naval presence than almost anyone and we are not even in the bidding

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/show-daily/idex/2015/02/22/saudis-detail-eastern-fleet-for-us/23865799/

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Martín,

do you think SFO would have something to do with it? the Saudis prefer state to state deals (ehmm… their state being a family business, but shuts out alle kinds of nuisances on the other side).

about the details:

the Nansen Class light radar seems to be coming into play… the range restriction not being of significance in the Gulf. however, defending against incoming missiles is not a mute point in restricted Waters.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

What has happened with T26 is more like executing detail early in the belief that the overall hull design would meet its requirements. That isn’t necessarily wasted effort, but it has meant a huge number of people burning money doing that detail and they won’t be able to go further until the hull design is ready to enter lofting (ie preparation for steel manufacture and fabrication). That can’t happen until the design meets its requirements and cn demonstrably be shown to do so in calculations.

CGI stuff is rarely representative of the detail of a design. You can usually get a couple of the team juniors to knock something up in a couple of weeks. Looks great at defence shows etc. Lesson – CGI is not reality. Cold hard calculated numbers and 2D drawings tend to be a much better reflection of reality. 3D CAD is good, but only when required. You know you have a design ready to build when you have a set of drawings and their associated parts lists which the shipyard purchasing department can buy.

As for exporting warships, the Defence / Maritime Industrial Strategy took teh decision to size the UK shipbuilding industry to what MoD was going to order. That was later amended to include an aspiration for export to gapfill when it became clear that the MIS programme wasn’t going to fit what was in the budget. What that meant was that we either had to maintain spare capacity in design and build to cover for this, or hope to sell export versions of our RN warships.

People plumped for the second option, which in any case is the default position as we have next to no spare design resource to design stuff for export customers. The sort of “stuff” that these export customers want doesn’t really fit what the RN needs, which is the essence of yesterdays post and in any case, the asian yards will soon be filling much of that market.

stephen duckworth

@Martin
“12 1,150-ton corvette-like warships”
If only a UK based warship manufacture had an on going project , possibly even entering production, with a comprehensive sensor and armaments suite fully detailed and already cutting steel . Perhaps a manufacture with a big window before its next big domestic project commences , ah well .

Nick
Nick

NaB

what exactly do you mean by Hull design. I assume its more than the shape of the hull itself ?

I had thought (ie I watched the marketing BS) that the whole point of using 3D VR CAD these days was to make sure that the spaces you designed could actually fit all of the things you wanted to use it for, to avoid any costly reworking during the actual build phase (when you discover you SNAFU’ed.

If BAe haven’t spent their 100 million or whatever, designing to this level of detail for the MoD since 2010, just what have they spent the money on ?

The Other Chris

@MKP

Thank you, appreciate your feedback on CEC.

I wouldn’t describe the active/passive phased arrays in the SPY-1 series as obsolete though (especially when the UK seems to be more than happy with pulse dopplers in new programs…), you can still perform an awful lot of clever functions with that many radiators and receivers.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa

@ACC

“if it is not a secret, which systems are in the running?”

Well …no systems are really.. AFAIK its only a feasibility study at this point, to find out if and where the Norwegians might contribute. Theoretically the Nansens could house SM-3’s since their MK41’s are the strike version, but they would have to get targeting data from somwhere else. Or upgrade to an ABM capable radar suite…..extremely unlikely IMO….even the Norwegians have a finite amount of money to spend on defence,
The only platform in the nordic countries with any kind of true missile defence potential, on land or sea , is the Iver Huitfeldts . These are currently scheduled for a major ABM upgrade of their SMART-L radars (turning them into AESA’s) and CMS in the 2017-18 timeframe.

Peter Elliott

Nick

I think they were happy that all the equipment physically fitted in the planned hull. But what they couldn’t do was prove that the completed ship would meet all various rules and regs. Sounds like there was some wishful thinking and the problem was skated over for a while in the hope that it would ‘turn out alright’. Now they’ve run the numbers and even the wilful optimists have had to admit that it hasn’t. So the dimensions and arrangement have to be tweaked not to physically fit stuff in but to meet rules and regs on things like damaged stability.

Sounds really boring but if we seriously expect to send ships into harm’s way then its a must.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa

@TOC

you are welcome :-)

But there are no active phased array versions of SPY-1(other than development prototypes) and while they may not be completely obsolete yet, they are definitely getting long in the tooth. Technologically speaking SPY-1 is at least a generation or two behind solid state radars like Artisan( which is what i assume you where alluding to ? )
But lets not forget that the Nansens are already a decade old and when they were being projected in the mid-late 90’s, the SPY-1F was not a bad choice, using known and very capable technology, as opposed to the then newly developed and untried AESA tech of APAR.

The Other Chris

I thought the Iver Huitfeldt’s were receiving the ELR update, but if it’s the full EWC that’s quite an upgrade and almost begs outfitting with a BMD capable missile system.

Nick
Nick

@Morten

The link Martin posted above re Saudi potential buy talks about SPY-1F as the only Radar that would meet the Saudi requirement. That sounds quite surprising from what you describe. You would have thought the Saudi’s would be looking for something more up to date (Artisan for example).

Nick
Nick

@Peter Elliott

I assume these sort of things are well known and understood as part of the basic requirements that the submitted design has to meet. From a commercial perspective, I wouldn’t pay any supplier to rectify the design if they submitted something to meet that failed at a basic parameter level as you suggest. Crazy world of defence spending I suppose ?

Peter Elliott

Nick

Up thread NAB tells of “RN / MOD insistence on owning the layout”. If the maximum dimensions were also locked down early then it sounds like the customer was actually the one insisting that the designers achieve something technically impossible, not the supplier.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa

@TOC

The ELR upgrade is a software only modification and as the cost of the IH planned upgrade is said to come in at a staggering +$80 million….per ship ! …im fairly confident we are talking about the EWC upgrade.

As a reference the original cost for the entire Thales Netherlands AAW system , including APAR, SMART-L and acssociated CMS and software, was roughly 110 million dollars per ship.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

There’s a reason real shipbuilders don’t use VR until they get into production engineering……

As for what the money is spent on, have a little think along these lines. What are the structural loads on the global hull and individual struictural members? What about individual panel loads? Waht plate thickness and sections used?

Then think about systems. Here’s a list of systems likley to be on the ship – diesel oil filling and transfer, diesel oil stripping, diesle oil service & supply, ditto for AVCAT, seawater cooling, high-pressure sea water, chilled water, demin water, firefighting, lube oil systems, HVAC, main electrical supply and distribution, local electrical suply and distribution, conditioned power supplies, internal comms, gas monitoring, smoke and fire detection. Every single one of those systems will have requirements against it – heat loads, flow rates, min and max operating temperatures, reversionary modes, failure modes, trip alarms, shock requirements, environmental requirements, toxicity requirements, compartments / other systems they have to interface with, automatic and manual change modes etc etc. That’s in addition to the propulsion system and combat system items you buy from your OEMs. All of those systems need to have individual requirements written that are consistent with each other (transverse engineering) and then allow you to move on to the details of the system design, like what working pressures, flowrates at various parts of teh system, what pipe sizes and materials, how many pumps, valves, strainers, filling points, bulkhead/deck pens, coolers etc etc you have in the system design.

The Other Chris

@MKP

Good news for Danmark and NATO all round really.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa

@nick

“The US Navy is reportedly working to define details of the LoR, including what air radar the Saudis want to fulfill the anti-air requirement. Sources said that while no specific radar is listed in the LoR, the only system that fits the requirement is the SPY-1F lightweight Aegis system from Lockheed Martin.”

To me, this sounds an awful lot like one of the requirements is that is has to be a US radar ;-)…..and for a corvette-light frigate sized vessel, i know of no other US naval radar other than SPY-1F.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Right then:

American for the Gulf side
– these would fit the corvette requirement to a t. ” Sa’ar 5 ships were built by Huntington Ingalls Industries (formerly Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Mississippi)”

1,275 tonnes (full load)
1,065 tonnes (standard)

French for the Red Sea

We stand at the ready to clear any mines (only a fleeting probability, and not worth investing in)

Mike
Mike

For me, if the Type 26 costs £500 million to get to production, is the right design, comes into service as projected and serves this country well for 30+ years, then frankly it will be money well spent.

Rocket Banana

…executing detail early in the belief that the overall hull design would meet its requirements. That isn’t necessarily wasted effort, but it has meant a huge number of people burning money doing that detail and they won’t be able to go further until the hull design is ready…

I can only imagine that this has come about due to major changes in the basic design at some point?

If certain areas can be designed in isolation (like the command and control suite) then fair enough, they’re making good progress, but if they’re calculating cable lengths before they know how far it is from A to B then its madness.

mickp
mickp

@ Mike “For me, if the Type 26 costs £500 million to get to production, is the right design, comes into service as projected and serves this country well for 30+ years, then frankly it will be money well spent.”

Agreed – it is an extremely important vessel and may just see out my lifetime although I do very much hope to see the mythical AAW derivative. So its no more DD/FF fantasy fleet design for me then

Its gestation seems to be not the greatest project ever for all sorts of reasons, but as long as we get an evolvable design with no major T45 type issues (eg hull or propulsion) then let’s crack on.

It should be built in batches in my view – not radical redesign but enough to keep design on tickover (barring other major vessels) and kit relevant. So 8 ASW in B1 (order soon please), 4-6 B2 (either more ASW or ‘GP’), and 0-8 B3 (multirole ASW/AAW and possible T45 replacement) – DD/FF numbers maintained in the 18-22 range dependent on changing needs

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

“Batching” is nearly the worst of all possible worlds. It gives the impression of maintaining design capability, but does not actually deliver.

The fundamental skill in ship design is understanding how the overall features of the design interact and equally importantly why they are the way they are (including how they contribute to the operational performance of the ship). That knowledge is lost relatively quickly if not exercised from first principles over time on a relatively frequent (say once every eight to ten years) basis. Batching does not do this, because the overall hullform and arrangement stay similar by definition for an extended period, so you’re not doing the whole thing.

In essence, the most valuable bit is that fundamental knowledge. Lots of detailed design is exercised on a frequent basis by A&A modifications – you learn the basics of what has to be considered in a compartment design or modification (eg equipment siting, power cabling runs, lagging, stand-off distances, dustproofing etc etc), but you don’t learn how it affects the overall ship. In essence you learn how to do parts lists and apply specific standards. That’s not the same as early stage design process, which is where most of the value is added. Design is not the same thing as sitting in a drawing office.

The benefits of having similar batches are also vastly overstated. Once you start modifying things, you have to modify the general arrangement drawings, the system diagrammatics, the local structural drawings, the compartment drawings, the electrical drawings etc etc. No, you don’t have to do the whole ship, but you still end up amending a huge number of technical documents and drawings and maintaining them through life.

Where you can save money (for the umpteenth time) is through using standard components (subject to through-life support arrangements) like gas turbines, diesel engines, pumps, switchboards, radars etc, etc. This is particularly true for the marine eng components as they can (in general) sell product into both commercial and military marine markets, thereby maintaining sales volume and design throughput. You get interchangeable parts (even if your diesel is higher power, if you’re using a limited number of cylinder bores, the spares are common) or starter motors for pumps – stuff like that all simplifies the logistics support chain immensely. If you have mil-specific requirements like shock or toxicity, then you only need to do one set of tests and your OEM has a volume to sell against, offsetting his RN/MoD specification design and testing costs. Even things like operators manuals and drawings for equipment items on each ship all become standard items, rather than bespoke to class / batch.

This bit really isn’t rocket science……..

Peter Elliott

NAB

So let’s assume the NDP successfully finishes the T 26 design over the next year or two. It then takes a couple of years messing with a possible midlife upgrade to T45 which might or might not involve ripping the whole engine room out. Either way they’re done on that project by 2020.

Would you have them start work on a RN LHD, or jump straight into another Destroyer design? Or work on ‘fantasy’ designs we might just need (but probably wont) like a BMD Cruiser. By my reckoning 2020-30 could be a long decade with little real ‘need’ to exercise those skills.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin

MHC. Future Amphib. FSS. Landing craft? T45(R). Will need to be thinking what T45 replacement looks like towards the back of the 20s.

One advantage of having a relatively “slack” forward programme, would be the time available to iterate properly, learn and apply lessons, rather than the start / stop disband, start/stop, disband that has characterised this prog. Funnily enough, QE is a great example (within limits) of an extended period in design. the difference being that from 2003 or so, the team was kept together.

QE’s “issues” such as they are, are less “technical” than “political” – specifically having the temerity to be significantly larger and more capable in intent than the CVS.

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