Three for Type 26

Three interesting stories this week that are type 26 Frigate related, kind of;

Excalibur

Raytheon has successfully fired their 5″/127mm Excalibur N5 precision guided projectile from a Mk 45 test mount.

Excalibur N5

From the press release;

Excalibur N5’s range, precision and lethality will revolutionize naval gunfire and increase the offensive firepower of our Navy’s destroyers and cruisers. This demonstration showcases the N5’s maturity as a proven low-risk solution, and is ready for the Navy now. Excalibur N5 can be used to support several critical mission areas including Naval Surface Fire Support, Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and countering Fast Attack Craft (FAC). With the significant amount of re-use from the Army’s Excalibur program, the N5 provides the Navy with an affordable, direct path to employ a critical capability, We continue to build on Excalibur’s unmatched reliability and performance by investing in a fire-and-forget, dual-mode seeker that will vastly improve the 5-inch gun’s current ASuW and counter-FAC capability.

Using technology from the 155mm Excalibur, the company funded N5 will obviously be on the Royal Navy’s wishlist for the Type 26.

ExLS and CAMM

Lockheed Martin has announced they will be carrying out qualification trials with the MBDA Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) and their Extensible Launching System (ExLS) in 2016.

Sea Ceptor missile system FLAADS(M)

The three cell ExLS Stand Alone Launcher has been around for a while now and the intent for CAMM qualification floating around likewise, this is the first confirmation of when it will happen. ExLS is designed for smaller vessels, those that cannot integrate the larger 8 cells Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).

CAMM launch from a Mk41 ExLS

It is available in two configurations, standalone and host, with the latter capable of being dropped into an existing Mk 41 cell as a single sealed unit. The drop in version can quad pack the CAMM.  This means that a ship with a larger Mk41 installation could mix ExLS cells and CAMM missiles as required, expanding the addressable market for CAMM and providing additional flexibility.

Lockheed Martin ExLS

It is a clever and neat approach.

The host version of ExLS and CAMM was test fired in 2013 to prove ejection and missile ignition.

Although we have all seen the graphics and counted silos on the Type 26 graphics and models, this does provide the designers with more options.

HGH Spynel-S 3500

The final story, whilst not directly related to the Type 26, is likely to be relevant as final systems configurations are decided and this is made available for smaller vessels.

HGH Infrared Systems manufacture panoramic thermal imaging systems, working in a QinetiQ led project they will supply their Spynel-M products for integration with the Compact Combat System (C2S) that will combine a Kelvin Hughes SharpEye radar and a Chess Dynamics Sea Eagle.

The prototype test unit is shown below;

C2S Mobile Platform

The system is primarily designed to counter the small fast inshore attack craft (FIACs) threat. Information from the three sensors and AIS data is integrated with the Enhanced Situation Awareness From Existing Sensors (ESAFES) fusion engine and presented to a single display and cueing information provided to on deck automatic weapons via an Ethernet link.

 

 

The contract announced today will see further trials and testing completed.

 

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Chris Werb
Chris Werb
October 1, 2015 9:36 pm

The Italian Volcano 127mm rounds offer a choice of guidance systems and appear a lot more versatile.

TAS
TAS
October 1, 2015 10:23 pm

Yes, except it’s made by Oto Melara, which means it’s installed pre-broken. OM have a dreadful reliability record.

Observer
Observer
October 1, 2015 11:49 pm

Odd, OM used to have a very good record. All our navy ships have a single OM gun installed.

Lord JIm
Lord JIm
October 2, 2015 3:05 am

Can any see the RN/MOD having seen the ExLS and its installation in the Mk41 VLS, deciding to fit only the Mk41 to the T-26. Wouldn’t this give the RH greater flexibility in what ordinance it carrier on the T-26 now and in the future?

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
October 2, 2015 3:47 am

I rather the British Army (Royal Artillery) gets the Excalibur first. The AS-90 is fine, but it needs shells or longer range. 24km is a little outdated.

I don’t think the RN will go for the Exacalibur sea version yet. They will move it slowly with the 5 inch guns.

Martin
Martin
October 2, 2015 4:21 am

Lord Jim the spaces earmarked for the CAMM VLS such as above the hanger won’t leave space for a mk41. This way we can keep the big expensive VLS for missiles such as TLAM and distribute the smaller air defence missiles around the ship.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 2, 2015 6:54 am

Echoing Martin, T26 has the soft launch from mid-ship designed in.

Using the actual VLS silos for CAMM is a bit of a waste as the missile is only half of the depth of the silo (though triple packed). It will be useful for other ships where the nature of threats shifts towards swarm air-cum-missiles attacks. In that scenario CAMM not being dependent on the number of fire control channels, its active seeking method and the higher numbers in the immediately available missile load are game changers.

“Although we have all seen the graphics and counted silos on the Type 26 graphics and models, this does provide the designers with more options.” RE: that statement, the more fundamental one was “enlarging the addressable market” for CAMM. The economies of scale, from having a constantly running production line, were proven in the last couple of months when the RAF got their ASRAAMs (the daddy for the ground/ sea launched versions) cheaper buying them new rather than refurbing the previous batch in mid-life.

Beno
Beno
October 2, 2015 8:28 am

I have been waiting for the Excalibur story to break for a while now, it HAD to be the only reason we were going for the US 5 incher on Type 26.

@HMArmedForcesReview Agree they will take this slowly, as they wont be test firing till 2020. I think it likely we may well see some UKUS investment in this round as well, for maybe a 3rd mode seeker and fusing perhaps.

Im confused at the rejection of Vulcano, the capabilities of this round is definatly something that would be of interest. I suspect Excalibur will go in that direction.

Beno

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 2, 2015 8:35 am

” it HAD to be the only reason we were going for the US 5 incher on Type 26.”
– putting an end to recycling old turrets, with a gun that is not made anymore?

OK, you were probably referring to the choice over Vulcano. Now, let’s see: who makes the Vulcano… and who makes the US naval guns?

Beno
Beno
October 2, 2015 9:02 am

And the spinny IR system is BRILLIANT !!!!!

where the hell did that come from, WOW

nice bit of computing there, didn’t knick it of an Astute photonic mast at all did you ?

Remi
Remi
October 2, 2015 9:17 am
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy

At the time of the announcement to go with the BAE gun over the OM offering, I was concerned that the wrong decision had been made. Possibly because of a preference for BAE. However, with this new shell being developed, I would say the BAE choice could actually end up being the better option in the long run.

The trouble with the Volcano long range ammo is it is a subcalibre “dart” with a discarding sabot. While this does indeed mean it achieves a long range, the amount of HE delivered is tiny, considering the calibre of the gun it was fired from.

The Excalibur round is a full calibre round that will deliver considerably more effect than the volcano round.

The argument, from my perspective, now comes down to buying a gun system that has a suboptimal LR ammo fully in production now (OM), or buying a gun that will end up with a much better long range round, albeit with some risks as it is still in development.

I fully accept that the prefernece for BAE might have been the real reason for the selection, but it might have accidently been the right decision in the end.

Chris
Editor
Chris
October 2, 2015 9:49 am

Spinny IR sensor is very much son of ADAD as used on SP Starstreak – made by Thorn I think in the first place. http://pilkoptr02.uuhost.uk.uu.net/downloads/ADAD%20Product%20Information.pdf

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 2, 2015 12:32 pm

How expensive are these guided 5″ rounds? Not much bang for an awful lot of bucks, I would guess.

stephen duckworth
October 2, 2015 12:47 pm


“Now, let’s see: who makes the Vulcano… and who makes the US naval guns?”
Would the Mk45 be made by……….BAE ! but in the US :-(

Ron
Ron
October 2, 2015 3:49 pm

There seems to be an error that’s crept in about the capacity of ExLS.

The ExLS quad packs CAMM missiles i.e. 4 per cell. The proposed stand alone ExLS has three cells and therefore can contain 12 CAMM missiles.

I suspect future potential customers will be more interested in the longer range version of CAMM (CAMM-ER) because its spec matches up better with its competitor ESSM, But unfortunately ExLS is not long enough to contain it. Ooops.

By the way, at DSEI, a vertical launched Spear 3 model was displayed in a CAMM (regular length) module thus creating a mini Tomahawk capability. So CAMM & Spear 3 could be mix and matched on the Type 26.

Ron
Ron
October 2, 2015 3:51 pm

Bae is developing a long range guided 5″ shell that they claim can do what Excalibur can do but at a greatly reduced price per round. If it works, probably a more attractive buy for the USN & RN.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 2, 2015 3:55 pm
Reply to  John Hartley

A lot cheaper than an air mission using a missile or a TLAM though. It ia another capability, givingba surfacem vesselmthe ability to reach out and accurately touch something from over the horizon. Factor in things such as STOT and rate of fire/ability to rapidly change targets with the inherent difficulty of tracking a warship standing offshore, especially if it is utipising a TSS or similar and you have a very useful additional capability.
Imagine a T26 coming in ahead of a CBG it merges with Merchant traffic 30 miles offshore and utilusing a UAV or sat imagery programs the targets. 1 coastal radar station and 1 sam site. Engages both with multiple projectiles wlith less than 90 seconds of firing. Hitting them just ahead of the TLAM strike which further parts of the IAD now get no warning off, clearing the way for the F35B raid to penetrate and hit the main target.

mickp
mickp
October 2, 2015 4:22 pm

@APATS; sounds like an ideal scenario for one of those marketing CGI videos

I agree though – don’t neglect the gun

Hohum
Hohum
October 2, 2015 4:25 pm

A precision 5″ capability is worth having but there are limitations to target type based on the small destructive power of the round. Certainly a useful tool but not a panacea.

From an export perspective I absolutely agree with Ron. Pushing a ship T26 size with less than 32 large VLS cells on the export market is going to be interesting.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 2, 2015 5:25 pm
Reply to  Hohum

Remember though that those cells are in addition to 48 dedicated Sea Captor cells.

Hohum
Hohum
October 2, 2015 5:27 pm

APATS,

Absolutely, and from a UK perspective, at least for the medium term its a great layout. The issue will be on the export market where customers may want the hull but have no interest in Sea Ceptor. Australia for instance.

all Politicians are the Same
all Politicians are the Same
October 2, 2015 7:03 pm
Reply to  Hohum

That would depend entirely on the fle built in to the design. For instance how many MK41 silos could you have if you altered the design not to have the Sea Ceptor silos on the bow.
Also the use of the space taken up by the other Ceptor silos. From an operators point of view even if I was not a Sea Ceptor prime user I would be tempted to keep the non bow silos.
It gives me a missile capable of being directed by various sensors, it also moves an AAW asset to a different hul sectiin offering redundancy in CBRNDC terms. They are in a different sub citadel operating off a different switchboard etc.

Observer
Observer
October 3, 2015 12:10 am

@APATs

I had a question on the influence of AIP (air independent propulsion) systems on ASW. In the past, MPA were used to track/attack subs when they surface to recharge their batteries, but since there is no longer a need to surface to recharge, the occasions when an airplane will spot a sub is much lesser. Will this drive a reliance to a more persistent (ship based or SOSUS) platform for ASW work as the datum needed to plot a general course of the sub and hence a general location to drop sonobuoys is now reduced while ships can continuously trawl an area for patrol? I’m asking because if there is a reduced reliance on MPA for sub work, maybe the next MPA should be more of a radar platform for air and sea picture instead of one designed to hunt submarines?

all Politicians are the Same
all Politicians are the Same
October 3, 2015 7:21 am
Reply to  Observer

TAS would probably be better at answering but basically no.

Your first sentence is flawed. Subs have not had to surface to recharge batteries for some time. They have been able to snort. In any case they would have to be extremely unlucky to be detected as it is a very big Ocean and a relatively tiny number of assets to cover it.
Now that sounds bad but you then ask the question, how much of that big Ocean do I care about? The answer is very little at any one time. I care about the approaches to my bases, choke points I have to transit and the parts of it I am using, this can be a moving area of interest.
If the submarine is not in one of these areas its ability to hurt me is seriously limited. So it is in these areas that I focus my ASW assets, Helos, Ships and MPA to keep the submarine out of these areas or kill it if it enters, defensive ASW.
If I actively want to find and kill a submarine I reverse the question and look at areas the submarine has to use. Where does it exit its base, what choke points does it have to transit to get to its Op Area. This is where I will stand the best chance of detecting and killing it.

Observer
Observer
October 3, 2015 8:54 am

Ah, so in short, the MPA acts as a fast deploying advance scout for specific areas, so they don’t really have that much area to cover. I see. Thanks.

howard
howard
October 6, 2015 2:55 pm
Reply to  Ron

I suspect future potential customers will be more interested in the longer range version of CAMM …

if I was at sea and someone asked me what I wanted…it’d certainly include a protective system with a LOT of shots… swarming boats and anti-ship missiles need a deep response.

JamesF
October 6, 2015 3:43 pm

@Howard. By the look of it CAMM ER has a much bigger booster, whereas CAMM is basically ASRAMM with a different seeker. I suspect CAMM ER will need to be fired from a conventional VLS, and won’t be able to use the soft-launch option, whereas CAMM can use a stand alone launcher. Its the Italians who are paying for CAMM ER development as a land-based system, no?