BMT Defence Concept Fleet 2015

Although this video is a few months old it has some interesting concepts, like all good concept videos (my favourites are from DCNS) it has littoral warfighting disaster relief!

The reason I posted it was to prompt further discussion on a coupel of ideas we have been looking at recently, SSK, whether the US LCS would be better replaced by something like Type 26, or more appropriately, something like the BMT Venator, and whether a fast landing craft is simply a nice to have, or vital.

[tabs] [tab title=”Vidar SSK”]

[/tab] [tab title=”Venator MCM”]

[/tab] [tab title=”Venator”]

[/tab] [tab title=”Fast Landing Craft”]

[/tab] [tab title=”LCT”]

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Jules
November 10, 2015 7:54 am

I’m all for SSK in fact I’d take six of them them over MPA , if it was a straight either or.
However it’s not but given a choice I’d rather have astute 8,9 and 10, yes 10 as well!
Oh the fantasy!
Fast landing craft, I’d have thought the faster the better, I mean you can’t really parachute in a Chally but it would make for a funny Top Gear episode!
I do know though that they have to balance the size/weight/speed scenario…

LCS hasn’t really worked has it? It’s not totally the ship at fault but rather some of the systems designed to fit to it, it’s fast, short legged, and cramped against Fast enough long legged and comparatively spacious (Type 26)
And indeed the Venator, Oh the joys of automation!
http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/1166510/BMTDSL-Venator-110-Datasheet.pdf
Venator is a great vessel and capable of warfighting but how much less than a GP T26 would they be?
If we could save some money there we may be able to push out another couple of Astutes?
Build the 8 ASW T26, then switch to 8 Venator and finally build 8 AAW T26 to replace the T45?
Subs are expensive but I admit I know nothing of the difference in cost between an on the production line SSN and a new production SSK?

Martin
Martin
November 10, 2015 9:15 am

I think the UK still has the lead in the sexy looking CGI video industry.

Unfortunately our budgets or engineering skills are unable to match our ability to make sexy looking videos.

SSK would be nice to have but would we ever really use them? Probably not. I really don’t think a small fleet of SSK’s can be seen as a replacement for MPA and it would costs much much more to buy and run.

I think a better landing craft than what we currently have would be very nice however there are a dozen projects on the whiteboard with a much higher priority.

Martin
Martin
November 10, 2015 9:25 am

On the subject of MPA (sorry a bit off topic) Lockheed are pitching a conversion of the UK’s C130 J at 40% of the cost of P8 with most of the integration work already done by Lockheed and work ongoing to integrate the stingray torpedo.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2015/11/09/lockheed-pitches-c-130-uk-alternative-p-8/75460480/

If a C130 option was affordable and viable it would solve a lot of issue for the UK.

Jules
November 10, 2015 10:16 am
Reply to  Martin

Well by that token maybe we wouldn’t use the MPA?
Well not for anything that a drone can’t do now?
They are only of any use when they are needed, if it goes to hell I’d rather have some SSK or a couple more SSN to keep the shipping lanes open than some 737’s…
Noted in the video that throughout it’s entirety the CVF did nothing…
Just sayin…

Jules
November 10, 2015 10:20 am

I think this may eventually have legs after all, it depends on how much Marshalls is willing to compromise on doing the wings etc, refurbing an aircraft can come in as roughly the same as buying a new one if your not careful…

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 11:12 am

SSK’s are useful in very specific scenarios- notably the littorals, and to a lesser extent if you have a very specific tasking close to home- such as the GIUK picket role the Upholder class were built for. Other than that an SSN is better in every scenario which is why those countries who can acquire them instead of SSKs do so.

The UK currently has no role for SSKs the would justify the investment. And no, they can’t replace an MPA.

TAS
TAS
November 10, 2015 11:46 am

And on this basis, no thanks:

“Lockheed would equip the aircraft with submarine-hunting Harpoons, as well as sonobuoys and life rafts”.

Can’t even get the basics right. Also, 40% of $256M is still $100M per aircraft for a conceptual, very old, bashed and abused airframe. No thanks. Fails utterly on Risk.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 11:51 am

“it has littoral warfighting disaster relief!”

The single task force has been sunk… and the CGI force sails in as a replacement?

Have to apologise for that… just the first thing that came into mind. Now on a more serious note, will have to read the details of that SeaHerc link as it is starting to look like a serious attempt by a competitor to piss into Boeing’s tent.

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 12:04 pm

Of course its a serious attempt to piss in Boeing’s tent.

LM is a company, it therefore exists to make money. They have been pushing SC-130J for years as it allows them to keep in the MPA market and keep selling C-130s- its win-win for them.

That doesn’t make it a good idea for the customer though.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 12:11 pm

Let me see now… 41 mths to IOC, round it to full years, risk add-on cancelling out mathematical rounding, = 4 yrs. SDSR eo-2015, plus four = eo-2019 =2020.

Is the OSD for the J-hercs still 2022? A nice (comfortable?) margin for error, both on this side of things and on the side of A400M, replacing the Hercs almost 1:1 despite a vastly different capacity.
– keep 4 for SF
– another 10 for this conversion
– 10 to sell on, as the A400Ms are delivered and confirmed for all aspects of use

And, wow, low level operations could continue, which in turn means that Stingray becomes an option again… what is there not to like?

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 12:27 pm

Twenty year old well-used airframes not even built on the standard C-130J tooling that are ill-suited to the role carrying a helo derived combat system.

Net result, limited capability that will need replacing again within 10-15 years.

If you want a low risk solution buy some P-8s.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 12:30 pm

… and who was it that provided a quote for the imminent SDSR announcement, that Defence Industrial aspects would feature prominently in it ?

The £1.5 bn that was in this contract if it were to run to 2030… with the added aspects of the refurb and support – albeit for a reduced fleet- could grow into the cumulative being even more (for British companies):

” Depth maintenance will be provided by Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge. The Royal Air Force will continue to provide front line forward maintenance. All parties will be supported by the Lockheed Martin-led supply chain, and by engine support from Rolls Royce.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 12:38 pm

“Net result, limited capability that will need replacing again within 10-15 years.
If you want a low risk solution buy some P-8s.”
… and if you want a budget solution, or, a stop-gap solution?

Not a proponent of either solution, just wanting to look at all aspects (the jigs being different is good to have in the public domain… no explaining afterwards “we simply were not told that””.

BTW, the Boeing man is v diplomatic (zero a/c for several bill spend) in “It is 75 percent cheaper on a cost-per-hour basis to operate the P-8 than the legacy aircraft it is replacing, he said. Additionally, he said, if a foreign nation coordinates its buy with the US Navy’s, both can benefit from the economy of scale.

Many nations are finding that reconfiguring existing aircraft for maritime patrol is actually cost prohibitive” but the per hour claim makes me wonder what was/ is the comparison with?

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 12:44 pm

Question one: Does it actually do the job?

Question two: whats the risk?

Question three: whats the real cost (lifecycle), not LMs marketing numbers?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 12:53 pm

This is as rude as jumping the queue at the bus stop, but:
0. What is the requirement?

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 10, 2015 1:13 pm

If LCS hasn’t worked out well, Jules, surely it’s the American procurement process that’s to blame rather than either the ships or the systems.

The original LCS idea seems to have been an attempt to replace, improve, and increase the fleet of small US Navy vessels, like the Cyclone class. Somewhere along the way, LCS became the US Navy’s new frigate (having sucked up all the money that might have been available for a more conventional frigate design).

The idea of having two LCS designs seems to have been to reduce risk; with the apparent lesser vessel expected to be curtailed before hull numbers reached double figures. Political lobbying meant that neither design could be cut, nor the number of vessels pledged to the winning manufacturer, so they end up with exactly equal numbers of each and twice as many vessels as anyone wanted. There was a similar issue recently with the Navy having unwanted landing ships forced upon it because rival shipbuilders felt they had been promised equal orders.

LCS has ended up in the middle of a circular mess, where the original LCS concepts have to be pushed aside in favour of turning the ships into frigates, because all the available cash has already been committed to churning out LCS and pushing it into frigate roles.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
November 10, 2015 1:15 pm

Considering that the Government is asking departments (presumably the non-ringfenced ones) to prepare two savings plans, one for 25% and the other for 40%, I think it’s going to be very hard for the Government to go for any solution that it can’t justify as supporting UK jobs to the max. I feel that that may be higher up their priorities list than military utility, unfortunately

rec
rec
November 10, 2015 1:16 pm

1) On the BMT Venator, it offers a number of options but will the RN go for a 2 tier fleet. I like the idea of 10 T26s + 6-8 Venator type.
2) On SSKs surely yes, in order to make the submarine fleet sustainable in terms of man power career paths and actual availablity of hulls.
3)On MPA, surely refurbishing Sea Hercs is not a long term solution, I think a 3 way race with 3 options. Option 1 High end only a staright contest between P1 and P8 4-6 aircraft), option 2 low end only C295 (14 aircraft based at Culdrose even RN operated), option 3 mixed high and low end P8 (4-6 based at Waddington) with CN295 (12) (based a Culdrose)

Martin
Martin
November 10, 2015 1:46 pm

Would a 15 year solution costing 40% of a longer term solution be a bad thing. 15 years might get us to a workable point on a European MPA or on an unmanned solution. And we are pretty broke at the moment but we might have a little more in the kitty in 2030 post successor

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 2:11 pm

MoD is never going to tell you what the specific requirement is, but MRA4 was high-end for a reason, as is P-8 which is designed with the same targets in mind.

Good luck getting a European MPA off the ground in 15 years. in the meant time you have to undertake a potentially risky programme in order to get a poor end product.

SSKs are completely unnecessary, the UK has no requirement for them.

LCS was designed for a very specific task (what it says on the tin) clearing out the littorals ahead of a marine landing, it was based on GW1 experience and assumed ocean supremacy. Unfortunately the Chinese have other ideas so its being rehashed as a light/fast frigate. Not a great one if you ask me but thats the plan.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 10, 2015 2:27 pm
Reply to  Brian Black

I think LCS is a solution waiting for a problem. Other than doing 40kts it is inferior to a standard FF in every role and at £250 million a pop not cheap.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
November 10, 2015 2:55 pm

I think the Government should go for a two tier solution for the MPA. Most of the shouting has been the lack of a patrol aircraft so a purchase of 4-6 low end patrol aircraft would meet this need and could be delivered fairly rapidly. Later a second order for a high end MPA/ASW platform possibly included in the 2020 SDSR. The low end MPA could be manned by joint RAF/Maritime Protection Agency crew and could have a SAR function. This would free up some funding in the 2015 SDSR but both plans could be announced then.

As for the C-130Js. Putting 4-6 through Marshalls to relief them and optimise them for SF work would fit in the PMs pledge to reinforce the capabilities of our Special Forces. It would be nice if another 4-6 could be converted into AC-130Js but one can only dream.

The USN in my opinion has backed itself into a corner with the LCS. It is eventually going to end up with only these light frigates or DDGs as its surface combatants with nothing in between. I wonder it BAe with its tendrils in the US could tempt the USN to purchase the design of the T-26 and build a variant in US yards?!

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 3:09 pm

The LCS absolutely filled a role and solved a problem, I am really fed up of people failing to understand what it is and what is was meant to do.

In GW1 the US (and allies) found that a fleet designed for deep-ocean warfare was particularly ill-equipped at clearing out littoral environments of things like mines, fast attack craft, small Islands and man-made structures and other obstacles. LCS was designed to transit from the US to the operational theater then enter the littorals and clear them. It’s really simple.

Why on earth should MoD spend money performing the basic maritime security role in UK waters currently undertaken by the Coast Guard or the SAR role performed jointly by the CG (under-contract to Bristow) and the RNLI?

The MoD MPA requirement is obvious for anyone who cares to look, firstly its covering deterrent departures and then more broadly observing and tracking Russian submarines. There is a limited requirement for deployment in support of deployed surface fleet assets but the key requirement is UK based and against a very sophisticated threat.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 10, 2015 3:17 pm
Reply to  Hohum

“In GW1 the US (and allies) found that a fleet designed for deep-ocean warfare was particularly ill-equipped at clearing out littoral environments of things like mines, fast attack craft, small Islands and man-made structures and other obstacles. LCS was designed to transit from the US to the operational theater then enter the littorals and clear them. It’s really simple.”

It may have been envisaged to do so but the end product is not capable of doing so and it is frankly the second best option for all of those roles.

TAS
TAS
November 10, 2015 3:20 pm

I agree we need a 2-tier solution. Long ranged patrol aircraft for HM Coastguard, P8 or P1 for the military.

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 3:24 pm

APATS,

Actually its perfectly capable of doing that. Its problem is that the underlying assumption of oceanic naval supremacy is being challenged by China which requires the addition of conventional combat capability.

TAS,

HMCG’s SAR problem is its business and if they think such a capability is a requirement they can and will lobby for it. The MoD should and will stay well clear with the exception of when it has capability by coincidence that can be used.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 10, 2015 3:34 pm

it would not have taken a genius to realise that the lack ASuW capability was going to see it exposed and out ranged by countries a lot less capable than China. It is not as good at MW as an MCMV, has limited land attack or anti platform capability due to only having a 57mm gun. PDMS only AAW and will never be as good as an FF at ASW.

TAS
TAS
November 10, 2015 3:36 pm

What APATS said. LCS is a genuinely silly concept – too expensive to be expendable, too small to be useful.

Jules
November 10, 2015 3:43 pm
Reply to  Hohum

Hohum!

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 3:51 pm

Western navy’s, rightly or wrongly, stopped regarding naval vessels as expendable in the 1960s. It is plenty useful enough in its intended role.

APATS,

What are talking about? They can carry two MH-60R firing Hellfire, an excellent solution to the small boat problem they were designed to counter. Hellfire is also in testing for launching from the LCS platforms themselves and there is a planned programme for a longer range weapon. Its not meant to be as good at ASW as an FF as its not meant to be hunting SSNs on the GIUK line and PDMS is all thats required to protect itself against short range AShM threats when it was expected to be operating under air cover.You also have no idea how food it is at mine warfare.

Jules!

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 4:00 pm

Jules,

Yup, development programme has development troubles, hardly news.

When you have that much high-end you don’t need low end.

LCS was designed for a very specific mission, it fits that mission like a glove. Its not great at the mission its now being shoehorned into but that’s life.

Ron5
Ron5
November 10, 2015 4:02 pm

“Venator is a great vessel and capable of warfighting”

Venator is a great pile of flip charts. They’ve been working on the concept for over a decade.

And even BMT does not claim its suitable for warfighting. It’s for patrolling in benign environments with a capability to embark anti mine equipment. Zero ASW. A few CAMM missiles for point defense. A small popgun. No CIWS.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 10, 2015 4:05 pm

Hell fire has a range of 5NM so unless you want to lose your helos the STOF distance for them is well outside their range against any ship with a semi useful SAM system. The only thing that makes it useful is the draught, allowing it to operate closer in shore but that could easily have been achieved by removing the bow sonar from a traditional frigate design. then you could have had a 5 inch gun, improved AAW capability, longer ranged ASuW weapons and retained the flight capability and mission bay as well as increasing survivability. Hey presto it is suddenly useful.

As for MCM capability, I spend a lot of time dealing with TF52.

Jules
November 10, 2015 4:07 pm

Not everyone thinks we need MPA either, which is why “Out the ffing door it went”
It was a mistake for sure, and I did say I’d rather have a couple more Astutes than SSK I don’t however see with such a dimished Submarine service that they are unnecessary, surely any way of getting more is better allowing the Astutes a free reign and keeping the local sea lanes open with a SSK or six? Expensive, yes but not as much as an Astute, unnecessary, don’t see that I’m sorry…
Your right about a Euro-Jet MPA, never going to happen now, the pretty pictures that Airbus created of the A319 are collecting dust, personally I think it’s a case of buying whatever it takes to fill in the time until a remote solution can be found. If the Herc does that, then fine, it’s cheaper and it’ll do, if not then fine again and when we do buy P8 I hope the papers all remember Nimrod, thats the sort of thing to topple a Government that is.
I’ll give you the one on the LCS too (I’m in a Gregarious mood!) Built it for one thing and I’d hazard though that it was a bit weakly armed for that anyway, and with it’s ASW and MH modules hampering it, probably not a good place to be near the shore in one of them methinks…
Frigate it will be, they’ll never buy ours and we’d never buy theirs, then again were never going to have sixty type 26’s either :(

Ron5
Ron5
November 10, 2015 4:12 pm

@APATS

You’ve severely understated the cost of LCS. 250 million might buy you a basic hull but it can’t do anything but float without a mission package or two or three. And they cost more than the ships. All in all, not much change left after a billion each. The type 26 is bargain basement in comparison.

My view is that the LCS fails for two reasons: the idea of tailoring capability to mission by mixing and matching mission packages as pioneered by the Danes. It just means you have to buy a ton of very expensive kit that spends most of its life sitting on a dock with brief periods where it goes to sea to be less that optimally installed, integrated and operated.

The second flaw is the speed. So much weight had to be saved to enable the 40+ knots that the hulls have extremely poor survivability characteristics. One hit and done. And weapons have been sacrificed. Hence the tiny popgun and limited number of missiles.

Most serving in the USN think they are a disaster despite a seemingly nonstop stream of positive reports from the Navy.

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 4:17 pm

Jules,

Wrong, Nimrod MRA4 died because it had absorbed every penny thrown at it and still needed more- when there wasn’t any. It was a disaster of a programme that should never have been attempted in the form it was.

APATS,

You might want to check how many SAM’s the average Iranian small boat carries.
Also, as the MCM suit has not even completed development yet I don’t care who you claim to deal with- you have no idea how capable it is.

Ron5
Ron5
November 10, 2015 4:23 pm

@TAS

“Lockheed would equip the aircraft with submarine-hunting Harpoons, as well as sonobuoys and life rafts”.

No, no, no. They mean harpoons not Harpoons :-)

Jules
November 10, 2015 4:24 pm

Want one!

Jules
November 10, 2015 4:24 pm
Reply to  Hohum

It did go thru the roof didn’t it?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 4:43 pm

A good thing that this is a “concept” thread, otherwise I would not know what is “off thread”… you all know that I can easily be.

RE “Key components of the ASW package are a Type 2087 Thales variable depth sonar being used for evaluation purposes, and the multi-function towed array under development for LCS and the fleet’s destroyers.”
– am I completely mistaken, or is it not just an evolution of what exists, made to work better in shallow waters?

Which takes me to this, by Ron
“The second flaw is the speed. So much weight had to be saved to enable the 40 knots that the hulls have extremely poor survivability characteristics. One hit and done. And weapons have been sacrificed.”
… so much so that it can’t take that package that is an evolution exactly for the Littoral (as in Lcs)?

Hellfire… look at the size of (littoral) craft the Norgies and the Swedes fire them from; they sure do not cost 275 to a bn.

The other edge of the Littoral, the shore side: What happened to NLOS?
– now you have a 57mm and Hellfire (5nm)… not much good for a Marine Bn/ Coy operating (was it 40 km?) inland, and supported (not!).

The MCM is a plus as there are many methods/ types of assets that can be mixed, depending on what needs to be done ( and assuming it is a coalition Op).

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 4:53 pm

Hohum, how many SAMs? As many as the the boat can take on top of the driver and the one aiming the torpedos or ATGWs; either standing, or kneeling (of which the former is the greater number)… pls convert 6 km to nm, and also note 3.8 km up as part of the envelope:

“Flying Crossbow), is a third generation passive infrared homing (IR) man portable air defence system (MANPADS). It was developed by China, and is their most advanced surface-to-air missile offered in the international market. Specially designed to engage low flying targets, it has a range of 6 km and a maximum altitude of 3.8 km. The FN-6 is in service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and has also been exported to Malaysia, Cambodia, Sudan and Peru

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 4:57 pm

The Scandinavians only use their FACs as ASuW craft and they don’t expect them to transit oceans, they are defensive platforms.

LCS is an offensive platform and thus intended to transit oceans and deal with multiple threat types when it gets there.

NLOS was an Army programme, it got cancelled and the Navy (despite being a customer) left it cancelled. There is now a two path approach to getting ASuW capability onto the LCS. Hellfire then a longer ranged weapon- NSM/JSM has been trialed.

Also re MANPADS, correct, which gives a nice margin for a Hellfire shot, especially since firing one off a fast moving small boat would be challenging.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 5:18 pm

Yep, of course, was only trying to get the discussion going:
“LCS is an offensive platform and thus intended to transit oceans and deal with multiple threat types when it gets there.”

“NLOS was an Army programme, it got cancelled and the Navy (despite being a customer) left it cancelled.”
– that was a travesty (but there must have been good reasons that we do not know)

” There is now a two path approach to getting ASuW capability onto the LCS. Hellfire then a longer ranged weapon- NSM/JSM has been trialed.”
– thanks for that, did not know about it. Back to my point, must (or more precisely: I hope) be the vertical launch JSM then, for land attack capability, stealth, and nicely formulated contour flying?

Also re MANPADS, correct, which gives a nice margin for a Hellfire shot, especially since firing one off a fast moving small boat would be challenging.
– umm, not sure: 12 guys with a manpad, not a salvo launch, but singing to a tune, and firing at such preset intervals that do not make the next missile to be in pursuit of the previous? A numbers game, if the homing head is any good.

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 5:33 pm
Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 5:39 pm

ACC,

NLOS apparently didn’t work, at least not reliably. Long range launchers are currently unclear as the programme has not downselected (to my current knowledge) but Boeing is apparently offering a Harpoon derivative.

I would not want to be balancing on a small boat doing 20-30knots or more trying to aim and fire a manpad (against a countermeasure equipped helo), just my outlook.

To be clear, I actually agree that LCS was a mistake, just not for the reasons people here think it was. LCS was a perfectly valid solution to the mission requirement but that mission requirement has become progressively less significant (in the grand scheme of things) as time has gone on and that was entirely predictable back in the early 2000s. LCS would have been perfect in 1990 and again in 2003- considerably less useful trying to liberate Taiwan in 2030.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 5:45 pm

From the above:
“the Navy is looking at an upgunned, upgraded, and more expensive variant of the LCS, designated a frigate. The current plan is for 32 of the existing LCS designs and 20 LCS frigates, but there’s considerable interest in cherry-picking some of the frigate’s improvements and adding them to the original-model LCS.”
– and will the Saudi versions sit somewhere in between (heh-heh: they wanted AEGIS on them, as a starting point for negotiation)?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 6:00 pm

RE
” balancing on a small boat doing 20-30knots or more trying to aim and fire a manpad (against a countermeasure equipped helo), just my outlook.”
– a very partial view; even if will likely take out the man next to you (and you, as collateral damage), you are totally forgetting the 38, or was it 49, virgins waiting, to reward you for the goof effort?

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 6:04 pm

Saudi LCS has existed as a requirement for years and had a number of different configurations- one of the earlier ones had SPY-1K, my understanding is the current offering is TRS-4D though. At one point they thought thy wanted DDG51s.

TAS
TAS
November 10, 2015 6:05 pm

Hmm.

“I would not want to be balancing on a small boat doing 20-30 knots or more trying to aim and fire a manpad (against a countermeasure equipped helo), just my outlook.”

How do they aim the torpedoes, missiles, machine guns, recoilless rifles, mortars and supercavitating torpedoes then? Hell, they only have to get it off in the right quadrant the the helo will be diving for cover, pumping out flares and doing everything apart from attacking if there’s even one SAM in the air. In a swarm of fifty FAC/FIAC, MANPADS are a very serious threat indeed.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 6:11 pm

Yes, but: it has been signed now? Right?
RE
“Saudi LCS has existed as a requirement for years and had a number of different configurations- one of the earlier ones had SPY-1K, my understanding is the current offering is TRS-4D though. At one point they thought thy wanted DDG51s.”

WiseApe
November 10, 2015 6:11 pm

One of these days someone will come up with a design for a literal warship. Anyway, we’re going to need a change of Sea Lord before we get a corvette; unless the RAF can sneak the decision past him while he’s not looking. It worked with the carrier design. Allegedly. :D

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 6:44 pm

You wished for it; you got it!

“Israeli web portal Walla! recently published an interview with the head of the Israeli Navy’s equipment division, Moshe Zana, who provided some details on the SAAR 6 vessel project ordered from Germany.

Saar 6 class corvettes will be heavily armed: They are set to be fitted with up to 40x (most likely 32x) VLS cells for surface to air missile system Barak 8 by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and C-DOME naval point defense system by Rafael, 16x anti-ship missiles and the MF-STAR multifunction AESA radar by IAI.

The main gun is set to be a 76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid (possibly with Strales guided rounds). In addition, Saar 6 will be fitted with 2x Rafael’s Typhoon remote weapon stations and two 324mm torpedo launchers”

– now based on what APATS and I were discussing (somewhere) on here there must be a mistake (Barak 1’s , not 8’s) but never mind, here’s your corvette
– so, with all these goodies (and the two carriers), what else would you need – other than the deterrence?

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 6:57 pm

TAS,

By pointing the boat, the concept hasn’t changed since torpedo boats were first built, but those tubes are fixed to the vessel, a MANPAD launcher isn’t. Most small attack craft don’t carry such missiles anyway which was the original point.

ACC,

No idea if it has actually been signed but the jungle drums are optimistic.

Peter Elliott
November 10, 2015 7:08 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

TD – Cracking idea. You could call your counter swarm: “Torpedo boat Destroyers.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 7:11 pm

Ohh?
“ACC,
No idea if it has actually been signed”. That would be (have been) a major break through.

Anyway, the USCG signed a tech transfer deal for the Visby type of technology, not just stealth as such, but composites… failed (the potentially chosen provider, that is).

Now the Gulf yards are making vessels longer than the Visby with such technology (though, transferred from France).

Even when there is no direct LCS connection (and one of the builders for LCS being Fincantieri), there is something going very wrong here. Not forgetting that the alu/ triple hull LCS concept, too, came from Australia… what is going on with the UK and American yards? If anything…

Hohum
Hohum
November 10, 2015 7:22 pm

PE,

Beautifully put.

ACC,

A contract signing in the Gulf isnt the same thing as one in the UK or Europe. But yes, it would.

Not many yards, especially naval, work in just aluminium, Austal is one of the few.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 7:35 pm

Yeah, I know, been inking them for nearly 20 years there.

How many have been overturned just by political influence, how many have not been paid, even when fully delivered (putting pressure on someone else in the contracting chain). Totally immoral culture… you could call it “totally political” but claiming individual integrity at the same time is a bit rich… from the perspective of someone who has never defaulted on any contract, even a delivery milestone. Not here, nor “there”.
RE “A contract signing in the Gulf isnt the same thing as one in the UK or Europe. But yes, it would.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2015 7:38 pm

Ohh, I did enjoy the “prank” of someone putting a (not so pleasant) image on all of the 40,000 Aramco screens. Nowadays it is not just images, but is turning into serious harm.

But a good reminder that it would be worth buying the expertise, not just saying so.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
November 10, 2015 7:47 pm

As I am sure most people know SAR was a key role for the Nimrod fleet.

pacman27
pacman27
November 10, 2015 7:57 pm

Venator is the ship we should be buying instead of T26 – we should be buying 30 of them though in various flavours. These are not small ships and could be made larger if required. I suspect they could be build for circa £200m each across the whole 30. They are capable and with an additional 10m length would be a very nice asset.

If I am going to spend £6b (or is it £11b) on a set of ships – I would rather have 30 of these than 12 or 13 T26’s as they provide scale, flexibility, value and most importantly capability.

Peter Elliott
November 10, 2015 8:42 pm

And twice as many skilled watch keepers, officers and seamen to crew them. The operating cost kills the business case.

as
as
November 10, 2015 8:53 pm

The BMT Salvas Utility Auxiliary Ship is an interesting one.
http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/bmt-design-portfolio/bmt-salvas-utility-auxiliary-ship/

Stretched, armed and with a hanger added would make a good alternative to a frigate.

Repulse
November 10, 2015 9:25 pm

I’ve never really understood why people refer to a two-tier fleet, I see it as a balanced one.

I’d see operating 2 QE Carrier Groups plus a LPH / LPD Group on rotation as a minimum the UK should be aiming for, given the change in the threat environment. This with APT(S), TAPS and FRE, I’d say now means a DD/FF fleet of 9 AAW and 9 ASW platforms – so am hoping for 12 T26s (3 with enhanced AAW capability).

I see the Venator as a longer term MCM / OPV replacement – ideally on a 1-for-1 basis. The crew size would be similar and no strain on specialist roles.

mickp
mickp
November 10, 2015 9:32 pm

If we’re talking about ‘powerpoint ships’ then fill out a shopping list from the Damen range – they even do a crossover now which reminds me of an idea Repulse had to ditch the Albions and go smaller for RM raiding ships. You could do a full navy from their product brochure but unlike BMT they have products in service

http://products.damen.com/en/ranges/crossover

ChrisM
ChrisM
November 10, 2015 11:51 pm

Did I imagine it or was one of the roles for the SSK “Coastguard”??
That would sure scare the crap out of a drug smuggler….

40 deg south
40 deg south
November 10, 2015 11:55 pm

Hohum, ACC

NSM trial on LCS below.

as
I’ve always thought the BMT Salvas was an interesting design – potentially the sort of unglamorous workhorse that is very useful but easy to overlook in favour of more shiny toys. NZ is currently looking for a ‘Littoral Operations Support Capability’, a sort of combined dive support/hydrography/mine clearance vessel. I’ll be surprised if BMT doesn’t pitch the Salvas, particularly if their Aegir design wins the contract for a new AOR (decision expected first quarter of 2016).

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
November 11, 2015 1:23 am
Reply to  mickp

@mickp – re: Damen designs – how about this one, seems versatile and easily modified for a range of tasks

http://products.damen.com/en/ranges/multi-purpose-vessel/multi-purpose-vessel-8316

seems familiar, though – can’t quite place it :}

– I agree – as I commented earlier, the Venator doesn’t seem to be a million miles away from the rumoured spec for the MCM replacement

Ron5
Ron5
November 11, 2015 3:01 am

Saudi deal for LCS has not been concluded. The recent announcement was that the US had given permission for the deal to go ahead. Four LCS plus weapons (not helos) and unspecified support for up to $11.25 billion.

Told you that the LCS makes the Type 26 look cheap: 4 LCS for $11.25 vs 13 T26 for 11 billion pounds. And the T26 can actually do something fighty.

I agree that Venator would be a competitor for future MCM but I think it would fail as it tries to be too many other things at the same time without convincing arguments that would be be good at any of them.

As a Type 26 replacement, don’t be so silly. the concept cant even operate a Merlin for goodness sake.

Repulse
November 11, 2015 7:36 am
Reply to  mickp

@MickP: Agree, I also like the Crossover range from Damen; I mis-wrote when I said Venator as it should have been “Venator Like”. Having the ability to operate 2-4 LCVPs, a couple of helicopters and 200 RMs / Army Commandos would be a strong baseline alongside the other things designed in the Venator.

mickp
mickp
November 11, 2015 7:36 am

(and @ACP) I see the Venator as a longer term MCM / OPV replacement – ideally on a 1-for-1 basis. The crew size would be similar and no strain on specialist roles.

I’ve probably said before but the first iteration of Venator looks a better potential MCM replacement than the current 110 version – with a more utilitarian work deck etc for UVs and a flight deck / UAV hanger rather than a full helo hanger. The current version of Venator looks more like a candidate to fill the capability gap when T26 stops at 8-10 although I think the working Damen frigate designs are a better bet at present.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 11, 2015 10:30 am

I don’t agree with Hohum that SSK’s are completely unnecessary, but I doubt that they could be any kind of priority for the foreseeable future.

Diesel boats could cost-effectively supplement what is quite a small and thinly stretched number of nuclear subs.

There is more secrecy surrounding submarine taskings than with the surface fleet, but it’s reasonable to assume that shouldering some of the responsibility for protecting the deterrent requires the SSNs to spend a fair bit of time pootling around the UK and the Gap. Comfortably within the range of the Navy’s last lot of diesel subs, built to ’70s/’80s designs.

To get more out of the few nuclear boats, having diesels with less crew and without reactors to pay for through to their disposal could work out cheaper than building more nuclear boats.

Repulse, I reckon a better route for a ‘littoral combat ship’ concept nowadays would be some kind of warship tender for LCVP, combat boats, and similar scale unmanned vessels.

Gets over the problem of ocean transit for small vessels, and embarked boats of that scale really can get into shallow and restricted waters without endangering a full ships crew, while still being big enough to carry a useful system or payload.

LCS has required more crew than originally intended being crammed into what is often credited with being a less survivable ship than conventional frigates – unraveling the principle of having a smaller and leaner manned vessel to minimise risks and potential casualties. LCS is not now as financially expendable as originally envisaged either. LCVP scale vessels are unlikely to become operationally critical losses, even if they are fully manned or come with multi-million pound price tags. Such small vessels could still be supported by a proper naval gun, air-defence system, and helicopter from the mothership.

TAs
TAs
November 11, 2015 11:57 am

You can no more replace an SSN with an SSK than you could replace Typhoons with Spitfires. Yes they both operate in the same environment, but an SSN will run rings around an SSK or, more appositely, will just avoid it altogether. An SSK may be quiet, but it’s slow and basically immobile and tied to a significant logistics chain – it will have to RTB to refuel, for a start. You’d have to deploy a whole string of them to cover a gap, because if it can’t move, you need to pre-position a lot more of them. An SSK lacks the endurance to conduct any form of half decent North Atlantic patrol, and a smaller crew means they are less able to be sufficiently alert for as long.

Why do you think we got rid of the Upholders? It’s not like we saved a load of cash in doing so?

The Ginge
The Ginge
November 11, 2015 12:07 pm

Reading the thread can somebody please explain to me how running 4-6 P8’s is anywhere near meeting the requirement. All Navy and RAF reports/figures have always said 12 was the minimum number. Thus you always had 4 ready or on station.
So at $256m a pop for 12 is $3.072bn or at todays exchange rate £2bn. Thats the buying cost out of the factory, no training, no training facilities, no maintenace or supply chain, no spare engines or parts. 40yr life with upgrades/refurbs costs on top, plus refitting and changing the Voyager PFI to include probe refueling so we can actualy use the P8 properly.
C130J Sea Hercules as quoted above ie LM 40% which includes refurb of planes and fitting of all sensors/weapons apart from torpedoes. So 12 x $100m = $1.2bn = £800m with training and pilots all ready trained, parts and hangers/tools in place very little extra cost that lets be honest is probably pushing the P8 to the much quoted £2.5bn up and running cost.
So for a third of the cost you have an MPA platform that can be refueled, has equivalant sensors and systems as the P8, can operate (as the Nimrod did for the last few years of its life) over land and deploy from less than a pristine airfield that the P8 will need. that gets you another 15y/20yrs of MPA cover pretty quickly.
Even if you buy new with Hercules fly away costs are $67.3m allowing for removing the refit costs from Marshalls saving say $20m that costs you 12 x $47.3m = $567.6m = £378.4. So for £1.17bn you have a brand new aircraft with a 40yr life span.
Can I see us finding £2.5bn plus say another £500m to modify Voyager in the defence budget ? Nope I can’t not without sacrificing something, maybe 4 T26’s ? Finding £800m is a lot easier over the next 5 years thats £160m a year, or say £180m a year to bring 3 aircraft a year into service, thats only the Armies General Staff’s mess bill !

Hohum
Hohum
November 11, 2015 12:09 pm

Ron,

The Saudi LCS deal includes a lot more than just ships and weapons.

TAS,

As I explained above. SSK’s are useful if you have a very specific tasking for them that matches their capabilities- which was the case with the Upholders when we procured them. That task went away and so did the Upholders.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
November 11, 2015 12:59 pm

I sometimes think one needs to be a bit less literal (sic) whenever people refer to the “Venator” – or any other ship that is still a powerpoint, it’s just being used as a frame of reference. Once a detailed spec. for a ship in the same general range and of the same general capabilities emerges, the designs will morph to suit the spec.

Martin
Martin
November 11, 2015 2:02 pm

@ The Ginge

I seriously doubt the offer form Lockheed with have as good a radar or ELINT capability as P8

However a 60% reduction in procurement costs is not something to turn our nose up at.

However Lockheed would have to add a new phrase to its lexicon before I would consider buying it “fixed price”. Defence Contractors can be full of promises about such programs just look at Boeing with the AAR deal it stole from Airbus.

It’s also worth thinking that if the kit selected for a SC130 is modular it could eventually be transferred across to A400m or another new aircraft when the current j airframes reach the end of their life.

Ron5
Ron5
November 11, 2015 4:06 pm

@hohum

“The Saudi LCS deal includes a lot more than just ships and weapons”

So does the 11 billion for 13 Type 26’s. LCS is a very, very expensive system.

Ron5
Ron5
November 11, 2015 4:10 pm

I also think when folks look at pretty CGI pictures of “cheap” frigates, they don’t ask if the pretty ship can perform its brochure claims on a wet & stormy night in the South Atlantic after being on station for a few weeks.

Hohum
Hohum
November 11, 2015 4:45 pm
Ron5
Ron5
November 11, 2015 5:41 pm

@hohum

Gimme a break, that’s just bare hulls, no weapons, no combat systems, no mission packages. And all in a shipyard PR release. Want to know what’s the cheapest part of a warship? Yep, its the bare hull & propulsion.

The proposed Saudi deal gives a much clearer picture of true LCS cost and they’re not going for the mission packages but instead requesting equipment be permanently installed. In my view, that makes them smarter than the USN.

Very, very, expensive for what they can do.

Hohum
Hohum
November 11, 2015 5:55 pm

Read the article, chuck another $100 million on for the other stuff.

Still not that expensive.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 11, 2015 6:49 pm

“. An SSK may be quiet, but it’s slow and basically immobile”
Especially if it is an AIP boat, sat on the sea bed (something that SSNs can’t do)… or a couple of them, being rotated on the sea lanes in and out of Faslane.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
November 11, 2015 11:01 pm

An initial order for 4-6 P8s is mentioned as that is the number of Nimrod MRA4s the RAF was willing to accept as a minimum to do the job. I agree it isn’t enough to cover all the bases but if another platform takes on the basic MP role together with SAR responsibilities it is alleviated somewhat and further order down the line would also be possible

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
November 11, 2015 11:13 pm

As for the LCS, my opinion s that it is too big and expensive for a Corvette and not as effective or as flexible as a true Frigate, regardless of the on paper mission modules. It is the naval equivalent of the US Army’s FCS but the went ahead and build them and now are stuck with them. The US Navy now appears to want to use them as Frigates but if you had a choice of an LCS or a T-26 what would you prefer, given an LCS with all the bells and whistles (which they are never going to have) is going to cost about the same.

Like all three US services the US Navy has become addicted to high end tech and forgotten in the case of the LCS, what is really needed. One consequence of this has been their attempt to use a variant of the Arleigh Burke DDGs to carry the next generation AAW suite to replace the Ticonderogas, and are have to make performance compromises to squeeze it into the hull, all to save money.

At least with the T-26 we are going to get what we need, numbers aside.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 12, 2015 5:43 am

The Ticos will last quite a while? Having been divided into two batches, one half now being life extended.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 12, 2015 8:43 am

Four to six P8 might not be an earth shattering sovereign capability, but it would be a very useful contributory capability in a multinational effort.

The Americans have made it clear that they don’t expect to have to fill gaping holes in European conceived operations, or end up leading the show when they arrive with all the necessary hardware.

It would be a lot easier to get key allies like the US involved if the UK can first show what it is willing and able to throw into the pot.

So four to six might only share a burden rather than cover all bases, but that could help the cohesion of a coalition effort and of NATO generally.

The RAF’s single deployed Rivet Joint fits seamlessly into the sortie plan of the USAF wing operating over Iraq and Syria. Same spec, same aircraft performance, same sensors. If we can only afford a handful of high-end maritime patrol aircraft, then ensuring they match the specifications of the biggest MPA fleet in NATO would presumably get the most out of them.

There has also been long rumblings in NATO about possibly making maritime patrol a NATO required capability, like airborne early warning and ground surveillance. If that did happen at some point, having a small fleet that matched the US standard might be something we could declare to NATO while a larger British fleet of a cheaper 60%-80% solution might not be accepted as a viable contribution by NATO.

If we end up ordering four to six P8 after this review, various other assets will be said to be contributing to our domestic requirements. Those maritime improvements for Sentinel; a handful of Hercs kept on for general tasks, with maybe a half-dozen new pairs of binoculars for the crew if they’re lucky; those new extra Royal Navy patrol vessels would also be said to be contributing to maritime security and surveillance.

mickp
mickp
November 12, 2015 9:31 am

@BB – a well considered argument. With financial constraints and the absence of a direct immediate threat that is probably the way we are heading – small numbers of high end capability – Airseeker, Seninel, C17, T45. I think the same will happen on T26 (cut to 8-10), F35 (never more than enough for the carriers). Question is then the extent of other assets to retain any depth to forces and cover lesser commitments and obligations.

Peter Elliott
November 12, 2015 9:41 am

Mick P if that’s the plan then the Army is the odd man out. It’s kept some depth in terms of all those cap badges while long term investments in equipment have repeatedly been fudged.

Should the mass of the AF now be given up to fund the high end in the shape of putting our armoured division back at the cutting edge and creating smaller highly mobile medium force to back up our highly trained but necessarily lightly armed elite rapid reaction force? Or have the Army got it right where the RN and RAF are wrong?

TAS
TAS
November 12, 2015 9:50 am

ACC,

Please tell me that was a joke comment? Are you aware of the depths in the North Atlantic? And the operating depth of a submarine?

Brian,

“those new extra Royal Navy patrol vessels would also be said to be contributing to maritime security and surveillance”

How? And where? By doing what? They are f***ing useless for anything other than fishery protection. The threat to the UK homeland comes from one place only – Russia. You cannot counter that with a fish boat and a knackered transport plane. Disagree? Tell me that a significant proportion of the Russian nuclear arsenal is not pointing at the UK, and that Russian bombers hang around and violate our airspace for sh**s and giggles?

mickp
mickp
November 12, 2015 10:13 am

@PE “Should the mass of the AF now be given up to fund the high end in the shape of putting our armoured division back at the cutting edge and creating smaller highly mobile medium force to back up our highly trained but necessarily lightly armed elite rapid reaction force?”

Yes, that’s what I would do for the army – its probably a switch around. Its depth in fast jets and RN DD/FF numbers that, given present taskings and ops, to me is the most glaring. Both are also harder to regenerate than army numbers.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 12, 2015 1:23 pm

TAS, why did we get rid of the Upholders? Because a dozen nuclear powered fleet submarines were seen as sufficient. But of course, a few of those have been sunk somewhere along the way.

I don’t suggest that a modern SSK can do what an SSN can do, but diesel boats can surely be considered in terms of supplementary or offset assets. Similarly, when there is a knackered old transport plane flying top cover for a helicopter search and rescue mission, it won’t be able to do most all the things a P8 can do, but it can offset some of the maritime patrol requirement and the lack of money.

Those batch 2 Rivers are what they are, but there are some grander ambitions for them than simply fishy patrol duties. There has been talk of them being used on tasks such as counter piracy and smuggling from the Caribbean to the Horn of Africa, and probably fishing refugees out the Med too.

You might not like transport planes and OPVs, but I think the new Maritime Patrol Aircraft is not likely to be two dozen P8.

To give you something to have nightmares about tonight, I can tell you that the new Maritime Patrol Aircraft will consist of five P8 aircraft, maritime software upgrades for the five Sentinel, eight retained C130j (shared between tactical transport and maritime roles, upgraded with an EO/IR ball to benefit both special forces and maritime tasks, but no specific MPA/ASW equipment and definitely no anti-ship missiles and torpedoes hanging off the wings), and three batch 2 Rivers. That’s the MPA solution you’re going to see in the very near future. If you want to know how those bits and bobs can do the job, you only have to wait and see.

Donald_of_Tokyo
Donald_of_Tokyo
November 12, 2015 2:27 pm

@The Ginge
“how running 4-6 P8’s is anywhere near meeting the requirement”

As you said, if RAF is going to have only 4-6 planes, then it means the requirement itself has changed.

With 4-5 E-3s, you are to provide 1 AWACS on position 24/7/365 (may be a bit shorter than 365 days).
Thus, 4-6 P-8s will be able to provide 1 MPA (not 4) on position 24/7/365 I guess. So, surely THIS IS the requirement here. It will be used for SSBN port entry/departure 2-3 days per 3 months, and then any other place in between. I guess, if 6, you can keep the 1 MPA position NOT interrupted by SSBN gate keeper. If 4, you will be needed to temporary terminate the 1MPA on position for the later role.

I think this is NOT that bad…

TAS
TAS
November 12, 2015 2:34 pm

Brian,

Fascinating if true, you’ll forgive my misgivings. There is no maritime surface surveillance requirement in UK home waters, short of having a look at the occasional Russian warship heading past or finding the occasional lost yachtsman. The requirement is ASW, protection of the deterrent, MT2 – that is what we need. There is no mandated requirement to have maritime surface surveillance. An unarmed surface surveillance capability is useless. Upgrading Sentinel and the C130’s is a waste of money.

The Batch 1 Rivers barely have suffient tasking to justify their existence as fishery protection hulls, so we get to send them off the the Caribbean for a jaunt and to achieve questionable effect. The Batch 2 Rivers have been made up to be something they’re not – a desperate waste of money that directly results from the complete inability of Defence to engineer a shipbuilding contract that fulfils an aim other than employing Clydeside workers. Using them on counter piracy is farcical – the piracy problem was solved a long time ago, not with warships but by putting barbed wire and armed sentries on merchant ships. There is absolutely no remit whatsoever for us to field a capability focussed on fishing migrants out of the Mediterranean – what the f**k are the Mediterranean nations doing to secure their own borders and why on earth should we deploy units to do so without any form of mandate from our own Defence Review?

No, SSK’s have no role at all in the North Atlantic. They add the square root of f**k all. SSK’s have utility in congested littoral waters when tasked against surface shipping. They have almost no capability against an SSN, because they will always be outmanoeuvred and out-paced, no matter how good the equipment might be.

Far too much of what you propose is focussed on filling gaps in other nation’s capabilities in the Middle East. That is not our role. We waste money that needs to be better spent, to grab headlines and fulfil poorly-though out short-term political opportunities. I expected better from SDSR15.

Ron5
Ron5
November 12, 2015 3:04 pm

@hohum

“Read the article, chuck another $100 million on for the other stuff. Still not that expensive.”

You read the article. Still no mission modules in that extra 100 mill (which by the way is way, way, low for weapons, sensors & systems). So your LCS is still not capable of much except running down pirates and smugglers. Hugely expensive.

You need to develop some skepticism in your reading. The article is PR from the shipbuilder looking for more contracts. The 11 billion for 4 Saudi ships & support, shows a clearer picture of cost.

Hohum
Hohum
November 12, 2015 3:08 pm

Ron5,

Rubbish. The PR is for LM shareholders, they like big numbers. The Saudi request tells us nothing about LCS cost unlike US budget materials which demonstrate it is not that expensive.

The Other Chris
November 12, 2015 3:42 pm

We are allowed to start with 4-6 MPA’s and grow any fleet later. Just pick a platform that there can be more of…

Allan
November 13, 2015 2:32 am
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy

,

I confess that thought had struck me as well – UK manufacturing jobs going hand over fist and HMG could spend about £2bn on some jobs in the UK (which allowing for multipliers pushes about £6bn around the UK economy).

I stress, I’m referring to the political aspects, not the military effectiveness of such a plan.

Allan
November 13, 2015 2:38 am
Reply to  Hohum

@Hohum,

Just out of interest – and sorry if it seems a daft question – If the primary job of the MPA is about “covering deterrent departures”, could not a shed load of underwater sonars and UAVs not do that job in the waters around the UK coast?

Allan
November 13, 2015 2:46 am
Reply to  The Ginge

@The Ginge,

If you threaten to chop the tea and biscuits of the Senior Brass (all Arms and Services), they’ll be ever so cross and then they’ll be reams of stories in the Daily T.

Martin
Martin
November 13, 2015 11:36 am

@ Allan – from previous comments on here from people who know far more than I on the subject the MPA contribution to guarding the deterrent is not so much about the narrow entrances to the Clyde or UK waters but more about getting a bigger picture of what’s happening in the wider Atlantic.

Peter Elliott
November 13, 2015 12:34 pm

What I would call: “theatre level situational awareness” that allows you to direct Frigates and Merlins to the times and places where they will do most good.

And it applies to a surface Task Group in in foreign waters as much as it does to to our SSBN in the North Atlantic.

mickp
mickp
November 13, 2015 12:45 pm

@BB ” I can tell you that the new Maritime Patrol Aircraft will consist of five P8 aircraft, maritime software upgrades for the five Sentinel, eight retained C130j (shared between tactical transport and maritime roles, upgraded with an EO/IR ball to benefit both special forces and maritime tasks, but no specific MPA/ASW equipment and definitely no anti-ship missiles and torpedoes hanging off the wings), and three batch 2 Rivers. ” That sounds both balanced (to threat) and realistic (to cost). I take some of TAS’s point but we live in a world where perception matters, a lot. We should always ‘meet and greet’ Russian visitors be it with QRA, MPA overflight, RN escort. The C130J option and the B2 Rivers provide that capability to be maintained in the event our small high end MPAs / FFs are otherwise engaged. A duly modified C130 can take its place in the FI also to provide a base, but enhanced, MPA capability.

Repulse
November 13, 2015 1:50 pm

@TAS: “The Batch 1 Rivers barely have suffient tasking to justify their existence as fishery protection hulls” – It is not uncommon now for the Rivers to be used in the FRE role also.

I’ve stated my position before, but I see a real need to keep the Batch 1’s as well as the Batch 2’s, for UK EEZ monitoring. We just need to get capability multipliers, like UAVs (e.g. ScanEagle), USVs and UUVs deployed.

The B3 Rivers should be doing the same, but in our BOT EEZs.

MSR
MSR
November 13, 2015 2:05 pm
Reply to  The Ginge
Even if you buy new with Hercules fly away costs are $67.3m allowing for removing the refit costs from Marshalls saving say $20m that costs you 12 x $47.3m = $567.6m = £378.4. So for £1.17bn you have a brand new aircraft with a 40yr life span.

Ginge beat me to it. Sea Herc may yet be a serious contender, particularly if based on new build airframes. (approx. £44 million/unit? Peanuts.) The most powerful reason is politics. The MoD very publically scrapped MPA and we have lived without it for years. Now we’re going to buy another one? What’s the biggest criticism of the carriers? That we’ve lived without them for years, and will continue to do without fixed wing carrier aviation for many more yet, so why do we need them?

Same applies to a Nimrod replacement. So it won’t be a Nimrod replacement. It will be a swing-role SAR and Maritime Patrol aircraft that can do tactical transport and overland ISTAR. It will absolutely not be referred to as an MPA on pain of being sent on gardening leave.

If we buy P-8 that’s an MPA writ large, and the carrier criticism applies, and nasty memories of billions of pounds pissed away on failed MRA4 upgrades gets stirred up during this time of austerity and deficit reduction, when the NHS is on the brink of financial collapse and the disabled are having all their benefits cut. And you want to spend money on a specialised MPA?

We’re getting a swing role tactical transport with pods, or nothing at all. And the reasons, as with every other single piece of military equipment bar none, are political.

MSR
MSR
November 13, 2015 2:13 pm

I hope so, because I don’t like the Venator and never have.

Why can’t a British company develop a scaleable portfolio of solid designs like the Sigma series? Why is it British builders let DCN and Damen Schelde snap up all the OPV/auxiliary warship and light frigate business the world had to offer… and it had quite a bit before there was suddenly a Sigma sailing off every coastline. It baffles me. Total failure of ambition. Mind you, we lost our last entrant into that market when Vosper gave up doing actual work and became some sort of managerial consultancy oxygen thieves, instead. BAE couldn’t even sell three coastal gunboats to Bahrain, and couldn’t even exploit their previous successes, like the F2000 frigates for Malaysia – the Malaysian’s will not now be buying two more F2000s but have gone for… guess what… Gowind from DCN!

Mark
Mark
November 13, 2015 2:14 pm

We were taking about buying aircraft forget about stupidly low fly away cost as a comparison it’s NOT what it will cost defence. To highlight this the US have issued a notice of sale to France of 4 c130j Hercules on 10 Nov the cost 650m dollars

http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/files/mas/france_16-03.pdf

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 13, 2015 4:15 pm
British builders let DCN and Damen Schelde snap up all the OPV/auxiliary warship and light frigate business the world had to offer… and it had quite a bit before there was suddenly a Sigma sailing off every coastline. It baffles me. Total failure of ambition. Mind you, we lost our last entrant into that market when Vosper gave up doing actual work and became some sort of managerial consultancy oxygen thieves, instead. BAE couldn’t even sell three coastal gunboats to Bahrain, and couldn’t even exploit their previous successe

They are actually two different markets and STX has by far most volume in the OPV segment. Let’s not forget MEKO for the next segment up (even though it seems to scale down to corvette level, too, as evidenced by Saar6 deal with Israel).

Repulse
November 13, 2015 4:17 pm
Reply to  MSR

The Malaysian Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPVs) will each cost up to £300mn and be built locally. I know it’s difficult to compare prices, but if BAE ever got their act together a “T27” (export T26 version) would be quite possible and competitive.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 13, 2015 4:26 pm

Mark, that is a good benchmark, as the four are meant for SF support and therefore would approximate in complexity what we would be looking for. The letter is not a deal, yet, and the number includes first two years’ maintenance:
“The French forces asked for the C-130s to support troops deployed against insurgents across the sub-Saharan Sahel in Africa. That request reflects a late delivery of the A400M and its lack of helicopter aerial refueling in the present version.

A key mission for the special forces is to fly helicopters for combat search and rescue missions.

Among the services there is concern a split buy of two secondhand C-130H and two new C-130J versions of the Hercules would lead to a “micro fleet” of the latter, which would be costly to maintain, a defense specialist said.

Buying secondhand planes saves money in the short term, but there are worries about the long-term maintenance costs, an officer said.

A secondhand batch is being considered as the €330 million budget is too low for four of the J model, the specialist said.”
from: defencenews
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/support/2015/11/07/airbus-scrambles-compete-against-frances-planned-buy-4-c-130s/75151950/

Julian
Julian
November 13, 2015 5:18 pm

@MSR “I hope so, because I don’t like the Venator and never have.”

What’s wrong with the Venator? (I’m not trying to pick an argument, I don’t have the expertise (or inclination); I’m trying to learn.)

MSR
MSR
November 14, 2015 5:05 pm
Reply to  Julian

Hi Julian,

Please don’t regard me as the last word in this. I, too, am always riding a learning curve. I have some thoughts on the subject that will need putting together in a cogent form. Then editing down, because I sometimes go on at length. Watch this space.

shark bait
November 16, 2015 11:47 am

@MSR “I hope so, because I don’t like the Venator and never have.”

Me too! For me it looks a little too much like a light frigate, which is a very dirty word to me. If it is small and designed to be a fighter, I don’t like it. However if it’s small and designed to be a helper, I might manage to like it

I see no point in trying tying to squeeze a warship into a small package. The type 26 is 150m long, because that’s how big it need to be in order to be effective, anywhere, at any time.

A light frigate cannot go anywhere and survive, it does not bring power or credibility to the British armed forces, it just brings numbers, and the numbers are not worth much if they cannot pose a credible deterrent to an adversary. Why do I think they are not credible? simply because they are too small. It does not have the stores, the crew, the sensors or the endurance needed to be useful, and would quickly become overwhelmed by a real adversary. Trying to duplicate a frigates capabilities on a small ship will lead to compromise, which will lead to weaknesses. There will either be not enough kit to provide a full defence, or not enough stores to hold that defence for example.

However if it is designed to be a helper (a support ship / multirole patrol vessel / I don’t have a good name for this class) it could be very useful, providing an extra platform for low intensity work, could relieve a valuable frigate. Or perhaps it could work alongside a frigate to extend its effect it in an area.

However in this instance it needs to be dirt cheap, as this role is not worth sucking funds from the real work horses of the navy, which the T26 will become. It is the T26 that should be our cheap multipurpose vessel, perhaps with a little sidekick to do the easy stuff. I don’t think the Venator fits the cheap little sidekick I have in mind.

A ship that is not a frigate? ;)

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 21, 2015 8:19 am

TAS, there were about twelve tasks identified as affected by the loss of MPA. Only two of those (hunting subs and attacking subs) had anything to do with submarines and ASW. Even if ASW is the core task of MPA, various bits and pieces can be said to mitigate the absent MPA before spending a single penny on a P8 style high-end MPA.

Things like Sentinel and retained Hercules tick items off the list for minimum cost. And the assessment of the submarine threat can to some degree be determined by how much money the government has available to spend on the problem – even if that’s not the best way around to make decisions.

The new batch Rivers can contribute to the MPA requirement because in an idealistic scenario, they carry out a task for which the Navy might have despatched a frigate, and theoretically you then have yourself +1 frigate; that frigate can then drag another sonar around the north Atlantic to protect the deterrent (which it won’t, because it’ll be busy somewhere else); and because ASW is part of the MPA task, that +1 frigate has helped to offset the small number of MPA to be ordered. So in an indirect way, the new Rivers are part of the MPA requirement. Those three little ships should be good for five or six P8, yes?

Anthony
Anthony
November 26, 2015 6:24 pm
Reply to  Brian Black

Brian you are a maniac. There is no way to avoid the reality that an MPA is 100% a requirement to sanitise the SSBNs. There is a huge amount involved in that beyond the simple detection of Russian submarines and a lot of the kit and methods are classified. Needless to say a TAP (or multiple TAPs) are not a cost effective, time effective or efficient way of doing it.

It really is as simple as that. You want to guarantee the invulnerability of an SSBN? You need MPA. Take it from someone who is relieved to have MPA coming back to be able to sanitise the boat I am in when I go on patrol.