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Rebuilding a smaller mid sized Navy

This is a discussion on Rebuilding a smaller mid sized Navy within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Canada has just announced a $35 billion ship building program. What do you think Canada should build? Some think, a ...


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Old June 6th, 2010   #1
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Rebuilding a smaller mid sized Navy

Canada has just announced a $35 billion ship building program. What do you think Canada should build? Some think, a radical change is needed:

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David Mugridge, former British Royal Navy commander, now research fellow at Dalhousie University's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, says the navy would be wrong to maintain its aging Cold War-era fleet with large new ships of similar purpose.

He says it could save billions of dollars by discarding its destroyers and cutting back on its expensive, high-end frigates, in favour of a new and larger fleet of smaller, corvette-size ships that are less costly to build and operate, and are better designed for missions the navy is called on to handle: policing the African coastline for pirates; patrolling the Persian Gulf and boarding ships suspected of supplying terrorist networks; and delivering emergency aid to Haiti.

"The sorts of law enforcement operations that are conducted by navies in an age of terror do not require highly sophisticated platforms.

"They require relatively low-tech platforms and fewer people to man them," says Mugridge.
Read more: Rough seas for Canada's navy

Does it rmake sense for mid size naval countries like Australia and Canada, that don't have large carrier fleets to protect, to focus on smaller ships? What do you think the right mix for Canada will be?
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Old June 6th, 2010   #2
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Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
Canada has just announced a $35 billion ship building program. What do you think Canada should build? Some think, a radical change is needed:



Read more: Rough seas for Canada's navy

Does it rmake sense for mid size naval countries like Australia and Canada, that don't have large carrier fleets to protect, to focus on smaller ships? What do you think the right mix for Canada will be?
I will bite..
2 LHD/LPD
2 AOE
6 FF
9 OPV/MCM
4 SS

A sealift and replenishment ship for the Atlantic and Pacific. Three frigates of smaller size for the Atlantic and Pacific. Three OPV/MCM multi-role ship for the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific. The submarines for ASW training and surveillance, two each for the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Currently their navy is concentrated too much on frigates and not nearly enough for Arctic patrols and sealift/replenishment.

Plus a separate coast guard for icebreakers and patrol boats...

I would build/buy at least 2 French Mistrals, 2 Dutch Amsterdams, 6 French FREEMs, 9 Spanish BAMs, and 4 German Type 214s... If Canada were isolated as much as Australia and required AWD capability I would add 4 Hobart DDGs, but Canada isn't so isolated nor does Canada have to prop up South Pacific island nations either...

Considering Canada has 12 City class frigates, I would sell six of them to the highest bidder quickly to afford BAMs, and replace the last six with FREEMs. If I were to add any additional ships, I would prefer to add one more Amsterdam for backup purposes, and add three more BAMs for the same reason because Canada has a large Arctic coast....

Last edited by Sea Toby; June 6th, 2010 at 12:11 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2010   #3
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I very much doubt tht they will buy off the shelf for the frigates or OPV's, I bet they will be locally designed and built in Canada, mainly to prop up the local shipbuilding industry which is currently in poor shape.
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Old June 10th, 2010   #4
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I very much doubt tht they will buy off the shelf for the frigates or OPV's, I bet they will be locally designed and built in Canada, mainly to prop up the local shipbuilding industry which is currently in poor shape.
I don't think Canada gives a hoot about their shipbuilding industry. Canadians are more worried about the unemployment in their maritime provinces. If they build indigenous ships, it will be to relieve unemployment more so than to save their shipbuilding industry.

Canada would probably get more value with their money having Bath Iron Works build frigates and have their shipyards build modules alike New Zealand with Project Protector..
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Old June 11th, 2010   #5
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The ships will all be built in Canada, but I don't think a proven design from another nation is out of the question.

Ideally, I'd love to see Canada aquire some nuclear powered submarines, but I realize that probably isn't realistic. Having so many larger ships probably doesn't make much sense either though, hopefully the whole navy will be rethought, I like SeaToby's suggestion.
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Old June 12th, 2010   #6
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Would Canada be better served by a concept like the Absalons. Canada has always liked to operate big helicopters and the flex deck can support many requirements. Maybe a much larger version 8,000t with the additon of AWD capability replacing the Iroquois. Maybe 4-8 ships, backed up by a big, heavier armed OPV c2,500t replacing Halifax & Kingstons, with a 57mm gun, & a helicopter(maybe smaller Lynx size?) and SAM/SSM fit for but not with?
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Old June 12th, 2010   #7
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Perhaps Canada should try get on board with the Type 26 frigates, rather than wait till after the event(design stage).
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Old June 13th, 2010   #8
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Originally Posted by 1805 View Post
Would Canada be better served by a concept like the Absalons. Canada has always liked to operate big helicopters and the flex deck can support many requirements. Maybe a much larger version 8,000t with the additon of AWD capability replacing the Iroquois. Maybe 4-8 ships, backed up by a big, heavier armed OPV c2,500t replacing Halifax & Kingstons, with a 57mm gun, & a helicopter(maybe smaller Lynx size?) and SAM/SSM fit for but not with?
I really like the Absalon, I think something like that could be ideal, especially for the long range missions in middle east, africa and similar.
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Old June 20th, 2010   #9
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The problem I have with the Absalons is that they are expensive for an ASW frigate. I would rather have an ASW frigate. Furthermore, the Absalons have less than 200 lene meters of vehicle deck space. A small NZ multi-role ship such as the Canterbury has over 400 lane meters of vehicle deck space. And that is suitable for an enlarged motorized company group, not a battalion...

While the Absalons may fit Denmark's naval situation, they really don't fit Canada's situation...

Canada first needs fleet replenishment and sea lift desperately... The Absalons aren't the best at either. When its time to replace the City class frigates, then would be the time to glance at Absalons... NOT NOW!

The City or Absalon class frigates require replenishment to be useful abroad. And the Canadian army requires sea lift... A Mistral LHD or two would be idea, along with two or three replenishment ships... a Mistral will have the lane meters to sealift a battalion...
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Old June 22nd, 2010   #10
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If Canada is looking for a multi role corvette which is cost effective and can be easily built in their country I would sugest the Turkish Milgem class.
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Old June 25th, 2010   #11
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For Frigates would not something based on the Spanish F100 be more appropriate?

With Aegis, MK41 VLS etc.

US gear is cheaper than what FREMM is using I would think -- and perhaps also more interoperable with the USN I would think?

Norway has the Nansen class which is based on the F100; we're quite happy although it could have been slightly bigger; I think it can fit only 2 8-cells MK41! Although I may be wrong.

Currently they got 1 8-cells MK41 with 32 quadpacked ESSMs.

Nansen has displacement of 5300 tons and operates a SPY-1F (smaller than the 1D but still very capable system).

One interesting thing about the Nansen class is that they have been strengthened quite alot and although they are certainly not proper icebreakers they can move through surprisingly thick ice. I think they are the only frigates strengthened in this way. Such a capability may be of interest also for Canada?
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Old July 4th, 2010   #12
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Perhaps Canada should try get on board with the Type 26 frigates, rather than wait till after the event(design stage).
I missed this post, going back through the thread, it got me reading a bit on the Type 26 and some of the criticisms of it, which are also relevant to the initial concept of this thread and along the same lines of the suggestions being made regarding the Canadian navy by some critics. That being, that maybe frigates are obsolete, and that it is better to build a small navy around smaller corvette size vessels with some very simple larger support ships? Here's a link:

Type 26: Frigate or Mothership? New Wars

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Which is my argument against the LCS, and why I think the traditional general purpose frigate is obsolete. Because you have a vessel almost as expensive as modern guided missile warships, which are high end battleforce ships, except they are armed no better than foreign corvettes or offshore patrol vessels. Which sounds more logical, to build a few very expensive and potentially vulnerable vessels, arm them like small patrol vessels, then use them like coast guard cutters, or buy a great many patrol vessels at less cost? But the all-battleship navy can’t think in these sensible terms.

The argument may be that you don’t have the range and staying power with corvettes and patrol craft, which is true since they are not base vessels but “fighters”. For extended deployment then you need motherships as Lewis points out. Here are examples of what a cheaper but heavier mothership can do versus the exquisite frigate:

- A frigate’s principle job is hunting submarines with helicopters, which can also be done by fleet auxiliary (RFA) vessels.
- 8 Harpoon missiles on a 6000 ton frigate isn’t much more than the armament of a corvette or patrol boat, but a mothership can carry numerous helicopters that is a significant capability against submarines and surface craft.
- A frigate/sloop can load only a small amount of troops, but the RFA vessels load many troops, vehicles, and equipment.
- The frigate beats the mothership in shore bombardment, but do you really want a large warship so close to shore and inshore threats from missiles, aircraft, subs, mines, etc. for only 10 minutes of sustained firing?
In terms of what a mothership might look like:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03...dog/print.html

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None of this is to say that there might not be a place for some surface warships other than full-blown carriers in the Royal Navy of the future. A rational navy would probably buy something very like a fleet-auxiliary helicopter ship, with provision made for proper Tomahawk cruise missiles to be installed as well if required.

Such a vessel, working with a radar helicopter above, would be able to sweep the seas of Type 26s and their like before they ever came near. It would be able to cruise-missile shore targets from far out in the offing with impunity. It would be able to sweep pirates from vast swathes of ocean using quickly reacting helicopter-carried boarding parties of marines, or put ashore (and support) a worthwhile little landing force. Equipped with Merlin anti-sub helicopters, it would hunt subs very well indeed should there be any to hunt.

And it would almost certainly cost less than a Type 26 too. That actually would be a "combat ship", if you like.

But it wouldn't offer a viable career path for a naval officer who wasn't an aviator or a marine - as most of today's Royal Naval officers are not.

Nor would ships like that offer any opportunities for British industry. They would be basically merchant ships with flight decks bolted on and fittings for Tomahawks. British shipyards can't build floating steel boxes at prices to compete with yards abroad: they need to have sonars and radars and guns and missiles and complexity built into the design so as to justify a huge price markup.

Last edited by moahunter; July 4th, 2010 at 10:03 AM.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #13
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^so building on that concept, more ships but more specialised / less expensive ones, I could see Canada building a really usefully Navy with, say, 6 task forces, each made up of 1 mothership, and say, 6 OPVs / Corvettes.

Three of the task forces could be arctic capable with thicker hulls to be supported when needed by an icebreaker or two from the coast guard. The other three could be for missions like pirates, humanitarian aid, army support, and similar (one in dock, one on route, and one on mission).

So, Canada would build perhaps:

- 36 specialized OPV's / corvettes, half of them ice strengthened. None of them helicopter capable.
- 6 Motherships - simple helicopter / UAV platforms / supply ships, with command and perhaps cruise missile capability.

Is that the way a modern / medium sized Navy should go?

Last edited by moahunter; July 4th, 2010 at 10:43 AM.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #14
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For Frigates would not something based on the Spanish F100 be more appropriate?
F100 is hardly cheap. The FMS documents for the Australian Hobart class stated that the Aegis alone for a single ship, was 700 Million.

That is for Aegis (computers and software), 48 Mk.41 VLS, CEC and a SPY-1D.

Now add on the rest of the armament, their computers, integration costs for aegis. And without even looking at the ship itself, you are probably talking over 1 billion dollars worth of equipment.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #15
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Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
I missed this post, going back through the thread, it got me reading a bit on the Type 26 and some of the criticisms of it, which are also relevant to the initial concept of this thread and along the same lines of the suggestions being made regarding the Canadian navy by some critics. That being, that maybe frigates are obsolete, and that it is better to build a small navy around smaller corvette size vessels with some very simple larger support ships? Here's a link:

Type 26: Frigate or Mothership? New Wars



In terms of what a mothership might look like:

Royal Navy starts work on new, pointless frigates [printer-friendly] • The Register
That is a really good link but you know guided missile frigates can not be considered obsolete yet.
"The frigate beats the mothership in shore bombardment, but do you really want a large warship so close to shore and inshore threats from missiles, aircraft, subs, mines, etc. for only 10 minutes of sustained firing?"
With long range missiles they can bombard shores from pretty safe distances.
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