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The Royal Navy Discussions and Updates

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by overlander, Dec 27, 2006.

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  1. overlander

    overlander Member

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    RN Year in Review - 2006
    ... the lowest priority

    24 December 2006

    Every year since 2000 I have written an end of year wrap up ... and everyone is more depressing to write and read than the last. Sadly 2006 is ending on a new low, with precious little good news and rumours of a yet another round of deep cuts getting ever stronger.

    In 2005 we had the Trafalgar bicentenary which at least forced many senior officials of the realm to pay some lip service to the Royal Navy, but 2006 didn't even have that slight compensation.

    There is no longer any doubt that the determination of the current government to fight wars around the world within a peace time defence budget is now having an obvious, dramatic, indeed traumatic, effect on the UK's armed forces – any formations and capabilities not obviously required immediately for Afghanistan, Iraq or the War on Terrorism are at best being starved of funding and resources, at worst they are being disbanded or dropped. Our partner the USA has increased regular defence spending by over a third since 2001 in real terms, the whilst UK's defence spending has remained almost static:




    read the last last article of richard beedall and you will see www.beedall.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2010
  2. Dr Phobus

    Dr Phobus New Member

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    RN and its status

    One can not deny the singificant cuts that have occured in the UK's surface and submarine fleets. A few bright spots, the Albion, the Bay's, Astue (upto 7 units), a new generation of SSBN (3-4 units), the Daring's (that's a maybe there). But the down side as been the sheer loss of numbers of hulls, an inability to develop a new range of low cost, low capability policing corvettes, a lack of apperication for the need of a large hull with multi-roles abilitys aka daring with crusie missiles and ABM capability. I pray than the sadly run down RN will get the consideration it deserves under forcoming governments and put money back into our sensior service.

    Thoughts lease. :)
     
  3. Big-E

    Big-E Banned Member

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    Considering RN carriers are going to be much more powerful than they were in the past and Type 45 destroyers are much more capable escorts less hulls will still mean more firepower. When you get your F-35s your fleet will have jumped two whole generations of USN transformation. If you fielded your future CSG today you would probably put a current USN CSG at the bottom. If you put your future fleet to another Falklands campaign you wouldn't lose anything.

    The state of the world today doesn't require much patrol of home waters. The Cold War ASW days are over. What RN needs is projection power and the CVF program will provide that. It might be nice to be able to field two CSGs at any one time but that is WAY out of budget. RN will be able to field 1 CSG... that's still alot of firepower.
     
  4. Dr Phobus

    Dr Phobus New Member

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    Yes, I concur with the CSG concept and the amphibious capability has certainly been improved with QE and PoW CVF's, Albion (2), Bay's (4, but need more) and a true large Ro/Ro (RFA) capability for the fleet. THe carriers, are going to be very powerful warships with 40 plus F-35B's and AEW. So, from the power projection aspect and the deterrent aspect things are looking good.

    My key concern this is, and this started when these rather large carriers were authorized, that the rest of the RN surface fleet will/are/would suffer in relation to both numbers and capability. Its the DDG and FFG ( to use an american term) fleet that concenrs me the most. This is where the political will needs to come to ensure we have credible numbers of figthing warships. Other wise the RN will be reduced too one CSB, one amphib group and a bunch of SSN's. I can not see the RN falling below 24-25 major surface units (DDG/FFG) yet i fear we are looking 16-20 units and then patrol corvettes (4-6).

    Final point, often major surface units are involved in drug bust and policing of the carribeian sea. Surely money and resoruces can be saved with the use of small corvettes. Yes, i arguie for a two teir navy with different operational requirments and tempo's.

    Thoughts please.
     
  5. Big-E

    Big-E Banned Member

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    I think the need for SSBNs are going to take that budget more than the CVFs will.

    I would be more concerned with SSN numbers more so than the surface fleet. As much trouble as the Astute has been having you'll be lucky to get 7. The Dukes are fairly new and don't require replacement any time soon. I never did like the Sea Wolf launcher on it, it might be nice to get a CIWS RAM and replace the Sea Wolf VLS with Aster 15. It would make it much more capable in area defense and approaching capabilities of a FREMM. The Cornwall's seriously lack capability to operate independently and are rather big and expensive for a single purpose ASW platform. Your frigate fleet doesn't look too impressive right now. I personally would get in on the FREMM program and make up some missing hulls that way.

    Maybe you should enable your Coast Guard to do something.
     
  6. alexsa

    alexsa Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Aster 15 would cost a bomb to fit to the T23 and the Seawolf is a fairly capable point defence system with a range of 6000 to 10000m depending on who you talk to. I wouel prefer it to RAM as a stand alone system particularly with the block 2 upgrade now rolling out. True it is not an area defence weapons but it was never meant to be as these ships have a primary ASW role with a secondary ASuW role and leave air defence to the T42 and (when ready) the T45.

    In a tight budget situation I don't know if you could justify the cost of a wholesale reconstruction of the fwd end of the vessel and intergation of the necessary guidnce systems for Aster 15.
     
  7. Big-E

    Big-E Banned Member

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    Considering the 5th and 6th hulls of the Daring class are being considered for transfer to Saudi they better get some kind of AAW capability out of their FFGs. :shudder
     
  8. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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    I agree. Two-tier makes sense. I favour Daring hulls for the big stuff, & an OPV/corvette/small FFG to do all the routine peacetime stuff, & reinforce the big boys in dire emergency.

    I like the Danish Stanflex concept. Using that, you could build standard hulls for both OPVs & FFGs, with modular mission fits. Steel is cheap. Weapons, sensors & crews are expensive. A patrol corvette needs a helicopter (but not one armed & equipped for ASW), moderate sensors, a gun which can blat smugglers, pirates, etc with ease, & a couple of light guns (HMG or 20mm). 57mm would be adequate, 76mm overkill for the main gun. With that lot aboard, it would come in a hell of a lot cheaper than the same hull fitted out as a GP frigate, & need a much smaller crew, so be cheaper to operate. But with containerised weapons, it could, if needed, be rapidly turned into a real FFG. A Thetis-class can dock, have its weapons replaced, & set sail again in a couple of hours. :) Provided, that is you have the weapons. But buying more is quicker than building more ships. Rapidly upgradable sensors is more tricky, but I'm sure something could be done.

    That way, you get the cost benefits of a two-tier peacetime navy, but in case of need, you can quickly upgrade the lower tier to a wartime spec, & don't find yourself lumbered with ships that are of no use in a full-out shooting war. You can have ships with excellent seakeeping qualities, that aren't stretched on long patrols, or when they have to sustain helicopter ops.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2006
  9. Grand Danois

    Grand Danois Entertainer

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    My baseline for an OPV that can go escort in a hurry (with the Thetis class in mind) would be something like

    • 28 knot top speed as opposed to the 23-24 knots of Thetis. This could perhaps be done with an additional diesel or a small GT, and doing away with the ice breaking features of the hull...? This for tactical flexibility when used as an escort and is also needed when doing drug interdictions in the Caribbean.

    • Smart S Mk2 is a radar suited for a higher threat environment than AWS-6. This is a small Smart-L with a 250 km range instead of the 450+ km range of the L.

    • Additional FLEX positions. Current maximum armament would be something like 1*76mm gun, 8 Harpoon, 12 ESSM (->24?), 2*2 MU90, depth charges and GPMG/20mm cannon. The extra positions is are for utility items.

    • As I understand it, the Thetis is quite noisy. That has to be reduced enough for survivability and to make provisions for a TAS more feasible.

    Thetis has a crew of 60-70 and accomodation (IIRC) for a squad of commandos or a small staff. This is how you would man a coast guard vessel in peacetime.

    That would be my 0.02€ on a OPV(H) that can go escort if needed. And very cheap, maintains numbers...

    Compare with Type 22/23.
     
  10. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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    Grand Danois - sounds about right to me. No need for the reinforced icebreaking hull, but should be faster. Keep the endurance & seakeeping, shrouded mast, etc.

    For the RN, we might pick some different sensors & weapons, but the same sort of thing. Lynx-sized helicopter, but ideally something cheaper than a Future Lynx for the patrol role.
     
  11. Grand Danois

    Grand Danois Entertainer

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    Apart from the radar, I was speaking in generics. I would perhaps choose a fixed 16 cell VLS system with Sea Wolf, Aster 15 or VL Mica. RAM could also be a possibility, though I would prefer a VLS.

    I would also have the additional crew required for the high end missions rotating or on shore most of the time... But fewer of those addits than actual vessels.

    The cheaper parts of LO, like shrouded masts would be natural...
     
  12. Dr Phobus

    Dr Phobus New Member

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    The future deterrent will have extra funding attached too it. I am not overly concerned it will cut into the surface fleet like the Carriers have, along with protracted land campiagns.

    The asutes, dispite there problems appear to be overcoming them and they will be in service, i have read that 4 more are required after the first 3. Sorry, i read this in Jane's IDR but, can not quote sources.

    Fremm IMO is a nice platform but i feel its underarmed in the 'sam' aspect for a vessel of 6000T, as little as 16 Aster 15. . I feel the sea wolf 2 on the Dukes are a competent system its a specialized point defence missile system with a 7k plus range, this, along with there SSM, ASW suite/helo, medium gun and forthcoming new radar will serve the RN nicely for a good chunk of time. Industrailly, why buy an off the shelf european FFG and let the UK's own design skills die off ? Its political suicide, and politicially fooless and frankly unnecessary. The UK now must totally manage its warship design/biulding industry, there is no more export slack or a large surface navy to support. Its not unlike our independent nuclear deterent, we need it, thus, we must pay for it.

    If these rumors about darling hulls 5-6 going to the Saudi's it goes to reforence the point of this orginal thread. No real money for surface warships, at least not at the present time.

    I was thinking or something relatively simiple for the policing corvettes, RAM PDSM, VL MICA at best. But i would argue for a lynx platform, its airborne senors (radar, IR, ESM) will enhance the abilites of the ship to do its duty, whilse carrying bording parties.

    Thoughts please and Thanks.
     
  13. contedicavour

    contedicavour New Member

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    Here are a few thoughts :

    > the 2007-2014 gap ... : this is my 1st and major worry. Until 2014 there won't be any operational carrier with good air-to-air jets. Crossing fingers that nothing bad will happen for 7 straight years is completely irresponsible. The government should reinstate Sea Harriers and keep at least 2 Invincibles up and running until the Queen Elizabeth carriers arrive. True, the T45s are arriving, eventually, after 2010. Though even with Aster 30s and Sampsons a DDG can't provide the same security as a carrier.

    > the 2-tier surface combatant idea : as I have written previously, I fear this whole idea is a trap politicians are organizing to replace FFGs with OPVs. To be clear, I have nothing against building and using OPVs or corvettes for easy patrol tasks, but if that means ending up with 8 FFGs in the 2020s instead of today's 16, then the operational effectiveness of the British Navy as a worldwide fighting force is compromised. Besides, the RN had patrol assets such as the Peacocks sold to Ireland and the Philippines. OPVs should replace that type of ship, not a FFG !!

    > the FREMM : of course in order to preserve British shipbuilding and defence industries the UK will never order FREMMs... but if we leave aside the economics one second, the RN could get big FFGs with serious AAW (remember FREMM can launch the same Aster 30 as T45 with the EMPAR radar) and even cruise missile capability (Scalp naval which is a modified Storm Shadow after all...) for 150 million pounds per ship. Oh, and the RN could get them around 2014 instead of 2025 :rolleyes:

    cheers
     
  14. Grand Danois

    Grand Danois Entertainer

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    Staying with the OPV(H) going real combatant through quick flex installs theme, I think 24 VL Mica or 24 VLS Sea Wolf is the right thing. Whatever is cheapest would be my choice. The question is: how difficult would it be to modularize these systems like the Mk56/ESSM?
     
  15. contedicavour

    contedicavour New Member

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    IIRC your navy's Stanflex patrollers have Mk48 mod0 for VLS Sea Sparrow right ? I think the cheapest solution is like on the Doorman or on the Canadian Halifax, ie VLS tubes on the side of the main superstructure.

    Though leaving this aside one minute, Sea Wolf is a point defence system with a range inferior to RAM... not even remotely comparable to ESSM (18+ km) or Aster 15 (30km). Of course, better than nothing, but disappointing for a navy such as the Royal Navy !

    cheers
     
  16. Grand Danois

    Grand Danois Entertainer

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    We are talking self defense for frigates under the cover of eg a Type 45. Segregating low intensity patrols out of RN duties kills a lot of the raison d'être of having many hulls...


    The RDN uses Mk48 for SSM and Mk56 for ESSM. The ASMD containers (Mk56) contains 12 ESSM in roughly the same space of the 6 SSM Mk48.

    I am not sure what ships are upgraded - depend on their role I guess. The ESSM upgrade is - as I understand it - mainly to the C3I system.

    http://www.storkaerospace.com/fokker/page.html?id=5810
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2006
  17. Musashi_kenshin

    Musashi_kenshin New Member

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    Longer-range, maybe - but the short range is only 1km, allowing it to intercept at closer ranges than the others you mentioned.

    Besides, what the hell were you expecting on ships built before RAM, ESSM or Aster were available?!
     
  18. contedicavour

    contedicavour New Member

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    Simple answer : a range comparable to contemporary systems : Aspide, Sea Sparrow, Crotale !!! All have a range of 13-15km, way superior to the 5 km of the original Sea Wolf or the 6 (may be 10)km of VLS Sea Wolf.

    Besides, closer range interception was needed because RN ships at the time weren't systematically equipped with Phalanx or Goalkeeper.

    cheers
     
  19. Musashi_kenshin

    Musashi_kenshin New Member

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    Range isn't the only issue - you need to compare the systems on their actual performance.

    Those CIWS only have an effective range of 350 and 500 metres respectively. It's still very useful to be able to use your PD-missile at short.
     
  20. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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    We're definitely thinking along the same lines. Much prefer a VLS. I reckon VL Seawolf/Mica launchers could very easily be fixed to stanflex fittings. Each tube is a self-contained unit, anyway, & IIRC a containerised version exists. Agree about the crewing, as well.