The Royal Navy Discussions and Updates

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
It could also be the type 45 replacement. Which would mean they have settled on a t26 variant. I know this is also wishlist stuff but hoping they create a worthy replacement for Albion and Bulwark
Type 45 Does have 'a replacement' on the go - T4X.

The T4X programme is literally a 'design study' at the moment, where they're looking at future equipment / future threats & how the maritime requirements will be for the middle part of this century (2040 - 2060). Some of this probably include looking at 'Industry 4.0', as well the regulations & societal demands to make EVERYTHING more environmentally friendly.

Could we see MORE automation for a smaller operational crew of 80 MAX. / solar power / battery storage / wind driven sails / sailing a ship in a 'pocket' of bubbles, or even 'SAILS' ??

The sky is the limit if technology & the budget allow. Somehow I envisage a 'traditional' mono-hull of circa 10 - 15,000 GRT, possibly akin to something like this....
To Meet China, Benchmark Italy


SA
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro

Key points here appear to be that there will be 8 x Type 26 frigates and 5 x Type 31s, so no cuts as feared. What was also interesting was referring to developing a "Type 32", which does not appear to be a typo or mispronunciation.


It looks like the Type 32 would be a successor to the Type 31, whether it's a slightly modified version or something new. Again, speculation, but it suggests that rather than build more Type 31s something more substantial will be produced. The Type 26 is expensive, so something in between that and the current Type 31 which explands the fleet would be good.
Considering what they have done with the Type 31 and the amount of room in the base OMT F-370 design, there is plenty of scope within the hull design to modify the design up to and including a fully fledged AAW FFG which is what the Royal Danish Navy use their Iver Huitfeld class for. That is the second variant of the OMT F-370 design, the first being the Absalon Command and Logistics Support Ship, also of the RDN.
Type 45 Does have 'a replacement' on the go - T4X.

The T4X programme is literally a 'design study' at the moment, where they're looking at future equipment / future threats & how the maritime requirements will be for the middle part of this century (2040 - 2060). Some of this probably include looking at 'Industry 4.0', as well the regulations & societal demands to make EVERYTHING more environmentally friendly.

Could we see MORE automation for a smaller operational crew of 80 MAX. / solar power / battery storage / wind driven sails / sailing a ship in a 'pocket' of bubbles, or even 'SAILS' ??

The sky is the limit if technology & the budget allow. Somehow I envisage a 'traditional' mono-hull of circa 10 - 15,000 GRT, possibly akin to something like this....
To Meet China, Benchmark Italy


SA
Interesting article that and I think the author is right in many ways. His criticism of the USN could also be levelled at the RN, MOD, & Pollies as well, but more around the mishandling of ship builds and acquisitions. To much lurching from one decision to another culminating in lurching from one crisis to another.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, but the Type 31s do serve a purpose by themselves. They're perfect for doing work in the West Indies, off the west and east coasts of Africa, etc. They could do all the boring stuff and leave the Type 45s, 26s and 32s to do the heavy lifting.

Also there's the old problem of selling used ships and convincing the buyer to pay more than 50% of the cost you paid. Everyone wants a bargain if it's not brand new.



I don't think so, they were clearly described as frigates. If they'd meant AAW destroyers they'd have called them destroyers. There's no need to pass them off as less capable ships to please the Treasury given the announcement was made by the PM.

Plus, now I think about it, the Type 45s won't be replaced for some time. It's also a lot harder to export large destroyers than it is well-equipped frigates.

If you look at it as a total life cycle cost and stick with the idea of keeping UK yards primed building modern and ideally affordable designs, then replacing the Type 31's earlier in life makes a fair amount of sense - I do agree, they're great for the low end tasks and replacing them with something else, a bit newer, pitched at the same level isn't a bad idea. It'd mesh with the "revitalise UK shipping" theme which is only achievable if you get enough into build to provide for a work flow and, ideally, some sort of competition.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Type 45 Does have 'a replacement' on the go - T4X.

The T4X programme is literally a 'design study' at the moment, where they're looking at future equipment / future threats & how the maritime requirements will be for the middle part of this century (2040 - 2060). Some of this probably include looking at 'Industry 4.0', as well the regulations & societal demands to make EVERYTHING more environmentally friendly.

Could we see MORE automation for a smaller operational crew of 80 MAX. / solar power / battery storage / wind driven sails / sailing a ship in a 'pocket' of bubbles, or even 'SAILS' ??

The sky is the limit if technology & the budget allow. Somehow I envisage a 'traditional' mono-hull of circa 10 - 15,000 GRT, possibly akin to something like this....
To Meet China, Benchmark Italy


SA
That's quite a monster - and some wise words in terms of making progress by logical, linear steps.

It's odd to think how people would complain the T45's were "too big" and now it's fairly widely acknowledged another thousand tons or so would have been nice.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
It's odd to think how people would complain the T45's were "too big" and now it's fairly widely acknowledged another thousand tons or so would have been nice.
T45 Too big ?

As SOON as the RN took them into service, they realised that they didn't have ENOUGH space to make them do EVERYTHING that they wanted them to do, over & above the initial design. That has been the biggest failing in the RN over the last 40 years, as they're budgets were stripped, numbers reduced, but the AMBITION to remain Global players remained.

From a Naval perspective, comfort levels for the crews was a BIG improvement, but I'm sure our 'modern generation' of new recruits / young sailors will find fault...

T4X really needs to take the Type 45 Design & IMPROVE IT !

COMMONALITY in power plants / gearbox / propulsion systems (between T4X & the likes of T26, or T31, although not necessarily in the same quantities), NEEDS to be a priority for the RN. The same goes for the Command / Platform Control systems. Utilising some of the same platform equipment for Hotel services would reduce costs in thru-life support & on spares / staff training. STANDARDISATION of valves used across the hull would also pay dividends. Looking at these aspects, as well as enhanced automation of 'fluid systems', enhancement / automation / intelligence in damage control systems, so that THEY take care of the ship, rather than JACK running around like a headless chicken shutting valves, would be another MUST.

Do we go down the 'same hull' route (from keel to flight deck level), but produce 'variants' by changing elements of the 'upper deck' structures ?

ALL of this is in the melting pot & the RN need to heat the crucible to HIGH temperatures, to ensure the dross is burnt off, as well as NOT using a medium temperature, as it will take to long to 'cook'...

SA
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
If you look at it as a total life cycle cost and stick with the idea of keeping UK yards primed building modern and ideally affordable designs, then replacing the Type 31's earlier in life makes a fair amount of sense
The point I was making - maybe not very well - is that even if they were updated early on, it's difficult to see who would pay top dollar for them. They'd want a significant discount, otherwise why not buy brand new? The question is then whether you're making or actually losing money on the deal. As I mentioned, they'll do fine at the low-intensity work that has to be done, so there's no need to get rid of them.

Also the recent announcement suggests that the intention is very much to keep the Type 31s in service, albeit maybe with 5 Type 32s to expand the fleet. That doesn't mean that the Type 31s cannot get some extra equipment at some point, but I wouldn't expect anything done very quickly after commissioning, unless it was a fairly simply job like mounting some AShMs.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The point I was making - maybe not very well - is that even if they were updated early on, it's difficult to see who would pay top dollar for them. They'd want a significant discount, otherwise why not buy brand new? The question is then whether you're making or actually losing money on the deal. As I mentioned, they'll do fine at the low-intensity work that has to be done, so there's no need to get rid of them.

Also the recent announcement suggests that the intention is very much to keep the Type 31s in service, albeit maybe with 5 Type 32s to expand the fleet. That doesn't mean that the Type 31s cannot get some extra equipment at some point, but I wouldn't expect anything done very quickly after commissioning, unless it was a fairly simply job like mounting some AShMs.

Firstly, to go off on a slight tangent...

Royal Navy to add more frigates to fleet

The link / article simply helps confirm / expand / define the news of how much the UK intends to spend militarily, as well as corroborating the previous statement relating to Type 32.

This leads onto the point you made about the 'possibility' that the RN may 'dispatch' her smaller remaining vessels, by selling them.


One of the elements of this is that in the past the RN has had a tendency to sell off older ships, to help bring a limited amount of funding back into UK PLC's coffers. More often the ships are sold as part of a govt-to-govt deal involving 'something else' that UK PLC wants to sell to 'an Ally'.

This element means that possibly the ships are sold at a cheaper than market value rate, to help sweeten the pot for the buyer.

The aspect of "Why don't they buy new? " is addressed also, as many smaller nations don't have big deep pockets to purchase a 'new' ship (no matter it's size), so it make sense in their eyes, to buy an older ship & refit / retrofit equipment that they feel will either enhance or improve their standing as a Naval nation.

Activities like this are nothing new, with wooden hulled, 3 masted sailing ships from the 17 / 18 / 1900's often changing hands, being renamed / modified & resold again & again, with some seeing 90 years service with up to a dozen different nations, due to wars / treaty's & trading.

A modern example may even be from the BAY class LSD(A)'s, when after manufacturing x4 of them for the UK, it was realised that only x3 were actually needed for Operational capability & that selling x1 off to an ally / former colony, would make sense for all parties concerned.

Given the current climate in Asia-Pacific / China's advances on 'enhancing her borders', it may make sense to sell the OPV's in 5 - 10 years time to the likes of one of the smaller nations on the borders of the South China sea ?

But, only time will help define this...

SA
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
The point I was making - maybe not very well - is that even if they were updated early on, it's difficult to see who would pay top dollar for them. They'd want a significant discount, otherwise why not buy brand new? The question is then whether you're making or actually losing money on the deal. As I mentioned, they'll do fine at the low-intensity work that has to be done, so there's no need to get rid of them.

Also the recent announcement suggests that the intention is very much to keep the Type 31s in service, albeit maybe with 5 Type 32s to expand the fleet. That doesn't mean that the Type 31s cannot get some extra equipment at some point, but I wouldn't expect anything done very quickly after commissioning, unless it was a fairly simply job like mounting some AShMs.

No one is suggesting they be sold on as a profitable venture - rather that disposing of them to allies at a relatively low loss, but packaged with a refit and warm/hot transfer would do two things:
Engender warm and fuzzy feelings in said allies (this can be variable, witness selling Chieftain to Iran)
Prime and maintain the build/refit chain in the UK.

If we could keep the yards open, with refit and build work, this has a beneficial result for the RN - the yards they order ships from are hot to trot and they have a choice instead of "well, we have this TOBA with BAE so..."
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
The link / article simply helps confirm / expand / define the news of how much the UK intends to spend militarily, as well as corroborating the previous statement relating to Type 32.

This leads onto the point you made about the 'possibility' that the RN may 'dispatch' her smaller remaining vessels, by selling them.
Type 31 and Type 32 sales

To be clear that wasn't a point I was making, I was discussing what StobieWan said. He deserves any credit for the idea (unless he was picking up on a comment from someone else I missed).

I have to acknowledge that it is a theoretical possibility. As you say, older ships have been sold off. But something only a few years commissioned isn't usual. That was what I read SW to mean. HMS Norfolk was commissioned for over 15 years before she was sold to Chile. Even HMS Grafton had been commissioned for almost a decade. So maybe around the 10 year mark the Type 31s could be sold off, depending on who paid for the refit.

The main reason I'm still sceptical about this is the fact that a lot of the new money for the defence budget has to plug the procurement black hole, and even then there will be some "difficult" choices made (albeit possibly not so much on the Royal Navy). It was reported that the figure of 24 escorts was not what the RN originally wanted but a number they could settle for, which implies that there's not extra money for even more Type 32s. The PM also talked about the Type 31 being part of the future fleet, which would reveal no current plans to sell them.

As you say, some countries can't afford to pay new, but if that's the case they probably can't afford to pay 80-90% either. More recently, ships have been sold to other countries as a way of making savings directed by the Treasury as opposed to freeing up resources for other ship-building projects. So if there were to be another 5 Type 32s (making 6 x Type 45s, 8 x Type 26s and 10 x Type 32s) that would require an even larger injection of cash that we cannot assume will be given by a future government or directed from the new MoD budget.

I do agree it's possible there might be extra Type 32 orders to keep a production line open until the Type 45 replacement comes along. However, I've read the comments about Type 32 being geared towards exports as meaning the government is hoping international sales will fill that role. The only reason the RN would get extra Type 32s if that scenario pans out is if the shipyard(s) cannot get any buyers and it's the only way to keep production going.

In my own view, if there is extra cash within 5 years of commissioning it will be spent on upgrading the Type 31s to something more robust with the then intent to keep them on - a fairly cheap upgrade would be adding AShM via I-SSGW hand-me-downs. No decisions would be taken on selling them off unless it turned out there was someone who was really interested in having them.

I-SSGW

Just to move the conversation on from potential sales more than a decade from now, would most people be of the opinion that I-SSGW is fairly safe? The original budget for it was mooted at £200 million, and I expect that the Royal Navy will absolutely want that to go ahead now.

There were the reports from the spring about the three bidders being:

Kongsberg - Naval Strike Missile
Saab - RBS-15 Mk 3, or Mk 4 Gungnir
MBDA - Exocet MM40 block 3

Personally I like the look of Gungnir (Mk 4) the most. However, I've been unable to find when it's going into production. Would the UK settle from Mk 3 with something better just around the corner but frustratingly too late for when we need it? Or could Saab be convinced to accelerate production if we agreed to buy?

Assuming we do finally get a contract being announced at the end of January (or at least a commitment to I-SSGW with more details), who do people here think is likely to win and why?

I'm assuming MBDA are unlikely to win, unless it's a political decision to keep the French committed to FC-ASW. Block 3 isn't bad, it's just not as good as the others.
 
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StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Firstly, to go off on a slight tangent...

Royal Navy to add more frigates to fleet

The link / article simply helps confirm / expand / define the news of how much the UK intends to spend militarily, as well as corroborating the previous statement relating to Type 32.

This leads onto the point you made about the 'possibility' that the RN may 'dispatch' her smaller remaining vessels, by selling them.


One of the elements of this is that in the past the RN has had a tendency to sell off older ships, to help bring a limited amount of funding back into UK PLC's coffers. More often the ships are sold as part of a govt-to-govt deal involving 'something else' that UK PLC wants to sell to 'an Ally'.

This element means that possibly the ships are sold at a cheaper than market value rate, to help sweeten the pot for the buyer.

The aspect of "Why don't they buy new? " is addressed also, as many smaller nations don't have big deep pockets to purchase a 'new' ship (no matter it's size), so it make sense in their eyes, to buy an older ship & refit / retrofit equipment that they feel will either enhance or improve their standing as a Naval nation.

Activities like this are nothing new, with wooden hulled, 3 masted sailing ships from the 17 / 18 / 1900's often changing hands, being renamed / modified & resold again & again, with some seeing 90 years service with up to a dozen different nations, due to wars / treaty's & trading.

A modern example may even be from the BAY class LSD(A)'s, when after manufacturing x4 of them for the UK, it was realised that only x3 were actually needed for Operational capability & that selling x1 off to an ally / former colony, would make sense for all parties concerned.

Given the current climate in Asia-Pacific / China's advances on 'enhancing her borders', it may make sense to sell the OPV's in 5 - 10 years time to the likes of one of the smaller nations on the borders of the South China sea ?

But, only time will help define this...

SA

Seems to be a solid indicator that they're looking to grow hull numbers, which I shall nod vigorously in approval of. Right now the current hulls and crews are being thrashed like red-headed step children so even to comfortably manage current taskings, we really need a couple more hulls.

A follow on Type 31ish batch 2 or whatever it'll be, yeah, I'm up for that. Seeing a bit of money spent on the batch 1 to give them more cells (48 Sea Ceptor) plus a bit more in terms of counter measures and maybe anti shipping would be good.

But yeah, more hulls and the sailors to man them would be excellent news - and likely improve retention and thereby avoid increasing the demand for certain ratings to extreme levels.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I-SSGW

Just to move the conversation on from potential sales more than a decade from now, would most people be of the opinion that I-SSGW is fairly safe? The original budget for it was mooted at £200 million, and I expect that the Royal Navy will absolutely want that to go ahead now.

There were the reports from the spring about the three bidders being:

Kongsberg - Naval Strike Missile
Saab - RBS-15 Mk 3, or Mk 4 Gungnir
MBDA - Exocet MM40 block 3

Personally I like the look of Gungnir (Mk 4) the most. However, I've been unable to find when it's going into production. Would the UK settle from Mk 3 with something better just around the corner but frustratingly too late for when we need it? Or could Saab be convinced to accelerate production if we agreed to buy?

Assuming we do finally get a contract being announced at the end of January (or at least a commitment to I-SSGW with more details), who do people here think is likely to win and why?

I'm assuming MBDA are unlikely to win, unless it's a political decision to keep the French committed to FC-ASW. Block 3 isn't bad, it's just not as good as the others.

Interesting selection - I'd have thought Harpoon block II would have been the sensible stop gap as the infrastructure is already there - assuming block II fits the existing launchers etc ?


Also, it sends the least threatening signals to the French in terms of us being seen to abandon the joint successor program?
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
Interesting selection - I'd have thought Harpoon block II would have been the sensible stop gap as the infrastructure is already there - assuming block II fits the existing launchers etc ?

Also, it sends the least threatening signals to the French in terms of us being seen to abandon the joint successor program?
A couple of views on that.
  1. Harpoon Block II has a fairly short range, so it's not really what we would want given the number of AShMs out there with significantly longer ranges our likely opponents could field.
  2. Block II is also not nearly as good as what else is on offer. When you're looking at the likely numbers to be procured, there's not that much of a saving.
  3. I-SSGW requires some sort of land-attack capability, which Harpoon does not have.
  4. If Boeing haven't entered the bidding process then they can't win. The fact there's no evidence they've put a new Harpoon forward suggests they know they wouldn't be successful.
If we're buying purely on a political basis to keep the French sweet, I'd prefer Exocet block 3.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Ah- gotcha - thanks - I'm not very current on I-SSGW I have to admit.

I hear really good things about NSM - and the US just bought some for their LCS fleet I believe ?
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
32 could be a run-on beefier frigate with the intention of selling off the 31's fairly early in their lives - a hot transfer and training package via the RN with the associated brand of the RN would likely be attractive to a few navies around the world who don't have a shipyard industry of their own.

It's one narrative I've heard described about the 31s - that the ambition is to get them out of service young, avoid the complex and expensive refits and simply build new, more quickly.
I think I mentioned this last year, after going to both consortium's open days Babcocks and Cammel Laird both talked about more vessels, that the services lives for the first 5 would be short with the RN. Sold off before the first major refit. So this comes as no surprise.
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
The point I was making - maybe not very well - is that even if they were updated early on, it's difficult to see who would pay top dollar for them. They'd want a significant discount, otherwise why not buy brand new? The question is then whether you're making or actually losing money on the deal. As I mentioned, they'll do fine at the low-intensity work that has to be done, so there's no need to get rid of them.

Also the recent announcement suggests that the intention is very much to keep the Type 31s in service, albeit maybe with 5 Type 32s to expand the fleet. That doesn't mean that the Type 31s cannot get some extra equipment at some point, but I wouldn't expect anything done very quickly after commissioning, unless it was a fairly simply job like mounting some AShMs.
I could easily see a country like NZ buying 2-3 type 31's, they won't be old ships when they are sold, they have huge upgrade potential. About the time they are ready to be sold the ANZAC's will be ready to leave the fleet.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
By the the time NZ reaches the replace the ANZACs point, there is going to be a wide range of frigate choices, new T-26/31, the new generation US frigate, maybe FREMM, and possibly T-32. Reasonably new used T-31s may be an option. The future geopolitical and to a lesser extent the economic situations should influence the capability factor for the replacement frigates.
 

CB90

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Ah- gotcha - thanks - I'm not very current on I-SSGW I have to admit.

I hear really good things about NSM - and the US just bought some for their LCS fleet I believe ?
This class of SSMs is very bolt on/bolt off. The fire control interfaces for them is not terribly sophisticated, you pretty much just tell them where to go, and they're off, and they're all in the same general family as far as size/weight goes.

As long as it's not a particularly next gen or "different" missile, they're all pretty much the same, especially if you're not developing in house. The seeker and flight control of the missile are the real key details to it.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
This class of SSMs is very bolt on/bolt off. The fire control interfaces for them is not terribly sophisticated, you pretty much just tell them where to go, and they're off, and they're all in the same general family as far as size/weight goes.
Interestingly, none of the three main contenders can be fired from the mk41 launcher. Exocet, NSM and the RBS-15 all require box-launchers. There's room for them in the Type 26 and 31 designs, but interestingly that leaves more space for other missiles in the mk41s on the Type 26.

I could easily see a country like NZ buying 2-3 type 31's, they won't be old ships when they are sold, they have huge upgrade potential. About the time they are ready to be sold the ANZAC's will be ready to leave the fleet.
Even so the Type 31s would absolutely need to be upgraded before any sale, and I don't see the point in making a loss on the Type 31s just to get a slightly newer hull in the water but likely with a similar, if not the same, weapon package.
 
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