UK Defence Forum

News, History, Discussions and Debates on UK Defence.

Future Solid Support Ship

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 19 Mar 2020, 10:05

It is very negative discussion, I think.

SSS never needs well-dock. It takes huge space, large door and pumps to fill/dry the dock. All of which is not needed when used as SSS. It will also make the ship slower = needs larger engine and fuel. Huge waste of money. All in all, with the same amount of money, the supply capability will see huge drop. Not surprised even if it be halved or 1/3. If so, why not just build two smallish SSSs with half the capability of the original SSS. It will be very efficient solution.

Possible is, ADD SSS with a good helicopter and boat facility, so that ONLY WHEN CVTF is NOT on strike task, SSS can be “re-rolled” as LSS.

But, what is the most important is, they refer to cut Albion and Bulwark. I think this is real issue, and "MSS blah-blah" is just a smoke and screen. Actually, looking at the NAO report, hugely reduced GPB currency, and 100% sure economical recession because of COVID-19, cut in the equipment-plan is, simply, inevitable. This is just a logical thinking, not at all pessimistic point of view.

Because of recession, SSS (or MSS, whatever they call it) domestic build will be an option to support the industry. With weaker GBP currency, this will be further justified. But, we all know UK (merchant-like) ship building efficiency is not as high as international contenders, and it simply means the final product will be less capable. Again this is just a logical thinking, nothing pessimistic.

Actually, reducing the strike capability of QNLZ/PoW is not a big problem. Not use it as strike carrier, but as utility carrier, doing strike with 24 F35B is "good enough" = no need to think about 36. This will reduce the required heaviest supply capability for SSS. This will also enable QNLZ/PoW to self-protect themselves in ASW by 9 (or even more) Merlin-ASW to be comfortably carried onboard, by always limiting the F25 number less than 24.

In future if the economy gets better, just build another SSS or two. This will enable CVF to use its full capability for strike. (Or, just ask USN for SSS-capability).

User avatar
shark bait
Senior Member
Posts: 5922
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:18
Location: Pitcairn Island

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby shark bait » 19 Mar 2020, 11:12

Doesn't sound that bad. It still sound like a big stores ship, with a couple of fancy features to bolt on other tasks. A big vehicle deck is still able to hold stores for a carrier after all.

It sounds possible to build a multi role vessel that doesn't compromise the replenishment capability too much, which is exactly where the original (decade old) project started.
@LandSharkUK

dmereifield
Senior Member
Posts: 2082
Joined: 03 Aug 2016, 20:29
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby dmereifield » 19 Mar 2020, 14:58

shark bait wrote:Doesn't sound that bad. It still sound like a big stores ship, with a couple of fancy features to bolt on other tasks. A big vehicle deck is still able to hold stores for a carrier after all.

It sounds possible to build a multi role vessel that doesn't compromise the replenishment capability too much, which is exactly where the original (decade old) project started.


Depends on how many we get, how quickly we get them and what we lose to get them

serge750
Member
Posts: 501
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:34

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby serge750 » 19 Mar 2020, 17:43

Sounds good if a few could be built, would rosyth get the contract after the T31 or are these ships going to be built before?

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 1328
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby SW1 » 19 Mar 2020, 18:19

Caribbean wrote:In fact, add in 12+ CAMM and maybe we should be building these instead of T31


Yep

I’m sure it will not shock anyone that I think this is quite a gd idea.

User avatar
Jensy
Member
Posts: 147
Joined: 05 Aug 2016, 19:44
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Jensy » 19 Mar 2020, 19:26

Sounds more like a return to the pre-2017 thinking of a combined solution for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) requirement. This was after the Joint sea-based logistics (JSBL) and Fleet Supply Ships (FSS) concepts were merged into one and the Tide class ordered from Daewoo:

Image

Remember the Navy Design Partnering's (NDP) own concept (carried out by BMT):

Image

A slightly revised Ellida doesn't strike me as being a million miles away in terms of concept, though on a smaller, but still pretty huge (c.195m long) scale. Just keeping the alterations relatively minor:
Caribbean wrote:Presumably one of the "tweaks" would be the "Heavy" RAS equipment, plus improving the ability to move stores between decks when operating if SSS mode, rather than LSS mode. Compliant ammunition stores would also seem neccessary.


Image
donald_of_tokyo wrote:SSS never needs well-dock. It takes huge space, large door and pumps to fill/dry the dock. All of which is not needed when used as SSS. It will also make the ship slower = needs larger engine and fuel. Huge waste of money.

The well-deck was something of a curiosity on the the NDP concept at the time, a remnant of the combined JSBL and FSS concept. I'd argue that it now makes more sense with the growing size and need for surface/sub-surface unmanned vehicles. The flexibility to operate 30m+ LCVs/UUV/USVs as needed, seems not just a luxury but actually has the potential to reinforce the layered defence of our carriers, without having to add another ship to the Strike Group.

With new support facilities in the Gulf and potentially further afield, the need for a couple of massive supply ships seems diminished in comparison to having more, smaller ships that can sustain a prolonged deployment more flexibly. If the MCMV replacement programme ever goes ahead, you could replace a Bay and four Minehunters/MCMVs with a single vessel, with a far smaller crew requirement and better suited to operating and deploying unmanned assess in higher sea states.

I suppose some sort of national shipbuilding programme using the non-escort yards (Cammell Laird, H&W, A&P Tyne and Appledore) to build modules that are then assembled by Goliath at Rosyth would be too much to ask for? If these could be built efficiently, and in decent numbers, they could theoretically become the basis for all the non-combat roles in the RN/RFA, even if it required having two or three sub-classes tailored more towards amphibious assault, 'mothership-ing' or solid stores.

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 2191
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Repulse » 19 Mar 2020, 19:52

Caribbean wrote: In fact, add in 12+ CAMM and maybe we should be building these instead of T31 :twisted:


Who would have thought it - almost like a modern day RFA Fort II :)
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

Online
Jake1992
Senior Member
Posts: 1648
Joined: 28 Aug 2016, 22:35
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Jake1992 » 19 Mar 2020, 19:54

Jensy wrote:Sounds more like a return to the pre-2017 thinking of a combined solution for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) requirement. This was after the Joint sea-based logistics (JSBL) and Fleet Supply Ships (FSS) concepts were merged into one and the Tide class ordered from Daewoo:

Image

Remember the Navy Design Partnering's (NDP) own concept (carried out by BMT):

Image

A slightly revised Ellida doesn't strike me as being a million miles away in terms of concept, though on a smaller, but still pretty huge (c.195m long) scale. Just keeping the alterations relatively minor:
Caribbean wrote:Presumably one of the "tweaks" would be the "Heavy" RAS equipment, plus improving the ability to move stores between decks when operating if SSS mode, rather than LSS mode. Compliant ammunition stores would also seem neccessary.


Image

The problem I see is if it’s not large enough then it’ll never be able to supply the CSG in high intensity ops so neuters they to a degree.

Personally id like to see them keep a larger ( 3 merlin / 1 chinook ) hanger and flight deck making them more versatile especially if they are to be used in the LSS / amphibious role, but this all costs.

My other big concern would be numbers, from the article it seems like they are planning on these replacing 8-9 in service / planned vessels will we get 8-9 of these?

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 4138
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Mar 2020, 20:44

The future of the Navy is supposed to be being built around Carrier Strike, so as long as the CSG is able to operate at the required tempo for a sustained period almost anywhere then the make up of the support elements is not an issue. If however the move to replace the FSS and other platforms with these Multi role ones diminishes the Navy's ability to conduct such operations then whoever cam e up with the idea needs to be keel hauled. I wonder if this is the sort of out of the box thinking Mr Cumming's is encouraging?

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 20 Mar 2020, 09:26

Jensy wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:SSS never needs well-dock. It takes huge space, large door and pumps to fill/dry the dock. All of which is not needed when used as SSS. It will also make the ship slower = needs larger engine and fuel. Huge waste of money.

The well-deck was something of a curiosity on the the NDP concept at the time, a remnant of the combined JSBL and FSS concept. I'd argue that it now makes more sense with the growing size and need for surface/sub-surface unmanned vehicles. The flexibility to operate 30m+ LCVs/UUV/USVs as needed, seems not just a luxury but actually has the potential to reinforce the layered defence of our carriers, without having to add another ship to the Strike Group.
But, all these issues started with
- 1B GBP was not enough for 2 FSSS with current requirement level
- no budget allocated for FLSS, although at least 400M GBP is needed.
- 3-13B GBP shortfall in equipment budget is there, peaking by 2023
- and 2 Forts are to decommission by 2024, leaving only Fort Victoria

Without significant cuts in other field, there is no chance of adding "more well-docks" in CV task force. I think this is fact.

Based on this points, I'm afraid they are talking about totally cutting the 2 SSS program, leaving it to the sole Fort (Victoria). By adding a well-dock to SSS and make it MSS, they can
- "accept" significant reduction in re-supply capability (because "well-dock is large and capable")
- "accept" cutting the remaining two LPDs, Albion and Bulwark ("new well-docks are added, so old well-docks may go away")

I remember cutting these LPDs was "nearly coming true" only ~2 years ago. It was very near. It was also coupled with severe low-tempo of RN operation that year. In most of the time, only 1 escort was deployed oversea, even though RN had "19" on paper.
With new support facilities in the Gulf and potentially further afield, the need for a couple of massive supply ships seems diminished in comparison to having more, smaller ships that can sustain a prolonged deployment more flexibly.
You are saying the CV will go back to port every week to re-supply, when used for strike? Never happen. I'm sure you don't meant it. So, I am a bit confused here.

"2 Forts are going away within 3-4 years, leaving only one." This is the whole part of FSSS program. MSS is just mixing it with "let's disband 2 LPDs, total of 4 ships". This is my impression.

#continues...

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 20 Mar 2020, 09:36

Jensy wrote: I suppose some sort of national shipbuilding programme using the non-escort yards (Cammell Laird, H&W, A&P Tyne and Appledore) to build modules that are then assembled by Goliath at Rosyth would be too much to ask for? If these could be built efficiently, and in decent numbers, they could theoretically become the basis for all the non-combat roles in the RN/RFA, even if it required having two or three sub-classes tailored more towards amphibious assault, 'mothership-ing' or solid stores.
Jake1992 wrote:The problem I see is if it’s not large enough then it’ll never be able to supply the CSG in high intensity ops so neuters they to a degree.

Personally id like to see them keep a larger ( 3 merlin / 1 chinook ) hanger and flight deck making them more versatile especially if they are to be used in the LSS / amphibious role, but this all costs.

My other big concern would be numbers, from the article it seems like they are planning on these replacing 8-9 in service / planned vessels will we get 8-9 of these?
MSS for Bay replacement is also very bad idea, I think. The RAS-rig is expensive to maintain.
- In most of the tasks Bays and Argus are doing now, RAS-rig is surely not needed. Much better to omit it.
- Similarly, in most of the tasks required for SSS, well-dock is surely not needed. Much better to omit it.
I am pretty much confused with what they are thinking about MSS concept. Karell Doorman is OK, because it is the sole supply ship in Dutch fleet. They need to make it multi-role (but do not forget Dutch navy tried to sell it when it was delivered). Also do not forget Karell Doorman do NOT have well-dock. Just steal beach.

If number is important, building 3 smallish SSS in place of 2 large SSS will be OK. Building 4 smallish LSDs as a replacement for 3 Bays will be OK. But, mixing SSS and LSD has little merit.


Ironically, it has one big merit.

With MSS, they can disband both Albion and Bulwark in addition to the 2 Forts, saying "the 4 ships are replaced with 2 modern multi-role ships. Great investment. Total of 8? Yes, in future, not now.". :thumbdown:

Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 1723
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Location: France

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Tempest414 » 20 Mar 2020, 10:57

the way forward for me is to replace the 2 LPD's with one LHD the 3 Forts with 2 large SSS and Argus plus the 3 Bay's with 4 LSD's capable of operating 3 Merlins off 2 spots giving them the ability to take on the LSS role. I am all for mutli rolling however fleet tanker's and SSS should solely be about replenishment of the Fleet

Online
Jake1992
Senior Member
Posts: 1648
Joined: 28 Aug 2016, 22:35
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Jake1992 » 20 Mar 2020, 11:08

Tempest414 wrote:the way forward for me is to replace the 2 LPD's with one LHD the 3 Forts with 2 large SSS and Argus plus the 3 Bay's with 4 LSD's capable of operating 3 Merlins off 2 spots giving them the ability to take on the LSS role. I am all for mutli rolling however fleet tanker's and SSS should solely be about replenishment of the Fleet


That’s sounds good to me, the only real vessels I see that could be replaced by such multi role designs such as Ellida / KD would be the 2 waves.

If we got something like you describe above and the funds for replacing the waves I could see a good case for these replacements to be more multi role than just a couple of more tide class.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 4138
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Lord Jim » 20 Mar 2020, 13:26

For me the immediate way ahead should be an order for either one large FSS or two smaller ones. The CSG must be able to conduct a deployment like that planned for next year without having to go into port every couple of weeks. For one thing this makes the SGC more vulnerable as it would give and adversary the chance to attack the carrier in port as it would not be too hard to predict where it will be stopping next.

If we had wanted to go down the Multi Role platform route, we maybe should have looked at combining the tanker and FSS into one design and had say six built in Korea, just a thought.

As for funding I would rather take the £2Bn allocated to the T-31 and use some or all of that to ensure the carriers had the right auxiliary support platforms.

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 20 Mar 2020, 13:59

Lord Jim wrote:For me the immediate way ahead should be an order for either one large FSS or two smaller ones. The CSG must be able to conduct a deployment like that planned for next year without having to go into port every couple of weeks. For one thing this makes the SGC more vulnerable as it would give and adversary the chance to attack the carrier in port as it would not be too hard to predict where it will be stopping next.

If we had wanted to go down the Multi Role platform route, we maybe should have looked at combining the tanker and FSS into one design and had say six built in Korea, just a thought.
Totally agree. It is "too late". RFA has already bought 4 Tides. MSS idea must have been done 5-6 years ago. Not now.
As for funding I would rather take the £2Bn allocated to the T-31 and use some or all of that to ensure the carriers had the right auxiliary support platforms.
Agree. It is very bad decision RN contracted T31 BEFORE SDSR2020. Bad decision.

I'm afraid UK will lose either
1- 2 SSS --> then totally lose rationale for CVTF, and eventually lose (at least one of) CVF.
2- or, lose both Albion and Bulwark. Highly likely, considering the current discussion of RM reform.
3- or, reduced buy of T26, from remaining 5 to 3. (total number reduced from 8 to 6)
4- or, cutting MCMV fleet to half = only 6 Hunt class to remain, AND losing 1 LPD. (*1)
(5- opportunity lost: cancel T31) <-- was my favorite choice.

*1; keep MCM capability with only 6 Hunts for several years. And, then, gradually shift USV/UUV-based MCM tasks to the remaining 1 LPD + 3 Bays. Abandon the idea of doing MCM and amphibious operation at the same time. Only either one can be done at a time.

Online
User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 12156
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 20 Mar 2020, 14:10

Lord Jim wrote:should have looked at combining the tanker and FSS into one design

We got the tankers for a song; does not seem to be the case with (any flavour of?) FSS

Caribbean
Senior Member
Posts: 1808
Joined: 09 Jan 2016, 19:08
Location: England

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Caribbean » 20 Mar 2020, 14:37

Tankers are a relatively simple, but highly specialised, vessel - the volume used by the tanks can't readily be re-roled for another use. Better to have dedicated tankers and a non-tanker for the multi-role vessel
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

abc123
Senior Member
Posts: 2522
Joined: 10 May 2015, 18:15

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby abc123 » 20 Mar 2020, 15:17

Caribbean wrote:Tankers are a relatively simple, but highly specialised, vessel - the volume used by the tanks can't readily be re-roled for another use. Better to have dedicated tankers and a non-tanker for the multi-role vessel


Yep, you would then have 6 very expensive tankers/support ships... So no money would be saved at all.
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

User avatar
Poiuytrewq
Senior Member
Posts: 1675
Joined: 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Poiuytrewq » 20 Mar 2020, 21:29

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Agree. It is very bad decision RN contracted T31 BEFORE SDSR2020. Bad decision.
The UK needs Frigates too. A balanced approach must be sought.
donald_of_tokyo wrote:MSS idea must have been done 5-6 years ago.
Really depends on what the MSS concept evolves into. Too early to say yet.
Lord Jim wrote:As for funding I would rather take the £2Bn allocated to the T-31 and use some or all of that to ensure the carriers had the right auxiliary support platforms.
What's going to protect all these auxiliary support platforms if the UK only has 4 or 5 escorts available at any one time? At least four of which would likely be tasked with protecting the CSG and CASD plus FRE.
Tempest414 wrote:the way forward for me is to replace the 2 LPD's with one LHD the 3 Forts with 2 large SSS and Argus plus the 3 Bay's with 4 LSD's capable of operating 3 Merlins off 2 spots giving them the ability to take on the LSS role.
I think an LHD might be a stretch in this climate but the rest of your list seems plausible.

How about a cheaper option,
- QE as CVF
- PWLS as LPH
- 3 Bays refitted as LHD's with 1000 sqm (6 Merlin) hangers
- Argus, Forts replaced with 4 MSS with steel beach rather than well dock
- Albion and Bulwark mothballed until replacement with LHD in mid 2030's

This would seem affordable and achievable if Albion is mothballed.
Lord Jim wrote:I wonder if this is the sort of out of the box thinking Mr Cumming's is encouraging?
Is this idea any worse than the rest of the grand plans that have been suggested in recent years? Enough procrastinating from HMG, it's time for a definitive plan and decisive action.
Repulse wrote:Who would have thought it - almost like a modern day RFA Fort II
No bad thing?
Jensy wrote:A slightly revised Ellida doesn't strike me as being a million miles away in terms of concept
Ellida isn't a bad starting point but it's a long way from a SSS. Maybe a simplified Karen Doorman is the obvious solution. It will be interesting to see how the MSS concept matures.

User avatar
Jensy
Member
Posts: 147
Joined: 05 Aug 2016, 19:44
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Jensy » 20 Mar 2020, 23:25

donald_of_tokyo wrote:You are saying the CV will go back to port every week to re-supply, when used for strike? Never happen. I'm sure you don't meant it. So, I am a bit confused here.


Ah. No, not at all Donald-san I was suggesting that use of overseas bases would allow:

a) more of the escort force to be forward deployed, reducing the need for resupply of solids (and allowing only two FSS);
b) smaller supply ships that can restock closer to where the task force is deployed, so wouldn't need to rotate back the UK to take on more supplies and ammunition.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Jensy wrote: I suppose some sort of national shipbuilding programme using the non-escort yards (Cammell Laird, H&W, A&P Tyne and Appledore) to build modules that are then assembled by Goliath at Rosyth would be too much to ask for? If these could be built efficiently, and in decent numbers, they could theoretically become the basis for all the non-combat roles in the RN/RFA, even if it required having two or three sub-classes tailored more towards amphibious assault, 'mothership-ing' or solid stores.
MSS for Bay replacement is also very bad idea, I think. The RAS-rig is expensive to maintain.
- In most of the tasks Bays and Argus are doing now, RAS-rig is surely not needed. Much better to omit it.
- Similarly, in most of the tasks required for SSS, well-dock is surely not needed. Much better to omit it.


In the original UKDJ article I didn't think the Bay Class were under consideration at all. Just that the Albion class would be mothballed/scrapped/sold earlier than their expected out of service date. It would be a great shame to lose them but their running costs and crew size are the reason we've ended up with only a single one operating at a time. Better to have a basic replacement than none at all.

The Bays are far too cheap and easy to man to risk replacing until they are truly knackered. I would also steer clear of trying to modify them into anything more complex to meet the hospital ship or littoral strike ship concept.

With regards the RAS gear, I think we need to be more specific. The current rigs on Fort Victoria do not meet the original requirement to lift an F-35 engine for transfer to the carriers. This I think is a luxury we can neither afford or justify with the numbers of Lightnings we are currently expected to buy. There will be plenty of hangar space to stack a few crates of spare engines if needed.

A more limited RAS rig on the LSS doesn't seem too extravagant and would help support escort ships in more remote deployments. We just don't 6-7 of them on every ship like the Navantia supply ship concept below.

Image

The differing requirements (well-dock/role 2 or 3 medical facilities/extended hangar) are why I suggested having sub-classes on a common hull. The original BMT press release noted that the concept unveiled at DSEI was the "first member of the Ellida family". It was also noted in the Save the Royal Navy article that the medical facilities could be moved or deleted to fit more embarked aviation. With a 26,000t hull there's a fair bit of space to play around with especially without the need to carry fuel.

I would love to see 8-9 of these ships built, but taking into account the budget issues that you correctly raise, six could be sufficient for replacing the 3 x Forts, 2 x Albions and RFA Argus:

- Two supply ships designated for the carriers, with space and equipment optimised for solid supplies, plus reinforced magazines;
- Two littoral strike ships with enlarged hangar space for 4-6 Wildcat or Merlin; three Merlin sized landing spots and a full vehicle deck;
- Two humanitarian/disaster ships with 'Role 3 medical facilities', extensive space for containers on the fore-deck.

If by some miracle DfID could be convinced to pay for the last two, it could free up budget for one or two more of the other variants. Beyond these specialisms, I'd try to keep them as common to each other as possible so that in a crisis they could moonlight in other roles such as aviation training and anti-piracy/drug patrols.

Lord Jim wrote: I wonder if this is the sort of out of the box thinking Mr Cumming's is encouraging?


Oh this is far too conventional for him. He'd probably want to buy a fleet of unmanned Airlanders to do the whole thing!

As an aside, I can't help but feel suspicious that BMT putting twin 40mm Bofors on the Ellida concept in 2019, alongside otherwise current UK equipment (Wildcat/Merlin/Phalanx), suggests they have a rather direct line to the MoD main building, just not sure which direction it goes...

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 4138
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby Lord Jim » 21 Mar 2020, 02:34

Jensy wrote:There will be plenty of hangar space to stack a few crates of spare engines if needed.


I doubt the engines would be in crates, but rather transport and installations stands, together with their bags.. These are big, heavy and do not "Stack", so take up quite a lot of space. It is probably because you need the RAS to lift both Engine and stand that the weight requirement is so high. As we do not have an engine bay or testing facility on board the QEs unlike USN and French carriers for an extended deployment you are going to need number surprising of engines. CdG engine bay rebuilt/repaired over thirty M88 engines during her last deployment off Syria. We will have to swap out any U/S engines as we will have very limited facilities to test repaired engines. So for an extended deployment you may need at least one spare engine per F-35, that's going to be around 24.

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 21 Mar 2020, 03:30

Poiuytrewq wrote:The UK needs Frigates too. A balanced approach must be sought.
Yes. But, 5 T31 is a minor fraction of 19 escorts. It is not even 5/19 =26%. T31 is much less capable than T45/T26. For me, 5 T31 is only 10-15% of the escort fleet.

On the other hand, the two Forts going away by 2024 is 2/3 = 67% of the supply capability. Clearly SSS is more important than T31, from the viewpoint of the "balanced approach".

Ellida's supply capability will be even less than half of the original SSS, I'm afraid. It is like replacing T26 with T31.
What's going to protect all these auxiliary support platforms if the UK only has 4 or 5 escorts available at any one time? At least four of which would likely be tasked with protecting the CSG and CASD plus FRE.
Lack of SSS will mean lose of CSG. So, "4 or 5 escorts available" would be enough in that case. As you said, just a matter of balance.
How about a cheaper option,
- QE as CVF
- PWLS as LPH
- 3 Bays refitted as LHD's with 1000 sqm (6 Merlin) hangers
- Argus, Forts replaced with 4 MSS with steel beach rather than well dock
- Albion and Bulwark mothballed until replacement with LHD in mid 2030's

This would seem affordable and achievable if Albion is mothballed.
Interesting view point. A few comments.
- There is no Argus replacement = no budget (NAO report). If we want it, MOD need to cut elsewhere, even with the defense budget kept "2% GDP with 0.5% increase" = NO CUT.
- RN/RFA has (after T31 ordered) only 1B GBP SSS's budget to buy anything within this 3-5 years. Original budget profile has 6B GBP shortage of money within 5 years (even in the most optimistic 2.9B GBP shortage scenario).

Even if RN win the game = putting all the 6B GBP burden to RAF, Army and others, and keep the 1B GBP in their hands, your plan needs money to
- refit Bays
- buy 4 MSS
Simply impossible, I think.

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 21 Mar 2020, 04:12

Thanks, Jensy-san.
Jensy wrote:a) more of the escort force to be forward deployed, reducing the need for resupply of solids (and allowing only two FSS);
b) smaller supply ships that can restock closer to where the task force is deployed, so wouldn't need to rotate back the UK to take on more supplies and ammunition.
Glad to hear it. So you mean forward-bases will enable RN to go on with only two SSS, one each for one CV. I agree here.
The differing requirements (well-dock/role 2 or 3 medical facilities/extended hangar) are why I suggested having sub-classes on a common hull. ...
I would love to see 8-9 of these ships built, but taking into account the budget issues that you correctly raise, six could be sufficient for replacing the 3 x Forts, 2 x Albions and RFA Argus:

- Two supply ships designated for the carriers, with space and equipment optimised for solid supplies, plus reinforced magazines;
- Two littoral strike ships with enlarged hangar space for 4-6 Wildcat or Merlin; three Merlin sized landing spots and a full vehicle deck;
- Two humanitarian/disaster ships with 'Role 3 medical facilities', extensive space for containers on the fore-deck.
With or without well-dock?

As I think, in the most optimistic case, RN/RFA has only 1B GBP to replace anything within 5 years. And RN/RFA will lose 2 Forts, Argus, and Scott. Among the 4 vessels, only 2 Forts had replacement budget = the "1B GBP", and the other two are left without (NAO report). This is fact.

Starting from here, what can be done?

Not easy. I'm afraid the only doable options will be to
1: Order one SSS with 500M GBP to replace Fort Austin and Rosalie. Go with 1 FSSS and Fort Victoria from 2024-. Keep another 500M GBP for replacing Fort Victoria in ~2030.
2: postponing. further extend the life of one of the Fort Austin or Rosalie (with better status) to save the day for 10 years. Not cost efficient = low capability, but may require the least money within this 5 years. Then replace her and Fort Victoria in ~2030.

If I be the most optimistic and think all the 1B GBP originally budgeted for SSS can be used,
3: Order two smallish SSS with 1B GBP. May or may not add a steel beach and with a larger flight deck (anyway they are cheap). But, no space for well-dock.

Anyway, Argus and Scott has no replacement plan. So, let "hospital ship" go ahead under DfID budget, and say "it will partly replace Argus". Done. And, sorry to say, but I'm afraid no way to save Scott capability (Move some of her capability to Echo/Enterprise?)

In this point of view, for me MSS discussion looks like talking about item-2 = postponing. As it is just a concept, they need time to make it mature. No chance to have MSS by 2024. Zero. And, if the only aim is to save money, let's not mix the issue. Argus is dead. Scott is dead. Let's accept it, no money.

Then, what RN/RFA need is Fort replacement = supply. The original FSSS was cancelled "because bidders were 'not compliant' with commercial terms and not delivering on value for money expectations". This means the required capability cannot be met within the prepared budget, I think. So, the only solution is to reduce the requirement. In other words = "smallish SSS". Must go with reduced requirement. Then, when added with hospital or well-dock, it will just further degrade the supply capability.

Again adding a steel beach and large flight deck to the "smallish SSS" is OK for me. But, note, this will only
- reduce the already reduced cargo capability (only slightly, I agree)
- and politically open the way to disband two LPDs in addition to 2 Forts and Argus, by saying "with multi-role capability, the two "MSS" is replacing 2 LPDs, 2 Forts, and Argus. Great buy!".

# Pessimistic? Not at all. I still hope there can be 2 Forts in 2024- in all the plan show above. If be pessimistic, RN/RFA will leave it to the sole Fort Victoria = gap it. QNLZ will be with Fort Victoria, but PoW will lack it. CV without supply cannot fight, may be just HADR. Then, the next logical decision will be to sell off PoW, of course. Being pessimistic is like this, for me. So I am realistic or even optimistic at above. :D

Online
User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 12156
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 21 Mar 2020, 05:11

Jensy wrote:The current rigs on Fort Victoria do not meet the original requirement to lift an F-35 engine for transfer to the carriers. This I think is a luxury we can neither afford or justify with the numbers of Lightnings we are currently expected to buy. There will be plenty of hangar space to stack a few crates of spare engines if needed.
It was the lack of kit for handling such heavy items (into position for the rigs) that eliminated the installation of the new, heavy version for the Fort that will stay around the longest, during its recent refit. LJ makes a good point why the number needing to be transferred may end up being quite high.
Jensy wrote: the "first member of the Ellida family".
as Ellida is the perfect ship that Aygir gave to the Vikings, the suggested variation within the family is the only way to make it 'perfect' in the modern day, too.

Online
User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 12156
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Future Solid Support Ship

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 21 Mar 2020, 05:26

As the £ 1bn did not buy more than one SSS (I think the 1.3 bn figure also floated reflected the thinking that paying some sort of reservation premium, the option for a third ship could be exercised later - at the same, fixed price) then clearly just one of them, aided by Ft Victoria (but only for a limited number of years) was judged as not fulfilling the rqrmnt
- Plan A gone; starting a Plan B must be welcomed, surely?


Return to “Royal Navy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jake1992, Jdam and 17 guests