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RFA Fort Victoria

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Repulse
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 28 Apr 2019, 22:31

ArmChairCivvy wrote:EoS
East of Suez
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby shark bait » 29 Apr 2019, 08:09

Repulse wrote:focusing Ft Victoria as a core of a EoS Littoral Task Group

Whilst it makes sense to keep Ft Victoria in service a little longer, the rest of the suggestion makes no sense.

If the RN implemented the above they would have an amphibious ship pretending to be supply ship in the gulf, and a supply ship pretending to be an amphibious ship in the Pacific. It's madness.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 29 Apr 2019, 16:17

shark bait, you would have a ship with a dock supporting MCM operations and a ship with a large hangar and dry stores space to support SF operations and HADR. Far from madness.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby RichardIC » 29 Apr 2019, 21:57

Repulse wrote:I’d argue, regardless of the number of SSSs that are built for the CSGs (2 or 3), focusing Ft Victoria as a core of a EoS Littoral Task Group would give an asset that would actually allow a different thinking on the T31e, and actually just be a extension on what it has been up to for a number of years.

It already meets a number of the key requirements, including aviation facilities, RM accommodation, medical facilities and stores. I think with some relatively modest investment it could be a good solution: adding Artisan, activating and upgrading the 32 VLS to CAMM, addition of a couple of LCVPs on davits, and additional space for dry stores and light vehicles.

Combined with this I can then see a good fit with the B2 Rivers, who again with modest modifications could then act as Littoral Escorts to the ship. Each capable of hosting RMs and small boats.

Forward basing Ft Victoria and 3 B2 (or B3) Rivers out of Singapore would give a solid low key presence in the area (with a good self defence capability), supporting allies in low level interventions (like another East Timor or South Pacific).

I’d see the budget for this coming out of the T31 budget, leaving the 2 FLSS plans in place and the 2-3 SSSs. The EoS FLSS operating in the lower threat area of the Indian Ocean and East Africa.

Doing this would the make the T31 programme effectively the upgrade of Ft Victoria, the purchase of another T26 plus 4 more modest Sloops derived from the current B2 Rivers.


I'm firmly with Shark Bait on this one.

You're suggesting using a highly complex and sophisticated logistics vessel, and a unique capability (currently), to do a job that could be done by a converted ro-ro ferry. You're then compounding the error by suggesting that some barely-armed patrol vessels could act as "Littoral Escorts".

Fort Vic has impressive aviation capabilities, that's true - but we're short of Merlin and how many unfolded Chinook could it carry?

It has stores capability, but not for vehicles. You could add LCVP davits, but you're then using a major asset to land Land Rovers two at a time onto a nearby beach. Has Fort V got dedicated RM accommodation? For how many? And with what level of equipment? How many Viking could it carry and how would they be landed?

And adding CAMM and Artisan isn't "modest". We can't afford to put CAMM on the QEs.

Then the whole idea of sending River OPVs to anywhere but the most benign environment is just daft. Unless your "modest" modifications are arming them to the teeth, in which case, ditto the above.

And to complete the trio of modests, some "modest sloops"? What even is a sloop?

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Apr 2019, 22:28

meets a number of the key requirements, including aviation facilities, RM accommodation, medical facilities and stores. I think with some relatively modest investment it could be a good solution[: adding Artisan, activating and upgrading the 32 VLS to CAMM, addition of a couple of LCVPs on davits, and ]
additional space for dry stores and light vehicles.


OK, for starters: let's make modest 'modest'... as in above. I also recognise that the 'escort thinking' just doubles the crew for the real projectiles (in the hypothetical situations) of the RN - who are the RM.

Now as the tone in the quoted bit below is about as irritating (=rude) as that certain Mark Francois "I was in the Army... therefore I won't lose ;)" let me insert some italics, rather than chop the quote up into 'atoms': "
RichardIC wrote:You're then compounding the error [oopss?] by suggesting that some barely-armed patrol vessels could act as "Littoral Escorts".
- I agree 90% with the statement, though. Tone works wonders, no?

Fort Vic has impressive aviation capabilities, that's true - but we're short of Merlin and how many unfolded Chinook could it carry?
- how many Merlins on Ops? You seem to forget that these are low key Ops/ forward presence... and all those birds can fly back to the carrier; when it steams up when the tensions will have ratcheted up enough. No?

It has stores capability, but not for vehicles.
- correct; we are talking less than a handful (on the deck? And helo lifted.)
You could add LCVP davits, but you're then using a major asset to land Land Rovers two at a time onto a nearby beach.
- we've got that covered?
Has Fort V got dedicated RM accommodation? For how many? And with what level of equipment? How many Viking could it carry and how would they be landed?

And adding CAMM and Artisan isn't "modest". We can't afford to put CAMM on the QEs.
-correct; not modest
- the rest of the statement is wrong. The issue is not cost, bt something else that a landlubber would need explained... won't bother ;)


Then the whole idea of sending River OPVs to anywhere but the most benign environment is just daft. Unless your "modest" modifications are arming them to the teeth, in which case, ditto the above.
- correct; send something else if needed
- in the main: not needed for the mission (What was it again? Please explain)


And to complete the trio of modests, some "modest sloops"? What even is a sloop?


Not a Royal Navy historian then? Sloops were the rag-tag bunch of vessels left over after WW2 (anything below a destroyer) and were disposed of in short order... just to be replaced by frigates of all denominations.
- corvettes :) , anyone?
I agree that it does not contribute anything to the discussion by trying to blur the definitions of OPVs/ Light Frigates/ Patrol frigates
- sharpening up (!) those definitions might be more useful, as sources close to RN (like BMT) have published in-depth stuff about "it" and how to get on in this world by retaining some hull commonality (err, economies of scale = unit cost)

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby RichardIC » 29 Apr 2019, 22:38

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Now as the tone in the quoted bit below is about as irritating (=rude) as that certain Mark Francois "I was in the Army... therefore I won't lose " let me insert some italics, rather than chop the quote up into 'atoms': "


Yeah, you're right there. I only ever seem to get angry and rude on this board, so maybe I should keep off it. And being compared to Mark Francois is a major, major wake-up call.

I still think I'm broadly correct, but could be less twatty.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby SW1 » 30 Apr 2019, 08:08

Did the Fort Victoria not act in a similar role for about 4 years as command vessel for CT 151, with lynx helicopters and commandos for boarding and maritime security operations.

What’s in a name!! I think the connection between what people think littoral strike is and what is perhaps intended maybe different in scale and scope

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby shark bait » 30 Apr 2019, 08:58

Fort Victoria also hosted the AEW Sea king in the gulf providing an over-watch capability for a while.

She was designed to operate a helicopter, so it's no surprise she performs well with zero modification. She was never designed for landing craft or vehicle decks, so its not going to be a amphibious ship. Adding that capability would not only cost millions in cash, it would also come at the cost of stores capacity.

A better solution is do nothing, and keep Fort Victoria in the same role a little longer. That allows the MOD to reduce the SSS order and reinvest that cash elsewhere.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 30 Apr 2019, 10:19

SW1 wrote:Did the Fort Victoria not act in a similar role for about 4 years as command vessel for CT 151, with lynx helicopters and commandos for boarding and maritime security operations.


It did, regularly hosting 80 RMs.

SW1 wrote:What’s in a name!! I think the connection between what people think littoral strike is and what is perhaps intended maybe different in scale and scope


Spot on, I’m thinking about operations in the order of an embarked company of 80-150 RMs with 3-4 support helicopters. Apologies if it feels like I’ve suggested something bigger as I think anything larger is in the territory of the ARG/CSG.

RichardIC wrote:It has stores capability, but not for vehicles. You could add LCVP davits, but you're then using a major asset to land Land Rovers two at a time onto a nearby beach.


The future SSSs are shown with davits, not a big deal as it’s no show stopper IMO. We are talking just a few vehicles given the scale, so could be helicopter lifted also.

RichardIC wrote:And adding CAMM and Artisan isn't "modest". We can't afford to put CAMM on the QEs.


Adding CAMM to QE is a much bigger endeavour IMO, whilst never fully implemented Ft Victoria was designed for Sea Wolf. Also, the CVFs aren’t going anywhere even “warm” in terms of threat without a couple of T45s. Ft Victoria will only be operating in lower end risk zones, but have CAMM means she can cover a small task group without the escorts themselves needing CAMM.

RichardIC wrote:Then the whole idea of sending River OPVs to anywhere but the most benign environment is just daft. Unless your "modest" modifications are arming them to the teeth, in which case, ditto the above.


Goes back to what we want said Littoral Task Group to do in the Far East, along with the reason to have forward based assets in Singapore. My view is they need to cover the following role (working with allies):

- Supporting UK / allied nationals evacuation
- Anti terrorist operations
- Anti piracy patrols
- Supporting limited/low level allied interventions (like East Timor or NZ policing in some of the South Pacific states)
- Intelligence gathering
- Training
- HADR
- Diplomacy

With an “emergency” AAW umbrella from the RFA, then I think we are in the order of adding a medium (57mm gun) and a couple of Seahawk Sigma 30mm/LMM mounts. The Rivers would also be able to carry RMs and additional boats / stores.

Having a Ft Victoria + 3 Rivers would allow them to act as a group or as Singletons depending on the operation. What’s more it would be at an appropriate level and affordable.

Anything more than this would require a CSG.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 May 2019, 00:32

RichardIC wrote: this board[, so] maybe I should keep off it. And being compared to Mark Francois is a major, major wake-up call.


Absolutely not; we need diverse views and opinions, to have a discussion
- may be we should extend a special invitation to Mark Francois :) - just for some spectacular fireworks

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby shark bait » 01 May 2019, 08:34

RichardIC wrote:Then the whole idea of sending River OPVs to anywhere but the most benign environment is just daft.

It really is, but stick the buzzword 'littoral' in front, and all of of sudden the patrol boats become escorts! :problem:
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 01 May 2019, 09:59

shark bait wrote:
RichardIC wrote:Then the whole idea of sending River OPVs to anywhere but the most benign environment is just daft.

It really is, but stick the buzzword 'littoral' in front, and all of of sudden the patrol boats become escorts! :problem:


Agree, but I think the understanding of the term “escort” is changing also. My view is that the world is currently at a continual level of low level conflict (maybe it always have been) with the real possibility of it bubbling over to real first tier conflict. The RN needs to gear up for both with a very finite budget.

I see the roles outlined above (UK national evacuation etc) as low level conflict, which is what I believe are the primary roles for our Littoral Task Groups which should contain ships like Ft Victoria as well as the OPVs (Sloops) equipped to the correct threat level - like we do by adding Phalanx to all RFAs EoS.

Sure you can argue that first rate T23s/T26s/T45s can do this job, and I agree, but until the government either puts in more cash, or cuts its global ambition then the hole has to be filled using simpler/ cheaper assets - as actually they are good enough for what is outlined.

Where I seem to disagree with most is the obsession to build a middle tier of (Arrowhead style) T31s - which are more than what is needed for low level duties, but not good enough for high threat, plus draw funds away from the real war fighting capability.

It scares the bejesus out of me the ramp up of China and the ambitions of Russia in the naval area and the quality of the ships they are building - the western Control of the sea and critical sea lanes is at risk as never before. For this we need to ensure we invest in CSGs and SSNs and high end kit like full fat T26s in as many numbers as we can afford.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Aethulwulf » 01 May 2019, 14:57

Repulse wrote:Where I seem to disagree with most is the obsession to build a middle tier of (Arrowhead style) T31s - which are more than what is needed for low level duties, but not good enough for high threat, plus draw funds away from the real war fighting capability.
The T31 will be good enough to survive (float, move) in a high threat environment, and can be easily upgraded to add to the fight.

The same is not true for an OPV. It doesn't have the capabilities to float, move or fight against high threats.

As procured, the T31 can be sent with the CSG into high threat areas and be expected to survive, but only make limited contributions to the fight. However, the design must be able to be easily upgraded.

An OPV would not be expected to survive in high threat areas. The ideas mentioned around here of OPV escorts are nonsense. Even bolting on Phalanx or CAMM will not hide the fundamental flaws in its ability to keep floating and keep moving if hit.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 May 2019, 21:31

Yeah, you could boil it down into three classifications:
- good enough to ensure most of the crew survive
- good enough to stay afloat (even if not under own power),
and good enough to stay in the fight.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Lord Jim » 01 May 2019, 22:05

We do keep going around and around when we talk of the T-31e, but until we actually are shown the bids it is all guess work so no body is right and no body is wrong.

As for Fort Victoria, I have a feeling she could well be the third FSS for quite a while, and she could even be the most capable of the three you never know.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Scimitar54 » 01 May 2019, 22:39

Not likely, she cannot transfer the Heavy Palletised Stores that the future SSS will be able to. This will limit the re-supply of stores to the QEC Carriers to a degree that will be unacceptable in the mid to long term. :mrgreen:

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby shark bait » 02 May 2019, 07:51

It's a compromise. What is more valuable;
  • five patrol vessels and three support ships
  • five frigates and two support ships?

If the T31 comes into fruition with a hard £250m price tag it will be a burden the RN will have to carry for decades. Finding the funds to make these effective vessels has to be the Navy's short term priority, and the only project in the same time frame that has wiggle room is the Solid Support Ships, by keeping Fort Victoria a little longer.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby abc123 » 02 May 2019, 08:18

shark bait wrote:It's a compromise. What is more valuable;
  • five patrol vessels and three support ships
  • five frigates and two support ships?

If the T31 comes into fruition with a hard £250m price tag it will be a burden the RN will have to carry for decades. Finding the funds to make these effective vessels has to be the Navy's short term priority, and the only project in the same time frame that has wiggle room is the Solid Support Ships, by keeping Fort Victoria a little longer.


Considering that the UK ambition as of late is one Commando Group I think that 2 support ships might just be good enough and that five frigates could be better choice.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 02 May 2019, 16:57

Aethulwulf wrote:An OPV would not be expected to survive in high threat areas. The ideas mentioned around here of OPV escorts are nonsense. Even bolting on Phalanx or CAMM will not hide the fundamental flaws in its ability to keep floating and keep moving if hit.


It depends what it is hit by - a SSM hit absolutely agree, a AK47 or RPG maybe not and this is really the threat level I’m thinking of. Again the point I’m making is that with off board systems and recognising a different need for low threat environments not every “Escort” needs to be the same.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Old RN » 03 May 2019, 05:55

Repulse wrote:
Aethulwulf wrote:An OPV would not be expected to survive in high threat areas. The ideas mentioned around here of OPV escorts are nonsense. Even bolting on Phalanx or CAMM will not hide the fundamental flaws in its ability to keep floating and keep moving if hit.


It depends what it is hit by - a SSM hit absolutely agree, a AK47 or RPG maybe not and this is really the threat level I’m thinking of. Again the point I’m making is that with off board systems and recognising a different need for low threat environments noty every “Escort” needs to be the same.


This issue with surviving combat dsmage between OPV and Frigate designs is interesting but not very relevant to actual combat! I do not know of an incident in the last 50 years where a warship has been hit by a significant weapon and has stayed in combat? Quoting USS Stark is an example, she was immediately withdrawn from the Gulf for massive repairs. She did not sink, which speaks volumes for USN damage control, but she was a complete mission kill.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 03 May 2019, 07:35

Sinking and mission kill are very different.

Crew survival probability differs, and political impact also differs a lot.

T31 in escort standard hull is a lot different from a River OPV in OPV standard. Fighting capability also differs a lot; T31 with complete set of ESM and decoy, and with CAMM is far more fighty than a River B2 or Bay class with CIWSs.

On the other hand, there are many tasks a River B2 can do, other than EEZ patrol, if added with a CIWS or a 57 mm gun.

As the cost also differs a lot, saying these two are the same, is not productive. As the modern full fat escorts are becoming more and more expensive, and the threat like smugglers or pirates are largely unchanged, therefore assets to fill these gap is more needed. So I think using River B2 more extensively is very natural.

But, on Fort Victoria, I think using her as AOE for another decade to save money will be the best solution.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Repulse » 03 May 2019, 13:18

donald_of_tokyo, probably taken up too much of this thread on this, but assuming the UK still wants a meaningful and affordable permanent presence in the Far East (post Williamson), then I think using Ft Victoria as a multi-role AOR / Fwd base out of Singapore with a couple of Rivers is a very good fit. This obviously assumes two FSSs to support the peacetime requirements for the CSGs, but I don’t see a third needed all of the time so this would be a v.good use of resources IMO.
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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 04 May 2019, 13:54

Repulse wrote:donald_of_tokyo, probably taken up too much of this thread on this, but assuming the UK still wants a meaningful and affordable permanent presence in the Far East (post Williamson), then I think using Ft Victoria as a multi-role AOR / Fwd base out of Singapore with a couple of Rivers is a very good fit. This obviously assumes two FSSs to support the peacetime requirements for the CSGs, but I don’t see a third needed all of the time so this would be a v.good use of resources IMO.
I agree Ft Victoria shall be used as the 3rd SSS. As CVTF's wartime logistic requirement will be much higher than those required when with 3 Invincible class CVSs supported by 4 Forts, 3 SSS is actually less than minimum for RN, I think.

As the peacetime requirement is not so large, having "part time job" for the SSS fleet will be good. But I think it shall be at Persian Gulf (or nearer to Britain), so that she can join the TF within a week or so.

Heart of the FLSS concept is, being very cheap to operate. Only if the burden is very small, UK may be able go "East of Suez". All RFA assets has a crew of nearly 100-150 (Tides are the smallest with 65), excluding Aviation team. If the FLSS is the ships we see in CG, its core crew of ~35 is 1/3 of that of Fort Victoria. Here again, please note these numbers exclude Aviation team nor soldiers of RM, which I think will be transferred to the theater "on call" (not permanently).

# So, even adding a River B2 to FLSS is increasing the man-power burden by nearly twice.

I think stationing one of the SSS to Persian Gulf, to provide "logistic/replenishment support to RN and allies there", while showing the flag at Singapore with logistic/man-power "ecological" FLSS, will be the better answer.

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Tempest414 » 04 May 2019, 18:10

The idea that the FLSS will be crewed by a core crew of 35 is complete horse shit these ships will need a crew of 80+ end of

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Re: RFA Fort Victoria

Postby Lord Jim » 04 May 2019, 20:31

Agreed, and in fact this whole idea of "East of Suez" need to be seriously reconsidered until the resources are in place to be able to have forces in place that can make a difference rather than just wave the flag and look good in photos.

Having Fort Victoria plus two new FSS will be enough to support a single Carrier Group, and that is all we are going to have at any one time. If the situation is so dire we have to deploy both, then we will be needing allied assets ranging from Personnel to Aircraft, to Escorts and yes Fleet Auxiliaries to achieve this.


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