Jake1992 wrote:This is why I said any uparming needs to look at what role they’d be asked to do, as uparming for uparmings sake is just a waste.
It’s also why I mentioned brexit will determine the numbers needed for UK EEZ
Agreed, a lot depends on whether the UK enters a lengthy transition period to exit the EU or leaves with a bump in November or February. If it turns out to be an abrupt exit expect the UK EEZ to become big news very quickly.
Trying to fathom the decision to investigate the worthiness of up-gunning the RB2's: could this be a stop-gap to a larger Frigate force?
If the long term aspiration is to build 16 Frigates (8xT26/8xT31) and give RN an escort fleet of 22+ vessels, could the RB2's simply be used to augment the T31 GP's until the T31 programme reaches No8 hull?
For example, Forth and Medway deployed to the Falklands and Caribbean with unaltered armament and Trent, Spey, Tamar forward based globally with the addition of a 57mm and 2x 30mm's/LMM and possibly a UAV. This would substantially increase the forward presence of RN globally and help enable the distributed Littoral Strike concept.
That would require the remaining 8x T23 ASW's and 6x T45's to escort the CSG and conduct TAPS and FRE. A tall order but perhaps possible if the T23 GP's and RB2's can fill the gaps from time to time.
If something like this is being considered I think it looks like too much of a stretch as until the manning issues are resolved at least some of the aforementioned vessels won't have crews. Much better to forward base 3 or 4 of the T23 GP's globally with the 5th in reserve or refit and keep Trent, Spey and Tamar in the UK conducting FRE and UK EEZ patrol.
If HMG really want to enhance the UK's global presence rapidly why not build three or four 105m Leanders at Cammell Laird immediately? Keep them simple with a 57mm, 2x 30mm's/LMM and 12 CAMM. Aim for a target price of £150m. These cheap and cost effective presence ships would be solid and credible, negating the need for cut price Frigates.
If HMG really wants more forward presence then more money will have to be forthcoming to enable it. If that's unaffordable then so is the idea of enhanced forward presence.