Halidon wrote:They may be reverting to an A120-based bid
Arrowhead 120 is an interesting design but I don't think it will beat Leander, at least not in its current configuration. I think the A120 concept is just too high risk for RN being a clean sheet design. It would need to offer capabilities far in excess of what Leander can offer to be in with a chance and at present it just doesn't do that.
In my opinion the basic hull has a lot going for it with a 120m LOA and a beam of 19m. Clearly this makes it longer and wider than Leander whist maintaining a similar top speed. It also has the huge advantage of a vastly superior growth margin over Leander.
The core crew allocation is a very modest 80 which is less than Leander and the A120's ability to mount a Mk45 plus 8 ASM's, 64 CAMM and a single Phalanx is very impressive.
So why is Arrowhead 120 not racing away with the T31 contract? I think it's because the current configuration is trying to do too much. A streamlined design with the amidships mission space removed and replaced with 2 simple boat bays and a double Merlin capable hanger, the second of which could be used primarily as a large multipurpose space whilst retaining the ability to embark two helicopters if required.
With the 4 required RHIBs embarked in the boat bays and the combined misson space/hanger there would still be enough space for 4 ISO's crucially with direct access to the flight deck. With the RHIB and ISO requirement met the stern ramp could be removed and replaced with a genuine TAS/VDS capability.
This would simplify the design and result in a Tier2 frigate that could be upgraded if required to the following spec,
Mk45 main armament
64 CAMM or 32 CAMM and 8x Mk41 Strike cells
8 Harpoon or equivalent
Double Merlin Hanger/combined misson space
The unknown at present is the proposed propulsion setup, a lot would depend on this. With CODOE/CODELOD propulsion and a top speed in excess 25 knots, a reconfigured Arrowhead 120 with a stern optimised for ASW could be a real winner.
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