Pongoglo wrote:...two helicopters, USV's and she's even got an LCVP ?
Its a great design. Not sure about the forward flight deck/hanger setup, how would that work in heavy seas? Could be less than ideal.
It does show what can be built in the UK for around £150m, even as a one off with no economies of scale. The hybrid electric propulsion and reduced hull acoustics are particularly exciting at this price point. It will be interesting to see how capable the overall platform proves to be in the end.
Personally I think this is what the T31 programme was supposed to achieve. A highly innovative design that would make the most of the modest budget. Instead we have ended up with a stretched OPV from BAE and an off the shelf foreign AAW frigate design from Babcock (no idea what Altas Electronik is proposing). The T31 programme looks at this stage to be a missed opportunity but we might still be in for a surprise yet.
Credible Frigates can't be built in the UK for £250m but if you were to take the RRS SDA design as an example, what could be achieved for an extra £100m?
How much would these modifications actually cost?
- Replace the reinforced ice breaker bow with a more conventional profile. This should raise the top speed into the 20/21knt region without too much modification to the propulsion system?
- Remove the forward flight deck and hangers and move the superstructure forward. Fit a 57/76mm in a conventional location.
- Create an amidships 2 spot flightdeck above a large deck garage and incorporate a 4 Merlin hanger.
- Fit a 40t crane on the stern to operate on a large working deck with direct access to the deck garage.
- Create a small vehicle deck below the aft working deck of around 750sqm.
- Add a generous medical facility and accommodation for around 65 crew and an EMF of around 150.
By removing a lot of the ice breaking and complicated scientific specific capabilities, in effect many of these adaptions could end up being cost neutral.
This would result in the following.
Length: 130 m
Beam: 24 m
Armament: 57/76mm, 2x 30mm's.
Aviation: Merlin capable flight deck (2 spots) hanger for 4 merlins.
Deck garage: 1800sqm, CB90 and LVCP capable
Working deck: 1000sqm, LCM, LCVP, LCAC, CB90 capable. 40t stern crane
Vehicle deck: 750sqm
Effectively it's not so much adapted as it is a totally new design but even if they ended up costing the full £250m, they would be a whole lot more useful than stretched OPV's.
It's a pity the T31 programme didn't proceed in a much more ambitious direction.