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Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 17 Jul 2019, 08:11

Jake1992 wrote:I think the RN fear on that ( and rightly so ) is that if they let numbers slip now with the idea of expanding in the future they never get those numbers back

That is a reasonable concern, and why the RN can't drop the T31 and buy an extra T26 in the 30's, that would likely create an unrecoverable drop.

I propose the best compromise is to drop the T31 requirement by one, and drop the SSS requirement by one, and use the savings to build a higher quality T23 replacement.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 08:27

shark bait wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:I think the RN fear on that ( and rightly so ) is that if they let numbers slip now with the idea of expanding in the future they never get those numbers back

That is a reasonable concern, and why the RN can't drop the T31 and buy an extra T26 in the 30's, that would likely create an unrecoverable drop.

I propose the best compromise is to drop the T31 requirement by one, and drop the SSS requirement by one, and use the savings to build a higher quality T23 replacement.


I could accept that it just shame there still needs to be more cuts after 20 years of cuts

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Jul 2019, 10:45

The RN could manage with just 14 or 15 high end platforms as long as it has the budget to properly man them, operate them as often as needed and to have them fitted out so that they realise their maximum potential. So I fully agree with Donald's view of cancelling the T-31e and investing the money as he has put forward. The Navy is only going to grow with a substantial and sustain injection of new money into the Budget and I cannot see that happening any time soon.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Jul 2019, 14:46

Jake1992 wrote:I think the RN fear on that ( and rightly so ) is that if they let numbers slip now with the idea of expanding in the future they never get those numbers back, this has been shown over and over with the drop from 30 then 24 now 19 each time with the promise to get back and each time politicians setting that as the new bar.
I understand. But, I am pretty much against that attitude, because it is far from free. RN is paying huge penalty by keeping "19 escorts" saga (while actually operating 12 escort equivalent), from 2015.

Just imagine a case if "16 escort" was accepted in 2015.

- We would have seen 10 T26 program proceeding well.

- Cutting 3 T23GP immediately on 2015 means savings on their LIFEX cost. I guess it may amount to 200-300M GBP. This could be used to mount NSM onboard all 6 T45 and (remaining) 10 T23. Huge loss.

- Including the software license, and all the maintenance costs to keep these 3 T23s, another 100M GBP or so could have been available. This 100M GBP could have provided another 4 Merlin HM1 to HM2 standard. Huge loss.

Not a negligible penalty, I think.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 15:03

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:I think the RN fear on that ( and rightly so ) is that if they let numbers slip now with the idea of expanding in the future they never get those numbers back, this has been shown over and over with the drop from 30 then 24 now 19 each time with the promise to get back and each time politicians setting that as the new bar.
I understand. But, I am pretty much against that attitude, because it is far from free. RN is paying huge penalty by keeping "19 escorts" saga (while actually operating 12 escort equivalent), from 2015.

Just imagine a case if "16 escort" was accepted in 2015.

- We would have seen 10 T26 program proceeding well.

- Cutting 3 T23GP immediately on 2015 means savings on their LIFEX cost. I guess it may amount to 200-300M GBP. This could be used to mount NSM onboard all 6 T45 and (remaining) 10 T23. Huge loss.

- Including the software license, and all the maintenance costs to keep these 3 T23s, another 100M GBP or so could have been available. This 100M GBP could have provided another 4 Merlin HM1 to HM2 standard. Huge loss.

Not a negligible penalty, I think.


IMO the RN have 2 paths to choose from cut numbers to match today’s manning levels this in turn will increase sea going days whiles also investing to get the most out of each vessel. Option 2 is to keep numbers with the hope and planing of upgrading them down the line to get kore out of them and try to improve recruitment and retention.

To me planning a fleet solely on today’s personal numbers makes no sense as personal numbers will change massively in both directions over the duration of the fleets life.

When it comes to upgrade later or reduce and get the most out of each now, we’ll its a lot easier to upgrade a vessel when the sh**t hits the fan than it is to build extra.

I think the RN are looking at it as it’s better to have the vessel sitting waiting for man power to improve than cutting numbers never to get those numbers back.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for getting the most out of what we have but not by cutting what we have.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Jul 2019, 15:10

Jake1992 wrote:IMO the RN have 2 paths to choose from cut numbers to match today’s manning levels this in turn will increase sea going days whiles also investing to get the most out of each vessel. Option 2 is to keep numbers with the hope and planing of upgrading them down the line to get kore out of them and try to improve recruitment and retention.

To me planning a fleet solely on today’s personal numbers makes no sense as personal numbers will change massively in both directions over the duration of the fleets life.

When it comes to upgrade later or reduce and get the most out of each now, we’ll its a lot easier to upgrade a vessel when the sh**t hits the fan than it is to build extra.

I think the RN are looking at it as it’s better to have the vessel sitting waiting for man power to improve than cutting numbers never to get those numbers back.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for getting the most out of what we have but not by cutting what we have.
Thanks, I understand your point. Just continuing discussion.

Your idea makes sense "a little" (not meaning "little sense" :D), but clearly that strategy was not the strategy RN took when they see escort cuts from 44 to 32, and 31 to 25, then 23. I think, it was the first time RN chose to significantly degrade (40%!!) availability just to save number. I am not supporting it.

In the world, there are many navies "better" than RN on paper. But, RN with is high professionalism, good training, high morale, and realistic approach to military issue was the big difference to "others". I'm very sad RN is going to lose those merits. Sad. Must be corrected, I think.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 15:21

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:IMO the RN have 2 paths to choose from cut numbers to match today’s manning levels this in turn will increase sea going days whiles also investing to get the most out of each vessel. Option 2 is to keep numbers with the hope and planing of upgrading them down the line to get kore out of them and try to improve recruitment and retention.

To me planning a fleet solely on today’s personal numbers makes no sense as personal numbers will change massively in both directions over the duration of the fleets life.

When it comes to upgrade later or reduce and get the most out of each now, we’ll its a lot easier to upgrade a vessel when the sh**t hits the fan than it is to build extra.

I think the RN are looking at it as it’s better to have the vessel sitting waiting for man power to improve than cutting numbers never to get those numbers back.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for getting the most out of what we have but not by cutting what we have.
Thanks, I understand your point. Just continuing discussion.

Your idea makes sense "a little" (not meaning "little sense" :D), but clearly that strategy was not the strategy RN took when they see escort cuts from 44 to 32, and 31 to 25, then 23. I think, it was the first time RN chose to significantly degrade (40%!!) availability just to save number. I am not supporting it.

In the world, there are many navies "better" than RN on paper. But, RN with is high professionalism, good training, high morale, and realistic approach to military issue was the big difference to "others". I'm very sad RN is going to lose those merits. Sad. Must be corrected, I think.


In the past I think the RN lived in hope that those numbers would come back as promised and now after many betrayals by politicians along with the fleet reaching a critically low level have come to the acceptance that if they cut numbers again they won’t come back.

The large cut in deployment is down to a number of reasons, the T23 lifeEX and the T45 upgrades but the main one being man power issues.
As I said manpower can be sorted it may take a number of years but if the vessels are not there the man the there will be a further reduction in personal numbers. You have to remember it is politicians that set the personal numbers not the MOD, if the current crop see that vessel number Wollongong go down they will come to the conclusion that the RN doesn’t need as many personal that I am sure of.

With 2, 3 or even more vessel from escorts to the Albion’s kept along side the RN can make the case for needing more personal to man them, if they go it’ll be a permanent reduction.

My question to you is, if the RN cut themselves down to 14 escorts what happens if sh**t hits the fan or if a vessel is lost ?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Jul 2019, 16:06

Jake1992 wrote:My question to you is, if the RN cut themselves down to 14 escorts what happens if sh**t hits the fan or if a vessel is lost ?
No difference to RN in 2000s. With 32 escorts (if my memory works), they said RN can lose nothing here. And yes, those days, RN's escorts were very busy doing there job, not sitting on the port for years to wait for miracle to come.

Reduction of sea-going days started around 2014. It has been already 5 years. I'm afraid RN's training level and "the world's best experiences" is rapidly going away. If RN do not correct it now, RN may become the same to "one of the many other navies". Note, even Royal New Zealand navy was assigning 150 sea-going days for low-readiness ANZAC, and 180-days for high-readiness one. Currently, the most "active" T45 goes to sea only 110 days. In other words, RNZN crew is much more well trained than RN's.

I'm pretty much afraid this is very dangerous. The degraded availability came as a "temporal" mitigation to economy crisis, I understand it. But, 5 years is not temporal, and now it is becoming "normal situation"....

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 16:37

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:My question to you is, if the RN cut themselves down to 14 escorts what happens if sh**t hits the fan or if a vessel is lost ?
No difference to RN in 2000s. With 32 escorts (if my memory works), they said RN can lose nothing here. And yes, those days, RN's escorts were very busy doing there job, not sitting on the port for years to wait for miracle to come.

Reduction of sea-going days started around 2014. It has been already 5 years. I'm afraid RN's training level and "the world's best experiences" is rapidly going away. If RN do not correct it now, RN may become the same to "one of the many other navies". Note, even Royal New Zealand navy was assigning 150 sea-going days for low-readiness ANZAC, and 180-days for high-readiness one. Currently, the most "active" T45 goes to sea only 110 days. In other words, RNZN crew is much more well trained than RN's.

I'm pretty much afraid this is very dangerous. The degraded availability came as a "temporal" mitigation to economy crisis, I understand it. But, 5 years is not temporal, and now it is becoming "normal situation"....


Yes the sane was said as a desperate attempt to stop politicians from cutting numbers, the difference from then and now though is by the looks of the RN have came to the realisation that if numbers drop any more it’ll be one active carrier group and that’s it.

2014 was in the middle of austerity with the economy still reeling from the crises but that has now past and both PM candidates are now saying austerity will end and spending pretty much across the board will start to increase.

Personal numbers are only just starting to get on an even footing after the disaster of the 2010 decisions. Sea going days is mainly down to personal numbers, it took several years for the effects of 2010 to be felt and it’s taken several since to start getting back even.

But you didn’t answer my question what happens when sh**t hits the fan if we’ve only got 14 surface combatants or if we lose one ?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Jul 2019, 16:52

Jake1992 wrote:But you didn’t answer my question what happens when sh**t hits the fan if we’ve only got 14 surface combatants or if we lose one ?
No difference to what it shall be in 2000.

Again, no difference.

[EDIT] I mean, if having 40% more hull than actually in use is the right thing to do, RN in 2000 must have taken the same approach (having 43 hulls for 32 escort needs). But, they didn't.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 17:11

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:But you didn’t answer my question what happens when sh**t hits the fan if we’ve only got 14 surface combatants or if we lose one ?
No difference to what it shall be in 2000.

Again, no difference.


It’s a big difference to the potential drop from 30 odd in 2000, back then the drop was to what 24-25 if sh**t hit the fan there was still enough to be pulled from other jobs, if any are lost there is still enough to cover this.
The difference dropping to 14 is there are no vessels to pull from else where, there are no vessels to cover any loses. You have one active carrier group and that is it you lose anything you are fucked ( pardon my french )

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Digger22 » 17 Jul 2019, 17:40

Isn't the real issue the age of the T23 fleet? Coupled with T45 engine/power generation issues creating a perfect availability storm? If they (T23) had been replaced on time and T45 had been designed properly we could easily manage 19+ Escorts. To allow a reduction in numbers because of these issues is clearly wrong. We will have to agree to disagree.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Jul 2019, 18:05

I am not perfectly sure. But, sudden reduction in sea going days at 2015 is surely NOT a technical issue. Engine trouble of T45 was there from the beginning, and it only gets better with time. Also, T23 is surely not getting old suddenly at 2015, but shall be more steadily.

Don't get me wrong, I am proposing all these issue to increase the number of active escort numbers (which now I think is 12, virtually, judging from sea going days), not to reduce it. To achieve it, we need to properly use the 1.5B GBP money going to be spent (for me, "to be waisted") to keep "19 escort in the list" = cancel 5 T31e.

My aim is to have fully active (=virtual) escort fleet of 15 hulls, which is larger than current virtual 12. Increase, not decrease.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Jul 2019, 21:00

We need to keep sight on the requirements and what the RN is scaling up for. It’s basically FRE, EEZ constabulary duties, TAPS plus permanent forward presence plus the ability to operate a globally deployable Carrier centric task group 100% of the time (through two task groups in rotation).

The T31e is focused on the role that bothers me most, Forward Presence. What is this supposed to do - looking at the Echo Survey ships which seem to be everywhere from the Med to the Black Sea, and the value of MCMs in the Gulf, I question the focus of some of the T31 being a “low end war fighter” - if we ever want to start (or be part of) a fight then I bloody want a Carrier Task group not a half arsed Frigate.

This is why I think a (Utility) B3 River, manned through a rotation system like the Survey ships and OPVs, is the right choice for the Global Forward Presence role along with some of the B2 Rivers.

The right thing is to actually have 3 “Carrier” Task Groups as this provides the real power, and not wasting money on the T31 and buying a couple more T26s would allow this to happen.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Jul 2019, 21:20

For me the end goal by the mid to late 2030s should be to have enough escorts for 2 CSGs and 2 ARG similar to a USMC expeditionary force with the remainder of fleet based on a 3 tier multi mission vessel set up for all the low end work from counter piracy to mcm and survey, these would be -

sloops like a Venari 95 / black swan set up for low to mid threat areas
Frigate sized vessels like a Absalon / cross over set up for high threat areas
Bay sized vessel for low threat areas / HARD

This would require extra funding yes but for what HMG want the RN to do its the sort of set up that needs to be aimed for.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Jul 2019, 22:39

Jake1992 wrote:Frigate sized vessels like a Absalon / cross over set up for high threat areas


Agree with much of what you say, but surely the above should be primarily Task Group assets like the T26, LPDs and supporting RFAs.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 18 Jul 2019, 02:41

Whilst I can understand the desire to have an enlarged fleet, where is the money going to come from. No amounts of fiddling the books is going to enable the MoD to find the funds unless the other two services take substantial cuts. A large prat of the Defence Budget up to the mid 2030s is already allocated or at least pencilled in, so nothing can start to change until the latter part of that decade. Will their be the political will to do this? The MoD has repeatedly shoot itself in the foot by stepping up to the challenge of ever increase demands being placed on it by Politicians. Until it learns to say NO the Politicians are not going to get the message and even then it would have to be done in public not behind closed doors. Even if new money did become available the Army is probably first in line as it has a huge task ahead of it to re equip itself and train so that it can once again effectively fight high intensity warfare. The only hope is for either of the two contender for the Conservative leadership job to actually remain in power longer enough to actually realise their promises to increase the Defence Budget to 2.5% GDP, and for that figure to remain until the start of the 2040s at least. But I wouldn't bet my house on that happening.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 18 Jul 2019, 07:21

Repulse wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:Frigate sized vessels like a Absalon / cross over set up for high threat areas


Agree with much of what you say, but surely the above should be primarily Task Group assets like the T26, LPDs and supporting RFAs.


The T26 could do some of this with its mission bay but it’ll be limited to what sized unmanned vehicles it can operate compared to a cross over / Absalon style vessel, if suspect it’d also be busy doing its primary role of ASW protection for the group which you wouldn’t want to take it away from.

Lord Jim wrote:Whilst I can understand the desire to have an enlarged fleet, where is the money going to come from. No amounts of fiddling the books is going to enable the MoD to find the funds unless the other two services take substantial cuts. A large prat of the Defence Budget up to the mid 2030s is already allocated or at least pencilled in, so nothing can start to change until the latter part of that decade. Will their be the political will to do this? The MoD has repeatedly shoot itself in the foot by stepping up to the challenge of ever increase demands being placed on it by Politicians. Until it learns to say NO the Politicians are not going to get the message and even then it would have to be done in public not behind closed doors. Even if new money did become available the Army is probably first in line as it has a huge task ahead of it to re equip itself and train so that it can once again effectively fight high intensity warfare. The only hope is for either of the two contender for the Conservative leadership job to actually remain in power longer enough to actually realise their promises to increase the Defence Budget to 2.5% GDP, and for that figure to remain until the start of the 2040s at least. But I wouldn't bet my house on that happening.


I agree this would need more money as I said above and like you say the only hope of this is if politicians change there mind on defence spending, but I believe the above is the sort of fleet needed to do what HMG keep asking for so they need to make up there minds on either fund what’s needed or ask for less.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 18 Jul 2019, 08:00

Lord Jim wrote:The only hope is for either of the two contender for the Conservative leadership job to actually remain in power longer enough to actually realise their promises to increase the Defence Budget to 2.5% GDP, and for that figure to remain until the start of the 2040s at least. But I wouldn't bet my house on that happening.

To put that "promise" in perspective, and assuming that they increased spending by an additional .1% of GDP each year for 5 years, reaching 2.5% by (say) 2025, that would mean approx. £1.9b extra in the first year, followed by £3.7b in year two, £5.6b, £7.5b and finally £9.4b in year 5, for a total of approximately £28b in total over 5 years and an extra £9.4b a year thereafter. That's approximately one third of the £27b "headroom" that supposed to be available to spend each year.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 18 Jul 2019, 08:34

But of this continued hoped for new money how much goes on the defence estate to improve accommodation, facilities and base infrastructure, how much on pay rises, pensions and incentive schemes, how much to the continued problem of decommissioning old nuclear subs, increasing weapons stock piles and increasing spares holdings? Any new money has a million and one places to go before any gets anywhere near new equipment.

The navy IS a single deployable task group has been for a long time. The high end requirement is a deployment smaller than operation telic or 4-6 escorts as a one off operation and should it lose one it buys another one to replace it. Scale and redundancy has long been an issue and one continually over hoped for but should be remembered even at this scale is one few can match.

On availability type 26 has been sold as being able to be easier to maintain and upgrade due to its size and volume available this may mean less time in dry dock and more time at sea. To take advantage of this it may mean more crew need assigned. Will be interesting to see if this means more time at sea.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 18 Jul 2019, 09:34

Caribbean wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:The only hope is for either of the two contender for the Conservative leadership job to actually remain in power longer enough to actually realise their promises to increase the Defence Budget to 2.5% GDP, and for that figure to remain until the start of the 2040s at least. But I wouldn't bet my house on that happening.

To put that "promise" in perspective, and assuming that they increased spending by an additional .1% of GDP each year for 5 years, reaching 2.5% by (say) 2025, that would mean approx. £1.9b extra in the first year, followed by £3.7b in year two, £5.6b, £7.5b and finally £9.4b in year 5, for a total of approximately £28b in total over 5 years and an extra £9.4b a year thereafter. That's approximately one third of the £27b "headroom" that supposed to be available to spend each year.
Personally I think UK defence spending will increase but most of any increase will be swallowed up by filling the 'black hole' and ensuring the programmes already under way reach completion.

Making further meaningful cuts to UK defence by a conservative PM is now a political non-starter, BUT It's also worth considering that if Brexit causes the UK economy to go into a deep recession and the pound drops further against the dollar the cuts could come simply because 2% GDP isn't what it used to be.

A bigger, more robust economy and a strong pound means more money for defence, even if the 2% target is maintained.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 18 Jul 2019, 21:43

Jake1992 wrote:The T26 could do some of this with its mission bay but it’ll be limited to what sized unmanned vehicles it can operate compared to a cross over / Absalon style vessel, if suspect it’d also be busy doing its primary role of ASW protection for the group which you wouldn’t want to take it away from.


It depends on what these unmanned systems are doing around the task group. I’d see UUVs for example being part of a ASW screen, or a anti fast boat / USuV screen so perfect fit for the T26. Anything larger could easily be operated from a LPD or RFA, nothing justifies the cost (design, maintenance and training) of a new class (which will cost about a T26).
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 18 Jul 2019, 21:51

Repulse wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:The T26 could do some of this with its mission bay but it’ll be limited to what sized unmanned vehicles it can operate compared to a cross over / Absalon style vessel, if suspect it’d also be busy doing its primary role of ASW protection for the group which you wouldn’t want to take it away from.


It depends on what these unmanned systems are doing around the task group. I’d see UUVs for example being part of a ASW screen, or a anti fast boat / USuV screen so perfect fit for the T26. Anything larger could easily be operated from a LPD or RFA, nothing justifies the cost (design, maintenance and training) of a new class (which will cost about a T26).


It’d still be limited to unmanned systems of 11m or smaller which limits what we could develop or buy.
A bay style while perfect for large and XL systems is a very large and slow target which wouldn’t be able to keep up with a CSG this is why I believe a mix is needed.
A cross over / Absalon designed vessel wouldn’t cost as much as a T26, you wouldn’t have the ultra quiet hull or rafting and quiet engines or Mk41s or 5” gun with auto system. These things are all very costly.

But like I said the planned fleet I put up thread would require extra funding, this is where HMG needs to decided between more funding or less requirements.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 18 Jul 2019, 22:03

Jake1992, my point on the additional costs (a T26) relates to the hidden support, maintenance and training costs over the lifetime of a new class. It would be better to buy a batch 2 T26 with an extended mission bay.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 18 Jul 2019, 22:32

Repulse wrote:Jake1992, my point on the additional costs (a T26) relates to the hidden support, maintenance and training costs over the lifetime of a new class. It would be better to buy a batch 2 T26 with an extended mission bay.


I’m all for commonality I preach it on here enough but sometimes it doesn’t work, by all means keep as similar as possible ( same layout from bridge forward ? ) but a T26 with slightly larger mission bay couldn’t do what a cross over style vessel could do IMO.

As it stands though with out a decent increase in defence spending we’ll be lucky to get a few sloops and PSVs to replace the mcm and survey vessel so the above would be all a pipe dream.
That’s why I say HMG need to decide what they want spend more or do less globally we can’t have both.


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