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Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Jake1992
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 31 May 2019, 15:02

Lord Jim wrote:It is also important to remember that the MoD had launched its initial phase of the programme to find its next generation of Rotorcraft, and calling it that is deliberate as according to reports everything is on the table, from conventional to Tilt Rotor to the entries in the US Army's programme to replace the UH-60 and so on. The programme will replace the Puma HC2s as well as others, so the size and shape of what the FAA could be operating at the time the Amphibs are replaced could have a bearing on the type of platform chosen.


The limiting factor to any future vertical lift helo or tilt rotor will be for them to fit in a current T26 / T45 hanger, itd make no sense at all to buy something that can’t fit in any of your surface combatants hangers.

This factor will mean nothing bigger than a merlin when folded away so in turn will mean a similar number of vertical lift assets would be carried as could be with today’s aircraft.

IMO I think a combination of aircraft will be needed for the FAA, your going to want something as good as the merlin in ASW if not better else it’d be a backwards step, with this you might as well have a standard transport version for a good number of troops like the merlin. Then to compliment this you’d want something fast for the first wave of OH, here something like the V-280 would fit nice it has the speed and folds down to the size of a merlin but has a much smaller troop load out, this is why I’d stick with something like the merlin to help bring mass.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 31 May 2019, 16:55

Jake1992 wrote:has the speed and folds down to the size of a merlin but has a much smaller troop load out, this is why I’d stick with something like the merlin to help bring mass.


Merlin has a ridiculously low troop loadout for its weight/ size.
- this is not a criticism; it was designed with other primary drivers in mind

Also, for matching the current (or in-build) hangars, I would keep an eye on the height
- Chinook is very tall, and unlike with rotor blades, you cannot come up with very much "folding" to mitigate that

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 31 May 2019, 17:20

But how will things change with helicopters will unmanned systems take over surveillance asw operations? Will unmanned systems undertake logistical operations? Will it only be troop movements that require manned platforms?

Outside of chinook is the requirement to deliver a 8 man unit?

We could have one type in different variants replace everything but chinook.

Will amphibious forces like have to operate rotorcraft over more built up areas as populous cities grow along coastlines. How far will anti access systems (mines, artillery systems, missiles fast attack craft, unmanned swarms) keep a ship of shore, all will drive requirements onto a future rotorcraft. Merlin is too large to maintenance intensive and too costly to be repeated in a future craft if numbers are be kept.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 31 May 2019, 17:45

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:has the speed and folds down to the size of a merlin but has a much smaller troop load out, this is why I’d stick with something like the merlin to help bring mass.


Merlin has a ridiculously low troop loadout for its weight/ size.
- this is not a criticism; it was designed with other primary drivers in mind

Also, for matching the current (or in-build) hangars, I would keep an eye on the height
- Chinook is very tall, and unlike with rotor blades, you cannot come up with very much "folding" to mitigate that


26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo when you compare this to the likes of the V-280 that is quoted at 12 troops.

Height is a key factor but I was considering this when stating it has to fit with existing hangers, height is one of the big off putting factors when I look at helos like the SB-1 Defiant with its twin highs rotor ( only in naval use that is )

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby serge750 » 31 May 2019, 19:16

Jake1992 wrote:
So your route would be to stick with the fudge of using the QEs if an LHD can’t be got and just hope we have 2 available when needed.


Until the RN get more dollar all I can see them doing is cutting to the bone capabilitys that are not seen as essential to warrant their money, maybe after the carriers are up to full capability and the T26 are on stream they may feel differently, mid 2030's ? so maybe they will then get prioritized ?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Scimitar54 » 31 May 2019, 20:10

I believe that you are correct.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 31 May 2019, 21:42

Jake1992 wrote:26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo

Yes, but add armour (as they do) and mini-/ machine guns and you are soon down to 20.
But as said, it was designed as a "Rolls Royce" for reliability and serviceability, has speed and range - and in amphibious ops, takes an LG or half of a RM tracked vehicle (which are in two halves anyway for unsurpassed mobility) and drops them 100km away... not just over the beach.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 31 May 2019, 22:25

Jake1992 wrote:26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo


It’s not far of chinook size! In afghan and Iraq it was down to single figures of troops it could lift. Theresa reason why after these experiences CHF wanted to go chinook but finance dictated otherwise. Most of its issues relate to its gearbox which won’t be changed. It’s a helicopter more at home in cold weather.


Anyway commandos doing what commandos should

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... te-denmark

A path to an expansion of this type of role may be the future?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 31 May 2019, 22:41

One hears v little about the Franco-British JEF, a new and more broadly based one has been dreamt up by Macron, but in the above text the ref is to a different one, by the Northern Group:
" the deployment is the biggest test yet of the Joint Expeditionary Force.

The force was established seven years ago to demonstrate the resolve of the military of northern European nations to operate side-by-side"

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 31 May 2019, 22:50

SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo


It’s not far of chinook size! In afghan and Iraq it was down to single figures of troops it could lift. Theresa reason why after these experiences CHF wanted to go chinook but finance dictated otherwise. Most of its issues relate to its gearbox which won’t be changed. It’s a helicopter more at home in cold weather.


Anyway commandos doing what commandos should

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... te-denmark

A path to an expansion of this type of role may be the future?


I am not suggesting more merlins per say ( even though the FAA could do with more right now ) but that any future vertical lift for the FFA should start with the merlin capability as a base line for ASW and not go for a less capable option, if this in turn has benefits of a common transport version like we have today with the merlin pairs then so be it.

These should be accompanied by a faster long range option for first wave OH ops, something like the V-280.

One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 31 May 2019, 22:56

ArmChairCivvy wrote: in amphibious ops, takes an LG or half of a RM tracked vehicle (which are in two halves anyway for unsurpassed mobility) and drops them 100km away...

while not forgetting one of these (which we have not bought in this configuration -yet! https://defense-update.com/wp-content/u ... ht_725.jpg
1780 kg for a quiet 4x4 electric platform with 4 ready to fire and four reloads of Exactor.

Who wants Swingfire back, when you can have this: " The vehicle has two dismountable control panels for he commander and missile operator, enabling remote control of the missiles up to 500 meters away. This capability improves the survivability of the crew, as it enables operation from inside buildings, bunkers or simply away from the launch site."

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 31 May 2019, 23:34

Even if the Commandos do not get a dedicated Attack Helicopter squadron, I do think that they do need a number of lighter utility helicopters that can carry up to eight men and all their equipment, and can operate in all weathers, day and night and in hostile conditions. In fact a similar platform could be also used by the SF and elements of 16 AA Brigade. I would say this would be a category that any replacement for the Puma could fit into, and ideally being marinized, it could be deployed on Naval vessels with any worry regards damage form conditions at sea. These aircraft would be used by the AAC and FAA rather than the RAF who would consolidate on the Chinook.

As for replacing the Merlin HC4/4a, whilst being able to be housed and operate form current and planned Escorts would be useful, it should not be a compulsory requirement for the programme. The T-26 has a flight deck that can handle a Chinook so any Merlin successor could follow its lead and lilly pad of these vessels from locations further back form the target. The most likely limiting factor in the criteria for this platform will be to able to operate form the Carriers and fitting in their hanger. Few planned or current platforms will fail to do this, even the SB-1 with its contra rotating blades.

In fact the development of this platform as well as its Bell competitor fall very nicely into the timeframe the MoD is looking at. Both would provide A jump in capability over existing platforms and as the US Army programme is also looking to replace the AH-64E with a variant or relative of the transport platform, serious consideration should be given. It would take a change in doctrine, moving troops to, from and around the battlefield in smaller units, especially in the initial stages of an operation, but there will be the RAF's Chinooks available for heavy lifting, especially if these are modified for operations at sea properly. These new platforms would open new option for conducting air assault operations, being able to fly further and faster then either the Merlin or Puma. It would also mean the RAF can get back into its more traditional role of providing support helicopters rather than lifting the assault troops, though that option would still exist. If say the SB-1 was chosen than its attack variant would be an ideal choice to replace the Apache. The fly in the ointment is that this is a US Army Programme not the USMC. But if we are lucky the latter may decide that variants of these platforms modified for operations at sea would be suitable to replace some or all their recently introduced Attack Rotorcraft, given the range and speed benefits. If this were to happen, we could join the programme at this point getting the capabilities we really need.

Any replacement helicopter for the Merlin HC and Puma needs to be able to operate form ships over long periods of time so that it can be a common platform for the AAC and FAA, as does any successor to the Apache. There could be room for it to replace the Wildcat as well in both its land and seaborne roles.

Finally the Merlin HM is and will be the ideal platform for ASW duties for decades to come, possibly staying in service longer then its predecessor the Sea King. It is the king of ASW helicopters, unmatched in capability. One interesting option for it would be the fitting of a AAR probe to extend its range, either being supported by land based AAR platforms like the KC-130J or A400 or, from a COD/AAR platform if the MoD ever decides one might be useful.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 01 Jun 2019, 08:55

I agree that the likes of the SB-1 and V-280 have come at the right time for us but why choose one or the other. When Iv looked in to them the SB-1 looks like a nice fit for the puma replacement while the V-280 look ideal for the commando and other RN tasks, any future FFA helo should have to fit in the escorts hangers this is not small space so should not be limiting, to have the bulk of the FFA helo force only able to operate from be be maintain by the flat tops would be I really limiting factor as they won’t alwats be where needed when needed it’ll also take up vital space on the flat tops that could other wise be used.

The V-280 as it stand will fit in to all hangers only taking up the space of a merlin when folded it has been designed from the get go to fit in an ABs hanger, this it something I don’t think the SB-1 could do with it double height counter rotor.

The ASW side of merlin when up for replacement should be a separate aircraft as it shouldn’t be compromised by other needs, as rightly pointed out it is the king right now and so should it’s successor be. These should with our question have to fit in their escorts hangers, have a world class ASW vessel that can’t carry your own world class ASW helo is just absurd.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 01 Jun 2019, 09:01

Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo


It’s not far of chinook size! In afghan and Iraq it was down to single figures of troops it could lift. Theresa reason why after these experiences CHF wanted to go chinook but finance dictated otherwise. Most of its issues relate to its gearbox which won’t be changed. It’s a helicopter more at home in cold weather.


Anyway commandos doing what commandos should

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... te-denmark

A path to an expansion of this type of role may be the future?


I am not suggesting more merlins per say ( even though the FAA could do with more right now ) but that any future vertical lift for the FFA should start with the merlin capability as a base line for ASW and not go for a less capable option, if this in turn has benefits of a common transport version like we have today with the merlin pairs then so be it.

These should be accompanied by a faster long range option for first wave OH ops, something like the V-280.

One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.


I would be going for something different. The combination of assets maybe as capable but independent a/c less so. There is unmanned systems starting to be fielded air, surface and sub surface that offer the sensor capability of merlin but with greater persistence. It maybe that merlins replacement does not require the persistence of merlin at similar weights and that it is required as the prosecutor a/c.

Any large movement of troops should be the preserve of the chinook force. Insertion/assault rotorcraft should be replacing puma merlin wildcat. That would 8 troops in confined landing zones with good ice protection and hot and high performance the question is then at what speed and range and that will drive cost and speed. IMO if we insist on tiltrotors numbers will reduce from where we are today.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 01 Jun 2019, 09:31

SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:26 troops isn’t bad for what essentially is a mid size helo


It’s not far of chinook size! In afghan and Iraq it was down to single figures of troops it could lift. Theresa reason why after these experiences CHF wanted to go chinook but finance dictated otherwise. Most of its issues relate to its gearbox which won’t be changed. It’s a helicopter more at home in cold weather.


Anyway commandos doing what commandos should

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... te-denmark

A path to an expansion of this type of role may be the future?


I am not suggesting more merlins per say ( even though the FAA could do with more right now ) but that any future vertical lift for the FFA should start with the merlin capability as a base line for ASW and not go for a less capable option, if this in turn has benefits of a common transport version like we have today with the merlin pairs then so be it.

These should be accompanied by a faster long range option for first wave OH ops, something like the V-280.

One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.


I would be going for something different. The combination of assets maybe as capable but independent a/c less so. There is unmanned systems starting to be fielded air, surface and sub surface that offer the sensor capability of merlin but with greater persistence. It maybe that merlins replacement does not require the persistence of merlin at similar weights and that it is required as the prosecutor a/c.

Any large movement of troops should be the preserve of the chinook force. Insertion/assault rotorcraft should be replacing puma merlin wildcat. That would 8 troops in confined landing zones with good ice protection and hot and high performance the question is then at what speed and range and that will drive cost and speed. IMO if we insist on tiltrotors numbers will reduce from where we are today.


It will be interesting what comes out for ASW in the years to come but IMO the merlins capabilities here should be the bench mark as it is the current world leader any less would be a step backwards.

Are we going to be able to get one platform that can replace all the roles of wildcat puma and jungle merlin ? Would this be asking too much of one platform and end up having to compromise in to many places ?

With regards to the cost of tilt rotors Bell have stated that the price target for their V-280 is around the £25m mark, this isn’t bad at all and is similar to the current wildcat.
I think due to the driving for longer ranger faster speed while still maintaining all the lift and troop capacity of today will lead to the days of any military helo of less than £20m a thing of the past.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 01 Jun 2019, 09:57

Jake1992 wrote:It will be interesting what comes out for ASW in the years to come but IMO the merlins capabilities here should be the bench mark as it is the current world leader any less would be a step backwards.

Are we going to be able to get one platform that can replace all the roles of wildcat puma and jungle merlin ? Would this be asking too much of one platform and end up having to compromise in to many places ?

With regards to the cost of tilt rotors Bell have stated that the price target for their V-280 is around the £25m mark, this isn’t bad at all and is similar to the current wildcat.
I think due to the driving for longer ranger faster speed while still maintaining all the lift and troop capacity of today will lead to the days of any military helo of less than £20m a thing of the past.


Then we take a step back. America did from seawolf to Virginia for example. You will not have for example another 3 engine helicopter.

Well the Blackhawk has preformed in those roles for years, and despite many issues nh-90 is used those roles as well. Potentially future rotorcraft could as well.

No those cost bare no resemblance to cost of acquisition. Wildcat is expensive for what it is but it is a total program cost. Bell quotes unit prices which is irrelevant when considered against full acquisition and maintenance cost. One of the reason merlins has had such poor availability for the last 20 years is failure to fund adequate support budgets. Every manufacture of tilt rotors have admitted the cost of operating a tilt rotor at the speeds requested will deliver around a 20-40% increase in operating costs. I have yet to see anyone talk about reducing support costs of future rotorcraft when compared to current inservice aircraft on a like for like basis.

One of the big problems as many have mentioned for years and is now being realised is that both merlin fleets are far to small for demands being requested. With the 8 merlins sent to the Baltic that is pretty much the entire deployable commando merlin force.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 01 Jun 2019, 11:18

SW1 wrote:With the 8 merlins sent to the Baltic that is pretty much the entire deployable commando merlin force.


Agree - Once the full conversion is complete then I believe this will be heading towards a worrying 14 in total, with the other 14 in deep reserve, OCU or as U.K. based anti terror reaction flight.

The problem which is common to other platforms such as the F35b is that ideally all UK helicopters would be of a similar design (e.g. remove the Pumas and replace with more Merlins) with capability to operate from land and sea, but the unit price for each will be higher so there are fewer.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 01 Jun 2019, 11:35

SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:It will be interesting what comes out for ASW in the years to come but IMO the merlins capabilities here should be the bench mark as it is the current world leader any less would be a step backwards.

Are we going to be able to get one platform that can replace all the roles of wildcat puma and jungle merlin ? Would this be asking too much of one platform and end up having to compromise in to many places ?

With regards to the cost of tilt rotors Bell have stated that the price target for their V-280 is around the £25m mark, this isn’t bad at all and is similar to the current wildcat.
I think due to the driving for longer ranger faster speed while still maintaining all the lift and troop capacity of today will lead to the days of any military helo of less than £20m a thing of the past.


Then we take a step back. America did from seawolf to Virginia for example. You will not have for example another 3 engine helicopter.

Well the Blackhawk has preformed in those roles for years, and despite many issues nh-90 is used those roles as well. Potentially future rotorcraft could as well.

No those cost bare no resemblance to cost of acquisition. Wildcat is expensive for what it is but it is a total program cost. Bell quotes unit prices which is irrelevant when considered against full acquisition and maintenance cost. One of the reason merlins has had such poor availability for the last 20 years is failure to fund adequate support budgets. Every manufacture of tilt rotors have admitted the cost of operating a tilt rotor at the speeds requested will deliver around a 20-40% increase in operating costs. I have yet to see anyone talk about reducing support costs of future rotorcraft when compared to current inservice aircraft on a like for like basis.

One of the big problems as many have mentioned for years and is now being realised is that both merlin fleets are far to small for demands being requested. With the 8 merlins sent to the Baltic that is pretty much the entire deployable commando merlin force.


So we should just reduce our capabilities because other nations use less capable aircraft in that role, by that manner we might as well say others use less capable vessel in AAW so we can with the T45 replacement it’s just nonsensical to take a backwards step when others are pushing forward.

There will be initial program costs and logistics costs no matter what option is chosen. With regards to maintenance and run costs Iv seen those figures regarding the V-22 but have read the Bell is confident on bring that down with the V-280 due to its different engine, rotor and gearbox set up. The thing is you don’t compare the running and maintenance cost to that of today’s aircraft as it’ll give you a mismatched out come you have to compare it to other option of the day ie the likes of the SB-1

I agree numbers are far too low but it’s the same across so many other requirements it the out come of 20 years of cuts and underfunding not so much the options chosen.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 01 Jun 2019, 18:06

Repulse wrote:According to @CdrBobBond on Twitter the UK JEF will be operating 8 Merlins - nice pic of Argus’s lift.

Image


Just to be clear @CdrBobBond has confirmed 3 Merlins and 3 AH Wildcats operating from Argus:

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 02 Jun 2019, 00:03

Just for the record, I was not including the Merlin HM2s when talking about a common FAA/AAC platform, and mentioned that these would probably end up serving longer than the Sea Kings they replaced. So the Escorts would still have the ability to operate them whilst parking spaces were limited on the carrier for example. AS for what will ultimately replace them, well in twenty or so years time, technology will be at a level that the ideas that resulted in the USN's DASH unmanned helicopter decades age will probably be finally realised.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 02 Jun 2019, 10:01

Jake1992 wrote:So we should just reduce our capabilities because other nations use less capable aircraft in that role, by that manner we might as well say others use less capable vessel in AAW so we can with the T45 replacement it’s just nonsensical to take a backwards step when others are pushing forward.



Sometimes things get over spec’d and overspecialising and result in to much gold plating, this usual results in the baseline being bought and the funding earmarked for data links, weapons, night vision, other systems not being able to be included sometimes less can mean more.

In future the aircraft may not need to do all the things it needs to today in the same way. Merlins capability is based around its ability to stay on station at distance with a heavier torpedo load than other helicopters with similar sensors. In a future world of multi statics you may want a more distributed covering.

For all the nicest will in the world having a green and grey merlin fleet that at a theoretical maximum effort could deploy 25 a/c total and in 20 years of service only ever put 9 to sea once for all it’s individual ability if they cost you so much you can only afford to procure and support a few that is insufficient to man all you tasks then capability is compromised.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Pongoglo » 02 Jun 2019, 12:04

Jake1992 wrote:
One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.


Not if we go for Leander they won't !

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 02 Jun 2019, 13:53

Pongoglo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.


Not if we go for Leander they won't !


I agree with that and to me the Leander is a poor lazy design for the money, it’s just s long legs covert that lacks any real growth margins being spouted as a frigate.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 02 Jun 2019, 14:41

Jake1992 wrote:
Pongoglo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
One benefit of the merlin size is that all hangers in the RN have been designed for that large size giving us a good set of dimensions to work with in.


Not if we go for Leander they won't !


I agree with that and to me the Leander is a poor lazy design for the money, it’s just s long legs covert that lacks any real growth margins being spouted as a frigate.


I would say for the poor budget its the right and simple step for BAE . as for growth I don't see these ship getting any growth as such but as said before if the mushroom tubs were replaced with EXLS Leander could carry 60 CAMM plus if you were to add RBS-15 Mk-111 or the updated one then Leander would have sea and land attack up to 200 km and good self defence

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 02 Jun 2019, 17:07

Pongoglo wrote:Not if we go for Leander they won't !


I’m no defender of the T31e, but if the RN thought it was a must-have they would have put it on the RFI?
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