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Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
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shark bait
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 05 Feb 2019, 11:40

Poiuytrewq wrote:3 vessel shortfall around 2025, let Wave Ruler, Wave Knight and Bulwark fill the gap.

No matter how much you want it, takers and LPD's will not fill the escort gap.

As it stands the RN is about to loose 5 sub hunters whist submarine activity is on the rise globally including right in our back yard.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 Feb 2019, 12:19

Pseudo wrote:that would have gone completely against the entire ethos of the 2010 SDSR [...]
commencing a detailed design programme on a light frigate would have.
First point fully agreed; the second one would have acknowledged that the decision to go away from Surface Combatant 1, 2,3 plan was a mistake. The mistake was forced on the RN as they only went away from it to get any FSC1s!
- so on this one the politicians (Brown, Cameron and Osborne in the same camp!) and the admirals were in cahoots

Tempest414 wrote:6 x type 45s = core crew 195
10 x type 26s all full fat ASW = 130 core crew room 210
10 x Venari 95 Multi- mission ships = 50 core crew + room for 50 extra off board systems crew
10 x low level PSV = core crew 30 per + room for 50 extra off board systems crew

No comment on how many of each, but generically a very good point!

Poiuytrewq wrote:The post Brexit spending review will probably have the biggest influence on what comes after

Just too true: the biggest threat to the UK defence capabilities is the ability to pay!
- next biggest is holding (or not ) alliances together and cohesive (takes two - or more -to tango!)
- and only third is what the OpFor is plotting (as long as they can be deterred)

This is what I meant by my comment (on some other thread) that the defence planning staff/ politicians interface is not quite as good as it should be... for a better defence strategy
- you can always review one that is wanting - and propose incremental enhancements!

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 05 Feb 2019, 13:37

shark bait wrote:The RN absolutely needs another frigate. Only 14 escorts to protect two carriers and an amphibious group is ridiculous. If that happens the RN really will have bet everything on the carriers and gone bust.
But RN CANNOT man them, without putting precious T23ASWs or T45s into extended readiness. You are happy to ditch 2 T23ASW (extended readiness) to enable 5 T31e coming in? It will be a big reduction in ASW capability. Even if the man-power issue improves, it takes time and not sufficient. On top of it, the "LIFEXed T23s" will be back into the front line very soon.

Again, how can you man those T31e without putting ~2 T23ASW (or T45) into extended readiness?
The issue is replacing the T23's as quickly as they drop out of service. Adding a couple of extra units to the end of the T26 production run does not solve that issue. The RN need a product that can be delivered in 4 years.
I am insisting on two things.

- SDSR20 is man-power first. This is the top priority. The 2nd priority is operational cost (escorts' sea-going days per hull has been 20-30% reduced after ~2015). May be ammunition also important. "More ship" is not higher than 3rd priority for sure.

- Only after man-power issue is solved, RN needs T31e. Just concurrently built them with T26. Since the shipyards differ, there is no problem.


Canceling T31e is not my point. Delaying the decision on T31e to 2021 is the point. It has many merits.

1: the program is already in quite a hurry, significantly increasing risk. As this is a "fixed price contract", higher risk directly means "higher cost". Crystal clear. With fixed price, it means lower standard/armaments. In other words, even if the 1.5Bn investment is unchanged, we are degrading the T31 capability by hurrying.

2: the SDSR2020 is coming quite soon. MOD will fight until X'mas of 2020, and there is a very-very high "risk" of (at least) partly losing the game. The 7-14.8Bn blackhole is real, which means MOD must ask for (more than) 1Bn/yr increase in defense budget. Is it "100% secured?" Surely NOT. Preparing for "further cut" is just normal, far from pessimism. Not thinking of it is very very dangerous. (Even foolish, I'm afraid). If we order T31 on 2020 summer, the only "cut" RN can find is, CVF, T26, and RM, or more man-power and operational cost cuts.... If we are happy with it, RN shall proceed with T31e.

3: And because of today's man-power shortage, 2023's existence of 2 escorts in extended readiness is inevitable, considering the time to train them. So, at least a one-year delay has no impact on RN fleet. Are there any candidate impact?

I think this is logical approach...

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 05 Feb 2019, 14:02

Donald san, you present the man power issue as an immovable object, which of course it is not. The Navy (and all the forces) have got a four years to make them self a more attractive employer and stem the huge losses each year. Another part of the solution is modern ships, with better deployment patterns, as well as lower headcounts.

These two parts are both achievable for when the T31 starts to enter service, with lower headcount and by meeting the trained strength allocation the Navy will be able to crew 19 escorts and 2 carriers.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 05 Feb 2019, 15:09

shark bait wrote:Donald san, you present the man power issue as an immovable object, which of course it is not. The Navy (and all the forces) have got a four years to make them self a more attractive employer and stem the huge losses each year. Another part of the solution is modern ships, with better deployment patterns, as well as lower headcounts.

These two parts are both achievable for when the T31 starts to enter service, with lower headcount and by meeting the trained strength allocation the Navy will be able to crew 19 escorts and 2 carriers.
Umm, I'm presenting the man-power issue, "immovable within a few years", not saying "immovable forever". My point is, T31e is coming "in a few years", and I think the problem will not be solved enough to eliminate the "need" for 2 escorts in extended readiness "in a few years".

As such, delaying the start of T31 build is easy. And, delaying T31 decision address much of the "foreseeable" risks on SDSR2020.

As you can see, it is made of two independent assessments. Man power for T31, and keeping T31 as the "first candidate victim" for SDSR2020.

Am I clear?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Aethulwulf » 05 Feb 2019, 15:41

The total strength of the RN is just over 30000 people. To fully crew every single Royal Navy ship and boat requires just over 8000 people. (Of course the true number at sea is less because some ships/boats are not crewed while in refit or extended readiness.)

Clearly it is always the case that majority of RN personnel are not part of ships' crews. Even when the numbers of RM and Fleet Air Arm are subtracted from the 30000, there are still more personnel ashore than at sea.

The idea that only way to find the numbers to crew ships is to move them from one ship to another and delay the build of new ships is just rubbish. If they wished, in theory the RN could find the numbers needed by reducing shore based posts.

However, this not just a simple numbers accountancy game. All people are not the same. You can not just take a logistics specialist from one ship and magically make them a marine engineer aboard another. Different classes of ships have different requirements for the mix of their crews. For example, it is stupid to think you could easily take the crew from a T23 and a River and use them to crew a T45 (or any of the other swapping ideas that have been discussed here).

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 Feb 2019, 16:32

Aethulwulf wrote:The idea that only way to find the numbers to crew ships is to move them from one ship to another and delay the build of new ships is just rubbish.


Quite. I will not link the MoD manpower statistics after a couple of tries, either, as firm beliefs get repeated without taking the bother to look at statistics (which, of course, are only scratching the surface, for the reason stated above).

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 05 Feb 2019, 20:31

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/amp.timein ... source=dam

The U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessel has become the first ship of any description to ever sail from San Diego, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and back without the need of a crew for navigation and steering. It’s a significant milestone for this particular vessel and its future cousins, which the service has primarily been developing as anti-submarine warfare platforms, but could also provide electronic warfare support and acting as decoys to help shield friendly forces.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 05 Feb 2019, 22:41

shark bait wrote:Only 14 escorts to protect two carriers and an amphibious group is ridiculous.


There are no plans to have a separate ARG at the moment? My reading is that there will be two adaptable CEPP CBGs, one deployed and one at high readiness. My preference of course would be a third CBG whose is the primary “ARG” based around a LPH, but that’s not in the 2% budget without cuts elsewhere.

Whilst it will be tight, 14 Escorts would be enough to operate 2 CSGs plus TAPS plus FRE, especially with the assumption that the UK will not be doing large scale ops solo (not that I necessarily feel comfortable with that assumption).
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 05 Feb 2019, 22:46

Aethulwulf wrote:For example, it is stupid to think you could easily take the crew from a T23 and a River and use them to crew a T45 (or any of the other swapping ideas that have been discussed here).


I don’t think anyone here thinks it easy, but ultimately doable. What doesn’t seem doable is to man 19 Escorts on a sustainable basis with the manning levels we’ve currently got - if it was, why do we have 2 tied up?
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 06 Feb 2019, 09:44

Repulse wrote:Whilst it will be tight, 14 Escorts would be enough to operate 2 CSGs plus TAPS plus FRE

That a reasonable assumption, but is it a good outcome? It makes the surface fleet a one trick pony, with pretty much zero ability to surge, or protect sea lines of communication through a lengthy operation.

If a cut to 14 escorts is the price paid for two super carriers it will not have been worth the cost.

Repulse wrote: man 19 Escorts on a sustainable basis with the manning levels we’ve currently got

Correct, that needs to be addresses as a priority. The RN is allowed to employ 1,000 more people than it does, and has close to 100 people leaving each month. If conditions are improved and a fraction of people incentivise to stay, the man power pressures can be reduced in a couple of yeas.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 06 Feb 2019, 09:54

SW1 wrote:The U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessel has become the first ship of any description to ever sail from San Diego, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and back without the need of a crew for navigation and steering.


It's quite an achievement and it begs the question, would something similar be useful to the UK in the North Atlantic?
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 06 Feb 2019, 09:57

Repulse wrote:I don’t think anyone here thinks it easy, but ultimately doable. What doesn’t seem doable is to man 19 Escorts on a sustainable basis with the manning levels we’ve currently got - if it was, why do we have 2 tied up?


We can look at this from another way. We know the T23s are not in good shape hence the life ex It could be that they simply can't be used until the life ex is done this could also be why they have seen little use as a way to keep them going until life ex is complete. Again we know T45 has had it problems and are just starting to come back on line after refits

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 06 Feb 2019, 10:33

Tempest414 wrote:We can look at this from another way. We know the T23s are not in good shape hence the life ex It could be that they simply can't be used until the life ex is done this could also be why they have seen little use as a way to keep them going until life ex is complete. Again we know T45 has had it problems and are just starting to come back on line after refits

I would agree with this and the earlier post about being 1000 under strength. There is a lot of juggling going on at the moment over numbers and costs. The flip side of the coin to "we have too few crew to man these ships" is "do we need crews for unserviceable ships". The aim, surely, is to have the crews trained and available at the same time as the ships are, which involves a great deal of very detailed forward planning on both the personnel and the financial sides.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby NickC » 06 Feb 2019, 10:46

Norewegian Navy removing Sting Ray LWTs from Helge Ingstad, before raising ship, thought safer to detonated LWTs as had been in water than refurbish.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 06 Feb 2019, 10:51

NickC wrote:Norewegian Navy removing Sting Ray LWTs from Helge Ingstad, before raising ship, thought safer to detonated LWTs as had been in water than refurbish.
That is quite an image :thumbup:
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 06 Feb 2019, 11:28

Yes, and a pity they were not heavy torps.

A camouflages berth https://i.imgur.com/C82V741.jpg could have been created for the same bother ;) .

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 06 Feb 2019, 12:50

shark bait wrote:
SW1 wrote:The U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessel has become the first ship of any description to ever sail from San Diego, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and back without the need of a crew for navigation and steering.
It's quite an achievement and it begs the question, would something similar be useful to the UK in the North Atlantic?
Sure!
But, this trial is for steaming autonomously, not necessarily related to ASW.

I think ASW drones are evolving in two ways:
- ship carried drones, ~12m length.
- self deploy drones, ~40m length.
Both will be restricted in its sea keeping, needing good way to properly station their VDS/TASS. And I think they will grow. They will rapidly become expensive kits in near future, may be even replacing (at least part of) Merlin fleet or a few escorts (in its costs). Nonetheless, they will be very important assets.

Let's see how they evolve.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 06 Feb 2019, 13:25

SW1 wrote:The U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessel
is a bespoke development to extend the areas covered in/ duration of ASW effort.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 06 Feb 2019, 13:30

It's the self deploying kind that look the most attractive. It's not too hard to imagine a small fleet of those operating out of Faslane providing broad area surveillance across the North Atlantic. Between those and the MPA's could we remove the requirement to have an ASW Frigate operational around the UK?
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 06 Feb 2019, 13:36

shark bait wrote:It's the self deploying kind that look the most attractive


Yeah; that's where the innovation with Sea Hunter lies (add: endurance, single purpose, no crew, no tea breaks, no head required...).

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 06 Feb 2019, 14:09

shark bait wrote:It's not too hard to imagine a small fleet of those operating out of Faslane providing broad area surveillance across the North Atlantic.
Maybe, but if so they will need to be a lot bigger than 40m.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 06 Feb 2019, 14:54

Why would they ?
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 06 Feb 2019, 15:04

shark bait wrote:Why would they ?
Are you proposing to tow a VDS/TAS and in what sea state do you intend to them to operate in?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 06 Feb 2019, 17:04

Poiuytrewq wrote:
shark bait wrote:It's not too hard to imagine a small fleet of those operating out of Faslane providing broad area surveillance across the North Atlantic.
Maybe, but if so they will need to be a lot bigger than 40m.

Poiuytrewq wrote:
shark bait wrote:Why would they ?
Are you proposing to tow a VDS/TAS and in what sea state do you intend to them to operate in?


There plenty of videos showing the Severn All weather lifeboat deploying it storm force 11 and hauling big boats in big seas and she’s only 17m.


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