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Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

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donald_of_tokyo
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 12 Feb 2019, 13:22

shark bait wrote:If all the T31 can do is put a few CAMM silos next to an auxiliary is that good value? Wouldn't it be preferable to put the silos on the Auxiliary and save all that money?
I do not think so. Most of the theaters LSG go have almost no "at sea" threat. I agree LSG shall include a "guard ship", but it can even be a River B2 OPV in many case (like Sierra Leone).

For me, arming Auxiliary for self defense (e.g. now with 20mm CIWSs) is for self defense. Arming escorts is to fight. If the enemy appears, always the Auxiliary will retreat at speed. In the same occasion, the most capable escort in the theater will rush to the enemy to defeat it, or just to save time for Auxiliary to escape. Very different usage. A Point armed with 12 CAMM is completely different from a T31 armed with 12 CAMM.

If ASM threat is there, T45 shall go along with LSS. If ASW, T23/T26 shall. But, if such a severe threat exists, it is more than likely the LSS will not deploy, but a full spectrum of CVTF will be needed.
If the RN/RFA is about to get to big new flexible platforms it massively reduces the need for patrol frigates. In light of that decision it is really important to get sub hunting abilities into the new frigates giving the RN the real escorts it needs to protect the Carriers and amphibious platforms.

With two new sea bases on the way can we drop the third FSS and use that money to add a sonar to the T31?
Thinking T31 and LSS combines is important, I agree. But, interestingly I came to different conclusions.

If coupled with LSS, a T31 can be more small ship. No need for "4 RHIB", nor "2 or more ISO containers". Plenty of them will be onboard LSS. This will enable "up arming" T31, including ASW, or increasing CAMM, ASM, or more. (not much different from Shark Bait-sans comment, I guess).

[ From here, a bit FANTASY, I agree] : In extreme, I think even an up-armed River B2 can do. No need for helo hangar, nor many RHIBs (LSS can do). Just add a gun and CAMMs to it, with Artisan 3D. No need for ASW either, because LSS will never reach a shore with SSK threat. This will make the T31 very simple but useful ship, while dramatically reducing the cost, which can be used for "a few more P-8A" or "one more T26" (may differ a lot from Shark Bait-sans comment).

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 12 Feb 2019, 13:27

Poiuytrewq wrote:I would still be in favour of retaining the Waves as they still have a role to play in my opinion.

+
Poiuytrewq wrote:Actually I think it's the opposite. With this LSS announcement if anything the case for a small, flexible and low cost escort has increased. The Littoral Strike element was the missing link.


Yes, and these singleton deployments (of two ships?) bring the case for a Wave back (and the other one to be slightly modified for better fit with HADR).
shark bait wrote:With two new sea bases on the way can we drop the third FSS
Yes, but is the reasoning that linear? Any over the beach Op will now have more manpower projected if these two new ships join in => the Bays can be more "supplies oriented" => SSS job becomes more CSG/ MTF focussed and whatever sea-basing is happening will not need to be covered by (the third) 'hybrid' SSS

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 12 Feb 2019, 13:33

donald_of_tokyo wrote:If coupled with LSS, a T31 can be more small ship. No need for "4 RHIB", nor "2 or more ISO containers". Plenty of them will be onboard LSS. This will enable "up arming" T31, including ASW

This is sound reasoning, there is less need for the general purpose features, and I think it increases the need for escort features.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 12 Feb 2019, 14:02

shark bait wrote:If all the T31 can do is put a few CAMM silos next to an auxiliary is that good value?
No, clearly not.

Wouldn't it be preferable to put the silos on the Auxiliary and save all that money?
I am all favour of doing that but I don't think it would negate the need for an escort at all times.
If the RN/RFA is about to get to big new flexible platforms it massively reduces the need for patrol frigates.
Did we ever have a need for patrol frigates? I have never been convinced. Look at the evolution from yesterday's Floreal class, today's La Fyette class through to tomorrows FTI class. Cheap patrol frigates are a false economy that endanger the crew in conflict scenarios.
In light of that decision it is really important to get sub hunting abilities into the new frigates giving the RN the real escorts it needs to protect the Carriers and amphibious platforms.
Maybe but I think it might a good time to take a breath and assess were we are with the T31 programme.

A few observations,

1: Do we now need 5 cheap £250m Patrol Frigates? How do they fit in or are we just making up the numbers? Would 3 at £400m each or 4 at £300m now be a better strategy?

2: If these LSG's need an escort, ideally what form should it take? Is a Leander style escort with 12 CAMM and a 57mm enough? Should a credible ASW capability now be included in light of the new requirement to escort the LSG's?

Would 3x Venator 120's at £430m now be a better plan?

Something like,

Mk45 5" gun
24 CAMM
8x ASROC
8x Harpoon
2x 30mm's
Artisan
2150
2087
Merlin capable hanger and flight deck

Are escort frigates such as described above now what is needed?

3: Is their now any need for 4x Rhibs and multiple ISO's on the T31's? Could removing this requirement allow more to be spent on ASW capabilities?

4: Is this the final straw for the T31 programme? Would 2 unaltered or possibly 3 downgraded T26's now be the preferred solution? An LSS, Wave and T26 combination would be a very impressive asset.

It's hard to see where the T31 in its current £250m form now fits in.

With two new sea bases on the way can we drop the third FSS and use that money to add a sonar to the T31?
It's all down to the money available but has the requirement for a 3rd FSS actually increased with the LSS announcement? We will have wait and see what form the support vessels take for the combined LSG.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 12 Feb 2019, 14:17

donald_of_tokyo wrote:For me, arming Auxiliary for self defense (e.g. now with 20mm CIWSs) is for self defense. Arming escorts is to fight. If the enemy appears, always the Auxiliary will retreat at speed. In the same occasion, the most capable escort in the theater will rush to the enemy to defeat it, or just to save time for Auxiliary to escape. Very different usage. A Point armed with 12 CAMM is completely different from a T31 armed with 12 CAMM.
Very true but as we know commercially derived vessels like the Point Class are very very cheap to build but correspondingly they sink very very fast. Given how many people could be on board serious consideration must be given to ensuring the safety of these vessels. Any Escort will need to be credible.
donald_of_tokyo wrote:If ASM threat is there, T45 shall go along with LSS. If ASW, T23/T26 shall. But, if such a severe threat exists, it is more than likely the LSS will not deploy, but a full spectrum of CVTF will be needed.
In an ideal world, best case scenario but we must also plan for the unexpected too. If these LSS vessels are targeting hostiles on shore it stands to reason they could very quickly become targets themselves.
donald_of_tokyo wrote:If coupled with LSS, a T31 can be more small ship. No need for "4 RHIB", nor "2 or more ISO containers". Plenty of them will be onboard LSS. This will enable "up arming" T31, including ASW, or increasing CAMM, ASM, or more.
Agreed, I came to the same conclusion.
[ From here, a bit FANTASY, I agree] : In extreme, I think even an up-armed River B2 can do. No need for helo hangar, nor many RHIBs (LSS can do). Just add a gun and CAMMs to it, with Artisan 3D. No need for ASW either, because LSS will never reach a shore with SSK threat. This will make the T31 very simple but useful ship, while dramatically reducing the cost, which can be used for "a few more P-8A" or "one more T26" (may differ a lot from Shark Bait-sans comment).
Are we now looking at the entire reevaluation of the T31 programme? If we aren't I think we should be.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 12 Feb 2019, 14:43

Poiuytrewq wrote:Are we now looking at the entire reevaluation of the T31 programme? If we aren't I think we should be.


Just to repeat, if we select configurable enough designs/ hulls, then no need
- whether we shift money from 5 "hulls only" approach to 4 that get "kitted out for the job... whatever we decide that to be" ; that is an entirely different discussion

And, going on to "entirely different" as with the forward basing: aren't we breaking the 3 for 1 circle there
- have two "out" for 4-5 years
- have one (of them) in deep maintenance/ refit
- and one working up (as in: working up the crews; training on an identical ship @ home)

We'll get by with 4 ships, instead of 5
- lesser impact on crewing
- but as was mentioned about the Littoral Strike ships, many of the systems/ assets could be on them, lessening the actual headcount on the accompanying frigates (which of course can venture out on their own, but in that case with lesser capability)

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 12 Feb 2019, 14:58

Poiuytrewq wrote:
shark bait wrote:If the RN/RFA is about to get to big new flexible platforms it massively reduces the need for patrol frigates.
Did we ever have a need for patrol frigates? I have never been convinced. Look at the evolution from yesterday's Floreal class, today's La Fyette class through to tomorrows FTI class. Cheap patrol frigates are a false economy that endanger the crew in conflict scenarios.
Sorry from aside. Floreal like patrol frigate is still there, not decreasing. See Spanish BAM, Dutch Holland. Not to mention all of the USCG cutters. Their Heritage class cutters (Babcock joins for detailed design) is exactly the modern version of Floreal class itself. So clearly it is NOT a false economy. It is more a requirement assessment. No efficiency of the design.

(By the way, "yesterday's Floreal class, today's La Fyette class" is incorrect. They are of the same generation, built in parallel.)
A few observations,

1: Do we now need 5 cheap £250m Patrol Frigates? How do they fit in or are we just making up the numbers? Would 3 at £400m each or 4 at £300m now be a better strategy?

2: If these LSG's need an escort, ideally what form should it take? Is a Leander style escort with 12 CAMM and a 57mm enough? Should a credible ASW capability now be included in light of the new requirement to escort the LSG's?
I think at least for an escort for LSS, no need for ASW, because LSS will not approach a shore with SSK threat. It is more aimed at lower threat, small land-force expenditure, and not peer-to-peer. I am not saying ASW threat is little. But, I am saying LSS is an asset for "the other places".

So, for me, "a Leander style escort with 12 CAMM and a 57mm enough?", yes, it is. Good match, actually.

I agree LSS is putting a good discussion/arguments on RN reform. Albions, Bays and Points (regardless of what Mr. Williamson says), fate of Waves and Argus, and optimization of T31e. All will be "reviewed" in SDSR2020 (Reviewing is the exact aim of SDSR). Many opinion shall come out.

By the way, reducing the number of T31 to increase its "per hull cost" is alway very attractive argument. But, if it is "3", I prefer "2 T26" for sure. So, for me the option is between "4" and "5".

With 5, it is only 38% of that of FTI (3.3Bn vs 1.25Bn). Typical corvette class, and thus, cutting "RHIBs" and "containers" will be attractive solution to improve its fighting capability.

With 4, it becomes ~50% of FTI. (Here I assume 1 unit-cost equivalent for detailed-design (not only hull, but building process and system standup) for T31e, and 2 unit-cost equivalent for FTI). But still, it is only 50%...

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 12 Feb 2019, 15:14

Poiuytrewq wrote:In an ideal world, best case scenario but we must also plan for the unexpected too. If these LSS vessels are targeting hostiles on shore it stands to reason they could very quickly become targets themselves.
Not, in most of the case. For example, Sierra Leone do not have any means to attack LSS. (Uhm.... a motor boat with RPG can come, but even a River B2 can handle it). I am not saying you are wrong, there will be area with "at sea threat". But, I think the LSS is NOT aimed for operation there. It is "small special force assault tool", not an amphibious asset to fight a (real) war. And, there are many many important areas, on which a RM company can do significant job and there is no "at sea" threat. Most of the case will be so, I think.
Are we now looking at the entire reevaluation of the T31 programme? If we aren't I think we should be.
I agree we shall better be. And, considering the time frame and coming SDSR2020, NOW is the time to do it, I think. LSS gave us a good chance.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 12 Feb 2019, 18:48

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Sorry from aside. Floreal like patrol frigate is still there, not decreasing. See Spanish BAM, Dutch Holland. Not to mention all of the USCG cutters. Their Heritage class cutters (Babcock joins for detailed design) is exactly the modern version of Floreal class itself.
The BAM and Hollands are OPV's and the Heritage is a nice design but it's not an escort. They might be more capable than RN's OPV's but they aren't Frigates or escorts.
donald_of_tokyo wrote:(By the way, "yesterday's Floreal class, today's La Fyette class" is incorrect. They are of the same generation, built in parallel.)
They are the continuing evolution of a design. Very common in French naval shipbuilding, especially if they get an interested export customer along the way. The pertinent point is that the French are now building FTI's to counter the threats of the 21st century rather than the Floreals/La Fyette's which designed to counter the much more benign threats of the 1990's and 2000's
donald_of_tokyo wrote:With 5, it is only 38% of that of FTI (3.3Bn vs 1.25Bn). Typical corvette class, and thus, cutting "RHIBs" and "containers" will be attractive solution to improve its fighting capability.
And possibly enhance its prospects of successfully exporting abroad?
donald_of_tokyo wrote:....considering the time frame and coming SDSR2020, NOW is the time to do it, I think. LSS gave us a good chance.
Agreed, time for the T31 to change track and become a credible escort or simply cancel the programme altogether. I'd choose the latter. It's simplified T26's for me :thumbup:

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby dmereifield » 12 Feb 2019, 21:38

shark bait wrote:
Poiuytrewq wrote:If that requirement is now secured the reason for the T31 as an inexpensive escort forward deployed as part of an LSG makes more sense and Leander may even be preferable


If all the T31 can do is put a few CAMM silos next to an auxiliary is that good value? Wouldn't it be preferable to put the silos on the Auxiliary and save all that money?

If the RN/RFA is about to get to big new flexible platforms it massively reduces the need for patrol frigates. In light of that decision it is really important to get sub hunting abilities into the new frigates giving the RN the real escorts it needs to protect the Carriers and amphibious platforms.

With two new sea bases on the way can we drop the third FSS and use that money to add a sonar to the T31?


I'm expecting the 3rd FSS to be a no-goer if these two LSS's materialise

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 12 Feb 2019, 21:51

Poiuytrewq wrote:Are we now looking at the entire reevaluation of the T31 programme? If we aren't I think we should be.


Agreed. This announcement when coupled with the decision to keep the 3 B1 Rivers has changed the overall balance and need. By spending a little money on upgrades to the B2 Rivers to improve thier self defence capabilities and a containerised rotary UAV, would allow them to play some of the envisaged T31 duties.

If the T31 funds are real then building 2 additional T26s and moving straight onto a “Sloop-of-War” MHPC design gets my vote.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 13 Feb 2019, 12:17

I think with what is now being pushed around with CSG & LSG the T45's need to up armed with 4 EXLS to hold 48 CAMM bring the total missile load out up to 96 allowing 1 T45 to carry more missiles than 2 current ships

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 13 Feb 2019, 13:58

Poiuytrewq wrote:The BAM and Hollands are OPV's and the Heritage is a nice design but it's not an escort. They might be more capable than RN's OPV's but they aren't Frigates or escorts.
No objection. But then, "Patrol Frigate" as Floreal is OPV, as well. It is just a matter of how you call it. Note that difference between BAM and River B1 is as much as that between T31e and T26. Big difference. (River B2 is somewhere in between).

The cost difference within "OPV" is very large. Then comes the "Patrol Frigate" (or high-end OPV, as Floreal like), and then "GP Frigate" (as T21, original La Fayette, and maybe T31e). Naming is not easy. But if we carefully look into the specifications (sensors, CMS and network) and cost (which reflects them), a wide variety there is evident. In this point of view, Floreal and Heritage class cutter is exactly the same category. In many respects, the cutter is much better equipped than Floreal (ESM, decoy, AAW capability...), while in the gun size and SSM, Floreal is better.

# On Floreal and La Fyette class. Janes fighting ships 1989-90 states, the first 3 La Fayette were ordered on 12 April 1988, the same date when the six Floreal was also ordered. They are the same generation. Just Floreal design was simple and hence their production was earlier. (sorry very minor issue, though...)

[EDIT] My point is, Patrol Frigate (Floreal) and GP Frigate (La Fayette) had a different scope from the beginning, not a creep in requirement. FTI, as a La Fayette replacement has many added requirements. But, we do not know how the Floreals will be replaced.)
donald_of_tokyo wrote:With 5, it is only 38% of that of FTI (3.3Bn vs 1.25Bn). Typical corvette class, and thus, cutting "RHIBs" and "containers" will be attractive solution to improve its fighting capability.
And possibly enhance its prospects of successfully exporting abroad?
Not sure. "Mission bay" is the only "innovation" in those ships compared to their rivals, Damen 10514 and Gowind 2500 in the lower ends, MEKO A200 and FTI in the higher ends. It all depends on UK's ability to promote USV tactics.
Tempest414 wrote:I think with what is now being pushed around with CSG & LSG the T45's need to up armed with 4 EXLS to hold 48 CAMM bring the total missile load out up to 96 allowing 1 T45 to carry more missiles than 2 current ships
I do not think LSG is related to T45 up arming (although I do support T45 added with CAMM). LSG is only for very low threat operations, which is actually majority of the "raid" tasks.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 13 Feb 2019, 16:33

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Not sure. "Mission bay" is the only "innovation" in those ships compared to their rivals, Damen 10514 and Gowind 2500 in the lower ends, MEKO A200 and FTI in the higher ends. It all depends on UK's ability to promote USV tactics.
My fault for not being clear. My point is if (due to the LSS) the T31 can now become simplified by aiming for a pretty standard design without a misson bay and replace the 4 Rhibs with 2 Rhibs etc. Will these changes actually make it more attractive for export?

I have been considering what a dedicated LSS escort would look like and my initial thoughts are smaller, cheaper but potentially more capable than the existing £250m format, something like a Corvette sized escort.

If the LSS is forward based could a range of 5000nm now be adequate?

What is the lowest spec possible to be considered a credible escort?

Something like?

Length: 100m-105m
Beam: 14m to 16m
Top Speed: 25knts
Range: 5000nm
Propulsion CODELOD (electric drive 15 knts)
Crew: 80
Armament: 57/76mm, 24 CAMM, 4 AShM, Phalanx, 2x30mm
Sensors: Artisan, Kingklip HMS, Captas 1 VDS
Aviation: Wildcat Hanger, Merlin Flightdeck

This is a decent spec without being overly ambitious. Pretty much all of the bases are covered and would probably be a very capable Corvette sized escort.

A 105m Leander looks to fit the bill well.
image.jpg

How much would this cost? Considering the hull has been shortened by 12m, the range reduced and things like the CAMM, Artisan, AShm canisters and 30mm's could be cross decked from the T23's I think around £275m should be possible.

If 3 such vessels were built, that would be one for each LSG and a 'spare'. A total of around £825m. An option could remain open to build more if required.

If this proved feasible, it may also be worth upgrading 2 of the RB2's to more credible escort spec. A simple £50m upgrade each for both vessels should allow the installation of a 57/76mm, 2x 30mm's (from the T23's), Phalanx and a Kingklip HMS.

This has a number of advantages,

Each LSG could be made up of an LSS, T31 Corvette and an upgraded RB2. The future of the Waves are uncertain but I don't see any need for a Wave to form part of the LSG if the LSS is designed correctly. I would still look to forward base one Wave in Singapore and have the second alternating between APT(N) and APT(S).

Although these 'escorts' are pretty basic the embarked helicopters on the LSS should be able fill any gaps and the entire crew allocation for a T31 Corvette and upgraded RB2 should be around 120. All perfectly acceptable.

With the £100m to upgrade the two RB2's added to the £825m to build the three T31 Corvettes the total would stand at £925m leaving £325m remaining from the T31 budget.

To convert a commercial vessel into a credible LSS it will cost at least £100m per hull plus the cost of the donor hulls (£75m) in my opinion. If this £275m was combined with the £325m remaining from the T31 budget a total of £600m would certainly provide a better outcome.

At £300m each these LSS vessels could easily be British built from an adapted commercial design. Something like an aviation enhanced Bay Class or a very basic Ocean Mk2 would look to be achievable.
image.jpg
Personally I like the way things are now heading...
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 13 Feb 2019, 21:32

Poiuytrewq, I argue that for a consort escort for a FLSS a hangar is no longer a must have, so you could go much simpler. What about adding 12 (2 x 6) CAMM to the following design...

Image
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 13 Feb 2019, 21:47

Repulse wrote:Poiuytrewq, I argue that for a consort escort for a FLSS a hangar is no longer a must have, so you could go much simpler. What about adding 12 (2 x 6) CAMM to the following design...
Do you mean we might have actually found a use outside the EEZ for the RB2's?

Maybe, but the aviation capacity of the LSS would need to be generous. On the Point based LSS concept if a lift was fitted between the flight deck and the upper deck the hanger space would be bigger than Ocean. Plenty big enough.

This LSS concept to form two LSG's changes everything, including my opinion on the T31 programme and the RB2's. Hard to believe I know.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 13 Feb 2019, 22:06

Poiuytrewq wrote:Do you mean we might have actually found a use outside the EEZ for the RB2's?


In terms of design yes - but I’d argue even buying another 3 B2+s and upgrading 2 (of the current 5) would still allow money to spare in the T31 budget to buy another T26...

As the FLSS is forward based and operating Littoral waters then a T31 which is an RN equivalent of the Russian BuyanM-class corvette would be in my fantasy fleet :thumbup:
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 14 Feb 2019, 00:55

The Managers of the T-31e programme need to make a clear decision about what route the T-31e is going to take. Are they going to try to make it an Escort as such or a simple Patrol Frigate.

With the former it might make sense to actually build fewer initially as has been proposed in other posts. This would allow the design to be a higher specification, probably be more attractive as an export product and would be an ideal platform for any increase in the escort fleet at some point in the future. A reduction in the short to medium term for Escorts in Royal Navy service could easily be explained by both the MoD and Government and the promise of a further batch down the road increasing the fleet to say 21 Escorts would provide positive PR.

With the latter we would end up with a dead end design, that would do what was written on the tine, but have a very finite service life with no intention of even gaining any increase in capability. Going down this route also forces the MoD and Government to accept the reduction In the number of Escorts operated by the Royal Navy from 19 to 14.

The worst solution would be what is happening now where the MoD is trying to procure 5 "Escorts" within the programmes very restrictive budget and ending up with a design that is too much for a Patrol Frigate and not capable enough to be used as an Escort.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 14 Feb 2019, 09:01

Lord Jim wrote:The Managers of the T-31e programme need to make a clear decision

I think the decisions have been made, probably with more detailed foreknowledge of the RN's plans, costs and budgets than we are privy to. How we got here is a matter of record and not worth discussing further. Where we go from here is the important issues.

The purpose of the NSS is to follow the process of: setting a budget; seeing what you can get for that budget; specifying what you want for that budget; building what you specified (for that budget) and; doing it fast (within the budget). No "hesitation, repetition or deviation" (that first bit's not gone so well, but it's the first try, I suppose).

The purpose of the T31e project is to build 5 ships within that framework and for a fixed budget of £1.5b. If that proves impossible (with good reason - "not enough profit" may not be high on that list, but it will probably factor in), then more money MAY be available (one increment of £250m has been allowed so far and the position seems to have changed on the cost of equipment cross-decking being inside of the £1.5b budget).

At present, we are probably at the end of step 2/ start of step 3. None of us actually know what the T31e will actually look like or it's final specification will be. I know what I would like to see coming out of it, but that is purely speculation based on possibilities and probabilities
Lord Jim wrote:Are they going to try to make it an Escort as such or a simple Patrol Frigate.

It's going to be a second-tier frigate. That's the only clear declaration of intent at the moment. What is more important than the initial role specification is what the design is capable of being. The more that goes into the hull rather than what you bolt onto the hull, the better, the larger, the better, the more flexible, the better. This is a design that should provide the second tier for the RN (and hopefully the top tier for a number of smaller navies that are looking to improve their current fleets) for many years to come. Not so long ago, there were plenty of voices on here expressing the view that we would never sell the T26 design, because it was too big, too RN-specific, too expensive, too whatever. Look at it now.

Very few seem to have taken on board the fact that the T31e program started with the UK asking a large number of countries' navies ( around 40, from memory) what their future plans were and what they saw as meeting their requirements. This information informed the initial RFI, which is not necessarily based exclusively on what the RN want. It sets the range of options needed to maximise the number of future potential sales. Main deck gun? Between 57mm and 5". That doesn't mean that the RN wants a 57mm, or that's all that can be afforded on the budget - what it means is that there is a potential customer out there who wants to be able to fit a 57mm (and others that want to fit a 5"). If there's a mission bay on it, that's because a potential customer expressed interest in possibly using offboard systems (now THAT could be the RN).

If the first five T31 are implemented as "patrol" frigates, then I don't see it as a problem, as long as the hull is capable of being other things. My impression, from reading the RFI is that they are intended to be flexible and definitely not a "dead end". Implementation is the key and it goes far beyond the "patrol" vs "escort" frigate debate (being about the role that it is equipped for, rather than the design itself)
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 14 Feb 2019, 10:11

Caribbean wrote:No "hesitation, repetition or deviation"

I think repetition will be an essential part of the strategy: Batch2 T31, Batch2 T26 (AAW), SSS(basic, or focussed, followed by SSS special, a sea-basing variant... which may now have faded from the plans?)
- stopping the policy of producing 'templates' of types of ships and going for numbers by sharing platforms and diversifying on the systems side (what is fitted)
Caribbean wrote: the position seems to have changed on the cost of equipment cross-decking being inside of the £1.5b budget

As people argue both ways, what is the current position?
Caribbean wrote:If the first five T31 are implemented as "patrol" frigates, then I don't see it as a problem, as long as the hull is capable of being other things
Exactly the point.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 14 Feb 2019, 10:46

ArmChairCivvy wrote:I think repetition will be an essential part of the strategy: Batch2 T31, Batch2 T26 (AAW), SSS(basic, or focussed, followed by SSS special, a sea-basing variant... which may now have faded from the plans?)
- stopping the policy of producing 'templates' of types of ships and going for numbers by sharing platforms and diversifying on the systems side (what is fitted)

True - I was thinking more in terms of not repeating the individual phases (as happened for year after year with the T26), but overall, yes, you do want to be able to trot out batches of variants on a common theme (where the "common" element is an established entity in terms of cost and build time - only the "attachments" vary)
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 Poiuytrewq » 14 Feb 2019, 11:39

Caribbean wrote:I think the decisions have been made, probably with more detailed foreknowledge of the RN's plans, costs and budgets than we are privy to.
It would be a lot easier to reach the correct conclusions if we had all the relevant information. I wonder how long this LSS/LSG strategy has been part of the wider strategy.
Caribbean wrote:No "hesitation, repetition or deviation"
How long is that going to take? Just a minute? :D
Caribbean wrote:It's going to be a second-tier frigate. That's the only clear declaration of intent at the moment. What is more important than the initial role specification is what the design is capable of being.
Its a great plan but how do the current crop of platforms fit the bill in terms of innovation and future proofing. Even Tier2 frigates should cost in region of £350m to £400m with Tier2 weapons and sensors. Is the cross decking going to make up the short fall?

I understand the argument about 5 basic patrol frigates to start followed by another 5 higher escort frigates to follow. Looks like more jam tomorrow to me. I still not convinced. Getting 4 credible escorts, even if they are more Corvette like would be a better outcome in my opinion.
Caribbean wrote:....the T31e program started with the UK asking a large number of countries' navies ( around 40, from memory) what their future plans were and what they saw as meeting their requirements. This information informed the initial RFI, which is not necessarily based exclusively on what the RN want. It sets the range of options needed to maximise the number of future potential
It's a good industrial strategy but look at what we have ended up with, a Danish AAW design that been rejected by every other country that has looked at it. A German frigate design that has achieved export success but how does that benefit the UK going forward? A fully British option that is based on a decades old design, clearly lacking in innovation. This is down to the unrealistic budget straitjacket that the T31 programme is mired in. I understand the incremental approach is good accountancy but could we end up with the wrong base platform because the correct platform seemed too expensive at the start of the programme, not necessarily at the end?

The future should have been something like Venator 110/120 or Omega. Is the future bright with the new LSS? Maybe but I think its time for a complete revaluation of the T31 programme. Possibly the simplest and quickest way to achieve this now is to drop the first batch and move straight on to batch 2.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 14 Feb 2019, 13:51

Poiuytrewq wrote:the simplest and quickest way to achieve this now is to drop the first batch and move straight on to batch 2.
Yes, build one or two, and then do exactly that
Poiuytrewq wrote: a Danish AAW design that been rejected by every other country that has looked at it. A German frigate design that has achieved export success but how does that benefit the UK going forward? A fully British option that is based on a decades old design, clearly lacking in innovation.
I find no fault with the first two, only with the underlined

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby NickC » 15 Feb 2019, 11:50

Poiuytrewq wrote: It's a good industrial strategy but look at what we have ended up with, a Danish AAW design that been rejected by every other country that has looked at it. A German frigate design that has achieved export success but how does that benefit the UK going forward? A fully British option that is based on a decades old design, clearly lacking in innovation. This is down to the unrealistic budget straitjacket that the T31 programme is mired in. I understand the incremental approach is good accountancy but could we end up with the wrong base platform because the correct platform seemed too expensive at the start of the programme, not necessarily at the end?


The Danish Iver Huitfeldt class AAW frigates were a cost effective design whose build costs easily half if not less than the T45 AAW class with its dud propulsion system and a long history of breaking down. "Danish AAW design that been rejected by every other country" No mention of T45 exports or that it could be basis of T31 whereas there is with cost effective IH design. The IH O&M costs, with approx half the crew numbers of a T45, expect less than half if not more especially with the £Ms cost of sorting out the T45s propulsion system, a small fortune that RN can ill afford.

Would argue the IH design a good basis for the T31 as currently spec'd, though not the best for ASW role as not a silenced HED system, understand Leander HED is not silenced?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby RetroSicotte » 15 Feb 2019, 12:53

NickC wrote:No mention of T45 exports

Which competitions did it enter to have lost?


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