UK Defence Forum

News, History, Discussions and Debates on UK Defence.

River Class (OPV) (RN)

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 2944
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 14 Mar 2019, 13:50

Would the one deployed to the Med, if that is the case, be based in Gibraltar or would it deploy from and return to the UK?

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 14 Mar 2019, 19:48

Not sure about basing / operating the B2s EoS, but a good message all the same.
"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

Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 1144
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Location: France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 15 Mar 2019, 09:46

Repulse wrote:Not sure about basing / operating the B2s EoS, but a good message all the same.


However RN /MOD ideas are drip feeding in first there is talk of forward deploying a FLSS out of Singapore and now a B2 River as well

I also have to say it worries me when a RN Officers say things like " They have the legs and agility of a Frigate "

Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 1144
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Location: France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 15 Mar 2019, 09:47

Will this also mean that the B1 Rivers will be kept for UK home waters

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 2992
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 15 Mar 2019, 10:05

Tempest414 wrote:I also have to say it worries me when a RN Officers say things like " They have the legs and agility of a Frigate "
He is clear. River B2 is "as fast as a frigate, and has a range/endurance as long as a frigate". So, he is completely correct.

The fear I share with you is, this will be "shortened" by someone outside, "River B2 can do as good as a frigate", which is completely wrong. :thumbdown:

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 15 Mar 2019, 10:50

Tempest414 wrote:Will this also mean that the B1 Rivers will be kept for UK home waters


From the communication given, yes. Though I think the B2s will be used to help support the B1s as needed and help fill any gaps in the FRE.

I agree with the some of the concern with a B2 River being confused with a T23/T45. This will only get worse with the T31e, especially as it will be called a Frigate.

However, I would say the B2 River is actually well suited for some forward roles where it can be easily forward based and also less “threatening” and therefore can be a more subtle presence.

The only thing I would say is that if the B2s are operating EoS, there should be a increased weapons package - e.g. adding a CIWS and perhaps adding a 57mm or Sigma Seahawk mount.
"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

User avatar
Old RN
Member
Posts: 170
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:39
Location: South Africa

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Old RN » 16 Mar 2019, 06:11

Given the significantly improved sensor fit of the Batch 2s and a 30mm gum linked to a reasonable fire control system along wth the intention to forward deploy them, would it be reasonable to fit them with 4 (or 8) surface launched Sea Venoms. The would be similar to the Omani use of Sea Skua. It would certainly not make them war fighting vessel but it would give them some reasonable littoral space teeth. As I understand the IR/optical guidance of the Sea Venom also allows a degree of accurate land attack options?

User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 10163
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 16 Mar 2019, 07:49

Old RN wrote:IR/optical guidance of the Sea Venom also allows a degree of accurate land attack options?


That's the plus, whereas Brimstone has already been tested for "land launch" - at sea,from a stationary platform against a moving target.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 2944
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 16 Mar 2019, 09:59

Whilst both Sea Venom and Brimstone would give some land attack capability I wouldn't want to take a River in close enough to be of use in such role as in return you would be in range of basically every ATGW in service, as well as mortars etc. Fit them by all means but for use against small naval targets. In addition using the three round pedestal launcher for Starstreak would give these vessels a basic air defence capability, even more so if the launcher could be stabilised and adapted to fire the LMM/Martlet. Possible mounting one pedestal either side of the bridge. Of course when operating in a benign environment the pedestals could possibly be stored.

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 16 Mar 2019, 10:09

I thought I read that the RN was going to trial the LMM on ships - which would be the simplest. In the case a Seahawk SIGMA Mount would be a good upgrade - this I understand can also operate Starstreak.

Image

If the Container space is used for a small UAV hangar then perhaps the crane could be replaced with a Phalanx CIWS or another Seahawk Mount.

The Amazonas Class also has two 25mm mounts so, adding two of the following with 20mm guns to match the B1 Rivers should not be a big deal.

Image

As stated, all that would be about local area defence rather than anything offensive.
"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

Caribbean
Senior Member
Posts: 1464
Joined: 09 Jan 2016, 19:08
Location: England

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Caribbean » 16 Mar 2019, 13:16

As I understand it, the objection to the Seahawk Sigmas is that you lose the reversionary control feature for the ASCG, which is something that the RN is rather keen on. They do, however, look like a very cost-efficient upgrade. Perhaps a stand-alone launcher would be preferable (as @LJ says, we could have a pool of them to be mounted as needed - and, it occurs to me, not just on RB2s, either, all RN/ RFA vessels might benefit from an additional point-defence system to supplement phalanx)
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 2992
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Location: Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Mar 2019, 10:00

Tempest414 wrote:However RN /MOD ideas are drip feeding in first there is talk of forward deploying a FLSS out of Singapore and now a B2 River as well
....
Will this also mean that the B1 Rivers will be kept for UK home waters
Repulse wrote:From the communication given, yes. Though I think the B2s will be used to help support the B1s as needed and help fill any gaps in the FRE.

I agree with the some of the concern with a B2 River being confused with a T23/T45. This will only get worse with the T31e, especially as it will be called a Frigate.

However, I would say the B2 River is actually well suited for some forward roles where it can be easily forward based and also less “threatening” and therefore can be a more subtle presence.

The only thing I would say is that if the B2s are operating EoS, there should be a increased weapons package - e.g. adding a CIWS and perhaps adding a 57mm or Sigma Seahawk mount.
Practically speaking, I think a T31 (with only a gun (57/76 mm), 12 CAMM and a Wildcat with ESM/decoy kit, built to frigate standard) has no overlap with a "River B2 added with a gun". It is (better than) La Fayette vs (much less than) Floreal, and La Fayette and Floreal has clearly different tasks. (I think they differ as much as Hawk T1 vs Gripen C/D.). However, I agree people are not sensitive to the differences there. Even many here says "the same".

1: Problem of the 5 River B2 is, there are 2 LSS and 3 Bays, which partly overlaps in their tasks. The are all "OPV like", with very short range guns, and good endurance.

2: On the other hand, T31 has little overlap with them. It is as armed as a heavy corvette, which is a class of warship distinct from OPV. Has SAM, ESM/Chaff/Flare system, so-so CMS, data link, as well as a helo.

Personally, the story of forward deployment of River B2, combined with 2 LSS coming, makes me worry much more about the future of 3 Bays class LSDs.

3: Also we shall note that the fate of 3 River B1 is not yet decided beyond 2020. So, River B2 has some possibility, eventually used as a primary EEZ/Fishery patrol OPV.

User avatar
Poiuytrewq
Senior Member
Posts: 1454
Joined: 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Mar 2019, 10:53

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Problem of the 5 River B2 is, there are 2 LSS and 3 Bays, which partly overlaps in their tasks.
Yes but they could potentially complement each other very well. For example if the RB2's added a 57/76mm and a pair of 30mm's plus a modest HMS they could prove to be a useful consort to a FLSS or Bay. The aviation could be provided by the larger vessel and the deck crane could be replaced for a Phalanx mount if required.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:T31 has little overlap with them. It is as armed as a heavy corvette, which is a class of warship distinct from OPV. Has SAM, ESM/Chaff/Flare system, so-so CMS, data link, as well as a helo.
I agree, a vessel such as you describe has a role to play but it shouldn't be the backbone of the future Royal Navy.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Personally, the story of forward deployment of River B2, combined with 2 LSS coming, makes me worry much more about the future of 3 Bays class LSDs.
Yes but only if the FLSS vessels are to join the LiTM group. If not the three Bays still make sense. What we don't know at present is how often (if at all) the FLSS vessels will be deployed using the DFID budget, it could be more than we think.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Also we shall note that the fate of 3 River B1 is not yet decided beyond 2020. So, River B2 has some possibility, eventually used as a primary EEZ/Fisher
I think it's highly likely the RB2's will return to the EEZ when the T31's start to come online and Brexit is finalised. They is the main reason why they probably won't be upgraded in terms of armament.

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 17 Mar 2019, 12:55

Poiuytrewq wrote:I think it's highly likely the RB2's will return to the EEZ when the T31's start to come online and Brexit is finalised.


Possibly, but I think it would be a mistake - small modifications combined with a small (2-3) purchase of B3 Avenger types (which can operate the Widcat) would give a solid global presence, a backup FRE, and a Littoral escort for the EoS FLSS. Replacements for the B1 should really be more like to like.
"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

Caribbean
Senior Member
Posts: 1464
Joined: 09 Jan 2016, 19:08
Location: England

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Caribbean » 17 Mar 2019, 13:53

Poiuytrewq wrote:I think it's highly likely the RB2's will return to the EEZ

Though that may well not be the UK EEZ. Currently we know that one will be the FIGS. I suspect that one or even two may have been pencilled in for WIGS (also forward-based), as part of the UK's ramping up of hurricane-preparedness in the region. Once the T31 comes on-line, the B2s could well be withdrawn from EoS into the Atlantic, Caribbean and Med, where most of the remaining BOTs are. Personally, I would retain the B1's until the end of their normal service lives and then replace them with something slightly smaller and more numerous, purely for UK EEZ/ Fisheries use (say in the 60-70m region)
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

User avatar
Poiuytrewq
Senior Member
Posts: 1454
Joined: 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Mar 2019, 14:16

Repulse wrote: think it would be a mistake - small modifications combined with a small (2-3) purchase of B3 Avenger types (which can operate the Widcat) would give a solid global presence, a backup FRE, and a Littoral escort for the EoS FLSS. Replacements for the B1 should really be more like to like.
Your view is widely held and I agree we could see a shift in that direction if finances tighten further.

When I propose the 'rule of six' ( T45, T26, T26 lite, T31) there are a couple of other political considerations that I am factoring in to the UK's wider naval and industrial strategy.

1. The Clyde was promised 13x T26's and although 13 hulls might be unachievable, 12x T26 based escorts plus 5x RB2'S would shut down any reasonable political arguments and neutralise any rational grievances. The political arguments are not worth the sums involved and the Frigate Factory must be built in the end. Charge it to regional development if necessary but it has got to be built. It's pointless prioritising the honouring of the UK's international obligations if we can't keep our own internal promises.

2. The political decision to set up a second frigate production line has been taken and although I believe it's the wrong approach I don't think it's going to change. It might work if Arrowhead wins and Rosyth is kept busy until 2028/2030 with the T31's and then with the MHC's until around 2033/2035 when the Amphibs will start to be replaced. Cammell Laird would just have to rely on the RFA maintenance contracts or bid for blocks.

I think unless we consider the political sensitivities we will always be trying to push water up hill and never reach the correct conclusions.

SW1
Member
Posts: 686
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby SW1 » 17 Mar 2019, 14:25

Could be very worthwhile having the rivers operating in the maritime security around the Atlantic region, fwd deploying 2 in the south Atlantic and arguably the Caribbean maybe quite useful.

The southern Atlantic deployment could lead to increased security co-operation around the Gulf of Guinea with the likes of Nigeria Cameron and serria leone. Piracy, smuggling and terrorist activity is a constant in that part of the world. Likewise the Caribbean, I have read the rivers are better able to integrate with local maritime forces in the region and offer join training than more complex frigates. Cartel and drug enforcement is central to funding of terrorism and people smuggling.

We often hear about protecting trade routes which usually gets associated with suez and having battle groups to do it, yet looking at energy in particular and food trade in government figures would indicate that the vast majority come from the west and north African countries with increasing contributions for South American. Caribbean countries in particular LNG coming from Trinidad to the uk due to significant investment by BP and shell.

Any likely deployment in the med will probably be linked to human trafficking and migration a hot topic.

User avatar
Poiuytrewq
Senior Member
Posts: 1454
Joined: 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Mar 2019, 15:30

Caribbean wrote:Though that may well not be the UK EEZ. Currently we know that one will be the FIGS. I suspect that one or even two may have been pencilled in for WIGS (also forward-based), as part of the UK's ramping up of hurricane-preparedness in the region. Once the T31 comes on-line, the B2s could well be withdrawn from EoS into the Atlantic, Caribbean and Med, where most of the remaining BOTs are

SW1 wrote:Could be very worthwhile having the rivers operating in the maritime security around the Atlantic region, fwd deploying 2 in the south Atlantic and arguably the Caribbean maybe quite useful.
Lots of good points but will the RB2's not be fatally compromised by the lack of an embarked helicopter?

Caribbean wrote: I would retain the B1's until the end of their normal service lives and then replace them with something slightly smaller and more numerous, purely for UK EEZ/ Fisheries use (say in the 60-70m region)
I don't believe a one size fits all approach will work in UK waters. What is needed in the English channel on migrant patrol is not the same as what is needed 200nm north of Lerwick for fisheries protection. Trawlers continue to get bigger with the largest in UK waters now frigate sized. They will haul if they 'need to' in very high sea states when many 60-70m craft are tucked up safely alongside.

I don't have a problem with the RB2's for EEZ patrol but getting the right balance between migrant patrol, fisheries protection and the general security of UK territorial waters will be a tricky balance. This was clearly illustrated recently with HMS Mersey filling in for the border force in the channel. Not exactly value for money for the taxpayers.

Three or four RB2's backed up by a large number of UK built, Damen designed boarder force cutters might be an optimal mix.

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 17 Mar 2019, 15:38

Poiuytrewq, I get your point, just think that the days of defining defence procurement by regional politics needs to come to an end.

If the RN surface war fighting capabilities are based around 2 CSGs with additional amphibious units, then the priority needs to kit them out to be capable of operations against a peer nation. I think the focus needs to get on getting the 6 T45s and 8 (possibly 9) T26s fully armed.
"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

User avatar
Repulse
Senior Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 17 Mar 2019, 15:41

Poiuytrewq wrote:Lots of good points but will the RB2's not be fatally compromised by the lack of an embarked helicopter?


My view is for WoS no, a containerised UAV or working in tandem with shore based assets or a RFA should be sufficient IMO. EoS possibly given the area to be covered and threat level - this is where a B3 with a Wildcat would be needed.
"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

SW1
Member
Posts: 686
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby SW1 » 17 Mar 2019, 16:03

Poiuytrewq wrote:Lots of good points but will the RB2's not be fatally compromised by the lack of an embarked helicopter?


Depends I would say things like scan eagle 3 or the like mitigate a lot from the ISR side. If they had large rib or something a long the lines optionally manned vessels of seagull type they would be fine.

They can also embark something like wildcat
for deliberate actions.

As for around the uk replacing the archer vessels with something more potent that can also be part of a larger deployable capability in things like the amphibious vessels could cover uk eez operations.

Caribbean
Senior Member
Posts: 1464
Joined: 09 Jan 2016, 19:08
Location: England

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Caribbean » 17 Mar 2019, 17:19

SW1 wrote:I have read the rivers are better able to integrate with local maritime forces in the region and offer join training than more complex frigates

That is one area where the River B1's proved very useful. They also trained with local police and fire brigades (onboard search and firefighting techniques), as well as helping restore more than one local patrol boat to active use. Most of the BOTs don't have a proper coastguard, only marine police units, so they get very little in the way of training in manoeuvre and tactics. I believe that, in the wake of last season's hurricanes, there is a move to encourage the formation of local coast guards as separate bodies from the police (who in many of these jurisdictions, treat the marine units as the least favoured child). The B2s could prove very useful in the training role.
Poiuytrewq wrote:is not the same as what is needed 200nm north of Lerwick for fisheries protection

That's really the purview of Scottish Fisheries, who operate two 84 and one 42m Fishery protection vessels. I find it somewhat ironic that the SNP, after all the fuss made over getting the frigates built in Scotland, opted to get their last patrol boat built in Poland!
Should they need backup, then I'm sure there will usually be a B2/ T31 available in UK waters (alongside numerous civilian vessels and agencies) to assist.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

dmereifield
Senior Member
Posts: 1822
Joined: 03 Aug 2016, 20:29
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby dmereifield » 17 Mar 2019, 17:36

donald_of_tokyo wrote:
Tempest414 wrote:However RN /MOD ideas are drip feeding in first there is talk of forward deploying a FLSS out of Singapore and now a B2 River as well
....
Will this also mean that the B1 Rivers will be kept for UK home waters
Repulse wrote:From the communication given, yes. Though I think the B2s will be used to help support the B1s as needed and help fill any gaps in the FRE.

I agree with the some of the concern with a B2 River being confused with a T23/T45. This will only get worse with the T31e, especially as it will be called a Frigate.

However, I would say the B2 River is actually well suited for some forward roles where it can be easily forward based and also less “threatening” and therefore can be a more subtle presence.

The only thing I would say is that if the B2s are operating EoS, there should be a increased weapons package - e.g. adding a CIWS and perhaps adding a 57mm or Sigma Seahawk mount.
Practically speaking, I think a T31 (with only a gun (57/76 mm), 12 CAMM and a Wildcat with ESM/decoy kit, built to frigate standard) has no overlap with a "River B2 added with a gun". It is (better than) La Fayette vs (much less than) Floreal, and La Fayette and Floreal has clearly different tasks. (I think they differ as much as Hawk T1 vs Gripen C/D.). However, I agree people are not sensitive to the differences there. Even many here says "the same".

1: Problem of the 5 River B2 is, there are 2 LSS and 3 Bays, which partly overlaps in their tasks. The are all "OPV like", with very short range guns, and good endurance.

2: On the other hand, T31 has little overlap with them. It is as armed as a heavy corvette, which is a class of warship distinct from OPV. Has SAM, ESM/Chaff/Flare system, so-so CMS, data link, as well as a helo.

Personally, the story of forward deployment of River B2, combined with 2 LSS coming, makes me worry much more about the future of 3 Bays class LSDs.

3: Also we shall note that the fate of 3 River B1 is not yet decided beyond 2020. So, River B2 has some possibility, eventually used as a primary EEZ/Fishery patrol OPV.


Is a T31 as you've described really better than the La Fayette? After upgrade?

User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 10163
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Mar 2019, 20:09

dmereifield wrote:Is a T31 as you've described really better than the La Fayette? After upgrade?

- La Fayettes
- La Fayettes as they are being upgraded, or
those of the same design that were upgraded at build. to work as 'propper' warships for Singapore?

The French MN upgrade basically turns global surveillance frigates into stop-gap escorts

User avatar
Poiuytrewq
Senior Member
Posts: 1454
Joined: 15 Dec 2017, 10:25
Location: United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Mar 2019, 21:08

Caribbean wrote:That's really the purview of Scottish Fisheries, who operate two 84 and one 42m Fishery protection vessels.
Exactly, but it's nowhere near enough. We could double that number and it still wouldn't be enough considering the size of Scottish waters. They also need to be bigger in my opinion, around 100m to 110m would be ideal for two or three of them.

Who knows what Brexit will bring but if we are truly going to manage our EEZ as a sovereign UK entity then I would like to see us follow the Norwegian model. I think in the end we will need a UK coastguard with at least armed RN boarding parties if we are going to do it properly. The Norwegians take their fisheries protection duties very seriously and the Norwegian coastguard has the vessels to enforce it properly.

https://forsvaret.no/en/facts/equipment ... filter=Sea

The latest vessels for the Norwegian coastguard are Vard designed and bigger than any of the T31 contenders.

http://www.vard.com/newsandmedia/news/P ... ency-.aspx

If Brexit goes the wrong way, the North Sea, Irish Sea and the English Channel will turn into the wild west for a while. I suspect it won't be long before our politicians start talking about compromising....

Large areas should be turned over to marine protection zones even if only temporarily to allow stocks to recover. Areas around the multiple offshore wind farms would be a good place to start and the size of trawlers licensed to fish should be reduced and discards banned. If manged properly, fish stocks will recover a lot within five to ten years.

Caribbean wrote:I find it somewhat ironic that the SNP, after all the fuss made over getting the frigates built in Scotland, opted to get their last patrol boat built in Poland!
It was blamed on EU procurement rules at the time but next time they shouldn't apply. Didn't go down well in Glasgow :D


Return to “Royal Navy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: brad1, Clive F and 12 guests