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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 » 16 Apr 2019, 09:49

shark bait wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:The only hull-section built in Dutch was the bridge+mast part (the most "complex" part), which was shipped to Mexico and then welded together.

Have you got a source for this please?

The French are doing the same for the Egyptians and I must say its a fantastic example of a modern ship building strategy.
Thanks for asking confirmation. (it is important!).

https://magazine.damen.com/markets/defe ... n-america/

https://navaltoday.com/2018/09/28/mexic ... e-arrives/

I need to correct my comment. Two out of six modules were built in Damen. Looking at the figure, the middle-hull section (painted in grey) looks like built in Damen. Another one is the bridge-mast part. I admit it is a big difference. But, the bow section (including gun), stern section (including ladders and installation of propeller shafts) and funnel-part and hangar-part (more than half of the steel work) is made by Mexico locally. (Systems integration of CMS, and presumably propulsion, is done at Damen).

Also, the final welding is done in Mexico. Thanks.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 16 Apr 2019, 10:51

For me T-31 should be fitted with 24 CAMM as all missiles and there launch systems should be coming out of the 13 billion pound missile budget and not the T-31 budget.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 16 Apr 2019, 12:48

Repulse wrote:This is the crucial point - does the U.K. intend to export complete ships or design/build/support services & kit.
It is the crucial point. I don't think the UK needs to export any complete naval vessels, great if it happens but we have to be realistic. Commercial vessels are a completely different ballgame as the RRS SDA clearly shows.

The order book for RN is more than sufficient for UK shipbuilding to thrive, it just needs to be better organised and additional investment secured to upgrade current facilities and infrastructure. The most important thing is a regular drumbeat of orders so that yards can plan ahead and invest in the future.
Repulse wrote:The T31e will not be a Singleton offensive warship like the T23 was - at best it will be used as a Littoral Escort under a protective CBG umbrella.
Who knows? That might be the plan today but times change and RN needs to be able to adapt to a changing world. Installing 24CAMM and 4 Harpoon is not OTT. If HMG want to build Frigates for RN then they should be fitted with at least a hull mounted sonar. It's not excessive in any way.
Repulse wrote:If there were more funds, then life would be different, but please god let’s not rob the scarce CBG assets to build “almost good enough” fully kitted Arrowhead frigates.
Let me be clear. Building any number of Arrowhead140's is not my preferred option. It's actually my third preference. I don't think a second escort building facility is a good idea as we don't build enough escorts to warrant it. I do think the Frigate factory at Scotstoun should be built immediately to ensure maximum value for money for the tax payer.

This is what I would rather see happen in order of preference,

Option 1.
- Build Frigate factory at Scotstoun.
- Increase T26 order to 14.
- Build six unaltered T26's.
- Build eight T26's in a lesser escort specification, Mk8, 24CAMM, 24 Spear3, 2x30mm's, single Phalanx, Artisan, 2150 and 2087.
- Build four basic 105m Leanders at Cammell Laird. Mk8, 12CAMM, 2x 30mm's, Phalanx, Artisan and Kingklip.
- build 3x FSS and 2x FLSS as planned.

Option 2.
- Build eight T26's at Govan/Scotstoun as planned.
- Build four basic 105m Leanders at Cammell Laird. Mk8, 12CAMM, 2x30mm's, Phalanx, Artisan and Kingklip.
- Ask BAE to redesign Leander with a 16m beam and a LOA of 130m/135m. Mk8 24CAMM, 24 Spear3, 2x30mm's, Artisan, 2150, Merlin hanger/flight deck and a HED optimised for ASW. Retain the option of adding 2087 at a later date. Aim for a target price of around £375m and these might export well. Build six for RN.
- Build 3x FSS and 2x FLSS as planned.

Option 3.
- Build eight T26's at Govan/Scotstoun as planned
- Build two basic Arrowhead 140's at £250m followed by two upgraded Arrowhead 140's at £375m. Mk8, 24CAMM, 24 Spear3, 2x30mm's, Artisan, 2150, and a HED optimised for ASW.
- Build a second batch of four upgraded £375m Arrowhead 140's.
- Build 3x FSS and 2x FLSS as planned.

I would be over the moon with option 1, happy with option 2 and accept option 3. Anything less is dangerously cutting further into the UK's national security in my opinion but we have to be realistic, we are all going to be disappointed to a certain extent and there is little point trying to push water uphill. Many think we are on the wrong track with the T31 programme but it's happening and like it or not we are going to get Arrowhead or Leanders. We will just have to make the best of it.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 16 Apr 2019, 13:34

donald_of_tokyo wrote:In such a case, full set of Amphibious Group, with LPD, escorts, RFAs and even CV itself, will be sent.
That's the theory but what if the CSG is deployed elsewhere and the rest of the T26's are busy with TAPS or refit etc. It's too thin for me I'm afraid.
donald_of_tokyo wrote:In my opinion, LSG will never deploy to such area. More importantly, even if a T31e has a hull sonar, the same will happen. Only when you have high-level of ASW assets (escorts, MPAs, helos) operating in high tempo, it could be stopped
I know we have a difference of opinion here, no problem.

I agree with what you say but if everyone knows that an entire LSG is blind under the surface then the temptation is infinitely greater. I think up to a point it's easily solved. The LSG strategy is still young and clearly it will mature going forward but it appears from what we know it will be a group of forward based vessels pulled together to form a modest group. It's also clear with current planning that such a group will have little or no ASW capability. If a T26 is to form part of a LSG where is it coming from and how long will it take to get EoS?

A pragmatic approach would to fit 2150 to the T31's at the outset. If the T31's are Merlin capable then their Wildcats can transfer to the FLSS and be replaced with ASW Merlins as the group forms. That would give a FLSS/Tide/2x T31 group a capacity of 5 Merlins and 3 Wildcats. Pretty potent, especially if a couple of ASW Merlins were included. UK or Allied MPA's would certainly help also.

Better still if the Absalon hanger was fitted to the Arrowhead 140 allowing 2 Merlins on each vessel. It would greatly increase the potency of the LSG but there appears to be little sign of that happening. Is the best way to upgrade the ASW performance of an Arrowhead 140 to fit the Absalon hanger? With the removal of the Smart-L from the parent IH design it could be possible.

Until even a basic ASW capability is added to the LSG concept I think the whole idea is fundamentally flawed. We can't always rely on best case scenario's. It worth considering an LSG as described above could contain upwards of 600 personnel. At what point does the cost cutting become dangerously negligent.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:And, I agree to Repulse-san, STDS is the priority.
I agree also, it is a priority.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 16 Apr 2019, 13:54

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Two out of six modules were built in Damen.


The high value modules are built in the Netherlands, that't the important bit. We now have 2 brilliant examples of next level shipbuilding and exports.

Both Naval Group & Damen are exporting frigates with fully integrated masts. The images below are the high value sensitive parts, built in Europe & shipped to Egypt or Mexico for final assembly.

This is a fantastic model, generating wealth in the OEM's country, whilst also meeting the customers demands for local employment.

Makes the British new 'strategy' look totally antiquated.

Image
Image
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 16 Apr 2019, 14:34

I cannot see the T-31e being an export success and any Yard that builds them will need to also be willing to make the investment in its design and engineering branches to enable it to compete for further orders, most probably not "Escorts". UK yards are going to find it very difficult to win contracts for non-warship hulls for the RN/RFA under current guidelines, so the MHC maybe the best opportunity for a MoD contract. They will also really need funding from Government departments other then the MoD using the argument that the establishment of such a facility will have further reaching benefits. As for exports to Chile, they have probably set their sights on the GP T-23s already.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 16 Apr 2019, 14:42

Poiuytrewq wrote:Better still if the Absalon hanger was fitted to the Arrowhead 140 allowing 2 Merlins on each vessel. It would greatly increase the potency of the LSG but there appears to be little sign of that happening. Is the best way to upgrade the ASW performance of an Arrowhead 140 to fit the Absalon hanger? With the removal of the Smart-L from the parent IH design it could be possible.


Personal for what the T31 will be used for and as it won’t be a “proper” frigate I honestly believe an absalon style vessel would be of much more use.

Fitted with a mk8, 24 CAMM, 2 30mm and 1 phalanx with FFBNW 16 mk41s and possibly a HMS it’ll be well equipped enough for most areas and with its large deck space it’d be much better at HADR and maritime security with a hand full of RMs with rhibs or CB90s, it’s also be able to contribute to an amphibious force.

5 of these with one in the Caribbean, one in the med and one east of the suez would work nicely but again it looks like another missed opportunity by HMG

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 16 Apr 2019, 18:57

Poiuytrewq wrote:Installing 24CAMM and 4 Harpoon is not OTT.


My general rule is that if you want to lob missiles at someone be prepared to get some back - offensive ASuW capability provided by a Wildcat can be executed at distance and allows the ship to stay out of danger if ever needed.

Poiuytrewq wrote:This is what I would rather see happen in order of preference


My personal view is the last thing the RN needs is two new classes of “Frigates”. In fact, IMO it doesn’t need another one at all, just more T26s.

My personal “fantasy” outcome would be two more T26s plus 8 extended River B3s with a hangar, Artisan, decent level of countermeasures, 57mm gun and 12 CAMM VLS.

16 T26s/T45s would allow a separate ARG from the CBG, leaving the 16 B1/B2/B3 Rivers to do everything else.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 16 Apr 2019, 19:19

shark bait wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:Two out of six modules were built in Damen.


The high value modules are built in the Netherlands, that't the important bit. We now have 2 brilliant examples of next level shipbuilding and exports.

Both Naval Group & Damen are exporting frigates with fully integrated masts. The images below are the high value sensitive parts, built in Europe & shipped to Egypt or Mexico for final assembly.

This is a fantastic model, generating wealth in the OEM's country, whilst also meeting the customers demands for local employment.

Makes the British new 'strategy' look totally antiquated.
Agreed.

This is another reason, why I (we) think T31e program is not well aligned.

I even think, RN shall reduce the number of hull to 4, and order the ship builder to spend 1 hull unit-cost equivalent on "improving their design". Then, do not hesitate to "learn" from Damen/Naval, who are much better than UK in corvette design. In addition, for example, Leander can make the hull wider, Arrowhead 140 can replace the CODAD propulsion with CODLAG, and all shipyards can spend some of the money to introduce ExLS for CAMM.

Because money will be spent on "design" and "detailed design + initial" (including build process), the outcome of T31e will not be more fighty. But, it will be more modern design, with much higher potential for export.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 16 Apr 2019, 21:30

donald_of_tokyo wrote:But Brazil has selected wide-hull MEKO A100-based corvette

Yes - they have selected a Meko design for their corvettes but, under the PROSUPER plan, still have a requirement for five 6000t frigates (and a support vessel).
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby dmereifield » 17 Apr 2019, 00:00

Caribbean wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:But Brazil has selected wide-hull MEKO A100-based corvette

Yes - they have selected a Meko design for their corvettes but, under the PROSUPER plan, still have a requirement for five 6000t frigates (and a support vessel).


That's more T26 size than T31 though, right? Presumably they don't have the budget (nor high end ASW eequirement) for T26?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Caribbean » 17 Apr 2019, 07:39

dmereifield wrote:That's more T26 size than T31 though, right?

Not if we select the A140 as the T31e. The BAE "T31e" (i.e. the BAE Corvette) was proposed for the corvette part of the competition and rejected
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Defiance » 17 Apr 2019, 07:57

dmereifield wrote:That's more T26 size than T31 though, right? Presumably they don't have the budget (nor high end ASW requirement) for T26?


Their surface ship acquisition program (PROSUPER) has been suspended indefinitely, the Tamandere acquisition is more of a stop-gap measure as they accept they need more mass in the fleet to secure their EEZ. They still have a requirement (but no cash) for a 6000t+ frigate.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 17 Apr 2019, 08:12

donald_of_tokyo wrote:But, it will be more modern design, with much higher potential for export.

Reducing to four would be a totally reasonable thing to do right now, perhaps the RN should go one step further and reduce the FSS requirement by one to generate a little more cash for the T31.

At the moment the project is a folly designed by politicians, it is neither a capable addition for the RN, or attractive product for export. That need correcting as a priority.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Apr 2019, 08:32

shark bait, agree it’s a politicians folly driven by the treasury, but I guess also the behaviour of BAE (who have to be fair pushed to it).

The best outcome remains somehow squeezing another one or two T26s out with additional Patrol Sloops to fulfil the “Global Flagpole” role. Next would be a Utility Multirole Sloop as a start of the MHPC programme but it feels a little early.

The heady days of going towards a Absalon design went when the FLSS was announced IMO.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Apr 2019, 09:00

Repulse wrote:shark bait, agree it’s a politicians folly driven by the treasury, but I guess also the behaviour of BAE (who have to be fair pushed to it).

The best outcome remains somehow squeezing another one or two T26s out with additional Patrol Sloops to fulfil the “Global Flagpole” role. Next would be a Utility Multirole Sloop as a start of the MHPC programme but it feels a little early.

The heady days of going towards a Absalon design went when the FLSS was announced IMO.


I agree with pretty much everything here I just can’t understand RN thinking when it comes to the T31, what can a Leander style vessel do that a Absalon style one can’t ?
We simply are not getting a proper frigate out of this program so why not try to get the most flexible vessel we can.

Now I was against an absalon style at first in fear it’ll put the bays or Albion’s at risk but looking at what’s being put on offer now IMO an absalon style would be if so much more use

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 17 Apr 2019, 09:04

Repulse wrote:The best outcome remains somehow squeezing another one or two T26s out

That ship has already sailed, the cash is laid down and the welders are at work. Any change to that now is a massive effort, better to take the path of least resistance.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Apr 2019, 09:16

donald_of_tokyo wrote:RN shall reduce the number of hull to 4, and order the ship builder to spend 1 hull unit-cost equivalent on "improving their design".
From where we are today I think this could be the best outcome.

By committing to a follow-on batch, HMG wouldn't really be dropping a hull as such.

With the Waves, RB1's, RB2's and the proposed FLSS vessels, RN has plenty of mass for low threat patrol duties. A Wave/Bay/RB2 combination should take care of APT(N) and APT(S) for example with little need for a T31 to regularly deploy in these areas as suggested. Two T31's could be retained in the UK for FRE and the remaining two forward based EoS.

Today's RN patrol/escort fleet, the magical 24 number has been reached.

6 T45
8 T23 ASW
5 T23 GP
5 RB2

How does RN maintain 24 hulls for patrol/escort duties with current planning?

6 T45
8 T26
5 T31
5 RB2

Seems straightforward but the RB1's won't be retained forever at which point at least 3 RB2's will permanently deploy to the UK EEZ. The 4th RB2 will deploy to the Falklands and 5th possibly to the Caribbean, although without an embarked helicopter it's not ideally suited to such a role IMO.

So to maintain hull numbers going forward RN will need to either build 3 extra Frigates T31/T26 or alternatively build 3 more EEZ patrol vessels to take over from the retiring RB1's and retain the RB2's in the wider patrol fleet.

Which is the most likely outcome?

Probably the cheapest but if 3 extra T26's were ordered, a basic £250m Leander type vessel might be the best option for the T31. This seems highly unlikely given the current trajectory.

If three extra T31's were ordered it would make sense to build at least some of them with an improved spec. Eight £250m T31's would be a massive long term degradation of RN capability in my opinion. Frigates in name only.

The third option is rarely discussed but could be the most likely. To prevent further cuts could building three cheap EEZ patrol vessels now be a realistic option? I really hope not but it is a plausible outcome. Perhaps building three RB3's would be a compromise option.

One thing is for sure, to maintain the 24 hulls we have today extra money will need to be found to fill the gap when the RB1's decommission. Depending on which of the options above is chosen that will be somewhere between £200k and £2bn+. I suspect the former is much more likely than the latter.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Apr 2019, 09:18

shark bait wrote:
Repulse wrote:The best outcome remains somehow squeezing another one or two T26s out

That ship has already sailed, the cash is laid down and the welders are at work. Any change to that now is a massive effort, better to take the path of least resistance.


Has it though, only the first three are ordered. What is stopping them from order 6 or 7 in the second batch and working on a shorter drumbeat (e.g. 18 months rather than 24)?
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Apr 2019, 09:49

Repulse wrote:Has it though, only the first three are ordered. What is stopping them from order 6 or 7 in the second batch and working on a shorter drumbeat (e.g. 18 months rather than 24)?
Nothing, if HMG finds the money BAE will soon find the capacity. The whole programme has been artificially slowed to a snails pace to keep within treasury prescribed in-year budgets. It is RN and the taxpayer that will ultimately lose out, not BAE.

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Apr 2019, 13:31

Poiuytrewq wrote:The third option is rarely discussed but could be the most likely. To prevent further cuts could building three cheap EEZ patrol vessels now be a realistic option? I really hope not but it is a plausible outcome. Perhaps building three RB3's would be a compromise option.


Without more cash it’s the only option. That’s why I don’t get the T31. It’s been pitched as a Frigate for political reasons, but it will never be a Frigate - the danger is people will believe it will be and then we end up with fewer proper T26 frigates and more compromised frigates like the Arrowhead being pitched.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 17 Apr 2019, 13:42

Poiuytrewq wrote:building three cheap EEZ patrol vessels now be a realistic option?


For what? They just built 5 the Navy didn't want.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Apr 2019, 14:45

Repulse wrote:Without more cash it’s the only option.
There is another option, it's even cheaper. Simply do nothing and allow numbers to reduce to 21 when the RB1's decommission.
compromised frigates like the Arrowhead being pitched.
If an Arrowhead 140 with 12CAMM etc can be built for £250m then there is no reason why a £375m A140 would be compromised for a GP Frigate. It's just a question of building them with a suitable specification.
shark bait wrote:
Poiuytrewq wrote:building three cheap EEZ patrol vessels now be a realistic option?
For what? They just built 5 the Navy didn't want.
I completely agree, I would arrange for the sale of all 5 RB2's, subsidised with foreign aid as I think they are unbalancing the fleet but it's clearly unlikley to happen. The truth is the RB2's are built to a higher spec than necessary for EEZ patrol around the UK. A suitable vessel for UK EEZ patrol should cost around £70m or around £210m for three RB1 replacements.

When the RB1's decommission three additional vessels will need to be found or we will drop from 24 to 21 again.

As I see it we either,

Do nothing: Free
Build 3 EEZ patrol vessels: ~£200m
Build 3 £250m T31's: ~£750m
Build 3 £400m T31's: ~£1.2bn
Build 3 £750m T26's: ~£2.25bn

Which one is most likely to happen?

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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Apr 2019, 16:08

Poiuytrewq wrote:Simply do nothing and allow numbers to reduce to 21 when the RB1's decommission


You could, and that will be a RN that is based primarily in the North Atlantic with an occasional visit elsewhere. It’s an option, but not one I’d advocate.

Poiuytrewq wrote:If an Arrowhead 140 with 12CAMM etc can be built for £250m then there is no reason why a £375m A140 would be compromised for a GP Frigate. It's just a question of building them with a suitable specification.


The T26 (and T45) will be the benchmark needed to operate in contested waters or against peer navies. Even your paragraph spells it out with the “if”s and “suitable” (a.k.a. compromised) specifications. If the UK is to have a credible defence it needs CASD and the ability to deploy a first rate task group and submarines.
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Re: Current & Future Escorts - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Apr 2019, 16:33

Repulse wrote:You could, and that will be a RN that is based primarily in the North Atlantic with an occasional visit elsewhere. It’s an option, but not one I’d advocate.
Completely agree but my main point is about facing up to the consequences of current planning. RN has managed to hit the 24 target but how will it retain that mass when the RB1's are decommissioned?

Currently there is no answer to that and at best the RB1's have around 10yrs left. With the order books filling up with T26/T31/FSS/FLSS it will require a clear plan and more money to sort it or the fleet will shrink again.

Repulse wrote:The T26 (and T45) will be the benchmark needed to operate in contested waters or against peer navies. Even your paragraph spells it out with the “if”s and “suitable” (a.k.a. compromised) specifications. If the UK is to have a credible defence it needs CASD and the ability to deploy a first rate task group and submarines.
Agreed. That's why getting the maximum number of T26's into the water remains the priority. However if HMG refuses to build more T26's RN will have to build more Frigates of some description. Fourteen escorts is nowhere near enough no matter how capable and cutting edge they might be.


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