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River Class (OPV) (RN)

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 13 Sep 2019, 16:54

Tempest414 wrote:We have seen the Thai B2 design fitted with 76mm and decoys plus a mock up of the second Thai navy B2 with anti-ship missiles so it is doable but why the RN would want to go that far is the question that grabbing me . We have talked in past about what could be done with a B2 and what could fitted and the list is long but this is a little mad.

We have all been slamming BAE and the MOD about the cost of the River B2's but could the hulls have been built to a corvette standard ? sound unlikely


IMO if an upgrade is wanted then it has to be sensible these are still only OPVs after all. I’d go for something like 3 x 30mm fitted with LLM then 2 large ISOs one either side of the funnel/crane, one to house and maintain a rotary UAV the other as a control room.
I think anything really more than this would just be asking for them to be put in situations they shouldn’t be and a waste of money.

I do believe the hull build standard is meant to be on the very upper limit of an OPV so I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s knocking on the door of a covert build standard.
We could of got more if they were planed for, for the cost we could of got 4-5 true global OPVs / patrol vessels with hangers and the lot, but it wasn’t about the cost and more to do with the last minuet rush as for some reason the RN kept thinking right until the last minuet that the T26 design would be done on time.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Caribbean » 13 Sep 2019, 17:48

Tempest414 wrote:the 2nd Thai navy B2 is in the water and is fitted with 1 x 76mm , 2 x 30mm , 4 x Harpoon missiles

The Harpoons sit where the crane is on the B2s, so you would lose the ability to self-load containers.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby RichardIC » 13 Sep 2019, 17:51

donald_of_tokyo wrote:https://www.defenceprocurementinternati ... -dsei-2019

Not sure how "reliable" this article is (I hope he is surely not mixing Leander and River B2). Independent issue is, if RN will be interested in this "apparently heavily armed" version, or not. I hope NOT, but

I wanna see the "model" stated as follows

A possible vision of the River class’s future, with enhanced lethality and ISR capabilities, was also on display at DSEI 2019. It included a 76 mm gun, decoy dispensers, anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles and the possibility of a towed array sonar, which is a proposal being studied jointly by the Royal Navy and manufacturer BAE systems.


The model sounds like the new Thai variant.

The article doesn't give the claims any attribution, so not reliable unfortunately.

And why would you write a story about a model and not take a snap of it on your phone? Not saying it wasn't there, but it's just odd.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 13 Sep 2019, 18:05

Caribbean wrote:
Tempest414 wrote:the 2nd Thai navy B2 is in the water and is fitted with 1 x 76mm , 2 x 30mm , 4 x Harpoon missiles

The Harpoons sit where the crane is on the B2s, so you would lose the ability to self-load containers.


Bang on I would keep the crane as will come in for off board systems later on

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 13 Sep 2019, 20:27

Would it not be more sensible to ensure that all of our Frigates are adequately armed before up-gunning the OPV's?

The idea that we need to up-gun the RB2's whilst at the same time introduce a class of drastically under-armed T31 Frigates seems perverse.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 13 Sep 2019, 20:43

Poiuytrewq, it would be perverse, but then what is the RN thought process here. Assuming that all 8 T26s and 6 T45s are tied up on CSG and TAPS and the B1 Rivers are retained for U.K. Fisheries, then all other “warship” duties will need to be performed by the 5 T31s and 5 B2 Rivers.

Assuming that the RN vision still includes operating 2 LSGs, which would be a mobile regional fleet, then this would take up 4 of the 5 T31s as the B2 Rivers would be less suited to the role due to not having RAS capabilities.

Use the remaining T31 for FRE, then this only leaves the B2 Rivers for permanent forward basing in strategic choke points. Assuming this is the Gulf and perhaps Singapore, the up-arming the B2s start to make sense.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby shark bait » 16 Sep 2019, 09:09

I struggle to see the advantage here. What would a future up-gunned OPV do that it can't do today?
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 16 Sep 2019, 10:26

This will depend on where we are going to deploy our new B2's and what they are likely to face. What we now know is HMS Forth will be deployed to the Falklands and HMS Medway to AP-N. when Forth arrives in the Falklands she will be facing a Argentina that is rebuilding its Airforce and Navy so one needs to ask will Forth's 30mm be enough or would it be better off fitted with 1 x 40mm with 3P ammo and 2 x 30mm giving it more punch in both air and surface defence. again Medway will be facing drug outfits spending more and more money on better kit now what is needed is a helicopter however a UAV is what it can deploy so maybe a UAV that can carry 2 LMM might be a good fit it all things that need to be looked at

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby SKB » 16 Sep 2019, 21:24



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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby S M H » 16 Sep 2019, 21:34

Tempest414 wrote: on where we are going to deploy our new B2's and what they are likely to face. What we now know is HMS Forth will be deployed to the Falklands and HMS Medway to AP-N. when Forth arrives in the Falklands she will be facing a Argentina that is rebuilding its Airforce and Navy so one needs to ask will Forth's 30mm be enough or would it be better off fitted with 1 x 40mm with 3P ammo and 2 x 30mm giving it more punch in both air and surface defence.
Faith, Hope, Charity & Desperation provide adequate cover for the Falklands river at present. But the weapons fit of the Type 31 provides a future support structure should the Equipment requirement for the Falklands need up arming to face future theatre threat requirements. Without crippling bespoke procurement and support costs.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 16 Sep 2019, 22:00

shark bait wrote:I struggle to see the advantage here. What would a future up-gunned OPV do that it can't do today?


As per one of my Escort Thread posts, the answer starts with the question how the 5 B2s and 5 T31s be deployed to cover the FRE, NATO, Forward Based and Future Commando LSG requirements.

Personally I think HMS Clyde should be bought and retained as the Falklands Patrol Ship, but assuming not and assuming the 3 B1s are retained for Fisheries then I’d say, the 5 should be:

1) FPS
2) FRE Support
3) APT(N)
4) Med / Black Sea (for asserting freedom of navigation)
5) Horn of Africa

A UAV would be of benefit to them all. 4 & 5 would probably benefit in parts to either a 57mm or 40mm, with port and starboard 30mms in areas where they could be hassled by fast craft or UAVs.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby shark bait » 17 Sep 2019, 08:08

That's not an advantage, that's a list of places.

The only advantage I can think of is the River Class would looks way cooler with a 57mm up front. However in reality there is little reason for a skint Navy to be spending money here, its chucking good money at a problem that doesn't need fixing.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Caribbean » 17 Sep 2019, 12:46

If the RN follows through with its declared intent to deploy the RB2s worldwide, then it is likely that they will, at the very least, be transiting through some fairly risky area. In order to do that without themselves requiring an escort, a simple change to a main gun that is effective out to the visual horizon would be adequate to dissuade the majority of non-state actors and a significant portion of state-based ones from doing something foolish (the 30mm only has an effective range of c. 1500m, less than the old soviet 23mm AA systems that seem to be prevalent in certain parts of the world) . The point is not to fight, but make it apparent to a potential aggressor that they will, to put it bluntly, be dead long before you are in range of their weapons. Another factor is that the blast effect of a 40mm shell is around four times that of a 30mm shell, making it not only far more effective against the small fast-manoeuvering speedboats that it is likely to be deployed to counter, but effective against larger fast attack craft as well.

Of course a 57mm would be even more effective and a 76mm even more so, but I'm not sure what provision there is to mount a deck penetrating turret on the RB2, It could require significant re-engineering to mount it, whereas the 40mm comes in an NDP package (and there are also a number of new 40mm CTA-based systems around that are designed to simply drop in to an existing 20-30mm mount that might fulfil the CIWS function better than the Bofors - maybe not as good as Phalanx, but massively better than nothing at all).
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 17 Sep 2019, 13:50

shark bait wrote:That's not an advantage, that's a list of places.


Ok, what’s the advantage of a 57mm gun on a B2 River? For #5, it can more safely operate close to Yemeni and Somali coastlines where the threat of attack from fast craft and UAVs is increasing. Alternatively buy more T31s with 57mms to do the same, but spend more money that isn’t there.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Sep 2019, 15:18

As RN T31 program director said in the interview at DSEI 2019, "capability is relative issue", not absolute. So, let's start from the lower end:

- A River B2 as is, is best used as EEZ patrol, but cannot survive a few fast-boat attack, but
- a River B2 "slightly up-armed" with only LMMs on 30mm gun can. But, she cannot survive a dozen of fast-boats or Houthi-rebels single ASM attack, but
- a River B2 "significantly up-armed" with a 57mm gun will. But, she cannot survive a modest ASM attack (4-6 ASMs at once), but
- a T31 with 24 CAMM and 57mm gun will. But, she cannot survive an "alpha-strike" like ASM attack (saturation attack with 40-60 ASMs), but
- a pair of T26 and T45 can. But, this pair in White Sea, facing Russian threat cannot survive.

Apparently, everything is relative. Why you can be so sure, an up-armed River B2 is totally useless? The only issue is, where will she go.

Imaginary candidates:
- a "hound dog" role coupled with T23/T45 in Hormuz Strait = River B2 added with LMM. = counter only boats, and rely on escorts against ASMs.
- patrolling Red Sea or around Horn of Africa, coupled with land-based long-range patrol airplanes = River B2 with ESM/decoy system and a 57mm gun with guided rounds = counter a single ASM attack, or single fast-boat attack (including suicide bombs)
- a River B2 added with a 57mm gun will be a good "show the flag" in Falklands, especially now most of the Argentina navy assets are shifting into OPV.

Not many, actually, but not zero. I won't be surprised if RN do that, or just conclude "no up-arming". It is just a matter of choice, not a black and white logic.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 17 Sep 2019, 16:07

Practical point of view, I do not want to spend many money, and what is more, man-power, on up-arming River B2. If there be such resource, we shall invest it on T23/T26/T45/T31 (such as interim AShM). But, we all know there are two types of budget, and one of them is "one-shot money". Good example is the 2018-2019 transformation budget, for autonomous equipments and FLSS. And, this budget sometimes comes as a surprise (because Treasury is "relatively" friendly to one-shot money, as expected).

[With one-shot money] Typical of up-arming with one-shot money and zero man-power increase is, modular attachments. In this case,
- adding LMM on the 30mm gun and/or
- adding 20mm CIWS
come in as candidates. Both needs to be pre-wired, but not need to be always installed. And, if not installed, it needs only a limited additional man-power. If properly designed, it will also not require additional "on-board" maintenance. In this case, zero additional man-power.

[For free] Other possibility is adding USV assets, but it will be budgeted elsewhere (good possibility). Also, LMM/StarStreak manned-launchers operated by RM is already there, can be done anytime, and do not need any investments (but need some training).

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby shark bait » 17 Sep 2019, 20:03

So it sounds like the advantage is enabling the Rivers to counter the Hybrid/Asymmetric threats at sea. It's not dissimilar to the US Coast Guard using their Offshore-Cutters overseas. The US are using increasingly sending cutters across the Pacific to engage with foreigncoast guards, and help tackle criminal activity at sea, contributing to stability on small island nations. But it is really to counter Chinese activity in the region. would something similar be worth while to the UK?

I think it could be. A low cost to operate and high availability Patrol-Cutter could help spread the UK influence by supporting smaller nations.

Unfortunately I don't see the River Class as the right platform, they just seem a little too small for the globe trotting role. The larger Holland Class or Heritage-class cutter seem well suited to that kind of role. If the River Class could be turned into a Patrol Cutter with a 10m extension for extra range, and critically a hanger, then the concept may be workable.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 17 Sep 2019, 20:24

shark bait, an extended River with hangar would have been lovely, and something that I think should still be on the wish list; but we are where we are and looking to maximise the value of the B2s with a very modest budget is the right thing to do. I know it’s far from ideal, but given that there was a telescopic hangar designed by BAE for B1 export pitches, is there anything similar for the B2? Not a permanent feature but a Wildcat would add significant capabilities to a Hybrid/Asymmetric role as you describe it.
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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 17 Sep 2019, 21:11

It all depends what we’ll want them to do.

At the low end it could be something like an extra 2 30mm with all 3 having LLM

At the higher end we could have a 57mm up front, 2 30mm with LLM and 2 permanent ISO’s one either side of the funnel / crane one to house and maintain a UAV the other as it’s control room.

What would either of these be for though?

We also have to remember depending on how brexit goes we might end up need all 4 of the 5 in the EEZ with the 5th at Gib.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby dmereifield » 17 Sep 2019, 22:34

Jake1992 wrote:It all depends what we’ll want them to do.

At the low end it could be something like an extra 2 30mm with all 3 having LLM

At the higher end we could have a 57mm up front, 2 30mm with LLM and 2 permanent ISO’s one either side of the funnel / crane one to house and maintain a UAV the other as it’s control room.

What would either of these be for though?

We also have to remember depending on how brexit goes we might end up need all 4 of the 5 in the EEZ with the 5th at Gib.


You might be a bit optimistic, I dare say "an extra 2 30mm with all 3 having LLM" is more likely to be the high end, rather than the low end, of what we should be expecting

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby tomuk » 17 Sep 2019, 23:36

It's not only the size of gun and missile fit that determines where the ship can go. It is also about survivability.
I believe compared to the B1s the B2s do have revised watertight bulkheads, extra kevlar armour and better firefighting capability. How far these improvements go only the RN would know.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Sep 2019, 06:15

tomuk wrote: compared to the B1s the B2s do have revised watertight bulkheads, extra kevlar armour and better firefighting capability. How far these improvements go

All in the category to keep it from sinking (saving the crew; mission kill comes pretty easily... but then it is the time to call the cavalry)
- however, magazines were enlarged (and there is more of them, including one for the helo pad), too, for upgradability and usefulness as 'auxilaries'

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 18 Sep 2019, 08:11

dmereifield wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:It all depends what we’ll want them to do.

At the low end it could be something like an extra 2 30mm with all 3 having LLM

At the higher end we could have a 57mm up front, 2 30mm with LLM and 2 permanent ISO’s one either side of the funnel / crane one to house and maintain a UAV the other as it’s control room.

What would either of these be for though?

We also have to remember depending on how brexit goes we might end up need all 4 of the 5 in the EEZ with the 5th at Gib.


You might be a bit optimistic, I dare say "an extra 2 30mm with all 3 having LLM" is more likely to be the high end, rather than the low end, of what we should be expecting


If you say a triple 30mm with LLM set up is the top end what would you consider the low end upgrade that would make any real difference to there capabilities?

tomuk wrote:It's not only the size of gun and missile fit that determines where the ship can go. It is also about survivability.
I believe compared to the B1s the B2s do have revised watertight bulkheads, extra kevlar armour and better firefighting capability. How far these improvements go only the RN would know.


Yes armament is not the only factor in survivability but it’s a key factor, 30mm with LLM give a much greater chance of surviving fact attack craft, 57mm gives basic air defence and acts a deterrent again quiet a few. A T45 has much greater survivability in its hull build but if you strip all armament off leaving only one 30mm it’s suddenly a lot less survivable.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 18 Sep 2019, 08:54

In my opinion all this talk about up-arming the OPV's is a classic case of mission creep.

Patrolling around the Falklands, Gibraltar and the Caribbean does not require anything more than a 30mm. If that changes then it's the job for a Frigate or Corvette anyway.

The RB2's should concentrate on patrolling the UK EEZ or very low threat areas away from the choke points and flash points.

Any extra money should be diverted into the T31 programme to make them as credible as possible.

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Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 18 Sep 2019, 09:22

Poiuytrewq wrote:In my opinion all this talk about up-arming the OPV's is a classic case of mission creep.

Patrolling around the Falklands, Gibraltar and the Caribbean does not require anything more than a 30mm. If that changes then it's the job for a Frigate or Corvette anyway.

The RB2's should concentrate on patrolling the UK EEZ or very low threat areas away from the choke points and flash points.

Any extra money should be diverted into the T31 programme to make them as credible as possible.


This is why I said any uparming needs to look at what role they’d be asked to do, as uparming for uparmings sake is just a waste.

It’s also why I mentioned brexit will determine the numbers needed for UK EEZ


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