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.