Poiuytrewq wrote:With the Waves, RB1's, RB2's and the proposed FLSS vessels, RN has plenty of mass for low threat patrol duties.
Poiuytrewq wrote:shark bait 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.
Replaying old ground but disagree completely. The B2 will be a capable ship and will be doing rather more than just chasing ships or sailing around the UK EEZ. The idea of regularly using Bays (of which one will be in the Gulf and the other two on HADR/ARG duties) or Tankers which should be supporting deployments is nuts IMO.
The “magic” figure of 24 has been reported in the press and mentioned before, but I see the number being 30 as UK EEZ protection and FIGS should be included, leaving MCM to one side. Some will state that fisheries is not that complex and does not need the RN or ships of the B2 level, but protecting UK waters will get more complex, not less, and I also see another 10 years of life in the B1s yet.
A hi/lo mix for the 30 is a given, though some think a mid (Arrowhead) level is needed also - I don’t. I see a first rate (T26/T45) hi to a volume as much as can be afforded and a low which can fulfil the forward presence/diplomatic/low level threat role (a B2 River or derivation there of).
If no money is forthcoming, and squeezing another T26 out is not possible, then I see that probably the best option would be to go for a fleet of 8 B3 Rivers, evolved from the B2 - why?
- It’s a known design that can be evolved at low risk,
- Training and support costs can be shared with another 8 ships already in the fleet.
- A forward based model has already been proven with HMS Clyde.
- The number in the class and level of complexity would allow a factory to be relatively cheaply built and then used for future B1/B2 replacements and MHC ships.
- The evolved design would be of interest to countries like Brazil and Thailand.
If we take off the TOBA and support & maintenance package costs, and adjust for inflation, then I’d say a new B2 River build would be @ £100mn per unit at today’s prices, not including any efficiency gain from implementing a factory model. Using the £1.25bn would give an average @ £160mn per unit - now the question is what would the £60mn additional buy?
My view is £60mn would buy another 10m in length, a 57mm medium gun, 12 CAMM VLS, Artisan, a Wildcat hangar and entry level of EW defence kit.
This combined B1/B2/B3 fleet IMO would give the RN significant flexibility and options to tackle everything outside of major war fighting.