Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Jake1992 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 10 May 2022, 15:18 https://www.navalnews.com/event-news/in ... flat-tops/ Very interesting development.

This is one of the reasons why the MRSS needs much more careful thought than the standard LPD or LSD type designs. Is STOL drones the future? Perhaps not but they may well be the crossover to whatever the future ultimately becomes.

Having any CVF within 200km of a hostile shoreline would seem dangerous in today’s battle space so IMO the MRSS will have to possess the ability to launch and recover STOL drones at the very least while Amphibious Ops are underway. This would apply for large scale Amphibious Ops and well as short endurance littoral strike missions.

Also, the ability to operate in much the same way as sea guardian (albeit with a 30hr endurance) could be a game changer for the LSG’s. What could be achieved when combined with XLUUV’s, a modest number of Merlin and perhaps one or two of either RB2/T31/T32 with Captas 1,2 or 4 compact? Perhaps a pretty comprehensive ASW screen for a very modest cost when compared with two or three T26 and Merlin plus a SSN.

It would be good to see some serious experimentation get underway with STOL drones and XLUUV’s well in advance of any decisions being made about the Amphib replacements.
It is interesting but the V-247 offers a similar capability while being able to operate off any vessel that can operate a merlin

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Jake1992 wrote: 10 May 2022, 17:32 It is interesting but the V-247 offers a similar capability while being able to operate off any vessel that can operate a merlin
At what cost?

IMO the rate of attrition of these drones is going to be very high especially when used against a peer or near peer adversary. As such, the cost of each drone will need to be very modest to allow large numbers to be purchased.

A purchase of large quantities would help drive down the cost of each unit but the chosen design needs to be relatively simple from the outset or we are going to end with up a small number of very high value platforms, again.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Jake1992 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 10 May 2022, 20:59
Jake1992 wrote: 10 May 2022, 17:32 It is interesting but the V-247 offers a similar capability while being able to operate off any vessel that can operate a merlin
At what cost?

IMO the rate of attrition of these drones is going to be very high especially when used against a peer or near peer adversary. As such, the cost of each drone will need to be very modest to allow large numbers to be purchased.

A purchase of large quantities would help drive down the cost of each unit but the chosen design needs to be relatively simple from the outset or we are going to end with up a small number of very high value platforms, again.

If I remember right current cost of Reaper is around £19m per unit, will the STOL variant be cheaper or more expensive ?

From what I read around the V-247 the USMC stated a target price of less than £25m per unit, so greater than the Reapers but if the other variants such as AEW and Electronic warfare are brought along with their ability to be operated from anywhere a merlin can be it could be justified.

As for a drone that is expect to be lost so needs to be cheap then neither are really an option as they would be a similar lose to a wildcat.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by SW1 »

The USMC have discontinued there interest in v-247.

Why would such a capability need to operate of a frigate?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Jake1992 wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:17 As for a drone that is expect to be lost so needs to be cheap then neither are really an option as they would be a similar lose to a wildcat.
Exactly. It is the capability that is the important part.

The next generation of drones need to be built down to a cost as they will be the tip of the spear.

A Bayraktar TB2 costs around £1.5m per unit. That’s excellent value for money considering the capability. Even if a UK STOL equivalent cost twice that amount at around £3m to £5m it is still very good value. An initial wave of 15 to 20 such drones carrying 8 to 10 low cost PGM’s each may only cost the equivalent of one or at most two F35b. Excellent value considering the impact such a force could unleash.

The UK needs to be at the forefront of such technology and stop playing catch-up.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by SW1 »

Hence project mosquito the loyal wingman

MQ9 is a long endurance ISTAR with attack capability

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:44
Jake1992 wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:17 As for a drone that is expect to be lost so needs to be cheap then neither are really an option as they would be a similar lose to a wildcat.
Exactly. It is the capability that is the important part.

The next generation of drones need to be built down to a cost as they will be the tip of the spear.

A Bayraktar TB2 costs around £1.5m per unit. That’s excellent value for money considering the capability. Even if a UK STOL equivalent cost twice that amount at around £3m to £5m it is still very good value. An initial wave of 15 to 20 such drones carrying 8 to 10 low cost PGM’s each may only cost the equivalent of one or at most two F35b. Excellent value considering the impact such a force could unleash.

The UK needs to be at the forefront of such technology and stop playing catch-up.
Agree on both counts.

The US has previously gone for very capable but very epensive drones. The Turks were forced by necessity of using cheaper non-US compenents in making the Bayraktar TB2 and we have also seen the Houthi rebels getting very good use out of cheap drones. The phrase "quantity has a quality all of it's own" comes to mind.

Ideally the UK can develop a combination of fielding larger numbers of smaller, cheaper, less capable disposable drones integrated and linked to a smaller number of more capable drones with better sensors etc.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

SW1 wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:49 Hence project mosquito the loyal wingman
Project Mosquito is neither low cost or STOL.

I have always believed Project Mosquito to be a way to fill the CVF’s with a lower cost alternative to the £90m F35b.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by SW1 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 10 May 2022, 23:10
SW1 wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:49 Hence project mosquito the loyal wingman
Project Mosquito is neither low cost or STOL.

I have always believed Project Mosquito to be a way to fill the CVF’s with a lower cost alternative to the £90m F35b.
Depends what your defining as low cost mosquito is very much aiming for low cost a/c.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 10 May 2022, 22:28 The US has previously gone for very capable but very epensive drones.
Primarily for conflicts against insurgents rather than a peer on peer conflict. Against a peer rival the high rate of attrition of such valuable assets would in all likelihood be unsustainable for the UK.
wargame_insomniac wrote: 10 May 2022, 22:28 Ideally the UK can develop a combination of fielding larger numbers of smaller, cheaper, less capable disposable drones integrated and linked to a smaller number of more capable drones with better sensors etc.
Exactly, an interesting point is how disposable is disposable?

Is the future suicide drones or low cost Bayraktar style drones. The simple answer is probably both have a vital role to play in future conflicts.

Drones in the £15m to £20m category may have a useful role combating insurgents over vast distances or in long endurance ASW missions. Against a peer rival in a high intensity conflict they are likely to get chewed up very fast unless they are seriously stealthy.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by SD67 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 10 May 2022, 23:27
wargame_insomniac wrote: 10 May 2022, 22:28 The US has previously gone for very capable but very epensive drones.
Primarily for conflicts against insurgents rather than a peer on peer conflict. Against a peer rival the high rate of attrition of such valuable assets would in all likelihood be unsustainable for the UK.
wargame_insomniac wrote: 10 May 2022, 22:28 Ideally the UK can develop a combination of fielding larger numbers of smaller, cheaper, less capable disposable drones integrated and linked to a smaller number of more capable drones with better sensors etc.
Exactly, an interesting point is how disposable is disposable?

Is the future suicide drones or low cost Bayraktar style drones. The simple answer is probably both have a vital role to play in future conflicts.

Drones in the £15m to £20m category may have a useful role combating insurgents over vast distances or in long endurance ASW missions. Against a peer rival in a high intensity conflict they are likely to get chewed up very fast unless they are seriously stealthy.
I don’t really get the concept of a 20£ million drone. At the end of the day it’s a non stealthy subsonic aircraft why not just build a new batch of Hawk200 if we want a light strike capbility.

Unless as you say it’s a niche asset - very long endurance. But the focus now must surely be on near peer conflict were not going back to Afghanistan anytime soon.

Alternatively if we’re planning for a suicide mission keep it cheap. Don’t we already have a single use subsonic suicide drone it’s called a TLAM - a million a pop.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Lord Jim »

I cannot see the planned MRSS turning out to be mini flat tops operating squadrons of UAS. That is not the intended role as the requirement stands and there are plenty of portable UAS that can be carried into the field by RM and SF including "Suicide" UAS such as Switchblade. The FCF and associated MRSS are a raiding force, that is able to support Allies but not in a persistent manner. That is the job of the Army's high readiness units such as 16AA BCT and the two light BCTs. The Royal Engineers attached to both these BCT types could easily build a rough airstrip using steel matting to operate larger UAS similar to the TB2 once in theatre.

Saying that there would be nothing stopping the use of a medium sized Catapult launched and Net caught UAS for ISTAR of a MRSS.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Jake1992 »

SW1 wrote: 10 May 2022, 21:26 The USMC have discontinued there interest in v-247.

Why would such a capability need to operate of a frigate?
They did but they have now reinstated the program.

I’m not say it would be needed off a frigate but rather the V-247 with its size and vertical take off ability allows for such ie it doesn’t need a run way.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Lord Jim wrote: 11 May 2022, 03:50 I cannot see the planned MRSS turning out to be mini flat tops operating squadrons of UAS.
Impossible to predict either way at present but it’s clear current concepts for the MRSS such as Ellida have little capacity for embarking medium to large drones or even helicopters.

MRSS still looks like it was designed to be used in conjunction with a CVF acting as an LPH. Hopefully at some point sense will prevail and the whole MRSS concept will get a thorough re-think.

I would not at all be surprised if the eventual outcome was 2 modest LHD plus 4 Ellida style vessels split between two variants possibly even sharing the same hull and basic design. The first variant having a fixed hanger capable of embarking up to 4 Merlin and the second variant having a smaller hanger but maximising medical facilities.

This would allow the one LHD and one MRSS to form the basis of each LSG and the remaining two MRSS could focus on seasonal or emergency HADR deployments in the East/West Africa etc.

Having a common hull design for both LHD and LPD is nothing new and would help ensure RN’s replacement Amphibious fleet is not virtually obsolete before it hits water as drone technology continues to evolve at a high tempo.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Jake1992 wrote: 10 May 2022, 17:32 It is interesting but the V-247 offers a similar capability while being able to operate off any vessel that can operate a merlin
V-247 flies with 5000-6000 shp engine, while MQ-9B with 900 shp one. Surely not in the same league. As different as F-35 (with 190kN power) and BAE Hawk (with 29kN power).

Very different type of UAVs, which can handle very different type of operations. Anyway, MQ-9B STOL's merit is RAF already is going to operate the main air-frame, and it is only the new wing to apply. All the mission systems procured for MQ-9B can be used.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 11 May 2022, 08:48
Lord Jim wrote: 11 May 2022, 03:50 I cannot see the planned MRSS turning out to be mini flat tops operating squadrons of UAS.
Impossible to predict either way at present but it’s clear current concepts for the MRSS such as Ellida have little capacity for embarking medium to large drones or even helicopters.

MRSS still looks like it was designed to be used in conjunction with a CVF acting as an LPH. Hopefully at some point sense will prevail and the whole MRSS concept will get a thorough re-think.

I would not at all be surprised if the eventual outcome was 2 modest LHD plus 4 Ellida style vessels split between two variants possibly even sharing the same hull and basic design. The first variant having a fixed hanger capable of embarking up to 4 Merlin and the second variant having a smaller hanger but maximising medical facilities.

This would allow the one LHD and one MRSS to form the basis of each LSG and the remaining two MRSS could focus on seasonal or emergency HADR deployments in the East/West Africa etc.

Having a common hull design for both LHD and LPD is nothing new and would help ensure RN’s replacement Amphibious fleet is not virtually obsolete before it hits water as drone technology continues to evolve at a high tempo.
I also think MRSS will not needed to be capable of handling MQ-9B STOL class UAVs. Much smaller one will be better. If any MQ-9B be needed, shall find friendly air-base. On the other hand, MRSS must be a UAV/USV mother ship, but for more numbers of smaller ones. Inflating MRSS requirement will simply kill them, I'm afraid.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Tempest414 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 11 May 2022, 08:48
Lord Jim wrote: 11 May 2022, 03:50 I cannot see the planned MRSS turning out to be mini flat tops operating squadrons of UAS.
Impossible to predict either way at present but it’s clear current concepts for the MRSS such as Ellida have little capacity for embarking medium to large drones or even helicopters.

MRSS still looks like it was designed to be used in conjunction with a CVF acting as an LPH. Hopefully at some point sense will prevail and the whole MRSS concept will get a thorough re-think.

I would not at all be surprised if the eventual outcome was 2 modest LHD plus 4 Ellida style vessels split between two variants possibly even sharing the same hull and basic design. The first variant having a fixed hanger capable of embarking up to 4 Merlin and the second variant having a smaller hanger but maximising medical facilities.

This would allow the one LHD and one MRSS to form the basis of each LSG and the remaining two MRSS could focus on seasonal or emergency HADR deployments in the East/West Africa etc.

Having a common hull design for both LHD and LPD is nothing new and would help ensure RN’s replacement Amphibious fleet is not virtually obsolete before it hits water as drone technology continues to evolve at a high tempo.
I still like the Enforcer concept with 2 x Enforcer 18000 LHD's and 4 x Enforcer 10000 LPD's

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Scimitar54 »

Probably too small, but 3 plus 3 would be better.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by wargame_insomniac »

I am guessing with 6 ships that RN would hope to have 2-3 ships operational at a time. This would be to cover the two LSG.

If they double staffed two ships in LSG(S) like Montrose/ Spey / Tamar and alternated the other fout ships for LSG(N) then 3+3 split might work well. And by double staffing I mean the three-watch system that the overseas deployed ships use with any two watches serving o rotation to maximise the time on deployment whilst still allowing the crew to have time in UK for leave and training etc.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Lord Jim »

Remember this ship is going to be designed to carry the maximum of a reinforce Company of RM and SF with sufficient ship to shore connector, be they Helicopter or RHIBs or something similar, to carry our Raiding and Recce missions. The limited use of UAS would be a very useful capability to have. The current LSG North is a case of using what we have, and contains vessels far larger than what is needed for the MRSS and what is will need to carry if the FCF is still the way forward.

We are not going to be landing full Commandos over the beach like we did until recently and 3 Cmdo Brigade HQ, is not a more administrative formation than a combat command. If at some point in the future we carry outt another significant reorganisation of the RM to return it to a full amphibious combat Brigade then multiple MRSS will have to be used as well as new shipping being ordered.

Even now for operations in the far north under NATO, we would probably utilise two RM LSUs utilising two MRSS, operating either together of separate to carry out significant Recce, Raiding and harassment operation against the enemy be it in Norway or possible Sweden or Finland in the future, Small RM teams could even be sent to the latter two without a MRSS, to operate amongst the multiple island archipelagos that exist. The teams and their raiding craft could be flown in, avoiding the use of the MRSS in the hostile and contested Baltic.

The budget for the MRSS is going to be tight, with all the other high priority programmes the MoD will be running, and will be competing with the Dreadnought class SSBNs, T-26, FSSS and T-32 with regards to ship building capacity. A design similar to Damen Enforce 7000 could be the on the larger side for the MRSS, but could also have the lowest risk.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by jedibeeftrix »

Lord Jim wrote: 12 May 2022, 04:40 FCF is still the way forward
do we know what the way forward is with FCF, such that we can pronounce with confidence on whether we are deviating from the dream or otherwise?
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

jedibeeftrix wrote: 12 May 2022, 09:19 do we know what the way forward is with FCF, such that we can pronounce with confidence on whether we are deviating from the dream or otherwise?
And how does adding Sweden and Finland to the NATO umbrella change the scale of the ambition?
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by SW1 »

Adding Sweden and Finland significantly strengthens the nato northern flank with highly capable military’s that live and work in artic conditions. So arguably reduces our persistence demands in this area.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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It means that Baltic becomes a NATO playground and with the North Sea key for the UK to insert forward land forces and logistics. JEF is and will be increasingly a key part of the UKs NATO commitment.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 12 May 2022, 12:07 …JEF is and will be increasingly a key part of the UKs NATO commitment.
Which will require substantially more Amphibious shipping than transporting/deploying a FCF Company for short endurance Littoral Strike Ops.
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