River Class (OPV) (RN)

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3182
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 13 times
France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

maybe 4 Fassmer 80 OPV's would be a good fit the last ones where built for 54 million dollars each the fassmer 80 has a range of 8000+ nmi at 12 konts and top speed of 22 knots has a flight deck & hangar crew of 30 to 60 has 2 boat bays plus a stern ramp and can carry 2 containers under the flight deck they also do a 90 meter which has 4 boat bays and a 27 knot top speed

User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3182
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 13 times
France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

dose anyone know what power is available at the waist points on a B2 as we know they can carry 6 tons + on these points if they had the power available they might be able to carry 2 x Phalanx on the waist these along with the 30mm and say 4 x 12.7 mm HMG's could allow the B2's when needed to help out in the Gulf

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 4265
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 26 times
Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Sorry interrupting, but great movie of HMS Trent, from UK embassy in Senegal. Surely, even if it is a simple OPV, having "something real" coming from UK will have strong effect in the embassy political relations.


donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 4265
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 26 times
Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Tempest414 wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 09:43 dose anyone know what power is available at the waist points on a B2 as we know they can carry 6 tons + on these points if they had the power available they might be able to carry 2 x Phalanx on the waist these along with the 30mm and say 4 x 12.7 mm HMG's could allow the B2's when needed to help out in the Gulf
Not known, to my understanding.

But we know River B2 carries 3 Cat C18 generator (for normal tasking) and one Cat C9 generator for emergency.
If we take a look at what a C18 is, it is 500-750 ekW generator in 60Hz.

Phalanx CIWS Blk1 needs 70 kW in action. Depending on the internal requirement load of River B2, I guess two more 70 kW power system will be managable to be carried. (but this is all guess).

see
https://www.finning.com/en_GB/company/n ... ssels.html
https://www.cat.com/en_MX/products/new/ ... 70077.html#
https://www.gd-ots.com/wp-content/uploa ... halanx.pdf

User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3182
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 13 times
France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

Many thanks of cause this would only be a short term fit just another part of the B2's tool kit so to say but it could be a quick fix option for a short term deployment where things have got a bit hotter like say the two B2's EoS . we could fly out 4 Phalanx's from the pool the ships pull in to a port and have them fitted and head out again

And the only reason for fitting 2 phalanx is because if we could get power to the waist points it would be a straight forward fit without removing anything plus it gives good all round cover with the 30mm up front

not that we would because we have CAMM but if this could be done then the next step could be a a pair of SeaRams giving the B2's 22 point defence missiles

wargame_insomniac
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 20 Nov 2021, 19:12
Has liked: 61 times
Been liked: 3 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Tempest414 wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 17:00 Many thanks of cause this would only be a short term fit just another part of the B2's tool kit so to say but it could be a quick fix option for a short term deployment where things have got a bit hotter like say the two B2's EoS . we could fly out 4 Phalanx's from the pool the ships pull in to a port and have them fitted and head out again

And the only reason for fitting 2 phalanx is because if we could get power to the waist points it would be a straight forward fit without removing anything plus it gives good all round cover with the 30mm up front

not that we would because we have CAMM but if this could be done then the next step could be a a pair of SeaRams giving the B2's 22 point defence missiles
I am intrigued by USN's use of Sea Rams. It seems that they are mainly using them as an alternative to Phalanx CIWS on support ships that don't have a primary AAW Missile such as MK41 VLS (with SM-2 or quad-packed ESSM). They have used Sea Ram on San Antonio LPD, Harpers Ferry LSD and some LCS.

I wonder how the Sea Ram system compares to the Martlett LMM for protection against small fast drones?

Could Sea Ram be usable to RN to give added AAW options if dedicated VLS can't be fitted?
Could it be a cost -effective extra layer of defence from ships as small as River B2's or as big as the carriers?

wargame_insomniac
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 20 Nov 2021, 19:12
Has liked: 61 times
Been liked: 3 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Repulse wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 08:41
wargame_insomniac wrote: 09 Dec 2021, 15:30 that would leave just 5*T31 to cover the lower intensity missions in Carribean, Med, South Atlantic, Gul and Indian Ocean and Pacific
But for the Carribean a B2 River and a RFA during hurricane season is sufficient. There is no need for a frigate no matter how light.

The South Atlantic is more complex, the threat is higher in terms of Argentina's ambitions, but their capabilities are v.limited and again a B2 River is a good answer as it remains at the constabulary level (and cannot be criticized as raising the tensions in the region).

Where I believe more is required is anything in the Eastern Med and EoS, though if China continues with ambitions to build a naval base in the west of Africa. My view is that the best approach for these regions is to have generally an unobtrusive presence, capable of training and surveillance and covert SF level ops, but backed by CSG / SSN globally deployable war fighting capabilities. Again, a slightly enhanced B2 River with a small hangar / mission bay for me coupled with the Survey ships is ok.

There is an argument that the RN should contribute frigates to global naval standing groups, but I don't believe that to be a priority. Being present and regularly deploying the CSGs to these regions IMO gives a bigger influence than draining resources on a frigate that would need to withdrawl at the first sign of a significant threat.
So what sort of Frigate and/or OPV presence do you think we need to cover each of the 7 following regions:
-Home waters and eastern North Atlantic
-Caribbean and western North Atlantic
-South Atlantic including both Falklands/South Georgia and Ascencion/St Helena/Tristan de Cunha
-Mediterranean including both Gibralter and Cyprus
-Oman including anti-piracy operations and protecting shipping in Gulf of Eden
-Bahrain including protecting shipping in Persian Gulf
-Singapore including protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca

(I emphasive the last three as RN have bases in each and are all vital to flow of merchant shipping through to Suez Canal).

We currently have 3*River B1's, 5*River B2's and a couple of T23 General Purpose Frigates to cover all of that space. Even with 5*T31's I still think we need more hulls to do basic patrolling etc. Hence why I can see the use of additional 3-5*River B3's (with enclosed hangar and slightly upgraded weaponry) for EoS.

Repulse
Donator
Posts: 2923
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 23 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Repulse »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 11 Dec 2021, 19:09 So what sort of Frigate and/or OPV presence do you think we need to cover each of the 7 following regions:
-Home waters and eastern North Atlantic
-Caribbean and western North Atlantic
-South Atlantic including both Falklands/South Georgia and Ascencion/St Helena/Tristan de Cunha
-Mediterranean including both Gibralter and Cyprus
-Oman including anti-piracy operations and protecting shipping in Gulf of Eden
-Bahrain including protecting shipping in Persian Gulf
-Singapore including protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca

(I emphasive the last three as RN have bases in each and are all vital to flow of merchant shipping through to Suez Canal).

We currently have 3*River B1's, 5*River B2's and a couple of T23 General Purpose Frigates to cover all of that space. Even with 5*T31's I still think we need more hulls to do basic patrolling etc. Hence why I can see the use of additional 3-5*River B3's (with enclosed hangar and slightly upgraded weaponry) for EoS.
When we are talking about presence, I assume we are talking about permanent forward presence. In addition, we will have presence from periodic deployments of the CSG (or break off parts of the CSG like we've seen this year).

-Home waters and eastern North Atlantic

2 x B2 Rivers plus MCSLVS plus T32/T26 FRE & TAPS

-Caribbean and western North Atlantic

B2 River plus seasonal RFA support.

-South Atlantic including both Falklands/South Georgia and Ascencion/St Helena/Tristan de Cunha

B2 River

-Mediterranean including both Gibralter and Cyprus

B2 River for Western Med and Western Africa
B3 River plus Echo Class (or equivalent) for Western Med

-Oman including anti-piracy operations and protecting shipping in Gulf of Eden

B3 River

-Bahrain including protecting shipping in Persian Gulf

T32 (fully armed) plus MCSLVS

-Singapore including protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca

We will not be protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca - Singapore is more than capable to do this.

Instead have roaming units in the Pacific Region - B3 River plus Echo Class (or equivalent)
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3182
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 13 times
France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 11 Dec 2021, 18:48
Tempest414 wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 17:00 Many thanks of cause this would only be a short term fit just another part of the B2's tool kit so to say but it could be a quick fix option for a short term deployment where things have got a bit hotter like say the two B2's EoS . we could fly out 4 Phalanx's from the pool the ships pull in to a port and have them fitted and head out again

And the only reason for fitting 2 phalanx is because if we could get power to the waist points it would be a straight forward fit without removing anything plus it gives good all round cover with the 30mm up front

not that we would because we have CAMM but if this could be done then the next step could be a a pair of SeaRams giving the B2's 22 point defence missiles
I am intrigued by USN's use of Sea Rams. It seems that they are mainly using them as an alternative to Phalanx CIWS on support ships that don't have a primary AAW Missile such as MK41 VLS (with SM-2 or quad-packed ESSM). They have used Sea Ram on San Antonio LPD, Harpers Ferry LSD and some LCS.

I wonder how the Sea Ram system compares to the Martlett LMM for protection against small fast drones?

Could Sea Ram be usable to RN to give added AAW options if dedicated VLS can't be fitted?
Could it be a cost -effective extra layer of defence from ships as small as River B2's or as big as the carriers?
The RAM missile is a Mach 2+ point defence air defence missile for use against anti ship missiles and so on when put with Phalanx to make SeaRam it extends the engagement range against anti ship missiles form 1.6km with Phalanx to 3 to 4 kms with SeaRam. The RN wont get RAM as it has CAMM and LMM the UK also has Star Streak

This all being said I would like to a B2 fitted with 2 x Phalanx as a test these along with the 30mm would give a high level of defence out to 5km all 360 degrees around the ship against most threats

User avatar
RichardIC
Senior Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: 10 May 2015, 16:59
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by RichardIC »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 11 Dec 2021, 19:09
Repulse wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 08:41
wargame_insomniac wrote: 09 Dec 2021, 15:30 that would leave just 5*T31 to cover the lower intensity missions in Carribean, Med, South Atlantic, Gul and Indian Ocean and Pacific
But for the Carribean a B2 River and a RFA during hurricane season is sufficient. There is no need for a frigate no matter how light.

The South Atlantic is more complex, the threat is higher in terms of Argentina's ambitions, but their capabilities are v.limited and again a B2 River is a good answer as it remains at the constabulary level (and cannot be criticized as raising the tensions in the region).

Where I believe more is required is anything in the Eastern Med and EoS, though if China continues with ambitions to build a naval base in the west of Africa. My view is that the best approach for these regions is to have generally an unobtrusive presence, capable of training and surveillance and covert SF level ops, but backed by CSG / SSN globally deployable war fighting capabilities. Again, a slightly enhanced B2 River with a small hangar / mission bay for me coupled with the Survey ships is ok.

There is an argument that the RN should contribute frigates to global naval standing groups, but I don't believe that to be a priority. Being present and regularly deploying the CSGs to these regions IMO gives a bigger influence than draining resources on a frigate that would need to withdrawl at the first sign of a significant threat.
So what sort of Frigate and/or OPV presence do you think we need to cover each of the 7 following regions:
-Home waters and eastern North Atlantic
-Caribbean and western North Atlantic
-South Atlantic including both Falklands/South Georgia and Ascencion/St Helena/Tristan de Cunha
-Mediterranean including both Gibralter and Cyprus
-Oman including anti-piracy operations and protecting shipping in Gulf of Eden
-Bahrain including protecting shipping in Persian Gulf
-Singapore including protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca

(I emphasive the last three as RN have bases in each and are all vital to flow of merchant shipping through to Suez Canal).

We currently have 3*River B1's, 5*River B2's and a couple of T23 General Purpose Frigates to cover all of that space. Even with 5*T31's I still think we need more hulls to do basic patrolling etc. Hence why I can see the use of additional 3-5*River B3's (with enclosed hangar and slightly upgraded weaponry) for EoS.
Home - fisheries, TAPS, FRE.
Caribbean - Hurricane season. Much better to use a Bay.
South Atlantic - River B2. It's really not complex.
Oman/Bahrain - Same tasking. What's there now. Frigate, MCMs, Bay. Should be looking to reduce as we ween off hydrocarbons
Singapore - You're having a laugh aren't you?

You realise the RN "base" in Singapore isn't a base, it's a support unit consisting mainly of a couple of dozen civilians.

User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3182
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 13 times
France

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

For me I think we need to move to a new way of thinking and this is where the LRG's would come in instead of have patrol frigates per say so for me we need to move on to a new system of 5 LRGs made up of a Absalon style type 32 and MRSS stationed like so

1) North Atlantic
2) West Africa
3) Med
4) Indian Ocean
5) Pacific

On top of this we would keep a B2 in the UK , Falklands and Carrabian and fit out the Type 31's better ready and able to escort the light carrier to join one or more of the LRGs

wargame_insomniac
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 20 Nov 2021, 19:12
Has liked: 61 times
Been liked: 3 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Repulse wrote: 12 Dec 2021, 10:31 When we are talking about presence, I assume we are talking about permanent forward presence. In addition, we will have presence from periodic deployments of the CSG (or break off parts of the CSG like we've seen this year).

-Home waters and eastern North Atlantic

2 x B2 Rivers plus MCSLVS plus T32/T26 FRE & TAPS

-Caribbean and western North Atlantic

B2 River plus seasonal RFA support.

-South Atlantic including both Falklands/South Georgia and Ascencion/St Helena/Tristan de Cunha

B2 River

-Mediterranean including both Gibralter and Cyprus

B2 River for Western Med and Western Africa
B3 River plus Echo Class (or equivalent) for Western Med

-Oman including anti-piracy operations and protecting shipping in Gulf of Eden

B3 River

-Bahrain including protecting shipping in Persian Gulf

T32 (fully armed) plus MCSLVS

-Singapore including protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca

We will not be protecting shipping in Straits of Malacca - Singapore is more than capable to do this.

Instead have roaming units in the Pacific Region - B3 River plus Echo Class (or equivalent)
Ok thanks - we are not far apart in terms of deploying OPV. The only difference is that I was assuming most of the T31's would be forward deployed too.

Repulse
Donator
Posts: 2923
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 23 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Repulse »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 12 Dec 2021, 19:00 The only difference is that I was assuming most of the T31's would be forward deployed too.
You are correct that on this the main difference is the type of units deployed, but overall I feel I have a different view on the required Strategy to implement "Global Britain", compared with most commentors on this forum and also with the currently stated RN direction (however I can see the latter changing).

Forward presence should not and cannot be seen through the prism of twentieth century thinking. Many things have changed - other countries have relatively caught up in terms of wealth, and whilst super powers still exist the military advantage between them and regional powers has significantly reduced. The UK maybe the 5th richest country on earth, but its a very different world and it's changing at a hell of a rate. The RN, and to a degree the USN, are no longer the policemen of the seas, so the way we see things need to change. Less policeman, more partner / advisor.

In this context I do not believe the RN should be trying to forward base policing units or deploying units that threaten regional power balances, unless we are prepared to stand up and see any conflicts through (and even then only for a limited period). For example the days where the RN is needed to police the Malacca straights during peacetime are long gone. There is still an argument to support multinational task groups, but even then we need to be careful not to be trying to do something long term that would actually be better executed by a local power partner.

For me, Forward Deployment is about presence - it is about showing the UK is globally interested in working in partnership with nations and having the ability to gather intelligence. It has a secondary role which is to protect low level UK interests and supporting HADR but these have limits. That's why a global OPV (Sloop) and Survey ships are perfect for this task. They are non-threatening with the ability to go more places, and engage in more ways than a frigate.

Don't get me wrong, coupled with this is the ability to execute Global Power Projection. This is coming with a war capable fighting force with the power and commitment to win if required - it is a statement of intent, our big stick. Global deployments such as CSG21 are required to prove it is capable and to influence allies and foes alike, but its not a permanent feature in any region. This is our CSGs and SSNs - which is where the bulk of our efforts and funds need to go in - as they say, "Winter is Coming" and we need to be ready.

What interests me is where the FCF and Amphibious force fits into this. Ideally IMO it would be a similar low level (smaller ships with small RM units) and war fighting (transport and entry for a large British Army deployment), but again I think we are in danger if getting into a muddled strategy (and it is a discussion for another thread!)
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 4265
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 26 times
Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Repulse wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 09:02...The RN, and to a degree the USN, are no longer the policemen of the seas, so the way we see things need to change. Less policeman, more partner / advisor.

...That's why a global OPV (Sloop) and Survey ships are perfect for this task. They are non-threatening with the ability to go more places, and engage in more ways than a frigate.

... This is coming with a war capable fighting force with the power and commitment to win if required - it is a statement of intent, our big stick. Global deployments such as CSG21 are required to prove it is capable and to influence allies and foes alike, but its not a permanent feature in any region. This is our CSGs and SSNs - which is where the bulk of our efforts and funds need to go in - as they say, "Winter is Coming" and we need to be ready.
Totally agree. Nice summary of I also feel as "what shall be done by RN" in this era.

Online
Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 6409
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Has liked: 10 times
Been liked: 41 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Lord Jim »

Considering the RN's only effective anti ship platform against anything larger than a FAC are our limited number of SSNs, our forward presence is definitely spelt with a small "p". The F-35s will have a viable anti ship role in the future hopefully but until then using Paveway IVs is the only option and I would not want to rick out limited number of F-35s in this way. The same is even more so for the Wildcat, for to engage Corvettes and larger targets they are going to come into range of the latter air defence systems, and that would not be a healthy place for a Wildcat to be.
This sums up the Royal Navy for the foreseeable future, it might be capable of defending itself, but it lacks the real ability to inflict harm on others on any scale if needed.

donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 4265
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 26 times
Japan

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

As much "punch" is needed on the "fighting arm" of the RN (the CSG), less money and man-power resources shall be used on the "presence arm" of the RN, the OPV fleet, I think.

Building 3 (so-called) River B3s (110m long, with hangar and better guns) will cost £360M, at least.

If we have £360M, and if we can go with cheaper Vard-7 like OPV costing £150M for 3 hulls to replace 3 River B1s, the remaining £210M can be used for...;

- add (more than) 5 sets of NSMs on T23s (or T31s, if you like) = A program named "I-SSGW" now on pause.

- or, buy 2 more F35Bs, or 2 (or less) more P-8s, one more E-7, or several Sky Guardinan UAVs (with sonobuoy dispensers).

- Alternatively, RN may be able to invest on SeaVenom Block-II, with a longer range of, say, 40+ km, enabling the Wildcats to fly well-below horizon. Combination of SM6 Blk-IB hyper-sonic SSM (primarily developed as SSM, not SAM), FC/ASW as a long-range subsonic land attack missile (neither will be cheap, though), and cheap SeaVenom-2 (if enabled) carried on Wildcats (and may be as a canister onboard T31, T26 and T45), might be "not a bad" answer.

But, all of these "dreams" needs money. I would like to spend as much money on CSG (F35B), T45 (BMD etc) and T26 (better radar, more missiles), P-8As and E-7s, rather than River B3s.

Note that I do "like" the idea of River B3. But, not yet convinced it is a better use of resource than those "improving hi-end assets".

Repulse
Donator
Posts: 2923
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 23 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Repulse »

donald_of_tokyo wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 15:27 Note that I do "like" the idea of River B3. But, not yet convinced it is a better use of resource than those "improving hi-end assets".
Its a very good challenge - my view is one of balance and efficiency, and the underlying need with the force structure described to replace the B1 Rivers. Adding a brand new (Vard-7) class comes with associated training costs, and a level of inefficiency / lack of synergy in maintenance and support. I would also argue that a B3 River does not need to (and should not) be 110m, you could even make it a B2 but with modifications to improve it's ability to operate UAVs/UUVs and deploy a medium (57mm) gun.

We are talking about OPV/Sloop units coming into the fleet in the late 2020's, and if BAE is serious about exports this would be it's best chance of winning new customers so could be interested in part funding / leasing.

This is of course instead of spending an gu-estimated £2bn on the T32 from 2025 onwards - and instead on making the T31 fleet more capable and larger in number instead whilst also delivering the MCSLVSs instead.

In terms of short term cash to make the fleet more lethal that is much more difficult, and a River Class replacement is likely to be a rounding issue compared to what is required.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

wargame_insomniac
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 20 Nov 2021, 19:12
Has liked: 61 times
Been liked: 3 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Repulse wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 09:02
wargame_insomniac wrote: 12 Dec 2021, 19:00 The only difference is that I was assuming most of the T31's would be forward deployed too.
You are correct that on this the main difference is the type of units deployed, but overall I feel I have a different view on the required Strategy to implement "Global Britain", compared with most commentors on this forum and also with the currently stated RN direction (however I can see the latter changing).

Forward presence should not and cannot be seen through the prism of twentieth century thinking. Many things have changed - other countries have relatively caught up in terms of wealth, and whilst super powers still exist the military advantage between them and regional powers has significantly reduced. The UK maybe the 5th richest country on earth, but its a very different world and it's changing at a hell of a rate. The RN, and to a degree the USN, are no longer the policemen of the seas, so the way we see things need to change. Less policeman, more partner / advisor.

In this context I do not believe the RN should be trying to forward base policing units or deploying units that threaten regional power balances, unless we are prepared to stand up and see any conflicts through (and even then only for a limited period). For example the days where the RN is needed to police the Malacca straights during peacetime are long gone. There is still an argument to support multinational task groups, but even then we need to be careful not to be trying to do something long term that would actually be better executed by a local power partner.

For me, Forward Deployment is about presence - it is about showing the UK is globally interested in working in partnership with nations and having the ability to gather intelligence. It has a secondary role which is to protect low level UK interests and supporting HADR but these have limits. That's why a global OPV (Sloop) and Survey ships are perfect for this task. They are non-threatening with the ability to go more places, and engage in more ways than a frigate.

Don't get me wrong, coupled with this is the ability to execute Global Power Projection. This is coming with a war capable fighting force with the power and commitment to win if required - it is a statement of intent, our big stick. Global deployments such as CSG21 are required to prove it is capable and to influence allies and foes alike, but its not a permanent feature in any region. This is our CSGs and SSNs - which is where the bulk of our efforts and funds need to go in - as they say, "Winter is Coming" and we need to be ready.

What interests me is where the FCF and Amphibious force fits into this. Ideally IMO it would be a similar low level (smaller ships with small RM units) and war fighting (transport and entry for a large British Army deployment), but again I think we are in danger if getting into a muddled strategy (and it is a discussion for another thread!)
Thanks for detailed explnation. I can see your points, especially on what I was thinking re patrolling those vital shipping lanes EoS. Thanks

wargame_insomniac
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: 20 Nov 2021, 19:12
Has liked: 61 times
Been liked: 3 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

donald_of_tokyo wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 15:27 As much "punch" is needed on the "fighting arm" of the RN (the CSG), less money and man-power resources shall be used on the "presence arm" of the RN, the OPV fleet, I think.

Building 3 (so-called) River B3s (110m long, with hangar and better guns) will cost £360M, at least.

If we have £360M, and if we can go with cheaper Vard-7 like OPV costing £150M for 3 hulls to replace 3 River B1s, the remaining £210M can be used for...;

- add (more than) 5 sets of NSMs on T23s (or T31s, if you like) = A program named "I-SSGW" now on pause.

- or, buy 2 more F35Bs, or 2 (or less) more P-8s, one more E-7, or several Sky Guardinan UAVs (with sonobuoy dispensers).

- Alternatively, RN may be able to invest on SeaVenom Block-II, with a longer range of, say, 40+ km, enabling the Wildcats to fly well-below horizon. Combination of SM6 Blk-IB hyper-sonic SSM (primarily developed as SSM, not SAM), FC/ASW as a long-range subsonic land attack missile (neither will be cheap, though), and cheap SeaVenom-2 (if enabled) carried on Wildcats (and may be as a canister onboard T31, T26 and T45), might be "not a bad" answer.

But, all of these "dreams" needs money. I would like to spend as much money on CSG (F35B), T45 (BMD etc) and T26 (better radar, more missiles), P-8As and E-7s, rather than River B3s.

Note that I do "like" the idea of River B3. But, not yet convinced it is a better use of resource than those "improving hi-end assets".
Yeah I get the funding constraints. Much as I would like to see some CVL comparable to Dokdo class for either ASW and/or as LHA for LSG duty, it does nt look as if we could afford them any time soon. In fact there is a risk that the 6 MRSS might be smaller and less capable than the 2*LPD and 3*LSD that they would be effectively replacing.

And yes I see the importance of uparming the CSG / T45 / T26 / T31 with as many AAW systems as possible, whether Phalanx CIWS, additional VLS tubes or even bolt-on canisters, so that they could survive the missile barrage likely from Russia / China in high-intensity conflicts.

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2819
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Has liked: 15 times
Been liked: 35 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by SW1 »

If the government strategic direction is to decarbonise and to largely remove the use of fossil fuels over the next 10 years or so the the Middle East is strategically irrelevant for the uk over a similar time period so why would you be planning ship procurement around it?

If the majority of non digital trade in Asia pacific is with China and China is to be considered an enemy Rather than a trading partner then what is need for resources out there as even the defence secretary admits would fail to move the dial. There is plenty of threats closer to home that require countering including Chinese ones.

Defiance
Donator
Posts: 815
Joined: 07 Oct 2015, 20:52
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 22 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Defiance »

SW1 wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 22:48 If the government strategic direction is to decarbonise and to largely remove the use of fossil fuels over the next 10 years or so the the Middle East is strategically irrelevant for the uk over a similar time period so why would you be planning ship procurement around it?
That's a bit hyperbolic. We're targeting 2050 for 'Net Zero' which will still involve burning fossil fuels which probably will come from the Middle East if we keep cancelling North Sea developments. I believe it was Qatar who re-routed a handful of LPG tankers to head to the UK during the fuel crisis a few months ago, that's the sort of influence that's going to become more important as North Sea oil winds down.

There's a general trend away from the Middle East, I would agree with that. But it's a bit longer than you suggest and even then it causes some strategic questions for the UK. Countries like KSA might be able to turn their oil wealth into something more sustainable which we'd want a piece of, or they might collapse in on themselves from social unrest if they fail.

The idea that if the world moves on from oil that we can all collectively ignore the Middle East is one that needs to die I think, it's not as easy as that

Repulse
Donator
Posts: 2923
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 23 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Repulse »

SW1 wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 22:48 There is plenty of threats closer to home that require countering including Chinese ones.
Yes, but to ignore the global picture is a folly of the highest degree. Even if we decided to go back to a West of Suez only strategy, we are naive to think that events east of it will not have a significant impact in our region.

Also, the best way of facing China is to do it as closely as possible to it's shores - the SCS has limited access routes all of which could be blocked by friendly nations during a rise in tensions. China knows this and therefore as long as we apply the pressure here it will meddle less in the Atlantic.

Equally we are not a super power - we have limited resources, hence my view is the optimal use of these is a low level global presence, backed by a war winning / peace keeping globally deployable strike groups.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2819
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Has liked: 15 times
Been liked: 35 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by SW1 »

Defiance wrote: 14 Dec 2021, 08:24
SW1 wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 22:48 If the government strategic direction is to decarbonise and to largely remove the use of fossil fuels over the next 10 years or so the the Middle East is strategically irrelevant for the uk over a similar time period so why would you be planning ship procurement around it?
That's a bit hyperbolic. We're targeting 2050 for 'Net Zero' which will still involve burning fossil fuels which probably will come from the Middle East if we keep cancelling North Sea developments. I believe it was Qatar who re-routed a handful of LPG tankers to head to the UK during the fuel crisis a fuel months ago, that's the sort of influence that's going to become more important as North Sea oil winds down.

There's a general trend away from the Middle East, I would agree with that. But it's a bit longer than you suggest and even then it causes some strategic questions for the UK. Countries like KSA might be able to turn their oil wealth into something more sustainable which we'd want a piece of, or they might collapse in on themselves from social unrest if they fail.

The idea that if the world moves on from oil that we can all collectively ignore the Middle East is one that needs to die I think, it's not as easy as that
So don’t cancel North Sea developments. We get on average 4-6 shipments from Qatar a year but that has largely been declining for some time. Our oil imports are in the low single digit percentages too.

The forties pipelines being closed for maintenance exacerbated issues that and historic failure to hold reserves. But our proportions of imports from Algeria and the US will rise going fwd

It’s not about the world moving on but the UK moving on and as it does so the Middle East’s relevance to it.

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 2819
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Has liked: 15 times
Been liked: 35 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by SW1 »

Repulse wrote: 14 Dec 2021, 08:46 [quote=SW1 post_id=134615 time=<a href="tel:1639435735">1639435735</a> user_id=2026]
There is plenty of threats closer to home that require countering including Chinese ones.
Yes, but to ignore the global picture is a folly of the highest degree. Even if we decided to go back to a West of Suez only strategy, we are naive to think that events east of it will not have a significant impact in our region.

Also, the best way of facing China is to do it as closely as possible to it's shores - the SCS has limited access routes all of which could be blocked by friendly nations during a rise in tensions. China knows this and therefore as long as we apply the pressure here it will meddle less in the Atlantic.

Equally we are not a super power - we have limited resources, hence my view is the optimal use of these is a low level global presence, backed by a war winning / peace keeping globally deployable strike groups.
[/quote]

So let those friendly nations do the locking in there own back yard, offer them any political support and access to or develop technology with them as requested. There is nothing we can deploy that makes a material difference to what they have already and so we use our assets to ensure our area is secure and they use there assets to ensure there area is secure and we have joint security

Repulse
Donator
Posts: 2923
Joined: 05 May 2015, 22:46
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 23 times
United Kingdom

Re: River Class (OPV) (RN)

Post by Repulse »

SW1 wrote: 14 Dec 2021, 09:03 So let those friendly nations do the locking in there own back yard, offer them any political support and access to or develop technology with them as requested. There is nothing we can deploy that makes a material difference to what they have already and so we use our assets to ensure our area is secure and they use there assets to ensure there area is secure and we have joint security
I would agree that "There is nothing we can afford to permanently forward deploy that makes a material difference to what they have already", but we can deploy when required both Carrier Strike Groups and SSNs (plus RAF & Army formations) globally that can make a very significant difference.

Also, to support these one off deployments we need to be "globally aware" and there is a value in a low level of constabulary and surveillance presence both to show the intent of support to allies, HADR, joint training, and also to perform enabling functions such as surveying and intelligence gathering. However, as stated this is the domain of OPVs/Sloops, Survey Ships, small RM platforms and RFAs - not frigates.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

Post Reply