Repulse wrote: I think by far the best low cost / risk option to get the required hulls is to build another batch of “B3 Rivers” with evolved facilities to support a mothership (for drones and possibly RMs) - would be an idea gift to Appledore. 2 Echos + 5 B2s + 5 B3s (replacing the B1s) would be a solid capability.
Remarkable how close we keep coming to the original Future Surface Combatant categories of C1, C2 and C3 from two decades ago.
With the C1 and C2 role being fulfilled by the Type 26/31, we now find ourselves looking to the C3 requirement of a 'Global Corvette', which was at the time perceived as an enhanced River Class OPV, with elements on the Khareef Class Corvettes.
Whilst a clean sheet design seems tempting, I would be curious how cheaply a basic 99m or 102m derivative of the BAE/CL Leander concept could be delivered if we were talking about up to eight platforms, Vs a stretched Batch III river with a mission bay and enhanced boat handling facilities.
Though a modest loss to the patrol fleet, retaining Clyde would have given us a rather excellent platform to examine the requirements of a small, multipurpose mothership for MHC and other future tasks.