Poiuytrewq wrote: ↑14 Mar 2023, 00:43
wargame_insomniac wrote: ↑13 Mar 2023, 17:47
Apologies if I had quoted the wrong person, but I thought it was you who suggested using some of the MRSS funds to afford 3 of what you has described as 140m Support Vessel?
If the combined T32 and MRSS budgets actually materialise and amount to around £5bn then that’s enough IMO to fix the surface fleet. I am just not convinced that spending that amount on the T32 and MRSS classes is the correct direction of travel.
Much better to focus on the T26 and T31 programs and especially maximise the T31 hulls plus invest in additional patrol vessels to take the strain from the escorts and Amphibs. The direction of travel with the newly refreshed IR and AUKUS appear to validate this view and any rationale for launching a class of below average Frigates is now dead.
The support vessels you mention could just as easily be named LSVs, MRVs, JLS or any number of other things. Personally I think they are best described as high capacity OPVs.
My opinion is that the RB2s are doing fine but larger more capable vessels could achieve much more. The reason they need to be around 140m is simply to allow everything to fit.
- To operate and embark a helicopter an OPV needs to be around 105m
- To add a meaningful working deck the LOA needs to increase to by 10 to 15m.
- To add a hanger suitable for multiple helos adds another 15m to 20m.
- To add a two spot flight adds another 20m to 30m depending on Chinook capability.
That’s a bit simplistic but it’s pretty close.
So if you want an OPV with a multi helo hanger, two spot flight deck and a working deck with deck crane then 140m LOA is around the minimum required.
IMO there is absolutely no need to build these OPVs like LPDs. A clever mix of mostly commercial standards is perfectly acceptable for East/West Africa and Caribbean patrol ships. They would effectively be coastguard vessels. If money was especially tight then converted commercial vessels would be acceptable much like Argus albeit on a smaller scale.
Replacing the RB1s with more 80m to 90m OPVs would be a huge missed opportunity. Much better options without spending any more money.
At the moment we don;t quite yet know how much has actually been budgeted for by RN for T32 / MRSS / River B1 replacement. That will therefore directly what could be spent if the RN changed priorities (plus the possibility of SSN-AUKUS diverting funds from the service to having more SSNs).
I can agree with much of what you suggest. For me plans for the T32 should be shelved as yet another Boris soundbite when he announed this brand new class of Frigats out of thin air. Agree 100% that these funds need to be used uparm the RN escorts:
1) Adding more CAMM to each of T45/T26/T31 (this had been anounced previously but it needs to happen ASAP if we want the RN to be able to face the Anti-Ship Missile barrages of Soviets and Chinese).
2) Adding 8*NSM Containers to every T45 and T31 in the medium term (in the short term being added to T23 until they are retired) to remedy big capability gap.
3) If T26 are going to have Mk41 VLS, then they need FCASW and or other missiles to fill their VLS - we have to mov away from FFBNW and ensure that our escorts leave port properly supplied in case tensions continue to escalate.
4) Specifically for T31 add sonar so that they can act as proper GP Frigates and cover all the missions that T23 GP previously undertook - they may not be ASW specialists like T26 but they need to still contribute.
Then agree that we don't need 6*(presumably smallish) MRSS. Am comfortable using the funds for say 3*MRSS to purchase 2*medium LPH to replace Ocean and Argus. Then if we are using the Budget for remaining 3*MRSS to buy 3*140m LSV as you described, that sounds fine.
I think Tempest mentioned that the River B2s had something like 29 military upgrades over normal commercial standards. I am not sure if he listed out what they were and how much they each cost - but I guess it is the standard cost-benefit analysis. It sounds like you were saying something similar when talking about these 140mm LSV being in between normal commercial standards or River B2 standard.
So I think the main thing might disagree with is how to spend any potential RN Budget for RB1 replacements. I still think we need some cheap OPV to cover Fishery Protection and basic patrolling of home and BOTS. I think these can definitely be an off the shelf commercial ships - the main priority is great sea keeping for the size of ship. Equipment and armanent wise could be pretty basic - as simple as 1*20mm and 2*12.7mm, 2*RIB. There should be a multitude of off te shalf designs that RN could take an use Appledore to build (or Rosyth if they have no work remaining).