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Bloke back down the pub

A design based on North Sea oil rig supply vessels would make more sense as a mother ship for mcm usvs.

Max Jones

Maybe, but when discussing the Type 32 general purpose frigates maybe a frigate for general purpose missions would be more relevant as an intended role than a mothership for MCM USVs.


Frankly I regard the T32 announcement if you can call it that is a Political distraction by the Tories from the ongoing Covid related crisis, the upcoming Brexit train-wreck and the impending constitutional crisis as Scotland seeks the option of an independence referendum against an intransigent culture war obsessed Tory Government…

Rob N

Glass half full… the first duty of any Government is defence of our nation. For the first time in decades the Government has remembered that.

John Clark

Fedaykin, you can’t blame the Government … The blame lays squarely on the people who have taken the piss all the way through the crisis. Why do you think rates of infection are so low in countries like Vietnam and Singapore?

They are extraordinarily low, because they have done as they were told, no other reason….

You have so many dimwitted idiots here, who simply can’t (or won’t) follow simple instructions to reduce the risk … Nothing to do with Boris.

Brexit you say, well tell you what, if you miss the structure of the EU so much, you can send me £100 a month and I will send you £70 back and tell you what you can and can’t do….

The T32 is an excellent step in the right direction, I hope we will see the extra money also spent on a range of enhancements to all our warships and increased availability across the board.


Spot on!!!


Fedaykin, you can’t blame the Government … Yes I can, the Government have messed up PPE and Test and Trace. They have been more interested in giving contracts to their friends than actually dealing with the crisis…don’t get me on Mr Barnard Castle Eye Test Dom Cummings. The reason why those countries in South East Asia have been doing better is they have implemented working Test and Trace programs not just getting Serco to setup an Excel spread sheet!

“Brexit you say, well tell you what, if you miss the structure of the EU so much, you can send me £100 a month and I will send you £70 back and tell you what you can and can’t do….” Your maths is VERY off! For every £1 the UK has put in we have gained £10. Leaving the single market will (and is) causing massive damage to our economy. Loss of my EU citizenship for my part is a fundamental attack on my identity and rights. Loss of Freedom of Movement will hinder my career. I see no upside to Brexit and I am enjoying pointing out how much of a failure it is and will be.

“The T32 is an excellent step in the right direction, I hope we will see the extra money also spent on a range of enhancements to all our warships and increased availability across the board.”

I know people are down voting my comments on this one, I knew that would happen but lets see who is right on how this is going in twelve months…

John Clark

Afternoon Fedaykin, I have a number of friends living in Vietnam and one in Singapore …. When the Government asks them to do something, they do it!

Result, very low rates of infection….

I don’t know where you live, but have you seen everyone piling out of the pubs and bars at 10pm in your area? Social distancing forgotten … The suitable phrase is, thick as pig s**t….

In the UK, sizeable parts of the population have just carried on, quite frankly outright taking the piss and many people have died needlessly because of it, you don’t need to be a virologist to see this, its pure common sense.

We even end up with a police force who are ‘unwilling’ to hand out mandatory fines, because they aren’t sure regarding peoples ability to pay it!!!

You couldn’t make this s**t up!!!!

Yes the Government have made mistakes, but just be thankful that lovable old racist Corbyn and side kick Abbot aren’t in charge … what a disaster that would have been…

The police are toothless and terrified of being sued, I don’t blame them, poor leadership and it seems the Courts and the legal profession are out to undermine the thin blue line at every opportunity these days.

Everyone blames the government and expects it to sort out everything, how about a little old fashioned personal responsibility, out of vogue these days of course…

 “Loss of my EU citizenship for my part is a fundamental attack on my identity and rights”

Well, its called democracy Fedaykin, you need to exercise a little ‘looser’s consent’ here, don’t go all Trump on us!

The choice was Independence, or ever closer integration and centralised control, the British public chose freedom!

Had remain won, I would have sucked it up and carried on living under the EU’s jack boot, luckily they didn’t, don’t get stuck in the past, the battle is over, lets all move towards a bright common future…



Didn’t take long for the old ‘it would have been worse with Corbyn’ argument to come out. It does amaze me how that is the only defense that gets trotted out when the Tories numerous failures, nepotism, corruption and lies are highlighted. I really do wish this myth of Tories = amazing at managing the economy would die, it’s just that a myth.

I think you’ve both got a point to make. I agree with Fedaykin in that the government is absolutely responsible for the way in which it handled the crisis and the fallout we see today. From its initial response, indecisive action and unclear messaging leaving a lot of people unsure on what they can/cannot do. The shambles of PPE procurement and the redundant Serco test and trace system. But hey we clapped for the NHS so that makes it ok! All snide aside, when you compare our response to that of New Zealand results are chalk and cheese. They took decisive action early and their results speak for themselves. They’ve spent less overall and achieved better outcomes for their economy because of it ( – talks only about other G7 countries but you get the point). Most importantly though they listened to what the experts were telling them! Meanwhile ‘people are tired of experts’ type of mentality has reared its head again, especially in Downing St.

Then for yourself John, some members of the public absolutely have taken the piss. From the cheeky chap (read twat) who decided to slowly eat a tub of pringles on a flight to avoid having to wear a mask to the masses who flocked to the pubs for one last booze up before pubs shut. People were always going to try and push the boundaries and they did. In my opinion this was compounded by the unclear guidelines from the government. It was clear (in my neck of the woods anyway) that the longer the lockdown went on the busier and busier it got with the final straw being Cummings doing his “eye sight test” up North. It was clear everyone just gave up when Bojo did nothing about it.

Regarding Vietnam and Singapore, (not being funny on this one) have you heard of the concept of Asian Values? It’s essentially about the taking care of the community and the greater good. Compare that to our individual rights/freedoms slant we have in the west and it is two very different approaches to life/society. It’s part why eastern countries can have things like those app controlled bicycles and not have people hoarding them in their gardens/sheds or teenagers breaking into them and essentially stealing them. In some very fundamental ways their society and the way individuals interact with that society is different. From what you’ve said I am not at all surprised they have achieved the outcomes they did.

As for what you’ve said about democracy, democracy did indeed happen with the Brexit vote. However democracy isn’t an event that happens as a one off and then forgotten about it. Information and situations change and none of what has come up make anything better. The Tories have taken their poisoned chalice and are running with it (and ignoring half of the country, promises to Scotland, an amazing deal we had with the EU and generally making us a laughing stock at the same time) come hell or high water. Unfortunately we don’t ‘hold all the cards’ so can’t make the ‘easiest trade deal in history’ with the EU or the world for that matter. Instead we’re on a crash course for no deal (arguably the plan all along) but pointing that out is just ‘project fear’. It’s a shambles no matter which way you slice it. For me it’s clear, anything less than we have with the EU prior to leaving is a net loss for the country. We will be weaker in every way shape and form. As for centralized control everyone seems to be up in arms about. One thing that rarely gets talked about was that we had a role in the decision making process and got to vote on the laws they enacted! If it’s the veto you object to (fair enough), again we had the right to exercise that option too and did so on occasion.

That’s enough for now I think, gosh this has been cathartic!

John Clark

Good evening Bob, I don’t agree on many points, but you make an excellent , desisive and well reasoned argument sir!

I agree, the Government could have done many things better, but the main core message is one of simple common sense, one enough people simply ignored to keep the virus in circulation and killing vulnerable people …. It’s a form of inverse Darwinism in action, unfortunately killing the innocent, instead of the sh#t for brains that traffic it about the place….

I run two businesses and the government had done a great job supporting us, I have no complaints and am extremely grateful.

I think the UK will be far better off post Brexit, I feel the economic benifits will become clear.

We can look forward to a greener future too, from an early 2030 end to petrol and diesel vehicle sales
(No way VW, Renault etc will allow that in the EU before 2040, they will lobby hard to delay it), a new environmental focused UK agricultural approach, freed from EU intensive faming subsidies etc.

Most importantly for me, is the elected UK Government and UK High Court will once again be the deciding force for governance and judiciary in our wonderful Islands.


Hello John

Thank you for your reply. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that common sense is a superpower these days. Any ambiguity and leaving the public to determine what things meant was always going to end badly. The uk public we’re always going to run with the interpretation that best suited their interests which circles back to my point of the government guidelines being unclear.

I find your comment on the UK government interesting. The UK has always had the right to self determination with its own laws. Immigration usually gets shoehorned in here but the same applies. We always had the right to set our own policy on matters when it concerned immigration from outside the EU. As I said before we had a seat at the decision making table with regards to EU laws but decided electing UKIP to represent our interests was the best idea. I suspect your concern is with the european supreme court who did have the right to overule us on matters regarding eu law and judgements. When it comes to appointments we as a member state again got a say in who got appointed. The UK has had judges appointed to the court. Not to say the system is perfect however.

I don’t expect to have changed your mind however hopefully I’ve pointed out what you seek we already had.

William Pellas

This. ^^^^ The EU had everyone except Germany and perhaps France on course to become Merkel’s Satrapies. Brexit was, at bottom, simply about whether England would remain….England. As for Scotland, they are totally crackers if they really believe “independence” (read: returning to the EU, which is not independence anyway) is really preferable to setting a new course with London. Be that as it may, between the old Commonwealth of Nations and the United States—well, until the campus left gets done destroying it—you guys will be much better off economically than you were in the EU. And more to the point, you will have preserved your national sovereignty and identity in the face of emergent one worlderism.

David Barry

Sorry to p!ss on your parade, the main event is about to start.

Scribes 63

You can always move to the other side of the channel mate with your friends who have sheltered under our defence service for so long. Its true this state is full of easy spongers who have done nothing to pay for the easy life they have.


I think we can absolutely blame the government where it is fair to do so: awarding COVID contracts to friends; assigning Dido Harding to head up private-sector endeavors that categorically fail and have to request assistance from the public ones, before giving them even more money to continue under-performing; lack of financial support (after their excellent initial work in this area) due to what seems to be ideology towards public debt, ignoring that the Universal Credit bill for supporting the unemployed from failed businesses will far outstrip the grants they could provide now (as the fallout from unemployment will last longer, due to people having to get back on their feet on only universal credit after having lost everything).
As far as Brexit goes, one doesn’t have to be a remainer to criticise the government’s handling of it: Writing into UK law clauses which will break international law and risk our trade relationships with the US and EU (without even considering our wider reputation); promising completely contradictory things about NI trade, just to appease the DUP, but in the process wind everybody else up; Warn businesses about the deadline of 1st Jan and their responsibility to be “Brexit ready” without the government actually having finalised any agreements with the EU (don’t hold others responsible for something when you haven’t finished doing your bit).
That said, I agree with you that Brits could and should have been a lot more careful about how they went about doing things; we do/should have a level of responsibility for our own actions.
I also like the T32, but I do think that the naming of it was a bit of a political move as Fedaykin says. On the flipside, they couldn’t have just called it T31B2 and keep Babcock competitive, as the article says. They could have just gone with T3X like we do with T4X and the USN has done with their FFG(X) programme, but I guess giving it a full number sounds more concrete.

John Clark

I take your points Joe, I think Boris had to undo the previous PM’s cave in white flag waving though…..

I do think our economy will spring back substantially faster than our European friends, our economy is primarily service related and able to respond quickly to the coming upturn.

France and Germany, with their manufacturing base, will take substantially longer unfortunately…

We can only hope this is the case and learn the lessons of the pandemic…


To be honest, the only difference between May’s deal and Boris’ is to do with Northern Ireland and the “backstop” arrangement. Now there’s effectively a customs border down the Irish Sea, so that anything going on to Ireland is checked in “mainland” Britain rather than at the north/south border in Ireland. It’s definitely a decent solution, and I’m glad he went for it, but remember it was impossible for May to do the same because she relied on the DUP for her majority and they were against it. Other than that, nothing else has changed.
I certainly hope it will, although I have to admit I’m not a big fan of the financial services economy; it really augments the wealth divide, and there’s less stability in the economy when a higher proportion of output is directly impacted to financial crashes. Having said that, I agree that we may stand a better chance of quick recovery outside of the EU, given the massive issues they’re having with pushing through collective recovery measures at the moment…


Fedsykin, I have some sympathy with your Type 32 diversion theory. It is pretty much standard political practice I think to time announcement of good news so as to keep bad news out of the press. And we do need to keep Ms Sturgeon out of the news until a Brexit deal is done which gives Scottish fishermen back control of their own waters. I suspect this is the sticking point in the Brexit negotiations. If we can pull this off then the SNP will be gutted …so to speak 🙂
In all of this I believe that HM Gov is genuine in its wish to increase the RN escorts to 24 by adding 5 GP frigates. My money is on the 110m Leander; which could I believe be built in Appledore. It ticks a lot of RN and political boxes.


STRNs analysis seems more sound than yours. What we have seen is that what we need are ‘platforms’ and 110m is too small to be versatile.. do hope to see Appledore grow though.

Certainly we should have a contingency to build a new warship facility in England… Humber/Tyne (?) … and of course skills (and income taxes) imported from Scotland.


Not wedded to the length as such. Was just thinking about Appledore capacity. There was a time when the thinking was a common hull to do OPV and MCM roles. Just musing that Enterprise and Echo ( built in Appledore) are 90m and about 3700 tons. The BMT Venari design, with flight deck and forward gun is 85m. River 2 is 90m and 2000 tons. All these can launch UUVs and act as a MCM ‘mother ship’ to some degree.
But with this announcement that Type 32 will be a GP frigate and observing the rapid progress in remote MCM technology trials – joint work with France etc I may be adding 2+2 and getting 5. Type 31 looks better suited to a future AAW destroyer platform than a coastal mine sweeper mother ship. If you did want to combine the roles of MCM mother ship with GP frigate and supplementary task force ASW escort then the Leander with its large mission bay midships and a electric drive would be a contender.
As to the politics all will be revealed by the end of this week 🙂

Basil Barnes

I didn’t realise there was a Scottish election in May which is why Boris needs to close this Brexit deal out in Jan. The free trade deal needs sorted to kill the Brexit debate off once and for all so the SNP cannot weaponise it. There management of Covid has been little better than the Tories although Boris PR ability and leadership is shocking. I think he will go early next year once the Brexit deal is completed and the vacinations are in circulation. Prob won’t be enough to stop the SNP taking a majority in Scottish election though but who knows.


Yes. Scotland has done a better job of managing covid than England. Nicola has done well in the daily news broadcasts. But I would put Scotland’s relative success down to a number of practical factors. I don’t believe Scotland has so many large impenetrable areas of poor housing and weak English communication skills like Leicester and South Yorkshire. Also Scottish geography with large virtually uninhabited areas surely make the task easier too. Also my daughter who lives in Scotland now tells me that people’s compliance with covid social distancing etc measures is better than in England. The Scots do have a better sense of community and national identity than the English. That’s why the SNP has done so well.
Anyway, in terms of warship building Scotland has the T26 and the T31. And lots of investment for P8. I think Boris is right to focus now on English yards and H&W, the Boris bridge and post Brexit fishing waters. I don’t know if he will go next year. His job is to keep the Union together in the face of Brexit, Covid, the SNP and Sinn Fein…..good luck. None of which stops us having an enjoyable time speculating on Type 32. 🙂


Scotland does have a higher Covid Death rate than England. This may be to to the way Covid has been handled or it may be due to the slightly older average age, poorer average health and lower standard of living.


Thats just the last 4 weeks. Look at the comparative rate for last 9 months. In terms of reasons you could also look at climate… Winter is veey cold in Scotland … More time indoors!


The plain fact is Scotland Covid deaths per 100,000 is 94. England is 101. This as of up to 15 Nov that I can read by the BBC (so it must be true … as long as it wasn’t listed be that Bashir bloke).

To me that shows effectively and meaningfully no real difference. And as is pointed out Scotland are going backwards relatively. And they are less densely populated than England.

So despite that some people want to stand their heads and logic upside down and blame Boris and ignore Surgeon’s propaganda. The reality is the entire world was faced with an impossible task, including both Scotland & England.


Regarding Scottish independence maybe it’s time to move ship building back to Portsmouth where it had been for hundreds of years


Yarrows used to be in London, but that was before 1906


Except it hadn’t been for 30-odd years, until VT moved from Woolston and hasn’t been since 2014. All those people are now gone. Makes it very hard to restart.

David Barry

“We’re going to build some warships in the future!”

“And the crowd go mad, have you ever seen such euphoria to such a fantastic announcement, the mob love this, they don’t care about the nitty gritty of this train wreck govt, they love the idea that in the future more warships will be launched, this is Sky Fairies, signing off from the pit!”

Meirion X

I very much think the UK needs to keep its warship design skills alive for the future.
We should learn from the mistakes of continuous warship build programs e.g USN Arleigh Burke class.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

The lesson learnt was the stop -start programs for the RN since the late 90s.
A continuous warship build was the normal process for the UK up to the end of the T23, so Im not sure what the USN has to do with it.


Because the problem with continuous warship build over a long period is that it preserves the build skills, but loses the design skills. Building T23 over a fifteen year period essentially meant no real surface combatant design took place between 1987 and 2000.

The US have done exactly the same with the ABs, which has resulted in the highly successful LCS and Zumwalt programmes and subsequent need to buy in Fincantieri for the FFGX.

Lose your early stage design skill and lose the understanding of why a ship is as it is. Those reasons change over time and requirement, but if you don’t understand what to look for from the off, trouble ensues.

Supportive Bloke


Having messed up T45, done well on QEC and hopefully on T26 we actually have relearned the design skills at some cost. But we got there with T26 and it is the gold standard ASW frigate.

So we do need to keep them alive as a priority.

As we previously discussed in another thread T31 does not fall into that basket as it is a bought in design.


No-one messed up T45. It’s actually a very good ship with a whole raft of developmental systems successfully implemented in the ship. The one area where there are issues is a result of the electrical system design – which to fair was only the second time we’d done an electric ship.

Arguably, the decisions made to retreat from that on T26 may come back to bite it later. I’d actually rate T45 as a better platform design than T26, for a number of reasons that may eventually come to light.

However – T26 front-end design completed in 2014. The clock is ticking.

Supportive Bloke


T26 is an electric ship?

Do you mean retreat from electric ship from T31?

Or have I missed something??

When I said made a mess of T45: the whole procurement was a mess.


T26 is only partly an electric ship. Of its installed power of 40-odd MW, only a dozen or so can be supplied electrically. The majority of installed power is an MT30 turbine driving through a particularly complex gear chain.


Most of the time it will be electric, only when the ship needs higher speeds will it be direct drive with the GT.

Simon m

Both T45 & T26 were/are in some ways procurement failures due to the massive cost. The phrase FFBNW came in with T45. A new phenomena came with T26 & that was migrating weapons & sensors over from a previous class. Even with these measures T45 went from 12 to 6 & T26 23 to 8 so neither program really met their goals.
Both are excellent designs but implementation & financial, project elements leave a lot to be desired. I know it takes 2 to tango, but you can see why there’s reticence to continue with just BAE. Hopefully the first T26 will not follow the first river batch 2 & come with glued on bolt heads.
Also you can’t compare an in service vessel to one yet to be launched fingers crossed it will all go well but T26 still has the chance of having it’s version of the T45 propulsion issues.


i agree partly with you. But the issue is that design skills on the Zumwalt and LCS ships were wasted on them.


In fact, the Navsea collective had forgotten some of the fundamentals of design, which meant that when the design started getting over-sized and too costly, they didn’t know how to get out of that (ie point out that the driving design characteristics were incompatible with sanity).


I still think the Zumwalt is a fantastic looking ship! Sadly it was always going to suffer from fundamentally a lack of mission focus. They tried to get it to do everything and in the end I couldn’t do anything particularly well.


Actually, they focussed on one element of the design which compromised the rest of the ship.

William Pellas

N-a-B, this is not entirely correct. The latest iterations of the Burkes are nearly a new ship design. The basic hull form hasn’t changed much, but certainly the “guts” of the ship have.

Supportive Bloke

That is true.

But N-aB’s point is that to consider yourself a competent design team you need to be able to start from a list of drivers, assess their reasonableness, design something and then assess the sanity of the design and reasonableness.

That requires different design leadership skills to incremental evolution of the guts of a ship.


Indeed – and some of the rather dubious things they’ve had to do to make it certifiable could have been avoided had they had the confidence to start from scratch.

The hullform (ie the shape) doesn’t cost much at all. The hull design (shape, structure, compartmentation etc) does cost – and they’ve had to change much of that anyway.

Net saving? A couple of groat at best and possibly still having compromised the safety certification of the original design.


“The latest iterations of the Burkes are nearly a new ship design. The basic hull form hasn’t changed much, but certainly the “guts” of the ship have.”

No they are not. What they do it doesn’t imply to think from scratch.It is just variation. You don’t preserve skills with variations.


Not really, there have been attempts at changing the guts but so far it hasn’t been that successful. The AB are design wise at their limit and contemporary with the Type 23 class with a propulsion setup that is contemporary with the Spruance Class. What they have been doing is packing in more and more systems leading to further problems downstream with later flights in particular with the freeboard.

To add the new systems you need more electrical power, problem is more electrical power means thicker cables…which is a major problem! A thicker cable might not be able to get around the same corner than the previous used but as the vessel was designed in the 1980’s reworking the design to accommodate the steel cutting and bashing required makes it challenging. That is just cabling but new systems like SPY-6 also need more cooling which means you need to redesign the HVAC system and what about systems that needed to be cooled with water…yet more changes to what is now a very old design.

It would be easier to design a new ship except….they have spent the last few decades only making AB…

Simon m

Assuming that the article is correct and it is a version of T31. Rosyth has the ability to build 2 frigates at the same so couldn’t a T32 be laid down as early as 2023? Even if not CL or Appledore could do this as well? Assuming if not a direct descendant of T31 both of these could build existing multitude of proposed T31 designs. In regards to direct energy weapon surely not necessary as both CAMM & anti-ship missiles don’t necessarily need to be deck penetrating. But surely a more sensible approach to a mission bay would be utilising the existing Absalon design which although does not have a well deck can offload boats & i think there’s a link between it and flight deck, furthermore has capacity to carry significant equipment for FCF. I do think whatever design should really have a stern ramp such as Spartan, Venator designs which would increase flexibility either amphibious or mcm support.
Just a few thoughts thanks for another great article

Meirion X

You dont expect the T32 frigate to be conceptualized, and designed in just 3 years?
It may be a different requirement and concept the RN are asking for!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Simon m

No but many designs were conceptualise for the T31 program as mentioned Spartan, Venator, arrowhead 120, Leander, TX ship so if we’re are thinking it’s a GP frigate so it doesn’t mean starting from scratch.
If is something different then fair enough but that’s not along the lines of the article. But how different can a frigate really be? unless we’re going for something outlandish like a pentamaran.


Meirion X, the T45 was started when the UK pulled out of the Horizon project in 1999, the first steel being cut in 2003. So why not, there are several concepts that could be used as the base point, all the T31 concepts, T26, T31 or my prefrence the Damen Crossover, a 5,500 ton multi role combat vessel.


Not if Rosyth wants to meet its contractual commitment to deliver T31, which is challenging enough.

Simon m

The commitment to deliver the T31 doesn’t depend on the second bay in the assembly hall from what I’ve heard as Babcock have stated it could be used for exports. So there’s capacity & it doesn’t exclude potential sub contracts or even whole builds to places such as Appledore or Harland and Wolff. Indeed if a different design chosen then T32 could easily be built concurrently as the article states CL & BAE could produce Leander which i don’t think is all that risky BAE have great experience so could provide experts to support CL who just built the Sir Richard Attenborough vessel the design is all done.


It kind of depends whether you believe the speculation in the article. Given that the T31 schedule depends on building in parallel in a hall which doesn’t yet exist (hardstanding done, the rest not) I’d be a little more circumspect.

BAE can’t even staff the T26/Hunter/CSC teams properly. As any recruitment agency would tell you right now.

If you believe Spartan Venator Leander or any of the other PowerPoint design are done, I have a bridge to sell you.

Simon m

BMT are very experienced in design & hull form etc. Venator had already been tested with scale models etc. & The design had begun then matured from the the minor warfare vessel design. Leander is effectively a heavily modified Al khareef class Corvette so the basic design exists it’s been stretched & a bay following the design of T26 added on neither maybe ready to cut steel now but in 3 years? Why not?
If there’s any reason it will be funding, as if there was a genuine push to increase numbers then T31 numbers would be increased & T26 deliveries speeded up. BAE would only need a small project team – CL pretty much know what they’re doing – considering the amount of money coming BAE’s way you’d have to ask where all that has gone if they haven’t managed to retain & employee staff otherwise river batch 2 was a complete waste of money.
The only other possibility is the navy doesn’t know what it wants and in that case why/how would they explain the need of a new class of ship? Surely they would have to have some idea? You would think DE&S, MOD would say well what’s wrong with T31? what do you need T32 to do that the other 2 can’t. But no-one can answer that question at the moment we have the amazing revelation it will work with autonomous systems!

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon m

BMT have designed (or been lead designer) on precisely three military ships that have entered service. QEC, Tide and the Norwegian Maud. Their subsidiary (BMT NGA) have experience in relatively small high-speed ferries and the odd experimental vessel.

Venator was a concept design they were pitching for T31 where they may have got as far as an initial model test. That’s it. There’s a reason why they’re part of Team 31 developing the OMT “design” and not doing it alone.

The Leander “design” was some fiddling around with Khareef – a ship that was designed to a completely different requirement and standards (safety and military) than would be accepted by the UK Naval Authority. The submitted tender design should have identified what to do about these, but not completed the design. If you think CL know what they’re doing in terms of design and PM I have a number of bridges to sell you. There’s a reason the design of the ship was being conducted by the remnants of the old VT team down in Portsmouth.

River B2 was not procured to support BAES design staff (who were all busy on T26). It was procured explicitly to provide work for the steel trades on the Clyde due to delay in the T26 approvals, which meant it had to be something relatively modern and essentially build to print – for which the only option was the Amazonas class design. Even then, an amount of redesign – ex VT again – was required to achieve Naval Authority certification.

The possibility you’ve failed to identify is not that the Navy don’t know what they want, but that the T32 is something intended to slot into the future programme – as requested in the NSBS – but for which all the important stuff (CONOPs, operational analysis, requirement derivation etc) has not yet begun. Strangely enough, as confirmed by the various responses to parliamentary questions……….

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B
Meirion X

Only build Leander, if it is corvettes that the RN does needs, that’s if!

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Supportive Bloke

Totally agree: bay2 gives them ummm slippage space…….


CL could assemble 4 vessels at the same time in the Construction Hall in the yard in Birkenhead, with extension of the slipways internally.


If only they had the steel and outfit manufacture and fabrication facilities, together with the relevant manpower to actually make it work.

Rob N

The problem with energy weapons is that the technology is still not that mature. They may be able to take down a drone but a hypersonic agile sea skimmer… not yet.

A DEW needs time to heat its target. Current DEW are too low powered to give an instant kill. So missiles will be needed until the DEW technology matures.

criss whicker

Just out of interest,
there are no other UK shipbuilders with recent experience of warship construction.
so if scotland does go, then will we not have no shipbuilders to do the job,

perhaps now is the time for the government with private help build a new ship building yard for the future, lets say Appledore with the latest technology future robotic capabilities
to build at leas 3/4 ship at the same time, with dry docks to accommodate up to 100,000 tons. and the ability for exports, a facility could be built across the bay in south wales for outfitting’s just in case Scotland does depart, if they stay the extra shipyard will be a welcome new addition, as for ships, with the removal of the mine clearing ships, and a replacement 5 frigates is this not really just playing ship numbers,, ,the royal navy needs at least 10 extra ships , and a quicker way to build them, 10/15 years is surely to long
with the dangers of the enemy lurking around, [ whoever they may be ]surely we need ships as soon as possible,
just an opinion.


Have a look at Appledore. In particular, the available space around the yard. More importantly, why would you invest in a yard that dries out at low water?

criss whicker

Thank you for your reply, i only used it as an example,
but i do think a new shipyard with the latest technology would be well worthwhile for the future,


As do I, but that will require one or two of the others to close. With associated angst.

Simon m

But infrastrata are reinvesting & recruiting at Appledore & not only plan to use it for its own work but any work that overspills from Harland and Wolff which is starting to get busier with commercial work & one of the runners for FSS – considering 3 of these have virtually been confirmed and could be block built I’m not sure why yards would need to close?

Simon m

Not been an issue in the past? And recently built Roisin Class patrol vessels. Can you just not wait until high water to launch?


They have to Launch and go though, otherwise they end up high and dry.


Always been an issue and limits the size and complexity of what you could build there. It’s not about launch. The outfitting berth dries out at low water, which makes it extremely difficult to run systems for anything remotely sizeable or complex alongside.

H&W are not noticeably busier – and certainly not in the build world. There are some ferries and cruise ships that have been contracted for layup berths while the cruise industry is in the toilet.


They did manage to build HMS Scott which is 131 metres long and 13000 tons though, so I guess it’s not totally out of the question. the Torridge is an Estuary though which is the problem when it comes to outfitting.


Scott was squeezed in by building her diagonally across the dock. She’s actually a very simple ship. The sensitive stuff was installed and commissioned elsewhere, as also happened with Echo & Enterprise.

Appledore is a lovely little yard and once upon a time had a very good reputation. However, it’s way too small to do anything sensibly sized and has a current workforce you can count on both hands.

There’s a reason it went bust in the noughties and why Babcock declined to renew the lease once they decided to turn Rosyth into a shipyard.


Why do I always get the feeling you are “telling me off ” mate ? all I said was HMS Scott was built there. The critical bit was that I was just picking up on your mention of size, she was twice the tonnage of say, a Type 31…. that’s all. Yes Appledore is a “Lovely Little Yard” but actually, It’s the last “English” Yard to build a complete Warship. But i’m probably going to be corrected again no doubt.


I’m not going to challenge the facts you have stated.


I am going to challenge anyone who suggests that Appeldore would be a sensible place to restart warship manufacturing in England. It would be utterly mad to set up what is a heavy engineering company in an isolated country town. The area has limited working age people and is an expensive place to move to due to the pressure on housing prices from rich retirees. Building in Plymouth, Portsmouth, on Teesside, on the Tyne or on Merseyside makes vastly more long term sense.


Oh, well I admire your local and superior Knowledge mate. Might i remind you that it was the last English shipyard to actually build a Warship ? Does that not tell you something ? Do you actually know anything about Devon, It’s people, their Skills ? It’s Demographic make up ? let alone it’s glorious ship building history ? Yup, thought not. Go compare house prices at Portsmouth and Plymouth mate then type something remotely Factual here. Consider your non challenge answered mate.


I know that compared to the big industrial centres Devon’s population of 1.2m is tiny, with most of them not living in computable distance of the Appledore yard. It may have a history but the future of UK complex warship production will be in a big metro area not a small rural town. You may not like it but that doesn’t stop it being true.


” Computable Distance ” ? It’s fine nowadays, Even Devon has the new fangled Internet thing. lol. Anyway I guess you have heard of Devonport ? just wondering, It’ s a massive Navy base with lots of highly skilled workers and a history that stretches back through time, It’s only an hour’s “Commute” from the “Small Rural Town ” too, I know a quick route.

Simon m

So what the board at Infrastrata we’re all dropped on their heads as babies? They seem to think it’s a good & have already ran recruitment days with by all accounts great results. They have not long finished the Roisin class. They still have those expertise in the area.


Just dropping facts in there – no telling off intended.

Now, since you asked – the last English yard to build a complete warship is probably Portsmouth and HMS Clyde.

The paddy patrol boats don’t really count as warships – they’re done to Lloyds Special Service Craft Rules.


Lol….. I knew you’d find an answer. not sure the Clyde part counts though !


HMS Clyde was built by VT at their yard in Portsmouth and launched in 2006.


8 years before the Samuel Beckett.


So HMS Clyde was the second to last then . As I said Appledore was the last a whole 8 years later. can’t see what your issue is with the description of a Warship, The Samuel becket or “Paddy Boat ” as you call it ( some might just find that remark a tad Racist, what do you call the ships we sold to Pakistan ? ) Is armed with a 76 mm gun and two 20 mm, two 12.7 mm and four 7.62 FN MAG.( Just dropping a few more facts in). What does HMS Clyde carry ? Blimey and there was me thing you knew everything about Design !

Last edited 3 years ago by borg

You may wish to consider the bits that aren’t visible that make something a warship, as opposed to a ship with a gun or two fitted.

Damaged stability? Magazine protection? System redundancy? Firefighting and fire protection?


Well OK But you see my point. ?


The batch 2 rivers are built to Naval Authority Standards probably due to TOBA and that money had to be spent and hence could be classed Warships.
As for the Batch 1 being more of a warship than Samuel Beckett class,
well hmmm??

Last edited 3 years ago by Don

Samuel Beckett class most recent




I guess you could use the Richmond Dry Dock just down river but It will soon be home to an E Boat !


To the Downer voter …. go look it up, it’s true, The Richmond Dry Dock has been purchased by a private customer to restore and show a German E boat and a couple of others. Can’t see what is upsetting you about that.


Humber/ Tyne?


Great article, thanks. It makes you appreciate how long it takes from the first political words until you have a fighting ship ready.
I wonder if the “frigate gap” in 2024-2028 could in some way be managed by building a few more River 2´s for patrol duties? The Rivers also seem to be big enough to handle autonomous MCM systems, surely a cheeper plattform for that kind of work than a frigate?


The “frigate gap” isn’t likely to be a as bad as a lot of people make out. There are always ships out of service, the only difference with the gap is that instead of the ships being in maintenance to replace active ones, they’re retired while new ships are being prepared. As long as the maintenance schedules are managed, it’ll be fine.

As an example: if 7 frigates are active and 6 are in maintenance, you effectively have 7 frigates. If 3 of those frigates come out of maintenance and 3 retire, you still have 7 active frigates for a while even though you only have 10 frigates total now.

As long as the first T26 and T31 both come online in 2027/8, active frigate numbers probably aren’t going to drop by more than one or two ships at most

Meirion X

No, the frigate gap can be closed by extending the lives of T23GPs that were LIFEXed only a few years earlier.


Might it just be continuation of Tupe 31 but with modifications, that wd make sense to this pleb.

Patrick O'Neill

Whilst the T32 seems on the face of it good news, should we not pause a second? We currently have two new frigate classes, neither yet in the water. T26 is just eight ships, being built to an agonisingly slow schedule, whilst T31 is just five ships. I am just an armchair Admiral, but surely the quickest way to a larger navy (and less risky) would be to speed up the T26 build (and ideally build more) and build more of the T31.

John Clark

You make a very good point Patrick.
Build 4 additional T26’s and one additional T31.

Speed up the T26 builds and up spec the T31’s load out.

The money is there now to do this and it’s the easiest way to build numbers up.

It’s just a case of having the will to do this, the RN has been cut to the bone for far too long. The retreat has stopped and sensible expansion needs to kick in quickly…


The money is not there to do this now. That uplift for the next four years is for other programmes that need the money to allow them to proceed.

Meirion X

There is only enough money to start build on some of the existing proposed new frigates, 2/3 T26s, and 3 T31! The others will have to wait until the next settlement, after 2024.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
David Broome

As others have said the capex is some £7bn for the three services in a capital plan that was £13bn in the red. There is still a £6bn hole so savings still need to come. What the spending does is ensure Type-26 and Type-31 starts while creating headroom for the Type-32.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Broome

Yes Patrick…… years to get to the start of construction…..neither are anywhere near complete and HMG want to start the process again…… let’s get 26/31 built and in the water, then see where we go either more 26/31 with improvements


An upgraded Type 31 fits the bill here. Sadly the Type 31 as it stands, could and should be a much better vessel, basically its an embarrassing bargain basement Ivor Hundfelt, The Tyoe 32 should be a fully equipped Ivor Hundfelt.with all the bells and whistles it coukd be built fairly quickly by Babcock at Rosyth, with the first hull alongside the 5th Type 31 then 2 at a time side by side .


Shame Babcocks are leading the Team UK bid for FSS……


This wild speculation really doesn’t help. It takes no account whatsoever of the UKs design and build capability.

Frankly it just encourages crayoning and Top Trumps.

Where does the fantasy aspiration on 24 escorts come from? Why on earth would one leave the AAW destroyer element at six?

The wrong people have been whispering in your ear.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B
criss whicker

agreed, the destroyers should be at least 12, just a thought.


If the Admiralty have decided 24 is their magic number, do we not think they may have undertaken research to determine said number? If 24 is indeed the official goal does not a rule of 8 make sense? 8 AAW specialist, 8 ASW specialist, 8 General Purpose?


Jed…… that’s far too sensible… get my vote for chief warship buyer …..


already got 8 Rivers, so that fits too…..


I agree, when I read the 24 escorts figure it surprised me. I had a quick look, but couldn’t find it published anywhere by an RN representative…
That’s an almot 30% increase in hull numbers, and even with leaner crews that’s going to need quite a lot of extra recruitment (and retention) of skilled sailors.
I’m also not quite clear on what another 5 GP frigates are going to do; the Caribbean does not need anything more than the River B2 it already has for chasing drug runners, except maybe for disaster relief- at which point a Bay is the right choice. Same goes for the Falklands and Gibraltar. I believe the plan is to put a T31 in the middle east, and one in Singapore, which makes sense.
That leaves the task of securing home waters and contributing to NATO standing groups, and maybe smaller scale flag waving when the CSG is elsewhere. Some of the NATO commitment will require a AAD or ASW specialist, so a GP frigate won’t do anyway. I believe the home waters stuff is often done with a T23 with TAS too, so they can clear a path for the nuclear boats leaving Faslane.
I’m therefore not entirely clear what an extra 5 GP frigates will be doing…


It isn’t published anywhere, because the force structure operational analysis has not been done to support it. I’m not sure anyone has actually done any “top-down” OA on numbers for quite a few years now.

There was a point, mid-noughties when numbers stopped being linked to requirements and started being linked to existing classes, irrespective of need. So for example, the DD/FF numbers at the turn of the century were 32. However, after we’d sold the three T23s to Chile it essentially became 29 (12 T42, 4 T22B3 and 13 T23), which then became 25 (8 x T45, 4 x T22B3, 13 x T23) and then 23 (when the T45 was capped at 6 ships), followed by 19 when the T22B3 went for scrap as part of SDSR2010.

Which is why I’d be quite surprised if the number 24 was based on an actual requirement, hence the scepticism.

Glass Half Full

What a GP frigate might do is going to depend on our definition of GP, which should really only mean it has no specific role/focus/emphasis. It could be a current T31 spec, or it could be a Canadian Surface combatant (T26 derivative) spec with high end ASW and close to high end AAW frigate/destroyer. Or in the case of T32 it may be somewhere in the middle as an intermediate frigate.

While we may see T31 forward deployed in ME and Singapore, it seems likely the govt./RN are anticipating more than 2 ships routinely operating in the Indo-Pacific region in the longer term, which is where some additional higher end frigates may go, whether forward deployed or not.


Fair point, “GP” is a very broad term I suppose.
I would still say that specialist ASW and AAW roles are best left with specific types; the USN’s LCS programme is something of a lesson in getting GP vessels to perform specialist tasks. It’s all well and good having the equipment on board, but the crew training and regime on board is key- especially in ASW from my understanding. It’s the jack of all trades, master of none situation. I fear that trying to train those Canadian ships for both ASW and AAW missions to a high level is going to take more training than they have time for and render some of the equipment on board expensive ballast.
To me, a “GP” escort would be able to control/defend itself and nearby vessels from air attack out to maybe Aster 15/CAMM-ER range, nothing more. Similarly, I wouldn’t bother with towed arrays for ASW work, because it requires a lot of work and training to effectively use them. Supporting ASW work with on board helicopters and maybe unmanned systems is where I see them balanced. The bulk of their work should be presence that cannot be ignored, a level of deterrence short of a CSG that can’t be easily removed. Basically a T31 with some more Sea Ceptor (ER?) and some ASMs.
With regards numbers, 2+ vessels east of Suez is a nice idea, but not sure where we’ll get crews from…

Glass Half Full

The LCS program isn’t really a good example to use regarding the efficacy or otherwise for mission modules. It has fundamental problems tied to having the ships be capable of 40kn+ as the primary requirement, i.e. the constant need to manage weight of the ship and the modules to support the high speed, along with an original requirement to swap out mission modules in hours, which is an unrealistic requirement on a routine basis. It also went too far in making its ASuW a module rather than permanent fit.

Arleigh Burke’s combine AAW and ASW in a single ship. It may not be the greatest ASW platform but its certainly capable of supporting both roles. While we often talk about a T45 as “just” an AAW destroyer, its certainly capable of ASW and its crew practices for it. Its limited to bow sonar and Merlin, if equipped with the latter, but if a submarine evades the T23/T26 escorts in a CSG then the T45 will need to address the threat.

As to a GP spec. I’d suggest the French FTI, or particularly the Italian PPA Full, Light+ and Light variants as a reasonable level of capability that can operate independently, or augment a carrier of amphibious group escort.

While I am sympathetic to the crewing argument, with a T32 we are probably talking about the 2030s for first deployment. At that time we should have crew from multiple sources including ongoing recruitment, retention, transition from T23 to smaller crews in T26/T31/T32, River B1 OSD, migration from dedicated MCMV to frigates, commercial ships, shore based ops.

Meirion X

It does Not make any sense to OSD HMS Lancaster and Iron Duke in 2024/25. Iron Duke has still Not finished refit yet. Lancaster has only been back in water this year after a 2 year refit!

Just a waste of refit money for only 4 more years of service.

I hope the RN keeps them for at least 2/3 more years of service.

And No more refits for the reminding T23 GPs.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Supportive Bloke

Yes, it is reminiscent of the late ‘80s refitting Counties and then striking them.

However, these are getting to be very tired ships that were built on the cheapo end of the spectrum, deliberately.

Blame John Nott.

Idiot: I’ve met him and idiot he was. Thought aircraft carriers were useless.

T23 great design for the time.

Meirion X

Yes, I agreed SB!

john melling

So what we should do with ship building is create one big group of all the UK shipbuilders (large and small), each have input and design a ship, down to who holds the paint brush..

Give all those ship builders a contract to build at least 1 ship
End the rivalry and have a common goal to build ship for the greater good aka the RN
Smaller firms would be taking pressure off the “usual suspects” being BAe ands Babcock
And it gives them a boost and foot in the door!

Wishful thinking on my part but it could be away to increase build speed and float the boats faster ;P


These yards are private profit making businesses. They don’t work you the good of the RN or the U.K. They work to maximise the return for there owners, if that involves screwing over another yard that’s just fine. Defence like all other businesses is dog eat dog.


Sorry John…… that sounds like how British Leyland was created


Or more precisely, British Shipbuilders. That ended well……


but “British Shipbuilding” hasn’t ended…..?


No, but the government owned corporation “British Shipbuilders” definately has. The last of it (a shell corporation kept to handle any liabilities from when it was operational), was finally abolished in 2013.


But British Shipbuilding hasn’t ended, there are 29 Royal Navy Ships in the Pipeline as we type. Ship production has continued in “Britain” for centuries. Long may it do so.


Could the Type 32 be a cross between the winning Arrowhead 140 and the Spartan frigate proposed by Stellar systems Another option for the Type 31 Frigate | Save the Royal Navy (page 6 of 14).

Could the winning Babcock Arrowhead stern be modified with an under helipad boat launching bay such as that proposed for the Spartan frigate. If possible then using an existing design with this modification would be the best for the autonomous MCM and Anti-sub hunting RIB boats of 4 tonnes or larger. This modification would then allow for the current above deck stoway area with the midship VLS to be retained (hopefully also improved).

I think the Babacock 140 hull design is large enough for this modification without dramatic cost increases. Just a speculative thought from an enthusiast.

Meirion X

I would really like to know what the RN requirement for a new frigate is yet!

I think MCM replacement will be a different mothership vessel.
Now we know of the latest contract for autonomous MCM small vessels.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Simon m

Other than the stern ramp are you more or less describing the Absalon class?


We have little-no idea what shape the T32 will take or what roles it will be expected to fulfill so the speculation whilst fun is all a bit pointless! My general thoughts reading this are….

  1. The current predicaments show just how difficult it is to expand numbers of complex warships once they have been reduced, even with 2 frigate programs up and running simultaneously. Without serious investment to speed up the T26 schedule or getting a 3rd production centre set up away from The Clyde or Rosyth we won’t see anything like 24 escorts until the mid-late 2030’s at the very earliest.
  2. The idea of losing 13 mine-hunters will no replacement at all is pretty alarming. Whilst it’ll offer great flexibility to have small autonomous mine-hunters it will be unwise to exclusively rely on other parts of the fleet to deploy them when it could undermine their primary roles. Not sure how a frigate or destroyer could effectively conduct AAW or ASW operations in defence of a RN task-group whilst also having to launch and manage them up-stream of the threat. Some kind of ‘mother-ship’ class is called for. A large mission-bay to deploy a variety of mine-hunting and survey capabilities, good endurance/sea-keeping and the ability to accommodate a diving team to support if needed would all be important. Something in the vein of SD Northern River perhaps that could also offer interesting synergies with the need for research/intelligence gathering and the ability to secure the undersea cable network that the HMS Scott replacement will supposedly provide…..
Glass Half Full

The impact of losing the 13 mine-hunters comes down to how many of the operations need a vessel at all, and of those that do need a vessel, how many would need a warship versus a commercial platform such as your SD Northern River example.

For example, the Gulf has 4 mine-hunters. These might all be shore based. Protecting CASD egress and entry might be a combo of shore and commercial vessel based. An RN-task group might use T31, auxiliaries, Bays, so wouldn’t have to impact T26 or T45 tactics.


Doesn’t work though – physics: a ship can only be in one place at once. Strategy, does this T32 leave port with an ASW UUSV or an MCMV package onboard ? When diverted to an emergency tasking where speed is the utmost, with the wrong package, what happens then? Tactics, a single vessel undertaking MCM and inshore ASW simultaneously- is the tech good enough to make this possible?

Need something like BMT Venator or the joint Dutch-Belgian MCM “mothership” to replace at least some of the Hunts / Sandowns.


BMT Venari?


Yes thankyou Stu, I did indeed mean the Venari 85 design!


No worries bud.
In which case – I agree. We need to replace at least some & the Venari design looks quite interesting. I’m only a novice so I’m playing top-trumps here but; to me the modular nature makes it looks like a good addition/eventual replacment to the RIvers (i.e. don’t fit the MCM modules & utilise the hangar….).

Glass Half Full

The great advantage of mission modules over dedicated platforms is the ability to deploy them anywhere in the world by land, sea or air at very short notice, together with their dedicated expert manpower. To then use on station RN, RFA, commercial, or allied vessels, or operate from the shoreline, to conduct MCM operations.

Clearly you’re correct that a ship can only be in one place. Consider where that leaves us with the current force of Hunts and Sandowns, or with future dedicated vessels. The current ships are slow, how much faster will Venari or similar platforms be? How long will it take to get them where they are needed if they aren’t already there?

Consider a scenario such as mining of the Malacca Strait. Say we have a T31/2 forward deployed in Singapore but without a MCM mission module, or another suitable UK vessel that’s just in the region at the time. We could fly out the capability and perhaps be operational within 48 hours if trained for it, to bring RN expertise to the region and help other parties address the problem. Helping to mitigate a potential WW economic meltdown. We clearly wouldn’t want to permanently station a MCMV in Singapore for this. There’s many similar choke points.

The overarching goal with a UK strategy of mission modules, (I suspect the French have a similar philosophy given their massive EEZ), is to avoid building a fleet of relatively small MCM vessels that are good for nothing more than OPV duty outside the MCM role. Instead build for flexibility of role for vessels across their 20-30 life with a frigate that can do so much more.

I will point out one other drawback of dedicated MCMV; the level of defences or more appropriately the lack of them. If we ever plan on MCM ops off a hostile coast then how do we protect it? Does that now require an additional frigate with AAW and ASuW capability to protect against shore launched weapons, boat and drone swarms?


I agree modules are good. For your Malacca Strait example, the ability to swap out & have a T31 do the job as a MCM vessel is half a world away, true. Having this capability to rapidly deploy from any platform is a great thing.

BUT – and I may be misunderstanding you here so apologies – I would propose that the purpose of a T31/2 is a GP frigate that can do the low end stuff to free up the T26/45. In a pinch, (as you described) it can do the MCM stuff but this shouldn’t be the default for it as it has other things to be doing.

“UK strategy of mission modules” – it’s a great idea but utterly useless and a total waste of money if you don’t have the platforms (however great or small) to put them on. The Venari concept (or something like it) is essentially an OPV with the ability to host modules. Without a module, just an OPV. With modules, MCMV, lightweight sub hunter, host for SF, hydrographic survey work etc. etc. Of course, that was what the USN attempted with the Littoral Combat Ship & that didn’t work too well…..

“MCM good for nothing more than OPV” – a lot of the time, that’s all we need though. Fly the flag & have a presence. I see the OPV-MCM relationship as similar to the T31-T26 – but often RN tasking is decided on “what’s nearby” e.g. look at the first RN vessel to arrive after the Beirut explosion; HMS Enterprise. The more platforms we have (however great or small) the better & that includes MCM vessels.

“MCM ops off a hostile coast” – fair. It will need some sort of escort. In the event we’re off a hostile coast though, it’s unlikely any vessel would deploy alone. Send a T26 and it’s not as protected from air threats as a T45, T45 sub threats etc etc. With a modular system, we get a choice – we either deploy a modular system on a T31 without comprimising our MCM work elsewhere in the world OR we can have the T31/26 equipped for the other aspects of war-fighting while the MCM focusses on doing its thing.

Glass Half Full

I am not advocating for a frigate as a default MCMV. A frigate is just one of a number of platforms that might be used with mission modules, with MCM most often deploying off low cost/lease commercial platforms or from shore in peacetime, and from STUFT in a major conflict.

OPVs are fine for their role, we have 8x of them. We add MCMV with fall back to OPV and we have even more of them. More OPV capability is not what we need to expand RN capabilities. If instead we replace existing OPV with MCMV then we have very expensive and probably slower OPVs. How does either support a credible, more global role, for the RN?

You seem to be assuming that I am advocating for no MCMV and also for no increase in frigates, thus using a frigate for MCM takes it from other roles? That is not my proposal. Instead the budget for dedicated MCMV is used for mission modules, say 15x for example, and an increase in frigates, say 3x for example, for similar cost to replacing the current 13x MCMV fleet.

“The more platforms we have (however great or small) the better & that includes MCM vessels.” – the problem with this statement is that ships take crews and have operating costs. We don’t have the budget or the appropriate skilled, trained, experienced manpower to just add more ships of all types, we need to be selective. I am suggesting we select higher end more capable platforms, albeit at lower numbers. The thing is we can’t send a MCMV to do a frigates job, so the greater MCMV numbers are immaterial in this case.


Just FYI – I’m not the one downvoting your comments. Some people are quite sensitive to that. I reserve a downtick only for the most egregious posts.

“advocating for no MCMV” I got from ‘avoid building a fleet of MCMV’ – apologies if I misunderstood you.

I think our debate (if I understand our positions) is between more high end that can do the MCM using mission modules when needed (the rest being shore based & off civilian vessels) v replacing existing platforms & use mission modules to improve their versatility.

“add more ships of all types” – I’m suggesting we should replace the ones we have with a more capable, adaptable design that can fulfil a range of roles. Specialist in MCM but capable of more. Our current MCMV don’t just do MCM. They do a lot of things you wouldn’t need a frigate for & with mission modules, could do some things a frigate would.

“More platforms” – I’m suggesting we replace the MCMV we have – not increase – with an adaptable design capable of more.  Longer term, an adaptable design (capable of hosting a small/med helicopter) can replace the Rivers & reduce the variety of types we need to support. I’m just using The Venari as an example. We already have the crews. I’m a spirited amateur in this as I’ve never served or worked in defence but I often hear of the need for command experience for future frigate Captains.

Your idea seems to make a lot of sense – especially shore based etc.. It’s your “lower numbers” point I can’t get behind. Especially ‘fewer but higher end’ – it sounds like the “FBNW” which is a curse. If we reduce total platforms (lose MCMV & get an extra 3 frigates), we lose 10 command slots. We lose 10 hulls to ‘fly the flag’. 10 platforms to potentially equip for MCM, ASW (light), support SF missions, conduct maritime security, EEZ protection and international relations. And we only save about 200 crew and gain 3 x low end frigates. Personally, I don’t like the idea.

Unfortunately, our discussion will have zero impact on the actual outcome so chances are, I won’t get my replacements, we’ll get the shore based and civilian hosted modules (to save money) & you won’t get your extra frigates. ?

Glass Half Full

No problem on the votes, I don’t pay attention to them. Much more interested in constructive debate and/or argument and refining my perspective/thoughts.

Yes, our discussion and my broader point is on increasing high end platforms at the expense of lower end, less flexible and less capable platforms, recognising that we are unlikely to have enough skilled, trained and experienced manpower or budget to do both. Bear in mind we currently have 5x T23 laid up or in lifex plus 2x T45 laid up and in re-fit. We need to tap all manpower sources including MCMV to man the T23s coming out of lifex and the T45s coming out of the power upgrades over the next five years or so, or leave high end assets tied up alongside in extended readiness again.

It seems the govt/RN may have a similar perspective on using higher end platforms in the MCM role since the minister confirmed that it is “…envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy’s capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures

Don’t take my 3x frigate +15x MCM module for 13 MCMV as the be all end all of frigate numbers growth. It was simply meant to illustrate how moving from dedicated MCMV can help that goal.

If we play fantasy fleet for a moment then the following seems achievable by approximately mid-2030s.

  1. 8x T26 + 6x T45
  2. 5x-8x T32 (3x of which get funded out of MCMV replacement)
  3. 5x T31
  4. 5x River B2
  5. 2x New Echo class with MCM mission module support
  6. Commercial vessel and shore deployments for MCM

The River B1s go as originally planned. The B2s mostly get pulled back to UK home waters. The T31s take over constabulary roles from B2s in higher threat regions and we create an intermediate T32 frigate for higher level escort roles and singleton deployments. With this force structure we still have plenty of vessels to directly support MCM if necessary but they can do so much more if required.

I don’t accept that command experience has to migrate up through smaller ships as if the size of the ship governs ability to command, its more an issue of relevant experience throughout career, with early command positions in more benign deployments.

You’re a bit negative regarding fleet contraction, although total numbers of hulls may reduce in favour of the higher end platforms. We have plenty of allies who might contribute lower end platforms, very few have our current high end capability led by the carriers. We should build on that high end.


Constructive debate – me too. Great to voice my opinion but I’m more eager to learn from others who know more and/or can offer another perspective. N-a-B is always good reading on here.

“Manpower” – Given the current influx of new recruits we’ve read about, this is a problem that can and is being fixed (it’s worthy of a long discussion on its own though). If we’re going to man the planned fleet as we currently have it planned, we have to solve the manpower issue either way. Saving 300 (max) crew out of 33,000 means little.

“RN similar perspective” – I agree this may be their idea. The USN had this idea with the LCS & it isn’t working out too well – different though as our systems seem much more ‘plug-and-play’ than theirs. From what I read, MCM warfare is something that requires ongoing effort to keep the skills and capabilities we need – see “Q routes”. If it becomes a secondary task for a frigate plus some civilian vessels (that are easier to cut when penny pinching happens), we risk losing this capability.
From you ministers quote, I’m pinning my hopes on “adding to” – i.e. we’re getting replacements & these modules can/will be fitted to T31/32 to boost capability when needed (i.e. in your Malacca example).

“Don’t take my 3 x frigate” – I didn’t. I can see your logic – we’re planning bigger numbers in the fleet & it’d be a nice boost to have 3 extra frigates on top of that. It’s a good idea worthy of consideration so please don’t think I’m dismissing it. I am also 100% behind the idea of modules being deployable on these platforms. I could be convinced to meet in the middle: 1/3 fewer MCMV for 1 extra frigate. I just don’t like losing all our MCMVs.

“Plenty of allies” – this goes to the broader conversation about ‘what do we want to be capable of’ & ‘Britain post Brexit’ etc. I voiced my ideas on the ‘Rumours of SDSR’ article on here but that seems to have disappeared. In short – we have to decide; Do we want to be a cog in/rely upon NATO or be capable of independent action? I (personal opinion) believe allies are great, we should work closely, integration etc. but they can stop/slow you acting when you want and can let you down when push comes to shove. I know it’s way more complex but I’m conscious of rambling – where were our allies in 1982? Whole other conversation though. Our MCM capability is one of our capabilities that our allies value & would rely upon. No MCMV risks that capability ebbing away.

Not surprisingly; We’re not the first and doubtless won’t be the last to have this discussion. I found an article that backs up some of what I have said written by a chap with an infinite amount more knowledge on the subject than I have (he’s an ex-RN MCMV Captain so he’s obviously a little biased) that you may find a good read:


Sorry – can’t find the “EDIT” button. Forgot to mention – for your fantasy fleet & my ‘meet in the middle’ – longer term, could we lose the Batch 2 Rivers & replace with another 3-5 (bringing us to 11-13) Venari (or similar)?

We’ve all complained the Rivers could be better, lack a hangar, not enough firepower etc. etc. so something like the Venari, a cheap-ish platform with containerised modules… containerised missile silo… possible entry level sub-hunter…

Glass Half Full

Edit button is a “cog” in bottom right of your comment.

I actually think the River B2 are OK for now in their roles in home waters, the Falklands, the Caribbean and the Med. They are a bit light weight if we deploy them in hot spots like the Persian Gulf or around the southern end of the Red Sea, but should be fine for anti-piracy/drug running patrols off East/West Africa, out in the Arabian Sea, and SE Asia. Frigates will be better for those East of Suez roles in future.

We could as you suggest replace all Rivers with Venari or similar. But my view is we end up with a platform that is neither fish nor fowl. Its expensive for an OPV role, especially if its always equipped with its MCM/ASW capability, or if we’re not careful we end up with sensor/weapons fit, manpower and performance of a light frigate, in which case why not go with a larger light frigate platform.


Not a naval person but have been involved in the marine oil and gas industry in south and south East Asia for past 20 years. Re River Batch 2 being ok for SE Asia… I can tell you that many of the ‘Pirates’ (cough… Rogue elements of a couple of local navies) that pop up at night time in the likes of the Andaman Sea, Straights of Malacca or Celebes Sea etc can come armed to the teeth c/w 30mm / 40mm etc and will not allow themselves to be captured (face near certain execution).

A few years ago we had a rig under tow a couple of days out of Singapore that got shot up by ‘Pirates’.. Fortunately they only opened up with their 0.5 cal in trying to stop and board the rig. Fortunately a larger Malaysian vessel was relatively close.

A single 30mm may be light.

Glass Half Full

Interesting data point, I hadn’t appreciated things were that bad in the region.

Glass Half Full

I agree that MCM capability is an important capability. Migrating to mission modules doesn’t have to mean losing capability, actually the reverse. We might support many more MCM modules than we can support dedicated MCM vessels, so expanding capability. Adequate manning might be addressed with most modules supported by full time RN personnel, while others could leverage RNR personnel, making greater use of this part time human resources asset. It is probably easier to integrate a dedicated self sufficient RNR MCM mission module team onto a ship in extremis than trying to leverage RNR individuals into a full time ships crew.

MCM mission modules also don’t have to mean losing skills and experience. The modules would have dedicated personnel that deploy with the modules, in a similar way to how 815 NAS deploy singleton Wildcat flights to the fleet. MCM personnel would in effect be an elite skilled, focused, experienced team, no jack of all trades approach.

Wrt to allies, its not either or regarding independent action. NATO has been and continues to be a success, but it doesn’t preclude independent action by the UK, or action with one, two or more allies independent of NATO. However, its very unlikely the UK will engage in independent action alone, the Falklands is the one example and people struggle to come up with a modern scenario that would replicate it.

I read the Wavell link, thanks. I don’t know when he commanded MCM vessels but from his bio it seems some time ago. He is rather dismissive of modern approaches, without any substantive points in support of that perspective. He also seems to be grossly underestimating the cost to replace the MCMV fleet based on what the 12 MCMV are costing Belgium and the Netherlands. I’m going to go with the RN that has been developing unmanned techniques for almost two decades at this point, and the high end USV approach that’s been in development for half a decade plus, with probably another half decade of refinement with the three recently purchased systems. Its likely to be a slow and steady migartion of capability with some in the current MCMV fleet still in service into the 2030s.

Simon m

Actually there was a BMT venator minor warfare vessel designed which actually looks like the Dutch/Belgium MCM vessels. Venari 85 was designed later on


And we will lose 13 minehunter ‘captain’s.


A simple comment.

Isn’t the T31 boat bays reduced to three? On the Babcock release image, it is clearly stated “3 Pacific RHIB”. Also shown in the official image, as shown in your web.

Also most of the newest CGs only shows one boat alcove in the port side.

So, now it is 3 not 4 boats. Nothing special anymore, as there are plenty of “3 boats carrying” escorts worldwide.


Thanks, no need for apology. Support correcting a small mistake is a pleasure as just a minor commentator in this web. Thanks a lot for all your work here.

Glass Half Full

Is a frigate gap defined by how many hulls we have, or how many frigates are available for tasking? I’d argue that the latter is the far more relevant metric, and on that basis we have been in our largest frigate gap for years, and still are with one T23 laid up/in extended readiness and another four still in lifex. This changes as T23’s exit lifex, but then runs into T23 OSD before T26/T31 are deployable.

So currently eight frigates available. By 2023 we’re probably up to nine, before dipping again to seven in 2026, and then nine again in 2027, as the T26/T31 offset the older T23s being decommissioned to current schedule. From then on we’re at ten frigates or better availability. It seems conceivable that the RN may be able to push a lifex’ed frigate or two for an extra year to avoid the 2026 dip.

All this doesn’t mean we run around like headless chickens trying to accelerate frigate builds, both because its not practical and because if we could then it would result in a feast and famine cycle for shipbuilding and destroy the NSS before its even hit its stride.

So Keep Calm and Carry On – we aren’t in a hot war, we aren’t even in a cold war.

The linked piece below provides a much more elegant illustration for the 2020’s along with a more speculative view for the 2030’s than my wordy outline above.


Good post. Times have changed. The RN learned from the deployment of HMS to the Falklands and Severn and Mersey to the Caribbean. The Type 26 skills and budget delays and the River batch program can be viewed as a case of problem= opportunity. There was a time when the Falklands, the Caribbean, and contributions to Med and Indian Ocean policing operations would have meant a frigate deployment. Combined with investment in forward basing the RN has wisely navigated through a period of famine and created a global framework. Post Brexit fishing even provided a justification for retaining the batch 1 Rivers. Serendipity …or Divine providence?


Thanks. I do wish Lord West would keep his mouth shut.


I agree. It also doesn’t help that there aren’t enough crew to run more frigates. Even if the Type 23s were all in perfect shape, we’d still be in the middle of a frigate gap.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon
Glass Half Full

While I dare say we’ll have endless hours of enjoyment arguing about T32 specs, there is a very practical rationale behind considering a “new” platform, apart from helping to support modern design capabilities in the UK for naval vessels, including commercial platforms.

MOD have a very good idea what a current spec T31 will cost. They will also have a very good idea of what an up-armed and/or otherwise enhanced T31 is likely to cost. They have a good idea what a T26 costs. This should allow them to define a specification for a modern intermediate frigate that sits between T31 (current spec) and T26. They then have an option to commit to a new platform, if it delivers at the right costs (capital and operating) with clear benefits over existing platforms, or revert to the T31 platform if T32 proposals fail to deliver. Thus no guarantee of business to Babcock, or anyone else.

The advantage in starting the T32 program now for a 2030’s time-frame is that it will hopefully avoid the mistakes of the T26 and T31 programs and avoid having to settle for older platforms because there is no time to develop a new one.


Hi – another ship that is designed as a mothership for mine hunting/clearance USVs is the one being put together Netherlands/Belgian navies ENGIE to provide Belgian-Dutch rMCM program with HVAC systems – Naval News

Wouldn’t getting into that programme mean that this role could be deleted from the type 32 specification and mean that the type32 could become the more sophisticated and up-armed version of the type 31s that many people would like to see?

Glass Half Full

Several issues with your proposal.

  1. Another foreign design which undermines maintaining UK based naval engineering design capability and that assumes they’d still be built in the UK.
  2. Committing to a dedicated MCM vessel fleet, even if only five, let alone ten or more, almost certainly means fewer frigates. This in turn impacts the UK’s long term global reach/operating aspirations.
  3. There are a number of current RN MCM long term responsibilities that do not require high cost dedicated vessels.
  4. For those operations that do require a warship build for MCM, then those ops may also require a frigate’s weapons/defences in future.

Just FYI, I didn’t down vote you. Nothing wrong in having different opinions, many others have a similar perspective to yours.


Lasers are not going to replace a 25KM plus missile system for dropping anti ship missiles in the near to mid term, Current Solid State Slab or Fibre optic lasers and the growth potential they have limit them to maybe a 10-15kn range at most.
Even the current USN system which is probably the most advanced system afloat is limited to slow moving drones and surface swarms.
Their inefficiency means they need a lot of power and a lot of cooling. To get out to the range of a Sea ceptor you would need a 1-3 MW class laser which would need 20MW to power it and something like 5000-8000 Kw of cooling. Current systems cannot be scaled up to those power levels so something like a Free Electron laser would be needed along with particle accelerators, shielding from X rays and a vessel able to carry the thing which could be over 50m in length.


Everything has changed in the laser field
You seem to be remembering the ‘old style laser’
The glass fibre technology for communications has fed into the laser field , and they now scale up by adding multiple fibres together .
Doesnt mean the problems arent going away , but it does mean the answers are closer than we might think


The detail from the link
The way that’s done is, instead of just building a single laser at 50 kilowatts or 100 kilowatts or something like that, we are actually taking individual fiber-lasers and combining the outputs of the beams into a single high-power beam, and we do that using a technique we call Spectral Beam Combination… Fundamentally, what we did was we took something, if you’re familiar with wavelength division multiplexing in telecommunication—how to break up the spectrum that’s available to you into many different laser-lines and send all that light down a fiber to increase your communications bandwidth. So, all of a sudden, we took a large number of fiber-laser channels, all closely spaced in wavelength or in frequency, and then by reflecting those beams off an object. We could call it a grating, or you can think in your mind of it like a prism, the beams all combine into a single output beam.”
Or as Pink Floyd might have described it
comment image


Ha, I think the Pink Floyd description is easier to understand ! Ahead of their time.

Meirion X

Or maybe upgraded to CAMM-ER!


Yes, that’s all true. But you still need to power and cool the laser “assembly”. Due to the 3:1 power inefficiency, this is the main bottleneck of producing a viable medium range laser that could replace SeaCeptor. The Dragonfire project is a fibre-laser, yet the goal for that is 100kW with aim of using it as a close in weapon system. I would imagine that Dragonfire could eventually be scaled up to 150+kW, but the ship will still need to power it. The four diesels of a Type 31/32 may be be a bit mediocre in this respect?

A team led by US technology development firm Dynetics is to build and test a 100 kW laser weapon for the US Army….work on the project with laser provider Lockheed Martin and power systems specialist Rolls-Royce, under the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program.’

All mounted on a medium truck
Lockheed’s lasers will be powered by a new system developed by Rolls-Royce. Earlier this week the UK-headquartered maker of jet engines said that its “LibertyWorks” subsidiary in the US had demonstrated a power and thermal management system specifically developed for laser and directed energy weapons.
The thermal management element is critical, as even today’s highly efficient fiber lasers create a colossal amount of heat when integrated to produce a 100 kW laser output.
Rolls-Royce said that <b>design requirements including 300 kW electrical power delivery, 200 kW thermal management capacity,</b> and precise temperature management had all been met and fully verified.


Yep, I’ve seen the RR laser power supply system, it was at DSEI 2019. They’ve made it scalable based around commercial ISO dimensions. The basic one contains everything within the 20ft ISO dimensions. They use a small helicopter gas turbine as the main electrical generation source and include a cooling matrix and capacitor bank. From what I remember Williams also supplied a flywheel KIRS system. This small generator was enough for a 50kW laser. You will be looking at a 40ft ISO for lasers in the 100kW range. I do believe a 200kW laser is doable if its based around a collimated fibre laser, the problem would be either finding the space for some 40ft ISO sized power generators or having sufficient surplus power from the ship’s gen sets.

The recent reports from MBDA is that Dragonfire has had a number of setbacks. I believe they are trying to get near 100kW and have run into some issues. They won’t say, but it’s probably cooling or the focusable collimating lens.


The medium truck can carry the 300kW power supply ( for a 100kW laser) as the story notes. As you mention its a small helicopter engine

“Lockheed’s lasers will be powered by a new system developed by Rolls-Royce. Earlier this week the UK-headquartered maker of jet engines said that its “LibertyWorks” subsidiary in the US had demonstrated a power and thermal management system specifically developed for laser and directed energy weapons.
The thermal management element is critical, as even today’s highly efficient fiber lasers create a colossal amount of heat when integrated to produce a 100 kW laser output.
Rolls-Royce said that design requirements including 300 kW electrical power delivery, 200 kW thermal management capacity, and precise temperature management had all been met and fully verified.
 required for military applications – sized to fit in US Army vehicles and US Navy ships.”

So the truck system- a 20ft container- is already at the 300kW power production for a 100kW laser. ( 300kW power output is at the smallest helicopter engine level, RR already does 4000kW turbine generator sets for USN DDG51- interesting that RN still looks to diesels)

Instead of ammunition supplies and reloading issues the limit for targets would be the fuel for the helicopter turbine generator -thats until it becomes integrated with the ship electrical system – which could be more trouble than its worth

I dont think it will fully replace the Seaceptor with its longer range but shows promise for the CIWS mission and could possibly tackle drones, small speedboats and as a last ditch against hypersonic type missiles.
The real issue now is the tracking and targeting by the laser itself and could be 10 years away as a fully reliable system.


Nuclear frigates ?

John Brabyn

Great to hear about the latest from this Defense Review. I am a longtime daily reader of this site and an expat NZer living in USA. I have been sad that my old country devotes so little of its GDP to defense lately and that UK has followed in its steps to a lesser degree, and really only achieving the 2% by including a lot of peripheral non-defense expenses. New Zealand has its head in the sand, fortunately Australia is more realistic. If anything bad does happen, it will be like last time when the US set up shop in NZ largely disregarding local authorities, good for them I say.

It is great to hear that unlike previous defense reviews, the UK govt may finally be recognizing that defense of the realm is the first priority of a government, and in the age of Brexit I do think a more international view will prevail in the UK and it will win in the longer term compared to staying in the ossified and socialist EU.

Here’s hoping for a real expansion in the Royal Navy,




NZ has gone all touchy feely. Chinese must be laughing their socks off. Because the place is on the bottom of the world the NZers may think they can ignore the rest of us.
I may be harsh, but thats how they look (given the way they seem to vote) to me.


Nothing to do with the way they vote, as the GDP allocated to defence is similar under both main parties- if anything the re-equipment plan is more coherent and funded under the existing government.
Just as Ireland tucked in behind Britain, isnt a big spender on defence nor even a member of nato, because location is everything.
If Australia is so worried about China – why are they selling them coal and iron ore, wheat etc by a constant stream of bulk carriers.
China is not interested in attacking Australia or NZ for that matter, their economic growth requires western markets full stop.


Yip, they have been bewitched by Jacinda and their brains are addled. They have legalised Euthanasia and Abortion. Not a smart place to live if you can’t defend yourself.


Good morning all you lovely people, hope you have a great day. Good Thread but still nothing really known yet. Interesting Ideas/comments though, i was interested to see the type 31 mission bay limitations highlighted, it does seem to be a bit lacking, maybe someone has noticed this and decided to do something positive given how other navy’s are becoming ever more capable. Anyway, you all have a nice day, i’m off to walk the hound.


I imagine that a larger main gun on an expendable cheap frigate for gunnery support of amphibious operations would be of interest. Don’t want to risk a 26 or 45 in these roles.


” Expendable Cheap Frigate” !!! with Expendable cheap Crew too ? Blimey, not sure that would be very welcome mate.


What I mean is, you have a lot higher risk doing that operation than providing carrier escort out at sea, the crew will have that heightened risk regardless of the ship type they are in but the RN will send in a £250-400m ship rather than £750-1000m ship. There have always been capital ships you keep protected as much you can and others you are more willing to risk, in this case I can see the type 32 being involved in ‘daring raids’. War is not a safe business.


It was the “Expendable” part that bothered me most ! Great strides have been taken to reduce the risk to the Human element of Warfare, wouldn’t want to think I was any more expendable just because of Money.


I always think about what the crews must have felt on the type21s sent through Falkland Sound to test if it had been mined.


Don’t forget, being used as the last line of defence, putting themselves in harms way and protecting the amphibious and supply ships, knowing they had very little that could be used to not only defend these ships but also themselves. I have the utmost respect for the ship’s crews of the T21s.

Last edited 3 years ago by DaveyB
4th watch

‘They were Expendable’ the John Wayne PT boat film. Unfortunately small ships and that includes frigates and light forces are always first into harms way. Just look at the losses at Dunkirk in 1940 and the MGBs and MTBs in the Battle of the narrows seas. In recent times one can only say no Aircraft Carrier has been hit by any projectile since 1945.


Oh, well that’s OK then ! You ought to have been on Sir Tristram mate. rolls eyes, walks away rom the keyboard.


It is so tough sometimes, watching South Korea spit out 40% of global shipping tonnage annually, and put Sejjong class destroyer-cruisers in the water in no time at all


Currently global shipping is in trouble. Will it recover?


With the Type 45 having next to no ASW capability and the Type 31 rumoured to be going to have none at all, it’s vital that these vessels have full ASW sensor capability and quieting.


That means unless you are happy for the capability to be provided by off board sensors.

  1. No derivatives of the T31 can meet the requirements.
  2. It will be an expensive vessel.

My guess is that the T32 is far more likely to be a more flexible T31 to improve the deployed capability of the RN without needing lots of people or money.


Sadly that’s my guess as well.

Glass Half Full

Well the Danes are re-classifying their Absalon-class support ships as ASW frigates and will be adapting and equipping them for the role. Unless you are qualifying TAS as “off board” then it seems a T31 derivative can certainly perform an ASW role.


There are lots of calls in these comments to either start up a third production site or increase the build rate in Rosyth and Glasgow.
But there are no proposals how the RN can find the crew to operate these ships before end of the decade. The issue isn’t with junior rates and officers, it’s with finding people with 10+ years experience to fill the various leadership rolls.
I my opinion crew are a bigger problem the steel.


I agree your point is very important. Following points come into my mind.

1: Anyway, T32 will be delivered AFTER ~2030. Yearly budget profile, and ship-building engineers size, will not enable to build three types of frigates at once (if UK do it, many of them will lose their job in 2030, meaning big trouble). So, we have “nearly” 10 years from now.

2: Also, MCMVs may see less number of replacement hulls. Now, RN deploys 4 MCMVs in the Gulf. Replacing them with 2 “twice-capable” motherships is not a problem, I think (it will also free-up one Bay LSD). If current 12 MCMVs are to be replaced with 6 such motherships, then 6 Lieutenant Commanders (and his XOs) will be “free”?

3: Now with 8 River class OPVs (in addition to 12 MCMVs), RN is rebooting leadership training. At least, more OPVs came than the reduced MCMVs.

So your point is VERY important but still doable to handle, if properly handled, I think (or hope).

# also recruit rate has significantly improved, nowadays.

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo
Phillip Johnson

The T32, if it ever eventuates, is an issue for the late 2020’s and the 2030’s. The track record of British military for the last 30 years is one of endless contraction. The T32 seems to have popped out of thin air and perhaps the most likely outcome is that a larger frigate force will not survive Boris’s term of prime minister.
In short, it is all a press release until someone stumps up the money in 10 years time and by that time serious chunks of money will also be required for the T45 replacement. Far to much of the T45 is unique to assume that it will age well.


The money is even as we speak being “stumped up”. Australia Canada and Sweded as I understand it putting forward significant defence increases. With goid reason. You are taking this excuse as a way just to peddle your own political prejudice.

Phillip Johnson

I guess the response is ‘we shall see’ Government’s budget annually which is a large part of the problem.
For a project that will plainly follow the T31, the T32 is a long way in the future and the guy who made the promise likely wont be around.
My guess is that the promised extra funding will do little more than properly fund the existing Defence structure which we all know was full of holes. Those holes will quickly suck up the additional funding unless major cuts are made elsewhere..


All Military equipment is replaced at some point, that’s what the Military Budget is for . The trick is getting the most Bang for Buck, so to speak.


Obviously It’s not then !


I believe we need to have a proper fleet plan and fund it

realistically the RN require £4bn per annum for their Ship building programme.

The RFA/RN have circa 90 ships between them.

Subs = 14 ships (10 SSN + 4 SSBN) cost £2.5bn pa drumbeat 1 per 2 years
Global Combat Ship =12 ships (T26) cost £0.6bn pa drumbeat 1 per 2 years
Global Mission Ship =12 ships(t31/32) cost £0.3bn pa drumbeat 1 per 2 years
Multi Mission Ship = 25 ships (new class) cost £0.3bn pa drumbeat 1 per year
RFA Joint Logistics Ships =12 ships(t31/32) cost £0.5bn pa drumbeat 1 per 2 years
Specialist Ships= 8 ships cost £0.05bn pa drumbeat 1 per 3 years
Tides=4 ships cost £0.05bn pa drumbeat 1 per 6 years

Carriers will not be replaced,
MCM/ Rivers/ Echo’s will be replaced by MMS
T45 replaced by T26 (improved Radar),
All RFA (except Tides), Albion’s, Argus to be replaced by joint logistic ships (Karel Doorman benchmark)

this gives us the following industrial strategy:

  1. Combat vessel builds in 2 sites (each producing 1 GCS and 1 MMS pa.)
  2. A large ship builder constructing all of the RFA and Specialist ships (1 per annum)
  3. Submarine capability producing 1 every 2 years (SSBN= 5 year SSN = 2 year)
  4. 1 or more smaller yards to produce the 120 small vessels needed each year to sustain the non combat enabling assets.

The above provides a critical change to the RN’s structure providing 24 high end (C1/C2) and 25 low end (C3) combat vessels whilst ensuring we maintain industrial capability, drive down costs and improve capability whilst maintaining current fleet size.


I suspect that the reference to “Type 32” was a typo and / or Ministerial slip-up: I think he meant to say “Type 31”.


Ben Wallace has Stated that the Type 32 will come after the Type 31.


your minus vote was not from me, just sayin.


No problems. I just find it hard to believe that we have gone from a situation where we were looking at the loss of amphibious capability and / or one of the carriers, to one where we now seem to be committed to rebuilding the fleet. I just find it very hard to believe, especially in the face of the greatest economic disaster “for 300years”. It just won’t last.


I think we have had far greater economic disasters than this in that period though mate……. Two Total all out Wars in the last 110 years for a start, and that’s not counting all the lives lost either. Covid is not of our making, It’s another crap Chinese Export !


Well there are really only two ways out the current situation.

1. Austerity
2. Investment

They did the first last time and it worked to a point but there is simply no appetite for a repeat so that leaves …invest!

Simon m

Possibly Type 31 batch 2 but if so we’ll probably never actually know if it was an error or not unless we can get minutes of meetings between the RN & MOD. If it was an error it is now well and truly committed to!


With no significant effort to reduce its acoustic signature for simplicity and cost reasons, Type 31 is a poor ASW platform”

Im sorry STRN , but that is neither a fair nor a true description of the T31 design. Yes, with its direct diesel-mechanical drive, active stabilizers and bow thruster, there is a hard limit to how quiet the platform can ultimately get.

However within those confines much attention has been given to reduce underwater signature, from the hull shaping reducing flow noise, to the 5 bladed CP propellers which will arguably be among the quietest of its kind, machinery spaces fitted with sound isolation, all machinery, pumps, motors etc being selected based on low self-noise AND all of it placed on sound attenuating shock mounts…..including the main propulsion engines.

So in short, while the T31 will never match the anti-submarine capability of the T26 , it will be quiet enough to contribute to the ASW mission, should the RN so chose to equip it with the relevant off and onboard systems.


Good video interview, takes place in one of the engineering spaces of the Iver Huitdfeldt:

4th watch

Thanks, interesting info. Maybe it could be fitted with one of the lightweight VDS.

Stray Vector

Hi @MikeKiloPapa, thanks for post; it was very interesting! A couple of questions for you:

1)   In what way would you see a T31 contributing to ASW and what would need to be added for it to fullfill that type of mission, particularly sensors. (Along the lines of 4th watch’s replay, I’m think something a like the compact/modular CAPTAS-4 towed array sonar might make sense).

2)   Would a hull-mounted sonar make sense given the T31’s noise signature?

3)   I can see how noise signature impacts passive sonar, but does it also have an impact on active sonar?

Thanks again.


FYI, latest information from Commons answers regarding the T32. When asked what the difference between a T31 and T32’s fit out and mission would be:
The programme and procurement strategy for Type 32 will be decided following the concept phase, which has not yet been launched.
Further work is required to develop the operational concept however it is envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy’s capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures.


With no detail on what taskings/requirements a T32 will be expected to undertake then everything else is just speculation.
No design is possible until you draw up your set of requirements of what you actually want the vessel to do.

Also, just as an example you may say we need T32 for ASW. This may drive you to think of a typical ASW design –
Merlin, TAS , hull sonar etc.
But before you rush of to sketch/CAD your ships you have to ask is this how we will do ASW in the future?

Imagine if in the future you had a squadron of 4-6 Manta+ like AUVs (with weeks of operation endurance) with sensors deployed from your ASW ship across the area of interest to find and fix the sub then these can call for an attack on the sub from a high endurance loitering aerial drone.
Well you can see the design of these two examples of ASW ships would be very different.


Well you can see the design of these two examples of ASW ships would be very different”

The apparent differences could be very small, with the changes mostly affecting the inside spaces and placement of some systems in the superstructure. The advantages of resusing the hull form and the power/propulsion package along with the myriad internal communications, electric, hydraulic ?, fire protection, water treatment and disposal is immense. The T31 is 5-6000 tonnes so provides a lot of internal space to use.
Building a new batch of 5 or less doesnt warrant the expense of a ‘very different’ design, despite what BAE and its proxies might spread around.

Remember back in the 1960s how helicopters were ‘easily’ added to the earlier T12 Whitby/Rothesay class to produce the later T12 Leanders with improved air search radar as well.

Meirion X

It is looking likely that the RN requirement of another type of frigate will have a dual role, which is to deploy autonomous vessels as well as being a warhip.

That will certainly required a new type of vessel!


The launch and recovery mechanisms for autonomous vehicles will have an impact on design as well as ship compensation and stabilization systems. Eg stern ramp – weight height width limits, ramp angle compensation for ships motion
Launch systems ,speed limits,sea state limits. Hotel services for AVs
Maintence equipment bays.
Types of vehicle lift – Single lift , rigid lift , dual lift,
Crane/s site size operation limits
Command control communications with AVs ,mission planning.
Type of aerial vehicle launch and recovery systems, ship air wake , roll pitch.
AV storage – deck, recessed side, recessed covered, mission bay, AV hangar.
Firefighting, ordance storage,
There is a lot to consider for the safe operation and support of AVs.

Humpty Dumpty

This is utter madness. Our carriers, T23s, T45s and support ships are underarmed and under-defended. We also lack subs and F-35Bs and we need better missiles. So what does the government decide to do? Waste money building a new class of ship likely to be as pointless as the T31. Am I through the looking glass? This is bonkers.

Instead wouldn’t it make more sense long term to build the T26s as multi-role ships capable of ASW, AAW, AShW and land attack? This would make them much more flexible ships and much more survivable.

If we scrapped the T31s, T32s, drastically cut back on foreign aid (only giving it to countries that actually use it to help their poorest citizens) and put HS2 on hold (which is far from a priority at the moment because of COVID), we could afford to significantly improve the RN. Plus cutting back on foreign aid would give us extra money every year.

We could (and should imo) upgrade Batch 2 Rivers instead of building T31s and they’d be good enough to escort ships in the Persian Gulf, which is probably where the T31s will mainly operate.

For fishing protection duties 42m cutters built by Damen with a 30mm cannon and some GPMGs would be plenty good enough and be a very cheap option:
We could afford loads of them and if fitted with a towed array sonar like Swordfish say, they could work in conjunction with Poseidons to provide anti-sub capability in home waters.

New missile types desperately need to be developed, which would make our ships far better protected against anti-ship missiles and subs:

   – Stealthy ship-launched anti-ship missiles that are longer ranged than Kalibr, Oniks and Zircon. They would need to be able to accelerate in their terminal phase to make a hit more likely. Make them easy to upgrade so they can remain longer ranged than any enemy missiles well into the future.
   – Stealthy anti-ship missiles that can be carried by Astutes and their replacement.
   – Stealthy anti-ship missiles that can be carried internally by F-35Bs.
   – Anti-sub missiles with a range of 100+km to keep subs at arm’s length so they can’t get in range to fire torpedoes in the first place. Make them easy to upgrade so their range can be increased if necessary. Make them high supersonic so they can cover 100km in about a minute. Make a ship-launched version, a sub-launched version and possibly a version that Merlins can fire.
   – Anti-air missiles with a range of 400+km so aircraft can’t fire anti-ship missiles from beyond the range of Aster 30, which is currently possible. Again make them easy to upgrade. Also make them as fast as possible to cover the 400+km in as little time as possible.
   – A stealthy land-attack missile that has a range far in excess of the DF-26 and that can accelerate in its terminal phase. This would give a carrier group more teeth.

I’d also like cheap suicide drones to be developed and built in vast numbers to take out mobile ballistic anti-ship missile launchers and mobile SAM launchers. These could be dropped from F-35Bs and/or a land-attack missile without a warhead. These drones could possibly also attack ships in port taking out their bridges and/or radars and so mission-kill them, as well as attack aircraft on a runway. Even if the drones get shot down it wouldn’t matter since the enemy would be using an expensive missile to shoot down a cheap drone and in any case a drone swarm could overwhelm a launcher if there are more drones in the swarm than there are missiles in the launcher.

Other things a multi-role T26 could do with (build them the size of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and call them cruisers, since they’d no longer be dedicated ASW frigates):
   – Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC)
   – The same radars as a Type 45 (Or possibly SPY-6 instead of SAMPSON?)
   – Aster 30 Block 1NT to take out ballistic anti-ship missiles (and Aster 30 Block 2 BMD when it’s ready)
   – SM-6 because it has an estimated max range of 460km which would keep aircraft at arm’s length so they couldn’t get into range to fire anti-ship missiles (SM-6 also has anti-ballistic missile capability and can be used as an anti-ship missile)
   – Two ADL lauchers with 32 quad-packed CAMMs or ESSMs because ADL launchers can be replenished at sea
   – Two Oerlikon Millennium Guns, more if they’ll fit. Ideally deck penetrating with a fast auto-reloader.
   – Microwave weapons to take out anti-ship missiles, UAVs and fast attack craft
   – Dragonfire to blind or burn out the sensors in anti-ship missiles and drones. Invest heavily in R&D to get them up to 500+ kilowatts ASAP, then they could shoot down anti-ship missiles, weather permitting. Also look into the feasibility of fitting 1+ megawatt chemical lasers to shoot down anti-ship missiles.
   – A ship-based version of DIRCM to confuse IR-guided anti-ship missiles
   – A ship-based version of IRST to detect very fast and/or stealthy sea-skimming anti-ship missiles
   – HVPs for the main gun to take out anti-ship missiles. From what I’ve read they fly at Mach 3 and have a range of 80+km. I’d have thought this would mean they could also be used against ballistic missiles.
   – Decoys, any combination of: chaff, flares, Siren, IrvinGQ floating decoys, Nulka, MASS, radar-thwarting obscurant (which would possibly also confuse IR-guided and TV-guided missiles)
   – Anti-torpedo torpedoes (e.g. SeaSpider, MU90 Hard Kill or SSTD CAT)
   – Depth charges (I assume that if a few depth charges are launched into the water into the path of a torpedo they’d destroy it or at the very least ruin its electronics and sensors; that would be a cheap effective way to protect ships from torpedoes)
   – Arcims surface drones fitted with torpedo launchers and depth charges data-linked to the T26s and Merlins

It would also make sense to fit Harpoon to our Astutes if that’s doable. It’s a shame there isn’t a sub-launched version of LRASM. One should be developed.

Improvements I’d like to see made to the carriers:
   – Fit Sea Ceptor (ideally SAMPSON/Aster, but I can’t see that ever happening)
   – Fit Oerlikon Millennium Guns (as many as will fit, ideally at least 4)
   – Fit OTO Melara 76mm guns firing DART and PFF ammo to take out anti-ship missiles (as many as will fit, ideally at least 2)
   – Get Meteor fitted to the F-35Bs ASAP
   – Buy loads more F-35s. We need at least 60 on board and operational at any one time. It seems though that LM is struggling to manufacture them fast enough as they’ve got so many orders to fill.

I’d like the T23s to be upgraded, but I’m not sure how much room for upgrades there is. Anything I mentioned above that will fit to make them more survivable against anti-ship missiles and torpedoes would be welcome. Does anyone know what could potentially be fitted to the T23s?

And what about the Tide-class tankers? They currently only have Phalanx and 30mm cannons. Is there space for any of the equipment I suggested above that could be fitted to them to make them more survivable?

Last edited 3 years ago by Humpty Dumpty
Simon m

I agree with a lot of that as we are falling behind but unfortunately things like delaying HS2 will politically not happen especially not for defence. Unfortunately we’d struggle to find most of the above ☹️. I disagree with getting rid of T31 as the parent design is capable and we could in no way expand the fleet on T26 costs (although we should have more T26). However, considering the RN is supposed to be a leading force we should at least taken the cheaper adapted foreign design & improved on it – raft mounting the diesels, insuring the GFE from T23 came across, Hull mounted Sonar, 30mm even torpedo tubes (why not). If not MK41 then at least Lockheed Martin’s EXLS system should’ve been purchased, CAMM-ER should be added we could have even purchased NS200 radar & kept Artisan as a secondary radar we could have also added a cheap towed array such as Krait array or Captas 1 or 2.
No other major European navy has gone as far to ensure their 2nd line ships are so cheap & poorly armed. Yes we needed a cheaper design than T26 but it is now obvious circa £400 million + infrastructure should have been nearer the aim. I do also wonder how we have ordered less & can afford less T26 than any other nation using the base design! 24 escorts should not be the aspiration but the new minimum. We were supposed to have got 12 destroyers! 16 frigates in the original SDR which was a cut on 34 escorts.
We may not be able to go to SPY6 on T26 but something like the APAR that is the primary radar for iver Huiltfeldt class preferably AESA panel based which would still allow Artisan to be added above them and again CAMM-ER,/Aster 15 LM EXLS not mushroom farms supplementing the MK41. We are in real danger of falling behind against modern threats. I firmly believe that we should be combining the meteor missile design with Aster 30 to provide a long range SAM. All phalanx should either be converted to Sea ram or have it so both weapons could be used i.e. the Gatling gun backing up the missiles meaning attempts to intercept could continue up to the very last moments. Other cheaper options could be the adoption of not only LMM but HVM Starstreak to the CIWS systems fleet wide. also add MILAS or the latest version of ASROC to T26 just in case a helicopter is not available or somehow sub had through anti-sub screen. Another cheap way of protecting ships is decoys & there are a number of directional pneumatic designs that can also launch sonar buoys & other munitions. Dragonfire is also need asap. In terms of gunnery both the Bofors 40mm & 57mm are good systems the 40mm would be a great fleet wide addition. 57mm madfires is deeply impressive and should be on Type 45 as well as T31. A guided round for the 40mm similar to ORCA should be invested in as well.

Humpty Dumpty

“I agree with a lot of that as we are falling behind but unfortunately things like delaying HS2 will politically not happen especially not for defence. Unfortunately we’d struggle to find most of the above.”

Everything I suggested would be totally possible if the political will was there. And drastically cutting back on foreign aid is totally feasible and that would provide more money every year. And what’s the point of persuing HS2 when we’re in lockdown?

But it’s all bs anyway. We had no trouble finding hundreds of billions to bail out the banks, did we? Where did that money magically come from? Claiming we can’t afford to do X, Y and Z is always bs. We should spend billions on the RN (and the NHS) to get them up to scratch and just add it to our national debt. We’re already over two trillion in debt. A few more billion won’t make much difference one way or the other.

Plus upgrading ships is a lot cheaper than having to replace sunk ones. Ships also take a long time to build, so upgrading them makes total sense. Not upgrading them is short-sighted and negligent.

Plus if we built ships that have armament and defences that no current ships have, then they’d almost certainly be very exportable, which would bring in a lot of money.

“I disagree with getting rid of T31 as the parent design is capable”

The Iver Huitfeldt is far far more capable than the T31. It’s like comparing chalk and cheese.

The T31 on the other hand will be absolute garbage. It’ll likely operate in the Persian Gulf escorting commercial ships. It couldn’t operate anywhere more dangerous and even in the Persian Gulf I seriously doubt its survivability.

It’ll be a sitting duck for torpedoes and will only have 12 CAMMs.

Fast attack craft could fire anti-ship missiles from beyond the range of the 3 Bofors guns. They might be able to take out subsonic anti-ship missiles, but I’d prefer something with a higher rate of fire like the Oerlikon Millennium Gun (and ideally deck penetrating with an auto-reloader). If fast attack craft fire torpedoes the T31s will almost certainly be sunk. If remote-controlled vessels filled with explosives tried to get near a T31 DS30Ms and CIWS could deal with that threat. Are the 3 Bofors guns even needed?

The Wildcat with LMMs will be the best defence, but with only 20 LMMs their usefulness is extremely questionable, especially against large numbers of remote-controlled fast attack craft. I’d like to see the T31s fitted with a missile specifically designed to take out these craft. Something like the Griffin missile but longer ranged so that it can take them out before they can get in range to fire anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. It would also make sense I think to consider fitting T31s with the Krait Defence System:

“and we could in no way expand the fleet on T26 costs”

We could if we scrap the T31s, T32s, drastically cut back on foreign aid and put HS2 on hold. We could afford to build 13 T26s to replace the T23s one for one. And build the T26s to a much higher spec so they’re adequately protected against anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. We could afford to build multi-role T26s for ASW, AAW, AShW and land attack.

And new missiles would need to be developed:
   – High-supersonic anti-sub missiles (100+km) (to outrange the Type 65 torpedo)
   – High-supersonic or hypersonic anti-air missiles (400+km) (because 400km is the range of SAMPSON)
   – Stealthy anti-ship missiles (1,000+km) (to outrange Zircon)
   – Stealthy land-attack missiles (5,000+km) (to outrange DF-26)

We could also afford more Astutes and we could also afford to build two new carriers with cats & traps. And afterwards we could convert the QE and PoW to cats and traps as well. And ideally fit the carriers with a navalised version of Tempest.

“However, considering the RN is supposed to be a leading force we should at least taken the cheaper adapted foreign design & improved on it – raft mounting the diesels”

Are you still referring to the T31s? Purely diesel-powered ships are sitting ducks for subs because they’re so damn noisy. To make T31s more survivable against subs at the very least they’d need the following:
   – CODLOG propulsion
   – An acoustically quiet hull
   – Bow sonar
   – Towed array sonar
   – SSTD

And ideally they’d also have the following (which T26s would also benefit from):
   – High-supersonic anti-sub missiles (range 100+km)
   – Anti-torpedo torpedoes (e.g. SSTD CAT, MU90 Hard Kill, SeaSpider)
   – Depth charges to take out torpedoes

But by the time you’ve done all that it would make more sense to build multi-role T26s instead with the anti-torpedo defences I just mentioned as well as SAMPSON/Aster/quad-packed CAMMs, Dragonfire and microwave weapons to make them more survivable against anti-ship missiles. I’d also fit the SM-6 missile since it has an estimated max range of 460km, which would keep aircraft at arm’s length, plus the SM-6 has anti-ballistic missile capability and can also be used as an anti-ship missile.

“insuring the GFE from T23 came across, Hull mounted Sonar, 30mm even torpedo tubes (why not)”

Adding hull-mouted sonars to the T31s makes sense. They were originally planned to have them then they were removed.

As for torpedo tubes, are you talking about Sting Ray? It’s absolute garbage as a ship-launched weapon. It only has a range of 11km. There are several torpedoes that have a range in excess of 50km and the Russian Type 65 has a range of 100km. This is why ships need an anti-sub missile with a range of 100+km. VL-ASROC also lacks range, just 22km. Why are such missiles even built when they’re clearly not fit for purpose? How do they even get off the drawing board?

“If not MK41 then at least Lockheed Martin’s EXLS system should’ve been purchased”

The T31s definitely should have Mk41 cells imo. 8 Mk41 cells would provide 32 quad-packed CAMMs. 16 cells would provide 64 CAMMs. Why faff around with ExLS? Well unless ExLS can be replenished at sea, which would be a reason to have it. I don’t know if it can be though. I know ADL launchers (16 quad-packed CAMMs per launcher) can be replenished at sea though, although even better would be launch cells that have auto reloaders. I can’t imagine it would be easy to develop such a system, but such capability would be invaluable.

“CAMM-ER should be added”

CAMM-ER is longer ranged than CAMM, but I think I’d rather have quad-packed CAMMs than CAMM-ER. Or ideally quad-packed CAMM-ER if that’s doable.

“we could have even purchased NS200 radar & kept Artisan as a secondary radar”

I’m confused, I thought the T31 was going to get the NS110 radar rather than Artisan?

“we could have also added a cheap towed array such as Krait array”

I think adding the Krait Defence System to the Type 31s would make sense if we actually end up building the T31s. I’d rather we didn’t, I’d rather we upgraded Batch 2 Rivers, but if we do then Krait would be a wise addition I think. Well assuming it works as advertised. It might also be worth looking into fitting a dipping sonar and torpedoes to the Wildcats. Or maybe have the T31s operate in pairs, one with Wildcat, one with a Merlin? Or could a two-storey hangar be developed so a T31 can carry a Wildcat and a Merlin?

“or Captas 1 or 2”

They are other possibilities. Or Swordfish. Although I wonder if using a towed array sonar in the busy Persian Gulf is feasible? Maybe hull sonar would be better?

“We may not be able to go to SPY6 on T26 but something like the APAR that is the primary radar for iver Huiltfeldt class”

Why couldn’t we use SPY-6 instead of SAMPSON?

I’d rather the T26s were built with SAMPSON/Aster (or SPY-6/Aster) rather than Artisan/CAMM though. They’ll cost about a billion a pop and defending them only with CAMMs is ludicrous imo.

“We are in real danger of falling behind against modern threats.”

In danger of falling behind? I’d say that’s already happened.

Russian ships have very long-ranged ship-launched anti-ship missiles that are longer ranged than even LRASM and there are several air-launched anti-ship missiles that can be fired from beyond the range of Aster 30. Plus our ships lack adequate defences against torpedoes (as most ships in most navies do; Russia has the Paket anti-torpedo torpedo though and India has the very long-range SMART anti-sub missile).

I can’t see our ships surviving for long in a war unless we heavily upgrade them (including support ships), so they’re far better defended against anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. Plus developing new long-range anti-sub missiles, anti-air missiles and anti-ship missiles that I mentioned above would keep subs, aircraft and ships at arm’s length so in theory they couldn’t fire anti-ship missiles and torpedoes in the first place.

“I firmly believe that we should be combining the meteor missile design with Aster 30 to provide a long range SAM.”

I agree, a missile that can accelerate in its terminal phase is more likely to hit its target. This goes for anti-ship missiles and land-attack missiles too. But we need an anti-air missile with a range of 400+km.

At present it’s possible for aircraft to fire anti-ship missiles from beyond the range of Aster 30. Since our ships don’t have Dragonfire or microwave weapons and since Phalanx only has an effective range of 1.5km it would be easy to make a T45 use up its small supply of 48 Asters (and that’s assuming that a T45 even carries a full complement of them in the first place which isn’t guaranteed).

“All phalanx should either be converted to Sea ram”

We could although I’d rather we fitted our ships with more launch cells and quad-packed CAMMs. I’d also like to see Phalanx replaced with the Oerlikon Millennium Gun and ideally deck penetrating with an auto-reloader.

“Other cheaper options could be the adoption of not only LMM but HVM Starstreak to the CIWS systems fleet wide.”

Can LMM take out anti-ship missiles? Have any tests been done to establish this?

As for Starstreak, there’s a naval version called Seastreak with 24 missiles. We might as well just fit more launch cells and quad-pack CAMMs instead though.

“also add MILAS or the latest version of ASROC to T26 just in case a helicopter is not available or somehow sub had through anti-sub screen.”

Both MILAS and VL-ASROC lack range (35+km and 22km respectively). There are several torpedoes that are longer ranged than that and the Russian Type 65 torpedo has a range of 100km. Therefore we need an anti-sub missile with a range of 100+km. Ideally it would be high supersonic so it could cover 100km in about a minute.

“Another cheap way of protecting ships is decoys & there are a number of directional pneumatic designs that can also launch sonar buoys & other munitions.”

From what I’ve read modern missiles can filter out chaff and flares, although they’d probably work against older missiles. Other decoys like Siren, IrvinGQ floating decoys and Nulka might work, but only against radar-homing missiles. To deal with IR-guided missiles I’d like to see a ship-based version of DIRCM developed, although Dragonfire and laser dazzlers could probably blind their sensors, weather permitting. Dragonfire might even be able to burn out the sensors.

When you say sonar buoys, do you mean buoys designed to fool subs (as opposed to buoys to detect them)? Does anything like that already exist? If so it would be worth testing them to see if they work as advertised. If not, it would be worth developing something like that.

“Dragonfire is also need asap.”

Yep totally agree. As well as microwave weapons. And I’d like us to invest heavily in R&D to get Dragonfire to 500+ kilowatts as soon as possible, which AIUI is the power required to shoot down anti-ship missiles (weather permitting). Such a weapon would make ships far more survivable. And HVPs fired from the main gun might be able to take out anti-ship missiles at range (80+km from what I’ve read) and they’d be much cheaper than missiles.

“In terms of gunnery both the Bofors 40mm & 57mm are good systems the 40mm would be a great fleet wide addition.”

Hmm, I’m not sure. I mean what can a Bofors 40mm or 57mm do that an Oerlikon Millennium Gun can’t do better? To take out anti-ship missiles, I’d rather have the Millennium Gun. And as for the T31s, fast attack craft could fire anti-ship missiles and torpedoes from beyond the range of the Bofors guns, so I’m really not sure how useful they are.

“57mm madfires is deeply impressive”

It sounds like a good idea, but its effectiveness will all depend on its range. Do you know what that is?

“A guided round for the 40mm similar to ORCA should be invested in as well.”

ORKA lacks range. We’ve already got enough ordnance that lacks range. What we need is new types of ordnance that are fit for purpose.

Last edited 3 years ago by Humpty Dumpty
Meirion X

The propose of a T32 frigate is to deploy UUVs and drones coverly.
So this warship will need to be stretch a bit, to store UUVs underneath the flight deck and with a stren door, a bit like a LPD. If you stretch a ship, it won’t proform like the original designed ship, so would need some redesign with changes to the hull structure.

Humpty Dumpty

“The propose of a T32 frigate is to deploy UUVs and drones coverly.”

That’s one proposed use of the T32. No-one knows for certain yet what exactly the T32 will be used for. But in any case, if you want to covertly release drones wouldn’t that job be better carried out by a sub or a UUV rather than a surface ship?


Just read some sad news. The USS Bonholme Richard is going to be paid off and scrapped. The USN has said it will cost over $2 billion to put right and about half that to convert it to a hospital ship. Sad way for a ship to go.

James Fennell

Type 32 is to be a ‘plaform for autonomous systems’. Jeremy Quinn, Minister for Defence Procurement, said in an answer to a parliamentary question “further work is required to develop the operational concept however it is envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy’s capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures”.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Fennell

t32 definately not a combatant, based on the article sounds more like transport ship. where will the ships come from to take our combat fleet from 19 to 24. I still think we need 30 combat ships to maintain 20 at sea.

James Fennell

I think it will somewhat similar to the new Japanese, Korean and Singaporean frigate concepts, essentially a 30kt ‘black swan;. Why so fast? – to hunt submarines need 28kts + and same to operate as a part of carrier strike. Here is Singaporean concept. comment image


Problem with our version it will be underarmed compared to there’s as with everything the gov do is to build down to a price.

Meirion X

But our adversaries will Not take too kindly to our ships deploying UUVs and drones, and will most likely want to capture them. So the Type 32 needs to be armed with SAM and ASMs.


Yes, I saw that. Looking at this RN concept and thinking about the national shipbuilding strategy and the politics it seems to me that both the Leander / Cammell Laird and the Atlas / Infrastrata Meko A200 T31 offerings are back in play.

Kevin Hastie

If then, there are no experienced ship builders outside of Scotland capable of taking on this work, what would happen if Scotland decides to secede from the Union. Who then builds the ships for the RN?

keith wright

Perhaps I’m being naive but if all the tooling is in place for a ship that has an order book already of 32 across UK, Aus and Canada why cannot the T26 be considered even in perhaps a more modest form (i.e. not ASW specific)??
I’d have thought 3 T26’s is a better investment than 5 T31 Improved,
Happy to be corrected with some sound logic please?


Hello mate, I’m no expert but…. The UK, Aus and Canadian versions are all different and I’m not sure the latter two have “All the Tooling” in place yet. In regards to an extra 3 UK type 26’s, Yes Please and We’ll also take 5 Type 32’s as well, if we ever get to know what they will be !


Just money, that’s all. If there had been enough cash there would not have been any Type 31’s let alone Type 32’s. Blame Gideon.


Well yes mate, I agree with you on this.


the type 31s could end up better than the type 32s as I believe removing the missile bays to make a full width mission bay alla the type 26 then it will leave the type 32 with deck mounted weapons. at least the type 31 could be upgraded to 32 mk41s and upto 48 seaceptor if quad packed into ExLS over the next decade or so.


Wow…. I admire your Optimism mate ….. We don’t actually know Jack about the type 32 at this moment in time….. Yet here you are posting such Knowledgable stuff …….


sorry mate but like all thing RN been getting some gossip from industry about stripped out t31, missile bays removed to fit mission bay alla t26 then there a babcock pic of there version with only 1 gun up front and comments about missiles replaced with a laser weapon, you just know the t32 will not be a surface combatant and will be under armed for autonomous support ship. I dont know why you would use a frigate for this type of work. At least the t31 still has the space to turn it into the ship most of us would like to see.

Meirion X

A T32 deploying UUVs covertly, will Not be taken kindly by our adversaries.
So would need to be well armed just like a general propose frigate.

4th watch

I can see a need for an auxilliary A/S Frigate sized ship specialised to form part of a task group carrying UUV’s etc for screening. This would be complimentary to the Type 26 but would be less capable of independent action and be very lightly manned. A bit like a trailer which you drag along with the luggage.


Hi mate, good to see you still posting on site. Been reading all this stuff and we’ll, just letting it all flow past, as you say we actually know diddly squat about it really! On another note, any idea why @X hasn’t been posting, only he normally puts a lot of sensible stuff out?


He has been quiet for a couple of days now. Probably drowned in the Sea of votes…. either that or he might have been Banned. Nice to see you here though and on UKDJ !!!!!


And, I also have a Sneaky feeling he is on here and on this thread, posting sensible stuff, under a different name. Pretty convinced of it. He’s also on UKDJ if I’m right !


Agree and yes wrt both your posts.

Meirion X

The Type 26 is most likely be unsuitable to launch XLUUVs from the stren, due to a shallow stren, and underneath the flight deck will be the TAS motered reels.

Fat Bloke on Tour

The T32 was pure Tory nonsense to take the focus off the changes that are coming.

2020 and we have BoJo going on about instantaneous spaffing as out AAW future.
2010 we had ShamCam getting all hot and bothered about cats and traps.
He made a good argument but didn’t follow through — same again 10 years later?

One thing that never changes is the lack of focus and innovation that service engagement seems to bring — poor man;s Top Trumps of what we might get and when with the future strtching out to 2040 and beyond.

The Navy has been let down in stages probably since the Washington Treaty but the bigger issue is how it responds to the current challenges and how it explains away the failures its insular attitude and lack of confidence keep delivering.

The enemy then was the Treasury and this continues to this day with a horrible stand off between those that have a bean counting reputation to defend and those who have decided to hobby horse any money that is made available to suit their own little agendas with a supplier cohort who are good at financial engineering and very little else.

The T31 holds out hope that things will change but even at this very basic level the ship is being spec’ced from a very limited catalogue with tangled justifications to rationalise a ship that would struggle to cope with a 1907 Tribal never mind the pride of the PLAN in build today.

And so the consensus is that the T32 will be a case of tactical incremental improvement spun out to take the place of a proper strategy.

We need change and that needs to start at the cost base and the crewing requirements — surely we need to be looking at more hulls in the water with less people on them. Surely we need to be looking at 20 years service rather than multiple updates of tired physicals.

The hull is the easy bit or at least it should be so why are we trying to put expensive lipstick on a pig and a pig that is very crew intensive at that?

The MOD / RN / suppliers cannot seem to work out what is value for money and even worse they don’t seem to be trying to hard to fill in the gaps.

Change will come when the RN has to take to the sea in what £100mill buys tomorrow — start at te bottom and work your way up — the T31 at £250mill will be a £5mill hull and a gun with a £245mill price tag.

T32 = 50 base crew plus mission payload.
Fully electrified powertrain with a 6 hour battery straight from Tesla.
PSV / AHTS build economics with a pointy bow.
Hulls into the water rather than design stasis.

TQM is 25 years out of date but the cost of quality is what the RN / MOD need to learn.


You are spaffing… And trolling.

Fat Bloke on Tour

No just wondering where the last 20 nyears / 10 years went regarding ship design for the RN.

T45 = another cul de sac literally going nowhere.

T26 = glacial progress with a risk and opps list as long as a BAe invoice.

T31 = 15 year old cast offs / re-heats being served up for top dollar.

T32 = seems to be the future in 2040 — like 20 years from now.

At some point the RN / MOD will realise that they have to work at a slightly faster pace than this.


A 5 in gun comes in around £30 mill plus each. But under Treasury accounting the long term cost is much higher

Meirion X

The indications are, that the propose of the Type 32 frigate proposal, is to deploy UUVs and drones covertly. So this type of vessel would need a stren door, with UUVs stored underneath the flight deck.
A stretched T31 maybe useful platform.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X
Fat Bloke on Tour

If we need a mothership then build a mothership.
Don’t build a cheap frigate and tell it to use the ladies toilets.

22 knots / floodable well deck commercial prices = job done.
Time to get a few PSV / AHTS designs of the shelf and find out what we can keep and what we need to change.

Big at 10/12K tonnes.
Medium at 7K toones with a 30M x 12M well deck.

Second hand 4.5″ gun up front to keep the supply base hungry.
You could borrow it off HMS Monmouth.


I think many here think these things will be as big as torpedo when in reality they will be sizeable. And I don’t think many here have never sent a boat over a ship’s side. It will take a proper depot ship as you say. If you look at the new Dutch and Belgian MCM ships they are about 2000 tonnes plus for a couple of unmanned MCM drones. If we wanted to launch say 8 or more, plus a helicopter or two, plus a VLS and so on it won’t be long before you at near 10,000 tonnes. Look at the new German frigates with 4 boats too.

Last edited 3 years ago by X
Phillip Johnson

Closer to 3000 tons. 90 meters and lots of beam


What is?

James Fennell

can’t chase submarines at 22 kts. Any mothership for ASW systems needs nearly as quick as the subs its chasing. Off board systems enhance the influence of the ship to much longer ranges (especially below and on the surface) but they do not allow that area of influence to move around any quicker.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Fennell
Fat Bloke on Tour

I think the discussion started with a mothership for mine hunting but the ASW point stands.

Firstly 22 to 28 knots is not an issue — just double up the diesel engines and you are sorted.

Secondly if you have a mine hunter spec mothership the ASW would not be an issue if your well deck contained a couple of sub chasers and you had invited onboard acouple of ASW spec helicopters.

All about affordability and flexibility.

The RN has demarcation down to a fine art — it is as if the guys doing strategy were BL shop stewards in a previous life.


What mission/s are the T32 expected to do?
How will these missions be executed?
Answer these then you can start to draw up a requirement for competitive tender.
Then its up to the shipbuilders and designers to see how best they can meet this requirement and put forward their bids for consideration.
The winning bid becomes T32.

Simon m

I am now very concerned that this is actually a Stealth cut we were promised 5x T31 with the possibility of churning out more from a hot production line. It looks like this promise has gone & instead T32 will effectively build in a delay or worse a possible reason for cutting altogether.
It is looking very likely the MCM fleet will go with no hulls other than USVs replacing them even OPVs or a venari design meaning the OPV fleet will be stretched. We still have no plans to replace Argus or diligence’s capability. The Littoral strike group seems to have gone quiet (and was called group).If we’re lucky we will get both LPD’s in service although I am unsure what happened to the LCUs & LCVPs & whether they will now come from 539 squadron rather than those that were integral to the ship.
No matter how many escorts we have helicopters are integral to their role & we simply do not have enough there doesn’t seem any plans to purchase more Merlin or Wildcat & Merlin numbers will take a further blow when they need to carry out crowsnest duties Add to that there seems no plans to acquire the next class of amphibious shipping and FCF leaves it wide open for it to disappear.
Imagine what would have happened with no extra investment!

Disgruntled yardy

No shipyard with recent build experience? Let’s not forget babcock built there whole successful t31 bid around appledore before gutting it and running back off to Scotland to build a build facility for 5 times the price of buying appledore! Who are the only yard in England with any recent experience of building a naval ship!


Yes mate, I have been mentioning it a bit !!!!! had some interesting replies too.


No, they didn’t.

The utility of Appledore for T31 died the moment Babcock listened to the important gentleman from DE&S who told them the Arrowhead 120 (based on a Vard design) was too small, but that the 140 (OMT design) would fit the bill.

They didn’t renew the lease on the facility because it was and is too small to contribute meaningfully to what they want to do. Sad for the area, but indisputable fact. As is the fact that bythe time the doors shut the workforce was under 50.


The Arrowhead 120 would fit inside, the 140 would not. It’s being opened again and they are recruiting…. Hundreds have applied. Not such a quiet little rural place.


I think what you mean is that they had a careers day a couple of months ago to see who was still in area.

They are only recruiting proposal / BD types for Belfast at the minute…..


Mate, Seriously…. why are you so down on Appledore ? It was bought for 7 Million £££££ ‘s and they are actively recruiting with the view to build more ships. There is no shortage of interest/enquiries/applications. After all, It was the last English Shipyard to build Warships ….. Isn’t it ?


There may be no shortage of interest / applications. There is a shortage of positions and contracts.

Be in no doubt – if I thought Appledore was in a position to compete with Damen for commercial vessels, I’d say so. They’re not – the monster that is Damen will chew them up and spit them out.

The sad fact remains it’s too small to build anything useful militarily – which doesn’t include commercial vessels with a gun on them. Possibly unlike yourself, I’ve been in that yard when they were building bits of PWLS and the first of the Paddies. Lovely place, lovely people, but not viable in the market.

£7M to secure a potential riverfront property in N Devon, which in due course would make for a resort/marina is a good long-term investment.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B

Lol…… I worked there mate. I also know many people who have worked there……You seem to be Hating here, can’t see why though, Your condescending attitude Is really coming out now though……… it will never be a Marina either, It’s a Tidal Estuary mate, I thought you would have known that basic fact having ” been there” The Bows of POW are QE are works of art , produced with care and attention un heard of in the 70’s British Ship Building industry ….. Appledore would never be able to compete with Damen though….. Not sure why you chucked that in to your silly argument……. Nor the repeated derogatory Paddies/Paddy’s reference ….. are you Racist ?….. Oh and just edited this…… You keep banging on about Warships and a few Guns added on but Seriously mate……. It’s the whole reason that they are called Warships……. Are you really what you say you are, I’m seriously doubting it truth be known.

Last edited 3 years ago by borg

Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.


And That’s your carefully though out reply ? Blimey mate, you are even less of an expert than I first thought. I call Fake.


you gone quiet mate, what’s up ? …. Reference Devon being a Rural place of only 1.2 Million People…. mentioned by another poster, I’d like to just throw this bit in….. Scotland hast just 4 times the Population of Devon yet It gets pretty much all the “Warship” Building Contracts………. Why is that then ?


They are currently refurbishing the dock gates at H+W Appledore and they have welcomed their first client so they must have hired some people.


Irish opvs warships, maybe.


Wasnt Hms Scott built at appledore mate.

Disgruntled yardy

Work force under 50?? Where did you get those facts from??? It wasn’t just wound down? People were told in November it was shutting in March? The work force secured themselves new jobs.


Yes. They did. Two years ago. While finishing commissioning of the last paddy boat. How many were already working in/ from Guzz?

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B
Disgruntled yardy

None of that makes any sense? And is it that much harder to type Irish??


Been following this, looked it up, 350 new positions on offer which is really good news. “Irish” is much more respectful too.


Personally, i tend to ignore press reports as to what yards “say” they’ll recruit and use the vacancies section of their website. I suggest you do too, you may find it illuminating.

Careers – Harland & Wolff (

As per earlier post, all BD and proposals. Strangely none in Devon.


You are wrong though, Infrstructure have paid £7 million and ran a 2 day recruitment drive for 350 positions to which over 500 people applied. They intend to build ships there according to PES and NDJH. BJ was there a few weeks back. You seem to be making stuff up and dare I say sounding a bit like a Spoiled child.


Don’t believe I’ve suggested that Infrastrata haven’t paid £7M for the place. If they’ve got the freehold that’s peanuts for waterfront property in N Devon. They’ll get their money back one way or the other.

BJ was indeed there a few weeks back, but then BJ has people around him who think that the UK can just re-enter the commercial shipbuilding market. In the middle of the worst global shipbuilding slump in living memory. Competing with established yards. From scratch. Now who’s making things up?

I’m fairly sure I haven’t made up H&Ws website careers vacancies – or rather, lack of them in Belfast or N Devon either. That careers open day (as H&W described it) was attended by 500 people – which is a little different from 500 people applying for 350 jobs.

Here’s something else that’s not made up – 350 jobs is a cashflow requirement of around £175000 a week. Or £700000/month. Or £8.5M / year. Just in wages, never mind materials, services etc.

Covering that requires a shipbuilding contract, something else that appears to be distinctly absent at this point, with no immediate prospect of one – certainly not from the MoD. All this from a company (Infrastrata) that had a net capitalisation of around £11M including cash in the bank of £10000 or thereabouts and made a loss of over £1M, all with a total of 5 employees. As per their last filed accounts, which are here :


All the above are facts, I’m afraid. Unpalatable and unpopular, but facts.


I think you are on drugs. You certainly don’t understand the concept of being wrong.


Oh Deary me, Never mind N.A.B.

Disgruntled yardy

You do realise that land is useless other than a commercial area?? Although I’m guessing you do because u know everything about the yard?

I also guess you know why there was so few staff there, why so few technical staff, I’m also guessing you know who is now involved with the yard, who the management is, also all the work that went on behind the scenes to get the yard re opened?


Right now, no I don’t. All my contacts were with the former leaseholders/operators.

None of which changes the basic assessment of the viability of the yard, given its location, size, tidal limitations and most importantly, the state of the market.

I would genuinely be very happy for the new owners if by some miracle they made a success of it. But thirty years of experience tells me it would take a miracle. As does the last twenty-odd years of history for the yard.

Getting peoples hopes up unjustifiably is potentially the worst outcome. Look at Tyneside and what happened when someone tried to restart Swan Hunter – and they had contracts! Look at Portsmouth – they even appointed a minister – did shipbuilding come back?
Right now, no I don’t. All my contacts were with the former leaseholders/operators.

None of which changes the basic assessment of the viability of the yard, given its location, size, tidal limitations and most importantly, the state of the market.

I would genuinely be very happy for the new owners if by some miracle they made a success of it. But thirty years of experience tells me it would take a miracle. As does the last twenty-odd years of history for the yard.

Getting peoples hopes up unjustifiably is potentially the worst outcome. Look at Tyneside and what happened when someone tried to restart Swan Hunter – and they had contracts! Look at Fergies – again, they had contracts and a supportive government – and it’s a catastrophe. Look at Portsmouth – they even appointed a minister – did shipbuilding come back?

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B

Is the plan not for the Belfast to act as the head office for both yards and do the BD etc for Appledore to avoid unnessary duplication of roles.


Which bit are you struggling with?

The closure being announced two years ago?
Most of the staff taking other jobs?
The only work in the yard being the final test and commissioning of the last boat? So what were the plater/shipwrights doing then?
A significant chunk of the staff in the yard either being deployed to Guzz or coming from there (gun plumbers etc)?

It is a sad fact that Appledore has struggled to find work since the turn of the century. When it closed the first time, as a result of making a loss on Echo & Enterprise, most of the technical department went off to be consultants. When Babcock bought the lease, they managed to build three yacht hulls for Devonport Royal Yachts, which were finished in Devonport – a business Babcock later sold as they couldn’t make any money. They lost a tender for a fast landing craft and the only thing that kept them going was the fact that Babcocks had no steel facility in Rosyth and could leverage QEC workshare by using the excellent steel facility in Appledore.

Then the Irish came back as they liked the Roisin class boats, which allowed the yard to stagger on for another four years. They tried the same trick with the Maltese, but couldn’t compete with the Italians (where was that proposal generated btw, South or North Devon?)

What is instructive is that the yard was unable to execute any other commercial ship contracts this century – including when there was actually a demand for offshore vessels at the end of the noughties.

All those are solid facts. Facts which unfortunately suggest that reopening the yard again will likely end the same way. Particularly when there is now no offshore market for the foreseeable future, the yard is too small and unsuited to building complex vessels (eg warships), Rosyth now has a steel facility and they’re trying to start from scratch – again.

Nothing whatsoever against Appledore itself, but it is the wrong yard in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B

Infrastrata is not solely focused on one revenue stream of ship building. To do so as you have highlighted would be very challenging. They are trying to cover a broad range of markets and must see a role for Appledore in their planning. I believe there may be opportunities in the 10 point green plan.


Others are thinking along the same lines. The Singapore Navy’s planned Multi-Role Combat Vessel is of comparable size to the Type 31, and while having its own significant weaponry it is intended to be a mothership for unmanned systems.

Meirion X

It may be bigger enough for present day UUVs, But Not future XLUUVs!
You are looking at a vessel of least 140m with a stren door. like a mini LPD.


The XLUUVs may work in cooperation with mother ships, but are unlikely to operate from them. The proposed RN one is said to have a range of 3,000 nautical miles. That sounds like a recipe for independent operation.


These Type 32 Frigates sound good, but won’t they just be like corvettes something I’ve always thought the RN needs again. (well some corvettes are armed better than type 31s) , and if so let’s build ten fast long legged armed to the teeth corvettes… All agreed? Ok good, they are being built by Mike, Simon and small Paul and dave at weekends starting in the spring. Great.

And It would be funny if the 32s had more missiles than the type 31 though… but that’s not hard to beat. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they only have a light 30mm Cannon…

why not up gun and arm the OPVs, oh yeah we’ve been over that one, horses for courses ect…

Last edited 3 years ago by Cam

We could learn a lesson from the Russian Navy regarding corvettes. In the late 70s, Janes suggested small well-armed ships, cheaper to build and less loss of life when hit. Russia seems to have taken that onboard. Corvettes accurately fired missiles into Syria over long distance. As it is, we have difficulty supplying crews to our ships


Exactly, corvettes aren’t a bad option, in numbers and armed well.

Fat Bloke on Tour

There is another way — what about a corvette sized crew on a frigate / destroyer hull?

Surely the size of the crew is not a function of the displacement?

The issue is that the Russion corvette had a warload that would shame a T23 — all it was a hull to keep a swarm of fancy missiles dry.

If finding the numbers to crew a T68 is the issue then why not cut the numbers?

Would a crew of 50 be workable?

How much of the crew is navigation + technical / how much is warload / how much is hotel?

Fat Bloke on Tour

Does every modern warship need a superstructure that is 50% plus its Loa?

Looks very cluttered.


Doesnt need it , but the usual design nowdays is a beamier hull which allows the topside weight.


Its actually down to a number of things, including :

  1. Need for covered volume and deck area for helicopter hangar – and these days, boats.
  2. Separation of RF emitters (and receivers)
  3. Trying to keep accommodation above the damage control deck

You also tend to use the fore end for weapons and fuel – combination of hull lines, depth and ship motion means putting other things there is sub-optimal.

Fat Bloke on Tour

The superstructure looks like a collection of tin sheds from a retail park.
Ship shape and Navy style is not what it used to be.
Once we had the Queen Anne Mansions.
Now we have Coronation Street.

As for boats they would be better of in a well deck — either full on LSD style or some sort of trawler stern to haul them out.

Also — the mothership concept for ASW or mine clearing.
How about a Bay style offering to get the concept up and running.
Only issue I can see is the size of the well deck.

However you could fit in a substantial sub chaser or mine sniffer as it stands — just a case that room for two would be better.

Plus some guns at the pointy end.
COTS to the core — when in doubt make it thicker.
No more industry friendly gin palaces.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fat Bloke on Tour

Interesting idea of a rear ‘well deck’ .The closest I can think of is Super yachts which is now standard to build an opening rear door sometimes for storing small craft or a room area at water levelcomment image

This is a fancy version but could work for a frigate but maybe not in rough seas ?


For it do anything useful you would be looking at something with a length of 20m and over with a beam of 2m or so. It would come in at 100 tonnes or more. Why everybody thinks these things will be small and cheap I do not know. And you all greatly over estimate the AI. By the time these things are truly autonomous they won’t need a mother ship.


Good to see you posting again mate, thought you might have been banned or something!!
I do wonder what people sometimes base their perceptions of XLUUV capabilities on? Often wonder if they are liking it to Predator like capabilities, if only it were that straightforward……


I just got fed up of the same crap. In the last thread somebody decided to tell me that weapons systems needed training… I wondered what all those schools the RN had were for and FOST too………And then they went on to say fitting 2087 would impact on a T23 doing GP tasks which was mindbogglingly stupid……this GP business really annoys me……..and I got bit shouty. I don’t expect everybody to be an expert, and I am not an expert myself. But the lack of general knowledge here about naval matters is staggering. And then compound it by being patronising. And then get angry when somebody pushes back.

Anyway drones are clever. But they aren’t that clever. What makes submarines work is the crew. The crew that makes decisions when the submarine can’t ‘see’ and can’t ‘communicate’. And there is no way drones can do that. Then there appears to be a lack of understanding of basic mechanics. To give these things range they are going to have to be bigger than a torpedo. Never mind powering systems. Never mind extra added redundancy. Rather like ‘mission bays’ nobody can tell me exactly what these vehicles will be doing. As I said above these things are going to be as big as a 20m boat. It will take a lot handling and space. And somebody will have to fix them and operate their systems. They aren’t unmanned. It is just the personnel are somewhere else. The Belgian and Netherland’s new MCM ships will be drone mother ships. They are getting on for 3000 tonnes. Rolling that in frigate and keeping the frigate’s basic set of system’s will be interesting.


Yes, I was following said last thread with interest, I know sometimes frustration creeps in at various stages, not surprised you took a few days off so to speak.

Can but only agree with your thoughts about drones, all this stuff about detecting other submarines – really!! A sub generally has a bespoke sonar suite, which basically on a UK SSN consists of a conformal Bow array, Flank array and a TA – big kit, all electrically intensive and in need of lots of support by people to make it work. Some drone is going to detect other submarines with a lot less capability and no input from humans-ok!!!!! Of course, then they want to arm them with torpedoes!!!! You can hear the lawyers already….


I can understand using robotic boats to carry ROV’s to a spot so the MCM vessel doesn’t have to get too close. Perhaps robots doing route surveillance. AI can do a lot to identify things in the real word. But it will need a person somewhere in the loop.


Submarines for a long time needed ‘motherships’, but those were harbour based. Even then the subs had prodigious ranges which all but a few UUVs wont have. However they are here now and arent going away and it seems that the smaller type is favoured for work with frigates etc


All you are doing is parroting back to me what I said. I am not disputing that UUV’s are here. What I am disputing is that too many on this site think these things are a lot more capable than they are. I say that because I know how capable these things are. I know what a submarine depot ship looks like. And I know what a frigate looks like.

What does your post actually say? Nothing.


Back to your old hyper negative self I see, kicking the RN isnt enough so you turn on commentators who support the RN


‘kicking the RN’, don’t actually think @X is doing that! His posts are factually pretty much one the money, and yes, not everyone has to agree h some of his views that he posts, doesn’t mean it’s not well thought out info though. A little live and let live probably wouldn’t go amiss, just a thought…..


I am not negative. I am well informed with experience in naval security domain. You wrote rubbish. That’s not being negative. That’s a fact. Go play Top Trumps somewhere it is all you are good for.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Where are we with rough seas and davits over the side?

Rough and ready would be a well deck like a Bay or a trawler stern for hauling the boats out of the water like a whaling mother ship to a 100T blue whale.


Solved the problem of rough seas with helicopter landings on deck in sometimes atrocious conditions.
Doesnt seem to be an insurmountable problem to have rough weather ( up to a limit) loading of drones to ‘frigate like’ ship.
Well decks may seem suitable but takes ages to flood down and then pump out, but depends on size of well. This maybe why a hybrid ‘davit-gantry’ is used in concept drawings

The first ever LSD the USS Ashland was around 5000 t unloaded, built in US to a British design to carry LCT
Before that they tried a converted train ferry to launch LCT down a rear chute and then there was a converted tanker with a large gantry to lower them into the water from the main deck.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Fair point about the operational lag regarding the use of a well deck — however what can be done to overcome the issue?

Hybrid solution — the mine sniffer / sub chaser can be pushed out and floated back in?

Pushed out and hauled back in?

The davit solution is widely used but it would appear to be very wasteful regarding deckspace plus it has limitations regarding the size of the boat / AUSV.

The well deck idea can cope with 100T / 200T sized systems.
Just a case that the davit system does not appear to be working at these loads.

Comes down to tactics / operational procedures.
HMS Mother Hen — sails to the hotspot that is the Gulf.
She takes with her two smaller units in the well deck.
Unloads down “away” from harm and the three of them sail through the Gulf of Hormuz the next day.

One issue is that with size comes a crew — much more flexible.

Nick B

i would have thought that laser and rail guns may well represent the long term weapons priority to replace the current gun systems and CIWS systems. However, long range near se level lasers are always going to be difficult due to energy absorption by the air (especially in hot high humidity climates). Targeting, especially under EW conditions will always be an issue and the amount of team the target has to be based before self detonation. I expect you would also need 2 to 4 such systems to provide the necessary coverage for self defence. Going forward saturation attacks using Stealth Drone systems are more likely surely ?

I’d be surprised if it made sense to use a 5000 tonne+ platform for drone based mine counter measures work. As an emergency swap out using mission bays and the Boat storage space when other dedicated platforms aren’t available, would be good idea though.

The underlying issue is surely platform cost. The 31 is under armed even as a GP platform. Its air defence capabilities would make it something of a sitting duck in any hi intensity warfare location. Missile numbers need to increase going forward. The data processing technology in any new iPhone when combined with dedicated multi-type targeting system is going to produce very cheap way of swarm missile attacks when launched from Stealthy low level Strike downs (eg whatever Taranis turns into).

What would happen if a HALO drone targeted the ship with high power EW attacks support a low level multi-missile carrying drone which launched self guided high speed missiles at 30km range ? At mach 2+, detection and self-defence time is going to be very short indeed.

Fat Bloke on Tour

BAe Make work contract — doing all the wrong stuff for all the right reasons …

Would it not have been more useful to build a Bay Mk2 rather more River class?
The Bay looks a better starting point for a mothership than a GT spec Absalon.

Also if we are going to have national shipbuilding strategy surely exports have to be key — if we can only sell to ourselves then that is the world telling us that we have some way to go?

BrExit = Export or starve?

Fat Bloke on Tour

The magic numbers — how they have changed over time.

1980 it was 60 plus.
1990 it was 30’ish.
2010 it was 19 — seemingly one more than the French.

2020 and we now have 2 visions …

Positive means the mythical T32 / G Class and the move to 24.
Negative means that we are being softened up for a realistic 15.
Nearly there already with the harbour duties T45 and T23 husk / Monmouth?

Just where do these numbers come from?
Is it some sort of complex 3D algorithm — Threat / Resources / Response.
And it spits out a number that everyone prays towards no matter the absurdity?

Or does the Treasury look at the books and shake their heads as we seem to be in the third decade of MOD inflation running at 10% plus and decide that the RN / MOD can’t be allowed to spend any money at all?

I fear that soon we will be in the age of HMH not HMS — Her Majesty’s Helicopter not ship.

At what point does this reduction in numbers stop?

have we reached rock bottom or will it continue until we have no physical presence just a case that GCHQ will turn off the bad guy’s mobiles and they go quietly back to their humdrum lives as Uber drivers / personal trainers / excel engineers?

Given the resources involved what is stopping the RN increasing its fleet and its reach?

Is it the cost of building a new ship / the cost of running a new ship / the cost of crewing a new ship or does the RN like Portsmouth that much that nobody wants to sheep anywhere but there own bed?

So how can things be made better
Realism in the cost of new ships / realism in the running of the new ships / realism in crewing the new ships?

Is a crew of 50 realistic for peacetime crewing of a front line escort?
Is a £100mill budget to build a new escort with second hand guns?
Just where does the money go regarding a basic 5K T ship?
Does the RN really need a contractor to show them how to fire a gun?
Where are the design ideas from the RN — leading not following.

Just what does GP stand for now?
General purpose or Gin Palace?


Gone are the days when the days when the royal navy build and design their weapons.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Is that good or bad?


Royal Corps of Naval Constructors , sadly long gone in its original form, now part of Defence Science and technology Group, was a civilian corps of the Admiralty ( thats long gone too).
They ran the naval dockyards as well, reputedly by those who werent ‘high flyers’


I see D O W N V O T E S is now being censored.

Laugh? I nearly cried.


Comedy gold.


Hello X, I did mention it a few days back, They seem to be OK with people Negative Voting perfectly good comments just to piss people off, yet Censor the actual Word being mentioned. Don’t worry though, It used to happen on the other Sites too until It was actually realised that It was just a Weapon for Bullies. I’ve decided to sit back and wait for the penny to drop.


As I said above I am getting tired of going over the same ground.

I will continue to dip in as I see fit.

But the site really isn’t serious about its aims.


Well yes mate, I came here to actually help “save the Royal Navy” in any way possible but I don’t see anything even remotely Helpful here to be honest, just Piss and Wind mostly, Even the Experts seem to be playing mind games ….. Such a disappointing site .


Yeah how the hell does this site even help the Save Royal Navy


It doesn’t mate…. It is just another place for folk to post stuff, No-one takes it seriously, least of all the government or MOD…….. Such a disappointing site really given the Headline and Banner.


They can ban the Negative Vote doubters but protect those that use it as a weapon to hush positive thinkers like X. a total joke really.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Mothership angle — what would be the size and scale of the stuff that they would be mothering?

Mine-sniffer / sub-chaser aka a floating Merlin …
Surface based — 25/35M x 6M x 1.5M 100T plus displacement.
ASW = heavy torpedoes to go after the opposition?
3 / 5 day capability away from its mother?

Sub surface based — ROV contraptions released over stern?
Or would a moon-pool be worth the added compleity?
What weights are current for this type of system?
COT stuff in the water now?


You are looking at something like this. Drones aren’t a self contained system and they aren’t cheap. If we don’t fit decent sonars to ships I doubt we will out fit them with mine counter measures drones for giggles. And how much capacity would we want? And how would we know they are needed? And who would be doing the escort’s work when it is playing ‘minesweeper’?

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I suppose we could end up with something like this…………but I would suggest a purpose built vessel with decompression chambers and other toys would be better an option.
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Fat Bloke on Tour

The mine sniffers do the mine hunting.

Points towards something that fits in a well deck rather than hangs off davits.
If they have some sort of days level endurance then the “mothership” can have some sort of indepence regarding defending herself and her flock.

Better all round if the mothership is part of a multi-ship deployment with bigger and better capabilities.

Just a case of how much would they cost and how big would the crew be?

Mothership is 50 plus mine specialists maybe even a helicopter crew.
Guardship is 50 plus mission specialists — helicopter complement / AN Other specialists as required.

I think a Mk2 Bay would offer a good starting point for a cheap and capable mothership.

Seems to have a good sized well deck.


Have see mention of lasers for the T32.
The 60 kW LM HELIOS under a 2018 USN contract for two systems to be trialled on a Burke destroyer (twice the power of DragonFire?) is a spectrally beam-combined high energy fiber laser designed to provide ” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-Unmanned Aerial System (counter-UAS) capabilities”
Would appear lethality capabilities not in the same class as a Phalanx?, a hint of the minimum power that maybe required for a capable laser CIWS is the spec of the new USN Constellation frigate for 150 kW reservation for a laser, five times the power of DragonFire.

Lasers can be degraded by atmospheric conditions, rain and smoke etc,and need very, very accurate targeting to a few cm2, so will be expensive, think guns and missiles the better future option for T32 CIWS?


Any CIWS has to have very accurate targeting ‘ to a few cm2’… those small caliber weapons have to score direct hits too! As well the ship is moving in the sea when it fires and there is a time delay from leaving the barrel and hitting a target some kms away which is moving at maybe very high speed. Some the issues were solved by high rate of fire so that maybe one or two hits impact and thats all thats needed.
A laser beam can move slightly as well and there is no time delay in the focussed energy hitting the target. However its true that those targeting issues are still a considerable hurdle to clear in actual sea trials


Power into a laser does not equal power out. Kinda basic stuff.


All presented designs are a big mistake,

If you want a drone mothership you build a LHD type ship. With a heli/drone deck and the troop, vehicle deck and lcvp dock for sea drones and maintenance.


Do you have any idea of the sea states that allow a well deck to function? And how infrequently they occur at sea?


A well deck does not need to be the only exclusive mode of employment.