Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Yokel, Mar 9, 2013.

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  1. I found this on the MOD part of the website:

    Joint Concept Note 1/12: Future 'Black Swan' Class Sloop-of-War: A Group System

    I know that there has been much talk of a high/low mix for the future, and that this is not meant to act as a frigate, but the separation of systems and platforms seems odd. Platforms are there to support systems of various kind, but those systems put demands on the platform, both in terms of dimensions, but also in terms of things that they need like electrical power, water for cooling, manning, and so on.

    Briefly reading the JCN, it seems that it proposes a very austere vessel, leaving things such as communications to the system modules. This seems odd, as communications will be key in any of the proposed roles, and are probably best integrated with the ship. Likewise, surely sensors and weapon need integrating? Also cheap and nasty means things like no attempt to reduce radar cross section and presumably reduced sea keeping ability - which then limits the conditions in which you can launch/recover a helicopter/UAV/boat/unmanned vehicle?

    In the Mine Countermeasures role, there seems to be no provision for a minehunting sonar, yet it is currently key to minehunting. Are unmanned vehicles, with small sonar aboard and attempting to communicate acoustically in the noisy (particularly the littoral) maritime environment, really going to achieve the same level of performance and situational awareness as a proper sonar (eg 2093 or 2193) connected to a proper command system?

    If you're going to have a larger vessel for minehunting (and presumably the need for GRP construction is gone as old fashioned minesweeping is gone) then you would have the opportunity to have a larger, more powerful sonar. Has it been left out as it does not fit with the modular concept?
  2. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Yokel, the Black Swan concept is becoming a bit of a joke in NHQ and Bristol at the moment, mainly because of some of the points you raise. Having siad that, if you look at the current MHPC programmes announced in the MOD bulletins the is no mention of ships and its all about stand off mine hunting. All sensors and effectors will be remote (or so the vision goes)
  3. If we want this, we could just buy off the shelf.

    think the Dutch are all over this sort of thing with a whole array of pods that can be slid in to standardised slots a la Thunderbird 2. Stanflex? Staniflex?

    In the document... how big does a ship have to be to fly the White Ensign?
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  4. The ultimate "fitted for but not with". Great idea if you have the stuff ready to slot in. At the right place and time. With the personnel trained and up to speed in it's use.
    The last cheap and cheerful's were the Blackwoods UGH!
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    It speaks volumes that the RN are even considering this. The concept is not new - Nott's review on 81 decided on a small number of ASW frigates and a larger number of patrol ships of those sort, based on the Castle class. At the time it was described as a disaster for the navy, which is was. The fact is that the RN are desperate for hulls. There are too many tasks and too few ships and we no longer have enough frigates to use them for minor "general purpose" tasks. Corvettes with limited capability may be the way for the future.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    as we are wearing out capital ships on stuff that smaller hulls could be used for is it feasible to have a fleet fitted for but not with sailors. so a row of capital ships on readiness but not manned. the crews being the smaller hulls doing the anti drug, pirate stuff. when required the reserves take over the small hulls while the regs move into the big ones.

    the reserves used to play with the river class to maintain their basic skills until they were flogged off IIRC
  7. Or if you like the TV series Sea Patrol

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Trouble is that if you don't operate and train with the stuff you fight with you don't have the skills when the time comes. A better idea might be to man smaller ships with a mix of regulars and reservists. The Rivers were a good concept and cracking ships. They weren't there to maintain basic skills, they were there so the RNR could be immediately useful if the Cold War went hot
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Please PLEASE can they call one John B?
  10. Yeah but where do you deploy them from?

    Alternatively, accept that passing the mine hunting task to frigates/destroyers is a bad idea (equipment issues, and it would divert them from the primary roles) therefore dedicated vessels are needed as sensor platforms and as motherships for off-board systems. Build class of vessels larger than Hunt/Sandown size (small frigate size?) from demagnetised steel. Use the larger vessel size to mount a larger and more capable sonar (larger transducer size means more range/definition), current weapons such as Sea Fox or divers, and the ability to launch recover unmanned systems such as Remus and Reece.

    Plans for future developments such as a longer range version of Sea Fox, USVs for remote influence sweeping and surface based mine recce, and since you can use a land vehicle to remotely deploy a disrupter weapon against an IED, why can we not plan to build a simple remotely operated vessel to close with a mine, and fire Sea Fox, acting as a remote launcher.

    Instead of relying on pie in the sky thinking, everything I have mentioned is feasible and is an extension of current technology (therefore the levels of risk are lower, and also the costs). The ship would be sensor platform, information/communications hub, and platform for remote vehicles. Additionally, it would hopefully protect the UK's expertise in mine countermeasures technology, after all we export mine hunting sonar, and various other bits of kit.

    As these ships are small frigate size, they can carry an armament that offers not only a self defence capability such as 30mm cannon, GPMGs, and Minguns, but perhaps also a CIWS or SAM system, and what about a slightly bigger gun - 57mm or 76mm? Now the ship is less reliant of frigates/destroyers for defence in wartime, and can perform a patrol role. Being designed to operate various vehicles should mean that operating RIBs for boarding operations shouldn't be too much of a drama.

    If you have an embarked Wildcat, then you have the various capabilities that a helo offers (surface search, ASuW attack, ASW, force protection, SAR, VERTREP, HDS, inserting boarding parties). Since now our Minehunter/OPV has an embarked helo, why not see if those nice Americans will sell us the ALMDS to fit to the aircraft.

    The Ton and Hunt classes have performed patrol roles (Fisheries Protection, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong) before, so why can't a larger MCMV perform a greater patrol role?

    Instead of building a very austere platform that inhibits the capabilities of any embarked systems and involves hoping for technological developments, why not work backwards, firstly by deciding what effects you want to achieve, then what sort of systems can do this, then finally what sort of platform you need?
    • Like Like x 2
  11. So you build a FFG sized patrol ship and then kit it out with an FFG weapons fit?
    Why not just buy a Frigate in the first place and be done with it?

    Corvettes - silly idea - big enough to themselves into trouble - not big enough to get themselves out of it.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    that's why the raf have global reach though isn't it? we don't need ships or carriers and haven't done since the 60s according to them.