New efficient flexible RFA Fort George -vs- older single-role Fort Rosalie/Austin

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by RCT(V), Jan 2, 2011.

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  1. Before I start writing to the Government to complain and ask them to provide an answer . . . can someone please try to explain to me the rational - if there is any?! :shock:

    . . . why such a new, efficient and flexible ship such as Fort George should be taken out of service, when both the older, more (manpower) demanding and single role Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin, are to continue in service ?! :frown:

    Note: Although both class of ship require a similar crew of 134/134 RFA/civilian stores staff, those on the older, more (manpower) demanding ships, ONLY provide a single role of supplying “dry stores”.

    Name . . . . . . . . . . . . In service . . Weight . . . . . . . . Crew

    FLEET SUPPORT STORES SHIP RFA (AFS)
    “The role of these ships if to replenish RN warships with dry stores such as food, spare parts and ammunition while underway”.
    Note: Dry stores capacity of 13,500 cubic meters.

    Fort Rosalie .. A385 . . . 1978 . . . . . . 23,384 tonnes . . ( 105 RFA plus
    Fort Austin . . A386 . . . 1979 . . . . . . 23,384 tonnes . . ( 30 civilian stores staff

    AUXILIARY OILER REPLENISHMENT RFA (AOR)
    “These two ships combine the functions of fleet oilers and store ships . . .”
    Note: Dry stores capacity of (only) 3,000 cubic meters - PLUS - POL capacity of 10,000 tonnes.

    Fort Victoria .. A387 . . . 1994 . . . . . . 34,000 tonnes . . ( 134 of which 95 RFA.
    Fort George . . A388 . . . 1994 . . . . . . 34,000 tonnes . . ( 90 RN air group (as required)

    I understand that the Fort Victoria and Fort George were the first two of a planned class of six. The class were
    “ . . planned to support deep ocean submarine hunting operations conducted by
    (a far more basic) Type 23 Frigate”.

    . . . The Type 23 Frigate originally having been planned as an Anti-Submarine Frigate, being nothing more than a “tug” for the towed sonar - with not even any anti-air defence/strike capability - the “mother-ships” Fort Victoria and Fort George being intended to provide area-air-defence, having been “designed to carry the same Sea wolf GWS26 system (subsequently) fitted to the Type 23” itself, when it metamorphosed into a General Purpose Frigate.

    Quotations from: “SHIPS, AIRCRAFT AND MISSILES OF THE ROYAL NAVY & ROYAL MARINES” Publication CP38 JANUARY 2004. Prepared by the Directorate of Naval Recruiting.
     

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  2. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Without being able to see into the MoD decision here, I would remark that Seawolf is a POINT DEFENCE weapon, not an area defence one.
     
  3. I do not know officially but I would guess that the Fort George, though an excellent ship and capable of carrying stores and fuel, is only a single skinned tanker, which will shortly be illegal. The older Forts do not carry fuel so this will not affect them. Just a guess.
     
  4. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    There's an issue with running costs - George and Victoria are expensive to maintain
     
  5. Damn! Yes! My mistake - bad use of terminology . . .

    :oops: :x

    DELETE: All reference to "area-air-defence"
    INSERT: "provide point-defence against air attack, for all the ships in the area"

    :) :nod: :-D
     
  6. Of only such recent design/build (both into service in 1994), I would be very surprised if this were the case! [​IMG]:shock:

    When I have some time, I will go away - and do some further research :wink:

    Note: Sister-ship Fort Victoria is to continue in service!
     
  7. Perhaps it's because there is currently much less need for re-fuelling whilst at sea, and no greater perceived need for it in the medium term, whereas, it might be handy to have all those hard-to-get stores following the remnants of the flotilla around the Indian Ocean. Lets face it, you can get fuel at any commercial port, but spare parts for weapons systems are not usually COTS items.
     
  8. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    No, point defence means just that, Seawolf was designed (in the 60s) as a relatively short range weapon to provide immediate defence for its own ship only.
     
  9. There is extended point defence, but ships that want protecting have to stay with a fairly short distance of the Seawolf armed ship. Since it's inception various upgrades and iimprovements have improved its range and ability to provide close protection of a vessel being escorted.
     
  10. Yes. That is how I read and understand the concept of ASW as (then) envisaged for the twenty first century. The ASW “tugs” (aka the original, basic, Type 23), were supposed to operate around - circle around ?? - the Fort Victoria and Fort George "mother-ships", which with the appropriate Ops Room/systems - did all the “clever” stuff . . . carry/deploy/maintain the ASW helicopters, and provide (some sort of) air defence, and carry the POL and other supplies to replenish the ASW “tugs“.

    It is acknowledged that the Fort Victoria and Fort George, have subsequently been “miss-employed” as merely resupply ships, with the rest of their potential NOT been used to the full.

    If we loose both or either of the Fort Victoria and/or Fort George, we also loose the ability to employ them as they were intended - should the need occur.

    As an aside - and not wishing to divert my own thread (!!) - we lost an efficient and competent class of ships to complement the Fort Victoria and Fort George, when we sold-off (gave away!), the deep-sea River Class mine-sweepers . . .
     

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  11. "seaweed", that is not how I have read or continue to understand the concept (See above).
     
  12. :) :-D

    I understand what you are saying . . . but, although POL may be available in all/most ports, I thought we needed the RFA to go and collect the POL, etc, as "warships" are NOT always welcome in foreign ports!

    I acknowledge that I do not know the size of the parts inventory needed to supply a modern day RN "task force" when it deploys. However, I would have thought that the Fort Victoria and Fort George, "Dry stores capacity of (only) 3,000 cubic meters" would/might be sufficient :-|
     
  13. Post Falklands, it was ralised that the Type 23 needed to be properly armed, with Seawolf, Harpoon, and a 4.5" gun. We've always made full use of the large flight deck and hangar for support helicopters of various types. They lack command and control facilities and radar and sonar, and the like.
     
  14. RCT the rivers where minesweepers and are completly ill suited to have been turned into these towed array sonar tugs you speak of, especially out in the deep ocean miles from home. Talking to my RNR shipmates who where in when we still had rivers they wern't exactly famed for there reliability. Its an early cold war concept and not worth revisiting.

    Plus the Forts never had any of the equipment fitted, it was a very early concept that never took off. If they did i think they would cease to be an RFA vessel legaly.
     
  15. What is that on the back of her? Looks like the Mary Rose or something.