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RFA Support Vessels

I've changed the title of the thread from being Tide Class centric to widen the discussion.

On that basis, the SoS has halted tending for the Fleet Solid Support Ship contract as non of the bids were 'price compliant' and possibly to circumvent EU laws aimed at 'protectionism.' I believe these are to replace the ageing Fort Class.

That's great if you're a UK ship builder but possibly less so if it's considered from a purely military perspective. Given we've just entered purdah, I doubt whether this will be resurrected until the new year.

Regards,
MM
 
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Yokel

LE
There were/are two types of Fort - two Falklands era Stores Ships (both of which have large flight decks and hangers, and have supported helicopter operations East of Suez) and Fort Victoria, intended to be the first of a class of six vessels combining the taker and stores ship roles. The design was also intended to support multiple ASW helicopters, and she also has a large flight deck/hangar.

I am not entirely sure the experience of using a Korean shipyard for the Tide class was completely positive.
 
The DSME Tide-class build had some downsides for the RN (still being worked out) but nowhere near as bad for them as it was for DSME. They were not prepared for what they were getting into (partly their fault, partly their partner and partly DE&S/MoD). DSME made a significant loss on the ships and MoD extracted a heavy liability price. DSME consequently extremely wary of getting bitten twice, particularly with a much more complex ship.

Having said all that, we got four proper tankers, which when finally fettled will do very nicely, for well under £150M each. Notwithstanding the complete lack of UK capacity to build them in this timescale - and there really wasn't any - a UK build price tag would have comfortably topped £1Bn. Which is OK if that money is there. Terminal to the programme if it's not.

Incidentally, the UK capacity problem hasn't got any better. It currently looks like this :

Appledore - shut and too small to do anything significant.
Portsmouth - build hall shut and stripped of build plant (panel line, welding machines), shipbuild staff gone.
Cammell Laird - Active. Need some work after Sir David A, but doing lots of submarine steel for Barrow and short of bodies.
A&P Hebburn - Fabrication facilities idle. Cranage comical. Not a lot of people. Need investment to build ship rather than blocks.
BAES Scotstoun. Flattened and too small
BAES Govan - All Araldite capacity tied up with T26
Fergusons - Too small for anything useful.
Harland and Wolff - Still only residual fabrication capacity and only 79 employees at last count. New owner wants to build gas storage tanks for Norn Iron. Horrific record on ship builds.
Rosyth - Still to build its first ship. Fabrication investment believed inbound, but will be stretched to do T31 and FSS concurrently.

Not exactly comforting if you want to put 30000 tonnes of ship together at a reasonable pace.

MoD may regret this. I doubt the overseas yards will voluntarily come back for another go, which is going to result in a supplier-led procurement and consequently wonderful VFM.........

Seems the team that did the Tide procurement is also being disbanded to sit under someone with a submarine procurement background.........what could possibly go wrong?
 

Dark_Nit

LE
Book Reviewer
Someone ought to tell DE&S the old but true adage:

You can have a good job, a fast job or a cheap job, or any two out of the three.

From experience, DE&S will want gold plated heads, Banksy murals on the bulkheads and a collection of ridiculous trivial requirements. I say this from bitter experience having been involved in a particular omnishambles in the construction of a BFI some years ago which ended up being the only BFI that I know of that has double skinned stainless steel pipework because no-one would stand up to the idiot who they let specify the kit.

Need I say that SS is 10x the price of carbon steel and double skin is 10x the price of single skin. A piddling little and simple job ended up costing nearly 3x the price that it should even allowing for the normal DIO B/S requirements.
 
Interesting considering our company is working with one of the bidders on FSS to put some kit on them.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Need I say that SS is 10x the price of carbon steel and double skin is 10x the price of single skin. A piddling little and simple job ended up costing nearly 3x the price that it should even allowing for the normal DIO B/S requirements.
That's actually very good value, they had the pipework specified ninety-seven times cheaper than normal price.
 
A long time ago in a universe where I was a lot thinner with different coloured hair I worked with a few different shipyards here and in Korea. Korean lads were dead keen followed the supervisor who had experience who followed the bloke with the plan. Good so far except pipe threads were shorter and pipes would go across spaces not around the sides (simplified here). Pros; quicker/ less pipe used. Cons; corrosion made leaks quicker and pipes got in the way of other things like cargo or heat sources.
UK yards (thirty years ago). Had people who had seen stuff coming back for finickity stuff and anticipated problems and actually sorting them out without several meetings and blame chits.
Cons; sometimes they didn't understand why something was done a particular way "cos they knew better". Also they knew time was against them and dissuaded younger colleges from staying when they could get more short term pay welding pipework in a shopping center.
 

Yokel

LE
I get the feeling that the importance of RFAs and similar vessels belonging to other nations is not really appreciated by the media. Or perhaps they simply cannot tell the difference between an RFA tanker, a Voyager tanker aircraft, and a Challenger 2 main battle tank?


The Telegraph really has gone downhill.
 
More like kicked down the road so we can spend the money on T26 and Littoral Strike ships says first Sea lord...
 
The old forts can't RAS QEC by jackstay, so only Fort Vic can support her.

The requirement in big handfuls has been developed over a decade, so major rejig will not be easy. A certain very senior sundodger is allegedly querying whether it's required to free up money for other things.

Suspect what happened is they didn't like price that some of their wishlist engineering specs (not the RAS rigs) incurred. Way forward ought to be a fairly swift VE engagement with the bidders to drive cost out and then tender again, probably with a paid redesign.

Time is not on their side. The original programme was racy to say the least.
 
The old forts can't RAS QEC by jackstay, so only Fort Vic can support her.

The requirement in big handfuls has been developed over a decade, so major rejig will not be easy. A certain very senior sundodger is allegedly querying whether it's required to free up money for other things.

Suspect what happened is they didn't like price that some of their wishlist engineering specs (not the RAS rigs) incurred. Way forward ought to be a fairly swift VE engagement with the bidders to drive cost out and then tender again, probably with a paid redesign.

Time is not on their side. The original programme was racy to say the least.

Well if its anything like the Spec the Tides got with drop down bow thrusts then there is some fat to be trimmed, Hopefully they dont save money by buying cheap nasty auxiliary machinery again... 1SL did also question the need for a new 6 tonne RAS rig however. "QE is massive and has lots of room onboard" was the view seemingly.
 
The rig is actually not a major cost driver (at least not from the OEM prices) and will save manpower and increase safety on QE. Buying a proper carrier and then trying to support it using 60s technology is non- sensical.

Specifying auxy systems to operate - with margins - in 40C seawater and 51C air, is a cost driver, among many others of similar ilk.
 
More like kicked down the road so we can spend the money on T26 and Littoral Strike ships says first Sea lord...
What are these "Littoral Strike ships" of which you speak?!

I am aware of the term in connection with the USA, but not the UK :( .
 
I think that was from before the new 1SL got his grips on it. Radical Radakin sounds like he want's them ASAP.

“And, if we ever need them to, our two Littoral Strike Ships, our two aircraft carriers, our two amphibious assault ships Albion and Bulwark, and our three Bay Class landing ships can come together in one amphibious task force. This will give us sovereign, lethal, amphibious force. This will be one of the largest and best such forces anywhere in the world.”

HAHAHAHAHA! This might be achievable for 1 week every other leap year...

The rig is actually not a major cost driver (at least not from the OEM prices) and will save manpower and increase safety on QE. Buying a proper carrier and then trying to support it using 60s technology is non- sensical.

Specifying auxy systems to operate - with margins - in 40C seawater and 51C air, is a cost driver, among many others of similar ilk.

Well if they Want to use them in the Gulf in the summer with out things falling over then they will have to pay now or pay more later when they retrofit all the things they needed to begin with.
 
I think that was from before the new 1SL got his grips on it. Radical Radakin sounds like he want's them ASAP.

“And, if we ever need them to, our two Littoral Strike Ships, our two aircraft carriers, our two amphibious assault ships Albion and Bulwark, and our three Bay Class landing ships can come together in one amphibious task force. This will give us sovereign, lethal, amphibious force. This will be one of the largest and best such forces anywhere in the world.”

HAHAHAHAHA! This might be achievable for 1 week every other leap year...



Well if they Want to use them in the Gulf in the summer with out things falling over then they will have to pay now or pay more later when they retrofit all the things they needed to begin with.
There's a difference between avoiding T 45 style issues and going completely overboard. The amount of overcapacity that single example drives into your cooling and electrical systems and ultimately installed prime movers when added to existing margins is eye-watering.
 

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