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Sir John Parker's National Shipbuilding Strategy

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
As I understand it, the T26/31 development went something like this.

We want 13 new frigates
We shall go with the current model whereby 8 are ASW and the other 5 are 'general purpose' (ie without the really expensive sonar fitted)
To make the frigate more versatile (which will mainly benefit the GP ships) we shall make it big, so that it can have a mission bay and chinook flight deck.
Now the ship is big
Big means expensive (if you lick windows as a hobby)
We aren't going to give you 13 big ships
You can't have your GP ships as big ones
Have a completely different class that we shall also have to design.
Now you have:
- Frigates with the special (GP) features that it probably won't use
- GP ships without the special features, because they're too small

And I absolutely guarantee that the T31 programme in total will cost more than the build price of five FFNW Type 26s.

Anyone care to challenge the above?

Nope, it's what I said months ago. Steel and air are cheap, it's the gubbins that cost.

We face a situation where the GPs lose something that would actually improve their utility - size and space - and still end up costing more.

Well done, everyone, well done.
 
You forgot the bit where lots of people chimed in suggesting that the reason the ships wouldn't win export orders (remember it was rebadged as a Global Combat Ship - vice FSC - in 2009 or thereabouts) is because it's too big and complicated.

There is a modicum of truth in that - if you ignore the fact that there are considerably more players in the export frigate market these days, which reduces Pwin for the small cheap stuff.

The size is primarily driven by the accommodation standard, escape and evac routes, removal routes and other non-obvious stuff. The mission bay and wokka flight deck add about 10m to length. The sonar isn't actually that expensive - although some things related to that particular role are, both in equipment cost and knock-on impact on the hull design and construction.

The primary drivers here are what BAES feel they need in terms of manhours to maintain the capability they are (still) nominally charged with vs the absence of adequate budget to pay for it and the dangerous certainty (see thread on senior leadership personality defects) of some VSO that they know all about ship design, estimating and shipbuilding, despite having only ever driven submarines and the occasional ship......
 
As I understand it, the T26/31 development went something like this.

We want 13 new frigates
We shall go with the current model whereby 8 are ASW and the other 5 are 'general purpose' (ie without the really expensive sonar fitted)
To make the frigate more versatile (which will mainly benefit the GP ships) we shall make it big, so that it can have a mission bay and chinook flight deck.
Now the ship is big
Big means expensive (if you lick windows as a hobby)
We aren't going to give you 13 big ships
You can't have your GP ships as big ones
Have a completely different class that we shall also have to design.
Now you have:
- Frigates with the special (GP) features that it probably won't use
- GP ships without the special features, because they're too small

And I absolutely guarantee that the T31 programme in total will cost more than the build price of five FFNW Type 26s.

Anyone care to challenge the above?


If done sensibly, as in anyone in dark blue is beaten over the head if they try and tinker with the design, T31 should be a solid workmanlike patrol frigate that will do 90% of what's needed by frigates doing Day work. They are simple ships with a nice basic propulsion system.

The danger is that NCHQ now gets a rush of blood to its head and tries to option and design in that extra 10% to try and turn them into T26 'lite'. There lies the road to endless delays and rocketing programme costs.
 
You forgot the bit where lots of people chimed in suggesting that the reason the ships wouldn't win export orders (remember it was rebadged as a Global Combat Ship - vice FSC - in 2009 or thereabouts) is because it's too big and complicated.

There is a modicum of truth in that - if you ignore the fact that there are considerably more players in the export frigate market these days, which reduces Pwin for the small cheap stuff.

The size is primarily driven by the accommodation standard, escape and evac routes, removal routes and other non-obvious stuff. The mission bay and wokka flight deck add about 10m to length. The sonar isn't actually that expensive - although some things related to that particular role are, both in equipment cost and knock-on impact on the hull design and construction.

The primary drivers here are what BAES feel they need in terms of manhours to maintain the capability they are (still) nominally charged with vs the absence of adequate budget to pay for it and the dangerous certainty (see thread on senior leadership personality defects) of some VSO that they know all about ship design, estimating and shipbuilding, despite having only ever driven submarines and the occasional ship......


I'm sure some treasury aid has drawn up a nice straight line graph that the chief bean counter can refer to that directly equates tonnage to cost.
After all, it's accepted in house building, £2k per m2 of floor area - surely the same model applies to ships!
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
The danger is that NCHQ now gets a rush of blood to its head and tries to option and design in that extra 10% to try and turn them into T26 'lite'. There lies the road to endless delays and rocketing programme costs.

The first five Type 23s to be retired though are the GPs and a harbour queen so surely with at least 3 Type 26s floating in the earlyish 2020s that leaves quite a gap before the notional 8 ASW frigates is degraded in about 2030.

If the Type 31 comes in at less than half a Type 26 then BAEs could have quite a fight on it's hands.
 
The first five Type 23s to be retired though are the GPs and a harbour queen so surely with at least 3 Type 26s floating in the earlyish 2020s that leaves quite a gap before the notional 8 ASW frigates is degraded in about 2030.

If the Type 31 comes in at less than half a Type 26 then BAEs could have quite a fight on it's hands.


I would be seriously impressed if a T26 singular was doing anything other than fitting out in the early 2020's.

How would BAE have afight on their hands? T26 is the very high end Escort and T31 is not an alternative.
 
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Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
Or…

We want a new gun, a 5" gun.

So, do we pick the most common and used by all our allies and built by BAE 5" Mk45 that ticks all the boxes?
Or do we spend a wedge of cash and time naval gazing at all the other 5" options, including BAE's chief rival, OTO Malera's gun, before deciding the Mk45 is the obvious solution and telling BAE to proceed with designing in their gun?

Except the Mk45 is not used by all our allies. It is used by some. And I'm not sure your example of the RN buying some second hand guns is a good example of an "obvious" choice when the whole point of the procurement was to replace some obsolescent guns. The future of gunnery is ER ammunition and with the decision of the USN to cancel Zumwalt's ER development the future of the 5" development, piggybacking off Zumwalt, is in doubt.
 
Except the Mk45 is not used by all our allies. It is used by some. And I'm not sure your example of the RN buying some second hand guns is a good example of an "obvious" choice when the whole point of the procurement was to replace some obsolescent guns. The future of gunnery is ER ammunition and with the decision of the USN to cancel Zumwalt's ER development the future of the 5" development, piggybacking off Zumwalt, is in doubt.


It's used by the allies that matter, despite the wibble in the media, they are not 'second hand guns', they are zero lifed latest spec rebuilds to 'new' from the US gun plant, they are the same gun in a crate as goes on new build warships in the US, the Mk45 has been the preferred gun since the 80's on numerous projects for replacement RN Frigates and Destroyers, the issue of guided munitions is rather irrelevant as (a) we weren't buying any, (b), if we do at some future date, we'll buy whatever the USN has developed over the next 10 years when the issue will be relevant for the T26.
 
The T31e should be optimised and configurable primarily for export. Andrew would operate them but should be willing to have them sold from under their feet.

Not like it's not been done before.

Besides, if we sell a couple they can then be replaced with a new and improved model.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
It's used by the allies that matter, despite the wibble in the media, they are not 'second hand guns', they are zero lifed latest spec rebuilds to 'new' from the US gun plant, they are the same gun in a crate as goes on new build warships in the US, the Mk45 has been the preferred gun since the 80's on numerous projects for replacement RN Frigates and Destroyers, the issue of guided munitions is rather irrelevant as (a) we weren't buying any, (b), if we do at some future date, we'll buy whatever the USN has developed over the next 10 years when the issue will be relevant for the T26.

Would you be interested in a second hand car? I can do you a deal on a "nearly new" one. The PR department can slice it how they like but they're pre-owned, used, one slightly careful owner, refurbished. Secondhand.

And the reason the ER ammo requirement dropped out of the spec was because otherwise there would have been only one compliant bidder. And that wasn't BAE.
 

Mattb

LE
The future of gunnery is ER ammunition and with the decision of the USN to cancel Zumwalt's ER development the future of the 5" development, piggybacking off Zumwalt, is in doubt.
Eh? Surely the cancelling of 155mm ER means that (assuming ER rounds are the future) that any ER round HAS to be 5".

What other calibre would it be developed in?
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
Eh? Surely the cancelling of 155mm ER means that (assuming ER rounds are the future) that any ER round HAS to be 5".

What other calibre would it be developed in?

Poor sentence on my part. The USN were going to use the technology from Zumwalt's ER development to then develop a 5" version. No Zumwalt ER may mean no 5" ER.
 

Mattb

LE
I get that, but if such a round is of particular use and importance then someone eventually will make one (maybe even us) and it'll be in 5" calibre, and so will fit our 'new' gun - and wouldn't have fit in the 4.5".
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
I've lost count of the number of programs to develop an ERGM for the 5".
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
I get that, but if such a round is of particular use and importance then someone eventually will make one (maybe even us) and it'll be in 5" calibre, and so will fit our 'new' gun - and wouldn't have fit in the 4.5".

The Italians have a 76mm ER round but I don't know if they've done/started/finished one for the 127mm. Someone more knowledgeable than me could say whether the ammo is interchangeable.
 

Mattb

LE
If it isn't, I'd guess that it's worth converting the tech over (seeing as the BAe 5" is used by the world's largest navy)
 
The Italians have a 76mm ER round but I don't know if they've done/started/finished one for the 127mm. Someone more knowledgeable than me could say whether the ammo is interchangeable.
IIRC the Oto Melara 127mm can fire all US 5" rounds and has the Vulcano ER unguided and guided round which I read somewhere is in some ways superior to the US round. So I think it may be interchangeable.
VULCANO 155mm - DETAIL - Leonardo - Finmeccanica
ETA forgot link
 

Dar

Crow
I think it was Thales did the re-design work for Bravo just to prove to the MOD that a smaller ship is actually more expensive, but this cost along was as you say, expensive in itself. I think the overrall difference being 1.5 metres shorter between pependiculars and what looks like a very bluff bow. The ship still has the 67,000 to 70,000 displacement figure. But this Country has faced a perfect storm while new ships were needed, in terms of recession and lack of money leading to cut backs, delay, changes in design, run down of industry, lack of investment. It's all led to a downward spiral, but Labours cuts in defence spending did not help (they were cost in affect, even if it looked to be going up in certain periods) and who were quite happy to see manufacturing go abroad. Many are to blame. It just needs to be turned around, and for Britain to get on with it and we all pull our fingers out of our arses, so to speak.
 

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