Type 31 Frigate

It's still worth examining whether in hindsight some of the specifications make sense no?

The new infrastructure and crew training requirements for a brand new CMS which is bespoke for only one class of vessel seems strange. This is before you think of the maintenance of the software and hardware. We are still building the River 2s, QE and Type 26 and all of them use one supplier and in the long term this lowers through-life costs.

Same issue with commonality for the 57mm and the 40mm on the 31, all of which are unique to the class. Do we even use the 57mm anywhere else in HMF? All this increases the cost of training, support, spares, logistics etc and can make supporting the vessel more difficult in a hot situation.
it all made some sort sense when the dream was we were going to export these by the armful, but alas, the T31e is no longer in anyone’s vision for ‘export’, so here we are, buying a frigate optimised for overseas customers who don’t want it, but not for us.

we could have gone to BAE and bought their stretched B2 OPV. Nearly all the capability, in a design leveraged straight off the proven B2 design with all the cost savings that would have brung. But BAE are now the devil and we were determined to buy anything but BAE.

and as regards the 57mm gun?

totally daft outlier decision. It made more sense to go for the 76mm. It could have been retrofitted to everything with a 4.5“ gun, and all the OPVs were designed to take it too. All the same AAW capability of the 57mm, but with enough bang to be a moderately credible gunfire support weapon. Win-Win-Win. The end of the orphan 4.5, everyone smaller gets a credible gun, commonality across most of the Fleet.

40mm? Only makes sense if they strip off the now rather lost 30mm across the entire fleet and standardise on it. But never mind, it’s not as if the RN decided back in the mid 70’s that the perfect small calibre gun to replace the hand cranked 40mm Bofors it then had by the hundred in service was an automatic radar directed 40mm Bofors. The 45 years later decision to adopt the 40mm automagic Bofors is Holy back to the future Batman.
 
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Regarding CMS , how far does MoD cast it's net ?
Do we look at the stuff the Israelis use for their Saar 5/6 ? Their ENTCS is allegedly cots based and open systems architecture and all those jazz phrases.
Or would getting our stuff to talk to it give too much away ?
 
CMS are really not that difficult - the vast majority are now Sandbox/open architecture*, so they're a bunch of PCs running with software.


*I'm sure someone will be along to castigate me soon enough.
 

Ron5

Swinger
Mk 41 is expensive. Like, platinum with unicorn- horn inlay expensive, compared to CAMM cells.

There was some serious investigation of putting Mk 41 into the growth space sized for it, but the quoted cost for the cells (never mind actually integrating them) was in "yer 'avin' a giraffe!' territory.
In the USN 2019 FFG(X) budget, each 32 cell Mk 41 VLS was quoted as $11.5 million.
 
Things can change in forty-odd years.
No doubt, its a similar argument to having guns on a fighter jet I would have thought.
Point being, when the Type 22 was designed everybody thought there was no need for a big(ish) gun, we would appear to be arguing the same thing with the Type 31

I'll freely admit to being a simple soul who prefers guns in the biggest size available but I am merely asking if the argument is as pertinent now as it was the 1970's when the 22's were conceived.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
No doubt, its a similar argument to having guns on a fighter jet I would have thought.
Point being, when the Type 22 was designed everybody thought there was no need for a big(ish) gun, we would appear to be arguing the same thing with the Type 31

I'll freely admit to being a simple soul who prefers guns in the biggest size available but I am merely asking if the argument is as pertinent now as it was the 1970's when the 22's were conceived.
It all comes down to "it might still be useful for some roles - which ones and what can we afford?" If it was free and easy to fit we'd slap one or two on in a heartbeat - but when cash is tight, where do your priorities sit? (Unless of course you're of the view that a 76mm gun is an area air-defence weapon, a CIWS, a mighty ship-sinker, and with the imminent "It'll Work, Honest Guvnor" upgrades will do ASW and theatre ballistic missile defence too...)

T31 ended up with what it got, because that was the best answer to the problem posed. Was that the right problem? Time will tell.
 
It all comes down to "it might still be useful for some roles - which ones and what can we afford?" If it was free and easy to fit we'd slap one or two on in a heartbeat - but when cash is tight, where do your priorities sit? (Unless of course you're of the view that a 76mm gun is an area air-defence weapon, a CIWS, a mighty ship-sinker, and with the imminent "It'll Work, Honest Guvnor" upgrades will do ASW and theatre ballistic missile defence too...)

T31 ended up with what it got, because that was the best answer to the problem posed. Was that the right problem? Time will tell.

Actually I don't think the 76mm is big enough either!
I'm a reasonable man, I don't expect 8 inch guns, but 4.5 or 5 inch would be nice

If its down to price, then so be it, I accept that. But I remain to be convinced that 57mm is the correct answer for a ship of T31's size and use.
 

Mattb

LE
Still a requirement for NGS and they have an anti-air capability. Depending on the munition used it could be very effective against a variety of surface targets inc. swarms of FAC.
All of which would have seemed very good reasons for putting it on the GP frigate.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
All of which would have seemed very good reasons for putting it on the GP frigate.
The Operational Analysts didn't think so when looking at cost/performance/requirement.

You start adding in all of a T26s assets and you've got....a T26. That's not what was required.

Again. We're not in the realms of fantasy fleets, its a balance of required and affordable.
 
The Operational Analysts didn't think so when looking at cost/performance/requirement.

You start adding in all of a T26s assets and you've got....a T26. That's not what was required.

Again. We're not in the realms of fantasy fleets, its a balance of required and affordable.
I guess it would come down to "what are you willing to give up in order to get a 127mm gun instead of a 57mm gun?"
 
Don’t know. Seems like a lot of begging the question.

Someone asks: “why wasn’t xyz required for type 31 when it was required before for 23, 26 and 45?”

Naval answer: “because it wasn’t required”.

Fair enough if the 31s are absolutely bargain basement ships but that’s not how they are being sold publicly. We should also admit that there will be a clear drop in escort capability when the 23s are retired.
 
Or when do you think you will need 127mm when 57mm won't do. If we need heavier NGS then T26/45 are in the plan.
Risking what are now essentially billion pound capital ships for NGS in littoral waters when they are at their most vulnerable by far?

That’s like fitting your SSBNs with cruise missiles and deleting them from your SSKs. Someone asks how you’ll attack land targets from beneath the sea and you say “we send the SSBNs”.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Risking what are now essentially billion pound capital ships for NGS in littoral waters when they are at their most vulnerable by far?

That’s like fitting your SSBNs with cruise missiles and deleting them from your SSKs. Someone asks how you’ll attack land targets from beneath the sea and you say “we send the SSBNs”.
Nope it's called planning and having a range of assets and capabilities for a range of tasks. One size does not fit all, and no-one has given MoD an unlimited budget.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Don’t know. Seems like a lot of begging the question.

Someone asks: “why wasn’t xyz required for type 31 when it was required before for 23, 26 and 45?”

Naval answer: “because it wasn’t required”.
Or, in the real world not fantasy fleets, with two types you had to have a lot more capability per platform and consequently sacrifice high end units conducting low end tasking, with three types you can have a lesser capability set (with capacity for upgrades), releasing said high end units for more appropriate tasking.

and ta da....with four types, an OPV........ You then have horses for courses. Unless course you want a T45 to be chasing fishing boats off Immingham or a T26 wallowing in BFSAI.
 
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Mattb

LE
I guess it would come down to "what are you willing to give up in order to get a 127mm gun instead of a 57mm gun?"
If it really comes down to it, 127mm on the T26.
 
I am still limited in what I can discuss, but the 57mm will do all the tasks set out in the requirements to an adequate level.

If those requirements are correct is a slightly different question to why not a bigger gun.

To answer the "why not a bigger gun?"

A significant length of time was spent, by gunnery experts, looking at what weapon system would fulfil the requirements best, with some excellent analysis of both the physical effect of the weapons involved and the maintainability and so forth. The 57mm was the most effective, given the constraints of budget, time, training and so forth.

It also does all the jobs asked.

"Was the spec right?"

Unless you have seen the full requirements set (and I doubt you have), you don't know. I think it reflects a fair stab at what we want this platform to do in the future. ETA and that is all it will ever be...
 

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