Monday, August 20, 2012

The Type 26 takes shape

The BBC today reports on the Ministry of Defence's first major announcement about the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, the design of which is progressing, with the general principle and requirements by now frozen and with detailed design now underway.

The report proves me largely right, since the design now officialized was shown in detail on this blog already in March 2012, after BAE systems began to circulate a very short video of the evolved Type 26 design in January 2012.

148 meters long, and around 5400 tons in weight. The Type 26 will be a big ship, albeit smaller than once expected (up to 7000 tons in some proposals). Propulsion is expected to be CODLOG, with a MT30 gas turbine (a variant of those used on the CVF aircraft carriers) and 4 diesel engines for silent running in ASW role. Core crew was expected to be around 115 men, plus around 15 for the Helicopter Flight and space for a further 36 men. A further 84 accommodations were described as a possible use for the mission bay some time ago, but until we learn of the current shape and sizes of the flex deck, take this value as indicative only.
Updated BAE System data (they did not update the photos, though!) however suggests a crew of 118 (not clear if it includes Helicopter Flight, probably it does not) and accommodation for a further 72. It would appear that, with the Navy wanting to use drones on Type 26 in the future, a significant increase in accommodation facilities was agreed upon, from 166 to 190. A wise move.  

Speed in dash will be superior to 28 knots, and the ship will offer a logistic endurance of 60 days (very high value) with a range of 11.000 naval miles at 15 knots (7000 naval miles at 15 knots between a replenishment and another will be the typical indicative plan, though).
The Royal Navy is trying to shape the Type 26 as an innovative, future-proof multirole vessel, while doing all it can to keep costs down. Cost control on Type 26 is going to be absolutely crucial for the future of the fleet, there is no overstating this.

The Navy has decided, to help with cost control, to reverse the Type 45 approach: from an "80% new, 20% legacy" guideline to a "80% legacy, 20% innovation" ratio. But we should not look down at this thinking of Type 26 as a ship that brings nothing new to the table, because the design comes with several great new enhancements for the fleet.
And even the "legacy" equipment will be modern and top-class: the plan is, in fact, to use the Type 23 as a test bed for development and adoption of new systems that then will live on into Type 26. For example, the new frigate will receive the world-beating sonar 2087, the Type 997 Artisan 3D radar (both systems will start appearing on Type 23 in 2016) and a combat system which will be an evolution of the DNA(2)/CMS-1.

The plan is to build 8 "ASW" frigates, fitted with the 2087 towed sonar array, and 5 "General Purpose" frigates with a reduced mission fit (no 2087) but able to be eventually fitted in the future. 13 ships to replace 13 Type 23 vessels with. 

There are some good news, as it appears that the Royal Navy might have won this time around getting the go ahead for two major aspects of the design that they tried to include already into the Type 45, without success at the time: a new, modern and capable medium gun, and vertical launch cells for land attack weapons.

Type 26 will have 24 "cruise-missile compatible" Vertical Launch Cells, which should mean either MK41 or Sylver A70. In particular, the Royal Navy handbook 2012 said that the possibility of arming the ship with Tomahawk is still being considered. This means adopting flexible "strike lenght" cells and requires an investment in new Tomahawk VL missiles: the Royal Navy currently has an arsenal of sole torpedo-tube launched TLAMs, which come with a capsule for underwater launch.
The Royal Navy is also hoping to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile with a new weapon system, vertically launched and with ground-attack capability. It is not clear yet if this new system is included in the 152 billion committed 10 years budget; we might find out only this autumn when a summary of said budget is expected to be released. I reported about this particular program here.

It is to be noted that the Fire Shadow loitering ammunition entering service with the Royal Artillery, currently as a rail-launched system, is planned to introduce canister-vertical launch in future, and the Royal Navy has been eyeing it as a possible future solution to Future Maritime Fires capability at least since 2009. The Fire Shadow can fit into a Sylver A50 cell (Type 45) and, of course, could fit easily into the "strike lenght" cells on Type 26.
Offering a 6 hours loiter at 100 or more kilometers of range, this hybrid drone/missile would add a lot of capability.

Type 26 will have a new Medium Calibre gun, which is likely to be retrofitted, in time, to Type 45 as well (the transition will last many years, in any case). In Italy there have been several reports in the last two months about ongoing negotiations between the UK MOD and Oto Melara, the italian gun-maker industry.
In July, the respected italian defence publication "Rivista Italiana Difesa" reported from Oto Melara's base in La Spezia that the Managing Director of the company, Carlo Alberto Iardella told them that a historic success in the UK was close, with the American competition (described as politically powerful but technologically inferior) left to be beaten.

Oto Melara teamed with Babcock in the UK to put forward to the Royal Navy the 127/64 Lightweight medium calibre naval gun, and it would appear that this gun has the Navy's favor.
The American competition is represented by the 127/62 MK45 Mod 4 made by United Defense (BAE Systems owned). The current MK8 Mod 1 gun seems not to be an option anymore, and this is already a big novelty in itself.

The Oto Melara 127 is an excellent gun system. Germany has selected it for its F125 frigates, and Italy is putting the gun on its FREMM General Purpose frigates, with France interested in possibly upgunning its own FREMM ships with it in the future.
With 56 rounds ready-to-fire in four revolving round magazines, the gun can have 4 different types of ammunition available for immediate use at all times, and it offers and unmatched (in its calibre class) rate of fire of 35 rounds per minute.

The MK45 is also a very good gun, adopted by many Navies and used on all US Navy warships, but is not as advanced and, perhaps the true crucial difference, it is currently without a guided long range ammunition, after the advanced shell that the Mod 4 was supposed to fire was cancelled by the US Navy.
The Oto Melara 127/64 instead can come along with the Vulcano ammunition, which would offer a 70 to 120 km reach to the ship, a formidable extension in gunfire capability.
Moreover, the Vulcano ammunition comes in 155 and 127 mm NATO standard calibres, and with the Royal Artillery due to obtain a Long Range Guided ammunition by 2018 as part of the Core funded equipment budget announced by minister Hammond, going Vulcano would offer a degree of commonality between Army and Navy.  
Said commonality would be much inferior to that offered by the sadly defunct programme for the development of a modified MK8 fitted with 155/39 or even 155/52 gun, but that option died in 2010, and the Vulcano appears the second best option.
The Royal Artillery as of 2010 was working to adopt the US Excalibur GPS-guided round, trialed and validated for use on the AS90 howitzer, but with the purchase of the extended range guided shell delayed to 2018 there should be plenty of chances to use a joint approach and collaborate with the navy to obtain a capability that is much superior to the Excalibur, offering greater range (north of 70 km against 40) and potentially even greater accuracy, as a Vulcano round combining GPS and Semi Active Laser guidance (SAL) is already being tested. This version is going to be a cheaper alternative to missiles for accurate, long range strikes.

Type 26 as shown in January and March 2012

For Self Defence, the ship is shown fitted with two DS30 remote gun mounts. The Royal Navy currently uses the Bushmaster MK44 30mm gun on them, but already in 2010 there was work ongoing at DSTL to trial a navalized 40mm CTA gun, the same weapon which will be on FRES SV and Warrior. With high-power HE grenades and Airburst grenades already available, a "DS40" would greatly enhance the ship's capability against swarm attacks of fast and suicide boats.
In addition, an "A3" (Anti-Air Airbust) grenade for the CTA will soon be ready, so that the new gun would have much enhanced "CIWS-lite" capability and would be a great anti-air weapon, particularly suited to killing UAVs, a menace likely to figure heavily in the battles of the future.
The firing positions are excellent to offer great all-around coverage.

There will be 2 Phalanx 1B CIWS positions (possibly Fitted For but Not With) and three separate silos for CAMM anti-air missiles. The Common Anti-air Modular Missile, known (as a system) as Future Local Air Area Defence System (FLAADS) and named Sea Ceptor by the Navy, is a fire and forget, radar-guided missile developed using the RAF's ASRAAM missile as a base. The missile is ejected "cold" from its canister, and thrown at 100 feet of height with cold compressed air, before its main rocket ignites.
In addition, the CAMM is a radar-agnostic system that can be made to work with any kind of air search radar: on land the British Army will use it with the Saab Giraffe ABM and perhaps with the radar of the Rapier, while the Navy will use it with Artisan 3D.
These two features make the CAMM a very flexible and easily deployed system, that can be "dropped in" onto any kind of truck or vessel, as there is no hot flames and smoke to manage like in normal "hot" launch missiles and VLS systems.
The Type 26 graphic animation shows two "small" silos (actually, each seem to have 12, and possibly more cells) on the bow, to the left and right of the forward CIWS, while another large array of CAMM cells is located amidship, in the funnel tower (this one very possibly showing 24 or more cells). This suggests direct use of the CAMM's own canister-launcher: another option (more complex and expensive) would have been to fit Sylver or MK41 cells and then "quad-pack" CAMM missiles into them.
Due to the cold launch feature, there is no need for complex and expensive VLS systems and exhaust piping for smoke and rocket blast, so it makes a lot of sense to just slot in the single CAMM canisters. The graphic suggests that, anyway, a Type 26 will easily be able to carry some 48 anti-air missiles, with room for even more.
The separation of the silos in 3 locations means further shortening of the reaction times to threats approaching from different directions and, even more, it means that the ship will not be left defenceless by a single aimed hit at the main silo on the bow.
CAMM is said to have a secondary capability against surface targets (such as speedboats, for a frigate application), and has an anti-air range of 25 kilometers. Its speed is superior to Mach 3. It is a great leap in capability from Seawolf, and will appear on Type 23 from 2016, before "migrating" onto the Type 26.  

The Mission Bay for the frigate has been retained, but as i had already reported, the Flex Deck moved up, from the stern, under the flight deck, to the superstructure, forming a large space adjacent to the helicopter hangar. The press release of the MOD says that the frigate will have hangar space for "a Merlin helicopter or a Wildcat/Lynx", but i believe that, due to the arrangement of the ship's spaces, it is very likely that it will be possible to carry and employ 2 Wildcat helicopters at the same time, when necessary.
In addition, there will be fixed and rotary wing aerial drones, and surface and subsurface drones, these last ones deployed from 3 large davits.
The stern ramp and mission bay most likely ceased being viable when it was decided that the Type 26 would only be a 5400 / 5500 tons ship, opposed to the almost 7000 once envisaged. The downsizing has probably caused issues in trying to place a large flexible deck under the flight deck without affecting the height of the latter over the water, with negative consequences on all-weather aviation operations.
There is no detail on the current dimensions of the Mission Bay, but it was earlier described as capable to take four 11m boats or eleven 20' containers. The relocation to the superstructure might mean a slight reduction in the number of containers that can be carried, however at a minimum there would seem to be space for three large boats/drones plus aerial drones and support material. The superstructure shows the doors to 3 large boat davits, and in the latest graphics there would seem to be at least one additional smaller opening as well.

Thanks to Richard Beedall's Navy Matters website, we get this awesome graphic of the mission bay of the Thales F2020 frigate concept, which was part of Future Surface Combatant studies. The current Type 26's mission bay follows a similar concept.

A quick sketch i made to show how i think the current Mission Bay is configured, judging from the openings in the superstructure and other elements, such as the funnel tower and hangar.

In general, the Type 26 promises to be an excellent ship, with great patrol range and endurance, a hull and propulsion system designed to be ultra-silent and perfect for ASW missions, and a complete weapon system, which will give the ship much greater usefulness thanks to great land-attack capability. In addition, CAMM makes of this ship a good "Goalkeeper" for a larger asset (capital ships from Carrier and Amphibs to Type 45 itself).
There are, of course, challenges: first of all, the Royal Navy must do all it can to secure the funding, and then fit into it so to get all 13 hulls in the water. This is essential.
Developing a new vertical-launch multi-mission missile to replace Harpoon with is another challenge.

But the Type 26 design as revealed today is sound. Now the rule must be: stay in the budget. Get 13.


  1. This looks like a great design, from an aesthetic perspective it reminds me of the Type 22 class. There seems to be a lot of capability packed into the this ship, again reminiscent of the Type 22 class. After the torturous process of acquiring T45 and ridiculous fantasies that came out of the FSC programme DE&S Director Ships deserves a medal for getting the frigate programme, including systems and sensors, on a solid and sustainable footing.

    1. It does quite look like a stealthy Type 22 in a way, yes. Not a bad thing, if you ask me!

  2. Would not the 30mm (or 40mm) guns be better positioned amidships for the very best arcs of fire and particularly in a littoral situation. Having them so close the aft Phalanx doesn't make sense - why group them together.

    1. From there the two guns have excellent firing arcs in all directions, and better cover the rear of the ship, an area that is often left rather exposed.
      The front area is safe due to the medium calibre gun, and from that high position the small guns can cover excellently the sides.

  3. I agree that the the stern is often exposed - particularly on the Type 45s. However, in a littoral situation the main gun would be of little use against close in high-speed craft and if the ship is executing a sharp turn then the 30/40mm guns, set so far aft, could create a blind spot. Why have no major defence in the huge area between the fore and aft armament other than machine guns?

    1. I cannot agree on the medium calibre gun being "little use". It is only if you miss the boats at range and let them come in real close, and in the case you'd maneuver to counter.
      Also, assuming that the Phalanx 1B is fitted, the CIWS will kick in, as the 1B has anti-surface capability specifically for these scenarios.

      The MK8 Mod 1 did very well in Libya to drive ashore RHIBs that tried attacking, and even a miss can significantly scare enemy crews and force them to break contact.
      Not everyone is really that hot on suicide attacks.
      Overall, i think the disposition of CIWS and guns on Type 26 offers a very complete coverage.

  4. 13 ships can barely sustain the RFTG or a carrier group, should the future RN decide on a CSG.

    Agree with your views on the guns.

    1. The minimum order should realistically be 16. If you take a useage/maintanence cycle, this is the practical minimum, given 2 carrier groups and world wide duties. If you project this forward, we could have 16 running by 2028 or sooner depending on the production rate. And I assume by then, the MOD will be better run and the nation's finances working properly...smiles!

    2. I predict sadly one carrier group or a carrier merged into the RFTG. Even so, you are right. 16 is a better number but still not enough. Especially if the RN wants to re-venture in the Asia Pacific again

  5. Can you clarify something for me.
    Originaly wasn't the idea for CAMM to be quad packed,so if we have 2x12 cells and 1x24 cell that are quad packed that would give us a total of 192 missiles (if my math is correct). This seems a very high number,so do I take it that these are single cell packs,giving a number of 48 missiles.

    1. You can "quad-pack" CAMM into a Sylver cell (one day it could replace Aster 15 on Type 45 in this fashion) or MK41 VLS cell indeed.
      But on Type 26 there will NOT be Sylver or MK41 cells specifically for CAMM use. The 24 such cells will be used for land attack and anti-ship missiles.

      CAMM will be embarked fitted in its own launcher canister. One canister, one missile. It'll cost a hell of a lot less. Sylver and MK41 VLS systems, made for "hot" launches are quite complex and quite expensive systems.
      Dropping a CAMM canister in a suitable hole in the Type 26's deck is going to cost a loooot less. So, yes, each CAMM cell on Type 26 is for only one missile.

    2. One great hypothetical is this, if the UK ever found itself back in a scenario where sea control against a conventional opponent became important CEC could be brought back from the dead, the T45s could have the additional 16 cells for which they are "fitted for but not with" installed and the 24 large cells on the T26 could be used for ASTER 30 or variants for a very impressive AD capability.

    3. I actually think that CEC will be fitted to the Type 26 at build, and will appear on Type 45 as well during the 2020s.
      CEC is not dead: it was simply not funded as part of Planning Round 12, so won't be on Type 45 by 2018 as earlier planned.

      But i do very much believe that the Royal Navy will do its best to fund it as soon as possible in future planning rounds.

    4. My understanding of CEC is that not only was not in PR12 but it was also excluded from the 10 year equipment programme, effectively postponing it to the 2020s at best...?

    5. I'm not sure about that. When speaking about the matter, the minister said that it was recognized as a "lesser priority" in PR12. I don't think it has been categorically removed from the 10 years plan, especially keeping in mind that there are still 8 billions to allocate to other programs. The Navy could well try and fund CEC from that money pot: it'll depend on how priorities are selected and evaluated.

  6. Sorry but you have confused me even more,the following from your post 'T26 update' on the 2nd Mar 2012 when the basic layout for the missile silo's were just about the same.

    The missile fit has changed, too. Two small silos, probably numbering 4 cells each, are shown on each side of the CIWS Phalanx in B position. These are almost certainly quad-packed with CAMM missiles for point defence and, according to MBDA, potentially for surface-strike against fast and small targets.

    What has changed your mind on this issue,as there seems to me to be no significant change in the design as far as CAMM is concerned.

    1. The new graphis are clearer, and show much smaller but more numerous cells, simply, implying use of the CAMM canisters without putting them into Sylver or MK41 cells.
      Earlier graphics tricked me.

  7. Not sure if it is just the way I'm reading the BAe article (
    'A key feature is the ship’s flexible mission space, which can accommodate up to four 12 metre sea boats, a range of manned and unmanned air, surface or underwater vehicles or up to 11 20ft containers or ‘capability modules’. '
    But this does seems to suggest that the mission bay and the hanger may be the same space.

    1. They won't be exactly the same space, but they will be adjacent, and the mission bay could house the aerial drones while the hangar is occupied by the helicopter.

  8. Gabriele

    “The plan is to build 8 "ASW" frigates, fitted with the 2087 towed sonar array, and 5 "General Purpose" frigates with a reduced mission fit (no 2087) but able to be eventually fitted in the future.”

    You’ll have to pardon me, as I am basically a landlubber, so this might seem a naïve question. Is it the intention that eventually the 5 General Purpose vessels, when they receive their full fit of weapons, will be equipped with all the systems you have mentioned: i.e. Medium Gun, 30mm mounts, CAMM, Phalanx, Tomahawk, Harpoon replacement, even Fire Shadow, or will the fitting be more selective than that?

    If we do get the Oto Melara 127/64, that will indeed be good news for the Royal Navy. From the reviews I’ve read, it would seem to have “best in class” ranking.

    On the subject of Fire Shadow (and here I slip fully into landlubber mode), you mentioned the following: “Fire Shadow loitering ammunition entering service with the Royal Artillery, currently as a rail-launched system, is planned to introduce canister-vertical launch in future.” Will that mean the possibility of a truck-mounted (rather than towed) version as shown in some of the publicity material?

    1. It is way too early to know what the fitting strategy will be for the GP frigates, but my guess is VLS, Medium Gun and Light Guns on all frigates. Missiles embarked as and when necessary (with the exception of CAMM, which will be on all vessels). Towed sonar only on the 8 "ASW".

      As for Fire Shadow, yes, a launcher truck-mounted is definitely feasible. Will it be funded? I don't know at the moment. But it is entirely possible, and i hope we do get there soon enough.

      Fire Shadow is described as a weapon destined to "spiral development", with new capabilities and roles being added over time.

      The possibilities are numerous and very interesting: i could see an expendable Electronic Warfare kit, such as jammers, put on Fire Shadow: its ability to loiter makes it great to jam enemy systems in an area for a long period.
      We will see how it'll evolve with time.

  9. As far as I was aware 'Fire Shadow' is in serious danger of being cancelled. Phillip Hammond cancelled its deployement to Afghanistan due to the programmes uncertain future.
    It has not gone operational with the Army,only a few have been issued for evaluation.

    IMO it will be quietly allowed to die.
    As for CAMM,the graphics that were issued by MBDA showing the replacement of Sea Wolf with CAMM on the T23 shows a quad packed system being installed,and I would still put my money on this being the case,we shall see when the first T23 is upgraded.

    1. Not deploying to Afghanistan and being cancelled are two very different things. You are running a bit too fast there. How many time was the Watchkeeper's deployment to Afghanistan "cancelled" in year and delayed again and again...?

      For now at least, Fire Shadow is progressing with validation trials and working its way into service. No cancellation plans i'm aware of.

      As for this obsession about "quad-packing", i cannot agree. I don't see why the MOD would have to spend ridiculous amounts of money fitting Sylver cells into Type 23 and then put CAMM into them, when said Sylver cells are not necessary. I saw the MBDA video myself, but i think CAMM canisters will be fitted. In clusters of 4 perhaps, but that is not "quad-packing".

      Would be an injustifiable waste of money to do otherwise.

    2. There are a lot of murmurs that the Afghan deployment was cancelled because Fire Shadow itself is being cancelled. It certainly has very few fans outside the Royal Artillery.

  10. Why do I have the feeling that not many of the ships say x (I don't give any predicted number) will have ASuW missiles?

  11. Gabriele, i always enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks for writing them all :)

    On the T26 though, do you know if the Perseus missile will be ready in time for use on the ship????

    1. The Perseus is a MBDA concept, backed by some support from France and UK. If it ever progresses directly into an actual weapon system (it might just inform future programmes), it will have plenty of time to make it into the Type 26, since the 26 is going to be around for a loooong time.

      But even as a concept, Perseus was shown as "aimed to 2030", so it is quite far away in time.

    2. Ok thanks.

      The Mod should boost funding for the Perseus concept so that the actual weapon sooner than 2030

    3. It would make a hell of a lot of sense for the RN to go down the road of a dual role anti ship/land attack missile.

      Until such a weapon is ready they are going to have to make do with rather limited 'bolt on' anti ship missiles and most probably Tomahawk for land attack capability (my preference over the only other realistic contender which is the naval Storm Shadow).

      I you're right Gabriele that we will see these 'strike length silo's' empty except for periods of crises or the odd bit of training. However the important thing is that they will be there in the first place. Empty or not it's better than the alternative.

    4. I think the dual-role anti-ship missile, vertically launched, is definitely what the RN wants to replace Harpoon.
      I'm hoping to see some funding for this program in the 10 Years Budget when it is published. It should be part of the Complex Weapon budget (i think in total we are talking of some 7 to 11 billion pounds) which already includes Sea Ceptor, Fire Shadow, SPEAR, the Land application of CAMM to replace Rapier in 2020, the new missile to replace Sea Skua, the LMM and the new guided shell for the Royal Artillery.

      Waiting for the MOD to release the damn 10 years plan to look into it in depth. Hopefully it'll actually say something for once!

      The Type 26 cells will not be all empty, assuming that the new anti-ship missile is put in service.
      But we should not expect all of them to be full, especially not with Tomahawks, when there is no need for it!

    5. A highly likelihood is that the cells would be dominated by CAMM and not an anti-ship weaopon :(

  12. I think the 24 cell launcher is a new design. Three Sylvers end to end measure 7.8 metres, less than half the beam of the ship. Unless its artistic licence, the long launcher scales to over 10 metre. Potentially a new launcher for heavy missiles.

    As the Artisan radar cannot handle Aster missiles there is no need for Sylver, a new launcher designed for heavy missiles makes sense.

    I agree with you about single cell CAMM launchers being more cost effective than quad packing.


    1. A whole new launcher system, which would come with zero weapons integrated and validated on it, and thus with a lot of costs to be faced...?

      I don't think the Navy will follow this path, unless they are planning for a whole new weapon to use the new launcher, but i struggle to believe it. Would be much simpler and less expensive to go MK41 and exploit years of american investments and experience.

    2. I just cant see this being a launcher ? there is the issue of reload. They are totally inaccessable.

      If it was a case of distributed silos like the Zumwalt, there are better locations.

      I suppose there is the possibility of decoys, chaff etc ??? It would be on center of radar and IR. I dont think ive seen decoy lainchers on the design yet ?

    3. I think more conventional decoy launchers can be seen aft of the bridge in some of the images released.

      As for the funnel launcher, it is a launcher, and while there are ideas in the US to launch decoys from VLS cells, i can't see the Uk going down that rather expensive path.

      The launcher in the funnel is not at all inaccessable. A CAMM canister is likely to wait south of 100 kg, and the new Portsmouth facility for ammunition reloading will have 0 difficulties in lifting said canisters up and lowering them into place.

      The design might change again, that is possible. The final configuration perhaps won't have the silo launcher.
      But not because it is technically unfeasible.

      As it stands, that is a silos for CAMM missiles.

  13. Gaby

    Thanks for the previous reply. Very interesting.

    If I could just switch to the 8 "ASW" frigates for a moment. What weapon exactly will do the sub-killing? Will it be the helicopter-borne Sting Ray or will the ships themselves be equipped with, say, 4 Sting Ray torpedo tubes? I see that the present Type 23 is equipped with just that.

    1. The main sub-killer will be the helicopter with its torpedoes, but i think Stingray tubes will be fitted to the ship.
      In addition, there's a possibility that the new vertical launch missile will have a torpedo-carrying variant, working like the ASROC of the US Navy, so the Type 26 might have a long range response capability in its VLS cells one day.

  14. I think it's fair to say that the strike length silo's won't be completely empty, but the exact ratio will surely depend on the type of missiles that are procured?

    I really believe that the initial weapons fit will see a bolt on anti ship solution (hopefully JSM instead of Harpoon).

    If that's the case then the strike length silo's will initially only be utilised for a land attack capability. Is their the money and political will to obtain more Tomahawk? If not then what are the alternatives?

    1. It is hard to say if there is money and political will. There could be, but i'd have to be an insider at the MOD to know it for sure.

      I think the Tomahawk has proven itself again and again, and a factor in favor of VLS Tomahawk is that it costs a lot less than submarine Tomahawk as it does not need the additional capsule kit for torpedo firing.

      An expansion of the TLAM capability on surface ships has been on the cards for almost ten years. So, we might finally see some developments there.

      As for a bolt-on missile, i see less chances for that to happen. I can't see the navy burning money on an interim solution when they didn't even bother putting Harpoon on Type 45.
      At most, they'd continue with Harpoon for some more years.

    2. I would love to see some more information emerge on the possibility of surface launched Tomahawk, I agree that it's a proven capability, I can't really see any serious alternative if the RN wants to go down that route.

      The reason I think we might see a bolt on anti ship missile staying in service a little longer is because I'm not aware of many VLS options right now as a replacement?

      If we believe that the RN will want to eventually go for a Perseus type system then one of the only plausible interim possibilities I can see is to recycle Harpoon.

      They aren't going to want to introduce a new missile for a mere 10 or so years of service, especially when the buzz word post SDSR seems to be commonality.

    3. Not sure how many ships will possess an anti-ship missile config.

  15. Is the perseus missle not lined up for the T26 ?

    1. Unfortunately, no. Perseus is nothing but a concept system indicative of possible missile technology relevant to the UK by 2030.
      It might or might not become an actual weapon system in the future.

  16. I'm trying to understand from the shot looking down on the T26 what the different silos are for, there seem to be 24 large silos forward for TLAM etc with a group of CAAM size silos nearby and a further group of small silos near the chimney also possibly for CAAM.

    What I had thought was that the idea of placing silos by the exhaust might be a clever idea to vent the gases of the missiles into the chimney and hence allow the use of such missiles as GMLRS and to generally allow hot gases into the one part of the ship that is designed to cope with them.

    This could have other benefits maybe some masking effects to cover the firing sequence but primarily it would protect deck space from hot missile exhausts, the problem with such an arrangement being the weight that would be placed high in the structure.

    My thought after that was that the weight of the silos may not be that great, they are relatively lightweight structures but with missiles still a considerable weight.

    Do you think that the existing strong structure of the chimney is being used to subsidise the build requirements of the silos and means that they are capable of side or toward venting of gases? that would be a real innovation.

    1. If as certain people insist this is a missile silo,which I am very dubious about then it has nothing to do with venting gasses.

      The 'considered' opinion is that this is a CAMM silo,which in that case is a 'soft launch' and has no hot gasses to vent.

      No one has as yet verified this position as a missile silo,and until they do I remain very sceptical as to its being one.

    2. It is a missile silo for CAMM missiles, which, being ejected cold, do not have exhaust issues.

    3. ...but they do generate exhaust products on engine ignition which will be forced straight into the turbine intake if the MT30 is spinning at the time. Not what turbines like best!

      Not sure we'll see that odd funnel group silo make it to the final build. Much rather see the forward FLAADS silos switched to single, proven, Sylver A43 or self-defence length Mk41 modules either side of the CIWS and FLAADS quadpacked in. Improve the ships exportability no end as well.

    4. The CAMM missile is ejected by compressed air out to 100 feet of altitude before the rocket ignites. I doubt there will be issues of exhaust intaking.
      Also, i would assume that the 350 engineers said to be working on it from 2 years know it a little better than both you and me.

    5. Yoy seem very sure that this is a CAMM Silo,do you actually have proof of this or are you assuming by the graphics.
      I am not trying to be arguementative,but various posters on various websites are have varying opinions on this. Possibly because we have not seen a missile silo in such an unusual position before.
      It may be feasable,but for some reason it just does not seem to ring true to me.

  17. "The Navy has decided, to help with cost control, to reverse the Type 45 approach: from an "80% new, 20% legacy" guideline to a "80% legacy, 20% innovation" ratio. But we should not look down at this thinking of Type 26 as a ship that brings nothing new to the table, because the design comes with several great new enhancements for the fleet."

    Every single defence project should have 80% legacy 20% innovation. That way we'd actually get things into service in the planned numbers. If we have to go the reverse like T45 then like the T45 the design can be de-risked by having fitted for and not with and so on.

    1. The problem is that if they had done that with T45 the result would have been obsolete before being laid down.

  18. Why have 8 fitted with ASW kit and 5 as GP frigates? If you only need 8 ASW frigates just build 8 of them and buy 5 cheaper OPV's/corvettes.

    Why do you need the type 26 to be able to fire tomahawk missiles? You already have this capability on the astute's and if that's not enough, it can be added to the type 45 which has already got the space for it.

    1. Because there only are 8 full-spech Type 23 ASW with the 2087, but the remaining ships offer some good residual ASW capability AND the possibility of quickly expanding the ASW force in case of need.

      The Astutes are only 7, and while they carry many weapons asking them to spend their time confined in a "TLAM box", relatively close to the surface to be able to receive a call for a strike is wasting their capability in their other roles.
      Again, submarine delivery is overkill and overexpensive in most cases, such as Libya, where such level of stealth and survivability is not needed.
      Type 45s are only 6, and with the number so low their primary role is to provide air defence.

      Frigates are more numerous, more likely to be available, and as i said Tomahawk VL costs less than Tomahawk submarine.

      There are valid reasons behind the whole approach.

    2. In what situation would we need to increase our ASW fleet by over 50%? We have our strategic interests and from that we should know how many ASW frigates are deemed to be required. Therefore what roles we could use a cheaper vessel to fulfil patrol duties and therefore have a more capable fleet for the same price.

      The problem having TLAM on the Frigates is it takes up a lot of space. Any situation that requires a TLAM would normally allow enough time/ the opportunity to send a type 45. Apart from normal patrols the only time the type 45 will truly be fulfilling the AD role will be when its protecting a fleet. This will only occur when a serious situation arises and the presence of such a big fleet is required. In this case a Type 45 will be called upon so will be in the vicinity anyway. Plus its unlikely we will be getting many TLAMs anyway, so we would struggle to fully arm 6 type 45s let alone 13 type 26s. Also adding the capability of TLAMs increases the cost of the type 26 which CANNOT happen.

    3. Anon, with No Nimrods, ASW ships are needs to fill the ASW gap. If and if (low prob), the RAF or the FAA gains the P-8 from the US, thne the number of ASW Type 36s should be less.

    4. Re TLAM: I think the future RN wants to compete with the USN in having all ships with TLAM. Given that all US major destroyers (no more CGs in the future) will be AB class with TLAM, the RN is thinking the same.

    5. Hi Jeneral28

      The day the UK gets P-8's from the Americans will be a devastating day for British design and manufacture of MPA. Though the decision on whether we are getting MPA surely must have been thought about in conjunction with how many Type 26s we need. Therefore its wasting money and men on 5 ships which you don't need. Or its building 5 ships that are needed but not willing to equip properly.

      I doubt they are thinking to compete with the USN. The RN is never going to be able to best the USN in a head on approach. That being said there are ways it can provide vital capabilities to add to the USN, while maintaining itself as a powerful force in its own right. Therein making the UK an important ally of the US. The RN doesn't have the resources,manpower or money to have TLAM on every destroyer and frigate. But why does the RN need to have TLAM on every single destroyer and frigate?

    6. The type 45 as it stands cannot carry TLAM though, so the type 26 will provide the only surface TLAM platform.

    7. My understanding is that a sizeable number of ships won't work as well a MPA. As loyal as the Brits are to their own defence industries, they need an MPA in a hurry. The Commons Select Committee said that and so have others.

      Actually while the USN destroyers can't be beaten, they are too far concentrated on anti-air stuff that being a destroyer in ordinary destroyer sense. Maybe the Type 26 can balance that. If ASuW is fitted in.

      Type 45 not for TLAM? Why wait till 2020 and beyond to give the RN ship capable cruise missile strike capability? Right now, the Type 45 is nothing without anti-ship or strike weapons.

    8. Hi Anonymous

      Type 45 has the room already and was designed for the capability of firing TLAM, so it wouldnt be hard to have this done.

      Hi Jeneral28

      If we needed MPA in a hurry they wouldn't have cancelled the Nimrods. Who says the USN destroyers can't be beaten? They are extremely expensive and that is a factor that must be accounted for.

      "they are too far concentrated on anti-air stuff that being a destroyer in ordinary destroyer sense"

      I don't quite understand this? They have ASW and Anti-ship capabilities too.

      The type 45 is an excellent AD platform that can protect itself or a fleet from Air attacks. When operating as part of a fleet it doesn't need to have anti-ship or strike capabilities and it doesn't need these systems in peace time either. There is room for these systems so they will be added when money is available/new weapons enter service.

    9. US AB destroyers lack anti-ship capability. They have no more harpoon missiles and only rely on Standard missiles, which are more anti-air than anti-ship.

      MPA was cancelled more on money. Need was really essential. Money argument won, unfortunately. MPA is always needed. Even a small island nation like Singapore has an MPA aircraft.

      Type 45 needs all round strike. It certianly also lacks ASW.

  19. Nice article Gabriele,

    Regardsing the 'extra' opening in the superstructure, isn't that the boarding ladder as per the Type 45 ?.

    Looking at the CGI they have .50 MGs and miniguns in the bridge wings, together with the DS-30(or 40), Phalanx 1b, 127mm gun and possibly CAMM thats quite some firepower against local swam attacks :-).


    1. I would bet that the .50 will actually be miniguns in that area, when the time comes, but we will see.
      As for the boarding ladder, i'm not sure. At the moment we can only speculate, and try to do it in a realistic manner.

  20. Could the phrase 'cruise missile compatible' leave open the option to develop missile specific launch adapters along the lines of the Lockheed Martin eXLS concept? Not sure how this works but maybe it's like sending back empty milk bottles (launch canisters) for refilling. A strategy like this would mean you could take DCNS off the critical path and develop launchers for the missiles of your choice in parallel.

    1. I don't think that's likely, and it might not be useful either.

  21. I still think the CAAM silo position as part of the funnel structure is unusual enough to have some driving force or recently realised value - otherwise why on earth has it not been done before?

    Is CAAM light enough to spur the idea? or is it the cold launch which opens the door for the idea or both? or is it the strength of the funnel structure and space available in the type 26 configuration? just very interesting to understand if this is a one off or something that could become a retrofit.

    In any event, to not take the chance to put something like GMRSL in such a position seems a waste, I know venting gases into the turbine exhaust could cause problems but it would occur at very rare occasions and baffles could be fitted to sort out those problems

    1. Re: the CAAM silo position as part of the funnel structure is unusual enough to have some driving force or recently realised value

      Yes: I keep wondering whether there is a cunning plan to have long launch tubes down to a "breech" at the hanger/uav level and load new missiles (of whatever type CAMM/Vl Brimstone/VL Fireshadow/Griffin etc) in there, internally.
      It would mean you could replenish at sea, where otherwise you would need to return to a dockside with a crane: a big advantage
      The top weight would be reduced compared to having the missiles up in the funnel, and it might be safer.
      I have no evidence whatever.
      Otherwise the point would only be to separate missile silos, thus giving a degree of resilience against a strike.

    2. My only other, perhaps useful, observation is that the 2*12 single CAMM cells (I don't believe these are quad-packed either) in the B position seem to sit in a larger footprint "box" comparatively than rendered for those in the funnel silo.
      Bearing in mind this is only CGI, I speculate the B position silo spaces are also compatible with a pair of 4*4 tube Sylver/T41 cells, should other clients require the flexibility....
      Maybe the clever chaps at BAE are keeping an eye out for flexibility and export.
      It's still just CGI though.

    3. Correction: meant a pair of 2*3 tube Sylver/T41 cells in the B position.

  22. US Navy roadmap for Tomahawk includes a dual role variant , adding ASuW capability to the existing land attack role, which allows the missile to “maneuver over 800 km” to engage enemy warships. It’s a perfect match for T26, one stone that kills two birds.

    BTW, based on my understandings CAAM (Sea Ceptor) is essentially the UK equivalent of ESSM, but why? It’s much cheaper (not to mention less risky) to just import an existing solution with high degree of maturity. RN is facing serious financial uncertainty, I wouldn’t bet on starting a new program under current fiscal reality.

  23. Gabriele, one thing that has been going through my mind is where the RAS point(s) would be. Having now had time to look through your informed article (again) I see no mention of this .... apart from hull/superstructure openings for boats, companion ladders and mission bay. While looking at Wikipedia for what I could find on various weapons I hit a link to Type 26. At the top of this Type 26 article is an image of the now confirmed Type 26 design looking from the for'd port bow and having not seen this view before I zoomed in. It shows an apparent horizontal long oblong 'door' on the port side of the B gun/missile deck and just aft of this, almost under the bridge, a similar bit smaller vertical door. RAS point? What do you think? No doors shown in this position on images of Starboard side?!!

    1. I would say that the doors in that position would be for the spring! One of the lines connecting the ship to shore when in harbour! I see no other position on the ship to fill that role!

    2. At this stage, i don't really know. There's a number of guesses that can be made, but no certainty.

  24. Gabriele, addendum. Its the same image as in your article. .......

  25. Don't forget about the new persons naval land attack/anti ship missile in development by mbda in the UK. Both the UK and France have been looking at replacing harpoon and exocet since the 90s and it has great export potential. Aimed at being the stealthiest, smartest, quickest and most devastating multi purpose missile on the planet, with an estimated reasonable cost of 800,000 each (less than a tomahawk) This missile has been unofficially announced when hammond announced the defence spending black good fix, saying hes got 7 billion aside to invest in "smart missiles" this clearly being CAMM and perseus! Go check it out.

    1. I wish it was that simple and certain. I know Perseus, i like it, but it is just a concept, aimed at 2030 (bit late!) and it is not in the budget, at least for now. So i'm keeping my expectations down for now.

    2. Well, we know one thing is certain and that is that it is in development. I'm sure the time frame is set for 2030 for a reason as proper funding is still in the pipe line. It is a relatively new concept but is going ahead none the less. Both the UK and France have put forward the proposal so it is almost certain that this missile will appear in both nations arsenals as part of the type 26s first refits.

    3. We aren't actually sure it is going anywhere. MBDA presents a new concept weapon every year. Two years ago it was the Sniper portable mini-missile launcher for the infantry. Then the Perseus. This year the Vigilus.
      If any of these concepts will ever actually become an in-service system, it's anyone's guess.

  26. Hi Gabriele, abit off topic but I've been looking at the future for ocean, albion and bulwark and what could replace them. I'm sure you've seen the uxv combatant concept from 2007 and I wondered if you had any information on it regarding if it has been sent to the dustbin of history or is still a viable future vessel? The mod is placing keen interest in naval uavs but looking beyond current mod planning is there any vessel that could possibly materialise in the future to operate drones apart from the carriers? Also any advice or assumptions on the future of our lpds and ocean? It would be nice to see an albion capable vessel with a flight deck for drones and helicopters, maybe even CAMM with its possible anti surface capability? Look forward to a reply!

    1. Unfortunately i don't think the UXV ever went anywhere, despite being an interesting concept.
      Drones will be used by the MHPC vessels that will replace the minesweepers, but these will have little to share with UXV.

      As for the LPDs, they will live for many more years, while Ocean is possibly going out of service in 2018. Her replacement will be the CVF carriers, there is currently no program for a dedicate replacement.

      As for the long-term future, the only things i heard about the LPD replacement pointed in the direction of a couple of large (possibly 30K tons) LHDs. But it is far into the future, and much can change.

    2. When I say drones, I meant like a navalised Taranis or the Novel Air Concept VTOL drone which I'm sure is still in development? and there is no way they would be able to operate from an MHPC vessel.

      So you reckon Ocean will have no replacement? If so that will leave us with 5 Amphibeous dedicated (minus the Ro-Ro's and Carriers) Vessels as opposed to the 8 we had before the 4th Bay Class was sold (big mistake).

      Sigh...Well looking into the 2030's then, with your increadible knowledge on this subject, are there any LPH or LHD designs currently on the market that have possible potential to fill the shoes of Albion and Bulwark? I think the whole LPD idea is abit outdated when you could add a flight deck and operated helicopters and inevitable VTOL drones from them in the future, effectivley giving us 4 carreris with equal amphibeous capability! You say around 30,000 tonnes so looking at a ship similar to say the new Spanish Carrier, Which I think is a very sensible design!

      One more thing, Any news on the French Navy regarding their amphibious capabiltiy? Are they going to buy a 4th LHD and are they actually going to buy a Second Carrier?

    3. The Novel Air Concept has never really entered "development". At most, "assessment". And i don't know its current state, but i wouldn't expect much from it.

      As for UCAVs such as naval Taranis, they are not planned. At the moment, the RAF is adamant: UCAVs are to be land based.
      Stupid approach, but the STOVL decision helps in enforcing it and dumb politicians have accepted it.

      As to Ocean's replacement, unfortunately there will be no dedicate replacement. It has been pretty much known since 2006, when LPH(R) was put "on hold".

      As for the 2030's replacement of Albion and Bulwark, yes, the LPD is outdated, in the sense that the Royal Navy can no longer afford separate hulls for helicopters and for landing crafts and vehicles.
      Actually, it should have gone LHDs already in the past: when the sister of Ocean was not funded, the whole plan kind of went to hell already...
      It needs ships with more lane meters for vehicles and with space for helos and troops.
      The design might be all new, by then, who can know? Too far away in time.
      But the Juan Carlos / Camberra ships are indicative of the kind of vessel that would be required.
      The Mistral itself is an indication, but she is too small.

    4. Thanks for the information! I would also like to input some further analysis you have missed. The two CIWS are not infact Phalanx as they lack the 6 barrel gatling gun but instead closely resemble the "Raytheon Defender" a development of Phalanx that has proved succesfull in trials, useing a proton laser to take out incoming missiles. This has completely renewed my interest on the basic specifications of the T26.

      It is confirmed that by 2015 the RN plan to withdraw the costly Goalkeeper system from service leaving Phalanx 1b as the only dedicated, conventional CIWS with around 30 or so systems in service. By 2020 I believe the replacement of Phalanx is a realistic ambition and with more powerfull CIWS involving new technologies emerging potent, the Raytheon Deferender should in every way be the CIWS of the RN. With Naval UAVs, Littoral Anti Ship Weapons and larger Anti-ship Super Sonic Cruise missiles becoming the norm for even Green Water Navies a more potent and modern system should be implemented and I think the Defender is the best option. What are your thought?

    5. We aren't very sure about the Phalanx not being a Phalanx in the image, but even assuming so, i wouldn't get excessively excited yet.
      CIWS is, first of all, the first thing that would end up on the list of "fitted for but not with" in case of budget issues.
      Secondarily, laser might be an aspiration, and an indication of what might be systems entering service in the future, in the long life of Type 26.

      However, yes, there is a possibility that, by the early 2020s, the Navy might try to move onwards, past Phalanx 1B.
      Arguably, it should already be doing, but budget is cruel dictator.

      When Type 45 was on the drawing board, an option was a british CIWS with modified Starstreak missiles, so you see: things can change and evolve.

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