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Author: Subject: Royal Navy 2017 onwards
CaptainCleanoff
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[*] posted on 25-7-2017 at 07:23 PM


Quote: Originally posted by ADMK2  
A main gun and a solitary short range SAM system on a major fleet platform as the only primary weapon systems...

I just don't get who this is intended to fight. Pirates?


Not China, that's for sure.

There is a lot of poorly communicated capability about the Type 26, in particular its VLS fit, mostly due to lack of communication and much misinterpretation (I'm guilty myself of the latter). In total it seems like it will be 72 missiles total, not the initially speculated 72 cells total. This includes 48 CAMM for self defence in 12 cells (quad packed) and 24 strike length cells for Tomahawk, ASROC, etc. So it's actually no better equipped than the FREMM, but I would suggest far better placed for future upgrades as the design can approach 8000t IIRC.

Honestly, I thought the T26 at 150m long would have had plenty more room for a more potent missile fitout.

As it stands right now, I would say in terms of weapon fit, sticking with the Hobart class design and 48 cells (more can be fitted, the design has room) will do us just fine.
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[*] posted on 26-7-2017 at 04:37 PM


Defence Secretary Visits the Nation’s Future Flagship

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued July 24, 2017)


A Royal Navy Merlin helicopter flew British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to visit HMS Queen Elisabeth as she resumed her sea trials after a two-week interruption in Scotland. (UK MoD photo)

Sir Michael Fallon visited the largest and most powerful ship built for the Royal Navy for the first time at sea today.

The Defence Secretary landed by Merlin helicopter on the deck of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is currently on sea trials off the coast of Scotland. He met with members of the crew and thanked them for their contribution to UK defence.

While addressing the Ship’s Company, Sir Michael announced the Britain’s second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will be officially named at a ceremony in Rosyth on 8th September 2017.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “Our carrier programme is a clear demonstration of British power and commitment to our global standing. With two aircraft carriers we will have one available at all times, providing a world-class carrier strike capability. They offer a prodigious promise to future generations of our determination to continue fronting up to aggression for years to come.

“The magnificent HMS Queen Elizabeth provides us with power on a scale we have never seen before. Protecting us for the next half a century, she will be a highly versatile and potent force, capable of both humanitarian and disaster relief and high-end war fighting.”

Four weeks ago today, HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed for the first time from Rosyth, under the authority of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which is responsible for building and delivering the ship to the Royal Navy. Celebrating a number of firsts as we bring the ship to life, she has now had her first helicopter landing, first passenger boat transfer and first port call in Invergordon. The Ship’s Company, a crew of over 700 Royal Navy and 200 industry personnel, have settled in well to the routine of ship’s life.

The initial period of sea trials, expected to last around six weeks, will test the fundamentals of the ship. The trials are monitoring speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion, as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.

Last week the Defence Secretary announced the name of the first Type 26, HMS Glasgow, as part of the new City-class frigates that will form the backbone of the Royal Navy until the 2060s.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to enter Portsmouth to be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year.
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[*] posted on 1-8-2017 at 09:40 AM


Upgrade for Gibraltar naval station

31st July 2017 - 11:30

by The Shephard News Team



The Royal Navy’s Gibraltar naval station is set to be upgraded under a £2 million programme to improve its ability to monitor the movement of vessels in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Windmill Hill Signal Station will be partially rebuilt and expanded over the coming 12 months, with extra and improved monitoring equipment installed.

The facility visually and electronically monitors the 60,000 vessels that enter or leave the Mediterranean, or cross between Africa and Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar, each year.
Now under Joint Force Command the station is largely staffed by Royal Navy personnel.

Commander British Forces Gibraltar, Commodore Mike Walliker, said: ‘The facelift that we are giving over the next few months means that the first-class support that the Rock has provided to the many tens of thousands of ships of all shapes, sizes and nationalities which all - annually - navigate through one of, if not the most important maritime choke-points, will improve and be second to none.

‘Equally - and importantly - today serves as a warning and a reminder to all those who wish to use this narrow and congested stretch of water for criminal or nefarious activity.’
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[*] posted on 2-8-2017 at 09:13 PM


Revamped HMS Montrose completes sea trials

02nd August 2017 - 11:30

by The Shephard News Team



The British Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose has returned to Plymouth following a successful trials period at sea, it was announced on 31 July.

The ship returned to port three weeks after leaving dry dock where it spent three years undergoing an upgrade.

The trial period tested the ship's engines and manoeuvring capabilities, along with weapons testing.

The ship will now conduct more work alongside in Plymouth before sailing to conduct further trials.
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[*] posted on 12-8-2017 at 11:23 AM


New Contract for Workboat Fleet will support Royal Navy

Published: Friday, 11 August 2017 09:07

New Contract for Workboat Fleet will support Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers and UK jobs
 
With the Royal Navy growing and Britain’s flagship carrier now set to enter her new home, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has announced a £48 million contract for next-generation workboats which will support both British ships and British jobs. The fleet of up to 38 workboats will assist Royal Navy ships from UK bases and on operations all over the world.
 
 
CGI of the new workboats in action. Atlas Elektronik copyright.
  
With Britain’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier set to enter her new home in Portsmouth in under two weeks time, tasks to be carried out by the boats will include transferring personnel to and from both of the UK’s carriers. Able to carry up to 36 passengers at one time, the workboats can be stowed inside the Carriers and winched to and from the water using on-board lifting equipment, allowing them to support the enormous ships either in port or on operations.

Building and supporting the boats will also sustain 60 British jobs, including 15 at Atlas Elektronik UK near Dorchester in Dorset where the boats will be built. A further 45 jobs will be sustained across the supply chain, including at E P Barrus in Bicester, KPM-Marine in Birmingham and Mashfords in Plymouth.
 
 
CGI of the new workboats in action. Atlas Elektronik copyright.
  
Ranging in length from 11 to 18 metres, the boats will also perform other tasks including officer and diver training, Antarctic exploration and explosive ordnance disposal.

They are highly adaptable to operational demands thanks to their cutting-edge modular design elements. For example, if the Royal Navy wished to quickly redeploy a boat from hydrographic survey duties to support diving for explosive ordnance, the survey module can be quickly lifted out of the boat and replaced with the diving module containing the high pressure air required for that task.

The contract will enable the design and construction of up to 38 boats as well as in-service support for the fleet for a further two years after the final boat is accepted. The first boat will enter service next year.

The boats will all feature glass-reinforced plastic hulls and advanced twin waterjet propulsion. Despite their varying roles, they will all have the same steering and control system, reducing the need for training and making them simpler to operate.
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[*] posted on 17-8-2017 at 12:15 PM


HMS Queen Elizabeth makes an early appearance at its home port

By: Andrew Chuter   9 hours ago


Britain's 65,000-ton warship HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into its home port of Portsmouth for the first time on Aug. 16. Sea trials got underway June 27 at Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland, where the warship was built. (Courtesy of the British Ministry of Defence)

LONDON — Britain’s Royal Navy moved one step closer for its new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, to becoming operational, as the 65,000-ton warship sailed into its home port of Portsmouth for the first time on Aug. 16.

The warship entered the naval base, south of England, sooner than expected after the Royal Navy and the industry alliance that built the carrier changed the original plan and brought HMS Queen Elizabeth into Portsmouth midway through the sea trials now underway rather than when the tests were expected to be completed later this year.

Engineering work was originally planned to be undertaken at Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland, where the warship was built and then the sea trials got underway June 27, will now be conducted at the naval base ahead of the warship heading out for a second phase of trials.

About 12 days into the trials, the warship berthed at the deepwater port of Invergordon, Scotland, spending two weeks for a planned replenishment and refueling and the resolution of engineering issues.

The ship’s propulsion system was also checked by divers after the HMS Queen Elizabeth hit debris, possibly fishing nets, during the trials in the North Sea.

After resuming trials, the aircraft carrier returned to Invergordon earlier this month ahead of sailing to Portsmouth.

Speaking onboard the warship, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Britain can be proud of this ship and what it represents. It sends a clear signal that as Britain forges a new, positive, confident role for ourselves on the world stage in the years ahead, we are determined to remain a fully engaged global power, working closely with our friends and allies around the world.”

U.K. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the warship has made “good progress in sea trials and will now embark on the next phase of preparations that will see the return of Britain’s carrier strike ability.”

The British axed their remaining aircraft carriers in the 2010 strategic defence and security review to save money and have been taking a carrier strike holiday until the new warships are available.

Carrier operational skills have been kept alive largely by seconding U.K. personnel to the U.S. military.

When HMS Queen Elizabeth met with the USS George H.W. Bush and its carrier strike group during an exercise off the coast of Scotland recently, the Nimitz-class U.S. carrier had more than 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines onboard.

The war games saw the commander of the U.K. Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Andrew Betton, and his team’s direct jets, firepower and personnel across the task group for 10 days to hone skills for the U.K.’s own carrier strike capability.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of two aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy in a £6.3 billion (U.S. $8 billion) program.

The second, HMS Prince of Wales, is close to completion and will be formally named next month.

The ships will not both be operated at once. The British do not have the manpower, money or aircraft to do that, but they will enable the Royal Navy to operate a single carrier continuously.

Both warships have been assembled by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, with BAE Systems as a lead member. Large modules were built by six British shipyards and floated up to Rosyth for assembly.

The Royal Navy will operate the F-35B Lightning II short takeoff and vertical landing strike jets and Merlin airborne early warning helicopters from the warship.

The U.K. has 11 F-35B’s delivered so far. By the end of this year, all 14 jets so far ordered will be delivered. Flight trials from the carrier’s deck are on track to begin next year, with initial operational capability expected in 2020 and full capability three years later.

The British government said in its 2015 strategic defence and security review that it would buy at least 48 of the F-35B version of the strike jets and committed to eventually purchase 138 Lightening II, without specifying the types.

The F-35B will be operated by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, but there have been hints the RAF could eventually be equipped with the F-35A version used by the U.S. Air Force.
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[*] posted on 17-8-2017 at 09:00 PM


Published: Thursday, 17 August 2017 08:27

QinetiQ leads next phase of MAPLE unmanned systems exploitation project
 
QinetiQ has signed a £4.5m contract to lead phase four of the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) project for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The MAPLE project, spearheaded by QinetiQ in partnership with BAE Systems, SeeByte and Thales, seeks to demonstrate and de-risk the integration of multiple unmanned systems into the combat system of a Royal Navy warship.
 
 
Phase four of the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) project will be exploring the integration of multiple unmanned systems into the combat system of a Royal Navy warship.
  
In MAPLE phase three, QinetiQ, with its partners, led the development and build of a technology demonstrator called Autonomous Control Exploitation Realisation (ACER), a deployable prototype which is based on Dstl’s Open Architecture Combat System (OACS). ACER provides the means by which the output of MAPLE work can be effectively demonstrated in a variety of situations. Phase four will continue to evolve this design, validate its architecture and extend it to include communications. Advances in capability will be demonstrated through a series of synthetic experiments at QinetiQ’s Portsdown site and a number of live exercises.

The project will build on the success of Unmanned Warrior 2016, which saw the successful integration of data sourced from 25 unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles from 12 organisations through ACER.

Stuart Hider, QinetiQ’s Director Maritime Programmes, said: “Through effective collaboration we are building on the ACER system’s success at Unmanned Warrior. MAPLE is a key project in unlocking the huge potential of unmanned vehicles and autonomous systems in safeguarding sovereign interests.”

Speaking at the recent Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Conference held in early May at QinetiQ Haslar, Dr Philip Smith, Above Water Systems Programme Manager, Dstl, said: “It is the Royal Navy’s intention to lead and win through the innovative and robust exploitation of maritime autonomous systems. The MAPLE work is the route by which this vision is turned into reality.”
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[*] posted on 19-8-2017 at 11:57 AM


UK explores Multi-Role Support Ship concept

Richard Scott - IHS Jane's Navy International

18 August 2017

Key Points
- The MRSS pre-concept study is due to report in 2018
- MRSS will address future amphibious, forward repair, and medical capability requirements

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has instigated a package of studies to explore a future multi-role platform that could potentially address a range of requirements for replacement amphibious, forward repair, and medical capabilities.

Due to report in 2018, the pre-concept Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS) study – being carried out by the Ministry of Defence's Naval Design Partnering (NDP) team in conjunction with Navy Command Headquarters (NCHQ) – is examining both technical and commercial aspects.

One of the key drivers for the MRSS pre-concept work is the need to consider options for the long-term replacement (beyond 2030) of the amphibious assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark .

(153 of 472 words)

NOT explained here is the fact the Forward Repair ship was retired last year. ARGUS, the helicopter Training ship and reserve hospital ship, is also doe for retirement shortly. Both ALBION and BULWARK have had or are completing midlife updates...................this MRSS is not going to happen soon!
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[*] posted on 21-8-2017 at 11:08 PM


UK F-35B - On Final Approach to QEC (excerpt)

(Source: Royal Aeronautical Society; posted Aug 18, 2017)

By Tim Robinson



In just over a year's time, one lucky UK test pilot is set to perform a historic flight - the first landing of a new fighter aircraft on a brand-new aircraft carrier - a double first that is a major milestone. "This is the Super Bowl of flight test - a once in a lifetime opportunity," enthuses RAF F-35B test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell. The majestic entrance of HMS Queen Elizabeth into Portsmouth earlier this week and the pride and excitement surrounding it, is an indicator of the importance that the first F-35B landing on the carrier will carry.

Indeed, while next year it will be eight years since the retirement of the iconic Harrier, you have to go back over 50 years to 1963 when Hawker test pilot Bill Bedford made the first jet fighter vertical landing on an aircraft carrier on HMS Ark Royal in the P.1127. The rest, as they say, is history with the Harrier, Sea Harrier and AV-8 being adopted for shipborne operations by the UK, USMC, Italy, India, Spain and Thailand.

Fast forward to 2017 and Edgell (UK MoD First of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT) Lead Test Pilot) is one of the UK F-35B test pilots embedded into the JSF Integrated Test Force at the US Navy’s Paxutent River flight test centre in Maryland.

His role in the US, (like his colleagues Cdr Steve Crockatt (RN and Team Leader) Cdr Nath Gray (RN), Sqn Ldr Ben Hullah (RAF) and BAE Systems' own Pete 'Wizzer' Wilson) as a developmental test pilot is to define the edges of the envelope, investigate handling and focus on safety.

Edgell stresses that this developmental testing (higher, faster and, occasional, slowest) is separate from the F-35 work undertaken from the RAF's 17(R) Sqn at Edwards AFB that concentrates on weapon employment, combat tactics and how to use the fighter operationally.

This team (along with UK engineers, maintainers and support personnel from the RN, RAF and industry) have been busy this year conducting the second phase of land-based F-35B ski-jump testing at Pax River - a critical stage in proving that the F-35B is ready to go to sea in 2018. Over 70% of the ski-jumps needed have now been completed with the team working on the toughest challenges, such as maximum stores asymmetry and crosswinds (One drawback of the land-based ski jump testing at Pax River is that the team have to wait for the wind conditions to co-operate for the correct speed and direction.)

These pilots are also tasked with developing and de-risking the new Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) technique which will allow higher bring-back of stores in hot climates than the traditional hover. This uses a straight-in approach with the aircraft slowing from about 140kt to approximately 60kt over the carrier’s stern - with the aircraft still getting some aerodynamic lift from the wings. As well as allowing higher bring-back weights, SRVL also has side benefits, such as reduced wear and tear on the LiftFan and less damage on the same landing deck 'spot' from the powerful rear-nozzle exhaust.

While some critics worry that it could be more workload-intensive in bad weather or a fouled deck, others describe it as a 'doddle' in the sim. One F-35B pilot is sanguine about the technique, pointing out that a short, slow landing is nothing new for land-based Harriers and observes: "In fact, if we were still operating Harriers now, we'd probably be using it". It will thus be for Edgell, Wizzer and the rest of the team to prove this concept at sea. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the RAes website.

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/uk-f-35b-on-final-approach-...

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[*] posted on 23-8-2017 at 11:54 AM


UK Preps F-35 Flight Trials On New British Carrier

Aug 23, 2017

Tony Osborne | Aviation Week & Space Technology

With the arrival of Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into her home port of Portsmouth, England, on Aug. 16, the first pillar of the UK’s plan to reinstate its carrier strike capability has fallen into place.

Now, attention is turning to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the testing that will marry aircraft and ship.

The F-35 is no stranger to naval operations; F-35Bs have cut their teeth on U.S. amphibious assault ships, while the F-35C has operated comfortably from the Navy’s nuclear-powered carriers. However, Britain’s operations from the Queen Elizabeth add new complications to the F-35’s operation at sea.

This ship introduces the use of a ski jump to assist takeoff performance, while the development of the Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) is designed to increase the aircraft’s bring-back capability and reduce the need for pilots to jettison expensive stores to lower landing weights—particularly during operations in warmer climates.

Maximum Rate Testing
- F-35 flight tests on HMS Queen Elizabeth planned for fourth quarter 2018
- British carrier uses ski jump to help F-35 get airborne, will also introduce rolling vertical landing
- Politics surround whether UK- or U.S.-marked jet will make first landing
- Three test periods planned to clear F-35 envelope on Queen Elizabeth-class ship
- Both capabilities need to be proven, and live and synthetic testing are well underway.

This spring and early summer, pilots from the British F-35 community completed 2,500 test points in a simulator at BAE’s facilities at Warton, England, flying takeoffs and landings from the Queen Elizabeth under a wide range of conditions such as slippery decks, crosswinds, landings with external and asymmetric weapon loads, and aircraft system failures.

The team has even modeled the interaction between the F-35’s tires and the materials used on the carrier’s flight deck, allowing them to build friction models for operations in both wet and dry conditions.


The first ski-jump takeoff was performed by BF-04 during 2015. Now the Developmental Test Team is working on a second phase of testing. Credit: BAE Systems

“As testers, you are inherently cynical,” says Sqdn. Leader Andy Edgell, a Royal Air Force (RAF) test pilot serving with the F-35 developmental test team. “The tools and models are phenomenal . . . but you have to go and do it for real,” he says.

That opportunity will come at the end of 2018 on the U.S. East Coast when Edgell and three other British test pilots, including BAE Systems’ Pete “Wizzer” Wilson, carry out the so-called First-of-Class Flight Trials, a series of two four-week deployments using two aircraft operating from the ship to clear the operational envelope.

Once onboard, the ship’s crew will familiarize themselves with the aircraft’s deck operations, understanding the noise levels, conducting refueling and taxiing the jet around the flight deck.

“We will then go into maximum-rate testing,” says Edgell, who is slated to be the first to land an F-35 onboard the ship. “We want to squeeze every drop out of the deck time.” 

Testing will begin with “familiar territory” says Edgell, with vertical landings onto the deck, flying landings in day/night and dry/wet conditions, some of which will include crosswind activity.


HMS Queen Elizabeth enters Portsmouth, England, for the first time on Aug. 16 following her initial sea trials, which included the first helicopter landings. Credit: Crown Copyright/Royal Navy

Edgell says the F-35 is much easier to operate in vertical-lift flight compared to the earlier Harrier, in part because the control laws prevent the aircraft coming into the hover too heavy.

In the second four-week segment, SRVL will “creep in” says Edgell, with test points introducing higher deck motion, up to Sea State 5 level—wave heights equivalent to 2.5-4 m (8-13 ft.)—before introducing external stores and asymmetry.

“We will go as far as we can,” Edgell says. “It is an expensive embark; we cannot afford to send the ship home early if we run out of test points.” A third round of tests on the ship is planned for the third quarter of 2019.

The pilots have already performed some ski jumps and SRVL, albeit without the ship, during flight testing at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

The F-35B’s flight control logic has been written for the Queen Elizabeth’s new profile 12-deg. jump, which at 200 ft. long is about 50 ft. longer than those on the old Invincible-class carriers.

The developmental test team undertook 31 ski-jump launches in the first phase of ski-jump testing in 2015, and a second round of testing that includes 85 ski-jump launches is now in progress. Around 70% of this phase had been completed as of mid-August, says Edgell.

These tests include becoming airborne with external carriage of British weapons such as MBDA’s Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile and Raytheon’s Paveway IV.

The principle of the SRVL has been extensively practiced, with F-35B pilots performing slow-speed rolling vertical landings on land runways daily. To practice landing on the narrower deck with constrained landing distances, test pilots have flown SRVL approaches onto small narrow strips on NAS Patuxent River runways, stopping well within the distances required on the ship.

“This is fully proven,” says Edgell. “We know the stopping capability of this aircraft.”

The biggest question, however, and one that is embroiled in politics, is whose aircraft will be designated to land on the ship first. So far, nearly all the trials for ski-jump testing have involved BF-2, the second F-35B known within the team as the “Brit Jet” because of its heavy involvement in testing for both the Queen Elizabeth-class ship and UK weapons.

BF-2 would appear to be the obvious candidate, except that it is emblazoned with a U.S. star and bar. Given the British mainstream media’s adverse reaction to the idea that U.S. Marine Corps F-35s could embark on the ship during its maiden operational cruise, there is some concern about potential headlines if a U.S.-marked jet makes the first landing on the ship. One option could be to use the British aircraft serving with RAF 17 Sqdn., the operational test unit based at Edwards AFB, California.

“There are pros and cons to taking developmental test assets or operational test assets from the middle of the desert,” says Edgell. He adds that whatever the “most effective and most efficient assets available” are should be designated for the tests. “The first landing will be a generational event for us. We live for this as test pilots.” 

The UK lost its carrier strike capability in 2010 when, as part of its Strategic Defense and Security Review, it decommissioned the Joint Harrier Force and the carrier, HMS Ark Royal. Britain’s Sea Harriers were retired four years earlier.

“We are all looking forward to regenerating a carrier strike capability one decade on,” says Edgell. “I would argue we have made a one-generation leap in capability in that time.”

The UK will have 14 F-35Bs in service by the end of this year, and is looking to reform the first front-line unit, 617 Sqdn. at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, next spring, before transferring them across the Atlantic to the UK F-35 main operating base at RAF Marham, England, that summer, possibly in time for the RAF’s centenary events at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July.

London plans to declare an initial operational capability with the F-35 to operate from the ships at the end of 2020. Full operational capability for carrier strike is expected in 2023.
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[*] posted on 23-8-2017 at 06:10 PM


QinetiQ Leads Next Phase of Unmanned Systems Exploitation

(Source: QinetiQ; issued Aug 16, 2017)


Unmanned Warrior 2016 saw the successful integration of data sourced from 25 unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles from 12 organisations. (Dstl photo)

QinetiQ has signed a £4.5m contract to lead phase four of the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) project for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The MAPLE project, spearheaded by QinetiQ in partnership with BAE Systems, SeeByte and Thales, seeks to demonstrate and de-risk the integration of multiple Unmanned Systems into the combat system of a Royal Navy warship.

In MAPLE phase three, QinetiQ, with its partners, led the development and build of a technology demonstrator called Autonomous Control Exploitation Realisation (ACER), a deployable prototype which is based on Dstl’s Open Architecture Combat System (OACS). ACER provides the means by which the output of MAPLE work can be effectively demonstrated in a variety of situations.

Phase four will continue to evolve this design, validate its architecture and extend it to include communications. Advances in capability will be demonstrated through a series of synthetic experiments at QinetiQ’s Portsdown site and a number of live exercises.

The project will build on the success of Unmanned Warrior 2016, which saw the successful integration of data sourced from 25 unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles from 12 organisations through ACER.

Stuart Hider, QinetiQ’s Director Maritime Programmes, said: “Through effective collaboration we are building on the ACER system’s success at Unmanned Warrior. MAPLE is a key project in unlocking the huge potential of unmanned vehicles and autonomous systems to safeguard sovereign interests.”

Speaking at the recent Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Conference held in early May at QinetiQ Haslar, Dr Philip Smith, Above Water Systems Programme Manager, Dstl, said: “It is the Royal Navy’s intention to lead and win through the innovative and robust exploitation of maritime autonomous systems. The MAPLE work is the route by which this vision is turned into reality.”

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[*] posted on 26-8-2017 at 03:07 PM


UK deadline for Type 31 frigates ‘just not going to happen’

By: Andrew Chuter   12 hours ago


An artist's impression of BAE's Cutlass design, which is based on the Al-Shamikh corvette the firm built for the Royal Navy of Oman. (Courtesy of BAE Systems)

LONDON ― Britain is preparing to launch a competition early next month to come up with a design for a new class of light frigates for the Royal Navy.

Shipbuilding bosses and other executives have been invited to a central London meeting for Sept. 7 to be briefed on the broad outline of the Type 31 light frigate program by ministers as well as officials with the Navy and the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, according to the government’s Defence Contracts Bulletin.

The Type 31 program is a centerpiece of the Conservative governments yet-to-be-published national shipbuilding strategy.

It’s possible the strategy, designed to lay the foundation of a modern and efficient naval shipbuilding sector, could be unveiled ahead of the Sept. 7 briefing once Parliament emerges from its summer recess on Sept. 5.

The MoD declined to comment on the timing of the shipbuilding strategy’s publication or offer any details on the Type 31 program announcement beyond saying: “The National Ship Building Strategy will make clear our plan for Type 31 and will be published in due course.”

The government announced plans to build a fleet of at least five light general purpose frigates in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, or SDSR, and has since been conducting early concept and other work on the Type 31.

The Defence Contracts Bulletin said the program would be innovative and agile.

A report on the shipbuilding strategy produced for the government last year by industrialist Peter Parker recommended the warships could be block built by shipyards around the U.K. and assembled at BAE System’s yards in Glasgow, Scotland.

The competition to build the Type 31 is restricted to British companies.

Babcock International, BAE Systems, BMT Defence Services and a small design consultancy known as Stellar Systems are the companies likely to submit designs when the competition opens.

It’s expected the MoD will call the light frigate the Type 31e to emphasize the importance of the warship’s appeal in export markets to future shipbuilding capabilities in the U.K.

Details of the program are sparse; but after nearly two years of concept work, the MoD appears to have finally cranked up progress with three separate events within 20 days aimed at laying out the plan to acquire the warships.

The Defence Contracts Bulletin notice said the Sept. 7 announcement will be an industry briefing covering details of the program, including the pre-procurement and procurement phases. This will be followed with the MoD’s ship acquisition team outlining further program details and holding discussions with industry at the upcoming DSEI exhibition in London in mid-September and industry day briefings on Sept. 27 and 28.

The British want the first of the Type 31 frigates in the water in time to replace the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll when it is pensioned off in 2023, said a program official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Analysts in the U.K. said the timeline, if confirmed, was daunting. “Realistically, it’s just not going to happen,” one analyst offered.

A challenging timeline could constrain the Royal Navy to buy a stretched version of existing ships rather than pursue newer designs like BMT’s Venator-110 frigate, which is well-regarded among some Royal Navy officers.

Stretched warships on offer are likely to include BAE’s Cutlass design ― based on the Al-Shamikh corvette it built for the Royal Navy of Oman ― and a tweaked version of the Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessels being built by Babcock for the Irish Naval Service.

The Type 31 frigates and eight new Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates are planned to replace the British Royal Navy’s Type 23 fleet by the mid-2030s.

The MoD originally planned to build 13 of the Type 26 vessels to replace the Type 23 ships on a one-for-one basis, but the ministry ended up cutting the number to eight in the 2015 SDSR, saying it planned to replace the axed ships with the lighter, cheaper Type 31.

The SDSR said that by the 2030s it could increase the size of the Type 31 fleet beyond five warships, helping to rebuild a Royal Navy destroyer and frigate fleet that has shrunk to just 19 vessels.

In May, media reports said the MoD was looking to buy six Type 31 frigates at a cost of £2 billion (U.S. $2.56 billion), but that remains unconfirmed.

The program official said the unit cost that the MoD was working toward for the Type 31 frigates was closer to £250 million than the £330 million reported by the media.

The prospect of a cheap and cheerful frigate has raised concerns among analyst’s that the warships will only be suitable for constabulary duties like anti-smuggling and piracy prevention rather than front-line war fighting.

In a briefing paper earlier this year, Peter Roberts, the director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, said senior naval leaders appeared to agree with Parker’s plan to “build warships for functionality (that is, speed, size and numbers), without considering the needs of combat.”

“A resurgent Russia, an unapologetic and belligerent China, and a strident Iran are all challenging the world order at sea with sophisticated and well-armed ships and submarines. Meeting these with offshore patrol vessels and under-equipped corvettes hardly seems prudent,” Roberts said.

BAE is building five lightly armed offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Navy alongside the first of three Type 26 frigates ordered by the MoD earlier this summer at BAE’s yards in Glasgow.
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[*] posted on 28-8-2017 at 12:18 PM


Manta ray submarines and flying fish torpedoes: what the Navy of the future might be sailing in and firing


How designers envision the future of underwater warfare

Alan Tovey

28 August 2017 • 12:05am

Engineers working with the Royal Navy have let their imaginations run wild designing what submarines of the future could look like and have come up with stunning concepts which mimic nature.

Vessels shaped like manta rays, eel-like drones and swarms of fish-shaped torpedoes are just some of the ideas proposed for revolutionising underwater warfare...................EDITED

See link for the rest: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/27/manta-ray-sub...


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[*] posted on 30-8-2017 at 05:48 PM


Royal Navy Unveils Radical Future Submarine Concepts

(Source: Royal Navy; issued Aug 28, 2017)


Asked to imagine future submarines, British engineers have come up with a concept based on a crewed mothership capable of launching unmanned underwater vehicles shaped like eels and carrying sensor pods for different missions. (RN photo)

The Royal Navy has unveiled a series of futuristic submarine concepts which mimic real marine lifeforms and radically change the way underwater warfare could look in 50 years.

With a crewed mothership shaped like a manta ray, unmanned eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection, and fish-shaped torpedoes sent to swarm against enemy targets, these concepts aim to inspire the world's future underwater combat environment.

The UK's brightest and most talented young engineers and scientists came up with the designs after being challenged by the Royal Navy to imagine what a future submarine would look like and how it would be used to keep Britain safe in decades to come.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: "These remarkable designs display the great promise of our young engineers and scientists and the great ambition of the Royal Navy.

"This kind of innovation is at the heart of defence and the UK's world-leading capability. That's why we are using our rising budget to invest in high-tech capability to keep our Armed Forces at the cutting-edge, and our £800 million Innovation Fund aims to take advantage of exactly these kinds of futuristic ideas."

The whale shark/manta ray-shaped mothership would be built from super-strong alloys and acrylics, with surfaces which can morph in shape. With hybrid algae-electric cruising power and propulsion technologies including tunnel drives which work similarly to a Dyson bladeless fan, the submarine could travel at unprecedented speeds of up to 150 knots.

Commander Peter Pipkin, the Royal Navy's Fleet Robotics Officer, said: "With more than 70 per cent of the planet's surface covered by water, the oceans remain one of the world's great mysteries and untapped resources.

"It's predicted that in 50 years' time there will be more competition between nations to live and work at sea or under it. So, it's with this in mind that the Royal Navy is looking at its future role, and how it will be best equipped to protect Britain's interests around the globe.

"Today's Royal Navy is one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world, and that's because we have always sought to think differently and come up with ideas that challenge traditional thinking. If only 10 per cent of these ideas become reality, it will put us at the cutting edge of future warfare and defence operations."


The mother ship would operate unmanned, eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection. (RN photo)

This mothership would be capable of launching unmanned underwater vehicles shaped like eels, which carry pods packed with sensors for different missions. These pods can damage an enemy vessel, or dissolve on demand at the end of an operation to evade detection.

The project, named Nautilus 100, was set up to mark the 100th anniversary of the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.

Rear Admiral Tim Hodgson, the Ministry of Defence's Director of Submarine Capability, said: "We want to encourage our engineers of the future to be bold, think radically and push boundaries. From Nelson's tactics at the Battle of Trafalgar to Fisher's revolutionary Dreadnought battleships, the Royal Navy's success has always rested on a combination of technology and human skill.

"The pace of global innovation is only going to increase, so for the UK to be a leader in this race it needs to maintain its leadership in skills and technology. Hopefully this project has inspired the next generation of British scientists to be bold in their ambitions and I congratulate them for their inspiring work."

Young British scientists and engineers from UKNEST, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes science, engineering and technology for UK naval design, answered the challenge. More than 20 of them took part in the project, 'visioneering' a new submarine fleet for the future Royal Navy.

Gemma Jefferies, 21, from Bristol, is an engineering assistant with L3 Marine Systems UK. Gemma, who took part in the project, said: "It was amazing to see a whole manner of disciplines coming together in this project. It was great to let our imaginations run with crazy ideas, some that may not actually be considered science fiction in the near future."

Unlike the submarines of today, which perform multiple roles in one hull, it is envisaged that the Royal Navy of the future would operate a family of submarines of various shapes and sizes, both manned and unmanned, to fulfill a variety of tasks.

The science and engineering graduates and apprentices, aged 16-34, took the complex systems required by an advanced submarine and applied the latest technological ideas to make them easier to construct, cheaper to run, and more deadly in battle.

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[*] posted on 30-8-2017 at 11:34 PM


HMS Ocean Embarks on Farewell Journey

(Source: British Forces News; issued Aug 29, 2017)

The Royal Navy’s Flagship, HMS Ocean, has left home for the final time later today before she is taken out of service.

HMS Ocean is currently the largest ship in the British Fleet and its only helicopter carrier.

Britain's largest operational warship will spend the next few months in the Mediterranean on NATO operations before she is decommissioned next year.

The ship's company will be spending the next four months at sea- this will be the last time they see the UK before the end of the year.

By the time HMS Ocean returns to Plymouth she will have spent 11 months of a 16-month period away at sea.

Although she will be decommissioned next year, she is rumoured to be joining the Brazilian Navy’s fleet following her retirement from the Royal Navy.

She will be replaced by the far larger Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.

However, until that point, Britain will be unable to mount any major amphibious warfare operations.

Visitors lined the dock of HMS Ocean’s hometown, Sunderland, to bid the naval giant and its 200-strong crew farewell.

In April, the Ministry of Defence said 'a number of options' were being considered for the future of Ocean, adding it was 'too soon' to discuss what those options might be.

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[*] posted on 30-8-2017 at 11:35 PM


BRAZIL is rumoured to be hot favourite to buy this heli-carrier?
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[*] posted on 1-9-2017 at 09:53 PM


Royal Navy considers two carriers essential for F-35 trials

Tim Ripley - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

01 September 2017


The Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier is scheduled to leave its dry dock next summer and begin sea trials in mid-2019. Source: Tim Ripley

Two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are needed to keep the UK flight trials of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II combat aircraft on schedule to allow the Royal Navy (RN) to declare its full carrier strike capability, according to the senior officer of the second in the class.

Speaking ahead of the formal naming ceremony for the future HMS Prince of Wales on 8 September, Captain Ian Groom said the new carrier needed to be delivered to the navy during 2019 to allow the flight trails to continue while Queen Elizabeth is undertaking a scheduled period of certification inspections in dry dock.

“There is a further set of fixed-wing flying trials needed and HMS Prince of Wales has to carry them out,” he told Jane’s on 31 August. “HMS Queen Elizabeth’s re-certification period in 2019 means we need HMS Prince of Wales then.”

Senior naval sources told Jane’s they expected the entry into service of Prince of Wales to be more straightforward than for its sister ship. It does not require many of the first-of-class trials that are extending Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service. So after Prince of Wales is handed over, it will only require a short period of acceptance trials and then its crew will begin work-up training to allow it to reach an initial operating capability in 2020.

Martin Douglass, engineering director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) industrial consortium, which is building the two new 65,000-tonne carriers for the RN, told Jane’s on 31 August that they are currently “on track” to float Prince of Wales out of its dry dock next summer and begin sea trials in mid-2019.

He said the ACA was already applying lessons from the first-of-class build process and sea trials to the second carrier. This includes making improvements to the process of preparing its heat-resistant flight deck coverings and installing an improved F-35 landing light systems earlier in the build process, he said.

(345 of 736 words)
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[*] posted on 5-9-2017 at 02:22 PM


RFA Tidesurge Named in South Korea

(Source: Royal Navy; issued Sept 01, 2017)


The third of the Royal Navy’s new fleet tankers, RFA Tidespring, returning to harbour in South Korea (Twitter photo)

The third of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class tankers has been formally named.

RFA Tidesurge was named by her sponsor Mrs Joanna Woodcock, whose husband is Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, at a ceremony in the South Korean shipyard where the vessels are built.

The 39,000-tonne tankers, designed to support HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister HMS Prince of Wales, are capable of carrying up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water.

The first tanker RFA Tidespring is currently undergoing sea trials, having been fitted out at A&P Group’s Falmouth yard.

The second of the class, RFA Tiderace is on her way to Falmouth via the Panama Canal.

The fourth tanker, Tideforce, is currently under construction.

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[*] posted on 5-9-2017 at 02:28 PM


HMS Prince of Wales Will Be 'More Efficient'

(Source: British Forces News; issued Aug 31, 2017)

The Royal Navy's second aircraft carrier will benefit from the lessons learned in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth, her captain has said.

HMS Prince of Wales is the second of the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, and one of the biggest warships ever built for the UK.

Project leaders believe lessons from the first ship will make sure HMS Prince of Wales is ready "swiftly".

Captain Ian Groom said improvements have been made since HMS Queen Elizabeth started sea trials:

"We optimised systems and learned how things could be improved both in terms of the systems and also the order in which you build things to make it more efficient and we're drawing those lessons into Prince of Wales so that we can build it as swiftly as possible to the highest quality.

"The reason we need two ships is to make sure that one is always available at very high readiness to provide choice to the government.

"That choice ranges from hard military power, delivering carrier strike, right down to humanitarian aid or promoting UK trade and industry.

"HMS Queen Elizabeth is there now and once HMS Prince of Wales comes into service then the two ships will work side-by-side ensuring one is always available to be used and the second one will be at high readiness and conducting training and maintenance.

"The ships will leapfrog one another through those roles and that is what continuous carrier availability provides."

The new aircraft carrier will be officially named by the Duchess of Cornwall at Rosyth Dockyard next week.

It might seem strange that Camilla will be christening the ship on the 8th September instead of Charles. However, traditionally the ship must be named by a woman.

Currently being fitted out in a dry dock in Rosyth, Scotland, HMS Prince of Wales will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019.

The ship is expected to be around 3,000 tonnes heavier than HMS Queen Elizabeth due to extra fittings in light of work on the first aircraft carrier.

Together with HMS Queen Elizabeth, the ships will be utilised by all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces and will provide eight acres of sovereign territory which can be deployed around the world.

Both ships will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The QE Class aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Previously, seven ships have been named after the heir to the throne from a French privateer captured in the late 17th Century to a battleship with a brief but eventful career.

The first Prince of Wales built for the Royal Navy was a 74-gun battleship which was frequently engaged with the French in the 1770s.

How were the new aircraft carriers built?

--A 68-metre tall and 120-metre across special crane was commissioned for this project.
--Six UK shipyards were involved, because no single one was large enough to build the ships in their entirety.
--The Queen Elizabeth-class "Centre of Specialisation" has been built at Portsmouth Naval Base.
--Over 250,000km of electrical cable and 8,000km of fibre optic cable were installed.
--Around 3,000 people have been working on the ships in Rosyth, with another 8,000 people working at sites around the country.

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[*] posted on 5-9-2017 at 02:39 PM




Royal Navy Complete first firing Test of a New Air Defence System

By Tamir Eshel - Sep 4, 2017


A CAMM missile is launched from the Sea Ceptor system on HMS Argyll. The Sea Ceptor system uses an innovative soft vertical launch system that significantly reduces the impact of a traditional “hot launch” missile on both the ship and the crew.

The Sea Ceptor weapon system recently completed its first successfully firings from HMS Argyll. The frigate is one of three Royal Navy Type 23 frigates being modified with the Sea Ceptor system, replacing the older Sea Wolf. The test is a major milestone for the life-extension program of Type 23 frigates.

HMS Argyll is the first Type 23 to undergo the life-extension program. She will conduct further firing trials of the Sea Ceptor system before deploying to Japan next year. Sea Ceptor will provide the Royal Navy with an improved shield against airborne threats such as the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. Alongside providing robust self-defense, importantly Sea Ceptor defends escort vessels within a maritime task group, such as for the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

Sea Ceptor uses MBDA’s next-generation Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), is being fitted to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on these frigates, as well as the new Type 26 and, it may also be selected for the future Type 31 about to replace them in the Type 23s next decade. The Sea Ceptor development and integration was funded under contracts worth £639m contract and fit them to the Type 23 and Type 26 frigates.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/MG-HuB8i_n0?t=36

Compared to Sea Wolf, CAMM is faster, has longer range, has a two-way data link, and has a much more advanced seeker, all of which enable the missile to intercept more challenging targets. The missile capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 3 and will have the ability to deal with multiple targets simultaneously, protecting an area of around 500 square miles (1,300 square Km) over land or sea.

Traditional air defense systems utilize semi-active radar guidance, meaning they rely on a surface-based fire control radar to illuminate the missile’s target. The missile uses an active radar seeker and data link on the missile thus avoiding reliance on the ship’s radar for guidance. This technology enables the ship to employ multi-mission radars and intercept more targets simultaneously, across 360 degrees – something a semi-active system could not do. Its clean aerodynamic design yields improved performance and easier, more compact installation on board. The use of an innovative soft vertical launch system significantly reduces the impact of a traditional “hot launch” missile on both the ship and the crew.

Land Ceptor – the land-based derivative of Sea Ceptor – will replace Rapier in British Army service as the future generation Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD).
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[*] posted on 5-9-2017 at 10:31 PM


DSEI 2017: Frigate designs fuel T31 prospects

5th September 2017 - 11:09 GMT | by Richard Thomas in London



With two new frigate designs expected to be officially unveiled at the show, attention will focus on what prospects, if any exist, there could be for the Royal Navy’s future Type 31.

Babcock will present Arrowhead, a self-styled ‘game-changing’ 120m general purpose frigate, which according to the company can meet increasing global demands for such vessels. Additional ship specifications will likely be provided during the course of the exhibition.

The comapny would be keen to win the T31 design programme, which will eventually become a class of at least five frigates for the Royal Navy. Export potential of the class is also expected to be a driving force for the UK’s shipbuilding industry.

International competition will be tough for non-UK programmes, with Naval Group looking at an export market of up to 30 hulls for its Belharra light frigate, five of which will be built for the French Marine Nationale.

In a statement issued ahead of the exhibition Craig Lockhart, managing director Naval Marine, Babcock said: ‘Arrowhead is the latest product in a proud collection which we believe will reshape the international general-purpose frigate market for years to come due to its flexible configuration to meet current and future requirements.’

Babcock is in the latter stages of its commitment to provide four 90m OPVs to the Irish Naval Service, with construction of the fourth-in-class George Bernard Shaw continuing at its Appledore shipyard in Devon. The sister ship of the George Bernard Shaw, LE Samuel Beckett, will be docked alongside London’s ExCel Arena during the course of the show.

The company has stated that it is turning its attention to international opportunities for OPV-sized vessels, complete with what it termed ‘easy-fix systems’.

That said, UK industry could have a role to play in the block construction of the future T31 frigate at sites such as Cammell Laird and Appledore, among others. 

UK government officials changed the phrasing of the T31 build programme, which was expected to be given to facilities in Scotland, from ‘construction of’ to ‘assembly’, indicating block-builds around the country before being pieced together in a similar manner to the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

Meanwhile BMT Group announced earlier in August that it will showcase the Venator 110 (pictured) light frigate design at DSEI 2017. The basic Venator design has been around for some time but now looks matured to the point where some think it could be a front-runner to the T31 programme.

The ship concept, according to the company, ‘combines lean, manned and adaptable capability with the affordable procurement cost’, a string of words that will no doubt be examined closely by the Royal Navy as it struggles with manpower challenges, significant capability gaps and a likely painful revisit to 2015’s SDSR in the coming year.

BMT's aircraft carrier design, in cooperation with Thales Naval UK, was chosen for the UK's future carrier programme and realised with the Queen Elizabeth-class.

BAE Systems has also previously put forward two designs –  a significantly stretched Batch 2 River-class OPV and slightly less elongated Khareef corvette – for any future T31 build.

The T31 programme has been born from a reduction of the City-class T26 frigates, currently under construction for the Royal Navy, down from a planned 13 vessels to just eight. The T26 and T31 will replace the ageing T23 frigates, although there is doubt as to whether the out-of-service dates and new commissions will align well enough to prevent further fleet reduction to the Senior Service.

Any movement on the T31 programme will be welcome relief to the Royal Navy after a catastrophic reduction in its capabilities and hull numbers. The service will have to contend with another new capability gap from 2018 as the Harpoon ASuW missile system is being retired, leaving it devoid of any ship-mounted anti-surface missile until 2030 at the earliest when the future Anglo-French FC/ASW capability is expected to mature.

A range of potential alternatives to the Harpoon, including the Harpoon Block II, RBS 15, Exocet Block III, are currently in service with navies around the world.

Indeed, the much vaunted full-spectrum capability the Royal Navy previously had now appears to have been consigned to history through a decade of mothballing, cuts, manpower issues, delays to programmes and engineering failures. 

The surface fleet looks likely to become two-tier in nature, with a primary protection role for the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier strike groups and secondary a maritime patrol element supplied by OPVs and spare T23/26 frigates.

An expected National Shipbuilding Strategy from the UK government, which was thought to set out shipbuilding plans and programmes for the Royal Navy, has been significantly delayed.
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[*] posted on 6-9-2017 at 01:30 PM


UK defense chief to reveal Type 31e shipbuilding strategy

By: Andrew Chuter   3 hours ago


Industrialist John Parker in a 2016 report described BMT Defence Service's Venator-110 ship design as an example of the right design approach for the Type 31e frigate. (BMT Defence Services)

LONDON ― Initial details on how Britain plans to build the first batch of new Type 31e general purpose frigates for the Royal Navy will be unveiled as the centerpiece of a national shipbuilding strategy scheduled to be released by the government on Sept. 6.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will outline to Parliament on Wednesday a strategy that could see the frigate block built by several yards around Britain ahead of being assembled at a yet-to-be-determined facility.

At present, Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and offshore patrol vessels are built by BAE Systems at two yards in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximise exports and be attractive to navies around the world. Backed up by a commitment to spend billions [of pounds] on new ships, our plan will help boost jobs, skills, and growth in shipyards and the supply chain across the UK,” Fallon said in a statement.

The Ministry of Defence statement, provided ahead of the strategy unveiling, said that a batch of five general purpose frigates would be built at a cost capped at no more than £250 million (U.S. $324 million) each.

Industry executives , who asked not to be named, said MoD officials believe lower cost commercial yards around the country can undercut BAE on warships like light frigates.

In line with a long-standing policy in the U.K., the warships will be constructed in the country but could be “built in a way which could see them shared between yards and assembled at a central hub,” according to the statement.

The British already have experience assembling warships from blocks.

The Royal Navy’s two new 65,000-ton aircraft carriers were built in large blocks at six yards around the U.K. and floated around the coast to be assembled at the Babcock International yard at Rosyth, Scotland, by a BAE Systems-led industry and MoD alliance.

Cammell Laird is also using the block build process on the £150 million polar research ship being built for the U.K. at its Birkenhead, England, yard.

‘These should unlock our potential’

The strategy content drew a positive response from Sarah Kenny, the chief executive at BMT, Britain’s leading naval design house.

“I am delighted that the strategy sets out an agenda which challenges the U.K. to raise standards and drives us to become more competitive, whilst also creating an environment that better enables success,” Kenny said.

“There are positive socioeconomic benefits to be reaped from cultivating the U.K.’s excellence in naval design and engineering, to deliver on our own ship design and shipbuilding demands. Developed properly, these should unlock our potential giving us a competitive edge in export to other navies around the world,” she added.

The option to block-build the Type 31e could end BAE System’s monopoly on building frigates and other complex warships for the Royal Navy at its Scotstoun and Govan yards.

The company currently has five offshore patrol vessels and three Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Navy on its order book for the Scottish yards.

A further five of the Type 26 frigates are scheduled to be ordered from BAE sometime in the early 2020s in a build program expected to run until 2035.

The MoD originally planned to build 13 of the Type 26 frigates to replace the Type 23 fleet on a one-for-one basis, but cut the number to eight in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, replacing the axed ships with the lighter, cheaper and less capable Type 31e.

The SDSR said that by the 2030s the size of the Type 31 fleet could be increased beyond five warships, helping to rebuild a Royal Navy destroyer and frigate fleet that has shrunk to just 19 vessels.

BAE declined to comment on the shipbuilding strategy.
Aside from Babcock International ― which is building the last of four 90-meter-long offshore patrol vessels for the Irish Naval Service at its Appledore Shipbuilders facility in Devon, southwest England ― no one other than BAE has built a warship for a generation or more.

Unveiling of the national shipbuilding strategy follows recommendations to the government by industrialist John Parker last November regarding how Britain could revive its maritime industry. He said in a statement issued ahead of the parliamentary announcement that the recommendations would “change the shape of naval shipbuilding over the country in the future.”

“The next challenge is to come up with a world-leading design; one that can satisfy the needs of the Royal Navy and the export market. We have the capability to do that, the will is there and it is a tremendous opportunity for UK shipbuilding,” he said.

Release of the strategy is set to trigger the competition to select the light-frigate design.

Maritime industry bosses and other executives have been invited to a Sept. 7 meeting in central London to be briefed on the broad outline of the Type 31e program by Defence Procurement Minister Harriet Baldwin and other senior government officials.

Further details are likely to emerge at an industry-briefing day scheduled toward the end of this month.

The MoD says it wants the first Type 31e in service to replace the Type 23 HMS Argyll in 2023. Analysts in Britain reckon that could be an unrealistic timeline.

The competition to design and build the Type 31e is restricted to British companies, according to an MoD spokesman.

Babcock International, BAE Systems, BMT Defence Services and a small design consultancy known as Stellar Systems are among the companies likely to submit designs when the competition opens.

The MoD is calling the light frigate the Type 31e to emphasize the importance of the warship’s appeal in export markets to future shipbuilding capabilities in the U.K.

Foreign navies have already been canvassed about their capability needs, and some of these have been built into the Royal Navy’s requirements to make the warship attractive in an export market where it will face tough competition from the recently launched French intermediate frigate program and others.

BMT’s Kenny said the shipbuilding strategy’s “endorsement of the [Type 31e] goes some way to promoting indigenous design capability. It is great to see the U.K. government following European counterparts and opening doors for U.K. ship design and shipbuilding in overseas frigate programs. Greater volume of U.K.-designed vessels and the resulting increased collaboration between industry partners and the U.K. enterprise can only result in a more superior solution for any naval customer,” she said.

An MoD spokesman said that while the build in U.K. policy remains for complex warships, that wouldn’t extend to three large logistics-support ships scheduled to be acquired for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

That requirement will be opened to international shipbuilders in the same fashion as the four large oilers ordered for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary from the company Daewoo in South Korea.

Two of the ships have been delivered to the U.K., where they undergo fitting of sensitive equipment at A&P Falmouth, in southwest England, ahead of being handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
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[*] posted on 7-9-2017 at 12:02 AM


That BMT design looks like an iteration of the Irish OPVs.







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[*] posted on 7-9-2017 at 01:38 PM


DSEI 2017: New shipbuilding strategy to avoid past mistakes

6th September 2017 - 01:09 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in London

The UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), announced on 6 September, is aiming to overcome mistakes made in previous naval programmes and reverse the reductions in hull numbers and capabilities of the Royal Navy.

The Type 45 programme saw six ships ordered rather than 12, while the Type 26 programme will produce a class of eight, down from an original 13 planned. The cost of the T26's has been criticised, with BAE Systems recently awarded a £3.7 billion contract to manufacture the first three ships.

To this end, the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, said that the Type 31 project has been designed to relieve the faults of previous programmes.

It appears that the introduction of the first batch of five new Type 31 frigates will attempt to bolster the UK’s fleet of frigates and destroyers which currently stands at just 19.

The NSbS outlined that each Type 31 will cost a modest £250 million, with construction expected to begin in 2019 . The first ship is targeted to be in service by 2023.

Speaking during a parliament session, Fallon remarked: ‘We think it is a reasonable price and it is up to industry now to meet it’.

UK shipbuilders and designers BMT and Babcock are the strongest contenders for the new frigate design.

BMT’s chief executive, Sarah Kenny, said: ‘The NSbS and its endorsement of the T31 goes some way to promoting indigenous design capability. It is great to see the UK government following European counterparts and opening doors for UK ship design and ship building in overseas frigate programmes.

'Greater volume of UK-designed vessels and the resulting increased collaboration between industry partners and the UK enterprise can only result in a more superior solution for any naval customer.’

BMT was specifically mentioned in Sir John Parker’s 2016 independent report into British naval shipbuilding, quoting the company's Venator-110 design as being one example with the right design approach and philosophy for the Type 31. The company will showcase the Venator-110 light frigate design at DSEI 2017.

Babcock will also be eyeing up the project as the government highlights export of the new frigate.

In a statement the company said: ‘We welcome the UK Government’s announcement on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the potential opportunities this could create for Babcock and the wider UK supply chain. 

‘We are also pleased to see that this new strategy adopts a key recommendation from Sir John Parker’s report and builds on the lessons from the successful Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier programme.’

The government is also hoping for export success with the Type 26, which it is pitching to Canada and Australia, and the new Type 31.

Fallon noted that the UK has not exported a warship since the 1970s. With regards to the Type 31 programme he said ‘the full weight of the government behind that [export] campaign’. 
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[*] posted on 7-9-2017 at 04:00 PM


Shipbuilding Strategy Overhaul Unveiled

(Source: British Forces News; posted Sept 06, 2017)

A new fleet of multimillion-pound warships could be built in blocks across several British shipyards and then assembled at a central hub, the Defence Secretary has announced.

The plan represents an overhaul in the UK shipbuilding strategy with the first batch of new Type 31e frigates being built with the export market in mind.

Sir Michael Fallon said the UK shipbuilding industry could potentially serve both the Royal Navy and navies of allies and partners.

As part of this approach, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the first batch of five Type 31e frigates could be built across different shipyards, before being assembled at a central site.

This modular construction process was used on the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The cost of the new Type31e frigates would be capped at no more than £250 million each.

Sir Michael Fallon said the first of the new ships are due to be in service by 2023 and shipyards would be encouraged to ensure the vessel was competitive on the global market by working with "global partners".

He said: "This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximise exports and be attractive to navies around the world.

Nia Griffith MP, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to the publication of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, said:

"I welcome the publication of the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the commitment to the long-term future of our shipbuilding industry.

"Despite warnings over many years, our Navy is facing a crisis in recruitment and retention. The Government is on course to miss its own target for the size of the Navy and we simply do not have enough sailors to crew our naval fleet.

"Experienced personnel are leaving the Navy because of dissatisfaction with pay and conditions. If the Government was serious about properly resourcing our Royal Navy it would lift the public sector pay cap and pay our servicemen and women properly."

The new national shipbuilding strategy accepts the recommendations of an independent report into the industry by Sir John Parker, the chairman of mining giant Anglo American.

In November, Sir John said the Navy fleet was being depleted by a "vicious cycle" of old ships retained beyond their sell-by date, and found that the procurement of naval ships took too long from concept to delivery compared with other industries.

He recommended a "sea change", with "pace and grip" from the Government so that British shipyards could compete to win contracts.

Sir John said: "I am very impressed by the courage that the Secretary of State has shown - and the Government - in adopting my recommendations, which were very extensive, and will change the shape of naval shipbuilding over the country in the future.

"We have the capability to do that, the will is there and it is a tremendous opportunity for UK shipbuilding.

"I see no reason why industry will not rise to that challenge.

"There is an incredible keenness from around the country, from Scotland to Merseyside, to the South West and over to Belfast."

Click here for Sir John Parker’s report on UK shipbuilding strategy

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-shipb...
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