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[*] posted on 9-9-2017 at 06:36 PM


Ministry of Defence Announces Procurement Programme for Royal Navy’s T31E Frigates

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 7, 2017)


A general arrangement drawing of the Royal Navy’s future Type 31e frigate, five of which will be built alongside the more capable Type 26s, whose construction kicked off in July. (RN image)

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has today launched plans for the procurement of the Royal Navy’s new Type 31e frigates – a day after the announcement of a new National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The competition, unveiled by senior leaders from the Ministry of Defence, Royal Navy and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), will boost the UK shipbuilding industry and provide the route to grow the Royal Navy fleet.

A price cap has been set of no more than £250M each for the first batch of five frigates. In line with standing UK policy on warships they will be built in the UK. They could be built in a way which could see them shared between yards and assembled at a central hub. The first ships are set to be in service by 2023. Shipyards will be encouraged to work with global partners to ensure the vessel is competitive on the export market.

The announcement comes the day after Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon unveiled an ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy, outlining a commitment to encourage a more competitive industry, grow jobs across the country, and put a focus on exporting state-of-the-art British ships.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “A day after we launched the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are taking our first major step towards realising it by launching the Type 31e programme.

“It will take the very best of British engineering, innovation and drive to achieve it and, as a nation, we have shown time and time again that we have what it takes to deliver. This programme will re-energise a world-leading, vibrant and competitive British shipbuilding industry.”

The Type 31e frigate will replace five of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The other eight Type 23s are already set to be replaced by the upcoming Type 26 class.

Geared towards maritime security and defence engagement, the Type 31e will fulfill roles such as the Fleet Ready Escort duties in home waters, fixed tasks in the South Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf, and the UK’s NATO commitments in the Mediterranean.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “Through the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier project, we proved to the world – and to ourselves – that Britain still has what it takes to be a great maritime industrial nation. The National Shipbuilding Strategy seeks to build upon this achievement by charting a course towards a more sustainable and competitive industrial base that can support regional growth and prosperity as well as strengthen our national security.

“With the Type 31e General Purpose Frigate Programme, the Royal Navy will bring our requirements into line with the demands of the export market to help support that ambition. Mostly excitingly of all, this offers a historic and vital opportunity to increase the size of the Royal Navy in the decades ahead.”

Other requirements for the Type 31e frigate include a hangar and flight deck big enough for a helicopter and unmanned air vehicles, enough accommodation to support the standard ship’s company with mission specialists as required, and stowage for sea boats, disaster relief stores and other equipment.

It will be operated by between 80 and 100 men and women and needs to be sufficiently flexible to incorporate future developments in technology, including unmanned systems and novel weaponry.

The proposed Type 31e frigates will be built in a modular way, which could see the construction work shared between yards around the UK and assembled at a central hub.

The option to build the Type 31e frigates in blocks reflects how the biggest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, was constructed. The aircraft carrier was built in blocks by over 10,000 people in six main British cities. She was then assembled in Rosyth, before commencing sea trials in June and arriving in her home port of Portsmouth last month.

Tony Douglas, the Chief Executive Officer of DE&S, said: “The Type 31e programme will drive the change that is needed through the entire system, because we have set tough time and cost constraints.

“The collective challenge for DE&S and industry is to deliver Type 31e in a different, more innovative way than has gone before. I want this to be a transformation in the way we do business – not just in ships and acquisition but across the entire defence equipment and support portfolio.”

The Ministry of Defence is committed to new ships for the Royal Navy through its rising budget and £178 billion equipment plan. In July, the Defence Secretary cut the first piece of steel for the first of eight Type 26 frigates at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard in Scotland.

Click here for the First Sea Lord’s statement on the Type 31e requirements.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/first-sea-lord-outlin...

Click here for a fact sheet on the Type 31e frigate (1 PDF pages) on the Royal Navy website.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/-/media/royal-navy-responsive/d...

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[*] posted on 11-9-2017 at 01:17 PM


Second Royal Navy aircraft carrier named Prince of Wales

Nicholas Fiorenza - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

08 September 2017


The Royal Marines Band Service played on as the aircraft carrier was named on 8 September. Source: Crown Copyright

Prince of Wales , the Royal Navy's second future aircraft carrier, was officially named during a ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland, on 8 September.

During the ceremony, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay, the carrier's sponsor, triggered the breaking of a bottle of 10-year-old Laphroaig whisky from the Isle of Islay as the Royal Marines Band Service played on.

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[*] posted on 12-9-2017 at 12:42 PM


Royal Navy chief looks east to forge new trade partnerships

By: Andrew Chuter   2 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 — British naval forces will need to return to the Asia-Pacific region on a regular basis if the country is to forge new trading partnerships in the area, according to the Royal Navy’s first sea lord, Adm. Sir Philip Jones.

“The Asia-Pacific region contains two of the three largest economies in the world and five of the largest 16. If the U.K. does wish to forge new global trading partnerships, this is somewhere we need to be,” Jones told an audience of senior naval and industry officials attending a maritime conference in London a day ahead of the DSEI arms fair, which began Sept. 12.

Jone’s admitted it was an aspiration rather than a policy, “but the fact remains: If we are serious about our nation’s global [post-Brexit] economic ambitions, then we will need a global navy to match.”

The recent establishment of a British defence staff in Singapore is a sign that U.K. defence is starting to consider our options in this area, he said.

Jones would like to take a leaf out of the French book in building presence in the region.

“For a modest outlay of a few forward deployed patrol vessels, light frigates and maritime aircraft based in the region, France has considerable influence in [the] Asia-Pacific [region],” he said.
That sort of presence is unlikely to be replicated by the British anytime soon, however.

The Royal Navy is strapped for warships, and its current 19-strong fleet of destroyers and frigates is already stretched taut maintaining operations closer to home.

The government has said it will grow the Royal Navy fleet, but that may be a while as the new Type 26 and the Type 31e light general purpose frigate, which is yet to be ordered, won’t start replacing the current 13-strong Type 23 fleet until at least 2023.

The limited assets help explain why a British warship hasn’t been seen in the region for four years, which will be rectified next year as Prime Minister Theresa May announced in August that HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, will exercise with allies in the region.

Aside from defense diplomacy, Argyll’s presence will be a timely boost for British efforts to sell it’s new Type 26 anti-submarine frigate to Australia and New Zealand.

China’s growing influence across the Indian Ocean may also require a response.

“It begs the question about whether the Royal Navy’s work in support of U.K. prosperity should end at the Gulf, or whether we need to project to the Indian Ocean and beyond,” he said.

A new joint logistics support base at Duqm in Oman, which will handle the new 65,000-ton Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, could serve as a springboard for more frequent Royal Navy deployments across the Indian Ocean, he told the DSEI conference audience.

The deployment of the U.K. carrier strike group to the region in the 2020s would be a powerful sign of our ambition, Jones said.

“And we still have berthing rights in Singapore. With a growing navy, it would be perfectly possible to base Type 31e frigates in South East Asia, just as we do with smaller ships in Bahrain and the Falklands today,” said Jones.

As the first Royal Navy warship to visit the region in four years, this will be a significant opportunity for defence engagement, but the question is what comes next?

As India discovers the complexities of developing an indigenous carrier capability, the country is looking to the Royal Navy for a closer partnership, including task group level exercises.

Japan recognizes that the U.K. is a maritime nation situated on the edge of a continental landmass, just like them. As they make careful steps toward a more active naval posture, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are natural partners.
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 08:56 AM


DSEI 2017: Babcock unveils Arrowhead 120 design

12th September 2017 - 03:09 GMT | by Alice Budge in London



Following the publication of the UK Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), Babcock has released its design for the Type 31e frigate.

Focused on providing a reconfigurable platform that can be customised to the requirements of individual navies and changing future threats, the Babcock Arrowhead 120 design is likely to compete against BMT Group for the Type 31e contract.

With the budget outlined in the NSbS capped at £250 million per frigate, Babcock is attempting to ‘maximise the capability bought for the money’, John Howie, chief executive for marine at Babcock said.

He emphasised that in order to achieve value for money Babcock has focused on creating a cost effective base ‘so the customer has as much money to spend on weapons and sensors on top of that, within the £250 million budget’.

One way in which Howie believes this can be achieved is by ‘striking a balance’ bringing the ‘best of the international market to play’ whilst adhering to the NSbS’s requirement that the frigate design be UK owned whilst ‘maximising the UK content for export reasons’.

Although Babcock is still in the ‘early days’ of conversations with potential primary mission systems integrators, Paul Blakiston, strategic development director at Babcock, said SAAB, Lockheed Martin, Atlas Systems and Talis are potential partners.

Babcock hopes to set itself apart from competitors by applying lessons learned from ‘the of building of the… Samuel Beckett-class OPV, for the Irish Navy,’ in particular ‘it’s experience of distributed build and the use of alliances to deliver build projects more cost effectively’.

As the First Sea Lord, Sir Philip Jones, made clear in his Keynote address at DSEI, a further requirement of the Type 31e will be an open architecture to ensure the vessels are capable of keeping pace with industry and technology developments.

An open architecture approach will also be essential for future export of the design.

While the NSbS identified a potential export demand of 30-40 vessels, Howie commented that ‘from some of the customers we have spoken with, we have identified a good base of customers who have a requirement for a ship of this sort of price and size’.

On the export attraction of the Type 31e, Howie added that ‘it fits well with navies who may want to build ships in their own countries but are not looking for something as big and complex as a destroyer’.
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 01:25 PM


Royal Navy Set to Test the DragonFire Laser Weapon by 2019

By Tamir Eshel - Sep 12, 2017



A new laser weapon demonstrator being built for the UK Ministry of Defence has been unveiled today by the UK Dragonfire consortium at DSEI 2017 in London. Known as the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Capability Demonstrator Programme (CDP), the effort will see UK Dragonfire trial this new sovereign capability in the maritime and land domains in 2019.


The Dragonfire laser effector is designed to operate offensively or defensively. A full-scale model of the system was displayed at DSEI 2017.

A key benefit of the Dragonfire LDEW technology is that the base system is highly adaptable and its effects are scaleable. As such it offers a range of different engagement solutions depending on the tactical scenario, these include tracking, deterring, dazzling the sensors of a potential threat, up to damaging or destroying it.

The laser developed by QinetiQ employs a scalable, coherent beam combining technology to create laser source with a power level of ‘several tens of kilowatts’. The system will be scalable to higher power levels, as required. The coherently combined fibre laser technology developed by QinetiQ associates phase control system that provides a high precision laser source that can be effectively directed at dynamic targets and achieve high power density on target in the presence of turbulence. Beam combining is a technology that is able to achieve enhanced power densities at target, reducing defeat times and increasing engagement range. Therefore, although the system is not of a ‘100 kW’, power level which is considered for weapon grade lasers, the Dragonfire beam director designed by Leonardo optimises the laser beam to optimize to atmospheric conditions that otherwise would dissipate much of the energy.

Among the uses of LDEW systems are providing very short-range air defense capability, close-in protection for naval vessels, counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and protecting friendly forces from mortar and artillery attack.

The consortium developing the UK Dragonfire, led by MBDA, under contract to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the project brought together Britain’s leading specialists in laser, EO and electronics, to develop a future laser-based technology for the UK Armed Forces.

At DSEI the team showed the beam director developed for the laser weapon trials. The beam director is an optical system integrated into a turret. The system, developed by Leonardo, integrates QinetiQ’s powerful laser emitter, as well as world-class electro-optics for target identification and tracking. MBDA is the prime contractor and also delivered command and control (C2) and image processing for the system.

UK Dragonfire was awarded a GBP30 million contract for the LDW CDP in early 2017 after a rigorous competitive evaluation. The team capitalizes on the strengths of all the companies involved, including Leonardo, QinetiQ, MBDA, Arke, BAE Systems, Marshall and GKN.


The Dragonfire is a scalable designed for deployment on ships, land vehicles and combat aircraft. It can be used for a wide range of effects, from non-lethal deterrence and dazzling to destruction of threats.
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 02:06 PM


The Royal Navy may have to trim platforms to pay for tech surge

By: Andrew Chuter   4 hours ago


The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Phillip Jones KCB ADC paid a special visit to HMS Sultan on May 27, 2016 as the Guest of Honour at the establishment’s Ceremonial Divisions. In addition to inspecting the Guard of Honour the First Sea Lord presented awards and medals to worthy recipients. (Royal Navy)

LONDON - The Royal Navy is on a technology drive to rapidly increase capability, but may have to pay the price with the removal of platforms, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said in a speech at the DSEI 2017 show Tuesday.

Jones outlined numerous programs to drive capabilities at sea: the introduction of a new compact deployable IT system; hydrographic capability; and plans to accelerate the delivery of future mine countermeasures, and test flights for a remotely piloted helicopter from the deck of a Type 23 frigate next year.

It’s all part of a blitz to up the pace of technology introduction in the Royal Navy.

But, he warned, the Royal Navy might have to sacrifice platforms to pay for the technology uplift. 

“Are we, for instance, prepared to remove existing platforms from service in order to create the financial and manpower headroom to introduce new systems. which, in time, could deliver truly transformative advances in capability?” he asked the crowd.

The Royal Navy has little room for growth on either the financial or manpower fronts, and all the armed services in the U.K. are already under heavy pressure to find what the Ministry of Defence euphemistically refers to as efficiency savings.

With the government conducting a capability review, which some are calling a mini-strategic defense and security review, it’s possible programs and capabilities may have to go anyway.
Jones said the rapid introduction of technology carried risk but that maintaining the status quo was not an option.

“A degree of risk is inevitable, but then nothing in innovation or warfare has ever been achieved by playing it safe; and as I see it, the biggest risk of all is carrying on as we are,” he said.

Over time innovation could deliver the Royal Navy “truly transformative advances in capability,” he said.

VIDEO: http://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/dsei/2017/09...
Technology onboard Britain's frigate HMS Argyll

Lt. Cmdr. David Tetchner of Britain's Royal Navy takes Defense News on a tour of the frigate HMS Argyll, showing off the ship's capabilities and technology.

Last year’s Unmanned Warrior and the more recent Information Warrior exercises conducted by the Navy served as wake-up calls for just how far industry had come on the technology front.

To better take advantage of such advancements Jones said the Navy was ready to shift the process of trial and experimentation from the exercise arena to the operational theater.

“That’s why we have deployed three unmanned underwater vessels on board the survey ship HMS Enterprise during her current NATO deployment,” Jones said.

The Navy is also looking to reduce technology updates by introducing open architecture into operational service far more widely. Later this year the Type 23 HMS Westminster will go to sea fitted with an open architecture shared infrastructure, which will enable the rapid integration and development of new capabilities.

“If successful, we will roll this system out to the rest of the Type 23s by 2020, and the remainder of the fleet thereafter,” he said.
Unsurprisingly the new Type 31e frigate will be designed with open architecture from the outset.

But, said Jones, the Royal Navy needed to do more.

“The aim is to accelerate the incremental delivery of our future MHC program. Our intention is to deliver an unmanned capability for routine mine countermeasure tasks in U.K. waters in two years’ time, “ said the First Sea Lord.

“Similarly, from what we’ve seen over the past two years, we know it should be perfectly possible for the Type 31e frigate to operate a vertical lift unmanned air system alongside, or perhaps even in place of a manned helicopter, from the moment the first ship enters service from 2023.

“As a precursor to this, we plan to work with our partners in the aerospace industry to demonstrate such a capability on a Type 23 frigate next year.”

Leonardo Helicopters in the U.K. is currently working on a two-year phase two of a rotary wing unmanned air system capability concept demonstrator for the MoD. An SW-4 Solo based vehicle participated in Unmanned Warrior.

John Ponsonby, the managing director of Leonardo’s helicopter operations in the U.K., said he expected a phase three to follow to develop a one-to-three tonne unmanned rotary wing platform for the British. 

It’s not just major programs where technology is offers a speedy introduction of a capability hike to the British.

Jones gave the example of a compact deployable information system capability developed by Antillion, a small Bristol, South West England-based company who had joined forces with the Royal Navy’s MarWorks innovation group and the Governments Defence Science and Technology Laboratories to accelerate the development phase of their CDISC Early Entry product.

“We put it to use in ‘Information Warrior’ and, liking what we saw, we’ve decided to introduce it in place of 3 Commando Brigade’s current IT straight away,” he said.
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 02:11 PM


The Royal Navy's oldest ship has a new mission as the UK looks to grow its fleet

By: David B. Larter   11 hours ago


The Royal Navy's frigate Argyll, the oldest ship in the fleet, sits pierside at DSEI in London, England. (David B. Larter/Staff)

LONDON ― The Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate Argyll is heading back to the fleet after two years in overhaul, and it’s being used as a test and integration platform for new systems intended for the new Type 26 frigate under construction.

The ship, with a fresh coat of paint and sporting the Royal Navy’s new Sea Ceptor air missile defense system, was in London, England, for the annual Defence and Security Equipment International conference.

Argyll is the oldest ship in the fleet at 26 years old, but it has a new mission: integrating systems intended for both the upgraded Type 23 ships and the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates. The Royal Navy announced a contract in June for the first three Type 26 frigates worth £3.7 billion (U.S. $4.9 billion).

The lead ship will be the HMS Glasgow, and the Royal Navy plans to build eight of them.

Lt. Cmdr. David Tetchner of Britain's Royal Navy takes Defense News on a tour of the frigate HMS Argyll, showing off the ship's capabilities and technology.

The Type 23 frigates are working through a service-life extension program.

Sea Ceptor, developed by U.K. firm MBDA, is a similar missile to Raytheon’s Evolved Seasparrow Missile. Part of the process of getting Argyll back to the fleet will be a trip up to Britain’s missile range off the coast of Scotland where the ship will test the new capability, according to Lt. Cmdr. David Tetchner, the Argyll’s weapon engineer officer.

Argyll successfully fired the Royal Navy’s first salvos of Sea Ceptor in April. MBDA has also sold its missile to Brazil and New Zealand.

Frigates have been all the rage at DSEI this year after the U.K. issued a request for information earlier this month seeking inputs for a cut-rate frigate ― the Type 31. The Type 31 is intended to boost the declining fleet numbers and be attractive for the international market.

Frigate frenzy

The program is looking for five Type 31 frigtes with a hard price ceiling of $250 million, a price that includes all the government-furnished equipment, said Simon Bollum, the Ministry of Defence’s chief of materiel (ships).

British firms Babcock and BMT Defence Services are among the companies with ideas on the table for the new frigate.

BMT is offering its Venator frigate design.

As for Babcock, the company’s Marine division, which is building a fleet of four offshore patrol vessels for Ireland, unveiled its Arrowhead 120 design at the show, intended to compete for the Type 31 contract. The plan for the Type 31 has been criticized as being unlikely to meet its hard cost ceiling, but Babcock Marine Chief Executive John Howie disagreed, saying the cost-savings his firm achieved on the OPVs made him think it was possible.

“I think its doable,” Howie said. ”I‘d be disappointed if the U.K. wasn’t able to get a decent capability at that cost.”
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 07:54 PM


DSEI 2017

UK frigate is on the starting line [DSEI17D2]

RICHARD SCOTT

13 September 2017



Shipyards and design houses at DSEI 2017 are positioning themselves to compete for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Type 31e frigate programme.

An industry engagement briefing in London last Thursday − a day after the announcement of the new National Shipbuilding Strategy − revealed plans for the fast-track acquisition of a globally deployable vessel geared towards maritime security and defence engagement operations. A ceiling price of no more than £250 million has been set for each for the first batch of five frigates, which will replace a similar number of general-purpose Type 23 frigates.

As part of a revamped surface fleet, the Type 31e will be tasked for routine security and presence missions. This will free up Type 45 destroyers and Type 26 frigates for task group operations or, in the case of Type 26, support of the strategic deterrent.

Addressing last week’s industry day, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip Jones said the RN must take ‘‘a hardheaded approach in setting our requirements to keep costs down, while maintaining a credible capability, and then having the discipline to stick to those requirements to allow the project to proceed at pace.

‘‘Adaptability is key; we need a design based on common standards, but which offers different customers the ability to specify different configurations and capabilities without the need for significant revisions,’’ he said.

The Type 31e design philosophy outlined is for a standard ‘core’ platform offered with a matrix of ‘adaptable’ options to meet potential export requirements. According to Jones, the first Type 31e must enter service in 2023 to maintain current force levels.

“‘‘Clearly that’s a demanding timescale,’’ he said, ‘‘which means the development stage must be undertaken more quickly than for any comparable ship since the Second World War.’’

Formal Type 31e procurement activity will begin in the first quarter of 2018, with a competitive design phase commencing in the second quarter. Main gate approval is planned before the end of 2018, with the start of manufacture following in early 2019.

Outline requirements for the Type 31e frigate include a hangar and flight deck big enough for a helicopter and unmanned air vehicles, enough accommodation to support the standard ship’s company with mission specialists as required, and stowage for sea boats, disaster relief stores and other equipment. The ship will have a crew of between 80-100.

Type 31e is central to a new warship acquisition model, which could see modular block construction activity shared across yards around the UK, with blocks then assembled at a central hub.

According to Tony Douglas, chief executive officer of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the programme and cost constraints attached to the programme will drive the change through the entire system. ‘‘The collective challenge for DE&S and industry is to deliver Type 31e in a different, more innovative way than has gone before,’’ he said. ‘‘I want this to be a transformation in the way we do business.’’

The design of the Type 31e general purpose frigate will be ‘‘UK-owned’’ and the procurement will be competitive between UK shipyards.

However, international partners, provided they satisfy national security requirements, are being encouraged to work with UK shipyards and other providers to produce the best possible commercial solution.

(538 words)
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[*] posted on 15-9-2017 at 01:36 PM


Future Flagship Albion Completes Sea Trials After £90m Overhaul

(Source: Royal Navy; issued Sept 13, 2017)

The only way is up for Britain's future flagship as she successfully completes her sea trials this week following a massive £90m revamp.

HMS Albion is in the Channel preparing to flex her gunnery muscles as she re-masters the art of military operations after six years away from the front line.

The Devonport-based assault ship completed initial sea trials in the late spring when machinery systems and sensors were tested.

After summer leave for the 350 or so sailors and Royal Marines on board, trials resumed with the emphasis on turning Albion back into an operational warship.

Merlin helicopters launched and recovered Merlin helicopters from 814 Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose - the first air power on the flight deck since 2011.

The ship has undergone a two-year £90m refit which will allow her to serve well into the 2030s, among them a new cooling system to better operate in warmer climes, improved radar, new command system - the 'brains' of the ship, turning the data from her sensors into information the operations room team can interpret - and the installation of Phalanx automated Gatling guns, replacing the old Goalkeeper system.

Phalanx spews out 20mm rounds at the rate of 75 per second - a wall of iron and fire which is intended to knock out incoming missiles, aircraft or suicide boats.

It's tried and tested across much of the Fleet, but a novelty on Albion - until this week when she'll be conducting live firing trials off Plymouth.

"This final phase of trials is deliberately more complex and demanding," explained Cdr Mark Jones, head of weapon engineering. "Since sailing at the end of August, there have already been many firsts and more to follow."

Such as the first overseas visit in six years. At the weekend Albion was in Den Helder in the Netherlands for joint talks between British and Dutch Royal Marines as they planned amphibious exercises and combined training in the coming three years.

Albion parted company with two of her larger landing craft behind to test the navigational and seafaring skills of the Royal Marines of 4 Assault Squadron.

The 45-strong detachment of green berets will have to negotiate the inland waterways of Holland from Rotterdam to Vlissingen before crossing the Channel and returning to Plymouth and rejoining their mother ship in their craft, which chug along at a sedentary 10kts (12mph).

"Albion has been performing really well throughout the sea trials package," said Albion's Commanding Officer Capt Tim Neild.

"We are buoyed by the prospect of a return to the front line. With such a capable ship and a highly professional crew, I have no doubt that we will see a really positive return on the Royal Navy's investment as we return to high readiness, ready to protect our nations interests worldwide."

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[*] posted on 15-9-2017 at 06:41 PM


DSEI 2017

Countdown to flight trials [DSEI17D4]

15 September 2017



The UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to bring the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II on board for trials for the first time towards the end of next year.

Fixed-wing First Of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT) are planned to begin off the US eastern seaboard in October 2018. It is expected that two fully instrumented F-35B development aircraft will embark on the ship for two embarked periods each lasting approximately four weeks.

FOCFT test points are intended to define the safe envelope for the operation of the F-35B from Queen Elizabeth and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales. Test planning for FOCFT is already well underway using BAE System’s F-35B/QEC integration facility at Warton.

As well as ski-jump launches and vertical landings, it is expected that next year’s trials will include the first executions of a new manoeuvre known as a shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL). An SRVL exploits the ability of the short takeoff vertical landing F-35B to use vectored thrust to slow the speed of the aircraft approach to about 35kt of closure relative to the carrier while still gaining the benefit of wingborne lift. The primary benefit of an SRVL is a significant increase in payload ‘bring back’ compared with a ‘standard’ vertical landing.

Queen Elizabeth is currently alongside in Portsmouth following arrival at her base port on 16 August. The ship is expected to resume trials in October, with handover to the RN before the end of the year.

(249 words)
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[*] posted on 17-9-2017 at 08:16 PM


DSEI 2017: UK defers Harpoon retirement

Tim Ripley - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

14 September 2017

Key Points
- The RN has deferred a decision to retire its Harpoon anti-ship missiles
- The move will partially alleviate a capability gap in RN anti-ship missile capabilities

Boeing Harpoon heavy anti-ship missiles will remain in service on Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigates after the UK Ministry of Defence deferred a decision to retire the weapon in 2018 without replacement.

Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2017 defence exhibition, held in London from 11-15 September, senior RN sources told Jane’s the sea-skimming GWS 60/Harpoon Block 1C missiles would remain in service at least until 2020. “There is work ongoing to look at options for longer extension in service,” said one source.

(114 of 525 words)
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[*] posted on 17-9-2017 at 10:56 PM


Finally a moderately sensible decision, who'd a thunk it?

Given we spent a 'whopping' $30m to upgrade and life extend our inventory of Block 1C missiles to Block II standard, I imagine this amount could be found within the UK's, USD $58.9B a year defence budget and squeeze another 10 years or so out of these missiles...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 18-9-2017 at 10:10 PM


Given some relatively stupid decisions emenating from the UK in the defence arena lately, I suspect this is a localised only outbreak of common sense.

Don't expect it to spread.




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[*] posted on 19-9-2017 at 09:06 AM


Module building in the UK has been vibrant since mid/late 1980's in the Offshore Platform/FPSO business. Now, in 2017, they suddenly think it's a good idea for Frigate building...............hmmmmmmmmmmmm, some people are real quick!
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[*] posted on 19-9-2017 at 06:44 PM


More on this............

Published: Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:27

DSEI 2017 - Naval Show News

DSEI 2017: Babcock Unveils Arrowhead General Purpose Frigate Design
 
Babock unveiled today the Arrowhead 120m general-purpose frigate at DSEI 2017 in London. Arrowhead’s, adaptable configuration acknowledges operational roles will change through the life of the ship with multiple mission bays incorporated into the design allowing for rapid reconfiguration and re-role to meet changing operational needs.

 
Arrowhead general purpose frigate scale model as showcased on Babcock's stand at DSEI 2017
  
Babcock has been advancing operational and data analysis technologies at a rapid pace. Arrowhead is cleverly designed to reduce through life costs by embedding key innovations such as real time equipment health monitoring during the build enabling information to be collected during deployment on the fitness of its systems to inform future service and maintenance arrangements.

All of which presents a real step forward to achieving the ‘iFrigate™’.

With the vessel able to accommodate a variety of equipment choices and with flexibility at the centre of the design philosophy Arrowhead can be deployed for a broad range of roles from low threat security operations to task force deployments.

The Arrowhead design lends itself equally to either a single build strategy, or a cross–site build strategy bringing together modules – an approach used for aircraft carrier assembly at Rosyth.

  
Arrowhead general purpose frigate scale model as showcased on Babcock's stand at DSEI 2017
 
Craig Lockhart, Managing Director Naval Marine, Babcock said: “Arrowhead is a game changing general purpose frigate for modern navies. Optimising Through Life Support costs is at the very core of the principles of Arrowhead’s design and build methodology, all balanced against the ability to deliver the required capability.

“In focusing Arrowhead’s development around a sustainable and capable design that will help to keep any fleet ‘mission ready’, Babcock has drawn upon its significant experience in vessel design and support for global clients”.

The 120m Arrowhead is an exciting addition to Babcock’s portfolio of ships that also includes 50m Inshore Patrol Vessels, and 70m and 90m Offshore Patrol Vessels. The most recent build example being the Samuel Beckett Class OPVs that Babcock is building for the Irish Naval Service at its Appledore facility in North Devon.

  
Arrowhead feature a shell door on the water line to easily recover people in distress (man over board or migrants).
 
Arrowhead 120 has a length of 120 meters, a breadth of 19 meters for a displacement of 4000 tonnes. Its speed is 24+ knots and range is 6000 nautical miles at 15 knots. Crew complement is 80 (plus 40). The vessel was design with commercial standard with applied naval engineering standards.

Missions bays: Space for numerous containerized units within the optimally located mission bays. Facilities for launch & recovery of UXVs. Flexible, reconfigurable infrastructure.

Missile options: Deck space for up to 8 surface to surface guided weapons. Up to 16 cells VLS.

Small calibre guns: Design provision for SCGs up to 30mm with associated EO sensors and magazine arrangements. Weapons can be fitted at a number of upperdeck positions.

Medium calibre guns: Design provision for MCG up to 5 Inch (127mm) with associated infrastructure.

Aviation: Flight deck sized for AW-101 Merlin/MH-60 Seahawk. Hangar capable of accommodating a medium organic naval helicopter (e.g. Seahawk or NH90) or a lighter helicopter plus a VTOL UAV (e.g. AW-159 Wildcat & MQ-8C Firescout). Design can accommodate all envisaged customer naval aircraft.
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[*] posted on 19-9-2017 at 07:01 PM


More on this..............

Published: Wednesday, 13 September 2017 23:24

DSEI 2017 - Naval Show News
 
BMT VENATOR-110 Frigate Scale Model at DSEI 2017
 
BMT Group is showcasing a scale model of the VENATOR-110 frigate at DSEI 2017, the international defense show currently held in London, UK. The design is a contender for UK's Type 31e frigate program.

  
BMT's VENATOR-110 scale model at DSEI 2017
 
A flexible and tailorable modern warship, able to provide a breadth of credible capability from maritime security to warfighting, worldwide, at an affordable procurement cost, the VENATOR-110 Frigate design is also gaining traction through several overseas opportunities such as the US FFG(X) and Colombian PES programmes.

VENATOR-110 is a standard platform with a flexible/modular approach enabling different customers to have a 'menu of choice'. It is also a design configured for 'block-build' enabling different parts to be built in different shipyards.

  
BMT's VENATOR-110 scale model at DSEI 2017
 
Analysis of military specifications and requirements have led to 3 different design variants of the VENATOR-110, each devised to suit intended role and affordability:

- General Purpose Light Frigate
- Patrol Frigate
- Patrol Ship

VENATOR-110 variants differ both in terms of the platform and combat system equipments fitted and also the internal specification of the ship itself, including platform survivability.

General Purpose Light Frigate Specification
Length (overall): 117 meters
Draught: 4.3 meters
Displacement: 4,000 tonnes
Maximum beam: 18 meters
Top speed: >25 knots
Range: 6,0000 Nm at 15 knots
 
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[*] posted on 19-9-2017 at 09:34 PM


U.S. Navy Research Chief Urges Caution as British Admirals Begin Dash for Autonomy

By: Jon Rosamond

September 18, 2017 11:59 AM


The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) transits alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017. US Navy Photo

LONDON — A spirited initiative by Royal Navy leaders to accelerate the adoption of autonomous systems in the British fleet has been gently challenged by the senior admiral at the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Rear Admiral David Hahn, the U.S Navy’s Chief of Naval Research, called for a measured approach to autonomy, in contrast to the “brave and courageous” technology plans outlined this week by U.K. admirals.

With potential adversaries looking to exploit loopholes in the autonomous behaviour of future unmanned systems, Hahn said a cautious approach was required before innovative concepts were rushed into service.

The difference in emphasis between U.S. and British officers emerged during a panel discussion on maritime autonomy at the DSEI exhibition in London on Thursday.

Rear Admiral Paul Bennett, the Royal Navy’s assistant chief of staff for capability, said: “I fundamentally believe that autonomy will transform the way we fight and operate in future, in all domains. That could be a very quick transformation in some areas, and a much slower one in others.”

Pointing to “possible quick wins that we should take”, Bennett said the adoption of autonomous systems could help break the traditional practice of replacing old ships and aircraft with new ones.

Instead, he said, autonomy “potentially allows you to deliver greater mass; you’re able to add a series of effectors linked together to give you a capability. That efficiency around mass is hugely stimulating as a possibility.”

Hahn, who commanded the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) from 2003 to 2007, suggested that autonomous systems might not be able to fully impact military operations for some considerable time.


Rotary-wing UAV operating from a Royal Navy ship. Royal Navy Photo

“The U.S. Navy history and experience of autonomy has been going on since 1870 and … true autonomy, of benefit to the warfighter, has always been just around the corner. We feel more like that today because of the advances we see in artificial intelligence [and] processing”, Hahn said.

“However all the applications, from the scientific or commercial perspective, have been very narrow. The environment that we expect these vehicles to play in is complex, unstructured and uncertain – and the adversary gets the playbook.”

An autonomous unmanned vessel, for instance, will be programmed to adopt collision avoidance regulations, but a hostile craft could use this known behavior to nudge the unmanned system off its intended course.

Hahn also warned against assuming that autonomy will provide a solution to data overload among naval personnel.

“The science isn’t there yet”, he said. “Will it get there? Yes. Are we at the inflection point and will we start going exponential in capability? Maybe.

“I think we need to be cautious as we approach this, to understand where we can take it up and then boldly insert it into our capability set.”

In response, Bennett acknowledged that he took a “slightly different view” to his American counterpart. “We want to drive ourselves towards autonomous solutions because we fundamentally believe that it delivers mass and efficiency, but I can’t tell you the timescale and I can’t tell you how far we’re going to get”, he said.

During a solo presentation on the same topic earlier in the day, Bennett told his DSEI audience that the Royal Navy was “absolutely determined that we’re going to embrace autonomy as the future and embrace innovation in every sense”.

With the UK naval community celebrating the construction of new aircraft carriers, frigates and submarines, he said: “If we just focus on platforms, we fail. We have got to … figure out how we challenge the norms, harness new technology and introduce new ways of thinking so those platforms are enabled … to be as effective as they possibly can be.


Unmanned underwater vehicle operating from a Royal Navy ship. Royal Navy Photo

“The navy’s ambition … is to lead in the exploitation of novel and disruptive technology to change the way we fight.”

Calling for action “wherever possible” to reduce the number of sailors and naval aviators in harm’s way, he said that proposals for unmanned logistics ships, automatic fire fighting systems and advanced cockpit technology should be evaluated thoroughly in a drive to reduce the manpower load.

“We will explore and exploit remote and autonomous off-board modular systems to augment and maximise the utility of our finite numbers of ships.”

Exemplifying this approach, Britain’s naval chief on Tuesday announced plans to demonstrate an unmanned rotary-wing aircraft from a frigate in 2018 and accelerate the procurement of an autonomous Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability by 2019.

Bennett said the navy needed to accelerate the journey from concept to operational service “by incentivizing technological innovation” and by working more closely with academia and industry.


First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Philip Jones on Sept. 12, 2017. Royal Navy Photo

The single “really powerful” lesson to emerge from Exercise Unmanned Warrior in 2016, he said, was that “there’s absolutely no doubt that the technology is available today and if we’re not embracing it we’re failing. We’ve got to figure out a way of embracing it as quickly as we can.

“In the MCM world, for example, we proved without a doubt that the autonomous sensors that are available today certainly match up with the sensors that we’ve got on our current platforms.” While questions remained over how the new technology would be employed, he said “we don’t need to wait for it to mature.”

In a keynote speech on Tuesday, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones argued that “nothing in innovation or warfare has ever been achieved by playing it safe. We’ve seen what the technology can do, now we must take a brave step forward to embrace the opportunity before us.”
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[*] posted on 26-9-2017 at 10:51 AM


Babcock, BMT team as start gun fires for Type 31e programme

Richard Scott - IHS Jane's Navy International

25 September 2017



Key Points
- Babcock and BMT Defence Services have teamed to bid for the UK’s Type 31e frigate programme
- A RFI to support Type 31e market testing was released on 11 September, with responses due back by 16 October

A first teaming for the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Type 31e frigate programme has shown its hand ahead of industry days at the end of this month.

Babcock and BMT Defence Services revealed their intention to establish a strategic partnership at a photocall event on 14 September at the DSEI 2017 exhibition. Full details of the formal teaming arrangement are still being finalised, but it is understood that Babcock will lead the bid.

(111 of 926 words)
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[*] posted on 26-9-2017 at 12:14 PM


Huh... That's interesting. It should mean:
1. Babcock will be leading with their Arrowhead design (which I think is by far the best looking contender [clearly the most important criteria])
2. Babcock will be bidding to build them in the England rather than Scotland (that'll piss odd somebody).
Be interested to see how the Arrowhead platform changes with the involvement of BMT.
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[*] posted on 26-9-2017 at 12:27 PM


It could also mean that BMT is teaming with A.N.Other party..................? Unlikely but who knows in the current UK set-up?
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[*] posted on 26-9-2017 at 01:13 PM


Letter from the First Sea Lord to the Daily Telegraph

(Source: Royal Navy; issued Sept 22, 2017)

What is not said in all of this, is the fact the Navy has insufficient ships to do what it should do, nor that manning needs to be INCREASED to match a 32-warship Frigate and Destroyer requirement recognized by almost everyone as the required norm!

Open letter from Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, to the Daily Telegraph regarding their recent article entitled 'Weakened Navy' (15th September 2017).

As head of the Naval Service I owe it to my people and your readers to set the record straight (‘Weakened Navy ‘can barely protect UK’’, September 15).

It is simply plain wrong to say that HMS Ocean has been delayed by engine problems. She sailed from Gibraltar on time and to plan and was laden with nine helicopters, hundreds of pallets of emergency aid, water, trucks and almost 700 personnel from all three services.

I would also highlight the role of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay which has been instrumental to the UK’s immediate military response and deserves to be recognised.

As for the wider Fleet, this week there have been over 30 ships and submarines deployed on operations, preparing for operations or in training. This includes frigates and destroyers that are patrolling our home waters, protecting maritime trade in the Middle East and leading a NATO task group in the Mediterranean.

The Royal Navy does have manpower challenges and we have not tried to hide this fact.

We are making good progress to put them right and earlier this week I was able to announce Royal Navy affiliations with a further four University Technical Colleges which are helping to train the engineers and scientists that the Navy and the Nation will depend on for our future security and prosperity.

It is reassuring that the Daily Telegraph recognises the pivotal importance of a strong Royal Navy but it is disappointing that such a story, with key errors, was printed with such prominence.

We must never lose sight of how hard our sailors and marines are working today, or how relevant their contribution will become as the United Kingdom forges a new, confident and ambitious role in the world.

(signed)

Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC,
First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

-ends-
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[*] posted on 27-9-2017 at 04:30 PM


New Ship to Support the Aircraft Carriers Arrives in UK

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 25, 2017)


Built in South Korea, the Royal Navy’s second of four fleet support ships, has arrived in Falmouth where it will undergo customisation work to install armour, self-defence weaponry and communications systems. (RN photo)

The second of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class support ships, RFA Tiderace, has arrived in Cornwall to begin a programme of customisation that will support 300 UK jobs.

Like her sister ship RFA Tidespring, which arrived in April this year, the 39,000-tonne RFA Tiderace can carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world.

She has been designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, the first of which, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth last month.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “This year of the Royal Navy goes from strength to strength as we welcome yet another new ship into the UK’s growing fleet. It’s great to see RFA Tiderace join her sister ship RFA Tidespring in the UK today, and I would like to thank the Falmouth team for their important work.”

The customisation work in Falmouth, which will install armour, self-defence weaponry and communications systems, will help to support 300 local jobs. The UK work content in the Tide Class programme as a whole, which is being delivered well within budget by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), is worth around £150 million, sustaining further jobs at 27 UK-based companies.

RFA Tiderace is expected to undergo around four months of customisation before beginning a round of final sea trials before entering service next year. Meanwhile, RFA Tidespring is expected to finish final sea trials in the coming weeks and enter service before the end of this year.

Sir Simon Bollom, Chief of Materiel (Ships) at Defence Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation, said: “Like her sister ship, RFA Tiderace will perform a crucial role in supporting the Royal Navy’s global mission in defence of the UK and her interests.

“I am proud to welcome Tiderace and her crew to Falmouth as part of the continued successful delivery of the Tide Class programme and look forward to welcoming the final two ships in the class over the coming months.”

The Tide Class has a flight deck able to accommodate the large Chinook helicopter and offer significant improvements over previous RFA tankers such as double hulls and greater environmental protection measures.

Tiderace’s arrival comes at a time when the Royal Navy fleet is growing, as encouraged by the National Shipbuilding Strategy announced earlier this month. Setting out to expand the fleet by the 2030s and generate regional prosperity for shipyards across the UK, the Strategy is ambitious in its approach.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 28-9-2017 at 10:39 PM


Published: Thursday, 28 September 2017 09:41

Second Royal Navy City-class Type 26 Frigate to be Named HMS Belfast
 
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon unveiled the name of one of the new Type 26 frigates as HMS Belfast during a trip to Northern Ireland. The second to be named in the City Class of eight brand new, cutting-edge, anti-submarine warfare frigates, HMS Belfast will provide advanced protection for the likes of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The Defence Secretary revealed the name at Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff, which built the Royal Navy’s last HMS Belfast, in 1938.
 

HMS Belfast will enter service with the Royal Navy in the mid 2020s.
 
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
I’m hugely proud that the second name announced of our eight cutting-edge new Type 26 frigates will be HMS Belfast. She and her sister ships will form the backbone of our Navy well into the 2060s, keeping us safe by protecting the country’s nuclear deterrent and new aircraft carriers.

It’s apt to name this ship at the famous site which built the very first HMS Belfast. Thanks to our ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy, this shipyard once again has the chance to be involved in building a British warship thanks to the competition to build a new class of light frigates for our growing Royal Navy.

The Defence Secretary launched the ambitious National Shipbuilding Strategy earlier in the month, and as part of that laid out plans for a first batch of another new class of frigates – the Type 31e.
 
   
The last Type 26 scale model design on BAE Systems stand at DSEI 2017. Navy Recognition picture.
  
A competitive procurement process for those ships could see them shared between yards and assembled at a central hub. The warships will be built in the UK, with a price cap of no more than £250m, and will be designed to meet the needs of both the Royal Navy and the export market.

The Defence Secretary has personally committed to visiting all of the UK’s major shipyards in the run-up to industry bringing forward its solutions for the Type 31e class, as he looks to grow the Royal Navy fleet for the first time since World War Two.

Just before the start of the Second World War, the original HMS Belfast was commissioned, having being built at Harland and Wolff shipyard. She went on to support the Battle of North Cape, the Normandy landings and the Korean War.

The original ship now belongs to Imperial War Museums and is permanently docked in London. Before the new HMS Belfast commissions, the original HMS Belfast will be renamed ‘HMS Belfast 1938’, the year the ship was launched.

The Type 26 will replace the UK’s Type 23 frigates, with the first set to enter service in the early 2020s and the last remaining in service beyond the middle of the century. BAE Systems image.

 
 
The new HMS Belfast is set to enter service in the mid-2020s and, along with her fellow Type 26 frigates, will have a truly global reach, protecting the UK’s strategic interests as well as the likes of the UK’s nuclear submarines, and delivering high-end warfighting capability wherever it is needed.

Its flexible design will also enable these capabilities to be adapted to counter future threats, whilst the ships will also benefit from the latest advances in digital technology.

Part of the MOD’s £178bn equipment plan, the three ships being built under the first contract will safeguard 4,000 jobs in Scotland and across the UK supply chain until 2035. The Defence Secretary cut steel on HMS Glasgow, the first Type 26, in July, whilst the other is yet to be named.
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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 02:11 PM


The Carrier Strike Group

(Source: Aircraft Carrier Alliance; issued Oct 16, 2017)


The Royal Navy’s first large aircraft carrier, HMLS Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by two Type 23 frigates photographed during her sea trials during the summer. (RN photo)

An aircraft carrier will take aircraft to where you need them to operate them – with the added benefit that the ship remains UK sovereign territory and that it can carry everything needed to sustain its aircraft for weeks or months on end. The process of preparing for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational deployment in 2021 is progressing across a broad front. Everything from the base, the equipment and the people.

Based at Portsmouth, the Carrier Strike Group staff is taking shape. With a team of about 70 specialists – predominantly officers with a few senior ratings in the mix. Together they cover a broad spectrum of maritime expertise. There are fighter pilots, helicopter aircrew, logisticians, warfare officers, submariners, intelligence and cyber and communications specialists.

The staff is built around three core functions – operations, information warfare and logistics – but what makes the Carrier Strike Group special is the addition of a strike warfare cell with fixed-wing, helicopter and submarine expertise. This cell generates the strike DNA that flows right through the staff, giving it a focus on strike operations.

Essentially the Carrier Strike Group consists of the carrier, the escorts, support vessels and, when applicable associated land-based aircraft. In terms of the UK carrier group, the exact configuration will be tailored to the mission. That said, whenever one of the carriers deploys, it is likely to be escorted by a number of frigates as part of the anti-submarine defence layer, destroyers for defence air and potentially an integrated submarine for longer-range surveillance and protection.

There are also a number of other supporting elements that will play a part. Any future Carrier Strike Group could be accompanied by one of the future fleet support ships as well as a Tide-class tanker to replenish stores of food and ammunition as well as fuel, water and anything else required for a long deployment.

The Integrated Mission System

Alongside the F-35B, the new carriers can embark any aircraft that has been cleared for carrier operations. This covers Royal Navy rotary-wing assets such as Merlin, Merlin CROWSNEST, and Wildcat. Added to that, there is also the Royal Air Force Chinook and Puma helicopters, and crucially the Army Air Corps Apache gunship, which add another element of carrier strike to the capability.

The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be ready to serve as significant players on the global stage in peacetime and wartime. They will offer the ability to go to a crisis before it comes to us. In a high-end conflict, this could be in the carrier strike role. But, if it is in response to an earthquake, tsunami or other humanitarian crisis, the carriers can be adapted to conduct a non-combatant evacuation or a disaster relief operation.

The Carrier Strike Group staff is already in training for any of these eventualities and in early 2017 the team conducted synthetic (computer-based) training with the US Navy as it was preparing to deploy a carrier to the Middle East.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 24-10-2017 at 09:59 AM


Cammell Laird, BAE Systems tie knot for Type 31e frigate bid

Richard Scott - IHS Jane's Navy International

23 October 2017

Commercial engineering, ship repair, and shipbuilding group Cammell Laird has teamed with BAE Systems to bid for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) GBP1.25 billion (USD1.65 billion) Type 31e general purpose frigate requirement.

The move, announced on 18 October, positions Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird as prime contractor for the programme, including responsibility for building and assembling the vessels, with BAE Systems contributing its expertise in warship design and engineering, combat systems, and export capture.


Cammell Laird and BAE Systems will bid the Leander design to meet the Type 31e requirement. (Cammell Laird)

The two companies’ candidate design, known as Leander, is an evolution of BAE Systems’ earlier Cutlass general purpose frigate concept, itself a stretched and modified development of the Khareef corvette design built for the Royal Navy of Oman.

Forming the centrepiece of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) recently unveiled National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), the Type 31e programme envisages the fast-track acquisition of a globally deployable but affordable frigate geared towards maritime security and defence engagement operations. A ceiling price of GBP250 million/ship has been set for the first batch of five frigates, intended to enter RN service from 2023 to replace the five general purpose-roled Type 23 frigates.

A specialist in commercial ship support and shiprepair, Cammell Laird has in recent years re-entered the commercial shipbuilding market. The yard is currently building the polar research vessel RSS Sir David Attenborough for the UK Natural Environment Research Council under a GBP150 million contract awarded in late 2015.

“Cammell Laird has very much welcomed the NSbS and the Type 31e competition,” said Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret in a statement. “We will offer a UK warship design, a UK combat system, and a UK build and a supply chain with high UK content.

(297 of 557 words)
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