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The Royal Navy: what's needed for the future?

persona_non_grata

Lantern Swinger
Jay_Nine said:
persona_non_grata said:
To go about jumping in rather late in the game why not get some of these? Multi-role, multi-faceted and like a frigate but bigger, or whatever you want it to be. Small crews as well (100) but with accom and messing capabilities (probably very short duration) for around 300.

My tuppence for the time being.

PNG

*nods thoughtfully* I've seen mention of the Absalon-class before... the main drawback that I can see is the top speed - only twenty-four knots - whereas our current frigates are listed as being able to make twenty-eight knots quite comfortably. It would seem to fulfil quite a few of NaB's and Oil Slick's criteria - a 5" main gun, sixteen Harpoon Block II SSM and VLS capability that can use ESSM, and whilst it's not a dedicated air defence vessel it looks as if it might be able to at least protect itself...

I think it's certainly a good candidate to consider. I don't know if I'm worrying too much about the relative lack of speed or not, and I'd appreciate some informed commentary with regards to the VLS, whether this design would be flexible enough to accomodate any other missiles we may wish to use, such as Tomahawks... the range sounds very good, twice the distance of a Type 22, but again, I don't know enough about warships to know if that's as important as I believe it to be. (The only ships I've ever been on were ferries to the Isle of Wight and back again. *grins self-deprecatingly*)

It sounds as though they carry enough machineguns to make them very prickly targets for terrorists in speedboats... I don't know how useful the Stingers will be, though, but then I suppose a bit of extra firepower never hurt anybody. (Well... all right, except for whoever the Royal Navy uses it to knock seven bells out of. :) But the enemy's opinion doesn't count.) Given the appearance of the vessels in the photographs, it looks as if they're designed in a vaguely similar way as the Type 45s - to reduce the radar signature. And to cap it all off, they're already designed to carry Merlins - no modifications would be needed there.

The other possible obstacles that I can think of would be the logistics - how difficult and how expensive it might be to procure parts and supplies for them - and how effectively would they be able to hunt submarines? Too, given that I'm working on the assumption that thirty-six surface escorts is the optimum-sized force, would the Absalon-class work best as our only class of surface escort, or would we be better off with, say, four or six as command vessels, with another class making up the bulk of our frigate force?

Finally, if there are any areas that this class of vessel is lacking in, might it be feasible to modify it so that it does meet our requirements, or do we either go with it as is or look elsewhere?

Thanks, PNG, and don't worry about the late entry - welcome! :)

Jay

With regard to the comments which are in bold it could be argued that since we're selling the Danes Merlin they'd probably supply spare parts for any ships bought (however much a cloud dream that may be) and in any case spare parts could always be (though at considerable expense, cost and delay) reverse-engineered, though they're probably featuring fairly common components parts (not that I know much about either department).

As for modifying it to meet our requirements that would, considering the Procurement Executive's history for the past 30 years or so, plus government and MoD messing about, probably the last thing we'd want to happen as there may be nothing left to operate with!

I agree with the assessment that they could act as a C2 post or something similar, but their inherent versatility would make them useful for doing CIMIC and aid to the civil power wherever they are, also for doing various sneaky beaky-type operations as well. Two Merlins would be useful as well.
I was going to suggest that speed may be increased by using different engines but I think elements of hull hydrodynamics would nullify any argument for that.

Weapons systems could be replaced with other systems if necessary with the containerised systems inherent in the design and sub hunting seems to be well catered for with up to 300 mines(!) and plenty of torpedoes and sensors could also be replaced with our systems.

If you wanted more firepower (and very nice looking accommodation) you could look at one of these. Also well catered for in the speed department - max published speed of 30kts.

Absalon could act as mothership to a few of these which might be useful in waterways (3.4m draft).

Looks like we should start up a "Fantasy Fleet" thread.

PNG
 

persona_non_grata

Lantern Swinger
Seaweed said:
It's not just pay increases for Cdrs and below - this has been going on for years with differentials steadily eroding. Start with CDS and his responsibilities and compare his salary with equivalent responsibilities in plcs and work down. If you pay peanuts to the brass, you'll only have brass monkeys (to mix metaphors) to pick them up. We are long past the days when Service rank confered social status and the earth shook when an admiral walked past - so we'd better ensure that that loss is compensated in theonly way that seems to matter these days. Mrs Admiral (oops, Lady Admiral) is quite capable at looking at the houses that her husband's successful school chums are living in (let alone holiday pad in Mustique or wherever), without years of separation, and drawing comparisons.

If we're talking about pay, retention and all of that fun stuff then why not, in the case of linking the respective positions to their civil equivalents, link the 1SL/CAS/CGS Head of Service appointments to the Head of the Metropolitian Police as that's their nearest civil equivalent, and he gets somewhere near £200,000+ pa or possibly link them to the salary of the judiciary at Group 1 (£230,400pa) at this report, page vi. Whereas, the person who becomes CDS as a 4* starts only on £213,306 (from April 2007 rates) which is much less for a much larger job and level of overall responsibility (same document). If a 1* officer gets, by comparison from starting point minimum £82,900 then I think we're all probably highly undervalued (as we all know).
To highlight this look at Medical and Dental Officers; a 3-star there gets £136,582.92 from April last year which would appear to be a hell of a lot less than any NHS doctor of equivalent grade... but then again from looking at their documents they seem to be undersold as well.
Big problems which are going to take a long time to solve.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
A very informative link (which I had not seen before) PNG, particularly section 4, which contains some hints of capable officers jumping ship. The senior Stars concern at improving junior pay rates as a priority does them personal credit, and with other comments sets them ethically far above their civilian counterparts, but I believe is NOT in the best interests of the Services for just the reason above - dare I say it, someone seems to be missing the bigger picture. The risk of a foreshortened career at the 1st Star is interesting too. There is absolutely no evidence of the MoD looking out to see what has happened to those who were lost - the water just closes over the top. I know people who left as Lts (years and years ago) who went on to the equivalent of senior Star positions in plcs, and no doubt are now sitting on the proceeds of share options etc.
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
Pay is an emotive point, the Senior Salary Report above touches on some of the issues as does the AFPRB report for last year, neither really come close to addressing the problem. Most people don't join up for the money, but with the onset of family etc it becomes a real retention issue at NCO level and above. The rewards are simply not there anymore, however HMG chooses to spin it (comparing ranks pay to the National Average is a schoolboy attempt at waffle and few have fallen for it)

As I get ready to leave the RN I am truly shocked at the disparity between my 25 year in CPO pay and the jobs I am applying for, the salaries are broadly the same but the benefits make my HTD look like a joke, one job which I have got through the first interview round for has profit sharing bonus of 6% and an annual performance bonus of up to £10K (£5K being the "norm"). the basic salary is more than I get now! And contracting work, unbelieveable c£300+ per day for the same job I do now, I have no idea how pusser intends to sort it out but heads in the sand is the most likely solution.

I do find your view (Seaweed) that senior (1* and above) officers looking out for their junior ranks with regard to pay is not in the interest of the service as a bit strange, they really have realised that all the experience is flooding out the door you know, it's not a statistical blip.
 

persona_non_grata

Lantern Swinger
Seaweed said:
A very informative link (which I had not seen before) PNG, particularly section 4, which contains some hints of capable officers jumping ship. The senior Stars concern at improving junior pay rates as a priority does them personal credit, and with other comments sets them ethically far above their civilian counterparts, but I believe is NOT in the best interests of the Services for just the reason above - dare I say it, someone seems to be missing the bigger picture. The risk of a foreshortened career at the 1st Star is interesting too. There is absolutely no evidence of the MoD looking out to see what has happened to those who were lost - the water just closes over the top. I know people who left as Lts (years and years ago) who went on to the equivalent of senior Star positions in plcs, and no doubt are now sitting on the proceeds of share options etc.

To be honest I have to agree with ChiefTiff in asking why you think it is not in the interest of the Service, lo the entire Armed Forces, for senior officers to look after those below them in terms of pay, etc. I'm sure that the police, NHS and fire service do, and probably not just on grounds of strike-prevention, but for ensuring the well-being and morale with their services (plus proportionally increase of their budgets(?) along the lines of "We're worth this much and we need x, y and z to get along for the year plus the pay rise linked to inflation if you so please").
To be honest where would be the harm in linking the entire Services' pay rates, scales to that of the Met.? They are, as far as I can see, our nearest civil counterpart with a vaguely similar rank structure and a size not too far removed from that of the Naval Service (31,073 officers (wiki)). Yes the Treasury would reap bloody hell for the next decade or six but it would put the Services back on the same footing as the police and the fire services. It would probably increase retention and improve morale; I mean what young Royal or matelot would seriously want to stay in the RM/RN for his full 22 when he could be a policeman on higher pay within 5 years or more? (From a purely economic perspective and not accounting for that which drives most people to join and stay).
Just my tuppence for the time being.
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
Jay_Nine said:
*nods thoughtfully* Okay... well, if Meteor sales fell to nations operating F-35s but not Typhoons, would that be likely to make for a major shortfall in overall Meteor sales? And if it did... well, could we then buy up the Meteors that otherwise wouldn't have any buyers? (Possibly with a discount?) It'd certainly help make sure our Typhoons didn't run short of Meteors...

Difficult answer to give J9.. depends on politics really. However, it would be likely that Meteor may be sold to nations who the US were unwilling to sell the latest spec of AMRAAM to. There is a similar situation already existing where the Israelis have sold their Derby active radar and Python 4 IR AAMs to several nations refused AMRAAMs and latest gen AIM-9s by the US. Unless an order were cancelled however, it is unlikely that there'd be Meteors available to 'buy up'.

Jay_Nine said:
Alternatively, how likely is it that the next generation AMRAAM design might be better-suited to the needs of both our F-35Bs and our Typhoons? (Just playing devil's advocate to cover all the angles...)...

Many in the RAF wanted to buy AMRAAM rather than Meteor. Suffice to say that the US will always ensure they have a very capable AAM capability.

Jay_Nine said:
One thing about the AC-130Js on your shopping list: if we bought these, would this mean that we'd have more capable fixed-wing gunships than the Americans? (So far as I can tell, their seem to be based on older model C-130s, but I could be wrong.)

No. You are correct that all AC-130s are currently based on the 'classic' C-130. The latest variant is the AC-130U which is based upon the H model (and indeed replaced the AC-130H which in turn replaced the AC130A). The UK cannot afford to fund the development of an 'AC-130J' unless the US developed this themselves. The AC-130 has a very complex avionics and weapons system which is immensely expensive. Realistically, the most we could hope for would be a 'ro-ro' 'AC-lite' pallet for our C-130Js, or sticking a limited gunship fit on something like a King Air or Reaper.

Jay_Nine said:
Thanks again, MM, :)

Jay

No worries.

MM
 

Oil_Slick

War Hero
Magic_Mushroom said:
Jay_Nine said:
*nods thoughtfully* Okay... well, if Meteor sales fell to nations operating F-35s but not Typhoons, would that be likely to make for a major shortfall in overall Meteor sales? And if it did... well, could we then buy up the Meteors that otherwise wouldn't have any buyers? (Possibly with a discount?) It'd certainly help make sure our Typhoons didn't run short of Meteors...

Difficult answer to give J9.. depends on politics really. However, it would be likely that Meteor may be sold to nations who the US were unwilling to sell the latest spec of AMRAAM to. There is a similar situation already existing where the Israelis have sold their Derby active radar and Python 4 IR AAMs to several nations refused AMRAAMs and latest gen AIM-9s by the US. Unless an order were cancelled however, it is unlikely that there'd be Meteors available to 'buy up'.


A major driver to go with METEOR apart from the vastly better performance was the need to produce a package that was 100% non US content so we could flog our planes to our friends in the ME.


US bet the farm on a less impressive missile carried by a stealthy fighter being able to close to @40nm undetected, EU/Ruskies went for a better missile on less expensive fighters that can take on a target out to 80+nm.

If someone develops a method of lighting up a stealthy fighter at long range the USAF is going to catch a cold. Of course the rather pesky IRST systems that all new EU/Ruskie fighters now carry could potentially nullify much of the 'stealth' advantage the US has, you can't ignore the laws of physics and thermodynamics.


FWIW, METEOR can't be carried internally in the F-22 either, even the AMRAAM needs clipped wings. It would be all but impossible to develop an equivalent missile that could be carried internally due to size constraints.
 
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