UK Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

tentative dates inside ( "... However, the spokeswoman gave some indication ...")
Construction Date Set for British Type 26 Anti-Sub Frigates
Construction work on a new class of anti-submarine warfare frigates for the British Royal Navy is set to get underway in the summer of 2017, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed during a visit to the BAE Systems shipyard in Scotland, where the vessels will be built.

Subject to final contract negotiations, steel will be cut on the first of what is expected to be a fleet of eight Type 26 frigates destined to replace the current Type 23 vessels now in service.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) also announced the award of a £100 million (US $124 million) demonstration and manufacture contract for one of the key weapons destined for the warship — the MBDA-built Sea Ceptor anti-air missile.

The missile has already been ordered to upgrade Type 23 air defences and has been purchased by several foreign navies.

The announcement of the intention to start building the frigates follows more than two years of haggling between BAE and the MoD over the cost of the program.

Fallon’s announcement during a visit to BAE’s Govan yard, near Glasgow, Scotland, signals that the two sides have closed the gap on cost to the point where they are confident enough to announce a construction start date, even though the final details have yet to be agreed.

BAE is expected to complete demonstration phase work on the frigate in June 2017, so the largely symbolic act of cutting first steel is likely to take place around that time.

The original plan was to start construction work by cutting first steel this year, but that was delayed by the arguments over cost and other factors.

Nevertheless, progress on the program has been largely maintained by the award of contracts to the supply chain for long-lead item and other equipment for the first three warships and the award to BAE of demonstration phase contracts.

In total, £1.9 billion has been invested in the program to date, according to an MoD statement.

The warships are urgently needed by 2023 to replace the first of the early-build Type 23s.

A BAE spokeswoman wasn’t able to give the planned, in-service date for the first vessel.

However, the spokeswoman gave some indication of the intended delivery rate, saying the work on the second of the 7,000-ton warships is scheduled to start around 25 months after cutting of steel on the first vessel. The third ship will follow 20 months after that, before the program settles into an 18-month drumbeat of delivery.

The warships will be built at Govan and BAE’s nearby Scotstoun yard.

Govan is currently building three offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Royal Navy, and a deal between BAE and the MoD for an additional two Type 26s is expected to be signed soon.

The first of the five OPV’s is scheduled to start sea trials early next year.

The OPV orders have helped maintain vital skills at the yards, bridging the gap between the run-down of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier construction program and the start of the Type 26 work.

The first of the two 70,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class carriers is scheduled to start sea trials next year.

“The UK government’s commitment today will secure hundreds of high-skilled shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde for at least two decades and hundreds more in the supply chain across Britain,” Fallon said during his visit to the Govan yard.

BAE had expected to build 13 of the Type 26 frigates, but the order was scaled back to eight in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

The MoD intends to replace the five canceled warships with the same number of lighter, general-purpose frigates; although the SDSR held out the long-term prospect of building additional vessels to boost the Royal Navy's surface combatant fleet beyond the current plan of six Type 45 destroyers and 13 frigates.

Preconcept studies on the light frigate are continuing, including work on selecting a design. Babcock, BAE and BMT designs are in the running.

The building plan for the general-purpose frigates is expected to form part of a soon-to-be-published national shipbuilding strategy being considered to take the industry forward beyond current orders.

The strategy document is already circulating among senior government officials and top industry executives ahead of publication.

It’s possible the strategy will recommend adopting a modular approach to the building of the general-purpose frigates with shipyards other than BAE also securing work in a similar fashion to the successful policy employed to deliver the aircraft carriers.

A BAE-led industry alliance assembled the carriers, but modules were built by several yards across the UK and floated up to a site at Rosyth, Scotland, where the sections were bolted together.
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
HMS Albion a step closer to joining Royal Navy next year

HMS Albion – the Royal Navy amphibious assault ship that has been mothballed in 2011, just eight years after she joined the fleet – is gradually coming to life one step at a time.

In her latest milestone, the amphibious command ship been placed in long term lay-up with her own generators now powering lighting and computer systems.

Shipbuilder Babcock is in charge of the refit that began in October 2014.

Sister ship HMS Bulwark, also Plymouth-based, has been Britain’s on-call assault ship as HMS Albion undergoes her refit. Next year the two ships are set to trade places as HMS Bulwark goes into long-term refit and HMS Albion completes her massive two-year keel-to-topmast overhaul.
HMS Albion has been gradually coming to life since the middle of 2015. A year into her refit, work below the waterline was completed in dry dock, allowing the to be flooded and she was towed to a new basin for completion of the refit afloat.

Today she has her superstructure covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin, and with the 87-strong ship’s company ticking off milestones by the week as they gear up for the crew moving back on board early in the New Year, the arrival of the first commanding officer in six years, then sea trials and being formally handed back to the Navy and a rededication in the autumn followed by operational sea training.

HMS Albion is the first vessel to be newly equipped with a fresh, rather than salt-water, cooling system, which has meant new piping fitted throughout. It means the sailors and the hi-tech systems aboard should be far cooler in the Gulf region, for instance.

Some 25 miles of new electrical cables have been installed, two miles of pipework replaced, 100 pumps overhauled, 1,500 valves replaced and 20,000 square metres of steel in 34 ballast tanks preserved – enough to cover three football pitches.

The ‘Phalanx’ automated close-defence gun system is being fitted in place of the former ‘Goalkeeper’ system, which is being retired across the fleet. The ship now has the newly fitted ‘Artisan’ radar which can track more than 800 contacts as close as 125ft or as far away as 125 miles. To deal with so much potential extra data from radars, the operations room has a new command system.

Sailors are scheduled to return to the ship early next year with half of the crew transferring to HMS Albion. In the meantime, the ‘skeleton’ crew already on board have been reminding affiliated organisations and VIPs – notably the city of Chester – and the ship’s sponsor, Princess Anne, that their ship is on her way back.

Commander Mark Jones, HMS Albion’s head of weapon engineering, said: “We’ve done our utmost to keep the spirit of Albion alive – certainly while we’ve been refitting her, with ship’s company attending memorial services to Jutland, Remembrance Day parades, visiting our affiliates.
“That will only step up in 2017.”

The ship will complete her amphibious training with a workout with the Royal Marines and Commando Helicopter Force, based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, in the South West before her first deployment.

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to make this: Oct 1, 2016
My point was in the UK a lot is made of how expensive this plane is, but because of the way we are a part of the project as the only Tier 1 partner we get enough out of it to pay for more than twice as many aircraft as we are buying! The UK is turning a profit on this deal!
happen, you need

News story

UK chosen as a global F-35 repair hub

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First published:
7 November 2016
The F-35 maintenance programme will generate millions of pounds and support thousands of jobs in North Wales.
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I guess :)
... In the RN anti shipping strike is primarily the province of SSNs first and ship based SSMs second, with helicopter launched AShMs third (mostly for smaller vessels e.g. FACs and patrol boats). ...
... yeah:
UK to retire GWS60 Harpoon at end of 2018
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Key Points
  • Retirement of Harpoon will leave RN warships without a heavyweight surface-to-surface guided weapon
  • The United Kingdom currently has no funded programme for a Harpoon replacement
The United Kingdom will withdraw the GWS60/Harpoon Block 1C anti-ship missile from Royal Navy (RN) service at the end of 2018 without replacement, IHS Jane's has learned.

The retirement of Harpoon will leave RN warships without a heavyweight surface-to-surface guided weapon (SSGW), opening up a gap in over-the-horizon anti-surface warfare capability. Furthermore, with the helicopter-launched Sea Skua missile going out of service (OSD) at the end of March 2017, the RN will be devoid of any anti-surface guided weapon for about two years pending the introduction of the Sea Venom/ANL lightweight anti-ship missile on the Wildcat HMA.2 helicopter in late 2020. ...
... self-censored part ...
all I can say is God Save The Queen
Aug 28, 2016

from what I figured, the RN ran into this problem: after "design phase" which took some twenty years, Type 26 (also called Global Combat Ship)
turned out to be huge (8k range), expensive (1b pounds range) vessel, ...
... wasn't alone who noticed hahaha:
DS Frigate Comparison Data
DS has been concerned for some time that the proposed Royal Navy T26 Frigate (Global Combat Ship) is very expensive compared to frigates currently in service with other European navies. Therefore we produced the following comparison data between a Royal Danish Navy Air Defence (AD) Iver Huitfeldt frigate and the proposed Royal Navy Type 26 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigate. We recognise that AD and ASW are different roles but wonder if the cost differential we identify below can be justified by this fact alone.

We do not claim that this methodology is definitive, only that it is the best immediately available for comparison given that MOD, BAE Systems and the House of Lords Hansard record all offer differing versions of T26 displacement, and that cost estimates vary from circa £750m to £1bn per hull. The latter figures seeming to DS to be extremely high given that complex warships of 6400 tonnes full load displacement are currently being built in Denmark for circa £270m. The data comparison has been passed to the House of Commons Defence Committee to help inform the inquiry into UK Defence Procurement.
All the data was obtained from open source using Wikipedia which in turn provides references for its sources of data.
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source, dated
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should link to
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Friday at 8:42 PM
UK to retire GWS60 Harpoon at end of 2018
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... self-censored part ...
... related:
Royal Navy to lose missiles and be left only with guns
Royal Navy warships will be left without anti-ship missiles and be forced to rely on naval guns because of cost-cutting, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

The Navy’s Harpoon missiles will retire from the fleet’s frigates and destroyers in 2018 without a replacement, while there will also be a two year gap without helicopter-launched anti-shipping missiles.

Naval sources said the decision was “like Nelson deciding to get rid of his cannons and go back to muskets” and one senior former officer said warships would "no longer be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese or Russians".

Harpoon missiles are unlikely to be replaced for up to a decade, naval sources said, leaving warships armed only with their 4.5in Mk 8 guns for anti-ship warfare. Helicopter-launched Sea Skua missiles are also going out of service next year and
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to be carried by Wildcat helicopters will not arrive until late 2020.

One Naval source said: “We will be losing our missile capability in total for two years. We will still have the gun, but the range of that is about 17 miles, compared to Harpoon, which is about 80 miles”.

The source said the new helicopter-launched Sea Venom missile will have a shorter range than the Harpoon and helicopters are also vulnerable to bad weather and being shot down.

“The moment you put it up against a frigate or a destroyer, you will be inside their weapons range,” the source added.

Rear-Adml Chris Parry, said: "It's a significant capability gap and the Government is being irresponsible. It just shows that our warships are for the shop window and not for fighting."

Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, said: “This is just another example of where the lack of money is squeezing and making the nation less safe.

“We will have this gap of several years without missiles. Well, that’s fine if you don’t have to fight anybody in the meantime.”

The Royal Air Force has long axed its own anti-ship missiles.

Nick Childs, a naval expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Britain was cutting its anti-ship missiles just as America had decided they were becoming more critical to maritime fighting.

“It must be a great concern that this capability is going to be removed without immediate or direct replacement because we are moving into an era of concern about a more contested maritime environment,” he said.

A spokesman for the Navy said: “All Royal Navy ships carry a range of offensive and defensive weapons systems. Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, upgrade options to all our weapons are kept under constant review.”
source, dated 15 November 2016 • 4:13pm,:
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
RAPTOR pod is very good but big.

Details Emerge on UK’s Tornado-Typhoon Capability Transition

BAE Systems has provided further reassurance that the Eurofighter Typhoons serving with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF)can fully take over the ground-attack and strike roles from the service’s Tornado fleet, which is due to be retired by March 2019. The company is promising “a seamless transition of capability from Tornado to Typhoon by the end of 2018.” But one key RAF Tornado capability is not scheduled for transfer— the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for TORnado (RAPTOR)—even though it is currently providing vital imagery over Iraq and Syria to the coalition partners engaged in Operation Inherent Resolve.

The RAF has named the transfer of capabilities from Tornado to Typhoon as Project Centurion, an effort in three phases. Phase One Enhancement (P1E) of the Typhoon has included the integration of Raytheon Paveway IV laser/GPS-guided bombs. P1E entered service last year, although the BAE statement said that the RAF is now operationally evaluating “further work” to deliver “small improvements” to P1E. This further work “is providing lessons learnt for the forthcoming packages, while achieving the first step on the journey and setting the standard of how the RAF and industry can work effectively together,” said BAE Systems technical manager Paul Ascroft.

Phase Two Enhancements (P2E) include what BAE Systems now describes as “initial integration” of MBDA’s Meteor BVRAAM and Storm Shadow air-to-surface cruise missile. P2E also includes additional human-machine interface (HMI) and availability improvements, according to BAE Systems.

“Final integration” of both weapons is part of P3E, which also includes the MBDA Brimstone 2 close air support weapon. At the Farnborough Airshow last July, BAE Systems flew a Typhoon fitted with Paveway IV, Meteor and Brimstone weapons, but not Storm Shadow.
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, AIN noted the particular integration challenges for the Typhoon of adding this heavy cruise missile.

The RAPTOR pod is similarly heavy, and is too large to fit on the optimum centerline station of the Typhoon, because of inadequate clearance between the aircraft’s extended undercarriage doors. UTA Aerospace Systems (UTAS) has proposed an adaptation of the Typhoon’s centerline fuel tank to carry a significantly upgraded version of the RAPTOR. UTAS predecessor Goodrich delivered the RAPTOR to the RAF from 2001, and subsequently downsized and sold it as the DB-110 sensor to more than a dozen air forces, mostly for their F-16s.

In the proposed Fast Jet Pod 2 (FJP2) for the Typhoon, UTAS would include the multispectral imagery upgrade that converts the DB-110 to MS-110 configuration,
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at Farnborough last July. The FJP2 could alternatively house the tactical synthetic aperture radar (TacSAR) that UTAS
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with Leonardo (then Selex Galileo) at the previous Farnborough airshow in 2014.

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