Home » Budget Industry » Failure to Provide U.K. Royal Navy Escorts for New Carriers is ‘Potentially Dangerous,’ Warn Lawmakers


Failure to Provide U.K. Royal Navy Escorts for New Carriers is ‘Potentially Dangerous,’ Warn Lawmakers

HMS Queen Elizabeth sails into her home port of Portsmouth. MoD Photo

LONDON — The U.K.’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers should be able to conduct warfighting missions without support from allied forces, an influential parliamentary committee insisted last week. 

The regeneration of fading anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, the retention of amphibious shipping and the acquisition of a surface ship-launched land attack missile must also be top priorities for a cash-strapped Royal Navy, according to the House of Commons’ Defence Committee (HCDC).

Last month the UK’s national security adviser, Mark Sedwill, claimed that the carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and the future HMS Prince of Wales (R09) would be unlikely ever to deploy on high-end combat operations unless escorted by friendly units. The 70,000-ton platforms would “inevitably be used in a context of allied operations of some kind, if used in a contested environment”, he told the committee in May.

But in a report published on June 18, the HCDC responded: “Operating aircraft carriers without the sovereign ability to protect them is complacent at best and potentially dangerous at worst. The U.K. should be able to sustain this capacity without recourse to other states.”

The report – entitled “Beyond 2 percent: A preliminary report on the Modernizing Defence Program” – is intended to pre-empt the imminent release, by the Ministry of Defence, of the key findings of a major review of U.K. military capabilities and requirements. The MoD faces a funding shortfall of up to $26.5 billion over the next decade.

The Royal Navy is fighting fiscal battles on several fronts. A six-year delay in approving the construction of new Dreadnought-class strategic nuclear missile submarines means the existing Vanguard-class SSBNs will have to remain operational well past their design life expiry date, the report notes. There has been a “dramatic increase in the cannibalization of parts from ships and helicopters, and even from nuclear submarines, due in part to the reduction in support budgets,” according to the HCDC.

Stringent controls are also being applied to non-contractual spending, resulting “in Royal Navy ships being kept in port when they would normally be on patrol, aircraft flying hours being reduced and cuts being imposed on training and exercises across all three services.”

Although they acknowledged the emerging threats posed by Russia (characterised by the Salisbury nerve agent attack in March), Iran and North Korea, officials originally planned a ‘fiscally neutral’ defence and security budget – meaning that increases in some areas would have to be offset by reductions elsewhere.

Options under consideration included slashing the strength of the Royal Marines, selling the Albion-class landing platform dock (LPD) ships HMS Albion (L14) and HMS Bulwark (L15), delegating future amphibious operations to the French Navy, and cutting the number of F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to be procured. Major cuts to the British Army and Royal Air Force were also being discussed.

Royal Navy HMS Albion (L14) departs Sasebo, Japan on May 18, 2018. US Navy Photo

With discontent growing within the armed services and among concerned observers, the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) rethink was ordered by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson soon after he took office last year.

Pressure is now mounting on the government to boost military spending to tackle the new state-based threats while avoiding further cutbacks to existing capabilities. Britain spends 2 percent of national income on defense, meeting the NATO minimum, but the HCDC is urging a return to the 3 percent figure that pertained in the mid-1990s.

Williamson has already said the MDP will not be constrained by the old ‘fiscally neutral’ policy, telling the committee during an evidence session in February: “No one wants to make the wrong decisions. It goes without saying that where you have a world that presents much greater and greater threats, you need to step up to the challenge in making sure that you meet them. That is making sure that you have the right capabilities and the right support, and that they are properly financed”.

In its ‘Beyond 2 percent ’ report, the committee calls on the MoD to prioritize ASW, carrier group regeneration, and the acquisition of a surface-launched cruise missile. The lawmakers also say the navy should consider procuring landing helicopter dock ships to replace the Albion-class LPDs, which are due to retire in the 2030s.

“The most serious maritime issue which has been recognized by ministers, and in the evidence we have taken, is the need for greater anti-submarine warfare capacity”, the HCDC states.

Noting a tenfold increase in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic in recent years, and the threat this poses to transatlantic sea lines of communication, undersea communication cables, the Royal Navy’s SSBN force and security in the Arctic region, the report says that ASW is a “complex and resource-intensive exercise, and the world-leading capability which the UK maintained in the Cold War has been substantially reduced.

“Many of those who submitted written evidence argued that the Royal Navy’s numbers of attack submarines and ASW frigates were far too low. This problem has been compounded by the late arrival into service and low availability of the highly capable Astute-class, which has caused a temporary reduction in the number of attack submarines.

“Particular concern was expressed about the probability that the forthcoming class of Type 31e frigates may have only minimal ASW capability. As the Royal Navy is currently finding in mine clearance capability, the use of unmanned systems or manned-unmanned teaming may be the future of ASW.”

While Britain is acquiring nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft – operated by the Royal Air Force – to restore and enhance its long-range airborne ASW capabilities, the committee argues that more aircraft may be required.

Two Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, transit the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 9, 2017. US Marine Corps Photo

“We have received detailed written evidence from former RAF officers with extensive experience of ASW operations who argue that the intended aircraft and crew provision for the MPA force is too low to fulfill the range of tasks under its responsibility”, the report says.

“Unrealistic assumptions have been made about the ability of NATO allies to contribute to MPA provision and that at least 16 aircraft and a higher crewing requirement is needed to attain the necessary coverage.”

Turning to the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, the HCDC says that generating a carrier group – consisting (at the maximum level of deployment) of two air defense destroyers, two ASW frigates, an attack submarine and logistics shipping – will become a priority task for the navy.

“Generating such a force for any length of time is likely to put considerable strain on the Royal Navy, given the current size of the fleet”, the report states. “The carriers are likely to be operating within larger allied groups in the future, but we disagree with the National Security Adviser that we should proceed on the basis this is inevitable.

“Operating aircraft carriers without the sovereign ability to protect them is complacent at best and potentially dangerous at worst. The U.K. should be able to sustain this capacity without recourse to other states.”

The committee is asking the MoD to clarify whether it still intends to buy the 138 F-35 strike fighters previously promised, and whether it will add ‘A’ variant conventional take-off and landing aircraft to the short/vertical ‘B’ types already being procured for carrier operations.

As far as amphibious capabilities are concerned, the committee says the proposed disposal of the Albion-class LPDs was “militarily illiterate”. Its report states: “The Royal Navy will at some point in the next decade need to consider replacing the amphibious assault ships which are due go out of service in the early 2030s. A landing helicopter dock design, combining the ability to operate landing craft and aircraft, should be considered.”

Commenting on missile capabilities, Beyond 2 percent contrasts the variety of land attack missiles available to the U.S. and French naval forces that targeted Syrian chemical weapons facilities in April with the sole option available to the Royal Navy: the submarine-launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM). The report also notes that the service could lose its Harpoon heavy anti-ship missiles in 2020.

Although the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon planned by Britain and France will expand the Royal Navy’s missile capabilities from the 2030s, the HCDC wants to see Harpoon retained and TLAM extended to the surface fleet as interim measures.

Astute-class nuclear submarine HMS Ambush. UK Royal Navy Photo

“On wider commitments, the government has signalled an intention to establish a more substantial presence ‘east of Suez’. There will be a continual presence of Royal Navy vessels in the Asia-Pacific region this year and the Defence Secretary recently announced a more substantial permanent presence in the Gulf, where the Royal Navy’s still world-class mine countermeasures vessels are highly valued by our Middle Eastern allies and, in particular, by the U.S. Navy,” the report states.

“The growing ambition which the UK has outside of the Euro-Atlantic area will be a largely maritime-led endeavor. This needs to be backed up with sufficient resources to make a strategically significant contribution to our allies in the region. Without this, the Royal Navy may struggle to meet these new commitments in addition to an already onerous series of standing tasks.”

Also highlighting major weaknesses in Britain’s air and ground forces, the HCDC warns that the country’s military has been hampered during the past two decades by a focus on land-based counter-insurgency and stabilization operations overseas.

“The strategic environment has changed for the worse, and this defense review must reflect this”, the report concludes. “The UK needs to be in a position to deter and challenge peer adversaries equipped with a full range of modern military technologies who seek to use them in ways that confuse our traditional conceptions of warfare… The likelihood of operating in contested environments across all five domains – maritime, land, air, cyber and space should be reflected in this force structure.”

  • Ed L

    So they are currently building 3 Type 26 frigates But the next 5 are cancelled? In favor of a new type 31?

    • Simpkin

      The Type 26 programme was for 13 ships. This has been now split between 8 Type 26s and 5(+?) Type 31s.
      Think of it like cutting a Burke flight shorter, for more of and speedier build of FFG(X).

      • Ed L

        The brits should be 16 of the Type 26 and 12 of the type 31. The Royal had the Same problem during the Napoleonic War. Not enough Frigates. History repeats itself

    • DaSaint

      They need to build at least 12-15 Type 26 frigates. How can Australia or Canada build more frigates than the RAN? Build the Type 31e if you must, but 5 can only mean that at any point 2 or at best 3 are on patrol. Seems like they need at least 9 of them.

      • Bubblehead

        Because the RAN squandered their defense dollars on a few capital ships, ie nuclear subs and aircraft carriers. Canada & Australia spent theirs wisely on diesel subs, frigates & destroyers.

        • DaSaint

          Nuclear powers what to demonstrably remain nuclear powers. Non-nuclear powers are content as such. That said, Canada’s naval construction costs are exorbitant, on a per-vessel basis, because they want to maintain their industrial capability, and I can’t fault them for that.

          That said, the UK is a ‘richer’ country than Canada or Australia, so again, it’s a matter of choices. Increase the budget back to 3% GDP.

          • Secundius

            South Korea is considering building a couple of Nuclear Powered Patrol Submarines. Loosely based on the French “Barracuda” design. Because of North Korea starting construction of “Nuke Boots” in September 2017…

  • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

    Wow, seems like escort vessels would be a nice thing to have first? Otherwise, sink the Bismark?

    • IssacBabel

      At least the RN still has 13 type 23s, in case the bad guys
      have submarines. Someday in the far future the USN is supposed
      to have such a thing. The QE at least can launch and recover A/C
      unlike the Ford.

      • Because 13 frigates (one of which is laid up for lack of crew) is truly a world beating force that our 80 odd cruisers and destroyers cannot match in any way even though our ships carry more helicopters, more powerful sonars, and actual antisubmarine weapons beyond torpedoes? And that’s before we consider that the US bothered to keep our maritime patrol aircraft and aircraft carriers – both of which are equally if not more valuable in ASW.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        The English Navy is a shell of it’s past glory.

  • Curtis Conway

    Lend Lease FFG(X). That’s the ticket.

    • DaSaint

      I’d rather them leasing 2 San Antonio class LPDs.

      If Australia and Canada decide to also build the Type 26 (9 and 15 respectively) with a stated focus on ASW, then some synergies and efficiencies in deployments and training should benefit all three of them.

      Wish the USN could have considered them as well, but we’ll probably end up with the Navantia F-100 variant. Proven US-systems integration. Can’t risk that with FREMM.

      • Curtis Conway

        In reality we should probably forward deploy two DDG-51 Flt IIAs in Britain all the time. They can birth out of Portsmouth. Married a gal out of Portsmouth once upon a time.

        • DaSaint

          I agree. While no one wants their sovereign territory used as a military base by a foreign power, we should really explore mutually beneficial basing opportunities. Let us station an FFG squadron in the UK, in return for a couple LSDs. Or how about a UK DDG or FFG permanently out of Pearl? Or a USN P-8 squadron permanently co-located in the UK with their P-8s, under RAF command?

          I too have an affinity for the UK, hence my Avatar.

          • That doesn’t sound mutually beneficial to me, that sounds like the US spending yet more money defending a nation that doesn’t want to do so itself. Trading several frigates and patrol aircraft for a single escort does not strike me as a particularly equal exchange.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for alliances, but our allies have to start making a serious effort to demonstrate that those alliances actually benefit the US.

          • DaSaint

            I hear you. But forward basing a squadron of our P8s where they are really needed helps us too as they’d be patrolling the GIUK gap.

            Allowing them to base a RN ship out of Pearl in return for leaving a couple LSDs from us, allows our Ingalls to produce LSDs more efficiently thereby lowering costs to the US taxpayer.

          • Curtis Conway

            GIUK Gap – Norway, England, Iceland. The South of France would be nice for staging MPA for NATO/Med support. It’s a shame NAS Brunswick is gone to help with GUIK Gap support. Bet the ASWOC is still there with its NATO bunkroom.

          • Curtis Conway

            Federal revenues are up and will continue to climb as the economy grows. The keynesians are going nuts, and the Austrians are basking in the sun.

          • Curtis Conway

            A French Carrier should probably come to the States from time to time, and our two navies hold joint operational training. Landing on the Charles de Gaulle is an experience our F/A-18 and E-2 drivers should have. The helos are easy.

          • DaSaint

            I thought our crews have done is that before, but that is always a good idea. The French need a second carrier. Maybe an angled deck variant of the QE class, since they participated in the design studies.

            BTW Curtis, what do you think about the Canadian AOPS?

          • Secundius

            France is already on a Replacement for the “Charles de Galle”. To begin construction around 2030 and have it launched by 2035. The Porte-Avions Nucleaire Colbert – R92, C.L.B. Project Fictif 2030…

          • DaSaint

            So they’re committed to not more than 1 carrier at a time.

          • Secundius

            Or they simply don’t have the Funds to build more than ONE…

          • DaSaint

            Well, they’ve prioritized 4 SSBNs and several SSNs over a Carrier, so it’s not like they’re broke. Just different priorities.

          • Curtis Conway

            I wonder if they could OPERATE more than one at a time. We could slide them a Nimitz, and let them swap out the plant.

          • Secundius

            As far as I know, the “Colbert” is meant to replace the “Charles de Galle”. Not augment her…

          • tiger

            Kinda miss sporty Volvo’s.

        • Bubblehead

          How did that work out for you? (not that it is any of my business lol)

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, she stayed long enough to get her drivers licence, and then went home. Getting a drivers licence in England is a long drawn out and expensive process. My land lady owned a Driving School, and I had a car waiting for her when we got her to the US. Never heard from her after that. So . . . the jury is still out on how it ultimately worked out, but no contact.

      • Bubblehead

        Hah, maybe you should research the disaster in Australia using the F100 for their new Hobart Frigates. That was largely Navantia’s doing.

        USN is not using the same radar systems as F100/Hobart’s. It would still be significantly changed ship.

        • DaSaint

          The ‘disaster’ was they had a yard try to build a yard without participation of the designer. They had to bring in Navantia to bring things under control. And no, we’re not equipping our FFGs with Aegis, so they would be cheaper anyway, plus we’re building more, which further lowers costs.

          Speaking of research…

          Cheers!

          • Bubblehead

            Just an FYI, FFGX will certainly be using AEGIS, just not with the SPY1 radar. It will be using the new SPY6. Its the radar upgrade that would entail major changes to the ship design of the F100, not AEGIS. This scenario is playing out now with the AB III’s which required 45% of the ship’s spaces to be redesigned.

            But hey, whatever floats your boat! As long as it is not a LCS boat!

            And while Im on the LCS subject. Its important to know that as desperate as the USN is for ships, they pleaded & begged for Congress not to force them to buy 3 more LCS ships in 19. Even the USN does not want them.

          • DaSaint

            I don’t recall the RFP for the FFG(X) indicating SPY6.

            USNI News:
            Many of the required weapons systems are pulled from the previous FF requirements: the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, which pulls software from the same common source library as the Aegis Combat System on large surface combatants; the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system; a canister-launched over-the-horizon missile; the surface-to-surface Longbow Hellfire missile; the Mk53 Nulka decoy launching system; the Surface Electron Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 program with SLQ-32(V)6; and a slew of undersea warfare tools such as the AN/SLQ-61 light weight tow, AN/SQS-62 variable depth sonar and AN/SQQ-89F undersea warfare/anti-submarine warfare combat system. It also requires use of the MK 110 57mm gun with the Advanced Low Cost Munition Ordnance (ALaMO) projectile being developed for the LCS and frigate.
            Other required weapon systems would promote commonality with larger ships in the fleet, such as the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), a larger variant of which will go on future Ford-class aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.

          • NavySubNuke

            CRS report by Ron O’Rorke in April 2018 says “In addition, the FFG(X) will provide upgraded Air Warfare capability and improved lethality and survivability that include a scaled SPY-6 Fixed Array Radar” (Source: Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress Ronald O’Rourke Specialist in Naval Affairs April 6, 2018)
            Of note, Ron’s source for this information is: “Navy information paper dated November 2, 2017, provided to CRS and CBO by Navy Legislative Affairs Office on
            November 15, 2017.”
            Also, from Raytheon (so take it for what it is worth): “EASR leverages the highly-scalable design and mature technologies of AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), in a tailored configuration to deliver superior capability to meet the mission requirements of carriers and amphibious ships”

          • BSmitty

            EASR is a “scaled SPY-6” radar. It’s the 6-foot variant.

          • Curtis Conway

            The AMDR is a scaled and modular design made of 24″ cubed radar transmitter units (Radar Modular Assemblies). You can scale it as large or small as you want. The support cabinets are all the same with the same software driving it for the most part. More RMAs . . . greater capability. The 3-RMA version simply has triple redundancy on the transmitter side, with a little power out. The EASR Enterprise radar is actually a rotating version of a 9-RMA antenna supported by the same cabinets. Logisticaly, training, and operations is a story from heaven, particularly in a Real-time FORCEnet environment.

          • BSmitty

            And further, there are two EASR variants. The first uses one, 9-RMA face in a rotating configuration. This is currently intended for amphibious ships. The second uses three, fixed, 9-RMA faces. It is currently intended for the Ford class to replace SPY-3/VSR.

            Raytheon advertises EASR is having “SPY-1D(V)” level sensitivity, so the FFG(X) may not be much of a radar downgrade from the current Flt IIA DDGs.

          • Curtis Conway

            This man knows his stuff. Raytheon employee?

          • BSmitty

            No. Worked for a competitor years ago, but got out of that biz.

            I just read the marketing materials. 😉

          • Curtis Conway

            SPY-6 is pretty sweet. Just think . . . everytime there is a software upgrade to the big system, there will be trickle-down to the smaller systems. Most of the fleet in 20 years will have the same signal processors, and very similar, if not mostly exact same software in the radar. I hope the Navy turns it into the AN/SPS-10 replacement, it will just be 3D instead of 2D, and with an autotracker. This radar has the potential to provide periscope detection, counter-battery direction, and show the weather along with the beach in certain modes, along with all the SPY services. I’m gassed, and the admiral was too in that speech.

          • BSmitty

            I’m wondering if FLT IIA level BMD is a viable mission for the FFG. Won’t obviously have the depth of magazine of a DDG but might be ok for a handful of shots.

            I thought for periscope detection they preferred x-band?

          • Secundius

            New FF(X)’s will retain Mk.110 57mm Bofors as Anti-Swarming Gun and also have room for Up To 32-VLS launchers. To augment BMD of CBG/CSG/MEU’s…

          • Curtis Conway

            The 9-RMA AN/SPY-6 provides SPY-1 coverage, and like services (per Raytheon, check out their web site). For Duane, they have videos that go into quite a lot of detail explaining the modular concept and how a single RMA works. There are numerous articles across various Defense Magazines that have gone into this in detail. I have read them, then backed up the information with the Raytheon web site.

          • Duane

            It is still not Gallium Nitride, and that is what makes SPY-6 different from every other radar in existance. GN is what dictates the electrical system requirements including total power and 4KV, and the enormous cooling plant required … you just don’t know what you are talking about. SPY-6 is to SPY-1 as a nuclear power plant is to an oil-fired steam plant. Worlds apart.

            The Navy and HII spent years of effort on design just to squeeze in the SPY-6 system and its support equipment within the confines of the AB hull and superstructure, and even then it was a very near thing. SPY-6 cannot be retrofitted into any of the earlier flight ABs without a humongously costly rebuild of both the hull and the.entire electrical plant and distribution system.

            SPY-6 cannot just be “downscaled” and plugged into any old ship. It requires a keel up design change.

          • Duane

            That is not a downscaled SPY-6, which as of today does not exist but as an intended line of future development once SPY-6 has been fully developed and tested.

          • Curtis Conway

            One RMA, or a 100 RMAs, its the same radar with more power out with more RMAs. Go to Raytheon web site and get an education. ( https:// www. defensenews. com/digital-show-dailies/surface-navy-association/2018/01/09/surface-warfare-director-cruiser-replacement-wont-be-a-cruiser/ ).

          • Duane

            Everything looks easy when you don’t know what you are talking about.

            No … It does not work as you describe it, Curtis. It is not a matter of just reducing the number of panels on a GN radar system.

          • Curtis Conway

            Of course it’s an oversimplification, but its not that far off. You make it sound like an entirely different radar. I heard the admiral very specifically describe what I have presented to you, and it’s not that far off. That is how Raytheon designed it, and it you BOTHER to go to their web page and WATCH the videos, and Talk to one of their reps, you will find the truth.

          • Curtis Conway

            NSN is right! AN/SPY-6 with three array faces each having 3-RMAs.

          • Duane

            No … EASR is not a gallium nitride radar. Gallium nitride is the essence of SPY-6.

          • Duane

            Now you are quoting CBS News reporters? That is just typical news media misreporting. C’mon, give us a Naval source – NAVSEA, or an admiral’s statement.

            All you have is the ability to do a useless Google search, that, in the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, “surprise, surprise!”, is bad information.

            SMH

            You cannot downscale a system for ship design today that is at least 5 years from even being operable at full scale – 2023 is the scheduled IOC for SPY-6.

            Also, please quote from the FFG(X) the requirements for a 4KV electrical plant and the supersized cooling plant that are necessary to support a SPY-6 system. You cannot downsize the voltage or the heat generation needed for tje gallium nitride sensors, even if you reduce the number of sensor panels, which is how SPY-6 will eventually be downsized.

            Oh and what.about the cost of such a high performance radar on a small, low end surface combatant? FFG(X) is not a downsized Arleigh Burke Flight III AEGIS Air and Missile Defense Destroyer.

            It is just a low cost frigate.

          • NavySubNuke

            Duane: “Now you are quoting CBS News reporters?”
            Awww sweetie – you really need to learn the difference between CBS the television network and CRS the CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE.
            I realize you pride yourself on your ignorance but there is a pretty big difference there.
            Nice try looking competent though.

          • Duane

            FFG(X) will not feature AEGIS per se, but rather an AEGIS derivative system called “COMBATTS-21” that is now standard equipment on LCS. The SPY-6 also will not be installed on FFG(X), but instead it will be the TRS 4D volume search radar (an upgraded version of the LCS TRS 3D radar). SPY-6 is way too large, heavy, and requires a much higher ship’s bus voltage and bigger cooling plant than is available on the small sized FFG(X). It took years for designers to figure out how to squeeze SPY-6 into the Arleigh Burke hulls from previous flights without having to start all over again with a larger clean sheet hull design.

            There are plans to eventually scale down SPY-6 technology for smaller ships like frigates, LCS etc. but that is years in the future. The Navy put an overriding emphasis on using off the shelf, proven systems in FFG(X) in order to support the very aggressive delivery schedule, with the first ship in 2025.

          • NavySubNuke

            “The SPY-6 also will not be installed on FFG(X), but instead it will be the TRS 4D volume search radar ”
            This is not correct per the Navy’s released information on FFG(X). Unless you have insider information from being employed by LCS (which would explain why you post so rabidly in favor of it) you are lying.

          • Bubblehead

            FFGX will get SPY6/AMDR/EASR (whatever you wish to call it). It was purpose built to be scalable. It will just be a smaller size than the AB III’s. USN threw LM a bone and lowered the requirements allowing the radar to be rotating. Otherwise the LM FFGX would not have been able to meet requirements. In today’s world of supersonic ASM, Ballistic ASM and shortly hypersonic ASM a rotating radar is insufficient. EASR will be the new standard for all USN fighting ships. The USN spent years designing and perfecting it. The more they build, the cheaper it will become due to scale of economics. Even with a smaller radar than the ABIII’s, the EASR will give the FFGX capabilities SPY1 AB’s do not have. Its a true AESA radar unlike SPY1.

          • Duane

            You cannot wave a wand and turn SPY-6 into another radar that is nothing like the SPY-6, which is the first of its kind with gallium nitride electronics, requires 4K volt power supply, and a supersized cooling plant to operate. No other radar in existence is like the SPY-6.

            Give it up and admit you are wrong.

          • Bubblehead

            I don’t wave magic wands. Nice try quoting your boy Obama though.

            SPY-6 is AMDR. SPY6 is the nomenclature for AMDR. It is build from Raytheon. It is AESA. Highly scalable. Uses GaN. And the 4KV & cooling plant are variable depending on the size of the AMDR. Like has been stated it is scalable. The version in AB needs 4KV and a larger cooling plant, sure, whatever.

            The EASR is made by Ratheon, scalable, AESA, and yes uses GaN. For all intents and purposes it is the same radar.Somewhere down the line I am sure there are some differences. Here is some homework for you, go find the differences and report back to us.

          • tiger

            Would you settle for a magic nose twinkle like In Bewitched? Or a head Bob, like I dream of Jennie?

          • Bubblehead

            Just to change the subject a little, I am surprised the Saudi’s don’t cancel their 3 ship LCS buy and purchase what the next USN FFGX. They are fools if they go ahead with the purchase. They are paying $1.4 billion each, for a ship with barely my capability than an LCS. They can get an AB for that price! The Saudi’s LCS is about the same but with only an 8 cell VLS laucher for ESSM and SPY1F.

            They could join the US FFGX, enjoy economies of scale, get a ship for half the price with probably 3X the capability. And as an added bonus, it might be able to leave the pier without a tug escort and an oiler following it around.

          • NavySubNuke

            So far they have actually committed very little money from what I have seen. The only signed contract – rather than just a signed intent – was to complete the design work. It was somewhere in the range of $30M-$40M if I remember correctly.
            I suspect when we do settle on a real frigate design they will likely just jump on board with that. Especially if it is a proven design like FREMM rather than a stretched out pier queen like LCS.

          • BSmitty

            COMBATTS-21 is installed on only one LCS variant (Freedom class). TACTICOS is installed on the other (Independence class).

            I think, as spec’d, FFG(X) will get EASR (unclear if its the rotator or fixed panel variant), not SPY-6.

            Both EASR variants are on the books for the next Fords and amphibious ships (which will be delivered before FFG(X), AFAIK).

          • Curtis Conway

            “EASR variants are on the books for the next Fords and amphibious ships”. yes. There was a speech by a US Navy Admiral that talked about the common support for this class of radar, and how it will help streamline the training and logistics. The Pacific Missile Test Range has a 9-RMA unit under test. The fact that a 3-RMA unit is not under test is irrelevant. Same equipment cabinets, electrical & A/C support and software. It just doesn’t not have as many RMAs. THAT is why they call it a modular radar. Go to the Raytheon web page and get an education.

          • Curtis Conway

            If you had an opportunity to walk thru the computer room in a Baseline 9 Cruiser/Destroyer it would probably be very similar to the items in the LCS with the same equipments, and it will certainly look a lot like the FFG(X) Computer Room. The Radar space(s) for the DDG-51 Flt IIIs will look a lot like some of the Radar Equipment Rooms on FFG(X), there will just be a different Mk/Mod on the placard on the side. If you look in the cabinet, the population of cards will have differences, but many will be the same. THAT is what GFE is!!!

          • Curtis Conway

            Every LCS the US Navy has will be an Albatross around their neck logistically, manpower wise, and operationally. Limited capability with the ARGs, and more of a liability with the CSGs. The Navy Expeditionary Combat Command could really use some, and NORTHCOM/SOUTHCOM already have mission sets that are perfect for them. With over 100 drug intercepts just not prosecuted last year, this would seem to be a marriage made in heaven.

          • Duane

            AEGIS is an integrated combat dat management system, not a radar. It doesn’t care whether there is a SPY-6 or 1 radar, and in fact collects sensor data from offship, including other ships and aircraft or even land based sensors.

            COMBATTS-21 is much the same as AEGIS, but is downscaled and does not yet, anyway, combine air, cruise missile, and BM defenses

    • NavySubNuke

      Let’s make sure we make the right decision on FFG(X) before we offer up that “solution”. If we decide to buy a stretched out pier queen that can never go on deployment the last thing we need to do is saddle the brits with some of them as well.

      • Curtis Conway

        I am really giving our side more cred than that. However, I could be shown to be wrong, and the taxpayers dollars could just reflect corporate welfare to maintain jobs. If we really wanted to do that (create jobs), the public yards would come back to their former glory days. The work will certainly be there, and the private sector has not stepped up to the plate for the most part in the smaller yards, just building useless LCS. We need a credible Small Surface Combatant, and more platforms will need yard maintenance periods, dry-dock services, overhauls more than ever shortly (NOW). A steaming volcano jet propulsion system is the last thing you would hunt a submarine with. Ask any submariner.

        • bob

          I enjoy your posts, always on point!

          Do you think we need a larger, more capable surface combatant in the mix as well?

          • Curtis Conway

            Two engines rooms are better than one, particularly when there are major engineering casualties. Now put yourself in the Arctic in Heavy Weather, engaged in combat, and you take damage or have a casualty. The Powers That Be today just write those people off . . . breaking faith with the Sailors? Yes, two engine rooms are better than one.

          • bob

            Even when you have a little boat! Two engines always better than one.

        • NavySubNuke

          As a submarine I agree. Especially since PEO LCS had to go back to the drawing board and redo the ASW mission module from scratch a few years ago after the first version was about ready to be tested and they realized it was massively over weight.
          Having done theater ASW operations with the ASW equipped French FREMMs I really hope we select that design. Those ships, especially when equipped with a VDS, have some pretty amazing capabilities we sorely need in our small surface combatants.

      • No More

        Especially when you and your fellow Brits (you’re not a convincing “yank” since “yanks” don’t consider it a “duty” to bail out the fucking Brits any more than has been done in a couple world wars and “yanks” don’t build/buy military hardware for “resale” much less a fucking “lend-lease” deal after the Brits “forgot” to return their “lend-lease” hardware last time and took all 50 years PLUS the “grace period” plus another year just to show “who’s boss” paying back war debt “discounted” to 10 cents on the dollar post-WWII. Just what the fuck has “Great Britain” done for its “allies” that convinces Brits they’re fucking owed things they won’t pay for themselves? Shitcan that fucking ridiculous racist, classist and bigoted “monarchy”, get a real “democratic” government to replace “royal assent” and “royal prerogative” and quit trying to “rebuild an empire” and mind your own fucking business for once and you might not need “charity” or even “warships”.

        • NavySubNuke

          LOL. Wow someone has a serious case of butt hurt.
          I’m not even sure where to begin on this verbal diarrhea – have a great weekend though!

          • Secundius

            You’re right! Have fun…

    • Leatherstocking

      Bravo – history repeats itself. Frankly, reuse of retiring US escorts is probably a viable approach compared to no escorts. I don’t how I’d trap aboard with two islands on the carrier 🙂

      • Curtis Conway

        The front island is for driving the ship. The back island manages flight operations.

        • Leatherstocking

          Thanks. I know but it like going from the pre-island Langley to an Essex-class.
          But like steam cats, 4 wires and UCAS, everything’s a changing.

        • Thought that was the “Air Boss” locker.

      • muzzleloader

        What retiring escorts do we have to loan or sell to anyone?
        The DD’s we loaned to the Brits in 1940 were all WW 1 leftovers.
        As it is now we don’t have a single Spruance class left because some idiots in high places decided to sink ex all of them. Unless we are going to pull museum ships into service, our loan shelf is kind of bare.

    • Secundius

      Would be simple thing to do! Just Reactive the “Lend Lease Act” of March 1941. The Act was good for 99-years…

    • PolicyWonk

      Problem: We probably won’t be able to get enough FFG(X) for ourselves, since we’ve already wasted more than $36B on these useless and deceitfully designated “littoral combat ships”.

      Besides, given the “cluster” that is PEO UCS, and the history of that bunch to double-and-triple-down on serious mistakes, my expectations for FFG(X) are at an all-time low. I hate to be this cynical, but I cannot ignore the recent history of appallingly lousy choices made by that bunch, let alone their incomprehensible promotion after earning the dubious distinction of creating “the program that broke naval acquisition”, which tells me the lesson has not been learned.

      The above said, I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

      • Curtis Conway

        This ‘comment hold’ stuff is BS. Can’t handle the truth ? . . . or are we pushing something else? If the LCS comes out of the USN’s LCS selection decision, I will know what that ‘something else’ is!

        • Duane

          Yeah … it’s called “logic” and “common sense”.

          • Curtis Conway

            I believe the submariners. They basically are Juniors in Physics Majors. I have no idea who or what you are. It sure sounds like you have never been underway, in combat, in any theater aboard ship.

          • NavySubNuke

            According to his own claims – 40+ years ago Duane sat in maneuvering and monitored the reactor plant. His primary duties were to, under the direction of the engineering officer of the watch, alter the speed of the pumps and the rods. That’s it.
            He was never involved in any of the tactical operations of the ship nor did he ever stand a watch in control during tactical operations of the ship. In fact, he probably didn’t even know where the ship was even located most of the time except for the stories related to him by those who were allowed into control and who knew where the ship actually was. On my boat the only people allowed to see the chart were the quarter masters, the officers, and the sonar supervisor since no one else had a need to know.

          • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

            Now that’s funny there fleet admiral. You proclaiming “logic” when you attack anyone who points out facts and logic, reports by experts, real budget dollars spent, etc., on the your “precious” do-nothing LCS.

        • PolicyWonk

          Concur. My comments are sometimes put on hold, despite there being zero insults and completely fact-based, easily verifiable content.

          Irritating for sure.

          • Curtis Conway

            It’s because the TRUTH is a DANGEROUS thing to those holding the comments. THAT makes our country less safe! Acts of Patriots?!

      • tiger

        How do you expect to fund a FFG? We have a Space Force to build…..

        • Secundius

          Technically the United States has had a Space Force (i.e. Command) since 1985. The only thing Donald Trump did was to give if a Name (i.e. Space Force)…

          • tiger

            I think he wants a Death Star….

          • Secundius

            Wouldn’t we all. It would certainly solve the “Near Asteroid” colliding with the Earth problem…

          • tiger

            We have Bruce Willis for that…,😆😃

          • tiger

            Just get Alderain to pay for it….. Lol

          • Secundius

            The Last “Labour Party” in the UK took Paul Ryan’s Austerity Program (i.e. Ayn Rand) to Heart. Which nearly Bankrupted the Nation, and caused Scotland to become Independent of the UK. First QE’s included Cat’s and Arrestor Gear, then went from Cat’s to Ski-Jump and Arrestor Gear. Final version was Ski-Jump and using SRVL (Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing) (i.e. a 57kts Approach Controlled Crash Landing)…

      • Lazarus

        Your level of vitriol against PEO USC goes beyond the usual level of critique. Perhaps you should be called former NAVSEA wonk rather then one of Policy. The only people so embittered by LCS are the cohort of NAVSEA folks who opposed its construction.

        • NavySubNuke

          You should talk to the LCS crew who was marooned in Singapore for almost 10 months because the Navy was too terrified to send out a replacement crew and too embarrassed to let the one crew they actually trusted to operate their ship bring it home. The guy I talked to from that happy crew were pretty embittered.

          • tiger

            Sounds like the film The Sand Pebbles. Stuck waiting for the river to rise.

        • PolicyWonk

          The level of BRAVO SIERRA you shovel in defense of these appalling wastes of taxpayer funding, is only surpassed by the contempt you show for the lives of the patriots ordered to man these ships.

          • tiger

            Ouch.

    • tiger

      The people of the U K want healthcare, not FFG’s.

      • Secundius

        If your going by Population of Countries! The UK has 13 Frigates, while the USA has None…

        • tiger

          The UK can not afford even a Thatcher era Navy today. And Frigates are useless vs guys in rental trucks. The defense threat of the moment in the UK. Same in the US. Butter vs guns. The populus wants butter.

          • Secundius

            But “Still” it’s 13 more then what we (the USA) have…

          • Lazarus

            British frigates like the type 26 and type 31 are light destroyers over 5000 tons displacement rather than small surface combatants.

          • E1 Kabong

            They ARE frigates that do ASW….

            What does the USN have?

      • Curtis Conway

        OK, they can just lose their expensive carrier.

        • tiger

          The avg. Brit cares more about the World Cup than Naval policy. Fact is the UK is building a CV they can not afford escorts for. And getting them to pay for more is like nails on a chalkboard.

          • Lazarus

            Yep. The idea of “empire” is long dead and exists only in the minds of American history enthusiasts.

      • PolicyWonk

        Both the UK and Canada spend half (per capita) of what the US does, for healthcare.

        Maybe we should be doing what THEY do…

        • tiger

          They spend more for less quality. No thanks….

          • PolicyWonk

            The Canadians overwhelmingly approve of their healthcare system – and given the highway robbery that is the US system – I’d take that over what we have any day.

            And our elected representatives seem to agree: they love single-payer healthcare so much, that they and their families are guaranteed lifetime coverage from the finest socialist healthcare plan, paid for by our tax dollars.

            They just don’t want YOU to have it.

            Cheers.

    • Matt Bowyer

      Sorry, but borrowed USN warships definitely aren’t the solution. Even assuming that the problems with differing systems and kit are solved, USN vessels generally have much larger crews than RN vessels. Given the issues with manpower and – crucially – the cost of personnel (by far the biggest drain on the UK defence budget) it’s a non-starter.

      What we need is to build a decent number of Type 26 Frigates.

      • Curtis Conway

        Actually, I would take the opposite approach. Give the Royal Navy a couple of years with an FFG(X) and make modifications in the next yard periods to make them more efficient. In the Mean Time, the US Navy has been one of the most successful combat forces on the planet for decades . . . because we don’t know what we are doing? We just got rid of all the Experts who learned the lessons, who were making everyone tow the line on design, and performing configuration control. Then those who replaced them forgot about (if they ever knew at all), all the lessons WRITTEN IN BLOOD down through the USN HiStory, and drove our USN Regulations. G-d gave us those lessons for a reason, and those who thought THEY KNEW BETTER THAN G-D discarded them. Honor our sailors, and never short cut their ability to survive, and have options. THAT is what drives me crazy with this new crop of officers. They burn people up like Romans and Greeks, not honoring their sacrifice like Christ would have them.

        • Matt Bowyer

          Or just have the RN sell the T26 design to the USN as FF(X)…

          • Secundius

            Because the “Brits” are no longer in the 2019 FFG(X) Competition.
            1. Austal-USA
            2. Fincantieri
            3. General Dynamics
            4. Huntington-Ingalls
            5. Lockheed-Martin

            ARE…

          • Matt Bowyer

            Yes, I know that – but we’re talking about entirely theoretical options.

          • Secundius

            Austal-USA is the “Odd’s” Favorite, because of it’s Extra Large Flight Deck and because the US Navy “Love’s” its ability to make a High Speed “Bootleg” Turn…

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Sounds like this ship could be in danger of becoming the Brits “Zumwalt”. The main reason for building the Zums was the AGS, and seeing how it has no ammo, that gun system is now worthless. At least they can still fire missiles and contribute sensors to a task group. The QE, on the other hand, might not be able to deploy at all to a war zone unless the US and/or France and/or NATO is there to provide protection. Will her air wing end up being adequate? I reckon time will tell…

  • Hugh

    The good guys, peacetime, politicians, no money…….. Inevitable to operate as multi-nationals.

  • Rollocks

    During the Cold War the RAF operated about 40 Nimrod MPAs, so the planned nine Poseidons will leave vast unpatrolled areas for Russian submarines to exploit. A squadron of MQ-4C Tritons might provide a nice cost-effective solution.

  • Duane

    The Brits are simply going to have to spend more to keep up with the realities of near peer war, waking up from the two decade slumber induced by the end of the Cold War … just as we have had to wake up. If they can push defense spending up to their former 3% of GDP, then that will do trick. They already know what they need … now it is just a matter of funding.

    • bob

      The UK has the same issues that the US had: We declared victory in the Cold War, Russia clearly did not get that memo and merely used the respite to rearm and retool. Where the West’s political leadership was sitting around singing Kumbya, with all hearts and flowers, the Russian political leadership was looking for a return to the status quo. Like the fall of the Soviet Union, this was another massive intelligence failure. We should have caught on after the invasion of Georgia that the Bear was still looking to play games.

      So now we are all caught in the unenviable position of getting back onto a Cold War footing. We have the joy of a divided Congress who probably couldn’t agree on what toilet paper to use; The UK is in the middle of Brexit. the German Parliament apparently isn’t sure what to think; the European Theater Commander is worried his tanks may get bogged down in administrative paperwork just to transit Germany.

      The Eastern European NATO members are in a collective panic, and our friends the Turks just installed a government that likes Russia more than the West. The same Turks who we just sold our latest aircraft to. On the whole, a lovely world outlook. Personally, I’m not sure we can get our acts together quick enough.

      From a warfighting doctrine standpoint, we have also got caught with our pants around our ankles. Somewhere along the line, some brass hat decided the only future combatant would be irregular, non-state actors. As a result we bought a whole bunch of high tech, whiz-bang toys, like the Zumwalt and the LCS. Because after all, we would never again have to face a First World combatant. Surprise, surprise, enter the Russian Armed Forces, in the dictionary under “near-peer”. How many “real warships” do we have to go with the LCS’? And is the Ford able to clear the pier yet?

      And meanwhile in the Western Pacific, guess who is growing a Blue Water Navy?

      My Grandfather was a Navy Mustang in WWII, serving in the pre-war Navy of the 1920s until after 1945. I served with the USCG. I can’t tell you anything about ground warfare, but sea control is the only way for a nation to survive. We are in very deep trouble here. I think our Navy has a qualitative edge second to none, but as Stalin said, quantity has a quality all it’s own. The politicians need to get off the stick and get it together, sooner rather than later, or this will be over before it begins.

      So, Happy Tuesday!

      • The Russians are little more of threat today than they have been for the last 20 years. Their economy is limping along and their military is 90% leftovers from the USSR. The 10% that is modern equipment could be defeated by any one of the major NATO nations, let alone all of them together.

        The only reason we are hearing so much about the Russian threat is because it is politically convenient. The EU uses it to bash Brexit and Trump, the Democrats use it to attack Trump, and the Army uses it to drum up support for a service that has no real role against the far more important threat of China.

        • bob

          I tend to agree with some parts of your post, others I will respectfully disagree.

          And I agree, China is the larger threat. But as China has taken Sun Tzu’s maxims to heart, they are more than willing to sit back and let Russia grab the attention of the West while they make the Western Pacific a Chinese lake. The problem remains; while we frig about with Russia, because we downsized to fight a different type of warfare, our fleet is stretched to the point we can’t address one without uncovering on the other.

          I will also disagree with you about Trump; while I have little use for him, this problem wasn’t created by him. It was ignored by the two previous Administrations. The invasion of Georgia should have been the wake-up call. We hit the snooze button and unplugged the clock. We drew down on our fleets, drew down on sealift. None of which help the United States maintain sea dominance in two oceans.

          (Disclaimer; I had little use for HRC as well. I believe we should have done better than either of the two final candidates, and not Bernie either!)

  • Bubblehead

    The problem with the UK is they are still stuck on their colonial world super power days. I love the UK but lets face it, they are no longer the world super power they once were. Their defense budget is stretched too thin for them to continue to buy the show-off power projecting weapons of aircraft carriers & nuclear SSN’s. Now they can project power around the world with those weapons but they cannot defend their own island nor can they properly protect their prized weapons. They would have been better served to build diesel subs, which would have saved billions, especially when you include operational costs. In that section of the world Diesel’s are more than capable. In fact, their power projecting is a paper tiger. They have no real ASM’s, and very few cruise missiles. They might not even be able to afford the fighters to equip the carrier and if they do, what weapons can they carry? They very little if any ASW defenses. No AEW and no aerial refueling capability. In my view all this money they spent to project power around the world would have been much better spent on Destroyers, Frigates, Diesel Subs, new ASM and cruise missiles. Keep in mind the UK has no defense that I am aware of from Ballistic missiles also.

    • Rollocks

      “They would have been better served to build diesel subs …” – Incorrect. Diesel boats would be unable to protect the SSBNs adequately, and certainly couldn’t transit 8,000 miles submerged and undetected to the South Atlantic.

      “They have no real ASMs” – Ok, so it’s almost obsolete but Harpoon Block 1C has been reprieved until at least 2020, and boffins are working on ways to keep it in service even longer.

      “… very little if any ASW defenses”. – Seriously? Eight T23/T26 frigates with sonar 2087, Wildcat/Merlin helos with Stingray torpedoes/depth charges/sonobuoys/dipping sonar, plus three Astute SSNs (and four in build) with sonar 2076 and Spearfish torpedoes.

      “No AEW…” – Sea King ASaC is retiring in September and will be replaced by Merlin helos with the Crowsnest system. However there will be an 18 month gap.

      “…. no aerial refueling capability ….” – A Merlin HC4 of the Commando Helicopter Force was recently spotted with a refueling probe fitted! According to Jane’s, this was “the first public indication of the growing interest in air-to-air refuelling in the RN and Royal Marines”.

      • E1 Kabong

        Wrong.

        SSK’s are STILL very capable adversaries, especially with AIP.

        “Ok, so it’s almost obsolete but Harpoon Block 1C has been reprieved until at least 2020…”?

        So you admit they have ZERO AShM capability.

        Where are the Nimrods? P-8’s?

        What’s the availability rate of those frigates?

        “However there will be an 18 month gap.”?

        Yeah, gapping capability really worked in the Falklands, didn’t it?

        ” A Merlin HC4 of the Commando Helicopter Force was recently spotted with a refueling probe fitted!”?

        So what will it refuel from?

        • Rollocks

          AIP boats are perfect for littoral defense but they’re completely outmatched by SSNs when it comes to speed, endurance and long-range stealth. And how would you resupply with fuel cell reactants without telegraphing your location to all and sundry? Only an idiot would consider using an SSK (even with AIP) for SSBN protection or covert expeditionary warfare.

          Harpoon: “almost obsolete” does not equal zero. Efforts are underway to squeeze every last drop of performance from the Block 1C.

          P-8A: The first RAF aircraft will be operational in 2020. The UK government has effectively admitted that the decision to allow a 10 year gap in MPA capability post-Nimrod was wrong.

          Frigates: availability is desperately low, but the Type 23s are being fitted with shiny new MTU gensets which should help remedy this sorry state of affairs.

          Gapping is always risky and sometimes catastrophic. Pretty obvious, really.

          Air-to-air refueling: US or Italian C-130Js, unless the RAF can be persuaded to convert some of its Hercs or A400Ms.

          • E1 Kabong

            Apples…oranges…

            “And how would you resupply with fuel cell reactants…”?

            Wow.

            Obviously, you don’t now anything about fuel cell life…

            Only idiots don’t know these basic facts.

            “”almost obsolete” does not equal zero.”?

            Almost obsolete means the replacement is shortly to be introduced.

            Only an idiot doesn’t know about LRASM.

            Or the NSM…

            So, over a DECADE without MPA for an island nation.
            No wonder the UK is a has-been country.

            “Frigates: availability is desperately low, but the Type 23s are being fitted with shiny new MTU gensets which should help remedy this sorry state of affairs.”?

            When, exactly?

            How many warships were at sea during Christmas 2017?

            “Air-to-air refueling: US or Italian C-130Js, unless the RAF can be persuaded to convert some of its Hercs or A400Ms.”?

            Hiliarious!

            At sea?
            Cute!
            A trip to the Falklands would work out, HOW?

            Only an idiot doesn’t know the A400M CANNOT refuel helicopters…

          • Rollocks

            “Obviously, you don’t now anything about fuel cell life…” I’m not an expert but I stand by my point about covert long-range ops, unless you can provide evidence to the contrary. Can you educate us?

            “Only idiots don’t know these basic facts.” Which facts?

            “Only an idiot doesn’t know about LRASM. Or the NSM…” Irrelevant. The UK MoD says it can’t afford them.

            “No wonder the UK is a has-been country.” What does this even mean? USNI News ain’t the place for hysterical allegations.

            “When, exactly?” The first three T23s are in refit now; the program is due to complete in 2024.

            “How many warships were at sea during Christmas 2017?” Distressingly few … a solitary T23 guarding UK waters, a handful of MCMVs in the Gulf and an SSBN (plus various OPVs and auxiliaries which probably don’t qualify as ‘warships’).

            “Only an idiot doesn’t know the A400M CANNOT refuel helicopters…” Airbus is developing a refueling pod for A400M helicopter AAR, which could be ready in a few months time. Perfect timing for an emerging CHF requirement.

          • E1 Kabong

            I could educate you, but clearly, it would be a waste of my time.

            ZERO warships were deployed during Christmas, BTW.

            Do your own research.

    • Lazarus

      The British idea of “empire” is dead. My former RN boss told me tvT service in the RN is now no different than being in the post office.

      The ability to project power ashore is a common aspiration for the higher level NATO nations. It is not a sign of empire.

      The UK govt simply does not desire to spend the pounds sterling needed to build capable carrier escorts in required numbers. They would need to reduce elements of social spending to do this and the Labour Party is loath to do that.

  • PolicyWonk

    “Operating aircraft carriers without the sovereign ability to protect them is complacent at best and potentially dangerous at worst. The U.K. should be able to sustain this capacity without recourse to other states.”
    ===========================================
    In a word: DUH!

    On this forum, we occasionally lapsed into more descriptive/colorful ways to describe this blatant (if not crazy) oversight.

    • bob

      One word: Politicians.

      They don’t have to do the lift so they can get away with trying to do it on the cheap.

      Typical.

      • tiger

        Hmmmmmm…….. More like reality than politics. The UK & The people have priorities other than the RN. And the are not going to pay to get both.

        • No More

          They will if “royal prerogative” says they will. If they have “other priorities” besides “national defense” they shouldn’t have built those giant jokes they call “supercarriers” anyway. And if they have “more important” things to do than “national defense” they damned sure better never expect any “ally” to lift a finger or spend a dime to “help” on a “low-priority” mission like “national defense”.

          • tiger

            Figuring out Brexit and keeping Scotland and N. Ireland in the Kingdom take a front burner. Burner 2 is Islamic terror. And that is not at sea.

  • BSmitty

    The French, Italian an Moroccan FREMMs use the CAPTAS-4 VDS, which is pretty much top-of-the-line. They are also all designed with significant hull/propulsion quieting.

    LCS, OTOH, relies on an as-yet paper VDS design from Raytheon, with no hull sonar and no real attempt at hull/propulsion quieting.

    The FREMMs seem like a better ASW ships.

    Just MHO.

    • Curtis Conway

      The French Aquitaine class FREMM has the right draft and growth capacity. The ASW systems are already designated for the ship in the RFP (TB-37 multi-function towed array (MFTA), and AN/SQS-62 VDS) with NO hull mounted sonar. This ship MUST be able to function within the presence of ICE! The MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter will round out the sensor capability, and along with the organic torpedo tubes, the helo will be able to employ ASW weapons as well.

      All of this can also be true on the Navantia, and I really like its engineering because it looks more like our DDGs equipment wise.

      • Bubblehead

        I think the Italian FREMM is the model being offered.

        • Curtis Conway

          No bow sonar in the RFP. Pull the sonar and the draft will probably meet the draft requirement.

    • Duane

      You refuse to acknowledge that a hull sonar is clearly inferior to a variable depth sonar. A hull sonar fails to detect and track subs below a thermal layer. VDS does.

      • Curtis Conway

        The hull mounted sonar is not a part of this argument since the FFG(X) will not have one. Check the RFP.

      • NavySubNuke

        What he actually said is “FREMMs use the CAPTAS-4 VDS”
        You should look up some details on VDS when you get a chance.

        • Duane

          FREMMs don’t use a VDS. HE said they could use one … so what, the FREMM could use anything but that is not the same as actually designing, installing, integrating, and deploying a VDS. And NAVSEA was very specific in the FFG(X) design RFP that the designer must have actual first hand experience integrating the required GFE specified. FREMM has zero, zip, nada, read “no” such experience integrating any of the required GFE but the Mk 41 VLS. LM has a humongous advantage.

          Besides FREMM is way too big at 6,000+ tons, and therefore will be way too expensive. The right size for a frigate is 4,000-4,500 tons, and that is the maximum size that can make the $800 M cost objective with the required GFE.

          • NavySubNuke

            “FREMMs don’t use a VDS”
            No, as always you are wrong.
            The French ASW FREMMS have a VDS and it is amazing. I have personally participated in exercises with them and seen the results first hand.

  • Ed L

    24 frigates, 36 P-8’s, 24 SSN’s and a dozen DDG’s would help the British Navy out. But an increase of there defense budget to 3 percent might not cut it

    • The British GDP is only 1/7th that of the US. Going by the current American fleet they should thus be able to maintain 2 carriers, 10 submarines, 14 destroyers/frigates, and 18 patrol aircraft – pretty much what they have today. The numbers you suggest would likely require a defense budget of around 10% GDP or the gutting of the British Army and RAF.

      • Ed L

        The RAF and Army is already out gun by our Marines and most other countries militaries. The Russian and Chinese are coming and another 100 warships from other countries will be needed.

      • E1 Kabong

        Adding the retirement pensions from veterans, the MI-6 budget and JCS budgets to the defence budget to help make it LOOK like the UK was spending more on defence, didn’t help matters…

  • NavySubNuke

    “was in fact rejected by NAVSEA, and so the module contractors revised their designs and brought the weight back to within spec”
    In correct. The Navy had to bring in 3 different contractors to understand why it was over weight and how to get the weight back into spec since, as quote by USNI News “The mission package includes two mature and fielded sonar systems, plus the hardware needed to integrate the systems with the ship…… The Navy cannot overhaul either mature system, so it has hired Advanced Acoustic Concepts, L-3 Communications and Raytheon to find more creative ways to reduce weight.”
    Nice try though – you almost made an accurate statement.

    • Lazarus

      Having the ASW module require weight reduction is not synonymous with not enough growth weight. LCS by itself has 100 tons of growth weight. None of that has changed.

      • NavySubNuke

        Never claimed otherwise — I just pointed out it was overweight and had to be redesigned with made it even more behind schedule and even more over budget.

  • PolicyWonk

    ROAR!!!
    ============
    Whoa! Have you tried “Bromo-Seltzer[tm]” for that?

    ;-D

  • BSmitty

    EASR is in the budget documents for CVN 79 (2019 launch).

  • Curtis Conway

    Proud of you Duane with that “No. Standard equipmen[t] on all new construction LCS”, though I would like to see a source for “…and will be retrofitted on earlier hu[l]ls”.

    • Duane

      It is called “distributed lethality”. The Navy did announce last month.That ALL LCS will get the OTH missiles, contrary to what many erroneously believed. You cannot deploy an advanced networked long range missile like NSM without a combat management system like COMBATTS-21, or without CANES, which LCS already has installed … or without long range sensors which LCS already has (embarked MH-60 plus two or three MQ-8 B and/or C).

      Put 2 and 2 and 2 together and tell me what that comes to.

      • Curtis Conway

        When ISE “distributed lethality” means NOTHING and just gets you killed.

  • NavySubNuke

    Duane: “The system was in fact brought into compliance, and it was not even that overweight to begin with. LCS could easily have accommodated the over weight, but chose not to so as to preserve the weight reserved for future systems.”
    LCS Mission Module Program Manager Capt. Casey Moton stated “that each of his three mission modules is given 105 metric tons of weight on the LCS, but the ASW as it stands today surpasses that limit” (USNI News July 30, 2015)
    Followup: “The statement follows the July 20 award of about $600,000 in contracts — split evenly between Advanced Acoustic Concepts, L-3 Communications and Raytheon — to trim 15 to 25 percent of the fat from the mission package” (USNI News August 4, 2015)
    So, now in 2018 we are finally getting to see the ASW mission module tested — maybe.
    Despite, as noted in CRS reports in 2008: “As the delivery of the first anti-submarine warfare mission package approaches, the critical technologies and design both continue to mature. The program office identified 12 technologies as critical for this package, 5 of which remain immature. A production representative, deployable package will not be delivered until fiscal year 2011” (October 1, 2008)

    • Duane

      You are quoting statements from years ago, simply refusing to acknowledge that the ASW MM weight issue has long been resolved. You are attempting to, as we say in the Navy, “baffle with bullsh*t”. You fail every time, and persuade nobody with a brain.

      You are the very definition of a troll who peddles lies and has no interest in a thoughtful discussion. All you cate to do is spin, spin, spin like a propagandist.

      • NavySubNuke

        I’m not trying to baffle anyone — I’m simply pointing out the truth about how far behind schedule and over budget these modules are rather than lying about them and saying everything is fine and they are the most advanced things to ever hit the water even though they use two mature sensors that have already been fielded for years on other platforms.

    • Lazarus

      Moton has been gone for a while. The weight issues with the ASW module were solved in 2016. The testing process for modules is so difficult that it nearly constitutes bureaucratic interference.

      • NavySubNuke

        Thank God that will ~2 additional years of effort and millions of dollars in extra costs they were finally able to actually meet their weight spec.

  • Curtis Conway

    Strait from the RFP: “Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) 3 face fixed array (3X3X3 Radar Modular Assembly)”. There is only one radar currently constructed with RMAs, and that is the ADMR, and its derivatives of which EASR is one. There is more than one article that discusses this in detail, and the Raytheon web site goes into quite a lot of detail on this subject . . . BUT you have to want to know in the first place. There is more than one source for what an AN/SPY-6(v) is, and the number after the (v) tells you a lot, but once again . . . you have to want to know in the first place.

    • Duane

      I know what tne SPY-6 us and does and how it completely differs from every other radar on tje planet.

      You don’t even know what the SPT-6 is, obviously. You and a couple others here in this thread are just making.stuff up while pretending to know. SPY-6 is not like any other radar on the planet, it is the first of its technology to be produced, and it is far from going IOC let.alone being replicated or downsized.

      SPY-6 is not even scheduled to go IOC until 2023.

      • NavySubNuke

        I’d imagine @disqus_3wAbKPgJ4h:disqus is talking about things like this: “Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Navy conducted the Preliminary Design Review for the new Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, confirming system development is on track for delivery to the designated ship classes…. The PDR validated Raytheon’s scaled design leveraging the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar, configured into a rotating and a fixed face variant to match the missions of the multiple ship classes. EASR is built on Radar Modular Assembly technology which has been matured through development – and recent test successes – of AN/SPY-6 for the DDG 51 Flight III destroyers. Each RMA is a self-contained radar in a 2’x2’x2′ box. These individual radars can integrate together to form arrays of various sizes…. The commonality – in both hardware and software – with SPY-6 offers a host of advantages, including performance, availability and reliability; maintenance, training, logistics and lifecycle support”
        Source: US NAVY’S ENTERPRISE AIR SURVEILLANCE RADAR COMPLETES MAJOR DESIGN REVIEW, ON TRACK FOR DEVELOPMENT
        Dated: April 26, 2017
        Note: Link not provided due to USNI rules.

  • NavySubNuke

    Can’t post links here —- check out the RFP yourself.

    • Duane

      The RFP does NOT specify SPY-6 on FFG(X), period.

      • NavySubNuke

        True what it specifies is “Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) 3 face fixed array (3x3x3 Radar Modular Assembly)”
        The EASR is in fact —- drum roll please —- a SCALED SPY-6!!!
        Nice try though.

        • Duane

          No it is not. It is not – drum roll – a gallium nitride radar system. Therefore, ipso facto, it is not a scaled down SPY-6. GN is the defining description of SPY-6, and drives the design of the entire radar system and its auxiliary support systems.

          You continue to state riduculous things. Give it up, you’ve seen you silly grandstanding utterly destroyed with a single, but overwhelmingly determinative fact.

          SPY-6 is still just a design and prototype hardware and software that is a minimum 5 years out from being IOC, curtently scheduled in 2023. It exists on no ship on the planet today, not even at full scale let alone downscaled. It will be downscaled eventually, probably in 7 to 10 years ad an actual deployable, operational system. But a scaled down GN radar system will not be installed or retrofitted onto any ship that does not have a 4KV electrical power plant with a lot of excess power and a 4KV electrical distribution system, which will not be included in FFG(X).

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. Oh dear you really do have trouble accepting reality.
            You should really try and actually check out EASR though since it is going on CVN-79 and beyond, our amphibs, and FFG(X).
            No worries though – about what I expect from someone who doesn’t even know the difference between CBS and CRS.

          • Curtis Conway

            Listen to Rear Adm Boxall: ( https:// www. defensenews. com/digital-show-dailies/surface-navy-association/2018/01/09/surface-warfare-director-cruiser-replacement-wont-be-a-cruiser/ )

  • USNVO

    “Noting a tenfold increase in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic in recent years…”

    Not to discount the message, which was very rational and common sense, but when they use figures like this one, then you know the threat is highly inflated (at least in regards to the Soviet, I mean Russian, threat). Increased 10x from what? A nuclear attack submarine underway once in a blue moon versus ten underway once in a blue moon? When starting from insignificantly small numbers, it is very easy to both increase tenfold and still be insignificant.

    • E1 Kabong

      If you go from ZERO submarine sorties to TEN, then TA-DA!

      A ten-fold increase…

      • USNVO

        Actually, from Zero to Ten would be an infinite increase!

        And they have huge plans to build new submarines, carriers, amphibs, cruisers, and destroyers as well, and as soon as oil hits $500 a barrel, they’ll do it too! Anyone can think of an impossible plan, the Russians just appear better at it than others.

        • E1 Kabong

          Actually, it’s a ten-fold increase.

          Ask a math teacher.

          “And they have huge plans to build new submarines, carriers, amphibs, cruisers, and destroyers as well…”?

          LMAO! Yes, Russians do like to dream!

          Sure, all that “new” equipment has been “planned” for DECADES…

          Where’s the new carrier?
          New PAK-DA?
          PAK-FA?
          Those Armata tanks sure break down a lot…

          How many have been built of ANY new equipment?

          Bulava SLBM’s?

  • Terry Foskett

    Those words “would be unlikely ever to” said in connection with military policy decisions history shows usually comes back to haunt those who said it. The Falklands War (in which I was involved) would be a case in point. Cancelled carriers and we wound up with the “through deck cruiser” then the “would be unlikely” war turned up. We barely held our own against the Argentine Air Force to maintain air cover over the Task Force. First lesson in military affairs which I have studied most of my life is “never assume”. In the final analysis it costs lives.

  • Master and Commander

    The Brits need escorts and we have lots just sitting around tied to the piers taking up space, I say we ‘give’ them all of our mighty battle frigates (aka the LCS), as a token of our endearing friendship and trust. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it (and won’t be cursing us in 2 months hence).

    • Lazarus

      No LCS is just sitting around doing nothing.

      • UKExpat

        Regretfully the LCSs are “Not Fit For Purpose” and are of no use as carrier escorts. The RN needs real “Blue Water” warships that can fight

        • muzzleloader

          Ouch.

        • Lazarus

          The RN will likely be happen to get what they can. Most historical combat has taken place….in littorals.

          • Captain Obvious

            Battle of Midway-not in the littorals
            Battle of the Coral Sea-not in the littorals
            Jutland-not in the littorals
            Battle of the Philippine Sea-not in the littorals
            Sinking of the Bismark-not in the littorals
            USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere, vs HMS Java, vs HMS Cyane, none in the littorals
            etc, etc.

            by all means, keep up the good history work there professor Lax

          • Secundius

            Littoral Waters varies from depths of 15-feet to 12,000-feet. It’s called a Littoral Combat Ship! The designation doesn’t limit it to Swimming Pool Depth. How do you think that an LCS get from the West Coast of the United States to Singapore! By being Airlifted or by a “Ro-Ro” Ship. Try SELF Passage…

          • UKExpat

            For goodness sake! Littoral Waters are defined as shallow sea areas usually those covering the continental shelf areas situated close to continental land masses. They are basically relevantly shallow waters e.g. the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, China Sea, etc. Equating 12,000 feet depths with littoral seas is absolute nonsense.

            One of the main problems with the LCS is that their shallow hull shapes are basically built for speed and cannot readily function effectively in the heavy weather conditions usually associated with ” Blue Water” Ocean passages / conditions.

          • Secundius

            Typical Green Water Depth is ~650-feet deep of the US Coast. The Great Lakes where the “Freedom” class is built can reach a Depth of ~922-feet. And BOTH the Saint-Lawrence River and Hudson Rivers (i.e. Brown Water) which the Freedom class has to traverse to get to the Atlantic Ocean exceed 200-feet in depth. It’s called a “Littoral” because it can operate in Shallow Waters. NOT because it was meant to ONLY operate in Littoral Waters…

          • UKExpat

            You mean like all the battles that took place in the North/South Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans etc. Then of course there are the long “Blue Water ” ocean passages between littoral seas not to mention the not infrequent severe weather/sea conditions often found in littoral seas themselves e.g. North Sea, Barents Sea, etc. Any self respecting experienced “Blue Water” sailor will confirm that the LCS design is basically unsuitable for serious Naval operations.

            The whole design/concept of the LCS’s is about as dumb as the WW1 concept of building battleships/dreadnoughts with significantly reduced armour so as to allow them to avoid their enemies by using the greater speed the afforded by the weight reduction. They were called “Battlecruisers” and we all know the disaster they turned out to be!

      • E1 Kabong

        What was one doing in Montreal ALL winter?

        • Lazarus

          Ice….that would have blocked the progress of any US ship.

          • E1 Kabong

            Nope.

      • Retired

        and the ‘joke of the day’ award goes to…

        • Lazarus

          I have noticed that most LCS critics are retired (and perhaps have dated thinking.)

          • Retired

            That’s you’re best comeback? Sheesh!

    • UKExpat

      Is that reply meant to be clever or just your feeble tacky attempt at being sarcastic?

      • Master and Commander

        Sarcasm-the international currency of humor. But seriously I wouldn’t wish the LCS joke upon you all-you might start a 3rd revolutionary war over it. ;-P

  • Lazarus

    The RN has at least 3 DDG’s and 3 frigates per carrier. How many more do they think they need?

    • UKExpat

      Actually they need the Type 26 for ASW protection, but it is under construction.

    • E1 Kabong

      LOL!

      The RN Type 45 fleet is SIX ships, TOTAL….

      How many frigates are operational, at any one time?

  • UKExpat

    I am afraid that this article lacks a large element of truth. It is true that the new RN Carriers do not CURRENTLY have their full complement of escorts. However they are not only in the pipeline but actually under construction.

    The basic escort force for a single RN carrier task force will generally consist of :-

    2No. Type 45 specialist anti air warfare Destroyers with Aster 15 & 30 hypersonic anti aircraft/missile missiles
    2No Type 26 specialist anti submarine warfare Frigates with Sea Ceptor hypersonic anti aircraft/missile missiles and anti submarine helicopter/torpedoes (These ships are now under construction and will be world leaders in ASW due to their excellent range of sensors and exceptional quietness)
    1 No Super quiet Astute SSN with revamped “Spearfish” Torpedoes (Speed 60+ Knots & about 30 Miles range)
    The above will be augmented by the carrier’s own sensors, F35s, Anti submarine Helicopters, Helicopter A-WACs, land based P8s, etc, etc,

    Some relatively minor items still need rectifying but over all it will be hard to find any of the world’s carriers sailing, out of reach of land, better protected than the RN’s will be when they are ready to deploy in anger.

    Politics and Gutter Press Articles are the curse of understanding the truth!

    • E1 Kabong

      Sure…

      How many Type 45’s were PLANNED for?
      Astute class subs?

      Believe it, when they’re in the water.

      BTW, how are those T-45’s doing, propulsion-wise these days?

      Still stuck dock-side?

  • NavySubNuke

    Actually what he stated – and I was amazed at – was that you “finally admitted the ASW mission module was overweight, which caused real delays (despite his many claims to the contrary)”
    Previous to this you have always blamed Senator McCain or DOT&E for the delays in the ASW Mission Module.
    I was simply amazed you finally had enough integrity to actually lay the blame correctly rather than lashing out and trying to deflect the blame away from the incompetence of the PEO.

  • Matt Bowyer

    The RN has too few escorts, but it will always have enough to escort out carrier groups – after all, we have 9.5 escorts per carrier.

    The big issue is that when deploying a carrier that we won’t have enough escorts for other tasks.

    The RN (2 carriers, 19 escorts) actually has slightly more escorts per carrier than the USN, at 11/100.

  • E1 Kabong

    LOL!

    SURE you did…

    On the internet, you can be anything, right sparky?

    Clearly, you aren’t a math whiz.

    “Actually, from Zero to Ten would be an infinite increase!”?

    From M-W:

    Definition of infinite

    1 : extending indefinitely : endless infinite space

    2 : immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible infinite patience

    3 : subject to no limitation or external determination

    4 a : extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large infinite number of positive numbers

    b : extending to infinity infinite plane surface

    c : characterized by an infinite number of elements or terms an infinite set an infinite series

    Still feel like being SCHOOLED?

  • E1 Kabong

    Refuting you is easy.

    Math is hard for you.

    Clearly, grasping the concept and definition of what “infinite” means, is difficult.

  • E1 Kabong

    It is if the student can’t learn.

    Now, get back to work.

    Those floors won’t mop themselves.

  • E1 Kabong

    You give vague, meaningless answers.

    Are you a politician?

    Keep denying your errors…

    “So explain how going from zero to 10 is a tenfold increase.”?

    Explain what the increase would be then.

    9?
    11?
    43?

  • E1 Kabong

    Better than your sorry state.

  • E1 Kabong

    Can’t answer the question, I see.

    Typical for those who have been BUSTED.