However, the ship with the 57mm Bofors, using guided rounds combined with the NS100 radar would make quite a formidable anti-aircraft/missile combination. On 17 December 2020, the Royal Navy commissioned HMS Tamar, the fourth new River-class patrol ship, during a short ceremony in Portsmouth. UK gov hiring additional civilian vessels for UK fisheries. Counting “in RN hand” frigate number, the gap is in 2023-2025 for up to 2 hulls. The comments are cringeworthy. Plus what is the Type 31 going to be used for? Which means you can up the number of streams it is transmitting when an object gets closer to the ship. Probably about £2m, plus half-a-dozen operators for all three shifts. So, before we compare what’s been done to Brazilian or Thai ships, we need to understand that they are almost certainly operated under very different stability standards to the RN. BAE Bofors 40mm/70 Mk4 with a possible fire control upgrades, and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). Will a Merlin HM2 be *permanently* embarked on Type 31s? Taking a Schiebel S-100 as a benchmark, that is quoted as having a maximum payload of 50kg (https://schiebel.net/products/camcopter-s-100-system-2/) which I assume excludes fuel. Fitting I-SSGW would preclude carrying two TEU containers in their usual position which offer lots of flexible options. Back to up-arming River B2, I think the only clear needs will be on the days of these “gap”. I don’t think you have to be Mystic Meg to see where this is going. The RNs requirements are both capability (ie sensors, weapons, boats, stuff etc) and safety (compliance with the NATO ship code). Apart from the flight deck issue near perfect. The Fire Scout MQ-8B is 30 times the cost of the S-100, 9 times the weight, and it won’t fit in a 20′ container. Which is also why they shouldn’t be up-armed (much), they need to do the low intensity stuff as efficiently, and dare I say as cheaply, as possible. 40mm main gun, a pair of 30mm with Lmm on the waist and a fire control system backed by containerised rotary UAVs. The CAMM system would provide a very useful LAD capability, for example for tasks such as escorting tankers in the Gulf as well as self defence. “Enhancing the Royal Navy’s batch II OPVs” –Save the Royal Navy, Save the Royal Navy looks at how they might be upgraded, sell their version of this design to the Philippines, http://thaidefense-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/blog-post_31.html, https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/02/fourth-batch-2-river-class-opv-hms-tamar-accepted-by-the-uk-mod/, http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/august/8877-royal-navy-s-new-patrol-vessel-hms-tamar-is-ready-for-action-and-will-be-based-in-portsmouth.html, http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/september/9010-british-navy-hms-spey-river-class-offshore-patrol-vessel-debuts-at-sea.html. To catch drug or arms runners, the Rivers are too slow. When I say “4”, it means sometimes 2, sometimes 6. hanger could practically be installed. With the 8 OPV’s we have soon we will be back into the 3 tier “fleet” the RN was looking at in the early 2000’s, C1 being high end specialist escort (ASW or AAW T26 and T45 totalling 14 platforms), C2 being general escorts and low intensity patrol (T31 and B2 OPV totalling 9 platforms (increase to 12 if T31 increased)) and C3 being your MCMV and other patrol vessels etc (potentially up to 16 platforms) giving a total “fleet” of around 40 vessels which isn’t too bad. The obvious answer to up-arming the B2s and to keep costs down, is to keep the equipment required with what’s currently or will be in service. The UK has had far too few vessels patrolling ours seas for far too long. Use of reservists or part-time civilians will solve the manning problems since essentially only 2 vessels need to be ready at anytime with the other 2 in reserve or repairs. I do like the B1’s. For what its size it is a very capable radar, which is why a lot of navies use it as either their primary radar for OPV sized vessels or as a back up to their primary 3D radar on larger vessels. LRAD can emit painfully loud noise out to 3.5km and can either be used to deliver instructions or deafen and confuse those manning hostile craft. The RN is unlikely to go down this route, but the OPVs have the capacity for these modifications and the merits are worthy of some consideration. As for anti-ship missiles, I wouldn’t want to rely solely on Bofors guns to take them out. In this case, we get the remaining 1B GBP. Protect Merchant shipping and itself from limited air attack. Fitting the army loader from the army version of sea ceptor would be useful if fitted to cam copter iso container. The sum I estimate for all-five is around £25-£30 million and maybe less. A 2,000t navy ship is possibly big enough to attract unwanted attention. The ‘bolt-on’ design of these new workboats means that additional packages could be flown out if required. It is an X band radar with variable pulse repetition frequency. A 40mm Bofors main armament would be great and a couple of bridge mounted 20mms with arcs to port and starboard would give a more than adequate punch. To interdict by air either Helicopters or boats/ships for inspection & anti drug/weapons smuggling. The 40mm / 30mm mix would be perfectly adequate for policing operations and inner defence. But, it still has to be “command guided” to the target as the laser matrix must be kept over the target for the missile to home in on, its not a fire and forget system. It can also fire the ORKA self-guided round which is a highly accurate one-shot-one-kill round for use against air and surface threats. Plus from what I’ve read about it on this site, it’ll have no bow sonar, towed array sonar, VL-ASROC or SSTD. Hosting a UAV in the alternative position would complete the package. The C is a essentially just a full-size manned helicopter that’s been automated. I must say that having the .40 mm bofors seems a no brainer to me. For naval anti-terrorism work, they’re probably OK for some situations (especially with Royal Marines or SBS on board). New Batch 2 River OPVs, would take just as long as Type 31 frigates to be built and bring to service. For this purpose, a 25 tonne capacity crane is fitted. By this simplicity, their sea-going days can be x1.5 of an escort (say 120 x 1.5 = 180 days or so = achievable I think). I haven’t worn it in ages and it doesn’t fit anymore. One Batch 1 (HMS Clyde), which was the Falklands guard-ship, has been decommissioned and sold to the Royal Bahrain Naval Force. Not the best site really. It can be either deck or non-deck penetrating. How much you underarm it is up to the buyer, but it has the capability of going to a AAW based heavy NATO class frigate if you want to. Although it might be nice for them to be armed to the teeth in case of all eventualities, this would be a poor use of resources as they spend most of their time policing fishing boats. Could they be pressed into service on say 3 of the batch 2 Rivers modified with a telescopic hangar? 2. Those sorts of targets wouldn’t even register on the missiles guidance. The Batch I OPVs are only armed with a single, manually-aimed 20mm cannon and a few GMPGs. “Save the Royal Navy” describes itself as “an online campaign but not an organisation as such,” so not an official voice of the Royal Navy. A hull-mounted sonar could probably be fitted but are also fairly limited in range and inhibited by the ship’s self-generated noise. Get the latest news and breaking news from the KVUE Team. Decent endurance (fuel and vittles). All depends on what Capability Update Margin and through-life growth margin they were provided with. HMS Forth and HMS Medway have now been forward deployed in “low-threat” environments but HMS Trent, Tamar or Spey might be candidates to be forward-deployed either in the Arabian Gulf or Singapore. The newer version has a similar range to Martlet. Having ships puttering around the world’s oceans seems like a good opportunity to keep some ears listening. Anyone who deploys an OPV to the Gulf should be relieved on command on the spot. So if you wanted to use radar to gain sensor distance, at the expense of duration and range, you could. This will expedite any potential future repair … A Wildcat’s only of limited use for anti-sub warfare. All the other weapon systems while desirable, would meet head on with the budget. If you count carefully, “number of escorts in hand of RN” is not that bad, a gap in 2023-2025. Even if you have a ready-made platform, it must be recognised that the addition of new weapons and sensors is not a simple as some assume. Don’t they communicate? They’re too slow to catch arms or drug smugglers, who will use the fastest vessels they can get their hands on. “The Rivers _are_ mobile border-force cutters” – I’m glad someone finally said it. If that is the case then two things could be mounted there depending on requirements, the first is Sea Ram, the second is Typhoon MLS NLOS. Likewise people often bleat about the level of AAW that 2 x T45 can deliver. So I guess the big question is – why? The OPVs are there to do the low intensity missions so that actual warships are freed up to deploy to places like the Gulf. Sea Cepto can attack surface targets. As for pirates in fast boats, they can’t outrun a 40/57mm true (or a helicopter or UAV for that matter), but unless fired on first, wouldn’t the ROEs prohibit a River from firing on pirates? The Starstreak HVM accelerates to Mach 4+ in just over a second after leaving its tube. An embarked Wildcat helicopter would very significantly enhance the capability of the OPV. Then, the choices will be 1- adding LMM on 30mm turret at the bow (can remain, but not carrying in EEZ mode) 2- adding a UAV container on the waist (can be re-rolled in any ship) 3- adding 2 more mini-guns to make it 4 (same) 4- adding 2 LRAD (same) 5- replacing 16t crane with a 20 mm CIWS in stock for T26. The RN needs to hold to its policy of making sure it OPVs are clearly nothing more than cost effective constabulary vessels and should not be facing more Greater threat that a drug dealers fast boat, modern pirates or a hard day in the North Sea. But on cost grounds, manpower and modifying the aft deck for a telescopic hangar, would significantly push the cost up. The again if a OPV Plus Plus gets into a major missile war then something has gone really wrong and you need to call the big ships in. and support the Coast Guard and Fisheries protection fleet. This ring is a top of a tube penetrating down to the second deck = stiff enough to hold a 20 mm gatling-guns shock. HMS Spey, the fifth and final River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), departed BAE Systems’ shipyard in Glasgow on her delivery voyage to her new home of Portsmouth Naval Base. If you go for that then you might as well just go for a Merlin and be done with it – though I think both are unsuitable due to a lack of permanent hanger. (also robbing money from RN, which could have been used to up-arm T45, T26 and T31). I’m not including a dedicated anti-air weapon/missile system as that would push the ship into the realms of a proper corvette and costs nearing the T31. I am a big fan of the Spike NLOS that turns these vessels into capable small combatants in tandem with a 40mm main gun and a pair of 30mm on the waist with coaxial LMM (in a swarm attack, the 40mm has just 20 seconds of sustained fire unless the deck is penetrated. Beyond that there is a need for a ‘fly the flag’ counter piracy / drugs role and a surveillance platform for escorting foreign warships. If we cut T26 numbers to 6 that would enable us to build more R2 and T31 and arm them better. But it means putting T23 into “extended readiness” = manning 2nd Tier escorts by hollowing 1st Tier escorts. It’s not well armed enough for anything else. (bring the crane back in EEZ mode). Working on the principle of iterative development, a second and considerably upgraded vessel, HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan was commissioned in 2019 armed with the improved Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun and mounts for up to 8 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles. The ship won’t be a corvette as such, but will be more flexible at what it can be used for, being able to defend itself, but more importantly punch back! When operating in the Gulf, the most obvious threats are from gunboat swarms and land-based anti-ship missiles. Save the Royal Navy looks at how they might be upgraded. The rivers certainly don’t need Harpoon but a weapons fit of; 57mm, Sea Spear and 2 x 30mm with LMM option would give plenty of bite. Contrast that with the coastguard, who are running trials on the Israeli Hermes 900 drone. I’d then look into containerised surface warfare systems that could be used across the fleet, whether that be NSM or even something smaller like Brimstone. ( Log Out / I see budget and strategy driving the fleet mix in the opposite direction. If an Oerlikon Millennium Gun would fit on the front where the current Bushmaster is all the better. I saw a youtube video a couple of years ago where Chris Parry said the ratio was 3:1 and Bryan McGrath (USN) said the ratio was 4:1 (https://youtu.be/AdIO2bZ5lXs). In this article, we consider some of the options and implications for upgrading these vessels. The 57 is about half the weight of the OTO super rapide 76mm gun. What impact will the new equipment have on the ship itself? This CMS backbone which is now common to most RN warships (except the Thales TACTICOS-based Type 31) should ease the installation of new sensors and weapons. Equally send them anywhere where they are likely to be targetted by anti-ship missiles and I can’t see them surviving for long. Ive called it a Coast Guard force for the want of a name it could be Border Enfocement Force or whatever but you get the idea. As I said in my original comment all of what the RN would want could be achieved in a ship half the size say, http://www.ares.com.tr/datasheets/rr_70_skadi_opv.pdf. Sea Ceptor is also much better then Sea Ram. This is technically much more complex than this paper exercise may suggest but there is spare capacity available within the vessels. Whilst in ideal world T31’s and other bigger ships would be doing this the reality is that we don’t have the numbers or crew or at sea days to cover everything. 2024 -T23: +185 2025 -T23+T26+T31: 185+185-157-100 = 113 2026 -T23+T31: 113+185-100= 198 2027 -T23+T26+T31: 198+185-157-100 =126 2028 -T23+T26-T31: 126+185-157-100 = 54 2029 -T23+T31: 54+185 -100 = 139. Do such guns exist? Even the Batch 1s are overarmed for this task imo and I don’t see the sense of the Royal Navy doing this job anyway. They are also a fire and forget missile, the RAF Brimstones can be upgrade to Sea Spear. It hurts to write that but its true. Maybe not perfect at anything but with guided rounds, credible at anything. Fine if you are a 30-40m PB. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Option-2: Order TWO more T26 with 1.6B GBP or so, and re-role 300M GBP to “slightly improve” T26 armaments, and use remaining 100M GBP to make TWO of the five River B2 a “super OPV” = say, three 30mm gun all with LMM, and a 20 mm CIWS (in place of the crane), with UAVs. There is one additional option that could be installed on my verstion of the Batch IIs, if SeaRam was to be installed then rather than using Typhon MLS NLOS as you would only be able to carry either/or, have 2×6 launchers for Brimstone Sea Spear. The River class is a class of offshore patrol vessels built primarily for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Note the fire-control radar for the 76mm gun and the soft-kill decoy launchers forward of the bridge. These ships are going to be worked into the ground, just enforcing the fishing perimeters in anything like an effective way is going to be a stretch. Because its likely operating inshore or out to 200 mile EEZ, some mine warfare drone or multipurpose equivalent might be a useful addition should circumstances require. Would the Scanter 6000 do the job ? The whole design is very conservative. If a Poseidon patrol aircraft was based on the Falklands, then all the better. The 40mm can use the 3P round, which has a multi-purpose programmable fuze, it is not a guided round like the 57’s ORKA round. There are several small-medium sized RWUAVs already in service with other navies. Ah ok. After that, the T45 is gone. Include modular facilities for the Royal Corps of PR Specialists and Photographers and he’ll be fine. It has the capability for searching and tracking objects up to 6000ft at distances of 10 to 15 nm, depending on the objects size and RCS. Don’t see the point in 1 if you have 3 (or 4). I don’t know if the 16.5ton crane is a bolt on or deck penatrating, I hope a bolt on for what I am going to suggest. Forth and Medway are already on their way. The combination could be useful against swarming boats as well. Napier can have no delays, and any money should go there. I would use the rotary UAV for surveillance and targeting. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. T31 is ASW capable, not ASW specialised, but IMO I would rather 5 my spec T31 than 2 more T26, with money left over to up arm the B2’s. There are smaller, faster, better equipped fast attack craft designs such as: https://cmn-group.com/products-and-services/military-vessels/combattante/combattante-fs65/, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roussen-class_fast_attack_craft. Artisan would cover an area of 125,663sqkm whilst the Camcopter could cover a further 25,446sqkm, if Ive got my maths right. Trying to turn the thing into an FAC or Corvette will greatly impact the ability to use the ship as an OPV. I’d hope to find somewhere that I could put a UAV into, something with similar capabilities to the latest Scan Eagle variants that the Australians are using with the wide area search and track system. Regardless of any up-arming wide area surveillance is surely the capability game changer for interception of drug runners or pirates. – Now we have 12 manned (at various stage) and 7 unmanned escorts. Perhaps the most important addition however would be some form of beyond the horizon surveillance vehicle. A River B2 deployed to the Gulf, would need to be accompanied by a T45, even armed with Martlet or I-SSGW. Another department in finding ways to reduce the capability, on paper, of a much larger T31 frigate. But uparmed Batch 2 Rivers could do that job at a fraction of the cost and they could do it now, now it 7 years time. Corvette-2 Type 23s need more crew than either replacement. Perhaps use it to aim a SAAB anti submarine grenade system? Back to the days of WW11 when someone is going to have to physically re-arm the gun…..and considering where it’s mounted on the Type 31 Corvette, that is not going to be easy, specially in the middle of a fight…. Or a T23, assuming the River doesn’t stray too far. Probably does their cause more harm than good. Would something like NS110 really be necessarily? They will be replaced by five new River Class ‘Batch 2’ boats. Counting “in service”, the gap starts from 2023 and up to 4 hulls in 2026. The Bofors 40mm with programmed rounds, however, is an impressive piece of kit when observed ulitizing either a single shell or four in rapid fire. Cheap to crew while providing command opportunities and some genuine capability. So, even if 15 hulls are manned, available for deployment will be 4 on average. The Martlet’s effective range is still its operational range of about 8km. Its completely unrealistic to have another type in service and the Wildcat comes in 2 versions the HMA for the full anti sub work and the AH version for RM work, mostly on land but can be carried on deck. They could still be used for training, they would have a combined headquaters rather than at the moment a RN headquaters, Border Patrol headquaters, SFP headquaters. But, assuming I absolutely had to upgrade the B2s in some way, the suggestions at the bottom to middle of the pile seem about right. Paul: What’s the point of fitting towed array sonars to either the Type 31s or uparmed Rivers? I’d say for the British is to ditch the 30 mm and bring in the 57 MM with Guided rounds. I think we need to be more concerned about the 31 and the 26 and their loadouts and capabilities. Of course the best solution would be to just the leave the God foresaken region. The only thing Rivers could realistically be uparmed for is to deal with fast attack craft in areas where there are no subs and no anti-ship missiles. Then before the decision to add new capability is taken, there are a series of questions consider. I’m going to a wedding next weekend. Hi Challenger I concur, the RN is slowly getting to grips with the manpower it has got, the shipping it needs and the context it will soon be operating in post the next review. Having VLS puts a big question mark to an adversary – can they gamble on it being empty? Effective range and maximum ranges are two different properties. Just by combineing everything under one roof the UK would have 38 boats to protect UK waters without any increase in budgets or numbers, each boat should have police, customs officers, RMs etc on board and the force should be giving the power of inspection/detention and arrest. The two Thai OPVs do not carry a crane abaft the funnel instead, the second ship has mounts for Harpoon AShM. However, it has now been announced that all vessels will be retained. Add two 30 MM Guns or 2 M2’s. I agree except 30mm/LMM provides redundancy in a swarm attack and augments the 40mm. Black Swan sloop squadrons here we come! Finally, if there’s a reasonable option for small-footprint ELINT, I’d consider that. Compared to our own WMECs, the River Class Batch IIs are bigger and faster than the Bear class. C3 could have the 30mm MARTLET fit as standard again along with a common sensor fit. Operate on a world wide basis, if so then uparm them, For UK waters then put them togtether with all the patrol boats of the UK and form a single force with the authority of warrent. We’re building T31’s specifically to operate in places like The Gulf and South China Sea. And they’re woefully underarmed for any kind of warfare. I can’t see any scenario where you’d want to use this under its own 25km+ AD bubble. The Royal Navy is looking at how they might increase the lethality of their new River Class Batch II Offshore Patrol Vessels. I don’t really see the point of the River OPVs. A helicopter also requires an additional air compliment of around 12 crew to be found and accommodated. Not so good if you are a 90m 2,000t ship. Maintenance may be slightly restricted, lacking a gantry crane used for changing engines but at least the helicopter can remain sustained on board for much longer than if lashed to an open flight deck. Wonder why the choice of the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 instead of the Insitu Scaneagle, if remember RN had successful trials with one in the Gulf on a T23, using a wing instead of blades Scaneagle endurance approx three times that of a S-100. Of course HMG might decided post-Brexit Cod Wars need a 57mm………. Some friends are getting married, and it’s a full church do. A total of nine were built for the Royal Navy (RN), four Batch 1 and five Batch 2. Kelvin Hughes has been selected to supply its SharpEye radar system for the new Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessels HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey. They illustrate it operating from a B1 in their marketing video and brochure. How fast are the sea class boats and how people can they hold? As I understand, there is a rule of thumb, “3 for 1”. With the MQ-8B you get a platform that’s our US allies have extensive experience of using. I’d also like us to start building diesel-electric subs again. – ScanEagle has a fiddly launch and retrieval system, requiring a mini-catapult and a skyhook. The OPVs will never be used in significant warfighting but they could become a little more deadlier agains their intended targets by reusing existing equipment. As for anti-ship missiles, it would make sense to fit Rivers with MASS and/or Siren decoys and 16 CAMMs in an ADL launcher (which can be replenished at sea) to complement the Bofors/Millennium Gun/RAPIDSeaGuardian. It should be recalled that the Tribal class sloops were designed and built for the Gulf. T31 is based on the A140 which is itself a modernised & updated version of the IH frigate. Any serious threat, such as an anti-ship missile like the Yemenis used against a Saudi corvette, would require the efforts of the specialised weapon. As, in place it will significantly lose the sea-going days and man-power friendly operation, you may need two of them to cover a place one was covering, and still you need 3 or 4 times more crew to do it, robbing these crew from other assets. When I say, “15 manned out of 19 hulls”, this means among the “7 in maintenance”, 4 is in Long maintenance. The 40mm gun is a good idea along witg the 997 it can do anti-air and anti-surface and act as a CIWS. Any upgrading of the O.P.V.s should be minimal, any extra money instead going towards Type 31.
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