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Author Topic: Type 31 GPFF  (Read 5274 times)

Offline Grey Havoc

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Type 31 GPFF
« on: August 26, 2016, 07:28:51 am »
Type 31 design Concepts

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FRIGATE DESIGN

The UK's sole warship builder has revealed two general purpose frigate (GPFF) concepts based on existing designs. BAE systems is proposing its so-called Avenger and Cutlass solutions in response to the government's requirement for a cheaper and less sophisticated frigate alternative to the Type 26, as stated in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The latter has become so expensive that the MOD has baulked at placing orders so that construction can begin.

   Both GPFF types are stretched and enhanced versions of recent exports. The Avenger is an enlarged version of the company's OPV design, which has been sold overseas to Brazil and Thailand and also forms the basis for the RN's batch 2 River class, which are currently under construction.

   The artist's impression reveals a lengthened hull to accommodate a missile silo amidships, a fo'c's'le mounted five-inch gun, and flight deck with helicopter hanger. Similarly, the twin-funnelled Cutlass is a more capable concept based on a stretched version of the Al Shamikh corvette built for the Royal Navy of Oman.



Ships Monthly, October 2016

Note that there was a misprint in the original article which had the Type 26 as the Type 266.


IMAGE CREDITS: BAE Systems, via Janes.
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Offline Moose

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2016, 08:21:59 am »
The stretched River is pretty much the UK Defence Forum's nightmare given form.

Offline zen

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2016, 04:02:33 pm »
We now know that there are four companies submitting ideas/offerings.

BAE Systems is touting it's Avenger (a more warship-like River) and Cutlass (possibly derived from the Khareefs).

We also know what BMT would offer in the form of Venerator 110.

But what is Babcock offering?

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2016, 11:25:31 pm »
Probably an extended version of the OPVs they have been building for Ireland.

Offline Hood

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 03:31:17 am »
All of these warmed over OPVs leave me feeling decidedly unexcited and perplexed.
How can Britain have fallen from a naval superpower to a nation so focused on not spending any money that it can't even provide its Navy with a capable frigate like every other modern European, American and Asian navy is capable of doing.

What on earth are these general purpose ships supposed to do? A 5in gun on an OPV with limited radar and self-defence capability? Good luck getting close enough to shore to use it. I assume the VLS is for CAMS for a self-defence capability? I also assume that the only ASW capability is the helicopter aft, it seems unlikely a towed array will be fitted either (I believe neither the River or the Al Shamikh is fitted with hull sonar but please correct me if I'm wrong on that point).

As an escort alongside the Type 45s with the new carriers these will be of little use, fine for pottering around the Gulf perhaps and inserting a few RHIBs of troops but not much use in an intense conflict or for screening duties or traditional frigate roles. Surely we need something like the original Type 26 proposals to offer a step up from the growing River Class OPV fleet we already have to bridge the gap between the high-end Type 45.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2016, 04:30:18 am »
GPFF/Type 31 made it into SDSR15 without so-much as a concept study. That means the decision was taken to run a programme before anyone even knew if it was workable. It seems reasonable to assume that someone realised that the ships budget was insufficient to support a 13 hull Type 26 build so an entirely notional fictional concept was concocted to avoid admitting to a further cut in the frigate fleet. I would not be surprised if the entire concept collapses on itself at some point in the future.

Recall that the successor programme costs grew substantially, project Napier (the T45 propulsion fix) is currently also budgeted at £280 million and the funding for that has to come from somewhere. Note that RFA Diligence has been unceremoniously put up for sale- it all suggests the RN is very short of cash.

Offline Hood

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 04:50:23 am »
The RN is also short of manpower so that's probably another driver to smaller crew sizes.

I think that's a fair assumption of what's happened. I can't see the RN being particularly happy with the outcome. As you say the concept will collapse, either the sailors demanding a proper concept study (probably pushing out the procurement process even further and delaying any ships another half a decade) or the politicians will point to the River Batch 2 and seeing little difference in the ships (but in the price tag) will say you don't need GPFF and can get by with what you have.

It also says something about the private contractors having little imagination and spare design capacity and manpower (at a time when Successor and QE/PoW are sucking resources) to come up with little more than derivatives of the only designs left in the catalogue.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 06:51:11 am »
With regards as to the Venator-110, via the UK Defence Journal blog:

ORIGINAL CAPTION: A possible configuration of the Venator-110 design. Copyright BMT.
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Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2016, 02:14:54 pm »
Via the ThinkDefence blog, some handy background & analysis: http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/type-31-general-purpose-frigate-gpff/
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Offline Triton

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 08:19:52 pm »
"The Type 31 Frigate: A Critical Analysis"
by Duncan Cushenan
August 2, 2017

Source:
https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/type-31-a-critical-analysis/

Quote
A cheaper and general purpose frigate is the tagline that describes the Type 31 Frigate, it has also been called the child of austerity but it could be more than it, it could be a ticking timebomb for the Royal Navy.

This article is the opinion and thoughts of the author and not representative of the views of the UK Defence Journal.

A ticking timebomb may sound like a harsh and critical view of the T31 but in several areas this conclusion can be reached. As it is a ship design that will be driven by fiscal concerns that will cause capabilities to be reduced potentially leading to the production of a ship that could be unfit for purpose.

Before I delve into the different issues that will come into play for the T31 some context is needed. As it stands the Royal Navy has a fleet of 13 frigates and plans to replace them one for one which was originally going to be 12 T26s but this was reduced to 8xT26 and then 5xT31 owing to the budget available and rising costs for the T26.

Financially the Type 31 Frigate as it stands is a wise decision to be made for the Royal Navy as currently 13 T26 frigates cannot be afforded, so to have 8 of them followed by 5 cheaper frigates could be a good idea.

Yet the worry is what kind of frigate could be expected within the money set aside which works out to approximately £350 million per ship in contrast to the £800 million for a Type 26 frigate.

The question then is where will the £450 million of savings be made to reduce the price tag of the ship to less than half of that of a T26?

Obviously as one would expect the potential designs that have been pitched are considerably smaller than that of the T26 but size alone will not drive the cost down. As looking at the designs, especially the BAE offerings, they look like very stripped down vessels or slightly upscaled OPVs.

Yet are these designs not something to be expected and potentially the only viable solution from a budgetary point of view. As with all programmes a vast amount of the costs are generated in the research and development stage, so before you even cut steel the price tag is high.

So by offering ships based on current designs BAE can likely keep the costs down for they are not designing an entirely new class of ship. Not to mention the designs remove aspects such as a helicopter hangar which removes capabilities for cost.

We are yet to be enlightened about the role of the Type 31 Frigate outside of it being a general purpose frigate but we can still speculate on the role that it will fill and perform.

It is going to be replacing the T23 frigate which is primarily an ASW platform so it is a safe assumption the the Type 31 Frigate will be performing an ASW role. But by all accounts the T26 will be the world’s leading ship for ASW but can the T31 be expected to be just as good?

That is yet to be determined and something we may not know until the first ship hits the water but it is likely that as with the T26 they will be equipped with the 2087 towed sonar array or at least the potential to mount it.

Yet as mentioned earlier with the BAE designs while there is a landing pad for a helicopter there is no hangar for one. This could be of serious concern and make either Project Spartan or the BMT Venator 110 front runners as a helicopter is a serious asset for ASW and having a hangar increased the operability of a helicopter from a vessel.

Outside of ASW a limited AAW capacity could be expected with the mounting of VLS for Sea Ceptor though how many can be fitted onto a smaller vessels is to be seen and would be very much for self protection.

Though how much self protection is also a topic for debate as there are likely to be many times when they may have to deploy on their own, outside the protection of T45s and T26s, so could the Type 31 Frigate hold its own?

As if it couldn’t we are then faced with a serious credibility issue and rather than expanding the fleet we would have in essence reduced it as they would need to remain near a ‘big brother’ escort meaning less ships to patrol the same area. And we have a vessel that in effect becomes a secondary escort to a larger task group which does offer up a new role for a vessel class.

If the Type 31 Frigate became a smaller and secondary escort vessel that could offer up many uses in a task group. A vessel that could detach from the main group at times if to scout ahead or go closer to a coast line, to perform search and rescue if an aircraft was downed, to offer close support to amphibious landings or to escort RFA ships.

Though outside of this she could have a large role in maritime protection as with potential water disputes after Brexit ships may be needed to patrol our waters and this could be a ship well suited to that need.

There is the potential for a very flexible ship but how much and what she can undertake would be subject to the design that is chosen. There has been suggestions that instead of 5 general purpose frigates, we design 5 role specific frigates but that would either create 5 different designs all becoming expensive to purchase. Or a design similar to the American Littoral Combat Ship with a modular design but this is an idea the Americans are moving away from so may not be a good course to pursue.

I may have laid out an image of doom and gloom for the T31 but while there are many elements to be worried about the ship could also offer cause for celebration. Firstly, if the Royal Navy was to grow its escort hull numbers this ship offers a viable path owing to its low cost.

So while the number of orders may remain low at the moment there is always the potential for an increase in order numbers in years to come. There is also the build time to consider, as a T26 will take 1 ½ years to build so if 13 of these were built there would certainly be a drop of numbers as the build and commission dates would not match the T23 out of service dates.

As a smaller ship the build time would likely be lower so the arrival of these ships would help to combat any potential drop in the number of frigates. There is also the matter of where they are built as the BAE yard on the Clyde will be busy with the T26 so other UK yards could build this ship, boosting the shipbuilding industry of the UK.

While the T31 may offer limited capabilities by itself it has the potential to offer the Royal Navy great flexibility in its role and be able to respond with more appropriate force to a situation. As there may be times when we do not want to sabre rattle by sending a £1bn warship somewhere but a smaller cheaper frigate to fly the flag could be what a situation calls for.

It could allow for both the growth of the Navy itself and of the industry that supports the Navy as well as many jobs here in the UK. But also allow the Navy to expand its role and ship operations from ASW and carrier operations (upcoming) to more low key operations with this smaller vessel.

Offline bobbymike

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"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death." - Leonardo da Vinci

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2017, 10:57:40 pm »
Existing topic:

"Type 31 GPFF"
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,27810.0.html
Sorry I searched British Type 31e Frigate and nothing came up.
"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death." - Leonardo da Vinci

Offline pometablava

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2017, 01:42:55 am »
merged

Offline Hood

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 01:55:14 am »
More analysis on Shipbuilding Strategy and Type 31 can be found here:
http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/shipbuilding-strategy-and-type-31-it.html

I'm afraid this does not inspire me with confidence at all.
There seems to be some extremely muddled thinking at the MOD. The Type 26 build rate is laughably slow, the Type 31 build rate far too ambitious and the plan to get rid of the Type 45s at the end of their 25-year lives is either a political smokescreen, or indicates the Type 45s would be too expensive to upgrade despite all the supposed growth designed into them or (more likely) the MOD wants to obtain the hard cash on their resale value if they sell them at 25 years old.

I've always been against the idea of the Type 31 and it doesn't seem to be improving as a concept. £250 million per ship seems an arbitrary and low figure to aim for. Rather than propping up a dying industry with inferior ships (unless the yards can over-provide on capability versus cost) the MOD should bite the bullet and just buy or licence-build one of the many successful designs already on the market.

Constabulary (not sure when this term entered naval use!) and disaster relief duties are probably not entirely compatible with a frigate. Shouldn't the Rivers already be doing the first anyway and disaster relief implies a more flexible-role vessel (and a mission bay and large heli deck are only 'adaptable' features and not likely to feature on the ships at completion or as built).

Offline Triton

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Re: Type 31 GPFF
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 09:03:41 pm »
"DSEI 2017: Babcock Unveils Arrowhead General Purpose Frigate Design"
Published: Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:27

Source:
https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/dsei-2017-show-daily-news/5561-dsei-2017-babcock-unveils-arrowhead-general-purpose-frigate-design.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Arrowhead 120 has a length of 120 meters, a breadth of 19 meters for a displacement of 4000 tonnes. Its speed is 24+ knots and range is 6000 nautical miles at 15 knots. Crew complement is 80 (plus 40). The vessel was design with commercial standard with applied naval engineering standards.

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

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

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

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

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