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‘BLACK SWAN’ Class Sloop-Of-War

Grey Havoc

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Via HP&CA, a new MOD concept for the Royal Navy:

Version: 20120516

Joint Concept Note 1/12: Future 'Black Swan' Class Sloop-of-War: A Group System
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The aim of this Joint Concept Note is to act as a catalyst for a conceptually led change to both the procurement and the employment of future maritime capabilities with investment in systems not platforms.


The future ‘Black Swan’ class sloop-of-war is a manned ship that will act as the core for a group of manned and unmanned platforms which, as an integrated system, will provide the units of power required by those surface assets tasked with the protection of Sea Lines of Communication and sea control. At an acceptable financial cost, operating in groups, the sloops will provide both the quantity of platforms and the quality of systems that will be demanded of the Royal Navy in the future operating environment. In operations other than war, the increased hull numbers will provide the capabilities required to fulfil the maritime security tasks demanded by a maritime nation as well as the global presence required to engage with the international community.



The name of the concept is drawn from the ‘Black Swan’ and modified ‘Black Swan’ class sloop-of-war, which were built during World War II to protect shipping and gain sea control. Like this concept, the key to the tactical proficiency of the sloops was not the single ship but rather the ‘group system’ with capability measured collectively in groups rather than individually in single platforms. The most famous of these being Captain Johnnie Walker’s 2nd Support Group, which - comprising of six ‘Black Swan’ class sloops - was the most successful anti-submarine group of the war.

Detailed specs

Joint Concept Note 1/12


This concept is probably DOA. Someone should have told the MOD that Transformation and the like is dead and buried. 'Systems not platforms' is what brought about such disasters as the LCS.
 

billy_uk

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Please notice NO chef ! The 8 man crew will live on pot noodles and micro waved meals ! Wonderful recruiting material
 

robunos

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The 8 man crew will live on pot noodles and micro waved meals ! Wonderful recruiting material
Well, as that's the staple diet of 50% of the UK's male population, I don't think there's any problem........ :p


cheers,
Robin.
 

Grey Havoc

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There are rumblings suggesting that this concept could be revived. Oh dear.
 

Volkodav

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The problem is not with the concept but with the execution, i.e. whether the investment is sufficient to deliver the required capability.

What tends to happen with any acquisition is treasury (or it equivalent), as well as other areas of government both political and bureaucratic, see defence spending at best as an insurance policy and / or an arm of foreign affairs, and occasionally in certain times as a vote winner, most of the time it is seen as an unnecessary burden on a nations finances. So when you are talking big ticket items it is all or nothing, when you can break the big ticket items down into smaller packets delivering the same overall capability but usually at greater overall cost, it provides the politicians and bureaucrats the opportunity to chip away at capability progressively (somewhat stealthily) in a way that is impossible with big ticket items.

The thinking tends to follow the pattern of :
  1. We need to have two groups (carriers/cruisers/destroyers/frigates) on station.
  2. To achieve this we need sufficient platforms, to provide one group at each of the two stations, ideally two on station, two in port ready to relieve those on station and two in refit or reserve.
  3. We can get away with one groups worth of ships in refit or reserve instead of two, i.e. 2:2:1 instead of 2:2:2 ratio of station:port:refit/reserve.
  4. One station can make do with less capable ships due to a lower threat level, i.e. an escort cruiser instead of a carrier.
  5. Three carriers is more than required to support one station but two leaves insufficient redundancy.
  6. A pair of escort cruisers equipped with STO/VL aircraft can replace the mission critical capabilities of a carrier.
  7. Cruiser/destroyers can replace the capability currently provided by cruisers and destroyers operating together.
  8. Cruiser/destroyers are built to destroyer standards, therefore a destroyer can substitute for a cruiser destroyer within the group.
  9. Each helicopter with a dunking sonar can substitute for a frigate in the group screen, such helicopters are carried in sufficient numbers by the escort cruiser to permit two to three frigates to be deleted from the group.
  10. Deploying large ASW helos on frigates increases flexibility.
  11. With helos on frigates, only one, instead of two escort cruisers are required per group.
  12. A lone escort cruiser is not large enough to operate a useful number of Harriers and the required number of helicopters to support the screen, therefore there is no point operating harriers at all.
  13. Destroyers provide an area air defence and C3I capability, and frigates operate helicopters, therefore the Escort cruiser is more of a liability than an asset.
  14. Without the escort cruiser there is no vital asset to defend against air attack, therefore the self defence capability of the frigates is sufficient and destroyers are no longer required.
  15. Due to the capability provided by modern frigates and their helicopters, and the fact there is no screen as such any more, a pair of frigates will suffice for each station.
  16. There is no need for both frigates to be specialist ASW vessels, one can be GP.
  17. The GP frigate does not need a large ASW helicopter, a smaller one (that can carry torpedos) will suffice
  18. Without the requirement for silencing and operating a large ASW helo, the GP frigate does not need to be as large and capable so can be smaller and cheaper.
  19. The larger ASW frigate is overkill for the lower threat station, therefore can be replaced by the smaller cheaper GP frigate.
  20. Two GP frigates are overkill for the lower threat station so one can be replaced by an OPV.
  21. Having three type of ships is uneconomical and the GP frigate can do most of what the ASW frigate can do.
  22. Having two ships on each station is overkill.

Original requirement, one carrier, an escort cruiser, a cruiser, two to four destroyers and four or more frigates per station, with sufficient ships to provide for relief groups for each station and to cover extended maintenance periods. Final requirement, minimum two GP frigates and two OPVs, with an additional example of each when possible.

Reframe this as the complete fiction that you can buy 40 destroyers (or 1000 bombers) for the price of one battleship, completely ignoring the different capabilities and its even worse. Ignore the irreplaceable capability of the larger platforms and concentrate on the numbers that can be bought of the smaller platform, then once the larger platform is no more, cut numbers of the smaller to the same or even fewer than the original large.
 

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