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An alternative Royal Navy for the 1970s

Abraham Gubler

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Tony Williams said:
Sea Dart did of course have some anti-ship capability (they could presumably have modified the fuzing to include an impact mode if needed).
Sea Dart and the missile & handling rooms for it designed to have a changeable nose for surface to surface firings. Details in Warship 2015.
 

JFC Fuller

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For clarification, the Warships 2015 piece states that "early sketches" allowed for the warhead to be changed in the missile check room to a SAP warhead, I have never seen any evidence that such a capability made it into the systems actually built.

On a somewhat related note there is a closed file (retained by the MoD) listed by the National Archives and dated 1966 with the title "Proposal for a nuclear warhead for the SEA DART surface-to-air guided missile".
 

Volkodav

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Very interesting topic that fits something I have been working on, a Type 42 with US combat system and weapons (Mk-13 and Mk-45) as well as a much larger hanger for a Seaking. May complete it as a midlife update with CEAFAR and possibly an 8 cell Mk-41, stuffed the paintjob so it is someway from finished so who knows.

Reading through the topic I am wondering what would have been involved in designing Sea Dart to fit the Mk-13. Obviously this would only have been feasible if the RN had adopted Tartar in the 60s. The system was looked at for some of the GW series cruisers, Escort Cruisers, Tribals, GP frigates, Battle and Daring MLUs; it is conceivable that had a number of these proposed fits gone ahead it may have been worthwhile license manufacturing the system in the UK for local and limited export use. This in turn would have made a UK upgrade path for the system viable, including being able to offer a new missile and FCS to existing Tartar operators.

I've been thinking on how to fit Ikara in a VLS or even a Tartar launcher and it struck me that while not an option for Ikara, Super Ikara would be interesting to reconfigure. Its rocket motor was used as the basis of that in Nulka decoy hence was adaptable to vertical launch and it was a contemporary of the DSTO Kerkanya glide bomb which has very compact folding wings. Its guidance package (much of which apparently ended up in the Milos ASW missile) could have been repackaged to fit on the nose, the motor on the back and the wings fitted to the body, creating a much more versatile and usable configuration for the 80s.
 

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zen

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Well the RN wanted Tartar with a UK devised Q-band seeker, rather than US X-band (or was it G-band I forget).
 

Abraham Gubler

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Volkodav said:
Reading through the topic I am wondering what would have been involved in designing Sea Dart to fit the Mk-13. Obviously this would only have been feasible if the RN had adopted Tartar in the 60s.
Mk 13 compatibility maxs out at:

680 kg (1,500 lb) Weight
34.3 cm (13.5 in.) Diameter
4.73 m (186.0 in.) Length

Sea Dart is much wider with a 44cm (17”) diameter. This equates to a 1/3 reduction in frontal area to fit into the Mk 13 max width. Since its length is about the same as the maximum length of the Mk 13 you can’t compensate for your volume via a stretch. Not that you probably could because it’s a ram jet and needs that width to make its motor work.

Probably be easier just to replace the Sea Dart GMLS with a grown Mk 13 style system. Mk 13 has a very high density thanks to its efficient design. Mk 13+ sized for Sea Dart should have the same depth below deck but the diameter of its tub be increased from 16’ to about 22’. Which is a lot easier to fit into any warship than the big Sea Dart box located three decks down below the launching arm.

Volkodav said:
I've been thinking on how to fit Ikara in a VLS or even a Tartar launcher and it struck me that while not an option for Ikara,
The Ikara missile body can fit in the MK 41 VLS canister, just. These canisters are about 27” high by 27” wide. The Ikara is about 26” high by 15” wide. So if you had folding wings to fit within the 6” of space on each side you’ll good to go. Ikara had its beacon system in the vertical tail but no doubt a Mk 41 vertically launching Ikara would have a more advanced guidance system so not need any of that. Or be able to easily repackage that kind of stuff into the airframe in space vacated via the avionics refresh. Without the big vertical tail Ikara could easily be held inside and launched from the canister via a dorsal rail.

Shame the BOXIK was repackaged for VLS. When Sea Lance fell over it could have been a contender.
 

zen

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It's hard to see a launcher being built just for Sea Dart, I think it would be more strongly justified if there was other weapons that could fit into said launcher, which cannot fit into a standard mk13.

However......in terms of wingspan
Exocet is 43" (1.1m)
Harpoon is 36" (0.91m)

Theoretically one might produce an Ikara with folding wings and tail that might fit down a reasonable size too.
 

Volkodav

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Then again wasn't Typhon MR meant to use a scaled up Mk-13, depending how much work had been done prior to cancellation the may have been a reasonable start point available.
 

zen

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Hmmmm.... Thing is Typhon LR is over 5ft span and over 2,000lb in weight. That said a launcher with that size of cell could hold an Otomat/Tesseo.
 

Abraham Gubler

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zen said:
Hmmmm.... Thing is Typhon LR is over 5ft span and over 2,000lb in weight. That said a launcher with that size of cell could hold an Otomat/Tesseo.
The high span of the Typhon is mostly associated with the booster rocket fins. These could easily be folding. Also the span of the fins and wings is usually inter-meshed with the arms that hold the missile in the handling gear. So often that space needs to be there anyway so as to move the missiles around. The Typhon missile body itself has a diameter of 18" (47cm) so a Sea Dart would fit nicely inside this footprint.

However I'm pretty sure the Typhon LR missile (RIM-50) was to be fired from a horizontal storage, Terrier style magazine and launcher. Typhoon MR (RIM-55) was to be fired from the Mk 13 launcher but it had the same dimensions as the Tartar missile (ie SM1-MR).
 

zen

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Hmmmm....This is reaching closer to my Sea Dart success thread, but.....

It's an option such a launcher is produced. Perhaps for Typhon aimed at Frigate sized ships.

However another option might be if say the UK had developed a rotary launcher for Sea Slug. Granted the actual launcher itself would need to be rebuilt, but the rotary magazine would have cells large enough to take any later weapon, and with 20ft of length to play with, that's about 3 decks.
 

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Additional.

Vicker offered a simple solution using the 105mm army gun during the process that lead to HMS Bristol's mk8.
 

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I thought that proposal was related to the Castle class OPV?

Regards.
 

Abraham Gubler

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zen said:
Hmmmm....This is reaching closer to my Sea Dart success thread, but.....

It's an option such a launcher is produced. Perhaps for Typhon aimed at Frigate sized ships.

However another option might be if say the UK had developed a rotary launcher for Sea Slug. Granted the actual launcher itself would need to be rebuilt, but the rotary magazine would have cells large enough to take any later weapon, and with 20ft of length to play with, that's about 3 decks.
A Typhoon sized vertically aligned launcher would probably need new fins for the Typhoon as the horizontal launchers used detachable fins. But this is not such a big problem as the advent of the VLS saw these big fins disappear from the boosted Standard, aTerrier replacement. Such a launcher could load and fire SM2 blk 4, SM3, TLAM, ASROC and Sea Lance (plus Sea Dart, Exocet and Otomat for the export market) so would be more flexible than the Mk 26.

A Mk 13 style launcher for Sea Slug is quite improbable. It could not include a checkout space unless a new room was placed between the magazine and the launcher. Also the high height and width of the Sea Slug with its wrap around boosters means the magazine ring would not support many units.

Having typed that you could make a neat launcher somewhat like a Terrier launcher orientated vertically. That is two side by side ring magazines (seperated laterally by bulkheads) each holding 8 Sea Slugs vertically. The missile is pulled from the magaine fore or aft through a door into the ready room. There it is checked out (it is aĺlready finned) and either discarded laterally or loaded vertically through the roof into the trainable launcher. Another pair or magazines could be located opposite the ready room. Providing 32 missiles in magazines, all ready to go with no assembly needed, located in five seperate spaces allowing a ship structure without large open spaces.
 

Abraham Gubler

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JohnR said:
I thought that proposal was related to the Castle class OPV?

Regards.
The OPV gun used the 105mm L7 tank gun and in concept was descended from the CFS Mk 2 3.3" (84mm, 20 lbs) gun.

The Mk 8 4.5" (113mm) gun used the technology of the 105mm Abbott field gun/howitzer and its Mk 2 ammo repackaged into the 4.5" calibre and a naval mount. The option to just keep the ordnance and shell as is (it would need a new cartridge and propellant design for naval use) would save a lot of money and provide Army-Navy commonality in artillery consumables (shells and barrels, and the Abbott tech was also reused in the towed Light Gun L118). The lighter shell could also potentially be used in a faster firing mounting like the Vickers Type N or French 100mm mount. Thougb I doubt it as the RN stressed high reliability for the Mk 8 gun with moderate ROF for sole use as a surface warfare, NGS weapon (not AA).
 

JFC Fuller

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The 4.5" Mk.8 was always intended as an AA weapon in addition to an NGS weapon.
 

Abraham Gubler

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JFC Fuller said:
The 4.5" Mk.8 was always intended as an AA weapon in addition to an NGS weapon.
The sentance in Warships 2015 I was referring too is quite clunky. It sayal the Mk 8 spec "called for Surface (SU) and Naval Fires, but the AA capability was dropped in the 1990s." Certainly the Mk 8 and FCS could engage air targets as delivered. However it was clearly not a major design requirement judging by the low ROF and low angle elevation of the gun.
 

zen

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Abraham Gubler said:
zen said:
Hmmmm....This is reaching closer to my Sea Dart success thread, but.....

It's an option such a launcher is produced. Perhaps for Typhon aimed at Frigate sized ships.

However another option might be if say the UK had developed a rotary launcher for Sea Slug. Granted the actual launcher itself would need to be rebuilt, but the rotary magazine would have cells large enough to take any later weapon, and with 20ft of length to play with, that's about 3 decks.
A Typhoon sized vertically aligned launcher would probably need new fins for the Typhoon as the horizontal launchers used detachable fins. But this is not such a big problem as the advent of the VLS saw these big fins disappear from the boosted Standard, aTerrier replacement. Such a launcher could load and fire SM2 blk 4, SM3, TLAM, ASROC and Sea Lance (plus Sea Dart, Exocet and Otomat for the export market) so would be more flexible than the Mk 26.

A Mk 13 style launcher for Sea Slug is quite improbable. It could not include a checkout space unless a new room was placed between the magazine and the launcher. Also the high height and width of the Sea Slug with its wrap around boosters means the magazine ring would not support many units.

Having typed that you could make a neat launcher somewhat like a Terrier launcher orientated vertically. That is two side by side ring magazines (seperated laterally by bulkheads) each holding 8 Sea Slugs vertically. The missile is pulled from the magaine fore or aft through a door into the ready room. There it is checked out (it is aĺlready finned) and either discarded laterally or loaded vertically through the roof into the trainable launcher. Another pair or magazines could be located opposite the ready room. Providing 32 missiles in magazines, all ready to go with no assembly needed, located in five seperate spaces allowing a ship structure without large open spaces.
Rather like that idea, and having magazines able to handle 20ft long weapons , with span of 4.7ft and over 2,300lb each would allow quite a flexible space for new weaponry.
 

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I have often wondered what would have happened if the RN had emulated the Italian Navy in the 60s to 70s with the COUNTY ships designed to carry the ASTER Terrier Asroc launcher forward and 4 Sea Kings aft and a DARING class with guns forward and Tartar aft. The SHEFFIELD class would have been like the Dutch TROMP class or the cancelled Aussie DDLs. The Type 22s on the other hand would have Seawolf but T21s NATO BDPMS Sea Sparrow.
 

Volkodav

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uk 75 said:
I have often wondered what would have happened if the RN had emulated the Italian Navy in the 60s to 70s with the COUNTY ships designed to carry the ASTER Terrier Asroc launcher forward and 4 Sea Kings aft and a DARING class with guns forward and Tartar aft. The SHEFFIELD class would have been like the Dutch TROMP class or the cancelled Aussie DDLs. The Type 22s on the other hand would have Seawolf but T21s NATO BDPMS Sea Sparrow.
One of the possibilities is if the RN had built the missile cruisers instead of the Counties the plan for the type was to replace two of the four Mk6 3" twins with Tartar, meaning a 70s upgrade for the type could have seen the suppression of Seaslug in favour of a large heli deck and hanger combined with the replacement of Tartar with Standard SM1. The other factor with the choice of the GW cruiser over the DLG is hull numbers meaning that if more than four GW ships were required either the Escort Cruiser would have to proceed, or a DDG / FFG would have to be built or converted. Apparently Tartar conversions of both the Daring and Battle classes were considered for Australia but why not the RN too? Alternatively a Tartar armed Super Daring or Type 12 M could have proceeded.
 

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Firstly the RN has to decide if it wants carriers and why. In real life, tying them to an overseas policy that proved rather ephemeral, easily changeable and was never going to be intrinsic in the way that NATO was, was a major mistake. Whether or not the RAF moved Australia - the key point is why did the RN's justification for such vastly expensive and budget distorting assets centre on Australia? I like Australia I really do, and I even like Australians, but in all honesty it is not, never has been and never will be, the centrepiece of major parts of our defence budget. I know in the 60s we were trying to relive the 20s/30s with the Far East thing, but India had gone, didn't want our number, and we hadn't be able to do it even when we were much larger and wealthier.

However, given UK carriers were only just survivable (were they even that?) East of Suez against 2nd/3rd rate opposition perhaps explains why they didn't seriously try them against the Russians in the way the USN did. Which of course has survived attempts to gut it the way the UK didn't.

Assuming one can come up with a cogent argument for Brit carriers and that they are fundamental to NATO in the same way as BAOR / Strike Command - and elsewhere is just a massive benefit in flexibility - then things rather change for the better.

Granted, with Polaris/SSNs that's 3 large projects, at a time when the Army was on, what, 0 large projects (FV432?) and the RAF down to 1 (TSR2).

But in terms of surface ships,
1) Go all GT with the T82 generation, i.e. whatever you build after County/Leander. This will restore (more likely merely sustain) your active fleet of hulls just due to availability, and also ease your manning crisis (thus helping keep the carriers - a major concern for 2SL at the time and he commented as being a lot easier when they were chopped!)
2) Don't build a cruiser. You're already struggling for hull numbers due to carrier/subs, County DLGs show the way to have a bit of everything and that the Cruiser-Destroyer category has merged, as you know full well from 10 years earlier with the 5" cruiser-destroyer project you should have built instead of completing Tigers and which would have segway'd nicely into Sea Slug armed ships with flexibility of what was armed with what when, rather than waiting until the early 60s for the first ones to complete.
3) Don't build any more Leanders. Stop at 16 or 18 or 20 or whatever, not 26. they are completely obsolete, but will provide your Tier 2 capability for the best part of 2 decades as you need.
4) 2 types is about the most you can consider simultaneously, both for building infra and design capacity.
5) One needs your best SAM system.
6) One needs your best ASW systems.
7) Don't bother with a cheapo gunboat T19/21. you are a 1st rate Navy that expects all ships to go in harm's way. Whenever you do that (purposely 2nd rate ships) they get sunk and people die. It's never worked before, and doesn't work now (LCS and probably T31). Make the argument to NATO if you need to that you are smaller but much better - after all even the real T42/T22 fleet vs T12/14/15/16/41/61/81 is a huge leap across the board. No-one else stumps up properly anyway. Plus as per (3) you've got Leanders.
8) So, an all GT T82 with Sea Dart, gun and helo, fit SSMs as they become available.
10) (and), A (large) Leander successor with ASW helos and SSMs.
11) Try to resist the idea of rebuilding the Leanders and just flog them off/use them for other tasks. There should be lots of interest.

If all else fails, copy the Dutch. They consistently built excellent ships.
 
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