County Class Destroyers: Alternative options for development

uk 75

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In his book on British Frigates and Destroyers Norman Friedman lists in great detail alternatives for the County class destroyer which were never built.

These include:

a version with Type 984 (the huge radar carried on Eagle, Hermes and Victorious) instead of the guns.

numerous double ended versions with Seaslug

versions with alternative magazines and loaders for Seaslug

a nuclear development similar to the US Bainbridge

Friedman also explains that a new frigate/destroyer to carry the
NIGS (Nest generation long range missile) was sketched and describes it in some detail as well.

There must be drawings or at least rough sketches of these designs somewhere. Perhaps someone knows more?

UK 75
 
A question I would love to know the answer to, I am also intrigued by the idea of one with two Sea Slug directors.
 
Try George Moore's articles in
Warship 2005, p111 "From Daring to Devonshire"
Warship 2006, p38 "Post-war cruiser designs for the Royal Navy 1946-1956"
there should be some at least of what you seek in them, with references to the original papers at TNA, where there may be other drawings, as space in Warship may not have allowed all the diagrams to have been published (but then again, all available may be there - you'd need to ask the editor, as I believe George Moore died suddenly last year)
 
I have a similar set of questions. The way I read the options all involved sacrificing something but I think it would have been possible to have built a purist AAW version, remove the 4.5inch guns and fit a single twin 3inch forward, extend the super structure forward and fit a Type 984, delete the helicopter and fit a second Sea Slug director aft.
 
Possible County class development repleis here

http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/7669?page=1

and here

http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/4223

Putting the boosters in-line rather than wrap around may have helped development of the ship
 
Bumping this as i'm currently looking through the book now and wondered if anyone had found anything regarding the alternate missile stowage and whether there were any drawings of the two helicopter possibility done?


British Destroyers and Frigates: The Second World War and After Norman Friedman

P190
(by 1958?) A proposal to add a second helicopter died because it would have required a complete revision of superstructure arrangements in the building drawings.

There was considerable interest in modifying the missile stowage. The tube magazine arrangement, called Phase 1, used 290ft of the ship, from the centreline of the missile launcher to the fore end of the magazine at the foremast. Phase II envisaged a forward launcher and a total capacity of sixty-two missiles, including fourteen on an endless-chain loader. Phase III, as envisaged in 1959, would use a US style twin revolver loader (as in the Mk10 system on the Leahy and Belknap cases) carrying twelve missiles on each revolver. Presumably they were a projected further development of Seaslug with an integral booster, the NIGS or SIGS mentioned below. Forward of the revolvers would have been further stowage for thirty-six missiles, for a total of sixty in a space only 129ft long. There were several other proposed arrangements.
 
PMN1 said:
Bumping this as i'm currently looking through the book now and wondered if anyone had found anything regarding the alternate missile stowage and whether there were any drawings of the two helicopter possibility done?


British Destroyers and Frigates: The Second World War and After Norman Friedman

P190
(by 1958?) A proposal to add a second helicopter died because it would have required a complete revision of superstructure arrangements in the building drawings.

There was considerable interest in modifying the missile stowage. The tube magazine arrangement, called Phase 1, used 290ft of the ship, from the centreline of the missile launcher to the fore end of the magazine at the foremast. Phase II envisaged a forward launcher and a total capacity of sixty-two missiles, including fourteen on an endless-chain loader. Phase III, as envisaged in 1959, would use a US style twin revolver loader (as in the Mk10 system on the Leahy and Belknap cases) carrying twelve missiles on each revolver. Presumably they were a projected further development of Seaslug with an integral booster, the NIGS or SIGS mentioned below. Forward of the revolvers would have been further stowage for thirty-six missiles, for a total of sixty in a space only 129ft long. There were several other proposed arrangements.

PMN1,

I have read the same piece with interest myself. However I am of the opinion that most (if not all) of these configurations relate to NIGS rather than Sea Slug.
 
sealordlawrence said:
I have read the same piece with interest myself. However I am of the opinion that most (if not all) of these configurations relate to NIGS rather than Sea Slug.

Be interesting to know how much depth and therefore volume the proposals would have taken up.
 
I don't know if this design fits here. It is a flotilla leader adaptation for the Spanish Navy published in a Spanish Magazine from 1984. I'll try to get more info.
 

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The caption says "a possible aspect of destroyer type County role tailored to group control". It would appear that this is just a conjecture based drawing for converting a second hand ex Royal Navy County class to the then needs of the Spanish Navy.
 
Well at first I thought it was fan art of some kind. While some of the features are possible it seems unlikely that the forward Merkora CIWS would fit there, the radars are updated but the MRS-3 director is still present too. The ASROC aft seems unlikely as well (though part of the Sea Slug magazine could be used for ASROC rounds I guess). Generally a very odd configuration and probably unlikely to work, it would be easier and better to just build a new ship.
 
Maybe the launcher aft should be Sea Sparrow ?
 
The problem is that the Counties were designed around the Seaslug missile, and missiles become obsolete much faster than warships. Seaslug was very much first generation, and much better alternatives came along fairly quickly.

So what to do with the Counties? Not a lot. You could have rebuilt them to take much more modern missiles, but that would have been expensive, and they were very large vessels for their role.

You would be better off starting again from scratch.
 
There was a proposal to convert at least one into a minelayer. The RN had the old minelayer Manxman for years and then the training ship Abdiel. I am not sure why NATO had got interested, but it never got anywhere.
Ironically, since the never-built Escort Cruiser replaced Countys 9 an 10, there was a proposal to make the aft half into a helicopter deck. Chile did with at least one.
 
The proposal was for a rebuilt ex-RN County for Egypt.

Friedman references this but I have also seen the Conversion of HMS Devonshire for Egypt as being intended to provide operating capability for six Lynx; of course one does not preclude the other, such was the space arrangement taken up by the Seaslug launcher, magazine and illuminator.

However, I have seen multiple references to HMS Glamorgan, HMS Devonshire and HMS Antrim having been proposed for conversions, at various times, to Dartmouth training ships with secondary minelaying roles. One description goes as far as to describe a role laying ASW mines on the GIUK line, I am not sure the specific mission sounds credible but there is definitely something to the minelayer role that requires further interrogation. Several of the ships were used in the training role.
 
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Perhaps a separate thread on RN Minelayers.I will start one.
 
As the Counties were the byproduct of the GW series (Actually County was GW54A ) so a Talos or Terrier missile conversion seems feasable as the Talos was considered for at least one design (GW 51) and the early USN Missile cruiser conversions featured a similar long horizontal storage and loading areas as installed on the Counties.
The sextuple box launcher of the Sea Wolf Seems a good replacement for the Seacat as well.
I'm not sure it would be cost efficient to replace the Sea Slug with Sea Dart.
 
I could be badly wrong about this, but I think there was a plan for a NATO mine warfare fleet at one time during the 1970s, similar in some ways to how the NATO AWACS fleet was later put together. Some of the proposals mentioned could have been related to this.
 
They were going to replace the Sea Slug with Sea Dart? Why was that?
 
As the Counties were the byproduct of the GW series (Actually County was GW54A ) so a Talos or Terrier missile conversion seems feasable as the Talos was considered for at least one design (GW 51) and the early USN Missile cruiser conversions featured a similar long horizontal storage and loading areas as installed on the Counties.
The sextuple box launcher of the Sea Wolf Seems a good replacement for the Seacat as well.
I'm not sure it would be cost efficient to replace the Sea Slug with Sea Dart.

Most of the proposed mods in that Aviation & Marine drawing would have been technically difficult and/or very expensive, except bolting SSMs on in lieu of the B mount, which was actually done to the RN ships.

The sextuple Sea Wolf ended up being considerably bigger and heavier than Sea Cat and was not a direct replacement . The four-round Lightweight Sea Wolf was considered as more of a drop-in replacement. The two-tube Sea Wolf shown here had belowdeck automatic reloads, which might be hard to retrofit, depending on what actually sat below Sea Cat in these ships.

Retrofitting Sea Dart as shown would require a totally different horizontal-loading magazine, which might require missile changes if Sea Dart was designed only to take shock loads while standing upright, not horizontally, in the magazine (some missiles care, some don't).

Retrofitting Terrier seems like it would make sense, but it could end up being very expensive. I have no idea whether the Terrier loading and handling rooms would actually fit inside the Sea Slug "tunnel." It's a fairly precise layout it fit inside an existing space. US ships either built all new deckhouses (for conversions) or wrapped the ship design around the missile spaces (new designs).

They were going to replace the Sea Slug with Sea Dart? Why was that?

That was a hypothetical for the possible sale of Devonshire to Egypt.
 
The sextuple Sea Wolf ended up being considerably bigger and heavier than Sea Cat and was not a direct replacement . The four-round Lightweight Sea Wolf was considered as more of a drop-in replacement. The two-tube Sea Wolf shown here had belowdeck automatic reloads, which might be hard to retrofit, depending on what actually sat below Sea Cat in these ships.

That was a hypothetical for the possible sale of Devonshire to Egypt.

Seems like regular crew space:
merged.jpg
 
Nice. Reading the text in the image, that's from a Royal Navy recruitment drive. Where did you find it?
 
Hood some years ago on the Whatifmodelers site offered a tantalising glimpse on what County class destroyers with Terrier or Talos might have looked like.
"they don't get much clunkier than Seaslug and S.R.Jenkin's site is the go-to for info about it, since he actually worked on Seaslug"

A compliment indeed!

Another good video for Seaslug is "Action Navy", there is a segment showing a programme being broadcast over the ship's internal television system with an offficer describing the Seaslug system. There are scenes of the missiles moving around but again the shot of a missile being fired is from HMS Devonshire's missile clearance trials.

SRJ.
 
The problem is that the Counties were designed around the Seaslug missile, and missiles become obsolete much faster than warships. Seaslug was very much first generation, and much better alternatives came along fairly quickly.

So what to do with the Counties? Not a lot. You could have rebuilt them to take much more modern missiles, but that would have been expensive, and they were very large vessels for their role.

You would be better off starting again from scratch.
What to do with the counties?

Late 60s there is a need to bring something into service that can deliver Sea King to parts of the North Atlantic. The hugely expensive (more than the cost of brand new County) Blake and Tiger were the first answer to that, the flight deck and hangar weren't great but the real problem was their huge crew and unreliable machinery and main guns.

Strip out sea slug from the counties, you get a huge amount of space available for aviation stores and workshops, an extended flight deck and hangar for two Sea Kings. I know the counties weren't cleared for Sea King, but that was the existing fight deck. If you could squeeze four over the quarterdeck of Tiger, there was room for two on a county.

More importantly you release a hell of a lot of topweight, by losing directors, launcher, all those giant missiles and their complex movement / storage / fire suppression system. Substantial crew reduction too. You don't need to fit a modern air search system, datalink and communication facilities as Tiger and Blake required - the counties already had all that.

Then they needed to bring the Ikara into service and spent a ton of money (£102 million - the cost of a CVA-01 or six new counties) adapting eight Leanders to carry it at the loss of many systems.

With the counties you've got all that weight and space available from the huge sea slug launcher which you can plug with Ikara. You've got the Sea Slug ready use lockers right alongside to house the weapons and they already had ADAWS. Far less cut and shut and now one ship is doing aviation and Ikara in the ASW groups - so cheaper.

Then in the 70s Lynx, Exocet and Seawolf are looking for homes in the ASW group, more Leanders are cut up to bring them in. The counties still have systems like B-turret to be dropped in favour of the missiles. Now two counties are doing the job of one Blake, one Ikara Leander, one Exocet Leander and one Sea Wolf Leander. Huge savings.

Then we start the development of the Type 22's to provide command and control for complex ASW missions and eventually the towed array sonar. The biggest problem the T22 had with that mission was their gas turbine machinery which limited the use of towed array, noisy brutes. So more Leanders are chopped up so their quiet steam propulsion can get more from towed array. But they are so small they get stripped of pretty much everything else. So you have two ships required to operate the towed array, command systems and a smaller aviation complement. Expensive way of doing business into the 80s and 90s.

The counties have more than enough flagship space to accommodate the T22 command facilities they can operate towed array as they have steam propulsion for quiet towing. When Ikara falls out of fashion you've got top weight and space in the right place to fit towed array on the quarterdeck.

Just as the last counties were being commissioned there was absolutely a need for a large volume hull with mixed machinery and good seakeeping, top weight reductions and space for ASW sensors, command and control.

You don't have to build the T21s as you've got plenty surplus general purpose Leanders not getting chopped up to carry ASW gear. Vosper proposed such an ASW fit, and of course the Chilieans went and did parts of it. So it's not beyond the reach of imagination.

They could have served well into the 90s, instead of their early disposal.
 
The Countys served in the 1960s and 1970s as effective missile destroyers for RN Task Groups.
By 1980 their roles were taken over by the Seadart equipped Invincible class and their T42 escorts which deployed enough ASW Seakings and Lynx.. Exocet and 4.5 guns were available on T21s.
The late Countys Antrim, Glamorgan and Fife served into the early 80s because of delays in delivering T42 and T22 due to the catastrophic economy of the UK in the 70s.
Selling the Countys sooner would have spared crews for newer and more capable ships.. In an ideal world Seaslug would have left service by 1980 and sufficient Seadart ships would have replaced them.
 
Strip out sea slug from the counties, you get a huge amount of space available for aviation stores and workshops, an extended flight deck and hangar for two Sea Kings.

The Chilean Navy did this with the Counties they got in the 1990s, and ended up with 3 Puma and a flight deck big enough for two large helos. I'd bet you could fit three Sea King in lieu of the Pumas and have room to launch one and spread a second on deck.

The Chilean ships even got Barak missiles later, suggesting there was room for VL Sea Wolf.


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