The RN Leander frigate and an Indian Summer: Any lessons for Type 26?

uk 75

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One of my fixed memories of the Royal Navy as I gew up in the 1960s and 1970s were the photogenic shots of Leander class frigates going about their business around the world, often
in Cinema newsreels or features on a Saturday morning before the main film.

Before their "Cold War" conversions at the end of the 70s and the 80s, Leanders all carried the gun turret forward and a long helicopter deck/Limbo pit aft. The Seacat system was relatively inconspicuous above the hangar. The whole ship said Royal Navy frigate and the design was admired by the US and other navies. Moreover with their smart crews, especially in naval whites on foreign stations, they exuded British sophistication and poise rather like the elegant dark blue of BOAC (BA's predecessor as the main airline). They also worked hard and performed a myriad of policing, flag waving and other peacetime tasks. The smart little Wasp helicopter was an effective weapon but it also fascinated visitors to the ships on harbour visits.

I realise that the designers of the Type 26 must focus on the working and fighting roles of the ship, but given Britain's need to go out and about in an increasingly complicated world where trade and investment are as vital to our survival as military power can I put in a plea to them to watch some old film or look at photo albums of Leanders in the 60s and 70s and then try and recapture some of the spirit and Britishness of these ships. Maybe the Indians could help us like they have done with Jaguar and Land Rover?
 

pathology_doc

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Before their "Cold War" conversions at the end of the 70s and the 80s, Leanders all carried the gun turret forward and a long helicopter deck/Limbo pit aft.

Speaking of which, I always thought it was interesting that the Australian River class derivations managed to fit Ikara in without losing the main guns. What did we give up? The helicopter?
 

TomS

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The RAN Rivers did not have helicopters, even before Ikara was fitted.

Remember that the first four Rivers are really modified Rothesay (Type 12) frigates. The last pair are closer to being mod Leanders, but not exactly.

My understanding is that the RAN ships have much smaller Ikara magazines than the RN Ikara Leanders.
 

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No sweat, thanks for clearing that up. (How many did each carry, BTW?)

It shows what a smooth transition/evolution of design the Rothesay/Whitby/Leander family really was (and how adaptable).

I guess the RAN figured it would rather retain the gun armament for local conditions and didn't need as many Ikaras on board compared to e.g. a convoy frigate that might have to take multiple shots in defence of a transatlantic convoy against the Soviet Union's finest. Of course the Australian modifications of the Charles F. Adams class destroyers had Ikara in place of ASROC, another reason the RAN might have been satisfied with a smaller load-out in the Rivers.

An interesting comparison, given that the Royal New Zealand Navy picked up one of the Ikara Leanders to add to its strength; perhaps a way of getting more missiles to sea if it knew it didn't have as many hulls available?

I always used to love reading the late 80s/early 90s editions of Jane's All the World's Warships (when they were more or less newish) and seeing what the South American navies had done with their Daring class ships - four Exocet, OTO-Melara 40mm twins for CIWS, all the 4.5"gun armament retained... I can't help but think there were some serious tradeoffs made there, but they sure looked potent as hell.
 
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