HMS Diamond launches today at the BAE Systems Govan shipyard, third of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers. There will be rejoicing up and down the Clyde and quieter satisfaction in many parts of the Navy. Meanwhile in the warzones of Southwest Asia, British soldiers and marines are fighting and sometimes dying, hamstrung by …
Isn't it time we grew up and stopped playing games we can't afford anyway, Switzerland seems to do quite nicely without running around the planet and having a Navy??
That's because switzerland is landlocked.
They don't NEED a freakin navy. They have mountains and lots of guns.
Our own naval need is greatly reduced, for sure, but it's still a necessity to maintain some semblance of a fleet considering the size of our merchant fleet, and the rising level of piracy in areas where that merchant fleet operates. Or should we just rely on the Americans to solve that for us again? Our European "partners" certainly aren't going to do anything about it, they're too busy spending our money on vanity projects.
You neglected to mention that the missile that had been shot down was not heading towards the British destroyer but towards an one of those American ships that you think are so wonderful, one that had completely failed to shoot it down with its own weapon system (although it did manage to put a few stray shots into a US battleship).
It was also the first succesful missile on missile action at sea, not bad for an obsolete british missile.
Nice example, a landlocked country. What a surprise that they don't have a navy.
Good point from last poster!
Seems to be slag of UK business day on the reg today. Quit honestly I'd rather be doing business in Europe as they regard us as equals and hand over any supporting docs we might need. Unlike the yanks who see us as a convenience and only help if it suits them. They've also got previous for not telling us information we need to know, shooting at us when we fight alongside them (strange how it's always the yanks), keeping back-doors open into our systems and spying on us.
Lewis you are a pessimist and a cynic...
You're also a realist.
Superiority in combat is the very last item on the agenda for the acquisition of military hardware.
Behold the economics of a committee of vested interests.
It'll come in handy...
... if the Taliban buy some planes.
re: world domination
Not the best example Anonymous Coward:
A: Switzerland does not have access to the sea. Unlike the UK which is surrounded by it.
B: Despite this they have some pretty cool lakes and have a small Navy that paddles around on them as well.
Considering the UK's location having an effective Naval force makes good sense. The key word being "effective". The tossers at MOD and BAE should maybe look up that word in a dictionary sometime.
If it is a matter of price..
We can probably shave off further 30% by going for a Russian system.
If we do not have them formally declared as the enemy I do not see anything particularly wrong with that.
It is not particularly different from buying from the French (who are still not part of Nato military command). We can also probably negotiate on getting something newer with a better AA system compared to what the Chinese got. For the same money we will get something that can have the Arley Burke for breakfast, the BAE junk for tea and a couple of aircraft in the meantime for pudding.
I drove through sunny Govan yesterday,
Where is all this £1bn quid going cos I didnt see much of it floating around Govan. You could count a fancy new bridge and some penthouse apartments but they aint for anyoen working in the shipyards and the place is still a total dump.
If onyl thatcher hadn't failed in her bid to toaly kick out shipbuilding(and all heavy industry) out of the country.
We can't compete with any other coutnry in the world so why are we spending double the money to make something half as good!
Jesus do some research!!
Seeing as the Silkworm was actually aimed at a US Battleship, whose CIWS had missed intercepting that Silkworm, then actually the Sea Dart performed damned well.
The sea wolf is by no means obsolete, seeing as its just been upgraded to a vertical launch system and provides principal air defense for the duke class frigates.
As for Britain not being able to produce missiles, what rubbish are you talking about? Skyflash? Alarm? seriously if you not even going to do a five minute google search on teh subject, don't report on it
The one thing you did seem to get right :
Yes the Type 45 are too expensive, but that what happens when you allow everyone to consolidate to survive your held over a barrel. But hey it means etc money can be made available for endless chav's to be bought up to mug pensioners.
Switzerland... (reply to world domination)
The problem with Switzerland, the overriding primary problem is that Switzerland the country, is landlocked. Therefore having a navy might be a bit problematic for them, oh i'm sure they could have one. But they'd probably need to attach really, really big wheels to their ships.
1 Northern Rock bailout = 40 Type-45 destroyers
At £605m per ship.
If Virgin buys up Northern Rock and pays back the billions that Alastair Darling threw at it, then the Royal Navy could name the first one HMS Richard Branson as a mark of gratitude.
And the Navy could probably buy another couple of dozen destroyers with the savings in Microsoft licence fees, if they ditched Windows For Warships in favour of Linux for Liners.
Yeah, lets scrap the lot. Why not.
I do wish when glibly slagging off the new Type 45 for cost and PAAMS for range, you'd bother to write more exhaustively on the systems as a whole rather than focussing on whichever bit got your goat.
The escort air defence role (of which the Type 45 is ideally suited) whether as part of a self defence exercise or a co-ordinated anti-air bubble around, for example, a carrier or other capital ship, requires that you engage multiple high speed low level targets often tracked on multiple vectors - and every second counts.
PAAMS is perfect for this; a range of 75m using the Aster 30 missile is massive and when you consider the rate of fire (8 missiles in about 10 seconds), that is a significant response to an incoming threat. It is most definitely a quantum leap beyond current capabilities and of course fits the NATO standard, and will undoubtedly have further capabilities added to it in future generations of the same system.
When considering how much air space it dominates, it is too simplistic to simply focus on a single PAAMS system in terms of individual missile range. The PAAMS radar and guidance system goes out much further than the missile itself, and an integrated air defence picture with more than one PAAMS equipped ship (Type 45 or otherwise) will easily give you the air space domination mentioned.
The Royal Navy has quietly got on with refitting (at enormous expense) existing surface units over the last 20-30 years, however refitting only gets you so far - both in terms of capabilities and of course cost effectiveness. It is about time we (and we are an island in need of an independent naval capability, hence why we're in a different place with different needs than Switzerland) invested in the Royal Navy and ensured they were given the tools required to achieve those objectives that will be set for them over the next 20-30 years.
Comparing the cost per unit on a like for like basis with the Army, based on the fact it is well publicised that our chaps over in Afghanistan and Iraq are finding themselves short is ridiculous. The Navy maintains much lower numbers of operational units but which operate in completely different circumstances and therefore have different needs - the Army on the other hand has considerably more yet lower per-unit cost assets.
This is a stupid article, based in part on reading BBC News and in part reading crap from Wikipedia - or at least, thats how it appears. Sort it out eh?
Whilst bringing down one antique missile with another is no great feat, it's better than the USS Jarret (in the same incident) which, instead of targeting the Iraqi Silkworm, decided to pick on the USS Missouri, leaving lots of holes and one injured crewman.
Sea Dart....hmmmm, I was under the impression it was a very good system. As for Graham.....I think that was the point of the comment.
You know..., sarcasim.....if not get an american to explain it to you.
Not a Navy,
but I think they do have a marine force of sorts. Some patrol boats on the bigger lakes I think.
Mr. Page, you really are a complete idiot aren't you! You seem to have a burning desire to turn the UK into a nation competent in only one field - idiot journalism.
Cut our manufacturing and heavy industry some slack for crying out loud - the only reason that our home-brew stuff costs so much is because of short sighted penny pinching morons like you. Have you thought of running for government office? You'd fit in well - they're all short sighted penny pinching morons as well.
Freyed Edges/Diamond Blades?
"Isn't it time we grew up and stopped playing games we can't afford anyway, Switzerland seems to do quite nicely without running around the planet and having a Navy??"
Crikey, AC, I thought for a moment you asked if Switzerland ran the planet without a Navy??
Oh yeah, because americans are so good at sarcasm...
A Hunter has it right. We need an effective navy. The Type 45 destroyer is a one-trick pony, as the americans say. It does air defence. It's designed to play that role as part of a strategic carrier group. Unfortunately we have no carriers, and it's looking increasingly likely that we will not get them either, nor will we have the other components necessary to form a strategic carrier group because we've sold most of our mine-sweeper fleet to the Estonians and mothballed most of the support tenders and other ships in order to pay for the Type45s...
We could buy a second-hand american - or even russian - carrier, a few of the russian destroyers, keep our support fleet, fit it out with top-of-the-range equipment from Germany and still be quids in. Hell we could even buy the entire Australian Royal Navy for less than the type45s and the carrier, and still come out on top.
Never has so much been got wrong by one person
Without a doubt the most inaccurate, slanted, biased, and downright wrong article i've ever read on El Reg.
I hope the editor doesn't let you near a defense story again.
In addition to the merciless debunking already handed out, Sea Dart / Wolf performed well enough in the Falklands scoring many kills, and forcing the surviving Argentine aircraft to fly so low that often their bombs did not have time to arm. Do you think they were skimming the waves to look good on camera ? Or because if they went over ~200 feet within range of a T42 they were dead ?
Combat vs Test performance.
Aster hasn't actually been fired in anger, Sea Dart was poor but Wolf performed above mediocre and both systems have been substantially upgraded from teh state they were in at the time, when the Navy was being substantially reduced and the missile systems were 20 years old then.
I guess the test of PAAMS and the A-B's will be when they get shot at.
I suppose the other Falklands like situation where we have a large fleet in hostile waters with limited air defence will be the war with Iran that's brewing, although I doubt the new stuff will get a chance to play in that.
BTW Don't we launch our Tomahawks from subs? Wouldn't want to get too close to the enemy in a boat, it might get nicked.
i just hope...
that these Windows warships have all got Minesweeper installed...
Switzerland shares a "coast" with France... seems like a good enough reason to have a navy to me...
Our Navy is really struggling I go past Devonport on my way too and from everyday and there’s not many ships alongside and those that are mainly foreign.
SeaWolf performed very well in the Falklands considering it was brand new and hardly tested, it was probably one of the most advanced missile systems around in 1982 and has since been upgraded several times.
SeaDart also isn’t an anti-missile missile it’s designed to shoot down aircraft so hitting a missile is bleedy good going.
...All the bashing of BAE, the Navy and in particular the Type 45 today? really it is a bit harsh.
Based on the last few Reg stories we should all go on benefits and let the Americans build all the kit for the Army and Navy. Of course if nobody is paying any Tax and everyone is sucking down benefits there is not going to be any money around for your precious American hardware let alone there being anyone skilled enough to operate or maintain it.
Type 42s aren't "ageing" you cheeky bighters!
I was 16 when the Type 42 came into service, as as I'm not *old* then neither are they! :P
cheeky young beggars <shakes stick and hobbles off back to allotment>
Don't Confuse Wolves With Darts
Interseting article about the new navy destroyer. However I'm pretty sure that the "antique Silk Worm" missile was shot down by a Sea Wolf missile not a Sea Dart. The Sea Wolf is still a serious piece of kit and well capable of bringing down a cruise missile - Antique or otherwise.
BAE charging double for worse hardware...
I wonder where all the rest of the money went then?
Of course, no one will accuse BAE of taking/giving kickbacks... It is all in the national interest...
I suppose if these ships were being supplied to the Saudis then we'd get all sorts of accusatons of corruption regarding the inflated price; but perish the thought that anyone other than them would be taking kick-backs.
No wonder the government didn't want BAE investigated... I wonder what other matters would have come to the surface that the tax-payers don't need to know.
No navy, but water frontiers with France, Germany and Italy and some military boats to patrol them. It also has compulsory military service and a gun in every wardrobe...
Er..why would the swiss need a navy anyway? They are peaceful folk who have a (H) ratio of Hornblowers second to none.
LOL! Nice one...
All being very harsh...
... on the first poster.
Bolivia is landlocked and has a navy.
[Our own naval need is greatly reduced, for sure, but it's still a necessity to maintain some semblance of a fleet considering the size of our merchant fleet, and the rising level of piracy in areas where that merchant fleet operates.]
Wow, how does peer to peer trading of movies and music affect merchant shipping?
Gaaah! RIAA Got to me!!!!
Yankee "friendly" fire
[Unlike the yanks who see us as a convenience and only help if it suits them. They've also got previous for not telling us information we need to know, shooting at us when we fight alongside them (strange how it's always the yanks)]
They could still be pissed off at us in WW2 for shooting an armoured column with a barracge when the american column decided that, although they were told to stay out until 2pm (or whenever), if they started early, they could be near the edge of the target area when the bombardment stops and be the first one into Berlin. They'd forgotten that shells don't fall regularly and got walloped before 2pm on the edge of the zone.
Swiss Army knife ==> Swiss Navy cake
Switzerland has a navy, and not just of the lacustrine kind. It is based in Genoa.
Seeing as this is a BEA product if they broke a bottle when they launched it, did it go "Bung"?
Cost vs Competence
So what the US have a cheaper build with punch. That just translates to more equipment and fire power to accurately destroy you fellow amercian soliders or allies with.
They may have some really good kit that bests most people but they have an apalling unprofessional fighting force that seems to do more damage politically/pyshically/mentally to everyone but their enemies.
I know El Reg prides itself on it's lack on integrity, but accidentally it's aquired some pretty decent journalists. It's not until you read a piece of slanted crap like this article and realise that you expect so much more from this august organ.
Slanted, poorly researched, after the event and snide. Maybe fit for a blog (though most self-respecting bloggers might take issue with this) but certainly not for the Register.
I've known a few Weapons Officers in my time and am well aware of "other capabilities" that ships with few guns carry. Strangely the WEO on a ship without guns was the brightest of the lot and most respected by his colleagues to boot. I'd be astonished if PAAMS is the only trick these ponies have.
Holy Crap! I think amanfromMars just achieved sentience! Better find John Conner quick...
Cost v Competence
Two mostly unrelated points, there, Rob. Give "our superior personnel" their choice of their "effective equipment" and you might have a Navy that can do something. The attitude and competence levels of their armed forces are related to their equipment only inasmuch as the equipment inculcates the attitude.
Fancy Switzerland being landlocked and having no navy.
Many years ago when I was in the Merchant Navy I always found it funny the engines which ran the vessels often were made in Switzerland by Sulzer!
I'm not talking little ones either 7500 BHP ones powering 27000 ton Oil Tankers.
I've met a swiss guy
He was a missionary and a great guy, but from his talk, you wouldn't want to mess with Switzerland (even by sea :) ). For a start they have nuclear-bomb-proof bunkers for most of the population. They also have pill-boxes everywhere and their army/militia would be ruthlessly patriotric in defending the country.
the problem with prices...
The problem with the price of Defense Kit is how the development costs are rolled into the price tag.
The MOD want to buy x units of y. They'll be paying a per unit cost and a big lump split across each unit which covers the development cost. Sometimes this is a direct payment on a per unit basis, sometimes its paid upfront but typically the price tag will still get quoted with the development costs thrown in.
The initial price is normally pretty good, but then there are budget cuts. The problem is the lump sum cost does not get reduced, only the per unit cost. As the numbers dwindle the Kit being bought starts looking less and less attractive in price, and high price per unit costs appear in the news. The Kit might then start to run the risk of being cancelled altogether due to being 'over priced'.
If they're lucky the Royal Navy will get 6 Type 45's. It was only a few years ago that they were going to be getting 12... and the price looked pretty good back then.
If it's about price...
"the only reason that our home-brew stuff costs so much is because of short sighted penny pinching morons like you."
So it's absolutely nothing at all to do with huge Swiss-bank slush funds, "irregular" payments of £1bn or more to Saudi Arabian royalty, and that kind of thing? The amount of Prince Bandar's payments is not in dispute, remember, only its legitimacy. And this is only one of the bigger ones that have been exposed, how much is still to be discovered?
How many soldiers/sailors/airmen (and their families) does a few £1bn pay? More than a handful, that's for sure. It also pays for a few manufacturing and design employees in skilled UK jobs. If it's allowed to, rather than being mis-spent overseas by Tony and his cronies.
Judging by the unusually large number of anti-Lewis responses here today, the order has gone out from the BAe executive bar/diner - stop him stirring, he's getting troublesome.
Lewis, watch your back, and your other bits. We don't need another David Kelly.
"They may have some really good kit that bests most people but they have an apalling unprofessional fighting force that seems to do more damage politically/pyshically/mentally to everyone but their enemies."
I'm sure it seems that way if you read certain media.
Fact is, they're still a very long way ahead of anyone, see the Gulf war I & II for good examples. They only lost when forced to withdraw by a hostile media, never defeated militarily.
Ask our guys in Afghanistan. And of course we should buy American, with the amount we're willing to spend.