back to article Unarmed Royal Navy destroyers: French missiles blamed

Ceremonies and celebrations took place in Portsmouth last week as the Royal Navy's second billion-pound-plus Type 45 destroyer, HMS Dauntless, was formally commissioned into the Service. Both Dauntless and her predecessor HMS Daring remain almost totally unarmed at the moment, following test failures which have meant that their …

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Pirate

hmm

That documentary the other week about the building of Daring seemed to gloss over these facts! I guess they edited in some footage from the missile test firings, as they seemed to talk up the 'dome of protection' provided by the radar and weapon systems!

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Win2k

Well, they did show the entire combat centre's computer system crashing at one point during the exercise in the documentary, that'll be handy to happen during a real shooting match....

I was surprised they didn't have a go at shooting down towed targets mind, or have FRADU decomissioned all their target tugs now, and just fly around in a bunch of Hawks pretending to be missiles?

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FAIL

HMS Dauntless?

HMS Toothless, more like.

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Joke

Re: HMS Dauntless?

HMS Darling and HMS Powerless, perhaps.

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Joke

Fairly quickly

...after encountering enemy missiles it'll be HMS Incontinent and HMS Flatulent.

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Megaphone

Oh dear ...

"Officials declined to answer our other question"

Can't for the life of me think why the MoD doesn't want to discuss the real-World performance of T45 with the World's press.

Ever asked the Chinese or Americans about details of their military assets? Ever get a response? Thought not ...

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Rotating, but multi-varied.

Standard rotating radar scanners may indeed introduce potential detection delays, but the scanner system employed on the Type 45 destroyer consist of many sensors housed in that rotating spheroid.

The radar system itself rotates once every two seconds but the effective target update frequency might be more than that (I haven't investigated but I remember watching the ship-building programme on TV not so long ago).

Further, the technology enables virtually instant (and virtually infallible) friend/foe/neutral identification. This will reduce all manner of delay which normally would be needed to put a positive ID on a radar bounce.

The ship itself is designed to provide a hemisphere of air protection for a fleet, but that doesn't mean its only effective at providing that cover. It's a fantastically manoeverable craft and can provide interception and patrol duties, assisting coast-guards, challenging drug-runners and the like.

Billion+ quid each one may be, but worth every penny.

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France Disarming England

Old meme, still useful. Eat Burger, enjoy Merkin Culture !

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Samson and Aster, eh?

Hmm... Doesn't the RN have regulations about maximum hair length? I seem to recall that Bad Things(tm) happened after the original Samson got a trim.

As for 'Aster', perhaps if they changed the name to 'Asterix' it would be... indomitable. Or not.

One does wonder why the RN didn't buy an American Burke class or a Japanese Kongo class ship. Why, they could have got one of each for the price of one Type 45, and the radars and missiles on them would actually work... Not to mention that they could substitute Harpoon, SLAM, and Tomahawk missiles for the Standards should they need to go pound some pesky foreigners.

Ah, well. Rule, Britannia! <wanders away, humming 'Hearts of Oak'>

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Headmaster

Pedant alert!

'Heart' of Oak... are our ships

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FAIL

It's not about weapons, it's about money and contracts...

**you really have to wonder why you'd have them at all.**

Why else? To provide a nice little earner for friends of friends of politicians...

One of the tragedies of warfare is that the man at the front hardly ever gets to fight with the equipment promised - he simply has to manage with what he's given and that's rarely the same. And even when what's promised is delivered, it's either far too late or nothing like it's cracked up to be - or both. Ask any old soldier.

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How useful?

"But if you aren't going to put the Type 45s in the way of supersonic missiles, you really have to wonder why you'd have them at all."

Which is rather the point, I guess. Although at least high-spec missiles are something which less-well-equipped countries or militias could realistically acquire. Justifying the Typhoon on the basis that we might someday need air-to-air combat capability against Americans armed with F-22s is rather less likely.

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sad

Win2K eh.

I guess we can nickname HMS Dauntless the "whale of fail"

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Anonymous Coward

Makes you wonder

A toothless ship, well, you can hope the teeth technology will shed its teething problems Real Soon Now. Pun obligatory. But there's hoping and there's hoping.

The choice for windows 2000 seems a bit odd, not merely because I like unix but because the system comes with planned osolescense built right into it. Deploying a ship now, dependent on an already osolete system that come next month will come off the ``extended support'' (the mainstream support ended five years ago), means that for all of the ship's lifecycle it's going to be on extra-expensive no-real-support-at-all ``support'' delivered by Highly Paid Consultants.

But even choosing a newer version won't do. I don't think the stuff that comes out of redmond is in any way or form suitable for ``embedded'' deployment, certainly not for things with a 25+ year lifespan, and where the software is essentially superfluous but makes itself indispensable (FSVO) for the sake of possibly improved efficiency and such -- side effects, in short.

I'd pick something else entirely. Something open-source or at least delivered with the full source for handing over to support contract winners for choice. Something that's been around for a while and has had most bugs ironed out. That's to say, not a system that comes with generations of mistakes, all kept for ``compatability'' but really just papered over by another layer of more of the same, incompatably so. Perhaps some unix variant but something like VMS might do pretty well too.

I find it impressive that this project manages to combine abject hardware failure with software failure, design failure, and failure to terminate a failed project in a timely manner.

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Terminator

If a job needs doing...

As with the Europa rocket, it's the foreign components that let it all down.

The UK should make its own weapons for its own defence. Too many cooks result in the Eurofighter.

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Happy

AC@12:26

"As with the Europa rocket, it's the foreign components that let it all down."

An attitude the French *wholeheartedly* agree with

Which might partly explain why the main UK contribution to Ariane are the exhaust pipes on the gas generators.

Because you can't get quicker than a quick-fit fitter, right?

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sourcing weapons

> The UK should make its own weapons for its own defence

Fuck no!!! The MoD should only buy stuff that works. If the UK tried to make all its weapons, the country would be bankrupt from throwing BAe truckloads of money to spunk against the wall. Besides, HM armed forces are too small to get the economies of scale from large production runs that'll offset development costs. This is why we end up with a fucking destroyer that costs £1BN and doesn't even work. You could just about built a boat that size out of gold for the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ariane

The UK's contribution to Ariane is directly in proportion to the amount of will its space programme had left to live following its stirling but wasted efforts on Europa.

If the UK built the whole thing themselves (or with Commonwealth counties as they previously tried until Ted Heath got the Conservatives back into power and had to do the 'David Cameron' thing to all the budgets set up by the previous Labour government) it would have worked. But Europa was a politically driven effort, and inevitably fatally compromised as such.

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Coat

Minor Correction:

"once ongoing test firings confirm that the Aster fix has been successful."

Should be:

"once ongoing test firings confirm that the Asterix has been successful."

(them pesky Gauls don't like the Romans..)

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Boffin

"it would be rather unwise to put yourself in a situation like that, wouldn't it?"

Seems a fair point. Would any captain think it was wise to put oneself into a situation requiring 100% success from a defence system? Whilst it may be capable to defending itself against supersonic missiles, and even if it proved that it was capable, wisdom says to avoid that situation if possible.

Person A: "Here's a bullet proof jacket, care to put it on so I can shoot at you? It should protect you."

Person B: "It would be rather unwise to put myself in a situation like that, wouldn't it?"

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Flame

Lots of opinion, little in facts

You do know the ships are not actually on operational deployment yet Lewis? Hence they don't technically need to be armed until that point as I don't think there is much of a pirate problem in UK waters these days...! As for the missiles not working, they do work otherwise the European navies would not have deployed them (they are actually in-service with the French and Italian navies I believe). How capable they are and what didn't work properly is a closely guarded secret no doubt, but the missiles themselves do actually work.

As for the MOD not telling the press how effective they are against enemy missiles, that is not exactly a surprise. The MOD hardly wants to put a notice in the Moscow Times saying, "We can shoot your missiles down, make them faster and stealthier!"

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IT Angle

The IT angle...

Oh, silly me, here it is...

As any fule no: What you haven't tested, doesn't work.

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FAIL

One also notes that the ship's command system runs Windows 2000

Eh??? They are aware that MS aren't supporting it after July aren't they?

<pedant>Anyway, runs Windows 2000 or runs under Windows 2000?</pedant>

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Headmaster

Systems

The hardware systems run Windows 2000; the software systems run ON it.

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Windows for Warships

Glad I live inland. Coastal types - I hope it's not your house that goes up when a worm gets into the missiles' firing systems.

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EFA

"The UK should make its own weapons for its own defence. Too many cooks result in the Eurofighter."

Except that EFA is by no means a "cock-up". Look at the youtube videos before you start your anti-european rants. Maybe you will discover that it is way much more agile than the F-15 and has better weaponry than the Merkins have (I am referring to IRIS-T).

Which is OK, considering that the F-15 is an old plane, btw.

The RAF seem to like this plane very much, because it can actually compete with those Mig29s and SU34s.

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Badgers

Re: EFA == Hood/Bismarck

It's difficult to be anti-European when taking a swipe at such an American plane.

My comments were more about the fact that the Eurofighter was so late, so over budget, so extensively redesigned over decades of development because they couldn't get things working or by the time they did they was obsolete, and the fact that they had to go to America to get half of it working. The EU should ban them from using 'Euro' in the name Eurofighter in the same way they ban Ecclescakes if they're not from Eccles. And while they're at it, ban the 'fighter' bit too on account of it chiefly being a 'racer' for Top Gear pranks. What about the" EurAmAng Hamsteracer"? That'll put the fear of God into the Spaniards or whoever.

Yes, it's a nice plane, is very agile (thanks only to the computers that keep it in the air), but it's no Spitfire of its day. And because of too many cooks being involved, by the time this would-be 1970s cold war Spitfire actually went into service, the world had moved on leaving it as an *incredibly* expensive live museum piece, much like quaint old fashioned battleships before it, designed to meet the enemy, turn sideways and bombard each other with volleys until one of them sank (usually the French one).

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Linux

A bit like the Eurovision Song Contest

The cynic in me suspects that the real problem with the Eurofighter, as with all things prefixed Euro, is that its true purpose is less to do with fighting (or singing or football or money) than with constructing an articial sense of allegiance to the burgeoning Euro Superstate. As with Coke, the more the word Euro is plastered over people's lives, the more they will accept it as an integral part of their dream.

Unfortunately, if the style of Eurovision songs - constructed not for quality but for bland EU-wide inoffensiveness - is anything to go by, the Euro dream does not bode well for jet fighters.

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Euro Weapons....

Admittedly the best EuroWeapon to this date is the German-developed EuroLeopard MBT. Still the Eurofighter is very good value for the money spent and so is the A400M.

Europeans always lament about the "cost excesses" of the defence industry and ignore those 400-600 billion the Americans spend EACH YEAR.

Tornado was also effective for it's role as a low-level bomber (helping) deterring the soviets from attacking Western Europe. It was wrong to assume it could also be a general-purpose fighter, though. But I guess with its long range it is in fact scaring the Russian bear bombers coming down from the Arctic.

The A400M was the first transport craft by Airbus, the first big turboprop by europe and it has impressive capabilities that no other a/c have. But what do we read ? "delayed !!!!!", "a bit more expensive than expected !!!" . The typical reaction of clueless beancounters.

If warfare were beancounting, we would better pay Danegeld, or should I say ProtektRubles ?

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Britannia rules the waves - NOT

How pathetic it is that the UK has to rely on the French for armaments.

Next they will subcontract the ship-building to Korea.

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Thumb Down

Navies obsolete?

Perhaps the uncomfortable truth is that naval warfare is now obsolete, and that in any future war nothing will stay afloat for longer than the first skirmish. Maybe in an engagement their missiles and our missiles would pass in mid-air, delivering a pyrrhic victory to both sides simultaneously. The submarines would pick off any survivors. Non-nuclear MAD.

I remember a cold-war era documentary about the Nimitz (USA nuclear-powered aircraft carrier). The captain was asked about rumours that his ship was permanently on the USSR's nuclear strike target list, and whether he could do anything about that. He looked unfomfortable, flanelled a bit, and invited another question.

Today, it no longer requires nuclear-armed missiles? In which case we should build cheap(er) WW2-style destroyers to deal with pirates and tinpot dictators, and submarines and state-of-the-art shore-based anti-ship missile batteries for the future defense of the realm.

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Carriers?

What about them?

If you want to engage in overseas operations, you need carriers.

If you want to keep your carriers from getting picked off, you need ships to protect them.

That means destroyers to fight off the serious threats and frigates to act as a largely expendable screen.

This may not be so important for operations in Afghanistan, but is when you're up against an enemy that has at least comparable weaponry. Historic example would be Falklands war. Possible future scenario would be North Korea.

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What "fleet" are they going to escort?

You could put a bet on us actually floating a CVF that's fit to put in harm's way, but you'd be better off gambling on England winning the world cup, or giving your cash to a gypsy in return for some Magic beans.

By the time the CVFs are supposed to be in service (which they won't be), the Lusty and Ark are going to be held together by their paint.

I suppose at some point a grown up might get involved, buy some Malaysian freighters and weld a big helicopter flight deck on top. Then we'd have ships with equivalent combat performance to the Invincibles - which are basically helicopter carriers now as the GR7s start falling apart - superior performance to the type 45 (or, God help us, type 26), and at a fraction of the price of any of them.

But then, why deploy a billion pound ship to defend a much cheaper one, that can strike back harder? Especially when it can't defend it anyway?

Bah, these ships are just wank fantasy material for recruiting ads and salty seaman still re-fighting the Falklands, and welfare for BAE.

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Windows for Warships

Back when a Windows NT failure caused a US frigate to quit operating, somebody suggested that it gave a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.

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OMG Windows 2K?

Still better than Windows Bloat-Vista....I hope the navy never gets the 'Blue Screen of Death' though.

Saw the documentary and I thanks to Lewis I knew it was a pile of sea legged pants as I saw it.

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1 billion?

Why not just buy some off the shelf boats and bolt on the radar and missiles? Lots cheaper and its not like the navy actually does anything apart from chase pirates with AK47's around the Pacific....

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FAIL

Sea Skimmer protection

Did we not learn anything from the Falklands War, that a sea skimmer kills ships. So, apart from its main armanent it has no close in weapon system (CIWS or Gatling) to be the last line of defence.

Wake up MoD!

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Anonymous Coward

CIWS...

is considered to be incapable of effectively countering the most modern, fast-maneuvering, supersonic ASMs.

The state of the art is considered to be the ESSM anti-ASM missile. And I guess the french missiles on this ship are intended to perform as well as ESSM or better.

In general, the rational thing to do would be a EuroFrigate, like the EuroFighter and the EuroLeopard, Currently there is still too much duplication of effort and too many versions in Europe. Expensive and cost-inefficient.

The Eurofighter acutally is very, very good value for money if you compare total cost with the cost of american aviation programs. Europeans want defense on the cheap and that does not work.

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Megaphone

w2000

Personally I find it quite amusing they are running w2k on these shits (whoops, I mean ships). I suppose at least w2k is a very well understood operating system and you can bet the networks will be very well hardened with help from a special Microsoft contract at taxpayers expense. Still I'd laugh if these ships caught the blaster worm ;)

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Joke

At least it looks nice

I mean that cute, goofey, smiley face on the front of it, awww

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/10230422.stm

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Stop

I wonder....

....if those tax money sucking parasites BAE are involved anywhere?

They must be.

After all why get a defence contract right first time when you can balls it up, delay it and get another half a billion or so tax payers money while you are at it.

These are the places where the Govt should be making savings. Making sure the tax revenue collected is spent more efficiently.

I reckon if the Govt managed to get all its depts and civil service to improve efficiency of spending by say 25% we could be having tax cuts not increases.

But its always easier to slap another penny or two on income tax than actually make the lazy sods in the civil service etc. work smarter.

All increasing the tax burden does is give those wankers more money to waste.

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Dead Vulture

Just a thought....

..Page always has a rant how much US stuff in in UK tech (then goes on to say we should by US because it cheaper).

I wonder how much UK tech is in US stuff?

But of course, that doesn't matter....

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FAIL

A few thoughts...

It's not like we don't have experience with missile problems costing us ships. Sea Wolf was an excellent missile, however, despite being under its protective envelope we still suffered massive damage to the Glasgow and the loss of the Coventry.

Everyone seems to think that going out and buying American kit is the cheaper option. Remember though, that the Americans never release the best version of the electronics (avionics in aircraft terms) to anyone (even allies). In fact Britain is 3rd tier since we get worse electronics than the Israelis who in turn get worse than the Americans. In general when we buy American kit we have to redesign all the electronics ourselves to get a workable platform. These days, it is the electronics that cost most of the money, not airframes and the like. We could have bought an American equivalent, but we would still have been stuck putting our own missiles and radars on the thing - just the part we are having difficulty with at the moment in fact. Same with Typhoon vs F35. We could have bought an F35, but we would have spent twice as much putting half decent avionics in the thing.

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Win2k on warships

Win2k, as used on warships, is maintained under special contract. It's fully supported, in spite of what the microsoft.com website says about commercial support and product life-cycle.

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Anonymous Coward

More thoughts

UK tech in the US? Think ``jet engine''. Did the UK ever get anything back out of that ``reciprocal sharing deal''? Uh. That is to say. Er. Next question please!

Or, the question is a bit pointless, because if there was still British tech worth pilfering they'd pilfer it, or just buying up the companies.

As to getting second or third rate stuff, well, if that's cheaper and better value than what the UK can produce, you're still better off. Or at least it is as long as you don't engage them, which is pretty much the assumption.

Beyond that it really doesn't matter who has the top notch bestest stuff. The kids that do the dying *never* have the perfect tool for the job, so procurement should stop porkbarreling under that flag. Get ``good enough'' stuff where it is most needed in a timely fashion, make sure the grunts have suitable training, and with a competent officer corps. You need all of it in a suitable mix, but you don't need the theoretical very best, and not paying too much of a premium means you get more stuff and more people to have use the stuff.

In that sense the best weapons would be fully automatic shipyards and factories and a ready stash of people to man the products as soon as they are ready. But you can only sustain that during a war, and despite superior technology there's still physics to account for.

Lewis may not have everything right, but the overall theme of a classical British half-arsed knock-off of the beltway bandits I have no trouble believing, and it's well know it's a rather expensive affliction for a government to sport.

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Stop

I don't like the Merkins Too Much, But...

* Polaris, Trident ?

* Latest Sidewinders saving the fleet in the Falklands ?

* Continuous SIGINT swapping ("UKUSA") ?

* F4 Phantom ?

* Lots of Electronics and Software ?

* Cruise Missiles ?

* Access to all sorts of modern equipment in electronics, computers and manufacturing ?

Without America, Britain would have ceased to exist in 1944 or so. Nowadays the Americans fund the defence budget the British chose to spend on a bloated NHS. All the German docs moving to Britain are really, really happy about that.

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"Cutting-edge weapons..."

Swords? A cutlass?

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Happy

HMS Daring, eh?

To be followed by the Audacity, and later, by the Suicidal Insanity, perchance?

<-- Don't Panic

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Happy

To sum up this missile defense system

It would be brilliant if it worked.

But at present it doesn't.

BTW any military force (land, sea or air) that is under the command of anything resembling a civilian government (IE *not* a military dictatorship it's part of) rarely gets a *choice* in what enemy it faces. We won't attack *anyone* who might hurt us was IIRC correctly roughly the plan of the Argentinian navy in the Falklands.

Didn't work out too well for them.

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FAIL

This just isn't right....

Two boats, two billion pounds. They may be fantastic boats, state of the art but a lot of their capabilities are going to have to be for defending themselves because should one get blown up that's half the navy down the drain.

You need a larger number of somewhat less capable and a whole lot cheaper boats.

Didn't the Falklands war teach you anything?

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