back to article Give BAE a kicking and flog off new UK warships, says review

A government-commissioned review into naval shipbuilding has torn into BAE Systems – while hinting that the number of British fighting warships should be increased, albeit with a sting in the tail. Sir John Parker’s review into Royal Naval shipbuilding was predictably critical of BAE, whose Naval Ships division has built …

or we could just buy some off the shelf US ships, that have already been proven and will be far cheaper, than feeding the bottomless pit that is BAE and keeping some toe rag politician with a shipbuilder in his constituency re-elected !

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You are forgetting that the purpose of the ministry of defence is to defend BAe

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USA Ships

Some are expensive and unreliable. Guess which would bought?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA Ships

As a USAin, I was about to propose that WE buy the British warships, as they seem to be far cheaper than our new models that seem to have a ton of problems.

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Re: USA Ships

Time for the modern equivalent of the Leander-class? 26 of them. plus 2 for Chile.

plus 6 to a related design built by Australia. ditto 6 by India, and 6 by the Dutch (now in the Indonesian navy)

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Re: USA Ships

@AC: Just stay clear of the new Type 45 Destroyer. They don't work.

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The purpose isn't to defend BAe, it's to keep BAe afloat, so they continue to employ people so those people continue to vote the way the government wants them to. Which has the side effect of defending BAe, oh, and if that leads to lucrative consultancy jobs for those leaving the civil service, well, that's just a happy accident right?

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You are Lewis Page AICMFP!

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Re: USA Ships

I think that the Scylla was my old man's favourite out of all the ships he served on, everybody seemed to like the Leanders!

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Re: USA Ships

The 45 would work if the MoD & BAE hadn't under-specced the intercoolers for the turbines

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Re: USA Ships

My old man was on the Phoebe and the Naiad. I still have the souvenir ships crest from Naiad somewhere.

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Nobody will buy them

These are crippled-by-doctrine from inception. They have no anti-ship and no land attack capability.

The current equivalent market offering by German, French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese and Russian shipbuilders (did I count everyone who is selling? probably I missed someone) are significantly more "multipurpose".

1. They possess equivalent or slightly worse AA

2. They possess equivalent or slightly worse anti-subwarfare capabilities

So far so good - up to this point BAE offering is competitive.

3. They possess significant anti-ship and anti-land target capabilities. The BAE boats have none.

That should and would end up any attempt to sell them - they will fail any normal procurement and can and will be sold only on a "buy one dead turkey, get one free" basis.

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FAIL

Re: Voland's right hand Re: Nobody will buy them

".....They possess significant anti-ship and anti-land target capabilities. The BAE boats have none....." I see you have as little knowledge about naval ships as you do warplanes! See the turret on the foredeck? It will mount either the current 4.5in gun or the proposed 155mm "future naval gun", both of which give it quite a capability for NGS. The 155mm will also have a range of guided munitions, making it even more deadly to coastal and shipping targets. And the there's the fact it carries a helicopter, giving it the ability to conduct over-the-horizon anti-shipping, anti-sub and anti-coastal operations. And that's before you consider that the design has the stretch capability so that customers can add their own missile systems in addition to the standard suite, if the customers actually have any further requirements beyond coastal patrols, anti-piracy and fishing enforcement, which the existing design has covered already.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

Matt! The dried frog pills! You've forgotten again!

But on the point the OP made, medium calibre guns are not an anti-ship weapon (not against another naval ship, that is). The Kryten is great for putting the willies up naughty fishermen, or persuading drug runners not to take a chance. But that apart it's old tech. The barrel wears out quickly, accuracy isn't great and falls off further when its hot, there's enough ammo for about three minutes maximum rate shooting, the guided munitions malarkey is nonsense.

If we didn't have pacifist clowns designing RN ships then they'd all have a good choice of suitable missiles able to put up a good show against aircraft, surface ships of all sizes - and suitable anti-sub weapons. Designing single role ships for a battlegroup when you don't have enough ships to form a battlegroup? A bit daft, surely even you can agree?

But your average Israeli corvette or coastal patrol ship is better armed than an RN frigate or destroyer.

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Re: Nobody will buy them

They possess significant anti-ship and anti-land target capabilities. The BAE boats have none.

I cannot comment on the accuracy of the statement that any RN vessel is underarmed, but surely if there is a deficiency then the responsibility lies with the MOD and the RN rather than BAe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

Same guy as before - those guided munitions out of naval guns have quite a range, but here in the US we are trying to figure out how to get them for under $700k a shot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

"a range of guided munitions"??

Great Guh, did nobody learn from the problems the Americans had with the Sheridan firing guided munitions and normal shells out the same barrel, or the Russians with their BMPs firing missiles and shells out the same barrel...?

And oh wow, a 4.5" gun or a 155mm gun - whoop-de-do. Even early C20th plate steel was proof against popguns like that so modern layered armors probably won't even get scratched. And even though smaller calibre munitions means more can be carried, it will just be like the 9mm vs .45ACP problem where one .45 will stop a man but it takes 2, 3 or more 9mm to have an effect (at least in the short term, until the internal bleeding catches up with the target).

By the time your underpowered toy has reached firing range your boat will be toasted, either by a long-range anti-ship missile or by the similar popguns carried on the patrol boats of your opponents.

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Re: AC Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

".....But on the point the OP made, medium calibre guns are not an anti-ship weapon (not against another naval ship, that is)..... You are failing to understand the roles these frigates will carry out. These are not destroyers or cruisers, they are not expected to go toe-to-toe with the Moskva, in their peacetime role they are expected to be able to detect submarines, chase smugglers, pirates and illegal fisherman, and provide emergency rescue services. Medium caliber guns will most certainly be a big threat to fishingboats, dhows, trawlers, pirate RIBs and the odd merchant vessel! They also give the option of projecting force over the coastal region through NGS, proven to be a very accurate way of dealing with threats such as beached pirate craft well out of range of the type of weapons such pirates can employ. In wartime they would operate as part of a larger fleet, either a NATO one (vs the neo-Soviets), where they would provide anti-submarine support; or an RN fleet against some Third World navy like Argentina's, which is currently little more than four "destroyers" (actually frigates), three subs, and some older corvettes which seem crippled by a lack of spares. In either case they are not meant to be Dreadnought-like battleships.

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Facepalm

Re: AC Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

"....but here in the US we are trying to figure out how to get them for under $700k a shot." You may want to check that again - the first suite of Excalibur 155mm guided shells are being bought at a total cost of much less than half that figure. You're also ignoring the fact that even a cost of $700k-a-shot is a bargain if it sinks or disables an enemy's multi-million dollar ship, or destroys a high-value land target such as a SAM or ASM radar (which usually cost millions each).

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Re: AC Re: Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

"....Great Guh, did nobody learn from the problems the Americans had with the Sheridan firing guided munitions and normal shells out the same barrel, or the Russians with their BMPs firing missiles and shells out the same barrel...?...." WTF??? Seriously, go read up on the Copperhead 155mm guided shell, it's a better comparison.

"....Even early C20th plate steel was proof against popguns like that so modern layered armors probably won't even get scratched....." Firstly, no modern naval ship carries 20th Century battleship armour, so that is a moot point. Secondly, no "modern layered armors" in actual use is going to stop the penetration by a 46Lb shell (current RN 4.5in Mk8 loading) hitting it. Worse, the bit that armour cannot protect is all the electronics that a modern warship uses for finding and attacking enemies. One guided HE hit on the superstructure, even if you did have some miracle "layered armor" to protect the interior, would still strip the exterior of it's antennas and radomes, leaving the ship blind and unable to defend itself from further attacks and unable to do much to inconvenience its attacker. Game over!

"....By the time your underpowered toy has reached firing range your boat will be toasted, either by a long-range anti-ship missile or by the similar popguns carried on the patrol boats of your opponents." Apart from the fact the new frigates in RN service will have a comprehensive anti-missile system, you are forgetting that - in a wartime scenario - the frigate would be working with an RN or NATO fleet, which would mean any attacker would be toast long before it got within missile range. As for the idea of a swarm attack by smaller craft, again they would need to get past the helicopter (very good for picking off speedboats or Boghammer attack craft) and the frigate's own weapons (including that 4.5in gun), and then be able to do enough damage with the tiny weapons such speedboats can carry before retaliation arrives from the rest of the RN/NATO fleet.

"....And even though smaller calibre munitions means more can be carried, it will just be like the 9mm vs .45ACP problem where one .45 will stop a man but it takes 2, 3 or more 9mm to have an effect ...." This type of ill-informed nonsense has long since been debunked, and if you really believe 9mmP is so dreadful then why are many LEOs, such as the <a href="https://loadoutroom.com/12077/fbi-going-9mm-comes-science/>FBI</a>, switching back to 9mmP?

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Re: Nobody will buy them

Perhaps the solution is to build for the market. Go out and find what features and price point would be competitive for sale to other countries, get a few letters of intent, or better actual pre-orders. Then add the UK order to the list. Incorporate into the design some flexibility and/or feature models ("white sidewalls, leather seats, sea-to-air missiles, ...").

Require the design to be buildable in pieces at multiple shipyards, accurately (I've seen videos of the Koreans building large container vessels where the pieces fit together with tolerances under a centimeter, it's doable.)

Use fixed price contracts and make sure the design is complete enough to minimize change orders. If possible contract 1/2 the order to each of two vendors, and require all modules to be interchangeable. This is common practice in the auto industry, admittedly at higher volumes. But how much is the overall hull shape going to change? Building to the market will go a long way to preventing Lockheed-ization and gilded designs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC Voland's right hand Nobody will buy them

Can't comment on naval shells, but the 9mm vs .45 argument is very similar to the 7.62 vs 5.56 argument.

And the answer is - it's situational. 5.56 NATO tumbles and fragments a lot more than 7.62 NATO did (which for the most part goes straight through), so generally causes more damage and a larger exit wound. The caveat to that is, certainly in my experience, 7.62 holds more of it's energy when you're engaging at longer ranges (there's probably a sciency term for it, unfortunately I'm not a scientist).

Equally, in a built up area you don't have to worry about over penetration as much with 556. So it entirely depends on where you are fighting as to which type of weapon is best suited to the job at hand.

I'd imagine naval rounds are no different - 113mm/155mm are probably a good size GP round as they're what all our vessels have carried for as long as I've been alive, and every time I've seen them providing gunnery support, it's worked which is all I would ask for. Massive 16" Yank-Cannons are all well and good, but when you are throwing VW Beetles full of explosives at the enemy, you need to trust your fire controller a LOT. And if you have that much trust in your fire controller, then you're a plum.

AC obvs

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Christ Almighty, PBUH, things are considerably worse than have ever been before imagined.

It is most odd, GC, and very revealing, that any Ministry of Defence would be thinking that hardware of any ilk nowadays, is an effective attacking proposition and weapon to be militarised in order to guarantee success in a conflict.

Didn't they get the memo ... on catastrophic memes and virtual means of available destruction?

Don't they realise the undoubted imminent danger within, and they are in? Whatever are they playing at, and wherever have been? Don't they recognise their calls are highlighting their every weakness for ruthless future exploitation?

Such accurately more than simply suggests that the likes of a Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP as a competent Secretary of State for Defence is a trust badly misplaced and most likely to lead to an international incident and national disaster.

And I share that most sincerely.

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WTF?

...the RN should be willing to support the Export drive by releasing a ship for sale

And there was I thinking all this tax money lavished on the Navy's tiny flotilla of ships was being used to defend our country and interests. This implies that the ships are just lying around not doing anything useful at all, in which case why not just transfer the RN from the MoD to the Department of Trade and Industry, or whatever it is called this week, where it obviously belongs.

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Re: ...the RN should be willing to support the Export drive by releasing a ship for sale

Or they could flog off some admirals.

I understand that the RN now has more admirals than ships, surely the excess could be sold for a profit to some 3rd world nation who have a shortage of native gold braid?

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Navy Gravy

They have been talking about the type 31 since 2010, BAE was given £127 million to design it and the article says there is no detailed design yet. And all that money to not design a ship that can't really do a lot.

BAE may be a (sort of) British company but it clearly has only its own best interests a heart and certainly not those of the UK, or do they have friends or relatives in the MOD?

I bet the yanks could come up with something useful if we were to show interest in them leasing or lending us some ships. We could pay them off over a 50 or 60 year period!

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Re: Navy Gravy

I bet the yanks could come up with something useful if we were to show interest in them leasing or lending us some ships. We could pay them off over a 50 or 60 year period!

Last time we did this we got some raddled old hulks from the first world war. In the circumstances a deal worth doing, but hardly a model for the present day?

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Re: Navy Gravy

"Raddled old hulk", careful Theresa May doesn't hear you calling her that..

Although in the case of the stripper v & w's even geriatric semi castrated heaps were better than nothing. Didn't help that the head of the Admiralty was even more geriatric & rapidly succumbing to dribbling syndrome due to fatigue and a brain tumour.

-+++Query: Dried Frog Pills? Redo from Start +++-

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Navy Gravy

Same guy as before - you know BAE is designing stuff for OUR ships?

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I wonder what Lewis Page would have written on the subject ?

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Don't know, but you can bet his keyboard would have been drenched in spittle.

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Chinese' Fisher would be turning in his grave these days...

'Reviews of the new century began to reflect a new trend as Germany steadily evolved as a naval power. The building race was on and battleships slid down the ways in ever increasing numbers. At that famous Review in 1914. with the fleet already lying under the coming shadow of war, no fewer than 59 battleships were anchored at Spithead, a tremendous spectacle of implacable power.'

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Black Helicopters

Re: Chinese' Fisher would be turning in his grave these days...

But that was before Nazi sympathizers in the British upper class formed BAE!

(Cut to the inside of a furnished bunker, muffled shellfire is heard outside, the impacts causing occasional patches of dust to drift down from the ceiling. On a couch, Adolf Hitler is holds a pistol in one hand while contemplating a picture of Winston Churchill held in the other.)

"You may have beaten me today, Churchill, but my agents will cripple Britain eventually!! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

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Re: Chinese' Fisher would be turning in his grave these days...

> no fewer than 59 battleships were anchored

And they remained hidden in Orkney because you couldn't risk the morale of losing 59 battleships.

Except for one battle where they didn't dare pursue the enemy because of the morale risk of losing a battleship.

Perhaps the navy could save money by keeping the fleet at anchor? If you were to put them at anchor somewhere secret you could save even more money. Incidentally, I have a fleet of aircraft carriers fully equipped with F35s held at a secret location for hire.

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Joke

Arthur Daley Warship Brokers

One careful lady owner

Low mileage

Nice little runner

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Cancel them.

clearly submarines are the way forward. submarines with lots of UAV's and tomahawk missiles.

keep our large air craft carriers for humanitarian uses.

but the days of the aircraft carrier and surface ships are over for war.

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Pirate

Re: Richard Jukes

"...but the days of the aircraft carrier and surface ships are over for war." Whilst that is possibly a debatable point, surface ships are still very useful in times of peace, which is the majority of the time these ships will be used for. Especially for preventative roles such as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations, where just the sight of a warship on the horizon deters - sub hidden beneath the waves, not so much. And also for non-lethal activities such as providing emergency assistance to islands hit by hurricanes, or evacuating civilians from warzones, or saving refugees from the Med (how many refugees would you want to try squeezing into a Trident sub?).

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"... use of modular construction, where yards build discrete chunks of ships rather than the entire hull. This method was used [...] on helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, which has some very noticeable ramps in the middle of her decks where the different sections meet."

Cruise ships are being built like that since quite a while, but they design the sections to actually fit neatly together.

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"but they design the sections to actually fit neatly together."

There's a difference, particularly in government contracts, between 'designed to' and 'actually do'.

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"Mr. Phipps, you have the watch. I'll be down in the casino."

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Canada

Canada is abnormally stuck in to The Reg's stories today. We have form for buying The RN's cast-off vessels-that-don't-work. Just in case somebody's wondering "who in the world could possibly ...?"

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Facepalm

Re: Canada

I'm sure the cast off vessels that Canada buys from Britain move just fine when they are pointed downhill....wait a second.

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Re: Canada

Well, here's one they got right.

Not the Navy, but the Coastguard, with their British Hovercraft Corporation designed AP-188s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCGH_Siyay

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coast-guard-siyay-hovercraft-back-in-service-1.3585190

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEK20zdkIEU

CCGH Siyay was the first of several of the type in service with the Canadian Coastguard

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Bleaugh!

Sir,

I have read with interest the article your august journal has seen fit to publish about the plight of our Royal Navy.

It seems a mere blink or an eye ago that mighty vessels like the Dreadnought, Ark Royal and Troutbridge flew the White Ensign far and wide across the seven seas, while these days we seem to have insufficient vessels to patrol the Severn Estuary.

A mere 120 years ago, if one of the local potentates was getting a bit uppity, we would send three cruisers and a couple of gunboats to help along our diplomatic negotiations. Should the potentate fail to take our advice, then 45 minutes later the locals would be sweeping up the rubble, while we invoiced them for the ammunition used. Now we can barely send a whining note by rowing boat.

In my opinion our politicians should spend more time on naval manoeuvres and less time navel gazing.

I remain,

Admiral Buckfast-Guzzler (retired)

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Re: Bleaugh!

@Blofeld's Cat

45 minutes? Look where that got us last time

while we invoiced them for the ammunition used

payment in Oil will do nicely

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Re: Bleaugh!

"Ark Royal, yes, yes. Troutbridge, yes"

"Oh get out the bloody way, Admiral coming through!"

etc

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Canada, again.

Just sell them to Canada. The governments here will buy any kind of crap, so long as it's not "made in Canada". For some reason, if it's "made in Canada", the Canadian governments won't touch it, no matter how good it is.

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Re: Canada, again.

I could just say Avro Arrow and leave it at that.

But then the same fate befell the TSR.2 so the UK did not do any better so....

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Anonymous Coward

Solution

Sunseeker. They're a UK shipbuilding success story. Paint them grey, bolt on a few guns fore and aft, job done.

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Re: Solution

I have done repair work on a few Sunseekers here, they have a tendency to build cupboards and things out of that fibre board a bit like a classroom notice board, then cover it with resin paint. Good until it gets a crack and the water gets in and swells it to three times it's normal thickness. Don't let BAE hear that anyone gets away with fitting crap like that into a boat.

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