The main issue is that it is still a traditional pulse doppler radar using either a conical fan or straight array antenna. The C2 flotilla would operate on a “single platform, double crew concept” – ships would be forward deployed but crews, as they do now in the MCMV fleet would rotate – all training completed in Plymouth through FOST. As regards a RN ‘Floreal’ class ( circa 90m) I see this as River batch 2.5 ….40mm and UAV or maybe batch 3 with telescopic hangar and helicopter. The FAC is armed with a 76mm, 8 x Exocet and 2 x 30mm. Below are some outline suggestions for enhancing the OPVs. Of those 15 manned, how many can actually be on station at one time? Oh no, I remember the T31 equipment thread. Not so good if you are a 90m 2,000t ship. But they are equipped more like a 210. After that, the T45 is gone. In this day and age, we shouldn’t have a platform that can’t add to the information picture! As the Merlin can land and refuel on the back of any of our escort fleet this could greatly extend the radius of weapons cover and basic cost of buying these new pallets to load with a couple of storm shadow anti ship missiles. hanger could practically be installed. – Although both systems have a variety of sensor types, its carrying capacity means the Camcopter has the superior set of sensor/payload options, including light missiles. Mar 9, 2017 - Explore Save the Royal Navy's board "River class OPVs (Batch 2)", followed by 445 people on Pinterest. Adding a UAV good for anti piracy 3. This is all very interesting (I always enjoy the upbeat articles) but it baffles me as to why Royal Navy procurement is in such a mess. Plus what is the Type 31 going to be used for? IH is capable of & has facilities for operating a towed sonar if required. Not sure, but maybe able to be sent to east of Suez, can counter Hoithi-rebels missile, and counter (peace-time) “terrorists-like” fast-boat attack as good as an escort (better armed for such close-in fight, but with less damage-control). The helicopter is nearly as important at sea at the ship. Some sub-hunting Arcims surface drones and SeaSpider anti-torpedo torpedoes wouldn’t go amiss either. They could still be used for training, they would have a combined headquaters rather than at the moment a RN headquaters, Border Patrol headquaters, SFP headquaters. For that you would need a T45 or T26. I think my ideal would be the OPV Plus, but with one of the containers taken by 8 or 12 CAMM Sea Ceptor missiles, and with 4 ISSM launchers at the on the quarter deck. I understand the theory, at least, is that the Treasury fund credible and balanced equipment proposals from the armed services within UK overall financial contraints. You get what you pay for. But, it still has to be “command guided” to the target as the laser matrix must be kept over the target for the missile to home in on, its not a fire and forget system. With 40mm coming into RN service via T31 the barrier to adoption is lessened and the designed-in positions for containers port and starboard of the crane are perfect for flight operations (main container doors opening aft onto the flight deck) and a smaller personnel door could even be cut into the other end of the containers to allow easy crew access via the RIB deck areas which have doors back into the ship I believe. IIRC the Krait system was demonstrated in a NATO ASW exercise in Portugal in 2019 where it was fitted to and up and running on a small ship in about 2 days. To get even more fighty, I propose the ship could be armed with containerised Sea Venom (MBDA first trialled it from containers before attaching them to helicopters). Containers could be placed on the flight deck instead but at the expense of helicopter capability. There is allocated space on a T45 for 16 more cells. Not the best site really. A&P Defence has secured a programme of maintenance work and repair packages to old and new River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) in Falmouth, as part of an ongoing support contract with BAE Systems.. A&P Defence and BAE Systems have recently agreed a two-year extension to a framework agreement which will now conclude in 2021. A frequent criticism of the new Batch II OPVs that are entering service with the RN is that they are under-armed. 5. The RGP is almost as common as the AK47 (it was a RM Carl Gustav in the Falklands war). But they need to be able to protect themselves and charges from State Actors testing UK resolve . Of course the best solution would be to just the leave the God foresaken region. You could add a couple of mini guns instead of 30mm. Thanks. Cheap to crew while providing command opportunities and some genuine capability. Fit the NS200 radar & 32 mk41 & 127mm (or even 76mm) plus 8 NSM to T31 & you will have a world class GP frigate. This will give RN with 6 T45, 10 T26 (all fully manned), 2 River B2 (heavy), 3 River B2 (EEZ) (River B1 will be disbanded by then). Great chart. One Batch 1 (HMS Clyde), which was the Falklands guard-ship, has been decommissioned and sold to the Royal Bahrain Naval Force. Ultimately the calculation is – if I attack this thing, do I end up taking a massive risk that the response is unpalatable. At least 3 batch 2 up gunned to the plus with 40mm, 3x 30mm and camcopters with martlets to extend range one in the caribean, one in the med/black sea and kept back for general duties, the other 2 batch 2s should get the 57mm, 2 x 30mm camcopter with martlets one being based in falklands the other in the north sea to keep russians at bay. Fuelling arrangements for the helicopter are already in place but adding arrangements for air weapons storage and handling may be more challenging. We’re building T31’s specifically to operate in places like The Gulf and South China Sea. Adding one of the new Sea Class workboats to their fit out seems like a sensible idea to me. Pretty much every vessel in their fleet runs the 76 Oto, so I imagine they have a bulk buy discount and can justify a lot of commonality savings by using it, same with the Harpoon. Adding one of these would add flexibility in HADR situations (ship to shore delivery of aid / personnel), troop transport (as highlighted recently on Forth – how to land the troops, not just transport them) and in the ability to operate off ship platforms (USV, UUV etc). D J   An IH frigate has 32 SM2s, 24 ESSMs, 8-16 Harpoon Block II missiles, an Oerlikon Millennium Gun, 2 76mm guns, bow sonar and torpedo launchers. Beyond that there is a need for a ‘fly the flag’ counter piracy / drugs role and a surveillance platform for escorting foreign warships. I shall add 1 more T26 (~800M GBP), and then 200M GBP for small improvements on T26s. These ships will often be far from any backup. 3. A total of nine were built for the Royal Navy (RN), four Batch 1 and five Batch 2. The River-class Batch 2 OPV was among those whose design was looked into by the Philippine Navy's Technical Working Group (TWG) as they formulate the specs for their MPPV. The newer version has a similar range to Martlet. Then, the choices will be 1- adding LMM on 30mm turret at the bow (can remain, but not carrying in EEZ mode) 2- adding a UAV container on the waist (can be re-rolled in any ship) 3- adding 2 more mini-guns to make it 4 (same) 4- adding 2 LRAD (same) 5- replacing 16t crane with a 20 mm CIWS in stock for T26. It was my fault. Although slightly reducing the flexibility of the fleet as a whole, having ships forward-deployed permanently offers the advantage of being able to tailor the individual ship’s equipment fit more precisely to the threat level. An uparmed River equipped with a Swordfish towed array sonar or Krait Defence System and a permanently embarked Merlin HM2 would provide a pretty decent level of defence in the Falklands, especially if escorted by an AIP sub. The in service gap is problematic, but up-arming the Rivers isn’t going to solve anything. These apparently mundane features are difficult to add to a vessel after construction and have resulted in a more combat-survivable platform than the average OPV. But uparmed Batch 2 Rivers could do that job at a fraction of the cost and they could do it now, now it 7 years time. Instead of a corvette, it turns the OPVs into gunboats with teeth, given it could be 10kms off a coast and strike a target 20kms inland. UK did not invest in upgrades to Harpoon, unlike USN, RAN etc. After that I’d say something like the Fire Scout MQ-8B as a drone for long range reconnaissance and some airborne firepower. When you said requirement I was thinking of it in terms of specification; I thought there some nuance or technicality of which I was unaware and you as an expert had taken into consideration. That said the OPV Plus in the article does have a lot to commend it, maybe go a little south of that: if the 30mm was kept where it is but the LMMs are added to it, and a spot found suitable for firing Starstreak and whatever the in service ATGM is these days covering the forward arc and another firing spot for the same weapons covering aft, along with LRAD and some decoy launchers – the latter fitted for but not with – then you would have the best you could do under the circumstances. Don’t know about Swordfish but UK company SEA has their Krait Defence System that would probably suit, . The problem for RN is while there is no rush today, there may not be time tomorrow. Taking a Schiebel S-100 as a benchmark, that is quoted as having a maximum payload of 50kg ( which I assume excludes fuel. Will a Merlin HM2 be *permanently* embarked on Type 31s? Yes, it’s a cheap add on to a 30mm, provided you never fire it. Option-1: Re-design T31 to more simpler program, may be a more “Floreal-like” presence ship, with say, two 57 mm gun (to cover 360 degree), a Wildcat, two 30 mm guns with LMM (again 360 degree) and nothing else. The RN is currently assessing which anti-ship missile to purchase for its Interim Surface-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) requirement. BAE Bofors 40mm/70 Mk4 with a possible fire control upgrades, and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). My one suggestion would be an 8-cell Spike NLOS Naval launcher that, with the UAVs, would give offensive punch to 30 kilometres. However, we need to decide what we want or more likely need these Ships to do. A total of nine were built for the Royal Navy (RN), four Batch 1 and five Batch 2. It has the same capabilities as its larger NS200 brother, but at a reduced range using a smaller/lighter antenna. Yes I know it adds requirements for fire fighting etc. I’d also like us to start building diesel-electric subs again. If you count carefully, “number of escorts in hand of RN” is not that bad, a gap in 2023-2025. I suspect the minimum they’ll receive is Martlet on the 30mm. Our potential foes must be very content. So, with 19 escorts, 6.33 will be able to be deployed, if proper operating cost and man-power are provided. The Bofors 57mm Mk 110 Mod 0 gun is also going to be introduced to the RN onboard the Type 31. I was considering this too as they’re very closely related, but with different warheads afaik; not sure if the containerised launcher of the Starstreak differs though. However, Unless the RN can get some AW159 from the army, I doubt any helicopters would be available, even if a (telescopic?) To further improve the reach of the ship, a helicopter would be the gold plated solution. Looks remarkably like a batch 1. This limits how narrow you can shape the beam, but also restricts its sweep to preset angles. I expect it’ll be used to escort commercial vessels in places like the Persian Gulf. It would make no sense to send Type 31s or uparmed Rivers anywhere where there are likely to be subs about, they’d be sitting ducks. # In 2025, both T31-hull1 and T26-hull1 will be handed over to RN. The 40mm upgrade with 30mm LMM would be the option which would probably be accepted by the bean counters we could hope a UAV will be included as this would be about as much as they would allow. That aside, I’ve read that Martlet has comparable surface-to-air ability anyway. However, the extended anti-missile range it would give would always be welcome. We have already seen this done to a, There is some indication that the Thais will attempt to, They do fisheries, SAR, and drug enforcement, but they are looking to use them for a bit more. To keep a helicopter at sea in all demands shelter to protect it from the weather and to allow it to be maintained. 16 quad packed CAAM gives you 64 more missiles. A Bofors 57mm adds range and offensive hitting power 5.NSM and / or helo expensive and out of place, send a frigate. The LMM is a low-cost and effective solution to small boat or UAV swarms and the addition of these mounts should become standard for deploying frigates and destroyers. I mean MANTIS, which is essentially the same weapon but land based, is expressly designed to take out rockets, artillery and mortars. I’m not including a dedicated anti-air weapon/missile system as that would push the ship into the realms of a proper corvette and costs nearing the T31. Air burst is the poor mans indirect fire, something the 40mm is capable of. It wouldn’t be the first time a River class was recommissioned. One of the cheaper options too? The two Thai OPVs do not carry a crane abaft the funnel instead, the second ship has mounts for Harpoon AShM. Significant cost and manpower savings. Let’s hope that they have locked the MOD into the contract in the same way that Aircraft Carrier Alliance did! What is most obviously lacking from the Thai vessels and the upgrade options for the RN’s OPVs is real anti-submarine capability. Best upgrade a river could get is a platoon of royal marines. If the NSM is chosen as the ISSM then it will be a comparatively light weight addition and its IIR guidance system well suited to littoral warfare and would provide a useful land attack capability. But what job would they do in such a guise under the AD and ASW bubbles of a CSG? Simple propulsion and onboard systems for good availability. I generally agree, ‘freeing up high end warships’ etc, etc while using that as an excuse to reduce the number of high end warships. For the USV system, the most expensive upgrade, the reference Israeli Seagull systems costs range from US$12-25 million. this includes bringing HMS clyde back into the fold to cover north atlantic perhaps based in faroe islands or sullem voe area. A 2,000t navy ship is possibly big enough to attract unwanted attention. I would reluctantly be willing to give up Sea Spear to achieve this. It’s better armed than the proposed Type 31 shown here: which has just 3 Bofors guns and 12 CAMMs. – Now we have 12 manned (at various stage) and 7 unmanned escorts. Kelvin Hughes has been selected to supply its SharpEye radar system for the new Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessels HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey. I would say something 500 to 750tonnes with a fair turn of speed operated in pairs is what is needed. I have also looked at the aux equipment needed like power, cooling water etc, SeaRam needs power as does Sea Spear, Sea Ram could take the power from the same feed as the crane and does not need any targeting information, Sea Spear would need new power feeds but as these missiles were designed for aircraft I don’t think it will be 240v more like 24 or 48v, Sea Spear would need targeting information to start with but that could come from ARTISAN but it would need a data uplink for mid course correction or man-in-loop situations. The weather can get pretty horrible in many of the areas these could be expected to operate. By this simplicity, their sea-going days can be x1.5 of an escort (say 120 x 1.5 = 180 days or so = achievable I think). Again the reality is if for example Iran fired of a land based anti Ship missile at anything both the UK & USA are going to be sending some pretty large amounts of Steel to the region. Last time I looked the Arabian or Persian Gulf was a bit of cul-de-sac. That way, containers for the CAMM, the UAV systems and the SSMs (which are already treated as single-round “containers” anyway) would only be fitted to those forward- deployed ships in areas of the world where they were needed, and not to every ship. Then you need a hangar, spares and maintainers. HMS Trent is the third of five River-class offshore patrol vessels to be built for the Royal Navy within a second batch which has been provided with upgraded capabilities. The “soft launch” feature of CAMM would be very well suited to installation on a small ship like the OPV’s with very little chance of blast damage on launch and its ability to use the search radar on the ship and not a dedicated guidance set is another plus. The main problem with 48 forT45 is that most frigates carry 8 x ASHM, & some carry 16. However, it has now been announced that all vessels will be retained. When I said that the 40mm could be out of ammo in as little as 20 seconds, I had FIACs in mind, not anti-ship missiles. These ships are going to be worked into the ground, just enforcing the fishing perimeters in anything like an effective way is going to be a stretch. Medway will be a couple of months … There is a strong argument that if the RN has any ‘spare funds’ (looking increasingly unlikely again!) It is only when the tasks needs it, when up-arming River B2 is needed. Fitting a towed array sonar is pretty pointless without a permanently embarked Merlin HM2 or VL-ASROC (i.e. It also has to the capability to be a high end AAW frigate if you want to spend the money (as Canada & Australia are doing). I’d also fit MASS decoys to provide another layer of defence against anti-ship missiles as well as 2 DS30Ms enhanced with LMMs to provide another layer of defence against FIACs. — If there is only new T31,decommissioned T23 crew goes to T31, leaving some. The Baden-Württemberg-class frigates have water cannons, which is a good non-lethal way to deal with pirates. But on cost grounds, manpower and modifying the aft deck for a telescopic hangar, would significantly push the cost up. However, RN escorts sea-going days have seen remarkable drop from 2010. The first vessel, HTMS Krabi, was completed in 2013 and represents the “OPV plus” concept. Someone somewhere must be working on it. This project is code for ‘ we are going to lose 3 Type 23s and the Type 31s won’t be ready so we need to deploy the Batch 2 Rivers.’ As I see things, in order of ££ 1.LMM will enhance against FIAC and against helicopters but has no true AA or anti ship missile capability 2. A&P Defence has secured a programme of maintenance work and repair packages to old and new River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) in Falmouth, as part of an ongoing support contract with BAE Systems. By taking the OPVs and the Archers out of the RN fleet lists the Government can then see what they really have to do the job world wide rather than getting away with summer shoes in the middle of an artic winter, which is what we do now. Having VLS puts a big question mark to an adversary – can they gamble on it being empty? Yes. That’s a heck of a cost when rotary assets must be prioritised for the major escorts. How much you underarm it is up to the buyer, but it has the capability of going to a AAW based heavy NATO class frigate if you want to. That said, using a purely diesel-powered vessel for sub-hunting, even if the engines were rafted, would be far from ideal. I did look at SPIKE NLOS but discarded it due to its requirements although I do like the Typhoon mount, I also looked at Minstrel but discarded that due to range and technical needs. Adding LMM to the OPVs would be one of the quickest and simplest ways to enhance their lethality. Reversing is also easy. At least an ASW Merlin Mk2 operating from a frigate, carrier or land base can theoretically land on the OPV’s flight deck where they might be refuelled or re-armed. T31 is based on the A140 which is itself a modernised & updated version of the IH frigate. With the RN set to have an increased global presence, circumstances could arise where a B2 is the nearest UK response to a rapidly developing situation. But even so, I struggle to find a way to make it ….. Donald, are you playing devil’s advocate? Very different from 7 Island class Patrol vessel and 2 Caslte class OPVs in early 1990s. German Braunschweig class corvettes are 1,700 tonnes compared to a Batch 2 OPV at 2,000 tonnes). And send our merchantmen around the cape? I agree about the 40mm Bofors, because although FIACs aren’t likely to ever be an issue around the Falklands, anti-ship missiles fired from aircraft or subs could be if there’s ever a Falklands Part 2. Yes, I’m being facetious but why do they always start with the weakest option and then spend millions on development, causing delays in building or a vessel’s withdrawal from service for months, maybe years. What the Royal navy is doing to the River class OPV is putting a WEAK gun on a ship. Floreal class is a 93.5m 2,600-3,000t light frigate armed with a helicopter & 100mm main gun. ~40% reduction. I have one slight concern about talk of armed UAVs and that is regarding payload. Switch departments! Working on the principle of iterative development, a second and considerably upgraded vessel, HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan was commissioned in 2019 armed with the improved Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun and mounts for up to 8 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles. They have no helicopter hangar and only a single 30mm gun in an optionally manned remote weapon station while the Bear class has a 76mm gun and radar fire control system and they have nothing like the Bear class’s SLQ-32 and decoy systems. The Royal Navy is looking at how they might increase the lethality of their new River Class Batch II Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Wildcat is the smallest naval maritime helicopter. Currently, these vessels are nothing more than metal flags and virtually useless against more sophisticated pirate/drug delivery gunboats. River B2 OPV already has “maximize the use of herself” as having the >300 days “sea-going days per year”. New Batch 2 River OPVs, would take just as long as Type 31 frigates to be built and bring to service. When looking at the armament therefore, I assume that the Thai navy are considering these as “full size” surface combatants and arming them accordingly. They are also a fire and forget missile, the RAF Brimstones can be upgrade to Sea Spear. If the answer to the latter is “yes”, then cost could be kept down if the CAMM system was containerised. That’s depressing. What we need for item-5 is to, – bolt on a CIWS base-mount on this ring – wire the power, data-link cable wired to CIC, and pipes for cooling water – reserve a space for a console in CIC Then if you bolt on the CIWS on this mount, and bolt on the console in the CIC, its done. The overall cost for these upgrades would be about £12 million per ship with one complete outfit of missiles each not including man hours. If you don’t know what that is it is the Typhoon 30mm gun mount coupled with a 8 tube SPIKE NLOS launcher and its intergrated aquastion system. So now we have a OPV plus with Corvette electronic suite at no extra cost for the kit extened survalance range upto Sea State four and 15 degree roll. The UK has had far too few vessels patrolling ours seas for far too long.
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