Thursday, August 5, 2010

C3 Recapitalising the Royal Navy Pt2




Design Drivers

In order to come up with the basic design parameters of the ship it is necessary to look at what task's it will need to perform. In order to achieve the goal of building a large number of cheaper vessels commonality must be the key. Every Ship Ordered should be identical. This will allow crews to be interoperable. In order to achieve this goal it will be necessary to incorporate a wide range of flexible mission containers. The ships themselves should be not much more than a truck of the sea carrying basic defensive and offensive weapons to increase its versatility.


Mine Counter Measures (MCM)

Probably the most important task the C3 will have. With modern sea mines becoming more and more deadly the days of minesweepers and hunters are over. No ship will want to come near a mine.
Modern MCM relies on unmanned robots UUV's and ROV's. In order to fulfill this task the vessel needs the ability to carry launch and recover a large number of UUV's as well as having sufficient space for embarked specialist to carry out there work. As it wont be intentionally going any where near mines a plastic hull is irrelevant. The vessel should have sufficient armour to be able to take a hit from a mine without sinking or exploding straight away giving the crew enough time to evacuate. A decent speed of 24 knots should allow the vessel to keep up with a task force to provide this vital service where ever the fleet goes. Something the present hunt class vessels with plastic hulls cannot do at the moment.

Sea Control

The biggest and perhaps most vital job performed by the Navy. The job that is most neglected by the Navy and perhaps the area the C3 can have the biggest impact on. Weather its enforcing embargos in the Adriatic, Chasing pirates off Somalia or capturing narcotics in the Caribbean. Sea control is likley to represent 90% of the C3's work. To do this the ship needs the ability to launch, recover and maintain an embarked helicopter. Have a basic level of armaments. Stay at sea for long periods and travel a long distance without the need for refuelling. A range of 7000 knots should allow this. The ship may need the ability to travel at higher speeds for short distances to intercept large vessels such as container ships or large fishing vessels. A speed of 24-26knts should suffice. A sufficient sensor suite will also be necessary to carry out this mission.

The vessel will also have to be able to easily operate and recover a large number of small fast attack craft or RIB's as well as an embarked force of Marines

Humanitarian Missions

Be it helping survivors of a Hurricane or providing medical support for land based military operations, The ship will have to have sufficient space to accommodate large numbers of personnel and survivors if only for a short period of time. It will also have to have sufficient cargo capacity and an embarked helo is vital.

Auxiliary Anti Submarine Warfare

While not a specialised platform the ship may be required to carry out ASW operations. This may take the form of convoy escort or searching for an SSK in shallow waters close to shore. To accommodate this the vessel will need the ability to deploy a towed array sonar, UUV's and torpedo's.

The vessel should also be capable of operating the EH101 Merlin and other larger ASW helicopters. If the vessel can operate a towed array sonar as well as a Merlin with a dunking sonar then it has little need for an expensive hull mounted sonar as well. A basic system should suffice.

Littoral Combat Operations

Operating close to shore the boat will need a shallow draft. It will need to accommodate special forces personal as well as their equipment and be able to quickly launch and recover their boats. It will need sufficient weapons to take on small patrol craft attack helicopters and possibly even fast jets. That being said the ship should only ever operate in an environment like this when it has the support of its big brother the type 45 AAW destroyer. The ship will require a medium calibre gun, Point air defence, Close In Weapons Systems and possibly some form of offensive missile.

EEZ Patrolling and fishery protection

Similar to sea control duties but much closer to home and more benign environment. Little in the way of armament will be needed but the ability to operate a helo would be useful. Launching and recovering RIB's and other boats would be vital.

Hydro graphic Research and Reconnaissance

A vital task especially for the Royal Navy's SSN's which rely on this accurate data. The ability to launch and recover UUV's and different types of sonar are vital. Again armaments for this type of mission would generally not be needed.


This sounds like to wide a set of roles to be furnished by a single type of ship. However with the use of specialist UUV's and helicopters carrying out most of the actual work it is possible. The use of Flexi Mission Modules (essentially ISO Containers) can allow one ship to carry out a number of tasks. The main purpose of the ship is to move the FMM to where its needed and provide sufficient protection for it to do its job.

The main driving factor behind the ship will be keeping costs low. Not building the best ship we can but building the best ship we can for the budget. Also building it in sufficently large numbers to ensure that the ship we get for the money is the best possible ship. The per unit price I will set per vessel is £100 million. The number to be built will be 64 vessels.

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