Saturday, August 7, 2010
C3 Recapitalising the Royal Navy Pt4
The main benefit of the C3 design is its ability to carry Flexible Mission modules. These modules can be made in many designs and over time upgraded as new weapons and mission modules become available. The main modules that should be created are as follow
MCM Clearance module - Containing UUV for mine clearance
MCM Hunting Module - Containing Active Sonar for mine hunting
ASW Module - Giving the ability to deploy towed array sonar
Hydro graphic - UUV and additional sonar for undersea mapping
Anti Ship - twin quad launchers carrying harpoon or Asroc
ASW - Containing torpedo's
AAW1 - Additional cams units for point air defence
AAW2- Carrying Aster 15 and 30 for stronger air defence
Land Attack - Carrying storm shadow or fire shadow missiles
Special forces - Carrying SF weapons and kit
Disaster Relief and support
Desalination - To provide water desalination for disaster areas
Power - Give power to disaster relief areas
NBC - Laboratory and equipment to handle NBC attacks
Medical - Providing laboratory and x ray facilities
It is possible to deploy additional modules to vessels by air and loaded them through commercial port facilities on vessels already deployed to theatre. Developing an air delivery system for modules would also add additional flexibility to the fleet alloying an appropriate response to any emergency.
air deploy able modules should have parachute's and floats to allow a C17 to drop the container in the vicinity of the vessel. The vessel will then take the module on board using it crane.
Building 64 of these vessels will give the Navy the ability to meet all of its standing deployments as well as being able to deploy standing patrols to places that the Navy has not managed to do since 1967. In particular a squadron of vessels can be deployed to Diego Garcia to operate in the Indian Ocean.
A C3 vessel armed with harpoon, CAMS, torpedo's and a 76mm gun can match a type 23 frigate in fire power and will be sufficient to meet any NATO standing patrols.
Below I have outlined the make up of each ship configuration and the modules it should carry
Type A - Heavy Patrol variant, Fully armed with Harpoon, CAMS, Towed Array, 76mm gun, Torpedo,
Type B - MCM, carrying CAMS, 54mm gun, MCM modules
Type C - Hydro graphic, Carrying hydro graphic sensors, towed array
Type D - EEZ patrol, Carrying 54mm cannon
Type E - Light Patrol Variant- 54mm cannon, CAMS, Disaster relief modules
I will assume a ratio of 1 vessel deployed for every 3 in the fleet. Using forward deployed vessels should allow the Navy to achieve this while also maintaining a number of ships able to deploy in a crisis. The small crew size of just 60 + mission specialists will allow the Navy to crew these vessels with its existing manpower. Four C3's can be crewed with the sailors of just one type 23. The identical lay out of each vessel should allow crews to be rotated. Leaving the vessel at a forward deployed base and simply flying one crew home well another one fly's out. This system of rotation appears to have been very successful with HMS Clyde in the Falklands.
In addition to the ships the Navy would maintain a number of C3 bases around the world. These bases would be able to store and load additional modules as well as change the ships armament and sensor fits. These bases would be
Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean)
Port Stanley (South Atlantic)
North Atlantic - 1 type A, 1 type B (NATO deployment)
South Atlantic - 1 type A, 1 type E (Falklands patrol) 1 type C (Ice Patrol)
Mediterranean - 1 type A, 1 type B (NATO deployment)
Caribbean-1 type E
Indian Ocean -2 type A, 1 type B, 1 type E
South China Sea - 1 type A, 1 type B
Fleet Ready Escort - 1 type A
EEZ patrol - 3 type D
Hydro graphic - 2 type C
The navy has the existing manpower under its current force structure to maintain these ships and patrols so no additional staffing costs should be required.
Given the cost of the latest River Class OPV HMS Clyde was put at £50 million including sensors and weapons. I will assume that the Basic C3 without sensors, modules and weapons will come in at £70 million per vessel. This will leave £1.92 Billion to fund the modules, weapons and sensor masts. A total building program taken over 10 years will require only £640 million per year to achieve.
Given the MOD's budget of £37 billion per year this project would only represent 2% of UK military spending. It would allow the Navy to once again take on a a permanent place in the world. Especially in the new power struggles taking place in the Indian Ocean and South China sea enhancing the UK's diplomatic prowess.