It's likley to be built on a type 45 hull, 141meters long with a displacement of 6850 tonnes
Top speed of 32 knts
Range 7,000 miles at 18 knts
Anti Submarine warfare with enhanced land attack capability and a secondary anti aircraft role to supplement the Type 45. It will also conduct MCM for fleets deployed far away from MCM vessels range. Most of these 6 -8 are likley to be found escorting the Carrier and Amphibious Task forces. It will also likley cover the Trident egress and possibly be the fleet ready escort in UK waters.
Radar - From the look of the design their will be no S1850 Radar as with Type 45 and FREMM. The forward mast suggests some form of mast mounted phased array radar. The size would suggest that it's smaller than SAMPSON however may be a similar size to the EMPAR used on the FREMM class frigate's. This might suggest a system similar to SAAM's (a scaled down version of PAAM's) employing Aster 15 to a range of 30km. However it may end up with little more than the Artisan 3D Radar on the T23 and CVF. This would mean it could only employ CAMM's to a range of 5km.
If the phased array Radar option is chosen it may be the BAE (SAMPSON lite) spectar array.
Sonar- It is expected that the Type 26 will employ the same type 2081 towed array as the Type 23. At present this is probably the best ASW sonar in the world and is likley to remain highly effective when the ships enter service in the 2020's.
Main Gun - As it's being referred to as a combat ship I think we can definitely expect a 155mm naval gun. Eventually even firing something like Excalibur or any other 155 round developed for the Army like rocket assisted artillery. In the future this could be swapped out for a rail gun as the ship has a large electricity generation capacity.
VLS- This is where the controversy starts. We were all hoping for a Mk 41 strike launcher allowing it to take Tomahawk and Asroc. However the one missile we can depend on being on board is CAMM's from MBDA. That would suggest a MBDA launcher such as the Sylva A70.
Missiles- With the A70 we could expect to gets CAMMS, Aster 15 and Sea Shadow land attack
Anti Ship- Twin Quad Launchers for Harpoon are a given probably swapped out from the T22 or T23
CIWS - Either Phalanx or Goal Keep mounted on the helicopter hangar probably swapped out from T22 or T23
Torpedo's - Internal launcher for Stingray Torpedo
Guns - 7.62 mounts as well as 20mm auto turrets are very likley
Hangar and aft flight deck for 1 possibly 2 Merlin's, Some graphics seem to show a small hangar door to accommodate a UAV like fire scout as well.
Large aft flight deck able to accommodate up to a Chinook seems likley from images
Below the flight deck, a mission bay and stern dock will hold four 9 m rigid-hull inflatable boats, the towed array sonar and a surface ship torpedo defence system. Alternative options for the mission bay will be examined as this feature is considered a design driver. Possibly space being given over to embarked SF or disaster relief teams as with the Littoral Combat Ship.
Gas Turbine with electrical drive seems the most likley. Top speed of around 32 knots
Low radar cross section design with small boats contained inside the vessel just forward of the hangar. Noise reduction for ASW will be a definite.
Estimated at between £400 - £500 million
Things are still highly speculative at this stage about the design. If we get a vessel with Aster 15, a small phased Array and some form of Land Attack missile backed up with a 155mm Gun then we will be getting a general purpose destroyer with the ability to plug the gaps left by the Type 45 in both number and capability.
If we get a 6850 tonne frigate armed with only CAMMS, The 2081 towed array, a Single Merlin , Harpoon and Phalanx then we are basically getting a type 23 frigate with a larger boat deck for 4 times the cost of a type 23 frigate. In other words it will be useless and very expensive.
It is reported that Brazil will participate in the design phase of the type 26 and will order 5-6 vessel for it's own Navy. This is a major plus. Firstly it takes pressure of the ship building yards from fewer vessels being ordered by the navy. Secondly it make it more likley we will get the vessel and the program won't be canceled. Other nations such as Australia are also interested in a similar type of vessel and this could prove a real winner for British industry if we get things right.
Do we need the Type 26?
Yes we do but only if it is the right version. If it's nothing more than an enlarged type 23 with CAMMS then it's worse than useless. For the £5 billion price of the program we could get 6 more Type 45's which would be far more useful if equipped with a A70 Launchers, 2081 Towed Array, 155 mm gun, Harpoon and aviation facilities for a Merlin.
After reviewing the best high resolution image I can find it seems to point to the vessel having the ARTISAN 3D Radar forward and aft 24 cell Launchers for CAMMS and 16 forward VLS launchers for land attack missles. This would point to the vessel being little more than an updated Type 23. Take a look at the image it's very interesting.
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