Friday, August 19, 2011

Type 27 and Type 26 Frigate (Global Combat Ship)

More details have been revealed of the Global Combat Ship from BAE. I wanted to update my speculation on what the program will likely deliver.


Brazil is still in Canada and Australia are out. The MOD seems to have offered India a place in the program as well as Turkey. While many emerging navies have expressed interest none have come forward with firm orders yet.

Global Combat Ship

The plan is now to deliver three variants of the Global Combat Ship. There will be a specialist ASW version the Type 26 frigate and there will be a general purpose variant likely the Type 27. In order to try to gain as many international participants as possible  BAE is also offering an AAW version. This will allow it to compete with FREMM in the international orders. However the UK will not order this version as it already has the T45 AAW destroyer. It is still speculative if the AAW version will be built and it will likley not be refereed to as a Type 28.

All vessels will be built on a standard hull of 5500 tonnes.

The price of the vessel has been cut from the previously estimated £500 million to £200-£300 million

Type 26 ASW Frigate

This vessel will fulfill the role of the previously outlined C1 Future Surface Combatant. It will be a high end ASW platform.

The Vessel will have an aft flight deck capable of handling an aircraft up to the size of a Chinook. The hanger will accommodate a Merlin ASW Helicopter.

There will be an aft mission bay capable of launching boats and also accommodating multi mission modules.

The vessel will be able to deploy a towed array sonar which will likely be the type 2087 currently deployed on the T23. This will also be deployed from the aft mission bay.

The vessel will carry an Artisan 3D Radar as used on the T23.

The vessel will be armed with  a medium calibre 127 mm gun

Type 27 General Purpose Frigate

This vessel will take on the mantra of the C2 Future Surface Combatant providing a more General purpose variant.

This vessel is likely to perform a similar role to the Italian GP Land Attack Version of FREMM. The main difference with the GP version of FREMM is that it uses a 127mm main gun as opposed to the 76mm weapon used on the other vessels. However both T26 and T27 will carry this gun.

The T27 will mount a sonar but it will not carry a towed array and its hull mounted sonar is likely to be of lower quality that the T26.

The T27 will not carry a Merlin but instead a single Lynx Wildcat although it will have space for the Merlin in the way the T45 currently does.

The T27 will likely carry the same Artisan 3D radar as the T26

Common Weapon Fit for RN Vessels

  • 127 mm main gun
  • Sylvia VLS
  • twin quad packed Anti Ship missile (likely to be Harpoon)
  • Torpedo's (Likely the T27 will be fitted for but not with)
  • Phalanx CIWS


At this stage nothing has been announced in terms of the VLS system. However the smaller size of the vessel and the fact that all reference to land attack has been dropped means that the VLS is likely to be something really small such as the Sylvia A35 capable of holding CAMMS but nothing else just as with the T23. It is likely that the hull will be large enough to accommodate up to an A70 launcher.

In the end it may be that the T27  General purpose version ends up with the bigger launcher in the designated land attack version abale to carry Sea Shadow.

Anti Air Warfare Version

In order to try to compete with FREMM BAE will need to offer three versions of the GCS. However the RN will not be using the AAW version. This version if ever built will likely accommodate a lighter weight Phased Array Radar such as the Specter array (SAMPSON lite) radar. However given technology controls and the fact that any likely order will not be from a NATO ally it would seem difficult to offer such and advanced piece of kit. The missile fit would probably be Aster 15 and Aster 30.


The flight deck will have an extra hangar door for a UAV along the lines of fire scout. The Well deck at the back will also have a system for launching and recovering UUV's


This would be the ship we needed and wanted if we had a fleet of 12 properly armed T45's. What we are likely to end up getting is a poorly armed vessel which is too small for the job. Basically we are getting an updated version of T23.

Its AAW capability will not help to supplement the T45 in escort duty also meaning the vessel will be unable to act on its own near to shore of an enemy with out the AAW capability of the T45 near by. It will likely not carry a VLS large enough for Sea Shadow which will give it essentially no land attack capability other than its main gun. The RN may decide to eventually purchase the land attack version of the Harpoon but this seems unlikely at present. We will not be getting a Mk41 VLS meaning we will not be able to use USN missiles such as SM3, TLAM or ASROC. Not having the 155mm gun will mean that we cannot benefit from new precision guided rounds such as Excalibur.

The multi mission modules carried by the vessel would be useful in many ways however it is unlikely the RN will fund these modules to anything like the same degree as the USN. In the end these will be little more than storage containers for disaster relief.

One has to ask if we really need a 5500 tonne vessel for £300 million a piece if it has little more capability that a OPV. Surely better to have something smaller in greater numbers. All in all this feels like another RN compromise vessel too small and badly armed  to do the job but too expensive and specialised to be built in numbers. 

Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group, Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group, Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group, Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group, Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group, Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group,Stuart Yeomans Farringdon Group


  1. Thanks Martin for posting the latest from BAe, and while I agree with many of your comments, your possibly being overly negative in your conclusions.

    There is nothing wrong with getting a decent ASW focused T26 ship to replace the T23's. CAMM if it makes it into service is much better than SeaWolf and is at the lower end "local area defence" based on it unclass range figures.

    I agree that for the RN the T27 will be about making up the numbers, but of course 5k tonnes with space for Merlin, say 36 or more CAMM and 8 (or even better 16) SSM would be better than an OPV !! That comment did sound a little petulant ............

    If were not getting a proper 155mm naval gun (and I don't mean a 39 calibre, two piece ammo hand me down from the RA) then the move from the poxy old 114mm to a NATO standard 127mm is actually a good thing! Especially as there is plenty of long range and / or precision guided rounds available (e.g. Italian Vulcano). As for land attack, that is meant to be well covered by the carriers air wing (eventually !) And SSN launched TacTom. However tube launched Harpoon or Kongsberg NSM3 would do nicely.

    What would be ideal in my opinion would be an identical equipment fit for T26/27, Inc hull sonar, with the only difference being whether the aft mission bay is carrying the towed array, UUV/USV, or RHIB's as required. Now if only we could gat at least 20 of them into service........

  2. Hi Jed,
    I agree that there are obviously benefits in the 127mm weapon. I really don't feel that we will be getting any form of SSM other than harpoon brought over from older vessels.

    The T26 as originally envisaged was to be a large powerful vessel able to operate on its own. Its now been very much scaled back to produce in larger numbers. This would be fine however if it is to be scaled back to produce in numbers I feel it would be better to go further. A cost of £300 million a piece is still pretty expensive for nothing more than an update T23 with a couple of containers on the back and a boat ramp. £100 million could get us something like the Khareef allowing us to build 30 for the price of the 10 T27's
    The RN is full of vessel's with a medium capability which are incapable of performing many tasks and still to expensive to build in numbers. Better to have a high low approach.

  3. Why not fit a land attack capability such as Tomahawk?

  4. Hi Martin

    I think the story is good and it gives us a good look into a great ship

    Thanks again

    Stuart Yeomans

  5. Thanks for the comments Stuart Yeomans