New Design Images of Type 26 Frigates

Earlier today the Royal Navy released new images of the planned class of Type 26 Frigates.

The images show a rather sleek looking vessel, stealthily like the Type 45 Destroyers, with a very similar, albeit shorter and set back. It looks very similar to a lot of the other recent European designed Frigates such as the Dutch Zeven Provincien, Danish AbsalonĀ and Spanish Bazan classes. As with the Type 45′s, its nice to see us designing modern warships, but why are we essentially designing ships now that the rest of the world built a decade ago? What is it with out defence policy and procurement that takes so long?

Some more technical specifications have also been divulged:

  • Displacement – 5,400 tonnes
  • length – 148 metres
  • crew – 118, with space for up to 190
  • Vertical launch missile silo
  • Medium Calibre Gun, that looks suspiciously like an Oto Melara
  • A Phalanx-style CIWS
  • Hangar to accomodate Merlin or Lynx Wildcat
  • A flexible mission space for UAV, seaboats, special forces or humanitarian operations

According to reports the planned order is for 13, although given the manner in which warship classes almost always end up consisting of a lot less than the original order, the Royal Navy might do well to get 10. There are currently 13 Type 23 Frigates in the fleet. According to the Portsmouth News the final decision for ordering these ships will be taken in the 2015 Defence Review, so of course that is vulnerable to cuts.

The first ship is scheduled to enter service, but again, expect this to slip once the project goes through the various hoops at the MOD. Mind you, Phillip Hammond announced today that 25% of senior military and civilian staff at Commodore/Brigadier level and above will be cut over the next few years, so things might actually start to run smoother!

Some of the quotes from the Defence Minister, Peter Luff, refer to how the project will sustain shipbuilding jobs in Britain. The design IS modular, a la Type 45 and CVF, but if the first ship is due to enter service in 2020, work will have to start in about 2015 at the very latest one would imagine (unless the ‘in service’ date is actually delivery date, but the two are different). One suspects that there will end up being a gap between the end of the QE programme and the Type 26 work, which might leave shipbuilding jobs in Portsmouth in particular vulnerable.

I’ve gone on record before in my belief that these will be the most important ships in the 21st Century Royal Navy. One only has to take a cursory glance a the operational taskings of the fleet, and 95% of what Royal Navy ships are doing is Frigate work. The Type 26 seems like a step in the right direction for chasing pirates and insurgents in RIB’s.

See the MOD, BBC or Portsmouth News articles for more information. There’s also a nifty looking animation on the BBC website.

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17 Comments

Filed under Navy, News, politics, Uncategorized

17 responses to “New Design Images of Type 26 Frigates

  1. x

    I am mildly excited. I would be happy with 12 with all the toys. Not going to mention 2087 as I have already lost my temper with a serving RN officer over that this week. Let say these days I am happy with the hardware in RN systems but the wetware disappoints with increasing regularity. All I want is 127mm gun, 2087 for every sea going T26, and Merlin with an ASM. Chasing pirates is on the job training. Let us see what transpires in the South China Sea overcoming months. The West can’f fight China on land but we can put our collective boot on her throat at sea.

  2. And just to show you that we ARE paying attention on this side of the pond, here’s a US story on the type 26:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2012/08/mil-120820-ukmod02.htm?_m=3n.002a.586.lp0ao00i4b.j4b

    I’m intrigued by what, exactly, the “medium calibre gun” will be, and definitely want to see what variation of CIWS will be specified. I would LOVE to see Goalkeeper, as that might help push our Navy towards something with a little more “bang” than the long-in-the-teeth Phalanx 20mm.

  3. x

    It will be a 127mm or 5in. BAE have just won a contract with the USN to refurb some Mk45. Many would prefer the Oto Melara 127/64 with the precision guided extended range Vulcano ammunition system. There is a video on YouTube. I think the Phalanx shown in the animation are just for illustration. The RN is selling some Goalkeeper mounts off. Me thinks T26 will be relying on Sea Ceptor alone for anti-missile defence, just as T23 relies on SeaWolf.

  4. But remember that they will not be in service this decade, so the Type 23 will continue to need support, upgrades, refits etc.

    Personal note: I seem to spend a lot of time (perhaps it just feels that way?) at (a certain place) and do notice the displays about the innovative technology in the updated Sea Wolf. I also remember spending time working for a company that made many missile components, including Sea Wolf, and many others.

    I can remember back to the early 90s (I was at school) when the Type 23 was brand spanking new, as was VL Sea Wolf. Then being at Uni studying Electronic Engineering – blah blah blah. Then working for another company, working on things that were connected to missile systems.

    I’m starting to feel old!

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