Friday, 15 June 2018

The Type 23M Frigate

This post should not be regarded as an endorsement of the Royal Navy's plan to purchase the Type 31 frigates.

Photo: Grand Logistics

It is the position of this blog that the Royal Navy should have replaced it's Type 22 frigates,Type 23 Frigates and Type 42 destroyers with a single class of multirole surface combatants instead of the Type 45 anti-aircraft destroyer,Type 26 anti-submarine frigate and Type 31 "general purpose" frigates.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Ian Simpson Crown Copyright

Had it done so,it would not be in the mess it is in today.

There would have been no need to develop three different surface combatant hulls and three different propulsion,steering and power generation systems.

There would have been no need to develop,manufacture and maintain two different medium range radars and two different anti-aircraft missile systems.

There would have been neither the need for expensive design,manufacture and support of very low production volume warships,weapons and equipment,nor the need to procure River class vessels to keep ship yards open.

Photo: P.O.A. (Phot.) Ian Arthur Crown Copyright

The savings from reduced development spending and,more efficient,higher volume manufacturing would have paid for a larger fleet of more capable surface combatants.

This is the Type 23 frigate,which the Royal Navy plans to replace with a combination of eight Type 26 Frigates and five Type 31 frigates.

Photo: Unknown photographer Crown Copyright

The Type 23,or Duke Class,is the most successful class of warships designed for the Royal Navy since the Second World War.

Photo: P.O.A. (Phot.) Owen King Crown Copyright

Though they are far from perfect,the Type 23s have proven to be perfectly adequate in most respects,unlike their predecessors,the more expensive and less flexible Type 22 frigates.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Ben Shread Crown Copyright

The £1250 million allocated for the procurement of five Type 31e frigates is similar to the original procurement cost of five Type 23 frigates,after allowing for inflation.

Photo: C.P.O. Colin Burden Crown Copyright

The Type 23 frigates have had long service lives,their longevity is a result of their flexibility,sound design (unlike the preceding Types 21,22 and 42 they have not suffered from structural problems and unlike the succeeding Type 45 they have not suffered from engine problemsand moderate operating costs.

Photo: Luron C. Wright Crown Copyright

Their moderate operating and procurement costs spread thinly over long service lives have resulted in excellent value for money.

Photo: P.H.2 Thompson United States Navy

A stark contrast to the shorter lived Type 22 class which,despite costing more to build,was less useful,more expensive to operate and,in the multirole final batch,suffered from hull cracks.

As is the case with military aircraft,multirole ships stay in service for longer,providing better value for money,because they are more useful more often.

The Type 23's most significant weakness,the short range of it's Sea Wolf air defence missile system,has been mitigated by it's replacement with the longer ranged Sea Ceptor missile system.

The 4.5" Mark 8 gun has long been out ranged by land based artillery guns,a significant problem for ships which engage in Naval Gunfire Support (N.G.S.) which is not solved by wasting money on changing to the 5" Mark 45 gun,which suffers from the same problem,but which would be solved with our proposed Five and a Half Inch Naval Gun.

Photo: Katie Chan

The Type 23 frigate's two DS30M Mark 2 30mm Automated Small Calibre Guns are unable to fire dead ahead and astern and,as they do not cover overlapping sectors,only one gun may be brought to bear on any target with no redundancy in the event that a gun is unavailable due to technical failure or battle damage (this very poor design is common to many British warships).

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Brett Turner Crown Copyright

In emergencies and when performing special tasks a single hangar is a significant inconvenience,even for a ship which routinely carries only one helicopter.

The Type 23's boats' lack of horse power,fire power and protection may be a cause of embarrassment to boarding parties.

The Royal Navy is often unable to participate in cruise missile bombardments,one of the most common naval engagements,due to a total absence of strike length vertical launch cells on it's warships.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Dan Rosenbaum Crown Copyright

When the ship's helicopter is unavailable,the Type 23,s only anti-submarine weapon is the light weight Stingray torpedo which is out ranged by the heavy weight torpedoes used by submarines.

Photo: Original photo by L.A. (Phot.) Caroline Davies Crown Copyright modifications by Grand Logistics

This is the Type 23M frigate,our proposed replacement for five Type 23 frigates,which is intended to satisfy the Type 31 requirement.

Photo: Original photo L. (Phot.) Dave Jenkins Crown Copyright modifications by Grand Logistics

The superstructure of the Type 23M shall be enclosed to increase structural depth,increase reserve buoyancy,increase internal volume,reduce maintenance and reduce electromagnetic reflections,added top weight being counter ballasted by thicker bottom plates (a lighter and cheaper alternative to having boats and replenishment equipment concealed behind doors,as shown,is to lower the weather deck by one level amidships).

Photo: Grand Logistics

From the flight deck level upwards,Type 23M frigates shall be parallel sided from the front of the superstructure back to the transom in order to reduce the cost of design and construction,increase righting moment and structural width,widen the flight deck and maximise useable internal volume. 

Photo: Original photo L. (Phot.) Dave Jenkins Crown Copyright modifications by Grand Logistics

The Type 23M shall be a modernised Type 23 frigate,based on the same hull form and using much of the same equipment as existing warships,either newly built or refurbished.

Photo: Grand Logistics

New types of equipment shall be specified only where it is operationally or financially beneficial.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) David Hillhouse Crown Copyright

For example,to replace obsolescent components,reduce manpower requirements,reduce maintenance or reduce fuel consumption.

Photo: Unknown artist Rolls Royce image

The two,venerable,Rolls Royce Spey gas turbines of the original Type 23 frigate shall be replaced with a single,more efficient,Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbine on the Type 23M,this also being used by the Type 26 frigates and Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers,to extend the vessel's range and endurance.

Photo: Rolls Royce Power Systems A.G.

The Type 23M shall use the same,recently upgraded,Rolls Royce M.T.U. 12V 4000 M53B diesel generators as the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: Unknown artist Rolls Royce image 

The Type 23M shall use newer and more efficient electric propulsion motors than those fitted to the current Type 23 frigates to extend it's range and endurance.

Photo: William Marnoch 

The Type 23M shall use the same propellers,shafts,seals and bearings as the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: Unknown photographer V.T. P.L.C. photograph

The Type 23M shall use the same rudders and steering gear as the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: Unknown photographer Thales photograph

The Type 23M shall use the same,recently upgraded,towed and hull mounted,sonars and countermeasure systems as the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Stephen Johncock Crown Copyright

The Type 23M shall use the same,recently upgraded,Artisan and SharpEye radars as the current Type 23 frigates.

The Type 23M shall use the same thirty two round Sea Ceptor missile launcher which is being fitted the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Adam Nuzzo United States Navy

The Type 23M shall use the 4.5" Mark 8 Modification 2 gun,this being a modest upgrade on the 4.5" Mark 8 Modification 1 gun,used by the current Type 23 frigates,with a barrel of seventy two calibres length and matching charges,a more economical way to increase range than adopting the 5" Mark 45 gun.

The Type 23M shall use the same DS30M 30mm cannon as the current Type 23 frigates but shall carry them atop the bridge and hangar where they shall cover wider,overlapping,sectors and be able to fire ahead and astern.

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Simmo Simpson Crown Copyright

The Type 23M shall use the same Merlin and Wildcat helicopters,with the same support equipment,as the current Type 23 frigates but shall have a wider hangar,able to accommodate two Merlins when needed,and a wider flight deck.

Photo: Unknown photographer BAE Systems photograph

The Type 23M shall use two Pacific 950 boats,with more power,payload,protection and firepower,in lieu of the two Pacific 24 boats on the current Type 23 frigates.

Photo: Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Kenneth Moll United States Navy

The Type 23M shall use two,eight cell,strike length Mark 41 Vertical Launch System modules,in a narrow vee configuration,in lieu of the eight Harpoon Mark 141 Guided Missile Launch System on the current Type 23 frigates,enabling the use of vertically launched anti-ship,anti-submarine and land attack missiles,a typical payload being eight vertically launched Anti Submarine Rockets  (V.L-A.S.ROC.) or Spearfish Torpedoes and eight dual purpose Tomahawk or Perseus missiles (an alternative to the Mark 41 launcher is to have Spearfish torpedoes and Perseus missiles launched from canisters on the fore deck).

Photo: L.A. (Phot.) Dan Rosenbaum Crown Copyright

The Type 23M shall use the same Magazine Torpedo Launch System and Stingray torpedoes as the current Type 23 frigates,supplemented by a handful of anti-submarine missiles,for use when the helicopter is not available,an alternative to both is a handful of surface (vertical,canister or tube) launched heavy torpedoes,such as Spearfish,which would be far more useful against both submarines and surface ships.

The Type 23M,or Type 23 Batch 2,frigates shall be known as the Duke of Cornwall class after the lead ship H.M.S. Cornwall.