Defense Issues

Military and general security

Type 21 Frigate

Posted by Picard578 on July 24, 2018

Defence of the Realm

TYPE 21 1

There was a time when Britain’s shipyards provided the world’s navies with the finest warships. British designs were highly sought after particularly in South America, Africa and Australia but in the 1960s this export success took a dramatic turn and the United States became the primary supplier of warships to the western world. British shipbuilders thought they knew exactly who to blame; the Royal Navy itself. The fact of the matter was that British warship designs were first and foremost tailored to British requirements and then modified to suit an export customer. In the 1960s the increasingly leaner Royal Navy opted for more sophisticated vessels to make up for the smaller number of hulls in service. The result was a number of ships that were exceptionally high in quality but subsequently came with an extremely high price tag.

British shipbuilders felt that under these conditions the chances of achieving export…

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5 Responses to “Type 21 Frigate”

  1. altandmain said

    It would be interesting to see what a “good” modern frigate design would be like that applied historical lessons learned.

  2. tdcoish said

    * I should have mentioned in the previous comment, that you can patrol more ground moving quickly, but nuclear subs produce exponentially more noise as they speed up. Again, you’re much better off with 5-10x the number of conventional subs, with comparable passive and active sonar, then a nuclear sub.

    However, I do have to wonder if we’re using AC’s the best way. I think there are two ways to go about utilizing AC’s.

    1) Go total stealth and speed, try not to get found, basically accept death upon being found.
    2) Don’t bother with stealth and speed, hunker down in a spot and defend it, essentially placing an airport where you want in the sea.

    I don’t think that the current US paradigm of running a bunch of fast attack subs along with the carrier actually defends the carrier. We know from wargames that conventional subs have a harder time not getting accidentally rammed by nuclear subs than they do actually sinking them, so your nuclear subs don’t actually protect you from conventional subs that you’ve blundered into. Secondly, you’re actually just making it easier to detect the fleet in the first place, since you’re running these noisy subs at 70 kmph trying to match the AC, or get out in front of it. So your fast attack subs serve only to draw the predators to the fleet, in order to provide some security theater.

    What I wonder is if we can do things a little differently. Have an Aircraft Carrier capable of 30 knots or so, but send a fleet of conventional subs out in front of it, to secure a sort of underwater safe zone for your AC. After this has been established is when we send out our AC to the designated zone. Now the downside of this, is that we would need to have a lot of subs controlling the zone and also the lane to get there, and I think we would have a fairly hard limit on the distance that our AC could reasonably go. As a matter of fact, let me throw some numbers out here to work this out.

    Alright I’m using the Gotland and Soryu class submarines here as my examples, but I can’t actually find their range. The Soryu has a range of 11,200 km submerged, but only using the Stirling engine at 12 kmph. The speed of both subs submerged, running on batteries, is 20 knots, or 37 kmph. Let’s take a look at some WW2 conventional aircraft carriers. As an example of a US escort carrier, the Bogue had a top speed of 18 knots, or 33kmph, and the much bigger Essex, as an example of a large Aircraft Carrier, had a top speed of 32,7 knots, or 60.6 kmph.

    The current crop of diesel-electric subs may already be good enough to pull this off, but this will work even better if Japan manages to pull off their fuel cell upgrades for their Soryu class, which will give it better underwater speed and endurance. Anyway, build a modern AC. Design it with a top speed of 20-25 knots. Use the savings on speed for increased storage mainly through width. Something similar to a slower version of your AC design is what I’m looking at. Supplement them with a bunch of AC’s designed only to carry propeller aircraft, mainly something similar to the A-1 skyraider or your FLX, and finally a few helicopter carriers if you feel that you need it. That’s basically my ultra rough draft for my carrier/sub fleet.

  3. tdcoish said

    But personally I have never understood the point of Frigates and Corvettes. They just appear to serve zero purpose. If you want helicopters, build a helicopter carrier. If you want range and speed, that’s what aircraft are for. It’s not like these ships can actually do naval bombardment in support of an amphibious invasion, so that’s not a point in their favour either. Really, I would like someone to point out a single thing these ships actually do. I want to stress, I have no military background, so I would be genuinely happy if someone could provide any information to me.

    Personally, I do think that there might be a role for an Anti-Air, Anti-Missile, Naval Bombardment cross ship that’s loaded with anti-submarine missiles as well. If it’s really so important to have the big scary gunship that everyone seems to want, then chuck a bunch of 30mm rotary cannon anti air guns on the thing, along with 2x 130mm artillery cannons, and a full complement of missiles for every situation. I mean, if we’re designing a floating weapons platform then let’s actually give it some weapons. It’s possible that you could find a use for the thing as part of my carrier fleet idea, as well as patrolling coastal areas, as a sort of utility firepower ship.

    I’m still not sure that we really need anything other than subs and various AC’s though.

    • Picard578 said

      Aircraft are expensive, utilize a lot of fuel to cover distance – have speed but no range, and may or may not be able to fly depending on weather conditions. Ships have no such issues. Ship-launched missiles are actually quite good at taking out fixed point targets – airborne attacks on Iraq and Libya both were preceded by naval missile bombardment, partly to take out air defenses. Surface ships also act as radar pickets and defensive escort for aircraft carrier.

      That being said, many of these roles could conceivably be taken over by submarines, and I had an idea for submarine- and carrier- -only fleet, but I abandoned it for above reasons.

      • tdcoish said

        “Have speed but no range”

        Not sure I agree with this. Aircraft have tremendous range and speed. To take an extreme example, your OLX would be plenty good at murdering ships, and has a combat range of 1,850 km’s. Personally, my design of the modern A-1, with a more fuel efficient radial engine, would have roughly 30% better range, putting it up to ~2,400 km’s combat radius. Let’s say that you can buy these things for 2.5 million, which is an overestimate. That means that for half a billion dollars you get 200 planes. In contrast, the Little Crappy Ship costs ~700 million. Let’s go ahead and say that, miraculously, you get the cost down to 500 million US, you’ve now gotten a single piece of garbage at an opportunity cost of 200 planes.

        Now I understand that you’re not advocating for the putrid garbage that is the LCS, but even a solid corvette, let’s say that we can get one for 170 million or so, so we get three for half a billion. Let’s even say that we can get them for 100 million, so we get 5 for half a billion. What do they actually do for us that those planes couldn’t do? I mean, I understand the importance of a surface ship for going up to merchant vessels and that stuff, basically a larger version of a gunboat, but that requires nothing more than a small ship with a 60mm artillery piece. Really, it doesn’t even require more than the damn gunboat. The Swedish CB90 costs what, 2-3 million? Not only can it cruise at 45 knots, but it actually has practical value for amphibious assaults, coastal patrols, peacetime patrolling/policing, and as a utility light transport ship. It can also go up any medium sized river in the world.

        I do understand what you say about Naval Bombardment. I’ve said earlier that it is understandable, but still a shame, that the marines have had their Naval Bombardment capabilities essentially removed, and I understand the frustration. Having said that, I do question the actual efficacy of naval bombardment using missiles against a serious, prepared opponent with CIWS and anti-missile missiles. If we really wanted to do naval bombardment, we’d have to rebuild the battleships. That also wouldn’t work, because no serious country, such as Russia or China, would ever allow a battleship within 20 miles of an important port, without getting torn to shreds by mines and submarines. Again, the only valid amphibious assault is going to be done stealthily through submarines with troops, or with tiny troop carrying FAC like the CB90, or aggressively through the air with aircraft carriers, paratroopers, and dropped light vehicles. Any attack on a serious country would probably be done using a combination of the two at the same time. Frankly, I just don’t believe for a second that any surface ship is going to be realistically doing naval bombardment, at least to any extent that comes close to justifying the enormous cost.

        What we have left are transport vessels. Fuel tankers, troop transport, various supplies, I get all that. We also have utility ships, like Minesweepers, and glorified radar carriers. That makes some sense to me, sure. But I still don’t see that actual practical value of the Corvette/Frigate.

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