Skip to comments.BAE Systems' stealth ship concept to operate unmanned systems
Posted on 09/18/2007 5:07:58 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
BAE Systems' stealth ship concept to operate unmanned systems at sea
By Craig Hoyle
BAE Systems has revealed a conceptual design for a future stealthy naval vessel optimised for the launch, operation and recovery of unmanned systems - potentially including operational unmanned combat air vehicles - which it says could enter service in the post-2020 timeframe.
Drawing heavily from the design of BAE's new Type 45 destroyer for the UK Royal Navy, the notional UXB Combatant is pictured configured with twin flight decks suitable for helicopter and unmanned air vehicle operations, including one with a variable pitch ski jump to deploy short take-off systems.
BAE, which has researched the concept in partnership with companies including Rolls-Royce, says the 8,000t UXV design could provide a "cost-effective solution" to naval customers seeking the ability to operate "large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods".
The UK's Taranis UCAV demonstration project has, meanwhile, moved a step closer, with BAE having released CAD models of the design to suppliers ahead of first metal being cut in late September. Assembly activities will commence before year-end.
I wonder how an unmanned system would survive in a hostile environment. A ship is remarkably robust given damage control, the ability to quickly change yoke conditions and respond to hasty repairs to keep afloat. Even if all the hatches were remote controlled, it doesn’t take much to damage remote controls.
I’m a bit more concerned about the link to type 45. I have serious reservations about that class, which I hope will be unfounded.
I, for one, am wondering how effective UAVs would be against sophisticated opponents. I mean, how hard can it be to jam the telemetry links?
Something that engineers never seem to remember when they remain cosseted in the ivory tower long enough.
Theoretical systems do NOTHING.
“...it doesnt take much to damage remote controls.”
I hear ya bro, my wife’s always sitting on ours..
Theoretically speaking, they do everything
The unmanned systems that they’re talking about are the Predator-type aircraft that the ship would launch. The ship itself is manned.
“how hard can it be to jam the telemetry links?”
It depends. It isn’t necessarily a trivial task, so the premise of your question is, I think, unfounded.
‘I don’t think the ship is unmanned. It’s a UCAV-carrier.’
Some of the posters on here must’ve thought the windows were for the computers to see out of! :D
Maybe I’m misreading the article, but I don’t think the ship is unmanned. I think it’s just intended for the deployment and retrieval of other unmanned systems (UAVs and the like). But then, it’s early, and I’m under caffeinated so I might be way off.
‘I have serious reservations about that class, which I hope will be unfounded.’
What are those reservations?
I read 8,000 tons and I typed 8,000 tons, but my mind saw 800 tons!
Need more coffee!!!!
I never tire of telling the engineers at my papermill "if people could wipe their a$$ with 'theoretical paper,' you guys wouldn't need us."
‘I don’t know why they call it a “stealth” ship - it’s pretty easy to spot in this picture:’
Ah, but there are two ships in the picture - the one at the front has it’s stealth systems turned off, whereas the one at the back. . . . . . :)
< slaps head > D'oh!
Guess I flunked my military analyst's exam, huh?
How does a ship with a small crew repel borders?
Hey, come on! Don’t mess with their imaginary outrage source!
Well, its a very large ship (twice the displacement of the type 42’s it is replacing). That makes it less maneouverable, less fuel efficient, and more costly and time-consuming to build. None of that would matter if it had a fighting capacity to match, but there is an undercurrent of feeling that we are not getting that much fighting power per tonnage of ship.
Like the type 42, its built around the principal weapon system, in this case the Aster 15/30 SAM with the Samson guidance system. (This is why it is so large. To see air targets as far as possible you need the radar guidance system as high as possible, which means the mast has to be high, which in turn means the beam of the ship needs to be large to keep the whole ship stable). Now Aster is looking very good, but it doesn’t have a great range and Samson is very much a poor man’s solution - its a dual rotating radar system, which I think might prove too delicate in service. Its certainly no match for the US AEGIS system. Aster is Vertically launched, but theres only a 32 missile magazine.
Built around the SAM, the original intention was not to fit the class with sonar systems or mid size guns! This of course is lunacy. Without a sonar system the thing would be a sitting duck for subs and a medium calibre gun has long been proven essential in the Falklands and elsewhere. The naval architects talked the navy out of that and there is a mod 1 4.5” gun, but type 45’s still have just bow mounted sonar, not towed array, and there’s no intrinsic anti sub weapons. They are dependent for sub hunting on the on-board helicopter, which is a Lynx incidentally, instead of the much larger and better Merlin.
The only other weapon systems are a couple of Phalanx gatling cannon, and I’ve heard they are only going to provide space for them, not actually fit them. Phalanx is not as good a point defence system as is made out anyway.
So, what has the thing got? Well the crew accomodation fills two whole decks, in spite of the actual size of the crew being reduced over the type 42’s. The modern jolly jack tar won’t put up with a mess deck...they all went single or at most double cabins.
Type 45’s are quieted and “stealthy” (radar reflective sloping sides and so on) but their large size must nullify a lot of the effect of that. After all, its much easier to hide a small ship than a large one.
The Type- 45 was designed keeping in mind the capability to add more systems to it when funding becomes available.The issue is less about technology.It can theoritically take on a 16 cell VLS in addition to the 48 already installed.
You’re the first person I’ve heard say that the SAMPSON is a poor man’s solution.Most resources seem to suggest that it’s ahead of the Spy-1D in some areas,esp when combined with the dedicated variant of the Thales SMART-L long range radar.The Aster series is just at the begining of it’s development curve & can be improved to take on the theatre missile defense role.
“The Type- 45 was designed keeping in mind the capability to add more systems to it when funding becomes available.”
Thats true of all ships these days. The operative phrase is the last one “when funding becomes available”. Unless there is an emergency, funding is never available, and by then of course, it is too late.
As for Sampson, I shall check my contacts, but at the moment I am sticking to my guns (or radars, in this case). Aster is, as I said, very good, but if its going to try theatre missile defence it certainly wont be carrying 48 missiles.
Well,common sense suggests that the RN wouldn’t ask for something “inferior” when other solutions were around!!
Heh...well I think your statement contains its own answers!
Common sense may well suggest, but common sense is in short supply when it comes to procurement of military equipment!
The RN wouldnt ask for something “inferior”, but it might be foisted on them for political and/or economic reasons.
Whilst I respect your opinion on the 45’s, I can find no sources which agree with your conclusions. I would greatly appreciate some links to sources so i can see how you reached your point of view.
Excellent link to the pictures of the radar testing at Cowes. I can see the AMS site where the testing takes place from my office window. There is one spinning round as we speak, which I suspect is interfering with my mobile phone reception! :)
‘How does a ship with a small crew repel borders?’
Lock the doors? :)
Where does it say how big or small the crew is?
This article seems to suggest that the RN was not too keen on the SM-2/AEGIS given that it was primarily focussed on countering sea skimming weapons.
The SM-2 block-IV was cancelled a few years ago.
Are you talking about Alenia Marconi Systems??I think that name is no longer in existence now.
‘Are you talking about Alenia Marconi Systems??I think that name is no longer in existence now.’
It still says AMS on the buildings and the locals know it as AMS Systems, but it is now part of BAE. It always makes me laugh when I drive past as they use a herd of sheep to keep the grass short and the masts are a few hundred yards from a primary school. If those test masts aren’t going to damage your kids, they should be OK with a mobile phone! :)
Thanks for that, but I’m not sure how you reached your negative conclusions from a short speculative article written ten years ago when the MESAR 2 system that became Sampson was still being developed and over a decade away from delivery. I guess time will tell whether it performs or not.
Umm,well I haven’t said anything negative about the SAMPSON,yet!!I was just pointing out,using that article that the RN was not keen on the AEGIS/SM-2 combo.
I would have thought that it being focussed on countering sea skimmers was a reason FOR going for it....
Well, most of my arguments come from known facts. Type 45 IS a large ship. It does not have towed array sonar, nor intrinsic as weapons. It does use lynx and not Merlin. It does have an enormous crew accomodation, in spite of a much smaller crew. Aster is very good, but it doesnt have a great range. These are all known facts.
The conclusion is that considering the size of the thing, and its expense, there isn’t a lot of actual fighting power.