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UK proposes building future warships with India
Business Standard, India ^ | August 11, 2011 | Ajai Shukla

Posted on 08/10/2011 8:58:08 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

UK proposes building future warships with India

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi August 11, 2011, 0:24 IST

If deal goes through, one of our new pvt sector shipyards could bag contract

With defence ministry shipyards unable to meet the Indian Navy’s growing need for warships, New Delhi had no choice but to look to Russian shipyards. Now, with Britain looking to partner India to cut the UK’s warship building costs, one of India’s new private defence shipyards — which have high-tech facilities but no experience in building large, complex warships — could get the opportunity to build its first line of world-class frigates.

Business Standard has learnt that a cash-strapped UK government has approached New Delhi to jointly design and build a next-generation frigate, designated the Global Combat Ship (GCS). While the UK had originally planned to build this alone (then designated the Type 26 frigate), shrinking defence budgets have forced it to seek international partners. And, India, along with other countries, including Brazil, has been invited into a consortium to design and build the GCS.

The British shipyard that will participate in the GCS project belongs to BAE Systems. The ministry of defence (MoD) in New Delhi will nominate an Indian shipyard. With public sector shipyards unable to deliver even the existing orders on time, South Block has little choice but to turn to one of the three new private defence shipyards — L&T, Pipavav or ABG Shipyard.

“There have been meetings at the government-to-government level. There are continued discussions with the Indian government. There has been clear interest from the Indian Navy. But nobody has made a commitment yet,” says Andrew Gallagher, president, BAE Systems India. The response of the other countries approached by the UK is not known.

Senior MoD officials say, off the record, that no decision is imminent on the British offer. But they admit the offer is attractive, since it would provide a learning opportunity for one of India’s big new private sector shipyards to gain experience in building frigates.

The three private shipyards already have orders for small vessels for the navy and the coast guard, none larger than a few hundred tonnes. A frigate, which typically weighs 5,000-6,500 tonnes and has complex electronic battle management systems, is far more difficult to design and build.

BAE Systems has described to Business Standard how Whitehall envisages the designing and building of the GCS. The countries that eventually form the consortium would join heads to frame broadly common specifications for the warship. Presently, the GCS is planned as a flexi-role frigate. This means each vessel could be optimised for any one of the three traditional frigate roles: anti-submarine, air defence or general-purpose. To cater for these different roles and the different requirements of participating countries, the basic GCS design would have 80 per cent commonality in design and components, with 20 per cent remaining flexible.

PLUS FOR INDIA While design responsibility would be shared between consortium members, each country would build its own frigates. This would protect jobs in the politically sensitive warship-building industry in the West. In the case of India, it would develop the capabilities of a fledgling shipyard.

“The Indian Navy has significant warship requirements and so, India would be extremely influential in such a partnership…The GCS commonality would generate operational benefits between friendly navies. The additional benefit would be that a user, say the Indian Navy, could logistically support these frigates from ports in friendly foreign countries that operate the same ship,” says Gallagher, making the case for India’s participation.

For the force structure of Britain’s Royal Navy, the GCS, (or Type 26 frigate) is crucial. It survived the UK’s budget cuts of 2008, by paring the Royal Navy’s order for the successful Type 45 destroyer. Last year, the Type 26 frigate survived the ruthless spending cuts imposed in Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review. But now, with Whitehall having concluded it cannot go it alone, the partnership of countries like India is essential.

So far, India has entered joint development projects only with Russia and Israel and those in the fields of aeronautics and missiles. But the MoD realises the need to expand warship building to the private sector. Defence shipyards, besides already running to capacity, are plagued by time and cost overruns.

Last week, responding to a question in Parliament, defence minister A K Antony admitted, “The cost escalation in major indigenous warship building projects of the Navy, which are running behind schedule, has already been about 225 per cent for Project-15A (destroyers), about 260 per cent for Project-17 (frigates) and about 157 per cent for Project-28 (anti-submarine corvettes).”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: frigate; india; royalnavy; uk

1 posted on 08/10/2011 8:58:14 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

India has more technically educated people than any other country. So what we are looking at is natural progression once the yoke of Nehru’s central government planning was disbanded in India.


2 posted on 08/10/2011 9:04:16 PM PDT by repub4ever1 (Capitalism is not perfect, but it beats all other systems hands down.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

the way things are going, the brits will be the servants of their once former colony.


3 posted on 08/10/2011 9:13:01 PM PDT by ken21 (ruling class dem + rino progressives -- destroying america for 150 years.)
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To: ken21
So will Indian workers be doing the tech support for the ships too?

"Hello, My name is Maggie, how can we help you?"
4 posted on 08/10/2011 10:59:41 PM PDT by JSteff ((((It was ALL about SCOTUS. Most forget about that and HAVE DOOMED us for a generation or more.))))
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To: sukhoi-30mki
According to Lewis Paige*, these types of ships are outdated and virtually useless anyway, more useful for cocktail parties and catering to the old-fashioned impulses of career naval officers who want to fight the naval battles of yesteryear than actually fighting a modern war.

He seems to be of the opinion that the only ships you really need in a blue-water fleet (other than cargo vessels) are submarines, aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, everything else is just glossy, overpriced flim-flam, much like cavalry at the turn of the last century in the age of the machine gun...

*This guy used to be a Royal Navy officer on a similar escort ship, and he has a very low opinion of BAe Systems as well...

5 posted on 08/11/2011 4:35:01 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

You need ships like these for about 80% of your average naval activities. Page seems to be a resident cynic as far as all UK programmes (Eurofighter/F-35) are concerned.


6 posted on 08/11/2011 9:19:24 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: ken21
the way things are going, the brits will be the servants of their once former colony.

Why not? They have been for the past 70 years anyway. Just a different former colony.
7 posted on 08/11/2011 9:22:08 PM PDT by Antoninus (Nothing that offends God can possibly be a legitimate right.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
what naval activities would the frigates be needed for? Anti-piracy? Helicopter carriers can cover a wider area. Coastal patrol? Smaller patrol boats could do the job a lot cheaper than a £1 billion Type-45 could, AsuW? Helicopters/aircraft can do it from further away, submarines can do it without being seen. ASW? Again, helicopters can do a better job without giving the ship's location away and without being vulnerable to a submarine counterattack.

Lewis Page may well be a cynic, but he is speaking from experience, and he seems to know his stuff, and what he says make perfect sense. The Frigates may not be totally useless, but they are not the most efficient, cost-effective or best way to do the tasks they are intended for...

8 posted on 08/12/2011 1:54:03 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

Compare the costs of the kind of activities you plan to do with a helicopter carrier with that of a frigate/destroyer. Just how many helicopter carriers can a medium power like the UK or France have?? Can you deploy all of them to different zones-the Falklands, Horn of Africa, Caribbean, Mediterranean and still have units in reserve or repair. You can do that with a clutch of frigates.

About submarines, are they the most effective for anti-piracy and board-search missions? How many cruise missiles can your average submarine carry without compromising its primary capabilities. A submarine always has lower upgrade potential-you can push a surface ship for more years. Indonesia recently upgraded its Dutch-built frigates with supersonic anti-ship missiles; those ships were built in the 70s.

If frigates were not the most cost-effective ways to get the job done, the world’s navies have not gotten the point yet.


9 posted on 08/12/2011 7:56:59 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Compare the costs of the kind of activities you plan to do with a helicopter carrier with that of a frigate/destroyer. Just how many helicopter carriers can a medium power like the UK or France have?? Can you deploy all of them to different zones-the Falklands, Horn of Africa, Caribbean, Mediterranean and still have units in reserve or repair. You can do that with a clutch of frigates. Bet they are more affordable than the £1 billion(!) we paid for each of those Type 45s and buy more of them.

About submarines, are they the most effective for anti-piracy and board-search missions? How many cruise missiles can your average submarine carry without compromising its primary capabilities. A submarine always has lower upgrade potential-you can push a surface ship for more years. Indonesia recently upgraded its Dutch-built frigates with supersonic anti-ship missiles; those ships were built in the 70s.

Anti-piracy missions and board-search missions could be carried out perfectly well with these kinds of ships in the event of a Helicopter carrier not being available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Clyde_%28P257%29 If you just want a cruise missile platform, you could just build commercial ships and fit them with SYLVER launchers or whatever, without all the other expensive crap (powerful radar that doesn't cover as wide an area as an E-2 Hawkeye).

If frigates were not the most cost-effective ways to get the job done, the world’s navies have not gotten the point yet. As Lewis Page made clear in his book, Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs, the reason why we still have them is largely because of the conservatism (or blimpism) of the RN Officer corps (and other global navy officers) who cannot bear that thought of their beloved navies being little more than glorified airstrips and helipads, and still cling to the notion that the best way to fight a modern war is by using frigates that do not have the capabilities to pose a meaningful threat to any half-decent modern adversary, or do what they are supposed to do better than smaller and/or cheaper ships can. HMS Ocean, probably the most useful and versatile ship left in the Royal Navy, only cost £254 million to build by the way, compared to (and I repeat) £1 billion for each of the Type 45s, and as the Ocean is only a one ship type class, she didn't even have the economies of scale that the Type 45 Destroyer would have had...

10 posted on 08/13/2011 11:37:47 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

The HMS Ocean was built in the 90s-a generation ago with massive differences in inflation, budget allocations and capability considerations. Since the past decade, there have been few if any modern surface ships (frigate size and above) which have cost less than 500 million USD a piece.

Australia’s 3 AWD destroyers are expected to exceed their budget of 5 billion pounds and their ships use the AEGIS/SM-2 missile system, which offer far greater scales of economy. So chances are that a ship like Ocean would easily cross 1 billion pounds in allocation if it were built now.

Again what exactly will protect a commercial ship fitted with cruise missiles. You either make it into a full fledged arsenal ship making it exorbitantly expensive or build a couple of escort vessels. how long can an E-2 Hawkeye stay on station and what will you do if you don’t have bases (assuming the Royal Navy doesn’t buy them). An HMS Clyde is good enough if you dont want to be an expeditionary navy, which is what the RN is.


11 posted on 08/13/2011 12:12:25 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
"...much like cavalry at the turn of the last century in the age of the machine gun..."

You never know when seemingly obsolescent TTP just might come in handy...


12 posted on 08/13/2011 12:21:04 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
The HMS Ocean was built in the 90s-a generation ago with massive differences in inflation, budget allocations and capability considerations. Since the past decade, there have been few if any modern surface ships (frigate size and above) which have cost less than 500 million USD a piece.

Inflation hasn't increased fourfold since 1998. Again what exactly will protect a commercial ship fitted with cruise missiles. You either make it into a full fledged arsenal ship making it exorbitantly expensive or build a couple of escort vessels. how long can an E-2 Hawkeye stay on station and what will you do if you don’t have bases (assuming the Royal Navy doesn’t buy them). An HMS Clyde is good enough if you dont want to be an expeditionary navy, which is what the RN is.

E2 Hawkeyes can go up one after the other and provide constant aerial radar cover scanning for hundreds of miles around. Surface-based radar can only see as far as the horizon and detect threats from high up. Low-flying threats can only be detected when it is more or less too late. Building commercial ships (preferably in foreign shipyards were wage costs are lower) and fitting them out with weapons systems (goalkeepers, basic radars, SYLVER launchers etc) won't cost anything like as much as a completely new frigate/destroyer design that takes 10-15 years to get online and would be more cost effective. As for expeditionary warfare, that means aircraft carriers, and if a River Class patrol vessel can't handle it, it means that an aircraft carrier should be present anyway. Frigates do nothing meaningful to enhance a navy's expeditionary warfare capabilities. Only amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers (and possibly submarines) can do that. Aircraft are far better at screening the career from above and helicopters with sonars are better at screening for submarines without giving away the fleet's location. If you want ships to act as missile/torpedo sponges, you could always use cheap hulks and strap a couple of goalkeepers on them. If you get some big enough, you could even put a couple of helicopters on them to make them more useful. This would be a much more cost-effective, solution than building billion dollar frigates and destroyers that have very limited purpose...

13 posted on 08/13/2011 2:15:26 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: Joe 6-pack

They are more like mounted infantry. These are distinct from Cavalry, who were expected to fight on horseback as well as travel that way...


14 posted on 08/13/2011 2:18:54 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

If inflation hasn’t increased, how come the price of everything from F-16s to Eurofighters to frigates/destroyers/missile boats being built around the world have gone up. The T-45 is expensive, but its not unusual.

And where exactly will you base all those Hawkeyes if you don’t have them on a carrier? You can’t keep refuelling them forever. And none of that will bring costs down. Fitting toys like helicopters and defensive arms onto a commercial ship will not bring costs down. There is nothing like a missile sponge these days-you either do everything to protect your fleet or you dont send one at all.

Either every major navy in the world is plain dumb since none of them follow the Lewis Page school of warfare or they see some sense in utility vessels.


15 posted on 08/13/2011 7:22:09 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
If inflation hasn’t increased, how come the price of everything from F-16s to Eurofighters to frigates/destroyers/missile boats being built around the world have gone up. The T-45 is expensive, but its not unusual.

I didn't say inflation hadn't 'increased', I said that it hadn't devalued the £sterling four fold. When I was at school back in 1998, a Mars Bar (reckoned by some economists to be the most reliable simple indicator of inflation) was 35p, now it is 50p on average, that is an increase of only 70%, not 400%. And where exactly will you base all those Hawkeyes if you don’t have them on a carrier? You can’t keep refuelling them forever. And none of that will bring costs down. Fitting toys like helicopters and defensive arms onto a commercial ship will not bring costs down. There is nothing like a missile sponge these days-you either do everything to protect your fleet or you dont send one at all.

If you are going into a warzone where aircraft and sea-skimming missiles are expected to be a problem, an aircraft carrier should be present anyway. If all you are doing is going after pirates or drug smugglers, a river class vessel should be sufficient, although it would probably be more efficient to have a helicopter carrier on hand to search a wider area anyway. Ultimately, in a major fleet action, all a frigate would be is a missile sponge anyway. It would have to hang back many miles from the carrier, as turning on the radar would be like turning on a homing beacon for enemy forces, so all it would really be doing is, at best distracting enemy forces from the real target (the carrier). At least with aircraft, they can do aerial survereilance well away from the fleet without giving away the fleet's location. As for hawkeyes, if you were travelling into a warzone, you would have to keep up constant airborne surveilance anyway, because otherwise you would get a situation like the falklands, were ships were getting attacked by low-flying bombers which were only detected when it was already too late. (The task force would have been massacred were it not for the fact that the argies didn't fuse their bombs properly, they never should have got that close).

Either every major navy in the world is plain dumb since none of them follow the Lewis Page school of warfare or they see some sense in utility vessels.

Lewis Page is an ex-Royal Navy Officer. It is worth remembering that the Royal Navy of the 19th century took a long time to switch over to steam power (decades after civilian ships had adopted it) and the army was still wedded to cavalry at the outset of WWI, despite many military theorists stating that cavalry had had their day. They had to learn things hard way after watching cavalary charges being mown down by machine gun fire and artillery to learn that cavalry made ridiculously easy targets for modern arms on an open battlefield. Even then, some of the blimps took a long time to learn and sometimes never at all.

As Lewis Page basically stated, senior Navy officers brought up on the stories of ship-to-ship actions of yesteryear are very reluctant to see their beloved navies turned into little more than fleets of glorified aircraft pads and transport ships for the other branches of the service, with whom they are in constant rivalry with. There is according to page, a lot of vanity, fantasy and jealousy of the other services at the heart of defence procurement, which has very little to do with military efficiency or the real national interest. This is why Britain is going to have more Eurofighters than it could ever use but pitiful numbers of heavy lift helicopters and strategic airlift planes (because having adequate logistical capabilities just isn't as sexy as having lots of super-sexy air-superiority fighters, 'air-defence' destroyers and other cool-sounding stuff).

16 posted on 08/14/2011 5:31:16 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

Is the Royal Navy the only force which follows the classical routine? How come no one else seems interested in the methods that people like Page describe. Either they are all stubborn or they see the limitations that are inherent in them. Again, how many Hawkeyes will Britain buy? And how will you protect all those Hawkeye-equipped carriers. The mighty USN has at last count about 80 ships equipped with the Aegis system. Again just how many kinds of ASW aircraft can a non-nuclear/non-American carrier hold? All that affects range and endurance to negate the advantages you mentioned.


17 posted on 08/14/2011 10:44:31 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I doubt the officers of other navies want to see their roles reduced to airstrips and transports any more than the RN, even in the USN.
The AEGIS system may have some use as an anti-ballistic missile system (or perhaps an anti-satalleite system), but the T-45 can’t do that, and any proposed frigate will not be intended to do that either, which leaves us with its ‘classical’ navy roles, ASW (which can better be done with helicopter carriers with ASW helicopters, or other subs), AsuW (best done with helicopters or aircraft which can see over the horizon) or support for ground forces off a hostile coast (which helicopters and aircraft are much better at providing than that single 105mm or 155mm gun most frigates use or will use)...


18 posted on 08/14/2011 2:48:02 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

Again, what is being left out is how you protect your aircraft/helicopter carriers. There’s not much point having carriers which don’t have dedicated defenses against the myriad of threats that an enemy can deploy. That’s the main reason why China waited more than a decade to field its carrier so it could build up a fleet of escorts, replenishment vessels and even rudimentary organic AEW systems. Of course, you can build up a mythical arsenal ship with sky-high costs and about the same risks.

You make some weird assumptions on how navies think-most militaries dont really many choices in clinging to pet themes. If governments see any validity in implementing the kind of steps you are talking about, they would have shoved it down the throat of most admirals.


19 posted on 08/15/2011 8:11:48 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

An air screen is a better screen than any escort vessel. With an operational range of hundreds of miles, aircraft would be better placed to detect launch hostile low-flying aircraft and anti-missile missiles before it is too late.

As for governments, they generally follow their military heads advice (not to mention what companies like BAe Systems tell them to buy, building lots of semi-useless frigates is probably very lucrative)...


20 posted on 08/15/2011 11:06:03 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

How long can you keep aircraft airborne and where will you base them if you have no carriers or small carriers. There are huge costs involved here.

Military folks across the world would wish what you said about government’s heeding their advice is true but they know it’s not.


21 posted on 08/15/2011 11:38:13 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

If a task force is moving into hostile territory without an air screen, its fair begging to get torn to shreds these days.

Seriously, read Lewis Page’s book if you haven’t already.


22 posted on 08/17/2011 10:55:40 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

Sure, if I do get my hands on it. But It would take more than a book or two to convince that all the world’s navies are collectively dumb.


23 posted on 08/17/2011 11:04:47 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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