Skip to comments.Type 26: The future backbone of the Royal Navy
Posted on 04/08/2012 9:20:42 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Type 26: The future backbone of the Royal Navy
05 April 2012
Brian Johnson, UK business development director at BAE Systems, answers questions about the Type 26 Global Combat Ship
Can you provide some detail on the size and makeup of the team involved, their experience levels and the overall working approach to the design process?
The team working on the Type 26 programme is currently around 250 strong. The team is centred in Bristol but a large design team is also based at BAE Systems' facility at Scotstoun in Glasgow. The team is a genuine 'rainbow' team comprising of BAE Systems, Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy employees. Additionally, 18 other companies who are our partners and suppliers are involved, all working together to get the best expertise from across the UK industrial base to drive this vital programme.
The team must be aware of the huge level of interest and speculation about the design in the defence community. How does this affect the approach to the design work?
The most important thing now for the naval enterprise in the UK is to design a ship that can be built to cost and time whilst satisfying the needs of the Royal Navy. Designing to budget is at the heart of the team ethos.
The contract is almost at the halfway stage. Can you broadly describe the progress to date and say if it is on schedule to produce the completed Type 26 design in early 2014?
The first half of the Assessment Phase of the Type 26 programme has been to refine and agree a design that is not only affordable, but also satisfies the capability needs of the customer. This phase is now nearing completion. The team will then shift its focus on to more detailed design, taking it to the development and manufacture phase, which on current plans and subject to approvals, is expected to begin in 2014.
The ship has been billed by the First Sea Lord as "the future backbone of the Royal Navy", can you comment on the importance of building versatility into the design process?
By the 2030s around half of the 'operational Navy' will be serving on a Type 26 ship, with a number of the vessels in service well beyond the middle of the century so the ship really will be the future backbone of the Royal Navy. Experience has taught us that the key to a platform being relevant for over half a century is to build in future flexibility from the beginning. There are many aspects of the design that take this into account.
What kind of unique capability is being called for by the Type 26 by the Royal Navy? Have features such as the UAV 'dog kennel' and a separate mission bay been retained in the design to date? Are there any similar or new unique features being included or considered?
The UK is seeking to procure warfighting surface combatants that are flexible in role and adaptable to meet the future demands of the maritime environment. Whilst final design decisions have yet to be made, and will not be made until the main investment decision point scheduled for the middle of the decade, to meet the requirements of adaptability, options to incorporate a Flexible Mission Space that can house a range of manned or unmanned vehicles or capability modules are being considered.
The first variant of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship will have an Anti Submarine Warfare capability emphasis, whilst being more adaptable than the capability currently provided by the Type 23 frigates. The systems features that allow this, particularly the acoustic issues, are key to the design.
Sea Ceptor aside, have decisions on weaponry been taken? Readers are asking if a decision been made on the main gun and if the ships be TLAM capable. Is an anti-ship missile system set to be included?
The current planning assumption is that the Type 26 Global Combat Ships' air defence capability will be provided by the Sea Ceptor missile system. Decisions about Sea Ceptor and which other equipments will be fitted to the ships will be finalised at the main investment decision. Many of the future systems used on Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be developed as part of the Capability Sustainment Programme for the Type 23s and this capability will then be 'cross decked' onto Type 26 Global Combat Ship as the new ships enter service. This strategy allows for an incremental upgrade in capability and will therefore reduce potential risks surrounding the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.
How is the Global Combat Ship's future exportability playing its part in the development process of the Type 26?
Beyond the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme, the UK has stated a clear commitment to working with prospective international partners through a series of bilateral relationships to learn more about their requirements and ensure that they are met through Global Combat Ship. Early partner nation engagement in the programme will provide opportunities to influence the core Global Combat Ship platform design, which will ensure it is optimised to meet each partner's long-term naval requirements.
All we know for sure is that it will be overdue, overbudget, undercapable and we’ll get 8 of them tops, contrary to the projected figure of 13 being bandied about now....
You can’t buy votes with defense projects.
Generally true, with the exception of constituencies where defence factories are located. The only reason Britain is getting two new aircraft carriers is because ex-PM Gordon Brown’s constituency in Scotland depends heavily on the nearby Rosyth Dockyards, where the carriers are being built.
As PM he locked those contracts up so tight that the incoming ConDem coalition discovered it would cost more to cancel them than continue to build them.
That was probably the only good thing Brown ever did for Britain, despite the obvious ulterior motive...
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