Feeds

Royal Navy starts work on new, pointless frigates

First two: HMSs Wag The Dog and Self-Licking Icecream

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Comment The Royal Navy has decided to spend £127m to answer the question: "What should the next generation of frigates be like?" This is disappointing, as the real question is "do we actually need any more frigates?" and the answer is very likely "No, or not in their present form, anyway."

Officially the navy, commissioning BAE Systems to start looking into the new ships' design, says it isn't looking for frigates but for a "Type 26 Combat Ship". But the Type 26 will replace Type 22 and 23 frigates, and indeed nobody is really pretending it is anything else.

Today's Type 23 frigate. Credit: Royal Navy

This is a frigate.

"You simply cannot have an effective Navy without capable frigates, and the Type 26 combat ship will form the future backbone of the Royal Navy's surface combatant force, alongside the new Type 45 destroyers," said the First Sea Lord last week, announcing the deal.

So yes, the Type 26 will be a frigate. That is to say, it will be a surface warship which isn't equipped with a high-powered fleet air defence system like the Type 45 destroyers. (Or rather, as the Type 45s will be at some time in the future when their buggy PAAMS/Sea-Viper missiles are actually ready for installation. The first two 45s are in naval service already, but almost entirely unarmed.)

A frigate carries only close-quarter air defences, intended to offer some minimal hope of survival should enemy air strikes get through the fleet's fighter screen and destroyer-mounted missile shield. It cannot, then, offer useful protection to other ships against air attack.

Rather, its main job - if it can really be said to have one - is hunting submarines. However, this is actually done almost entirely by the frigate's helicopter*. Anti-submarine helicopters can be (and often are) operated at sea in larger numbers and much more cheaply aboard fleet-auxiliary vessels, so it's hard to see why you would bother buying expensive frigates for this purpose.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?