Feeds

Royal Navy starts work on new, pointless frigates

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Type 26 isn't the kind of ship the Navy needs to use: It's the kind of ship that BAE Systems needs to make

In fact, the only kind of ship that BAE Systems' UK yards and factories might be able to make and sell is a Type 26 or something very like it. And people might buy it: Blighty isn't the only country saddled with a hidebound naval hierarchy whose ideas on force structure are still largely formed by the fleets of World War II. Plus, lots of other countries simply have no access to things like Tomahawks and proper maritime aircraft.

So, fine - let British shipyards sell their overpriced, obsolete frigates to other navies if they can; and let the Royal Navy buy proper kit.

Whoa there! That's not how it goes. If BAE Systems wants to make something, it gets its development costs covered by the MoD: those are the rules. Indeed, everyone concerned admits that the Type 26 project is as much about keeping BAE's yards and design offices open as it is about getting some ships.

“Type 26 is a key component in sustaining a surface warship capability in UK industry," says BAE's surface-warship chief Alan Johnston.

"Programmes like the Type 26 ... also sustain the industry that supports them," adds Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth. "These commitments will protect the long-term future of the maritime industry ... The commitments the MOD has made will protect skills and employment, and preserve the industrial capability."

Or in other words we need to have some frigates so as to avoid closing our frigate yards, so that we will be able to have even more frigates in future. Tail wags dog: ice-cream licks itself.

Business as usual, then, in the UK military-industrial complex. ®

Bootnote

*The frigate's medium-frequency active sonar can only find a sub at ranges so close that the sub will already have torpedoed the ship before it is detected - it is basically useless. Some RN frigates now have longer-ranging low frequency active sonar, but it still makes more sense to mount such kit on copters which can move about much faster and can't be torpedoed.

Lewis Page served as a Royal Navy officer (non-aviator, non-Marine) for 11 years, but managed to stay out of frigates and destroyers almost the entire time. That wasn't going to last much longer, however, so he left rather than spend the next decade wasting his time and the taxpayers' money.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.