Última edición:
FEBRUARY 22, 2021
NEWS COMMENTARIES

The Integrated Review – painful choices for the Royal Navy?​

The Integrated Review is due to be published in March 2021. In the next few weeks, rumours of how the review will impact the forces are likely to circulate in the media. An unconfirmed report in the Daily Mail suggests some of the older frigates will be retired early. Here we consider some of the options the RN may have and the implications for the surface escort fleet.

Blood on the carpet​

Despite the encouraging pre-review commitments and new money allocated to defence announced in November 2020, there will still be very hard choices for all three Armed Services to make. The Treasury and Cabinet Office is determined to agree a force structure and equipment plan that is genuinely affordable and costed, unlike the 2015 ‘conspiracy of optimism’ SDSR. With a solid Parliamentary majority and no election for looming some time, the Tories now have the political strength to take this more difficult path.

The decisions to dispense with some conventional capabilities or ‘sacred cows’ will not be popular in many quarters but the MoD must live within its means. Having just promised a substantial uplift of 4.2% per year (above inflation) rise in spending, this administration at least, can be slightly shielded from accusations of making defence cuts. The capability gaps and lack of mass that characterises so many aspects of UK defence are the result of decades of underfunding, mismanagement and waste, the blame for which can be laid at the door of politicians of all colours, civil servants, senior officers and industry.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace and the heads of all three services have spoken many times about needing to modernise the force, speed up procurement and put people first. If this is to amount to more than just words, then at least in the short to medium term, there will be some painful decisions. For the RN, this looks likely to include cuts to the frigate force, the loss of the minehunters and possibly the axing of the LPDs.

In return the RN will get commitments to the existing Equipment Plan, keeping both carriers, the submarine programme, three new Fleet Solid Support ships, two Multi-role Research Vessels, the second batch of Type 26 frigates, Type 31 and eventually, Type 32 frigates. The Future Commando Force will be developed further, possibly with two Littoral Strike ships. Expect to see significant further investment in autonomous and unmanned systems and increased use of rapid and iterative procurement processes. Broadly speaking, a good settlement that includes a long term aspiration to actually increase frigate numbers.

HMS Monmouth laid up in Devonport and stripped of equipment since April 2019. (Photo: Andy Amor, October 2020)

On-paper strength v actual strength​

The Daily Mail suggestion that four oldest Type 23 frigates, HMS Argyll, Lancaster, Iron Duke and Monmouth, will be “retired early” is not implausible. No Admiral, or anyone with the best interests of the Navy at heart, really wants to advocate any reduction in the already inadequate number of escorts. It also would be hard to square Boris Johnson’s stated aim to “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe” while cutting the frigate force by 30%. However, on closer examination, this loss may not have much such a big impact on the frontline as the headlines suggest.

It’s no secret that for the last five years at least, the RN has been unable to fully crew and maximise the availability of all 19 of its frigates and destroyers. As well as ships in major refit as part of the normal operating cycle, there have been at least one frigate and one destroyer laid up and unmanned for long periods. The picture is slightly more complicated at present with higher-than-usual numbers of frigates in deep refit undergoing LIFEX and the Type 45 Power Improvement Project (PIP) finally underway.

The older Type 23s don’t have that much service life left in them anyway. It is likely HMS Monmouth will be scrapped as she never started her refit. Her poor material state may simply not justify further expenditure on her for just a few years of service. HMS Argyll has completed LIFEX and subsequently undertaken two long deployments but is due out of service in 2023. HMS Lancaster completed LIFEX in December 2019 and is currently going strong but is scheduled to leave the fleet in 2024. HMS Iron Duke is mid-refit although is not thought to be receiving the full LIFEX package. It is unclear to what extent she is being modernised as she is due to go in 2025. What is clear is that these four ships days were already numbered before the review and their retirement before replacements are available was always inevitable.

The 2023-2028 ‘frigate gap’, primarily caused by the delay in ordering Type 26 and the slow construction schedule may only be slightly exacerbated by the slightly earlier retirement of these 4 veterans.
The 5 oldest frigates are classed as “general purpose”, ie. lacking the towed array sonar and specialist ASW capability of the newer 8 vessels. The 5th GP frigate, HMS Montrose, is forward-deployed in the Gulf, being run very hard with two crews that rotate every 4 months. She is supposed to come home in 2022 but could possibly have her stay extended until her place is taken by a precious ASW frigate which in turn would be relieved by the first operational Type 31 around 2027-8.

Chile and Greece have been mentioned as possible buyers for these ships. In the past foreign navies have bought old warships and keep them going long beyond what the RN would contemplate. However the Type 23s were originally designed with an 18-year hull life and, despite the structural repairs and modernisation packages they have received, may simply be too worn out to be attractive to any foreign navy.

Even assuming there is no income from sales, the deletion of four frigates would still contribute to reduced budget pressures. (The running cost of an active Type 23 is round £25-30M per annum). Most significantly it would ease a short-term manning crisis. As the frigate LIFEX project comes to a close and as the Type 45s have increasing availability there would be in shortage of trained sailors to crew them all. A reduction in frigate numbers reduces pressure on people, a critical factor in retaining the best and brightest for long careers and avoiding pinch-points in critical high-skill trades. In the longer term, the lower compliment of the new frigates, along with a COVID-induced boom in recruitment should make it easier to crew a growing fleet.

Cynics and those who have been burned before will be suspicious of anything that sounds like reductions today in return for ‘jam tomorrow’. Somehow the bill for COVID will have to be paid and there is plenty of time for political priorities to change. There is always the worry that ‘making do’ with 9 frigates for a few years could become the accepted norm and set a dangerous precedent, however, it is fair to have confidence in both the Type 31 and Type 26 programmes which are not really in doubt from a political and industrial perspective.

By the time of a 2024-5 election, enough time will have elapsed to form some sort of judgement on whether the sacrifices of the 2021 review have paid off. For the RN, particular signs of progress would be a new generation of autonomous systems arriving quickly on the front line and a much-stabilised personnel retention situation.

Main Image: HMS Argyll fires a gun salute in Plymouth Sound on her return from 6 months of operations in the Gulf (Sept 2020).​




Asi que la Monmouth está materialmente mal y puede que no valga la pena repararla para los británicos que tienen dos procesos de construcción andando (Type-26 y Type-31).

¿Será que ASMAR (que conoce al reves y al derecho la clase) hace el milagro de recuperarla y dejarla al nivel de sus hermanas?

Saludos
 
Última edición:
La Monmouth, esta muerta no le interesa a la Armada, la otra que darán de baja podría ser, pero primero tendría que ser revisada con Lupa.

En estos momentos no hay apuro la Willy llega al final de esta década sin problemas, tiene dos dadoras de órganos para sus turbinas, Barak es lo único que podría esta complicado ya va para los 30 años, pero se podría justificar un MK 41 el cual después sea reciclado. Dolo la Armada sabe que harán ahí
 
Tengo la impresión que tras el refit de las T23 no viene nada mas para la Escuadra, quizás ya enfocandose en el reemplazo de los U209 para esta década.

Podría ser mejor, pero es lo que hay
 
La Monmouth, esta muerta no le interesa a la Armada, la otra que darán de baja podría ser, pero primero tendría que ser revisada con Lupa.

En estos momentos no hay apuro la Willy llega al final de esta década sin problemas, tiene dos dadoras de órganos para sus turbinas, Barak es lo único que podría esta complicado ya va para los 30 años, pero se podría justificar un MK 41 el cual después sea reciclado. Dolo la Armada sabe que harán ahí
Muerta y fria la tienen a la pobre Monmouth sin siquiera hacerle LIFEX.
Bueno al menos sus partes servirán para sus pronto once hermanas restantes.
Eso dejaría sola como candidata a la HMS Montrose que tiene LIFEX (¿15 años más?), upgrade con CAMM, no ha tenido el esfuerzo estructural de desplegar un 2087 al ser GP y sus maquinarias están en caliente operando en el medio oriente desde Bahrein.

Como es una sola unidad, no es atractiva para nadie más que para la ACh como único operador a menos que UK saque del servicio al menos una más para vender en pareja (Brasil, Colombia). Ojalá esté en buen estado la Montrose, pero con los arreglos ($) que le han hecho no me arriesgo demasiado al decir que podría estar en un estado aceptable.

En cuanto a meterle más plata a la Williams, dificil. Ya trae varias obsolescencias técnicas de equipos fuera de estandar en el resto de la Escuadra: el radar aunque está digitalizado es un 967 2D, el sonar 2016, el Barak-1 de radiocomando más una obsolescencia logística relevante: el conjunto Olympus-Tyne, propulsión full turbinera de alto consumo específico cuyo soporte oficial se acaba en dos años... ¿encima meterle MK-41 reciclado?. Mejor que muera con los Barak-1 que ya tiene.

Saludos
 

Summary of progress, November 2020​


FrigatePGMU statusLIFEX refit
start
LIFEX refit
end
Out of
service date
Service remaining (yrs)
HMS Westminster
2014Jan 201720288
HMS Argyll
Jun 2015Feb 201720233
HMS Montrose
?​
2015July 201720277
HMS Northumberland
May 2016May 201820299
HMS Kent
Jan 2017Aug 2018203313
HMS Lancaster
Mar 2017Dec 201920244
HMS Richmond
Aug 2017Feb 2020203010
HMS Portland
Feb 2018Mar 2021203414
HMS Somerset
Nov 20182021203111
HMS Iron Duke
Mid 20192022?20255
HMS St Albans
Mid 20192022?203515
HMS Sutherland
Dec 20202023?203212
HMS Monmonth
?​
?20266
(Red – PGMU not planned. Amber – PGMU planned but not done during LIFEX refit. Green – PGMU done or happening during LIFEX refit)

Assuming that the frigates are very unlikely to be run-on beyond their planned out of service dates, it becomes apparent that the expense of upgrading the engines of 3 more vessels is questionable value for money. HMS Montrose is doing a sterling job forward-deployed in the Arabian Gulf but is not scheduled to return to the UK until 2022. Even if the engine change was completed in under a year, she would emerge with just 4 years or so left before decommissioning. HMS Iron Duke is currently having her LIFEX and was in a particularly poor material state before it began which may extend the time required. If her refit is completed sometime in 2022 she will have just 3 years left to serve.

There is now some doubt that HMS Monmouth will have LIFEX refit at all and maybe decommissioned prematurely. She has been alongside in Devonport since March 2019, officially she is described as a Fleet Time (FT) unit in Long Readiness (LR). Stripped of her weapons and sensors, the majority of systems are dormant except those required to maintain a habitable environment for watchkeeping and maintenance. She retains a very small duty watch and is occasionally used as static damage control and fire-fighting training platform for crews preparing to take over forward-deployed ships. Due out of service in 2026, she could not be made seaworthy without a LIFEX refit and considerable investment. No decision has been announced but, even before the pressures of the pending defence review, HMS Monmouth looks unlikely ever to go to sea again.


Esta sería la chica de interés, con su lifting ya hecho.

Saludos
 
Última edición:
¿Esto quiere decir que pueden poner a punto la Monmouth nuevamente, o iría como repuestos?
Aqui dice

The UK is beefing up its Greek frigate proposal with a pair of Type 23s

The UK is reportedly offering to donate two Type 23 Duke-class frigates, HMS Monmouth and HMS Montrose, as part of the Babcock proposal for the Hellenic Navy's frigate procurement programme.

The two ships would fill Greece's need for interim vessels while construction is underway on four new frigates. The Times newspaper was the first to report on the UK's offer to include HMS Monmouth and Montrose.

While naval analysts see Montrose as a likely candidate for transfer, Monmouth would require extensive refits to ready it for service. Monmouth was recently quietly retired at the end of June, having been ...


La quieren ofrecer funcional pero tendría que pasar por refit (naturalmente se lo cobrarían a los griegos).

Saludos
 
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Aqui dice

The UK is beefing up its Greek frigate proposal with a pair of Type 23s

The UK is reportedly offering to donate two Type 23 Duke-class frigates, HMS Monmouth and HMS Montrose, as part of the Babcock proposal for the Hellenic Navy's frigate procurement programme.

The two ships would fill Greece's need for interim vessels while construction is underway on four new frigates. The Times newspaper was the first to report on the UK's offer to include HMS Monmouth and Montrose.

While naval analysts see Montrose as a likely candidate for transfer, Monmouth would require extensive refits to ready it for service. Monmouth was recently quietly retired at the end of June, having been ...


La quieren ofrecer funcional pero tendría que pasar por refit (naturalmente se lo cobrarían a los griegos).

Saludos

Dependiendo de lo que coste puede valer la pena...
 
Lo otro que está claro es que estan usando las transferencias de buques de segunda mano como enganche para ventas de buques nuevos. Si quieres usados y compites con otro país que ya tiene planeado un proceso de construcción naval llevas las de perder.

En el caso de la ACh, el programa de construcción naval de fragatas comenzaría desde 2030 (después del rompehielos y luego de los 4 anfibios), si todo va bien.

La fragata usada más antigua que estaba en el cronograma de reemplazo es la Type-22. Pero habría que ver porque dicen que su casco está en buen estado y podría aguantar hasta 2025 e incluso más con los repuestos de las turbinas de las Type-L (Olympus-Tyne) que fueron dadas de baja.

De momento, lo más firme que tenemos sobre la mesa es un compromiso con los Paises Bajos por una a dos Type-M pero no sabemos para cuando se pueda seguir postergando sus reemplazos. De momento se habla de 2027 para que el reemplazo esté IOC y la Real Marina de los Paises Bajos dijo que no va a soltar ninguna fragata mientras sus reemplazos no estén en puerto.

Quizá quede probar suerte con una Type-23 que se da de baja después (Argyll 2023 o Lancaster 2024 sabiendo que hay competencia con otros países) o ver si Grecia se decide por otra cosa y agarrar la que esté mejor de casco para meterla a la linea de modernización en ASMAR. Si fallan ambas opciones, habrá que explorar la opción de extender la Williams.

Saludos
 

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