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£1bn+ Royal Navy destroyer finally fires 'disgraceful' weapon

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If everything in this article is true...

This is really embarassing for our Navy and painful for us taxpayers to once again pay double for something that delivers barely half of what we were promised. Surely someone at the MoD can take responsability for this expensive and very late procurement cock up.

Sounds as bad as the helicopter deal to re-fit aging Lynxes for far more money that it cost to buy brand new higher-spec American whirlybirds that would have also been delivered years ealier. It's so shameful.

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It will always be like that

Time and cost overruns are an inevitable part of buying weapons systems during peace time. The basic problem is that no-one can answer the simple question: "Who will this thing be used against?" As a consequence you get many reviews, thinktanks, committees and experts all putting their penn'orth into the specification process - just in case the "enemy" turns out to be a massed horde of millions, or a fanatical regime, or a distant archipelago (though why they'd be a threat is difficult to imagine) or a school of mutant dolphins. Add in to this, the lack of any real threat means there is no pressing need to decide what the new thing should do, so no-one is prepared to put their bits on the block and make any binding choices or decisions.

In the end you always get a fudged solution: that has to address all the unsupported claims, fears, "what ifs" and possibilities of a world 30 years into the future when the thing in question will still be in its service life (or just being delivered, depending on how relaxed world tensions are).

In some ways (putting aside the wanton waste of our money) it is a good indicator. It means that there isn't really threat to our well-being that this new weapon has to fight - and that no-one can really see any actual use for it. If there had been a need, it would have been designed to address it, and been brought into service as a rush job to counter the threat. That's why weapons development is always much faster when there's an actual; shooting war going on.

The tragedy, though is that the money earmarked for a shiny new toy for the navy can't be spent on things that other services could use, right now - either to reduce casualties or to better bomb the crap out of whoever it is we're currently bombing the crap out of, but less effectively than we could. Sadly the attitude of the ranking services is closer to a groups of petulant children than to a force meant to defend our interests. So if one gets a new toy, the others MUST have one too - or there'll be tears and letters to The Times. Even though (since no-one can say what it will be used for) it's so obvious that it's simply a sop and almost no use to anyone.

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Depressing isn't it?

We've bought a system where the most reliable component is *Windows*!

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Pint

Ah that explains...

All the ships out in the Minch at the moment. One looked like it was put together backwards - the superstructure looked the wrong way around on the hull. Also explains the lack of obligatory pairs of Tornadoes around at the moment (<FAWLTY> - I mentioned Tornadoes in a comment to one of Lewis's articles... But I think it's OK and I got away with it. </FAWLTY>)

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Flaking sunburns

Lots of 12-bores here trying to shoot snipe off Reg's defence desk, but the conclusion is logical (Cap'n).

"PAAMS has never been tested against a supersonic target and there are no plans to do so".

One is tempted to enquire if there is an old English Electric Lightning somewhere they could dust off. The fact though is they are a bit short of Sunburn, as they cannot get any (even at Mach Zero). Not that such a demonstration would help any against a salvo of Sunburns, say 8 or 16 at once, which is what a boat should expect - hence the tetchy comment from the ex-Cap'n: "it would be rather unwise to put yourself in a situation like that, wouldn't it?" Aye aye Cap'n.

Indeed, I congratulate Lewis for making it abundantly clear that the evidence for his conclusion is not some messengerial failure to be sufficiently jingoistic, but comes from the makers themselves - if you can read. There are in fact two damning admissions:

1. "Viper is claimed by its makers to be superior to Aegis/Standard, especially in the matter of shooting down modern Russian-made shipkiller missiles which approach their targets at supersonic speed."

Which is tantamount to admitting that the Aegis system is as useful as a row of marquees against Sunburn.

2. "Viper is claimed by its makers to be superior to Aegis/Standard, especially in the matter of shooting down modern Russian-made shipkiller missiles which approach their targets at supersonic speed."

Which is tantamount to admitting that the Viper system is not expected to be effective against the up-coming hypersonic Mach Five Brahmos anti-ship missile.

You cannot make a hypersonic cruise missile by issuing press releases. Admittedly, the USA is ham-strung by having a monkey called the Federal Reserve System on its back, but in the end there is no substitute for thinking.

So is there going to be a brave Admiral or even Cap'n who gives the order "Beach the boats - splice the mainbrace - and lets get some sunburn on while we think". Pina colladas all round?"

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"the command system runs Windows"

This will give a whole new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death"....

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FAIL

For the Win

Next thing we'll find out is that the missile control system comes from Siemens . . . .

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Grenade

Strategic Defence Review

Would it be a better idea to admit that the UK is no longer a world power and adjust its defence spending accordingly?

The country could resign its permanent seat on the UN Security Council and pocket the cost of having to run the highly capable military (and associated nuclear deterrent) that such a role requires.

Instead the country could run a smaller, combined arms force, dedicated to coastal defence and territorial integrity.

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Flame

I would not want to confront an enemy armed with M5 missiles either

But I am *not* the Royal Navy planning a ship to protect my (currently non existent) carrier groups from attack by airborne guided weapons.

*If* I were, I'd make pretty f^&*ing certain it did so.

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It all sounds very familiar.

I wonder if they tested the missiles against the Mirach 100/5 towed targets at 792

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/fleet-air-arm/naval-air-squadrons/792/

The Mirachs aren't supersonic so can't use them for testing that aspect of the system.

The MoD procurement sounds like my current job's management team's approach to building new software; which is funny as I came from the MoD into my current job.

At my current job, we have managed to get the directors to go to an outside firm to get the specification written. However, knowing the directors, they will constantly be changing things

until they are happy, and so it will be exactly like a military/government project, with massive overruns in terms of costs and time.

Hodehum :-(

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Flame

Whether it works or not, it's a waste of money

"Our Type 45s will have no serious ability to strike targets ashore, and we will continue to have no capabilities against ballistic missiles."

...and the absence of such capabilities for the past three years has been a huge problem for the UK because... how exactly? The thing is already three years late, and in the meantime we've been vulnerable to... what?

That's right: bugger all. Because we don't face any threats that these things would be useful against. It's time we stopped acting like the French, pretending that we're still a global force that needs to project military power to protect its interests around the world.

It doesn't matter one gnat's cock whether we put Aegis, PAAMS, or cardboard tubes painted white on our Type 45s, there's no conceivable scenario in which we will ever use this thing for it's intended purpose. Even in the remotely unlikely event of a conflict with Russia or China, it's highly improbable that the Yanks would not be involved -- and the last time I checked, their navy was as large as every other navy in the world put together, making our pathetic little flotilla of T45s rather irrelevant.

Just like every previous generation of military hardware since WWII that has been requested, designed, prototyped, built, delivered, commissioned into service, wheeled out for regular training exercises, decommissioned, mothballed and scrapped without ever being fired in anger, or at least in any action remotely useful to the British taxpayer*, the T45s will plough the oceans for a few years before finding their way to an Indian breaker's yard without ever having fired their missiles at a real target.

Like Eurofighter, main battle tanks, Trident (and before that Polaris), the whole thing is an exercise in technoporn. All we really need these days is effective air defence, inshore patrols, and an ability to keep the Channel and the North Sea open to shipping in the event of a conflict with, say, Guernsey or the Faroe Islands.

*No, I don't consider two Iraqi wars or our last fling of colonialism in the Falklands to have been worthwhile exercises.

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Yanks

Whilst they may have provided some Intel, I don't recall the yank navy lifting a finger on our behalf with respect to the Falklands.

A UK navy has to be able to stand on its own two feet.

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They did help out, just not obviously

The US couldn't be seen to be obviously helping us, as that could have made things a bit messy. But they did let us have the latest version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, and I *think* they may have helped us out to 'acquire' all the Exocet missiles floating about in the market to ensure the Argies couldn't buy them.

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Re: Jay2

Don't know why someone downvoted, as I recall your statement is accurate.

However, compared to the level of assistance we provided in return in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else the US wanted help in the playground, their support was very lukewarm, and my original point stands that the Navy needs to offer a complete range of "services" to deal with any situation without support from other nations.

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FAIL

Nelson's rolling: He beat the sh*t out of the French & Spanish we now depend on French ammo?

How far Britain has fallen. How do we know there isn't some circuitry or software that allows the Frog's to disable the munitions if the UK fires it at someone the French like?

Have people forgotten the French missiles fired in the Falklands?

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To be fair

To be fair, no one has (or should have) forgotten about those very British Type 42 destroyers the Argies had either.

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Don't believe all you read!!!

PAAMS is as much British as it is French. Lewis is just being petulant.

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The French aren't our enemy

And the last time we were at war against the French was ooohhh almost 200 years ago. They are allies, get over your personal xenophobia.

By all means attack the French kit for being shit, but don't attack it simply for being French.

And why shouldn't the French have sold missiles and aircraft to the Argentines during a period that they were not view as an enemy? It's important to note that during the Falklands war the French provided us with planes that same as they had sold to Argentina for our airforce to train against, and intelligence to help sabotage the Exocet missiles it had sold to Argentina.

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Stop

Oh dear...

I was waiting for the bit which said we should be buying Ticonderoga class cruisers and the AEGIS missile system, such is Mr. Page's affinity for US equipment.

The fact remains that the type 45 is for fleet air defence, and is a significant upgrade over the type 42 - for a start it can track and engage up to 5 times as many targets as the type 42 can.

If Mr. Page really wants to judge Britain's future anti-surface and ground-attack naval capabilities, I invite him to review a ship that is actually designed for those roles - i.e. the Future Surface Combatants, when they appear.

In the meantime, I heartily await another article bashing the Eurofighter. Or perhaps, for a change, he could describe how the British Challenger 2 isn't anywhere near as vulnerable as the American M1 Abrams is to RPG attacks.

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Grenade

M1 Abrams and Challenger 2

IIRC, the M1 Abrams is one of the few undeniable success stories, especially given the US attempts to upgrade their MBT beforehand.

As for RPG attacks, its possible that the Challenger 2 is less vulnerable, but its not a severe problem for the M1 either. AFAICT, precisely one (yes one) M1 has keen KO'd by an RPG attack. From the way you were talking you'd think it was like the rate at which Snatch Landrovers go bang at the slightest sign of a mine or firefight.

Its possible the Challenger 2 is a better armoured tank, however for speed, rapid maintenance and reliability I'll do a Lewis and take the M1 as a perfectly good tank to sit in anytime,

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Troll

Big deal

Industrial-military complex, Eisenhower mentioned something about that.

Everyone knows anti-ship missiles are really saber rattling as small underwater nukes are do not need to be aimed, are hard to detect, harder to stop and can sink a whole fleet for much less cost.

Aircraft carriers, more saber ratting kit, they have and should be replaced by missile destroyers.

Crew of 50 versus 1500 and you can buy 4 of them for 1 carrier. They can replace the pilots with cruse missiles or drones.

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Grenade

Remember Hubble before slagging off British tech

Perhaps before going on about American tech Lewis might like to remember Hubble - someone managed to forget to allow for the curvature of the mirror in their calculations and it took years and a couple of refurbs and zillions of dollars to get it to focus correctly!

And as for using Windows - big mistake - even Microsoft don't know how it works, so can't fix it. I'm sure the Russians, Chinese and probably the Indians have got it hacked by now - you don't need to blue screen it - just get it to chew up memory and go into page demand mode so it takes hours to launch a missile rather than seconds.

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Gates Horns

Windows for Warships

Fire Main Guns at that target over there ......

Sorry sir EMCOM has stopped the Patch tuesday update we cant fire

reboot

BSOD

BANG

OOPPSS

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French Technologie really work !

HMS Seffield:

http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/timeline/a/20thcentime_3.htm

US Ship "Stark"

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Stark.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirage_3

"After the outstanding Israeli success with the Mirage IIIC, scoring kills against Syrian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17s and MiG-21 aircraft and then achieving a formidable victory against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the Six-Day War of June 1967, the Mirage III's reputation was greatly enhanced. The "combat-proven" image and low cost made it a popular export success."

CATIA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CATIA

The best CAD program. USA company Boeing and Lockheed using it. Better than Autocad.

Airbus: better as Boeing, making more money

Ariane: Making more money than other rockets

France also having big car industry, liquid gas industry, best railway of all globe. What America has ? ToysRus ? Dead GM ? Bad Food ? Creditcard ? Robber Finance ?

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Anonymous Coward

What are the threats? How important are they?

Resources are always limited. And defence is a bit like insurance - you want to fend off disasters, but it's always hard to see where the spending will be important, and where it will be a waste.

So you really want to think carefully about what threats you want to guard against, in the next 10-20 years, and spend your money appropriately.

For the last 60 years or so, there have been two main classes of threat for the West (I believe) - the nuclear threat - primarily from the USSR in cold war days - and assorted lower-tech threats, such as the Berlin blockade, the Korean invasion, the Malayan insurgency, etc etc.

[Aside: invading Afghanistan and Iraq was not, in my opinion, a good idea. But now, we have to get ourselves out of it ....]

Although I don't agree with everything Lewis says, I think that his focus on these two classes of threat - and his scorn for several of the other ways our resources get spent - is very important, and valuable. And I hope he keeps it up.

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America Problems:

787:

http://www.biggdi.com/play.php?v=L7PxH0-eT_0

Patriot Rocket:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAC-3#Success_rate_vs._accuracy

"On April 7, 1992 Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Reuven Pedatzur of Tel Aviv University testified before a House Committee stating that, according to their independent analysis of video tapes, the Patriot system had a success rate of below 10%, and perhaps even a zero success rate.[23][24]"

British Navy must buy american product , product fails 90% ? Not good deal.

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Ah ha!

Monsieur,

Vous, mon vieux haricot, êtes le Register homme français caché et je demande mon €5!

Sentiments distingués

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NFR90 coming on nicely then

Once the cold war is over we might need a different type of ship of course.

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Oh my.

Daring was commissioned on 23 July 2009, that's hardly 'several years', Lewis.

You are a strange one.

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Stop

who will the Russian's and India sell their goodies to?

Going to war with either of them probably no.

Going to war with one of their customers. Less certain.

Better run that M2+ attack test *now* rather than in live combat.

If you spend *that* much money for that important a USP (which this is supposed to be relative to Aegis) you'd *better* check you got it.

OT. What do the 20 000 civil Servants of MoD procurement *do* all day?

Seriously.

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FAIL

Epic fail, Lewis!!!!!

Lewis stated - "The primary reason for purchasing a Type 45 is to obtain Sea Viper (aka the Principal Anti Air Missile System, PAAMS), which accounts for most of its cost."

Oh my!

Erm, I think you'll find that the SAMPSON radar accounts for most of the ships cost. Lewis.

And how is the SAMPSON radar Franco-British-Italian equipment? It' is not. The French- Italian system is EMPAR, a far cheaper and inferior system.

I can't tell if you're deliberately misleading people or just pushing your anti Type 45 agenda?

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I think when most think about a "anti air missile system"

... they think of more than the launchers, but the entire complex to include the search radar, any fire control radars, the integrating combat control computers and consoles, the launchers, and the missiles. Trying to exclude the costs of the SAMPSON radar from the expense is just dishonest accounting.

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Supersonic shipkillers?

I don't know about the rest of you but I were facing an attack by supersonic ship killing missiles I would prefer to be defended by the system the might work than by the system that definitely won't.

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can't hit a supersonic target

GWS Seawolf designed decades ago could hit supersonic targets.

Another messed up military project. Government needs to start banging heads together and firing people.

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Grenade

Who are we being protected from?

I know the author loves his toys, but really, what is the point of these things? Other than "my cruise missile is bigger than your cruise missile" bragging.

What threats can we reasonably forsee?

Disgruntled Muslims with rucksacks?

Argentinians wanting 'their islands' back?

The French, Russians or Germans?

Get real.

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WTF?

Windows?

Dear God, they use Windows on armed warships? What the hell is the matter with these people?

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Pint

FERRIES are the future

How many old P&O/Stenna ferries could you buy with £1bn? We should just have swarms of ferries blocking every major ocean and protecting carriers with their bulky goodness. They could even double as 'ferries' whilst not on a war footing, and recoup some of their cost. And if we go to war and some get picked off for abysmal lack of armament... so what? Paint targets on them and make a day of it.

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Pirate

Fitted for but not with...

What Lewis didn;'t point out is that the Type 45s have been *designed* to to be fitted with torpedo tubes, Harpoon launchers, Tomahawk launchers, Phalanx CIWS guns, and a bigger 155mm gun, but none of the above has been funded (yet), so that's all still jam tomorrow.

If you want the whole story, have a look here:

http://navy-matters.beedall.com/t45main.htm

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Re: /dev/null -- Yes but...

... doesn't that make it worse? A ship like this should be fairly expendable in preference to the carrier getting hit, yet in cost terms it's a "damn close run thing". What will they cost when fully equipped with all the toys you mentioned?

A "proper" navy should be having about 20 of something similar to this ship at a much lower cost so they are (semi) expendable, instead of the paltry number we're having.

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By how much, that is the question...

....because fitted "for but not with" ranges from just not buying the ammo (obviously not the case here) to merely leaving a bit of blank room on the deck.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_but_not_with

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FAIL

FAIL - More Tech To Kill Humans Quicker

What the feck is this species all about? "Heroes" killing humans.

Quicker "better" methods to obliterate things. WOW. If this is the best use we can put our tech to, I'm questioning the sanity of every developer in the "defence" industry.

If there were no soldiers, there'd be no war. If there were no dumb as developers making guidance systems, messaging systems, there'd be no tools of war.

You can't be part pregnant in this game. You're a killer, plain and simple, if you create the tools that do the killing.

So stop arguing over the "efficiency" of our death service, and starting thinking what it's really all about. And hope and pray you're not the prey, one day. Of course, that’d never happen to you, you live in a privileged country...

P E A C E

PS. If you take my argument to the logical conclusion, even paying taxes helps kill people as the “armed forces” are financed that way. Yeah, so we’re all pregnant. Time to cease this shit, if you ask me.

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Subs

"Does the T45 have any capability against subs?"

Yes. Next question?

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Grenade

Jumble Sale

When they decommission even more frigates as to afford a carrier fleet, there should be a whole load of Harpoon as CIWS stuff lying about on the dock to strap to the 45"s in the manner of a hairy chest wig to make the Daring mariners feel more butch.

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