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

The Royal Navy's new £1bn+ Type 45 destroyers, which have been in service for several years (the first is already on her second captain), have finally achieved a successful firing of their primary armament. Aster missile launching from Type 45 destroyer. Credit: MBDA It worked this time, honest. The Ministry of Defence ( …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Daniel Wilkie

    To be fair

    I think that the fact it worked on the first attempt on the 45 platform IS something to be proud of at least, since that is a rarity indeed.

  2. Richard 81

    Oh Lewis

    I was just thinking, "I wonder when Mr Page is going to have another good old go at the navy, it's been a while."

    1. Mark 65


      Indeed, aren't ship to ship encounters normally taken care of by some form of aircraft providing extended radar range? I'd have thought that once you're in ship to ship detection range you're fucked hence they don't need the surface level stuff. Plus they're normally operating in a battle group.

  3. Ian Ferguson

    Well, it'll be fun... see what happens to the RN's shiny new toys when they're 'swarmed' by small fast Iranian boats/hovercraft, then...

  4. Lloyd

    Franco-British-Italian equipment

    Oh good God, you know it's going to rust don't you?

    1. Mike Richards

      Rusting's the least of its problems

      The electrics won't work and the motor will be on strike most of the time.

  5. Rogerborg

    Too expensive to lose, too expensive to use

    Should have commissioned some cheap gin palaces, classified their armament as SUPER TOP SEKRIT to achieve exactly same deterrent effect as PAAMS, and sent them off to show the flag and "escort" some AHCs around the Gulf.

  6. Matt Hawkins
    Thumb Down

    Air Defence

    "Our Type 45s will have no serious ability to strike targets ashore"

    Being AIR defence destroyers this is hardly a problem. If it was specified at the start of the contract that they could attack land targets the design would have taken that into account.

    My car can't drive underwater but that is because it was primarily designed as a road-going-air-breathing vehicle.

    1. Monty Burns

      point missed

      You are correct however, that wasn't the point.

      The point was you have for example, two options:

      a; Car for 1bn

      b; Car that can go underwater for 500mil

      Which would you chose?

  7. jake Silver badge

    What else is new?

    "It seems more like industry taking the MoD for a long and lucrative ride."

    Sounds to me more like the industry, the MoD, and the politicians are taking the taxpayer for a long and lucrative ride. So what else is new?

  8. James Hughes 1

    You know..

    I reckon even a bunch of regtards could do a better job making this kit than the current defense industry.

    Put it like this - SpaceX build a rocket capable of putting something in orbit, from scratch, for around $100million. Of course, air->air requires a bit more knowledge, but £1billion more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Feel like doing that?

      Open-source home-built vertically firing attack-anything missiles?

      It's not going to be exactly easy, but starting out as, say, home defence, or high-tech pyrotechnic fishing gear, it might be an interesting project.

      1. I didn't do IT.

        Re: Feel Like Doing That?

        Yes. Indeed I do. I'm sure you don't mind that I started without the funding, do you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Feel Like Doing That?

          I don't mind, no. Like any self-respecting open-as-in-beer gn00 project the first ten years needs to be spent on creating the emulators to run the tools to emulate the tools to build the tools to build the emulators to run the simulators to develop the steering software against. And then some upstart funny talking continental comes along... anyway. No, by all means, do go ahead.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @James Hughes 1

      "Put it like this - SpaceX build a rocket capable of putting something in orbit, from scratch, for around $100million."

      Actually they built 5 (4 of 1 design, the 5th the bigger version) for c$250m. The first 3 failed. They learned. The last did not.

      Joking aside this is *not* as simple as it sounds. Big jokers are the likely *very* complex radar (to detect and track the presumably large number of multiple objects around the ship) then interface it to the fire control computer to keep track of them all, predict which way they''re going next, if they're hostile etc. Then stitch those together with the missile data link and the missile itself.

      Launch vehicles are in some ways quite "placid" vehicles. Big but changing direction fairly slowly, meaning they need controls that can respond fairly slowly. This is why the OTRAG group planned to use windscreen wiper motors for throttle and direction control. Missiles (especially these kinds) maneuver at high speeds in dense new 1 atmosphere air. This implies high forces on aerodynamic controls or to move outlet nozzles and *very* substantial heat loads on the body.

      This sort of kit is either a pure solid fuel rocket (*very* poor choice for modern low cost launch vehicle designs. Their *apparent* simplicity is an illusion as they need *very* careful design, mfg and test to be reliable, which might have been the root cause of the missile delays) or solid fuel booster that turns into a solid fuel ramjet. This is even further than most commercial rocketry (The OSC Pegasus is 3 stage solid because that was what was available at the price on the time scale and Hercules is a partner of OSC).

      Trying to duplicate this in the hobby field (certainly in the US and probably in Yoo-roop) gets you into the restrictions and hassle of High Power Rocketry.

      Your problems start to *really* build if you want to build a warhead for this. Up to now some of your materials are potentially explosive. The warhead is designed to be explosive. Probably best tested inside a bunker somewhere in Montana.

      Lots of fun to be had for this but not quite as simple as it seems.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up


      Good one

      I am found of neologisms, and given I believe this is the first time I have encountered this term, I shall be upvoting you.

      If however this term is not originally of your divising, you should still get an upvote for using it.

  9. Code Monkey

    Windows for Warships

    Glad I live pretty much as inland as you can get in the UK

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      windows for warships

      I'm sure that will be a comfort to you while some gormless squaddie is grappling with endless virus scan-reboot cycles in the hope they can regain control of the missile that's accidentally heading straight up your arse .

      Windows for warships: I'm a PC and armageddon was my idea.

  10. Ian Yates

    "the command system runs Windows"

    Cue the jokes.

    1. AceBitbucket
      Thumb Up

      You got that before I could, darn.

      What would be neat as a follow-up would be a BOFH tie-in with PFY and Simon playing with their new toy remotely.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows! Can't miss that opportunity

      BSOD anyone?

      I'm looking forward to the coments from the Apple Mac brigade

  11. GeorgeTuk
    Thumb Down

    Agree with you this time

    Its criminal that they should be able to get away with this, the private sector would never accept a project so late without money off at the very very least.

    I can only hope that Type45 and the submarine project is the end of the road for such projects. I am not saying we don't need the kit, I mean the delivery dates slippages, cost overruns and then to end with cheerful statements.

  12. Gianni Straniero

    wait for it...

    Cue dozens of trolls, none of whom comment on any other articles, complaining that Lewis has recommended US-made kit once again.

    1. Lunatik

      Not quite..

      Objection! I also make lots of fundamentally worthless comments on other articles too!

      Plus, I no live under a bridge, capiche?

      1. Gianni Straniero

        I stand corrected

        Half a dozen

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Reality Check

    "will have no serious ability to strike targets ashore"

    Air defence destroyer?

    "no weapon other than its guns with which to fight enemy ships"

    Air defence destroyer? T45's job is to protect the carriers. It was assumed that the carriers would carry aircraft to deal with ship threats.

    "such lamentable amounts of capability"

    All capability specified by your good friends in the MoD. Most of the over spend due to them changing the spec every 5 minutes.

    "It seems more like industry taking the MoD for a long and lucrative ride."

    Really? Not at all because the specification kept changing or the designer had to incorporate dodgy foreign technology that was late/broken?

    "as the delays and cost overruns on the Type 45s' largely foreign equipment"

    Nice to see you identify the problem with foreign equipment. Obviously US stuff is perfect and we should simply hire the US Navy.

    "are a big part of the reason why the navy may not in fact get its aircraft carriers"

    No. The reason why the Navy may not get the carriers is that the last Government bankrupted the UK.

    "and will almost certainly not get proper air groups for them."

    and that will be largely to do with hugely expensive unreliable and unproven US planes.

    "But it won't work nearly as well in support of land and air fighting as a carrier would, so to buy the one at the expense of the other"

    You need other ships to defend the carriers. A carrier on its own is a sitting duck. You won't get a carrier without a T45 to defend it as part of a group.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Unreliable and unproven US planes?

      Lets buy the eurofighter then.

      Oh wait...


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ""will have no serious ability to strike targets ashore"

      Air defence destroyer?"

      Indeed, however it's not a proven air defence destroyer (nobody knows if it can shoot down supersonic missiles) Also in the modern era where you can't be sure what the next battle you're going to fight is it would make sense to go with a weapon system that can be useful in multiple theaters.

      ""no weapon other than its guns with which to fight enemy ships"

      Air defence destroyer? T45's job is to protect the carriers. It was assumed that the carriers would carry aircraft to deal with ship threats."

      Indeed, but again you've developed a one trick pony (that isn't very good at that one trick and has no use other then that one role.) It was all very well having such limited vessels when you were facing only one realistic kind of role, but nowdays versitility is the name of the game.

      ""such lamentable ... hire the US Navy.""

      I don't think anyone is saying that the MOD is doing a good job at specify and aquiring hardware. Also nobody is suggesting that you "hire" the US Navy, they're saying you get the best kit for the job given an uncertain future.

      ""are a big part of the reason why the navy may not in fact get its aircraft carriers"

      No. The reason why the Navy may not get the carriers is that the last Government bankrupted the UK."

      The carriers were in doubt long before the recent troubles due to money being wasted on rubbish like the T45's and the new Lynx helecopter.

      ""and will almost certainly not get proper air groups for them."

      and that will be largely to do with hugely expensive unreliable and unproven US planes."

      We only need the expensive unproven US planes becouse the carriers were speced to use jump jets instead of coming with catapults for normal planes.

      ""But it won't work nearly as well in support of land and air fighting as a carrier would, so to buy the one at the expense of the other"

      You need other ships to defend the carriers. A carrier on its own is a sitting duck. You won't get a carrier without a T45 to defend it as part of a group."

      An air defence ship armed with aegis could have done this perfectly well. Though nowdays the only thing that's likely to get close to a carrier are aircraft, subs and, supersonic missiles. Does the T45 have any capability against subs?

      T45 is a one trick pony and an expensive one. It could have been a versatile support ship capable of filling multiple roles, but it isn't. It will likely never see active service as it bobs pointlessly in our own waters waiting for none existant carriers to escort.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality Check

      "Air defence destroyer? T45's job is to protect the carriers."

      If you can still afford them.

      Reality cheque, please!

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Come again?

      And how did the previous government bankrupt the country?

      Hint: by grossly mismanaging expenditure (on things like single purpose, unproven missile systems and badly run financial institutions).

    5. Anonymous Coward

      reality check

      FFS don't believe everything you read in the Daily Express. The last government did not "bankrupt the country". Though they did fuck up the economy. The situation in England is nowhere near as bad as it is in Ireland or Greece. And although they're in the shit they're not "bankrupt" either. There's a long way for our economy to go before it gets to the level of Zimbabwe or North Korea.

      The reasons the navy might not get their carriers are many and complex. Public spending cuts is just one of them. Collossal waste and incompetence at the MoD are two factors. So is BAe's greed. Bad specifications and design for the wrong aircraft also figure. As does the money that may be pissed away on a Trident replacement. And let's not forget an MoD shopping list which is grossly out of control and crammed with the wrong toys and spending priorities. It's been that way for decades.

  14. Lunatik

    Pass da title pon de left han' side

    MISSING: Lewis Page


    LAST SEEN: Hanging out of the back of the American Military-Industrial Complex

    All these Euro-knocking defence pieces are getting a little boring. As with many things there is inevitably some truth behind this stance, but the relentless awestruck Yankee Doodling erodes the goodwill engendered by Page's bubbly boffinry articles.

    Sort it ahhht!

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      How very odd .... where have you bin, old bean?

      Talking Shop and BetaTesting Turing Protocols for Virtual Leverage?

      You think it has not already been sorted ahhht, amigo? Oh please, you cannot be serious.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      what about giant jumbo lasers

      They didn't seem to work, and they were from the USA.

      Considering they have such a giant GDP spend on defence, are we really surprised they make the best kit?

      1. Mike Richards


        ...the jumbo toaster was at least NEW technology.

        This is a copy of existing technology and seems to have come in with a price tag somewhere north of f-ing ridiculous made worse by - how shall we put it - 'not being good for anything'.

        I'd like to think the Russian and Chinese defence industries were as hopeless as our own, but I suspect their charming attitude of shooting people for failure rather concentrates the minds of their weapons designers.

    3. Mark 65

      Mirror Image

      Do you think that there is a US-based journalist out there lamenting the vast amounts of cash the US spends on military hardware and saying "if it weren't for the keeping it in-house factors we could buy <x> much cheaper elsewhere"?

  15. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Fired in anger?

    Leaving aside training, publicity, exercises and mistakes I wonder just how many of these weapons will actually be fired at a target during hostilities. Following on from that, given the cost of the programme what will be the "Pounds per shepherds hut destroyed[1]" effectiveness be?

    [1] considering the quality of the intel used to target the device.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So in summary...

    blah, blah, blah, buy American, blah, blah, blah, put catapults on carriers, blah, blah, blah, buy American planes for carriers

  17. DS 1

    Euro fudge

    This is a culmination of the lick arse of europe and like it policies of pro EU types. Not that you can't make a pan EU project work. Jaguar, Tornado, Concorde - there are projects. But the problem is that its been a balls up from the beginning.

    I may be wrong, but previous UK ships had mixtures of Sea Dart, Sea Wolf, Excocet. The Sea Dart was air to air, with a limited ship to ship ability. The sea wolf seems to have done what PAAMS is claimed to do. The exocet reputation is understood. And Sea Skuas on choppers back up a wider Anti Ship capacity.

    To make a new ship design this 'fail' deserves special mention. And to seemingly have binned the UK missile defense industry to go with French and Italian garbage, and then not test it?

    Someone should write this on the entry to the MOD. When we build and replace, we do so in a way that is better, faster, more powerful, more modern, provides value, and we will not fail. And I don't care what Lewis thinks, we should do this mainly in Britain, using British talents, and British people. And British money.

    The fact is the MOD is a wreck, and can't plan or make anything to save its life, and this is worsened by penny pinching and meddling with specs. Labour need utterly battering for what they have done.

    1. John Hughes
      Thumb Down


      "French and Italian garbage,"

      Yes, not like the good old Exocet that you're so fond of.

      "we should do this mainly in Britain, using British talents, and British people. And British money."

      Ah, there's your problem. "British money". There isn't any. Since Britain makes nothing that anyone else in the world wants where do you think it would come from?

      1. DS 1


        Well, lets put aside the pathetically low level GDP spend, and the fact that Britain had a missle basis, there are no excuses, none - for a modern system costing billions that not only fails to work, but will not be tested against one of its target specifications.

        There will be billions spent on Defense. We need billions more, but none the less, the billions should end in working viable systems, not floating junk that cannot provide core function.

        Or to put this another way, Lets be clear, a Carrier fleet that has to escort and protect the vessels that are supposed to do that is a significant handicap on the statregic basis of a carrier group. Why don't you add in hopeless anti-submarine warfare vessels and demand the carrier fulfill the ASW role as well.

        And when a carrier goes down to the sheer and clear stupidity of what exists, who will take the blame.

        If we cannot build a proper carrier group, we would seriously be better off having 3 through deck carriers of smaller size.

    2. Daniel Wilkie

      @DS 1

      Incorrect I'm afraid, if anything Sea Dart is closer to PAAMS - Sea Wolf is a pure point defence system, and in general limited as to how many targets it can track by the number of directors fitted to the ship. PAAMS would be better compared in functionality to Standard, and when coupled with SAMSON provides an (better) equivalent to AEGIS.

      Or if you prefer, it's an improved version of the Sea Dart ;)

      Don't forget as well, there are ASM/LAM missiles available for the PAAMS system too...

  18. Desk Jockey

    What has he been smoking?!

    Has yet another Royal Navy press release tipped Lewis Page over the edge? Or has he been indulging in some recreational substances of high strength?! Journo standards for accuracy are pretty low, but even by this low bar Lewis has gone off on one!

    Only one ship of the Type 45 programme has gone in-service (HMS Daring July this year), they have not been in service for several years. Lewis should be able to remember this as he took the piss out of it at the time. HMS Dauntless is not yet in-service so her missile not being declared in-service until 2011 would seem about right. Lewis does not know whether PAAMs has been tested against supersonic targets because the MOD wont tell him! I don't think anyone in the world has SM3 other than the Yanks as funny enough they don't seem to be available to buy. And on and on, but I don't want to bore myself!

    Come on Lewis, stop winding yourself up with an endless stream of Navy press releases and give us some proper analysis! And stop the smoking/drinking, it is bad for you! You need to get that blood pressure down.

    1. Rebajas

      Fountain of knowledge...?

      Wiki seems to think she's in service? But admittedly since only this year - maybe he meant launched? Or maybe this is an error on the Wiki's part? Who knows...

      1. dssf

        Another URL, a photo ...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Sterling? As in...

    Pound Sterling?

    Maybe the Captain's words were a thinly veiled dig at the cost of the project after all? They certainly did a job that involved a lot of Sterling...

    Mine's the one with a missile I made with parts from Maplin's and some old watches.

  20. LPF

    I sewee the Euro Lovers are out in force

    How many Major projects must be overrun and money stolen from the British TaxPayer before we do something, why is it we always pay more for lass ? A destroyer , should minimum have anti air and surface to surface capabiitty, how the hell can we build a ship so big and yet not be able to launch surface to surface misslies , Compared to the Arleigh Burke, they are a joke and cost more!

    By the way how comes the cost of the carriers doubled in what a year? Ithought they were going to cost 2.5 billion ?

  21. Cunningly Linguistic
    Thumb Down

    It's a shame...

    that the £1bn+ couldn't have been used for something actually useful, e.g. cancer treatment/research etc.

  22. Rebajas

    I should think...

    I should think/hope the point he is trying to make is that in this world having a destroyer specific for the task of air support is quite short sighted.

    Who still has an Air Force that isn't on our side?

    As for missile defense, if that is all it is going to be doing you'd want the most proven trusted system regardless of country of origin - buying American might have spared us enough cash to develop something else? Posssibly even something that we could export to the US and make some cash back...

    On the other hand; Windows?

    1. Death Boffin

      Who indeed?

      >Who still has an Air Force that isn't on our side?



      Come to think of it, Vladimir Putin hasn't been too friendly lately.

      And France of course.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    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>)

  24. Gary F

    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.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      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.

  25. Mike Richards

    Depressing isn't it?

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

  26. Luther Blissett

    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?"

  27. Joe User
    Thumb Down

    "the command system runs Windows"

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

    1. Goat Jam

      For the Win

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

  28. Anonymous Coward

    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.

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    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.

  30. two00lbwaster

    It all sounds very familiar.

    I wonder if they tested the missiles against the Mirach 100/5 towed targets at 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 :-(

  31. Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Marcus Aurelius


      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.

      1. Jay 2
        Thumb Up

        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.

        1. Marcus Aurelius

          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.

  32. JaitcH

    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?

    1. arkhangelsk

      To be fair

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

    2. Thomas82

      Don't believe all you read!!!

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

    3. James 6

      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.

  33. JonathonS

    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.

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      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,

  34. Eduard Coli

    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.

  35. peter collard

    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.

  36. Deadly_NZ
    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





  37. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  38. troc wang

    French Technologie really work !

    HMS Seffield:

    US Ship "Stark"

    "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."


    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 ?

  39. troc wang

    America Problems:


    Patriot Rocket:

    "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.

    1. Colin Mountford

      Ah ha!


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

      Sentiments distingués

  40. Brian Sherwood Jones

    NFR90 coming on nicely then

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

  41. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    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?


  42. Thomas82

    Oh my.

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

    You are a strange one.

  43. Stefing

    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.

  44. Thomas82

    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?

    1. arkhangelsk

      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.

  45. TkH11

    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.

  46. Magnus_Pym

    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.

  47. Bilgepipe


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

  48. sam 38

    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.

  49. /dev/null

    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:

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      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.

    2. arkhangelsk

      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.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    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.

  51. Matt Hawkins


    "Does the T45 have any capability against subs?"

    Yes. Next question?

  52. Hugo CHAV

    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.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022