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Surface Forces: Defenseless Destroyers Curse The French
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June 9, 2010: Britain recently commissioned the second of its Type 45 class destroyers; HMS Dauntless. These two 8,100 ton ships are, unfortunately, defenseless against air attack. That's because the Sea Viper air defense system has continued to fail its acceptance tests. The latest failure was last December, after which defects were detected in the French made Aster 30 missiles that Sea Viper uses (along with a British made radar). There have also been problems with the command and control system, which relies on the Windows 2000 operating system.

The first Type 45, which entered service eleven months ago, has spent that time training, and waiting for Sea Viper to get fixed. The Aster 30 is a 4.8 meter/15 foot long, 445 kg/979 pound, two stage missile that can hit targets as high as 21,000 meters/66,000 feet and 100 kilometers away. Development of the Aster 30 began in 1990, and it was accepted for service in 2000. A shorter range (20 kilometers) version, the Aster 15, is also available. Both missiles can be launched from the 48 VLS (Vertical Launch Tubes) on each Type 45 ship. Sea Viper is also supposed to be able to hit supersonic anti-ship missiles, although no tests of this capability are planned.

Also known as the D, or Daring class, these ships have a top speed of 53 kilometers per hour, and are also armed with a 114mm (4.5 inch) gun and two 30mm autocannon. A helicopter (Lynx or Merlin) can also be carried, and the helicopter can carry four anti-ship missiles, or two anti-submarines torpedoes. There is space on board the ship for two quad launchers for Harpoon anti-ship missiles, but none are currently installed.

Twelve of these ships were originally planned, but that was cut to eight in 2004, and then to six a few years later. The lead ship, HMS Daring, was to enter service in 2007, with all ships in service by 2014. But Daring was delayed two years, and all ships should be in service within 5-6 years. The Type 45 was to be more similar to the American Burke class destroyers, than to the somewhat smaller frigates (as they call them) other European nations favor.

These ships are replacing the remaining six Sheffield class (also known as the Type 42) destroyers. These entered service between 1975-85. There were originally fourteen Type 42s, but HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry were lost in action during the 1982 Falklands War, and HMS Birmingham was decommissioned in 1999. The other five were decommissioned since 2004. The Type 42 were built in two batches (4,350 to 5,350 tons), but all were armed with a 114mm gun, a launcher for the 22 Sea Dart surface-to-air missiles (range of 64 kilometers), and four 20mm autocannon. The last four Type 42s also had two Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems, which give these ships better defense against incoming anti-ship missiles. One such missile sank the Sheffield in 1982. Type 42s could carry a single Lynx helicopter, and had a crew of 312 (compared to 190 on the larger, and more automated, Type 45s.).

The Type 45 began as part of the Horizon Project. This was a cooperative effort by France, Italy and Britain to design and build a new class of destroyers. Britain initially agreed to buy twelve of the projected twenty ships. Then the Italians and French cut back their orders, and there were increasing disagreements over the ship design. So in 1999, Britain left the program, and went ahead with its own Type 45 design.

 

 

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Ike2    Win2K??   6/9/2010 9:41:07 AM
"which relies on the Windows 2000 operating system"
 
I wonder if those Type 45s came with Win2K licenses, or if the French burned that bridge...
 
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StobieWan       6/9/2010 10:33:18 AM
Hey, it's mature technology :)

Ian

 
"which relies on the Windows 2000 operating system"

 

I wonder if those Type 45s came with Win2K licenses, or if the French burned that bridge...


 
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JFKY    IF this is close to accurate   6/9/2010 11:21:55 AM
Looks like Herald was right, ASTER stinks....it ain't the Windows Operating System, running the combat systems on the vessel.  It's the MISSILE and it's updates.....
 
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Martin9700    Patch Tuesday   6/9/2010 12:24:18 PM
Patch Tuesday must be an interesting time for the Brits!  So, let's see, will I completely brick my multi-million dollar equipment today?!  
 
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doggtag    Coulda, woulda, shoulda...   6/9/2010 12:43:24 PM
Although a lot of it has to do with the UK wanting to maintain a competitive industrial base on its home soil,
it's too bad they didn't team with Spain instead a decade+ ago when they were developing a Type 42 replacement.
 
 
 A very impressive design packing considerable capability in its hull (Aegis system and the full compliment of all the missil types it can support)...
 
Back several years ago here, I suggested this was the direction the USN s/w/c considered rather than where it has gone with the LCS: effectively the F100 is the "Burke Light" we discussed numerous times, and uses proven missiles and the known tech of the Aegis components.
Certainly the F100 couldn't get into shallower areas where LCS can go, and can't sprint after other high-speed surface craft,
but the F100 does pack enough of an across-the-board firepower spectrum to cover all target threats, all in one hull.
 
...and at the time, the F100s were going for a price (at least for Spain) cheaper than what we're ending up paying for the first few LCS ships each.
 
It certainly seems that it would've been a more productive direction for the UK to have gone in.
While certainly there would've been no point in adapting the troubled Aster into the Aegis suite, other UK favorites like the Sea Eagle ASM surely could've been mounted onto the ships in the SSM role, akin to how the USN once utilized quad Harpoon packs.
 
Aw well, not like it's a direction they can u-turn in, but in hindsight...
For the sake of their future defense (including escorting the new carriers,...are those even still going to be built?),
I just hope the UK does get something somehow useful out of these new hulls: crying shame to spend all that time and money, only to have its principal missile system be a no-go (PAAMS).
 
Perhaps the ships' radars and systems could be fairly easily configured to handle ESSMs (done cheaper and in less time than it takes to fix Aster?), even if they lack the maximum (speculative) range that Aster was promoted of achieving.
 
That at least would give the ships some measure of AAW and anti-ASM work, and should allow for a bit more missile body length growth in the ESSM airframe (when compared to the booster-equipped longer-ranged Aster 30s).
I don't know the physical dimensions offhand of the Sylver VLS cells that Aster uses, which appear to be missile-specific soley to the 2 Aster variants.
The single ESSM cells might be compatible enough in dimension to incorporate VLS developments of a future mission-specific ASM/SSM, perhaps even an AsRoc replacement (12.75" torpedo-equipped).
Doubftul the Sylver cells have a similar munitions growth potential.
 
Hopefully not an epic fail for the RN.
 
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JFKY    It's not easy at all....   6/9/2010 1:41:02 PM
The ESSM is configured for the Mk 41 VLS system....the PAAMS is in the SYLVER system.  They are NOT interchangeable.  It's like saying, "If the 114mm gun doesn't work out, mayhap a 127mm OTO-Melara could be fit instead."  Not at all, in fact, it would probably be easier to refit for a new gun, the vertical launching system is a major part of the structure of the vessel, in terms of width, depth, length, weight, moment, centre of gravity, metacentric height...and you can't just pluck the SYLVER out and insert the Mk 41.
 
Britain's options are:
1) Declare failure and start over;
2) Declare failure and redesign the T-45 Program around the Mk-41, ESSM and Standard missiles;
3) Get PAAMS to work.
 
1) is too galling, 2) is too expensive AND galling, 3) is the fall-back position.  Do you think that the RN and the MoD and Her Majesty's Government are going to say, "oooops, our bad....let's buy DDG-51/F-100/F-124 Saschen/F-802 instead, after having invested billions of pounds into a failed ship"  Sure that's going to happen.  Or "Ooops, our bad, so the first two vessels were failures, but we want to redesign the next 4 to look like the f-100."  Yeah, that's going to happen.
 
So, somehow the RN is going to have to wangle millions/billions of Pounds from the Parliament to fix the missile problems with ASTER-30.  The only up-side is that IF ASTER-30 is deficient, mayhap the Brit's can sell the fix to the French and other users of ASTER.
 
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cerbere       6/9/2010 1:48:21 PM
"Looks like Herald was right, ASTER stinks....it ain't the Windows Operating System, running the combat systems on the vessel.  It's the MISSILE and it's updates..... "
 
hmmm isnt it the radar that make the update during the course of the missile? beside using windaube 2000 for command and control system is a point of failure ... might want to read the article again man ...
 
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JFKY    Uh no....You might read the article.   6/9/2010 2:34:30 PM
That's because the Sea Viper air defense system has continued to fail its acceptance tests. The latest failure was last December, after which defects were detected in the French made Aster 30 missiles that Sea Viper uses (along with a British made radar).
 
there are problems, it seems with the combat operation system, that's NOT a PAAMS failure.  And no, the missile is critically involved in the update process....IF the antennae aren't located properly...IF the missile can't receive the update data fast enough...IF the missile can't properly understand the update information, THEN it's a MISSILE problem.
 
It's a missile SYSTEM problem, according to Herald, in that the missile can't update from the radar due to poor positioning, in part.  Don't be trying to dump this on MoD or Redmond WA, this problem resides in Thales and MBDA.  The Brit's screwed the pooch in trying to be all "European"....better to have gone with the PROVEN Standard-series and the ESSM and the Mk-41 VLS.  But instead, in order to be Good Europeans the RN decided/was forced to adopt PAAMS and ASTER.  Of course, to be fair, the SYLVER system may have fit in with the weight and hull-form of the T-45 better than the Mk-41.
 
 
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cerbere       6/9/2010 2:57:53 PM

Doesn't look like the radar, antenna position is a Thales design, on another site they mentioned investigating for a munition problem, also mentionning that 20 and 15 tests (repectively for ater 30 and 15) where all successful, problem can arise as long as they are being fixed funny tho that happen with the brits only so far ...

 
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JFKY    You mean   6/9/2010 3:03:11 PM
"Funny only the Brit's have REPORTED the failures."
 
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