Global Combat Ship
BAE Systems design concept as of late 2015
|Name:||Global Combat Ship|
|Builders:||BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships|
|Preceded by:||Type 23 frigate|
|Cost:||£8bn programme cost (2016 est.)|
|Built:||From 2016 (planned)|
|In service:||Mid-2020s (planned)|
|Displacement:||6,900 t (6,800 long tons; 7,600 short tons), 8,000+ t full load|
|Length:||149.9 m (492 ft)|
|Beam:||20.8 m (68 ft)|
|Speed:||In excess of 26 kn (48 km/h; 30 mph)|
|Range:||7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) in Electric-Motor (EM) drive|
|Complement:||118 (capacity for 208)|
|IRVIN-GQ DLF decoys|
|Notes:||Flexible mission bay|
The Global Combat Ship (GCS) is a ship design and construction programme of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom, to partially replace the thirteen Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and for export. The Royal Navy variant is known as the Type 26 frigate and is principally designed for anti-submarine warfare, featuring an acoustically quiet hull and the powerful Sonar 2087 towed array.
The programme began in 1998, under what was then known as the Future Surface Combatant (FSC). However, by March 2010, this procurement programme had evolved to become the Global Combat Ship, following the announcement of a four-year, £127 million design contract being awarded to BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships. The design passed Main Gate 1 in early 2015, with Demonstration Phase starting 1 April 2015. In August 2015 the first long lead items for Type 26 were ordered, with manufacturing expected to begin in 2016 and the first Type 26 to be delivered in 2023.
Future Surface Combatant
The Global Combat Ship started development under the original Future Surface Combatant (FSC) programme intended to replace the Royal Navy's Type 22 and Type 23 frigates. Planning for a replacement escort vessel started in 1998 with the ordering of a research vessel, the RV Triton, to study whether a trimaran design was practical for such a large and complex vessel. However, by the early 2000s it was apparently obvious the Royal Navy favoured more conventional designs. In March 2005, plans were released for a two-class solution, a cheaper "Medium Sized Vessel Derivative" entering service in 2016–19 and a more capable "Versatile Surface Combatant" entering service around 2023.
In early 2006 the MoD started a Sustained Surface Combatant Capability (S2C2) programme which explored synergies between the FSC and other needs, for minesweepers, patrol ships and survey ships. By early 2007 this had crystallised into the three requirements; C1, C2 and C3. The C1 was to be an anti-submarine warfare task group enabled platform and would displace around 6,000 tonnes. C2 was to be a more general purpose platform displacing somewhere in the region of 4-5,000 tonnes, and C3 was to be a Global Corvette to replace a larger number of smaller vessels in service, such as minesweepers, patrol and survey ships. The Global Corvette was to displace around 2-3,000 tonnes. The C3 concept found its roots in early 2004 when the MoD issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a smaller class of ship known as the Global Corvette. Low running costs and the ability to operate forward in shallow, coastal areas where larger ships cannot, were both important. BAE Systems, VT Group, Thales and Rolls-Royce responded in autumn 2004 with concepts ranging from a well equipped Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of 1,500 tonnes to an advanced and very capable "corvette" of 3,000 tonnes, along the lines of the USN's Littoral Combat Ship programme (LCS).
The FSC concept was brought forward in the 2008 budget, at the expense of options for two Type 45 destroyers not being taken up (ships 7 and 8). In 2009 BAE Systems received a contract to design the C1 and C2 frigates with a planned 25-year life. A total of 18 vessels (10 C1 and 8 C2) were planned to enter service from 2020, at a pace of roughly one per year. In early 2010 the C3 variant was dropped in favour of the Mine Countermeasures, Hydrography and Patrol Capability (MHPC) programme.
Global Combat Ship
Official mention of the Future Surface Combatant had all but disappeared by 2010, and on 25 March of that year BAE Systems were given a four-year, £127 million contract by the Ministry of Defence to fully design a new class of warship, the "Global Combat Ship", previously C1 of the FSC. Expectations at the time were for the first ship to be "in service" by 2021. The October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reaffirmed the government's commitment to the Global Combat Ship, saying; "As soon as possible after 2020 the Type 23 will be replaced by Type 26 frigates, designed to be easily adapted to change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances". As part of the defence review it was also announced that the remaining Type 22 frigates would be decommissioned without replacement, reducing the Royal Navy's escort fleet from 23 destroyers and frigates to 19 (6 Type 45 destroyers and 13 Type 23 frigates).
BAE's original working baseline for the Global Combat Ship design was a vessel 141 metres long with a displacement of 6,850 tonnes and a range of 7,000 nautical miles at 18 knots. However, on 30 November 2010 it was reported that the specifications had been pared down, in effort to reduce the cost from £500M to £250-350M per ship. Subsequently, new specification details began to emerge of a smaller 5,400 tonne ship emphasising flexibility and modularity. Unlike the FSC, the Global Combat Ship has only one hull design. However like the Franco-Italian family of FREMM multipurpose frigates, three versions are proposed for export: a design optimised for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), an anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) variant, and a general purpose (GP) variant.
Although a decision was made in November of 2010 to reduce the specifications and capability requirements of the Global Combat Ship design, BAE's design concepts by 2014 had returned to their original working baseline of a large 6,900 tonne warship. In February 2015, the MoD and BAE Systems signed a contract worth £859 million to continue the development phase and to support progression towards the manufacturing phase. In September 2015, the programme cost was estimated at £11.5 billion, for what was then assumed to be for 13 Global Combat Ship.
The Global Combat Ship has been designed from the onset with export in mind. In September 2010, the British and Brazilian governments reached a defence agreement, including the potential sale of five or six Global Combat Ships to the Brazilian Navy. The following month, BAE Systems formally made a detailed proposal to the Brazilian Navy, for a package including the Global Combat Ship as well as variants of the Wave Knight-class tanker and River-class patrol vessel.
During a House of Commons debate on 31 January 2011, it was revealed that Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Turkey had all expressed interest in collaborating on the Global Combat Ship, and that the UK was in "close discussion" with Canada. However, a Canadian union campaigned that the Global Combat Ship threatened Canadian shipbuilders, and in the run-up to the May 2011 election a spokesman for the Canadian Defence Minister ruled out involvement with the British programme. Turkey also later rejected the design in 2012 as not meeting its requirements. Although Canada had previously ruled out partnership with the British programme, in May 2016 IHS Janes reported that the Global Combat Ship was still one of the contenders for the Canadian Surface Combatant requirement.
In August 2011, the British government, together with BAE Systems, was considering entering into partnership with the Indian MoD and private defence shipyards in India to jointly design and construct the Global Combat Ship.
The governments of the United Kingdom and Australia had previously been exploring the potential for cooperation on the C1 and C3 designs of the Future Surface Combatant, which corresponded closely to the Royal Australian Navy's requirements in replacing its Anzac-class frigates with a new class of frigate. The two countries signed a defence cooperation treaty in January 2013 and Australia pledged cooperation on the Global Combat Ship design in order to investigate its suitability for their own procurement programme. In April 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the Global Combat Ship was one of three designs shortlisted for the replacement of Anzac-class frigates.
In July 2015, Defense News reported that the German government may invite BAE to submit the Global Combat Ship design as part of a tender for the German Navy's multirole combat ship MKS180 programme. Other European ship builders may also submit bids and compete with German companies for the contract.
Global Combat Ship is designed with modularity and flexibility in mind to enhance versatility across the full range of operations, including maritime security, counter piracy, counter terrorist and humanitarian and disaster relief operations. As of 2016, BAE's website suggests a displacement of 6,900 tonnes, a length of 149.9 metres, a beam of 20.8 metres and a top speed in excess of 26 knots (48 km/h). Global Combat Ship will have a core crew of 118 with room for a total of 208. Global Combat Ship is designed for up to 60 days' endurance and a range of approximately 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km). Located at the stern are facilities allowing for the deployment of rigid-hulled inflatable boats, unmanned surface vehicles or a towed array sonar. A large Integrated Mission Bay and Hanger is located amidship, enabling a variety of missions and associated equipment. Aircraft similar in size to the Boeing Chinook can be flown off the large flight deck, and the hangar can accommodate up to two helicopters the size of a Wildcat or Merlin. The hangar also has space to accommodate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
The Royal Navy's version of the Global Combat Ship is referred to as the Type 26 frigate. This variant will be equipped with the Type 997 Artisan 3D search radar and Sea Ceptor (CAMM) air-defence missiles launched via 48 VLS canisters. An additional 24-cell Mark 41 "strike-length VLS" is positioned forward of the bridge capable of firing missiles such as the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile, a future anti-ship missile, or quad packed Sea Ceptor missiles. Like the Type 23 frigate it will replace, Global Combat Ship will have an acoustically quiet hull for anti-submarine warfare and fitted with a Thales Underwater Systems Type 2050 bow sonar and a powerful Sonar 2087 towed array. Global Combat Ship will also be fitted with guns of various calibres. Instead of the RN's current 4.5 inch Mark 8 naval gun, Global Combat Ship is expected to be equipped with a NATO-standard BAE 5 inch Mark 45 naval gun. Smaller guns include two Phalanx CIWS, two 30mm DS30M Mark 2 Automated Small Calibre Guns and a number of miniguns and general-purpose machine guns.
The propulsion system of the RN ships will have a gas turbine direct drive and four high speed diesel generators driving two electric motors in a CODLOG configuration. In 2012 Rolls Royce repackaged the MT30 used in the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers so that it would fit into smaller ships, and it is likely Global Combat Ship will use the MT30. BAE have suggested that some customers will install gas turbine engines and others will prefer to sacrifice 2–3 knots of speed by choosing cheaper diesel engines. The choice of CODLOG configuration for propulsion is somewhat surprising as it is a simpler version of the CODLAG propulsion used on the Type 23 which this ship is to replace, and both of the Global Combat Ship's design contemporaries – the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier and the Type 45 destroyer – use integrated electric propulsion (IEP).
Ships of the class
The original planning assumption for the Royal Navy was for thirteen Global Combat Ships (eight ASW and five GP), replacing the Type 23 frigate fleet like-for-like. However, it was later announced during the November 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review by Prime minister David Cameron that only the eight anti-submarine warfare Type 26 frigates would be ordered. The funding for the remaining five general purpose Type 26 frigates is instead to be spent on developing a new class of lighter and more affordable general purpose frigates (GPFF). Due to an expected lower cost, the government suggested it may allow an eventual increase in the total number of frigates in the Royal Navy. This general purpose frigate will be designated as the Type 31 frigate. In July 2016, BAE revealed two general purpose frigate designs to meet the requirement; the Avenger-class and the Cutlass-class.
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