Another example of this is the reverence with which the non-existent UK Type 26 Global Combat Ship is held. Let’s take a look and see if the respect is deserved.
For starters, the ship is not yet built so it makes comparisons a bit difficult but we’ll do the best we can. The non-existence of the ship probably also explains why it is held in such high regard – everything sounds good on paper! The F-35 sounded good. The LCS sounded good. The Ford sounded good. And so on.
Here’s a brief summary of the ship’s characteristics and how they compare to the US Burke class DDG. Recognize, though, that the Type 26 is not intended to be a functional equivalent to a Burke. This comparison is just to give readers a point of reference that is familiar.
Type 26 Burke
Cost $1.6B(USD)(1) $1.8BLength 492 ft 590 ft
Displacement 6900 t 9200 t
Speed 26+ kts 30+ kts
Range 7000 nm @ ? kts 4400 nm @ 20 kts
Gun 1x 5” 1x 5”
AAW Missiles 48 VLS 96 VLS, any mix
Strike Missiles 24 VLS above, any mix
Radar Type 997 Artisan 3D SPY-1D
Sonar Towed Array and Bow Towed Array and Bow
Aviation 1x Merlin/2x Wildcat 2x MH-60R
The Type 26 is described as a multi-mission, “global combat” ship with an emphasis on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The ship is claimed to have an acoustically quiet hull, whatever that means. One would hope that it means that the ship’s machinery is rafted and acoustically isolated from the hull, among other quieting measures.The ship’s anti-air weaponry consists of vertically launched Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMM), also known as Sea Ceptor. Sea Ceptor has an advertised range of around 15 miles. Guidance is via mid-course datalink and terminal active radar homing. The missile is credited with a limited anti-surface capability against small craft.
The ship’s ASW fit is credible but not outstanding. The inability to operate two large ASW helos is a drawback as is the lack of on board ASW lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes and a quick reaction Hedgehog/RBU type weapon. On paper, the Type 26 ASW capability appears to be on par with the Burke or even a bit below since the Burke can operate two large ASW helos.
In summary, allowing for the inevitable cost increases, the Type 26 will equal or exceed the cost of a Burke and have around half the capabilities. There is nothing that stands out about the Type 26 to warrant any special attention. It appears to be a capable albeit overpriced ship.
(1)Royal Navy news website,https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/july/02/170702-deal-for-t26-frigates,
article cites £3.7B(UK) contract for first three ships which equates to $1.6B(USD) assuming a 1:1.3 conversion rate to USD; already this represents an increase over the $1.3B cost cited in 2016 (2)
(2)Defence Committee hearing, 20-Jul-2016,http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/defence-committee/naval-procurement-type-26-and-type-45/oral/35261.html,
assumes a 1:1.3 conversion rate to USD