As Richard Scott from London (IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly) reported, UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon has confirmed the selection of the strike-length Mark-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) to meet the Flexible Strike Silo requirement for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS).
As it is planned, each combat ship will be fitted with three eight-cell modules in a silo sited forward of the bridge. Mister Fallon confirmed the decision to install a 24-cell Flexible Strike Silo fitted with Mark-41 launchers in a written response to Rory Stewart MP, chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee. His statement said the VLS infrastructure «will be able to accommodate a range of missiles from long-range strike weapons (such as the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile) to Anti-Ship Missiles and Anti-Submarine Rockets with the weapon payload being reconfigured to meet changing threats and missions». (http://www.parliament.uk/ documents/commons-committees/defence/141009_SoS_re_Type_ 26_Global_Combat_Ship.pdf)
As previously reported by representatives of the company BAE Systems, the GCS will be a highly capable and versatile multi-mission warship designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defence and general-purpose operations anywhere on the world’s oceans.
With the design and development underpinned by battle proven pedigree of Royal Navy warships, the GCS will be capable of undertaking a wide range of roles from high intensity conflict to humanitarian assistance. It will be capable of operating independently or as a key asset within a task group.
All variants of will share a common acoustically quiet hull and will take full advantage of modular design and open systems architecture to facilitate through-life support and upgrades as new technology develops. This will ensure the GCS remains relevant to future maritime demands and delivers an adaptable design with the ability to accommodate sub-systems to meet individual country needs.
The Assessment Phase for the Type 26 programme began in March 2010 and a joint team of more than 650 people from across BAE Systems and wider industry are working with the Ministry of Defence on the engineering of the ship and to prepare proposals to be submitted later this year. The team aims to secure a manufacturing contract that will sustain this long-term national capability by the end of 2014.
As it is expected, the Type 26 will replace the UK’s Type 23 frigates. Under current plans, 13 Type 26 ships will be delivered to the Royal Navy, with manufacturing in Glasgow scheduled to start in 2016. The first vessel is due to enter service as soon as possible after 2020 and the Type 26 class will remain in service until 2060.
Versatility of roles is enabled by the Integrated Mission Bay and Hanger, capable of supporting multiple helicopters, Unmanned Undersea Vehicles, boats, mission loads and disaster relief stores. A launcher can be provided for fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operation and the Flight Deck is capable of landing a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for transport of embarked forces.
Principal Weapons and Sensors
Artisan 3D radar
Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles
Medium calibre gun
Mark-41 Vertical Launch System
2 electric motors
4 high-speed diesel generators
Gas turbine direct drive
Accommodation, health and recreation services for 118 crew and 72 embarked forces
Displacement: 6000 tonnes
Length: 148.5 metres
Maximum beam: 20 metres
Top speed: 26+ knots (48 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km)