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Future Developments

Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA)
Astute Class (Artists Impression)
Artist impression

The Type 45

The replacement for the Type 42 Destroyer will be the Type 45, the first of which is due to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2007. Equipped with the world beating Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS), the prime role for the Type 45 destroyer will be Anti-Air Warfare. In concert with the Future Aircraft Carrier, the Type 45 will provide the backbone of the Royal Navy's air defences protecting UK national and allied/coalition forces against enemy aircraft and missiles.

The Type 45 will be capable of conducting world wide expeditionary operations ranging from humanitarian assistance, defence diplomacy in times of peace and tension, to war, in climates ranging from the tropics to Atlantic winters.

The Type 45 will be considerably larger than the Type 42 it replaces, reflecting a need for greater versatility to meet the wide range of roles the new ships will be called upon to perform. The ship will also provide a higher standard of accommodation for the crew than in previous classes of Destroyers and Frigates.

The ship has been designed to be economical to run and maintain. Electric propulsion is a major contributing factor, while the greater space makes it easier and thus faster and cheaper to overhaul or replace equipment. The design allows for the fitting of alternative weapons and their launcher systems, as well as the incremental acquisition of new equipment over the life of the class without the need for major rework on the ship's structure.

The Type 45 is being constructed by Vosper Thorneycroft in Portsmouth and BAE systems on the Clyde.

Type 45

Type 45, Video

Future Submarines

The role of the submarine has evolved from the Cold War focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with greater emphasis placed on expeditionary warfare in support of Joint Operations. Its high speed and endurance mean that the nuclear-powered attack submarine can be rapidly deployed to any global region where it can then operate covertly in a potentially hostile environment, with little risk of counter-detection and prosecution. Once in-theatre the submarine is capable of conducting a number of tasks in support of the Joint Campaign, including surveillance, intelligence gathering, land attack using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) as well as anti-shipping operations in order to protect our own maritime forces.

At the forefront of this development is the new Astute Class submarine currently being built which will progressively replace existing Swiftsure and Trafalgar Classes. The Astute Class nuclear-powered attack submarine has been designed to optimise its ability support expeditionary warfare with improved communications facilities to support joint operations and enhanced capability to support shore operations compared with previous classes.

The design that is developing from this requirement will include significant improvements over current submarines including the latest, fully integrated submarine combat system, increased weapons load including Spearfish and Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. It will also carry an "optronics" periscope to avoid hull penetrating masts an external actuation for all control surfaces to reduce hull penetrations and a digital control and information system for the submarine, to minimise costly cabling.

Future Submarines

Future Aircraft Carrier

The ability to operate aircraft is expected to remain an essential component of most operations - be they deterrent, hostilities, peace-keeping or major humanitarian efforts. The ability to put combat aircraft, or support helicopters, into the air over international waters or inland during operations without support from a host nation is likely to be a key factor in our success. Thus the Royal Navy intends to replace its three aircraft carriers with two new, larger carriers.

The carrier and its aircraft will be capable of operating in all weathers, day and night, flying strike missions, conducting offensive support for ground forces ashore and where necessary providing force protection to the maritime group,. The Carrier Air Group will be tailored to reflect the task but is likely to include the Joint Stike Fighter, the Maritime Airborne Surveillance & Control (MASC) system, and Merlin. MASC, which will replace the capability currently provided by Sea King Airborne Early Warning helicopters, will provide coverage against air and surface threats, together with command and control for other air operations and Merlin will provide the surface picture and an anti submarine capability. The aircraft carrier of the future will also be capable of supporting the operation of helicopters in a wide variety of roles including land attack and ground support.

The Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter has been selected to fulfil the Future Joint Combat Aircraft role and, in order to maximise the flexibility that CVF can offer over its potential 50 year service life, the carriers will be built to an innovative adaptable design. This design will essentially be fitted for but not with catapults and arrestor gear and a ramp will be installed in order to operate the F35 aircraft. If required, the design will be capable of modification to operate aircraft requiring a catapult launch and arrested recovery.

Although the final dimensions of CVF have yet to be confirmed, initial indications suggest that the carriers could be amongst the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. The ship build strategy will examine the potential for involvement of UK shipyards and will be determined on a value for money basis, in conjunction to consideration of the capability, capacity and resources of UK industry to meet the full range of planned naval programmes. It is anticipated that CVF will create or sustain around 10,000 jobs in the United Kingdom.

Future Carrier

Future Carrier, Video

Future Aircraft

The final design of the Royal Navy's future aircraft carrier will be greatly determined by the selection of aircraft to fly from the ship. At the core of the development of Naval Aviation is the Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA) which will provide the fleet with a maritime strike aircraft to succeed the Sea Harriers and GR7/9s which are currently in service flying from the Invincible class carriers.

The FJCA will be required to operate in all weathers, with an ability to fly day and night missions, long range strike, support to ground forces and when necessary air defence to the maritime forces.. Key attributes of the FJCA in comparison to the Sea Harrier and Harrier GR7 include the need for it to be supersonic and to have improved survivability and supportability. The aircraft is also required to have increased range relative to the current Sea Harrier and is to be able to support internal and external weapon carriage.

The Maritime Airborne Surveillance & Control (MASC) aircraft are currently undergoing feasibility studies. The MASC aircraft will be the replacement for the Sea King Mk2 Helicopter. The Sea King Mk2 is the present Royal Navy Airborne Early Warning Aircraft which operates from the Invincible class carriers. It provides the command with extended air and surface surveillance, interception and attack control, together with Over-the-Horizon-Targeting for surface launched weapon systems. The MASC contenders, under consideration, include a derivative of the Anglo-Italian Merlin ASW Platform, a V22 Osprey derivative or the US E2C Hawkeye.

Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA)

Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA), Video

Future Royal Marines

The Royal Marine Commandos are the UK's 'go anywhere' amphibious troops and a key component of the future Navy. They are required to operate in different terrains and environments, from the cold, mountainous conditions of Northern Europe, through the hot arid regions of the Middle East and Africa to the dense tropical jungles of the Far East.

The key to the Royal Marines success is their arduous training which culminates in the world famous Commando Course. In addition to this, an innovative and far reaching equipment program is serving to ensure that the Royal Marines of tomorrow are even more capable than they are today.

The Royal Marines have recently taken delivery of the Viking - one of the most advanced armoured vehicles in the world. The Vikings are armoured, amphibious, all terrain vehicles capable of operating anywhere in the world in temperatures from -46C to +49C. They were specifically designed for the Royal Marines as, like the Marines themselves, they needed to be amphibious, arduous and ready to deploy around the world at a moments notice.

The introduction of the Viking is part of a wider re-organisation of the Corps designed to make the force more flexible, whilst increasing its protection and firepower. Overall Viking will ensure that the Royal Marines are better able to provide the country with a fast and flexible amphibious force.

At sea, the Royal Marines will operate from new amphibious ready ships, such as the Bay Class, which can carry more than twice as many vehicles and embarked troops as their predecessors. The Marines will also be supported by the Albion Class, Landing Platform Dock Ships (LPD's) whose primary function is to embark, transport, and deploy troops and their equipment (Amphibious Assault Force) into operational theatres by both air and sea.

The ambitious new equipment programme builds on the enduring strengths of the Royal Marine Commandos and will ensure that they continue to play a key role within both the Royal Navy and the wider defence community.

To download Royal Navy's long-term vision paper, "The Future Navy", in PDF format, please click the following link:
PDF fileThe Future Navy