GAO Report on F-35 FoM (ie Block 4 and forward)

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marauder2048

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Unread post29 Dec 2018, 02:48

Isn't reinforcement of the fuselage pretty much required after you've cut big holes into it?
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element1loop

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Unread post29 Dec 2018, 02:51

marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:You may be making too much of that though. Can you imagine developers of P-8A ignoring the obvious potential of mounting LRASM on P-8A?.


That's very easy to imagine. This is the same Navy that bowed out of JASSM in favor of SLAM-ER (!) before being
forced to buy LRASM by DOD. And the Navy just as quickly killed OASuW Increment II.


The USN SLAM-ER decision always seemed a strange one, I couldn't rationalize it, was relieved when ADF selected JASSM instead of SLAM. In a few years you’ll get SH and F-35C with LRASMs plus MQ-25, which is a much better option again, IMO. And the B-1B + LRASM + JASSM-ER can cover things in the interim.

I'm wondering more if they'll put LRASM on subs where something like it is needed.

I suppose USN could do a photo-op with inert LRASMs on P-8A to settle the chooks down. :mrgreen:
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ricnunes

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Unread post29 Dec 2018, 04:09

element1loop wrote:RAN Harpoon replacement will be NSM, due to weight management of quad-pack loads and they are a substancial step ip from Harpoons (plus it maintains commonality with USN Harpoon replacement choice). Airforce Harpoon replacement will be JSM, as per F-35A planning, plus would not surprise me if JSM ends up on P-8A (and maybe even a new drone).


Is that really a confirmed thing? That the RAN will get the NSM for their ships?


element1loop wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Well, here I disagree. The Hunter class - which is based on the Type 26 GCS which stands for Global Combat Ship - isn't primarily or only optimized for ASW. Yes, its was designed to have a very quiet hull and while performing ASW it can run on electric drive and of course mounts a sophisticated ASW suite which probably makes it the best ASW ship nowadays and in the near future. ... with a very long range and endurance and is equipped with 24 cell Strike-Length VLS plus being a modular ship, namely with its modular space near the hangar which can carry stuff such as supplies, command&control modules, etc... If such a ship isn't designed for long range operations such as strike than I wonder what it would take to become such as ship?


It would take a whole lot more cells plus a lot more air defence clout on the Hunters, plus a dedicated role in RAN that involved hard-core strike, rather than hard-core ASW. It isn't a missile cruiser.

A single 24 aircraft squadron of 16 (available) F-35A with JSM and/or other weapons can deliver more smash in 24 hours than a Hunter could provide in 5 to 6 weeks.

I really don't know why such obvious efficiency and effect-per-dollar, plus time-window facts like that, fail to penetrate during such discussions. if you don't close that time-window your enemy's force has time to take you apart, especially your navy. So where are you now ric?


Where did I say that performing strikes with Hunter frigates was more effective than using F-35As?
All I said and my point was about countering your apparent argument that the Hunter/Type 26 was a mere ASW ship or basically optimized for the ASW role alone.
Now about "using the Hunter versus A, B or C asset/platform being less (or more) effective" that's another different discussion which greatly varies from situations such as the type of target, how well defended it is, how far it is, how long must the assets be on station, is there any base of support for the assets in range from the target, etc, etc, etc... All of this IMO, that is.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post29 Dec 2018, 04:47

ricnunes wrote:
element1loop wrote:RAN Harpoon replacement will be NSM, due to weight management of quad-pack loads and they are a substancial step ip from Harpoons (plus it maintains commonality with USN Harpoon replacement choice). Airforce Harpoon replacement will be JSM, as per F-35A planning, plus would not surprise me if JSM ends up on P-8A (and maybe even a new drone).


Is that really a confirmed thing? That the RAN will get the NSM for their ships?


No, the first hull will not arrive until 2027-28 (yeah, COTS, phft ... fortunately the upgraded ANZACs can cover things until then) but RAN will not be getting out-of-step with the USN, NSMs it will be. And as per your logic (given in reverse) it makes sense that what RAAF adopts (i.e. JSM) will go on RAN (i.e. NSM).

BTW, when the RAN says the role for Hunter is ASW they mean it. The theoretical options of Type 26 applied to other roles becomes moot, but the multi-role config flexibility will be there for lower order conflict needs and peacekeeping/deterrence, but are just aids to the wartime job of targeting and killing subs. They won't be getting distracted from that task by fashionable multicolored baubles. Other navies may use Type-26s differently, I don't question that they could make a fine air defense capability, on par with an AWD, if it were intended and equipped for that. But strike would be very limited. In the end you have to worry that in ten years (when they are finally beginning to be built) the other guy will have a VLO aircraft and a VLO long-range antiship weapon too. Even if you're big and have NAVAIR protection and hard-core offensive options that's still a big problem for a navy. And in this region that will occur much faster than where you're located. :wink:
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Unread post29 Dec 2018, 13:58

element1loop wrote:No, the first hull will not arrive until 2027-28 (yeah, COTS, phft ... fortunately the upgraded ANZACs can cover things until then) but RAN will not be getting out-of-step with the USN, NSMs it will be. And as per your logic (given in reverse) it makes sense that what RAAF adopts (i.e. JSM) will go on RAN (i.e. NSM).


Yes, I agree that another alternative possibility would be the RAAF adopting the JSM and the RAN the NSM although their are not exactly the same missile as it would be in the case of the LRASM but granted, there are points of commonality between the JSM and NSM.

I guess that Australia adopting the JSM/NSM or the LRASM will depend on a combination of what Australia sees fit for its needs together (and this I find very important) with what its allies, namely its closest allies will use.
As such I wouldn't discount the LRASM in favor of the JSM/NSM just yet. The LRASM has a good number of very important advantages over other alternatives such as the JSM/NSM such as having a longer range (I believe very important for Australia), bigger warhead, not needing dedicated launchers on ships (launched from existing VLS, although granted this has the disadvantage of occupying space which could be used for other weapons), the missile used on aircraft being exactly the same as the one used on ships, etc...
And it seems that Australia sees advantages on the LRASM since it's reportedly interested in it:
http://australianaviation.com.au/2016/0 ... p-missile/

But as with everything else, only future will tell... :wink:
As such I would say that things are shaping up to be a competition between:
- JSM/NSM
- LRASM
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post30 Dec 2018, 01:35

ricnunes wrote:
element1loop wrote:No, the first hull will not arrive until 2027-28 (yeah, COTS, phft ... fortunately the upgraded ANZACs can cover things until then) but RAN will not be getting out-of-step with the USN, NSMs it will be. And as per your logic (given in reverse) it makes sense that what RAAF adopts (i.e. JSM) will go on RAN (i.e. NSM).
Yes, I agree that another alternative possibility would be the RAAF adopting the JSM and the RAN the NSM although their are not exactly the same missile as it would be in the case of the LRASM but granted, there are points of commonality between the JSM and NSM.

I guess that Australia adopting the JSM/NSM or the LRASM will depend on a combination of what Australia sees fit for its needs together (and this I find very important) with what its allies, namely its closest allies will use. As such I wouldn't discount the LRASM in favor of the JSM/NSM just yet. The LRASM has a good number of very important advantages over other alternatives such as the JSM/NSM such as having a longer range (I believe very important for Australia), bigger warhead, not needing dedicated launchers on ships (launched from existing VLS, although granted this has the disadvantage of occupying space which could be used for other weapons), the missile used on aircraft being exactly the same as the one used on ships, etc... And it seems that Australia sees advantages on the LRASM since it's reportedly interested in it:
http://australianaviation.com.au/2016/0 ... p-missile/

But as with everything else, only future will tell... :wink: As such I would say that things are shaping up to be a competition between:
- JSM/NSM
- LRASM


Your link's text is thin, there's nothing official about LRASM interest, just some assertions of it. The way you're discussing the NSM option above I'm not sure you understand USN has already selected NSM for both LCS and 'Future Frigate' fleets which means NSM is USN's Harpoon replacement. I'm well aware of LRASMs advantages, especially range, and am very in favor of getting the missile, but I see nothing yet to indicate it.

And is USN considering a mix of JSM and LRASM on SH and F-35C? Thus holding back on the LRASM buy until it becomes clearer which to acquire in what numbers? USAF is probably considering JSM as well. All US air services will benefit from seeding competition for LM product and price. Not sure if JSM fits inside the USMC F-35B, but what a weapon to have for kicking down a door quick, or to clear or deter a surface threat.

A lot of people are concerned about the lack of Western anti-ship missile range, even of LRASM, but if they come by air platforms the range issue is moot.

Consider also that the day/night approved flight into known-icing and cleared for civil-airspace operation SkyGuard version of the MQ-9 can carry up to 1,500 lb weapons on its inner pylons and has demonstrated 48 hours aloft (clean) while the low drag JSM weighs just 900 lb. So SkyGuard could carry two JSM out a long way at around 25% to 30% of the speed of a cruising F-35. An F-35 could then come out to cue it, while the drone(s) act as missile trucks for the F-35s superior data feed, penetration and survival. Thus airforce could attack a surface fleet using far fewer F-35s and fewer tanker resources (able to be used elsewhere) while delivering more VLO missiles from an effectively disposable drone fleet, but covered by F-35A, at least while in closer to the OPFOR. 'Teaming' with a Drone+JSM against ships or against land targets is an attractive platform-mix and weapon.

Of course Avengers would be better but then the price to buy them and operate them goes sharply upwards and they become less disposable nor quickly replaceable.

In that respect JSM is again more flexible than LRASM due to the pylon weight limit. So extended range is not necessarily the most important consideration here as it depends what's likely to be detecting or shooting back at you, and if you can deliver the VLO alternative missile by air. In that example LRASM is not the best option for providing ADF an effective capability at a cheaper price using far less resources. But if some hard-nuts come closer to strike then have a few LRASMs available to kill them first.
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Unread post30 Dec 2018, 08:47

What is confirmed is that the RAAF already had the JASSM in mind when they bought the P-8A.' Smart and not surprising.

See pg 62, para 2.2.
https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/183991.pdf

Not only JASSM but also mid-course guidance e.g. launch by F-35A/F-18, guided by P-8 & possibly triton.
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Unread post30 Dec 2018, 10:03

weasel1962 wrote:What is confirmed is that the RAAF already had the JASSM in mind when they bought the P-8A.' Smart and not surprising.

See pg 62, para 2.2.
https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/183991.pdf

Not only JASSM but also mid-course guidance e.g. launch by F-35A/F-18, guided by P-8 & possibly triton.


Ah, so there it is

ANNEX A
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS AND AUSTRALIAN OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
...
Integration of Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM)
JASSM-MI Link 16 mid-course guidance ...


'MI' is LRASM
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Unread post30 Dec 2018, 15:47

element1loop wrote:Your link's text is thin, there's nothing official about LRASM interest, just some assertions of it. The way you're discussing the NSM option above I'm not sure you understand USN has already selected NSM for both LCS and 'Future Frigate' fleets which means NSM is USN's Harpoon replacement. I'm well aware of LRASMs advantages, especially range, and am very in favor of getting the missile, but I see nothing yet to indicate it.


You made a good point about the US Navy acquiring the NSM for its LCS and eventually its FFG(X) and I was actually aware of this.
However and as you probably know the LCS (both classes) are small combat ships or in "naval parlance" something akin to a Corvette which doesn't even carry a VLS so in order to have over-the-horizon (anti-ship) missile capability it needs dedicated launchers (akin to the Harpoon missile launcher) so for these ships the LRASM is simply not a possibility.

The "future frigate" or FFG(X) seems to be roughly in the same ballpark as the LCS.
These ships - depending on which tender will be selected are basically improved LCS. The US Navy for some reason (economical perhaps or most likely) doesn't want these ships to have similar capabilities as for example the Arleigh Burke Destroyers or even the Frigates used by many NATO or allies navies such as the Type 26/Hunter class. Actually the reason why reportedly the Type 26 was excluded from the FFG(X) competition was because it was deemed "too capable" for the role intended for the FFG(X).
Actually 2 of the 5 FFG(X) contenders (and who knows, among the likely winner) are indeed improved LCS designs (each based on each LCS class) while a 3rd contender is based on a US Coast Guard cutter (again a ship with a size and capability akin to a Corvette). Only the other remaining 2 contenders are "full frigates", being them the Álvaro de Bazán F100 frigate and the FREMM frigate respectively but I doubt that these 2 contenders will win this competition, this basically for the same reasons why the Type 26 was excluded (but of course, I could be wrong).
And it seems to be unclear if these FFG(X) ships will be to be equipped with VLS and even if they are (which I would say, it's likely) I would doubt that they would have anything bigger than a self-defense version of the Mk41 VLS or instead they could even be equipped with an even smaller Mk48 VLS (for ESSM missiles). So and again these ships won't probably be able to be equipped with the LRASM, hence why the NSM was selected for these ships as well.

Bottom line is that I wouldn't read too much on the US Navy acquisition of the NSM for what essentially are "2nd line" or patrol ships as being the Harpoon replacement for "1st line ships" such as the Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt Destroyers and Ticonderoga Cruisers.


element1loop wrote:A lot of people are concerned about the lack of Western anti-ship missile range, even of LRASM, but if they come by air platforms the range issue is moot.


Yes, I also noticed that and that's a point that honestly doesn't concern me much and the reason is quite simple:
If you have a 1,000 km range anti-ship missile but you can only detect enemy ships at 100 km away (from the launching platform), the "effective range" of this missile will be only 100 km (and not the 1,000 km).
And the "western nations" (namely the USA) have in general much better capability to detect enemy ships at range which means that in practical terms the Western anti-ship missiles will likely have a higher "effective range".

And of course, I fully agree what the best way to defeat enemy warships is (by far) using air power with submarines coming in a distinct second place. WWII and later the Falklands War clearly demonstrated this beyond any doubt.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 00:51

So what one can do is to send a UAV upfront. The UAV detects the targets at 100km, the P-8 launches from further back with the range difference being limited by the transmission range. The longer the transmission range, the greater the "effective range". If the UAV goes down, then send a LRASM to loiter and detect.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 08:08

ricnunes wrote:Only the other remaining 2 contenders are "full frigates", being them the Álvaro de Bazán F100 frigate and the FREMM frigate respectively but I doubt that these 2 contenders will win this competition, this basically for the same reasons why the Type 26 was excluded (but of course, I could be wrong).


Type 26 is a bigger ship than most versions of the A'Burke DDG and only a little less displacement than a Ticonderoga Cruiser. The F100 based AWDs are also about the same size as a Type 26. Note also that the RAN's Type 26 version is extremely expensive, you can buy two A'Burkes for the price of one Type 26 (Roll-Royce of ASW so they'd better be effing good at it).

ricnunes wrote:Bottom line is that I wouldn't read too much on the US Navy acquisition of the NSM for what essentially are "2nd line" or patrol ships as being the Harpoon replacement for "1st line ships" such as the Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt Destroyers and Ticonderoga Cruisers.


Yes and no, the NSM will occupy the existing Harpoon quad deck real estate on the heavier USN hulls, but the long-range strike missile will go in the VLS, as a separate capability, which I suspect may be a JASSM-XR version of LRASM (now that Tomahawk is on borrowed time).

ricnunes wrote:
element1loop wrote:A lot of people are concerned about the lack of Western anti-ship missile range, even of LRASM, but if they come by air platforms the range issue is moot.


Yes, I also noticed that and that's a point that honestly doesn't concern me much and the reason is quite simple:
If you have a 1,000 km range anti-ship missile but you can only detect enemy ships at 100 km away (from the launching platform), the "effective range" of this missile will be only 100 km (and not the 1,000 km).
And the "western nations" (namely the USA) have in general much better capability to detect enemy ships at range which means that in practical terms the Western anti-ship missiles will likely have a higher "effective range".

And of course, I fully agree what the best way to defeat enemy warships is (by far) using air power with submarines coming in a distinct second place. WWII and later the Falklands War clearly demonstrated this beyond any doubt.


You're not thinking in system-of-systems terms enough here as an OPFOR sub could detect your ship and datalink a fix to a satellite with location, direction and speed to a surface fleet to coordinate a missile strike on you, combined with an off-axis simultaneous sub attack with torp and anti-ship missile.

So it's better to have some serious ASW capability plus an MQ-4 ISR, LO MQ-25, plus VLO LRASM on VLO F-35C to find and kill them first, at much higher radius. And using own OTHR or a sub or more likely a satellite track to follow them first, and shadow with MQ-4 to ID.

Right now within about 3,000 nm (OTHR's operational 'first-bounce' region range around Australia) the OTHR contact res alone is enough to send out a light drone with VLO antiship weapon like JSM, and fly almost directly to that contact(s), and get a kill (after a sat, MQ-4, F-35 and/or sub had ID'ed it days prior, and tracked it on OTHR or hydrophone ever since). So you need real anti-ship missile range more then ever to see first, strike first, kill first, but the air-delivery from a drone or P-8A takes the pressure off the friendly ships and off the F-35 force as well. The F-35As and tankers can instead go clean up the naval base that they came from.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 08:29

weasel1962 wrote:So what one can do is to send a UAV upfront. The UAV detects the targets at 100km, the P-8 launches from further back with the range difference being limited by the transmission range. The longer the transmission range, the greater the "effective range". If the UAV goes down, then send a LRASM to loiter and detect.


MQ-4 HALE drone can provide a much bigger LOS comms footprint through an upper-atmosphere path to a high-altitude efficient cruising LRASM prior to its terminal phase. That would make for a long-range comms path and missile reach, that keeps the P-8A well out of the line of trouble with a 480KTAS egress back to F-35A cover.

Looks good to me.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 15:31

weasel1962 wrote:So what one can do is to send a UAV upfront. The UAV detects the targets at 100km, the P-8 launches from further back with the range difference being limited by the transmission range. The longer the transmission range, the greater the "effective range". If the UAV goes down, then send a LRASM to loiter and detect.


Warships (namely and mostly "western" warships) have been doing that for quite some time ago, using their own shipborne Helicopters.
These helicopters not only perform ASW roles but also serve to detect enemy ships beyond the horizon so that the "mother ship" or other ships of the fleet can use their Anti-Ship Missiles at much longer ranges.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 15:59

element1loop wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Only the other remaining 2 contenders are "full frigates", being them the Álvaro de Bazán F100 frigate and the FREMM frigate respectively but I doubt that these 2 contenders will win this competition, this basically for the same reasons why the Type 26 was excluded (but of course, I could be wrong).


Type 26 is a bigger ship than most versions of the A'Burke DDG and only a little less displacement than a Ticonderoga Cruiser.


No it isn't.

The Arleigh Burke Flight I Destroyer (the "smaller" and lighter version) has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 8,315 tons
Length: 154 meters

The Type 26 Frigate has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 8,000 tons
Length: 149.9 meters

The Ticonderoga Cruiser has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 9,800 tons
Length: 173 meters

element1loop wrote:The F100 based AWDs are also about the same size as a Type 26. Note also that the RAN's Type 26 version is extremely expensive, you can buy two A'Burkes for the price of one Type 26 (Roll-Royce of ASW so they'd better be effing good at it).


I would say that it's "normal" that the Arleigh Burke is cheaper than the Type-26/Hunter-class frigate since it all comes down to economy of scale. 66 (sixty-six) Arleigh Burkes have been built with 6 more currently being built plus 5 more on order and a total of 82 (eighty two) planned. Now compare this to the 9 (nine) planned Hunter Class frigates.

Basically the same reason why the F-35 is cheaper than most of its current competitors (again, economy of scale).


element1loop wrote:Yes and no, the NSM will occupy the existing Harpoon quad deck real estate on the heavier USN hulls, but the long-range strike missile will go in the VLS, as a separate capability, which I suspect may be a JASSM-XR version of LRASM (now that Tomahawk is on borrowed time).


Independently of what will happen in the future (and no one can guess it for sure), the fact is that as we speak the NSM was only purchased to equip with the LCS and the FFG(X).
So far there are absolutely NO plans to equip and purchase the NSM for the Arleigh Burkes or Ticonderongas (and much less for the Zumwalt).


element1loop wrote:You're not thinking in system-of-systems terms enough here as an OPFOR sub could detect your ship and datalink a fix to a satellite with location, direction and speed to a surface fleet to coordinate a missile strike on you, combined with an off-axis simultaneous sub attack with torp and anti-ship missile.


I guess that you completely misunderstood my point here. Yes, I was exactly thinking in "system-of-systems terms".
My point was (I believe) rather simple which I'll try to resume the best as I can, below:
- 'Western' "system-of-systems" are much better and advanced than the opposing 'Eastern' (for example Chinese or Russian) "system-of-systems" which allows the detection of 'Eastern' warships by 'Western' forces sooner than otherwise which IMO offsets the Range advantage that 'Eastern' (again, for example Chinese or Russian) Anti-Ship Missiles have over Western Anti-Ship Missiles.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post31 Dec 2018, 16:27

ricnunes wrote:
element1loop wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Only the other remaining 2 contenders are "full frigates", being them the Álvaro de Bazán F100 frigate and the FREMM frigate respectively but I doubt that these 2 contenders will win this competition, this basically for the same reasons why the Type 26 was excluded (but of course, I could be wrong).


Type 26 is a bigger ship than most versions of the A'Burke DDG and only a little less displacement than a Ticonderoga Cruiser.


No it isn't.

The Arleigh Burke Flight I Destroyer (the "smaller" and lighter version) has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 8,315 tons
Length: 154 meters

The Type 26 Frigate has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 8,000 tons
Length: 149.9 meters

The Ticonderoga Cruiser has:
Displacement (fully loaded): 9,800 tons
Length: 173 meters


Your figures aren't close to correct as given by RAN itself (or the Wikipedia page).

Hunter Class:
Displacement: 8,800 t (8,700 long tons; 9,700 short tons) full load displacement
Beam: 20.5 m (67 ft)

Ticonderoga Cruiser:
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)

Hunters in fact do have more full-displacement than most Arleigh Burkes and they have slightly more beam than A/Bs as well. Hunters of course have a lot more beam than a Tricon cruiser.

The point of my saying that being that there's a lot of deep wide hull there (for a frigate), for more VLS cells to go in, but RAN shows no interest in upping cell numbers to provide Hunter with a long-range strike weapon or even some more air defense. So clearly these ships are getting the minimum necessary cells to go hunt subs, and defend itself while doing it.

I can see why the USN would want a smaller and cheaper to buy and also operate hull for its future frigates.
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