Surface Forces: July 5, 2000


Britain has decided that its Future Surface Combatant must be a multi-role platform capable of a wide range of missions. The original intention was to build a relatively small frigate to act as an escort, but current plans call for a larger and more capable ship. One British official admitted that one of several candidate designs was a variant of the existing Type-45 destroyer. Another candidate is the trimaran being tested (RV Triton), which has more deck area for the same displacement. The original design was intended for open ocean missions as an anti-submarine and anti-ship vessel. But the British now want a ship able to fight the littoral battle, where ranges and reaction times are shorter. The ship will have somewhat less capability against submarines and surface ships, but will incorporate anti-aircraft, peace support, humanitarian rescue, and coastal bombardment missions. Due to delays, the first ship will not be in service until 2013.--Stephen V Cole


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