Hope the rant in my above post makes sense as far as why these designs are my effort to make good-bad designs. I just hope my skills are up to the task.
(I recommend reading my last post on the page prior for you to understand what I mean.)
So the general idea I've been developing has been for my fleet to build off the previous frigate class of the Philip Francis Little's
onward up to modern times. I've also been taken with the way the Indian Navy ordered their own versions of the Leanders
which they then used to develop their own designed Godavari
, which then turned into the Brahmaputra's
. One design developed into another which then another, all of which kept the same kind kind of feel as they were developed from the same foundation. I've also thought that that was a very reasoned and thoughtful way to develop a design and class, and while it was because of the IN's unique position, I thought I could nick the concept for my fleet.
So, without further ado, my next design for your pleasure and my excoriation.
As the Cold War progressed, and the Philip Francis Little
class of frigates were serving the RNFN, it was already determined that a new design was needed to supplement and replace these somewhat-wanting ships. However, faced again with the prospect of choosing between the available ship classes did not strike the Commodores of the fleet as a grand concept. The Leander's
, while fantastic vessels, were expensive and also limited to certain tasks without extensive modifications. The fleet toyed with the idea of ordering modified Garcia's
, but negotiations had stalled with the USN over modifying the design. Once again faced with the choice of designing their own ship or purchasing another's, and despite the result of the previous attempt, it was decided to order their own design to be built.
The naval designers quickly faced the problem of how to design a ship that could fit their needs. As the Little's
were still only really best suited for escort work, it was decided to build a supplemental and replacement class that could serve this purpose, but also serve as better sub hunter-killers. It was decided that while the "Type 26's" had their failings, they could at least serve as the springboard for a new class. Expanding the hull size dramatically, as well as the engine capacity, weapons, and electronic suite generated what the fleet dubbed the Caen
(My previous 70's-ish ships were named for WWI battles the Royal NL Regiment fought, this time I'd use WWII battles. History!)
HMNFS Caen, 1972
The three vessels of the class were designed to be far more capable ASW and GP ships to serve both as the lead ships of convoy's or task groups, and also serve as far more capable sub hunters than the Littles
, which were more for local anti-sub defence.
The class were upgraded to an Oto Melara 76mm main gun. This was supplemented by the ships' main armaments, the four boxed Ikara ASW missile launchers. These were paired with two triple torpedo tubes, a helo-deck and hangar for a Sea King or Wasp helicopter, and a hull and towed-sonar suite unique to these vessels. Rounded out with a Bofors ASW rocket launcher and two quad Sea Cat launchers, these ships were considered a very formidable ASW ship which were also far more capable of defending themselves than before.
While a bit top-heavy, and prone to rolling, the ships did feature a far more robust and effective engine (and twin screw!) arrangement than gave these ships a more capable 28kt speed.
HMNFS Caen, 1989
The ships were the main vessels of the fleet, and as the Navy moved away from a hi-low concept to a more modern surface combatant-patrol vessel mentality, the Caen's
were updated to extend their lifetime and make them more effective weapons platforms. By the end of the Cold War, these vessels had seen some minor modifications made, primarily to the armaments. The Bofors rockets and Sea Cats were scrapped in favour of the Sea Wolf missile. A standard launcher on the bow, coupled with a lightweight quad launcher on the hangar roof, made these ships much more capable in terns of area defence, and extended their usefulness into the 1990's.
HMNFS Caen, 2001
The ships served the fleet faithfully into the 90's and 2000's as they awaited their long sought-after replacements. The Navy continued to make weapons and sensor modifications to keep them relevant with the changing nature of their work. The aft Sea Wolf was replaced with a Phalanx CIWS, and the Ikara's were replaced with two quad Harpoon launchers while the Navy awaited the development of the Narwhal ASW missile. Finally, the Plessey AWS-4 radar was upgraded to the AWS-6, giving the ships a vitally needed 3d radar picture.
The workhorses of the RNFN, these ships were put through their paces throughout their lifetime, and when retired were truly worn out but happy ships. Larger and more comfortable than their predecessors, their tendency to not weather the waters of the North Atlantic the most spectacularly, they were still considered a pleasure to serve aboard and were a note of pride for the sailors who sailed them. Especially those who had previously served on the Little's
. These ships really helped the RNFN come into it's own as, with the RNFAF, one of the most capable ASW forces in NATO, they were each given dignified ends. Two were scuttled as dive wrecks off the shores of Newfoundland, while Caen
was docked in Bonavista to serve as a museum to the fleet.
HMNFS Caen, F88
HMNFS Ardennes, F86
HMNFS Monte Cassino, F87