Rightio, attempt no.3 at the Esperance class
In the early 1960s, the RWN drew up requirements for a new class of frigate, with a decision being reached in 1963 to purchase 6 Garcia-class frigates from the US. However, these plans were cancelled the following year in an act of protest to US pressure to enter the Vietnam War, and new plans were drawn up to procure a different class of frigate. Initially, the design was effectively a lengthened Leander-class, however, by the time construction started, enough alterations had been made that it had become an entirely new class of vessel, though its Type 12 lineage was clearly apparent and the ships still superficially resembled the Leanders. Christened the Esperance
class in 1965, the year construction began, the first of class was launched in 1968 and commissioned in 1970.
Displacement: 3450 tons
Armament: Mark 6 4.5" (113mm) twin turret, 2 x 40mm L60, 2 x 20mm Oerlikon, 2 x M2 .50BMG, GWS-22 Seacat, Mk32 Torpedo Tubes firing Mk 46, Ikara
Systems: SPS-40, SPS-10, MRS-3, GWS-40, Type 162 and 170 sonar
Aviation: Single Westland Wasp helicopter in general-purpose/anti-submarine role
The first major refit for the class come in 1984, and was informed in places by experience gained during the Falklands War. The most visible changes was the replacement of the 4.5" twin gun with a single Mk45 Mod 1 5" gun, removal of Seacat in favour of Sea Sparrow, as well as the addition of Mk141 cannisters for Harpoon missiles.
Armament Refit: Mk45 Mod 1 127mm, RIM-7M Sea Sparrow fired from Mark 29 Launcher, RGM-84C Harpoon
Systems Refit: SPS-49, SPS-55, WM-25, STIR-180
In 1989, Ikara was deleted and the space left plated over, increasing the flight deck area and providing space for a single Phalanx CIWS.
Weapons Refit: GAM-B01, Phalanx 20mm Block 1 CIWS
Aviation: Single Westland Lynx
The next significant refit for the class came in 1994, with the intention of extending the life of the class into the 2000s at which point it was to be replaced by a new class. SPS-10 was replaced by Sea Giraffe, working in conjunction with the WM-25 FCS, whilst SPS-49 was upgraded to a modified form of V(5). Importantly, the old hull-mounted sonars were replaced with a modified Type 2050 set, and a Type 2031(Z) Towed-Array was fitted in the stern (moving Phalanx to the hangar roof). 8 Mk 48 VLS cells firing RIM-7 were fitted amidships, replacing the Mk 29 launcher to make room for Phalanx on the hangar roof. Two of the class, Bunbury
, were retired to offset some of the costs of the refit (Rockingham
had been damaged in particularly violent weather in the Southern Ocean and it was decided to retire her instead of repairing the damage). Many of the new systems fitted were effectively pre-purchased for the future frigates (Broome
class), the thinking being to reduce costs for the planned frigates construction by shifting weapons and systems from the Esperance
class at their retirement.
Armament Refit: Mk 48 VLS firing RIM-7
Systems Refit: SPS-49 upgraded to V(5), Sea Giraffe, Type 2050 hull-mounted sonar, Type 2031 (Z) Towed-Array sonar
I'm hoping this sorts out most of the problems from before, but of course point out any major faults if they're there. If everything works out well enough, I think I might redo the Broome class in-line with what I've drawn here, change systems around and the like.