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Tale of Three Frigates
different answers to the same question
Three of the world’s premier naval powers, Japan, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom are all building frigates.
Properly defining a class of warship is always a challenge and the three nations do have different requirements, but it is always interesting just to step back and see what different nations come up with to fill the same requirement’s niche.
Japan and the UK’s frigates may seem a bit “modern” compared to the US Navy’s new frigate, but it is important to understand that that the Constellation Class frigate is just the American version of the Franco-Italian FREMM that is an example of the previous generation of frigates that we skipped during the Age of Transformationalism and its LSC spawn.
First of all, let’s just look at these beauties;
Japan’s Mogami Class;
America’s Constellation Class:
The Royal Navy’s Type 26:
Next, let’s look at their basic characteristics.
The almost criminal 57mm “main gun” of the Constellation will remain a very visible manifestation of the dysfunction resident in our acquisition process. The FREMM that the Constellation is derived from come with 127mm or 76mm main guns, that 57mm is just a monument to either incompetence, politicization, or corruption in Navy requirements. Take your choice. Not the manufacture’s fault, they were just answering the bell. Pray for changes in Flight II.
At best, Mogami is a proper frigate size, Constellation is a heavy frigate. Given that the US Navy is more of a global navy than Japan’s, that is logical.
Constellation learned the lessons from the “optimal manning” era.
The Type 26 isn’t a frigate. That puppy right there is a destroyer. A Flight I Arleigh Burke DDG displaces only a 100 tons more than a Type 26 and is only four meters longer.
Japan plans to build a follow-on class to its Mogami-class frigates, which are seemingly inadequate to counter China’s growing naval presence in the Pacific and North Korea’s evolving missile threats.
The first Mogami was commissioned just 18-months ago and they are already looking for a new class to replace her.
This is a sign of strength and intellectual healthiness. There is something very correct about this approach to shipbuilding. Start design of the next class as Hull-1 of your present class gets underway. We used to work that way too. Might be something to consider going back to.