Steller - Project Spartan – Light Frigate
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) announced that the Royal Navy was looking to procure five ‘light frigates’. These general purpose vessels would support the range of tasks that the Royal Navy performs, from benign and constabulary operations to high-end warfare. The General Purpose Frigate (GPFF) project is aimed at meeting the requirement for these light frigates whilst simultaneously achieving export sales for the UK. An adaptable light frigate design, particularly one operated by the Royal Navy, offers an attractive option to the global market. This approach was re-affirmed in November 2016, when Sir John Parker released an independent report to inform the National Ship Building Strategy; in it he stated the need for a “sea change” in naval procurement and a “modern and innovative design” for what he proposed be designated Type 31e.
Steller Systems believes that a shipyard-independent, export-focussed, high power team should drive the design through to fruition. This requires an alliance of UK exporters to join up UK plc and a sales force with a consultative approach to sales. This approach would involve capturing requirements from potential customers and configuring the design to meet buyers’ needs. The team should work alongside, but independently of, the government and Royal Navy. By being shipyard-independent and focussed on the export market, the team will not be focussed solely on the Royal Navy requirement, but will deliver what the whole market needs ; this in turn will bring economic advantages to the Royal Navy through efficiencies of scale, and will result in wider benefits to UK plc.
Steller Systems has developed an innovative design for a configurable, modular, survivable, affordable and exportable ship that will meet the Royal Navy’s current and future requirements for a General Purpose Frigate (GPFF). The innovative solution includes a reconfigurable aft mission space with ramp access to embark Unmanned Vehicles (UXVs), sufficient power generation to accommodate systems growth over the next 30 years, and survivability designed in from the outset through the configuration of the vessel rather than relying on complex systems for this purpose. The underlying focus on exportability has produced an affordable design solution that will support the UK shipbuilding and defence systems industries and, in turn, will enable the Royal Navy to build fleet numbers.
Steller Systems has worked closely with both the Royal Navy and export customers to define the range of roles and high-level requirements for a light frigate. Engaging with potential operators early in the design process has enabled the team to produce a single solution which meets the most onerous requirements yet through the use of Nodal Modular Physical Architecture can be scaled back to suit individual budgets.
In order to allow for the highest levels of survivability, Spartan has been designed with three separate powered zones, separated sensors and primary weapons and an alternative Operations Room. The CODLAD propulsion system also has sufficient redundancy to maintain propulsion even after significant damage. The configurability of the design allows for the survivability to be dialled back for export customers to suit their needs and budgets.
The main operations room is supplemented by a secondary operations room with space for five operators, either for UXVs or to take over prime functions in the event of damage. The ship has three zones, all with independent power and the means to fight-on should one be compromised. Blastproof doors are provided, while blastproof bulkheads are optional. System positioning has been used to reduce vulnerability whilst allowing for a reduction in capability for design to cost. Vertically and horizontally separated passageways and technical galleries allow for ease of movement as well as vulnerability reduction of key services.
Spartan has been designed with the space and the margins to allow for future growth and through-life upgrades. The design includes a large hangar and a stern garage, capable of accommodating a range of unmanned vehicles as well as future systems. With a large, reconfigurable multi-mission stern garage with access to a stern ramp, Spartan has been designed to be adaptable in a rapidly changing world. This adaptable space is designed to accommodate waterborne assets such as Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB), Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV), Variable Depth Sonars (VDS), humanitarian aid stores and equipment containers. The ship is designed to operate a wide range of unmanned vehicles and deploy Special Forces. There is flexibility in the design through the use of an open architecture combat system. In addition a hybrid propulsion system gives a significant electrical surplus, allowing for next-generation weapons and sensor systems to be fitted in the future to meet changing requirements.
With a large, reconfigurable multi-mission stern garage with access to a stern ramp, Spartan has been designed to be adaptable in a rapidly changing world. This adaptable space is designed to accommodate waterborne assets such as Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB), Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV), humanitarian aid stores and equipment containers. The large hangar has space for an NH90 sized helicopter as well as additional hangar space with access to the flight deck for Maritime Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (MUAV). The hybrid propulsion system also gives a significant electrical surplus, allowing for future weapon systems to be fitted.
Spartan is a highly configurable design that meets many navies’ needs now and in the future. The Royal Navy will benefit from a survivable and highly capable ship that will be the backbone of the fleet for many years. Ensuring that the design remains attractive to the global export market will bring economic advantages to the Royal Navy through efficiencies of scale, and will result in wider benefits to UK plc.
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