Future 'Black Swan' class sloop of war: a group system (JCN 1/12)

The aim of this JCN is to act as a catalyst for a conceptually led change to procurement and the employment of future maritime capabilities.

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The aim of this Joint Concept Note is to act as a catalyst for a conceptually led change to both the procurement and the employment of future maritime capabilities with investment in systems not platforms.

The future ‘Black Swan’ class sloop-of-war is a manned ship that will act as the core for a group of manned and unmanned platforms which, as an integrated system, will provide the units of power required by those surface assets tasked with the protection of Sea Lines of Communication and sea control. At an acceptable financial cost, operating in groups, the sloops will provide both the quantity of platforms and the quality of systems that will be demanded of the Royal Navy in the future operating environment. In operations other than war, the increased hull numbers will provide the capabilities required to fulfil the maritime security tasks demanded by a maritime nation as well as the global presence required to engage with the international community.

The name of the concept is drawn from the ‘Black Swan’ and modified ‘Black Swan’ class sloop-of-war, which were built during World War II to protect shipping and gain sea control. Like this concept, the key to the tactical proficiency of the sloops was not the single ship but rather the ‘group system’ with capability measured collectively in groups rather than individually in single platforms. The most famous of these being Captain Johnnie Walker’s 2nd Support Group, which - comprising of six ‘Black Swan’ class sloops - was the most successful anti-submarine group of the war.

Published 4 May 2012