Warship designers peddle their wares

Vosper Thornycroft shows off ‘stealth’ vessel while BAeSema announces a light frigate variant of its Cougar corvette

Warship designers unveiled two new concepts at this week’s Royal Navy/British Army equipment exhibition held in Farnborough.

Vosper Thornycroft took the wraps of Sea Wraith II, a bigger development of a stealth warship it unveiled a year ago, while BAeSema announced its Project Cougar light frigate, a larger version of the Cougar family corvette revealed last year.

Sea Wraith II is 135m long and can carry a helicopter as big as an EH101 or Sea King. It would also carry 32 vertically launched surface-to-air missiles, twice the number of weapons carried by the original Sea Wraith.

The new design allows for a 127mm gun, providing a more powerful shore bombardment capability than the previous ship. Like that ship, it boasts a low radar cross section, but has twin exhaust funnels.

Vosper said on Monday it could build a 5m long model for seakeeping trials.

BAeSema’s 2,800 tonne Cougar light frigate is, at 118m, 23m longer than the Cougar corvette. Externally similar to its predecessor, and similarly armed, the frigate’s combined diesel and gas turbines would drive a waterjet propulsion system, providing a 6,000 nautical mile range at nine knots and a top speed of 32 knots.

The bigger frigate would have a hangar for two helicopters, not the one of its forbear. BAeSema said the ship would be built to commercial standards to cut costs, without compromise on military capability.