Proposed Seaslug Ships.
In 1953 the Royal Navy considered what ships would be required to operate the Seaslug missile system, which was expected to enter service in 1960.
It had already been agreed that the first ship should be the 'Convoy Escort' of 10,000 tons and capable of 24 knots; this was expected
to cost around £9 million with a further £0.4 million for its outfit of missiles.
It had been noted that the US Navy was considering re-activating some of its large cruisers to convert them into prototype missile ships.
This policy, while making savings in the short term, carries the serious drawbacks that conversions are usually uneconomical in the long
run. It had been decided, however, that converting HMS Vanguard or one of the KGV battleships should be given consideration. It would
be quicker to convert an existing ship but this may cause a delay in building new ships as it would use equipment that would otherwise
be available for them. A converted ship would be able to make fleet speed, unlike the projected convoy escorts.
The advantages of a converted ship were: probably cheaper, would have fleet speed and would probably be quicker. The disadvantages were:
not a fresh design, a short remaining life, it would set back a prototype GM ship and would be more expensive to run.
The 'Convoy Escort' would have been a ship similar to HMS Girdleness but with up to four 3-barrelled launchers with a similar number of
guidance radars. The design was, however, already being regarded as too big, too expensive and possibly trying too much. If the need
to be capable of fleet speed was added to the ship's requirements then it would be considered to be very big and very expensive.
A substantially 'pruned-down' version was suggested, with a minimum 'lift' of one Type 992/GDS3 radar, one Type 901/902 radar (with the
possibility of two 'lightweight' versions 'in...system development'), one twin launcher, two twin Bofors, capable of convoy speed plus a
considerable margin. The number of Seaslug missiles to be carried would depend on the weights of the above.
An acceptable bonus would be the inclusion of a Type 960 radar, but the Fighter Direction task would be carried out by an accompanying
If you have any photographs, information or stories about Seaslug, I'd be delighted to hear from you.
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Page last updated: 5thNovember 2020.
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