Firstly, I would exhort readers to read the actual committe report. My personal reading is slightly different to Richards.
"What the committee does not identify is that PAAMS is another of those ghastly European co-operative ventures, with the French having the design lead on the Aster missile."
- Much though I have a large degree of, er, antipathy for "cooperation' with French military companies, it is important to judge each program on it merits. ASTER is an Franco-Italian design, for which R&D was completed before the MoD selected it. (As a result, they are paying more for each missile, to make up for - but not exceed - the French & Italians having already paid the development costs.)
"The delays in the deployment of the weapons system, therefore, owe as much to our French partners as they do the MoD."
- The weapon system is in service, ergo it is complete, before the Type-45s are. Although I enjoy mocking the French as much as the next guy, it is not entirely fair in this case.
"The project comprised two separate but linked projects – the basic platform (ship), and the missile/radar complex. And while the platform was a common venture, and the British elected for their own radar, the missile system – known as the PAAMS (Principal Anti-Aircraft Missiles system) – was to be French-built by EUROPAAMS."
- As an aside, these two systems have been opperated (successfully!) together on the weapons barge "Longbow". So any interface issues that may have existed initially, have demonstrably been overcome, which is good news.
"To reduce costs, we could also have shared Spain's philosophy. Put off by the French insistence on a new European combat system, it went for the "proven and ready to go" US sales pitch for its F100 frigate, which features the Aegis system and Standard missiles, the current US maritime anti-aircraft systems."
- This is one approach. But how much worse is AEGIS/Standard compared to Sampson/ASTER? After all, to determine value for money, we must quantify not only the cost, but also the capability.
The former can engage 3-4(?) targets at once, vs. 12-16 for the latter. But is this important in practice?
What are the differences is detection range, vs. stealthy targets? (I've not seen this published anywhere - I presume it is classified.)
What are the differences vs. low altitude sea skimmers? Sampson would be better, being higher for a start, but is the difference significant? (Again, I presume this is classified.)
The Sampson is advertised as being much better in an environment with jamming / EW. How much better?
As you point out, the Standard is an anti-aircraft missile, conversely, ASTER was designed from the ground up as an anti-missile missile. (Like Seawolf.) How much better does this make it, than either Standard, or a hypothetical evolved Seawolf?
"Spain's IZAR shipbuilders formed industrial bonds with Lockheed Martin, enabling it to build its own platforms while benefiting from state-of-the-art technology, delivering ships with greater capabilities than the Type 45 which included Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-submarine missiles – at around half the cost for each platform."
- I thought the latest Arleigh Burkes were costing the US Navy $2 billion? Or is that just due to the US shipyards being expensive?
- Also, Harpoon is anti-surface, not anti-submarine. I guess you were thinking of ASROC. Though in practice, aircraft (such as the embarked helicopters) seem to be the prefered means for delivering weapons for these tasks, in both cases. Does anyone have some accurate figures on the number of rounds of helicopter-carried missiles/topedoes stored on these ships?
- I don't understand the interest in carrying Tomahawk on an anti-air ship. The Navy seems to prefer to opperate its Tomahawks (that don't need radar cueing) from submarines (that don't have radar), rather than having them occupying VLS cells on a ship with really expensive radar, at the expense of radar-cued missiles. I cannot see a flaw in their thinking. Maybe if Tomahawk was cheap and expendible, then it would be nice to have some on the T-45s, on the "off chance", but my understanding is that they aren't cheap. (Nobody regards a Swordfish as being more capable than a Spitfire because it can carry torpedoes, after all.)
However, your main point I totally agree with: reviews of modern weapons programs seem to attract some very silly political "spin" nowadays.