Up to 70% of the Project Leander supply chain is British, the project director tells the UK Defence Journal. 

Cammell Laird yesterday announced that it has built a network of more than 2,000 suppliers as it steps up its bid to build the Type 31e frigate.

The shipyard and engineering services company says it is registering more than five new suppliers every week as it builds its Leander Frigate supply chain. After I contacted Cammel Laird, the Leander project director Tony Graham was able to tell me that ‘circa 70%’ of the supply chain is British.

He also confirmed earlier reports that Cammel Laird has received a ‘MoD Prior Information Notice’ to confirm the Type 31e programme has been restarted.

When asked whether the latest supply chain developments would have any impact on the per-ship cost, he simply stated that he’s ‘committed to achieving the customers’ £250M UPC’.

He finally told me that it could ‘take a couple of years’ before the supply chain is mature and complete. None of the 2,000 supplies he’s recruited will receive contracts from Cammel Laird until the MoD contract has been signed. He also stated that depending on when that is, he may have ‘export customers to consider at that time’.


  1. So a stretched OPV for 250 and government furnished extras. Nice work if you can get it but whether this ‘effort’ will ever be exported is moot.

    • Why wouldn’t it win exports? There is not a lot of competition in the Ocean going budget OPV market. Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, would all be interested in this if lower maintenance and man power costs made it more affordable relative to purchasing 25 year old frigates.
      FREMM is almost double the cost and the other OPV’s offered by European yards are designed for the med not thousands of miles of Ocean.

    • “So a stretched OPV for 250 and government furnished extras.”

      It clearly states, 250 includes the government furnished extras. It is a very cheap ship. No surprise it is a “stretched corvette”. It is exactly what T31e is aiming at (judged from its cost).

      • And we’d be wise to buy a load of them over a period of years (like the original Leanders) to supplement Type 45 and Type 26. 24 of them (eventually) plus 12 TYpe 45s and 12 Type 26s and hey presto we have a navy with ships!

    • I have no problem it being a really good constabulary ship as long as they don’t call it a frigate. Infact I would like it it have nothing more than a 30-76mm main gun, a few more lighter weapons, hanger for wild cat, a rib or two, crane and space containers. Make it as cheap as poss and remove all elements that could confuse the political classes into thinking they are complex warships/escorts.

      • In reality Leander is a Frigate, Type 26 is a cruiser. The Leander is very much in a similar vein to the previous Leander class as well as type 21 and almost any other frigate with the exclusion of T22 and T23.


    • More space, fewer crew. Leander seems to offer greater flexibility for lower manning costs. The only thing I’d prefer would be if they went with BAE’s new IT suite. We need to maximise conformity wherever to keep costs down and improve maintainability.

  2. the arrowhead 140 is just better in every way, its just that it cost more because it has 4 diesels but the Leander only has 2

  3. I hope and prey that BAE do not get this contract as Riga has said above nothing but a stretched OPV it looks crap built buy crappy BAE.. We will not be able to export any of these it about time BAE was sidelined and a new proffered supplier was found for the UK Navy We need Babcock to build the New 31s ArrowHead is a very good looking ship and stop BAE from building more over priced ships It is about time the UK government gave the work to some else other than BAE

    • To me the Danish design is a big ship in service, while the BAE offering is a small ship that is stretched not in service. And the former is still bigger than the latter which I think for a navy that is still a blue water force with a need to be deployed half a world away. The bigger the ship the less need for RFA support, it will be more comfortable for crews, bigger flight deck which increases flexibility, it allows for upgrades, and in theory (if screwed together properly) longer life due to less fatigue. We have to consider the ‘size’ issue is the only variable between the two designs because the systems fit out is already decided.

      For the budget I would buy neither. I would buy another T26. Or look again what we want as I think the answer is either three Absalons to act as long range ‘junk busters’ / mini amphibs that can just about fit in with fleet work (again Danish ship over BAE for that one). Or buy 5 Damen Hollands and save some money. Perhaps even speak to Mr Damen about his slightly larger corvettes?

      • By systems I meant weapons as obviously they offering different command systems.

        I won’t laugh if we buy Babcock and then get BAE to install their command system. That would be a very German solution to the problem.

      • Hard to believe that Babcocks can build a frigate that’s at least 60% bigger than Cammell Laird’s for the same price. Especially when they are proposing building it Lego style at various locations around the UK to be assembled at Rosyth. Hard to believe Mr Babcocks would sign a cast iron contract guaranteeing the price & delivery date.

        • Exactly. The one clear output from the conversation your community has had about this project is that for the money it doesn’t viable given the budget and what the RN wants.

    • (Chris H) COLIN – whats with the repeated mentioning of BAE and creating this ‘bete noir’ that doesn’t exist? BAE are NOT the main contractor, the main shipbuilder or indeed the main supplier. They are supplying design consultancy and combat system integration. You drone an about how good Babcock is and don’t even mention Cammell Laird. Who just happen to be the ones who will bid for, compete for and hopefully build the Type 31.

      The Cammell Laird bid is structurally simple and therefore has more chance to be cost effective. The ship would be built in one location unlike the Babcock bid which has about 5 team members to satisfy and at least two building sites at opposite ends of the country.

      • If Lairds built them completely on site, then they would have to be “structurally simple” because CL don’t have the facilities to form complex hull lines. All the formed sections of Sir David Attenborough were outsourced to other yards, whilst all sections of QE were simply angular, as were their only other constructs, in the form of angular bow, Island hopper ferries.
        I would love to see the work go to Lairds, but these vessels have to be designed around their ability to be upgraded, perform and defend themselves throughout their commission.

        This once great yard, is still in the middling stages of its rebirth.

        • Ian, I believe it is Cammell Lairds intention to subcontract some of the blocks to A & P Tyne (like they did with R.R.S. David Attenborough). If what you say is true then in the long run they need to invest in new equipment, hopefully they will use Leander (which I expect them to win) as an opportunity to do just that.

    • I think there is nothing wrong with Leander bid.

      1: It is primed by Cammel Laird, not BAE. If we say, “Leander is BAE”, we shall also say, “Arrowhead 140 is OMT”. Even the CMS is from Thales, there is no room for Babcock to be named.

      “CL’s Leander vs Babcock’s Arrowhead” or “BAE’s Leander and OMT’s Arrowhead 140” must be paired.

      2: The “1.25B GBP for 5 T31e” is just a 38% of the “3.3B GBP for 5 French FTI”. Clearly, T31e is NOT in the same league as FTI.

      As Arrowhead 140 looks like in the same league to FTI, I think it was too big, too expensive to operate (surely), and presumably too big to be build in 250M GBP unit cost in UK, including support and even training the RN crew (see T31e RFI).

      A140 is also NOT a British design and little using British equipments. If I were the export customer, there is no reason to contact Babcock. I will just go to OMT and try to build it by our own, saying “please do the same export deal with us, as you did with UK”. In other words, even if the design see export, it is highly likely that UK will not be involved.

      Anyway, at this moment, Arrowhead 140 is “gone”. If A140 do not revive within 1-2 weeks, I think it is dead.

      From these 2 points of view, I prefer CL/BAE’s Leander. I would like to see “revive” of Babcock. It may be Arrowhead 120, or significantly “down armed” Arrowhead 140, or some other surprise. Looking forward to it.

      • What will sway it will be the BAE ‘command system’, software over hardware. The RN will be thinking about training and other issues. 🙂

        For me, all other things to one side, the CL (!) offering is too small.

        The Danish boat with BAE command system would be the better as I said below.

        I am expecting a fudge and the loss of one of these hulls at least.

        • 1: I agree Leander design is too small as a (proper) frigate. But, the program cost is typical of a heavy corvette, such as Damen 10514. T31e requirement is that of an enlarged heavy corvette = “long range corvette”. In this point of view, it is “large”.

          2: Arrowhead 140 has (had) no hope for “UK-build export” (export from Denmark may happen, I agree). To make it “UK built export”, Babcock MUST totally buy the design right from Denmark, which I think is a very difficult deal.

          3: Reducing the number of hull to 4 is something worth considering.

          Anyway, I’m afraid, if Arrowhead 140 are to come back, UK shall abandon NSbS hope for export, in addition to reducing the hull number. If it is just “importing the foreign design, 4 hulls locally built in UK”, Arrowhead 140 is the right design.

          • Yes. To be honest I have, even with the T26 sale in mind, no hopes for exports.

            As I said somewhere here we should just build Khareef as is and save a bob or two. Perhaps if we could scrounge enough crew together buy an additional one.

            I think the Danish design is dead in the water. I think MoD(N) knew who they wanted from the start.

      • The IP of OMTs design may have been the stumbling block, they would do the ship for 250m but if you want the design then its x per copy or outright its y. That did not fit the requirements. So OMT maybe having to decide how they want to make money on this, wining the T31 will give the design credibility and increase its potential. Loosing they allow the Leander into the mix of budget frigates with very credible backer in the UK RN and UK Gov contacts to export. In the interest of the NShBS if A140 wins then OMT has have no option to market the A140 without the UK partners.

        • I dunno, Arrowhead 140 is a 6-7 thousand ton frigate, not that much smaller than the Type 26, about the same size as a FREMM.

          Really, really, hard for me to accept it can be built by a bunch of yards that have never built a warship in their corporate lives, for 250 million. And that 250 million isn’t just build price, it has to include all design & development, training spares, service & support for the first few years.

          Sounds like mission impossible.

          • OMT don’t just bring design skills they also offer expertise in improving delivery and performance.


            CL built the Sir Richard Attenborough which is 11000 tons for 200m, the stern section was built at A & P I believe.

            My only other point would be the larger hull form can allow for more equipment choice, think of things like the galley, waste disposal, cooling heating etc the 140 team have more space to play with so can select from a wider variety of products. Leander being smaller maybe more limited and have to select a more expensive product that fits.

            Certainly pros and cons to the larger design but I’m inclined to agree the A140 team have there work cut out.

  4. I think we’re all in the dark and will be until the winner’s announced. From everything I’ve read the MoD are not going to accept anything over £250m. Which is understandable but when you look at the history of MoD contracts the final bill is rarely anywhere near the original price. Hesitate to say it because I have no opinion of Cammel Laird good or bad but BaE are the arch players at that game.

  5. It’s not BAES who would build the Leander. But Cammell Laird. BAES will provide the combat management system used by T45 and River Batch 2s which will also deploy on the T26.

    Surely that’s just sensible, to have a common architecture and technology where possible?

    Like it or not, BAES will be involved in the T31 regardless, but only furnishing equipment, not the actual structural builds.

    • I think typing BAE is just a nasty habit we have fallen into when discussing this subject! 🙂

      As i said above I won’t be surprised if Babcok win and then BAE get given the combat system contract. And I bet they will even find some work for A&P too.

      • The CMS is solvable it could be bought as a subscription rather then outright, pay annually. We knew we needed 13 new or upgraded CMS’s to replace what we have. Deal for 13 should have been done already.

        Subscription is better for BAe as when the T31’s are sold BAe maintain a nice subscription fee from the new owner.

          • I don’t know is the answer. If it was then why are Babcock proposing Tacticos if the MoD ahs already a deal to by 13 on subscription?

          • Sorry, I missed the significance of your “deal for 13”.

            I don’t think it works that way. My guess is that the MoD pay an annual license fee per ship for the CMS that includes maintenance updates. If a ship is scrapped, the license is terminated. If a new ship is built, a new license is taken out. Just like we do when we buy a new laptop.

            I’m sure the CMS on QE is more expensive to license than the CMS on a River class, so there must be some usage scaling involved. Perhaps the number of terminals, or number of functions used, or some combination.

            The Cammell Laird Type 31 director said that the cost of the combat system was in the top three for Type 31 running costs. That supports my guess of an annual license fee.

          • Your probably correct, there is probably a capital outlay for the license and hardware then a fee (anuual) for maintenance. Fairly typical and older model for systems.

            These days organisations are switching to services based software and systems, so capital cost is not longer required. You pay for use, either transaction, user or and metric.

            You can end up paying more but your not tied in with the capital outlay up front. For the T31 this would help reduce the upfront costs and if we are only going to keep them 10 years and sell them on.

            I wonder did Brazil and Chile keep CMS when they purchased ex RN vessels

          • Sorry Ron miss read you replay, your suggesting its pure subscription based. You could be right but I would be surprised if there was an upfront cost.

  6. The bow of the ship looks too small for the gun. Put a 5 inch on here and it will nearly overhang the prow. In a high sea state that weapon will suffer all sorts of damage. It looks like someone has squeezed a frigate onto a OPV.

  7. The UK is unable to build its own warships. The Type 26 program lists steel as British supplied. But what it really means is the steel is purchased and supplied by a steel importer in Bradford. The UK steel industry cannot provide the plate. 20,000 tons comes from Sweden and the Netherlands. The Trident subs are being built with French steel. British industry is a hollow shell.

  8. I am a little confused by some of the hate aimed at the Leander T31. It seems to compare favourably with the general purpose T23 which it would be replacing. Team Leander state that it is first a warship designed to be survivable. So is it sensible to assume that it has the same or more protection measures as the River batch 2 but in a larger more compartmentalised hull? This surely makes it more than a stretched OPV. For £250m what is not to like?

    • Plenty, how can you possibly compare the BAE/CL Leander with a T23?

      The T23 is faster, longer, wider in the beam and has an acoustically optimised hull for ASW.

      The T23 has a hanger suitable for embarking a Merlin, the Leander does not.

      The T23 is built to full naval standards, is the Leander? That is not yet clear.

      The T23 carries 8 Harpoon ASuW missiles, will Leander?

      The T23 has or will carry 32 CAMM, how many will Leander carry?

      The T23 has one of the finest Hull Mounted Sonars in the world. At this point it is not ever clear that Leander will have an HMS.

      I could go on and on…

      Leander may well be a credible design and if chosen as the T31 it might provide sterling service for the Royal Navy but it is no way comparable to what it is replacing, the Type 23 Frigate.

  9. Looking at one of my history book, I get confused about ship types. In the past there was a collection of ship types ranging from corvette, to sloop, to frigate, then destroyer and cruiser.

    It seems to me that the offshore patrol vessels of which I believe there should be far more in keeping with the long coastline really compare with the corvettes and sloops of times gone by.

    In fact, the other day, I was in the Kremlin on the 7th floor down and saw some of the ships Russia has and they are classed as corvettes but are very heavily armed.

    • The labels vary from country to country. Here in the UK today a frigate is a first rate ship whose main job (among a list of other jobs) is anti-submarine warfare. A destroyer here in the UK is a first rate ship whose main job (among a list of jobs) is anti-air warfare. A first rate ship will have second rate capabilities too. Where are current terminology falls down is there no term in common UK usage now for a ship that only has second rate capabilities. The last ship that fitted description was the T21 ‘frigate’, the ship before that were the T81 which was originally classed as a ‘sloop’ but now more often than get referred to as frigates. Note the T21 were gas turbine ships. And the T81 were COSAG ships like the off of T82 Bristol. Note only frigates were initially given T number designations. Finally note both T42 a gas turbine ship but whose purpose is anti-air. But T45 is an anti-air ship too, but it is an IEP ship and doesn’t have a second rate anti-submarine capability like T42. The latter went to see with the same sonar set as T22 and at times did very well at ASW. Confused? You should be. 🙂

      • I truth – this is a very solvable issue.

        Standardise all ships onto as few hull types as possible and create a RN that has frontline escorts (Global Combat Ship) and minor escorts (Multi Mission Ships).

        T45 and T23 should be combined into a single joint platform (T26 hull) that provides high end ASW and AAW capability as well as strike. Size circa 150m, 6-7k tonnes, order 13 built at a rate of 1 every 2 years

        T31 should be a smaller vessel that will take over all other responsibilies and be configured for task, I would personally base this on the T23 hull form and redesign the interior to a more modern standard (think spartan design in a T23 hull). Size 120m – 4-5k tonnes. 25 of these could allow the RN to replace all Rivers and Minehunters and 6 T23 with a single platform and build them at a rate of 1 per year

        RFA would all be based on Aegir hullform as would the Amphibs, build 1 every 2 years.

        So the main surface fleet would look like

        13 Global Combat ships (T26) (4 CBG1, 4 CBG2, 4 Task groups, 1 maintenance)
        25 Multi Mission Ships (T31) (8 GF, 8 MHVC, 8 ASW, 1 Maintenance). These ships would use the Atlas system and also deploy CB90’s and compact C4 as required.
        17 RFA /Amphibs (8 Tides – 8 Amphibs – 1 large hydrographic) – Aegir hull

        That’s a lot of capability if done properly and fully supports the NSS and will save huge amounts of money on spares etc.

        A by product is that we can probably increase the sub fleet t0 9+4 and actually be a more potent force than we currently are.

        • I am already in trouble with your community here for what I say about T45 so I am not going to dig the whole any deeper. I am only passing through because this T31 issue is slightly interesting to me:)

          All I will say is yes with a bit of qualification. We are along way off replacing T41 and T26 isn’t even in the water yet. We would have been better off if we had procured 12 Burke like vessels with a smaller number (say 6) of specialist ASW frigates (for the North Atlantic) with the latter featuring not only TAS but perhaps 3 Merlin sized aircraft and even toys like ASROC. Special in that they give up volume for helicopters and propulsion for sprint and drift not because they are specifically quiet because all escorts should be quiet and have sonar. Our Burke-like’s having strike length cells for long range cruise missiles. There would be a role for 6 or so long range sloops too. And I would back the whole lot up with other capabilities. 12 Astute would be better than 7, but we are where we are.

          I like playing fantasy fleets, who doesn’t? But these days it gets depressing even if you dream up reasonable orbats. If the carriers never see action at least it means there has been no war, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

        • You could base them all around one hull, the economies of scales would probably negate the extra cost. I actually feel that with more autonomous technology coming the GP/Mulit mission hull should be reasonably large.
          You can envisage the ship deploying a system or systems then listening, watching, waiting and issuing commands from a distance.

          • Big hulls are always more flexible, but compromises should be avoided. Ships have inherent utility and flexibility because of their size, but they should be honed around as few roles as possible. As I keep saying all escorts post war (except T45), especially since T12M Leander project began have been general purpose ships. all of the with the exception of T81 sloop/frigate built as fleet not convoy escorts. I blame the RN for not calling T42 what it was an ‘air defence frigate’ not a destroyer for this confusion. This would have help delineate ship types with NATO based on size and not purpose. Finally for the last T45 is a specialist air defence ship not because it was built around SeaViper but because anti-air warfare is all the hull can do beyond patrolling and being a base for helicopters, it will sit at the centre of the group as a HVU to be protected. T45 can’t contribute to the anti-submarine screen of a group, it will never ever be detached to take its place on the gun line, and I doubt it will ever see its Slvyer VLS exchanged for MK41 so no LRASM or Tomahawk (considering T26 will have SeaCeptor in its own silos and Mk41.) If we had built twelve and the financial guts hadn’t been ripped out of the project then T45 might have been a ‘true escort’ like the French Italian Horizons, USN Burkes, RAN Hobarts etc. Nobody here suggests that anti-submarine ships shouldn’t have air search radars or some kinetic air defence system or old fashion non-faceted upper works ignoring radar signature. Why? Because it would be daft because aircraft and missiles are ever present threats. Some here even recognise the growing ASW gap as number of escorts shrinks and the number and quality of possible enemy submarines grows year on year. Then in the next paragraph will bang on about ‘thrashy’ destroyers. Does the collective here think the T42 picket line in 82 were just looking up and a strapped cash RN fitted T2050 sonar and STWS (never mind expensive personnel to man theses systems) to T42 for a laugh?

            This leads on to ‘modularity’ and ‘multi mission’ and suggestions that a small flotilla of escorts will also spend its time, or the same hull, design can spend a week supporting say MCM operations. In an escort I want a ‘good sea boat’ capable of maintain a good speed whether detached or on the screen of much larger less ‘sea sensitive’ hulls. Even these days with VLS you still need good arcs for weapons, and you still need them too for sensors even though these days most of them don’t need to rotate. And with everything feeding back to ops which for a variety of reasons needs to be at the centre of the hull. And so on. If I was to build a MCM drone mothership I would want something different. I would want a large deck area aft for my drones and numerous sea boats; exactly where in an escort I would want my flight deck. I would need a beamy hull. There would be no need to keep pace with carriers or suddenly make high speed so I wouldn’t want expensive engines; I might though want something like DPS and perhaps podded propulsion. The purpose of the ship drives how it is designed and therefore looks. This idea that a few shipping containers and drop them on the any hull doesn’t quite work. Containerised weapons do help with maintenance, for example you could have one ashore to work on then next refit you have one to swap straight in. But a hull can only be in one place. The Danes tried with Staneflex and though it worked better than some say, it, the system not the engineering, didn’t work out. And to be honest I am not sure what other missions there are for frigates to do because the blessed things are Swiss army knives as it is.

            I do see manned hulls continuing for a while yet more because of the possibility of an enemy disrupting communications and other ‘signal’ and EW related reasons. And we mustn’t forget that frigates spend more time doing policing than fighting.

    • I liked the last paragraph. 😀 made me chuckle. I would like the RN to have both, 1st line ships and Corvettes

  10. The Khareef answers all the problems I have with the Holland. Can’t we buy five of those and then I think we should just have enough for one more T26. I would be happy then, well happy-ish. Always ish……..! 🙂

    They could toddle about the Gulf and the Eastern Med leaving the real ships for the big seas.

  11. I wonder if the Babcock team have a back-up plan if the HMG demand Intellectual Property Rights over the hull design? It would seem a shame that the team have gone to all that effort for a ship that can’t be sold by the UK.

  12. I’d buy both Babcock and BAE ships! 5 of each as they navy needs more ships ASAP! The target has always been 30 fighting ships not 19 we currently have! BAE version is a corvette and they would be perfect for UK and territory defence and security. Then Babcock version can be deployed on long deployments with the type 26/45s and the carriers.
    Just a simple observation and no expert!

  13. They still don’t seem to have addressed 2 primary flaws in their design, the first is that it doesn’t meet the speed requirement so wpuldnt be able to keep up with the carrier task group or catch / maintain station with a unfriendly ships and it requires more manpower than is stated.


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