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’.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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.


andy reeves

i’m not convinced the ship will actually happen, its gone on too long to get to an actual build

barry white

Im no expert but i must admit i like the Babcock one more


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.

andy reeves

i’d prefer a batch 2 type 21

dan fleming

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


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

David Taylor

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… Read more »

David Taylor

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.


Interesting idea, and using the BAE combat / control system would fit in with the rest of the fleet.


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.

David Taylor

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.


It won’t be built by BAE, and with its capabilities at its price we will definitely be able to export them.


(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… Read more »


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… Read more »


Have you checked out Babcock’s proposed build yards? They look a lot worse than Cammell Laird.


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… Read more »

David Taylor

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,… Read more »

David Taylor

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… Read more »


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. http://www.odensemaritime.com/da-DK/Business-areas/Shipyard-performance.aspx 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.… Read more »

andy reeves

the M.O.D has worn BAE blinkers for long enough, its time it was stopped, they’re not the only british company in town.

David Steeper

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.

Andy Cee

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.

David Taylor

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.


What makes you think that isn’t the way it’s already done?


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… Read more »


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… Read more »


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.


dam auto correct 🙂


Yes, I agree, an upfront cost makes sense.

Robin Jacobs

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.

andy reeves

i’m not convinced the type 31 will ever happen, the project to date,doesn’t inspire confidence

John Hampson

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.

David Taylor

Britain, despite the efforts of HMG and the EU, is still one of the world’s top ten manufacturers. Everybody ships in and ships out components these days. It is a global economy that is why we need to be out of the EU take advantage of the huge market. Yes the Dutch will be selling us steel. It was because of the EU, not the Tories, that our steel industry was hollowed out. And one of the countries that benefited from the debacle was Netherlands. Yes the French steel industry survived too because of dodgy dealings that were overlooked by… Read more »

andy reeves

manufacturing for everyone but the u.k


(Chris H) John Hampton – Look the voddie shop in Gorsky Street is now open . Jog on over to the Kremlin, get your few Roubles Old Son and fill yer boots ….

“Unable to build its own warships” While we watch two huge carriers either sail to the USA or take shape in Rosyth ….


Our steel production is far too small, it is a humiliation to use so much foreign steel in Royal Navy ships. This is what happens when the government (regardless of whose in power) wages a deliberate and organized war against the country’s heavy industry for decades on end. It is past time the government gave us the long awaited steel sector deal and we increased our capacity and capabilities with modern state of the art equipment. A report looked into this months ago and came to the right conclusions, we need to make more of our own steel. Come on… Read more »


We produce more steel than both Sweden and the Netherlands combined.

David Taylor

Yes. But there is steel and then there is steel.

Paul T

Steve- a quick check suggests that is not the case,Sweden (4.7) Netherlands (6.8) UK (7.5) Millions of tons 2017 figures.


Steve10, you are incorrect we produce 7.5 million tonnes per annum, Holland produces 6.8 million tonnes, and Sweden produces 4.7 million tonnes.

For comparison Germany produces 43.6 million tonnes, France produces 15.5 million tonnes, Italy produces 24 million tonnes and Spain produces 14.5 million tonnes.


Even tiny countries like Belgium (7.7 million tonnes) and Austria (8.1 million tonnes) produce more steel than Britain.


Here is the report of the U.K. steel industry for anyone who is interested.


Here is Liberty Steel’s vision of the future of steel making in Britain.



Here is the report on the U.K.’s steel industry for anyone who is interested https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668088/UK_Steel_Capabilities_-_Executive_Summary_-_FINAL_141217.pdf

Here is Liberty Steel’s vision for the future of British steel making http://www.libertyhousegroup.com/company/vision/


Here is Liberty Steel’s vision of the future of British steel-making http://www.libertyhousegroup.com/company/vision/


Yes every nation in the world uses imported steel, even the US has to import some grades, it’s the way complex interdependent modern societies work.


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… Read more »

andy reeves


David Taylor

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.

David Taylor

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

David Taylor

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… Read more »


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.

David Taylor

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… Read more »


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.


One minor point, 70% of the suppler chain being British does not mean 70% of the ship will also be British.


Very true, good point and not minor.


(Chris H) and equally it could mean 70% British supply could mean more than 70% of the finished build

two sides to that coin


Did anyone say anything different?

Daniele Mandelli

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

andy reeves



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!


The Dutch have started a replacement program for their frigates together with Belgium. These three navies ( and marine corps) work closely together already. Why not work together on this replacement. Go to http://nlnavy.damen.com/#multi-purpose-frigates and click on bi-national replacement. The design is far more advanced and so are its capabilities.

B Neul

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.