Babcock International has signed a contract for five Type 31e Frigates.

It is understood that the cost will be £250 million per ship, or £1.25 billion in total.

The frigates will be assembled at the Babcock facility in Rosyth, news of this award has driven up Babcock share prices according to financial outlets.

More on this as it’s confirmed.

Earlier in the year, it was announced that Babcock was the preferred bidder to build five Type 31e Frigates for the Royal Navy in Rosyth, Scotland.

Babcock’s consortium beat a BAE-led team and another led by Atlas Elektronik UK to clinch the £1.25bn deal for five ships.

The Type 31e Frigate is expected to sit at 5,700 tonnes and 138.7 metres in length, for a more in-depth look at the design of the vessel please click here.

According to Babcock in a statement earlier in the year:

“Following a comprehensive competitive process, Arrowhead 140, a capable, adaptable and technology-enabled global frigate will be the UK Royal Navy’s newest class of warships, with the first ship scheduled for launch in 2023. At its height the programme will maximise a workforce of around 1250 highly- skilled roles in multiple locations throughout the UK, with around 150 new technical apprenticeships likely to be developed. The work is expected to support an additional 1250 roles within the wider UK supply chain.

With Babcock’s Rosyth facility as the central integration site, the solution provides value for money and squarely supports the principles of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. It builds on the knowledge and expertise developed during the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier modular build programme.”

Babcock had previously warned that 450 jobs could be lost at Rosyth if it didn’t get the work.

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Barry White


colin joned

if it is a carrot it’s a nice carrot


Will the Ships be able to operate in,TEPID,WARM,HOT WATERS????


Now double the order, to actually represent what the RN need.


Exactly, we need 5 more minimum.


With all of the new weapons development ongoing to counter peer adversaries (cough cough – China – not so much Russia). I wonder if they’ll do a midcycle review before things are set in stone to see if the RN could upgun these vessels with the latest tech. Especially if it’s cheaper and more effective to do so. The open architecture of these vessels should allow it (yes… I KNOW – pipe dream).



Hypersonic missiles are going to be challenge for even the most modern warships. The type 31 needs some serious up-gunning in my opinion, or something like a simple torpedo boat will be it’s undoing. Heck even an outdated sub would run circles around it with no way of fighting back (unless it has an antisub helo/drone) These ships supposed to be forward based right? So one would assume that they will likely be based in areas where the chance of pirates and rogue states having a decent ship will be minimal. Or at the very least will operate with an… Read more »


Like Matt says, every RN major warship needs to be comprehensibly equipped, if only to best give the crew a fighting chance. We have a tiny fleet so can’t afford 2nd rate ships. We are perverse to ever seek to get away with as little as possible or let major weapon systems lapse. It neither protects peace nor deters aggresion.

Simon m

Even the the Type 26 cannot engage an out of date sub without a helo onboard as there are not current plans to fit torpedoes or a like. The weapons fit for type 31 has not been confirmed and it isn’t clear as to whether or not a sonar will be fitted. From What little we think we know so far, for surface warfare the armament is reasonable, an SSM was never going to be announced until ISSGW winner was, so I will reserve judgement, but fingers crossed as part of the budget canisters will be fitted. I wouldn’t have… Read more »


Hi Simon M, I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. The T31 looks like a sound, flexible and expandible capability that the Royal Navy and the nation needs. Given the decision for procure a ‘cost effective’ frigate for me the most important point about this selection isn’t the current fit because as you point out it is pretty good considering the price tag, but that 5,700 tons displacement. That to me is a fully grown frigate sized ship and is comparable to many NATO navies primary fleet asset. There is considerable future growth in the design which could see their… Read more »


Can’t the type 26 mk41 silos hold anti submarine missiles?, but I suppose even if they can I bet the RN won’t get them.

Paul T

Cam – yes ASROC is an option,just have to get it past the MOD/Treasury first though.


As Paul says ASROC. It delivers a MK46 torpedo, however, it has been proposed for the T26 given they will get the MK41 VLS. Honeywell have offered to develop a version to deliver the UK Stingray torpedo which would obviously cost more but would allow us to use what many think is the better torpedo. Given that little appears to be getting crossed decked from the T23 there may be, possibly, perhaps a chance that a new VLS will be procured for the T31… although I think the MK41 would stretch the budget. May be in a Batch 2 or… Read more »


I asked a similar question about whether Stingray could be fitted to ASROC, and the answer was yes. We then had a discussion on the merits of Stingray over Mk46. Stingray has very good capabilities in the littorals whilst the Mk46 does not. It is also a lot faster and has a better range. So the answer should not be can Singray be fitted to ASROC, more like the question should be when are we getting it?


how long will it take to complete the first one i wonder..


Says 2023, so 3 odd years. Just hope they have crews to man them.
The russians like their subs mind

Levi Goldsteinberg

Good. Hopefully this is just Flight 1

Roger N

Waiting to see the options list double the cost.


Very, very, good news.


Why is this story being released now? I thought that in Purdah all such stories should be held back?


Just in case the country goes broke with an opposition party who hates Defence.

Gavin Gordon

Don’t ever look a gift horse…..

William Griffiths

Contracts been signed but they haven’t publicised it. No press releases.


I hope the contract has been negotiated in such a way that Corbyn can’t cancel it a la Gordon Brown with QE class


That was probably Gordon Brown’s best moment, although it had nothing to do with defence and all about shoring up Labour votes in Scotland. But thankfully he did it.


So any guesses to what this class will actually be called (Leander?) and what will likely to be the first ship’s name?


beander would fit.




Bender even better lol

Daniele Mandelli

At last! I have been a big fan of the idea of these ships. I do not see how the RN can realistically increase escort numbers otherwise. Agree with Mac. An on going phenomenon with UK military procurement is that a new asset usually gets bought at the number of the previous asset, or less, after numerous cuts. The RN in reality should have 20 Frigates, not 13, after the loss of the 4 T22 Batch 3 and the premature demise of 3 T23’s. When allied to the fact these are less capable than the T26 that is unacceptable. There… Read more »


D Day names? As in HMS Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha and Utah? While that would certainly be interesting, only Sword and Juno have been used by the RN before and I’d imagine they’d want to continue using previously used names. Omaha and Utah really don’t seem appropriate for RN vessels. I always thought the Type 21 names were elegant, or maybe that’s just because the Type 21 itself was elegant. HMS Gibraltar seems hard to fit into a theme these days without shoe-horning it in.

Daniele Mandelli

Of course not Utah or Omaha. Although we Brits did have a presence on both those beaches. No, I was speculating, and playing “fantasy names” with HMS Gold, HMS Juno, HMS Sword, HMS Neptune, HMS Overlord. Agree on Gibraltar, just a name I like. Or, how about we be really un PC and actually salute our wartime leaders and commanders? The US have a USN Winston Churchill, why not the RN? HMS Montgomery, HMS Ramsey, and so on. To me Hugh Dowding is also seriously un respected, but I understand that is not really a navy theme. Of course none… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Correcting myself with no edit…USS not USN.

Daniele Mandelli

And yes, I’m aware there is already an HMS Neptune.


Hah, thanks Daniele. I probably should have researched that before submitting my own post!


HMS Bomber Harris

Daniele Mandelli

Nah…..give that to one of the Bombers.


Gibraltar could be part of the Strategic Victory Class. Gibraltar, Alamein, D Day, Trafalgar, Jutland, Waterloo, Armada, and Bannockburn!

Daniele Mandelli

You see….NOW we are talking!

Harold Smith

Instead of “D Day”, which sound a bit awkward, how about “Overlord” or “Normandy”? Also, don’t forget Agincourt and Crecy – got to annoy the French as well as the Germans and Spanish… 😉
Agincourt, Crecy (“Cressy”), Gibraltar, Jutland, Waterloo, Armada, Alamein and Trafalgar have all been used by the RN before. See the Battle class destroyers for most of these and many more possibilities.

Alan Reid

Hmmm, “Strategic Victory” class …….. some people think us Brits are already insufferable enough! LOL
Tell you what, how about Leander, Ajax, Achilles, Aurora – and Argonaut ……. now that is classy!

Gavin Gordon

No, as those names do not follow RN tradition. Leander would be best from both the raison d’etre perspective of these vessels and the worldwide affection with which they are still recalled, I believe. As mentioned on a previous occasion, I don’t see that any legal issue would or indeed should affect this choice – irrespective of a bit of Bae sensibility.

Gavin Gordon

Apart from Juno☺

Daniele Mandelli

Cheers Gavin. I’d struggle to remember the Leander names without checking, was just a “wee lad”

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Gavin.

Having now checked, I like all those Leander names. A big mythical, deity theme going on there, much better sounding than boring old HMS Birmingham.

You might be right.


HMS Brexit

Daniele Mandelli

HMS Referendum. HMS Advisory Only. HMS Didn’t know what we were voting for. HMS Progoration. HMS Peoples Vote.

Your turn.


HMS People trumps parliament HMS 51st state

Alan Reid

As an alternative to the “Strategic Victory” class, how about the, “What the Feck was that all About” class !………. Saratoga, Yorktown, Singapore, Coronel – and Medway (for a Dutch pal of mine!).


HMS Bercow??😂 HMS England. HMS Expects. HMS Everyman. HMS Duty.

But seriously folks, we should have named the carriers Nelson and Collingwood.
We have already named the T26s after Towns/Cities. If the T31s are a lower tier than the 26s then we could not call them Counties and we look to have given up on each class starting with a letter … and we have ship names smaller still as rivers … so hmmm….? I would go for famous names in fiction. Surprise. Sophie. Hotspur. Atropos. Lydia.

Paul T

HMS Grieve,Hms Campbell,HMS Swinson,HMS Major,HMS Barnier,HMS Juncker – sorry folks I couldn’t help myself !.

Daniele Mandelli

Sink them all.


You know what? I’m very pleased about the decision to go with this design. It has a lot of flexibility and potential, I just hope it gets realised. Certainly I’m voicing my concern about its lack of teeth when acting solo. But… In a fleet scenario, I’d much rather send one of these against a swarm of drones and fast attack craft than a T26. I think it will make a great asset/screen to have operating in a fleet. Looking forward to seeing the names of the ships being released too. I’m thinking god’s of the water… Poseidon, Neptune etc.… Read more »


Fingers crossed the builds go well and the further 7 required for true ‘rule of 3s’ global presence is realised. It’ll also help if those that need to see how much more effective Mk.41 VLS (and variants) are compared to space-inefficient SeaCeptor silos…then make them the core of all future destroyers/frigates and licence produce them in the UK.


I’m okay with either T21 or Leander names, maybe even a mix of both. A fair few of the names have an awful lot of history associated with them.

Arrow, Ardent, Antelope, Ambuscade, Alacrity if you’re copying T21 names.
Leander, Dido, Phoebe, Penelope, Achilles if you’re after Leanders.

A little bit of me likes the idea of a ‘colony’ class (though the PC brigade would make it a Overseas Territory Class) and naming vessels after current territories.


Tribal Class

Ashanti, Cossack, Gurkha, Mohawk & Zulu in this multi-cultural world.


If only!

Daniele Mandelli

Also fantastic names.

Geoffrey Hicking

Multi-culturalism done right!

(could I sneak a “Fulani” in there too?)

Harold Smith

Yeah, can’t wait to see the ‘nice’ people tearing each other’s throats out about whether that’s ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘cultural appropriation’.


Batch 2

Bedouin, Maori, Nubian, Punjabi & Sikh

Have I left anyone out?


Bedouin was my grandfather’s ship so she should be in the first batch!

Mike O

Thumbs up from me. The Tribal class names are great.

Paul T

Daniele – The Armament of the Ship in the above picture looks quite good – but I’m guessing its doesn’t represent what will actually be built.

Daniele Mandelli

What would be your minimum Paul?

If the equipment from the T23’s is used then that is a good baseline is it not?

NSM for Harpoon. Sea Ceptor. Main Gun. 2 x AA. Wildcat.

Paul T

Depending on what version they are going to build – the most likely one doesn’t use anything from the T23 save maybe the 30mm DS30M, ie 1 x 57mm BAE Main gun,2 x 40mm Oerlikon mounts,1 x VLS (32 Missiles) and possibility of 2 x 4 ASM launchers,even Artisan not used.The pic above looks like 1x 40mm mount forward swapped for SeaRam.Both would seem to me to be credible if they come in on cost.

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Paul. I’ve educated myself and read the report on Save the RN site. Indeed little from the T23.
I’m liking the sound of the 57mm and 2 40mm. Like a long range CIWS.


They need NGFS capability, so at least a 76mm & preferably a 5″. In the Falklands war we learnt the hard way that our ships had too few effective light anti-aircraft guns. While our SAMs are better now, it disturbs me that we only give DDGs/FFGs 30mm guns with practically no AA ability. There’s plenty to choose from.

Andy P

Would like to see a 5″ (or 4.5 but that’s not the way we’re going so no point mixing logistics) and while the vertical missile system seems meagre, the 31’s don’t seem to be in the running for the serious war fighting stuff (I know, I know, these things don’t always go according to plan). If they are going to be forward based then some kind of anti ship missile (Harpoon or replacement) will give a bit of oomph and a load of 30/40 mils or whatever will cover the current obsession with ‘swarm’. Anti submarine will be weaker but… Read more »


Some of the discussions that I’ve seen say that the picture we’re seeing in this article is an example Babcock put together to illustrate the export version of T31 (e.g. note the SeaRam forward of the bridge and the midship canister launchers). There are renders kicking around that more accurately illustrate the supposed RN initial weapons fit (CAMM, 1 x 57mm, 2 x 40mm). The concept of cross-decking from T23 seems to have pretty much completely dropped by the wayside. Not the main gun, not Artisan, not even (as far as I can tell) the DS30M. In fact the only… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Fascinating reading Julian.




HI Julian I believe the design retains its stanflex heritage, so the “bath tub” midship should still be there and we could just purchase the mk41 stanflex modules from Denmark or build a pool of our own. I agree that we should have a pool of these and slot them into place as necessary it makes sense on so many level. It also doesn’t have to be strike length it can be tactical or strike length. Also on the Huitfeldt class the cannisters also go in the midship section and I see no reason for this not to occur. You… Read more »


There are no Stanflex mk41. They are Stanfex mk56 & Denmark uses them for ESSM. I don’t know if they have ever been tested for CAMM. A single Stanflex mk56 unit holds 12 ESSM, so if CAMM can be used, you would expect 12 CAMM. A normal mk41 can hold 32 ESSM/CAMM (8 x quad packed) per unit. Mk 41 is in general too deap to fit in a Stanflex module (Stanflex is 2.5m deap, shortest mk41 is 5.3m). Stanflex mk56 does stick up from the deck (mk56 can be deck mounted if required), but mk41 expects to be flush… Read more »


It’s really good design and very capable in Danish service, but sadly little more than an oversized corvette in RN service. They will be vulnerable to every form of attack particularly Submarines and enemy surface vessels kitted out with ASMs. On the aerial side they’ll have a very limited supply of Sea Ceptors that would be expended very quickly in a fight. These ships should be properly equipped from the word go – we learned a lot of hard lessons in 1982 which all see to have been forgotten…….

Daniele Mandelli

That is the thing though. No one doubts what you say, and I recall the mass fitting of Phalanx and other AA on our T42’s after 82.

But if these requirements make them more expensive than what HMG is prepared to pay then what?

Down to 6 T26 and 6 T45? 12 escorts?

There has to be potential for some uplift somewhere, which will not happen with an all 45/26 fleet.

Not every vessel can be armed to the teeth? Unless its Russian?


What lessons have they apparently forgotten with the Type 31? Compare the relative features of the T31 to the T21. The T21 was overweight, structurally flawed, and lacked any modern air defence or CIWS. The T31 as it stands is going to have a very modern and capable missile system and not one, but three multi-purpose guns that can be used as CIWS, and is built to naval standards. Unlike the T21, the T31 also actually has enough weight margin to be upgraded though their lives, and with its mission bay could quite easily be equipped for additional roles (e.g.… Read more »


Three Guns? You mean 2 x 40mm and 1 x 57mm? With only 24 x SeaCeptor fired in salvos of 2 – that’s only 12 shots in a world where aviation has advanced to a point way beyond the capabilities of the Argentine A4s and Mirages!! The Type 21 had its flaws, and for all intents and purposes lacked the ability to fight – although it could perform NGS with its 4.5, and part of the class carried Exocet! We should not be heading down the road of the Type 21 with Type 31 – we would be better off… Read more »


That’s still 3 guns capable of being used as CIWS, all at a longer range and using guided ammo, unlike the single Phalanx that the T45s and T26s can bring to bear on either side. The Type 31 isn’t designed to operate on its own against the sort of enemies that can fire large salvoes of modern AShMs. Like the T21 it’s a light frigate optimised to fight smaller ships, but unlike the T21 it actually has the armament to contribute to a carrier group. For fighting against lower tier naval forces or paramilitary groups, where the biggest threat is… Read more »

Paul T

Callum – the Type 21 wasn’t all bad news ,like the Type 31 it offered an increase in Hull numbers at a time when the usual channels of designing and constructing RN Ships were maxxed out.You are correct in that its weight margins were non-existant,maybe that was down to the brief given to the designers.The Structural Flaws (Aluminium Superstructure etc) only became apparent when they were deployed in an environment they were never envisaged or built to operate in.The Seacat Missile system was obviously obsolete at the time of the Falklands War but the T21’s were equipped with the most… Read more »


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Type 21s were bad ships. They were certainly popular, and upgraded versions did decently on the export market. My original point is that, contrary to what some people say, the T31 has clearly taken into account the lessons learnt from the Falklands. It’s bigger, it’s sturdier, and it’s got an effective if limited armament (compared to the T21, which had a broadly ineffective armament except for NGFS)


The Hundfelt design is as already stated a very good design, but the simple fact is in Type 31e form its VERY Limited Armament let’s it down badly. Given the current climate, it’s a given that these ships will be expected to deploy on their own, no question of that! They will struggle to defend themselves against air attack or indeed sea skimming missiles – 12 shots of Sea Ceptor and that’s it! No offensive armament capable of engaging even a well armed Corvette, and sadly could be engaged and sunk by the very Type of vessel they are replacing……… Read more »


The RN has forgotten that guns can do more than NGS, 57 & 40mm, 3P and decent fire control is a much better proposition for taking down incoming at a range that is not going to mean the upper deck looks like it’s been got by a giant shotgun

Mike O

As others have mentioned type 31 will probably have the new interim ASM when its ready. Still 4ish years to go so I don’t think this is too big a cause for concern. But is 24 Sea Ceptor enough? Is 32, 48… you have to stop somewhere. A scenario when a type 31is alone and ambushed with enough weapons to overcome its defences is hard to imagine. Realistically in this surprise attack scenario the type 31 would not be ready for this attack and would be overcome before having a chance to use all of its weapons, no matter how… Read more »


In the current climate, any new vessel should be more advanced and capable than the vessel it is succeeding in order to deal effectively with the current scenarios. A general purpose Type 23, albeit aging, is more capable than a Type 31e with 32 x Sea Ceptor, Artisan and 8 x Harpoon. Why cut Sea Ceptor from 32 to 24? There are no plans to fit an anti-ship missile to Type 31e, either now or the future. The failure to fit Mk41 VLS is inexcusable when you consider the many advantages including quad packing sea Ceptor and the simple fact… Read more »

Paul T

Paul42 – the Type 23’s were only expected to have an operational life of 18-19 years,they were built accordingly.Any further delay to their (any) replacement would mean more running costs/maintenance issues.The youngest T23 is HMS St Albans,by 2030 she will have been in service for 28 years,twice as long as she was built for.Yes the T31 is at the bargain basement of capability but the High End replacement is what the T26 is for.


The Tyoe 23s have indeed soldiered on past their expected life span due to the unbelievable delays in ordering a replacement. The Lifex credits these vessels are receiving, which includes the majority of the class getting new engines has given them a new lease of life. The point is all 13 vessels have, or will have Artisan, 32 x Sea Ceptor, 2 x 30mm, 8 x Harpoon and a 4.5. Eight have towed array sonar. In order to maintain a balance of 19 credible fleet escorts, their replacements must be of equal, or preferably greater capability!! Replacing 5 x Type… Read more »


Let’s hope we do get more orders Daniele the type 31 looks like a nice ship.


I’d go for HMS Lion, Tiger, Cheetah, Antelope and Zebra with the latter having an appropriate dazzle camo scheme.


Very good news, and let’s hope a follow on order at a later date and maybe some weapon and capability increases as they develop and enter service.


I would like us to go back to the alphabetical names. There are “E”s in the fleet already, so lets go for Furious, Formidable, Fearless, Foxhound, Fortune

Andy P

I’m not a fan of the ‘tame’ names, I like your ‘F class’ names Geoff, and while probably not suitable for frigates, stuff like ‘indefatigable’ or ‘Implacable’ is better than Edinburgh or Birmingham.

I must admit, I’d still like a big bang stick on the front end of these, I’ve no issue with pimping them with twin 40’s or whatever to to counter swarm attacks but as its got the space for carrying extra troops or whatever, being NGS capable would be handy.


I would like to see a second batch of Type 31s.

Andy P

In a lot of ways it would be great but its all going to come down to cash and not just for the initial expense of another 5 skimmers, you need to put people on them and fuel in them…..

I agree, they are needed though.


Any firm details on weapon or sensor fit out?

Lots of rumours and hints from the earlier announcement but nothing concrete.

Robert blay

Excellent news 🇬🇧👍

700 Glengarried Men

Not a naval man but a bonnie looking ship , looks like plenty of space for upgrade at a later date, if it’s for general pratrol ,Gulf, Med, South Atlantic or hunting drug smugglers in Caribbean the current layout to me looks ok, and the space for a decent sized helicopter adds a lot of flexibility. Agreed we lost a lot of the picket ships In the Falklands but their jobs were to keep the carriers safe. Hopefully these will be as successful at T26 and export orders can be sought from allies that can’t afford or don’t need a… Read more »


Surely these ships will still be better than the T23’s, and no one was complaining about them being on the front line. I know they aren’t as capable as the T26’s but surely if they are better than the T23’s they must be pretty powerful?


Until we know what the weapon / sensor fit is, we won’t be able to answer that question, but it is very unlikely to be on par with the t23 as it is coming in under a tight budget.


Simply put Tupe 31e is not on par with a Type 23!

Paul Bestwick

On the names front. How about a return of the big cats. HMS Lion, HMS Tiger etc. Whilst I like the idea of HMS Gibraltar. I think that ths FSS ships should be named after RN fleet Anchorage. So RFA Gibraltar, RFA Scapa Flow etc


How about Weapon class, Broadsword, Battleaxe, Cutlass, Sabre, Rapier, Claymore.
That kind of thing.

Daniele Mandelli

” think that ths FSS ships should be named after RN fleet Anchorage. So RFA Gibraltar, RFA Scapa Flow etc”

I like that idea.


Would love to see the Type31 fitted with at least a dozen brimstone (sea spear) providing very quick @ 40km reach. Cannister launched the incrimental capex would be mininal and integration alongside CAMM should also be minimal given MBDA have successfully integrated ASRAAM and BRIMSTONE onto typhoon and tornado and are working to integrate Spear 3 and ASRAAM onto F35. 12 missiles would cost less the #1mm per vessel plus canisters and integration (low) 4 distinct missions then possible in significantly less time than a helo response and at relatively low cost. Deal with swarm FAC attack at range including… Read more »