Babcock and BMT signed the cooperation agreement yesterday, the agreement will focus on the recently announced Type 31e Frigate to offer a design partnership to the MoD.

Babcock were originally offering the ‘Arrowhead 120 while BMT were offering the Venator 110, the companies now say that they will be exploring both available designs to determine the best possible option.

The companies say that new arrangement draws on the combined strengths of Babcock and BMT and will deliver ‘innovative, capable, affordable and flexible customer solutions, within a fast changing and increasingly demanding environment’.

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director – Naval Marine at Babcock said:

“Babcock and BMT will work closely together to create a strong design alliance at what is an exciting time within UK and International ship design and build.”

Jeremy Berwick, Managing Director for Defence at BMT said:

“This is the beginning of a deeper strategic relationship with Babcock founded on many years of working together successfully both with the Royal Navy and navies around the globe.

The T31e programme is the catalyst where excellence of design, innovation and certainty of delivery combine to offer a highly credible contender for the Royal Navy’s next warship. The agreement will provide a strong basis for understanding and serving the different needs of many other navies.”

Both organisations will jointly explore their available designs to determine the best possible option that meets the cost, capability, and delivery requirements of the Royal Navy but we’ve outlined them both below.

Babcock’s Arrowhead 120.

Arrowhead 120, say the company features an ‘adaptable configuration’ which acknowledges operational roles will change through the life of the ship with multiple mission bays incorporated into the design allowing for rapid reconfiguration and re-role to meet changing operational needs.

Babcock said they have been advancing operational and data analysis technologies at a rapid pace.

“Arrowhead is cleverly designed to reduce through life costs by embedding key innovations such as real time equipment health monitoring during the build enabling information to be collected during deployment on the fitness of its systems to inform future service and maintenance arrangements.”

With the vessel able to accommodate a variety of equipment choices and with flexibility at the centre of the design philosophy Arrowhead can be deployed for a broad range of roles from low threat security operations to task force deployments.

Babcock say that the Arrowhead design lends itself equally to either a single build strategy, or a cross–site build strategy bringing together modules – an approach used for aircraft carrier assembly at Rosyth.

BMT’s design proposal for the Type 31.

There are three variants of the Venator-110, each designed to suit specific roles and levels of affordability. The three variants are the ‘General Purpose Light Frigate’, the ‘Patrol Frigate’ and the much lighter ‘Patrol Ship’.

The General Purpose Light Frigate variant is designed to meet the expected requirements of the Type 31 Frigate programme.

The design is billed by BMT as the “optimum balance between capability, survivability and cost“.

With an estimated displacement of 4,000 tonnes, a top speed in excess of 25 knots and accommodation for over 115 personnel in addition to a crew size of 85 personnel the craft is “designed to cover a multitude of general purpose and specialist roles”.

BMT also describe the vessel as being intended to counter the recent problems the Royal Navy have had with regards to ships becoming ever more expensive and complicated.

The Venator-110 design adopts a Combined Diesel And Diesel (CODAD) configuration and features two shafts combined with four prime movers.

The design uses off the shelf equipment, which BMT say ensures simple maintenance procedures and leaves room for future capability growth while requiring minimum levels of personnel to operate.

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Pacman27
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Pacman27

I think this is a great decision by both companies to take the best of both designs and hopefully forge a game changer for UK shipbuilding. I strongly believe we can do something great for £250m here vessel and am happy with a 76mm OTTO and a SeaRAM for ships defence and a 16 missile silo for offensive actions. I would also like to see a compact captan 4 on these ships (but accept that is wishful thinking). Key for me is that this vessel is capable of meeting the RN’s war fighting standards and can take damage and survive.… Read more »

Geoff
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Geoff

Agree, between them I reckon they will turn out something pretty special which not only holds its place on the open seas, but will provide the VFM that the MoD claims is so important.

Might give BAE something to think about too…

Baz
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Baz

Pacman27
Sorry but im seem to be missing something here
Could you tell me what “compact captan 4”
Cant say iv ever heard of that before

Lockhart
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Lockhart

It’s probably a slight typo for Captas 4 – a type of towed array sonar.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

Sorry

It is Compact Captas 4 – bloody spell checker (or my fat fingers)

Baz
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Baz

Thanks

David Stone
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David Stone

That makes more sense. A search for Captan 4 shows it as a pesticide 🙂

Paul
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Paul

My favourite from what I have seen so far is the Spartan. However I do know there have been 20 expressions of interest or was it designs. So if the Spartan is one, Arrowhead one, BAE/CL one, Venator 110 has 3 versions, plus the 120 version. That is still only 7 designs, I am intrigued to see the other 13 options.

Be02ese
Guest

I’d rather this was the winning consortium by a long way. Love both of their designs, if they can provide the offensive capabilities and survivability needed for £250M then fantastic. ??

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

8 of these for the RN please.

I believe last 2 of T26’s will be dropped, allowing for more of these. Costs are too high.

Can the RN do with 6 T26 or must there be 8 as stated for CBW and Deterrent?

Geoff
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Geoff

If the “Rule of 3” means 1/3 are immediately available and 1/3 are available in short-term, 6x T26 may be enough for Carrier escort, even if both carriers are surged, IF all 6 have the ASW equipment AND (this is a big IF..) 2xT45 are immediately available, 2x T45 are also short-term available and we have something like 5-6x T31 immediately availbale to deal with other duties..

So I reckon we need 10+ T31s if we lose T26 7 and 8….

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Ok, cheers for that.
If history of type 45 is anything to go by, when mod vowed 8 and we ended up with 6, I can only see a similar outcome.

Ben P
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Ben P

It was originally 12-13. Then it dropped to 8 and then 6.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Indeed. 2004 new chapter reduced RN from 32 to 25 escorts. The loss of the two T45 then made 23. Then SDSR 2010. I sadly know the timeline of cuts all too well.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Seems a tight timescale to be producing a hybrid design?

Evan P
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Evan P

I doubt it will be much of a hybrid. They’ll most likely pick one design and make minor enhancements.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

My understanding is that the MOD wants a ‘British’ design, however you interpret that. Venator with the patrol ship/ patrol frigate/ light frigate trio of designs and a 120m version in the works looks better thought through from the exportability point of view. And probably from the modular build aspect too I suspect. But Arrowhead is probably cheaper – more use of commercial standards – Babcock live in a cost conscious real world. Will be imteresting to see what they propose.

Geoffrey Roach
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Geoffrey Roach

In THEORY we should be able to have 8 T26 and build at least 8 T31 and still be well under the figure of £13 to £14 billion talked about for 13 T26.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

But I think that figure was before the latest financial worries Geoff. The 13 was long cut to 8.

Would be happy indeed with 8×8×6.

Geoffrey Roach
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Geoffrey Roach

Oh yes!

Pacman27
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Pacman27

I think we will end up Building 13 T26 and replacing the T45 fleet eventually – this will then be our destroyer class. The T31 on the other hand I predict will be built in large volumes – 25 or so, as a replacement for multiple other hull/ship types. For me I would like to see the T31 become our main ASW asset as it is small and nimble – but either way once we find a sub – how do we disable it? All the above over the next 25 years – not in the next week or so,… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Second that way-2-go.

Kyle
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Kyle

Venator is still my favourite design by a long way, these two companies will hopefully shake up uk defence as well, hope they get the contract.

AV
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AV

I think this can only be viewed as a good move and makes for a very competitive option.
Personally I like the Arrowhead 120 design

Mr Bell
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Mr Bell

What is all the talk of reducing type 26 order to 6 hulls? Has no one been listening to our ex defence minister? We have a growing Royal Navy. So 8 type 26s and at least 8-10 of the type 31s are needed and I am going to be positive they are going to get built.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Just me speculating Mr Bell sorry. Too pessimistic?

Dave_Alders
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Dave_Alders

Please tell me the growing royal navy comment was sarcasm…

Anyone with any knowledge of the UK defence budget is well aware that we do not have a growing royal navy depaite what the politicians would have you believe.

Lee H
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Lee H

We should work out what we want to do first before trying to forecast numbers of platforms and there expected weapons fit. Rushing to solutions before we have identified the requirement always leaves people disappointed when they perceive they don’t get what they want. What do we need 12 AAW destroyers for? Are we getting value for money on the platforms we have already got? (One constantly along side, others fulfilling frigate escort roles). What does HMG want its Navy to do, once that has been clarified we can then work out the correct mix of people, what processes (policy)… Read more »

Pacman27
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Pacman27

Hi Lee I believe many of the other threads on this site attempt to work out what is required and subsequently end up with what is know as fantasy fleets. For the majority of people and the government I think there is a clear requirement for more escorts (NAO, parliamentary defence committee etc.) I agree that we need to fund this force better and have made a proposal on another thread to move the RM into the Army ORBAT in return for the Army giving the Navy the 4k FTE it is currently short in its ORBAT. This would alleviate… Read more »

Lee H
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Lee H

Hi Pacman87 Moving the RM in to the Army would ultimately dissolve the identity and history of a Corps who like most military units protect their heritage like mothers who protect their young. Royal Marines by definition are intrinsic into the physiological make up of the Royal Navy – something that will never be changed. Platforms should be built to satisfy the requirements of those that use them, hybrids (Karen Doormen etc) only increase the risk because they are trying to do too much with too little. Money is available for manpower though, however it is currently the wrong “colour”… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agree with this. Lee H what do you mean by CDEL and RDEL please?

Lee H
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Lee H

CDEL – capital expenditure (Capital Deparment expenditure limit) RDEL – resource expenditure (Resource department expenditure limit) CDEL – purchase of large items (ships, planes, tanks etc) RDEL – manpower, running costs etc. TCO – Total cost of ownership – mixture of both. Hence the strategic deterrent when the talk about it costing £40bn upwards they are talking about its TCO. I would estimate that SSBN CDEL will have a limit of about £16bn (£4bn each) and the rest is RDEL. Type 31e cost per asset will be £250 million but that TCO isn’t talked about. HMG will present financial data… Read more »

Pacman27
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Pacman27

Hi Lee Fair comments all and I agree totally with your comments. However I do think the UK has to look at things differently and I would rather compromise on assets that are not used that often (like amphibious assets that are tied up when we could have more use out of a KD style SSS) and in maintaining a full (actually enlarged) RM force that can maintain its ethos but will come under a different command structure as I am sure it was in Afghan. I do think we need a single force command now with the force split… Read more »

Lee H
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Lee H

Hi Pacman27 Many thanks for response. 3 cod Bde RM when operating in Afghanistan came under operational control of which ever task force was running the joint operation (US/UK). Sometimes it was US Army, sometime U.K. Army. Sometimes the operation was run by an RN ATG deployed onboard Albion operating at sea off the coast or in the majority of cases it just plugged in to the USMC. I agree with the Tip of the Spear model (SF/assault force/mechanised/armoured) etc. And agree that both the RM and 16 AAB should be sufficiently increased in size to sustain lead battle groups… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Before you can work out what to do you have to work out who you are. This is our problem.

Harry Nelson
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Harry Nelson
Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Too late and too expensive I would think. The way things are going I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first batch of 5 Type 31’s with Terma Scanter.

Rick O'shea
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Rick O'shea

Is it not possible to retro fit the Artisan radar from the out going Type 23 ships? Surely a lot of the systems that have been added to the 23’s in their mid life refits will still have plenty of service life left in them by the mid 2020’s.

David Stone
Guest
David Stone

Maybe in return for the Aussies to go for the T26.

Is the Ceafar radar much better than what we have?

Jack Wyatt
Guest

Your Minister, Harriett Baldwin, is in Australia talking up the T26 and offering all kinds of incentives such as purchasing CEAFAR or the Thales sonar if our Govt buys the T26. There appears to be a concerted political effort to persuade us to buy this ship.

David Stone
Guest
David Stone

It’ll be a top notch ship. Pricey, but an excellent tub

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Havent we already purchased 15 Artisan at £6m each?

Doesn’t make sense to go for a lesser radar in my opinion

It does make sense to go for CEC though (bit too expensive unfortunatley)

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Agree if we have bought them. Do all the Type 23’s have Artisan now?

Jack Wyatt
Guest

The RAN frigates will be equipped with an Aegis combat system plus a SAAB interface to manage Nulka and CEAFAR. While initially considered to be ASW frigates, the environment in which they will operate and the tensions in our region necessitates that they must have strong AAW capabilities. Specifically the Govt has purchased Aegis so they can shoot down medium and long range missiles. CEAFAR is an extremely capable system.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/10/australias-future-frigates-to-be-fitted-with-advanced-missile-defense-system/

Paul
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Paul

Quick question on gun calibres, is there a navel version of the 105mm gun? As I understand it, this is the calibre used by the Royal Artillery unit that supports the Royal Marines. Wouldn’t it be better to use this on ships expected to support any Royal Marine landing? In my opinion it would make logistics simpler. I realise the move to the 5 inch gun on the T26 was to fall in line with US warships, but did anyone consider the 6.1 inch (155mm Nato standard calibre). Also using the above standards would make specialist ammunition available should the… Read more »

Lee H
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Lee H

It’s not the barrel size but the type of round used. Naval weapons normally have the whole weapon (explosive and charge) in a single case where as land artillery have the weapon (explosive head) and charge seperate

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

You wont be able to reach out and touch people with a 105. The 4.5 Mk 8 currently in service with a base bleed round has short legs ( but excellent accuracy.) The next step up is a 5 inch which is going on the T26. A Split cartridge and shell which gives you a lot of options for shells. 155 was looked at . The program was in place to fit an AS90 155mm gun in the Mk 8 turret. It was abandoned as the physical problems of moving 155mm bricks and cartridges around was very difficult. Unlike a… Read more »

John West
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John West

Normal nonsense. The T26 design is frozen. Make 8 on the Clyde and more elsewhere., in blocks if necessary. No other design is.frozen so more cost will be inevitable.

dadsarmy
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dadsarmy

Venator – Arrowhead merger seems like a winner to me, for design and cost – and if the strategy is to get away from a BAE monopoly, that’s the way to go. For me both of those designs had the best flexibility in mission space, which would mean one overall design, but a lot of varieties. That was of course supposed to happen with the T26 GCS …

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

I’ll admit to a bit of bias there by the way, nearly got to work at Babcock and Wilcox at Renfrew for a time years ago, knew people who worked there, and have kept a bit of an eye on them ever since. Hope they remain as committed to Scotland as any company can these days of reduced overall domestic demand, but international potential.

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

Sorry for multiple posts, wish I could get my head together. Meant to say that for me Arrowhead was the weaker design but from the stongest enabling company! So taking Venator and some bits from Arrowhead which had good points sounds great to me.

Harold
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Harold

Type 21’s modernised!

FrankLT
Guest
FrankLT

Not sure which design it is, but the one with SAMs, ASMs, & main gun grouped tightly together seems leaving most of the weaponry vulnerable to one good hit. With ASMs now able to target specific areas of the ship targeted, it doesn’t seem wise.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Firstly the idea is to not get hit… but… If you get hit by a modern day ASM it doesn’t really matter where you get hit the shock blast and fire damage means you will lose systems….SAM’s, Guns and ASMs need lots of services to make them go whoosh or bang. 1. 440v Power 2. 115v Power 3. Chilled water 4. Nav system ( GPS or Gyro Compass ) Input 5. Radar 6. Command system. 7. Hydraulics Loose any of those services or supplies and your system gets degraded or stops working. It doesn’t matter where you put stuff on… Read more »

FrankLT
Guest
FrankLT

Thanks for the information. Still concerned about hits from other weapons & no manner of re-routing power etc can make destroyed missile launchers or main gun work again without shipyard help. I agree best not get hit, but in war these things happen very inconveniently & things go wrong. Remembering those pictures of WW2 destroyers with whole bows or sterns blown off.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Many of the lessons of WW2 damage control are still taught today as are the lessons learned from the Falklands and the other Peacetime Collisions the RN was involved in. ( Southampton, Nottingham, Brazen) The post Falklands lessons learned was a watershed …the improvements in damage control equipment and training changed the way we did things from bottom to top. An example would be HMS Sheffield… hit midships by an Exocet (which nowadays is a pretty tame ASM) …fighting capability completely lost due to fire , floods , blast damage and at the time lack of experience and training on… Read more »

Mr Bell
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Mr Bell

Whatever design is chosen for type 31e either a mash up of Arrowhead or Venator. What is certain is construction has to start in Jan 2019 so the first of class has been built, launched, fitted out, gone on sea trials and commissioned into service by 2023 ready for withdrawal of first type 23. The type 31 has to be built within budget and on time otherwise big problems for RN surface fleet coming up. The ship has to be a credible frigate from launch….no more fitted for but not with. so either 114mm guns handed down from type 23… Read more »

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

Appledore facilities: “Unit Assembly Area 1222m2 = 118.00m x 14.40m, Building Dock 3958m2 = 118.00m x 33.54m”. The Samuel Beckett is 90m x 14m. Venator 117m x 18m, Arrowhead 120m x 19m. One too long, the other a very tight squeeze, no idea how much space is needed around the ship.

https://www.babcockinternational.com/en/Case%20Studies/Appledore%20Facilities%20Specification

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

That’s compared with Rosyth

https://www.babcockinternational.com/en/Case%20Studies/Rosyth%20Facilities%20Specification

Dry-Dock Capability (fully serviced)
Dry dock 1: 320.5 metres x 42.1 metres
Dry dock 2: 268.4 metres x 33.5 metres
Dry dock 3: 268.4 metres x 28.8 metres

Entrance lock can also be used as a dry dock – 268.4 metres x 33.5 metres

Build Hall – Five bays, each 73 metres x 15 metres x 30 metres

Maybe assembly there, jointly build blocks, though even then not sure if Appledore assembly area is wide enough.