Team 31 is meeting with supply chain companies to share the potential opportunities the £1.25 billion Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme

Following on from the first conference in Rosyth, which saw the official unveiling of the proposed Arrowhead 140 design and a tour of Babcock’s Rosyth facility for delegates, opportunities are being explored by suppliers throughout the UK to work on the programme.

The Bristol Suppliers’ Conference, hosted by the Society of Maritime Industries, will provide a platform for SMEs and the wider supply chain to network with Team 31 representatives and to find out more about how their specific expertise could be utilised across the programme.

Committed to developing a genuine UK wide supply chain, if selected, Babcock Team 31’s proposal say the company ‘will deliver UK prosperity as shipbuilding, procurement and support service priorities are reinvigorated through this high-profile contract’.

Craig Lockhart, Babcock’s Managing Director, Naval Marine said:

“The Babcock Team 31 Suppliers’ Conference series is an important step in the development of our bid as we grow our already extensive supply chain and reach out to Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. 

Arrowhead 140 develops a proven design that will meet the requirements of modern, global navies and it’s a product the supply chain is already showing enthusiasm to support and deliver for UK and international customers. We are looking forward to welcoming a wide range of companies to the event which has again attracted a high level of interest due to our distributed build and support approach.”

According to a release:

“Backed by British engineering heritage, Babcock Team 31’s programme outlines a proven, capable and adaptable solution – which will meet the requirements of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) – and offers full adaptability and customisation for domestic and international customers. And optimising established distributed build methods, the team will utilise its individual and combined expertise to deliver a programme ensured to meet the needs of any modern navy.”

Babcock Team 31 is led by Babcock and includes Thales, OMT, BMT, Ferguson Marine and Harland and Wolff.

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Mike Saul

The more I hear and see of this babcock proposal the more convinced I am that this T31e should be selected as winner.


Yes, but when do we get to know who the winner is? I’d like to see this particular project get some urgent attention and budget, to see them in service as soon as possible.


i think the t31 is a con and that its not going to happen.

David Taylor

Yes I think so. It would make more sense to build an additional T26, In our ‘fitted for, but not with’ defence culture I can’t see either of these proposals being nothing more than very expensive, large OPVs at the end of the day. A pair of Absalons would make more sense, perhaps even RFA manned would make more sense.

David steeper

Seriously. Everyone pray to whichever deity you call god or if you don’t have one cross everything you’ve got that these guys win the competition. If BAE wins it we’re flipped.


holding another conference? could it be that they’ve got the nod for their design?

Joseph Harrison

But I’m an atheist…

barry white

Forgive me if im a bit nieve here but in the pic i cant see any CIWS
If its there i cant see it


No RAS station either.


The standard Iver -Huitfeldt frigate has a RAS Station onboard., so I see no reason why it would be omitted from the T31 variant


The standard Iver -Huitfeldt frigate has a RAS Station onboard., so I see no reason why it would be omitted from the T31 variant


No RAS station that you can see…..because its probably “indoors” like on the parent design. You can see what it looks like in this video, from about 0:20 onward :
While this shows RAS oprerations on an Absalon Class , the Huitfeldt is similar and so is presumably the Arrowhead.


That you can see…..its probably “indoors” like on the parent design. You can see what it looks like in this video, from about 0:20 forward :

While this shows RAS on an Absalon Class , the Huitfeldt is similar and so is presumably the Arrowhead.


No RAS station that you can see….because its probably “indoors” like on the parent design.

Copy paste “DEN FLYDENDE TANKSTATION” into youtube* to see RAS operation conducted on an Absalon class ship….the Huitfeldt is similar and presumably so is Arrowhead.

*For some reason UKDJ keeps eating my Youtube links.

Morten Knorborg Poulsen

No RAS station that you can see….because its probably “indoors” like on the parent design.

Copy paste “DEN FLYDENDE TANKSTATION” into youtube* to see RAS operation conducted on an Absalon class ship….the Huitfeldt is similar and presumably so is Arrowhead.

*For some reason UKDJ keeps eating my Youtube links.


no sailors loafing about anywhere either.


future upgrades


On top of hangar as of today 35 mm revolver cannon (Milenium)

Mike Saul

MOD specification called in point missile defence system or close in gun system.

Not both

Nigel Collins

Room for Dragonfire in front of the bridge and behind the main gun perhaps?


bump up the price too much?

Evan P

Babcock has said that it is capable of generating a lot more electricity than it needs for things like laser weapons, so they definitely will have provided space for this. Hell, it’s 140m long, it’d better have room.

Mike Saul

I believe the objective here is to deliver the T31E within the cost cost constraints laid down by the MOD.

That means the weapon, sensor and IT systems fit will be extremely limited. Its just about getting 5 hulls in the water regardless of their combat capability.

Hopefully in the future as more money becomes available then they will be upgraded.

Glass Half Full

This and also to show that Arrowhead 140 is designed to be competitive for export which is also a key component of this competition. I suspect that the Babcock team expect that the BAe CMS and Artisan radar will almost certainly be required in the final build and Thales is capable of integrating that. However, what they show in the video is the popular-in-export markets Tacticos CMS along with Thales NS100 3D radar. In addition any info on weapons fit and additional sensors is likely to be closely held information due to its competitive impact in the bid process. For… Read more »

M Heron

The more I see Arrowhead 140 the more I see the winner. I’d love to hear more on the adaption options that are and maybe available. I wonder what they have in the pipeline to increase export potential like: * Will there be a Absalon variant (LSD/frigate hybrid) of the Arrowhead announced? * Will the ships use Stanflex modules? * Will the ships have MK41/57 VLS options (combined with sea captor)? * Will the “Bridge Wing Adaption” allow for 3×8 VLS (or other weaponry) similar to the proposed/cancelled Canadian variant? * What acoustic measures are being used to make… Read more »


Not for the RN
Yes, at the expense of mission bay space
No, bridge adaption is for RN standards of command & control.
Probably none beyond original design


for future batch perhaps, the first batch of 5 will just keep numbers to current standards!
heres me dreaming anyway


I suppose it dangerous to take the the graphic as a formal design but a couple of observations. Firstly no Artisan. Wikipedia says Artisan is currently fitted to 11 out 13 T23, I have not fact checked so it could be wrong. However, it should be reasonably safe to assume Artisan will be transferred to T31 and this would help keep the ultimate purchase price down. Also the gun in the graphic seems to be the OM 76mm which Babcock is the UK distributor for. This weapon has received some criticism over a tendency to jam and as such the… Read more »


The Mk8 4.5″ gun is being phased out of service in favour of NATO standard 5″ guns like the BAE Mk45 on the T26. The previous Arrowhead 120 included options up to a 5″ gun, so it’s reasonable to assume the A140 can also host it. I wouldn’t count on Artisan being a straight transplant, given that the T26s are receiving them from the T23s as well. Availability will mean ordering at least a few new radars. The big issue with Arrowhead is the lack of RN standard equipment, which is almost all BAE produced (Artisan, CMS-1, Mk45 gun). Arrowhead… Read more »


Would Leander with a TAS be a better ASW platform?

Glass Half Full

As I commented previously Thales would probably integrate the BAe equipment such as CMS and Artisan in the same way that BAe installed Thales Tacticos and Thales radar equipment in Khareef corvettes, presumably per Oman/the customers requirements.

I’d be surprised if A140 wouldn’t at least be designed to fit Mk45, that’s how the Danes did theirs where the Abasalon has the 5″ but the frigates have the 76mm.


TYPE 31e is not going to happen


The A140 brochure says medium calibre gun up to 5″, but the baseline Team 31 proposal has essentially zero BAE content, hence the Oto 76 rather than the Mk45 or the BAE (ex-Bofors) 57mm. The Mk8 4.5″ isn’t suitable; it an old design that has a larger personnel requirement than the newer guns. The ammunition is moved manually from the magazine to the gunbay and the feed ring is then reloaded by hand. The radar proposed is the Thales NS100 rather than the BAE Artisan. With TACTICOS proposed as the Combat Management System the RN are going to have ‘interesting’… Read more »

Glass Half Full

I’d be very surprised if any company would have anything contractual that could prevent a BAE CMS and Artisan fit. I also doubt MoD would want this either as it would essentially force all procurement to BAe just because they are the CMS and radar of choice. BAe has fitted Thales Tacticos and radar in past so I’m sure Thales can do the reverse.


Absolutely agree with Wads the most sensible and cost effective way forward is to stick with the Mk8 4.5 inch Mod 1. Whilst it had its teething problems with Mod 0, most notably in the Falklands when Arrow had a stopage during a crucial moment during the battle for Good Green, with the Mod 1 enhancements which include a much higher degree of automation it is now considered highly reliable and popular within the RN. Indeed during the Libyan conflict Liverpool in particular fired off many rounds in the NGS role, and she still had the Mod 0. Whilst I… Read more »

Wake up Britain

Has anyone realised that we have the biggest defence budget in Europe, but a smaller aArmed forces, because BAE are ripping the MOD off, supporting local business at higher prices. Buy off the self and make it cheaper more equipment for your money


If interoperability is the goal for the USN’s frigate force with our top allies, then why don’t we buy what everyone ELSE is buying?



Couldn’t agree more Helions..

Cheers back…

David Stephen

It’s all smoke and mirrors. We have plenty of equipment available if we choose to use it. We ordered another 3 sets of TAS 2087 and Artisan to ensure the transition between ships was smooth so actually posses 16 Artisan radars and 11 TAS 2087. There are also 5 hull mounted sonar 2050 sets which can be recovered from the GP Type 23s as well as 5 sets of decoys, mini guns, ESM gear, DS30mm cannons and Sea Ceptor SAMs. Nothing new or fancy that requires complex integration, just already used systems which should be supplied as Government Furnished Equipment… Read more »

Rick O'Shea

Leander is clearly the lesser of the two options…..


Sorry David, BAE have led the high life for too long as a monopoly on UK warship building. It wasn’t healthy, and led to too many political shenanigans. With another player in the game, it will ensure BAE up their game both in cost and quality. I still haven’t seen how they can justify their massive u turn about not even bidding for the T31 as it wasn’t given a big enough budget and was Note, I was a big defender of their quality until the problems with the type 2 rivers, which have greatly discredited them. Secondly, if politicians… Read more »

David Stephen

No it will just mean another yard will have no orders for several years after Type 31 and is also setting the glacial pace of the Type 26 programme as we need to occupy the Clyde yards until Type 45 replacment. Also the plan is for CL to build and BAE to integrate, since the CMS and most equipment is theirs it would seem to make sense. Certainly more sense than giving the job to an untested consortium who will need to spread the build and do assembley at Rosyth. Do you really think you can get 5 larger ships… Read more »


Agree. To come in within the budget Arrowhead will be no better armed than Leander and I don’t believe we will ever fit the 5in gun and Mk41 VLS. What the RN has asked for is a light GP frigate which is cheaper to man and operate than Type 23 and with growth potential for an ASh missile and a bow sonar, not a potential strategic replacement for Type 26 or Type 45. If Babcock get this order it would mean pork barrel politics has triumphed over common sense. BAE are competent warship designers and CL are competent shipbuilders. These… Read more »

Mr Bell

Seriously we cannot give this order to BAE
Type 26 frigate for £1.23 billion each. Really?
Let’s get the Arrowhead design and hull but with UK combat management system, drag as much equipment over from type 23s and then the cost works.
A 5 inch main gun, a large hull with a suitably large wide margin for future upgrades as and when money is available.
This is about getting a reasonably armed frigate into the water quickly that will suffice for now but can be ungunned later with anti ship missiles, CIWS, dragon fire etc.

David Stephen

They are not £1.23 billion per ship, that was for first batch of three plus lots of other stuff like spares and ammunition for the 5 inch guns as well as a full system for training on land. Why is anyone suprised that it costs about a billion pounds to build an incredibly sophisticated world leading ASW ship of cruiser proportions with excellent range and a full spectrum of weapons and appropriate sensors. Or a cruiser sized destroyer with stellar AAW capabilities (remember the propulsion issues are not BAEs fault).


I just wish the MOD would get on with building them & prferably enough to bring the escort fleet back up to 25. Maybe in the future growing to 35 escorts.

David E Flandry

I’ll bet for another 50 million, they could build 6 T31s. If there were some export orders, maybe another 2 for a total of 8.

Glass Half Full

Everyone that just casually adds a 5″ gun to the Type 31e should recognise that you are adding a cost of $60M+, less the cost of whatever other gun might have been fitted and budgeted for in its place. It is not a trivial expense especially at the target price points for the complete ship. The $60M+ price is based on the Type 26 contract for 3 guns + 1 training system for $245M. We’re two years later so who knows what its at now.–245-million-contract-for-uk-type-26-gun-system. Also for its primary role of NGS it seems you’re either going to be… Read more »


Understand the BAE Inc Mk 45 5″ gun costs approx. $20M each, what makes the Type 26 version so very expensive is that MOD/RN have ordered the first with an automated magazine, presumably design based on the AGS 155 mm magazine as installed on the Zumwalt.

Glass Half Full

Well I guess if its not automated then it means more manual labour so presumably headcount would have to increase to support that capability if not automated? Possibly also other factors impacting effectiveness and efficiency of the gun system? I can’t see paying 2x-3x for something without some significant real world benefits.

Colin Brooks

It seems like the experience of buying a BMW: to get what you really want/need costs twice the quoted price 🙂


I must admit to having mixed views on this: It is fairly obvious that the MOD struggle with contract negotiations, leading to BAE and others running rings around them at times. The lack of any long term strategy for any of our public services is always going to lead to , episodic and expensive procurement projects. While I don’t think the T26 is unreasonably expensive, I do hope it is fully armed and not fitted for but not with. This includes ship based weapons to deal with a wide range if sub surface, surface and Air threats both manned and… Read more »


I see no big difference between Arrowhead 140 and Leander. Current budget for T31e is exactly that for a heavy corvette, so hoping more is just a fantasy. No matter they look like, they are actually just a so-so large ship armed as a typical heavy corvette. Arrowhead is an imported design (non British), has only a little “British” equipments onboard, very lightly armed as the size and has large future growth margins (= ship is vacant), larger helo hangar, higher speed, with larger operational cost (simply because it is large). The worst thing is, it “looks like” a proper-frigate,… Read more »


You are aware that the armament is effectively irrelevant in terms of classifying modern warships? Corvettes are short legged coastal water vessels, a frigate is generally bigger, with the endurance to operate abroad or as part of a task group. The Type 31 clearly falls into the second category. Good endurance and range, with a level of armament appropriate for its tasking. The budget is enough for a frigate, although it’ll be tight. Your assumption of higher operational costs based purely on size doesn’t take into account that 1) Arrowhead actually has a smaller crew requirement of 100 vs Leander’s… Read more »


I see your way of thinking differs to me. French FTI is 3.3B GBP for 5 hull. T31e program is 38% of this cost for the same number of hull. Romanian navy is spending 1.4B GBP to get 4 Damen Sigam 10514 light-frigate (or heavy corvettes), which is 10-15% more than T31e’s 1.25B GBP for 5 hulls. I understand “ship building cost” is not easy to compare, but we also know T31e’s “average” cost 250M GBP is a quarter of T26’s average cost. In place, FTI’s average cost is 60-70% of that of FREMM. Both of these 2 point of… Read more »


The reason Arrowhead looks like a Frigate is because it is a Frigate and is based on a very successful in service Frigate too, and that is precisely what the RN wants. If the UK MoD had wanted a Corvette they would have called it precisely that, the T31 Corvette.You are correct however that that is all that Leander has to offer it is nothing more than a stretched Corvette with little or no margin for future growth , however you try to cut it up it has no space for a Merlin, our primary ASW tool , carries an… Read more »

Nigel Collins

It amazes me just how long we take to get a project off the ground, while the Chinese can build four new warships in just over a year.

By the time we get the first type 26 into the water, they will have constructed an entire new fleet the size of our current one! Including the 26!!!


Having worked in ship repair on ships that have been built in China there is a reason why they can knock them out quickly and cheaply.
Water tight bulkheads that are welded for only 60% of their length to the deck was one classic find…equipment such as electric motors that last 6 months before burning (literally) out…mechanical bearings and seals that where all cocky copies of the original manufacturer and lasted less than a year…


But no glued on bolt heads 🙂

It is frustrating though building ships at a snails pace to save money in a single fiscal year even though it costs the treasury far more in the long term. The chancellor really is a moron if he thinks that makes sense, we could have had Astute subs for a small amount more if we had not have reduced the lead times to as far as they could stretch, only in the government do you see such incompetence.


Nothing is being said about the CEFAR tie in with the Aussies. The Artisan is old hat by comparison, surprised it’s being used on T26, as there are better systems out there.


I was looking more into OMT capabilities, this service struck me as a possibility as to why team 31 feel they can give more for 250m Not sure they are providing this to Team 31 but if they drive 10 to 15% efficiencies our of the build then that easily pays for the extra tonnage. I also think that team 31 with the larger design will be able to take more off the shelf non combat equipment or look at more alternate suppliers as they are less restricted by the parts geometry. We also have to remember what this… Read more »


Ref 4.5 Mk 8 gun, the link that i intended to post was here;

Hard hitting, reliable and combat proven it will in any case remain in RN service and be supported until at least 2035 – IMHO most definitely the best way forward for the Arrowhead team. Get the ships in the water within £250m, and then who knows if funds come available and there is a need fit the Mk 45 5 inch at the mid life point when we do the same to the T45?


I’ve looked at all the comments and it seems that either we do not believe that the Type 31 will be built or we are going to have an unarmed Arrowhead or a stretched Corvette. Well I hope that it will be the Arrowhead due to the reasoning of the available space to upgrade as money becomes available. Then again, we are building the type 26 and although many people suggest that this vessel will use a lot of parts from the Type 23s I do not see that happening. First the main gun, that is not coming from the… Read more »

Alfred Barnacle

Really surprised there’s no comments that the MoD has halted the CDP competition as of Friday. Re-compete due in 4-6 weeks