Babcock, Thales, BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine have teamed up to form ‘Team 31’ a consortium to bid for the Type 31 Frigate.
Babcock will act as the overall programme lead, whilst Thales will have overall responsibility for the development of the mission system solution.
Babcock CEO Archie Bethel said:
“Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.”
Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK said:
“Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31. We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create and exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long term value for money.”
The Type 31e frigate will replace five of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The other eight Type 23s are already set to be replaced by the upcoming Type 26 ‘City’ class.
Geared towards maritime security and defence engagement, the Type 31e will fulfill roles such as the Fleet Ready Escort duties in home waters, fixed tasks in the South Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf, and the UK’s NATO commitments in the Mediterranean.
The vessel will be operated by between 80 and 100 men and women and ‘needs to be sufficiently flexible to incorporate future developments in technology, including unmanned systems and novel weaponry’ say the MoD.
The proposed Type 31e frigates will be built in a modular way, which could see the construction work shared between yards around the UK and assembled at a central hub, most likely in Scotland.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:
“Through the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier project, we proved to the world – and to ourselves – that Britain still has what it takes to be a great maritime industrial nation. The National Shipbuilding Strategy seeks to build upon this achievement by charting a course towards a more sustainable and competitive industrial base that can support regional growth and prosperity as well as strengthen our national security.
With the Type 31e General Purpose Frigate Programme, the Royal Navy will bring our requirements into line with the demands of the export market to help support that ambition. Mostly excitingly of all, this offers a historic and vital opportunity to increase the size of the Royal Navy in the decades ahead.”
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.
Tony Douglas, the Chief Executive Officer of DE&S, said:
“The Type 31e programme will drive the change that is needed through the entire system, because we have set tough time and cost constraints.
The collective challenge for DE&S and industry is to deliver Type 31e in a different, more innovative way than has gone before. I want this to be a transformation in the way we do business – not just in ships and acquisition but across the entire defence equipment and support portfolio.”