Visitors to DIMDEX, the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference, will be able to see BAE Systems proposed design for the Type 31e frigate competition in the UK as the company hopes to attract international orders.

BAE Systems says it has brought together its warship design and engineering capability and combat systems expertise with Cammell Laird, the commercial shipbuilder, in a Teaming Agreement to bid for the contract to deliver Type 31e, the UK’s adaptable general purpose frigate.

A key part of the Type 31e programme is configuring the new frigate and its Combat Management System to be attractive to potential international customers and DIMDEX is the first time BAE Systems is showcasing its proposed design outside the UK.

“BAE Systems’ design of this highly capable multi-mission warship demonstrates the flexibility of the ship to meet all warfare roles. Using a flexible mission bay that can be reconfigured at short notice it can perform constabulary, disaster relief, maritime interdiction, counter-piracy and joint taskforce operations.”

With a proposed top speed in excess of 25 knots and a range of more than 7,500 miles, BAE Systems’ design is equipped with some of the most modern and effective weapons systems available, and has been designed to operate in international waters, including the Gulf. It is capable of operating both independently for significant periods and as part of a task group, offering enormous value in bringing together allied maritime nations.

The Type 31e design being proposed for the UK Royal Navy will also feature an enhanced BAE Systems combat system. Building on the pedigree of the systems installed across the UK Royal Navy’s fleet this combat system will add enhanced features through its open, secure, flexible and extensive architecture, ensuring it can be upgraded as new technology develops, adapting to ever-evolving threats say the company.

Angus Holt, BAE Systems’ Type 31e Programme Director, said:

“We are proud to be displaying our Type 31e design at DIMDEX, the first opportunity for international audiences to see this  highly capable ship. Our Type 31e design builds on the proven design and quality of our ships, including Type 45, Offshore Patrol Vessels and the Khareef vessels delivered to  the Royal Navy of Oman. 

It also draws upon the invaluable experience of our Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme, giving us the confidence that we are able to offer a highly advanced ship that can be deployed for a variety of purposes around the world.”


  1. Both the BAE and Babock/BMT designs seem reasonable “paper” projects, let’s just hope the decision on who is the winner is based on capability and affordability rather than politics or short term economic reasons.

    The type 31e presents an opportunity for both the RN and UK industry let’s not hope it’s just not another dead end.

    • I agree. I am not in the anyone-but-BAE camp so am not at all upset to see what appears to be a credible design emerging from BAE. If there are at least two credible designs in the running, both in terms of the capability of the end product and the ability of the bidders to deliver it, that removes any monopoly situation and I would hope means that the bidders will sharpen their pencils as much as they possibly can when pricing their offerings (or in the case of T31e perhaps more in terms of genuinely delivering as much capability as they possibly can within the £250m-per-vessel budget).

      I hope some more detail of the DIMDEX info comes out. Was there a model there for instance or was it all briefings and presentations? If there was a model it would be very interesting to see some detail photographs.

    • But the Type 31 program only exists because of “politics and short term economic reasons”.

      The ships themselves provide very little military usefulness.

      • Not true. Yes, politics played a wrong in the initial idea, but the economic benefits of revitalising our shipbuilding industry are hardly short term.

        As for their military usefulness, fulfilling the lower end escort tasks is definitely useful, and tasks like that are a navy’s bread and butter

        • “Lower end tasks” are peace time tasks. Most definitely NOT the Navy’s bread and butter or indeed any other justification for its existence. The Navy exists to fight wars.

          • Actual in the case of the navy that is not correct. Sea power has a far wider ranging role that both land or air.

            The Air Force and army are fundamentally there to fight wars.

            The RN on the other hand not only fights wars but has a wide ranging set of full time “peace time tasks” which can be boiled down to ensuring the freedom of the sea, allowing trade, supporting British interests and denying the seas to activity deamed against our interest.

            This has always led to the navy needing far more small ships than it has ever had top end war fighting units. It has always been the same before during and after pax Britannia.

          • You are aware of what the phrase “bread and butter” actually means, right? It means the navy’s everyday tasks, meaning maritime security, power projection, and of course the nuclear deterrent.

            In no way am I saying the RN should therefore give up serious warfighting capability. However, you need to balance what the fleet MIGHT need to do in the future with what it IS doing now.

            “Was I to die this moment, ‘Want of Frigates’ would be found stamped on my heart.” If Nelson could recognise the importance of lighter vessels, I’m sure we, with the benefit of hindsight and and a couple of centuries more combat experience to draw from, can do the same.

          • Hi Ron

            Some tasks need diffrent weapons to others.

            Sometimes 2 smaller less capable ships are better than 1 big one.

            Sometimes it’s just a better choice to use a smaller ship.

            As long as the type 31s have credible senor fits, soft kill, anti air self defence, rotor hanger and medium gun then we have an effective unit.

            Even the US with all its reasorces and large numbers of high end 8000t+ hulls has a High low mix.

            I still think we need more type 26s and 45s as well though, I just think a properly thought out smaller hull is a good thing to have as well as the big ships.

  2. For god sake Please please not BAE thought they where not intrested in Building Type 31 This is nothing more than an OPV River class They complelely messed up the TYPE 45 under armed No MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems engines that do not work If Mod let them build this shit then we might as well let the Russian Navy dock in Plymouth or Portsmouth Please Mod select ARROWHEAD or SPARTAN anything other than BAE

    • More than a tad unfair re the Type 45, most of any problems or percieved deficiencies are not down to BAE or certainly not majorly. And I rather doubt that similar ‘limitations, won’t be seen in future projects either unless cash is found under the cushions at the MOD. The engine problems not of course the direct fault of any British supplier are typical of the problems that are found in practically all new ships of any navy the Australian in particular at the moment in designs nothing to do with this country or BAE.

    • Having said I don’t hate BAE I think we still need to see some more design detail on its proposal because the devil will be in the detail. For instance I assume your (Rob’s) link to the StRN twitter feed was for their retweet of the BAE tweet with the overhead render that gives a pretty clear view of the bow VLS silos. If I’m viewing it right that looked to me like 2 x 6 custom Sea Ceptor soft launch tubes. They looked too small and the wrong hatch shape for Mk41.

      Now, this might just be a case of BAE grabbing a VLS silo image block from some other render, or the tubes might be big enough to be quad pack, or there might be more silos aft but, if none of that is the case, then 12 Sea Ceptor is quite frankly taking the piss. Venator 110 claims forward silo configuration options that include 48 Sea Ceptor or 8 Mk41 plus 24 Sea Ceptor for its VLS. As another fairly random example the South African Meko-derived frigates have 16 hot as opposed to cold launch VLS (so harder to accommodate) + another 16 FFBNW.

      I fully acknowledge that right now we are in the absurd stage of trying to infer spec from poring over early renders but, from looking at the one on that retweet, I have some concerns. I would be more than happy for my concerns to turn out to be unfounded.

      • Have a look at the Naval Recognition video at DIMDEX, they have a high quality interactive graphic. You are correct, 12 single missile tubes (same appearance as T23 tubes), and an 8 cell launcher near the SSM canisters that looks a lot like Mk41, but the person never mentioned anything about it so I don’t think it is in the T31 spec for the RN, rather a capability for export.

      • Yep so we wouldn’t get the SSM canisters or whatever VLS is behind them. That’s a shame, I’m sure Babcock and BMT can do better than that.

        • Not for the £250m I guess. The RFI says AShM is not a core requirement but the proposal should be capable of being adapted to carry them. I would say if you want to be able to sell them on after 5 or 10 years then most buyers would be looking for an AShM of some sort. Or at that point we might upgrade them and ( don’t laugh) build another 5 of the basic version. Might have trouble getting US approval to sell them on if they have Mk41

  3. I’d love to see a side by side capability and price breakdown for each intended design if that information is available.

  4. Afternoon all
    So they sales pitches have begun with the might of the BAES brand being pushed to the fore. Apologies but I thought this was being led by Camel Laird who are using the BAES design house?
    So we have an OPV that has been stretched against a platform designed from the outset to fulfill the requirements.
    The Spartan design is out there as well, which is also designed against the requirement.
    In the last 40 years, as far as I am aware, BAES have never produced a platform on time, on budget that satisfies all the requirements, please also remember that the CVF design is a Thales design built by BAES (their design lost out).
    BAES are full of good engineers, designers, project managers and builders yet they always over promise and under deliver. When you are the only supplier in town you can do that and for the past 30 years they have been.
    It’s time for some competition to be given a chance, enabling the U.K. ship building industry to spread its wings a bit and use the whole country and not just the river Clyde.

    • Well true though there have been supposed design issues around the CVF too even before it comes into service though responsibility between Designer and builder has not been determined or even the veracity of the actual claims for that matter. But you can almost guarantee that a few years into service all sorts of accusations real, false or exaggerated will be made against it in a rabid press and elsewhere.

    • Yep.

      Lets keep BAES out of this one, for once, and see what someone else can deliver. Competition in the RN warship market can be of benefit to the RN and the UK taxpayer.

      Spartan / Venator / Arrowhead all the way for mr…

    • You can make exactly the same statement about any Naval shipyard in France, Germany, Italy & the US. New designs of warships are always late and always over budget. It’s the nature of the beast.

      By the way, Spartan is a brochure & pretty picture put together by a couple of yacht designers. Hardly a credible alternative.

      And Leander is a stretched El Khareef corvette in service with the Oman Navy. It is not based on the River OPV’s.

      • Hi Ron
        In commercial industry ships normally get built to time and budget, if they go over budget they pick up the cost and if they go over time penalties are paid by the contractor to the customer. Cannot really remember the last time BAES did that, it would reflect to badly on themselves and DE&S.
        These designs as presented by both parties (fair enough regarding Spartan but it looked very good on paper) re-use already in Service C2 and C4ISR systems and in service weapon systems you remove a lot of the cost and schedule risk that 1st of class vessels normally incur.
        I am not against BAES – just their record of delivery and as their role as system integrator.
        El Khareef is a high end OPV and that is reflected in the cost, I did not mean River 2. BAES also produced some OPV/corvettes for Brunei if I remember correctly….what happened to them?

  5. It will need to be faster than 25 knots, have roller shutters and have much more than the 12 CAMM pictured to be credible.

    It would be an absolute disaster if we bought this ship from BAE. We still continue to have critical issues with the Type 45s all these years later.

    We don’t need another LCS. We need a credible warship and so far BMT and Babcock are much nearer to what we need.

    • Arrowhead only has 16 CAMM launchers (I do not know if they can be quad packed). The two designs are similar in terms of appearance and load out. Leander may have an edge if it has Mk 41 VLS amid-ships (pictures aren’t clear enough to be able to tell for sure).

      • I would have thought the combat system commonality with other RN ships would be a huge boost in BAE’s favour.

        I’m not sure it matters what weapons are shown in images from BAE or Babcock. The weapons fit will be determined by the £250m price tag and what can be salvaged from the T23s.

        • Rob – Given that they are just images I would agree that it doesn’t matter what they are showing right now because they are such an unreliable source of information to draw any conclusions from but, when the actual specs are known I would say it absolutely does matter regardless of what the £250m can afford, because it sets an upper limit on any FFBNW capability. As a very simplified example to illustrate what I mean, if by some weird set of circumstances we ended up with 2 final bids that were absolutely identical in every way, including price, and the RN only had enough budget for 16 Sea Ceptor launchers would you prefer the design where the 16 Sea Ceptor that the RN could afford maxed out the design’s capacity to host Sea Ceptor launchers or would you prefer the design that actually had space for 48 launchers so the RN would end up with space for another 32 if circumstances (e.g. funding or likelihood of an imminent conflict) ever changed? (Remember, in my weird parallel universe the designs are equal in all other ways including cost.)

          Ultimately we need to wait to see detailed specs but for me the potential to expand beyond the RN’s initial cost-constrained initial configuration will be something that would influence my opinion since it at least offers some hope that, if the initial configuration is underwhelming, it might be possible to improve things in the future.

    • I think they have launchers mid ship on the T31 as well. Def more than 12 CAMM launchers in total.
      I would like to see shutters on the side as well as it looks unfinished plus screws up the low radar cross section.

        • How sure are you about that?
          The Holland and Gowind class OPV’s don’t have shutters on their (all be it small) ‘mission bays’.
          It breaks up the smooth lines of the ship and ruins their aesthetics, but it’s probably more practical not to have them as frees up space.

  6. Afternoon
    If the requirements (all of them) are being fulfilled then the designs should reflect that. Numbers of CAMM launchers, Mk 41 VLS packs etc are all types of end solution that could satisfy the requirements as laid down by the customer.
    How the vendor chooses to meet them (cost is also quite a big one) will be up to them as the design authority. I am afraid some commentators are going to be disappointed, the RN, MoD and HMT so long as the requirements are met will not.

    • A timely reminder of what is being asked for:
      As I read it a 57mm and Terma Scanter ‘patrol’ frigate would meet the basic requirement. As would a 30mm and a dozen Sea Ceptor.
      If a 5 in gun and ‘pulling through’ Sea Ceptor and Artisan push the price over the £250m then we don’t get them. That said I would be amazed if Type 31 did not have Artisan and at least a dozen Sea Ceptor cells.
      We should open a book on the winning armament package.

      • “To accomplish its tasks, the T31e will depend on organic sensors as well as deployable
        assets; such as sea boats and organic aviation system(s). It will operate predominantly in low threat conditions but will require credible offensive and defensive capabilities to deter aggression, survive attacks and provide reassurance.”

        Quote from the Govt publication. This doesn’t sound like a ship that will need strike length VLS to me or a 5 inch gun. Expect some Sea Ceptor cells, 76mm main gun, GPMGs, and maybe a quad launcher or 2 for ASM.

        • In fairness Rob – I agree that these shouldn’t have strike VLS – why would they?

          But I do think our Fleet Escorts should all have strike (T45/23/26).

          I am more than happy with 16 Seaceptor a 76mm Otto (useful for defence of carriers if need be) and a compact C4 sonar would be my preferred load out, as I think these should really be ASW assets in the long run. To this end a stern bay able to deploy a CB90 / UV’s would be a base configuration (Rhib to start with)

          I think if these can deliver the mine countermeasures, small (sub 30) Raiding force, or even an ASW package these will be very useful vessels. Add in the ability of the 76 Otto to act like a long range CIWS and it may just be what we need. Leave land strike to the big boys (astute, T26, T45)

        • Agreed. I think credible defence translates to decoys and a few Sea Ceptor cells and credible deterrence translates to a few ASh missiles. A 5 in gun would likely blow the budget because of its price and in the case of Leander the cost of design changes. Khareef came with the Oto 76mm so for Leander it would be a shoe in and a good export option but a new gun type, logistics and all, would be a big leap for the RN. That said if I understand correctly the 76mm ticks both the deterrence and point defence boxes and I think there is a future option for guided ammunition. So maybe you wouldn’t need Sea Ceptor to meet the minimum requirement if it blows the budget. You may have hit it with your config.

          • If you can fit a MK41 midship as the design suggests then you can swap it out for CAMM, which is likely what will happen. This will give the type 31 a total of 20 CAMM, perhaps more.

  7. The t31 should be flexible and modular as possible given the tonnage and cost constraints.

    If a customer requires a Mk41 launcher and is prepared to pay then the design should be able to accommodate this, they may want 127mm cannon instead of a 76mm one then that’s fine as well. Allow the customer to decide the weapon/sensor fit and not dictate to them what they can or cannot have.

    The RN t31 will no doubt have an limited weapon and sensor fit, but this should not limited the fit required by an export customer.

    The era of designing and building bespoke warships for the RN is over, it is no longer sustainable. Our warships need to be capable and affordable, one of the ways to make them affordable is to help spread the fixed costs over a larger orders obtained through exports.

      • My understanding is that HMG is pushing hi/low T26/T31e model to Aus, which would only strengthen BAES bid as BAES have the ship yard capacity in Aus.
        Should make BMT next move interesting

    • Not necessarily. It’s a £1.25bn deal with relatively few serious bidders. I would be disappointed if the MoD/RN wasn’t having an awful lot of contact time with all of the front runners. This is just BAE’s design getting a bit of time in the limelight because they have announced more details at DIMDEX. I am sure other competitors will become newsworthy and get MoD/RN visits as they announce further details, maybe even at DIMDEX.

        • Given that Babcock is the lead it would be VERY interesting if the proposal looked more like Venator since that would imply to me that after detailed discussions Babcock had decided that V110 was the most advanced (in terms of detail) and/or promising design. Personally I dont’t expect that to happen though, I expect it’ll look more like Arrowhead. Like you though Paul, I’m really keen to see what they will be proposing.

          • I’m not surprised they are taking all the time allowed to complete their proposal. I always thought the Venator design was the most thorughly thought through in terms of a single hull that could be comfigured as a patrol frigate and then upgraded to a GP frigate.
            And also designed from the get go to plug and play export customer choices of sensors and weapons. The problem I suspect is you could not build it for £250. Arrowhead on the other hand is I think a derivative of the proposed new USC ship and I am guessing would be straighforward to,build for £250m. But it probably is not sufficiently survivable as it stands as a RN warship and I doubt any thought at all has gone into it being a customer configurable export proposition.

          • I agree Paul. I’ve always liked Venator 110.

            Reading some of BMT’s more detailed technical papers than the easily accessible brochures, e.g. papers submitted to conferences, I get the impression that BMT really did think very hard about affordability, for instance quite a lengthy deliberation on different ways to separate machinery spaces and why BMT chose what it did for Venator or cost issues with huge mission bays e.g. HVAC requirements, so perhaps not all hope is not lost of a Venator-based design being affordable. (The more detailed conference papers are probably linked from the BMT web site; I forget how I found them and didn’t save links I’m afraid.)

  8. Whatever else we put on we need to fit either a new 5 inch or a refurbished 4.5. Anything smaller would be next to worthless for shore bombardment. Plus anti surface ship for anything to small to waste a very expensive missile on.

    • Fitting refurbished 4.5in ( a good gun) would be an attractive cost option. The 5in would take a big chunk on the £250m budget. But choosing the 4.5 would make the Type 23s less attractive as a resale proposition and would kick the can down the road regarding the RN transitioning to the 5in. The RFI document mandates a medium calibre gun of at least 57mm so the BAE 57mm or the Oto 76mm would meet the requirement at much lower cost. They are not good enough for NGS but that is not a stated requirement. They are probably good enough for deterrence and they do have anti aircraft ability.

  9. In many ways this is actually the traditional way of doing this sort of thing. In the Victorian RN it wasn’t uncommon, for small ships such as TBs and TBDs, for them to put out a fairly loose spec and a price point and see what the nations ship yards could come up with. The only difference was that back then the RN would be putting in orders for like 30 at a time…

  10. The mk8 114mm fit for the T31 is a non starter.

    Its labour intensive when in operational use, the ammunition is obsolete and also expensive given the small production runs.

    Surely the way ahead is to select just one gun system for the RN, namely the mk45 127mm already selected for the t26.

    This will reduce training and support costs over the medium to long term

    • Afternoon
      Agree with calibre and gun choice, however will this not affect size of hull and positioning of gun, especially magazine size etc.

      • Hi Lee, the design should be able to take into account.

        Mk45 is installed on frigates with a tonnage of 3000.

        • I think the issue with the Mk45 5in is the cost. Read somewhere the 3 refurbished mounts for the first batch of Type 26 cost an eye watering £183m.
          If so this will rule it out of contention for Type 31 whose basic requirement does not call for NGS. If we rule out the Mk8 114m on grounds of creeping obsolescence that leaves the BAE 57mm or the Oto 76mm for the basic ship, with ability to upgrade to Mk45 at some future date. There would be a bigger export and resale market if it was the Oto 76mm.

          • If I recall correctly, the order was for 4 guns (3 for the initial order of 3 T26, and 1 for land based training), plus a lot of ammo, spares, support and all of the other initial costs of introducing a new gun type. So although it’s expensive, this cost does not accurately reflect the cost of 3 guns. Indeed, it highlights to cost of introducing a new gun type – there would be a lot of additional costs associated with introducing the 57mm or 76mm if adopted for the T31

  11. Afternoon all,my first thoughts on the Type 31 project were very positive to begin with,but now I have some reservations.While a cap of £250 Million per vessel sounds achievable on paper to use a current political cathphrase its smacks as a ‘race to the bottom’ (obviously no pun intended).Yes the Royal navy is short of hulls and if this project is the only way to rectify this then so be it,i just don’t think a Design that’s an OPV + will be good enough.I hope that when (if) the 5 ships are delivered and the costs are analysed it would have actually been cheaper to buy more Type 26 Frigates. If you look at the French and Italian Navies with their impressive FREMM Frigates they are both proceeding with a vaguely similar projects to buy capable but affordable Frigates under the FTI/Belharra and PPA names respectively.While these are coming in at a higher pricepoint than the Type 31’s I’m impressed by what they offer- the PPA’S in particular in my opinion are extremely capable from what I have read.The key to the success of the Type 31’s are their export potential but compared to what they will be competing against in the market plus the second hand market as older vessels are replaced I think they will struggle to get many orders,i just hope I’m wrong but time will tell.

  12. We have an idea what is required.

    “During a July 2016 Defence Select Committee hearing, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones described the GPFF as “to be a much less high-end ship. It is still a complex warship, and it is still able to protect and defend and to exert influence around the world, but it is deliberately shaped with lessons from wider industry and off-the-shelf technology to make it… more appealing to operate at a slightly lower end of Royal Navy operations.”IHS Janes described it as a “credible frigate” that will cover “maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support… [sitting] between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs.”

    A 7 September 2017 graphic released by the Royal Navy stressed modular adaptability and flexible construction of the design for export opportunities. Core requirements of the Type 31e frigate include 76mm or larger calibre gun, point defence systems, hangar and a flight deck for Wildcat or ten tonne helicopter operated by a crew of around 100 with space for 40 more personnel”

  13. I think we should bin Sea Ceptor and install Mk 41 on these Type 31 How many countries will want to buy Sea Ceptor as export 13 X Countries use Mk 41 we should equip are future frigates with US equipment we may be cut off from EU after we leave. Eu might even start playing dirty with PAAMS once we leave especially if we leave with No Deal . We need a anti ballistic missle defence system Sea Ceptor will probably not even hit a high flying Russian Aircraft we need to detach from EU

    • 4 countries have already selected Sea Ceptor for their navies and it’s only beginning to come into service with the RN..

  14. Sea ceptor is one of few export success stories.

    I understand it can be quad packed into a single Mk 41 launch tube

    • Mike Saul, If Sea Ceptor is one of our “few export success stories” then how is the UK one of the biggest defence exporters in the world ?

      • Saudi Arabia accounts for a third of weapons exports for which we pay hefty bribes.

        Then the USA (F35 related) and UAE make up another third.

        Currently we are sixth biggest weapons exporter, but falling down the league. Given current trends in the next 10 years we will be overtaken by Spain, Italy, the Ukraine and Israel.

        • So we are one of the biggest defence exporters in the world and it isn’t all down to Sea Ceptor. As I thought. The rest is conjecture.

          • Jack can you not see where the UK is heading?

            In 10 years time tiny Israel will be a larger exporter of weapons than the UK.

            Many of our big investments in defence equipment in the past have little export potential. I can list them if you like.

            You may be happy be the stipulation but I am not.

  15. I can’t imagine the type 31 will get any other gun than the Mk45. This would be a slight increase in capital costs over other options but would give a reduction in ongoing costs (only one training and logistic pipe line). Although you never know with idiotic procurement practices that sometimes go on.

    If it ends up with a MK45, a few seaceptors hanger, heli pad, good soft kill and sensors, with that range and mission bay we will end up with a useful hull that would have a purpose even in a hot war.

  16. EU defence ministers push ahead with military projects WITHOUT Britain
    A GROUP of European Union defence ministers have agreed to develop their first joint defence projects under a pact that excludes Britain.At their meeting, the ministers delayed until the end of this year any decision on whether to allow non-EU countries to join future defence projects. It is already started to Happen.. Usa looking to replace Littoral combat ships one Danish frigate one Dutch Ship one Norwegian Frigate in the running Nothing from UK WHY NOT we always let BAE build are ships

    • I’m shaking in my boots.

      If the UK decided to withdraw security co operation it would hurt EU far more than the UK.

      UK is part of the 5 Eyes Sigint Alliance of anglophile nations. EU relies on our expertise and assistance, and would be left sniffing thin air.

    • Why shouldn’t they developmtheir own projects, our strategy is to have our own industrial capability, so whats wrong with them doing the same? Countries spend as much of their defence budgets on home soil as possible, its proper.

      AS for US navy, we dont have any ships that meet their requirements.

      Withdrawing security cooperation with our closest neighbours and allies is a ridiculous Trump move, helping our real enemy Russia.

    • Thanks for the link Colin.

      The source is dated July 2017. Events have moved on from that time.

      The short list was recently published it included 3 US, 1 Spanish (F100) and an Italian (FREMM) designs.

  17. Colin,im sure the Type 26 is excluded from the American requirement due to them specifying a class already in service which would be then built in the USA with a few tweaks,unfortunately a bit early for BAE to bid.As for Seaceptor its one of those rare simple solutions to a problem that actually works and has good development potential.Post Brexit we are still going to be a senior member of NATO,and as long as the Italians and French continue to operate PAAMS I would doubt they would put any obstacles in our way ,after all any upgrades and Missile purchases would be of benefit to them just as much as us.

    • You can blame Hammond for delaying almost every RN project through his appalling lack of common (Defence) sense and for our inability to present the type 26 in the US competition. If we are lucky it may get further with the the Australians and Canadians but only because they are more understanding than the USA. When will Hammond and the Treasury learn delay costs money.

  18. Colin the reason the T26 ot T31 are not in the competition is that all entrants are based off ships already in the water. There are no only exists on paper designs.

  19. The EU are not going to get to frutty around defence co-operation with us, after all there are only two global militaries in Europe the bigger one being us. They will bitch and keep the pressure up during negotiations but in regards to defence, Europe really does need the U.K. more than the U.K. needs the rest of Europe.

    • Agreed. That and intelligence services.

      Morally it becomes a bit difficult for the U.K. to position these capabilities as a bargaining tool in Brexit, especially intelligence (extreme characterisation to illustrate- “we won’t tip you off about any future planned terrorist attack on your soil unless you give us a good trade deal” – if not actually what the U.K. might ever say or mean it would be possible to spin any hint of using intelligence as a bargaining chip that way). I do have some hopes though that for defence the U.K. knows it is one of its strengths in Europe which might make HMG realise that now would be a bad time to be seen to be cutting our armed forces when the Germans are increasing spending, procuring a rubbish(*) light frigate when the French and the Italians seem to be specifying something fairly decent, etc, etc, etc.

      (*) I’m not saying T31e is rubbish, we don’t know the specs of the contenders let alone who will win, I’m just saying that maybe, not wanting to undermine the UK’s leadership position in European defence, HMG might want to ensure T31 does end up at least in the same ballpark capability wise as what France and Italy are doing with their light frigates rather than making it an obviously pimped OPV.

      • Yep, although in negotiations it’s all about getting to the piont you can be honest about need, not position (positional negotiations lead to loose loose when negotiations are around complex systems) This is why the government trying to say it can’t tip it’s hand on what we need and have an open discussion with the public on what it wants to negotiate is BS ( the truth is they have not got to the piont they can agree internally what we need, so they can’t express it), they ( the Execute of HMG have had the same lessons in around complex systems negotiation as anyone else and the first rule is understand your own needs, then express them, then get the other guy to express theirs. It’s not morally wrong or suspect for us to say we are taking most of the burden of defending Northern Europe, providing Europe with half its nuclear defence and expeditionary forces, which Europw needs us to do. Therefore we need them to take this cost into account during negotiations. It would utterly unreasonable not to and should be seen in that light.

        As for the T31 I’m sure it will end up a credible light frigate, we have not yet forgotten what happened to the type t21s. We do actually need smaller hulls as well, as long as they are well designed ( I would bet my bottom they don’t stick to the ceiling price if it meant adding cheaper inferior but more equipment lines to training and logistic pipe lines, so I would bet, CAMM, MK45 gun and standardised soft kill with the type 26, my worry would be the senor fit)

  20. That’s a nice Corvette. should be good enough for patrolling shipping around the world but they should build 20 of them for the price they’ll be paying for them..

    • I think they should make a commitment to 5 batches of 5 over 25 years and put a real marker down and get the competition red hot.

      Surely we can afford 250-350m pa for a really good version of t31. We really need to get the drumbeat right for both the navy and industry and this means fewer hull types but more of what we do buy I believe. Then it is scheduling. 1 sub every 2 years and 3 surface vessels every year on average

  21. Will the mission bays have doors or they always open to the elements? If open to the elements will restrict the mission capabilities.
    I like the Arrowhead and Spartan rear ramp and large mission hangers. This allows for additional mission capabilities.
    With the decommissioning of the 13 Type 23’s there should be the option to swop out guns, missiles, radar and mission systems.
    Pity they didn’t fit a mission bay/hanger and Stanflex capability to the new River class. Would have significantly increased their capability and feasible at the cost.

  22. I see the MCG as the pivotal competitive differentiator. The minimum requirement can be met by a 57mm. The ‘adaptive’ requirement for NGS can only be met by the 5in, the new RN standard.
    Babcock will have to buy the 5in at full price from BAE or propose the Oto 76mm which would be better that the 57mm for the basic ship but wouldn’t meet the NGS adaptable requirement which stipulates > 76mm. BAE could choose to propose the 57mm or supply the 5in to Cammel at cost as a loss leader for the basic ship from the getgo. Fascinating. Tesco pricing tactics anyone?

    • I thought the 5inch gun, Sea Ceptor, Harpoon and Artisan were going to transfer to the Type 31’s from the Type 23’s

      • I am sure that will happen for the 8 Type 26 ( except for Harpoon and the Mk8). But less sure when it comes to the 5 Type 31. I think it possible that 5 Type 23 will be sold off to Brazil and / or Chile as fully operational ships. The exports of Artisan and Sea Ceptor would be a welcome boost to the UK defence industry.
        I keep coming back to the RFI document for Type 31 where the basic level of requirement could in fact be met by a 57mm gun and Sea Ram / Phalanx. I think Artisan will be on Type 31 because the requirement talks about ‘fusing 000’s of tracks’. Not sure Terma Scanter would be good enough.

      • Ha! I don’t what the intercompany transfer rules are between the US BAE and UK BAE. Depends on where they want to make the profit I guess and what the US authorities let them get away with. They wouldn’t be happy with the US letting the UK have the gun at cost which would mean BAE paying less tax in the US. I read somewhere the price for the first 3 Mk45 refurbished mounts for the Type 26 cost £183m. This is why I think we will be lucky to see Mk45 on either Leander or Arrowhead. The Oto 76mm would be more likely.
        Another differentiator is the propulsion. Arrowhead has economical and quiet but costly diesel electric. Leander probably has the 2 diesels of Khareef and Venator has 4 diesels.
        Leander might have a cost advantage since the requirement does not call for a quiet ASW hull.

        • “I read somewhere the price for the first 3 Mk45 refurbished mounts for the Type 26 cost £183m”

          I remember reading about that contract and it was for more than the first 3 guns. It was actually for 4 guns, 3 for the first 3 T26s and a fourth (which I assume will be a full real gun) for shore-based training. It also included an initial stock of ammunition. Since the initial contract included some infrastructure for all 8 T26 (i.e. the shore-based training unit) it’s possible the ammo provision was also for more than just the first three vessels. In any event, I’m just trying to head off anyone doing a divide-by-three operation to claim they have a unit cost for a Mk45 gun.

          Also, since the shore-based training unit is already ordered, that’s a piece of U.K. Mk45 infrastructure that would be funded and in place already and wouldn’t need to be repurchased were T31-RN to specify Mk45.

          Thanks for the info on propulsion differences – useful and interesting.

          • Most posters consider the Mk45 to be a prerequisite for a capable Type 31. But the request for info doc does not ask for NGS in the basic spec, only in the ‘adaptable’ requirements. Personally if it came down to it I would take the 76mm over a 5 in if it meant more Sea Ceptors and a bow sonar. More use as a escort. Not sure at what point in the project the armament package and propulsion gets finalised. The competitve design phase starts next month.

          • Correction? Read another opinion that the Khareefs have diesel electric drive for low speed operarion. If so that would give them potential for towed sonar.

  23. Julian, I think a good ballpark figure for the Mk45 is £30m each. The initial contract will also include a support element as well (perhaps for more than the initial 4 guns).

    I believe the UK is missing an opportunity here as we should really have at least a 10 year requirement for all our key armaments laid out and be getting quotes on these, tbh I dont mind them sitting in a warehouse in pristine condition if we get a great price on them, but we seem to order in such low quantities that we never get a scale price.

    Top and bottom of this is we need at least 20 guns – so why not place an order for 21 and get the best price before we are locked in.

    Same for SeaCeptor, VLS’s, Captas and even engines… I really do think the MOD is borderline useless with these things…

    • I also remember a support element included in the deliverables for the £183m contract but wasn’t confident enought in my memory on that element to mention it in my previous post. With your confirmation though I agree; I missed out on mentioning that bit which also reduces the raw per-gun cost. £30m sounds like a pretty reasonable estimate of the raw Mk45 per-gun cost but I would love to hear other people’s opinions.

      As for bulk orders, that stuff drives me nuts. Politicians living and dying by the electoral cycle is one of the down sides of democracy. Pre-ordering a load of stuff would probably legally, or at least by good accountancy practice, be required to shown the entire contract value as a liability i.e. addition to the national debt, so something a government always running up to the next election would prefer to avoid despite how much sense it might make over a realistic planning cycle. Grrrr…

  24. Given the repetition yesterday by Hammond that the budget is growing why not order more and, copying the French, sell them off smartish?

    Gun? 5 inch. Standardised system across 19 platforms… eventually.

    • The problem is that although the budget is growing I suspect that costs are growing faster due to the exchange US Dollar rate assumptions made in the last spending review having been adversely impacted by the referendum result. How bad an effect that will be remains to be seen though because the U.K. Pound has staged a reasonable recovery in the last few months so perhaps when HMG announces its “modernisation review” the black hole in the budget for currently announced commitments, e.g. F-35s, P-8As etc, won’t be as bad as some of the previous guesstimates in the media have indicated and just maybe there will be some scope to invest in order to gain future efficiencies which is what is needed rather than each government seeming to wing it year by year with no real long term strategy.

  25. I have been wondering why we need to decommission the current frigates. It’s been demonstrated multiple times that other nations are capable of operating our vessels multiple years after they were decommissioned due to age. Keep the current frigates or a few of them for low intensity operations, where the hulls won’t take too much strain, and raise the number of escorts with minimal spending or even mothball them. The radar, missiles, etc will be the same as the new ships and so limited problems on the training front. ok there is a problem with crew, but using them in domestic waters means they can be used for training purposes and there if needed in a conflict situation.

    • We don’t have the manpower. I think there was substance in the rumours that Chile are interested in some Type 23s.

    • Does anyone wonder how much of the budget is being spent on graphics? I’d prefer speed above 28 knots and a boost in armament and delete the mission bay with all its trappings.

      • The mission bay and its ability to launch UXVs is what future proofs the design so I think it will get a high priority.

    • The pictures of the type 31 shown are what the vessel can be, it shows the full potential if a customer wanted it. Customers like the RN can pick and choose what they want. E.g, instead of the MK41 which is super expensive, they exchange it for 8 CAMM silos.

  26. Still no website from BAE on the Leander. Compare that to BMT, Babcock and others such as Naval Group and Damen. This is unbelievable considering they’re in a competition.

    BAE clearly are failing at basic PR and Marketing.


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