The information regarding plans for the Type 31 frigate comes to light in a speech by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, delivered at DSEI 2017.
The following is an excerpt of the speech.
“Meanwhile, the Type 26 frigate is a genuine contender for both the Australian and New Zealand future frigate programmes and the Type 31e could meet the requirements of other smaller regional navies.
So how do we position ourselves to capitalise on this?
As a comparison, for the modest outlay of a few forward deployed patrol vessels, light frigates and maritime aircraft based in the region, France has considerable influence in Asia-Pacific.
The recent establishment of a British defence staff in Singapore is a sign that UK defence is starting to consider our options in this area in a similar light
The new UK joint logistics support base at Duqm in Oman could serve as a springboard for more frequent Royal Navy deployments across the Indian Ocean.
The deployment of the UK Carrier Strike Group to this region in the 2020s would be welcomed by many of our partners, and would be a powerful sign of our ambition.
And we still have berthing rights in Singapore. With a growing navy, it would be perfectly possible to base Type 31e frigates in South East Asia, just as we do with smaller ships in Bahrain and the Falklands today.
Of course, all these things are not yet policy. They are examples of what we could do, and our long term aspirations must be tempered against near-term challenges; such as our manpower recovery programme, which is working, but will take time and we must be patient.
But the fact remains: if we are serious about our nation’s global economic ambitions, then we will need a global navy to match, and the opportunities are there, should we wish to use them.”
Due to an expected lower cost, the government suggested it may allow an eventual increase in the total number of frigates in the Royal Navy. This general purpose frigate will be designated as the Type 31 frigate.
It is understood that the Type 26 Frigate will primarily support carrier task group operations while the Type 31 is to be deployed for a range of less high-tempo operations.