BAE Systems and Cammel Laird today launched a new website for their Type 31e candidate: Leander. This is despite the MoD temporarily suspending the acquisition process last month. 

‘Leander is at the cutting edge of modern warship design: stealthy, hardened/survivable, high endurance, a completely modern combat management system and bristling with enormous firepower’

New website

Pitched as the ‘epitome of UK naval engineering’ on the new website, Leander is intended to compete with Babcock’s Arrowhead design for the contract.

The attraction of the two designs is the ‘value for money’. In the words of BAE Systems for example, Leander will provide ‘a level of capability that is unheard of for her price point’.

The website states that Leander is ‘available in four sizes (99m, 102m, 117m, 120m)’. This information was previously unconfirmed. It is understood that if the contract went to Cammel Laird, the Royal Navy would select the 120m size.


The below information comes directly from the Leander website. All previous unconfirmed reports are excluded. 

Leander has been designed to comply with ‘the latest Royal Navy standards’. Indeed the website states that the ‘design to cost’ approach has not led to a compromise in combat credibility.

Leander will utilise the ‘BAE Systems Combat System’. Because of the maturity of this system, the class should be operational ‘shortly after delivery’.

Future capability

Interestingly, the website states that in developing Leander, BAE has considered ‘all likely additional military roles’, including anti-submarine warfare.

Leander has also been designed to be highly ‘customisable’ with specific export partners in mind. This includes compatibility with ‘indigenous combat systems’.

The launch of this website is an interesting development. It affirms Cammel Laird’s and BAE Systems’ commitment to the Type 31e programme. In contracts, little has been heard from Babcock in recent weeks.

The website can be found here


    • If the things that can be fitted aren’t and the ‘space for’ aren’t filled this ship could come in at under £250m. The question is would such a ship be of much use? Of course it would help maintain the numbers of fighting ships.

      • That is the thing. WHAT do we want these T31 to do? I believe 1SL already made that clear.

        We want them to be forward deployed chasing pirates and drug smugglers, fly the flag, visit foreign ports, and generally provide a presence a T26 or T45 with their cost and role are not IMO needed for.

        Does this have at least a rudimentary ASW fit?

        Those wanting an all high end fleet are forgetting HMG either can not or will not spend the money on 13 T26.

        I have no problem with the idea of a fleet of High end assets in their main roles augmented by lesser spec ships like these.

        As long as they are not totally toothless. If T23 stuff like Sea Ceptor and radar is transferred I do not see the problem other than BAE greed.

        • “That is the thing. WHAT do we want these T31 to do?”

          Yes, the primary role is critical but isn’t the other big thing what do we want these ships to be able to step up to if required? Must a T31e be able to add some value to a CBG? Provide a credible escort for an LPD or critical RFA ship if no T26 is available? Go into some area that is much hotter than Med/E.Africa smuggling/piracy patrol areas? Etc?

          If the answer to all of the above is no, or that the T31e as envisaged isn’t capable of stepping up to any of those roles, then exactly what extra does T31e give over and above something like a River with a Hanger or maybe a Venari 85 type of vessel (which is pretty much the same size as a River) with a suitable UAV embarked (Schiebel S-100 Camcopter perhaps or even better a UK-designed next generation successor to that)?

          If T31e can’t step up to meaningful roles at a level above the roles you outline then shouldn’t we be giving up on any pretence to be building a light frigate, build more very capable OPVs, and use any money saved to add 1 or more T26s to the currently planned 8?

          • I agree Julian.

            I think the problem could be that “stepping up” requires a spend greater than what HMG want to pay.

            The ships stepping up may also not be British if it is an allied operation.

            Your option seems good to me too.

            We need ships! We need more mass.

            However way we do it.

          • Good conversation. Say we were to buy Leander; we would get a ‘global’ endurance range 25knot ship with 12 Sea Ceptor, Phalanx (if you take the cgi at face value), RN standard systems, Artisan and a Wildcat.
            At 25knots it could keep pace with a carrier task force and contribute its AA point defences to the inner screen of the force; recalling that the carrier itself will not have Phalanx or Sea Ceptor. The Type 26 could well be hunting subs away from the task force with a slow towed sonar but with the ability to sprint back. Type 31 will carry a Wildcat so could launch an attack on a sub given the vectors from a Type 26 or an active bow sonar on itself or a Type 45. So I do see Type 31 as an asset in a task force scenario.

          • Good observation Paul. Sea Ceptor seems the critical part of the equation to me. That’s my biggest concern about the Leander design, at least based on the renders. If the maximum size of that VLS silo behind the gun really is only 12 then that seems a big issue to me for any “stepping up” roles. It’s also rather curious and disappointing when BMT’s Venator 110 forward silo was claimed to be configurable for up to 48 Sea Ceptor or 24 SC + 8 Mk41. Hopefully the Leander renders are a bit misleading here and it can fit more although maybe that’s a bit of a mute point if the per-vessel budget is held at £250m and the MoD/RN can’t afford to actually fit any SC at all.

            I think my conclusion here is that if T31e can host a decent sized VLS and there is enough budget allocated to populate it to at least 24 per vessel then I can see some benefit in having a vessel that can fulfill not only the low level primary roles but also some “step up” roles. The VLS silo seems to me to be essential to the “step up” roles however so, if it is not there or is a derisory 12 maximum load, then these vessels seem overkill for their intended primary roles and it would be more cost effective to build cheaper C3 vessels with the money saved going towards at least one extra T26, hopefully at a very good price after the RAN win.

          • Julian, agree with your Sea Ceptor point. 12 is not enough. Leander should have another 12 or 24 launchers midships over the mission bay. My understanding is that Sea Ceptor launchers are nowhere near as expensive or deep or heavy as Mk41

  1. I’m not sure how Leander didn’t make it under the £250mm price tag unless the issue is they need two competing bids under £250mm to make it a competition.
    It’s definitely the safest and least risky option, the RN already uses the BAE combat management system, they can recylce Artisan Radars from the T23. The design is conservative and it will be at a single location that should reduce the risk of blocks being delayed at shipyards that have not build ships for decades.
    If the purpose is to deliver ships quickly and on budget this option makes sense, but I still think BMT is favorite based on the larger design and more shipyards being involved and it 5 years we will be talking about how the price spiraled out of control with deliveries 3 years later than planned.

    • If memory serves, the exact wording was cancelled due to “insufficient compliant bids”. To me, that can be read two ways:
      1) Out of Leander and Arrowhead, one or both of them failed to meet the specification in some way. Based on the information we’ve been given, we know they both meet the physical specs, so its either that the ships won’t be ready by 2023, or they’ll be over £250mn a platform.
      2) That both Leander and Arrowhead were viable, but the government is hoping for more bids for added diversity (who knows, maybe they’re like most of us and would prefer if someone bid with Stellar Systems Spartan)
      Option 1 definitely seems more likely however.

  2. The Arrowhead 140 details have disappeared from the Babcock website at the same time as the BAE Leander stuff goes online

    • Indeed – this came to light after my article was written, but is covered on my Twitter.

      An interesting development indeed

      • Could be that they’re launching their own website. Remember this Leander website would have been under development/design for months, prior to the stop order on the programme. I wouldn’t read too much into it, they’ll have paid a website design company to build it ages ago and probably thought they might as well launch it as they’ve paid for it.

      • Henry Jones. Interesting ! like terrifying ! If it’s another ‘quality’ BaE monopoly product we’re ‘flipped’ I feel like curling up in a dark room gently rocking backwards and forwards and mumbling ‘please don’t let it be true please don’t let it be true’

        • (Chris H) David Streeper – OK it isn’t true so why bleat on about this being a BAE ship? They are just supplying design and CAD 3D assistance and then Combat System design and supply. Cammell Laird are the main contractors and will be the sole shipbuilder.

          Not sure why people seem to ‘forget’ this simple fact that is self evident on all reports and on the Leander wensite

          • Your probably right. I think the mission bay below the flight deck is a much better idea. It’s better for weight distribution as well as more aesthetically pleasing. They could have removed the VLS and CIWS from the rear, I wouldn’t even bother installing Harpoon fittings, 16 mk41 at the front would provide 32 sea ceptor and 8 future ASM. It would still be tight for a £250mm budget though.

          • I thought it was modular so you could choose the config, some of the original info on the ship is no longer available, they’re no longer pushing the design for t31.

      • My understanding is that Arrowhead 120 is a completely different hull form which has its roots in the VARD design for the USCG offshore cutter, the IP for which is probably owned by the US. In the same way the IP for the 140m Iver Huitfeld hull is owned by the Danes. Neither organisation is likely to sell to the UK.
        Can the people at Babcock read? What part of complex warships are designed in the UK do they not understand?

      • It looks like Arrowhead 140 – the Iver Huitfeld hull – is dead, long live Arrowhead 120 – according to the brochure, a Babcock design.
        This could solve any IP issues with the Babcock proposal.

  3. It’s petty, and obviously a lesser consideration, but does anyone else not like Leander because it’s just ugly? It would look great if they lowered that big flat section of superstructure that juts out in front of the bridge, either so it’s flat or as a raised forecastle like that on the Type 26.

    Like I said, it’s somewhat petty, but while it’s not as important as structural strength or equipment loadout, optics are still important for a warship. If your ship doesn’t look capable and intimidating, it’s going to be far less effective in its role as a visual deterrent to potential opponents.

    • My concern is growth, the NShBS suggested we sell these on after 10 years instead of refit and build more. Will Leander design have the growth for the tech that will be around in 10-15 years time or will we have to switch to another design.

      • Its certainly possibly that Leander lacks the capacity for future growth, although based on current projections and equipment we know will be in service, we can take a guess.

        We can rule railguns out almost certainly. Railguns will be operational by the mid-to-late 2020s, but their weight and power requirements will restrict them to bigger, purpose-built vessels, similar to traditional battleships, at least for the first decade or two of their operational service.

        Lasers should be no problem. BAE say on the Leander website that provision for laser weapons is included in the design, which basically means theres plenty of additional electricity being generated to power laser weapons. Of course, depending on what other upgrades are included, especially high power demand items like radars or computer upgrades, that all eats into both weight and power margins, so for now I think we’ll just have to settle for saying it’ll be fine in this regard for now.

        Supersonic or hypersonic missiles, obviously as long as they fit in a Mk41 or a canister then theres no issue. Perseus is being developed to fit in both Mk41 and Sylver VLS systems for the Royal and French navies, and the West is unlikely to change launch systems in the next couple of decades.

  4. Surely the politics of the NShBS dictate that despite the inefficiency more yards than CL will have to be involved in the build? I like the electric drive and the range of lengths on offer might make it more ‘exportable’ than the 140m Arrowhead for smaller navies.

    • Actually, CL used A and P for the stern of the polar research ship and that was an international bid that they won, so I don’t think it has to be inefficient.

      • Didn’t know that. Thx. Two sounds reasonable. I was just thinking there has to be a point if you parse the build into a large number of yards/ modules that you spend more time corodinating than building.

        • I would love H&W to start building ships again, but apart from the large dry dock and two cranes they have no facilities to manufacture ship blocks. It only would have made sense to outfit the aircraft carriers or larger RFA vessels there.
          So splitting type 31 across two yards is the only option that makes sense. Anymore and the costs will needlessly skyrocket.

          • I think using 2 yards you could offset the cost of moving the blocks. A yard can focus on efficiencies of producing a few blocks and do it well. But I don’t think it would make too much sense to go beyond 2 yards as there wouldn’t be enough work.

  5. Having had a look at the polar research ship build, perhaps not as complex, but still complex and a bigger ship at 10000 tons for 200m. I think CL can do this for 250m. Its the BAe part I’m not sure about, BAe are always risk averse and pile on margin to cover themselves.

  6. This is the Ugliest Patrol ship ever.Will not hit the export market. If the Uk Government select this it will be overdue over priced and have major engine problems WHAT A LOAD OF JUNK
    Please Please let Babcock build the ArrowHead keep BAE System away from building any more junk for the Royal Navy.

  7. I think these will be chosen as they make sense on a number of different levels, they use more British systems, they use systems already in use with the Royal Navy and, very importantly, they will be cheaper. It will be nice to see an English shipyard build some Royal Navy ships again too. Give Rosyth the solid support ships and everyone is happy.

  8. Frankly if we can get 5 RN versions with the armament shown in the graphics for £250m each then we should award the contract now.

    Artisan, phalanx and the GPMGs would surely be taken from the GP T23s. I assume Sea Ceptor could be too. Get on with it, time is short.

        • Exactly.

          Rob IMO all our surface escorts should have them as standard!

          We have discussed this previously on here and I have been told assets deploying get the CIWS fitted, but that is my opinion.

    • Agee.
      The RFI document shows about 3 more months of competitive design phase before main gate midway through Q4 of this year. If you take this web site at face value CL and BAE are good to go with a thought through, low risk, capable and exportable option.

  9. When the base line Khareef was delivered for £140 million fully armed it’s hard to believe Leander did not come in at £250 million.

    But then river bacth 1 was delivered for £50 million and then BAE needed £250 million for the bact h two vessels.

    Anything can happen when you involve BAE.

  10. The video and text show a ship with Artisan, a 57mm main gun ( I think) , decoys, Phalanx, a dozen Sea Ceptor, 30mm guns, a Wildcat and deck launched AShM canisters ( Harpoon successor? Royal Malaysian navy paid 124 million euro for NSM on 6 ships): plus electric drive and decent mission bay with option for future Mk41.
    If CL and BAE can produce that package for £250m then I would say that’s a validation of the MOD RFI strategy.

    • I actually think the gun in the video is a recycled 4.5 taken from the type 23. I really don’t see how BAe can’t provide this for £250mm or less so much of it will be recycled it’s basically a t23 with a stretched hull for the mission bay

  11. The Irish Naval Service has wonderful vessels built in Devon. I think the Royal Navy should aim for those which are far better suited to a small island in Europe

    • Who’s that? Malta?

      Since when did landmass size equate to political, diplomatic, cultural, soft, economic, and military power?

      However, I myself have no problem with the RN having lower spec assets and even some of the Fast Attack Craft type vessels you promote. As long as we have a balanced fleet of other larger vessels too.

    • If you can’t see the difference between the needs of the UK and Ireland then there is little point trying to debate with you.

    • I am trying not to feed the local Trollish population, but my inner pedant / data geek won’t allow me. By area GB (not including NI) is the 8th largest island in the world (not including Australia) and the largest island in Europe (Ireland would be third). And of course we are a permanent member of the UN security council, a founder member of the UN and NATO, and by most measures the 6th largest economy in the world. We (surprisingly to me) regained the top ranking soft-power title recently, too. That’s the facts now, without looking back at the old history. Not bad for a ‘small island off Europe’.

    • As long as they are 150 metres long and weigh 5000 tons and have a weapons fit to allow them to go into a hot zone, then by all means yes.

      • Heck, the last Leander frigates, which served in the Falklands War, displaced 2500 tons. Not saying that would be enough now, but for a low-end frigate you don’t need a T26.

  12. The winning design should incorporate existing RN computer systems, which means BAE CMS, and equipment, which means BAE Artisan. This will commonality across the fleet, saving time and money

    The Arrowhead proposal should be amended to include such equipment.

    • This is where I see risk of delay. Babcock need to rework their proposal costs to reflect BAE CMS systems and Artisan and possibly the BAE 57mm if the RN have decided to go with US comparibility. Not to mention negotiation of UK purchase of IP for the Arrowhead hull. All within 3 months till main gate. No wonder they seem to be reworking their web site.

      • Don’t you think BAe will be giving Babcock an overly inflated price for the combat system to price them out of the competition?
        Babcock and BAe both know commonality is a big issue and an attractive selling point, so there is a reason Babcock have gone away from it.
        I am quick to criticize BAe for trying to preserve its monopoly but I realise that you cannot blame a shark for being a shark.

        • Absolutely. There’s no reason BAE should quote Babcock cost price, which is what the CL quote could well be based on. And no shame either. Business is business. Unless the MOD insist on transparency of cms parts and integration costs so they can compare Leander and Arrowhead by reading across the spreadsheet. Maybe thats what the delay is about.

          • I was wondering that too, can’t blame Bae but equally can’t blame the MOD too, otherwise it will become incredibly difficult in the future to compete against Bae or find those willing to do so.

          • MoD could take common items out of the proposal and negotiate directly with BAe. for these. If BAe then inflate the price for integration into the Babcock design then a leak to the press highlight how BAe are preventing the MoD holding a fair competition. Why not all fair in love, war and business 🙂 . Who even wins this will have significant revenue for support contracts into the future, these ships are supposed to be sold off after 10 years or so. Any equipment will still need to be maintained and upgrade. There really should be no reason for BAe to play games but then again it would be the first time a company has put short term gains before long term profitability.

          • BAE would I hope have realised that the UK/MoD is a huge customer for them so playing the long game, i.e. not totally p***ing off one of your biggest customers by being unreasonable on supply and/or integration pricing were Arrowhead to have been selected thus sabotaging the RN’s preferred option for short term gain would have been a bad idea if it was at the expense of the longer-term customer relationship.

            Still, with the whole bid process undergoing something of a reset now and with the old Babcock Consortium’s web site apparently at least temporarily disappeared it looks as if things have moved on now and the hypothetical scenario we are discussing (Arrowhead 140 with BAE CMS & radar) might no longer be in play.

  13. As mentioned above, it seems very odd that Babcock has removed from its website all references to Team 31 and the Arrowhead 140, but retains information about the Arrowhead 120 – largely an in-house design concept.

    A big downside of Team 31 seems to be the large number of junior partners (rather than subcontractors) that Babcock has to keep happy – Thales, OMT, BMT, Harland and Wolff and Ferguson Marine. It may have become obvious in the last few months that the cake was too small to profitably divide so many ways, but pressing the MOD to increase the T-31e budget seems to have resulted in an unfortunate stand-off – the MOD delaying and “restructuring” the project, whilst Babcock winds down Team 31 and threatens to pull out altogether.

    BAES is canny enough to seize the opportunity commercially, and play the game politically. It can sign a carefully worded contract for a batch of T-31e’s whilst loudly proclaiming what a great deal the tax payer is getting, and leaking that assuming an export order or two, it would be able to build another 5 units for the MOD for just £1 billion. And who would doubt that given BAE Naval Ships track record with the River 2’s, and Cammell Laird’s recent history building frigates.

    • (Chris H) Tony617 – I was with you until your last paragraph when you seem to have gone off on a ‘knock BAES’ angle and missed one key factor here. BAE are not the main contractors for Leander. its is Camell Laird on Merseyside. BAE are just supplying design and warfare system support. Maybe have a good read of the new website where it says:
      “Team Leander is comprised of the trusted partnership of Cammell Laird, the prime contractor and shipbuilder and BAE Systems, renowned warship designer and combat system supplier.”

  14. It does make you think.

    We have a perfectly good world class hull design that the RN own and fit the criteria in the T23.

    Why dont we reconfigure the design of this ships hull to meet the requirements of the T31 build. Are we really saying that a Leander hull is better than a T23 hull – I think not.

    It then means we can get on with reconfiguration of the core hull that we know we can build for 100m each, the rest is down to fit out.

    This can be done for £250m – I am sure of that and why we dont just get Spartan systems or any of the other bidders to design around a known quantity (the T23 hull) is beyond me.

    When it comes to T45 replacement, we must also re-use the T26 hull form to save money and accept that we use our design money on the ASW hull form and then cycle it down the fleet as required.

    • Nice idea. Problem is Type 23 hull is probably a pile of fading blueprints where Type 31 is 4 sets of 99m to 120m 3-D modularised virtual reality CAD files

      • If we standardise on a 5t ton hull (the T23) then we can have ships of various fitouts: high end inc ASW etc or low spec FFBNW. Those with less teeth can carry more aid, or Royals with boats and helos. It would be low risk as we know it’s good in blue and brown water and it fits inside our existing repair sheds.

        As for CAD files, one just needs to put a T23 in a dry dock, put some green dots on it and take a set of photos. We have a great film industry in the UK so no problem.

        I also want to point out that we should make it affordable on our own with no exports if necessary. A permanant production line is the only way to do this, which ironically would make it more attractive for export. But how do we get about 24 hulls of this size so we can build and recycle one hull nearly every year? Well we actually have 22 already but in 9 different hull designs. 8 will be T26 but the RFA is down as is the MCMV fleet and just about everything so we need a hull to top up.

        – 5x Type 23 GP (4,900 tonnes, 1987-1992)
        – 8x Type 23 ASW with 2087 (4,900 tonnes, 1992-2000)
        – 2x Echo Class (3,740 tonnes, 2003)
        – HMS Protector (5,000 tonnes, 2011)
        – RRS James Clark Ross (5,732 tonnes, 1990)
        – RRS Ernest Shackleton (4,028 tonnes, 1995)
        – RRS James Cook (5,800 tonnes, 2007)
        – RRS Discovery (6,260 tonnes, 2013)
        – SD Northern River (3,605 GT, 1998)
        – SD Victoria (3,522 GT, 2010)

        There is also HMS Scott (13,000 tonnes, 1996) and the recently lost RFA Diligence (10,595 tonnes, 1981). They will all need replacing one day, it’s just a matter of managing their lifespans to keep ships active.

        They all carry stuff and most have a flight deck, so the replacements could actually be in this one hull design. If you don’t believe that, look at the RRS James Clark Ross and see the bow mounted crane and storage area (space for a gun and VLS), the central superstructure, and the open stern deck area (a flight deck). So a permanant production line of hulls in say Appledore with modular weapons fitted in Portsmouth will do fine. Some ships would be configured as warships and some as utility support ships.

        When you include the long term maintenance, the mid-life refits and the decommissioning and recycling that will be enough work to keep one UK shipyard open for life. If anything happened to one of our ships (like HMS Nottingham or HMS Endurance) the next hull off the line would replace it. Two superstructure designs will do:

        1) Support ships with modular decks for; science lab, accommodation, survey equipment, ISOs or RAS kit, a flight deck and stern mission bay with boats, and deck mounted weapons for pirate chasing or CIWS as necessary.

        2) A stealthy warship type looking a bit like the Freedom class, i.e. a single wide superstructure with air intakes and funnels at the sides instead of the middle. Lynx and Camcopter with a double stern ramp for CB90s instead of side positioned RHIBs. Kit on board could be 76mm, CAMM, Box launched Sea Venom and Stingray, hangar roof mounted CIWS and 12.7 RWS.


    • We should keep an open mind on the T45 replacement hull. The reason is the T26 hull is designed to be built with todays manufacturing techniques, in 15 years time things will have moved on. Gone are the days where the designers just tell the manufacturing team to just make what they design. The designers now consider how to build the hull and maintain it for that matter, the T26 could be more expensive than a new hull in the future as it not designed to capitalise on new techniques and materials.

      • Expat

        You are right of course, my main point is about recycling the intellectual property of the design down the food chain.

        If ASW is the pinnacle of our hull design and top secret when at the cutting edge – 15 years later it is probably advanced but not cutting edge, surely this knowledge should then be applied to vessels where this technology is still more than good enough to deploy.

        We should always deploy cutting edge to our high end assets – but for the T31 I would suggest a T23 hull is still better performing than a Leander – but will to be proved wrong.

  15. Is that a window box with roses behind the turret? Wonder how much they are charging for that and surely they must know they wouldn’t survive in the salty atmosphere anyway.

  16. What do we think about the top speed offered? Probably not really an issue given the 31’s purposes but is 25 a little low?

    • These vessels would likely never serve as a part of a carrier strike group so a high top speed to keep up wothbsaid group is not required.

      • Mmm. At 25knots they could keep pace with a task force and be a useful inner screen with Phalanx and Sea Ceptor – which are not carried by the carrier. But what they could not do despite their elecfric drive is hunt submarines with a towed array and then catch up with the task force. They launch their Wildcat to kill one though, if vectored onto the target.

  17. (Chris H) I have to say this has been my preferred bid from day one. I am not a warship expert so I have assumed both designs are great ships. But to me placing the next contract in one place outside Scotland is just the right way to go. And then just keep a steady drum beat of production with shorter service lives creating second hand sales or recycling of expensive equipment and systems. And that applies to Type 26 at BAE (if they can get quality right) and Type 31 at CL.

    As I have said before the 3 x FSS ships (which must be built in the UK) should then go to Rosyth, given their size, with modules from A & P Tyneside and Devon as logistics and ownership make sense.

  18. I think Leander is the best option to answer T31e requirement and 250M GBP cheap cost.

    We shall note their total cost of 1.25B is only 38% of French FTI. So it is more a long range version of a heavy corvette, than a light frigate such as FTI.

    Arrowhead 140, importing foreign design, will be nice to have, but it sacrifices a lot, e.g. pure import design, very tight cost limit. Only if T31 budget got increased by 1.5-2 B GBP, the merit of A140 comes in, and this means U.K. need to cancel 10 F35B, or 2 T26, or equivalent.

    Now as Leander has 12 knots electric propulsion mode, which is very good for ASW, I like it much more. It could be a better ASW asset, if needed in future, even compared to A140.

  19. Addition;
    >Now as Leander has 12 knots electric propulsion mode, which is very good for ASW, I like it much more. It could be a better ASW asset, if needed in future, even compared to A140.

    Of course far less than T26, but better than A140 and also FTI. In place, GP fighting capability such as AAW, ASuW, and land attack will be much limited. Anyway, even if ASW capability were added, Leander is surely a different class (less capable) of ship compared to FTI.

  20. This site is consistently misspelling “Cammell Laird” as “Cammel Laird”. Charles Cammell is probably rotating in his grave! Maybe a spell checker needs correcting…

  21. Both offers for type 31e hopeless but senator better but again pie in the sky royal navy needs ships but governments botch builds, building few we do cost to.mutch because of low numbers built Leander’s last big class build in UK we have plenty of yards to build anything political will and funds to do so the problem would make better sense to build type 26 ships just don’t fit equipment not needed brains will and set of ideals specks and costings and watchdog to keep to cost mod simply clueless on keeping costs on target

  22. Well I for one really hope we may appear to be writing off Babcock and Arrowhead 140 a tad too early. Whilst I prefer the new Leander site to the old and admire their tenacity in stamping ‘made in GB’ all over it , a clear swipe at Babcocks partnership with OMT, for me it is still by far the less exciting of the two designs. Smaller than the T23 it is supposed to replace, with 25 knots max it doesn’t have the legs to properly play a role in a CVTF , especially in the ‘Goalkeeper ‘ role. With only 12 CAMM it has barely enough AAW missiles for its own protection let alone for consort protection (is QEC) or LAAD, a massive drop in capability from the 32 carried on the GP23 ,

    Worse of all however is it’s hanger which is still too small for a Merlin, and even if with electric propulsion it might have a slight advantage in terms of quietness the loss of the Merlin negates any benefit it might have gained as far as ASW is concerned. In short Leander whatever the spin the new website might bring is still too small, too slow, seriously under armed and has little or no potential for future growth. In other words it remains little more than what it was at inception a stretched Corvette dressed up as a Frigate. Enormous firepower ? Don’t make me laugh .

    Oh yes I have just been on the Babcock site and Arrowhead 140 is still very much there and hasn’t disappeared as reported, although some links appear not to work as before so it may be being re-vamped perhaps? Here’s hoping.

    • Pongolo-san

      Two comments:

      1: the web site info is good, but I looked in it and found most of the pages are dead. May be abandoned remnant?

      2: Merlin is critical? It can made possible with small modification, but even if not, I think there is little problem.

      There is not enough Merlin. Even T23ASW carries Wildcat, sometimes. And if along with TF, Merlin will come from CV. It is the lack of ship towed heavy sonar, which an escort is expected to fill.

      For singleton ASW, yes Merlin is important.

      Anyway, it is a 250M GBP cheap vessel. Even if A140 survives, their armament will be miserably low. With larger hull, more fuel and maintenance, armaments will be even less than those for Leander’s.

      With this cost cap, I see no merit in A140 design.

  23. (Chris H) – OK here is a shot at my first ever conspiracy theory:
    1. The MoD have already selected Leander and why its website has appeared just as Babcock removes Arrowhead.
    2. The MoD are now discussing a suitable way forward so that Babcock will build the 3 x FSS ships in Rosyth & Devon with A & P assisting without it ever going out to Tender
    3. This will keep disruptive MPs happy and stick a finger up to Sturgeon
    4. it allows a suitable set of words like “We have initiated the National Shipbuilding by ……”

  24. The type 31e RFI requested a ship around 120m in length and 4,000 tons displacement.

    Babcock’s submits a 140m design with a 6,000 ton displacement.

    And folks are surprised Babcock’s were drop kicked out of the competition???

    Whatever anyone says here or in Denmark, the MoD and the Treasury know that bigger ships cost more to buy and more to run.

    God knows what Babcock’s is doing right now. I assume the competition is on hold while they scour the world for a new design that fits the criteria. Piece of cake.

    • Maybe Babcock got credible whispers that the BAE/Leander bid was looking like a shoe-in so, rather than pitch something like Venator-110 into a competition loaded against it and allowing the MoD to say that it had evaluated similar competing proposals and selected the best, Babcock deliberately threw in the Arrowhead-140 curved ball to disrupt the whole process, deflect Leander at least temporarily from its path directly towards the win, and at least buy time to sharpen up a Babcock 120m/4000t bid or give itself a very outside chance of getting the MoD interested enough in the possibility of a > 120m/4,000t vessel procured more cheaply by recycling an existing design to get the MoD to reshape the playing field.

      I know this all sounds a bit like a conspiracy-theory but having been involved in big, complex high-value sales situations myself (admittedly $100m plus not $1bn plus values) I can think of at least one occasion when the bid team that I have been part of has used such a tactic.

  25. Now i know that I’ve read far too many Hornblower novels, but: Isn’t the other way to think about these vessels that they are going to be independently operating little ships of war? Stuck a long way from support and needing to have the weapons and equipment to deal with a wide range of tasks? As such shouldn’t they be equipped with a decent all round weapons/ sensors fit to be of any use beyond showing the flag?

  26. Hmm – not good , it now looks like the Babcock Team 31 web page has totally disappeared. Was really hoping it was just being re-engineered to match the new UK centric Leander pitch. Great shame IMHO it had huge potential and was a really exciting design 🙁

    • May be it was too high spec for a 250M GBP budget, if built within UK (not Estonia).

      I agree Arrowhead 140 is a nice design, but not as a 250M GBP ship. If the cost were 350M GBP average (total budget 1.75B for 5 hulls, or 1.4B for 4 hulls, or even 1.05B for 3 hulls), it would have been a nice option.

      But, in the “1.75B for 5 hulls” case, the rivals would have been BMT Venator 110, or more thoroughly modified Leander, not the current Leander.

  27. “You cain’t always get what you want, but sometimes…you must just get what you need.”

    The RN needs about 6 serious but not invincible warships to increase the numbers of DD/FF. They should be big enough to accommodate new technology, have decent crew habitability, and weapons enough to make any one stop and think before attacking it. Trying to make it a destroyer will just ensure it never gets built.

  28. Personally I’d like to see something that is a viable convoy escort. The current discussion focuses on the high end carrier escorts (Type 26 and 45’s etc) but what about merchant ships – they’ll still be sailing and in need of defending if the balloon goes up .


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