At 5,700 tonnes no one could realistically accuse the Type 31e Frigate of being a “mini frigate”, an MP has however done so.
The Arrowhead 140 design from Babcock is similar in size to the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class (that’s no accident, they’re based on this class), they are larger than the Norwegian Nansen class and around the same size as the Spanish F100 frigates.
Oh and they’re also much larger than the vessels they’re replacing, see below.
Frankly, the vessels are the normal size for general purpose frigates.
Why am I telling you this? Well, Douglas Chapman MP tweeted the following much to the bemusement of many.
Babcock likely to scoop the T31 mini frigate contracts meaning safeguarding 450 jobs at Rosyth and work for Ferguson’s on the Clyde. Great news and thanks to all those who campaigned long and hard for these contracts to come home to Scotland (Harland & Woolf also in consortium).
— Douglas Chapman MP ??????? (@DougChapmanSNP) September 12, 2019
Additionally, on different occasions on Twitter and in The National newspaper, mention is made by Chapman of the size of these ships in an apparent attempt to frame the vessels as small.
The following is an excerpt from The National:
Why the insistence on referring to these frigates as small or “mini”on multiple occasions? Why would this be done? I honestly don’t know why someone go out of their way to make the vessel seem smaller, what purpose would that serve?
Tweets like the above are liked and retweeted very quickly by account followers, tweets like the above are in fact how myths like ‘carriers with no planes’ get started. What’s the betting the next myth we have to start correcting on Twitter is ‘but they’re only mini-frigates’?
I reached out to Chapman for comment, I’ll update this article as and when a response is given.