Progress on the Type 31 Frigate programme continues with work starting on a new build hall, or ‘frigate factory’, capable of building two frigates at once.

Babcock’s Rosyth facility has seen significant investment in the last decade and is “embarking on a new era of digitising facilities and systems to bring advancements and efficiencies into the manufacturing, build and assembly process for the frigates”.

The firm say that this includes the installation of additional Advanced Manufacturing capability and the construction of a new assembly hall capable of housing two Type 31 frigates.

According to well respected analyst SaveTheRoyalNavy.org in the article ‘Britain gets a new frigate factory’ here, the facility will be an impressive structure measuring 160m in length, 60m wide and 40m high.

“A prefabricated steel-framed shed can be usually be constructed rapidly, once the foundations are in place. The main internal feature will be two rail-mounted gantry cranes each with two hooks able to provide lifting cover to the full internal floor area of the hall. The cranes will be used to lift the modules into position as the ships are assembled. Both the north and south facade of the building will have two vertical-lift ‘megadoors’. Each door is 24m wide by 30m high with a demountable column between, creating a 48m-wide opening. The building is designed with flexibility for future shipbuilding operations beyond the conclusion of Type 31 construction.”

You can read more on the specifics here.

Groundbreaking for the new hall took place in April, signalling the commencement of the civil works programme.

 

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Dern
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Dern

bUt iT’s nOt oN tHe cLyDe!!!!
wE wHeRe pRoMiSeD 13, bUt wE gOt 18. uNaCePtAbLe!

Dern
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Dern

(Sorry George I couldn’t resist)

Andy P
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Andy P

That was a lot harder to read than it should have been.

Good to see them cracking on with it though, I know there’s been concern about the lack of work in Rosyth lately with guys thinking they might have to move to other places termporarily.

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Hi Andy,

Yeh, as I have just commented on the T31 article, Babcock seem to be pushing on – keen to impress the MoD prehaps with a view to levering more work away from BAE Systems?

Cheers CR

Andy P
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Andy P

Hi CR, aye it would be good if it did click into place and they start pushing them out, a batch II would be brilliant.

Ron
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Ron

Hopefully the new frigate factory will get a second batch to build, that will make the investment worth while. If not a second batch of 31s possibly the T45 replacement.

Spyinthesky
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Spyinthesky

Interesting consideration. If the T45 replacement was based on a Type 26 hull as some have proposed I wonder what restrictions that would involve in the competitive tendering process.

Ron5
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Ron5

Don’t worry, it won’t be.

ETH
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ETH

Why not?

Ron5
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Ron5

Same reason why the Type 26 wasn’t based on the Type 45.

Bob2
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Bob2

With a length of 160m, is the hall big enough for a type45 replacement (T26=149m, T45=152m)? I guess once it has been partially completed they could push her forward so she sticks out through those huge doors.

Herodotus
Guest

Steel shed…easy to bolt on an extension if required. Also, it can be dismantled and reconstructed elsewhere should political events take a turn for the worse. I would like to see Babcock setting up base in Falmouth and give Cornwall much needed employment in the engineering sector. Cornwall was a hive of industrial activity in the C18th and early C19th, the residents deserve greater employment opportunities. I don’t live in Cornwall by the way!

AndyCee
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AndyCee

The T31 has the potential to be the replacement for T45 rather than T26 – after all, it is based on a Danish AA Warship. Maybe that would be an attractive option rather than the expensive T26?

Ron5
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Ron5

God no.

Paul T
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Paul T

Ron5 – If you are implying a possible Type 45 replacement wont be based on either the T26 or T31,which direction could you see such a Ship coming from ?.

Ron5
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Ron5

New design.

Paul T
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Paul T

Ron5 – Wouldnt a clean sheet design be prohibitively expensive for a 1 for 1 replacement of the Type 45.Yes there may be good reasons why the existing T26 or T31 Hulls would not be ideal but surely compromises might have to be made regards affordability.Another option could be to just re-use the T45 Hull as a basis seeing as it has the room,or another option might be to join Italy in the DDX Project and have a more readily available solution.

AndyCee
Guest
AndyCee

Interesting. Why not? Not disagreeing, I’d like to understand the reasoning more. My understanding is the T45s are noisy ships as of course are the carriers so a quiet AA destroyer appears to not be a necessity?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

A future T45X will need a ‘Rail Gun’!
So be bigger enough to generate the power.

AndyCee
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AndyCee

So a bigger hull and more generators, basically. Makes sense. Thanks

Meirion X
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Meirion X

Also DEW’s need stored energy as well.

Ron5
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Ron5

Doubtful. Rail guns are not delivering on their promise. The future seems to be between missiles and direct energy.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

I am sure the Chinese will be continuing the development of the Rail gun, if the USA loses interest!

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Good, the Chinese can waste their time and money.

Andy P
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Andy P

AndyCee, they won’t just be operating with the carriers though, no harm in having quiet ships if we can.

As for the type 31/26 being the basis for a replacement AA vessel (I’ll not get bogged down with whats a frigate or destroyer) they’re both big platforms so should have the room for future systems or expansions. If need be they could go for a ‘stretched’ version, its been done before. The platform isn’t really the issue, its what we stick on them.

Ron5
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Ron5

Quiet ships like the Type 26 are indeed very harmful because they cost a great deal of money which takes away from the rest of defence.

Andy P
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Andy P

I’m having to read between the lines a bit Ron but I guess your defence priorities lie in other directions. It just seems odd that having quiet vessels is part of the overall package of keeping them ‘not sunk’ so effective.

Ron5
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Ron5

Aircraft carriers are not quiet in the sense that Type 26’s will be, neither are Type 45’s, tankers, supply ships, Rivers, or any other RN ship aprt fro the Type 23’s. So what is your point?

Andy P
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Andy P

Ron, I think think you’ve just made my point cheers mate.

Ron5
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Ron5

I suspect we were talking at cross purposes, sorry for any confusion I may have caused.

Albion
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Albion

Two at once – how novel!

Ron5
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Ron5

How do you think the T26 are being built?

Cdickinson
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Cdickinson

Slowly?

Ron5
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Ron5

How about two at a time numnuts?

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

If there was a like button then that comment alone of “Slowly” would get a hundred thumbs up! PMSL.

Dern
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Dern

Like

Ron5
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Ron5

True, lots of numnuts in the world.

Paul T
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Paul T

Can i add that HMS Glasgow and HMS Cardiff are being built in series – both being constructed at the same time but at vastly different stages,the inference of Two at a time i thought meant Two in parallel being at the same stage of construction.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

With only 3 large sheds, it seems only enough room for the two halfs of HMS Glasgow, and half of HMS Cardiff being built at the same time! Why not a fourth shed?
Any one know why?

Meirion X
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Meirion X

The plan now seems to be each new build starting 20 months after the last start. So the third T26 build starts next April 21.

barry white
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barry white

Is the Frigate complex at Devonport not big enough?

Ron5
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Ron5

Is the Albert Hall not big enough?

Barry White
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Barry White

Didn’t think the Albert Hall had a dock as well as concert hall

Ron5
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Ron5

Didn’t think the Frigate complex at Devonport had the ability to build a ship any more than the Albert Hall.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

The complex couldn’t take a stretched B2 T22 or a T42 without the door being open so no… It wouldn’t fit.

barry white
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barry white

Thankyou for the sensible reply to my question Gunbuster rather than the silly reply from Ron5

Ron5
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Ron5

You’re welcome.

Ron5
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Ron5

Doesn’t change my point that even if the frigate complex at Devonport was large enough, it still lacks much of what’s needed to make it a ship building facility. And you were being a bit of a smartass asking the question in the form you did, you could have asked “why wasn’t Devonport considered as a site for the T31 build?”

Rob
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Rob

I seem to remember the SNP saying that the UK government had broken a promise by not building a frigate factory on the Clyde; well now they’ve got 2, one in Glasgow and one at Rosyth.

I don’t expect a ‘we were wrong statement’ though.

Geo
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Geo

Just as soon as they issue the statement applauding the carriers.

Andy P
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Andy P

Rob, if I were you I wouldn’t hold your breath on any political party putting out a “we were wrong statement”. Can’t say I’m happy about that but its how politics and more importantly politicians roll.

Dern
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Dern

No. Instead they’ve got their nose out of joint because they where promised 13 Type 26’s and now have 8 Type 26’s, 5 Type 31’s and 5 River’s…..
Baisically the SNP couldn’t give a rats ass if Scotland is up on the deal or not, as long as they can spin it as Westminster being evil.

Geo
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Geo

Sadly these procurements especially since T45 have been longer running than the mousetrap.

Ron5
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Ron5

Not the Type 31 program. Get your facts straight Geo.

geo
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geo

Lets wait and see what tge facts are. Since 1st quoted its not been the worst…..however until we see hulls in the water I’ll reserve judgement. Remember the 1st attempt to tender flopped. If it does go as planned then well done.

Ron5
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Ron5

But you didn’t reserve judgement did you Geo? you rushed in and condemned out of hand.

geo
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geo

U got a gig with T31s. 😀 ? I hope its better than anything since T45s that was my point. U seem to read it more negatively than intended or hoped for.

Ron5
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Ron5

I guess I did. And no I don’t.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

“The Type 4X, the Type 45 Destroyer replacement, is just an early concept at this stage but a variant of the Type 26 Frigate is officially being considered for the job.”

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/the-type-4x-destroyer-an-early-look-at-an-early-concept/

Daveyb
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Daveyb

Gosh, was that discussion really 7 months ago?

Ron5
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Ron5

Officially considered by whom exactly? A Scottish politician drumming up votes?

The biggest issue is whether the Type 26 can carry a bigger mast? Give me a break sister.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Again, try posting something useful Ron5. Or even better, read the link!

At least the idea of using the Type 26 in an Anti-Air Warfare variant makes sense, which is more than you do most of the time.

“Discussions are at a very early concept stage, but the merits of continuous build using T26 as a common family was clear from my conversations with BAE directors and MOD decision makers.”

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

It might seem convenient to just leverage Type 26 in the AAW role and IIRC Canada is planning their variants to support this role on at least some hulls. However, for the UK at least, it is likely to depend on what an AAW destroyer, especially in a CSG protection role, needs to do from the mid-30’s on and particularly what the radars will need to do. Gated of course by what’s affordable. Which radars might need to be fixed face versus rotating? How large will the arrays need to be? The latter especially might drive the need for a… Read more »

Paul T
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Paul T

GFH -Yes the two main issues are as you say the Radar Fit,what follows Sampson and S1850M,but also what Missile Armament they will have.Will the Aster family continue to be improved and enhanced or will the US SM line prove a better solution ?.

Ron5
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Ron5

And will missiles still be the weapon of choice vs incoming aircraft and missiles?

Ron5
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Ron5

What does “leverage Type 26” mean?

The primary, very expensive, driving factor in the T26 design to the significant detriment of some other factors, is the ability to quietly hunt nuclear submarines. How do you plan on “leveraging” this ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles ?

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Leverage T26 in this context means using components of the design, if it makes engineering and financial sense to do so, and if it meets a future UK AAW destroyer specification, rather than starting from a clean sheet. One of the criticisms of T45 has been its excessive noise signature. Starting from a T26 design might retain an improved capability in this respect without necessarily carrying the full cost of an ASW solution. The French have decided for their needs to build two FREMM as AAW frigates. Would that spec meet a UK AAW destroyer requirement, or would the US… Read more »

Ron5
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Ron5

The answer to all your questions here is no. The reason the RN left the European program to go it alone with the T45 is because their specs were not good enough.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

OK, so you aren’t liking my suggestions for options, with the significant caveats I’ve outlined in various posts. So what spec is the RN likely to require for T45 replacement and why wouldn’t that spec work for a T26 or a T31 platform, beyond the cost of the former in full ASW mode, which I’ve already suggested might be mitigated?

Perfectly valid to critique my suggestion or that of others, but you’re not providing anything to substantiate those criticisms.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

You have raised some very good points on a future T45X, GHF.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

The Royal Navy will certainly be
learning from the T45 experience of a ‘clean design’ to see what mistakes were made.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Nigel, I know enough about Naval Architect and clearly a lot more than either you and the Scottish Politician, to know that basing a Type 45 replacement on the Type 26 is a terrible idea. The Bae directors & MoD decision makers were being nice to an MP by not laughing in his face. They too have political skills.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

“I know enough about Naval Architect and clearly a lot more than either you and the Scottish Politician” Really? “Trade publication U.K. Defense Journal first reported the possible plan for a new destroyer. The magazine cited Paul Sweeney, a member of the U.K. Parliament for Glasgow North East in Scotland, where BAE Systems maintains a large naval shipyard. Sweeney himself is former BAE shipbuilder.” “Sweeney for one thinks there’s no problem. “The Type 26 is of sufficient beam to be fitted with a tall Sampson-type … radar mast– especially given the latest composite design options – so there is the… Read more »

Ron5
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Ron5

Same answer: politicians jawing, simpletons, like yourself, swallowing.

John Marshall
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John Marshall

Why do we continue to invest these facilities in Scotland when the risk of having to remove all Ministry of Defence establishments, and the cost involved, from the country are increasing?

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

They keep investing because of the effect and cost to the Scottish economy of removing them . Upwards of 8k jobs gone with just the closing of Faslane and the surrounding support bases. Then you can add in Rosyth and Glasgow to the mix, RAF bases, Army and RM bases. The economy would take a massive hit.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

In case you hadn’t noticed, Scotland is still part of the UK. It would be pretty divisive to exclude work to a sector of the UK just in case that area opts to leave. Kind of like the EU stopping funding to the UK in the run up to the referendum on Brexit. As an aside, some charities did actually hold funding to Scottish charities ‘just in case’, my missus works in cancer research (science as opposed to the office or fundraising) and there was a ‘pause’ on money going to research teams in Scotland. Bit naughty.

peter french
Guest
peter french

What about a possible Scottish independence vote

Darren
Guest
Darren

I know the crane was built in china-19, but why is there still chinese writing on the goliath crane?!

john melling
Guest

Found some interesting news from Canada regarding the Type 31

The $60 billion price tag of Canada’s proposed new fleet of warships will come under the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who will also examine other less costly similar projects underway in other countries.

The House of Commons government operations committee requested that Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux examine the cost of the Canadian Surface Combatant project and take a look at the cost of two other types of warships: the FREMM and the Type 31.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

From what i have read on Canadian Defence Procurement it is a very painful and slow process – rumblings of cost come as no surprise,think of the issues with the Merlin and the Future Fighter requirement.The FREMM has already lost out to the T26,the T31 wasnt even under consideration.Id expect more Mileage in this saga yet.