It has been reported that the new general purpose frigates are to be known as Type 31.
It’s been reported that a concept study is underway and that the Royal Navy has decided on Type 31 as the number for “at least five” new general purpose frigates to complement the Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates.
According to DefenseNews and other outlets sources have confirmed said the decision on type number has now been made.
The original plan for Type 26 was 8 anti-submarine warfare variants and 5 general purpose variants. This is still the case with “at least” 13 frigates planned.
Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said in December 2013:
“In the less than half a minute remaining to me, I will unfortunately not be able to address many of the questions that have been asked, but I would like to deal with numbers and commissioning. My hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) gave me due notice of his questions. We intend to place an order towards the end of next year, once the design is mature, which we expect to be for eight vessels initially.”
The Type 26 and 31 frigates represent the future backbone of the Royal Navy and a massive leap forward in terms of flexibility of surface vessels enjoyed by the service. They will replace the 13 Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE. The programme has been underway since 1998, initially under the name “Future Surface Combatant”. The programme was brought forward in the 2008 budget at the expense of Type 45 destroyers 7 and 8.
While it was previously expected that the “five lighter frigates” mentioned in November would be heavily stripped down general purpose variants of the Type 26 Frigate (and of course still might be), other contenders seem to be emerging.
One of the most obvious contenders for the UK’s future light frigate is an offering from BMT, the Venator-110 which is “designed to cover a multitude of general purpose and specialist roles”. Recent changes to the vessels marketing fact sheets and computer generated imagery show more or less what the Royal Navy want with a light frigate and the vessel quite clearly is now being pitched as a solution to meet the light frigate requirement. The full specification guide for the vessel can be found here.
Type 26 frigate order has been cut back from 13 to 8 in order to fund more of the immediate spending, a move that has been widely expected since 2013.
The Prime Minister confirmed that the five future light frigates mentioned in the defence review will be built in Scotland. This is in addition to the eight anti-submarine warfare frigates and two extra patrol vessels on top of the three already being constructed at the Glasgow yards.
David Cameron told the House of Commons:
“There will be eight of the Type 26’s and at least another five of the new type of frigate,probably more, and they can be built in Scotland if the conditions are right. The only way these ships wouldn’t be built in Scotland is if Scotland was independent and didn’t have the national resources of the Royal Navy.”
The original plan for the frigate fleet as mentioned above had been 8 anti-submarine warfare variants and 5 general purpose variants, this remains largely unchanged except for the specification and type of the later five vessels.
All will be built on the Clyde.