These images show how the Type 31 ‘Inspiration Class’ Frigate will look and they’re more up to date than the imagery we’ve shown recently.

The images show the vessel in a wide range of roles.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

According to Babcock on their website:

“Babcock Team 31 has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to deliver five Type 31 frigates.

The contract, which was awarded in November 2019, signalled another decade of ship-build activity for the historic dockyard at Rosyth. Building on the unique experience and success of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Babcock has brought together a highly experienced and integrated project team spanning several regions of the UK, to meet the challenging Type 31 programme. This pathfinder programme, as described by the MOD, is the first of its kind to be delivered under the new National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Re-energising the UKs’ maritime capability through modern UK ship design and build practices, the Type 31 programme will also support technology transfer into the UK through the command system and drive British shipbuilding expertise to match the Royal Navy’s pedigree as a world leader in naval platforms.

Type 31 will be at the heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, deterring aggression and maintaining the security of the UK’s interests. They will work alongside the UK’s Allies to deliver a warship presence across the globe and enable a forward naval presence.”

Arrowhead 140 – Babcock’s solution for the Type 31 programme – has the following specs.

Key Platform Characteristics

  • 138.7m LENGTH OVERALL
  • 19.8m BEAM, MAXIMUM
  • 5.0m DESIGN DRAFT
  • 6,000+te DISPLACEMENT
  • 32+MW MAIN ENGINE POWER
  • 28+Knots SPEED

For more on their distinctive gun turrets, have a look at this great article from NavyLookout.

In focus: the Bofors 40mm Mk 4 gun that will equip the Type 31 frigates

What is the status of the project?

In September Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace cut the first steel for the first of the Royal Navy’s five new Type 31 frigates, HMS Venturer.

Steel cut on first Type 31 Frigate HMS Venturer at Rosyth

The five ships in the class will be HMS Venturer, HMS Bulldog, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Formidable and HMS Active.

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Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago

The burning question still unanswered is how many Sea-Ceptors will it have!!!!

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

I think the burning question is will they get Mk 41 VLS – that will determine how many Sea Ceptors.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Sea Ceptor is deployed in RN ships in their own tubes not MK 41, so the number of MK 41s will not determine the number of Sea Ceptors. I have seen art that shows 24 and some that show 12… 32 would be best….

JOHNT
JOHNT
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Wikipedia says Up to 24 CAMM missile cells.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

If Mk 41 VLS is fitted then the space for Sea Ceptor tubes is limited to perhaps 12. If we decide not to install Mk 41 then 48 Sea Ceptor tubes can be put in the space available. I think this is the current conundrum. Do we include an minimum fit of 12 Sea Ceptor to leave space for 24 Mk 41 VLS, or forget Mk 41 and fit 48 Sea Ceptor.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

They’re should be room for both unless they go 4 x MK41s.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

It was the burning question to the former 1SL for sure.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

Yes. It’s the first thing that hits. Lol 😁

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

Funny how all the latest images of the ship, don’t show a top view! Though when question by the Defence Select Committee, the Chief of Staff, did make the comment that he wanted all ships to have more offensive capabilities.

Last edited 1 month ago by Daveyb
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Maybe because that is the source of some budgetary debate ATM? And maybe there is a debate about using the already ordered Mk41 VLS for T26 #2 & #3 to equip the early build T31? I suspect the T31 will only get 16 VLS cells (two rows of eight) as that is about £17M worth of VLS – if the £50m for 48 VLS is correct. Mind you there is space for 32 VLS on the IH and £34m per ship isn’t going to break the bank either. Given the glacial pace of T26 there is plenty of time to… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago

That’s a fair point. I’m pretty much certain the ships will be delivered with a “basic specification” that is built to cost. Even though the SeaCeptor is GFE, building the infrastructure to house them will down to Babcock. So if their margins are thin, they won’t be giving away any freebies. Thankfully the Arrowhead design has plenty of room for growth. Could you imagine the discussions being had, if we went down the BAe Leander route? Babcock’s and the MoD are using this project to prove a point. Build a ship on time and to budget. Once it’s delivered I’d… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Totally agree with that.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago

Radakin seemed keen to get Mk 41 on Type 31 – he also said some decisions were being left late as Type 31 is plug and play and they can make decsions closer to in-service date to ensure latest tech and requirements are met – a different approach to that used for T-26. I suspect the number of Sea Ceptor and/or Mk 41 is still being decided.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Agreed

DJ
DJ
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

For maximum load out for the least money, I would go for 2 sets of 8 cell mk41 (16 cells) & 4 sets of cheaper & lighter stand alone 3 cell ExLS (12 cells). That gives 48 CAAM/CAAM-ER soft launch & 16 of whatever hot launch you want. Since the A140 design can take 4 sets of mk41, this should all fit in the designated area.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
26 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Not sure that they would use the ExLS Camm on the T31 and not on the T26/T45s? Could be “mushroom” Camm all the way through, terribly space inefficient but maybe they’re reloadable at sea. Does anyone here know?

Jonesy
Jonesy
14 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The suggestion, from inside sources, at the moment is that Sea Ceptor/CAMM is not integrated with ExLS yet. At least not in quadpack format.

LockMart and MBDA were confident it would fit and released pretty graphics to everyone….but when they tried it they got an unpleasant surprise. Every CAAM/Ceptor installation currently deployed is the ‘mushroom’ version based off the GWS26 VLS cannister.

DJ
DJ
10 days ago
Reply to  Jonesy

I thought they completed qualifying it in 3 cell ExLS at the end of 2017? Is it the 3 cell stand alone that has a problem or the drop into mk41 version or both? Canada has specified stand alone ExLS for CAMM on their T26.

I gather the single cell MBDA tubes are the cheapest way to go per missile. But they take up a lot of real estate. You end up ripping gear out later to fit new, rather than simply adding. If you said no mk41 & fitted 36 CAMM, well ok.

Johan
Johan
29 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

regardless of the number of cells, we will only stock 20 units

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago

The possibility of having one drone in addition to a manned helicopter, must greatly enhance air cover? What if there is enough space to store a couple of smaller drones, that would be a major step forward in the ship’s lethality? The newly updated illustrations look very impressive, now let’s make it ten hulls!

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  maurice10

31 + 32 = 10 ?

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

That seems to be what the conventional wisdom is proposing…if T32 actually makes it off the white paper

Alba Seaborne
Alba Seaborne
1 month ago

Towed Sonar off the back in the 2md image ?

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Alba Seaborne

Yes – maybe towed array POD is planned.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
ETH
ETH
1 month ago
Reply to  Alba Seaborne

That or the towed decoy part of Sea Sentor

ETH
ETH
1 month ago
Reply to  George Allison

Cheers for the confirmation George 🙂

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago

Is that a towed array I see coming out the stern on Pic #2? On a GP frigate?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Expansion of ASW capability is needed. Would be good if so.

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

Could just be a concept image for other prospective buyers. Strange either way as we’ve been told time and time again that the design is far too noisy for effective ASW operations.

Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

only effective way for T-31 to conduct ASW would be using Merlins at stand off distances? but would need to carry 2 or 3 to be effective.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Too noisy for hull mount sonar at speed.

Nothing to stop you putting engines to stop and listening on the towed array?

Ok it won’t be as good as a T23/26.

Personally I favour sonar towed by E-drones. Much cheaper than building quiet frigates.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa
1 month ago

Too noisy for hull mount sonar at speed.

How do you know? …have you heard its underwater signature?

Iver Huitfeldt is optimized for an ASW speed of 12-18kts in a special ASW propulsion mode where they have to lowest noise profile. T31 is a little bit lighter than IH and has a newer generation 5-bladed CP propeller which is a little bit less efficient but quieter than IHs 4 bladed design. This means it should be able to sustain higher “silent” speed for ASW…perhaps 20kts or more.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  MikeKiloPapa

Badly expressed.

Most ships are too noisy at any decent speed.

T23/26 are exceptionally quiet.

However, sprint drift was the pre T23 way of getting round this.

I agree IH is a decent ASW platform. But it is not at T23/26 level.

The engines in T31 are also in full acoustic shrouds and isolated. Trouble is all the other pumps and motors that make a ship tick.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  MikeKiloPapa

FYI the faster a ship goes the more noise it produces period. The more noise it produces the less effective it’s sonar’s are, whilst increasing its .
counter detection range by SMs.
ASW is a slow game, always has been, charging round at speed utilising passive/active systems puts you at a massive disadvantage. That’s why T23 adopt EM drive when hunting, at 18 it’s your operators are effectively blind!

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago

Why is it too noisy? – the Danes happily use theirs for ASW. There is simply no evidence for these assertions, it’s just an internet meme about Type 31 made up in forums, like the one about F-35 being useless. You can’t do ASW at speed with hull sonar full stop – even Type 23s need to go slow on electric drive.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

All true.

And why T26 electric drive is for low speed only.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

If they don’t, ownship noise will drown out your own operators !

PragmaticScot
PragmaticScot
1 month ago

I mean one of the options for the pod system is a battery pack to allow for running on electric only for short durations.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  PragmaticScot

The T31 has no electric drive at all.

Otherwise it might be a good idea….

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

But T32 might have?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Unlikely as it will drive costs up.

More likely are battery driven UAV’s with a towed array.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago

The drawback with E-drones is short legs, particularly with a heavy load to tow. The weight and drag of a TAS is nothing to a frigate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

True

But it is at least a solution.

So you might have 3-4 used in rotation?

Equally you might just use a silenced diesel for the UAV with electric drive.

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Yes but not by people who are actually in a position to know. While you dont have to be a marine engineer to figure out that the T31 is going to be noisier than T26, the notion that it is SO noisy that it cant be effectively used for any kind ASW, is frankly rubbish! Yes, in traditional open water ASW operations with use of primarily passive sonar , the CODAD powered T31 is at a disadvantage However modern submarines are so quiet that passive only sensors are no longer considered a viable means of detection, giving way to multistatic… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

No-one has said that offically. I think it’s an internet assumption made true by repetition. The Danes use the both the Absolom’s and Iver Huitfields for ASW..

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Just need to add the ASW torpedo tubes from the export version.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

If you are in range of ship mounted TTs, you are too close to your target. You need to kill a sub before it gets into attack range with a helicopter or a ranged ASW weapons. So ship TTs must be seen as a last resort….

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

A helo cannot be airborne 24/7. If a sub is a hole in the ocean & waits for our taskforce, then pops up, I want some way to kill it quickly, not faff about with getting the helicopter out of the hangar & armed.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Which is why in a threat environment helos are not kept at alert 45 in the hangar. they are ranged on deck. You fully spread them and arm them up ready to launch at alert 15 or alert 5.
You can pull them forward so that they rest close to or slightly in tha hangar for some additional protection.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
26 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Hi John, yes, even as a backup to a helo. Not sure if the RN is looking at any ASROC type system for the T26/31/32s but there was an image recently of a UAV with a torpedo.

Rob N
Rob N
20 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

That is why the ASW platforms can use active sonar…. dipping sonar etc…

ETH
ETH
1 month ago

That or the towed decoy part of Sea Sentor

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago

Nope, George said above. It’s the towed decoy.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago

It could also be a power/data cable for a unmanned underwater vehicle.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago

Images look like 3 different confirgurations (maybe using PODS?). Sea control with interceptor RHIBs, AS FIND UAS and Wildcat with Martlet (e.g. Gulf, Anti-piracy etc.), ASW with Merlin and towed array, and Carrier Strike surface combat escort with AShMs and Wildcat. Hopefully T-31 and T-32 will be reconfigurable for all these roles using modular offboard PODs.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago

I know nothing really about warships. But in the digital missile age, what is the difference between a destroyer and frigate? Both types seem to be based around air defence. Is it just the size of the hulls?

Will
Will
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

The following counts for the Royal Navy, the US Navy and European countries handle it slightly different BUT FRIGATE Typically provides anti-submarine capabilities to different degrees of effectiveness. The RN operates General Purpose and Anti Submarine frigates, the difference is if they have a towed array radar. Yes, frigates do have air defence missiles on board, but they are mainly designed for point defence, rather than long-range interceptions etc. NOTE that with the incoming Type 26 it is likely that Frigates will also get an increased land-attack role. DESTROYERS The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers now effectively only operate as… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Will

CAMM is short to medium range not just short range – it probably has a 50km range based on the fact that ASRAAM has demonstrated that performance and CAMM has the same body and motor.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Possibly, don’t forget the missile gets a large helping hand from the launch aircraft’s kinetic speed as well. From a ship or land based system, the missile is launched from a standing start. For example, the AMRAAM when used as a land based SAM, its range is about 1/3 of that when launched from an aircraft.

I suspect CAMM could well have a maximum range of around 60km when used ballistically. Probably a lot less when maneuvering to an intercept point.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Either way its a lot longer range than either Sea Wolf or RAM (10km) and comparable with Aster 15 (30km) and ESSM (27km). ESSM Block 2 is 50km and CAAM-ER 60km.

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Doesnt really have a difference for some navies. France doesn’t have any Destroyer on paper, but the frigates (In fact, first rank ships, not all frigates) have the same roles than destroyer in the USN (Thats why they have the “D” hull NATO code). The definitions change with times but mostly, to be a destroyer (from the US/NATO view), a ship must be able to escort others ship and having a full spectrum capabilities (Or close, since the land attack capability is not part of it). As example, if you have only a short range air defense or/and not having… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Hermes
Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

The French and Italians have the Horizon frigate that is very similar to the T45 Destroyer. I think the term Frigate is also a political rouse to make expensive destroyers look more affordable. Remember the Invincible class aircraft carrier was originally called a ‘through-deck cruiser’.

eclipse
eclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermes

I still think there’s value to the FREMMs and the lack of AShMs on the Type 45s is less severe than it seems; as installing AShMs or attaching Mk.41 VLS to it would take a far shorter amount of time than building a ship from scratch.

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  eclipse

Ofc its shorter than building a new ship.

But having 2×8 VLS ready, even if empty, its a lot more easy…

Having a 800m€ to 1.2B ship with 16 or 32 VLS, I just cant understand…

If you take the decision of the french navy to set the FDI with 16 VLS, with the best radar in the navy and a 450 to 800M€ ship.

its not like the 32/48 VLS design doesnt exist…

Last edited 1 month ago by Hermes
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Depends on the navy, largely because different navies used different words in WW2. During WW2 what had been the Torpedo Boat Destroyer aka Destroyer basically broke into two roles; Anti-Submarine and Ant-Surface/Torpedo Attack. The Anti-Submarine branch (favouring slow speed, but good manuverability) in UK service where called Corvettes, Sloops and Frigates, Frigates was the term that stuck. So in the RN the term “Frigate” applies in general to a ship optimized for Anti-Submarine Warfare (even though what that means has changed since 1945). In the US Navy that term was Destroyer-Escort (hull classification DE). It changed a few times in… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Jay R
Jay R
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks for the repsonses, very informative. Stupid question. What is point of an anti-submarine frigate when there are attack submarines? I thinking a frigate would be useless when the enemy sub is under ice

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

If the enemy submarine is under the ice then why are you concerned about it? ASW escorts are about protecting assets from Subs, or at most patrolling chokepoints (GIUK gap eg)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

If a Russian sub is under the ice, our greatest ASW weapon against it would be an SSN.
Sadly we have far too few.

Those subs would most likely be Russian bombers which won’t be bothering Atlantic shipping.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

Frigate is between half (diesel) and a quarter (nuclear) the price depending on each spec and cheaper to operate with more time at sea. Frigate can perform surface roles such as humanitarian, showing the flag, anti-piracy, etc…

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay R

It’s sort of irrelevant to be honest as different navies use different names. From an RN point of view destroyers focus on air defence and frigates focus on ASW work.but not always as the T82 destroyer had a significant ASW role as well as air defence and the type 31 frigate is going to be mainly focused on surface action. In truth almost all modern frigates and destroyers do a bit of everything. Often ships are named for political reasons, does a navy want to be seen to limiting its expenditure, then it builds frigates the size of cruisers, if… Read more »

David Flandry
David Flandry
25 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

None in reality. You will see reference to destroyers and frigates of several thousand tons displacement, and all combat ships have air defences.
Differences are range and variety of weapons
among other things

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

I’m sure I can see a quad anti ship missile launcher poking out midship in the image with the Queen Elizabeth in the background.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yip – saw that too Jonathan – here’s hoping!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hi Jonathan,

I suspect that imagine was produced prior to the recent announcement that the interim SSM has been cancelled. The RN will not have a SSM until the new Anglo French FC/ASW missile which is supposed to be ready in the 2028/30 timeframe (although I think 2035 is more realistic, hope I’m wrong).

Cheers CR

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

If I was a betting man I would put money on you being right, But I think of all the platforms, these as general purpose frigates with a guns focused on surface warfare would be the best platforms for an Antiship missile. Although if I was choosing I would pick more seaceptors first, then armed drones, then ASW fit/drone, then anti ship missiles ( but all Four would be best).

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Perseus is only planned to be available in the Royal Navy on Type 26s and there won’t be any operational Type 26s until 2027. The most operational ships that could have it by 2030 is three. However, like you, I think 2028 as announced by Quin during the concept phase is highly unlikely. He only said it was a planning assumption. And if the system actually becomes available in the early 2030s, which is more realistic, we’ve seen how many years it takes to equip frigates with anything new. I’d hope with the Mk 41 VLS it will be faster… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

I think there was a political dimension to the decision to cancel the interim AShM. It was important to send a signal to France that we are fully committed to Future AShM.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I noticed that earlier this year Boris announced we would have a National Flagship and that it would be in the water by 2025. It’s to be paid for from the Royal Navy budget but it’s totally unfunded at the moment. It’s going to cost £250m. I wonder where the Navy could get the money? Thank heavens they would never cancel a funded weapon system to pay for a useless vanity project. The political dimension to the cancelling of a £250m missile programme was obviously a signal to the French, and the fact that £250m has miraculously become available for… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Thank you for elucidating that Sir Humphrey.

It is as you say a complete coincidence……

If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
26 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Interesting that the FC/ASW is going to fit into a Mk41VLS and not just the French DCN silos. I’d like to see the newer Aster 30NG fit into both versions too but don’t think it does or will.

Paul.P
Paul.P
26 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Type 83 will force that issue I think.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
26 days ago
Reply to  Jon

God knows how much time and money they wasted on assessing the Interim AShMs to date if nothing has come of it. Hopefully a good decision.
Down here in Aus I read somewhere about the RAN exploring putting canister AShMs onto their new 80m Arafura patrol boats. Even smaller than the River B2s plus with a 40mm.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR. It is a bit bewildering that the interim missile has been cancelled or has it? The reason for this is the CAS’s statement during questioning with the Defence Select Committee, where he stated that all our ship should have more offensive capability. Not sure how that lies with the interim missile being cancelled, unless he is referring to a holiday period, again!

Paul.P
Paul.P
26 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Would be interesting to know the cost and feasibility of upgrading a handful of our Harpoons to batch IIs; or perhaps buying a dozen from the Aussies. IIRC they got a good deal from Boeing for their upgrade kit. I don’t know what work would be required on the launching systems to fire batch IIs but you might be able to finesse it through on the Babcock ‘maintenance’ contract.
https://www.armscom.net/news/boeing_to_provide_harpoon_upgrade_program_for_australia

Last edited 26 days ago by Paul.P
Henry Lamb
Henry Lamb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Supposed to be fitted for but not with mk41 launchers

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
1 month ago

But will they have a decent offensive / anti-ship capability. RN warships always seem un-armed to me, in that respect. TLAMs as well

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

In a word JJ…NO

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

No. Zero AShMs for many years & 57mm main gun is way too light & short ranged. Any enemy warship will have blown ours out of the water long before we get in range to any effect. Even our Wildcats with very lightweight AShMs will probably be taken out before getting in range by enemy SAMs. Sadly the MOD & HMG believe their own spin.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

As I see it T31 was optimised for a specific job; to be a patrol frigate in the Gulf; to escort merchant ships through the Gulf Strait, to see off Iranian gunboats, drones, early generation shore launched AShM and hijacking attempts. Ditto for the Bar El Mandeb straits off Yemen. Plus anti piracy off East Africa, plus possible small scale special ops insertion / rescue. Plus assist / defend a LRG humanitarian exercise or special forces insertion. Ditto for the Straits of Malacca and typhoon season in the Philippines etc. It is perfectly equipped for these roles and its Wildcat,… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

I have seen a few of those before.

There are a few questions that I’d still like to see answered, but as Daniele and a few others will know, I do support this one. I’m particularly interested to see how the RN’s plans for autonomous vehicles will be integrated and where they’ll be forward-deployed. We have an inkling of course, but I’d like to see if some of our theories play out.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Hope you’ll be around for Lusty Friday Christmas Eve mate. 😆

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

I will be if I can. 😉

Antonio Lewandowski
Antonio Lewandowski
1 month ago

Five ships are not enough

Moonstone
Moonstone
1 month ago

The images appear to show a new type of trainable counter-measure launchers fitted p&s atop the forward superstructure. Items that have long been on the RN’s ‘wish list’ I understand.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Moonstone

They are Torpedo defence decoy launchers. look hard enough on T23 and T45 and they are also present in the same locations. They are tied into the S2071 torpedo detection and decoy system.

Moonstone
Moonstone
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thank you – I hadn’t realised this system was in service yet.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

A lot of ship for a couple of pop guns, apparently limited ASW, no surface to surface, and a number (12? ) of Seaceptor. Also, as always, fitted for but not with T41 VLS. Just for once I would love to see a British warship fully equipped and able to take on anything thrown at her.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff,

I think the Type 26 will not have any ‘FFBNW’, unlike Type 45 and 31. That said, what will end up going into the Type 26’s Mk41 VLS remains to be seen!

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  David

The new scam will be they have the missile silos without the missiles and talk about potential land attack and torpedo missiles but not actually ever buy them.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

It is a damned sight quicker to put missiles in a silo that exists than it is to add the silo and then put the missile in.

There are already shared stockpiles for the P8. So there is a model to follow.

Personally I would rather see the Mk41 VLS installed.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Understand the sentiment but I reckon it’s more about being able to declare the procurement program a success than the capability of the ship now.
Type 31 will be a ‘patrol frigate’ and any offensive capabilities will be for the Wildcat and its missiles.
Having accepted the principle of a mixed fleet, which with global River 2s and T31 we surely have, it becomes a question of first rate intelligence and how quickly can you support the ‘man with the ball’. Where’ the nearest Astute/ Typhoon/ F-35/ P-8 with Harpoon?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

Get them built asap. 6000 ton warship needs to be armed to the teeth. No more fitted for but never with.

rmj
rmj
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

FFBNW is a disaster waiting to happen. The capability gaps today are the capability gaps the RN goes to war with in the near future. As for ASW limitations look how it worked out for the Bacchante Class to see what can go wrong!

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago

40mm no chance of NGS if required for Beach assault or the reason is that 4.5 fixed Tanked rounds weights 84lbs humping then around might be too much like hard work ,lucky it’s not a mk6 god I’m showing my age

Chris
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

People forget NGS was used as recently as Libya. Not an outdated concept.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Exactly, going back to 40mm sounds a cop out good for close in AA or SU when in Auto but no use in NGS in either Auto or LAS , Chris

Henry Lamb
Henry Lamb
1 month ago

Apparently fitted for but not with mk41 VLS.. makes more sense to fit it with? Have they also decided on the sea ceptor silo total? 12 is a bit risky. A drone capability and sonar of suitability would make this ship more than a pea shooting patrol boat

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Lamb

The question is which drone and what capability does it bring. If it’s just a drone with a camera attached then the extra capability is not that big

FieldLander
FieldLander
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Lamb

Mk41 is very expensive and has a long lead time. The only ones on order are for Batch 1 T26 (9 off I guess). All that can be said about T31 is there is space reserved.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

Top speed 28kts. About the same as a 1960s Leander class frigate. Why no improvement over the decades?

Henry Lamb
Henry Lamb
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It will most likely exceed 28 kts in sea trials but its specification is 28+ at design concept

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Lamb

It did.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

How fast do you want to go?? Likely an increase in top speed to 32 knots would need an installed power increase of at least 50%, with the fuel consumption and so on that would entail.
Again the spectre of not being able to provide NGS for all those opposed landings we are going to make rears its ugly head. Yes, its going to be tough putting troops ashore without knocking out all those fixed defences, gun batteries and echelons of tanks with one frigate.
AA

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

Can you point out where in the future Marine Force they talked anout opposed landings?

You’re thinking the Russians invade the Ukraine and stop at the Channel and we do another D-Day, 4 years later, right?

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Sorry David. A bit of ironic humour on my part. I cannot see when we would ever be likely to make landings such as to need NGS, but it irks me that whenever the T31 is mentioned with its small guns, the lack of NGS crops up.

I am thinking that if the Russkies invade the Ukraine we will not be sending any part of our small army over there to help, much less re-invade.
AA

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

I did wonder if you were being tongue but bit… darn.

Should Russia begin their Western European Tour in the Ukraine, we’ll all be digging our graves.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The QE’s are/were advertised as having a top speed of 25 knots. In reality it’s a hell of a lot faster than that. Don’t believe everything you read. Even from the RN !

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Increasing the speed of a ship is not as simple as just putting in a bigger engine. Length-beam ratio limits the theoritical speed, drag and friction is another factor. Sometimes just to get an extra 2 knots 35-50% more power is needed. So we have come to the point that 25-32knots is a good length to beam ratio and good power to length ratio.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

Know it’s all about performance ,but just for the Record does anyone know if these Frigates will have the paint scheme like the River class ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I don’t think so. That was to give the OPS a distinct identity.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

Ok thanks mate ,do like seeing paint schemes on ships .But that’s not what it’s all about 😃

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I think they look great too.

Bob Cross
Bob Cross
1 month ago

It looks a lot like the dutch and german frigates but with less firepower; the dutch frigates even have ff 127mm guns. Why just not buy those designs?

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Cross

I imagine they picked the Iver Huitfeldt based Type 31 over other designs purely due to the need to Build them in UK Shipyards within the strict budget limits set by the MOD/Treasury.I doubt that the German or Dutch equivalents would get anywhere near to the budget offered.

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

Impressive ships; lightweight armament.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Armament can be added. Just get them built to budget and on time. If they are all singing and dancing now we’d be getting 2 or 3.

AV
AV
1 month ago

Best comment on this topic yet. Totally agree, plus they look very much nicer than anticipated.
Looks much more of an export potential than I’d 1st thought and that’s purely based on looks.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
1 month ago

To coin a fraise “just anouther porcupine” the RN needs offensive capability, the eyes and ears also need a big stick to hit back with.

Scott Broadhead
Scott Broadhead
1 month ago

16 please
Then 8 type 26
And 6 type 46
Plus 5 river
Dream zone

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

I would be happy to see for the T31 future 24 Sea Ceptors and a Anti Ship missile. For the T31s and T32s possibly a containerised Tow Array, say five sets for both types. Apart from that I hope we can get these ships in the water as soon as possible.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

Having read that in the last 70 years only a handful of anti ship missles and large calibre naval guns have been used peer to peer fighting why would we waste money on something that won’t get used? In the last 70 years nearly all peer to peer ship fighting and shore battering has been via CSG. So the only anti ship strike weapons we should be prioritizing is something the F35 can fire. All the Type 31s will be doing is merchant ship escorts through the gulf and drugs and pirate tasks along with ceremonial duties. And it’s armament… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

They definatley need one of the cheap off the shelf ASM systems.The Russian Provorny (Agile) corvette which caught fire yesterday in St Petersburg at the Severnaya Verf shipyard is now apparently a total loss. This ship was to be fitted with hypersonic missiles. These things are a game-changer, they come in so fast. The Russian corvettes need to be engaged from outside their missile range, our frigates and destroyers should be able to defend themselves first with anti-ship missiles

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

A zircon has a 500-600 mile range. You need over the horizon targeting, the ability to transmit that data from the detection platform to the shooter(kill Chain) You can add to that that Hypersonics havent hit a moving target yet. Cold war ASMs such as Kitchen and Kingfish did M4+ so fast missiles are nothing new and the issues with targeting them haven,t changed since the mid 1960s when they came into service( A Kitchen derivative is still in service with Russian forces even now over 50 years later) The targeting by the RN against enemy vessels still has the… Read more »

David Loyd
David Loyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The Harpoon is now obsolete and despite the Authority spending precious money on maintenance, it will be withdrawn shortly. The LRASM is a variant of the U.S. Air Force’s JASSM-ER cruise missile and shares many of its design features. Built by Lockheed Martin, JASSM-ER is jam-resistant and stealthy, with a range of 500 miles. JASSM-ER is designed to autonomously detect and attack targets based on an uploaded profile and can deliver a 1000kg warhead. The ASM of choice. Unfortunately it will be far too big and expensive for the T31. I fail to understand why the Authority – having issued… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

Agree. Especially on the ASM point for F35. That, and Typhoon, is where I would be buying NSM/LRASM. Aircraft for me are the main ship killers after an SSN.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

That is a very blinkered way of thinking. You are extolling the use of basing future conflicts on the past and recent data. If we look at the Exocet missile. This was sold to China, who then reversed engineered it calling the YJ83 and then sold it for export as the C803. It even uses a French made turbojet. This missile has been sold to a large number of countries and Iran was one of them. After some US pressure, China stopped selling it to them. However Iran reversed engineered it and called it the Noor. This missile has been… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

It’s the blinkered way of thinking the navy has chosen to go. The wildcats are fitted with sea venom so technically the t31 if in contested waters will have the ability to defend itself for a limited point of view. We’ve been on the brink of war for 40 years and the navy hasn’t used the harpoons that are fitted. The t31 is a cheap boat for the less dangerous commitments that don’t require expensive weapon load outs like humanitarian missions and drug seizures and merchant ship escorts. I’d much sooner put big weapons on the T26/T45 and get the… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

Sad, but probably true. The one ray of hope for the T31 is that today’s anti ship missiles like the NSM can also be used against land based targets. Land based targets will probably be the main use for such a weapon. But looking around the World today, I would say the ship needs a least something like a cannister launched NSM sooner rather than later. I would agree with the F35. It also needs a stand-off weapon with a bigger punch than the Spear 3. But as you say money is tight. If and when it kicks off in… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

The Wildcat can only attack with Sea Venom misslies IF they can get within range to launch them. Most enemy warships SAMs would’ve engaged the Willdcat long before Sea Venom range was reached.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

I’m sure the navy knows this and has acquired venom to take out fast attack craft/corvettes of the Iranian/houti terrorists in seas where the t31 will be operating. T 31 in day to day use will not need big offensive weapons as it not a front line warfare frigate. It is a cheap hull to patrol uncontested seas and give humanitarian support in disasters catch pirates and drug smugglers say hello to bigwigs and say look the RN is here if you need us. You don’t need/want ASW frigates or destroyers doing the mundane and very important non combat roles… Read more »

rmj
rmj
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Great post, couldn’t have put it better

Bob Cross
Bob Cross
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Agreed, with this kind of armory it is nothing more than an enlarged OPV. Put some big guns or missile launchers like the Israëli did on their corvettes on it.

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

‘Escorting ships through the Gulf’ is made to sound like a simplistic task…..but the Iranians have the capacity to destroy a poorly armed Type 31 with ease…..indeed Iranian capabilities are heavily underestimated on here? Any escort requires effective AAW, fast firing guns for Swarms and an offensive ship to ship and land attack missiles to destroy the larger Iranian missile boats and shore based Anti-ship missile launchers. Type 23 could do with a faster firing gun/s, but does have the 4.5 inch with Sea Ceptor and Harpoon.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul42
Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

The argument that they need to be fired in order to be useful also misses the point of deterrence. If it’s known you can respond, people are less likely to mess with you in the first place, so you don’t need to fire. On the other hand if it’s known you can’t respond….

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

HMS Venturer not really going to be called the “Pet detective”

Kendonian
Kendonian
1 month ago

Brilliant ships but should have 16 mk41 vls for 32 Sea ceptor and 8 anti ship.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago

Have to laugh how none of these images show no 12-24Sea Ceptor silos or VLS. What are they hiding? However I do believe I can see some NSM type AShMs on the third image… unless my eyes are deceiving me. Nice refreshing images. If they want to bolster the fleet then order 1-2, it won’t break the budget.

criss whicker
criss whicker
1 month ago

hopefully it will turn out to be a great ship and in numbers to suit all.
only time will tell,

i had a dream that one day [april 1st ]lol
the royal navy will built a ship that is fitted for ? but not with an engine.
who knows.
merry xmas to all…

Clueless Observer
Clueless Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  criss whicker

Fingers crossed they come in on budget, I like the 40/57 gun combo, any idea if they have the deck penetrating magazines ? Would seem a waste to buy decent guns but then have to get some poor bugger to run and re-arm mid engagement !
Also, can we at least fit some mk41’s fitted ? Anyone know the cost ?
FFBNW is just a disaster waiting to happen, if VLS is in place the ships would surely be much easier to up arm when needed ?

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

It appears that the Fwd 40mm gun (B position) is v likely to have a deck penetrating mount, but it’s a bit unclear on the After gun. There is a good article in Navy Lookout on the 40mm gun system being used on T31.

Last I read/saw is it costs about £10 million for a 4 cell Mk41 launcher – possibly 8 cell can’t remember exactly, but they are expensive.

expat
expat
1 month ago

Likewise, the 57mm with BAe ORKA smart rounds looks very capable.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago

The 57mm gun is a non-deck penetrating mount.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

Still without radar director for the guns?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Maybe the experts can tell us but I don’t think there’s much difference between mm radars and short wavelength infrared / microwaves in the quality of the image you can resolve in foggy conditions.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul.P
AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

X Band is ok.

“microwaves” ?

RN probably sees Type 31 as a sort of LCS and wants the 40mm and 57 to fight boat swarms.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Sorry, imprecise terminology.
X- band = microwaves.
I think the guns will also come in for drones and Houthi ASMs.

Simon m
Simon m
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The main radar can support naval guns & the Sharpeye mk11 has an agile tracker option
modern EO/IR sensors can track through some cover

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon m

Interesting info. Thx

Latch71
Latch71
1 month ago

Just read the article about the new Bofors 40mm – I’ve got to say, it sounds pretty cool.

John Mayall
John Mayall
1 month ago
Reply to  Latch71

Watch the 57mm on u-tube mate, you will be well impressed!

expat
expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Latch71

Yep. and also look at the BAe ORKA smart rounds for the 57mm.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

I would say that the 57 is a much better CIWS, especially if it uses the ORKA (one round kills all) shell.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

ORKA rounds are not for anti missile, are for anti swarming boats.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

BAe state that ORKA is a multi-use weapon that can be used for both surface and air targets. The imaging infrared seeker can “look” for the target or it can be guided on to the target by following a laser’s reflection. BAe have tested it against boats swarms, but yet to test it against anything faster than a small aerial target drone. In theory it should be able to track anything the sensor sees or is guided on to.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

From information i read ORKA was developed at US request for anti swarm boat, probably will also work for anti aerial drone swarm.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hi Alex. Yes, BAe’s ORKA was part of a US Navy request to make the Mk110 57mm autocannon more effective. As far as I know there were three companies involved: BAE with their ORKA, L3 with their ALAMO and Raytheon with their MAD-FIRES. All three companies went down the guided route. The L3 ALAMO (advanced low cost munitions ordnance). It uses a programmable fuse and a novel method of altering its trajectory. It has been designed to engage primarily surface targets, though L3 say it should also be able to target helicopters and slower moving drones. L3 have shown a… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I imagine technical issues of getting a mere 57mm with a rocket+guidance

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Having sensitive electronics robust enough to survive 36,000g acceleration I think is a pretty good achievement.

Harry Nelson
Harry Nelson
1 month ago

How can you sunbathe on the fo’c’sle with no guardrails???? 🤔😀

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Nelson

Carefully

Doug S
Doug S
1 month ago

Apologies for being a stick in the mud, but how can 5 ships be at the heart of surface fleet? There will at most only be 3 operational at any one time.

Stephen McCreadie
Stephen McCreadie
1 month ago

I’m an ex fusilier and I love being on the water…if I could choose again I would jump on that ⚓ ship

Something Different
Something Different
1 month ago

Any chance of 24 seaceptors and some SSMs?