The steel for the first Type 31 Frigate will be cut in 2021 and the vessel will enter service in May 2027.
The Type 31 general purpose frigate programme will provide the UK Government with a fleet of five ships, at an average production cost of £250 million per ship, the vessels are being built in Rosyth.
Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for Durham, asked via a written Parliamentary Question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is his Department’s policy for the Type 31 to have cut steel for the first time in 2021.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“Yes, on current plans the steel will be cut for the first of the five Type 31 Frigates in 2021.”
The Minister added later:
“The first Type 31 Frigate will be in the water in 2023 and all five ships will be delivered by the end of 2028. The approved in service date for the first Type 31 is May 2027. The dates for Initial Operating Capability and Full Operating Capability have not yet been determined.”
Type 26 will cover the high end tasks and Type 31 will generally cover low end constabulary work.
During a 2016 Defence Select Committee hearing, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones described the vessel that would become Type 31e as “to be a much less high-end ship. It is still a complex warship, and it is still able to protect and defend and to exert influence around the world, but it is deliberately shaped with lessons from wider industry and off-the-shelf technology to make it more appealing to operate at a slightly lower end of Royal Navy operations.”
IHS Janes described it as a “credible frigate” that will cover “maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support sitting between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs.”