The new Type 32 Frigate will be built in addition to the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates in the hopes of bringing the escort fleet up to 24 vessels from its current 19.

This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced what the Ministry of Defence have called “the biggest investment in the UK’s Armed Forces since the end of the Cold War”, confirming an injection of £16.5 billion over four years.

Referring to his promise to “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe”, the Prime Minister added:

“If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today:

“We’re going to commit to the next generation of frigate the Type 32. We’re going to commit to bringing online the Type 31 and Type 26 Frigates in Scotland.”

According to a press release from the Government:

“The £16.5 billion investment confirms our order of 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31 frigates, commits us to the next generation Type 32, and supports the future solid support ships that will supply our Carrier Strike Group.

Whilst this is reassuring news for the defence industry, Defence will not overlook the challenges that are ahead, to continue addressing the savings still required and the efficiencies we need to make.”

Discussing this news, respected defence journalist Xavier Vavasseur at NavalNews said:

“While the 8 Type 26 frigates (also known as the City-class) and 5 Type 31 frigates were already planned to be procured, the real surprise in today’s announcement is the mention for the first time of the “Type 32”. Early rumors associated the term with an export variant of Type 31, T4X (Type 45 destroyer replacement), the Littoral Strike Ship project (which appears to be abandoned) or even a typo. 

Naval News learned from a reliable UK source that this is in fact some sort of ‘pre program’ put in place for budgetary reasons in anticipation of a future potential ‘Type 31 Batch 2’. The source added that this potential ‘Type 31 Batch 2’ may not necessarily be based on the Type 31 design.”

Additionally, outlining how the cash would be spent, Johnson said that the funding would help “spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK – in Glasgow and Rosyth, Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead”.

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captain p wash

I’m getting a hunch that this Type 32 will not be “Clyde Built” might even see Dredgers on the Torridge !

Alan Reid

Hi Cap’n, If it is constructed in Scotland, it will be “Forth Built” at Rosyth.
Babcock has been strategic (which we often deride UK businesses for not doing) and invested in a T31 frigate factory, presumably with some government encouragement. On that basis, it would be an astonishing development if the main contract was handed to another yard.
Although one can certainly see other UK yards building modules for assembly at Rosyth.

captain p wash

Yes, It was obviously a tongue in cheek comment, “Clyde Built” seemed to sit better. Seriously this is great news for the UK and potentially even greater news for English Yards. Not forgetting that building these Ships at H&W Belfast and H&W Appledore would be a great political decision keeping the promises made for UK ship Building and taking nothing away from Scotland.

Daveyb

Could the T31 be used in a similar process like the US use. Where a design is already known about but the yards compete for the manufacturing? Or does Babcocks own the property rights to the design?

captain p wash

Have’nt a clue mate.

Dern

The property rights to the Arrowhead 140 design are indeed owned by one of the members of the consortium, either Babcock, BMT or Thales (I can’t remember which).
But the original Iver Huitfeld design is still owned by OMT, so in theory, if another firm wanted to build Type 31’s there’s no reason they couldn’t circumvent Team 31 and buy the design straight off of OMT.

Ron5

The Type 31 design does not belong to OMT so no, another firm could not circumvent Team 31. Unless they wanted to build an unimproved IH design, an opportunity that the world has somehow managed to resist quite well for the past decade.

DJ

I am sure OMT will quite happily update the design if someone wants to go that way (for a fee) & it appears Indonesia has signed a preliminary contract with OMT mid this year for 2 frigates.

https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/july/8685-indonesia-signs-preamble-contract-for-construction-of-two-iver-huitfedlt-class-frigates.html

Even if Denmark wanted to build an extra IH frigate tomorrow, OMT would still need to update the design to meet current standards & replace outdated equipment.

Ron5

Denmark no longer has the ability to build its own warships.

Alan Reid

Hi Cap’n, I certainly hope other UK yards get FSS and the new survey ship – plus build modules for T31 batch 1 (and batch 2?)

captain p wash

Indeed mate, as do I.

Mark B

Need to get some competition into this market somehow.

Andy P

I’m not sure we will be building enough to have competition within a class, even batches. If we have the necessary men and equipment in place then I doubt it would be viable for different yards to compete with that.

Ron5

“Babcock has been strategic (which we often deride UK businesses for not
doing) and invested in a T31 frigate factory, presumably with some
government encouragement”

Babcock’s is spending 50 million on a large empty shed to keep out the rain, and plating line. “Frigate Factory” seems rather fanciful for a facility that’s duplicated in half a dozen places in the UK already. But hey ho, let’s big it up.

Paul.P

Johnson referred to T32 as ‘next generation’. What I would like to see is the Arrowhead 140 hull used as the basis for a new ship which carries directed energy weapons and long range strike using the irrelevant Mk41 tubes launchers from the T26, which has taken so long to build it has been overtaken by advances in technology. Focus the T26 on its core role of global ASW carrier escort. The Arrowhead 140 hull provides the growth potential for electrical power and the beam for heavy radars and weapons. Just my thoughts. In the meantime by all means use… Read more »

James Fennell

good comment Paul

captain p wash

“Next Generation” If not the “next generation” Type 26 and 31 might suggest another Level sort of like a 6th Generation fighter aircraft. I’m forming a picture here based on the wording BJ has used in relation to addressing the future threats. Type 31 just doesn’t do it really.

Meirion X

Yes I think this is correct!
A T32 with DEW armed, will certainly require greater energy generation capacity then a T31.

captain p wash

We’ll see I guess.

Paul.P

Wise to take BJ with a pinch of salt of course. ‘Next generation’ could be successor spin to ‘world beating test and trace’ 🙂
I think T31 was about maintaining the magic number of 13 frigates. Job done now. The tone and delivery of BJ speech to parliament hit the spot. Happier days ahead I think.

Ron5

“Next generation” might just mean a second batch.

Paul.P

Exactly. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. I don’t see much point in a second batch of the current T31 which most commentators believe to be too lightly armed. That said I can see a fairly urgent role for a ‘junk buster’ to police our global trade supply lines.What we are missing though I think is (other than QE class) a class of vessels with the teeth to enforce our political will. When T26 was conceived as the Global Combat Ship with its Mk41 it was headed in this direction but absent a clear successor to… Read more »

Andy P

A cynical thought has occurred to me, I wonder if this is put in place before its announced that there will be some compromise on one of the stumbling blocks of Brexit negotiations and the State aid stuff.

I say cynical but something has to give and I don’t feel that strongly about this point. Either way, the Mob is getting another 5 escorts so that’s a positive.

James

Certainly possible, however any programmes started now would be subject to the current EU state aid rules.

David Barry

Defence is not subject to EU rules afaik.

Andy P

Hi James, as David Barry says, defence contracts can be done ‘in house’. I was thinking along the lines of the Government ‘conceding’ something on the State Aid stuff and being able to nod to this as an example of them working round any compromises.

TrevorH

We have left the EU.. We left the EU months ago. Last year I think.

Steve

The whole state aid arguement is nonsense drummed up by Boris. We have had plenty of chances to use state aid within the rules and have generally not done so. Ultimately the UK was a big driver in the current EU rules, which in turn are heavily based on WTO rules, so in the end its a no scene beginning position made up by Boris so he can say he won somethjng in the negotiations

Sean

Rubbish.
It’s the EU that is digging it’s feet on state aid, while the U.K. is digging it’s feet in over fishing. Though it seems the French seem to have finally accepted they’re going to get the same access to British waters as they currently do.

Steve

Not even vaguely true. Fishing accounts for 0.01% of the economy. Do you really think we would risk a no deal over fishing. Same with state aid, multiple times other EU countries have used it and it’s been tested as fine and the UK gov for same cases have blamed EU for not using it, when in reality they didn’t want to use and knew they could. Brexit negotiations are shrouded in a whole load of smoke and mirrors aimed at being able to blame the other side when they don’t get a deal because rhey didn’t have a idea… Read more »

Mike

Fishing does account for an extremely small part of our economy, and the remain MSM constantly point that out. What they fail to say is that it was not insignificant before we joined the EEC, fishing was significant, huge. However, the EU introduced the Common Fisheries Policy, concomitant with our joining. The EU therefore grabbed most of our fishing industry and charged us a fortune for doing so. If Boris gives in to France, he is toast.

Derek

It’s also not about fishing alone. It is about asserting sovereignty over our waters. “You can fish here but you must come back each year and agree a license.” Too bloody right!

Nathan

To many of the poorer coastal communities that 0.01% is everything and increasing it only fractionally will make life better for them. This is the case all across the EU, even in Germany, where many communities that just don’t fit the European mould have been left behind, if not totally ignored. Very few national governments across the EU have managed to bring these marginal communities along. EU integration improved our efficiency collectively but at the human cost of these local communities. Projects that were once completed at a local level, went to EU firms that could do the same job… Read more »

Mike Saul

I would like to think that the proposal to build another class of frigate has been well thought though and examined in great detail to strike a balance between flexibility, affordability and capability.

But history says we should take these announcements with a pinch of salt.

Surely the best to achieve the required number of warships is to use the existing planned platforms, given the hardware and software costs that have already been incurred in designing developing and building them.

Paul T

Agree,ive not had time to read all the comments from yesterday but to me the Type 32 seems a bit like a distraction – concentrate on what we are planning now ( T31/26) Enhance the T45 if possible and try and Speed up production.

Ron5

You are correct if any meaningful work was to commence right away on the Type 32. But that seems highly unlikely. Maybe a couple of guys in a corner starting to put together a requirement statement and a budget line in the equipment plan.

Derek

“It is still HMG’s intention to build the 13 planned Type 26 “ … The next day the intention changed.

ChariotRider

Hi Ron5,

You are right. I read somewhere that the MoD have responded to a question (from Save the Royal Navy I think) to the end that the T32 was a holding line in the equipment plan. This way there is funding reserved for the extra ships, although the precise value of the funding will need a lot of work obviously.

The MoD also reported as saying it was a T31 Batch 2, hopefully an up gunned variant.

Cheers CR

Bloke down the pub

Surely, one of the benefits of long term planning for frigate procurement is that once you’ve found a sound, adaptable design, you stick to it. All that swapping from one design to the next does is create jobs in the drawing office. This may be of benefit but why should the MOD always be the ones to pick up the tab for job creation?

Supportive Bloke

Totally agree.

And built / integration issues to resolve.

Both designs are fresh enough to to be updated slightly and then rolled off again.

As I posted elsewhere I wonder if the T26 contract can be accelerated reducing unit costs and another couple inserted to make sure there is no gap before T4X?

Then 3 – 5 of the T31BII to bring that up to the minimum viable volume of 8 hulls so training etc is properly utilised.

T.S

Maybe, but it also helps keep ship design skills fresh and up to date and allows greater innovation.

Steve R

But that means we also end up with fewer and fewer ships, to the point where availability suffers and/or we have no defence in depth and cannot sustain a single ship lost in combat.

4th watch

If you continue to build with the same design you lose design skills as we saw with the Astutes and even the USA with its destroyers and frigates.

Ron5

Very true. And you also lose the opportunity for huge deals to build ships in Australia and Canada to your designs.

Mark B

You are right but we don’t know yet how T26 or T31 will turn out. T45 has given issues. Clearly it would be sensible to get good designs in the small medium and large categories and then mass produce hopefully making some foreign sales in the process.

Dern

From what I’ve been told it doesn’t actually provide all that much of a benefit to keep a design from generation to generation. Ships assembly lines aren’t like automotive assembly lines and they are generally “hand built” up to a point.
The amount of skills you loose by not designing new ships every generation is shockign (see the US Navy atm) is something you do not want.

Ron5

Tru dat. Look at the US LCS and Zumwalt’s for living proof. Awful designs.

Grant

Would have been better if they had moved the T26 and T32 south of the border. No idea why we continue to reward Scottish intransigence

Steve

To be fair, they are part of the UK equally as any other place and a whole lot of government money goes into keeping London ticking as the centre of the economy. Unfortunately defence is just another government expenditure, a piece of the overall pie every county of the UK wants.

Alan Reid

Hi Grant,
The Clyde/Forth complex is a UK centre of excellence in frigate/destroyer manufacturing. And a great example in the benefits of the UK, should anyone in Scotia need reminding.
But tell you what – we’ll do a swap!
England can move all the submarine and advanced fighter-jet production to Scotland – and we’ll send down the T26 & T31.
English factories get huge defence contracts, let’s not pretend otherwise.
“Scottish intransigence”? I’m afraid these kind of comments are exactly what separatists thrive on.

captain p wash

Then again if you look at the Population difference, it’s not too hard to see why “English Factories get huge defence contracts” .

Alan Reid

Apologies, Cap’n, You’re quite right – I got provoked and forgot myself for a moment! Lol

Andy P

Hi Alan, missed your input on the other thread. Can’t argue with any of that, Scotland quite rightly gets a cut of the defence buck. Ignore the rest, its shall we say…. small minded.

Ron5

If it were based on Scotland’s contribution to GDP, they wouldn’t get very much. A lot less than now.

Alan Reid

Ron, Outside London and the South-East, in terms of tax-take, Scotland is the best performing part of the UK.
By your argument, then, much of the north of England wouldn’t deserve those huge long-term contracts in aerospace and submarine construction.
And if you really want to throw up examples of botched manufacturing – how about Nimrod MRA4 at Woodford, near Manchester? Or how long has Barrow been working on the Astute project for so little output in terms of hulls?
Time to come off that high-horse, Ron !

Ron5

I wasn’t making an argument. Just stating a fact. Get over yourself.

Grant

Investing more money North of the Border whilst the SNP continues to agitate for independence just feels like a risk tk the defence of the rUK and with that uncertainty we should consider if we should move thag capacity elsewhere.

Alan Reid

Grant, The SNP is a political party – they don’t speak for the majority of people in Scotland. And they have been agitating for separation since the 1960s!
In Scotland, the majority vote for so-called pro-unionist parties gets split three ways in elections which distorts the result in favour of a single-issue party.
But unfairly withholding defence contracts from Scotland will certainly fall right into the trap the SNP has laid for you – and turbo-charge its campaign.

Grant

You’re right of course…. too easy to get dragged down to their level with all media attentiom the SNP get and the crap their spout….

Alan Reid

Thanks, Grant – I think these announcements are a great day for the UK.

Ron5

“The Clyde/Forth complex is a UK centre of excellence in frigate/destroyer manufacturing”

These are the guys that glued bolt heads to the deck in the River class ships. Centre of excellence my foot. Over unionised, lazy, & stroppy with it.

Alan Reid

Hi Ron, I think those “guys” were sub-contractors working on the build of the Forth while the main work-force was engaged on the QE Class. You do remember that workers on the Clyde recently built/assembled two 70, 000 aircraft carriers? “Over-unionised, lazy, & stroppy “- it’s not the 1970s anymore!
I personally know some of the people at the Govan yard; they are very professional, and proud to build ships for their navy.

Daniele Mandelli

Bravo Alan.

Your comments above stressing the many who still believe in the union reassure me. I find this quite an upsetting subject!

Robert1

Hey! Don’t go claiming our carriers 😉

They may have bussed in all the west coasters but they were on the Forth.

Long live the Kingdom

Alan Reid

Fair point, Robert!

Why don’t we call the QE class, “The Pride of Scotland!”

But Long live the Kingdom of Fife!

Robert1

Sadly Alan I think doing so might well have broken some folk on this site…

Glad to see someone who gets the nuances about independence, Scottish politics, Scottish shipyards and the wider defence industry. Some really clear points you’ve made.

Ron5

So Govan quality control is run by subcontractors?

John

What do we know… Not a lot!

captain p wash

Yes, not anything really.

Paul42

Type 32 = Type 31e – export version that will come with all the bells and whistles Tupe 31 should have, and indeed could????? The first 32 coukd be built alongside the last 31. A frigate factory building 10 ships at the rate of 2 at a time.

Ron5

Possibly.

Albion

To new number is now 19 destroyers & frigates. Threfore, will the number of T23’s remaining in commission be extended to maintain the 19 total until such time as the new T32 hulls are commissioned?

Ron5

No.

Paul42

I think every effort will be made to ensure they are maintained until the Type 31 enters service. At the moment the out of service dates for the T23s are considered flexible.

Sceptical Richard

We don’t seem to be very good at maximising economies of scale when it comes to shipbuilding. It always seems to be a new, clean sheet design instead of, for example, just building more T31s, if necessary to a slightly modified design.

captain p wash

Just a suggestion, no other intention but, “go compare” the Type 31 to the new Chinese Ships. I really can’t see where they belong. It’s not East of Suez.

Last edited 14 days ago by captain p wash
Sceptical Richard

I see them as very long range, long endurance OPVs. What used to be called white frigates or colonial sloops in the very old days. Bulk up hull numbers at relatively low cost. Get ships to sea covering different stations round the world wherever we have interests. They appear to have good radar, E/O and Comms kit. Keep an eye on things and show a presence when needed. If a situation develops, send in the cavalry. Better i suppose than no presence at all. Don’t think they’re intended to go up against the might of the Chinese navy operating in… Read more »

captain p wash

Yes, fair point mate. Can’t see any point sending them into a Hot Spot.

James

Many say Oh we won’t face the Chinese near their home waters something that alone says ” defeat ” They turned the South China sea into a Chinese lake! Besides China is building a larger navy than the US and is doing that to challenge us elsewhere far from South China Sea where we may face them and need credible ships

Frank62

Trouble is, come a war, all the empty arguments over what they will or won’t/should or shouldn’t be used for go out the window. They’ll be drafted wherever needed & only seen by the enemy as enemy warships. Making them easier to kill is stupid, betraying the nation & the crews. If we had 40+ escorts we might be able to keep a small class out of harms way (like the Tribals in 1982), but with barely enough escorts to cover the essentials we don’t have that luxery. We remain very short sighted militarily.

Ron5

Which Chinese ship class?

Frank62

Probably the type 54A frigates & type 52D destroyers. 4,000 & 7,500 tons each full load. Both have a full complement of AShMs & more SAMs.

captain p wash

Type 55 is 13000 tons and a bit scary.

captain p wash

Types 52 and 55 Destroyers for a start. Go take a look at the Specs, then look at the quantity, then take a look at the Frigates . Wouldn’t want to be on a Type 31 in their backyard.

Ron5

Care to tell us how much these “economies of scale” are worth or are you just waving your arms around?

Remembering that those design skills you so easily dismiss have resulted in very valuable Type 26 exports to Canada and Australia.

Sceptical Richard

Sorry Ron, I haven’t mentioned anything about loss of skills. All I suggested, as others have in here, that we could settle on a well developed and sorted hull and machinery/equipment design and keep shelling them out like peas from more than one shipyard. Would reduce build, support and training costs. They could also be subject to a standard, rolling upgrade package as and when needed, instead of chopping to a new design every time we wake up and decide we want a new ship. Just a thought. Not saying I’m right and everyone else is wrong. Nor waving my… Read more »

Peter S.

Agreed. The best example of sticking with a sound basic design is the US Arleigh Burke class, in production since 1988 and still being ordered. I would have thought that progressive improvement of a basic design would require as much technical design skill as an all new one. The skills lost at Barrow were mainly actual construction skills and it’s these that a long term order plan should maintain. Sticking with the same hull should be cheaper with no need to redesign major components. What puzzles me is that we are struggling to crew the current fleet and yet now… Read more »

Frank62

True Ron. We could do with a few more ASW focused frigates, either T26s or maybe a better optimised T32. The vast majority of our trade is by sea.

captain p wash

95% I read a while back, mind you a huge chunk of that is from China.

Ron5

I agree with you Frank.

David Stephen

Surely the best way to get 24 escorts is to speed up construction of both Type 26 and Type 31. Up the order to 9 of each and equip them properly.Type 45 replacement can be the transitional ship with directed energy weapons (if and when) those weapons are ready. Presently and in the near term we just need more frigates with sonars, missiles and flight decks.

Bryan Jones

I would sagest the best all round solution for the RN would be a total escort force made up of:
6- T45 (existing)
6- T32? New frigates based on the RAN Hunter class.
6- T26 (reduced from 8)
5 to 8 – T31
By having a Hunter variant the royal navy would have a swing role frigate combining the best of the T26 –ASW
Combined with serious backup to the T45.
An added advantage would be compatibility with the RAN.

4th watch

My theory is that the T32 will be ASW and based on the T31 and could be built sooner rather than later because the money is in the next 4 years. It may use some of the equipment off the T23s and they save money on not modernising the older ships.. The T26 build probably cant be speeded up and that may concern them.

Barry

Why donI get th feeling this is nothing more than a Bung to BAE because their modified River class frigate didn’t win the Type 31 contest.

Richard B

From my research, the emerging consensus seems to be that the Type 32 will be a version of Type 31 optimized for mine warfare, with the mission bay used to carry remote/autonomous mine clearance systems being developed as part of the Anglo-French Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) project. As a former member of the RNR who served on 10 MCM River’s in the 1980/90’s, I’m slightly skeptical about the superiority of this concept over a new generation of specialist minehunters/sweepers.

Stevo H

I don’t like the idea being thrown around at the moment of the Type 32 being designed to replace the Type 45, how the hell is a frigate going to able to take on the incredibly difficult task of air defence? A frigate is simply not large or powerful enough to do it…… end of. We seem to be almost unique due to the fact that we mainly designate a single task to each type of escort ship….. I.e our frigates are a 90/10 split for anti submarine warfare and the Type 45’s we have are 95/5 split for air… Read more »

Deep32

Hi Steve, I’m not sure that the sparse details of the T32 released thus far point to any particular role this vessel may or may not have. True, it may turn out to be a ‘souped up T31/MCM mothership or indeed a ASW oriented FF to support the T26’s, but, there is just no information to go off, so, all this is just speculation. One interesting thread on the STRN website speculates that it could be a ‘placeholder’, a concept/idea which has some people from both industry and the MOD assigned to start fleshing out some detail/requirements. Which, in turn… Read more »

Meirion X

Most RN escorts, are Not single role vessels, but mult-roled like most of the frigates, it is just their primary role is anti submarine warfare, they have other roles as well, such as AAW, the T23s are now armed with Sea Ceptor air defence missiles. Also don’t forget the main gun for anti-surface(ASuW), and Harpoon.

Meirion X

I would like to add Stevo, that I like the idea of the RN escorts being multi-role but include
one specialist role. So I would like to see one specialist role for the T32, and with other lessor roles as well.

The saying is, “The Jack of all trades, is a master of None”!