According to the recently released ‘Defencer Command Paper’, the Type 32 frigates will be designed to protect territorial waters, to provide persistent presence overseas and to support Littoral Response Groups.

The first mention of a new Type 32 frigate came in the Prime Minister’s 19 November statement. He said: “We are going to develop the next generation of warships, including multi-role research vessels and Type 32 frigates.”

The Defence Command Paper, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, describes the planned programme:

“Type 32 frigates, designed to protect territorial waters, provide persistent presence overseas and support our Littoral Response Groups.”

The Type 32 was not mentioned in the Government’s 2017 shipbuilding strategy, which overhauled the way the MOD procures warships for the Royal Navy. Nor was it mentioned in the review of the strategy published in November 2019. Early speculation suggests they could be ‘batch II’ Type 31s, but not necessarily based on the Type 31 design. Several MPs have tabled questions on the Type 32.

In November 2020, the Ministry of Defence stated that the concept phase for the vessel had not yet been launched but added that the ship is currently envisioned as a “platform for autonomous systems”, used in roles such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures.

What was the Ministry of Defence already planning for?

Before Type 32, the plan was for only two new classes of frigates.

Type 26 frigates

These will replace the specialist anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Type 23 frigates currently in service.

The Ministry of Defence has committed to buying eight Type 26 frigates and signed a contract for the first three in July 2017. The ships will be built at BAE Systems’ shipyards on the Clyde. The first in the City Class, HMS Glasgow, has an in-service date of 2027. The MOD says it expects to sign a contract for the second batch of five Type 26 frigates in the early 2020s.

Type 31 frigates

These will be general-purpose frigates to replace the non-ASW Type 23s. The MoD signed a contract with Babcock for five ships in November 2019. Manufacture will begin in 2021 with an in-service date of 2027. The overall programme cost is expected to be £2bn.

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RobW
RobW
3 months ago

Surely it must be a variation on the T31 design to keep retooling, design and manufacture costs down, plus through life maintenance and spares.

I guess it comes down to the exact requirements placed on the vessels, does it need a bigger helo deck for instance? Who knows, I doubt the RN does at the moment either.

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Another, arguably more important, factor is that by not specifying that they want T32 to be an Arrowhead 140 derivative, they’re not giving Babcock a stronger hand in negotiations.

By not specifying a preference, they can run a fair competition in the future where Babcock’s bid has to be competitive with whatever BAE or anyone else puts forward, thus keeping prices lower. In theory, there’s a solid chance that T32 as a follow-up to T31 could have a similar price tag in real terms this way, while offering more capability.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

Seems a tad far fetched. How on earth could a brand new ship compete against Babcock’s modified Type 31 on price?

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

It will depend entirely on the exact specifications for T32, and if the competition is meant to compete on cost or if it’s another fixed price contract.

In any case, there isn’t any advantage to simply announcing we want to give the contract to Babcock before any negotiations take place.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Since it has been reported that the Navy want’s a ‘new type of frigate’ its highly unlikely that these will be T31. Nor should they be. Its an old design.

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

James,

i don’t think it makes the slightest bit of difference what the Navy wants, in the end it’ll be down to the politicians/treasury telling the Navy what they are going to get….

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Agreed. There was no option with T31 due to the tight timeline which required all candidates to leverage an existing design. Timing for T32 enables a clean sheet optimised platform. But if costs get out of hand then MOD could revert to T31.

I suspect the RN will probably want an intermediate frigate like the French FTI or Italian PPA Full that would meet the “designed to protect territorial waters, provide persistent presence overseas and support our Littoral Response Groups” role

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

Id bite anyone’s Hand off for a few PPA Frigates,the Design ticks so many boxes and it looks quick to Build,there are 3 in the Water already.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Its not a pretty ship but it does tick a lot of boxes.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

I think it has a certain ‘look’ – reminds me of a 21st century Type 21 if im honest.

Martin
Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Hopefully it’s a batch two order for T31, last thing the RN needs is trying to operate yet another small fleets of ships.

RobW
RobW
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin

It seems to be a no brainier to me. It’s a modular design and is large enough to be adaptable. I know some think it is too old a design but I’d have thought all the innovation would come from what it deploys, not the ship itself.

Also T32 build will almost certainly follow on from T31 so it will likely be built in the same place.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

I think they will be unmanned motherships for sure. For MCM and unmanned subs to work in the littoral zone. They also need to provide long range strike in support of the RM – so some sort of land attack capability (drones, missiles, guns) as well as air defence for the LSS. Possibly a well deck or rear ramp, a large mission bay, VLS for Sea Ceptor and Land Attack Missiles, direct energy / EA CIWS, surface, subsurface and aerial drones for ASW, MCM, ISTAR, VERTREP and Land Attack, a 57mm or 127mm gun for NGS.

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

You will be wanting the Starship Enterprise next.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Well if it had transporters you wouldn’t need a flight deck and a well deck…. No need for boats either
!!!

Robert Stevenson
Robert Stevenson
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I would have thought a ship along the lines of the Future Belgian & Dutch MCM mothership would be appropriate for MCM roll than this large ship, with possible sea cepter fitted for self defence along with 40mm bofors

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

Thing is, fitting Sea Ceptor pushes that up to, guess what, a Type 32 displacement.

I dont think the D-B ships are a good call, they are still one-trick ponies whereas crossing it with a frigate gives you a much more useful platform, more space for more/larger UUV/USVs, proper embarked aviation support and the space for sensors and defences, plus all the space for the people and enduracne.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I agree that the D-B ships may work for the D-B, but not for UK global deployments, especially if called to operate off a hostile shore where shore based ASM and FIAC are potential threats. A T31 deploying MCM USV looks much better for that environment.

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

I agree, can escort itself both sea ceptor and guns, plus with a Wildcat has a lot of ISTAR and even more protection.

Also better at self deploying and can RAS properly whilst giving us more frigates.

I like the Type 32 “development of 31” so much I’d bin the 31 and just build 32s. If of course it ends up as I envisage, given the lack of actual info!

john melling
john melling
3 months ago

Said the same thing in here, over the past year or so!
Belgian \ Dutch MCM is a big shift with at least 6 vessels each
And with their media presence and design\concept, I really like it

Last edited 3 months ago by john melling
Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

It seems overwhelmingly sensible to base the new ships on existing designs. A type 31b essentially. After all the 31s were designed to be modular and flexible.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Exactly Andrew, the T31 is large enough to be modified for all sorts of rolls.

Build another 5 and up arm the lot to a robust anti air, anti surface and gunfire support platforms.

Unless unmanned deployed ASW systems are carried in the mission bays, then these proposed strike groups will have no anti submarine capability …. I guess a T26 would be detached if SSK activity was thought to be an issue…

Peter S
Peter S
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Babcock are marketing the type 31/Arrowhead with bow mounted sonar. Presumably a different propulsion system from the UK diesel only version.
You’re probably right about unmanned systems being an option in 10 years time. I believe there are also under development some lightweight towed array systems that would be much easier and quicker to retrofit.

DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Peter

The IH frigate is already rated as ASW capable by NATO standards. The Danish Absalon class have been redesigned as ASW frigates by Denmark. They have both bow mounted & towed sonars & are the parent class to both IH & T31 frigates. You can get quite diesel propulsion if you know what you are doing.

RobW
RobW
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Absolutely, I’m partial to a sausage roll myself, quite like bacon too.

Sorry couldn’t resist.

DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

It should be noted that the parent design to the parent design of the T31 is the Absalon class, which are now designated as frigates by Denmark. They fit the mothership designation pretty well exactly. The T31 is based off the IH frigate which is based off the Absalon hull. I suspect that T32 is an Absalon with a T31 makeover (would rather an A140 makeover but take what you can get). Change the 36 ESSM to 24 CAAM & 12 CAAM-ER & 8 Harpoon to NSM & you have a reasonable frigate. A bit more speed though would be… Read more »

Little Unicorn
Little Unicorn
3 months ago

While I’m intrigued to find out more, I think the fact that the Command Paper simply refers to ‘Type 32s’ without providing any detail or quantity suggests that these won’t manifest for a long time. It would nice to be proven wrong; a concurrent build alongside Type 31 would indeed help get to 24 escorts by the end of the decade, but I don’t see that happening under current circumstances. It seems that Littoral Strike is going to be a huge area of Maritime defence policy going forward. Amphibious Assault out, Littoral Strike in. The Type 32s (and 31s) seem… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  Little Unicorn

Picking through the paper a Littoral Strike Group is going to be deployed to the Indo-Pacific by 2023 – presumably the modified Bay class LSS and an RM Cdo. Also an OPV this year, followed by Type 31 Frigates (pural) towards the end of the decade. So we will have a permanent naval presence in the Indo-Pacific with a couple of T31 frigates, an OPV and an LSS + RM Cdo by the end of the decade (and an RFA tanker I guess). The Bay to be replaced by the new MRSS in the following decade. Where? Probably Dukm, where… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
Watcherzero
Watcherzero
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Likely the naval bases in Oman and Brunei as the primary supply station and Diego Garcia as a nominal home port. There is a need for a small British naval base closer to China as well, I wonder if theres potential for Brunei?

Last edited 3 months ago by Watcherzero
DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Not if all you are going to put there is B2 River or even a current as designed T31. A T31 would struggle to handle one of Brunei’s current OPV’s (same 57mm plus 4 latest Exocet AShM). Not being credible is worse than not being there.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago

Rare bit of direction in MoD shipbuilding; commonality of parts and hulls to keep costs down, increase logistical efficiency and helping to build a base for industry to move towards exporting

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

I’d go for a variant of Type 31, the multi-mission bay used for MCM UUV and USVs but with T31 self defence ability and space for MCM specialists to be aboard.

For the mothership MCM ops to work, will need dedicated people embarked on ships doing regular training. Just as T45 has fighter controllers and T23/26 will have all the sonar operators, hyrdographic expertise etc.

So T45 are AAW specialised, T26 ASW, T32 MCM and T31, well, mish mash!

T31/32 also seem a hedge for being built in England if Sturgeon gets her way.

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago

Why should we give away our plans to our enemies until we have to.
I’d like hope for us to put our requirement down first and then think about the hull next.

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

PS… this idea of the T32 has not come from Boris’ head. Its come from the navy…

Also it’s come from our maritime strategy… this increasingly littoral stance. And this covers the Baltic as much as the far East.

The Snowman
The Snowman
3 months ago

Type 32 = Absalon? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absalon-class_frigate
A GP frigate load out – SAMs, SSMs, 5″ gun for NGFS.
Aviation and a dock for unmanned air, subsurface and MCM drones.
Flex deck can take vehicles, hospital or container.
Already in service, so low risk.

The Snowman
The Snowman
3 months ago
Reply to  The Snowman

Hull became the Iver Huitfeldt, which became T31.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iver_Huitfeldt-class_frigate

branaboy
branaboy
3 months ago
Reply to  The Snowman

How about a stretched Batch 2 OPV, say a 99-110 meter reworked Leander proposal. Remember the Khareef Corvette design, an upgrade of that BAE (originally Vosper) design. Essentially 3,500-4,500 ton frigate or large corvette for GBP250 million but equipped with the 5 inch gun and 24 VLS, helicopter deck and systems bay like the Stellar Spartan Type 31 contender Spartan – A contender for the Type 31 Frigate? (ukdefencejournal.org.uk)

DJ
DJ
3 months ago
Reply to  branaboy

Why? A different hull means staring from scratch. Everything you have learned from T31 goes out the window. Stick to an Absalon/
IH/T31 hull & go from there. A lot of these design ideas are just that. Going to detailed design & then actual build is another matter.

Nick C
Nick C
3 months ago
Reply to  The Snowman

I think you are pretty close to spot on. The Absalon is first cousin to the Type 31, and offers the vehicle deck and more accommodation for troops and stores. However the design is now relatively old, 20years?, but an updated design offering that degree of flexibility and as much commonality as possible with Type 31 would give a ship that can be relatively quickly role changed as required. And if commonality can be achieved then it should be possible to keep it price competitive. It’s all very well playing fantasy fleets, we all love it, but it has to… Read more »

Jaralodo
Jaralodo
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick C

If they added a well dock to it so that unmanned vehicles could float right out, it would be a perfect ship for the Type 32.

Pacman27
Pacman27
3 months ago
Reply to  Jaralodo

they could add the flex deck back into the t31 design at little cost and from memory the abalone has a rear ramp / crane able to discharge a CB90 combat boat.

so it is a pretty useful platform and I would say probably what we should have got for T31 anyway.

Huitfeldt applied loads of lessons from absalon class and removed the flex deck, adding it back in wouldn’t stretch the imagination of man too much me thinks…

The Snowman
The Snowman
3 months ago
Reply to  Jaralodo

I thought it had a dock, but just a ramp. “Alternatively, the flex deck can be used for mine-laying operations with a capacity of some 300 mines, or be fitted out for mine-clearing operations and launch and recover mine detecting and clearing equipment via a retractable gantry crane, adjacent to the stern vehicle ramp, which also is used for launching and recovering the fast landing craft. “

Jaralodo
Jaralodo
3 months ago
Reply to  The Snowman

It has the flex deck, it just isn’t floodable like a normal amphib. If that feature was added, it would be easier for UUV or unmanned minesweepers to deploy. I think the Absalon as is would still be a great choice though

AlexS
AlexS
3 months ago

Type 32 is a just an ACME frigate at this time, a sort of political place holder for this to not appear to be only cuts. It will be what will be decided by the end of this decade.

“protect territorial waters, to provide persistent presence overseas and to support Littoral Response Groups.”This is contradictory to protect territorial water you don’t need range and long time stores, but you do for persistence over seas.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I think by “protect territorial waters’ they mean act as Falklands, Gibraltar or West Indies guard ships. For which long range and persistence is important.

AlexS
AlexS
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Agreed, that makes sense.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago

“they could be ‘batch II’ Type 31s, but not necessarily based on the Type 31 design”

But batch II means “based on the same design”. IOW the statement is an oxymoron.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Yup, my thoughts as well…

Cheers CR

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago

“what do we know”? …. Nothing at all then.

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Best ask Mystic Meg!

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

She’d probably have a better Idea…. ! Thing is though, It’s an unknown quantity at the moment, any guesswork is just that until some official details are published.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
3 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Yeh, but plenty of opportunity for a bit of fun fantasy fleet thinking 🙂

Cheers CR

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

We actually know loads about this.

Its a ship, it will have a hull, and other ship related stuff like a keel and superstructure, bet it has beds and toilets and cookers and chairs and tables, decks and ladders and lights…did i mention cookers.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Oh….. lol.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You forgot the Duty Free Shop…..

Something different
Something different
3 months ago

Right, let breakdown the description and guess what capabilities this new ship will have: 1) ‘designed to protect territorial waters’ – This suggests an up-gunned OPV with 57mm/76mm gun, perhaps a light weight anti ship missile (lighter than harpoon or equivalent) and possibly point defence system (Vulcan CIWS or Barak equivalent). Think the American LCS but without the gold plating and stealth. 2) ‘provide persistent presence overseas’ – flag waving and sufficiently large hull to facilitated persistence on forward deployments/patrols. So an OPV the size of a light frigate. 3) ’and support our Littoral Response Groups’ – this suggests modules,… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
3 months ago

Drone carrier with recon and strike assets to identify targets for littoral strike and amphibious landings I would guess. Shallow draft, large storage and self defence against coastal patrol boats.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
3 months ago

Personally I feel as though this is nothing more then a red herring. Unless we keep t23 in service it will be impossible to increase the escort fleet to 24 by 2030. It takes years to conduct the R and D on these types of projects before construction even begins. As such its easy for the current government to hide behind these 3d animations to defend their cuts, only for a latter government to cancel them before the real money is needed. Even if these ships are built at best their impact will be negligible. With the retirement of the… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

T26 and T31 are already designed and being built.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
3 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Yes but I’m talking about type 32. He type 31 was proposed 6 years ago and we cant expect the first one to be launched before at least another 2 years. How do you expect an entirely new class of ship to be designed, selected and built in 9 years?

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

The design competition was stopped in 2018, so it’s not true to say it’s been proposed for 6 years. The design brief has been less than 6 years. In fact the T31 concept has been around since 2010. In fact it likely that the T83 will be the first ‘escort ship to be design from scratch since the T26. And that’s about 15 years away. I won’t be here to see it. The Type 8X nomenclature of the Royal Navy say this is for fleet general purpose , AA destroyers, frigates or sloops. The curiosity is that the. T83 has… Read more »

Derek
Derek
3 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Perhaps it’s 8x rather than 4x because it’s twice as big? An AAW Battlecruiser with 120 VLS, 4 x 5” and 6 x 40mm guns and a catapult plane for spotting!

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  Derek

Ha ha.

It suggests to me it’s going to be big. T45 was 50% bigger than T42.
So T83 … 11,000 tonnes? Isn’t the idea in that case that 2 of them would dominate a whole massive area, a hemisphere, of space.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

The point about T31 is that is a big ship with plenty of development potential so T32 will almost certainly be a development of that design. I’d suggest you put in a 5inch gun for NGS, add a meaningful number of Sea Ceptor missiles, add an anti-ship missile and have containerised MCM facilities. Beyond that there is also plenty of room for a number of marines to be accommodated to bolster the numbers carried in the converted Bay LSSS.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
3 months ago

This government has just proven to me they are a typical Tory government. Cut cut cut cut cut. BoJo was on record stating the era of cuts is over. Yet we are going to cut 10,000 from Army. Hercules fleet, tranche 1 eurofighter typhoons (without direct replacements) F35B order from 138 over life of programme to what exactly??? 72?? All to fund Tempest of course. Which will run as an R+D programme for a few years. Rack up a few 10s of billions of investment then be cut to purchase a Franco-Germanic aircraft that will be hugely over budget and… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

If it makes you feel any better, the Franco-German-Spaniard FCAS looks dead in the water already

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

If it makes you feel worse, when they start casting around for something to jump on/take over, and if we get a pro EU Govt… all of a sudden Tempest is Typhoon all over again set in the late 80s/early 90s.

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago

Possibly, but if so only because they have fallen out about sharing costs and R&D.
And if they fall out the French will go it alone.

There are no defence cuts there are defence increases. It’s just that some people want it to be spent elsewhere.

The problem with defence is it’s does are going up exponentially.

Andy a
Andy a
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

No point slagging tories at least there trying to put 20billion in to plug gaps. With out that there would be nothing. The public don’t care because they are short sited. Also labour has cut far more capabilities in last 50 years

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Where does it say Puma is gone Mr B? It is being replaced by a new type but where does it say going before that? Retiring Chinooks get replaced by new versions. We have so many that does not impact any day to say taskings of the force. Oldest T23’s not even useable without substantial work. Does not impact RN’s daily tasks. Around 70 F35 with 100 Typhoon and however many UCAV we can muster prior to Tempest is acceptable. Agree 48 too few, additional orders, even in dribs and drabs post 2025 essential. MCM fleet I share your concern… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

Perhaps one positive is this seems to be the end of the era of ‘fitted for but not with’ – I think that is what the ‘lethality’ jargon is saying. One consequence of trying to keep every capability going is the units become threadbare. For me I am happy to offset theoretical mass for actual capacity, even if the headlines makes that process look like ‘cuts’. .What is the point of 24 T1 Typhoon if they cannot defeat electronic attack or detect and destroy peer adversaries or an MCMV if an autonomous system can detect and clear mines 5 times… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago

As T32, possibilities other than T31 also will be there. It will be important also to upkeep the UK ship design technology.

If more fighty ship is needed, up-armed T31 is the best solution.

T31 has ONLY 3 boat alcoves, and is NOT good at USV/UUV deployments. To do it, significant modification is needed (may be using Absalon-like taller hull to increase internal volume).

If more multi-purpose, a new ship with wider hull could be newly designed. Even they can have a common hull with Multi Role Support Ships?

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

Why isnt T31 good at deploying USV/UUV deployments? It hasnt been built yet so how can you possobly judge that? I’d bet its better at deploying them than T23 is RIBs and having done dozens and dozens and dozens of those into and out of the water, I cant see an issue.

3 alcoves is 50% more than any current warship the RN has, noting that on T31 additional vessels can be stacked up inside.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

3 alcove is 3 alcove. HMS Forth is actually carrying 2 RHIB and 1 Rigid Raider now. HMS Medway is with 2 RHIBs and one Dingy. T26 is designed to carry 5 (or more) RHIBs. Dutch Holland class can handle 3 RHIBs. NZ frigate Te Kaha and Te Mana almost always carries 3 RHIBs.

In short, T31 is NOT “special” at deploying USV/UUV deployment. It is much more a Patrol Frigate than a USV/UUV mother ship, as I understand.

DJ
DJ
3 months ago

Donald. I agree, but Absolon class fits the bill. Enough commonality to T31 to aid construction, but different enough to pull off the mothership idea.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago

What do you think of T32 being an intermediate frigate, broadly similar in capability to the French FTI or the Italian PPA Full, but as you say a new modern bespoke design, instead of re-use of an existing platform? It seems this would be a suitable fit between T31 and T26, especially for escorting and singleton patrol roles outside a full CSG or ARG but with capability beyond simple constabulary operations. I agree that a suitable MRSS might support MCM and littoral ASW using USV/UUV, in addition to an amphibious/sea lift role, per my post under that article. I don’t… Read more »

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago

Interesting point, I agree. But, if RN wants FTI or PPA-full like vessel, I think up-arming T31 itself will be a better choice. Current T31 is a full-fat frigate level hull with a corvette-level armament, so just coming back to “full-fat” is very easy. But, as an USV/UUV mother ship, T31 is far from optimized. Even Absalon is not. Her stern gantry cannot handle CB90 (but just much smaller SB90 only), and even so, I do not hear it is well used. USV deployment is not easy. The Dutch/Belgium MCMV are to carry two large “cage-like davit” for USV handling.… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by donald_of_tokyo
Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago

I suppose the question is – Would a FTI/PPA class vessel with a similar mission bay capability to a T26, end up costing T26 money, or could it be brought in for not much more than the PPA class. Such a combination would seem to address the USV/UUV mother ship capability more effectively than T31.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

The PPA has a Large Mission Bay as Designed – im not sure how it compares size wise to the T26 but on Price it certainly wins.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I should have been more explicit in that I was thinking about the Rolls Royce mission bay handling system on Type 26 for launch and recovery, which looks like it might be pricey.

DJ
DJ
3 months ago

FTI & PPA make T31 look 2nd class. T32 needs a T31/A140 revamp ie 2 steps back & then one step forward.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  DJ

I understand T31 is anyway aimed at “one-level lower” than FTI and PPA-full. T31 RFI, T31 total cost, all suggests so. It is a sloop (=GP frigate).

Actually, old French LaFayette class and Floreal classes are sloop. T31 is exactly the LaFayette equivalent, and one-level higher than the Floreal. As French navy have such sloops, may be UK also having it will be understandable.

I’m afraid, if T31 were to be a full fat frigate, there shall be only 3 of them, at most.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  DJ

That’s a bit apples and oranges though as FTI and PPA Full are significantly more expensive than the 5x T31 for £2bn. T31 was built to a price and for certain roles.

T31s will be fine taking over or complementing B2s for the presence and constabulary role against piracy and drug running, which they will probably spend most of their time doing. Modest up-arming and additional sensors would be relatively straightforward to add.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

Why is there always a clamour to build more of the last design? I remember here a lot of calls for Type 26 to be a T 45 redux. We need to evolve and improve ship design not go backwards.

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

What like the US navy? How delighted are the Americans with there two state of the art LCS classes’ s?So delighted that they are trying to decommission the first 4, cull all future orders, and replace them with a traditional European designed frigate that actually works and has half a chance of surviving the first shots in a war zone. As what to do with the ones in service, well who knows…. Moving on to the destroyers, again, wonderful design the Zumwalts… looks really space age! But construction curtailed at 3 units, sounds like they will end up as technology… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Something seriously wrong went on with USN procurement. They either overstretched the technologies or/And were sold a pup (several) by the ship builders.

Their defence dept waste gazillions of dollars.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

What went wrong? Probably not maintaining a regular stream of new designs informed by experience and based on clear eyed requirements, rather than questionable capabilities and roles. I have not to this day seen a compelling reason for the LCS need to operate at over 30 kn, let alone over 40 kn. Pursuing that to the exclusion of all else has resulted in light weight, weak ships, significantly under-armed for their cost. The MCM and littoral ASW roles weren’t wrong, the vessels and over ambitious MCM module designed for them were. Zumwalt was someone wanting to have a battleship broadside… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago

I understand the reasoning behind the advanced gun system (AGS). It was primarily for USMC support, but also for coastal interdiction missions, where the ship’s stealth “should” allow it to get closer to a shoreline without being detected. The AGS was supposed to fire a 155mm shell at a sustained rate of 10 rpm, with a required range over 100km, the ship’s two AGS guns could deliver the same as two batteries of 155s in the space of a minute. To do it though, they increased the chamber volume and changed the neck from the NATO standard, which is why… Read more »

Ron
Ron
3 months ago

Well if the T32 goes down the T31 route which in many ways maks sense then a RN version of the Absalon with port starboard boat bays combined with landing ramps and a stern ramp would do the trick. With the same weapons fit as the Absalon they should be very capable littoral strike ship escorts and Comando operation ships. If we go down a completly new route then the Damen Crossover Combattant/Amphibious ships would be a really good combination. These types of vessels would also make very good mother ships.

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago

I recon the Type 32 will be like a giant catamaran with a crew of 3 and ramjet engines acting as a mother ship to virually any type of drone. It will be made of balsa wood and be able to reach speeds of Mach 6.4. No I have no idea either.

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

sounds plausible…..

Nick C
Nick C
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Good idea. If it can carry drones then it is a shoe in for the Tempest programme and there will be inter service collaboration at last!

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
3 months ago

These will be more affordable ASW ships, there is still a need for ASW either autonomous cruising or out from/ close to a fleet (depending on what the Type 26 are doing – inner or outer).

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago

Food for thought. The BAE Leander design must have come in under £250m.
Its based on River 2 / Khareef so the design is probably oven ready. Just connect the computers to the lasers and start cutting steel. It has a quiet electric drive for ASW in the literal. It sports a clone of the T26 mission bay to launch UUVs. The River 2 production line is now looking for work. It could start building T32 tomorrow in parallel with T26 on the Clyde and T31 in Rosyth, funds and independence referenda permitting of course.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Im pretty sure there is no extra capacity to Build another Frigate Design in Parallel with the T26 on the Clyde,T31 Construction is due to start later this year, but Splitting work over both sites may not be possible due to Contract issues.

Martin
Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

BAE could not build a river class for £250 million, khareef was built by VT, BAE only took over at the end.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Understand your point re VT and Khareef. But it looks to me like the Khareef hull was the inspiration for Amazonia which was in turn the basis for River 2 . So I think Leander is essentially an evolution of this line. I think the received wisdom is that the price of River 2 was driven by the amount the gov were committed to paying BAE . A rowing boat would have cost the same. Stupid terms of contract. The MOD learned the lesson and T31 procurement was done differently. BAe might not have been able to build a patrol… Read more »

dan
dan
3 months ago

The RN needs some surface ships with land attack missiles. The few that are on RN subs aren’t enough for much of anything except token support when the USN launches a large TLAM attack.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

Given the Falklands test and for some fun lets compare the RN’s main surface units in 1983 and with the projected RN of 2030, by hulls, tonnage and lethality. 1./ Carrier Stirke 1983 3 CVL 2 Invincible Class 1 Hermes Class – 30 Sea Harriers, 27 Seakings Tonnage – 70,000 tons Lethality – AIM9L Sidewider, SNEB Rockets, GPBs, CBUs, Type 46 LW Torps 2030 2 CV QE Class – 60 F-35B, 18 Merlin, 30-40 UAVs Tonnage – 130,000 tons Lethality – Meteor BVR, ASRAAM, Spear 3 / EA, Paveway IV, Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Missile, new Lightweight Torpedo 2./ Anti-Air… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Great post. Really interesting to see it outlined in one go.

The main asset for me though is the SSN. And we have declined substantially in those and the departed SSK. Didn’t we send 3 to the S Atlantic I recall? Arriving much quicker than the taskforce too.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

Thanks Daniele. Four SSNs and one SSK went South in 1982. Conqueror, Spartan and Splendid arrived before the Task Force to create the ring of steel. Valiant came later and snooped around off the Argentine coast to provide early warning of air attacks, The SSK Onyx was used to scope out the landings in San Carlos water, and land SBS. They only had WW2 Mk 8 straight-runner torps (well they had Mk 24 Tigerfish but they did not work). SSNs are for me are the glaring ommission. We need to see some XLUUVs at minimum.

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Ahhh, Valiant. Did not realise that. That is an area myself and no doubt others are very interested in. Just what went on on the mainland or off shore regards SF and Early warning of planes leaving the airfields at Rio Grande and Rio Gallegos. Lots of rumours. I know a Sea King deposited SAS in Chile and the flight crew were decorated for the mission, even if it failed. I’ve read of Op Makaido but don’t believe that is the whole story. I also believe RAF Canberra’s and other elements were also deployed covertly in Chile and used over… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago

SAS set up a mobile radar in Chile too – right on the border to fill a gap in Chilean coverage. From Saxa Vord I think – donated to Chile of course :-). Also a Nimrod R1 operated from islands off the Chilean coast to sniff along the border. An RAF C-130 was crudely painted up to resemble a Chilean Herc on Easter Island in order to fly fuel for the Nimrod. Also a couple of Canberra PR 9s operated from Tierra Del Fuego. Facinating stuff. Its also why ‘space’ and ‘unmanned’ are improtant – with our own constellation of… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Oh, wasn’t aware of the SAS radar report. Fascinating. I had read of the Nimrod, PR9 and Herc reports, and donating surplus Hunters, in Warplane magazine from the 1980s no less.

Agree on the satellites. Not much detail on the Oberon and Artemis plans in the doc, but about time we had our own capability. On SIGINT/ELINT I presume we will continue with the current arrangements where we pay NSA for use of one of theirs.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

It wasn’t the SAS, but the RAF who set up the radar. It was delivered under the guise of a gift to Chile. So the RAF went down there and set it up, then did “on the job training” for the next few months.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago

A very interesting comparison James, thanks for sharing. I have to agree, the small SSN situation is dangerous. The only saving grade is the Astutes are an amazing asset, incredibly capable with a considerable war load, a third more weapons than the older S and T classes. A single Astute could ruin most Navies. The government has pledged increased investment to maximize availability, one would hope to keep them properly manned, upgraded and the bomb shops stacked full of Spearfish and Tomahawks…. I would love more SSN’s, we should have never dropped below 12, but this was written in the… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I would like to know the reasoning why the RN don’t seem to favour the vertical launch system, like the Virginias have?

Simon m
Simon m
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Only problem there is we live in the present not in 2030s & you’re actually probably talking 2035 to 2040. Which is likely at least 2/3 SDRs possibly 3 to 4 different governments. The most important thing we can do is distance our political decisions away from the US & become a more silent partner & very tokenist. We’ve have been following a more prosperous state spending more on Defence that us even just % GDP not actual money probably vastly different. If they start adventures again & we follow them you can rip the whole thing up. In reality… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Simon m
James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  Simon m

Yes I was taking a look at the plans in the DCP in response to Gen Dannett’s revival of the ‘Falkland’s Test’. I wanted to point out that manpower and platform numbers are not that useful as measures of capability, although they make good headlines. Tonnage was used as a measure of capability back in the time of dreadnoughts, and is more useful when ships grow in size. Automation makes manpower a problematic measuse of capabiltiy (as it has done in industry). We probably need better benchmarks around lethality.

Last edited 3 months ago by James Fennell
donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Great post. Impressive RN is still “so so comparable” to that in 1982 in tonnes. But yes, its majority is on CV.

Clear is that, while the other assets are clearly shrinking, the CV air wing has significantly grown. “48-60 modern F35B in 2025” is as powerful as “100-200 F-4” in 1982, relatively.

Andrew
3 months ago

Can anyone put any light on this Type 80 so called Destroyer ?

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

What Type 80 Destroyer ? Are you referring to the Type 83 ?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 months ago

I recall that at DSEI 19 Babcock were interviewed, without explict denial, over an expectation that more than five T31 were anticipated for the RN. T32 could fit within that scenario.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It wasn’t a carte blanche statement, but the MoD did state when negotiating the contract, that there may be a follow-on order, if the T31s could be built on time and to the budget.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 months ago

Why not some thing like the Danish Absalon class frigate. This has a traditional frigate front end with an flight deck at the rear with a hanger for two medium sized helicopters. But it is what is under this deck that is different a Flex-deck. It also has the capability of carrying up to an extra 200 personnel, easily carry a RM Company. This has the capability to carry ISO containers, vehicles even MBT’s, access is via two stern doors. One is configured for launching and recovering small craft, while the larger one has a stern ramp rated for MBT’s.… Read more »

KiwiRob
KiwiRob
3 months ago

I don’t understand why the type 32 came as such a surprise to eveyone, if anyone went to the supplier open days Cammel Laird and Babcock had for the Type 31 project both consortiums made it pretty clear that the build was going to be 5 plus another 5, the other 5 are obviously now called type 32.

Taffybadger
3 months ago

I can see this replacing River class OPV’s and those being sold off