The UK Government is pushing to export the Type 31 Frigate to Greece, Poland and Indonesia.

David Lockwood, Chief Executive Officer of Babcock International, spoke at a formal meeting of the Defence Committee with the topic of ‘The Navy: purpose and procurement‘.

Tobias Ellwood (Chair): No doubt. The “e” in Type 31e stands for export. That is still the same. Can I ask, David, how many are you exporting?

David Lockwood: We are not exporting, because we are only just in the position to start export campaigns. We are involved in five live export campaigns.

Tobias Ellwood (Chair): Can you share, or is it confidential?

David Lockwood: The obvious big one is Greece, because that is the one that has been most heavily supported by Government and the Navy, but also Indonesia and Poland. Those are the big three frontrunners.

We recently covered efforts in Greece where Babcock are offering the Arrowhead 140 General Purpose Frigate, the design the Type 31 Frigate is based on, to the Hellenic Navy.

Babcock pitch Type 31 Frigate design to Greece

According to an e-mail from the firm, a comprehensive programme of discussions were undertaken as Babcock reinforced the strengths of the offer made by the company and the UK Government to provide the Hellenic Navy with a Hydra Class upgrade programme, an interim frigate capability and four Babcock Arrowhead 140 frigates.

“The Arrowhead 140 has already been chosen by the UK Royal Navy for its Type 31 future frigate programme. The company is committed to supporting Greek industry to build and assemble the new frigates in Greece, reinvigorating the domestic supply chain, upgrading infrastructure, modernising domestic facilities, upskilling and growing local workforces and transferring knowledge and technology. Babcock officials have also been engaging with Greece-based companies interested in being part of its in-country supply chain and recently held a live online event in Athens, under the auspices of the Hellenic MoD Armaments Directorate.”

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Steve
Steve
17 days ago

This is where we export to smaller nations, who then up gun them into real frigates and make ours look silly, which appears to be happening in for the t26.

Andrew D
Andrew D
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yeah got it in one ,same old story

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Because for other nations, these will be there principle warship. And don’t have the luxury of operating T45, T26 & T31/2 plus two huge aircraft carriers and world beating Astute class nuclear subs. No need to be negative on a potential good news story.

Andy P
Andy P
17 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Exactly Robert, depends what you want to use them for, I’m sure I read somewhere (probably here) that the Australians are having issues with the extra weight they want on the 26’s. We don’t intend for these to be our primary vessels, they were also done very much to a budget for a change, while retrofitting can work out more expensive, it’s still an option if the government think it necessary.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
16 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

We can get these in service at a fixed cost, and upgrade as we go along. A business model we should have used years ago.

Jamie
Jamie
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

How confident are you in them being upgraded in the future?

Type 45 hasn’t been upgraded with the extra 16 VLS is was design with nor any major upgrades regarding ABM/Sampson.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

Have Sampson upgrades been rejected? I thought the process was still under consideration though in reality Sampson upgrades are pointless unless it’s systems and missiles are updated to deal with the ballistic threats Sampson would (indeed probably already can to a high degree) detect. Pointless one without the other really.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
16 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

If the threats require more capability to be added, then we will do it. In the case of the T45, at it’s current level of capability, it’s still the world’s most capable air defence destroyer, and if we spent money on 16 extra VSL’s then the budget from another project would probably suffer. In a perfect world we would have every single toy available. But it doesn’t work like that in the real world. Even the mighty USN don’t have every vessel deployed fitted out for WW3. It’s all hugely costly. And the logistics behind all these weapon systems are… Read more »

Nate M
Nate M
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Ya but the t45s wil be replaced by aaw type 26s! Right?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
16 days ago
Reply to  Nate M

It will probably be a completely new design.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  Nate M

That’s not the present plan.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

spot on, not only that almost every other navy in world are functionally regional only and focus on very heavily armed general purpose single combatants that only need to deploy regionally.

It does not really matter how many guns and missiles you fit on a ship if you can’t deploy it and sustain it in the right place it’s all a bit pointless.

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Depends, if you are planning on deploying and sustaining it on your front doorstep because you are in a cold war with your neighbour who, until recently was your occupying power… it’s not pointless.

Jonathan
Jonathan
13 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi dern, I did say “Deploy and sustain it in the right place“ If you look at something like the JSDF, they are needing their naval power deployed regionally. The U.K. needs to deploy globally as well as locally/regionally.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes, definitely. A global logistics footprint is as important as the guns and missiles themselves. It’s sustainability that separates the RN & USN from other countries.

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

This!
At the end of the day, these ships will be the heaviest surface warships the Hellenic Navy will posses.

DP
DP
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I agree Robert. Not completely linked to this story, more to your response, I’ve been looking at how the Romanians re-armed the former HMS London T22 Frigate. 2, 30mm BMARC cannons, two three-tube anti-submarine torpedo launchers apparently and, subsequently, a 76 mm OTO Melara main gun, where Sea Wolf had been mounted when under RN operation. So, arguably, a downgrade in combat capability but it’s a different Navy with different needs, not always appropriate or necessary to arm every ship to the hilt.  Horses for courses.  Of course, past usage has shown it could be up-gunned in ‘surge conditions’ if needed.

dan
dan
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

More guns doesn’t necessarily mean better. Everything you add to a ship usually means you have to remove something.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  dan

Yes and focus is arguably the most important factor in a warship, we have seen time and again how distraction damages performance in real world scenarios/conflicts. Better armed and multi functional is the ideal proposition if it can work reliably but not always the best in real world scenarios. Difficult to predict the better solution in peacetime but numbers will inevitably come into the equation at some point.

John
John
15 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Funny, I was thinking : So is this program meant to sell toothless ships to other countries?

the_marquis
the_marquis
17 days ago

Taiwan would be another potential market, if we can build them in time before they get taken over!

julian1
julian1
17 days ago
Reply to  the_marquis

not sure we’d build any for export. All countries mentioned have ship building industries and will probably do it cheaper. Surely they buy the designs and we remain the design authority?

the_marquis
the_marquis
16 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Figure of speech, i meant sell ‘em, build ‘em, oversee the build in the home country, whatever – main thing is get the cash quick before the buyer ceases to exist!!

Sonik
Sonik
1 hour ago
Reply to  the_marquis

That’s another argument for RN selling & replacing T31 after say 10-15 years.

Domestic producers simply won’t be able to match the price, and the simple generic spec of T31 will allow a wide range of buyers to adapt to their needs.

The RN in turn gets a constantly updated fleet with much reduced maintenance and refit costs, and the UK yards should be able to churn them out even cheaper with a constant pipeline.

James Fennell
James Fennell
16 days ago
Reply to  the_marquis

By who? They seem to have made a fist of it for 75 years.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

The threat is rapidly changing.

dan
dan
16 days ago
Reply to  the_marquis

But will Boris stand up to the Chicoms if in fact Taiwan wants the ship?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  dan

Hardly likely is it whatever the bluster the retaliation would do far more damage than any deal for Frigates could compensate for.

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago

Indonesia just bought 6 Italian FREMM (and 2 old Maestrales to be upgraded).

Greece Government already presented the shortlist of accepted competitors:

1st category : Accepted
-SIGMA 11515 HN (Damen)
-FDI-HN (Naval Group)
-FREMM (Fincantieri)
2nd category : Proposal need modifications to be accepted
-HF2 (Lockheed Martin)
-Arrowhead 140 (Babcock)
-MEKO A200 (Blohm + Voss)
3rd category :  Excluded
-F110 (Navantia)
-MEKO A300 (Blohm + Voss)
-Gibbs & Cox proposal 

From Naval News website.

John N
John N
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

It would appear Babcock didn’t get the memo and is living in fantasy land.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Does anyone know what it is about the Babcock proposal that needs modification?

AlexS
AlexS
16 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

No. I suppose only they and the Greek MoD know. It should be confidential.

Last edited 16 days ago by AlexS
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

So ot necessarily living in fantasyland.

James Fennell
James Fennell
16 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Its complex – requires upgrades to existing ships and provision of T23 frigates as interim solution as well as new build T31s – so plenty to modify. Also weapons and sensor fits could require modification.

Last edited 16 days ago by James Fennell
James Fennell
James Fennell
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Only the third category is excluded. The vessels in the 2nd category are all modular, so i guess the Greek navy needs to specify which options they want in the bid.

AlexS
AlexS
16 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Yeah, it should be.

Pete
Pete
17 days ago

No mention of Ukraine?

BigH1979
BigH1979
16 days ago
Reply to  Pete

He mentions 5 live export campaigns but only expands on 3. I imagine Ukraine may be either number 4 or 5 but neither country wants to show their cards too early to our Russian Friends.

James Fennell
James Fennell
16 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Probably shipbuilding support and FACs first, frigates further downstream.

Andy G
Andy G
16 days ago

It’s compelling, I mean, what else could we possibly offer to them than what is in this proposal.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
16 days ago

Forget Indonesia they just bought 6 Fremm from Italy and 2 older frigates to be modernized. I have not heard that Poland is interested in such large ships, their navy is tiny. In their last review they stated that large ships are not appropriate for the Baltic sea. So seriously doubt Poland is interested in anything above 3000 tons. More likely to buy corvettes than frigates, as well as coastal patrol ships and /or minesweepers. Not sure how big the Type 32 is going to be but that may be more appropriate in size for the Polish navy to replace… Read more »

John N
John N
16 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

A few years back Poland was interested in buying the soon to be retired HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Newcastle (both modified FFG7 class), that fell through, then Greece was interested, that fell through too.

In the end Chile purchased them and took delivery a year ago.

Cheers,

Andy P
Andy P
16 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

So the only real potential client for T31 on that wishlist is Greece.”

Is it possible that you’re not privy to ALL the conversations taking place ???

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
16 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Lol have you been following current events? Indonesian deal is done. It was officialy announced June 10th!
https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2021/06/10/indonesia-orders-six-fremm-frigates-from-fincantieri/
As for Poland their roadmap seems pretty clear
https://www.altair.com.pl/news/view?news_id=21404
http://baltmilitary.amberexpo.pl/title,Jezyk,pid,1889,lang,2.html
Unless of course you have any credible source that says otherwise? Please share and enlighten us.

Last edited 16 days ago by Lordtemplar
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

No need to be narky surely, it’s a sensible question even if you disagree with it.

Last edited 16 days ago by Spyinthesky
David
David
15 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

And yet Poland have been exercising out of area, are a rising European power and might actually have aspirations. Furthermore, if 23s are visiting Riga, for example, with our LHDs on exercise on the Baltic, with Spanish ‘ABs’ also tying up in Riga, not sure that Poland would turn down an AAW / ASU platform, but, I do take your points and references.

Andy P
Andy P
15 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Calm yourself LT, you’re the one who is passing judgements like you’re in the know. At least add a “in my opinion”.

Expat
Expat
16 days ago

The best option for UK built exports is to sell the first batch before mid life upgrade and refresh the T31 fleet with new builds. This what Sir Tom Parker recommends in his report and is a rethink of the tradition export new build concept.

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
16 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Yes.

Richard B
Richard B
16 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Or do what the French do, sell warships nearing completion. For a customer in a hurry, a brand new warship with rapid delivery can command a premium price.

Rogbob
Rogbob
16 days ago
Reply to  Expat

That would fit with the rather random naming – just keep rolling out the classic names and each gets its 15 mins in the sun.

The question is whether it makes sense to keep buying at new prcies and selling at second hand plus the burden of training and logistical change. I wonder if those systems could keep pace if they didnt have 20+ years to evolve to support each generation!

DJ
DJ
15 days ago
Reply to  Expat

T31 is unsaleable. Anyone who buys it has to spend so much money to make it useful, they may as well buy a new build A140 & do it properly.

Expat
Expat
15 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Disagree plenty of navies don’t need high end frigates. Furthermore second hand vessels on many occasions get key equipment removed the reconfigured.

DJ
DJ
15 days ago
Reply to  Expat

The basics though, usually go with the sale. Radar, main gun, fixed vls, hull sonar (if fitted), CMS etc. If you need a refit to remove it, it usually stays. T31 is so basic, there is little to remove. In fact the buyer would need to add from day one. The vls used means that the buyer will need to rip out existing if they don’t use CAMM or don’t want to buy it. Having to buy new missiles seriously adds to the cost of a second hand ship. Even ExLS can support multiple missile types. Not many navies want… Read more »

Pete
Pete
15 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Disagree. The Iver Huitfeldt is a proper aaw and surface warfare class with lots of modular mission bay flexibility. A proven and, as seen by T31 version, an adaptable platform. For any buyer of Type 31 simply add the capability you want and your budget can cover. Remove 1 x 40mm, add 8 x anti ship cannisters, add another 12-24 CAMM or CAMM ER and add a decent sonar up front and you have a very capable warfighting vessel without the need for and massive expense of mk41 etc.

Richard B
Richard B
16 days ago

Chile and New Zealand are often mentioned as potential T31 buyers. The UK, RN and Babcock also seem to be determinedly courting Oman – but the legacy of the problems and delays with the Khareef class light frigates will take some overcoming.

DJ
DJ
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

Khareef is BAE. Chile is looking at a local build, so A140 design export package is doable. NZ cannot build local other than via a localised Australian build. A UK built version would be an option, but Australian build would be the only way of involving NZ companies.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
16 days ago

Poland and Greece Ok, but I don’t think we should be selling sophisticated military kit to countries like Indonesia.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
16 days ago

Take your point but like it or not countries like Indonesia will become vital cogs in any alliance against Chinese expansionism…. Well at least if they have sophisticated modern kit to share the burden.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
16 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

That FREMM order for six by Indonesia is quite chunky and to give credit to thd Italians for pulling that one off. I wonder if the T26 was ever offered? I just get the impression we’re literally missing the boat…. groan… on a lot of opportunities… Lol 😁

DJ
DJ
15 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

T26 is out of their league.

Charles
Charles
16 days ago

Doubt Indonesia will be interested, they already have Corvettes and have just ordered FREM frigates.

Paul Irving
Paul Irving
13 days ago
Reply to  Charles

Indonesia has 10 corvettes: 4 Damen Sigma commissioned 2007-9, 3 Bung Tomo built for Brunei 1998-2002 & not delivered, eventually bought by indonesia & commissioned 2014, & 3 Dutch-built Fatahillah commissioned 1979-80. There are also 14 smaller Kapitan Pattimura, ex-DDR Parchim-class built in the 1980s.

The Fatahillahs & the Kapitan Pattimuras are running out of life, so there’s quite a big opportunity for anyone with a suitable design. That probably doesn’t include T31, though. Something smaller . . .

IwanR
IwanR
2 days ago
Reply to  Charles

Indonesia’s main shipyard was examining the Babcock frigate according to the MoD. Though I think they lost out to the Germans. Most likely still based on the OMT design.

Have to wait for the steel cutting ceremony to see if they are listed.

ACL
ACL
16 days ago

After 2025, Chile (needs to replace 8 frigates – 3 T-23, 2 M, 2 OHP and 1 T-22 -) and New Zeland (replace 2 Anzac).

Forget Indonesia (Italian Fremm), Greece (for Germany, France or Italy) and Poland (Germany or Holland)

DJ
DJ
15 days ago

So far as I can ascertain, Indonesia is going with 2 x IH AAW frigates from OMT (no mention of Team31) & 6 x FREMM GP frigates (Italian version). Finance is the big problem, especially for the FREMM’s. Though it does need to be remembered that Indonesia is part of the SCS equation. Big money is being spent in this area of the world.

AlexS
AlexS
15 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Indonesia is a 270 million country, if they really want the ships they can certainly get the money.

Pete
Pete
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hey Alex . Big country, 17000 Islands, as you say big population but GDP per capita is 1/10th that of the UK…only about $4k per pax and the workforce increases by about 1million pa. Govt has a huge job keeping population employed and they face a growing insurrection in West Papua. I think the SCS situation forces them to increase their naval capability but it won’t be easy for them

DJ
DJ
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Why did you relate population to money? Bangladesh has something like 160 million but absolutely no money. In Bangladesh’s case, it’s population is its problem. Indonesia has one overpopulated island of Java & thousands of other (some physically bigger) islands. Yes, Indonesia has money. But 270 million people spread across thousands of islands, some operating at subsistence level, takes a lot of money.

GDP per capita shows Indonesia is 127 in the world. It’s southern neighbour, Australia is ranked 15, it’s northern neighbour, Singapore is ranked 13.

AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Because quantity has a quality of it own. 10$ per head is 2.7B$ and that is only one year of production.
The value of frigates is a finite number, so the more people the easier it gets to pay for them.

Last edited 14 days ago by AlexS
sparrow
sparrow
9 days ago

Poland announced they are targeting sth simialr to FFG7 they currently operate ie 2500 – 3500t displacement, indonesia has already bought Italian ships, and I usually hear Greece is interested with either FREMM or sth French as they alreaddy cooperate bigtime in aviation with them.