The information regarding plans for the Type 31 frigate comes to light in a speech by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, delivered the Lord Mayor of London’s annual Defence and Security lecture.

“Given our long standing defence relationships in the Middle East, it is certain that a Royal Navy task group – centred on a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier – will regularly deploy East of Suez.

And it will be perfectly possible, should we wish, for Type 31 frigates to permanently operate from the Gulf region or from Asia-Pacific in the decades ahead.

These are examples of what we COULD do and not yet policy, and I am never complacent about the challenges we continue to face in recruiting and retaining the very best men and women in a competitive employment market.”

The original planning assumption for the Royal Navy was for thirteen Type 26 Frigates (eight ASW and five GP), replacing the Type 23 frigate fleet like-for-like.

However, it was later announced during the November 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review by then Prime minister David Cameron that only the eight anti-submarine warfare Type 26 frigates would be ordered. The funding for the remaining five general purpose Type 26 frigates is instead to be spent on developing a new class of lighter and more affordable general purpose frigates.

Due to an expected lower cost, the government suggested it may allow an eventual increase in the total number of frigates in the Royal Navy. This general purpose frigate will be designated as the Type 31 frigate.

It is understood that the Type 26 Frigate will primarily support carrier task group operations while the Type 31 is to be deployed for a range of less high-tempo operations.

In July 2016, BAE revealed two general purpose frigate designs to meet the requirement; the Avenger-class and the Cutlass-class, we discussed them here.



  1. Yes RN requires more Hulls at sea, The T31 design looks good General Purpose Frigate design for policing role across the globe with power projection being provided by QE Class Carries escorted by T23s then T26s & T45s along with an Astute Class Submarine/s in the battle group.The RN may not be the size it once was but the senior service is still one of the most powerful Navies in the world.

  2. The only reason Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff has said It will be perfectly possible, should we wish, for Type 31 frigates to permanently operate from the Gulf region or from Asia-Pacific in the decades ahead. is that the Type 45 cannot operate in that area, they are all laid up in Portsmouth Harbour for years to come That means that the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier will be protected by River class patrol vessels with no AAW protection from Type 45 only having one 76mm gun and no AEW cover other than bolt on Crowsnest from helo Russians building 12 x lider class ships we are just asking for trouble

    • They’re air defence destroyers and we only have six of them, Gibraltar is indeed very important but it would be very wasteful to have a T45 locked to Gibraltar just to send a message, they’re designed for the open seas and will be needed even more once our new carriers are active.

      • the type 22 frigate class were destroyers in all but name and retired far too soon an artisan/aster v.l.s upgrade would have covered the lack of destroyers

  3. I think we’ll need many more than five GP frigates to keep a presence in the Asia/Pacific theatre. Hopefully we’ll get them

    • a bit far away if the sh*t hits the fan somewhere else, we should be building more t45’s instead of t26’s maybe, although the t31 may not be able in the role the t26 is earmarked for

  4. The World’s most advanced destroyers are all in Portsmouth this minute due to their well publicised engine problems. RN boats stationed in the gulf… we can’t protect our own shores this minute…..

    • these well publicised problems are largely over egageratted media rubbish,the f35 should be binned to fund more ships, introduce a fast track system for training establishments to get the best to sea sooner

  5. It would be a better bet,if the type 26 frigate be increased back to 13 plus,another 10 type 31’s,to run along side updated type 23 to extend there life’s and allow for the lack of destroyers to be addressed if funds become available

  6. Gentlemen,gentlemen…language please…there may be ladies present!! Let’s just be thankful at this moment that we have a navy at all, given the shocking mess that successive governments have tried to make of it. I hope that Michael Fallon ,who seems a good sort to me ,will sort out the existing problems and we can move on. In a fit state the Royal Navy will be a force to be reckoned with for many a year to come.

  7. Hopefully in years to come the Type 45’s will be given extra propulsion, so hopefully they will be better suited for the deployments to the gulf protecting the new carriers. This will take time but i guess they will get there in the end. I would of thought the UK could do with about 30 Destroyers, Frigates and Ocean going patrol vessels in the future, we will see.. fingers crossed..

    • taking on a few of the american ticondarogas as they retire would make sense, current, designed and used for carrier escort,built for an expected 30 year service length, the only main drawback for me is the crew size of 300

  8. Gulf? Home ported at the new HMS Jufair? How can you discuss the deployment of ships that have not even had their design finalised never mind being close to steel even being cut! Pure speculation…

    • o.p.v’s should be armed with a main gun as is the thai ship krab(google it).i 30mm oto melara fitted. and the archers should have their 20mm olerekon guns fitted. not fitted for, a squadron of well drilled archers could do anything a river can do

    • the new gerald ford carrier carries the popular raytheon rim 116ca combined a/a and ciws system, cheap at£998,000. and should be fitted to our carriers the rivers could have one on the pointy end.

  9. We can have a strong presence around the world but nothing in our own shores, the reason is they are taking care of rich people’s business interests around the world and leaving our country defence less.

  10. We can have a strong presence around the world but nothing in our own shores, the reason is they are taking care of rich people’s business interests around the world and leaving our country defence less.

  11. Cameron the enemy within is gone .
    Maybe we will have the chance of a Navy again now .
    We give 7 billion to Ireland , 2 more carriers
    12 , t45s away each year in aid
    Loose a dozen t26 each year in tax evasion.

    The money is there , they just don’t want to give it to create g a credible surface fleet

    • one glance at where the foreign aid budget goes shows why the navy is in the mess its in£300 million to pakistan?!!£200 million to nigeria!the rest defies description.

  12. Well in view of Ms Sturgeon now calling for IndyRef2 on the spurious device of Scotland never voted for Brexit can we now stop bending our knee to her ego and build the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates in Portsmouth, Tyneside and Merseyside? Shut down Faslane and move it to Cumbria sort of near where we build all our nuclear subs? And when the PoW is flooded up tow her to Belfast for fitting out where she should have been built in the first place (Logistics, logistics). Oh and tell the SNP we will also be basing our new Poseidon aircraft in Wales…

    No one should be allowed to threaten the UK Prime Minister, and therefore the nation, and get away with it IMHO.

    Chris H

  13. The southernmost tip of Gibraltar is protected by a MOSQUE built by Saudi funding and maybe labour. That is not a message we want to send to arrivals in Europe!!!

    • too true, not enough R.N ships visit the rock as they did, one walk along main street.shows the reduction in pubs e.t.c. which has hit the gibraltar economy hard. a minimum of 1 river, t31, should be permanently based at gibraltar the u.k should GIVE the rock a few of the archers to replace the aged scimitars.currently used by the.n gibraltar squadron.

  14. What about export sales too. I bet if they export this frigate, they can drive the cost down too. I can see many countries looking at buying the Type 31 GP frigate.

    • few countries are actually expanding their navys more and more business is being done in warship sales between nations. britain has become too techno snobbish, hence the f 35 debacle 72 perfectly good harriers sold for less than the price of 1 f 35b . a disgrace

  15. going onto a diferrent subject, on the topic of ocean, i’d propose going back to the past when the early carriers were built from adapting merchant ships, maybe the removal of the superstructure of a bay class and plonking a full length deck on it.. the specs of the ocean, and the bay class are more similar than many would know about.

  16. Good point Andy
    A replacement for Ocean could either be an expensive purpose built LPHD costing circa £600million- 1 billion each or a converted Bay class hull and propulsion for circa £350-400 million- I would go for that option makes a lot of sense for a military asset designed to close in to an enemy shore line and be put into a position of risk.

    • looking at the specs,size speed, range e.t.c. its easy to look at a bay class picture and imagine a full length deck

  17. OK, So here is some wishful thinking but in reality it should be possible.
    With two aircraft carriers, six T45s and 8 T26s we could have the following two battlegroups, each of one carrier, two T45s, three T26s and an Astute class, each would have two RFAs for liquid and solid supplies. One battlegroup on deployment with the other in home waters winding down, going into refit then preparing for deployment. This would be the complete battlegroup going into refit at the same time, the DDGs and FFGs of the battlegroup stays in home waters until the carrier is out of refit.
    That now leaves two T45s and two T26s, as one of each will be undergoing refit at any one time the remaining T45 should be allocated to the Amphibious assault squadron along with an Astute and RFAs (If the government leaves the RM ships alone) this give only one T26 that is not allocated. This is not enough spare capacity if we were to have a properly escorted carrier, assault force and planned workup refits maintenance.
    We are in desperate need of the type 31s and it is my opinion that five will not be enough, so here is my wishful thinking.
    I would like to see 12 ships of two types operating as four three ship squadrons, these would be eight T31s with a main gun, wildcat capable, 24 Sea Ceptors, 8 SSMs and a CIWS, then a further class of support frigates similar in concept to the Danish Absalon class using the British equivalent to the Danish Equipment/weapons fir from stripped out equipment from the T23s. The Danes managed to build these ships in 2005 for $225 mill so we should be able to do something similar. Availability time for these squadrons should be based on the German F125s two years in the operational theater before refits are needed. Crews should also be on the German principle of four months deployments replacement crews being flown out to the theater.
    These squadrons should be forward based, ideas could be 1 squadron at Gib, 1 in the Falklands and the third at Oman, the final squadron is in home-waters undergoing refit and work up.
    The cost for this would be circa £3.6billion over a seven year build period (if that can be done with British shipbuilding capacity) and an extra 1,200 men and women manning the ships.
    What would this mean to the RN, well it would actually save money as ships would be forward deployed and in the areas needed, one battlegroup would be permanently at sea with extra escort if needed through the key areas of interest. The Amphibious group could operate with its own escort and in British homewaters there would always be 1 carrier, three T45s, 5 T26s, 2 T31s and an Absalon type ship either going through wind down, maintenance, refit, or working up ready for deployment. Whilst at sea there would be a carrier battlegroup, three overseas squadrons of T31s and Absalon type ships three SSNs and a SSBN.
    If I could add my dream list to the wish list then I would add three new assault ships similar in concept to the HMAS Canberra which means that we could land three reinforced armored battlegroups if we needed to, but that would cost a further £2.2billion. Just think what £6billion could buy, three new assault ships, 8T31s and 4 Absalon type ships, with up to 50,000 new jobs in the industry paying tax back to the exchequer. I know wishful thinking but it is the equivalent of £13 per year for every person in the country over 7 years, looking at ti that way its not to much, I know that I would pay that now.
    Oh for an extra 3.6 billion.


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