The Type 31e programme, which could see sections of the ships built in Scotland and England, has been restarted.

An MoD spokesperson said that a prior information notice has been issued to industry and a new contract notice has been issued.

“We have issued a Prior Information Notice for our new Type 31e fleet and plan to start discussions with industry next week to ensure we do not lose any momentum. There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy. We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set.”

Prior to this official confimation, a Ministry of Defence spokesman insisted that the project would still be going ahead, hinting that industry will have to refine their bids to meet the price tag:

This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.”

We spoke to a contact in the Ministry of Defence when the news that the programme had been suspended broke, who told us on condition of anonymity:

According to USNI here, an article published recently by Jane’s stated that at least two of the potential bidders had earlier regarded the terms and conditions set by the MoD as unworkable, citing both commercial aspects and intellectual property rights.

“Even if the MoD achieves its stated intention of ‘delivering’ the Type 31e lead ship in 2023, the subsequent sea trials, crew training and work-up could see entry into operational service slipping a year or two.”

What’s changed?

According to well respected defence commentary website Save the Royal Navy:

“The MoD says it will begin market engagement activity with suppliers interested in re-tendering for the Type 31e design and build contract starting next week.

The new contract notice issued yesterday has the same headline figures “Type 31e is to cost not to exceed £1.25 billion, inclusive of Government Furnished Equipment (GFE)”. This may indicate there is a recognition that the £250M per ship limit is not enough to cover the installation of credible combat systems. Just how much GFE will be provided may be the critical factor in the success of the design. It has always been the intention that some equipment would be transferred from the Type 23s to the next generation of frigates, both Type 26 and Type 31, including the Sea Ceptor missile system and the Artisan Radar. 

Weapons, sensors and combat management systems are a large cost component of warships and if paid for separately, would add significantly to the Type 31e ‘sail away’ price. The MoD could be looking at finding a great deal more than £1.25Bn. Any Type 31e built for export is therefore likely to have combat systems that differ considerably from the RN fit, but at additional cost to the customer.”

Read more here.

What are the options?

Two strong contenders for the Type 31e Frigate programme have emerged, Arrowhead and Leander.


Arrowhead is expected to sit at 5,700 tonnes and 138.7 metres in length, the ships company is around 100 with space for an embarked military force of 60. Babcock’s Team 31 has selected the proven in-service Iver Huitfeldt frigate design as the baseline for their T31e product.


Leander is expected to be around 4,000 tonnes and 120 metres in length with a ship’s company of about 120 with space for an embarked military force of 30. The Leander design has evolved from the Khareef class corvettes built by BAE Systems.

Where will they be built?

For Arrowhead, the distributed build and assembly approach would see work going to Appledore in North Devon, Ferguson Marine on the Clyde, Harland and Wolff in Belfast with integration in Rosyth. Babcock say that the Arrowhead design lends itself equally to either a single build strategy, or a cross–site build strategy bringing together modules – an approach used for aircraft carrier assembly at Rosyth.

For Leander, BAE Systems will partner with Cammell Laird, who would ‘Prime, build and assemble’ the vessels at their Merseyside facility while the Clyde will focus on the Type 26 Frigates. Cammell Laird would be main contractor with BAE providing design and combat systems.


  1. Interesting to see that the process has recommenced after a short hiccup. But could someone enlighten me as to why, when the RN is looking for a relatively “low end” warship, the designs offered are so large? A 1960’s designed Leander had a twin 4.5 turret, SeaCat and a Mark 10 asw mortar, an embarked helo, Wasp followed by Lynx, both long range and short range radar, and some had VDS type 199 as well as hull mounted sonar. And the complement was 260+. The stated tonnage was less than 3,000.
    Both the designs that are being pushed are much bigger, but with a very much smaller permanent complement, and what appears to me to be a very light armament fit. I am very well aware that modern weapons bear no relationship with those of forty years ago, but is the equipment that much bigger than before? And although accommodation standards are much better now, with much reduced numbers of personnel I would think that the amount of space for the crew would be less than before.
    With the Cammell Laird/ BAE bid at 4K tons, and Babcock at 5.7k we are looking at big ships. Would the MOD really order a ship from Babcock that is close to the size of the Type 26? The political and journalistic fallout would be interesting to say the least.

    • There are various reasons for the size creep. Higher accomodation standards, lots of heavy computers and tech that also require a lot of power generation, greater range, space for future growth. Also, bigger ships are paradoxically somewhat easier to maintain and refit, as you don’t have to work in such cramped conditions where you risk hitting something important

      • The other reason is future proofing, If you build a smaller lighter ship, there is no spare room to upgrade equipment in the future.

    • Steel is “cheap” so they say but I hope it’s because they are being built to allow for growth in future systems. Both designs are also both allowing for a good Royal Marine detachment so assault boats etc. Also unmanned equipment?

    • Steel is cheap compared to the sensitive fittings, weapons and sensors.
      A large warship has a bigger wide margin which is a naval term for room to expand, update and enhance. Most warships have 3 major refits in their lifespan to allow enhancements to be performed.
      The type 45 for example is ripe for a major refits. Mk41 strike length vl system for example (sorry could not resist)

    • Leanders had a Y100 steam plant. So thats boilers and steam turbines and it weighed a lot and took up a lot of space.
      The above vessels will/could have GT or DG propulsion which is lighter and takes up less space. However because you don’t have steam you need all the other stuff to provide heating and potable water.
      Steel and the air that goes in the compartments it is cheap relative to the systems fitted to a vessel. To avoid any possibility of maxing out your growth margin for future upgrades bigger is better. (A T23 is just about maxed out now) If you want a radar with a good ability to see targets then higher is better on a mast. Big masts mean a bigger ship in the beam to provide stability and to cut down on pitch and roll. To much pitch and roll will mean an expensive and heavy mechanical stabilization for the radar antenna which you want to avoid for cost and stability reasons.

      • Bigger ships that move around less in a seaway are not just better weapons and sensor platforms, they also have happier crews. When people cost a lot (training and professional development, salaries, pensions, accomodations, healthcare + intangibles) you don’t want to send more than you need, which has created this desire for a small crew.

        Therefore, that small crew needs to be kept happy with good accomodations and less ship motion because every study ever done, and every anecdote ever told, proves that happy and healthy crew are much better at their jobs, more keen to succeed, more enthusiastic about the mission, etc.

        There is no slack in the system: if you’re onboard you’re there because you’re needed, and so they want you operating, like your equipment, at peak efficiency.

    • If the UK is following Sir JPs recommendations these ships are not supposed to be refitted, but sold off and new ships of the same design built. So the design has to have the flexibility to incorporate new systems in future batches.

  2. The Increase in size is mostly due to the need to offer flexibilty, thorough having a fairly large area on bond that can accomodate different uses.

  3. A “Prior Information Notice” (PIN) means almost nothing – it’s just a heads-up to potential suppliers that a general requirement for the ships exists, and a tender process may start in the next 12 months. Theoretically it can shorten the tender process by a few weeks, but that won’t be relevant here given the value and complexity. Overall, the PIN seems to be a smokescreen that allows the MOD & government to claim that the T31e programme is proceeding, whilst behind the scenes Williamson keeps trying to squeeze the necessary additional funding out of May and Hammond.

  4. If you compare the weapon sensor fit to the new Israeli Saar 6 to what is proposed for T31e, you would hardly all the latter a warship.

    Whilst the German built Saar 6 warship would not be a suitable platform for the RN, the weapon sensor fit would exceed the T31e by a large margin.

      • Based on Meko100/K130 Corvettes.

        Too small to meet UK specification RN.

        Short range/endurance.

        Ok for Mediterranean coastal waters, not for sustained operations in North Atlantic or global deployment.

        As I said the weapon sensor fit is great.

    • Yes. A corvette can be armed better than a frigate. The major difference is a corvette is intended to operate close to home, whereas a frigate operates far away from home. Hence the Type 31 is larger, heavier, and has a far higher endurance.

  5. 250m for ships sounds a lot, but compared to what the average Russian oligarch pays for a super yacht it really is not.

  6. What are they for again?

    If they want 5 they will have to spend less and go down a class, something like the RNLN Holland class OPV.

    If they want a junk buster that doesn’t need a RFA they will need to cut numbers, perhaps 3, perhaps 2.

    A better option would be an extra T26 and then buying something even simpler that Holland class.

    They won’t get five.

    • The issue of a cheaper Type26 is still an odd one? Cameron recommended a reduction in the Type26 fleet in preference for six or so cheaper vessels. The Type31 was simply a way of reducing costs and not a new fighting concept. And that is the big issue here, quality v budget, and nothing else. However, if what is developed turns out to be a new and effective platform then the Type31 will have proved to be a wise idea by default, and not what the treasury had envisaged?

      • 9 T26 is better than 8 T26 seeing as for the most part the RN operates on a 3 for 1 basis still. We should be building 12.

        I am not sure if the RN want a second rate escort (PDMS, a hull mounted sonar, simple engine fit out) or a ‘sloop’ a la Tribal class which though cheaply fitted out wasn’t exactly a value platform or perhaps a modern T21

        Saying I am not going to get into a discussion on the terms ‘general purpose’ or ‘ASW version’ here as it seems many who post here don’t have understanding of RN escort development from WW1 until today. I am only passing through here. 🙂

        • I agree and surely winning the RAN bid with T26 might change BAE’s negotiating stance somewhat were the MoD to approach it to get a price on adding a 9th T26 to the existing order. Also, given that presumably a reasonable proportion of the T31e budget is planned to be early-stage spending to fund design, startup costs and getting at least the first T31 into the water fairly quickly that planned early-stage cash flow could be used as an additional sweetener to BAE by the MoD offering to accelerate the schedule on the first 3 T26 builds to allow BAE to recognise revenue earlier. That (accelerating T26 revenue recognition) would be an interesting proposition for BAE and with obvious significant benefits for the RN.

          On the going down a class, I wonder whether with Hunt/Sandown replacement needing to be looked at at some point in the not too distant future and that probably going to a mothership + UAV model perhaps some efficiency in design spend and commonality of future equipment might be gained by seeing if the “even simpler than Holland class” requirements might be met by variants of a single design there. Maybe the MCM mothership requirement would be too complex and expensive to provide a suitable variant for an “even simpler than Holland class” vessel, I’m not sure and am just throwing out ideas for comment.

          • It upsets me that Hunts are being decommissioned as we approach Brexit as they are good small patrol boat. I am not sure about their replacement being a good patrol boat. There is a move to outboard systems for MCM work and this will require a bigger hull to carry a useful number of drone boats. In my mind I see something that looks like the RAN Leeuwin-class. In a way we would be returning to a ‘fleet sweeper’ in size and range (with respect to current fleet needs and modern design drives) and yes back in the early 20th century sloops carried sweeping gear. My reservation is speed, would they be fast enough? Could we have a common hull with different engines? But if you look at ship design the best ships are designed around a single purpose. 18 knots might be good enough for fisheries work, but law enforcement and perhaps operation that are ‘less than war’? I don’t think so. It is all very well having a 120mph UAV if the hull is hours away. Pressing engines isn’t good; just because you can doesn’t mean you should. One of the things I like about the Rivers is they have a good turn of speed (even if they cocked-up the aviation side).

            I am not sure what they want from T31. To me they seem to pressing for a fleet escort when perhaps we need a well armed vessel, in numbers, for theatre specific work (say the Gulf) and even to supplement River B2 at home. The RSN Indpendence class seem about right to me; especially if there is RFA in theatre to look after aviation. If we want something to sit off the coast of Somalia (and similar) and we need endurance then the Danish Absalon is nice, cheap, and big, but we would struggle to get them built for £250m. Perhaps we need two large ships and 4/6/8 smaller ships. I don’t think there is an answer to T31 at the price.

          • The answer for the MCM mothership idea would be exactly this. The type 31 hull form. We need a compact generic hull we can plug equipment into with large general purpose and adaptable bays.
            Arrowhead would probably be best of the 2 designs as larger but you could use the Leander design with a longer hull and therefore more internal space.

  7. The sad thing is these designs can’t made any cheaper to give a proper capable warship, if anything is lost from Leander then it’ll become just an oversized OPV, it’s just barely making the cut for a capable frigate at the moment. But then I suppose it was always a longshot at getting something somewhat decent for £250m.

  8. It seems like we are looking at a patrol ship, not a frigate. Some corvettes like the Sa’ar 6 that Mike Saul mentioned will put the two options to shame in terms of weaponry if the current designs are going to be cut down. I doubt they will have much success on the export market.

    • The Germans, Dutch, French and Italians pretty much have the smaller OPV market tied up for short range coastal patrol in areas like the med. I think the UK are looking at a more ocean going long range economic alternative that might suite the likes of New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil etc. So armament will be similar to an OPV but larger in size to give it a range greater than 4,000nm.

      • Yep it looks like it. The danger of making essentially an ocean-going OPV is that it may be great for the countries you mentioned, but they are supposed to be replacing escorts in the RN. I’ll surprised if there isn’t a reduction in capability as a result of this.

    • The idea is that these can take on the low risk humanitarian, show the flag, anti-piracy and other mission roles freeing the T26 to do what it was designed for, be a dedicated combat-effective escort for the carriers.

  9. Well feeling rather smug at the moment so it was cost vs minimum required capability as all sensible commentators realised and not some inability by industry to read a tender document and magic up a compliant design for less than cost as alluded to by a certain other commentator here.

    • (Chris H) Fedaykin – Oh please stop teasing us and name names. At least that individual can then answer your accusation. Or does your smug self righteousness not allow discussion?

        • If that was me consider humble pie eaten. Not sure that there isn’t or wasn’t an Arrowhead issue with IP though. Can’t see an ongoing hull royalties situation being acceptable. Sovereign capability and all.

          • It wasn’t you 😉 I must admit I am puzzled about the whole Arrowhead 140 thing in general. Both BMT and Babcock had the workings of a concept with by all accounts RN officers having significant input into the BMT concept and they dropped it all for a foreign design.

        • Yeh, would love to know what happened with the Venator. Maybe Babcock thought it could not be built for £250m and mounted a design take over bid for the BMT design to ‘commercialise’ it. Could have been a Tarzan Jane thing.

    • Why smug? We still do not know why the program was put on hold. Your theory is rather a common one so even if correct, doesn’t say much about your foresight.

  10. I notice is this extract the phrase ‘UK focussed design and build strategy’ is used for T31e. Maybe the MOD are making it easier for Babcock to propose the Iver Huitfeld hull by softening the previous official line that complex warships are designed and built in the UK?

      • Interesting read. Strangely the released request to tender emphasises forward enduring deployment read Caribbean, far east and East of Suez. That is all fine but there are some pretty sophisticated peer state opposition warships out in the far East. The type 31e will need to be a capable warship otherwise in any conflict it will be toast and our service men and women are going to pay with their lives for the MODs bean counting on this programme.
        Some of the roles attributed to the design such as defence diplomacy and flying the flag might be better suited to either an auxillary ship or a fully capable warship like type 26, type 45 or even more impressive QE class carrier.

        • Well yes, all RN and indeed RFA ships contribute to ‘defence diplomacy’. Seems to me though that post Brexit quantity and presence become more important so I can see the peacetime soft power value of a global fleet of T31, able to help in policing and humanitarian aid situations.
          As regards wartime my thoughts are that we are not going to go up against the Chinese navy and that a T31 with Sea Ceptor, Wildcat and 76mm would effectively control the Gulf; being more than a match for the Iranian navy corvettes and FAC, airforce and the odd shore launched AShM.
          NSM would be nice to have at some point.

  11. There are a lot of comments here suggesting a second rate ship. The two designs ( I prefer Arrowhead ) allow for 16 to 32 silo’s; space for 8 ssgw; an 5″ gun plus lighter calibre, a helicopter, 4 rhib’s plus up to 60 Marines.. Where does second rate come in?. Let’s remember we only have 8 T A equipped 23’s now so if we can turn this into 10 T 31’s I would be very content.

    • I would say the difference between 1st and 2nd rate is a question of influence over a certain range. So for example SeaViper is a long, range weapon system that can track and interdict targets out to many tens of kilometres. SeaViper is a first rate system. SeaCeptor is designed to defend the ship, it is a point-defence-missile system, yes it can defend other vessels by pointing itself between the threat and the target, but it doesn’t influence the battle space beyond that. And for sonars 2087 (and other TAS/VDS) systems allow a ship to ‘listen out’ for, um, let us say tens of kilometres and so direct/cue other assets on to target. These targets may be a threat to the ship or task group of which it is a member, or they could be transiting through the area.. A hull based search sonar will have greatly reduced range and will be looking for immediate threats to the ship (or task group). You could say expensive out board towed systems as a first rate capability and the hull sonar as a second rate capability. The RN splits first rate capabilities between destroyers for anti-air war and frigate for anti-submarine warfare. If we look at some examples then T42 had a first rate anti-air SeaDart system and T2050 sonar, T23 has first rate ASW in 2087 and a second rate anti-air system in SeaWolf, and then say a second rate T21 had SeaCat (second rate) and hull mounted sonar 184M/162M. We could get lost in nomenclature and suggest that second rate ships should be called something other than frigate; remember the terms frigate and destroyer change from country to country anyway. A bit rushed sorry.

      • David, I understand your comments. The point I was making was that we only have 8 towed array sonar ships now so the T 31 not having this equipment makes no difference. They are general purpose frigates and if ,as has been suggested from time to time, this is the first five ship batch with another five to follow then that’s good news.

      • Like the idea of a reintroduction of the RN sloop David that could be used for both escort and patrol work. The original design of these sloops which operated in mainly RN and commonwealth navies were versatile sea boats and could be sent just about anywhere with modern equipment, radar weapons and engine designs that reflect costs of MOD. This brings to mind however the type 21 frigate that was built using lightweight materials and as a result of cost cutting sailors paid with their lives especially during Falklands war of 1982. Your analysis of what the RN had previously and what could be achieved with type 31e is commendable but past lessons learnt are important as well for future tasks in a very unstable and aggressive opponents.

        • Brenton,

          I could easily make a case for 16 T26, 12 T45 (as nature intended fitted for ASW, surface, and carrying Merlin), and 8 or so T31 built to a proper budget (£500 to £600 million plus)…….. 🙂

          I think we need to reintroduce the term ‘sloop’ to stop this confusion about 1st rare and 2nd rare escorts. Tidier than using the older term ‘fleet escort’ too. The last ship classed as sloops were the T81 Tribals which did sterling work.

          • Agree David that the type 81 were ideal in that role. Also if I had my way there would be a wider variety of warships for specific tasks just as the RN had originally as that is the only way we are going to police the world’s oceans or 7 seas. Updated versions of corvettes, minesweepers, sloops, diesel submarines, plus cruisers with twin 6inch guns forward and anti aircraft and anti ship missiles, helicopter A A guns with latest radar in short updated version of Blake class cruisers which could be built and exported to Commonwealth navies as well as OPVS and coastal warships. RNZN has 2 ANZAC Class frigates one of which is in Canada for weapons upgrade. Now NZ has 200 mile EEZ not including Antarctic dependency so it would make sense for RN, RAN, and RNZN and perhaps RCN to combine in short term to stop the likes of China and Russia. Noticed nations in SW Pacific have got themselves in financial debt with China who are seeking to build military bases on these island thereby surrounding both Australia and NZ.

    • If we considered spending £400 Million per ship (about on third the cost of a T26) what could we expect to get for the money? Three for the price of one is a great saving and would produce i’m sure a very worthy alternative.

      Answers more than welcome!

  12. (Chris H) And back to the article ….
    What isn’t really discussed is the key effect of “Government Furnished Equipment (GFE)”. I am not sure how this was presented in the earlier documents but this could be a significant factor in the overall supply costs. I think we all assumed guns, Sea Ceptor, Artisan etc would be migrated from Type 23s as they came out of service but what else? And will this include enhanced assets?

    The other key factor not mentioned here is the apparent difficulty Babcock are in over ‘Intellectual Rights’. And I quote:
    “The Babcock Arrowhead-140 concept relied heavily on the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class frigate developed by OMT and rights to this design could have been a stumbling block.”

    The more I look at the two proposals the Cammell Laird / BAE one looks far simpler to deliver and would be built at one site which must keep costs down.

    • Exactly if GFEs include all the sensors, weapons, VL silos, 5 inch gun. Then bingo you have a full fat frigate. Then the cost to the manufacturer is only the build and integration/ fitting out.
      If Williamson can get weaklings May and spreadsheet Phil to take their duties to protect the UK seriously we should get funding agreed and the GFEs ordered now. Why not just order everything we need for the first batch of 5 ships now and agree to fund next year the subsequent batch of 5.

      • (Chris H) Mr Bell – With you on most of your comments but given the way TM has had to battle the world and his wife at every turn with 600 Remainer MPs, rebels in her party (on both sides), a two faced Labour Opposition seeking party advantage rather than National success and a fiercely pro EU media and still been able to deliver every piece of legislation required intact for us to leave in an orderly (legislative wise) way next March I think she has shown incredible strength of purpose and determination. And we aren’t even out yet!

        As for Hammond well I think the Treasury’s job is to be very good at spreadsheets and accountancy. What they mustn’t do is influence wider policy by withholding funding where it suits their internal politics. Rather have ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ in there than ‘Mao Red Book McDonnell’….

      • GFE doesn’t mean free! You still have to strip it out, refurbish it all and then do the design and integration work to put it into T31e.

        That all has to be done within the £250 million cap.

        All you are cutting out is the capital investment of buying the core equipment brand new.

  13. The main problem with GFE and a significant transfer of equipment from T23 to T31e is:

    1) How would that interfere with T26 program?
    2) T26 and T31e are meant to be parallel programs so how would it affect the retirement rate of T23?

    My gut feeling there is going to be lots of “Fitted for but not with” when it comes to T31e. I could even see an interim fit out solution if the equipment fitted to the River Batch 1 are brought into the equation. In that scenario the first Type 31e get the Terma Scanter 4100 and CMS-1 out of the River batch one plus an OTO76 and a space for VLS with the promise that they will be retrofitted down the line with Artisan and some actual missiles.

    • Does it need to impact Type 26 build? If Arrowhead wins then simplistically the project plan says delete Type 23 Life-ex and insert team Babcock Type 31 builds.

    • Should not be a problem as we have 11 sets of sonar 2087, enough CAAM for 16 ships, at least 5 Artisan radars, 10 DS30mm mounts plus 5 sonar 2050 sets and lots of GPMGs, Mini guns and decoys. Enough equipment was purchased to fit all 13 Type 23s with Artisan, DS30mm and CAAM plus we bought another 3 sets of ships equipment (including 2087) to ensure there was a smooth transition. There should even be 5 sets of 8 Harpoon going spare assuming we upgrade all our missiles. £250 million should be for a hull with engines and a new 5 inch gun with an 8 cell MK41 vls, everything else should be GFE provided free.

      • Dear David Stephen-san
        – “everything else should be GFE provided free” you mean, decommission T23GP and “gift” it to T31e winner prime? Who shall pay for the ripping off cost (ripping off for re-use is much much costy than ripping off for scrapping)?
        – Also, someone must pay the integration cost of the weapon systems. Therefore, £250 million must include it, and, it is not cheap.
        – But, if a T23GP’s equipments can be re-used, it will help a lot, say £30-60 million per ship.

        • As I see it Babcock need to win the Type 31 contract because Type 31 building should negate the need for a big chunk of the remaining Type 23 Lif-ex work. The MOD must be thinking along these budget lines. If you don’t fit Artisan Sea Ceptor, new CMS and new diesels to the remaining T23 fleet in the first place then transferring this equipment doesn’t appear as a T31 cost. BAE are sitting pretty with T26 and R2 work. And maybe an additional T26 for the RN. Nine for the price of 8 if the MOD commits to the full quantity. If Babcock can meet the price with Arrowhead it wins provided theh can buy the IP to the Iver Huitfeld hull.

          • Except the newly kicked off program specifically says that the cost of all government provided kit (i.e. old kit from Type 23s) is to be included within the 1.25 billion class limit.

          • @Ron5
            Well yes. I can’t claim in depth knowledge but I am guessing supply and fit new kit once to T31 just has to be cheaper than supply, fit, remove from T23, then check and reinstall on T31.
            A cost calculation which is dependent of what we might get if we were to sell some Life-exed T23s with their Artisan and Sea Ceptor and new diesels. My mind keeps coming back to those 3 spare sets…..and South American navies….

        • Give the contract to BAE/Cammel Laird on most of the equipment being integrated will be theirs, 5 inch gun, Artisan, CMS. We have 1 Type 23 laid up already as I said have purchased 3 extra sets of equipment to avoid having to strip an active ship.

  14. I think BMT are going to struggle hitting the 250mm target and not owning the design will go against them for the export requirement which is very important in the government’s eyes. I don’t know how Leander didn’t meet the budget but BAe are greedy [email protected]@rds when it comes to UK contracts. They will likely win but possible have work split with more than just one shipyard.

    • Babcock, BMT don’t own any yards and are a design house. BMT had its own concept The Venator until they partnered with Babcock which had a concept that was derived off the new USN Coast Guard Heritage class cutter design. Both concept looked promising then all of a sudden they announced Arrowhead 140 derived from the Iver Huitfeldt.

      • (Chris H) Ron5 – I share your annoyance. Its like Cammell Laird don’t exist despite being the main bidder and shipbuilder with BAE Systems taking a back seat with design and combat system work.

        Still throwing in BAE makes a good rant …

        • Get over yourselves, my rant at BAE is based on Cammell Laird having a good track record of building ships at an extremely competitive price. Unlike BAE they actually win competitive export contracts rather than relying on nations looking for political favours.
          Maybe you think BAE is submitting its conservative design for free out of the goodness of their own hearts because they are so busy?
          Given that Leander will recycle the Combat Management System, Artisan Radar, Remote Weapons systems and likely 4.5 inch main gun from the T23 I cant see how a conservative hull design is pushing them over the $250mm budget.

          • (Chris H) BB85 – Nice backtrack but the way it was written was a full on blast at BAE. You never mentioned the simples fact they are not even the main bidding component. Its sort of relevant.

            “Unlike BAE [Cammell Laird] actually win competitive export contracts rather than relying on nations looking for political favours”
            BAE just won one of the biggest export conmtracts available with the Aussie T26 contract. And correct me if I am wrong but who builds the Typhoons for export? or the F-35 parts for LM? And who has built up a global empire on the back of delivering competitive bids on huge contracts.

            I see BAE doing many things that could be done better but to slag off a massively successful British company that has footprints all over the world is frankly pathetic. We need more BAEs in the UK but we seem to live in a country where people slag off those who succeed simply for succeeding. Not surprising BAE is more respected in the USA than here ..

          • What is the deal with the insults? You are a regular for it on this forum when you wouldn’t have the balls to call someone pathetic to their face. Yes BAE is a global company but their track record in the UK has had some shockers Nimrod is unforgivable the terrible state of the R2 OPV is a disgrace even on an inflated contract. Their relationship with the government got so bad they lost out in the warrior mlo and fres contracts which they should have had in the bag. When you look at their European rivals they have been behind the curve and ahead on price in naval and land systems.

          • BB85 – Given you don’t know me you don’t have a clue whether I have the balls to say what I say direct to your face or not but let me assure you I do. Yet another assumption to suit your confirmation bias?

            And dear oh dear if you think ‘pathetic’ is an insult you need to get out more. I was criticising your comments not you Sweetie … And do please show me where I insult people first. Did I do that here? However I will give both barrels back when people have a pop at me personally. As you just did. Most of my posts are actually agreeing with, complimenting or adding info. to someone else’s comments.

            You seem rather more adept at negative generalisations than factual discussion.

          • (Chris H) – for the record Nimrod was an MoD upfuck not BAE who had to manage many unforeseen issues (like hand made ex RAF MR2 fuselage that were different on every aircraft so the new build wings wouldn’t fit!) and ever changing specifications sent down from the MoD. It was utter madness thinking the MR2 (which was a stretch too far) could be stretched further but that was the MoD’s decision. BAE had proposed an all new built aircraft (promoted as Nimrod 2000). What started out as a viable project was over managed by the MoD who foisted faulty airframes onto BAE rather than just build new.

          • I never said I was stating a fact in any of my posts it was purely an opinion which I am entitled to give and you are entitled to disagree with. My issue is you regularly go to personal insults when you disagree with someone’s opinion despite them being a complete stranger. Any way I’ve made enough assumptions for today good day to you sir.

  15. 1: GFE issue was already written in T31e RFI (noted as GFX = Government Furnished Assets/Information). It was required to be included in the total cost = nothing new.

    “Minimising the GFX” was clearly shown as “6 Top Messages” in the RFI, but no such mention in the “GB-Bristol: SHIPACQ182” pages. Is this new? Or just not written because of page space? I do not know.

    I guess this is the point the savetheroyalnavy article wants to point out.

    2: On Leander design

    As T31e program cost is a typical for heavy-corvettes/light-light frigates (such as Damen 10514), I see no problem Leander design “looks like” enlarged corvette. That is exactly T31e RFI is requiring. If Arrowhead 140 can be built within this cost, that’s great, but I think it is very very difficult.

  16. The type 31 has to be superior or equal to the Chinese Type 54A to my mind. These ships cost the Chinese £1.4 billion Yeung (forgive if spelling incorrect) which equates to £159 million pounds.
    That is the benchmark can we get a ship that can undertake world-wide deployments (like the type 54a) and offer superior sensors, weapons and comfort/ well-being for its crew?
    I know the Chinese only achieve rock bottom prices due to cheap labour and sourcing of cheap quality materials potentially but to my mind the type 54A is the benchmark we have to beat.
    Also this vessel has to be a frigate in size, arnament and sensors, look at the Turkish offering of the Milgem class frigate- 76mm gun, 8 x antiship missiles in cannister, close range air defence missile system, 1 CIWS and a couple of cannons/ machine guns, helicopter and hangar for medium weight helo- lynx or SH60 series sized and triple deck launched torpedoes. All in quite a reasonable platform for 2100 tons and £189 million pounds.
    The type 31 has to be a frigate- 5 inch gun, anti ship missiles (Norwegian anti ship missile), sea ceptor, artisan, hangar and helicopter. I would state a bow mounted sonar and torpedo tubes as well as a close in weapon system are what has to be defined as the minimum fit. if the government are going to purchase all these items and then the type 31 will work as a frigate, anything less and we might as well just get a glorified corvette, unable to join the frontline of a naval conflict and relegated to secondary duties against low threat, low risk environments.
    We cannot have a modern version of the type 21’s – which proved to be easily knocked out and unable to meet the rigors of modern combat

    • I have had the chance to converse with people who have had a chance to look at new Chinese combat ships up close and whilst they look sleek grey and wonderfully weaponized for not much money but when it comes to build quality they are rather in a different place.

      They are also woefully behind UK vessels when it comes to habitability and even meeting basic safety standards. I remember one naval architect I respect who had the chance of a close look state “Looking at the quality of the fittings, wiring runs and general materials used internally these vessels are not built by a nation that has experienced the Falklands Conflict or the USS Stark incident”

      Chinese vessels are getting better, quantity has a quality all of its own and the average Chinese Matelot probably isn’t as fussed about getting an ipad charging station but they are a long way from being a benchmark for us.

      • (Chris H) Mr Bell – Well I am sure the good lads and lasses at Cammell Laird will be happy to work for Chinese wages with no safety standards to get us one for that money.

        But it would be unwise to believe anything the Chinese Government tells us …

        • Not saying the shipyards workers in the UK should for crying out loud.
          I am saying a benchmark for a polyvalent frigate is out there already. We have to beat the type 54A design in terms of flexibility, weapons load, sensors and all for £250 million. Tough task but doable just about as long as we can drop already purchase equipment directly into them. Like Artisan, sea ceptor and torpedo tubes, ds30mm gun mounts and a main gun 5 inch ideally.
          Let’s see what comes back in the tendering process. You never know maybe HMG will put the budget up to a more reasonable £300 million a ship.
          Wish the Venator 110 design was still on the table though.

      • Chinese sailors will not be quitting, or complaining very much, due to habitability standards, or safety ones for that matter. What counts for the admirals are the weapons the ship can bring to bear in a short engagement. Chinese Navy doctrine is to win in the early part of a war.

    • It is so difficult to estimate the price and cost of a ship. Does it include this and that, or development and/or design etc etc…, or just build? But this is what I’ve read about them:

      Say at 1.30 Dollar to the Pounds, or now around 1.48 then in 2015 puts that ship nigh on 250 million pounds.

      That is not a good thing though, because if were are so hugely more expensive…. Then China’s cannot rely on low labour rates as much. South Korea is nearly the same as the UK and Japan higher. Labour rates are no longer the single issue.

      • The Danish Absalon support ships built today, sans weapons, would cost somewhere in the region of £235,000,000. The Babcock ship is based on the Iver Huitfeld class which is based on the Absalon hull shape; the former has 4 engines the latter 2 engines. The Absalon were cheap ships.

        David Brown, naval architect and writer, said the cost of a ship is 40% hull (engines to cabins and all bits in between) and 60% system (weapons, naval comms. EW, etc.)

        You can never guess the cost of Chinese built ship.

        • Yes, that’s right D.K Brown does say that. There are so many variables, which is why I think the UK fares well in terms of price. We tend to include everything when a cost or price is given, while the US just show a price without certain systems like weapons. An example, the Arleigh Burkes compared to the Type 45’s (for all the sins people see in them) have a price tag nearly double and does not include weapons, I believe. All I am saying is that we are better than many realise.

  17. To my mind the T31e debate masks a greater strategic issue for the RN. What are we asking them to do and how many escorts does this require? In an expeditionary type conflict (i.e. NOT Russia in the North Atlantic) we would be looking to field an aircraft carrier battle group (maybe 2 destroyers & 3 frigates) and an amphibious group (maybe a further 1 destroyer and 2 frigates) + maybe a further 3 or more frigates for ongoing patrol duties. Allowing for some ships in refit or training cycles this is JUST about realiseable with the current / proposed fleet structure.

    However with the increased threat from Russia we should be planning for effective deterrence in the North Atlantic. For this we would need all of the above plus several escort / hunter killer ASW groups (maybe say a 16 further destroyers and frigates in four groups of four). In this scenario we need at least 30 and probably more like 40 escorts total (not to mention at least 4 more SSNs!).

    Now obviously this is outside the financial envelope available but if T31e can be built with meaningful anti-air point defence and basic ASW fit they could be useful not only as cheap patrol ships but by also making up the numbers in escort groups (rather like flower class corvettes were grouped with more advanced escorts in WW2). Consequently we should be getting as many hulls as possible in the fleet with the option (and capacity in built) to upgrade them in time of need.

    Consequently, if the Modernising Defence Programme is for real, then we must recognise the Russian threat for what it is and get at least 10 of these ships into service as quickly as possible.

  18. The Danish Absalon support ships built today, sans weapons, would cost somewhere in the region of £235,000,000. The Babcock ship is based on the Iver Huitfeld class which is based on the Absalon hull shape; the former has 4 engines the latter 2 engines. The Absalon were cheap ships.

    David Brown, naval architect and writer, said the cost of a ship is 40% hull (engines to cabins and all bits in between) and 60% system (weapons, naval comms. EW, etc.)

    You can never guess the cost of Chinese built ship.

      • I am saying that £250 million isn’t a lot of money even with hand me down weapons.

        The price of the Iver Huitfeldt today would be out £300 million and that was with some hand me down weapons and systems too. Remember also both classes weren’t built in Denmark only outfitted there, all the metal bashing was done in Estonia and Lithuania,

        A Khareef bought as today’s price would cost about £235 million too. I think they were new from stem to stern. But the design being offered by BAE is a stretched version, and though steel and fresh air are cheap they aren’t that cheap.

        The MoD (N) are asking a lot for £250 million per hull. If they cut hull numbers to increase the budget I would have to ask what would be gained and as I have suggested before an extra T26 might make more sense; on a 3 for 1 basis that would give us 1 for the Atlantic, 1 for the Gulf / East of Suez, and 1 to follow the carrier / reserve. The RN would be better off building a well fitted out OPV / sloop like the RNLN Holland class; my only reservations about those is they are a tad slow as they ‘top out’ at 21 knots when I think 25 knots-ish would be preferable. The Dutch paid in today’s prices about £140 million each for them.

      • (Chris H) “if CL can build this circus act for £150m”

        Hmmm – possibly the most advanced polar survey and exploration ship available is classified as a ‘circus act’…..

      • Paul inclined to agree the DA is almost 11,000 tons an not a simple hull perhaps not as complex as the T31.

        A 5000t hull for 100 to 120mil 130 for systems and weapons?

      • (Chris H) – “if CL can build this circus act”

        Possibly the most advanced Polar survey and exploration vessel in the world is called a ‘circus act’ and we are supposed to treat the rest of your comment with respect?

        • No disrespect intended to bidders, posters or indeed the MOD. Just highlighting what I think is a useful way of looking at things. My old boss used to say that in the purchasing game things are either a circus act, in which case you buy on supplier expertise and pay up or they are a commodity which lots of people can deliver in which case you buy on price.
          Seems to me that the MOD has decided, rightly or wrongly, that the ship they are looking for lies more towards the commodity end of the spectrum than the ‘complex’ warship end; at least as far as the basic shell is concerned. They also believe I think that RN standard systems and weapons fit are also a known low risk quantity.
          Babcock are expert project managers, facilities managers and service engineers.
          CL are expert ship builders.
          BAE are expert warship designers, systems and weapons people.

          Personally I would go with the appropriate experts.

          • Paul, interesting way of describing a concept that a lot of people have real difficulty understand and end up try to follow the dogma of the commodity even when it becomes detrimental.

            “Circus” is a great description of a lot of the stuff I’ve ended up procuring. Bespoke, unique with highly complex interdependencies that all end up meaning you have to put in a lot of work with providers to try and understand if your cost envelope can support what you are after and a lot of a procurement ends up about trying to get added value for the money you have and not about getting providers to bid down on costs.

            Your “commodity” description is what I think of as “baked bean” procurements, buying a simple product out of a “tin”, easy to understand what is being purchesed and therefore asses bids on cost.

      • Actually I would go a step further and suggest we would probably be better off building 5 Attenboroughs instead of buying trying to buy frigates for OPV money. 🙂

        • Right. Sounds too good to be true but seems to me CL can build a complex bespoke ‘circus act’ design – a warship- for the price of a commodity. Not sure the same can be said for team Babcock.

          • Well change the upper works of McBoaty to facilitate the launching of RIB’s or better (and lots of them, or even build some accompanying patrol boat daughters_. I haven’t had a measure yet but there should be enough space for Wildcat and decent flight deck aft. There is plenty of accommodation already. It has good range and is fast as our RFA’s. Couple of cannon on RWS mounts. Keep the ice strengthening for ‘argy bargy (a la Cod Wars, a la South China Sea etc.). I am not joking but the design has a lot going for it. 🙂

  19. The more I think about it the more I think the complete separation of constabulary and warships would be more sensible.

    The 31 is becoming confusing in that it Bridges the two, high low fleets we now have ( high 23s and 45s low rivers). I worry that it will end in a woefully under equipped constabulary vessel being put in harms way cus it has a medium gun and basic self defence systems and is classed as a complex warship. A rivers 2 is and only ever will be a constabulary/patrol vessel and will never be confused in its purpose.

    Maybe what we actually needed was a slightly better internationally deployable rivers 2 in more numbers ( say 6-8) with a hanger for a wildcat, RIB and ability to container up, this to cover all the low risk constabulary/peace time deployments. Then use the rest of the money to modestly increased number of war fighting hulls from 8 to 11-12 type 26s.

    We seem to have forget what happened to our escorts that sat between high and low 35 years ago. The 23 became the ship it did because of those lessions, the 31 is looking strait back to before those lessons were learn and reintroduced the type of light cheap escorts that got such a pounded from something as basic as iron bombs.

    I have no problem with a high low mix, what we are heading for now is a high-low and stuck in the middle mix.

    • Jonathan-san

      Not “high(T45/26)-med(T31)-low(OPV)”, but “high-low” is understandable idea.

      But, 1.25B GBP T31e program cost is very small, even LESS THAN two T26 equivalent. Excluding design+initial costs, I think T26 unit cost amounts to ~750M GBP. So, “two T26” means 1.5B GBP.

      Including efficiency improvements (too slow build is in-efficient), we may get 2 more T26, by spending ALL 1.25B GBP to it (maybe we need to cut something else, say, no Mk.41 VLS and/or no 5inch gun with automated arsenal).

      This will give us as fleet of
      – 6 T45
      – 10 T26
      – 5 River B2
      – (4 River B1: If we can find some small amount of money, to “mid-life overhaul” them).

      In comparison, if T31e program works well, we will have a fleet of
      – 6 T45
      – 8 T26
      – 5 T31
      – 5 River B2

      Which looks better? I personally like the former, BUT, I also think the latter is not that bad.

      Of course, here I assume there is no big cuts in MDP and SDR2020, which is rather optimistic point of view (but it is another story).

      • I must admit I was mistaken about Mk41. I didn’t realise that T26 was going to have dedicated SeaCeptor cells AND Mk41, I just thought it was going to be Mk41 alone with 24 cells. That would have given us 32/48 SeaCeptor as it is quad packed (a rough equivalent to T23’s SeaWolf load out), 6/8 slots for anti-ship (same roughly as Harpoon load out used by RN/USN/etc.) and the remainder for VLS Tomahawk. We only ever launch the latter in ones and twos and I just can’t see the RN buying ASROC. I am amazed knowing the RN’s budgetary restrictions this happened. MK41 could be deleted from T26 without much loss really. We could always use the ‘we don’t have to do it because USN’ excuse.

      • Anything option that increases T26 hulls has got to be welcomed. T45 is now a HVU, something itself really that needs to be escorted, to precious in itself.

      • Hi Donald

        I would always go with list one

        My concern with the second list is those T31s will end up being put in harms way in the way a Rivers type never would be. if we end with a really low end constabulary focused T31 (which I suspect we will be) it’s just not fair (or moral) in regards to the putting the crews in harms way.

        The the job of the crew of a warship is to go into harms way, but it’s a nations job to actually provide them with the best warship possible to do this and not send them off in an over egged constabulary vessel.

        I would happly change my mind if I though the 31 would in any way end up being a credible warship, decent radar, Seaceptor, CIWS, soft kill etc or put another way the same surviability as a type 23.

        • Thanks Jonathan-san

          1: Actually I share your idea.

          But, this simply means RN must ban at least one standing tasks, because of loosing 3 escorts. Less ship, less tasks.

          Now, standing tasks covered with escorts are;
          – NATO-fleet,
          – “east-of-Suez” (they still call it Kipion, but there is no escort in the Persian Gulf for long),
          – TAPS, and part of FRE.
          (Note APT-S has disappeared an year ago). And, on top of if, RN need to form a CVTF. So, it is not easy.

          On the other hand, I understand RN is ALREADY gapping 2 escorts, because of man-power issue. In this sense, losing 3 escort is “effectively only losing 1”. So, might be a little less difficult.

          2: By the way, I am/we are not RN/MOD and they will push T31e.

          In that case, I still think Leander is “not so bad”. Yes it has a danger being “another T21 in Falklands war” and crew may be lost. To avoid this risk as far as possible, if T31e comes in, I propose to call it “Corvette”, not Frigate.

          • Hi Donald

            I agree and I do think we will loss some of the escort fleet standing tasks as the RN seems to be looking at its standing tasking anyway as Some are suited to Auxiliaries or Rivers roles

            1) Atlantic Patrol Tasking north, now seems to be the role of a rivers or an auxiliary for hurricane season ( this is the classic non war fighting RN tasking)

            2)Atlantic Patrol Tasking South, you can easily replace the frigate/destroyer with a Rivers2, this is very much about policing our south Atlantic territories. We don’t really need a warship presence as the Falklands has an airbase and garrison that keeps our high end military interest and “don’t mess” message loud and clear.

            i agree I think unless the 31 actually has what’s needed to survive in a front line “hot war” it should not be named a frigate, just call it an OPV and be done. If that stops and makes the Politicians think/realise they only have X number of esorts so much the better, I’ve never never been one for painting a pig brown and calling it a horse.

            Of course Miracles may happen and the MOD may actually procure a proper frigate for the t31 programme, in which case I will be so very pleased.

  20. Actually, if the MOD is looking to follow its strategic shipbuilding strategy, the build and contract should be separated from weapons, sensors and combat management systems, apart from any neccessary allowance in design or integration.

    That way the platform can be built to a reasonable cost, perhaps minimal kit installed for commissioning, and the rest added later according to need and budget. Tricky concept, but it gets away from the single (BaE) main contractor idea.

    So, I guess I approve.

    • Dad’s army we cannot have any more warships “fitted for but not with” weapons. This actually equates to “never fitted, never will be fitted, no money”

      • T23 first of class HMS Norfolk had no command system fitted for years.
        It was fitted much later so its nothing new for a warship.
        Major items such as a Command System, radar, sonar, primary weapons etc would not be FTR.
        The RN has lots of equipment that is FTR and it only gets bolted on when you need it. It is not ideal but it does make the money and capability go further. There is little point giving a frigate Death Star capabilities when its primary role for the next 6 months is say doing fly the flag jollies around the UK ,PWO firing training and Nav training .

  21. I think there are two questions to be asked here.

    What is the cost of building the basic ship.

    What is the cost of weapons, sensors and computer system to make that ship a warship.

    • I would ask a further question,

      What do the RN actually want? Not what the bumf from the MoD (N) says, but what do they want?

      • I suspect the answer is the actual number of type 26s and type 45s that were promised at the beginning of each programme.

        • Yes. But to what end and for what purpose? We now live in an age where insurgency and terror groups are slinging anti-ship missiles around. Are we after a long range OPV, perhaps something like the Japanese Coastguard Shikishima class? Or a proper second rate frigate with all the goodies for diverse roles that class of ship gets to do, everything from NGS in support of amphibious warfare to CBG ‘canteen’ boat and everything in between? I think the RN want the latter to do the former job without the funding.

          • Hi David
            You are probably right, but you have to remember there is a whole big difference between want and need and I suspect the Navy want 26s and 45s.

            I suspect the 31 is something made up by the MOD and their political leaders to allow them to spend OPV money but pretend we will still have 19 escorts. This illusion will be fine in peace time as the RN can send the 31s out to undertake constabulary based taskings (Atlantic North and South). The problem is that in wartime The RN will be forced to treat them like frigates and it looking like frigates they will not be.

  22. Save the royal navy are quoting third German-owned consortium consisting of Atlas Elektronik U.K. and Thyssenkrup Marine Systems interested in bidding for Type 31e, unconfirmed of course.

    • Well I would only conclude that if the text read ‘enable the growth of destroyer numbers and frigate numbers’ instead of ‘destroyer and frigate numbers’.

  23. We live in interesting times.
    Thyssenkrup Materials
    Unit 1 – 5 City Business Park
    BT17 9GX

    Is this anywhere near Harland and Woolf?

  24. Cammell Laird have not been shy about mentioning “the £250million price tag” for Leander.
    (Sorry, I can’t see how to make that a live link)
    Additionally, on operating costs “It was by far most fuel-efficient design we encountered”.
    They are positive about exports and say
    “We are actively engaged with more than 20 countries”.
    I found this very positive.

    BAE Systems Type 31e Project Director is less positive and is quoted saying price and delivery date are a huge challenge. There is a project director which is huge difference from Babcock who, as far as I remember, just gave a general marketing contact before they took down every reference to Arrowhead 140.

    • Fuel efficiency is not a great driving factor to measure against on a warship.
      If you sail from the UK to the Falklands on a T23 at 6knts you can do it on one tank. Its slow, its boring but it does mean you get a good tan in the tropics.
      However as soon as you flash up the GTs or put the other DGs online the fuel curve goes out the window.
      Fuel efficiency is also governed by the following factors
      Hull Form
      Underwater Paint Scheme
      Maine organism fouling
      Propeller Efficiency
      Fitting of stern vanes
      Cowled propellers
      Hub blades
      New bulbous bow

      Accounting for any of the above and you can improve fuel efficiency by 2-10 % per item.

      Maresk container ships have Silicon paint (6%saving) New props( 5% saving in fuel) Hub blades (2.5% saving) Ducting for Props (5% saving) new bulbous bow (8% saving). Although not all of the above are ideal for warships some are so you can improve fuel efficiency without to much effort.

      • The RN already have very good paint.
        It’s so good it wasn’t used on the Tide Class at build as no-one wanted to give it to the Koreans. It was applied at the A & P yard in Falmouth when the ships arrived.

  25. With the strict £250 million per ship for the first 5, both Arrowhead140, and Venator110 are out if it. Of the other designs, Leander us the front runner.

    Personally I would like to see the national shipbuilding strategy lfunded outside of the defence budget and include the MARS SSS.
    So CL get to build 5 Leander with a&P.
    Babcock get the 3 MARS.
    After all it’s an industrial strategy, and by doing that there us a bit of headroom in the defence budget.

    • I’m sure many, myself included ageee with your thoughts on the NSbS and building the MARS FSS ships in UK yards. But getting the MOD to change to policy on where ‘complex’ warships are built versus ‘commodity’ commercial support ships are built looks like a hopeless headbanging task.
      The best hope might be this idea of a joint BAE – Babcock competitive bid.
      But even if this becomes reality it would be up against bids from foreign subsidised yards.
      Maybe one day the MOD and the Treasury will grasp the notions that charity starts at home and all is fair in love and international competition for major defence contracts.
      And who knows BAE’s UK management and unions will treat UK defence orders as an opportunity to serve rather than an entitlement.
      I’ll go and put my coat on…..

      • There’s a fair chance a UK company will win the FSS contract. Its been reported 5 UK companies have attended industry days.

        As discussed on here before CL won the Polar Research Ship contract against foreign competition, no reason why a UK yard can’t win the FSS contract.

        Fag pack comparison £200m for 11000 tons, £90,000 ton for 1.4b. So 1800 per ton for the Polar vessel, against 15500 per ton for the FSS contract. But FSS are less complex, 3 off and larger ships so cost per ton should come down. UK yard can also do the defence equipment integration during the build

        • Agree expat, British shipyards are not busy with the aircraft carrier work this time which is one of the reasons why the tankers were given to a foreign country, also there has been a big backlash against it across the country and I think the government will be wanting to be seen to be supporting British heavy industry for once. It is also now written in the national shipbuilding strategy that price isn’t everything, there are other factors.

    • Agree Rec. Why is defence targeted with rebuilding an industry. Why can’t we build a hospital ship and an disaster relief ship from the aid budget.

  26. As time goes by it seems the BAE/CL proposal is now becoming favourite.

    Given BAEs track record on warships can they deliver on price and capability?

    Any contract should hefty penalties for failure to meet contractual targets

  27. Babcock/BMT Arrowheads website is currently down for maintenance. So it makes you wonder if they have withdrawn the Arrowhead 140. Will they revert back to their own individual designs (Arrowhead 120 or Venator 110) with tweaks to the designs based on what they have learned from the collaboration project (Arrowhead 140). Or they are tweaking the Arrowhead 140 design (or their own designs) similar to Leander by offering the different size variations.

    As far as I can recall BMT’s Venator was shown as the 110m variant as from a video from a recent defence expo the ship can be upscaled to as high as 140m.

    Babcocks original Arrowhead 120 design as far as I am aware is the only design to retain its size at its displayed proposal.

    If Babcock/BMT’s design is still an option I wonder what changes have they made. Different size variations? Modular weapons platforms (stanflex)? LPD/frigate hybrid variant (Absalon type design)? Or a completely new design from the keel up?.

    We’ll just have to wait and see

  28. Ideally the RN would have a requirement, this would be followed by funding and ending with a solution. Adjustments would be made at each stage.
    What we have now is Funding -> requirement – > Solution.
    In the case of the new river class vessels we had Funding -> solution -> requirement.
    Its a bit like painting the outside of your house because all you have is paint when what you really need to do is fix the roof.

  29. If both Arrowhead & Leander have merits and both offer a export market, why not double the order and build both.

    • Simon-good question,i would have thought its all down to cost,surely its cheaper building,operating and maintaining just the one type,as far as exports go it might not make much sense having two designs competing against each other seeing how competitive the market is.

  30. At the risk of repeating myself the RN need to have a clear picture of what it will look like in 25 years and go for it.

    For me that means fewer hull forms and the adoption of unmanned systems, which allow us to remove specialist hulls wherever possible. In an ideal world it would be great to have a dedicated mine hunting/sweeping fleet but in the modern world we cant afford it.

    The Scandinavians have shown us the way in many respects, whether that is with the NSM/JSM, Gripen, Huitfeldt, absalon, fridtjof, Gotland, CB90 or visby classes. It is quite an array of quality kit at reasonable prices.

    I fully accept we need high end assets (t26 with a Sampson radar is a T45 replacement in my eyes) but we also need to have lower end assets that can be more heavily armed if required. Here’s my main problem, how does a T26 or T45 sink another vessel of 100m+ length or even take out a couple of attacking aircraft. The answer is they probably cant unless they are extremely lucky.

    I know the arguments will come that we wont fight a peer – but you just never know.

    As for £250m for a 120m “light frigate”. We know that Babcock can build a decent ship for this as the have just finished the Beckett class. We want more but are willing to pay more, but what we dont need is a high end warship.

    I have put some costs out there on another thread so wont repeat, but if we can do the hulls for 100-120m, then that leaves 130-150m to kit them out.

    The main issue I see here is that the order needs to be larger (10) in order for people to sharpen their pencils.

    We can build very large complex ships in this country competitively, perhaps its time to give British industry a fillip and award a 5 year / 10 ship order for £3bn fixed price.

      • The Babcockteam31 web site has gone except for an automatic redirection to the Babcock International home page – not the Arrowhead 120 page. If you find the Arrowhead 120 page there is no mention of Type 31e, RN, or UK.

  31. If we considered spending £400 Million per ship (about on third the cost of a T26) what could we expect to get for the money? Three for the price of one is a great saving and would produce i’m sure a very worthy alternative.

    Answers more than welcome!

  32. Steel is cheap – sourced from?
    So we have Type 23s sitting alongside unmarried and the first pay off in 2023.
    Assuming the first is completed in 2023 it’s already acknowledged it won’t be operational for at least a year.
    The spectre of the 45s appears. The navy, small as it is, is contracting


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