The Ministry of Defence has been forced to delay the Type 31e Frigate programme.

According to Jane’s, the original acquisition process has been suspended as there were no compliant bids able to meet £250 million per ship.

“Industry was advised of the decision on 20 July in a statement from Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). While moves are under way to develop a new ‘streamlined’ competition, the pause means that the Type 31e target in-service date (ISD) of 2023 is now in doubt.”

Earlier, two strong contenders for the Type 31e Frigate programme had emerged, let’s take a closer look at the offerings.

During a 2016 Defence Select Committee hearing, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones described the vessel that would become Type 31e as “to be a much less high-end ship. It is still a complex warship, and it is still able to protect and defend and to exert influence around the world, but it is deliberately shaped with lessons from wider industry and off-the-shelf technology to make it more appealing to operate at a slightly lower end of Royal Navy operations”.

The requirements any design must meet.

IHS Janes described it as a “credible frigate” that will cover “maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support sitting between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs”.

A September 2017 graphic released by the Royal Navy (visible at the top of this article) stressed modular adaptability and flexible construction of the design for export opportunities. Core requirements of the Type 31e frigate include 76mm or larger calibre gun, point defence systems, hangar and a flight deck for Wildcat or ten tonne helicopter operated by a crew of around 100 with space for 40 more personnel. A price of £250 million per ship has been set for the first batch of five frigates, which are intended to enter RN service from 2023 to replace the five general purpose Type 23 frigates.

We will be comparing the Babcock/Team 31 offering, the Arrowhead with the BAE/Cammell Laird offering, the Leander. This is based on publicly available information.

The Basics

Arrowhead

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

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.

Endurance/Speed/Range

The requirements here are pretty straightforward, the Ministry of Defence demand that “T31e shall operate globally with sustained forwward presence” and that it must have “the speed for interdiction of commercial vessels and maintaining station with adversary warships in UK waters”.

Both vessels have a broadly similar endurance, at around 30 days with the core crew embarked.

Arrowhead:

  • Speed of 28 plus knots
  • Range of 9000 nautical miles at 12 knots

Leander:

  • Speed of 25 knots maximum
  • Range of 8100 nautical miles at 12 knots

Armament/Weapons Capabilities

Arrowhead features Medium Calibre Gun options up to 5” (127mm) for maritime interdiction, self-protection and engagement of surface and land targets. Small Calibre Guns up to 40mm calibre can be located in predesignated upper-deck weapon positions.

Additional capability options include:

  • Provision for up to 8 canister-launched SSGW
  • Up to 32 Vertical Launch cells, capable of hosting SAM/SSGW/Land Strike/ASW ordnance.
  • Installation of Close-In Weapons Systems, such as Phalanx.
  • Towed array sonar

Babcock say that the ability to fit the existing systems and equipment from the parent design, the Iver Huitfeldt class frigate, is retained to provide flexibility in the capability supplied at build and through the life of the platform. The company say that, for example, this retained capability means that (just like on the base design) a 32 cell Mk41 Strike Length silo can be fitted to incorporate a combination of a larger number of anti-air missiles, vertical launch anti-surface missiles, precision land attack missiles or ASW weapons such as ASROC. This particular adaptability feature they say, alongside the ability to install a 127mm medium calibre gun, host an organic helicopter such as Merlin, install sensors such as a towed array/variable depth sonar and re-introduce a magazine-launched torpedo system, amongst other proven features, will allow the platform to be tailored on build and through-life to suit operational requirements from low-threat maritime security to task group operations.

With Leander, things aren’t all too different. The design features a Main Gun – 57mm to 127mm, two Small Calibre Guns – 20mm to 40mm, Mini Guns, Heavy Machine Guns and General Purpose Machine Gun mounts. Additional options with this design however while similar, are fewer in overall numbers.

  • 12+ CAMM missile launchers
  • Installation of Close-In Weapons Systems, such as Phalanx.
  • A strike length Vertical Launch System can be fitted midships to fire a mixed load of AAW, ASuW, ASW and land attack missiles)
  • Hull mounted sonar and twin towed array sonar

Realistically, no one’s expecting a high end surface combatant and that’s largely the whole point of the Type 31e programme, however, the armament of both vessels really just depends on the money to pay for it as both designs aren’t short of the options to fit the systems. The builders can tout a huge array of offerings, the important point to consider is paying for those options. That being said, Arrowhead would appear to be the most capable warship as it has the larger amount of space to potentially fit systems.

Mission Bays and Boat Bays

Arrowhead features 4 large dedicated Boat Bays
with flexible launch & recovery arrangement to cater for varying
operational roles, including the deployment of RHIBs, USVs & UUVs. The Mission Space which is located under the flight deck, say Babcock, offers significant operational flexibility allows for numerous TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) containers, extended stores, or personnel accommodation space.

Leander features a mission space capable of hosting a maximum of 8 ISO Containers with HADR and Special Forces options. BAE also say that the access hatch features an ISO capable crane rated at 4t. Combinations of the following are feasible:

  • 4 x Boats
  • 8 x ISO containers

The Type 31e requirement doesn’t mention a mission bay only ability to carry two TEUs, both vessels appear to more than meet this requirement however Leander appears to have edged ahead here.

Aviation Capabilities

Arrowhead’s flight deck can land a Merlin sized helicopter and the vessels hangar will be capable of storing one or if required, according to Babcock, two Wildcat helicopters together.

Leander’s flight deck appears to be able to land a Merlin sized helicopter but it appears that the hangar would not be able to host one, being stuck with a Wildcat up to Seahawk sized helicopter.

Build Programme

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.

Leander is smaller and may be less expensive, the platform will utilise systems already in use around the fleet lowering any extra costs associated with new and specialist technologies. However being the smallest of the two, the room for future growth and adaptability may be less than desired, potentially impact any future exports over the decades.

Which is best?

On paper, it would appear that the Arrowhead design is the most capable, but the downside of that could be the cost. Can this design be built in numbers for a maximum price of £250 million? The main downside as far as I can see with Arrowhead is the use of a new radar type and a new Combat Management System at a time when the Royal Navy is moving towards fleet standardisation. Going in another direction would add cost and complexity.

In summary I believe the Arrowhead 140 design to be the better option for the Type 31e Frigate, the option most inline with the requirements set out by the Ministry of Defence and the option most in line with the National Shipbuilding Strategy, but only if the costs are kept under control.

 

 

173 COMMENTS

    • In fairness T26 was mostly about design, even if it was blamed on money. The T31e isn’t at a stage where design is the problem as such, it really is all about money.

  1. Babcock needs to go back and use the Absalon class as their base instead. It’s a less expensive design and has some built in amphibious capability to help out for humanitarian assistance for example. I think it would end up being more useful honestly

  2. Better to pause the process than go ahead and make the wrong choice i.e. a ship with no armament.

    It still makes sense to have another class of ship other than the T26 as that is very expensive in part due to the noise reducing hull and mission bay. Let’s hope we end up with a more realistic price, say £350m, without reducing hulls.

    • Yes. £250 million really was a bit unrealistic. Nice target to aim for, but there should at the time have been a provision to spend more for a suitable design. Accountants are needed even in defence, but should never be allowed to actually make business decisions!

  3. Maybe just build more stripped down T26’s with options to upgrade when possible? The costs can’t be that much more when bought in volume…

    Cheers

  4. “According to Jane’s, the original acquisition process has been suspended as there were no compliant bids able to meet £250 million per ship.”

    Being serious OF COURSE BLEEPING NOT! Everybody with even half a brain cell in Industry and defence commentary were saying that there was no way that a ship could be delivered with the requested capabilities within £250 million per ship!

    The whole concept was an exercise in futility, hats off to industry for even trying!

    • (Chris H) fedaykin – weren’t you among the people saying price is everything and why FSS should be built abroad if its the lowest price? Forgive me if I am wrong.

      These ships were tendered on the basis of ‘give us the best product for £250 Mn a piece’. It wasn’t a matter of ‘here is the spec. and we will only pay £250 Mn each’ Because if that was the case why did two consortia bid?

      This was a golden opportunity for UK shipbuilding and they blew it. FSS will now go to Korea for sure – sad but I for one have to accept we really can’t build to price after all…

      • Yes I did say price is everything and that goes both ways. Asking industry to sell them something massively below cost is not going to work. In they end these companies are not charities.

        “These ships were tendered on the basis of ‘give us the best product for £250 Mn a piece’. It wasn’t a matter of ‘here is the spec. and we will only pay £250 Mn each’ Because if that was the case why did two consortia bid?”

        If that was how the tender was setup there would be no problem now, both consortium would have bid something that could meet the required £250 million per ship. They would probably be at best an enlarged OPV with a systems and weapons fit out little better than the River Batch II.

        The tender document set out a minimum baseline systems fit out and then told industry ‘Do this for no more than £250 million per ship’, nice sentiment but not actually affordable however much magical thinking and clever accounting is done.

        As for why two consortia bid? I presume they hoped sanity would prevail. The tender document did appear to be flexible with plenty of ‘fitted for but not with options’. I could see the class ending up with nothing but an OTO76 and some machine guns with the option to fit more. Fit the Terma Scanter radar off the river class etc…basically a big OPV with options.

        Industry didn’t blow anything, they did the best they could do within the tender specifications.

      • No it won’t – false economy sending abroad for a few 10s of millions due to ability of a local build to feed back into economy via tax, local worker wages etc.

        • I believe that if a UK yard/yards bid and their bid is higher than the foreign bids then a impact assessment is carried out to see if the UK economic benefits outweigh the costs.

  5. (Chris H) Well done MoD – At last they are acting like the big customer they are – They gave the ballpark bid price and the two bidders clearly either didn’t read the Tender document or thought ‘Nah we can dupe them’. SURPRISE!!

    UK shipbuilders had an open goal and they missed. My approval of the MoD reaction is tempered with anger at how the two bidders have apparently acted….

    • No this isn’t some nefarious duping exercise by industry, the tender document was unrealistic in the first place.

      There was no way that a £250 million per ship figure would be realistic considering the requested base level of systems fit.

      • Funny how the Netherlands France Denmark and Italy can all build GP frigates for less than £250mm a peace. I agree with Chris this is a huge let down for UK industry the price is aimed at targeting future exports and if they cannot deliver on price we won’t be building many frigates in any UK ship yard for foreign navies any time soon.

        • I’d love to know what frigates you’re referring to. The Danes’ Iver Huitfeldt class cost them more than £300mn, and that was by recycling a lot of kit from the previous class. The last frigates the Dutch built, back in 2002, cost the equivalent of £866mn in today’s money. The Italians built their FREMMs for roughly £532mn, and the French paid even more for theirs. The only thing that MIGHT be comparable is the French FTI, which is essentially their version of the T31 programme. There aren’t any costings for individual ships, but the programme has a budget of £3.3bn for 5 ships, so including development costs that’s about £600-700mn a ship

          • (Chris H) – Can we just understand how the Tender was framed here? It was not as suggested that an all bells and whistles design had to be built for £250 Mn. If this WAS the case then as I asked why did two consortia bid when allegedly its impossible.

            No this was the MoD asking industry to give the best they could for that figure with an eye towards exporting a capable but less complex Frigate. And clearly the two consortia thought they could ‘upsell’ more complex designs. And they have been found out.

            Respect to the MoD who are making some very hard nosed decisions like selling RAF Scampton and moving the Red Arrows elsewhere by 2020. Upselling is not going to work ….

            Oh and on the Red Arrows maybe we could use RAF Mildenhall when the USAF leave next year.

  6. Arrowhead with bae combat management system and artisan radar would sound good to me – ship systems need to be standardized so crew can be changed without retraining

  7. Absolutely classic (And non too surprising). This means the Mod are either going to have to delay the retirement of the GP T23s (unlikely) or more likely decrease the number of escort hulls below 19 when apparently according to them the RN is growing 😂. A real shame as I had high hopes for the T31 and thought UK defence as a whole was just starting to look a little brighter.

  8. “insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition”

    Means in plain English a bungled procurement process & unrealistic ambitions.

      • (Chris H) Mike Saul / fedaykin – Oh lets blame the Government then – Same old …. No you are very wide of the mark I’m afraid. Someone who puts out a tender document and the bidders do not comply cannot be the fault of the requesting party. I should know I bid enough Tenders in my time.

        if you go to your local car dealer and ask for the very best car for £25,000 and they offer you one for £30,000 I take it that is your fault then?

        • The MOD has an ambition to build 5 low capability frigates for £1.25bn.

          This is probably not achievable if they are to be built in the UK, surely the MOD should have known this?

          It’s just history repeating itself, I remember when the MOD said planned to but 13 T26 for £4bn.

          Just another botched procurement process in my opinion.

        • “(Chris H) Mike Saul / fedaykin – Oh lets blame the Government then – Same old …. No you are very wide of the mark I’m afraid.” –

          No it is you who is very wide of the mark and not facing up to reality.

          “if you go to your local car dealer and ask for the very best car for £25,000 and they offer you one for £30,000 I take it that is your fault then?” –

          Your analogy is ass ended it is more you go to the local dealer and ask for a car with the specification of the £30,000 model but you are only prepared to pay for the £15,000 one. The dealer then works the numbers offers you a £25,000 version which does most of what you ask. You then throw a tantrum in the dealership and say “I’m not buying anything at until you give me what I want”. The fault is with you for your unrealistic expectations.

          Type 31 was a politically motivated exercise to soften the blow politically of cutting five off the T26 build program. When the minimum requirements were released to industry pretty much everybody in the know said it was not feasible for £250 million per ship and shock horror that is the case!

          • (Chris H) Fedaykin – Please at least be honest in your rebuttal. You immediately misrepresented my analogy so you could project your preferred position. That is not acceptable. You stated:
            “Your analogy is ass ended it is more you go to the local dealer and ask for a car with the specification of the £30,000 model but you are only prepared to pay for the £15,000 one.”
            WRONG – No I never said that and that was NOT the analogy. I will let others read what was actually written which was very different.

            There is a world of difference between a Tender that a) asks for the best price for a list of requirements and b) one that says give the best specification for a (near) fixed price. I suspect you know that.

          • Chris you are not very good at understanding the written word are you, I said your analogy was ass ended then came back with a BETTER analogy that more accurately describes the situation.

            As for being not acceptable, who made you the King of this website?

            Why are you banging on about asking for the best price for a list of requirements? That isn’t what the Tender sets out. The tender sets out a minimum set of requirements and how much they are prepared to pay for it. £250 million per ship is too little for the minimum requirement. You can howl at industry however much you like but if the numbers don’t add up it isn’t going to work is it.

  9. According to savetheroyalnavy.org this may be just a delaying tactic as apparently the £1.25 Bn required has not been signed off by the Treasury yet, so lets see what happens and hope it won’t be too long.

    • Well why don’t they just say that then!

      Confidence in MOD is rock bottom, why would any young ambitious intelligent person wish to join such a shambolic organisation.

      • i suspect this is a round about way of putting pressure on the government. They can’t outright say it, as that would be tempting fate and risk the policiticans digging in and slowing things further to make a point.

    • Next phase is a design competition so only there’s no need for 1.25bn just yet. Need to compliant bids for this. They have insufficient ie less than 2.

  10. Surely the answer is you take the most compliant bid then, that’s the winner. You do that then watch the other come back with a counter offer. Normal contract negotiation techniques. If you bid you always put plenty of flesh on your first bid as you expect some negotiation.

    The problem may be that the industry knows it will have the MoD on the hook as the program is part of the NSS and we don’t build overseas.

  11. Frankly I am not surprised by this. The whole process was unrealistic from the start. The only way to build a ship of this type for £250M is to build it like the Danes did. Build the basic ship in a low cost yard (that means abroad, I’m afraid). Tow it to a home yard and fit it out with GFE, much of it recycled from existing or previous ships and supplied effectively FOC (so that it doesn’t appear as part of the build cost), with the MoD assuming the integration risk. That’s how the Danes did it. A cynic would say that the MoD knew this all along and was never serious about the T31 project – that it was just an exercise in communications management, to get people to accept that only 8 T26 were being built, soothed by the promise of a further 5 T31. Now they can say that they tried but it was industry’s fault that it wasn’t possible. It’s like every other great announcement made by ministers in every other department of government – great headlines, lots of promises and then we find out there’s no new money, so the initiative is quietly forgotten or only happens at half cock and at the expense of something else.

    • I hope you are wrong as 8 frigates to replace 13 would leave the RN in a perilous state. What was the point of building the carriers if it decimated the Navy in doing so?

      I think we will get them after a period of gamesmanship between the MOD, Govt, and bidders.

    • I’m even more cynical, T31 was not even a product of the MoD. It was the product of a Government wanting to deflect the howls of rage from the Scot Nats in Parliament when the T26 was cut to eight. I remember the announcement in Parliament with the Defence Secretary smugly telling the enraged SNP that the RN and the Clyde were now going to get five really exportable frigates and there was no real cut in numbers.

      It was only later that the distributed build strategy came up. I highly doubt anybody in the MoD came up with the idea they were just lumped with it.

      I am really looking forward to what the Thin Pinstripe Line has to say about this.

      • So basically speaking what you’re saying is this:

        1. Promise 13 T26 = 8 x ASW + 5 GPFF, but all based on T26 hull
        2. Promise 8 T26 + 5 GPFF on T31 hull. Add “maybe a 6th”.
        3. Promise 8 T26 + 5 T31e but it’s out to tender. Hey, if your bid is good enough we’ll take it.
        4. Promise 8 T26 + 5 T31e but it’s out to tender, but BaE won’t build on the Clyde as they’re “full up”. But hey, there’s always Fergusons to do a bit on the Clyde.
        5. We’ve ordered 3 T26 and they’re underway with most stuff ordered.

        Yup, that’s about right!

  12. True to form. TH, having lurked for weeks and absent from the forum, stabs the dagger in just when we are at a low point reacting to this crap.

    Nice work…..

  13. TH is more than likely right and if brexit goes the way it is looking then the navy will be lucky if they even get 6 t26. People need to start facing facts. Britain is broke and short of a major conflict there will be no serious uplift in any capabilities land sea or air would not surprise me if both carriers were canned by the early 20s

    • (Chris H) J – Look the Vodka shop is open Gorsky Street so pop off dear chap … I would cut you down over your Brexit crap but to be honest I can’t be arsed …

      • Go ahead, seriously I’ve yet to see anyone come up with any realistic proposal as to how this will make us richer stronger or more influential so do your best dear chap

    • Absolutely correct J.

      Folks on here are well meaning enough albeit prone to drifting off into realms of fantasy and creating lists of military assets which will never exist.

      The country, indeed the western world, is facing massive economic problems and as you rightly say, facts need to be faced.

      Start by looking at the value of the pound sterling when compared against other hard currencies. A lower GBP means that things purchased from overseas, bearing in mind that many raw materials including steel now are, costs far more.

      Serious decisions will have to be made and soon.

      I can recall 1 GBP buying 4 USD. Now it buys 1.35 if you are lucky and that is the interbank rate! Meanwhile, inasmuch as people here regularly condemn matters European, watch the GBP v EUR rate. It’s disastrous. That’s because the UK is not what it was. Indeed, I can see a point when even the USD is no longer the world’s reserve currency.

      Anyone in business can sense what is coming. That is why reality has to be faced in the defence budget and other departmental budgets.

      Certain silly idiots say I ‘lurk round’ this site. I don’t. It is not possible to ‘lurk around’ something on line nor do I have the time to read every item. I do find it rather amusing that when a programme is delayed due to economic constraints, the astonished wails re almost audible. The UK cannot afford to maintain the forces it has, yet alone expand them. That’s why here is no commitment on the part of any government to maintain this country as a first tier military power.

      The UK will come to recognise this and soon I believe. Defence yes, but with resources better suited to an island in western Europe.

          • exactly……if you’d said $2-1.50 you might have had a point…..but 60 years ago?!? you might as well mourn the fact we no longer have an empire!

          • (Chris H) TH – Well I was around in the 1940s. I was born the year the USA launched the biggest raid on a foreign currency. As you ‘were around’ then you will recall the USA (while ships were still at sea) cancelled Lend / Lease overnight contrary to the original terms agreed and demanded immediate payment! As this was clearly impossible they then presented the UK with a ‘fait accompli’ Loan on non negotiable terms. Those terms included Sterling’s ‘Convertibility’ with the Gold Standard using terms agreed at Bretton Woods in 1945. I won’t go into details as I know you don’t read too well but the outcome was that the USA forced the re-alignment of the Dollar exchange rate for Sterling (a devaluation to you) such that it went from the Bretton rate @ $4.03 to a falling $2.80 within months. This of course badly affected our recently arranged / forced loan and increased our Dollar debt by over 30% in one go. Put another way we took 60 years to repay that loan rather than the originally planned 43 years (2006 rather than 1988)

            So not every change in exchange rate is the fault of or even caused by the UK Government. And who was it nearly destroyed our currency in 1992? Yes another American George Soros. The same man who is now meddling in our domestic affairs and funding Remainers campaigns to defy UK Democracy. The really ironic thing is he was able to do that because we dabbled in the forerunner to the Euro – The ERM – we should have known then what was coming and left the EEC right there and then!

            Oh and that year I was born? 1947. You?

          • George Soros is NOT an American he is merely a wealthy man who could afford to buy citizenship back in 1961 only on paper and for the legal shield it has provided him. Since then he has done little but give millions to every left leaning Anti-American progressive cause both in the US and abroad.
            By the way Soros immigrated from Hungary to the UK first and got his education at the London School of Economics. So he is a devil the UK had a hand in creating.
            Also again with the Lend/Lease and loan complaints. Their was a loan and like all loans it had to be paid and if your intent was to pay it back in gratitude you failed. So in that case US just had to take cold hard cash.

          • 1951 and able to read and deal with financial matters rather well Chris and already knowing everything you have written, able to say you have wasted your time repeating it. Night night

            PS George Soros was born in Budapest and is the world’s pre eminent investor and also philanthropist who gained his degrees at the LSE.

          • (Chris H) Elliott / TH – So George Soros holds American citizenship then. He is therefore by current convention and definition an American. He holds a US Passport does he not? Now you may not like it but that is the fact of it. So a Hungarian student was educated for a couple of years at the LSE and then went to the USA? That is some pretty vague connection to the UK. Not that the LSE is anything more than a confirmed generator of Left Wing policies and views. And yet so many of their graduates then use capitalism the LSE hates to make fortunes …. The irony of it all ….

            Oh and Elliott given the USA was created by and then built by foreign migrants (some good some bad) don’t try and be picky or selective. The only true ‘Americans’ are the First Nation people you migrants tried pretty successfully to ethnically cleanse from the homelands…..

          • TH:
            The pound was devalued from $4.03 to $2.80 in 1949, where it stayed until 1967. You can’t have remembered an exchange rate of $4 to £1 in the 1950s.

      • The UK can afford to maintain the forces it has and to expand them, it just currently chooses not to. Successive governments have slashed defence spending to fund social programs at home, and a massive foreign aid budget. The foreign aid budget goes to support countries like India, who by the way, have a large and well equipped military complete with carriers and nuclear powered attack submarines. In effect we subsidize the India military at the expense of our own. (it they didn’t receive foreign aid they would have to divert the money from other places, like defence).
        The solution to the defence budget is obvious to everyone, cut the foreign aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 0.4% and you get roughly a 15% increase in defence spending, or roughly 5 billion pounds a year.

        • The Aid by UK to Government of India/its agencies stopped wayback in 2014. What UK does now is, it sends aid to NGOs it deems fit/ or to United Nations Programs. And that’s why Armed Forces of India isn’t dependent a bit on the peanuts of UK Aid. And aid you are talking about is less than what we give as aid to Afghanistan. Better keep that aid to yourself and buy a couple of more Typhoons. As your Tranche1 aircrafts will soon go and so will around 60 Tornadoes by 2019 without any replacement.

          And by the way it’s Pakistan where most of your aid goes.
          https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/uk-foreign-aid-budget_uk_57d953afe4b00f741735477f

        • Graham, if the foreign aid budget is cut, rest assured it won’t go on Defence! NHS and Education are ahead of it in the queue

      • We can still afford to give £14 billion away every single year in foreign aid though, right? That has to be cut.

        • Not really, with a deficit of approx £50bn it means we actually borrow the £14bn to give away. We can’t afford it at all but there are good humanitarian and ‘soft power’ reasons to keep a foreign aid budget, albeit at a lower figure IMO.

      • “The UK will come to recognise this and soon I believe. Defence yes, but with resources better suited to an island in western Europe.”

        These ships would have cost around 10 per cent of a single years foreign aid budget. If this just ‘an island in western Europe’ – and to be fair, without it there would be no western Europe in any sense we understand today – how comes all this free money to hand out? If you are as old as you say, like me you will have read every few years for the past eight decades that this country is finished, done for, feeble, etc. You ought to be used to it by now TH. Hardened in fact.

  14. Would love to know just how far away from the £250 million per hull the “compliant” bids actually were. Are we talking about a little negotiating room, or a complete “no go”?

  15. Oh and in other news the armed forces are getting a payrise at long last but guess what? It has to come out of the existing budget-no new cash and that is for every department. So even further stretched budgets excellent!!! Cheers Teresa

    • 2% across the board
      0.9% of your annual salary as a “one off payment” sometime in the financial year.
      Engineers to get “Tiff Pay” back. So as an engineer you will get up to 6.5 GBP a day (non pensionable but taxable) in recognition of being an engineer.
      Other measures in the pipeline to improve engineering retention.

      All most makes me want to rejoin…NOT!

  16. £250 million not workable for a viable UK built frigate, £450 million would have given a Venator 110 with a decent weapon and sensor fit.

    Optimistically Type 26 frigate is now the export model, so maybe more T26s?

    Realistically it’s 8 T26s and 5 additional Rivers.

    Pessimistic 6 T26s and that’s that

    • I don’t see how the T26 is an export model for the NSS. An export design with some benefit to UK suppliers yes, but we will not be making them here for any one else. Any country that can afford them will want them to be built locally. We either accept that and go for a lower spec frigate at a more realistic price point, or we change course with the NSS and make it about builds for the RN alone, then sell the hulls when they are 20 to 25 years old when a new one comes off the line. That would actually be a strategy, unlike what we are seeing now.

    • (Chris H) – Yes more funding from the UK Government to the incapable SNP Government but this time through the back door. So we now have excessively generous Barnett, £15 Bn annual deficits, Income Tax refunds and major defence investment.

      And still Nicola screeches betrayal …

  17. So how about adding another two T 26’s to the build and ordering another “beefed up” River ” type Well were at it we could look at a longer term T 26 AA follow on? None of this is ideal but if the briefing notes on M D P are correct most of the Royal Navy’s time is going to be spent on low end tasks. an extra build might also convince Canada to join the programme.

    • Another 2 Type 26 would increase ASW capability properly. Can’t make a sows ear Arrowhead into a Type 26 ASW silk purse. And I seem to vaguely remember BAE did do a concept design of a River with a hanger. Build 3 of these and call them River batch 3 and its job done. Only problem is a Type 31 is needed to feed the national shipbuilding strategy and work for English yards.
      BMT Venator is the answer. Babcock screwed up by choosing Arrowhead. They need to get its cost down to what we can afford or MOD just have to stump up the extra money. Surely Venator with a 57mm or 76mm and River 2 radar and systems can come close to the £250m.

  18. With the T26 becoming quite succesful, our own order should simply be increased to bring us on par with requirement. The Type 31 is unnecessary.

  19. Arrowhead 140 looked to be the perfect fit. Surely we can find an additional £750 million-£1 billion to build and fit out five ships? If not it’s time to give up.

    Not disagreeing with the comments above re the original tender, but with the chance to offer these to other countries and recoup the loss…

    Such a shame.

  20. If we do not build the Type 31 then how many Type 26’s are we expecting to export? So far, we aren’t building and exporting any. The Type 26 is too big for most navies around the world and the Type 31 would be ideal to build in the UK and export to other countries and create jobs in the UK.

  21. I think with hindsight we have to see the T31 tender process as a classic Sir Humphrey deflection exercise. The objective was to cut the T26 order from 13 to 8. Job done.

  22. The reality is the T31 program should never have been stated. The T26 was unnecessarily delayed as the MOD dithered over fleet mix and cost. When it should have started building for the RN and aggressively pitching the design overseas. Instead of trying to reduce the price of T26 by ordering more and having the development cost spread over more units with shorter construction times, the MOD chose to decrease the order and thereby increase costs while also slowing the construction time another price increase. Despite BAE even saying repeatedly that if there were was a more firm order schedule the T26 would both cost less and be easier to market abroad.
    While doing this the MOD started a whole new Frigate program ostensibly to save money. Which seems more likely to result in having been a waste of everyone’s time and money.
    Again they should have just doubled down on committing to the T26.

    • (Chris H) Elliott – We rarely agree but on this Sir I am right with you. Countries that are in the ASW Frigate game want the best and to build it at home. I have never believed this ‘export’ idea. I think the US Navy missed a trick not allowing BAE to tender the Type 26 (suitably tailored) but that is their right but illustrates that point. Australia the same. Canada similarly. And if say the Kiwis want a cheap Frigate the Italians will oblige and we can’t compete. Simple as.

      The only light I see at the end of this self made tunnel is a wider Type 26 production run with Cammell Laird building a lower spec or AEW version and the 3 x FSS ships being built here at Babcocks.

      Hopefully Type 31 is now dead ….

  23. Couple of thoughts. Maybe type 31 cancelled or suspended because the RN and MOD want a more capable ship. Like a type 26.
    Maybe the Aussies and hopefully Canadians buying type 26 hills is going to reduce unit costs down to 800-900 million so we can get a few more type 26s with a small uptick in defence expenditure.
    Remember if BREXIT negotiations go badly and there is no dea the government have already said there will be a withholding of the frankly ludicrous £40 billion divorce bill.
    That should help..
    Hopefully the MOD are going to go for 4-5 more type 26s or the type 31 emerges again with a realistic £400-500 million price tag for a full equipped and armed arrowhead or Leander MK2 design capable of meeting a warships requirements.
    I would be more positive and ignore TH and his cronies. They only want negative things to happen to the UK. Much like his boss in the basement of the Kremlin. Fecking idiot.

  24. How does this bode for the two, and possibly one more, solid support Ships for the RFA?
    On a side note the Red Funnel IOW ferries have just launched a new ferry built in the East Cowes. Their CEO was on tv saying he has loads new orders in from around the world as he said the the Far East shipyards are no longer the cheaper option due to increasing labour costs! The company was Wight Shipyard. Now I’m certainly not saying they can build for the MoD but it was pleasing to hear a success story for our shipyards all be it a small one!

  25. Interesting, perhaps its worth parsing what appears to have been stated?

    So the words from MoD quoted by Save the RN were “insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition”. This could mean no bids at or below £250M or perhaps only one bid out of two or more tenders, or perhaps only two tenders when they wanted three or more. It also suggests MoD wants an iterative competition/negotiation to maximize value. One bid below £250M might meet the target price but not deliver particularly attractive value in for example the weapons and sensors fit and provide no competition opportunity to try to improve that.

    Some comments suggest £250M as always having been unrealistic but is it? It might be pushing the envelope a bit but isn’t that what MoD should be doing to get best value, especially when budgets are constrained?

    Consider the Khareef corvette https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khareef-class_corvette , the basis of the BAES bid. Supposedly a decade ago three of these cost £400M inc training so ~£130M each or $260M at $2:£1 in 2007/8 before the recession, when the contract was probably agreed. Today £250M is ~$340M at $1.35:£1. So in UK pounds an extra £120M, in US dollars a far more modest $80M. Where the real cost delta lies for Type 31e depends on inflation, the mix of domestic labour and materials costs versus foreign materials sourced costs and of course the additional costs of stretching the design. All that said £250M for a light frigate doesn’t seem that unreachable given the reasonable arms and sensors fit on the Khareefs.

    Similarly on roughly the same time span as the Khareefs, the bare bones Iver Huitfeldt came in at a remarkably similar $320M which seems to have also included the Thales Smart-L and APAR radars. Of course there are mitigating cost factors such as use of East European shipyards as well as taking into account the additional cost of reused equipment not included in the $320M.

    So MoD and RN now know what industry is prepared to quote, at least on a first pass. They can show the rest of Government and especially Treasury what industry is and is not prepared to support. Now MoD and Govt. will determine how to modify the RFI if at all and/or how much to increase the price cap, or otherwise juggle the variables including overall budget to get the five ships.

    I don’t really see a disaster here given this is early steps in establishing a competitive shipbuilding industry to serve RN needs … but then the Glass is always Half Full 🙂

  26. Must admit I am very disappointed in this turn of events.

    I think we can get 8 Visby class vessels for £1.5bn and perhaps we need to set our sites at a corvette and be done with it.

    I really cannot believe this situation has been allowed to develop, and I do blame the MOD for this, it must employ some type of cost consultant / procurement professionals who create a cost model and clearly these people have failed.

    As for BAE and Babcock, if they have submitted tenders that do not meet the £250m price ceiling then again I think they need to take a long look at themselves and perhaps even be barred from future tenders (oh but we cant as there are no alternatives).

    And therein lies the problem..

    • Janes doesn’t say there were no compliant bids, there was insufficient. To go to a design competition (next phase) you need 2 bids.

      Doesn’t mention they were over priced, could be one does not meet other aspects of the RFI like design ownership.

      • Yep. I suspect the Arrowhead bid had the fatal flaw that the hull design was not UK intellectual property. Bit infra dig the RN sailing foreign designed warships, and contrary to stated policy that complex warships are to be designed ( and built) in the UK. I think the MOD ‘plan’ was that Babcock would bid the BMT Venator design in competition with the Leander proposal from CL/BAE. Maybe Venator was too good and couldn’t be built for the price.

  27. The small number of ships in the bid plus the uncertain export prospects should also be considered. One possible way forward would be to increase the Type 26 order. Then there is the problem of recruitment. None of this is easy as it seems.

  28. Strip everything extraneous to being a patrol warship. No spaces for 30-60 troops and other would-be -nice-to have stuff. Sensors, weapons, communications, crew. Hangar for Wildcat, deck for larger copter. Contract for 6 ships.

    • Janes doesn’t say there were no compliant bids, there was insufficient. To go to a design competition (next phase) you need 2 bids.

  29. The only way the Tempest will fly is if somebody prints out the design and makes a paper plane from it.

  30. I wonder whether this freeze is in anticipation of whatever new grand plan is due to be announced when the DMP is finally released. I also wonder whether, with Brexit negotiations at such an uncertain stage, if as much as possible will be frozen/delayed until some sort of clarity is available about what sort of deal, if any, will be negotiated. With defence spending set as a percentage of GDP and tending to need to commit to 10 year or longer spending plans some projection for GDP growth needs to be baked into the costings. Right now with everything from a softish Brexit to a no-deal disorderly crashout still seeming to be equally likely outcomes the uncertainty around planning must be extreme. I’m not sure I would want to commit to any sort of realistically costed DMP at this point. I really can see why the government might want to put as much as it can into limbo right now and delay significant decisions until next year.

  31. Very sad to read this.

    My hope is that there really will be a redesign. Reduce the specs to meet the price, maybe we get a corvette instead.

  32. There is much to commend the building of 5 more stripped down T26 Hulls. Surely there would be a big economy of scale in spreading the T26 setup costs plus the advantages of commonality? With the current workload in Scotland perhaps some of the work could be spread elsewhere o speed up the delivery programme

  33. The other option would be to refurbish the 5 newest T23’s and extend their service life until final decisions are made? The last 3 built are less than 20 years old

  34. Nothing will happen until the MDR is finalised and the budget is set in the autumn statement. Maybe with the emphasis on ASW the escort mix will be changed. None of us really know, whether t31 specifications will stay unchanged or because of its export success there will be more t26s. BAE evidently offered 9 T26s for the price if 8 if the government would commit to all 8 now

  35. Sounds as if the only viable bid was from Babcock’s Team 31. The Irish Naval Service went to Babcock for their OPV’s because they can and have built them within budget, on time and no build quality problems.
    Unlike BAE who are overpriced and always late and of questionable qualith, as in the case of the Type 45’s underrated generators which are having to be replaced at great expense and in the case of HMS Forth full of build defficiencies and safe to sail.
    The sooner the BAE monopoly is broken the better for the sake of the Royal Navy and the defence budget. One wonders if BAE’s considerable influence in MoD has been at work again.

      • But they could be a viable warship. More money needed of course, for sensors and weapons, and larger crew. Would be sufficient for low-threat patrols in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and near the UK. Not ideal, but workable.

    • (Chris H) Tony Merrill – If BAE’s ‘considerable influence with the MoD’ had been at work then Cammell Laird would have been announced as winners. They were BAE’s partners.

      And with respect please stop peddling this rather worn out old chestnut about Type 45 engines. The failures are nothing to do with BAE. they are due to a faulty specification in the Intercoolers supplied by Northrup Grumman to Rolls Royce for their gas turbines fitted to Type 45. And even then the fault is that rather than ‘controlled degradation’ of just the gas turbine they have ‘catastrophic degradation’ that shuts down all turbine and diesel power. Havinbg said that no Type 45 has failed to complete an operation because of this known and controllable design fault.

  36. i think the MOD is waiting for the autumn budget where they are hoping for an increase in the defence budget to 3% they will then greenlight the project. there’s lots of cash being handed out everywhere else at the moment, they just want to make sure they aren’t writing a cheque they cant cash i suspect

    • Really? There will no increase in the defence budget.

      In fact it’s even worse, the very welcome increase in military personnel remuneration will be funded from existing budget.

      So less to spend on equipment procurement.

      • Mike Saul you are almost def right. But the reason is that no-one in Govt outside MoD or Services thinks they are serious about reform. They want to keep on working in the same old way making the same old ‘flip’ ups. Are they wrong ?

  37. The Times 2572018

    The MoD said that the competition would be restarted soon but sources said that the delay would probably be at least a year, undermining a plan to deliver the first of the new ships by 2023.

    Defence experts agreed. “It is cloud-cuckoo-land,” Admiral Lord West of Spithead, a former head of the Royal Navy, said. Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, said: “It’s impossible.”

    Paul Beaver, a defence analyst, said: “It has taken three years to get to a point where they appear to need to start again. This is not smart procurement.”

    Aside from the question of funding, it is understood that officials at Defence Equipment and Support were starting to realise that a cheap warship without the array of expensive radars, sensors and weapons would struggle to operate in submarine-infested waters.

    A spokeswoman for the MoD said: “This is an early contract in a wider procurement process and we will incorporate the lessons learnt and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.”

    • Lord West is a Labour Party mouthpiece Mike. Anything he has to say is therefore undermined by party political bias I’m afraid.

      • Lord West has a point of view which I rarely agree with, that’s why I balanced his comments with those from the MOD and a defence analyst.

        Whatever you think, this is another MOD procurement mess of its own making.

        • I just pointed out that Lord West is now a party political mouthpiece Mike. Anything else that you read into my comment is just in your own head.

    • “Wider procurement process”? Maybe the MOD are thinking how to combine Type 31 procurement with the BAE- Babcock joint proposal / bid for the FSS ships. If so this could be good news for the NSBS and for everyone in fact.

  38. The cynic in me says this and the closure of Scampton announced yesterday, were to find quick cash for the 2% pay rise (+0.9% bonus this year).

  39. Guys I get really depressed when every subject gets turned into an opportunity to do some Brexit or EU bashing. I wish we could remain on subject. Anyway, it doesn’t please me to say it, but whether you voted leave or remain, by the government’s own calculations, GDP will shrink over the next few years even under the most positive of Brexit outcomes, before picking up again. So, 2% of a smaller GDP over the foreseeable future does not bode well, particularly when the government will be under huge pressure to prop up farmers, fisheries, depressed regions, not to mention the NHS, and all our dollar and euro indexed procurement has just gone up. The government will have to find additional money for their pledges on the NHS, public sector pay and ramping up preparations for leaving the EU. We are where we are. Thoughts of additional budget for defence right now are fantasy, I’m afraid

    • Being in or out of the EU will have very little impact on our medium to long term economic performance.

      All the so called economic analysis assumes all the negative aspects of not being a member of the and none of the benefits.

      When we leave the EU there will be an economic impact the UK will have to adapt to the new environment to maximize the benefits of leaving and minimise the threats.

    • (Chris H) Sceptical Richard – Without wishing to be dragged again into the Brexit debate I will just mention one factor which had been forgotten. While you list all the possible liabilities we will incur in leaving the EU next March you forgot the £39 Bn we will not be paying if there is ‘No deal’ plus the £13 Bn every year we pay to the EU.

      Its only right that when you list a Debit side as you did you also list a Credit side. Which by the time of the next election in 2022 will be worth £39 + (3 x £13) = £78 Bn. That is some contingency ….

      • About £4.5bn of our net contributions are spent in the UK on farming, infrastructure etc. I assume we need to continue to support those areas so the contingency, as you say, is £13.5bn less over the 3 years to 2022. Still a sizeable amount mind.

        As a remain supporter I am fed up of the whole thing, just get on with it already.

        There enough Brexit talk.

  40. Were there really no compliant bids or is the real reason Treasury / MOD does not want to commit funds in the current Brexit uncertainty? And if there really were no compliant bids does not that mean that BAE were right all along in not bidding; it can’t be done for £250m?

  41. Another possibility is that the MoD has just started detailed negotiations with BAE to draft contract amendments and set pricing on an increased T26 build now that the RAN bid is won, something which hopefully changes some of the calculations on BAEs side. Those negotiations might also be waiting to see what happens with the RCN bid. If using the RAN win and hopefully fairly soon an RCN win to renegotiate price on a bigger RN T26 order is being actively explored it would frankly be madness to not put the T31e project on hold until the outcome and pricing on T26 was determined. I would also think that, with Arrowhead 140 looking a very strong contender in the T31e race it would be very much in BAE’s interest to successfully negotiate a bigger T26 deal in order to try to either kill T31e completely or at least starve it of most of its funds so that it ends up only funding another few extra OPVs rather than awarding a £1.25bn contract to competitors.

    You never know. Something good might yet come of all this.

  42. I hope I am wrong but given an inevitable post Brexit dip in the economy, there is the real possibility now that the future RN surface fleet of 13 ‘frigates’ could end up being 8 Type 26 and 5 River 2’s. With the R1’s being retained for fisheries.

    • If we assume 3 ships are needed to cover one task l i.e. one on duty, the second working up the third in refit then as a bare minimum the T26 order should be increased to 9. That will give an “at sea” service of 2xT45 and 3xT26. That’s enough to cover a Carrier group and/or an Albion based assault group.

      That would leave the B2 Rivers + Clyde for patrol duties and as you suggest retaining the B1. To be credible I do believe that the B2 will be needed to be enhanced with 57mm Bofors gun, Artisan and Sea Ceptor, Camcopter etc., then not that far behind a T31 in capability?

      • Another poster (I can’t quickly spot who) says BAE have offered the MOD 9 Type 26 for the price of 8 if they will commit to 8 now. Would help with ASW capability. So you might be on to something. A River 2 plus a 57mm and a camcopter or would come close to core Type 31 spec; a patrol frigate good enough for constabulary duties and humanitarian work. For the idea to work we would need containerised CAMM and AShM?

  43. Just to remind everyone this was the plan back in the early 2000s.

    Future Surface Combatant program.

    The C1 was to be an anti-submarine warfare task group enabled platform and would displace around 6,000 tonnes. C2 was to be a more general purpose platform displacing somewhere in the region of 4-5,000 tonnes, and C3 was to be a Global Corvette to replace a larger number of smaller vessels in service, such as minesweepers, patrol and survey ships. The Global Corvette was to displace around 2-3,000 tonnes.

    To me that was the correct way forward and still is.

    • A useful reminder but in that context I wonder, if HMG does put defence budgets under increased pressure by not funding any increases and needing to fix some black holes, whether C2 will get squeezed out entirely in favour of a C1/C3 plan with current T31e (C2) budget either disappearing completely to fill some existing funding black holes or going to boost C1 and/or C3 numbers. Either way, I think the likelihood of frigate numbers dropping below the current 13 has increased significantly after this announcement.

      • Julian I have little confidence in the UK MOD to not only deliver a defence industrial solution that satisfies RN and global export markets.

        I thought we wanted to be a player in global.markets after 40 years of failure.

  44. The government will need all the resources it has to stockpile food and medicines. Ships are at the back of the queue in the face of Brexit madness.

        • Stockpiling food and drugs, whilst it may prudent to stockpile certain items in the event of some short term disruption it is untrue there will be large scale stockpiling of food and drugs.

          It’s just a scare story.

    • Ever heard of buying British?

      And I was not aware that food and medicine were short in the shops pre 1973.

      You are talking total cobblers.

      • Yes but those shops in 1973 were not part of a highly integrated Just in Sequence supply chain that spans 28 countries.

        Shops in 1973 also sold a fraction of the range that is available now and at a far greater percentage of the average wage.

        The automated Customs Declaration system for non-EU goods that is in the process of being replaced is only scaled to handle 55 million customs declarations per year. Drop out of the EU without an agreement and onto WTO rules and that increases to 255 million per year and that is a conservative estimate.

    • I believe only NEW medicines will be affected and need none European Medicines Agency (ie British) approval/licensing to be sold in the UK. The stuff already licensed has already been approved at the EMA and thus is already nationally ratified, it’s up to the drug company which route they take, national or EU agency licensing.

      • Well that is simple the drug companies will go via the EMA as it represents the far larger market. They might not even bother to go for UK approval and say ‘Take it or Leave it’.

        UK Gov has already admitted that they will have to sign off whatever the EMA decides….

        But hey it is all about sovereignty isn’t it

        • So the global medicine producers will simply not want to sell to the 5th largest economy in the world simply because we don’t have the EMA? The MHRA is the UK’s version and is currently in lockstep with the EMA (it has to be by EU law). I really can’t see much changing here except the removal of the option to go through the EMA, it’s simply submitting the drug/service etc to the MHRA in addition, as it would with any other non-EU country.

          • A regulatory submission for a new drug costs the Pharma companies big money, why bother with the UK one when they can use the EMA knowing full well the MHRA will just sign it off.

            Just because we are the 5th largest economy doesn’t change the fact that we are a far smaller market.

            One or two articles in the tabloids about how someone is being denied a new wonder drug because it has not been submitted to the MHRA and the Government Minister will be making statements in the House about making exceptions…

          • £42k for a “Device incorporating a new active substance”, this is the biggest single cost incurred in the process. I could go through the whole list here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mhra-fees/current-mhra-fees – but you get the gist.

            It’s hardly amounts that can’t be recovered over a very small time period. Possibly even days.

            It doesn’t change it no, but neither should it be discarded out of hand like it means nothing. It means a ready market, with high levels of demand and established distribution networks/processes that match those of another of your customers (in this case Europe).

    • (Chris H) Harold – when will you Remoaners just give up this incessant peddling of trigger phrases, misinformation and utter crap? project Fear Mk I failed and so will Mk II and Mk III. We had the vote, you lost so wear it. Some of us have belief, ambition and pride in our country. its why we are on here looking to give the best to our Defence even if we have different views because we want the UK to have and to be the best.

      You creeps seem to hate our country, feel the need to run it down to our neighbours and competitors and delight in finding every little scrap of negativity. You are sad sad people who probably have only ever known life under the EU and are a product of its creation. You like the EU because it despises the Nation State and seeks to build ‘ever closer political union’ towards a USSE. Well no thanks Pal – I see a better future…. Its not madness at all – Its called ambition, pride, sovereignty and self determination

      • I love my country which is why I am opposed to Brexit!

        As for ‘Project Fear’ funny how the only people who talk about it are Leave supporters usually after another dose of reality.

        “We had the vote, you lost so wear it.”

        No I don’t, we live in a democracy…take it away Ian Hislop:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyyOyoeqKfM

        “You like the EU because it despises the Nation State and seeks to build ‘ever closer political union’ towards a USSE.” –

        I love the EU because it allows me to Live, Travel and Work in 28 different countries. I love the EU because through our collective power it is a trade block that can stand up to large countries like the US and China.

        “Well no thanks Pal – I see a better future…. Its not madness at all – Its called ambition, pride, sovereignty and self determination” –

        Have fun with that fantasy, your tantrum over this is rather amusing to read nevertheless as all of your tantrums are.

        • You shouldn’t let your opinions get in the way of the truth and the facts.

          There advantages and disadvantages of being in a political union, many academics have written about this subject in detail.

          The economic consequences of being in a political union are at best marginal. Free trade is the economic driver of prosperity not politics.

          Would Greece have better or worse off by not being in the EU for example? It may work well for Germany but not for others.

          Up for reasonable debate but forget the theatrics and wild forecasts.

          • I totally agree, the evidence as far as I am concerned shows the benefits of membership of the EU vastly outweigh any negatives.

            Greece should never have been allowed into the Euro without reform of their economy and tax system. Done is done now and in the last two years the painful economic reforms have started to bear fruit with good growth in their economy.

          • As I said there are benefits and disadvantages of a political union.

            We had the debate in 2016 the people voted to leave let’s get on with in and build a future outside the EU.

        • (Chris H) fedaykin – You choose a fiercely Left Wing comedian publisher of Private Eye on the pro Remain BBC and pro EU Questiontime as some sort of closing argument for your actions? Really? he got the description of you lot right in his first sentence.

          Given those who are peddling the fear factor would never refer to it as such means by definition it is only those against whom it is targeted who call it how it is. Not too surprising really. So your point was exactly?

          It does not of itself make it untrue. You call it ‘reality’ and I recognise it for what it is – ‘Best Guess’, ‘Forecast’, ‘Licked Finger in the Wind’ or just an ‘Opinion’. Absolutely NONE of all the grim warnings forecasts and outlooks from Remain have come true. Not one. Indeed the country has gone from strength to strength regardless. But you guys never give up and never actually do what you demand we do – and face reality. Respect the decision of the British electorate. What makes you people so damn special? Tell you what lets have a best of 3? Or make it a Test series and have the best of 5. You would still lose because people do not like being challenged having made a decision

          And by ‘wear it’ I was writing in the context of the nonsense peddled in that earlier post. But maybe I should have said ‘accept it’ Just like we Leavers have had to without being asked if we were happy joining the EU 20+ years ago in the first place. As a Democrat please defend that and given that timeframe what gives you the right to overturn a democratic decision in less than 2 years and before it has been enacted? You are acting like the EU – Keep asking the question until you get the answer you want. This ‘Stop Brexit’ is fundamentally undemocratic. What you are doing is playing the EU’s game for them and acting as their little soldiers creating unnecessary confusion and uncertainty to give the EU an advantage., That frankly stinks to me. Or to use my earlier expression when you blatantly misrepresented me -‘unacceptable’. And yes I do have the right to say what is acceptable to me. I never suggested I spoke for the website as you later inferred.

          You say you have pride in your country and yet seek to undermine its democracy and damage it during crucial negotiations. Forgive me but I smell the stench of hypocrisy.

        • (Chris H) fedaykin – Quote:
          “I love the EU because it allows me to Live, Travel and Work in 28 different countries.”

          I didn’t need any ‘EU’ when I worked in Germany aged 18 in 1965 did I? What is it about you EU adoring people? You think no one travels and works anywhere outside the EU? Well SURPRISE! I also worked in South Africa and the USA. And they aren’t in the EU ….

          Typical fantasy land comment from a Remoaner…

        • (Chris H) – fedaykin – Quote:
          ““Well no thanks Pal – I see a better future…. Its not madness at all – Its called ambition, pride, sovereignty and self determination” –

          Have fun with that fantasy, your tantrum over this is rather amusing to read nevertheless as all of your tantrums are.”

          You sanctimonious self righteous cretin. I state my feelings towards my country and my positive view about the future and you denigrate it as ‘a fantasy’ and ‘a ‘tantrum’? And then add to the pathetic dumb insult by saying all my comments are ‘tantrums’? But then so typical of the superior attitude we have had to endure from EU loving Remoaners.

          With respect go shove your sanctimonious abuse. Of course you will have to take your head out first ……. I am done here …

          • It is actually possible to take pride in your country and be a constructiive member of a community, family or team whose overall effectiveness is greater than the sum of its parts. They are not mutually exclusivd which I think is what your argument suggests. In fact the principle of sacrificing your individual ego for the common good is the basis of military discipline. As to nafional identity membership of the EU doesn’t seem to have harmed the performance of the excelllent French, German, Italian, Spanish or Belgian football teams, or their pride in their country.

  45. I don’t understand how the builders of the type 31 don’t understand that by only building to 100%military spec they could bring costs under $250 million per ship they should build part civilian especially the engine room instead of VLS use bolt on missile systems like the SIMBAD SYSTEM

  46. It would interest to know why its failed.

    Quoting Janes

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been forced to rethink the acquisition strategy for its Type 31e general-purpose frigate programme after abruptly terminating the original acquisition process, citing insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition.

    To have a competition you need 2 bids so we have insufficient bids less than 2, so one maybe compliant and the other below spec or overpriced? or not meeting another requirement The next step was to hand out competitive design contracts not order for 5 ships so 2 bids needed for this phase.

    Compliance may also be clauses like the design ownership, so Babcocks does not comply as there not enough transfer of rights or UK prosperity benefits, Cammell Liard single yard bid may not comply. There are more factors than cost and specs as this program has to offer UK ship building a future and the tender is designed to do this

    Bullets directly from the RFI

    Cost – Remaining within the £250M Firm Price; 
    Capability – Achieving the Minimum Capability Threshold; 
    Cost of Ownership – Achieving cost-effective support, operations and minimising whole life costs; Exports – Maximising the export potential for the UK; 
    UK Prosperity – Maximising the UK Prosperity Agenda as introduced in SDSR 2015; 
    Adaptability – Maximising opportunities for future capability insertion and export potential;  Sovereignty – Ensuring Freedom of Action and Assured Capability through life; 
    Deliverability – Provide confidence that the proposed solution can meet the challenging programme Timescales; 
    Military/Civilian Standards for Quality and Safety – Achieving a pragmatic balance between Military and Civilian standards.

    Easy to jump to conclusions that its cost and spec but could be neither.

  47. If hopefully if it is a brief pause fingers crossed the project won’t be affected according to mod the maingate investment decision was scheduled for 31st March 2019. So now with fingers and toes crossed everything will go ahead and the money is there. On the bidders the only thing I can think of is Babcock overly dependent upon OMT and therefore on matters of national security maybe not enough overall uk ownership? Bae maybe failed to meet the spec with in my opinion a very basic design – maybe they didn’t bid out of shame! Plus they probably costed Leander out at about £500 million per ship! Therefore maybe there weren’t 2 eligible bids?

  48. Babcock have screwed up by bidding the foreign Arrowhead design instead of the UK Venator design they were supposd to bid.

  49. a lot have assumed there are only 2 bidders as per the article but that was the only 2 they knew about. it collapsed because not enough compliant bids where 1 compliant bidder who can meet their budget isn’t enough for a competition, and that doesn’t mean its BAE or Babcock!!!

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