The Defence Command Paper released today, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, confirms that the UK will develop a new destroyer type, the Type 83.

The white paper states:

“The concept and assessment phase for our new Type 83 destroyer which will begin to
replace our Type 45 destroyers in the late 2030s.”

What might the Type 83 Destroyer look like?

The Type 45 Destroyer replacement is just an early concept at this stage but a variant of the Type 26 Frigate has been officially being considered for the job.

Last year the UK Defence Journal spoke to Paul Sweeney, former MP for Glasgow North East and former shipbuilder and we were told that consideration is already being given to the development of an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the Type 26, a variant that could function as a future replacement for the Type 45 Destroyer fleet – the programme now referred to as Type 83.

HMS Daring, the first Type 45 Destroyer, was launched in 2006.

For a little bit of context, Paul Sweeney is a Scottish politician and was the Member of Parliament for Glasgow North East until the last election. More importantly for the purposes of a discussion on shipbuilding, he was formerly employed by BAE in Glasgow. Paul has worked with the APPG for Shipbuilding which published the results of inquiry into the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, taking evidence from a range of maritime security stakeholders and industry.

It is understood that the Ministry of Defence have an aspiration is to achieve continuous shipbuilding with the Type 26 programme in Glasgow beyond the current planned number of eight vessels.

Sweeney told me after attending the steel cutting ceremony for the future HMS Cardiff:

“It is clear that we now have a unique opportunity to create a truly international naval shipbuilding alliance with Canada and Australia with Type 26 (both countries have purchased the design) – and consideration is already being given to the development of an Anti-Air Warfare variant of the Type 26 as an eventual replacement for Type 45 – known currently as T4X.

The aspiration is to achieve continuous shipbuilding with the Type 26 programme in Glasgow beyond the current planned number of eight vessels.”

We’ll publish more about the Type 83 as it becomes available.

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Supportive Bloke

So this is the spiritual successor to HMS Bristol (T82) then!

There were supposed to have been 4 x T82 to go with the CVA01 project.

Maybe this is supposed to indicate that they will be very big ships – Bristol was very large for its day.

Meirion X

I hope it has a much tider forward hull then the T82, put all these domes higher up, and a broad beem?

Supportive Bloke


Bristol was an anachronism. Not the elegance of the Counties but was the test bed for so much new tech – Dart, Olympus GT – even if amazingly mixed GT with steam boilers.

I’d love to see her before she is scrapped although I suspect that all the interesting innards have long since been stripped out.


The T26 seems to match the T82 for tonnage, so could be considered similar- although most other types have been significantly larger than their predecessors.
I did read once that the T26 is a deck shorter than a T45 though (even if length and beam are quite close), meaning that it may not be quite such a good fit for an AAD platform where radar horizon is a big deal. I’m not sure how true that is though.


Nothing really new here except the name. Early concept studies to replace the T45’s with a T26 variant have been ongoing for a while.

I guess the choice of 83 might hint at the aspiration for a more multirole platform with a focus on anti-air warfare rather than something overwhelmingly specialised.


“Early concept studies to replace the T45’s with a T26 variant have been ongoing for a while”

No they haven’t. Amateur photo shopping doesn’t count!

Levi Goldsteinberg

They have, under the name T4X


Because that’s not how it works. The MoD first looks at requirements and concepts for a few years before they even peek at possible platforms. The paper published yesterday confirms this.

I expect the people that you’ve heard from are Bae. They, of course, will probably have looked at further applications of the Type 26 but they’re not RN are they?


Politicians don’t count either 🙂


Or maybe you’ve been hearing about the T26 Batch II. I understand there will be some significant design changes that may very well include a more robust AA element. But not up to T45 levels.


No, it’s been mentioned by a number of different sources over the last couple of years that early concept studies under the T4X label were under way with the T26 design being looked at (among i’m sure other possibilities) to see if it can form the basis of a T45 replacement.


Speculation by the great unwashed.

You could probably find as many, if not more ,sources that the next destroyer will have phaser cannon and photon torpedoes.

Supportive Bloke

T82 was a specialised AAW platform?

T82’s whole purpose was to provide AAW cover for the CVA01 project.


It wasn’t just an AAW platform though. Bristol had the Ikara ASW missile and the Limbo mortar, she was as multipurpose as they came back then

Matt C

T82’s whole purpose was to provide BOTH ASW and AA cover for CVA01.


No, T82s had a secondary role envisaged as being able to operate independently as a light cruiser in the Mediterranean sea. Why when you clearly do not know, do you post with such certainty?

Matt C

Well I guess that’s me and DK Brown told then, we’re both just numptys eh?


Have you been published? No, show me where DK Brown states the T82 sole role was only AA and ASW cover for CVA01, you can’t – because he didn’t. It’s documented widely that had the original 8 been built then they would have been expected to take on additional roles. My issue is you (and lots of others) post as if you are the authority on subject, when clearly you are not as well informed as you think.

Are you denying that T82 would also have been used independently in the Med and east of Suez?


I think we can at least agree that T82 was envisioned to primarily be a AA & ASW escort for CVA01 – whatever other roles that may have been touted at one time or another – hence why only Bristol was completed to act as the test bed for Sea Dart and other systems to lead into the smaller/cheaper T42’s once CVA01 was canned.

T42 actually had a degree of multi-role capability with torpedo tubes and a bow sonar, but T45 is clearly AAW focused.

Matt C

“Originally intended as an escort for the new carriers, she had no role when CVA-01 was cancelled” “Four of these ships were planned as escorts for the new carriers. They were intended to provide protection against surface ships, submarines and aircraft. They could operate as pickets or as Local Air Defence Control Ship, while the 4.5in gun gave them a considerable capability for shore bombardment” “as they would be operating with the carrier they did not need to carry a helicopter” (Brown, 2003) “ T82 would also have been used independently in the Med and east of Suez?” As they say,… Read more »

Matt C

I think you mean page 13, and that is in context of the follow-up cruiser class post-cancellation of CVA. T82 had always been positioned as a task force escort until then.

John Hartley

Well lets hope we get 8 of them, they have engines that work, have a full weapons fit & don’t skimp on CEC.


Lasersssss !!

Richard B

The “Type 83” designation is certainly interesting. Possibly it indicates that they will be bigger than the T26, rather than based on the same hull. Or is a hull stretch (aka later T22’s and T42’s) feasible? Add 20 m and they would be longer than HMS Bristol and many WW2 cruisers.


No, a Type 26 stretch is not possible because it’s at its L/D limit.

The Type 83 designation implies that the ship will be multipurpose, not just AAW. It means nothing regarding size.

Rob N

They just may commission a new ship design. This may be a better solution. A clean slate.

What ever they go for it has to carry more missiles. Be ABM capable and have energy weapons.


Agree 100%. Also keeps ship design skills alive. Costs a lot if they’re left to atrophy.

Meirion X

Just stretching a hull, does Not allow a ship to take more top weight. The beem needs to be broaden as well. Put lots of superstructure on a long narrow boat, it will topple over!


A major oversimplification.

Meirion X

Not really! Just a bit!
Oil tankers don’t have that problem, with most of the weight in the hull, with not much superstructure, apart from the bridge.

Last edited 12 days ago by Meirion X
James Fennell

8X number suggests multi-role, not just AAW. The Type 82s were designed to escort the cancelled CV-01 and had both ASW and AAW capability.


Now we’re talking! A class of 5 ‘Light Cruiser’ that are highly capable below, on and above the surface. A kind of ship that could rock up on a trouble spot and make everyone else realise it wouldn’t be worth it!


The multimission Bay at the back of the T26 would make for a large missile silo for TLAM.


Would that not involve adding a huge amount of topweight, as well as require a rethink of everything aft of the funnel due to blast?

We know 32, perhaps 48 Mk41s will fit forward, but given the issues the Australians are apparently having with the weight of their radar setup, it doesn’t seem likely that the T26 hull can support both the firepower and radars necessary for a 2030s destroyer, or even just a destroyer today.

A better option would be to design a new hull that uses pretty much every major component from the T26 for commonality


I agree, by far the better option.


I believe BAE indicated to Australia that T26 could go to 64 missile cells. Australia uses mk41 & does not use CAAM. So you would assume mk41 or equivalent. What was not published was how & if this was a standard T26 or T4x (or T8x) version. 32 Mk41will fit at the bow (RAN & RCN). I don’t see how another 32 fit unless you forgo the mission bay for boat bays. Canada has already shown that 2 x 3 cell ExLS can fit next to the sat comms (24 CAAM – hot launch may effect sat comms). So I… Read more »


It’s certainly good that they planning this so early a good lesson for most other projects. This way if there is indeed opportunity to cooperate then Canada and Australia and others too potentially can have design input now and if it is indeed a T26 development then that would likely be very appealing to them. I suspect by 2040 their navies will be similar or potentially larger than our own if Pacific military developments continue re China/Russia so close liaison with them would allow all to have more and better vessels.

Sean Crowley

In Australia the T-26 was the ship chosen for contiguous build where it phases through generation with intent to literally having one always in the factory to stop the boom and bust involved with Naval ship building . What is a bit of a coincidence is they are here talking of replacing Hobarts in the future with a more specialized version of the T-26 to take construction up to 12 ships .


Great to start planning early, just hope subsequent governments dont cancel or totally change it a few years into the spending.


Aussies don’t do that crap. It’s a peculiar UK habit that each new government sees defense as a new toy to be played with and that old defense commitments are not to be honored.

John Fedup

Canadian governments as well so not particular to only the UK. Our cancellation of the EH101 back in 1992 is a good example and one that incurred a $500 million penalty picked up by Canadian taxpayers!


Britain is following the french defence format. Those Type 83 are quite the same as the French FREMM’s anti-air variant (except it will come 10 years later with maybe new capabilites). And even the army new organisation is almost the same as the french: 2 heavy brigades, almost 150 upgraded MBT, with Boxer is near to the french 2 armoured brigades with Leclerc/VBCI. The only difference is between the Ajax and the Jaguar. The only thing i don’t understand is the abandon of C130. They’re really useful in SF operations. 


I know the A400s are bigger but could they work as well for SF as the Hercs do.


In France there’s a program to arm C130 with air-to-ground missiles. The plane become capable of offering direct support fire for SF operators. For the moment, i don’t think there is the same possibility for A400M. And if you scrapp Hercs without gaining new A400M, well …

Paul T

The Two AAW FREMM are a modest upgrade on the ASW Version – the T83 wont be a modified version of either the Type 26 or Type 45.


Modest being the key word, as the FREMM AAW variant is inferior to the existing Horizon class frigates and was only taken up as a “better than nothing” option.

Probably reasonable to conclude that the Type 83 isn’t going to take a decade of development to produce an inferior stopgap design.


I know there is work going on a new radar, but what missile system is in even being proposed for development for this?

Paul T

Heres a Lighthearted take on what some other Navies are Planning in the Future –


The Buzz, really ? I hate that channel so much.

James Fennell

Here we go again – lets build more T 26. By the time these ships are laid down ship design will have moved on. No lets not build T26, let use our imaginations and the latest technology to build a ship for the role which is future proofed


Pretty obvious that if the T26 is a good ship, and with it’s size, you adapt it into the future air defence destroyer. Keeps the drum beat on the Clyde going and benefits from economies of scale as well as lessons learnt. I just wonder however if that will prove to be the case. T83 could become an air defence cruiser with large silos of air defence missiles and land attack missiles. We’d need 3. 1 for each carrier and a spare. I’d call them HMS Tiger, Lion & Blake. Then put any extra cash into building more T26 with… Read more »


Would be nice to see the word cruiser back in the RN and names like Tiger ,Lion and Blake used again .Who knows we may get Battle ships back ? but there again probably not ?


Always thought the RN was a bit silly operating AAW destroyers when it has so little money. Multi role GP destroyers, like the DDG-51s, are so much more useful. I think the Type 83 will be a very welcome addition to the navy. Pity it is such a long way off though.


Just a thought on the current Type 45s. The Command Paper stated upgrades will be made to the current 45s. Details are next to zero at this point I know but for those who know more than me, would this hint at only a Sampson upgrade (Sampson hasn’t received any upgrades to-date) or will we finally see the Mk41 VLS fitted? – or perhaps both?


Hi David, I read an article recently, possibly on here, where a recent statement from the 1SL indicated that the Sea Viper missiles would be upgrarded. Quote, “Sea Viper air defence missiles will be upgraded and their stockpiles increased.” The full statement can be found on the Royal Navy website, Royal Navy Future Integrated Review page. The discussion quickly moved to the SAMPSON radar and another poster highlighted that BAE have been working on a 3 panel version of SAMPSON with the 3rd panel being mounted on the top of the radar to cover vertical targets i.e. BM’s. They have… Read more »

Andrew Smith

Scotland again I see

Paul T

This looks impressive enough but with the Estimated Type 45 OSD the Type 83 will have to be half a Generation ahead Technology Wise comment image?auto=webp&s=f2c9f28b4c1b37e3f5bf9988febf8e6487c02c43

Anthony Robinson

The designers need to ensure at least one comms mast is as high as the radar to ensure there are no TDL blind arcs and coverage is the same as the radar. Otherwise problems with common tactical pictures will be experienced!

Last edited 12 days ago by Anthony Robinson

Next time could we have something that has a bit more of an “offensive” capability, rather than the defensive “let’s-give-everybody-some-target-practice-at-us” mentality that seems all pervasive in UK military thinking. i.e. Might make some potential foes think twice before starting anything. Yes a “light cruiser” would be good 🙂

Also what is wrong with a low-cost design option of taking say a T45 or a T26 hull, chopping in some new sections and going tri-hull design with lots of deck space for kit (respecting sea-keeping, fluid dynamics, and CofG design considerations obviously) and helping with survivability against incoming?

Mr Bell

So huge defence cuts announced then loads of stories of future programmes to offset and draw attention away from perilous state of nations defences. Brief reality vs pie in sky check 2 type 23s scrapped early after having been through a service life extension programme. Vs Pie in sky. RN will become strongest navy in Europe with type 32 frigates, new support ships. Type 83 destroyer. Land attack missiles for surface fleet etc etc. I will believe it all when I actually see it. F35B order reduced to “60 possibly upto 80 aircraft”. (FSL) instead of hoped for 138. 2… Read more »


Top summary. Nice. Another net reduction with no real commitment for future growth. Just waiting for the announcement that two Type 83s will replace the existing six Type 45s, then reduced to one Type 83 due to cost over runs. Ends up as a training ship. Rule Britannia.

David Bevan

I guess there must be significant advantages in building a new hull dedicated for an AA role. So maybe more space for silos and more power for new lasers. Also less of a requirement for sound suppression and possibly as a result cost savings since they’re not going to be dedicated ASW assets. If you’re designing a ship to swat 100’s of missiles or building a ship to sinks subs you’ll end up with a dissimilar design

John Fedup

A clean sheet design is the best solution. LM is closing one of its MK41 VLS production sites. The future hypersonic missiles under development have diameters beyond what the MK41 can accept. A replacement VLS will be larger so might as well design a ship around this requirement.


The big decision is going to be moving away from rotating Sampson to flat faced ASEA radars. The Australian set up perhaps?


They should start looking for partners. The Australians have already selected the Type 26. Maybe they would come onboard for the Type 83 as a Hobart replacement.