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Babcock have one major fault. Both Scotland and NI are growing ever closer to leaving the UK. Vessels would be then built by foreign and not UK companies.


No they are not, if anything Scotland is moving closer to staying. It is just their leader which cannot fathom the meaning of a referendum.

Ian Willis

Scotland is moving away slowly in terms of politics and culture. Near half the population don’t want to be part of the UK at all and most of the other half look to Hollyrood to represent them, not Westminister. There is a gathering appetite for more powers to be devolved and the Brexit wreck still hasn’t played out to it’s awful conclusion.

The rule Brittania crowd are mostly in England. The other nations are not too bothered with ‘punching above our weight’. The average Scot is only interested in the jobs involved in building ships, and they can build civilian ships just as easily as naval ones.


That “half of the population” figure is curiously growing smaller, despite the “Brexit wreck” (one would have thought that with such vociferous and vocal support for the Project, two-thirds of Scots would be keen to leave by now). Perhaps they are looking to Hollyrood, but they are not looking to the SNP – the last election made sure of that, and certainly with your attitude towards anything that does not suit your democratic proclivities (“awful conclusion”), one can scarcely blame them if that is the line that is trotted out in the daily news. Really man, get a grip of yourself and grow a pair, your current attitude is pathetic. If such a remote and complex architecture (the EU) really is the pinnacle of your adult life then really you need to get out more, if its loss is causing you this much personal agony.

And those other nations become studiously interested in that ‘punching’ when it comes to bidding for the associated weight-punch contracts (tanks, ships, planes and so on). Oh and certainly, no one here doubts the Scots’ ability to knock out a bunch of stellar ships, not at all. But _only_ HMG are willing to pay the price they’ll be charging. Without weight-punch Lizzie, the Scottish shipbuilding industry will fold. That much is certain. And when it does, it will move back to Portsmouth.


Frank, go and have a lie down in a dark room, remember your blood pressure. Ian is correct re Scotland and the political direction of travel, about that there is no doubt. Pathetic that if someone doesn’t correspond to your rather parochial and blinkered outlook on the world you question his masculinity.


The UK is now a settled state. Previously the Nationalists said Scotland was sold out by the Aristocracy.
No longer true. The People have spoken.


Despite its partnering with Cammell Laird for the T31 you could say the same about BAE since it closed its Portsmouth yard and concentrated everything on The Clyde. I’d be more concerned about the T26 being produced in Scotland if they became independent. At least with this the risk is minimal as work could shifted to the other sites (losing both Northern Ireland and Scotland in the next 15-20 years isn’t likely).


Don’t be so sure.


Aren’t those danish hulls built to commercial standards? Or was it just the Absalon?


Big is good.


So, if we double or even triple the price and seriously upgrade the design,we are still way cheaper than the type 26.Cancel the 31e and the 26,start building about 10years ago and we are roughly back to where we should be.
In the meantime we seem to have destroyed our ability to design warships and build a great deal of the equipment. Also billions of pounds have been wasted. This site is constantly begging for more money for the navy, it’s a hard sell for most of the population.

Will O

No, it really isn’t. ‘Most’ of us members of the population want to see a properly funded RN. ‘Most’ of us understand that if a Type 26 is intended to hunt subs or escort carriers, then doing things like reducing it’s acoustic signature, i.e. making it quiet, makes a great deal of sense, but may come at a cost. Better to plan properly & bear some financial cost, than for subsequent costs to be measured in lives.

What the public dislikes most is wastefulness, and excessive cuts are typically very wasteful over the longer term.

‘Most’ of us have been appalled, sickened, by all reckless cuts to the Navy, as well as to the other forces & to things like the Police.

Hao Li

If what MOD and RN really favor is a British-version Absalon (a large hull similar with type 26, good for RN), Arrowhead 140 could be a good choice. But choosing Arrowhead 140 suggests that a stripped (general purpose-version) type 26 is not a good choice really, at least means type 26 is a less effective and finance-friendly design, even unacceptable for RN. (Type 23’s way turns to 8 maybe the best but definitively super expensive type 26 + 5 cheap hulls) This may shadow type 26’s export on market further, even in the CSC and SEA 5000 bids. After all, potential buyers afford and need 6000+ tonnes warships like Canada and Australia are too few.

Hao Li

I think what is really needed is an effective, modulus and flexible design covering 2000~5000 tonnes like PPA, type 23-sized as type 31, 3000 tonnes~type 23 size for export as their first class ships, 2000 tonnes as patrol ships. For RN, 127 mm gun, 24~32 CAMM, 1+ CIWS, Artisan radar, at least hull sonar, BAE CMS, Merlin hanger, mission bay. That is minimum for releasing type 45 & 26 to QE and vanguard, peace time deployment and war time usefulness at second-line.

Anthony Morgan Davies

Would it be possible to phase out specialist mine hunters survey ships to build more 31s that could deliver via containerised remote controlled units. That’s about 16 smaller boats sold off and not replaced to help build and crew more and more versatile 31s.


I’d say thats definitely an option being considered as more and more MCM work is performed by drones. Trading at least part of the current fleet of MCMVs for multipurpose light frigates on a like for like basis could be a fantastic gain in capability, but given how active our relatively large fleet of minesweepers are, we’d need to make sure the frigates were at least as capable in the role as the vessels they were replacing.

Bloke down the pub

One containerised module that I would recommend the MOD bought.
This has the benefit that it can also be fitted to ships taken up from trade, eg oil rig support vessels.


I’ve thought this for awhile, as I’m sure the MOD and RN has. Constrained by funding and manpower, the answer is general purpose ships.


Nice to see England wasn’t in the build process not .Thanks Babcock but no thanks


Isn’t Devon in England?


Never heard of appledore or Devon??


Bit of a shame given they’ve been building Irish Navy OPV’s for the last few years, wonder what they will do to bridge the gap though?


I would definitely trust Babcock more than BAe. Their ships are nothing but overpriced turds with shoddy electricals and glued bolts.


Obviously this an extremely silly way to run a procurement (having said that, it seems to be working better than the conventional system).There should be an opinion to pitch something for, say £100million more or £75 less, if that would produce a more effective result.
There seems to be an unhealthy nostalgic love for big guns in these pages.




Big guns offer a lot of capability at a comparatively low price compared to a missile. A visible deterrent, NGS, short-medium range surface engagement (increasingly viable again with guided munitions, and a lot harder to stop than a big missile)


These ships look to me like the holy grail of Frigates for the price. When deploying overseas size matters. It enables good accomodation for the crew and Royal Marines. Room for modernisation, good quantities of fuel and stores and repair facilities as well as space for RV’s, Boats and ease of access to replace engines etc.
Many criticised the prewar County class cruisers on account of their size and cruise liner appearance, yet they were the backbone of the long range early cruiser patrols and Arctic convoys eventually being send to the Far East. Besides which they had the magnificent 8″ gun.
I think also this type 31e design would have a good resale value after service with the RN. Do it; build 8, problem solved. Just add the third funnel!!!


Very much in agreement with you. One question I do have though, would it be possible to equip these ships with Artisan for commonality with the rest of the fleet? Currently Leander has a big advantage in that it’s using Artisan and CMS, which are going to be standard across the rest of our frigates. Not sure how CMS and TACTICOS stack up against each other, but having a standardised radar fit across most of the fleet would be a nice cost saving measure.

Plus, my current gripe with Arrowhead is that the mast looks too small 😉


Thanks. My guess is the RN could in fact ask BAE to fit ‘their bits’ to meet standardisation in the fleet.


An astonishing £180 for the first 3 from BAE. Many nations can outrange that with far cheaper missiles. Come in to the shore to fire you gun and they don’t even need a platform to fire it from.


The sad fact is the numbers of type 26 and type 31 being talked about are insufficient to maintain profitable shipbuilding capacity and the ten year delay in ordering the type 26 has meant there cost has soared and numbers ordered fallen from 20 to 8 and will probably fall to 4 just like the type 45 ordered 12 cut to 8 built 6 but still cost 6 billion due to having to stretch the build times to keep the skills in the yard.

We need to make a decision we either have a blue water navy or we just concentrate on coastal defence .

Successive labour/tory/coalition government’s have mismanaged defence spending and the admirals and generals have not fought there corner but have been brought off with carriers and armoured vehicles and planes that are not fit for purpose.
What idiot designs a carrier without cats and traps , who wants a armoured car that cannot withstand a 20mm weapon or a transport plane A400 which carries less than the Hercules it replaced and costs more to maintain.
We either spend the next 20 years rebuilding our defence or we accept that we are only interested in Europe and the rest of the world can go hang.

Basically we either spend £40 billion a year or £80 billion a year on defence if we spend the former we become a power like Spain or Italy spend the latter and we become a serious ally to the USA.


Claiming the A400 carries less than the Hercules is untrue. To claim this undermines the rest of your arguments.


The A400 is rated to carry more than the Hercules but in operation has been found wanting at carrying its designed weight and unable to carry out the short take off at the weight specified.
It is very telling that the RAF begged to replace the Hercules with the latest version of the Hercules but the A400 was ordered for political reasons.
The A400 is exspensive and complicated to maintain and is not used operationally to the same high rate as the globemaster and Hercules in the RAF transport fleet.


While I agree with you that defence has been SEVERELY mismanaged since the turn of the century, its worth pointing out that we still maintain the 5th largest defence budget in the world, and although the size of our forces have shrunk to levels approaching that of many of our allies, unlike them we still maintain the ability to deploy our forces anywhere on the planet. Thats why the RN is still listed as one our only three navies able to sustain a global deployment (France and obviously the US being the other two).

The Type 45 build went south because the MoD insisted on the most cutting edge tech available, without a realistic view of the risks that involved. Perhaps understandably after being burnt so badly on that project, the T26 then went through a lot of revisions to make sure it wasn’t going to end up the same way, with mixed results (the risk involved is miniscule due to derisking done on land and on T23s, but the high-end nature of the platform made it suitable for a lower end GP role). T31 is once again a very different type of procurement, and it remains to be seen how it works out, but for a lower end vessel its definitely the right approach.


We cannot send a task force to sea without stripping the fleet bare , in a written answer to the defence select committee the army stated it could deploy a maximum of 8000 men for 30 days , the navy could muster 6 surface and 1 sub for 30 days and the raf 30 combat jets .

But only if other NATO countries agree to take over our standing commitments.

Our armed forces are to small to be effective and our true defence spending is to low.

When you take out deterrence/pension and intelligence costs all which where formally paid out of other parts of government until the Boy George stuffed it into defence to give the illusion of 2% when we actually spend 1.7% of GDP .

We spend to little and what we do spend we waste on trying to look good.

Dolphin 11

“The Type 31e is intended as a general purpose platform, but many would like the RN version to offer some ASW capability, potentially using off-board USVs and UUVs.”

It still baffles me that ASW isn’t factored into the design of all our major surface combatants, even if it’s something as basic as making the ship as quiet as possible. Just because your role isn’t to go looking for submarines does not mean a submarine is not interested in looking for you.


I suppose the reality they have to face is how much extra per unit does that add to the cost given the hull numbers the RN now has?


it is impossible that the cost of each ship will stay below 250 million pound, unless the performance is sacrificed greatly.

Maybe the government can fix the relationship with China and then they can ask the Chinese to design and build the Type 31s for RN, if the cost must not exceed 250 million pound. Their Type 054A Frigates cost about 500 million USD per ship and they are proper frigates. The china’s naval surface ships are very good nowadays. (SERIOUS FACE)