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Congratulations to all at Babcock and BMT involved in Team 31e. A lot of hard work has gone in to producing and winning this bid. Lets see if we can persuade the MoD to up the requirement to ten or more ships.

Simon m

The only decision for me, a proven design with space not only for upgrades but EMF. The weapons fit is likely to be marginal – to be honest pretty much like all RN ships.
It looks unlikely that it will receive an anti-ship missile unless either canisters or mk41 are included in the build cost. Hopefully at worst all other available weapons from T23 are transferred. If so it should provide enough capability. Let’s get them built and hopefully add more to the class


T31 doesn’t really need more than a T23-equivalent fit: a medium gun, 32 Sea Ceptor, 30mms, and an SSM. Everything beyond that is borderline unnecessary for a light frigate


As a frigate it will need an ASM as well as torpedoes, that should be a priority for a frigate.


I did say an SSM, surface to surface missile. Torpedoes would be nice, but these aren’t dedicated ASW platforms, the embarked helo will provide the torpedoes much more effectively than ship launched weapons.


By ASM I mean a ship launched Anti-Submarine weapon, such as ASROC. Same for the Torpedoes, Stingray or such. A Frigate’s primary mission is anti-sub and escort. She needs a towed array and the ability to engage subsurface targets when the Helo can’t.


The T31 design brief did not call for any more ASW capability than to be able to direct a VECTAC with the ships embarked helicopter. The choice of the Danish frigate is very dangerous here as it will drag people to the conclusion were buying another primary warfighter frigate. Thats not what the T31 design brief is.

Type 31 has to be a cheap to run, light crewed, patrol frigate. It needs to do coercive presence, MSO and a lot of ‘missions-other-than-war’.

It doesnt need an antisubmarine missile and its debateable whether it needs a long range antiship missile. We need this to be hull exempt from the usual gold-plating so we can actually build enough to start getting hull numbers up again.

Meirion X

Yes, a GPF has to be able to do a moderate amount of every thing.


Seems I can’t edit my own comment but one thing I have noticed is how many successful or ‘best’ designs involve the British design house BMT. They are a part of the winning Babcock team, a major part of the highly rated FSS team, designed the Tide class, were part of the aircraft carrier alliance, look like they are going to bid in the Littoral Support Ships and, checking out there website, have plenty of other good designs going on such as Venator, a light frigate and original contender for T31, and Venari, a future minesweeper mothership.


Good decision imho, based on all that I have read.


Artisan, 4.5″ gun, hull sonar, Sea Ceptor all from T23s. Look to build a 2nd batch to replace lost hulls from previous cuts. I’d go for Wildcat + UAV and have the S100-camcopter, which should also be added to B2 Rivers to up their capabilities.


With Thales behind it I would suggest it will be the excellent NS100 radar, 57mm as main gun and 40mm as secondary in the aft position and maybe behind the 57mm. Both superb weapons. The only thing I could forsee coming from 23’s is the Sea Ceptor launch system as the Mk41 soli although multi-role, future proof and well proven is very expensive. perhaps we would see it on a Batch 2? It’s also big enough to carry a Wildcat or merlin and a UAV such as Hero.


Good news!

1: As the articles notes, how it will be armed/equipped is the next important thing.

2: Related, if the equipment be trasferred from decommissioning T23GP, or T23GP be exported, and new equipment shall be bought? (Artisan, CAMM, 30mm guns, ESM, chaff/flare/radar-decoy kits, torpedo-decoy kits, etc.)

3: Also, how to build is an interesting topic. H&W and FM will revive?

4: Related, “how Cammell Laird can survive”, will be the next important thing.

5: How is the Arrowhead 140 licensing with OMT? I understand Babcock says they bought the license. What is not yet clear is, if it is an exclusive license so that OMT cannot export the design without involving Babcock, or not?

Comment; “Hit the water in 2023” is already challenging. But, it is AFTER the HMS Glasgow (Type-26 hull-1) is to hit the water, as I understand? As the A140 design is focused on “easy installation”, and anyway T31e fighting systems shall be simple, may be the ship could be “handed over” to RN (not commission) in 2024 or in 2025 = the same timing as HMS Glasgow will be handed over to RN (2025).

# As the man-power is limited, and crew is needed several months BEFORE when handed-over (not when commissioned), HMS Argyll may decommission in 2023 as planned?

Many more info is to come !!


Cammell Laird will survive due to winning £600m of RFA refit work. They can also look for more work on commercial build projects.

The Arrowhead 140 has moved on quite a bit from the original OMT design. My guess is OMT can sell there design if they want but they probably can’t sell the Arrowhead 140 version of it.


Stating that Arrowhead has moved on quite a bit from the IHs might be overselling it somewhat……..according to Babcock representatives , only very minor changes to the base design was needed and just to bring it up to latest classification standards. FWIW …beyond their Indonesian bid, i dont think OMT has any ambitions of trying to sell the Huitfeldt design anymore……in Poland they are bidding with Babcock as part of team 31 …..meaning they are offering the Arrowhead and not the IH……Plus i think they have their eyes set on a new project…….the Thetis class replacement for the Royal Danish Navy.

Simon m

Iver Huitfeldt class were built in 2 years so if the Danes can do it then so can we first of class maybe a bit delayed due to infrastructure being built. I think the government should be praised although there was an earlier delay I believe even in the original plan decision was to be made December. I don’t know if brexit played a role but don’t really care – just don’t vote labour everyone! ☺

Gavin Gordon

Well, to a great extent I believe it was the Estonians and Lithuanians wot done it.


They built the bare hull blocks/ sections yes….assembly, outfitting and everything else was done in DK……by far the most time consuming aspect of the building process……so no the Estonians and Lithauanians cant really take credit for the fast build


Gutted for Cammell Laird, local shipyard needed this rather than ensuring the Scottish monopoly


How true.


You’d think Camnells would have to be in line for a large slice of FSS, building on their experience with RFA refit work, here’s hoping anyway

Simon m

Hopefully they can be involved and that there will be enough future work FSS, fleet maintenance etc . I do believe the decision had little to do with politics and was very much around the best solution for the RN. Unfortunately the design from BAE IMO just wasn’t good enough I don’t think it was any reflection on CL


The BAE Leander didn’t cut the mustard, as simple as that. I likewise hope CL can get some meaningful major RN work, they and England deserve it.


This is a great decision,

now we should really adopt the stanflex model these ships employ, as it is a great way of using assets and transferring them around. We sort of do this with our Phalanx anyway and it works, so why not VLS’s etc.

If T26 and these share the same common weapons (VLS, Guns, CIWS etc) then reality is we can have a pool that is shared amongst the fleet, as and when they are out of maintenance.

T26 needs a radar upgrade to make it our high end Global Combat Ship (with a further 6 ordered to replace T45 in 15 years time) and T31 will become our Global Mission Ship that will hopefully replace our MCM and OPV fleets over time on a 1 – 2 – 1 basis.

This is the future of the RN in my opinion.

Great news – well done Babcock


Please bring this in on budget


There are costs do rise at times. You have to have flexible in naval budgets. Being unsure of future issues when leaving E.U. one must give more room for some cost increases.


This is great news for Rosyth and for U.K. as a whole, however first steel will not be cut until 2021 so a big gap will be opened up in the workload at Rosyth between POW completing and work starting on type 31s . I think that Babcock want to transfer on a short term basis, a lot of tradesmen to Devonport, perhaps for 2 to 3 years until work picks up on type31s. Whatever happens they will have to try and keep their core workforce in place now. With Brexit it may not be easy to get welders from Poland or Rumania as they did for QEC project, Also a worry is that Fergusons and Harland and Wolf seemingly out of the equation who will Babcock be partnering now.
Babcock will now be out of the running for the solid fleet support ships, so that will now be very interesting to see what happens there with Spanish firm Navantia coming more to the fore in this process it is now more important than ever that British yards build these ships.


I think the situation is at the minute, regardless of opinion over where the FSS should be built, is that UK yards do not have the capacity to build them. Even if they did, Navantia can build 3 high quality ships in Spain for the price of 2 medium to low quality ships built by BAE in the UK. Which would you go for if you had to pay?


Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t Navantia heavily subsidised by the Spanish Government Do you not think it would be better to build these ships in the UK in the present political climate , However it would be nice if Cammell Laird now came in with Babcock on the type 31 project as I believe that the Navantia / BMT bid will be succesfull in the end for solid fleet support ships.


I wouldn’t be so sure about the high quality ship part of your sentence, the Norwegian frigate which sank, sank mainly due to poor quality build, watertight doors failing which if they had remained watertight the ship would have been saved.

Simon m

If the government and industry work together there would be plenty of capacity a number of yards have just closed they could be reopened. Plus there is cammell laird. All it would take is political will. IMO if we brexit this kind of equipment should at least receive high tariffs. If the work stays in Britain: income tax, VAT from purchases made by the workforce in the local area, Tax on the company, creation of apprenticeships for future work, relief on the benefit system and potential knock on work such as housing and more service industry are all massive benefits. Just because the price tag is cheaper doesn’t mean its best value for money or the best route for the country. I would say that foreign bids would have to be at least 60% cheaper to offset the above


Cammell Laird


The best decision. BAES are fully loaded with Astute/Dreadnought and Type26 programmes (and late). RN needs a replacement for workhorse Type23 asap. Needs transfer of latest tech from T23, plus min specification (upgrade later, as funds are available) without MoD changes to deliver on time (do not make it bespoke and unable to sell overseas).


Did I miss something somewhere. The RN is increasing their number of frigates from 13 to 21. The article says they’re building 8 Type 26’s and 13 Type 31’s. I thought the plan was replace the 13 Type 23’s with a mix of 13 Type 26’s and 31’s? Is there enough staffing for 8 additional frigates?


I think the article is saying, 13 frigates “in total” = 8 T26 and 5 T31, all built in Scotland.


Thanks for the clarification


I understood the Type31e order had been increased to 6???? With an increase in spend after the UK Government had to accept these ships could not be built for £250 million each??


You’ve missed something, the order is for 5 T31e’s


The Type31e process was stopped and re-started after it became apparent that none of the contenders could actually be built and delivered at a cost of 250 million each. The Government reluctantly accepted that and with an increase in Defence spending things moved on. The press are quoting the original procurement details, at no point have the MOD commented on that.


I hope for 13 type 31e. It would give more ships to do the worldwide duties the Royal Navy is tasked to do.


Yes you did pay attention.


Arrowhead 140 web site updated.

H&W and Furgason Marine has dissapeared.


People wrote off this entire bid because the A140 website disappeared for a bit. Let’s remain calm and see how the contract negotiations shake out.

Stephen G.

Well, I suppose it does make some sense to have our warship build centre in Scotland, we need more than just 5 though, 8, minimum.

The solid support ships have to be built in Cammell Lairds though along with the littoral strike ships, they will be losing jobs shortly as work on the R.R.S. Sir David Attenborough comes to an end. If the warship building centre is to be in Scotland our R.F.A. centre has to be an English yard, Scotland can’t have every single R.F.A. ship on top of every single Royal Navy ship whilst England gets precisely zero.


We’re building 13 Frigates in Scotland, not 5, not 8.
We’re also building 5 OPV’s.
We’re also building the two largest ships in Royal Navy history there.
Think that’s plenty myself.

Mark Wallace

One major development that we should note with this award, is that the Arrowhead 140 comes with the Thales Tactios CMS which breaks the monopoly that BAe enjoyes with it’s CMS that is installed on all other RN Ships. I suppose that Thales offered it to the Team 31 at a reason cost to break into the UK market. It would be interesting to compare the differences in capability and usability they have.
Is this the MOD getting it by default in the drive to reduce costs or a positive decision to break the single source?


Compare the number of countries that have bought Tacticos (25 or more) with the number that have bought CMS (zero). Reading around it looks like Tacticos is leagues ahead of CMS in capability and interoperability.

Mark L

Three navies use the BAE Systems CMS. Apart from the RN, the Armada de Chile have it on their transferred Type 23s and the Republic of Korea bought it for some of their Destroyers.


Chile upgrading their 3 Type 23’s, scrapping the BAE Systems CMS, replacing it with the LM Canada CMS 330, LMC also won contract to upgrade the NZ ANZAC frigates with the CMS 330.

Note – Thales Nederland in development of a new generation a state-of-the-art CMS, called AWWS, for the new Dutch/Belgium Omega frigate, it will not be using their “old” TACTICOS CMS.

Thales PR
“AWWS necessary because above-water threats are growing exponentially in terms of complexity, coordination and speed. Missiles go up to three times faster than the speed of sound, and possibly even up to five times faster in 2020. Currently used technologies are insufficient to make use of all the new sensor and weapon systems to counter these threats in the future. This new system continuously generates the best solution to counter any incoming threats, whatever the environmental conditions or threat complexity. The system will support the operator in making the right decision at every decisive moment.
When faced with scenarios of several different threats arriving simultaneously and employing complex behaviours, such as very high speed, a human operator will no longer be able to schedule and plan the right defensive priorities effectively and efficiently. However, AWWS will offer the operator information to make the right decisions within seconds, so the ship can protect itself successfully and continue on its mission.
AWWS will consist of a new generation of sensors, coupled with intelligent software that continuously calculates which actions are best suited to tackle each threat detected by radar and other sensors in the right manner. This maximizes the chance of survival, while the crew stays in control.
Smart combination of sensors
This system uses the latest sensor technology from Thales to detect and monitor all above-water threats, including the next-generation, fully digital dual-band X/S radar suite: an integral combination of Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) and Sea Master 400 radar technologies.
Prior to the AWWS contract, the Dutch Ministry of Defence initiated advanced research into this technology with DMO, TNO and Thales more than ten years ago. This resulted in an agreement for a “technology demonstrator”. The technology demonstrator will eventually be installed at a shore-based test site for tests and trials. “

Mark W

Hopefully then that the T31 won’t have multiple hypersonic missiles coming at them with such a ‘slow’ CMS.
Maybe a few Middle Eastern armed fast boats only…..
So perhaps the T31 should have a few Brimstone/SPEAR missiles ready to fire.

Simon m

Chile was likely to be using the older BAE CMS not the new system which only came into service with Batch 2 rivers. Tacticos is continually updated every 6 months. I have little doubt both BAE CMS and tacticos can do what they need to do. The RN look at these systems and are experienced with providing FOST to know a good CMS when they see one.


While all 5 be ordered in one go or piecemeal like the Type 26? Hopefully they will sign a watertight contract so a Corbyn government couldn’t try and cancel them .

Chris Paris

Let’s hope we see some famous names for these five vessels!


What do people think regarding names? Something like the T23 system where the names are themed (in the T23’s case the theme is ‘Dukes’) or, an alphabetical class like the old type 21s – Amazon, Antelope etc. Personally I prefer the latter and would go for ‘B’ – HMS Boxer, Bloodhound, Boadicea, Bulldog and Bruiser or ‘O’ – HMS Onyx, Odin, Obsidian, Orpheus and Oberon. Fantasy names but at least now, at last, the type 31s aren’t fantasy ships.


Well Babcock did talk about their 3 gun positions bringing the broadside back into fashion, so:


I guess it depends on how well armed they end up being. If armed well, a weapons class for me, Arrow for the lead ship, then broadsword battle axe as you suggested. If they are to remain a bare bones frigate, then maybe Hms limp, floppy, yellow belly, retreat and the last ship, Hms flim-flam.

Gavin Gordon

To my mind, the use of ‘Leander’ as a marketing gambit by Bae can in no way give it commercial ownership of the title, which must belong to the MoD/RN- if not indeed the Monarch – along with all traditional names associated with the class. I would like to see it reintroduced on the Type 31.




Logically it’ll have to be all 5 in one go. With such a tight build schedule in such a short time frame, combined with the fixed price contract, there isn’t really any logic to ordering multiple batches for the first 5


i just miss the days of the hms hood and price of wales


Well we do have a new HMS Prince of Wales, although sadly the two QEs should have been Ark Royal (R09) and Eagle (R08) respectively


How about the Battle Class: Trafalgar, Jutland, North Cape, Matapan and Falklands.

Captain Nemo

Nice to see some public interest, it was hanging around on BBC News ‘most read’ for a large part of the day.


Hi. I wonder if using the IH design means the RN is locked into using the Oerlikon 35 mm CIWS in the rear centreline, to maintain flight deck air flow certification. I note that one of the IH used a dummy mount initially for this reason. To be clear, I see this as an acceptable compromise, especially if it forces the powers that be to actually spend money on guns. But it is perhaps a trade-off that we should be aware of.

Simon m

No it won’t be locked in and the idea is to have a completely flexible design for both RN and export plus the picture at DSEI had a 40mm Bofors at the back. BMT and Babcock have he ability to or pretty much do what they like with the ship


Pure nostalgia but I always loved the old Leanders and a part of me would therefore like to see some of the names revived.

On the other hand, naming them after eg. counties could perhaps be a good way to go for recruitment’s sake. I would be a proud dad indeed if my nippers ended-up being parts of the ship’s company of HMS Shropshire (Spiritual home of team-OOA).

Chris Paris

I coudn’t agree more with you. There are quite some names to choose from; of ships which have presented the Navy world wide. Arethusa, Pheobe, Juno, Rhyl, Exmouth, Eskimo, Tartar; all names of frigate classes which proved to be very successful in their days.

Dockyard Davy

I agree ,County class has a great ring to it. Why not HMS Fife for the first one as it will have been assembled in Fife.


I imagine it’ll end up as County class if the T26 is City class. HMS Suffolk, Norfolk, Devonshire all ships with history

John Clark

Great news,

As Chile operates three T23’s, if a decision to to repurpose much of the T23 equipment into the T31 is confirmed, then Chile seems to represent a natural T31 market too.

If I was in charge of the Chilean Navy, I would be lobbying hard to get in on the T31 now.

Three additional hulls for Chile would be a great start to exports.

If they play this right, it could pick up quite a few international orders.

It has an advantage over many of its peer lower end frigate designs on the market by offering greater displacement, resulting in better sea keeping, longer time on station, i.e, much greater flexibility of use for decision makers.


The Chilean navy’s purchasing teams tends to operate in the second hand market. In the grand scheme of things they have only just finished replacing their mid cold war Leanders/Counties with late cold war/early “peace dividend” Type 23’s from the RN and Type L and M classes from the Dutch, so I’d be surprised if they are looking to buy anything around frigate size inside the next 10 years. The middle east, OTOH is very much worth the airfares for the sales teams, possibly some of the SE Asian navies as well.


maybe you dont know, but Chile announce some months ago that the Armada de Chile will build their own frigates starting in 2020s (program know as F5200). Chile already almost do that in the early 2000s, but the cheap prices in used units make more affordable buy dutch and british ships. remember that Chile have a military budget of more than 5.000 millions dollars a year and a very modern and high tech navy. and is a close ally of the UK
Chile state shipyard ASMAR is already building a 250 million dollars 12000 tons polar class 5 icebreaker (project antartica1), the most advance ship ever built in latin america. the chilean shipyards also build fassmer opv80, lst, artic cruisers and even polar opv for the iceland coast guard.
is clear that the arrowhead is one of the designs to compete in the F5200 frigate program of the ACH, probably again the f310 of Navantia, the 30dx japanese frigate and a meko a200 modificated design.
the f5200 program will be for maybe 8 or 9 units to replace the ACH frigates (2028 to 2038) in this order:
-2 L class AAW frigates (later if the ACH buy the adelaide class OHP frigates from Australia in the next months)
-1 T22 batch 2 frigate (upgrated with harpoon, barack 8 and other systems)
-2 M class multipurpose frigate (already with exocet mm40 3c SSM the latest version)
-3 t23 class asw frigate (with camm, cms330, 2087 tass and trs4d radar)
all of the frigates have guns, and amunition to be transfered to the new f5200 frigates.
the program probably will be for 2 AAW, 2GP and 4 ASW frigates.
So, yes, the chilean armada is one of the primary potential clients for a export version of the t31. probably with 1 or 2 units build in UK and the others in Chile.
New zealand is another potential client with the new frigate program to replace their 2 anzac class (who are very similar in weapons and system with the t23 of Chile)
Portugal is another potential client, and maybe Polland and other otan countries.
SE asian navies is difficult because they have very cheap options in korean shipyards or taking european design like damen or Vard to be build in their own shipyards.
if babcock can secure the chilean and NZ programs, can implicate almost a dozen of more t31, maybe at least 4 of them build in UK.


sorry to intrude, but Chile completed its “puente” programs for 8 second hand frigates more than a decade ago, and is currently upgrading or replacing them. There are strong rumours going around that the L class dutch AAW frigates could be replaced by a pair of Australian Adelaides, while the Type 23 and M classes are being upgraded. The cap to all is a national shipbuilding strategy, that should first complete a 10.000 ton icebreaker, then replace the current LSTs and AP, and finally start the local construction of frigates by the early 2030s.
The second hand market is tu unstable and the ships being made available by european or northamerican navies tend to reach the end of their lives totally worn out, so in practice, it´s unavoidable to start building our own platforms. The Type 31E should fit there quite nicelly, although the diesel diesel propulsion of the Arrowhead is a bit suspicious in terms of being susceptible to noise reduction as a Diesel Electric plant, but that could be fixed at the Drawing Board.
Lets see what happens as the Chilean Navy and Defence Ministry may begin sniffing around for designs and building agreements from the mid 2020s on


Sorry my english

Chilean Navy needs 8 frigates (3 AAW, 5 ASW), start the replacements around 2028/30, the budget per ship is around USD 500 millions, plus sistems from T-23 (CMS 330, Camm, Harpoon 2, 2087), L/Adelaide and M .

The 3 chilean T-23 are now in Lifex/MLU, in chilean dockyards, and New Zeland install the same sistems in his ANZAC frigates (Canadian CMS 330., Hensoldt trs-3d radar and Camm)…if Chile buy the Adelaide, changed ESSM by Camm and now is pending the M frigates SAM refit.

Maybe, maybe…Chile and New Zeland go for the same ship (something like T-31)…and share both of them, part of the sistems with Canada T-26.

– in the past, the 3 chilean and the 5 new zeeland P-3 Orion shared the same mlu programs in New Zeland
– now share the same lifex/mlu program in frigates (in part with canadians too).

The Navy needs new ships, like Arrowhead 140 or Navantia F-310, Meko 200 or BAE Leander are too small now.

Build no less than 6 in Chile

(in 2003/4 the plan was build 4 to 8 Meko 200, but the price/offers for L/M and T-23 change the original plan)


sorry, just some points to ACLs post. There is still no definition for budgets related to the future new build frigates for the chilean navy. There are formal declarations but the Navy and Mod related to the recycling of systems coming from the upgrades of the current Type 23s and M class frigates, but the current project is an Icebreaker being assembled in the stocks at ASMAR and then some new amphibious vessels plus the final pair of Fassmer 80 OPVs. The frigates are the final stage of the national shipbuilding industry strategy, and are still a decade or so from being laid down.


Need more of them even double the number will not be sufficient


All it needs is CAMM ER and CAPTAS 4 and it will be a proper warship.

Simon m

Would be nice, may happen in the future, but not at first fit.


It is reported in Financial Times article that, Babcock guy stated as:

“with the exception of France’s Thales, “none of our members were risk-sharing” and the competition for work was open all UK yards.”

1: As Thales took risk. So, they deserve the outcome. CMS will be TACTICOS. (Or, if UK want to make the CMS the same to other escorts, more money will be needed.)

2: As Harland and Wolves (H&W) and Furgason Marin (FM) did not (could not) took the risk, they have no priviledge.

” “We never guaranteed they would get any work, they are not expecting that,” he said.”

This is it. In other words, Cammell Laird is also in the same stage as H&W and FM. Good, Mersey-side has a good chance.

Will O

I’d suggest, given where they’re likely to be sent & what they may be asked to do, fitting these with a CS 424, as per Italian ships, might be sensible, useful, & one would hope, given the simplicity of the system, well within budgets.


Anybody talking about the T31e needing to have Mk41 fitted appears to be missing the point about the purpose of this class. They are meant to be low cost constabulary ships with the ability to participate in light fleet duties, similar to picket ships.

They are not designed nor intended to be used as an all singing, all dancing warship that can take on the best of potential adversaries. The weapons and sensor fit already accounted for are going to be more than sufficient for the tasks they are being designed to undertake – protecting shipping lanes, drug interaction and defence engagement.

I am not optimistic that we will see more orders for the T31e, but I would say there is probably a need for no more than 8., if they are able to increase manpower. With the HMS QE and HMS PoW, total manning requirements are going to be stretched more than they already are. Even an additional 3 ships to the order of 5 will put strains on the already leanly manned RN. By the time this is addressed, we should be looking at the T31e and T26 replacement.

Captain Nemo

Why would you even try to reignite that argument?


Because people are still talking about it needing Mk41 fitted and that we need to order 10+ rather than the 5 at the moment! Lol

Will O

13 Frigates is much too few. 5GP Frigates is too few. at least 5 are now being built, and rather unlike the T26s, built in good time, which is great news.


1: To increase escort number, RN need more crew. Number of trained man-power is 1400 short, and the gap is only increasing now (see official document, on 2019).

2: T26 build speed is intentionally slowed down to keep the ship yard busy until T45 replacement (important lessons learned from SSN build). If more money is coming, T26 build rate shall be faster, and cheaper = 13 will be easily purchased.

Meirion X

No, their are Not constabulary ships, a main of role of a GPF is to exercise the Freedom of Navigation of RN ships across the Oceans of world, including contested waters like the South China Sea.

Ken Pearson

The transfer of T23 assets to the Type 31 frigates would allow for the latter to have the 4.5 inch in A position and the two 30mm guns in positions similar to those on the Type 26. The RN specification for the Type 31 called for a Phalanx equivalent and it would be logical to make that the only new purchase for the ships and put that in the B position. One of the admirable design features by the Danes is the swept back bridge superstructure which would provide for what looks like a 220 degree fire arc for both guns in the A and B positions.

The centre line position above the hangar could be kept for the future installation of a laser weapon. As Sea Ceptor is already part of the package taken altogether this would provide the Type 31 with a very reasonable self defence suite. If a ship cannot defend itself it is vulnerable to attack and for the consequences we only have to go back to the Falklands conflict.


Is the 30mm in its present form much use for self defence except in low threat situations? I would much rather we got started fitting the BAE 57mm which is a really effective weapon suitable for QNLZ class, T45, T31, River 2.


Along with the selection of Arrowhead 140 there has been other RN themes and aspirations gaining traction.

1. Commander Amphibious Task Group has changed to Commander Littoral Strike Group.
2. Proposals for new littoral strike ships are now at the concept and assessment phase.
3. Royal Marines are moving back to their ship borne commando roots.
4. The options of enhancing the lethality of the Batch II River OPVs are being explored which could include a 76 mm gun, decoy dispensers, anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, and a tow array sonar.
5. Crew rotation and forward basing of ships to maximise availabiltly coming into play.
6. Unmanned mine warefare systems maturing.

Combining these elements and if the Rivers get the lethality enhancement, I would propose the formation of two new permanently forward deployed SMART groups. These SMART groups would form the core of the two new littoral strikes groups.

S. Strike Ship x1

M. Mine warefare
(unmanned – River/T31 hosted)

A. Arrowhead 140 x1

R. River Batch ll x1

T. Tanker (Wave/Tide) x1

This group would also host a range of helicopters which would include a minimum of
1 Chinook
1 Apache
1 Crowsnests Merlin
With the remaining helicopter force being made up of Wildcats, Merlin and unmanned.
With 7 helicopter spots across the group and the ability to host a large Royal Marine force across the group also you have the ability to launch a large Royal Marine force with supporting elements (Crowsnest, Apache,Wildcat etc.) simutaneously.
These SMART groups would give HMG and the RN a very useful toolkit of forward deployed capabilities.
Ship or ships could be detached from the group for defence engagement and port visits in the region or to meet ongoing operations in the region but the group would be able to quickly regroup as they all would be in the one geographic region.

The SMART group could then be enhanced with additional assests as the need arises or for training excersises. This is when the BAYS and Albion/Bulwark etc would come into play to form a full fat Littoral Strike Group.

Will O

Why would you want to put a towed array sonar on a River Batch 2 OPV?


This is what is being explored according to the following article.

Simon m

Considering the current situation with Iran and their midget submarines if you wanted a river to take over from T23 a Sonar would be a must. Plus even if in home waters and you have an OPV patrolling. Then the Russian are underneath it messing with underwater cables etc. it could be a useful capability.

Will O

It puzzled me at first, I was concerned there’d be temptation to use them as, or in place of T23s, which would potentially put the OPVs in harms way (i.e. in places where ASMs could be headed their way). I was thinking along the lines of 2087/CAPTAS4, which made no sense to me, (too large, too expensive, would they be pulling them from T23s to put on OPVs? LOL! Then I remembered there’s CAPTAS1 (Along with BlueWatcher).

Now, it makes absolutely perfect sense, in every sense. Especially having read this;

It would appear to add capability for very little cost or inconvenience.

Again I thought, wouldn’t that slow them down? But as luck has it those OPVs aren’t that nippy anyway lol, seems to be a perfect fit, and if they’re in places like Gibraltar, Barhain, the Falklands & Caribbean, and given (from Thales’s video in article above) it would help detect small boats, I now wonder why it wasn’t being done sooner.

Something worth mentioning is those Otto 76 guns can use guided ammunition (it was originally called Darto?), which again would make a great deal of sense, not just up-gunning the things, but giving them the capacity to select targets in cluttered environments, if ever they needed to.



I might reserve my comment.

– Rear Admiral stated intention to improve lethality of River B2. True.
– Up-armed River B2 (or River B2 based) model was there in 2019 DSEI. May be true (no photo yet).

But, it is not clear if this two are related. For example, if you add LMM on the 30mm gun, it is already significantly “improving the lethality”.



I believe the ambition is more than adding
LMM to the 30mm. Adding LMM would be relatively simple to do, however adding it would not greatly alter the missions the Rivers batch ll could undertake and it still would fall into the OPV bracket so why bother at all and why announce it at DSEI?

I think the ambition is to move from the OPV bracket and mission set and step up to more off a corvette type role.

With T31 now appearing to get all new equipment there maybe some equipment sets that were expected to transfer from T23 to T26/T31 going spare.

(Anyone fancy an Artisan Radar on a River batch ll ? ?)

Simon m

I think this is along the lines of RN thinking. My only thoughts for Mine warfare you are likely to still require a MCMV due to hull signature issues etc. If you read about BMT’s Venari 85 concept it shows the issues and concept of stand off mine warfare quite well. Current MCMVs are quite slow and also vulnerable – this would have a negative effect on the groups as a whole. I feel that moving to a Venari or Venator MCMV or even the TX concept by Thales/Stellar Systems should be a greater priority than it seems currently. If replacing MCMVs on a closer 1 to 1 basis this could allow 3 vessels to be part of the group with a reasonable armament Batch 2 river may not then be required.

Considering the lack of Helicopters available to the RN it is more likely the mainstay will be something like the Chinook taking the brunt, with other types in support. Crowsnest currently will be too busy with aircraft carrier duties – which in my opinion it is not really suited for, therefore I would like to see procurement of AW609 or equivalent as soon as possible to fill this role (ideally with something like Erieye but if not Crowsnest), due to greater endurance and quicker changes on station, this would then potentially free up Crowsnest systems and allow it to deploy on Merlin for absolutely crucial monitoring of the littorals for the Strike group.

Staying on Helos the Wildcat Army and RM version was supposed to be a Battlefield recce helicopter, but this was dropped due to costs, it is about time it was given proper capability and that means radar, a sight that doesn’t expose the helicopter above the treeline and some hard-kill capability for targets of opportunity and self-defence.

I would personally like the government to put it’s money where it’s mouth is and actually purchase 2 cut down Leander Frigate vessels (or extra T31s but seeing as LSS will be close there’s no real need for it’s size) and permanently attach to LSS group, add a small SSK such as Vidar 7 (but higher speed – BMT again).

This is probably Pie in the sky, but would also help with the Cammell Laird work and produce a very credible LSS group with limited impact upon the rest of the Navy (otherwise diverting existing T31s to the group I feel would be almost another cut as it would need to be in roughly the same location as LSS and not patrolling, doing port visits (all the things it was bought for).

Also remember the concept is to deploy the Commandos from the UK to the forward base to board LSS and deploy, if T31 is elsewhere then this could delay the deployment of the LSS group.

I am ready for the mass of vote downs BTW! 🙂


On minewarfare. I opted for unmanned as the idea was to keep to a core of 4 ships. The unmanned system would give the SMART group commander options if they stumbled across a historical mine from previous conflicts and a basic minewarefare capibality for a low level mine threat or underwater IED type threat. If the SMART group was operating in the gulf there is already a mine warefare group of 4 ships supported by a Bay operating in the area. Or if it was operating near European waters then there would be Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups 1 and 2 .

On Crowsnest the Carrier would get priority but I would hope there would be an ambition to have a few extra systems for other fleet units to utilise.


The T31 should be named after British Overseas Territories and be proud of it:
Diego Garcia
St Helena

Captain Nemo

Thunderbird 1
Thunderbird 2
Thunderbird 3
Thunderbird 4
Thunderbird 5


Good one 4th watch.

Mark D

I still like the idea of a Tribal class – some proud ships there, a nod to escorts of ww2 plus a link to the Commonwealth


Fit the Thales Captas 2 Towed array with Mk41, put Tomahawk V (coming to the RN in 2020 ?) and ASROC in the Mk41, use CAMM for Air Defence plus a Decent gun and CIWS along with Merlin or 2 x Wildcat and you have a truly capable multi-purpose Frigate for a far cheaper cost than Type 26. Had heard this was now a 2 Billion Contract for 6 vessels?