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Comes across as there is nobody in this who knows what they are doing apart from wasting taxpayer’s cash. close the lot and buy decent ( and cheaper) hulls from abroad. Makes more sense

Paul Bestwick

Given that the requirement for the T-32 has not even been decided on yet how can this be a waste of taxpayers money ? This is a company doing some preliminary work to explore what might be done with a hull that is current and in production. As to buying from abroad, like what and where from ? Remember your own criteria better and cheaper.

Supportive Bloke

And a company spending money to develop exportable designs should be encouraged and applauded?

Getting more units built reduces the costs of sustaining the parts supply chain.

They have managed to sell T31 to a number of counties which is, by any standards, good work.


Well considering British frigates seem to be doing very well abroad, it may actually be worth consider what those cheaper abroad options look like..I will give you a clue…..they are not cheaper or more cost effective infact they would cost the taxpayer a whole lot more….as these ships built in Britain return a good amount of the cost back into the tax take vs say the tax take of France etc.


Your rant draws on nothing from the article, but simply advocates a ridiculous approach that would harm the RN and British shipbuilding.

Obviously a troll.

Gavin Gordon

Regardless of any discussion over the appropriateness of the T32 concept for the RN, just how does it make more sense to sub-contract your naval platforms to a foreign concern in an increasingly unstable world. This offshore manufacturer will have plenty of time to make their own, others & your vessels in these circumstances. You Think? Start making more sense, please.


To introduce another frigate design (T32) when you already have two new designs (T26 and T31) that haven´t reached the water yet sounds like a waste of time and money.

Obviously the best way forward, if there is additional funding for more ships, is to build more T31´s from the hot production line. A 9th T26 would also be a good option.


Well T26 is in the water…in Glasgow

Dave Wolfy

It keeps the design process going
Are you aware of what happened with submarine programs?


I think the type 32 is premature and better as you say to build 3 modified T31s giving you 8. Then start to replace them all with T32s. This means falling short by 2 from the hoped for 24 hulls. 8+8+6. I’d then go for 8 T83 and be sure of them. The rule of 8 rules!
We had 16 T23s till some fool sold off 3 and should have had 8 T45s. Meanwhile we can replace the 3 River1s with ( maybe 4 River 3s.) Keeping 8 OPVs if we sell off 1.


I think the type 32 is premature and better as you say to build 3 modified T31s

That’s literally what this proposal is, a modified T31. Its not “new”, its simply a different designation to represent a more capable ship.


Babcock’s A140 website lists around 8 variants already (not counting T31 – they realise no-one would buy a T31). This is just one more to add to the list.


Poland has bought the ‘T31 base design’…it even has Sea ceptor

Those 8 variants on the website are actually all using T31 dimensions propulsion etc – the changes arent quantified unlike the stretched A140MNP concept showcased here

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

The whole point of A140 is the buyer can modify it in any way they want. Nobody would buy T31 because that is a set modification.


Yes, my error
‘The three Miecznik (Swordfish) frigates will have a more powerful weapon and sensor fit than the RN Type 31 including 32 Mk41 VLS cells and canister launchers for no less than 16 anti-ship/land attack missiles. The ships will be armed with UK-designed and made CAMM (Sea Ceptor) missiles quad-packed into some of the Mk41 cells. It is also possible the Polish Navy may adopt the CAMM-ER version which extends the range of the system from at least 25km to 45 km or more. Demonstrating the platform’s potential for ASW, Miecznik will also be equipped with a torpedo launch system, the Thales Blue Hunter active/passive hull-mounted sonar and a towed array sonar, probably the compact version of Thales CAPTAS-4.

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

While I like the idea of multi-purpose, I’d want leaner crewing even more. Nothing about that here.


Great that Babcock seem to be actively pushing for more export opportunities as well as pitching for T32 with some interesting tweaks to the existing design.

But crucially the Royal Navy needs to define what it wants. The initial talk about T32 being a mothership for autonomous systems was pretty vague and the navy is now looking at purchasing 4 or 5 commercial vessels to deploy MCM drones from.

With continued funding pressures and ill defined roles i’d say at this stage it’d be better to push for 3-5 batch 2 T31’s and then prioritise MRSS which could incorporate a lot of the features and roles this vision of T32 in the process.


The output of the concept phase is being held back until next year according to an admiral testifying to the Select Committee earlier this year. Hopefully that means Babcock and BAES will know the Navy’s thinking, even if the general public don’t.


The RN is working on what it wants. When it’s finished it will solicit bids against a set of requirements. This proposal together with the BAe one are just part of the conversation around the requirements. The fact the possible class already has a number is just down to BJ wanting a PR moment not the state of development.

Supportive Bloke

But in light of this, Babcock are also laying out some of the options?

Probably based around conversations with RN?

So as the only monies spent, so far, are Babcock’s own funds I am not seeing the downside. As Babcock will be able to give an approximate price tag and options shopping list with the headline design.

That, it would seem to me, is how to zero in on an affordable design.


Herein lays the real problem: “it would be negligent and politically destructive not to keep the frigate production facility at Rosyth open, even if Type 32s were built at a reduced pace and Type 31s had to be sold off while they were still youthful enough to generate a decent price.”

What benefit profile does HMG and particularly HMT put on the continuous build ‘drum beat’ compared to the costs? It appears we will never be financed to reach the stated desire of 24 Destroyers and Frigates, so at what point does the National Ship Building strategy become an economic dead weight due to our “boom and bust” building cycles and long of long term view?

Should a few extra T31 in “as is” keep the yards open for a while? Should RN look to join Danish MPV80 programme and build enough hulls to provide MCM motherships, replace B1 and B2 River’s, Echo & Enterprise …???


I love the way unqualified people feel that everyone working in MOD/Babcock/BAE are idiots and that they know better!


How do you get that from the previous post?
Never worked for the MOD but it’s widely acknowledged they have serious procurement weaknesses, though evidenced more in the land domain.
Have worked for the other two. One of them used to have a distinctly monopolistic / public sector style approach to business which now seems to have been largely flushed out of them (competition tends to do that), the other are tight and efficient, though there’s a question on their design depth.

I am struggling to see the need for a new class TBH, between the MROS and the future LSVs which will be simple platforms launching drones, and T31 which already has a mission space.


SD67 – I do think we need a new platform, because I think MROS and ex-North Sea supply vessels kitted as RFA’s are fine for the experimental phase of uncrewed MCM, but not good enough for the globally deployable capability, especially if the vessels have to go into “harms way” in order to prosecute the mission. However a new platform only makes sense if it replaces a lot of existing hulls, we have what, 13 “traditional’ MCMV’s left (Hunt’s and Sandowns), the River B1 and the River B2 (eventually) – just seems to make sense to me, in the context of that continual ship building plan.


Where exactly did I say that? I am questioning the HMG policy on industrial “benefits” from the National Ship Building Strategy, based on a quote from the article. Is it really worth it? And if the answer is yes, then is a vessel as large as the T31 the way to keep that drumbeat going, or is a smaller multi-purpose vessel a potential alternative?


“it would be negligent and politically destructive not to keep the frigate production facility at Rosyth open”

Disagree. After T32, say after 2033, what are Rosyth going to build? Nothing. It is “unsustainable”. Simple fact.

“Keeping Rosyth as frigate (only) building ship yard” is an impossible “fantasy”. It has been so from the beginning. Even the Babcock CEO has stated that the building in Rosyth NOT SOLELY for frigate production.

Let’s face the reality. Military is pretty much about reality.

Rosyth shall aim at hybrid shipyard, aiming at

(up to) x6 MRSS
3 or 4x MHC-LSV
and possible T32.

Only with all of them in mind, Rosyth can survive as a ship yard.

Another important point is to strongly push New Zealand to join T31 team. NZ has a Babcock dock at Auckland. T31-NZ “partly” build at NZ, is not a dream. It is well within “can do”.

Just my thought.

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo

The anzac frigates were ‘partly built’ in NZ but not at the naval base/overhaul with the dry dock run by Babcock. They used a shipyard with building hall/flat construction area at a port north of Auckland and shipped it to Melbourne
I dont know if that yard is still functional


Yes. But Whangarei facility has been closed after building 4 Lake class IPVs.

NZ Devonport’s well dock is actively working recently. They commenced overhaul of French frigate, ship system modernization of their TeKaha class frigate (including deisel engine replacement, but not including CMS and weapons modernization, done at Canada).

So I think the dock will be happy to join some part of the final fit-out. And, Whangarei was BAES (although closed), but the well dock is operated by Babcock NZ.


Thanks for that . However these days hardly anybody builds in a dry dock , they need large flat hardstnds hopefully with a build hall


Thanks. I do not think sending a steel block from NZ to UK is doable.

But, as you know, fitting-out work done AFTER “hitting the water” is very long and costy. NZ Babcock team can do some fraction of these “fitting out” work. This is my proposal.

NZ Devonport dock has no big steal-work infrastructure. So, lack of (large amount of) steal work is not be a big issue for them, I guess.

Last edited 1 year ago by donald_of_tokyo


I highly doubt NZ would be interested in new build T31. The A140 is another matter. Built in S.Korea being an option. Though I suspect Babcock may be hoping for an Anzac mk2. Australia will likely need either a GP or light frigate class for when Hunter is too much & OPV not enough. Australia does have a 2nd newly built frigate capable yard (currently building 12 OPV). Thinking 3 each.


That could be right about Australia thinking T26 too much as it seems to have grown so much over its UK antecedents and a new Government new strategic thinking that less T26 and more of a lighter frigate
Even their audit office says rules about competitive tender were broken and ( as usual) records not kept on who and why certain primary decisions were made
and others seem to be befuddled
 However, the contract management plan was established 44 months (3.6 years) after contract execution.’
A 10 per cent reduction to tendered build costs had been applied by Defence. The reduction had not been negotiated with tenderers.”

Its a banana republic stuff


Pretty standard for Australia. The main difference with reference to UK is the military has bi-partisan support from the major parties. New governments tend to fiddle around the edges or modify the order rather than cancel (unless the previous government were already considering the same). A debt to GDP ratio under 35% (in 2023) also means money can be found if they want to (NZ around 22%).

So far I have seen nothing to suggest Hunter will be cancelled. However there does seem to be a suggestion from various sources that perhaps a reduction from 9 to 6 & with a Hunter based destroyer build of 3 (keeping BAE happy) & an Anzac type class (either a GP frigate or light frigate / corvette) to fill the gap between a 10,000t heavy frigate / destroyer & a 1,700t OPV. Hence Babcock interest & no doubt Luerssen as well. Nothing official mind.

I would also point out that as Anzacs disappear, along with the retired RAN Adelaide class, there will be plenty of spare expensive gear from both Australia & NZ becoming available if you want to do a joint build on the cheap (including 12 mk41 vls, 76 & 127mm guns etc).

Supportive Bloke

“ there will be plenty of spare expensive gear from both Australia & NZ becoming available if you want to do a joint build on the cheap (including 12 mk41 vls, 76 & 127mm guns etc).”

And that kit is how old?

Sometimes remanufacturing and bringing up to spec old stuff is pointless as the core parts are so worn and corroded by decades of salt water corrosion….


I believe the Adelaide class mk41’s fit was finalised end of 2008. Ships retired about 2017, so they had about 10 years at sea. The NZ mk41’s have had just over 20 years at sea (these are all currently “in the shed”). Not sure how effected the mk41 get as they are almost entirely below deck. Upgrade kits for the guns are available, though the 76mm are around 40 years old. The NZ 127mm should be reusable as RAN appears to plan to reuse theirs.These are reasonably expensive items. Radars & CMS’s have also recently been upgraded. You would need to cherry pick, but, especially for a GP ship, some savings should be possible.


All the FFG- Adelaide have gone already, probably to man the new DDG Hobart destroyers
The recent released defence review has a further addendum to come 6 months later for the naval shipbuilding.
that doesnt bode well as trimming around the edges – the nuclear subs are safe- but the frigate forces(planned) for a SSK fleet will be markedly different to that when operating SSN fleet.
You heard it here , they will cut the Hunter (T26 plus) class, probably to those under actual order or maybe not even that as the contract screw ups has delayed building so much. The navy will have to pay for its Virginias pretty soon and they doesnt leave money for a bloated T26 at the same time
As for Debt to GDP always use gross debt as thats the number to be repaid . The lower nett debt is just offset against sovereign wealth funds which are normally earmarked for other funding not debt repayment.
Australias Gross debt to GDP is just under 50% and as the federal government largely funds the states is much higher again if their debt is included.

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Not quite sure what to make of your reply. I did state that Adelaide class was retired. Two were sunk as dive wrecks (after being stripped), 4 were upgraded including radar, sm1 to sm2 missiles & addition of 8 mk41 in the bows for 32 ESSM. Some 10 years later, when the Hobart’s arrived, the two newest Adelaide’s (10 years newer than the others) were sold to Chile & the other two stripped & sunk. NZ Anzacs were recently upgraded, which included removing their mk41 vls due to to top weight issues & replaced with only 20 CAMM singles. My point being these two nations have some reasonable gear unused (“in the shed”). Based on Hunter class being all strike length mk41, RAN Anzacs will deliver another other 8 non strike length sets over time (12 sets in total). Add in guns with upgrade kit’s available for both 76 & 127mm guns, Upgraded CMS & associated workstations, radars etc being reused is also not unusual. Denmarks IH frigates we’re intended to have 127mm at A, but ended up with recycled 76mm. Current 4.5” guns are how old (with an acknowledged refurb).

As to best comparison of GDP ratios, I did not major in Economics, so will take your word on it (I admit I used Wiki). Point being both nations have access to additional money if they want it. I notice that Australia have today announced an AU$19 billion budget surplus (note, that’s primarily due to Ukraine war driving up commodity prices – good if you have commodities to sell (or military gear), not so good if you don’t).

As an aside, anyone keeping an eye on Ukraine donations & reverse orders? ie what has Ukraine been ordering (putting their own money up) against what has been donated. It looks to me that some nations who are munitions/weapons manufacturers have missed sales opportunities by supplying equipment that has not advertised what they can do (older versions of current equipment is not a problem if it performs & is relatable). Some donations however appear to be more a case of clearing out old gear they would otherwise have had to pay to dispose of. Some appear to have surprised even the donors (as in gear thought to be no longer relevant turns out to be more than useful, to the point some are looking at restarting production). May have missed it, but a story here for an enterprising defence journalist.


Thanks for that useful info on the transfer to Chile- done on the sly it seems. Morrison was unrivalled for underhand deals
but not gifted as this story suggests.

As the ‘budget surplus’ its just a political number to make finances sound better – much like “nett borrowing”
As I understand it gross borrowing is what you pay interest on and what has to be paid back, nett just offsets the other funds/assets you may have

Budget surpluses are based on operational spending excluding capital projects or assets – like military hardware , hospital buildings, roads etc
The actual cash accounts might still be in deficit and thats covered by borrowing , ie its still money spent by government they dont have

Quite a few countries now use that business accounting terminology to bambozzle the voters

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Hi Donald. The first two RAN OPV’s are being built by ASC in Adelaide, with the initial Ship only now conducting Harbour Acceptance Trials. She was originally due to be handed over to Navy in September 2021. The remaining ten were due to be built by Civmec in Henderson, Western Australia (WA). I believe this is the “2nd newly built frigate capable yard” you are referring to. The facility itself is very impressive, but unfortunately their performance less so. This has resulted in Luerssen taking over control of the Project Management and Civmec effectively becoming landlords and labour hire providers. Problem here being that they employ very few people with actual shipbuilding experience which has resulted in many issues both minor and major.
Partly as a result of this (and following an in-progress review of future force structure/capability), it looks highly likely that the last six OPV’s will be cancelled.
To be fair, there are only a finite number of experienced people to go around in WA, and the Henderson area is also occupied by yards owned by BAE, Austal Ships, ASC, Echo Yachts and Silver Yachts. Additionally, the WA economy is dominated by Mining/Oil & Gas industry, all of which offer high payrates, provided of course one wishes to work away at mainly remote sites. The Shipyards find it next to impossible to compete with the wages.
The problem is only likely to become worse, especially when the RAN Nuclear Powered Submarines (also the forward based USN & occasional RN ones) eventually start turning up at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling.
You can throw as much money as you like at facilties, but it ain’t worth anything without adequately experienced, trained people.



A little late, but in case you are still checking. Donald is from Tokyo. I’m not.

Civmec did buy the reasonably experienced Forgacs yard which built a reasonable number of Hobart destroyer bocks. Though it is a long way from the East coast (Forgacs) to the West coast in Australia (nearly 4,000km, 2,450 miles). Yes it was the Civmec yard I was referring to. The facility is impressive, no doubt with a good bit of Forgacs & Luerssen input. Civmec appears to be a heavy mining equipment manufacturer that has decided to diversify. They know steel but not necessarily ships. Luerssen is a very well known German shipbuilder with known naval construction runs on the board. ie Civmec is inexperienced, but Forgacs & Luerssen aren’t. It will take time but if the money holds out, they will get there.

I agree, the current OPV build is likely to stop at 6 (out of 12). It was always the wrong design. However the Australian government contracted with Luerssen for 12. So they will have to swap something in rather than blanket cancel (or pay penalties). The options are – change the model to be built (something else from the Luerssen stable – they also have better 85m & 90m OPV related designs, corvettes & frigate designs) or pay Luerssen to help build something from a third party. Luerssen are a private family owned company. They aren’t stupid & so long as the bottom line is no worse (or even better), they will negotiate. BAE will be pretty tied up building Hunter at the ASC Adelaide yard. The WA ASC yard is submarine maintenance, as I understand.

If Rosyth falls over, the workforce will have plenty of options between Canada & Australia to pick from.


Looks like a good design as a T31 batch-2. Hope UK can order 3 of them as “T31 batch-2”, and selling 2 or 3 T31-batch1s (in youth) to RNZN in place.

As a design, I prefer

A-pos = 57 mm gun (commonality with T31)
B-pos = CAMM. Better be 6 ExLS for 24 CAMM, but could be 12 Mushroom Tubes.
No CIWS in the bridge wings
Z-pos (on the hangar) = 40 mm is “not bad”, but can this be another 57 mm? There is a vacant room below the gun, which was originally used to embark Merlin AW101 without tail-folding in Danish Armed forces. As RN/RM Merlin has folded tail, the space is not needed. May be the 2nd 57mm gun can “penetrate” there?

By the way, on this original model, the Mk41 VLS on B-pos is what length? I mean, can the design accommodate “strike-length” Mk41 VLS there?

Supportive Bloke

I’m confused why only 16 VLS on a huge ship like that?

I’m guessing that means that T31 has 16 VLS slots?

John Dunbar

16 mk 41 vls could hold 64 camm or 48 plus 4 fcasw and there is space above the mission bay for 8 to 16 cannister launched nsm. That is a lot of firepower if you need it for a gp frigate. Plus lots of modular capability and shared logistics with T31. Seems good to me.


No, the T31 has 4x 8 cell VLS silos but in the centre of the ship. This design option has them moved to the previous B gun position but only 2x 8 cell units. But its a flexible approach . Some Navys might only require 8 cells – which can be quad packed

Supportive Bloke

Assuming that the missiles that you want to fire:-

  • can be quad packed; and
  • don’t need a whole slot per missile; and
  • you can’t envisage needing more capacity ever!

ESSM and Sea ceptor can, there are probably others. Its just a choice some navys might make.
But in that sense ‘for but not with’ could still be built in. The 8 pack is the standard size and additional units of 8 could be done in a serious refit if structural provisions already exist.
Depends on the owner navys mission too, South American or African for instance doesnt need its ships ‘armed to the teeth’ while Gulf or Eastern Asia would

Supportive Bloke

Not if there isn’t space it can’t.

The way those 16 slots are out in I can’t see how another 16 can be squeezed in?

The whole VLS sits in an armoured floodable box with water misting and various other goodies to hand. Sat on very substantial kneelers: it is a very heavy lump loaded up.

The structure of the ship is designed around it.

On T45 there is a dedicated void from the off.

On T31 the space is designed into it from the off so fitting then isn’t that hard.

On T26 it is designed and fitted from launch.


yes. Looking again I over looked the limited space even for the 16 shown


That’s 64 CAMM/CAMM-ER/ESSM. These are not intended to be AAW frigates or destroyers. There are still canister SSM on top as well. That’s already double what a T23 can handle.


Hi Donald, re replacing the 40mm over the hanger…I know the 40mm is nit deck penetrating, but I think the 57mm is.

I also think we have to remember these are not really escorts in any sense of the word the are very much a 21c verson of a patrol frigate..with added utility from autonomous systems…it’s a very very interesting idea…but still very much a concept only at present….a 6-7000 ton limited weapon system patrol frigate…with vast area for autonomous systems is not something anyone has built.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan

Hi Jonathan. Sorry I was not clear.

There is a vacant space under the 40mm gun. It is a space used for Danish AW101, which cannot fold their tail. RN/RM Merlin has a folding tail so the space is not needed.

So, even if a 57mm gun is deck penetrating, I think it can be mounted there.

And yes, I’m proposing to make it more modest in its weapon suits than the version shown by Babcock.


BAe have shown in the past, a non-deck penetrating Mk110. The Mk110 sat on a box that contained an additional 120 rounds, that were then fed to the gun’s feed system in the turret. This would then solve the problem of mounting the Mk110 on the hangar roof.


Couple of points from me.

  1. really good decision to do away with chinook deck requirement in favour of x2 merlin hanger. How many times has that capability ever been used?
  2. cube system seems to be the future
  3. can we fit 4/8 non strike VLS (Seaceptor maybe) each side of the strike length mk41 main body, or alter design to fit camm er in.
  4. Can we add the extra flex deck of the absalon class back into this design as it surely adds a lot of flexibility for a GPF.

interesting times, as the MPV80 has an awful lot going for it and I could see that being the future backbone of the RN with 25 ships (5 batches of 5) over the next 30 yrs.

It’s not clear what the surface fleet strategy really is:

is it :-

2 CSG = 2 QEC, 8 C1 escorts, 4 C2 escorts, 5 FFT & 3 SSS
2 LSGs = 8 MRASS, 8 C1 escorts, 4 C2 escorts
4 standing task groups = 8 MRASS, 8 MROSS, 20 C3 OPVs

above is 78 surface ships that is broadly in line with current report plans and should, with the right pods be able to complete a whole range of tasking

T26/45 is C1
T31/32 is C2
MPV 80 is C3 (currently rivers,sandown, hunts)

MRASS could be an improved Karel doorman multi role amphibious support ship that offers a lot of flexibility and can do all of what T32 at scale. Able to deliver a commando company by air (6 merlin hanger) or sea multiple options) so perhaps a split of C1, JALSS & MPV80 is optimal and more cost effective use of resources with T31 being an interim step.

Choices, choices


I don’t see any x2 Merlin Hangar. It has the same mistake of T26, T31 . Only one door.

Oliver Grundy

It is long enough for 2 Merlin’s not wide enough ????


Like Jonathan says If you don’t have 2 doors that each of Merlin can operate or you can’t exchange their positions inside the hangar it is practically impossible to operate both.


Yes being able to in theory have 2 Merlin’s one behind the other does not really make for practical air opps with two, for that you need them side by side


They’re getting rid of Stanflex? A popular pundit will be devastated!

Last edited 1 year ago by Watcherzero

Like everything that becomes larger the ‘small’ Stanflex modules ( 3m x 3.5 x 2.5 high) will just become TEU container size 2.438m x 6.096 x 2.591 ht ( or 8ft x 20 x 8.5 ht)


There is also the Quadcon, Tricon & Bicon sizes, which are mainly used by the military. ie 1/4, 1/3 & 1/2 TEU

Peter S

The parent Iver Huitfeldt design has an ASW capability. (How effective it is I have no idea) The T 31 doesn’t. At the very least, any new or tweaked frigate design needs an effective ASW suite, even if it is inferior in that role to T26. Adding that to a T31 base design should be,relatively, affordable and would increase the flexibility of the surface fleet.


The Iver Huitfeldts only have a hull-mounted sonar, medium frequency and short range. I read somewhere about 15 km radius. It really needs to be paired with a TAS to get sufficient distance to be effective for ASW, as is planned for the Absalon class. As it says in the article, Babcock are working on a quieter ASW variant of the Arrowhead.

There should be three extra HMS/TAS pairs available in the mid 2030s for the Royal Navy beyond those needed for the Type 26s. There’s every reason to hope that the Navy might be able to fit them somewhere along with an ASW processing suite and a trained crew. The T32s would be as good a place as any.

Craig Lewell

She’s a beauty. I don’t really see any real benefit to LPD style replacements/MRSS when the Future Commando Force is moving towards raiding rather than deploying as a light infantry brigade en mass. If we can’t recruit the sailors I would rather have a ship that can multirole and have the mass back in the escort fleet. If we don’t have a particularly large helicopter fleet and we don’t, I would prefer it to be spread over a wider number of assets with better self-protection.

The RFA are getting FSS and have the Tankers for HADR in say the Carribbean.

I was hoping that the Type 32 would be like the Absalon so this looks great to me. The only thing I would say is that given the loss of the B mount and the fact that this might be as part of the JEF be looking to reinforce Svalbard or key points in other straits/maritime choke points (Hormuz Magellan etc) is that the A mount might be better fitted with a 5inch as these are more likely to be closer to the coastline for NGS.

A LSG of two of these, North and South would be great in my opinion.


Not what is required. We are moving to 60% of our escort fleet having no ASW capability (T31 and T45). Any additional escorts need to be fully quietened (so not run entirely by diesel engines) and have a hull mounted and towed sonar.
We should look to build 5 additional T26. The unit price of these came down considerably with the last batch. As cost is always an issue then we could reduce it further by omitting the Mk 41, 24 Sea Ceptor cells, Phalanx and fitting a cheaper gun. These ships would provide ASW in Carrier Strike Group’s and in the North Atlantic where AAW and ASuW is provided by carrier/land based aircraft or other warships.

David Steeper

The issue with quietening and propulsion on the lines of Type 26 would be extremely expensive. Which would defeat the purpose of the whole programme. I’d keep Type 32 as close in design to Type 31 as possible and ‘if’ the budget and manpower another big if is there. Expand Type 26 class to 9 or even 10.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Steeper

The general concept from Babcock for the T32 is looking good. However there would be two things that I would do to the T32 concept.

  1. Have a postion on the Stern Mission bay for a containerised CAPTAS 2 or 4.This means some alterations to the stern.
  2. Remove the after 40mm gun and replace with SeaRAM. Then on the port and starboard after corners of the hanger place a 40mm. By doing that they could then have a below deck magazine in the bottom corners of the hanger in a protected (armoured, old term) enclosure/trunk.

Whilst some comments that have been posted mention ‘only’ 2 blocks of Mk41VLS or they should have a 5 inch gun. I’m not sure.The two blocks of Mk41s would give upto 64 Sea Ceptors or SeaCeptor-ER or say 6 cruise missiles and 40 SeaCeptors. With an additional 8-16 canister Anti Ship Missiles that is a powerful weapons fit. As for the 5 inch gun, I am really not sure. To be honest I am not sure if the RN has the right guns on the right ships. Does the T26 need a 5 inch when they are to be used as carrier escort, if an enemy ship has got within gun range of your carrier group then 1. your in dodo, 2. you screwed up somewhere, 3.would a billion pound warship go on the gun line? Probably not. Then again the T32 concept as presented by Babcock would be a multi role/potential mother ship frigate which we would have in limited numbers. Would we want to risk them on the gun line? possible. So I keep asking myself if it makes more sense if the main gun of the T26 and T31 should be swapped over with the T31 getting additional 25-35mm guns, possibly the Rheinmetall Millennium gun could be used. This would offset the loss of the rapid fire effect from the 57mm gun in swarm attacks.

Supportive Bloke

Sea Ceptor better than Sea Ram and cheaper.

T26 gun is meant to fire sonar buoys – although the deadest sub sonar operator will pick up a 5” gun going off.

Bear in mind that it is possible to just drop active pinger buoys and sit tight listening for the reflected sounds on a hull sonar.


The Danes have also decided to discontinue their modular STANFEX system and standardise on TEU containers” – more like change STANFLEX to use TEU container-size modules. The concept is the same: the change is in the packaging.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

comment image.webp



Phillip Johnson

The T32 will be interesting. It was stopped basically for lack of money.
Babcock is plainly fishing for a continuation of the T31, but is the T31 hull too big to be affordable? The small amounts of extra money provided have already been swallowed in current needs.
The basic requirement is for a somewhat survivable MCM mother ship, possibly with a bigger gun.
Unless a lot more money is provided we would be well advised to avoid pipe dreams.



Big hulls are affordable because steel and air are cheap. What costs a fortune is what goes into the hull – sensors, weapons, etc.

The requirements haven’t yet been specified by the RN.

A bigger gun is pointless, if you’re reduced to using that you’ve already lost.

Phillip Johnson

The bit about steel being cheap has been used before but you are not counting the cost of fabrication nor the cost of pushing it around, or maintaining it. In those terms ships bigger than they need to be are a waste of money in which Defense Departments indulge in endlessly..


Yes I’m counting both CAPEX and OPEX costs, the extra cost of bigger hulls is fractional.
Big actually saves money as existing ships can have both replacement and additional systems fitted to extend life and improve performance. The Type 21 is a classic example of a small hulled class that was retired early because it lacked the space for required upgrades.
By comparison the T45, deliberately built with lots of space, is having additional missile silos (Sea Ceptor) and diesel generators fitted (3 replacing 2).

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

T45 is big because of the need for Sampson to be high and stable. All the excess volume is just a consequence.

Supportive Bloke


But the Mk41 silo space was part of the design.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

T45 is big because of the need for Sampson to be high and stable. All the excess volume is just a consequence.




I disagree. If you want a long range radar mounted high up, you need a big hull to support that. The reason T45 (when it isn’t broken down) is so effective is it’s radar combined with the Aster missile. You can’t run Samson off of a T23 to the same effect. Being too top heavy is not a good or safe idea. There are ships with 48 vls (strike length) that are several thousand tones lighter but can’t compete when it comes to radar.


If you need your radar high then why do the carriers not have the best radar we have and all escorts have CEC

qec class are tallest and most defended asset we have. It should have the best radar if for nothing else than to see what that gives us.

Supportive Bloke

But the ability to upgrade and swap systems around in a bigger hull is priceless?

That if itself reduces the obsolescence of the hull.

David Steeper

Spot on.


This appears to be a poorly armed version of Type 31? Only 16 Mk41 vls with no mention of Sea Ceptor? Let’s just build 6 more Type 31s..


It is for a different role though.


Its not for the RN, its a conceptual design maybe for other navies

Morten Knorborg Poulsen

I see there seems to be quite a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding around the Royal Danish Navy’s shipbuilding programs. The Absalon class frigate are set to go through a major refit/ mid-life-update in the next couple of years so will not be due for replacement until the mid to late 2030’s. By then a T31/T32 based design is unlikely to be of interest to the RDN, aside from the fact we also have our own shipdesign industry to support.

Contrary to popular belief , the MPV80 has NOT been selected for the danish patrol ship program. It is an entirely industry driven concept design without input from the navy. . The danish acquisition authority have just signed a 2 year contract with OMT, to start the design of a patrol/ environmetal protection vessel actually made according to RDN requirements.



23rd June – Danish Navy inks deal for new patrol ship design,in%20place%20by%20mid%2D2025.

“The Danish Defence Materiel and Procurement Agency (FMI) has today signed a contract for the design of new patrol ships for the Danish Navy.

The contract with the Danish Patrol Ships K/S consortium will see the country field new vessels based on Odense Maritime Technology’s (OMT) MPV80 design – as predicted by Shephard.

The design contract will form the basis for a planned decision on the acquisition and construction of new ships.”

Morten Knorborg Poulsen

Yes i know the article but Shepard is mistaken.

The MPV80 is an already finished design while the new Patrol ships are going to be a brand new development.
The MPV80 is just a placeholder, a concept of what the ships COULD end up looking like.

One obvious deficiency with the MPV80 design is its slow speed (ca 17 kts) which is far below RDN requirements.( and also a key reason behind the design being rejected by the Ukrainian Navy)


What exactly is this for?
Multi-role is interesting and all but it seems extremely lightly armed and quite large large. Bit much for pirate patrols

I would have thought the war would highlight the need for heavy hitting ships. The Royal Navy can barely sink anything bigger than a Corvette at the moment.


It can’t be just me that thinks reducing the number of VLS cells from 32 to 16 is not a good idea?


Its a concept not a fixed design, and the trade off is more space for the midships equipment and fast launches etc
Remember too its a *frigate* and plenty of navies ( eg Chile or NZ ) would be happy with 16 VLS that each can be quadpacked ( 64) with ESSM or Venom self defence missiles

Mike B

We’re living in dangerous times.
It seems to me there’s far too much hand wringing and indecision.
A warship must be tough,fast and dangerous.
It’s that simple.


I think theres too much handwringing about dangerous times.

The ‘times’ havent changed all that much, as the issues are still the same – just different names and locations and the perennial problem of borders in the wrong places.
Wars as usual are very localised


You obviously weren’t around during the Cold War if you think these are “dangerous times”.

There’s no indecision, the RN is avoiding rushing into making bad, costly, decisions. And where circumstances change, it will reverse decisions – such as the decision to buy NSM.

No a warship also has to be affordable in terms of both building it, crewing it, and arming it. Plus a long-list of other detailed requirements to ensure you’re not saddled with something with no-growth, or already obsolete when launched.

Paul Bearer

Where the hex is X ?


He has a new name these days!

Paul Bearer

Not again !


Having a byte, no time for bit

John Hartley

I would like to know how this compares with the Polish version. Also, what are the alternative radars available for Arrowhead 140?


Poland is having the A140 design very similar to the T31 and includes Thales UK TACTICOS combat management system plus Sea ceptor missiles.
I can imagine US defence giants putting influence to change the final design to include US radars and missiles, but thats just speculation


Just about anything you can make fit. Thales, SAAB, CEA, BAE, Leonardo etc. If the CMS doesn’t support what you want, either pay for the integration or use a CMS that already does or can. If you look at Babcock’s A140 website, items like radar, sonar & CMS are always listed as whatever the customer wants.


It seems to me that we have reached the stage where for fleet escorts we now need to start thinking in terms of a design with a flush deck like an old style Escort carrier with a stern lift. All the armaments can be either under the deck or offset the bridge. T
All these can be in the 8000t to 10000t range. Lots of metal is cheap. Long is fast and easily driven.
BTW I suggest the Scots built ones have armoured decks. Those built anywhere else can make do with wood.

Paul Bearer

Well to be perfectly honest with you, I too think along the same lines, everyone thinks that the Carriers will be fitted with EMALS to enable lighter aircraft/drones to be launched but surely the costs to convert would be enormous, well it was a few years back. Designing and building these 10000t light carriers would certainly give a new capability in the emerging Drone age. T32 has been described as a platform for autonomous vehicles, a 10000t platform would certainly give space for underwater, surface and air vehicles and giving a considerable capability increase.


No the huge cost years ago was to convert the QE carriers to fly manned F35Cs.

The current plans are for small catapults to launch drones to supplement the F35Bs.

Huge difference between the two.

Paul Bearer

Facts and figures please. It was my understanding that QE’s were designed for but not with C&T’s and that the U-turn was a rather costly affair which highlighted the costs. You are saying that there is a huge difference in those cost’s without actually stating figures, I’m not convinced you are correct.


Those original costs were to convert the ships from STOVL to full CATOBAR.

The recent proposed conversion is just to add lighter CATs for drones. The recent proposal doesn’t even include an addition to the deck for angling which would be necessary in conversion to full CATOBAR. Vixen apparently only requires a 55m catapult which is also much shorter than one necessary for F35C.

Cheaper CATs and Traps, cheaper aircraft, cheaper deck conversion all mean it’ll end up being cheaper than the full conversion.

Paul Bearer

Yes, I know all that and that’s why we have a great opportunity to build these 5 T32 “Platforms for Autonomous Vehicles”, as you say Vixen only requires 55m of the 140 of the above concept. WW2 Light Carriers were a huge success in various different theatres.


QEC Carriers were never designed for but not with the US Emals
It certainly was thought they could be converted but that was at a massive cost when they looked into ‘building with’

Paul Bearer

Absolutely, that’s how I see it too but they were designed with an eye on C&T’s, the EMALS came late and much too expensive. I enjoy these discussions as they throw up some interesting POV’s.


interesting that space for 16 VLS at B turrent – now put that 16 B turret cells on the type 31 along with the 32 vls in centre and mount a 40mm on each side of the forward 16.

Allan Desmond

aside from the very low builder quality, British are culturally just to “Stupid Cheap”..


I’m pleased with the concept of the T32 presented here. Volume allows for design flexibility. If this is to be an ASW ship, however, hydrodynamics and hull/engine quieting technologies need to be improved over the T31, and a TAS plus hull-mounted sonar are imperative.

I could care less about the reconfiguration of VLS from amidships to bow. 16 or 32 Mk41 VLS offers enough flexibility. The question is tactical or strike length?

This ship doesn’t need a 5″ gun. A 57mm will suffice. But it does need a CIWS, whether it’s SeaRAM or something else aft, plus 2-30mm GP stabilized RWS amidships.

And of course NSM or its successor.


Good looking ship, add the flexibility and potential foreign sales could be a winner.
Only quibble I have is the amidships space. It’s a huge open area that doesn’t look like anything is being done with it because of the mission bay underneath. Seems like a bit of a waste, unless a pair of non deck penetrating 40mm or a few AShM racks can be placed there.


The Karel Doorman is not a LPD! It is a Joint (logistic) Support Ship (JSS). This ship is only 7 years old!! The MRSS will or might replace the HNLMS Rotterdam, Johan de Witt and the Holland class OPV’s. Replacement of the Karel Doorman by a MRSS is out of the question.