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That makes for a very strong bid now, getting Thales on-board is very interesting. Spreading work around England, Scotland and Northern Ireland makes it very attractive.
Thales as mission system developer for Type-31e is a very smart move, they are already developing systems for Frances new and very similar FTI Frigate program. There is an opportunity to save money and pull through systems that have been developed for that.

Harry M

Really optimistic of Thales coming on board. Products like the STING fire and control radar, VIGLIE ESM, KINGKLIP HMS, CAPTAS-1 or 2 TAS and TACTICOS CMS are all widely exported and could make the T31 more of the frigate we need.
Question, do you know if we can bring over the Mk8 4.5″ from the T23’s?


Transferring the Mk8 is not impossible.
The combat management system needs to incorporate it though, which means software adaptation for the fire control system.


Building blocks hundreds of miles apart with the associated transport costs will not make British shipbuilding efficient and competitive.


Depends on where the capacity and workforce is. If these things are unconstrained then yes it will probably be cheaper on one site. Otherwise the answer is it depends.


You need to ship the steel anyway. Airbus wings are made in Wales, 787 fuselages in Italy. Modular pre – assembly is very efficient and allows a workforce to specialise in making a particular section, “industrialising the process”, instead of a team of master craftsmen engaging in highly laborious hand build from start to finish.

Kevin Hastie

That`s how Airbus does it

Mike Barter

If BAE are involved in the construction of the type 31 e them they are sure to be late and over budget.
Ideally both consortiums would get 5 ships each.

Iqbal Ahmed

The only way this programme of shipbuilding will pay for itself is through export orders.
Third world countries look for a political relationship when purchasing arms eg. the Saudis are looking for US political support when purchasing multi-billion dollar equipment. The efficient use of the equipment is often a secondary thought.
I wonder if Brexit will make Britain a less prestigious or politically worthwhile place to buy arms from if you have so many naval competitors. And when the Russians can provide cheaper vessels.


Can you name a warship building programme that has ever paid for itself? Even with ecports I don’t see the costs to the tax payer being off set do you? As for the export market Brazil, Chile and New Zealand come to mind. I wouldn’t consider these third world countries do you? As to your Brexit question, the answer is no one knows, only time will tell.


RE Russians providing cheaper ships… check that with the Indians… see how happy they are with their deals.
Also, the Russians have a bit of a problem with their own ship building programs since they can o longer source gas turbines from the Ukraine…
The Chinese build cheaper ships – no doubt. But the quality just isn’t there. And also, lots of countries will not purchase from “non-aligned states”. This is military, not some plastic toy one can find in a bargain section isle.
The RN should try to get the best possible value-for-money within the UK.
If the design also leads to export (or licence build) then that is a plus and there should be a mechanism (contract clauses) in place to reduce the cost/return a fraction of the expenditure to the MoD.


The unanswered question is will £250m get a real frigate or an expensive OPV.
If we can’t get a real Frigate should we go for a standard OPV for a lot less than 250 and put the difference towards upgrading the weapons on. The T45 and F26 or should we can the T31 and buy an extra T26 and accept a smaller escort force?


Yes. Cammell Laird says that 4 type 31 sized ships could be assembled simultaneously (they can physically) on their berths inside or/and outside. That’s not to say some work could go to Harland and Wolff and Fergusons for rapid block build copies, even if they are on the losing side if it makes sense to build certain hull blocks and upperworks there. The more interesting bit is possibly this. This bid by Babcock/Harland & Wolff, BMT etc, if competitive and these ships are built for 250 million looks good (I feel that is building and not including weapons), Cammell Laird could still get work and this can lead up to the big one for them and their main partners, The Fleet Solid Support Ships! With this, if Babcock does not use Rosyth for much of the Type 31 work, could we still see final integration for the FSSS at Rosyth with most parts built by Cammell Laird the Govan replacement which is more dynamic (because Govan is run by BAE, but ironically owned by Peel who have a major share in Cammell Laird and Inchgreen).
If not Rosyth, will Inchgreen at last be developed (can and should be anyway) with it’s a large amount of land and talk of building ships other than military, as this Country (the UK) does need a new modern facility to complement the others (a deep dry dock can now be an asset for shipbuilding in which ships are outfitted/fitted out to a large degree and time spent there is shorter.
Pallion, a modern Wearside shipyard factory gem and A&P Tyne will have a major role on the North East coast with Rosyth and the North of Britain in general as closer consortia are probably desired for ease of mate up, coordination and cost Pallion could be suited to main mid-body section as in liquid tanker type hull parts (that could be towed if cheaper, to Rosyth Inchgreen or/and Birkenhead, or shaped (3d heatline bending that may not suite the bigger facilities) bow or stern sections to restart shipbuilding here. Ironically, Portsmouth is so out of place, but then Vosper Thornycroft had ideas far more ambitious than BAE, which did not require shipping their work around so far. But by building the same part parts, even in the digital world, you should be quicker and more efficient at by repeating, then get it to the integrator facility/facilities for final very quick assembly.
As I and others have said before, the options and plans (will look at capabilties as in crasnage and output general depth of knowlwedge and potential development from these contracts) and business models by individual businesess) will be exciting and invigorate a new modern enlarged shipbuilding sector in this Country, along with properly intergrated steel works with ship yard consortia/groups in this digital world at Dalzell and Appleby-Frodingham plate and Skinningrove’s section, special profiles steel mills.


Agree that Britain needs a modern shipbuilding facility, I don’t think it should be in Scotland though. I love the Scots as much as anyone but they can’t have everything. A large enclosed dockhall somewhere in England would be ideal, perhaps the Tyne or the Mersey.


We have/had one in Portsmouth! We had a second one in Southampton but it was demolished for housing! Creating monopolies is never a good idea and yet since it was forced through not one frigate has been built in the UK. Crass stupidity to kill off Vospers. Sic transit gloria.


Stephen. I think these and the FSSS are the stepping stones to that.


How will UK yards be price competitive with Korean for the FSS????


Tell me how you think UK yards will be or can be price competitive.

Lord Curzon

Two competitive bids on the horizon; this should facilitate a more successful procurement.


Frankly I’m underwhelmed by this latest and the Cammel-Laird/BAE attempts at a corvette sorry frigatelite.
Three things necessary:
Look after itself and crew vs submarine, air, and surface threats
Look impressive and do some useful flag waving and anti-piracy etc.
Contribute something useful like sell to friendly nations and get about smartish in secondary escort role.
Everyone back to the drawing board.


No Budget.