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The model is not the Royal Navy version, but possibilities of export.

I understand that the RN version is physically very capable and could be reasonably be upgraded in the future, if the government chose too, with more spent on weapons systems. It does meet in full current Royal Navy specifications.

Babcock were very cagey on the stand.


On the contrary, the requirements for the Type 31e have been gradually weakened over a number of years, to the point that most people accept they will not be able to be deployed in threat areas (see e.g. Francis Tusa’s comments in the FT). The ships themselves are not categorised by the RN as warships.
As an OPV, which is likely how the ships will be used, they will perform well. However when thinking about export there are equally suitable ships for undertaking this work costing less than half the price (e.g. Protector class).
Export opportunities for these ships will be very difficult to obtain.


“The ships themselves are not categorised by the RN as warships”
Where the hell did you get that blatant lie? Aside from the obvious connotation of the term “frigate”, pretty much every time an RN admiral is asked about the T31 they say “complex warship”.


A big 4 would be the best outcome for shipbuilding – Barrow on subs, a single ‘frigate factory’ on The Clyde, with Rosyth & CL splitting block assembly of RFA’s, amphibians, T31 and other smaller warships.

As stated though it’s a bit messy with Arrowhead being the best T31 contender but a need for FFS to be awarded to the UK consortium and Rosyth being best placed for big ships.

It would be great if CL could be brought into the fold as the lead T31 yard (with blocks constructed elsewhere and the aforementioned FFS awarded to quell protests from Babcock) but it seems a bit of a tall order.

Seeing both contracts awarded soon and within the UK would be great but leaving a very capable and increasingly experienced site in CL out of the mix would not be wise.

Stephen G.

Good post, apart from the part about building blocks in separate shipyards. Building blocks hundreds of miles apart, with the associated transport costs, will never make British shipbuilding competitive. There is a reason no successful shipbuilding country does it this way (France, Germany, Korea, Japan, China, etc., etc.) We can’t do it that way in Britain either.

I agree with the rest of what you say though. Cammell Lairds will soon be losing jobs as work on R.R.S. Sir David Attenborough winds up. If Rosyth does get the Type 31, then Cammell Lairds has to get the solid support ships. Both being built on 1 site to maximize British shipbuilding’s efficiency and cost effectiveness.


Cheers! I actually agree block building probably isn’t a good idea, i only mentioned it as the shipbuilding strategy does. In reality with Appledore gone and H&W in strife i can’t see many options to spread the work around anyway.

John Clark

It’s certainly the best design of the three, let’s keep our fingers crossed that Arrowhead is ordered and in a capable configuration and in numbers too.

The above depends on a continued increase in defence spending and the outcome of the forthcoming General election.

If Labour get in, all bets are off!

Anyone know if they even have a coherent plan on defence, (RN in particular) they don’t seem to have a coherent plan on anything else…


The only thing they are consistent about is the dreadnought program which they would cancel and review the who nuclear deterrent program.
McDonnell has said he would like to see the UK defence budget closer to the EU average which is 1.2% so a reduction by 20 billion.
I think it is safe to say that the defence budget would be slashed and the uk armed forces reduced to the level of the Irish defence force by a labour government.


While I have doubts regarding Corbyn and McDonnell, Labour manifesto has defence maintained at 2%, with a full SDSR as soon as they come into power. It’d be difficult for the two of them to do much different, but I’d not necessarily put it past them to try…

Phillip Johnson

A fresh SDSR would freeze defence in place for 2 years. No decisions until the SDSR was completed. A well used trick to delay decisions.


where is your evidence for this statement, the conservatives have cut (or spent less) the defence budget just as much as Labour over the 30 years (though they like you to think otherwise and its obviously working by your example) And I like to see anyone predict what any future government might do post this ridiculous situation we have going on now.


Where did I claim that either the coalition or Tories had spent more on defence than labour over the last 30 years? All major uk political parties have reduced defence spending from 3.5% of GDP down to 1.8% of GDP .
McDonnell has said that the defence budget should be more the size of the average eu members defence budget which is 1.2% which would equal a 20 billion cut .
A SDSR as proposed by Labour would be like the Coalition SDSR how to cut and cut again .

If you read my previous posts on here I firmly believe that the defence budget needs to go back to 3.5% of GDP and no political party actually cares about defence except when there is a photo opportunity.
There are no votes in defence.


I am replying to you on this but it is open to anyone who may know the answer.

We still officially spend 2% on defence however a former chancellor (i forget whch one) cooked the books somewhat and included pensions, security and the CASD which were never a part of the defence budget if we use the traditional way of calculating defence spending percentage and take out those things that were added what is the current real figure?


A question if I may:

There seems to be a general feeling that they will have 24 CAMM. why that number? The ship can obviously take more, and if they’re being ported from the T23, why not just port over all 32. Surely it wouldn’t be much more expensive?


I agree – if CAMM can be quad packed in Mk 41 VLS then why not fit a 32-cell VLS with 12-15 cells used for 48-60 CAMM?

It would be a single point of failure – maybe 2 * 16 cells would be better, but otherwise it seems the flexible way forward.

Meirion X

It will be very unlikely that T31 will get Mk. 41, just CAMM launchers fitted.

Simon m

I would think it is to allow the space for a small 8-12 mk41 cell if cash is ever found, unlikely, but probably better than blocking the space and making it more difficult to install?

Gavin Gordon

Have always been puzzled with regard to why the Danish Huitfeldts came in cheaper than other options, until I understood that the blocks for the vessels were fabricated in Estonia & Lithuania. We will need some considerable good luck &/or remarkable efficiencies to bring them in at anything like the cost-effectiveness quoted, I imagine.

Simon m

I think although they transferred most of the weapons the 2 very expensive radars (not required in T31) seem to have been purchased as part of the programme therefore they had to make extra savings to include these? Happy to be corrected though.

If this is the case there would be some wiggle room to allow for extra wages,some weapons

Captain Nemo

“although Cammell Laird did have a model of Leander on their stand”

Actual size?

My apologies.


While its the design with the most potential; its an extreme version of fitted for but not with. How long can we have an RN full of partly armed ships?

My worry is CL were the most likely to build the T31 on time, especially now H and W and Furgusons are out if it. Also isn’t it strategic to gave a shipbuilder in England?

Surely Babcock are best placed to build the larger supply ships ? And CL the T31?


This is largely what I was getting at in my previous post. Whilst CL is well placed and it’s important to give England more of a share of the work is it acceptable to choose the frankly inferior Leander to achieve this? It’s a real conundrum because Babcock building both T31 and FSS and largely at Rosyth whilst CL is left out in the cold wouldn’t be a good outcome.

Captain Nemo

Whatever wins should be built at CL in my humble opinion, preferably drumbeat.
If RN money is buying votes on the Clyde then those votes are basically bought already, RN needs to spread the money and get some votes behind defence. Why buy a constituency twice? Sorry, it’s crude, but that’s politics.
CL then also proves a useful counterweight to the Clyde whilst turning the Northwest into Royal Navy country.

Simon m

Official fit has not been released, so I reserve judgement until then but rumours are it’s capable. But the RN generally has a different view on capable to me and probably your good self. At least with space and the flexible way it can receive systems there is hope for the future…

Barry Larking

For the price of what we are paying crooks in former colonies as foreign ‘aid’ I had this perhaps crazy idea: Why not build both designs?

I am not against foreign aid when we can see how it is spent and measure what it achieves. I would not give financial aid of any sort to countries that routinely vote against this country and its allies at the U.N. as happens frequently today.

Stephen G.

It would make much more sense to build the Type 31 at Cammell Lairds and the solid support ships at Rosyth.

If Rosyth does get the Type 31, then Cammell Lairds has to get the solid support ships, Scotland can’t have every single R.F.A. ship on top on every single Royal Navy ship whilst England gets zero.

If Scotland is to be the centre for warships then Cammell Lairds has to be the centre for R.F.A. ships.

In Rosyth gets the Type 31 then in future it should be Clyde – destroyers and frigates, Rosyth – Type 31, Cammel Lairds – R.F.A., Barrow – submarines.

Simon m

I agree with that but I would like to see at least some of the minor warship work i.e. mine counter measures, P2000 replacements, river replacements built in the UK. Potentially a small yard in the south? Or if too difficult part of Cammell Laird. RFA vessels are not warships and therefore it would be good to have something closer to a warship built in England to maintain skills and workforce especially if sturgeon and her cronies get their way!