Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thanks for good summary.

Type-32 is a difficult question, I agree.

1: Type-31 hull is very bad at handing USV/UUVs. It has only 3 boat alcoves, two for her own RHIBs, leaving only one for USV. Babcock carefully avoided structural change from Iver Huitfeldt class to keep the risk = cost down. If T32 are to cover drone mother ship role, significant modification to the hull form is needed.

T31 is a £2Bn program for 5 hulls. With significant hull-design modification, and additional system to handle drones, even if T32 will be as lightly armed as T31, I am not surprised to see another £2Bn or even £2.5Bn needed for “5 T32s, based on T31, added with drone handling systems”.

And the problem here is, it looks like four T26 can be added with £3Bn, or three with £2.2B or so. Which is better? (As we know, T26 can handle drones.)

2: Babcock build shall not in hurry. T31 build was too much in hurry. One hull per year, and typical hull life of 25 years, means, Babcock needs 25 more frigates to sustain their build facility. (Plan to sell them within 15 years? We all remember T23 were to be retired in ~20 years, Ocean to be in 15 years or so and …)

Even with “2 year drumbeat”, they need 12-13 frigates to survive. Personally, no hope. Export was the original idea, but even Babcock itself is not selling it as built in Rosyth for Greek bid, just for design (and build support) sells.

By all means, T32 is not in a hurry, I think?

stephen ball

I think T32 will be based on T31 but will have the unmanned mine countermeasure system’s on them.


A whole frigate should not be taken up with the MCM mission. Maybe transport, yes, but not operating unless it was a secondary mission. (I.e. the frigate is needed in the area anyway)

stephen ball

Depends on the other asset’s the frigate is protecting. And then can it protect it self.

I’m sure T32 will still have the same weapon’s as T31 with helo.

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen ball

In that case scrap the whole idea and spend money in upgrading the poorly armed Type 31!

Supportive Bloke

Poorly armed is a relative term.

Defensively it is excellent against air and missile threats.

It is slated to get the Intermediate Anti Ship Missile. 8 x canister launched AShM will be a strong offensive package as IAShM is slated to have a land attack capability.

The original Danish design does have MkVLS in it so it is likely that a space exists where one can be fitted. Should RN fall in love with it when it is fitted to the T26.

So the potential for quickly up arming the ship is massive as all of these options have been designed and tested elsewhere.

As always the questions are ‘why’ and ‘what for’ are central.

It is easy to say we want every ship to be a cruiser but the reality of how complex they become is not trivial. Also on any ship space is finite and if you commit that space/topweight to function (a) it cannot then be used for function (b). So cluttering the ship up with ‘nice to haves’ may not be such a bright idea.

Against submarines there is little point in giving it an advanced sonar fit as the ship is too noisy to use it. However, I do foresee that it will have UAV anti sub capabilities and it can take a decent sized Helo + Drone.

Honestly it is far more important to get big capable, upgradable hulls into the water fast than to add even whistle and bell.


So fitted for but not with is the way to go??

I assume this was a typo ..

Defensively it is excellent against air and missile threats.

Supportive Bloke

30mm & 57mm are great against a wide range of threats. I believe the 30mm is more useful than Phalanx in a wide range of situations.

Ceptor is state of the art and well recognised for its capabilities.

Given the political will that now exists I don’t think there will be much pause between build and up arming anyway. T45 now has an uparming program. There is a missile program for Mk41 VLS for T26 so there will be inventory to go in a VLS.


Yes but what about when its raining when the gun EO directors don’t work. Phalanx is all weather.


Poorly armed is a relative term.

Relative to Russia and China , who else? Mongolian Navy, Kaiserliche Marine or the Spanish Armada.

Supportive Bloke

I wouldn’t agree that we are poorly armed vs the Russian threat level. My honest assessment is that most Cold War era Russian kit simply won’t work now and has ceased to be a threat. They have a small amount of modern stuff but how well it really works is another matter.

The Russians are not dummies but they don’t have cash or resources to really push these programs forward. There is a risk in mixing up Russia with USSR….they don’t have the empire wide supply chain anymore.

The Chinese are a different story and whilst they do have masses of weapons and loads of ships a lot of them won’t be as advanced as we think they should be. There will however be a few surprises of things that work better than they ever should.

Look at the problems both Russia and China have with jet engines. Russia has ‘forgotten’ how to make certain critical components of them and China therefore has nothing to copy.


You seem to be so cocksure about everything or just some delusion fantasies.

Russian navy joke:
Q: what is the best way to put a Type 45 out of action?
A: just wait 5 minutes!

Yeah bring back HMS Victory !!!

Last edited 2 years ago by ElectricRazor

Poorly armed relative to the ships they are replacing which have a gun capable of NGS, a hull mounted sonar, ASW torpedoes,
8 SSM’S and nearly three times the number of SAM’s as well as quietener engine’s for ASW work.



Last edited 2 years ago by XYZ
Andy a

Exactly I think anti sub future is orca type drone subs than can be stealthy and then doesn’t matter if frigate is noisy, it just launch’s the weapons

Dick Van Dyke

Please tell us what you are so sure about, you seem know way more than everyone else here ?

Alan Mcshane

Then replace the MCMs without a frigate.


The opvs seem good for MCMVs, just convert landing deck to store and handle drones.

Dick Van Dyke

Do you ? Why is that then, are you in the know ?


I wonder if the T32 ends up like a heavily modified Absalon type frigate where the additional deck becomes the mission bay for all kinds of autonomous kit, mobile command systems and command force stuff, would be handy to distribute all unsundry of kit round the globe then go about there patrolling duties.



I assume Absalon’s large internal volume was reduced to that of Iver Huitfeldt class, largely because of doubling the engines, from two to four. Absalon’s top speed is 24 knots, in Danish standard. As that of IH-class is 30 knots, while lighter T31e states 29 knots, Absalon’s top speed in RN standard will be 23 knots. Is it OK or not?

If not, “T32 based on T31” needs to go without the additional deck, I guess. Then, the way to increase drone carriage is to reform the central weapon space. To make it at least “as useful as T26’s mission bay” for drones, Babcock will need significant amount of re-design of the ship. Doable, but will not be cheap.

If we want T32 to be more armed than T31, then the space shall be an issue. (mission bay is very large space).

If T31 be happy with 23knots speed, yes, Absalon-based design will be interesting. In this case, still modernization of hull standard (to newest naval standard), eliminating the vehicle deck (a big weak point penetrating all the length of the hull), and adding efficient drone delivery gears (cranes?) will need some good design. Doable, but not cheap.

This is what I meant.

Surely not a bad choice, but start thinking “why not more T26?”.


“Surely not a bad choice, but start thinking “why not more T26?”.

This is where I am, as well, unless the plan is to build significantly larger numbers of T31s in additional batches and there will be big savings due to economies of scale.

Last edited 9 months ago by Will

Three more T26s for £2.2bn a much better thing to spend money on then more t31s…


You would only get one at sea one in readiness and one in maintenance so not so good


Isn’t that the same usage pattern as any other war canoe? PLAN are building a clutch of these a year. They are getting quieter and quieter. T31 will end up being another thing that needs to be escorted or something that can only be used in back waters. And with Chinese influence growing back waters are getting fewer and fewer.
comment image


I think the plan with the T31 is that we buy a cheap patrol frigate and if we go to war they can be quickly up graded to offer a lot more resistance as we won’t be able to wait around for 7 years to buy replacements
It’s always the bean counters that dictate what we can have, and the over huitfeld bucks the 3 for 1 hull as the Danes get upto 344 days per year from there frigates.


We won’t have time to upgrade. The world is a smaller place and events move quicker.

Last edited 2 years ago by X

one at sea one in readiness and one in maintenance”
Thats not an capability limit , but a spending one, dont they ‘bid for days at sea’ over a year or something from Treasury. And if spending on some other ship class gets to high, all 3 will be tied up for most of the year.


One useful thing is better than two useless things…. plus fill the mission bays with the right kit and your one T26 is worth far more then all of the T31s against someone who is approaching peer status…..

Meirion X

A single T26 can only be in one place at a time. That is the rationale behind the T31 plan, to increase numbers of frigates available.
Yes uparm the T31 with more CAMM and a torpedo warning sonar
so they will be credible in places like the Gulf.

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X

If we did those things I’d be perfectly happy with them

Dick Van Dyke

Hang on, say that again, 13xT23’s surely just equal 8×26’s and 5×31’s ? or am I missing what you are trying to say ?

Dave G

So in a major war situation with a little notice, that is 2 available for surge and one reserve but needing longer notice to get ready (depending on how many pieces it is in when things kick off and how much emergency cash you can throw at it)?

Admittedly Crews and role kit could be an issue…

Andy a

Again every ship can’t be top end, even usa now realise this building cheaper frigates. High low mix is way to go


Even the US lower end have full spectrum capabilities. No other Navy in the world is building or operating 6,000 ton “general purpose” frigates without a sonar.


I’m not sure about the impossibility of a 1 year drumbeat. I wonder what’s the difference between the cost of a new build and the extra cost of maintenance and refit over the latter half of the ships life (compared to the first half)? What if they weren’t sold after 12 years service, but given away or even scrapped?

You could run ships almost as hard as you liked without worrying about reducing the ship’s longevity, thereby increasing percentage days at sea. (We all read about dual-crewed Montrose becoming the navy’s most efficient frigate. French dual-crewed FREMM reported 50% more days at sea). No more Lifex to worry about. No more TOBA.

I can’t find maintenance/refit costs, so I don’t know how much extra it would cost, but the drumbeat savings would be considerable (around 35% against a two year drumbeat).

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon

Type 32 should be the replacement for the Batch 3 Type 22’s that were never replaced. If not they should act like Littoral Combat Ships, be modular and act as a mothership and MCMV replacement. A variation of the Type 31 to keep costs down, but with improved drone handling facilities. Also a tad better armed. (E.G. 24 cell Sea Ceptor silo). Sadly, the chances a Type 32 actually joins the fleet are minimal but there is till hope!

Last edited 2 years ago by Goldilocks
stephen ball

If T32 is the same as T31 with boat bay’s that’s 4, 3 MCMV vessels, can see a T32 being with the Carrier Strike being used to check and clear lanes. Same with the Littoral depending on replacement for Albion Class, Checks and clear’s area. before landing.

stephen ball

You never know, if they really are at blank sheet concept they might consider the option of more T26 in place of a new class.

With production efficiencies and a stronger negotiating position of the MoD now that Babcock are an active player, the price of an additional 3-4 T26s should be the same as that of an enhanced T31 design.

I’d definitely take 3-4 more T26s over an enhanced 5 ship class of T31s. Light frigates have their place, but if we want a more capable ship it makes more sense to simply produce more of our better design than come up with a new medium frigate.


Agreed. Build 4 more Type 26. The Type 31 has no place in a modern navy. Our potential adversaries are turning out heavily armed fighting ships. The Type 31 without a sonar is a sitting duck for any sub that happens along. With no offensive missile armament it can be engaged and destroyed by smaller but far more capable vessels, plus with minimal sea ceptor fittings it can easily be overwhelmed and destroyed in an aerial attack. Soooo, we are even contemplating buying it? Simply because we badly need new grey hulls……


Im all for more T26s, but, unless we were to speed up production, any more would impinge on T83 coming online when needed.

Dick Van Dyke

truth be known, then are needed now given we only have one active !


That’s not what I’m saying. The T31 has a clear place: fulfilling the myriad tasks the navy requires that don’t require the capability of a first rate platform. The T31s are for the old light cruiser roles like trade protection and flag showing.

My arguement is if the T32 is meant to be a true major combatant, which to be clear we have no confirmation of, we’ll get more bang for our buck from slightly fewer but more capable platforms than extra upgunned light platforms. So 11/12 T26 and 5 T31, instead of 8-5-5 of T26,T31, and T32.


I think that saying the T31 has a clear place is post rationalising an entirely cost driven decision.

The T31 is replacing full spectrum capability frigates so is a clear step back in the capability of the escort fleet.

The SAR, interdiction, patrol and disaster relief missions that don’t require a first rate shop should have fallen to the 5 new River’s but without a hangar to embark a helicopter they are even more useless than the T31.

When a conflict starts everything grey gets sent. In the Falklands T21’s with an obsolete SAM, T42’s with no low level air defence capability and LSL’s with only a WW2 era gun for self defence were lost with over a hundred men. The fate of the T31 would be the same.

T31’s are just the worlds biggest OPV’s which we wouldn’t have needed if we’d properly outfitted the 5 brand new £630 million of OPV’s we’ve just built.


T21s didnt have an ‘obsolete SAM’
the point defence Seacat system has been described as :
GWS.20 version was manually controlled, in keeping with the need for a rapidly developed and deployed system. Several variants followed; GWS.21 added radar-cued manual control for night and bad-weather use, GWS.22 added a SACLOS automatic guidance mode, and the final GWS.24 with fully automatic engagement.- Wikipedia
Having some manual fallback in that era of unreliable electronics is a feature not a bug

Tim Hirst

The experience of the Falklands showed the Sea Cat to be next to useless.


You could say that of most missile systems of that era including US. The RN missiles were being used ‘off label’ The Sea Cat wasnt designed to be used in narrow confined waterways, just like the Sea Dart couldnt distinguish a target against a land background ( or when two jets swapped position repeat at high speed) but was doing what it could do in open ocean areas with a medium to high altitude target

Supportive Bloke

The issue with T21 was that the hull was too small to be upgraded to carry proper defensive missile systems such as full fat Sea Wolf.

SeaCat was useless. Let’s be clear about that. It was reasonably good at shooting down slow moving target drones that flew in an obligingly straight line straight towards you. If your target was unobliging and was jinking/flanking or moving away from you it was absolutely useless as it had hopeless manoeuvrability and was subsonic.


Your comparison to the T21 doesn’t hold water. The T21 had, as you pointed out, an obsolete missile system, as well as no CIWS and an outdated decoy system. The T31 has a good radar, a brand new missile system, modern decoys, and the heaviest CIWS armament of any modern RN ship. It’s also built on a suitable hull.

The T31 has a clear place, and regardless of whether the original motivation is cost, it’s a the RN needs


I think you are being a bit selective. Sea Mouse wasn’t marvellous. But a lot of systems at that time weren’t marvellous. CIWS was a newish idea. Decoys could have been upgraded. But what about their speed? Their 4 Exocet? It’s sonar not cutting edge was adequate for its age and function; more adequate than T45’s sonar by some margin if compared to peers. It was a great patrol frigate. It would have come into its own perhaps if more had been built and it had operated in flotillas.


Selective? Hardly. The T21 was effectively a missile boat, not an escort. It’s offensive armament was alright, but it’s defensive fit was basically pointless. Their speed? Once again pointless, because they were expensive to run, which is counterintuitive to being a cheap patrol frigate. The inclusion of a sonar is obviously nice, but that’s about the extent to which you could argue the superiority of the T21 for its role.

If you look at it relatively, it’s quite clear: the T21 was an overpriced, inefficient corvette with an outdated armament by the standards of its time. The T31 is the literal opposite, being actually cheap and cost-effective to run, and with a defensive armament that fits its function. It’s also designed with space to be upgraded, which the T21s were not.

Supportive Bloke

Electronics wasn’t what it is now. And what we take for granted now.

Did any of the Exocets ever get fired at anything – ever? I don’t think they were used at all in a full out war which suggests to me they were not that useful.

Speed was lovely and comparable to a T45 IRL which has a power ratio that suggests it would hold 35kts in a calm sea state.

CIWS didn’t really work.The well know problems with Phalanx lead to the GoalKeeper project. Phalanx wasn’t really reliable until the late 1980’s well after Corporate. But Corporate did spur Phalanx’s development by the US.

The main problem was that T21 was too small so you couldn’t upgrade it.

Bloke at the bog

Did any of the Exocets ever get fired at anything – ever? I don’t think they were used at all in a full out war which suggests to me they were not that useful. – Total Bull Sh**t

HMS Sheffield, HMS Glamorgan, SS Atlantic Conveyor and USS Stark were all hit by Exocet.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bloke at the bog

The context was the Exocets on the T21 not being fired ( I think they removed them to reduce top weight and remove the ‘explosion’risk)

Bloke at the bog

Did any Spearfish torpedo ever got fired?
So should they not be all removed from submarines?


No they didn’t, because we had Tigerfish at the time!!! But I get it point.

Supportive Bloke

Exactly my point.


All frigates of that era were small, really small. The T12 series, the T81
The 21 was advanced for its spacious crew accommodation ( lower manning) ,all gas turbine propulsion and combat centre automation – hence the cost jump over the dated Leander design. Still surprise me that some people dont realise its the ‘software’ that costs

Supportive Bloke

I agree with that.

But the T31 is big and upgradable as well as having a good defensive fit.

T21 was small and not upgradable and had a poor defensive fit.

About as opposite as it is possible to be.


Not comparison with the T31 , but the frigates of the Falklands war.
The Leanders should never have been upgraded at all in the way they were ( a lot had severe corrosion in bottom plates).

Andy a

Was phalanx not reliable in 80?

Supportive Bloke

No, it was not reliable. It was, in fact, notoriously unreliable.

Most weapons systems of the era were not terribly reliable as it required a lot of cabinets full of complex electronics and computers to all works properly at the same time. The % reliability of electronics was, relatively, at the time pretty awful.

Even in the 1990-2000’s BSoD, or its equivalent, was very common place. Never mind the issue of electronics reliability.

I remember the joy of using Mac’s in the 2010’s and having computers that didn’t need rebooting for weeks. OK, I am at heart a UNIX user.

Software reliability side was less of a problem as it was all running on high level languages on some flavour of UX in the background. Code was generally shorter and more compact without the modern bloatware cause by copy-paste development. The usual computer problems back then were overheating, electromechanical and interface issues as the interfaces were bespoke and so the Achilles heel.

sunbathing bloke

can you prove any of what you said?

Harry Nelson

With respect to the T-21s they weren’t half fast tho 😉


Yes, I remember seeing a picture in Navy News back in the day with someone waterskiing behind a T21 at full tilt.

Tim Hirst

Only 3/4kt faster than the T31 which has over twice the range. Part of the reason RN ships are able to do long deployments without tanker support is the much longer range of modern designs.


Diesel engines can now be used for cruising speed, something that wasnt possible back then


“Diesel engines can now be used for cruising speed, something that wasnt possible back then”

Why not? in 70′ there were already CODOG/CODAG ships.


@sunmack excellent comment !


Every navy ever makes cost-based decisions, that’s just a fact of living in real-world… Unfortunately, everyone has to work to a budget, and doubly unfortunately, ships now cost a lot more than they used to… So those budgets don’t stretch as far. And since raising taxes & cutting money from basically anywhere is HUGELY unpopular, that budget is all we got. So to misquote Gandalf: It is not to us to decide the budget. All we have to decide is what to do with the money that is given to us.

Of course, they could have made 10x Type 26, rather than 8… But then to meet our commitments to anti-piracy etc. So then the available ships for a task force would be less. Really, 13 frigates is still too few to really meet everything that is expected of the navy (so they’re doing the T32s as well).

During the Falklands, the commonwealth countries covered our commitments so that we could take everything we had with us, however, now they’ve invested into the Type 26 program, it’s more likely that any task force will be an international one, with more T26, just not RN ones.

The River-class are as well equipped as anyone else’s patrol vessels… Most nations just have a .50 machine gun on theirs and nobody bats an eyelid. I would agree that they seem over-priced (not that I’ve seen a full cost breakdown of the program, to properly judge that), but surely that’s an argument to have spent less on them, not more.

Andy a

What adversaries are u talking about? Russia that can’t build capital ships and sticks as many missles on as possible but most of ship is ancient and crew poorly trained, I’m yet to see half of their super weapons actually work. Only China and yes they arm heavily but building all t26 will never happen, usa spends double on defence and they are now building cheap frigates for high/low mix so why would we do different.


Usa spends 10x on defence


£2bn is 2x T26, not 4. So you would get less than half the number of ships that way, not just 1 fewer.

Because they’re designed to be a cheap vessel we can keep in Oman etc. to fulfil the RN’s anti-piracy obligations or to stop Iranian patrol boats from capturing any more merchant ships.

Not every potential adversary nation has a first rate navy… So not every mission requires a high-end warship.

But currently, those obligations tie up a high-end escort, which could be better employed against a higher threat nation. And since 1 ship cannot be in multiple places at once, you need numbers of hulls. It just makes sense to make cheaper ones for low-intensity conflict regions.

I would like to see them at least get the full 24 Sea Ceptor missiles, but even 12 with 1x 57mm and 2x 40mm CIWS should be quite capable against pretty much anything the likes of Iran would throw at them.

Yes, they wouldn’t be much good against the likes of China… But they would probably actually mean that more of the high-end ships could be made ready to be used in a high-intensity conflict than if they were all around the world doing other things (even if we had a couple more of them)… Plus it’s not as if every ship major navies are building is a Type 055 destroyer. They have plenty that are basically unable to properly defend themselves from an attack by a capable modern navy too.


I just don’t know what the T31 is for. It’s the worlds largest OPV.

It’s inferior in every respect to the hulls it is replacing (ASW, ASuW, NGS, AAW). Its lack of ASW capability, limited AAW missiles and no ASuW capability beyond small vessels means it should never operate independently in anything other than a low threat environment. It should never be in the Gulf as it’s a sitting duck to submarines and mines due to its lack of sonar.

If you put a telescoping hangar, 57mm gun, SeaRAM and two 30mm guns on the River’s you’d have exactly the same capability.
I’d upgrade the 5 batch 2 River’s as outlined and buy another T26 instead of the total waste of space that is the T31.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sunmack

The point of them is to create eyecatching and noticeable jobs in Scotland.

Whether we would be better off creating jobs making clever force multipliers to fill the T26 mission bays is a moot point. A couple of hundred jobs spread around the country at small innovative companies wont be as noticeable………

Tim Hirst

A large part of the aim of the T31 is to put hulls in the water at low cost.

This is to support the mission HMG has given the RN of being present in more of the worlds oceans. They aren’t major combat units, but can look out for themselves outside a significant war zone (an attack by a nation state on the U.K. military). The B2 rivers will do the job in areas with pirates as the top threat, the T31 in areas with well equipped terrorist groups. After upgrade costs the T31 budget would get up one T26 at very best. That wouldn’t give the RN the ships need for its mission.

Major combat will be limited to a rapidly available group protected by T45 and T23/26, with a second group available after a number of months.


I agree with the other commentators, the RN need more hulls, even if they are low cost and lightly armed. Crucially, using a design that can be easily upgraded when needed or if/when there are funds available.

I know the T31 is getting a bad rap. But, I think it was a shrewd move by the RN. The reason for this is the ship’s size, but also being fully diesel powered. The ship’s large volume means you can stick more in it when it comes to upgrading. But also means there’s more space available for cable and pipe routing etc, thus making their paths easier to follow, fix or change. By being diesel powered means the engine costs are much reduced, but also that the ship will have legs. Along with the larger volume available for fuel, these ships should be great patrol ships that require little support or time in dock to refuel.

Being a large ship, but lightly armed may seem counterintuitive. However, what armament they have been given (SeaCeptor, 57mm and 40mm autocannons) means they will have great self-protection against air and most surface threats. Not having a sonar looks bad, but the ship isn’t built for stealth, so why bother? If the mission bay works out and the ship can host unmanned surface and subsurface vessels. These may mitigate the lack of sonar. especially as they’ll operate further away from the noisy ship. If the Mission Bay requires a redesign to make it work, perhaps the T32 can incorporate the lesson learnt.

The big advantage that the T31 has over say a B2 River class, is the ship is more resilient to damage due to the larger number of watertight spaces, thus in theory making it harder to sink. The ship is built for war, whereas a River is not. The inclusion of a sizeable hangar and Chinook capable landing deck behind the Mission Bay, means the ship has plenty of options. Hopefully soon, the I-SSM will be announced that will be first going on the T23s. But if it’s the missile I hope it is, then the T31 will probably get it as well. Adding some much needed punch to these “lightly armed” frigates.

I really believe once the T31s are in service they will prove to be very useful. But I’d hazard a guess that they will be soon up-armed. Adding additional SeaCeptor silos seems the obvious route. If the rumours and CGI are true then 12 SeaCeptors is really only useful for protecting the ship. It needs at least 24 or preferably 36 to provide local defence to a convoy/task group etc. Having at least 8 x I-SSMs in canisters on the Mission Bay roof will make the frigate more of a deterrent, especially as the requirement is for a dual use weapon that can also be used for land attack. I think these two upgrades will be the most likely to happen. Replacing the forward 57 with a 5″ is unlikely, although desirable, due to the weapon systems high costs. Ben Wallace has said that the T32 will be used to support the amphibious group, so perhaps it will be getting a 5″ or hopefully a marinized 155mm?

But to all intents and purposes the RN really need the T31s in service ASAP, so that they can replace the T23s being used in the Gulf. The costs of keeping the T23s up and running are huge and they are taking longer and longer to maintain.


How is the Type 31 enabling the RN to get more hulls? We have 13 T23 and will have 8 T26 and 5 T31.

The T31’s are inferior in every respect to the T23’s they are replacing and whose roles they will therefore have carry out.

I agree to an extent that the fact they are noisy inhibits their ASW capability and therefore questions the effectiveness of a sonar. However, a basic sonar would at least give them a torpedo and mine warning capability. The real question is why in a world where the submarine threat is increasing, are we building frigates which are all but useless as ASW platforms (particularly when they are replacements for reasonably capable ASW ships).

The T31 does get bad press and it deserves every word of it. £1.5bn of oversized OPV’s.

Deploying a T31 in the Gulf where there is a submarine, torpedo and mine threat would be beyond criminal. They must never be used independently outside zero threat environments in an OPV role. At least they are capable OPV’S unlike the £630m River’s whose lack of an emarked helicopter in a hanger leaves them useless.

David Broome

Its a thing called the budget. There is a finite cap to see if this cycle of cost escalation can be broken. Remind me again, how many Type-45s were planned versus built? The Type-26s cost escalation drove the Type-31 project. This is not a binary choice. Having it your way, yes we’d have more Type-26s but 2 is all that would have been afforded (assuming no cost increases). It was never going to be 13 Type-26s but instead became 13 frigates to hold the line. Due to cost escalation if we went all Type-26 then we would be looking at just 10 frigates or possibly 9 and no Type-32 on the horizon. Moreso with Covid adding budget pressure. This would have also left BAE as the sole provider who would then move onto the Type-4X project (6 to what?). I also want to see a heavier armed Type-31/32 but I want more hulls, alot more. As the maxim goes, quantity has quality all of its own.


I’d take the £1.5bn reported to be spent on the T31 and swell it to £1.7bn by reducing the proposed CAMM fit to the T45’s from 24 to 12.

I’d spent that on two T26’s and putting a hangar, a 57mm gun, a SeaRAM and two 30mm guns onto the 5 new Rivers.

The River’s would them undertake the patrol in low threat area missions being allocated to the T31.

To reduce costs and stay within budget I’d strip the Mk41 VLS and half of the CAMM silos off the two extra T26’s.

Those two T26’s would always be assigned to the CBG as ASW escorts rather thsn operating independently. The T45 in the CBG is there for AAW and the F35 is there for strike which compensates for the reduced CAMM and VLS deletion on the 2 T26’s.

I think that’s much better value for money than the worlds largest ocean going OPV’s which is all the T31 is.

Meirion X

A recipe devoid of logic, of whatever can be!

Striped down T26’s, fleets within fleets.
Highly unlikely all of the sub fleet of 2 striped vessels would be available to deploy at the same time.
I would like to see two more T26’s procured, but they should be armed all the same. Only if £1.6Bn was to materialise and build rate speeded up a bit.

T45’s with only 12 Sea Ceptor each, only just as effective as T31 for short range protection.
The savings would only be of something of around £150M for the 6 sets of 12 CAMM cells with systems.

The River OPV’s were Not built for major combat!

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion X
Andy a

In few years a t31 with sun drone will make them capable of sub hunting. World has changed, tech means platforms will be outdated in ten years not 40. We need high low mix like every other major navy, french, usa, China. Not every ship can be major warship

Andy a

Well the RN disagrees they want some low end ships to t26 aren’t tied up when t31 could be used. High/low mix same as usa navy and airforce. Until defence gets more cash which public won’t pay for, they need hulls fast, can up arm later but way technology and drones are changing I think in ten years will be very different


They are not what the RN needs. They arr driven entirely by cost and have their military utility is miniscule for a £1.5bn programme of 5 6,000 ton ships.
The US Navy low end have full spectrum ASW, ASuW and self defence capabilities.


If by USN low end you are referring to Freedom class LCS, then no they don’t have full spectrum capabilities. If you are referring to their new Constellation class, then there is a high price difference between them and T31s, as the Constellation are closer in price to a T26!
One of the problems with T31 is we still aren’t sure of the exact weapons outfit it’s getting in terms of missiles. Is it 12/24 Sea ceptor (different renderings have different numbers). Some have shown an AShM fitted others haven’t. The MOD position is less than clear too!
The as yet to be purchased I-SSGW sets will, as far as I’m aware go onto the T23’s, but as they decommission, will end up on other units, most likely the T31s, as the T45s won’t require them if they are only going to be used as TG escorts in the future.
I’m not sure if the lack of a sonar when operating in the gulf region is such an issue given all the other assets available to cover the mine/SM threat! Of greater concern should be if T31 was tasked as a singleton in deeper water with limited support.
Just a different take on things!


One of the increasing threats in the maritime environment is submarine and yet we seem to be stripping the RN to only 8 hulls which are effective ASW platforms.

The T45 is noisy and with a poor sonar and the T31 has zero ASW capability. If T32 is based on T31 then it will also be a poor mans ASW platform even if equipped with a sonar as its engine fit is sub optimal for quiet operations.

We seem be on a trajectory where two thirds of the escort fleet are of next to no use against one of the most critical maritime threats.


T45 is noisy because it doesn’t need to be quiet being a primary AAW platform. And also, the sonars have been decommissioned on them at 12 months notice to activation, with no more ASW manning onboard!


Type 45 sonars decommissioned? That effective means our primary AAW vessels are sitting ducks for subs……


The sonar on T45 has a range of about 15km. It is an ‘enhanced’ mine and obstacle avoidance and torpedo warning set. They should have the same set as the Horizons the UMS 4110 CL which has a range of 30km. This is the hull sonar fitted to FREMM too which also has a TAS.


“The sonar on T45 has a range of about 15km”

Not true, the range is 29.6km.


I would take any published range with a high pinch of salt, a lot depends on environmental conditions on the day, a typical active sonar range in the Atlantic in summer is probably 3-4 times greater then in the Mediterranean at the same time of year for the same sonar.
A SM will be more concerned about a dedicated ASW sonar – UMS 4110 CL/ST 2087 etc then some modified MOAS!


There has to be a base line.


Yes, agree, but isn’t it funny how overly optimistic those base line figures always are!?


I mixed my nautical miles with my km’s. Sorry! 🙁

Thank you. 🙂

Last edited 2 years ago by X

Yeah you could say that. But with the ships as loud as they are anyway, they are still sitting ducks. Can’t make them quieter as a Destroyer is always naturally loud due to needing the engines capable of producing the speed for AAW manoeuvring.


The T45s have electric motors for their 2 shafts, the turbines and diesels feed power generators. The design was intended to cruise on gas turbine only.
Whats this ‘noisy’ you talk about,is there a baseline the claim can be compared too ?
A SSN has a steam turbine driving an electric motor too


I know what T45’s have. I served on them for over 10 years. They are noisy by terms of how they operate through the water at such high speed, frigates aren’t as fast and have engines above the water line so have less noise signature. Thats what I mean by “noisy”, its all about noise signature through the water, which for anyone who serves on any form of AAW platform within the warfare side of things is a nightmare when it comes to ASW operations “if you have the capability to perform ASW”!


Thats what an large ASW helicopter is for ..dunking sonars and sonabuoys. and at the distances they can operate a quiet ship is irrelevant An ultra quiet frigate trailing a towed array sonar at a low speed is a different matter of course.


So submarines know not to shoot at it then because it is AAW hull? Just think of the savings we could have made to T26 if we had stripped the air search radar and Sea Ceptor off T26 and made all the upper works straight because it is an ASW ship…….


I didn’t say sub know not to shoot at them because they are an AAW platform. My point was a destroyer will never be a quiet running unit as it needs the speed to perform AAW manoeuvring etc. When I was on a T45 serving I called it madness that they removed the ASW capability. All a money and cost saving measure. The sonars kept breaking, and the manpower was needed for the T23’s which had a massive UW manpower shortage at the time.


With the numbers there are they will always sit in the middle of a task group next to some noisy HVU. And yes you are right there is a need for speed on occasions just as occasionally a T23 has to occasionally use speed. But without ASW and a reasonably quiet propulsion system it itself will always be something itself that needs to be escorted. And that’s the problem.


And thats why a TG will always have a SSN in toe, which its whereabouts is unknown. And as a warfare SME, I would never sit an AAW unit in the middle of a TG!


If that’s true then they have no mine detection capability in which case we should never deploy them independently tobthe Gulf given Iran’s long and repeated use of mine warfare


Not exactly true. With the huge MCM presence in the Gulf and Intel. That’s not a great a risk as people think. Plus nothing would have a changed as the sonar was rubbish anyway and probably wouldn’t have detected a mine!!


..the (type 45) sonars have been decommissioned on them at 12
months notice to activation, with no more ASW manning onboard!

Is that true? I don’t remember seeing anything mentioned before.


happened about 2 years ago. Was kept quiet.


Thanks. Bad news.

Supportive Bloke

It has been discussed on here tangentially before.

No point in having things that don’t work properly.

Someone then makes the mistake of thinking the ship has effective sonar and sends it off to do something it should not be doing.

This comes back to the point I make repeatedly: only keep kit that is 100% effective. Keeping carp just eats budget and removes focus.

Otherwise Sea Mouse would still be in service……


Oh well , that leaves the Merlin with Flash…
‘Thales Sonar 2189, a Folding Light Acoustic System (FLASH), which includes an active sensor dipped into the water by winch to locate submarine targets.”
Do you have a whinge about that as well ?

Supportive Bloke

Not sure what you mean.

Nothing wrong with Merlin or its dipping sonar.

I support the boys and girls having highly effective kits.

I don’t support the boys and girls having ships stuff with carp that doesn’t really work and you then end up with the equivalent of Sea Mouse and then standing there looking very white faced as you realise that keeping carp on board has lead to lack of clarity about capability which has lead to bad deployment decisions.

Meirion X

A lot of work seems to have been done on Darling in the new deep dry dock at Pompey docks. Is it not possible the sonar could be reactivated?


No chance, its all about manning issues. Not enough UW ratings in the fleet, and not enough joining up!

Tim Hirst

If a T31 based option is the T32 which is not totally a given, it’s ASW capability would likely come from off board sensor platforms. If you want a conventional ASW escort then you need either to find the extra £400,000,000 plus per hull for more T26 or go for a different quiet cheaper hull. If you go for the cheap quiet hull expect very significant compromises in other areas.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tim Hirst
David Broome

Add a torpedo warning system to all hulls. Then create a ASW modular system comprising towed sonar array like Thales Captas1 and ASW torpedoes. Bring added capacity to vessels when needed.

criss whicker

That picture of HMS glasgow , the ship looks to small and very short compared to the image of HMS Montrose i know the images are two different and angled but it just looks to short, just my opinion,
aslo far to much talk from the goverment, surly we need more ships ASAP rather than to much political talk,
im just a amarture observer in this, so know doubt you experts will put me right,

Trevor Holcroft

Glasgow is much bigger than Montrose.

criss whicker

yes i know,, but it just looks short in the picture.
but it will look better in the water.

criss whicker

Today te goverment stated we have a total of [ one type 45 ]
ship on active service, the rest are out of commision, being updated or in maintenence,

perhaps we should build more of these new frigates, just in case of future problems,
perhaps 40 or 50 might do, after all, it just takes money does it not,
and whats money when the chinese might come knocking soon, .
just a thought, silly as it may be, but who knows the future.
how many we end up building lets hope they arrive sooner that later.


Today te goverment stated we have a total of [ one type 45 ]
ship on active service, the rest are out of commision, being updated or in maintenence –

have you a link to this information?

Phillip Johnson

A couple of comments:

  1. Up to 32 T26 will probably never be achieved. The RAN requirement is for 9 vessels not 12. The 12 relates to the possibility of 3 additional T26 hulls being added to the RAN program to replace the RAN’s 3 DDG’s from the late 2040’s. The T26 is suffering some bad press in Australia because the changes wanted by the RAN for a limited upgrade of the AAW capability will push the RAN version over10,000 tonnes Full load. This is beyond the current UK hull design. The possibility that the design can be credibly further upgraded to a full DDG capability in the 2040’s seems remote. As to the Canadian order, it is very unlikely to go beyond the 12 vessels needed to replace the current frigates. Going to 15 would see he Canadian Navy increasing in numerical strength, something that hasn’t happened since 1941, and Canada is Canada.
  2. Cutting a hull open to insert a gear box on the berth is a complete joke. Someone stuffed up badly. Best of luck with the alignments. Maybe Glasgow will end up as the class training ship.
  3. The T32 will likely end up as a small GP frigate with a UUV/USV capability. It brings to mind vessels of a similar concept of pre WW11 sloops. Why, because there will be neither budget or manpower for anything more.
Paul T

Certainly agree on point 2,why on Earth join Two Hull Sections together without vital Machinery fitted just to open it up again later, surely it could have waited a bit longer, let’s face it there is no immediate rush for them.

Phillip Johnson

Payment milestone?

Tim Hirst

The joining of the Hull sections may well not be the point a which the gearbox compartment was closed out. It’s was more likely much earlier when a sub block was closed. Stopping build at that point would have delayed the whole build, of ships which there definitely is a fish for.


How complex and expensive is it to upgrade a class like Type 31 with a hull mounted sonar after their construction? I mean like the French do it with the La Fayette-class?


As T31 already has a bow sonar dome, it will be even easier than in the case of La Fayette.

Adding sonar console, ASW console, and ASW crew facility will cost. But, the Danish hull is specifically designed for “easy addition later” (in place, wasting lots of spaces internally. Just a trade-off, nothings wrong), it will be also “easier” than La Fayette.

How efficient the hull sonar will be, is another story.

Tim Hirst

Fitting a sonar is quite easy, the T31 is a big hull with lots of weight capacity in reserve.


Its also a very loud design so the newly fitted sonar wouldn’t be of much use.

Compromises were made to get the T31 in side it’s budget limit. One of those was the choices of a big long range easy to maintain hull that was go good for ASW. Prioritising a quiet hull/drive line would have brought with it other compromises.

David Broome

Can some tell us why it us loud? I know the engines arent rafted but unless there’s a submariner here who has tracked the parent ships, this seems assumption.


A Danish naval engineer that occasionally posts here and other UK defence forums, says that the Iver Huitfelds are quiet. Quiet enough for ASW.

All the comments otherwise, like the one above, are based on “they have diesels so must be very noisy” rather than any real evidence. In other words internet BS.

Supportive Bloke

Quiet is a relative term.

In ASW terms T23 is the gold standard of quiet and T26 is designed to be quieter.

IH, and by extension T31, is reasonably quiet but not as quiet as T23.

If the T31 do have rafted diesels in enclosures, which IH has and most diesels are anyway nowadays to improve the engine room working environment, then there is no reason for T31 to be particularly noisy.

But it will never get down to T23 -> T26 level of quietness as you need very expensive gearboxes or direct electric drive which there is no budget for.


And prop…….you need a well designed prop……….
comment image


Thank you two for that detailed answer. While I understand, that T31 is a loud design, I would like to see them with sonar. With some more sea ceptor and AsuW-missiles I could at least see a roll for T31 as forward deploys vessels instead of the Rivers.   

Tim Hirst

Why would you want to forward deploy the T31 instead of the B2 Rivers? The RN plan is to forward deploy both. B2’s to areas of low military threat (Falklands, Caribbean etc) and the T31 to higher threat areas such as the Gulf.


You can’t put a T31 in the Gulf without a sonar when there is a submarine and mine warfare threat there. It would be criminally negligent to do so


You are right, my statemant was inaccurate. I can see the T31 forward deployed in higher treat areas like the Gulf and Mediterranean or east of suez. But only with additional sonar and arment. After the Houti attack on USS Mason I think 12 Sea Ceptor are not enough.


I have a question…if Type 32 were to take over mine hunting duties then wouldn’t that replace 6 Hunt class ships and 7 Sandown class ships with 5 new ones. My scientific calculator tells me that is a reduction of 8 ships. How is that growing the fleet?


Not sure, but may be because

  • MCM drones are ten times more efficient (fast) than Hunts/Sandowns, so the 11 MCMVs shall be replace with lesser number of MCM drones kits? In other words, MCM capability will not decline (hopefully).
  • MCM drone kits can be even carried on River B2 (they did, in London show). This means STUFT vessels could be also used. At least, a Bay class is going to be used as MCM drones mother-ship very soon.
  • Even though 12 MCMVs were to be disbanded, 5 River B2 added to RN recently is there. As these OPVs can enjoy much longer sea-going days than MCMVs, it will mean at least 7.5 hull equivalent in training and integral at-sea days. In other words, if T32 has 5 hulls, I think the number is not decreasing?

Not sure these are the real rationale, but I do think it is not that bad. Surely the number on paper will decrease, but in reality, not a big cut, I guess.

Last edited 2 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

Thanks for your detailed reply.

I can see that MCM drones are an improvement in technology and capability. But I don’t count a drone that needs a mothership as an actual increase in the fleet. It comes down to the can’t be in more than one place at a time argument. We can now have MCM resources active in 5 places around the globe instead of 13. Obviously less as some ships will be in for maintennance.

Also I was hoping the 5 new OPV’s had already been icluded in fleet size.


Without a dedicated hull to host drones the capability will suffer. Manoeuvre is the fundamental of naval warfare.

Where do you get the ten times more efficient figure from? Not having to move several hundred tonnes of boat will give some advantage. But these machines will still be dependent on human operators.


Exactly.. it’s a sham again.

Tim Hirst

The RN plan is to do it’s mine hunting with Unmanned systems. There is no indication the the main job of the T32 will be mine warfare. In U.K. waters the RN plans to do mine work from the shore, it’s not yet clear what the plan is for the rest of the world.


I hope we save a type 23 as an attraction. Sitting on the Thames or the like.


One could just about fit opposite HMS Warrior. The latter has a draught of about a metre more. It would be nice. A good bridge between the immediate post WW2 navy and the current one.




comment image


A good bridge between the immediate post WW2 navy and the current one



As a representative of an era of warship design.

Kenneth Norman Pearson

How about the T32 with the main missile outfit of the Ivor Huitveldt with 32 Mk41 VLS. If one MK41 tube can take four Sea Ceptor missiles and 12 tubes are so fitted that would be 48 Sea Ceptors. The remaining 20 tubes could then be used for a mix of Perseus and Sea Viper if the sporting radars etc were fitted. This would result in a warship that could both defend itself against air attack and small craft (the latter with the Sea Ceptor and guns) and have a useful weapon against larger ships and for land attack.

Just some blue sky thinking.


almost irrelevant of the actual ship types what is missing in the MOD generally is this 30 year plan that is mapped to platform type.

If we assume a 90 ship fleet for the RN (similar to today) and slot in the future requirements and cost profile then you get a view on what is needed

Ultimately the RN need £4-5bn p.a. to build the fleet our governments commitments dictate.

We have to avoid at all costs delays to the build schedule that has seen 25% increase in the QE class, the introduction of the Rivers to keep BAE busy with the knock on effect of expensive Lifex’s to the T23 fleet that is well past its sell by date.

The RN really have turned a corner I feel with the last few FSL’s being strategic and pragmatic at the same time.

Now for them to get their heads together – come up with a future roadmap that can be fully funded. My view is the RN probably needs £12bn per year to deliver what it needs to (excluding air assets)


There wont be a £4-5 bill pa ship building program. Its a fantasy to think so. Im amazed at the otherwise sensible people who continue think along these lines


I don’t understand not having a hull-mounted sonar on the T31 any more than not having one on the US FFG-62 class. TASS and VDS are fine, don’t get me wrong, but there will be a time when they can’t or shouldn’t be deployed, and that’s when the hull-mounted unit will be missed. Or even you don’t want to tip your hand to prying eyes and deploy them. At least the RN is still putting torpedo tubes on their Frigates.


Israelis are probably already doing that with ‘car carriers’ in the Gulf and other places in Irans littoral


It’s the numbers of available Ro-Ro’s should they decide to go for an invasion that is the scary thing.

Humpty Dumpty

“The Type 26 frigate project will ultimately deliver eight of the finest anti-submarine combatants in the world”

You have no way of knowing that unless you have an infallible crystal ball. Mine’s currently in the repair shop.

Until the T26s & Merlins are put to the test in an actual war, there’s no way of knowing if they can even detect subs, let alone take them out. And considering how quiet modern subs are (whether SSNs or diesel-electric AIP subs) then I have serious doubts about that. ASDIC was garbage, what makes you think that modern ship-based (or helicopter-based) sonar is any better?

Hell, even subs have problems detecting each other, so what chance do inherently noisier surface ships have?:

Subs are so quiet these days that I suspect current passive sonar detection methods have reached the limit of their capability. If hydrophones can be made more sensitive and if signal processing can improve detection by being better at filtering out unwanted data only time will tell, but I’m doubtful. Better detection methods are required, e.g. LIDAR, green lasers, more sensitive MAD, better diesel-sniffing tech, drones using IR cameras & normal cameras (in conjunction with powerful searchlights in clear water) and maybe even methods like detecting how subs moving through the water affect sea fauna. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. A lot of R&D is and will be required to come up with better ways to detect subs.

As for active sonar, how effective is that against modern subs covered in acoustic tiles? That’s not a rhetorical question, I genuinely don’t know. If an ASW helicopter is using a dipping sonar that uses active sonar then at what sort of range(s) can a modern sub be detected? Same goes for MPAs dropping sonobuoys. And another factor that complicates the issue is if the sub (and/or a nearby UUV/USV) is carrying ordnance like IDAS that can take out an ASW helicopter.

And despite CODLOG propulsion and an acoustically quiet hull, the T26s will make noise simply by sailing through the water (and especially due to slamming) and also because of their propellers, so it would be far easier for subs to detect T26s (and other ASW surface ships) than the other way round.

One other point: Even if the T26s WILL be excellent ASW vessels (which I highly doubt), just 8 means we can only put 2 to sea at any one time (based on the rule of dividing by three). That provides next to useless redundancy in case of wartime losses. If a carrier group loses 1 T26 it’s lost 50% of its ASW capability. Lose both T26s and it’s left with no ASW capability at all. Then enemy subs can take out the T45s, which means that the carrier won’t have any AAW cover (not that T45s are particularly good AAW ships anyway, but that’s another matter). Then enemy subs can fire torpedoes and anti-ship missiles at the carrier, which would at the very least mission-kill it and at worst sink it. This is why using surface ships is idiotic. It was idiotic in WWII, it was idiotic in the Falklands and it’s idiotic now:

Plus the T26s, like all Western ships, won’t have anti-torpedo torpedoes (ATTs). Why on earth not? They’re going to be (supposedly) dedicated ASW vessels. If any ship should have ATTs, T26s should. We should test SeaSpider, MU90 Hard Kill, SSTD CAT, Tork (and any others out there) and see if they work as advertised. Why aren’t we doing this? And not just test them in benign, easy-to-pass tests, they should be tested in the most stringent, realistic tests possible. (The same should go for ALL ordnance and weapons systems that are fitted to any ships.)

Will T26s get Kingfisher, VL-ASROC and sub-detecting drones like Arcims and/or Seagull?

Guns firing Kingfisher decoys may work against some torpedoes, but against sophisticated ones that can filter out decoys or against ones that are wire-guided, then decoys would be useless (same goes for SSTD). Wake-homing torpedoes are even harder to deal with.

Guns firing Kingfisher depth charges may work against torpedoes and/or subs, but again this needs to be rigorously tested to see if it actually works.

VL-ASROC is only useful if the sub can actually be detected. And even if it can be, VL-ASROC lacks range (just 22km). The Russian Type 65 torpedo for example has a range of up to 100km and so can be fired from beyond the range of VL-ASROC.

As for Arcims and Seagull, can they actually detect subs or are they (yet another) complete waste of money? I suspect they are.

“In September 2019, The Babcock Arrowhead 140 design, based on the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class…”

Compare the T31 with the Iver Huitfeldt. It’s like comparing chalk and cheese and the Iver Huitfeldts cost roughly the same as the yet-to-be-built T31s.

If all we want to do is protect commercial vessels from fast attack craft in the Persian Gulf and similar places, then why on earth do we need a vessel that costs over £250 million a pop? It’s absolutely insane.

Apart from the fact that the companies that own commercial vessels should do a LOT more to protect them from being boarded (and a lot of options are available), the T31s will have no anti-ship/land-attack missiles, absolutely no anti-sub capability and just 12-24 CAMMs (I’d guess probably just 12 or maybe even none). And for that woefully inadequate capability we’re paying over £250 million for each ship? This has surely got to be some kind of practical joke.

If all we want to do is protect commercial vessels from fast attack craft in places like the Persian Gulf then we have a few options:

1) Upgrade the Batch 2 River OPVs with BAE 57mm guns with 3P and ORKA ammo. Also fit a couple of DS30M guns. Fit the Rivers with a telescopic hangar and then have a Wildcat with 20 LMMs & 4 Sea Venoms permanently embarked. If there’s space, fit a couple of Protector USVs. Schiebel Camcopters firing LMMs would be another possibility. (And if the Rivers are fitted with 57mm guns that would mean that they could also use MAD-FIRES ammo to take out sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and 3P ammo to take out drones, which would be great capability to have.)

2) Buy Shaldag patrol boats from Israel:
Rougly $14 million or £10 million a pop. An absolute bargain and we could buy over 25 for the cost of one stupid T31. We could down-arm or up-arm the Shaldags depending on where they would be intended to be used.

3) Upgrade Rivers and buy Shaldags as well. This would be my preference.

4) Start building diesel-electric AIP subs modelled on the German Type 212 sub. Not only would such subs make Rivers and Shaldags more survivable, they could be used in other scenarios such as UK home defence (English Channel, off Faslane, GI-UK gap) as well as places like the Falklands, Gibraltar and other chokepoints around the globe.

Last edited 2 years ago by Humpty Dumpty

Somehow I think it could be more than possible to build the T32 mothership multi role combat ship based on the T31. In fact is that not the reverse of what the Danish Navy did with the Iver Huitfeldt class based them on the AbSalon which in all reality could operate as a UAV/ROV mothership as well as operating as a medium frigate. This would give a flex deck with stern ramp for Automated minsweeping etc, a position for two LCPs a 57mm-5in gun two 40mm guns and five missile mission module postions for say 18 Mk56 vls and 16 anti ship missiles. She also carries two helicopters and anti sub torpedoes. The Mk 56s could be quad packed Sea Ceptor or Cruise missiles so a combination of say 48 Sea Ceptors and 6 cruise missiles plus the 16 anti ship missiles would give the type 32 the abiltiy to operate alone as a mother ship at a reasonable cost. In many ways this type of ship could also carry upto 200 Marines and their equipment. So they could operate either as a Unmanned vehicle mother ship that can defend herself, a amphibious group escort ship, a convoy escort (yes we sill have convoys in a major European war) or a Royal Marine Company strength assualt ship that can be forward deployed independently with attack and defence ability against surface and air threats.
So by reverse engineering the T31 to their original design we could get a multi role combat mothership with the potential of being very flexible well armed and cost effective, I think we could get these ships for about £300 million each with its fixed weapons and missile tubes but not the missiles. Who knows if we could do this and I see no reason why not then we could maybe get anything upto ten of these ships operating in the forward deployed littoral strike role, mother ship role, anti submarine role (Towed array would be needed), escort frigate role, humanitarian role and as an independent command multi role combat ship or even a hospital ship if needed.
To be honest I never understood why we picked the current T31 from the Iver Huitfeldt design and not the AbSalon design.

However if I could pick any current design with no thought about cost or from where it comes to base the T32 on then I would look at the Damen Crossover family.


Why isnt the proposed Fleet Flagship based on the Type 31 hull? Why aren’t RN hulls made of thicker gauge steel? W eneed this if we are going into ice in the arctic with the RCN. Russian warships are built for ice why aren’t ours?