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Oh no, I was hoping that the delay was in order for them to come up with something slightly more realistic and sensible. At the moment it seems to be aiming squarely at a sour spot,not expensive enough to protect the fleet,far too expensive for OPV duties.


My nightmare scenario here is the perfect civil servant/political think tank storm in their bid to maintain ridiculous budgets. As they cannot maintain their pie in the sky budgets by minimising the number of platforms/ships any more they have now decided to build cheaper platforms/ships to commercial instead of warship standards that are incapable of both serious fighting and surviving battle damage. They clearly have not learnt the lessons of the Falklands war and probably believe that as they got away with it with HMS Ocean, which was built to commercial standards, that they can get away with it again. It has all the makings of a massive naval disaster waiting to happen.


There is an argument that having more cheaper hulls, is better than having one expensive ship. You can’t fight a war based on taking no losses. Neither is it realistic to have a large navy with Type 45 level capability.

I know the counter is the Type 21, which were utter garbage. With Seacat instead of Seawolf, they were basically just floating targets. The Type 31 is likely to be more capable than that.

You also have to have one eye on export orders. The only way to save the Royal Navy is to generate exports, to make the ships affordable. This country does not have a large enough fleet to sustain our ship building industry. So ships will have to be designed with export orders in mind.

Garry Phipps

The royal navy need these ships if they don’t get them they will no navy. Worth saving the. Torries don’t whant to spend money rebuilding the navy


I dont see the need for waiting another 8 months, The Babcock consortium type31 is based on the Iver Huitfeldt class Royal Danish Navy, which has apparently cost between 313 – 325 million in FY 2010 US dollars and took 4 years to build Bancock has the better warship and BAE order books are full up with type 26 orders. Why wait, type 23s need replacing


“The Babcock consortium type31 is based on the Iver Huitfeldt class Royal Danish Navy, which has apparently cost between 313 – 325 million in FY 2010 US dollars and took 4 years to build”. That value covers the Hull and the integration work done by Maersk, does not cover sensors and weapons that were government suplied. A great big chunk of the Hull was built on the Baltics, and finished by Maersk in Denmark.


True that shows just how hard it will be to get a ship inc sensors and weapons for £250m all in in 2018 £’s.


Whilst correct that the 76mm guns and Harpoon launchers were salvaged, the build cost did however cover the cost of 32 cells worth of Mk41 Vertical Launch Silos, and a Smart-L radar – both of which are expensive beyond the highest hopes of the Royal Navy for Type 31e.


I do not believe the cells were not fitted when the ship first entered service. There were stories about a AA ship with no missiles during its first exercises.


I presume they were ‘StanFlex-ed’? So not such a major job. But fair point.


If I have done my math right, 325$ in 2010, escalated to 2018 an assumed rate of about 3.5% per year would work out to about an escalation in costs of about 31% or the equivalent of about $428 in FY2018. Converting this to Pound Sterling ( about 1.31$/GBP then would take you to about 326 GBP in 2018 values, or about 31% over the 250GBP budget. (Its a little unnerving how 31 keeps popping up in these numbers for a Type 31e vessel :O )

Iqbal Ahmef

I think that the instability eminating from Brexit was the straw that broke the camels back. The idea of cheap under armed frigates is dangerous to the crews if they are pushed into a war zone while we are out punching above our weight’.


Sorry to disappoint but this has nothing to do with Brexit. Brexit has done quite the opposite from create instability. The country has been destabilised by the encroachment of the EU from being a simple trading entity into one affecting all areas of life in the UK with non-elected overseas busy bodies. Now we have an increased degree of certainty that we will be a sovereign nation with a regained ability to make our own adult decisions as a modern democratic state should.
In fact we were quite successful at this for several centuries before 1972 despite Europe dragging us into multiple existential threats to our independence most notably as a result of French and German ‘trouble making’.


Brexit is going to lead to a shrinkage of GDP, which means less tax taken in, which means less money for the military budget, which means less ships for the Royal Navy.

James Harrington

Jonny lad, that may well turn out to be true, but if the government were to seriously tackle the tax avoidance and tax evasion and special tax arrangements that all the large American companies have practiced there would be sufficient tax revenue to meet the nations needs. However, Google, facebook, Starbucks, and many others employ large staffs of experts to avoid paying a fair share of tax. They enjoy the benefits of a stable democracy but dont want to fund it, including funding a robust and credible armed services. The greatest threat to the massive profits and greed of these American companies is not Brexit, but the growing criminal and illegal policies of the Chinese and the Russians and the growing number of proxy states that cannot say no to them.


can you also be equally certain about the winner of next year’s Grand National, ceteris paribus


Iqbal Ahmed

Chaos at the heart of govt. Ministerial resignations. U-Turns over the UK position on post Brexit relations with the EU. Repeated pleading with the EU. Forced to accept EU terms over the divorce bill. Forced to accept negotiations on withdrawal before we discuss future trade relations. 20% devaluation of currency. Slowing of inward investment. Panic amongst big business over no deal Brexit. Booted out of scientific agreements eg. Galileo project.

I’d say instability is a fair word to use.

And since supporters of the defence establishment tended to vote Brexit strongly, defence spending must be cut before the NHS or education as a result of this instability and to plug any deficit. How do you like your country now you ‘have it back’, eh?


I see your team leader has got a grip and changed your name back to Ahmed. You must get a grip of your handler, as he operates quite a few Ahmed trolls.


You’ve changed your name, I’m pretty sure you were Iqbal Ahmed a while ago! Oh dear your paymasters need to get their s##t together or they won’t get their monthly bucket of old potatoes and 2 sachets of shower gel, as their bonus.

russ tidbury

We talk of T21s and perhaps earlier T12s but both platforms acquitted themselves well in the Falklands, despite not having the ‘complexity’ of Seawolf and Sea Dart. Yes I know that some of the T21s had Seawolf but the fact remains they did the job including the constabulary duties and the export success they achieved end of life.
Surely that’s the aim of the T31?
We all want a Porsche but the Kia will still get us there.
The differences is the ‘driver(s)’ and the level of training provided.
In the case of the RN its best in class, whatever platform the ‘driver’ is on – fact!


“None of this is true”

This might be more believable if a) you had put your name as author to this article and b) named your sources and provided proper quotes.

Without either, this is just more internet babel.


If you name your sources when they don’t have to want to be named, pretty soon you won’t have any sources.
Usually highly reliable.


On the contrary, unnamed sources are particularly inaccurate. Someone whispered to me that you’re a no-nothing internet troll. Should everyone believe that?


I dare you to prove that by using past examples on THIS site


Some of us certainly wont be believing that. Look, we both know that the author of this site has a lot of inside knowledge, so lets just be satisfied that he does know what he is on about and not worry about unnamed sources from this site.


I’ll always be sceptical about unnamed sources, but you have to judge over time.
It’s exactly sort of place where spag might gently leak stuff, so obviously some of it is coming from their perspective.


Seems like this should be doable. The US Navy is building two classes of frigates (Independence & Freedom) for about £270m.


Those two are not “frigates”, they are a bleeding disaster, and the unit cost for one LCS in FY 2019 (numbers taken directly from the US Navy Budget documents, released in February 2018 / is 646.244 Million US$.


… and that’s without the mission payloads that enable the LCS to actually do anything.


Sintra disaster is such a dramatic description to describe Freedom and Independence, I would choose black hole , money pit , a sows ear , pork belly politics , actually disaster is probably very accurate.


Thank you, Vladimir, for your incisive article.


Why doesn’t the government buy ships from the USA? The design has been sorted out they are ready to build and they arr better than the ones built in the UK


Which design?Zumwelt and LCS are poster children acquisition disasters .OHP expensive even when built in large numbers.


Legend-class National Security Cutters? Their role is pretty much identical to that of Type 31e, but even these relatively low-end ships cost the USCG about USD700 a pop.


USD700 million, obvs 🙂


Just a thought, what if the whole process was reviewed on the basis, of an amortized build/fitting out scheme. Would partially equipped vessels be the answer? Phase One:- order main vessel construction, which includes engines, electronics and all fittings for a habitable living. Phase Two:- After initial trials including the main gun and necessary support suites the ship is commissioned. Phase Three:- over a twenty-thirty month period the vessel is fully equipped with weapons and electronic backup. This progressive build programme would allow for hulls to be built in batches, and in the hands of crews sooner than the conventional process. The outcome could help to amortize a whole spectrum of expensive weapon fit, and allow for a fleet run up, without hindering basic operations. Obviously, all wiring and electronic platforms would be fitted before commissioning in Phase One. The phase-in and phase-out of existing ships could be synchronized over the ‘Steady Fit’ period?


Obviously the navy has to live beyond it’s means to a certain degree because ships take a long time to plan and build. But you only have to look at the Falklands to see how wrong this can go. The RN was caught with its pants down by a third rate power because USSR wasn’t known to have anything like the Exocet. Try to imagine losing 2 type 45 and 2 type 31e as well as being incredibly lucky not to lose a bunch of type 26 and batch 2 river class.


Oh yeah, and also lose 2 bay class and 1 point class.


So if war broke out during your 20-30 month unarmed period, the navy is fu**ed/


Not necessarily Ron5. remember we dispensed with the Harrier fleet plus the two Invincible Class carriers, yet an emergency didn’t happen, as luck would have it. My plan is a little like the policy adopted with the two QE Class ships. When commisioned, HMS Queen Elizabeth had no fast jets nor close in protection, but within the next six months the F35’s will be landing and taking off from her. Next year HMSPOW comes along, and initially devoid of F35’s. The whole carrier programme has been based on a trickle into service readiness, which must have saved a considerable amount of money. Yet the Navy got the hulls and that was the most important element.

My suggestion follows a similar path, get a basic ship construction programme in train…say four hulls building simultaneously. This will enable the RN to begin phase-out Type 23’s but hold them in immediate reserve until the third phase of Type 31’s full commisioning. That will enable emergency cover to remain in place. The trickle system does allow for flexible options that no doubt will please the Treasury, and at the same time, delivers brand new vessels to the Navy. If the countries bank balance show signs of weakness during the Trickel period (post-Brexit) then the Navy would still get new ships, even if initially light on a full complement of weapon modules. In plain language, just get the bloody ships and worry about the other elements as they come along.


If you are using the example of the carriers, you are suggesting that we don’t actually need the type 31e and it’s going to end up under equipped to do anything.


Sorry Grubbie, but you did not read my comment. All type 31’s will be fully operational after Phase 3. The ‘Trickel’ build-up is designed to amortize both equipment availability and money during the 24-30 months. If there is a saving to be made by doing it this way, then the Navy receive their new ships, then operate them accordingly. If a crisis occurs before Phase3 (and depending on the type of emergency) then the like for like Type 23’s, would be brought up from an immediate reserve. That is a far better situation than not having a reserve as experienced with the demise of the Invincible Class. The only issue with my idea is how cost effective it would be?


Yes I did ,if we can get away with not having carrier borne fast jets for 15years, then we don’t really need them.The new carriers have insufficient aircraft and weapons to be effective. The only benefit of your idea I can see is to push the bill along a bit, like a PFI. Just like a maniac with a credit card, it doesn’t actually help them, the bill and huge interest payments are going to catch up with them in the end.


“if we can get away with not having carrier borne fast jets for 15 years, then we don’t really need them”

Sorry Grubby but that is the most foolish argument against the QE Class I have seen. I have not required surgery for the last 15 years, so I can argue there is no need to recruit and train surgeons?

The armed forces are a deterrent – they will be there if and when you need them.

The QE class and the F35 combined are an assurance of our security, the lack of which (during a long period of absence of effective armed deterrence) has directly led to Russian aggression and murder on our own soil which is ample proof of the argument. If you can’t see that connection then I guess you will never really understand what the Armed Forces are for.


So if QE2 had any ability to project force you would be bombing Russia right now?


So you were prepared to risk not having a surgeon for 15 years ,why not risk it for another 15 years?Your argument is illogical.


My argument is not illogical, it is yours that is illogical (If you don’t have it – you don’t need it) that, sir, is the very height of stupidity.

No, I don’t propose bombing Russia, I propose that they will give pause to their expansionist ambitions if strength is shown.


R.R.S. Sir David Attenborough was launched from Cammel Lairds recently, it is good to see a ship being launched on the Mersey again, or anywhere in Britain for that matter.

William Arthur Jackson

Good god man what the hell is this stupid government playing at Lairds hava put in a bid to biuld them so lets get some bloody ship building back its what we are good at,


At least Babcock will be using British workers not bus loads of Eastern European workers,I call that unfair competition

Phillip Johnson

If the UK government is strapped for cash again it would be better to scrap the un upgraded T23’s and keep all 9 OPV’s in service for policing duties. The 5 T23’s that haven’t been upgraded are pretty limited and how many are actually usable (3?). Use the money saved to advance the T26’s and the T31e’s.


Then you would have to admit that the emperor has no clothes. Theres going to be a gap and unless there’s a dramatic and unlikely increase in defence spending, a permanent shortfall. Get out the PFI credit card or hope for a lottery win.The saddest part is the £billion blown on unwanted and incredibly expensive OPVs. £200 million + for each type 31e would have probably made it viable. Or £100 million each and enough money for the independent yards to produce the OPVs.


Since the initial announcement of the suspension a few more pieces of information have trickled out.

It is essential that to firstly maintain escort numbers at 19 then Type31 must come in at £250m with no creep. Creep in cost will result in failure of the long term objective of building to 24 escorts with a second batch of five T31. If the first five can’t be delivered at the 250M then there will be no second batch and ship building strategy will fail.

Industry now has a chance to look at their bids again and identify savings to deliver on budget.

The ship building strategy is for steady sustainable ship building . With options available to sell and replace batch 1 ships with follow on batches or sell new ships as per customer needs.

The key is delivering the first batch on budget. When a second batch of 5 is ordered the lean crewing and recruitment drives will also deliver the crew for some or even all these by the time the builds are complete.

So in the interests of growing the RN this is the right decision to give industry the opportunity to deliver on budget.


Where has it been stated that 10 Type is the eventual goal? I thought boosting escort numbers was more of a vague hope at this stage rather than a planned for reality and one that will be in the hands of successor governments in 10+ years?

We all of course would like to see Type 31 become a success but the fact that no other comparative nation can build capable, military grade frigates for this kind of budget cannot be ignored.

£250 million will most likely deliver a lightly armed and cheaply build corvette which is not something that the Royal Navy needs with it’s plethora of OPV’s and shortage of high-end destroyers/frigates and as such will result in the project being deemed a failure.

Even with design compromises and the recycling of kit (neither of which are bad decisions) i think we’re looking at more like £350 million to produce a decent vessel.

The fact that the MoD seemed to forget to even budget for the £1.25 billion it says the project needs doesn’t exactly fill me with hope.


Now i really do need to know where this information comes from.If theres an ounce of truth in it the RN is being run by maniacs.

Iqbal Ahmed

Ministers confirmed in parliament last week that the new fleet solid support ships, which will carry ammunition and explosives, will not be classed as “warships”, which means they can be built by companies outside the UK.

The list released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that several foreign companies attended the event when the government launched the competition to build as many as three fleet solid support ships at an estimated cost of up to £1 Bn.

They include Japan Marine United Corporation and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding. Other interested companies included South Korean shipbuilders and a state-owned Spanish yard.


Time to seriously kick some arse at Bae systems. HMS Tyne reportedly flying the white ensign again as emergency cover for HMS Forth.


Isn’t her recommission payed by BAE? I read so somewhere.
Surely their CEO is kicking the arse of the ship building division.


I’m talking about a really painful arse kicking.Something is fundamentally wrong with the way Bae gets paid.
This ship will never be quite right,sloppiness tends to affect the whole build and disturbances and compromises will have to be made trying to rectify it.
Plenty of time,2 times the money required, so much labour that people are sitting around kicking their heels,huge facilities, simple design, everything tried and tested and previously built, it’s something of an accomplishment to manage to f*** it up.


But the whole River B2 program is “for T26”.

All the extra money needed is for training labors for T26 build. It was intentionally built expensive. On that regard, it turned out to be correct. The labors, engineers and reviewers, are proven to be with extremely low quality or with very low morale.

# I even suspect many of the issues could be sabotage.

But this is all “guess”. Let’s see what is going on. If it is sabotage, it is a crime. If it is review system, it breaks the naval standard and even the ISO standard.

Note I am not against your comment. But, the cost is not for River B2, it is for T26. It is paid naturally = not too expensive. Only its quality is bad, surely something is wrong there, but it is surely not cost.

Are there any comments from the labor union on this issue?


I wonder if BAE would do any better with CL, especially with CL acting as prime. doubt they would allow bolts being glued on there. Might also offer a long term strategy to retreat from Scotland or more accurately the SNP.


I appreciate that the basics have been met but are not in the spirit of the competition regarding the contracting bidding process. So the question remains, how long can the T23s be kept going?
We know the T26s won’t be ready until at 2026, so if the T31s get further delayed, either there will be massive capability gap or the T23s will be asked to solder on.


Apparently all back on.
We will get to hear about it in due course. MoD are all on summer leave