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Spartan looks interesting..

Any details of tonnage and whatnot?


I did manage to get further information from Stellar Ltd, but Mr Skarda was not willing to go into to much detail as the competition is meant to be starting soon.
The frigate as shown in the picture seems to be a high end version of the vessel as it can be equipped for but not with several systems. The vessel is a completed design that has the possibility to be built in a number of shipyards around the country using as much UK material and equipment as possible. It has taken into account potential requirements of several other nations so that it can be a useful export reducing further the costs to the RN.
The vessel will have a waterline length of 110m with an overall length of 117m, beam 17m and a tonnage of around 3,500t.
I did try to ask about range speed and crew numbers and potential costs but as I said this information the MD wanted to keep confidential.
With its potential weapons and equipment fit, size and possible export ability it does seem that Stellar have a very useful design, I just hope that the MoD does not go down the BaE route again with over cost, delays and relying on a single yard.

Michael Watson

Spartan & Venator 110 look more exciting and promising than what is being offered by BAE. Obviously we need more details. I like the Spartan option of a rear bay to launch say a Pacific 24’s which would give the Frigate more flexibility.


I must admit the Spartan design looks promising especially as she will be able to have a tail. My only concern is that she appears to be designed with canister SSMs e.g. Harpoon but it seems that all future SSMs are VLS launched. Possibly by stretching the midships section by three meters a 16 cell MK41 Mod 3 could be installed. This would then give the possibility to carry Perseus, Storm Shadow, VL-ASROC, SM6 or Tomahawk missiles as the task would require.
If Stellar Systems can keep the tonnage to about 3,500-4000 tons and a price tag of about 450-500 million I think they would have a useful design.
Hopefully this vessel could be built in several different yards around England leaving the Type 26 with BaE. This would improve the ship building ability in the UK.


Update to my above post, I sent a e-mail to Stellar Systems questioning the midship canisters, I have received a reply from Mr Robert Skarda managing Director Stellar Systems. He explains that the canisters are only there in the pictures to show that something can be put there. The forward 16 cell VLS can take all of the missile systems that I have mentioned and or quad pack Sea Ceptor SAMs plus carry a midship missile VLS pack. With that being the case then this could be a very useful general purpose frigate.


If you look at the photos on page 5 of the Stellar pdf document, there seems to be a VLS system to the side of the aircraft hangar. Could be a couple of 3-cell ExLS launchers end-to-end? So it could have 24 or so quad-packed Sea Ceptor SAMs carried here, leaving the forward 16-cell VLS for larger anti-ship/anti-surface missiles.


Thanks for pointing that out I did not notice it. If that is the case then I can only say what is the MoD waiting for. With 24 Sea Ceptors and a 16 cell Mk41/A70 forward what looks like a 4.5 or 5 inch gun and a Merlin it seems to be a good all rounder. Again thanks and at least my e-mail was not wasted as we now know what the forward VLS system is.


It does look like a promising design. I also noticed that the aircraft hangar also carries a boat with a shutter door to the port side. So a boat here, plus 3 in the mission hangar below (more if you opt to take out the containers and have boats) means, well, a lot of boats! Seems like a very flexible little ship.


Good info
Wonder what speed ,range , endurance etc would be?
The design looks promising .


Maybe we should ask Stellar systems and then get it posted here, the other question is cost so here is a question if the forward VLS is a Mk41 or A70 and the hanger silos is the ExLS x6 how should she be equipped. Then we can ask the for the technical specs.


Agree as it could give everyone a chance for a more informed discussion.. On the hangar silos image wasn’t great,bit blurred but I thought there was 8 silo covers.
As for equipment levels is it worth considering a top level spec for about 5-6 units and a mid level spec for 5-6 units . The mid spec taking on the constabulary , guard ship , anti pirate role , but readily up speced to top level at short notice in an crisis situation .

This would allow for sufficient numbers being built to start to achieve economies of scale.


This is a real deal clincher for me – if this can indeed be brought in at the £500m mark with 32 VLS I think the uk government should commit to building one per annum for the next 25 years.

Compact Captas 4 and CB90 in the rear make this the new dreadnought in its change in capabaility.

Add in the capability to run the Atlas Arcims mine countermeasures suite and we no longer need minehunters thereby releasing funds.

25 of these and 13 T26 with Sampson and we have a great surface fleet again. Surely we can afford this.


Incredibly unrealistic without a significant increase in the defence budget. The way things are going we will be lucky to get 8 T26 and 5 T31 based on Spartan. Hopefully we can stick at 8 T26, without a reduction on their current design (i.e. Without losing the Mk41) and we are more likely to have low end T31s based on the Avenger or Cutlass. The only saving grace for the latter is that there is a slim chance of getting more than 5



We currently have 19 escorts, 15 Minehunters and 5 OPV’s.

We can move to a force of 38 escorts instead of the above. And it will cost circa 600-700m per year to do so.

I am not suggesting we build these all at once, I am suggesting we start building something now and build consistently (drumbeat) and to a scale (RN fleet of 80 major assets).

I think even the government now understands we need a bigger defence budget and probably 2.5% of GDP is sufficient if the leadership can sort themselves out.

I therefore do not think it is unrealistic – just different. We are all being conditioned to expect very little from what is a great budget.

The USMC has a 3x’s the fighter force of the RAF and a combat strength (190k) larger than the whole uk armed force (164k). 2017 budget is circa $26bn (£20bn) but clearly doesn’t include a navy. The navy probably needs £9bn p.a. To run at the scale and intensity it needs with a further £1bn for the. Marines. So we are still under budget if we use the USMC costing model. If they can do it why cant the UK even get close.

Poor leadership and poor management are preventing the guys doing their jobs properly. Lastly the USMC has fully audited accounts, so all the above can be verified.


“Poor leadership and poor management are preventing the guys doing their jobs properly”

Fully agreed – but this isn’t going to change, the same people are in posts (Hammond and Fallon) and aren’t going to volte face. If this was going to happen, and I agree that it should – now in a post Brexit world they have an excuse to change tact without admitting fault, then we would see Hammond announce plans for a substantive increase in next month’s budget. I hope this happens, but I’m not holding my breath


I really like your logic to build up the Type 31 as the backbone of the Navy. It is a cheap enough design for continual construction with enough lethality and flexibility for it to cover most usage scenarios (mine hunting, escort, patrol), whilst increasing commonality in the fleet and reducing maintenance and training costs. It would be the Arleigh Burke of the Royal Navy, securing British jobs and technical experience, with also potential to save money in future British shipbuilding projects.

As for the Type 26s I think we will be lucky with 8 and to be honest I don’t think we’d need any more anti-sub optimised ships; I’d rather the money be used elsewhere, primarily Type 45 refits.



I think we do need 13 high end ships (T45/T26) that can provide ballistic missile defence capability. We can probably get by with 9 at a pinch but realistically it is 13.

Now if we think that the T26 with Sampson can be the major asset going forward then that allows us to save £6bn on replacing the T45’s. this should pay for 12 T31 in itself.

More longer term but still a plan T26 replaces T45 over time as our destroyer (after all it is the same size as T45) and replace the T23 with the spartan vessel.


I don’t get why people seem to have fallen for the ‘at least’ comment by the government. When they say at least 8, they mean 6 or 4. It is normal policitical talk for we have no idea how we could afford more than 8 and so we will say we might build more and then leave it to the next government to admit they can’t afford them. The government at the time will obviously quote cost overruns and further cut the final order. I can already write the press release, the builders costs overrun resulting in lack of export buys and so the overall cost increased meaning that due to budget reasons and a review of the threats the number has been cut. Of course there will be cost overruns, but it will be mainly due to the MOD constantly changing their requirements and the government trying to slow production to save money for election promises.

This design looks interesting, but i would rather they build more type 23’s, so we end up with maybe 8 of them, rather than 5 23’s and maybe 6 of these.


Because the Type 23’s are ancient and need replacing with more modern designs is why.


Sorry meanst type 26 not 23.


Still cost a similar amount now, while the design is there (as it is with the current 31 offerings) its all current testing, materials, labour etc. etc.

Reality is Type 31 and NSS are nothing more than excuses to cut Type 26 without seeming to do so, by the time the usual 15 years of MOD “management” are taken into account the Type 23 will be unsaleable even as tropical patrol boats. The hundreds of potential sales will go to others and Type 31 will be unfit for purpose.

Unless next SDSR changes things dramatically prep for Canadian style defence force.


What navy? I don’t recognise the ensign?


Bravo this looks like a good workmanlike candidate. We can quibble about the Harpoon tubes and so forth but for me it looks British and therefore right. Moreover it has potential for the all important mk 41 launchers which provided their Lordships have enough money can mean uparming to make it a very capable addition and exportable.
Now we need to see the specification and the mechanical capabilities are sufficient. 4000 tons maybe.

Trev G

What is the general propulsion and power design for these -and other classes?
After the T45 mess, we can’t get that bit wrong again.

Trev G

Sounds good- did our conv. subs for long enough so should be a proven system behind the new one.


I’m predicting the design timeline for the Type 31 will be as long as the Type 26. We won’t get 5 because they won’t end up being cheap and someone will have done a security review to justify why less is ok. Perhaps the design will change so much it will become a 10,000+ ton mothership and we will get 3 which will used to replace the bay class ships, so in actual numbers we will get 0.


Actually using the light frigates to replacing the bay or albion could be a really good idea.

In peace time, the albion are not really suited for anything, which is why one is mothballed. The bays are useful but they are only being used to plug holes. In war time, both are needed, but both need escorting because of lack of any real self defence weapons, and so pull away vital escort ships that we do not have.

Make something like an albion with some basic anti-air/anti-ship capability and you plug 2 holes with one stone. The albion replacement would be able to self defend themselves and would effectively act as a force multiplier, since it would free up a type 45 to protect the carriers/ other supply ships. Not only that, being closer to the shore, means they can provide air cover for the ground units and maybe some naval artillery.

It would mean an overall cut in numbers, but we already know that is coming, so it might be a good compromise to avoid too much loss in capability by the drop in numbers.


I am imagining something like the french Mistral class, so an upgraded Albion with a hangar, along with say sea ceptor and the navy gun from the type 23. As they would naturally be bigger there could even be room for some astar 30 to piggy back from the radar picket provided by the 45’s or crowsnest.

The main problem is each unit would be expensive and the government much rather avoid agreeing to anything expensive and pass it to the next government, hence why we still have no serious firm orders on the f35s. The preferred approach is lots of smaller crafts (aka river class) that can be ordered one at a time.


One Albion is in extended readiness because we don’t fund a crew. I’d like it to be used full time for humanitarian aid delivery like hurricane disaster relief or Ebola hospital support instead of the £24bn foreign aid budget. That would also allow the old Argus to go. The other should be doing RM training and ops instead of being used to assist people smugglers.

Certainly the bays are just plugging holes and T45 sized armed mother ships would be more useful. If we did some economies of scale and built 10 to cover the last 2 missing T45s, the 5 T31s and 3 Bays that would give us 24 escorts with the 8 T26s and 6 T45s. If we then also used the same hull for 12 support ships then we would easily have enough for a permanant production line in one shipyard for hull build and one dockyard for fit out and mid-life re-fits.

Support ships:
– RFA Diligence (10,595 tonnes, 1981)
– RRS James Clark Ross (5,732 tonnes, 1990)
– RRS Ernest Shackleton (4,028 tonnes, 1995)
– HMS Scott (13,000 tonnes, 1996)
– SD Northern River (3,605 GT, 1998)
– 2x Echo Class (3,740 tonnes, 2003)
– RRS James Cook (5,800 tonnes, 2007)
– SD Victoria (3,522 GT, 2010)
– HMS Protector (5,000 tonnes, 2011)
– RRS Discovery (6,260 tonnes, 2013)


* Shipyard for hull build AND recycle.
* Support ships listed are Gov Funded and not all RN or RFA.


Again this is all very interesting, but let’s have an article about the street to fleet manpower strategy approved by 1SL
Taking people on at up to 60? really? What is going on here surely now it’s time for an independent enquiry into armed forces manpower because until this is sorted all these interesting articles are pointless!!!

Trev G

The manpower issue is really the elephant in the dinghy.
Nice as the new big carriers are they will suck manpower like nothing else.
Why we have a big problem may be known- but not to me.
Obviously a sensitive area but it would be nice to know more.
As a technical type, I’ve never worried about manning, though a perennial problem.
I doubt recruits have changed other than to get better educated, perhaps- so something is out of balance, probably a mix of things.
We do need a strong RN so I hope investment and planning in both equipment and people goes up a few notches, & rather soon.


Bae says if we don’t build the Type 31 the Type 26 will cost more there will probably be less of them.


Surely this should read: ‘If we don’t build the type 31 there will be more of them, probably 6 rather than 5, or 13 rather than 10.’


This is a very exciting proposal albeit lacking detail. For me the BAE proposals are an absolute disgrace as are the OPV’s we are building.

It seems that the GErmans (Meko A200) and the French (Belharra FTI) are a bit ahead of us, but this certainly seems to be getting us in the game.

I am interested why the middle is cut away when it would surely be better to have a closed design from a stealth point of view. The distribution of. VLS is also interesting and in this day and age the RN should really be looking at deploying rolling air frames and using VLS for strike and longer range AAW.

I would also like to see these ships deploy the CB90 combat craft as this is a real force multiplier.

Bit of tweaking here and there and this could be amazing. Getting there and very encouraging.


The more I look at this design the more I like it – so the key question for me is why do we need T26 when we can have this vessel with 32 cells (16 fore and 16+ in the centre) and a Sea Ram on top of the hanger. Exactly what are we getting in addition from the T26 that this vessel cannot do.

It’s no use having a big ship (T45) if we cant afford to fit it with VLS (T45) Captas (T23+T45) or the best radar available (T26 – no Sampson).

T26 is great and 8 now with a further 5 in the future is about right bringing us to 6 squadrons of 2 with 1 in maintenance at any point in time. We now need 25 of these to make the squadrons 6 strong in order to defend a carrier group (x2) and conduct our normal duties (x4 sqdrns) . Lean manning should allow for 2 crews per ship (Nelson & Drake crews) and we have a plan that is sustainable and may indeed make the RN an employer of choice in the future.

Of the 6 squadrons I am suggesting each would have 2 destroyers (T26/45) with sampon radar, Captas 4 and 64 VLS (inc 24 strike) and 4, T31 Frigates with Artisan with 32 VLS and compact C4.

All should have a CB90 or 2 in the rear and at £1m per unit the RN needs to go big on SEARAM as this is an amazing system for a 21 missile system.

Lastly, I do agree with the comment that Spartan looks British, and the more I think about it the more this is sinking in.

I do hope that the team from Spartan reach out to STRN and fill us in on the details.


I think the Spartan design is almost perfect; however the hangar design really annoys me, why not move the CAMM silo on the right of the hangar further forward, replacing the 2 quad canister launchers. Then the hangar could have a design similar to the Type 45, with the possibilities of a single centrally located helo and crane launched RIBs or UUVs on either side, or with the removal of the crane launchers it could at a stretch have two wildcats or otherwise a single helo with UAVs. It just gives greater flexibility, whilst eliminating the need for the crane launched RIB beneath the bridge on the starboard side, which could be for used as a crew or ship operations space.


I like VLS to be distributed across the ship but also think the middle element is not efficient and not particularly stealthy. I do however like the funnel which is much more discreet than all other designs , although the meko has waterline exhausts to minimise its signature.

I think the hanger could be far bigger and I also like the thought of searam on the hanger roof

I also like the thought of this carrying a CB90 or 2 and compact C4 in the stern.


We have been building Naval ships for eons.
Why do we need to discuss things to death. Lets build some ships, and put them to sea.


The RN will end up with 6 destroyers and 8 frigates. I think it’s time that was accepted.


+11 Type 31 Light Frigates


As long as it’s not BAE’s variant of the River Class in fact as long as BAE is not involved

Darren Riche-Webber

The same question again. What are the staff requirements, can they be met, how do these designs compare with say the Russian Gorshkov general purpose Frigate (a very good looking and capable ship of similar size, a little longer), what would their battle worthiness be like and sea keeping etc…


Instead of 12 type 26 over priced frigates. Build 6 improved Type 45 Destroyers, with 8 anti Ship and 8 Anti Sub with 8 land attack missles, with 48 Captor on bow. Also a 2nd anti air with captor on stern after radar but before the hanger giving 96 Astors and 96 captor. Improve propulsions, stelf and other problem and build 24 wepons imoroved type 31 on a 4,000 ton hull Adding anti air using the BMT Venator-110 General Purpose frigate asw optomised in stelf, 48 captor 48 astor 8 anti ship 8 asw and 8 land attack. or the same using the Spartan Design from stellar get two to three ships for 1 billon pounds.


I’m pretty new to the warship debate and don’t have a great deal of knowledge of the issue, however even a newbie can see that the RN is being scuppered.
This may sound silly to you lot but why doesn’t the navy just build brand new type 23’s?
From what I can gather the budget for renewing the present frigate fleet is £10 billions, £8b for 8 x T26 £2b for 5xT31.
If only 5 type T 26’s were produced this would leave £5 billion for 8 type T23’s, £625 millions per ship, ( I admit I have no idea if a T23 could be built at that cost). There would be very little R and D expenditure because integration of the latest radar, sonar and sea ceptor equipment has already been carried out on the present T23’s all that would be needed is to replace the harpoons with something more up to date (maybe the KDM naval strike missile). This would give the navy 13 first rate frigates instead of 8 and allow the 5 T26’s to carry out the GP role.
Obviously there is a need to attract foreign customers to sustain British ship building. This could be achieved by making an export variant with a cheaper non- acoustically quite hull, less complex systems and even a small mission bay at the stern in place of the towed array. Alternatively, if BAE Systems are determined to use the RN to showcase their products then perhaps a deal could be made with BAE sharing the cost of two T31s as in-service demonstrators with the MoD’s share of the cost coming as investment from the dept for business energy and industry.
Anyway, that’s my “two bob’s worth” but as I said I’m pretty new to the subject.


The type 23 is a nearly obsolete design unsuitable for a modern navy. The type 31 frigate designs will likely be superior to them and the type 26 is simply a superb ship more on par with most destroyers then frigates (hence really why the MOD is calling for a cheaper type 31).


I would like to see the damage stability for Spartan… such a big mission bay and boat bay as soon as it is flooded it will sink like a block of lead. Besides that, the arrangement shows that there is practically no accommodation. It’s all fine… sailors like to sleep in hammocks. It looks to me they are applying the “garage” concept of megayachts to a warship. This is simply stupid. What a terrible proposal…


AHAHAHA you are so right!!!


Lets get real. Steller Systems has shareholders funds of £40,000. Hoping to be bought out?