Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Very interesting article. It’s nice to see that a lot of thought has gone into this ship, in particular including components from other countries which helped make it easier to sell the design. On another note, this petition has now received over 11,000 signatures and is waiting a Govt response:

Please sign and share if you haven’t already


Interesting point about using the mission bay space for additional VLS for the future destroyer. The concept of a T46 certainly isn’t new, but I personally always assumed the hull would be stretched forward to allow a single large VLS farm (most likely 48-64 cells).

An amidships farm would likely produce the same or greater potential VLS capacity for a lower unit cost due to less modifications needed to the basic hull, but it would also result in a great deal of lost capability with little or no mission space.


Is a multi-mission bay really required on a specialised AW destroyer? Fit 32-64 tatical length mk41 straight down the middle of the mult-mission bay & turn the outer edges into boat bays. This would give 64 – 96 cells, 32 of which are strike length (current RAN/RCN). Keep the base design the same but build in ability to swap relatively easily, by only requiring directly affected blocks to be changed. ie a half built T26 should be able to convert to T46 or the other way round by just changing the m-m bay & radar. I realise there is more to it than that, but keep the basics simple & the majority of the construction will not miss a beat.


Unfortunately, it is basically guaranteed that this programme is likely to follow the Type 45 process where cost blowouts and over-engineering are likely to lead to a large cutback in the number of ships ultimately delivered to pay for the cost blowout. I predict a maximum for 4-5 will ultimately be delivered.

There is absolutely no need for a frigate to displace a massive 8000 tonnes. The ability to land a chinook helicopter on it delivers a very poor cost to benefit ratio. Much more cost effective to design a frigate to actually be used as a frigate and have dedicated amphibious assault ships for this purpose. This would allow the Royal Navy to have a larger number of ships.

John Clark


I share your concern regarding unit cost, the T26 is certainly a very capable design however.

The RN actually needs 16 such ships moving forward to support a global trade network and a follow on stretched destroyer derivative to supplement and eventually replace the T45.

A sensible number would be 16 T26, 12 air defence destroyers, (T45 plus future class)
and 12 T31 GP frigates.

That takes us back to a sensible force mix and a balanced and flexible escort force with elements based abroad.

David Stephen

I would like us to have more ships but I don’t think we could ever crew your fleet. I think a more sensible force mix would be 6 x Type 45 (fully crewed), 8 Type 26, 6 Type 31 as well as reactivation of the 2nd LPD and finding enough bodies to fill the River Batch 2s (almost double the crew of Batch 1s). This will be hard enough, the manpower problem is not going away anytime soon.

Mike R

The problem is the timeline. If you had a crystal ball 15 years ago, you’d have commissioned Type 31 first, and designed it as a 5,000 ton specialist ASW frigate that inherited its TAS from the T23s. Then you could get on with building a class of 5 or 6 cruisers with a big multi-mission space. This would tally fairly well with the original Future Surface Combatant and S2C2 program goals of delivering a high end independent warship capable of operating unsupported to deal with what were called “brushfires” or contain a situation long enough for support to arrive, alongside a second tier, cheaper and more numerous design for general escort duties (which is, basically, ASW and surface, with a bit of missile point defence).

Type 31 should cost at least £500m and get the full ASW suite of TAS, combat system, quiet engines/propulsion, etc. and concentrate on being a Type 23 successor, while Type 26 is the general purpose globe trotting cruiser. Then we only need about 5 Type 26s, so long as there are at least 8 to 10 Type 31s.

Ah, but 20:20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.


Yes, it all sounds great,but what we are talking about here is mission creep, basically a cruiser.


Seems a general navy approach to avoid the political resistance of asking for a new class of ships is to;
(a) ask instead for ships of the next class ‘down’ in size
(b) increase the size of these ships so they are comparable in tonnage/length to the next size.

We’ve seen it with the Invicible ‘through deck cruisers’ – aircraft carriers, the Daring class destroyers – cruiser sized, and T26 frigates – destroyers.
That said, I welcome anything the RN can do to hoodwink politicians in order to get the ships it needs.

Another great article, this is a great site for in-depth pieces!

Philip Langley


Mike R

The mission bay and the MBHS are just frustratingly too small to accommodate and launch a CB90, which weighs in at 20 tons full load, 12 tons empty and is itself 15 metres long, which will make it 3 metres too long to fit out the door!

Having said that, I wonder if a 20 ton baby fast attack craft hanging off the crane would make the whole frigate list, even if mother is 8,000 tons!

Paul Johnson

CB90 is a good bit of kit, lucky enough to have a go in one some years ago

Mike R

I wonder if we could get the production line for the SB90E variant of the CB90 restarted? It was a smaller version intended for insertion, so probably didn’t have the armour and CRBN capabilities of the CB90, but it would fit inside a Type 26.

Length: 10.8m
Beam: 2.90m
Draft: 0.7m
Displacement: 7.2t
Range: Approx. 200 nm
Max. speed: Approx. 42 knots

They’re also used aboard the Absalon class.

Mike R

Inevitably, Think Defence did an article on the CTruk Thor that would be a much better fit (literally, at 11m and 9 tons) back in 2015.


Call me a sync, but I can’t help feeling like the Flexible Mission Bay concept was a way for the MOD and the treasury to gain a convenient excuse for not arming this ship to its full potential due to the usual cost cutting exercise. Given that it its primary role is high end ASW, I feel that it should have had a potent dedicated Anti Submarine weapon system like a ship based spearfish torpedo launching Magazine or VL-ASROC launched from the Mk 41 VLS Cells. Whilst a bear minimum of Stingray Lightweight Torpedo Magazine Launcher. The above mentioned should be combined with the potent ASW Helicopter capability that RN is already operating. I also feel there could be enough space accommodation for future UUVs for extending the ranges of ASW detection and MCM operations using the Mothership concept. Any ones thoughts on this please.