Skip to comments.U.K. Next-Generation Type 31e Frigate Program Runs Aground
Posted on 07/25/2018 10:13:11 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Arrowhead frigate design for Royal Navy Type 31E competition. Babcock Photo
LONDON Plans to build five Type 31e frigates for the Royal Navy have been thrown into disarray after Britains defense chiefs decided to pause the procurement competition.
At least three industry teams are vying to build the new maritime security-focused platforms, the first of which was supposed to enter service when the late 1980s-era Type 23 frigates start to leave the fleet in 2023.
With a fast-track acquisition contest heating up this summer, the Ministry of Defence has now abruptly halted the $1.64 billion effort due to what officials described as inadequate competition in the design phase.
The acquisition process was initiated last year as part of the U.K.s new National Shipbuilding Strategy, which was intended to put the R.N.s vessel procurement plans on a long-term sustainable footing and support the export of British warship designs.
With the cash-strapped MoD insisting it would spend no more than $328 million per ship, an industry team led by Babcock proposed its 140m-long Arrowhead design for the Type 31e program while rivals Cammell Laird/BAE Systems offered their 117m Leander hull. A third team was also in the running, understood to consist of Atlas Elektronik U.K. and Thyssenkrup Marine Systems.
The MoD said in a statement: There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy. We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag weve set. This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the program can continue at pace.
A spokesman for Cammell Laird said the company remained fully committed to the frigate competition and to the U.K.s wider defense shipbuilding strategy. Its partner BAE Systems was recently selected as preferred bidder for Australias SEA 5000 future frigates program.
Cammell Laird have continued to develop the exciting Leander proposal with BAE Systems for the Royal Navy T 31e frigate competition. We are particularly encouraged by the emerging BAE Systems export prospects in the international market, the spokesman said.
The National Shipbuilding Strategy required a new approach from the Ministry of Defence and industry. Cammell Laird remains fully committed to achieving those aims by bringing forward its entrepreneurship and commercial shipyard capabilities. Cammell Laird will deliver a world-class frigate if we win the T 31e competition in due course.
Expert commentators responded quickly to news of the pause, with some suggesting it is a delaying tactic by an MoD that has yet to secure the required $1.65 billion from the U.K. Treasury.
The Save The Royal Navy website argued that building a credible warship for [$328] million to a very tight timeframe was always going to be difficult, especially as the bidding teams had to agree on complex divisions of work and financing between multiple contractors.
An article published Monday by Janes stated that at least two of the potential bidders regarded the terms and conditions set by the MoD as unworkable, citing both commercial aspects and intellectual property rights.
Even if the MoD achieves its stated intention of delivering the Type 31e lead ship in 2023, the subsequent sea trials, crew training and work-up could see entry into operational service slipping a year or two.
It is also worth pointing out that the MoDs claim that the Type 31e frigates will grow the Royal Navy is patently false, as the ships will merely replace five existing Type 23 frigates on a one-for-one basis.
Eight higher-specification Type 23s equipped with comprehensive anti-submarine warfare suites are due to be replaced by BAE Systems new City class (Type 26) Global Combat Ship, which will be a larger and much more expensive platform than the Type 31e.
Okay, who forgot to install the depth finder?...................
Geez...the Brits are always trying to copy us! (ducks)
Good God, that is an enormous vessel for its day!
Ironically I read an article this morning that stated that the German navy has no working U-boats. So the country that pioneered submarine warfare and the country that pioneered anti-submarine warfare are both out of action.
How much do we normally pay for a frigate?
I guess Europe is counting on the US Navy to conduct their maritime missions. Say, has the french carrier thrown any more props. ( they forgot the left handed wrench).
That depends on if you're married. If yes, your total average price is much much higher.
Hahahaha...or a left-handed smoke shifter...:)
Maybe they can buy some from China?
Last time I priced, it was about $20!
How much to rent one for a week?
“...always trying to copy us! ...”
Yup. Ever since we kicked them out (twice)!!! :^)
How do brother...? Hope all is well by you and yours.
It IS impressive, isn’t it...
The ocean, however, is still bigger... I imagine that being on one of those in the middle of a gale, things would get rather “sporty” REAL fast...
“How much do we normally pay for a frigate?”
I went looking for the answer, but it’s apparently like asking, how much does a two door car cost? You can buy a reconditioned American made frigate or destroyer for a few hundred million. I don’t know what’s included in the sale, presumably a few cases of Rustoleum. I’m guessing that the hull is one thing and the mission specific electronics and weapons are an entirely separate thing. I suspect the issue here is, the price is way too low for what the UK navy wants buy. That’s one reason there are too few bidders. Also, the navy is trying to use this scrap of bread to keep too many suppliers fed. The UK and Germany hardly have a military to speak of. Trump is right, they aren’t pulling their NATO weight. You can have socialism or a military, but not both.
I am guessing the navy has in mind a Porsche for the price of a Beatle and the companies bidding are proposing a Beatle.
Incidentally, during the Libya disaster, the UK announced it had fired all of its cruise missiles and didn’t have the money to buy more. (It was insane for them to get involved in the first place, and equally ridiculous that they both fired all their missiles and announced they didn’t have the money to buy more. I had to wonder just who was in charge there.)
... are you worried about the tonnage?
... are you worried about the tonnage?
The US Navy hasn't built a frigate in decades. They build carriers, destroyers, and those Littoral Combat Ships. No cruisers or frigates for a long time. But they are gearing up to finally go and start procurement of some new ones. Sources say navy expects cost to be no more than $950M per ship. that's expensive for a frigate, which are usually pretty low end ships with basic capability and simple mission profile. But this will be a very high end frigate compared to the old ones.
For comparison, the USCG National Security Cutters, which are sort of similar to the more traditional USN frigates, came in around $700M per ship. The five Norwegian Fridtjoh Nanssen frigates all together cost approx $500M each, ballpark.
There's a lot of variability here, clearly. But these UK ones in the $338M range sound really really cheap to me.
I’m doing great, life is good. I try to focus on the positive things of which there are many...:)
Summer has been great...hope all is well with you and yours too!
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