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When will the T45 Replacements begin designs work/construction?
What are the chances they will be based on the T26 design?
just curious, I know its all guesses at this stage!


The mid 2030’s are the intended period to replace T45 unless they extend their life on further. On that timetable I would expect initial studies to start by 2025 with Main gate three to four years later.

It will rely on the state of Technology at that time, with the Raytheon AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR coming into the USN fleet SAMPSON loses its crown as most advanced Active radar system available. The UK will have to decide whether to adopt a new as yet to be developed system or another established one.

Weaponry wise again it will depend on the state of what is available.

Barring some revolution in propulsion technology I think we can expect to see a version of MT30 and all electric propulsion again.

Finally I fully expect it to be bigger than T45, there is a general creep in size with Warships as more systems need to be packed in.


Its all but guaranteed that BAE will be building the next class of destroyers, which means the T26 hull will form at least the initial inspiration for the design. Given the size of the basic T26 design, my expectation would be for either a straight copy of the T26 hull (possibly with less of the silencing features the T26 has as an ASW platform that an AAW destroyer wouldn’t need), or a stretched version of the T26 hull with increased VLS and power generation for next-gen weapons like lasers and railguns.

The other possible option is for a trimaran hull. The RN investigated the potential of using a trimaran back in the early 2000’s, and ordered a test platform called Triton to test the concept, and based on the image of Dreadnought 2050 that was released a few years ago it full expects future warships to eventually use such a hull form. For an idea of what it could potentially look like, look here :


I am not entirely clear why everybody is so certain that a T45 replacement will use a T26 derived hull, that would only make sense if we were in a rush. Considering there is plenty of lead time and at least a decade until they need to Maingate the project there is ample time to develop an optimised hull.


It’s not to do with being rushed, it’s about being economical. The price of the T45 skyrocketed because something like 75% of the equipment was brand new and not yet in service. Hence why the T26 has had a lot of its equipment tested on the T23 first.

By using at least part of the T26 design in the T46, it reduces both development costs and risk, because you’ve already done a fair chunk of the work. The T26 hull is already a good starting point, the primary changes will be lengthening the foredeck to accommodate 48-64 Mk41 cells, and potentially widening the hull to increase stability (but that depends on how tall and heavy the next gen radar system is). The only radical changes would be to accommodate a railgun, in which case the forward end may need a LOT of stretching to accommodate the capacitors


It is perfectly possible with the time given to develop an optimised hull in an economical manner, pulling through systems unless there is something better out there makes plenty of sense but using the T26 hull doesn’t.

All new RN types get plenty of fluid modeling and tank testing regardless, the T26 hull is optimised for ASW. With the time available unless it can be shown to be not detrimental to the core AAW role of a T45 replacement I think an evolved T26 hull would be unnecessary.

Geoffrey Hicking

I was one of those people that thought that the T-45 would be replaced by a T-26 hulled derivative. I am aware now that this is an incredibly stupid idea, and I apologise for forcing you to refute this multiple times. I was too obstinate to change my views, and I can understand how wearying it can be to deal with know-nothings that simply don’t get it. Even I’m getting a little… irritated with what I previously thought.

Furthermore, I don’t think you saw my apology for my rude and bullying comments last year. I could leave it, but that would make me even more of a coward than I already am, so I apologise for subjecting you and other on this site to that barracking.


Don’t apologise you made a valid and interesting point! Life is too short to remember something that had happened a year earlier…to be honest I had totally forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong I am not dismissing the idea of using the T26 hull as a basis for a T45 replacement but with the time we have I think we can easily do better. In the end companies like BAE Systems and BMT employ naval architects to constantly develop solutions. So I see no reason to not use an optimised hull form for any T45 replacement.

An AAW destroyer needs a hull form slick enough to allow it to keep up with the carriers and I don’t just mean our own ones. Any UK AAW Destroyer IMHO should be able to easily keep up with a USN Nimitz/Ford class carrier to be viable in role.

Glass Half Full

Indeed it may be possible to develop a better hull than T26 or Arrowhead if it wins the T31e contest. The question though is why? What significant additional material benefits do we expect to arise from a brand new hull design versus leveraging an existing design and so managing the costs and risks better? After all its the costs that are killing the quantity of ships in the RN along with the manning issues. Its also killing the armament. Having great hulls counts for nothing if we can’t afford to arm them with enough weapons, both the silos and actual missiles to go in them.

The T26 looks like it will be by far the most advanced and quiet ASW hull in Western navies. Why wouldn’t we leverage that design for a T45 replacement that is capable of both advanced ASW as well as AAW. Its not like the UK will have a surplus of ASW hulls.

As to speed, I fully expect a T26 to be a welcome escort to a US carrier group. Who would turn that down in an age of increasingly more sophisticated AIP capability as well as resurgence of nuclear boats from China and Russia. I don’t see anything in the US inventory, or planned for it, that is likely to approach this. In fact it rather seems to be a weakness in US ship building strategy currently.

Or if we don’t want class leading ASW then Arrowhead since Iver Huitfeldt has already provided AAW escort to one or more US carriers.

In my view its the chase for the ever elusive best of the best that is increasingly the enemy of the good.


I would only add to your point that it’s often defence committees and MPs who come into a project that is already underway, with their own ideas for changing the / embellishing the requirements, this is a significant cost/time risk factor.

A T46 needs to move into the age where a swarm attack of several hypersonic anti-ship missiles appears on the radar with only seconds to spare for a comprehensive response. Phalanx can only shoot at a speed of Mk3, Sea Ceptor can only shoot at Mk3, 3M22 Zircon flys at Mk6 and Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile flys at Mk10 if air launched.

Only a high power LaWS system (400-500KWatts) can have a hope of resolving this kind of technical challenge, it’s going to be difficult enough for the computer data processing speeds of the targeting system to keep up with the speed of a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile.

Glass Half Full

Definitely need strict project management/spec definition and “pencils down” discipline approach.

In some way I am less concerned about hypersonic weapons that are both expensive and relatively rare, versus saturation attacks by multitudes of low cost simple missiles that simply exhaust a system’s available defenses. Every defending missile may successfully take out an attacking missile but the one left over only needs to take out radars and sensors to make the defending weapons platform ineffective. LaWS may potentially play a more significant role in this scenario but there’s still a lot to prove regarding operation in non-optimal environmental conditions.

Agree that the critical element with hypersonic missile defense is the ability of the system including humans to react if not in automatic defense mode. Defending missiles are closing with the attacking missiles not chasing them so raw speed isn’t so much of an issue except to keep debris from a destroyed incoming missile as far away as possible from the ship. The key challenge is the ability of a defending missile to successfully vector in on the attacking missile as the gap closes to enable either a kinetic direct hit or proximity detonation and might be aided by firing salvos.


T45 needs LaWS because anti-ship missiles are either flying at Mk6 or Mk10 depending upon whether they are air launched or submarine/ship launched. The LaWS needs to be in excess of ‘400KWatts to 500KWatts’ to take out something that is travelling in a pre-programmed erratic flight path before zeroing in on the final target ship. This is going to require a lot of space for batteries, and to be credible, the ship needs to defend its port side as well as its starboard side. If the LaWS systems are located slightly out from the hull, it will also allow for a forward or aft shot, thus reducing the degree of blind spots on the compass dial.

Kevin Garrigan

Hello to you all i am very sorry to start with a Downer , But i hope you all no that if labour get in power this time he z he would slash the Royal navy and Army ,RAF that is worry. OK the Proud side of the chat we Might be a small navy but we are the best 1 wish if i hard i wish that our great navy could get bigger which this country of ours Deserves god safe the Royal navy God bless the navy.

Kevin Garrigan

Right now i could be Rong here but looking at that Graft every 2 years a ship going to be laid so unless my maths are rong thats 16 years Un Till all 26 are build as i z i Could be way out here. we have Enough Ship yards to build these ships at a Faster Time to spreed them around few here few there its not the next 10 or 16 years, we need them next just say 7 years whats the point of having ships in one dock yard half made say in few years or sooner this country gets hit and our navy will not be strong Enough how great there are. Now what i am going to say will sound crazy well what ever we think about MP’s today but 3 off them and one in the M,O,D, z we should this is what i z this country should go on a War Footing the Russians are building they navy on Record Time they ship are built, Y have they got some thing to do you only build ships that fast for one Reason and they now how weak we are at the min. just look at Ukraine yes we got Nato but we would need the ships there and then by the Nato ships got here it be all over coss rhey no we are Straight we are we dont what to be Court out we our pants down just think about it i just dont Trust that Putin i honestly Beleave we going to get hit some time. and we are running out of Time. think about it they take the uk then they land Forces and Air force attack from the east Europe will not be helping poor old UK they be helping them Self’s trying to stop the Bear from the east the yanks are to far to gave any help yes it sounds crazy put they z that about every war we hard we need a very Strong Royal navy And RAF & Army not cut backs. and one final thing if you let Labour get in you will see the Demise of all our Forces God help us all.

Kevin Garrigan

Not Bad with some one who got bad Dyslexic


Never , the RN will cease to exist as a blue water fleet within the next 30 years.
Just that the political class and the top brass will not be honest about it and continue with there propaganda about the rebirth of the RN with the launch of the world’s biggest and most exspensive helicopter carriers ever built with the occasional use as a RAF base when the RAF want to move Australia 500 miles west or East or even north or south .

30 years there will be no army or navy or air force there are no votes in armed forces .


Strange that I was arguing the very same point two days ago in the UKDJ where I was pointing out the pit falls of having a single Large Frigate/Destroyer factory. I totally agree that by 2032 the first of the what I call Type 46s will need to be started. It also means that design works for this needs to be started about now to give ten years for the design and a few years for government to make up its mind what it will do. Then get on with building them.
As for the type 23s, I really think that until the carrier groups are ready the last five need to go though a major refit so they can soldier on until 2040. Either to beef up the OPVs in British and Falklands waters., leaving the new vessels to form carrier groups, Amphib Groups and ASW groups.

Paul Bestwick

Does the Type 45 replacement have to come from the Type 26 stable. After all one of the Type 31 frontrunners is based off and AAW hull. If the HII entry into the US FFG(X) competition is based off the Iver Huitfeldt base, who is to say that the Type 45 replacement couldn’t follow a similar line.


Agree with Paul, maybe the Iver Huitfeldt
Could be stretched, say in the bow and admidships. If we build more Type 31’s, a total number of 10, we could could follow and build a couple of Type 45 replacements, with the rest coming from the Bae yards.


I was going to agree with you until you used the BAE word. No, we need to protect the shipbuilding industry, and we don’t do that by losing Babcock to become yet another deceased shipbuilder in favour of BAE. BAE owns shipyards in Australia already and also in the States already, they are more than big enough, in fact, they seem to be so big that they have bullied the UK government into purchasing some weaponless OPVs


Time to rehash some very old points again.
BAE are a global company, yes. Which means that if it’s not profitable for them to be in the UK, they won’t be, hence why back in 2005 the government published the DIS saying BAE would always be the preferred contractors for defence.

The OPVs weren’t ordered because of bullying from BAE. Incompetence on the part of successive governments meant that there was going to be a huge gap before the T26 started building, during which a lot of valuable skills wouldve been lost simply through lack of work, just like what happened after the Vanguard class finished. After the mess that made of the Astute programme, every effort was made to retain skills instead of losing them.

Babcock will almost certainly not even be in the running for the destroyer replacement. For a light frigate, sure, but they’ve got no experience with high end warships, most of the equipment for which would be from BAE anyway. The UKs defence budget just isn’t big enough to support a big number of companies competing for the same contracts, not without a significant overhaul


Point of order on the bullying thought
First: A House of Commons Briefing Paper explains the agreement:

In 2009 the Government signed a 15 year Terms of Business Agreement (TOBA) with BAE Systems and Babcock. The TOBA guaranteed BAE Systems a minimum level of surface ship build and support activity of £230 million a year.

This was judged as the minimum level of work possible to sustain a credible warship-building industry in the UK and thus avoid the delays encountered during the Astute class submarine build caused in part by the loss of skilled staff following the gap between Astute and the Vanguard class submarine build.

OK, that’s history and folks can validate it

On the BAE front, I’m not anti BAE, BUT, we need competition and you don’t get that if you allow one outfit to become an elephant at the same time as shutting out the elephant’s competitors! In addition, have you heard of space X, I just want to mention that outfit, because they came from nothing to a giant in several years because they hired folks, and fired folks depending on what those hires delivered. My point is, that Babcock can become the next BAE, space X is your living proof although there are hundreds of such examples of companies that have in the space of several years become world leaders from an initial headcount of less than 30 people, would you like to google that to prove otherwise?
The OPVs are having problems at the moment; something to do with craftsmanship with is a polite way of explaining why the RN has rejected the last delivery. If I have a problem with OPVs it’s not about who has made them, its about the fact that they don’t stand up to any comparison with past ocean going Russian patrol craft that that sport anti-ship missiles and other weapon systems. As a principle, I don’t believe in peace time essentially weapon less ships, because the Falklands war came into existence in two weeks flat. That was the time frame between the government becoming aware that something was amiss, and South Georgia and the Falklands both being captured by forces from a power who were deemed to be friends of this country. When an unexpected war occurs, there is no time available to manufacture emergency weapons, warships, fighter jets, you have to go with your peace time kit and fight with what you have got.

We need Babcock to grow and become better at what it does, everyone needs a competitor to keep them honest.


I should also add, that thanks to a clever contract, the UK got two aircraft carriers. Which is lucky because we almost lost one carrier when finances became difficult for the UK! The MOD and labour party somehow ran into a 2010 35bn defence budget black hole. If T31 warships can come into existence with the Babcock consortium for a price that is below 400mil it might just save the royal navy from becoming a local costal navy.


I have heard of Space X, and while I appreciate the comparison and see the point you’re making, it’s not entirely valid due to some key differences. Space X is operating in an essentially brand new industry, where all of its competitors are starting from roughly the same place. Also, being that small, at least at the start, makes it very easy to respond quickly to changes in circumstances, compared to a big corporation with a million gears turning in different directions. Responses have to be more measured.

Babcock COULD become the next BAES, but then, I COULD win the lottery. BAES are the 3rd largest defence company in the world, and are the UKs biggest manufacturer and exporter of goods. None of this means Babcock should be left out in the cold, far from it, I think Babcock’s bid was the better of the two, bar the non-standard radar and CMS. At the end of the day though, short of Scotland leaving the UK, the destroyer contract is better off with BAES. More experience building high end warships, will have a large, experienced workforce ready to go straight on to the T46 build when T26 is done, ownership of most of the equipment that will go on the ship; they’re the clear, safe choice. If Babcock wins T31, maybe that situation will change a bit, but it’s unlikely.

I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make about the OPVs, everyone agrees they’re overcoated and underarmed, and now they’re also suffering from poor workmanship. If they’d been retained alongside the original Rivers, great, because we could’ve done with more OPVs (more everything tbh), but they’re not. In a better world, T45s 7 and 8 would’ve been built in their place to keep the yards busy, but it didn’t happen. Oh well.

I fully agree that we need Babcock to grow and succeed, but the idea is to come up with a sustainable build strategy, not starve the main yards on the Clyde to give several smaller yards a temporary boost before dying out again. The destroyers should go to the Clyde, and thats them sorted until the late 2030s. Have Babcock and their consortium focus on T31, the MCMV replacements (potentially the same thing). Cammel Laird is an ideal place for the FSS to go, as well as future RFA ships and the future amphibious ships needed in the late 2020s. The submarine build is healthy currently, going from the Astutes on to the Dreadnoughts, and then onto the Astute replacements (With a 25 year reactor life, HMS Astute will need replacing by 2035 at the latest)


I did not quite realize that NASDAQOTH:BAESY was quite that big, however apart from standardising on the combat management system across all ships, I don’t see the win in not giving Babcock a contract to build an already tried and tested warship design, Iver Huitfeldt class Royal Danish Navy, which have apparently cost 325 million in FY 2010 US dollars took 4 years to build
I also read a report (can’t remember its URL, sorry) but it said that BAEs order books were full, so unless they buy more shipyards, they would have a problem with coping with T26, T46, T31. The T26 is going to take seven years to build, which is 2 years longer than a FREMM warship took to build for Italy, I don’t understand why a ship that is supposed to be using off the shelf systems should take two years longer than the Italian shipyards are taking to build their FREMM warships unless there is an artificial time delay being built in to allow the UK government to spread the cheques across a longer time frame, foolish, because the UK will get charged more money to spread the cost.


By 2028, the Iver Huitfeldt will be relatively outdated, and it certainly won’t be up to the standards of a first class AAW destroyer.
I’ve got a feeling the post you read might be an old one as to why BAES doesn’t really care about the T31. The artificially slowed build rate for the T26 means that BAES can build 8 ships for the price of the original 13 without losing time or money, and then go straight into the destroyer build. If BAES get the T31 deal with Cammel Laird, great. If not, no loss, hence why I think overall we’re better off giving it to Babcock (combined with the fact that Arrowhead is clearly superior).
Sadly though, that’s how the current Treasury seems to view things: “doesn’t matter if the overall cost is higher, as long as the cost for this government is lower”

Keith Sware

On the Iver Huitfeldt class, it’s cheap(cheaper than T26 / FREMM) and as much as folks want bells and whistles, money forces compromises on capability.
3 dutch ships in service, in other words, it’s a proven sea worthy design ready to go: Firstly, it’s a hull and it’s a weapon platform which can take a hit and survive which has been graphically demonstrated on utube

Second: we already know the actual price for making 3 warships which is always good to know.

Third; it has size for what engineers call grow ability which is another way of saying that you can use the extra space for future systems as yet undefined.
Atlas ASO 94 hull mounted sonar
a 76mm OTO Melara deck gun,
4 x Vertical Launching Systems (Mk 41 VLS) for 32 x SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles (SAMs),
2 x VLS packs (Mk 56 launcher) for 24 x RIM-162 ESSM (“Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile”) SAMs,
up to 16 x Harpoon (Block II) anti-ship missiles (in place of the Mk 56 VLS launchers),
2 x 35mm Oerlikon “Millennium” Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs),
2 x Twin MU90 “Impact” torpedo launchers.
4 x Terma DL-12T and DL-6T 130mm decoy launchers
Seagnat Mark 36 SRBOC
This gives her the capability to engage inbound aerial threats as well as surface and underwater threats as needed – not bad.

From what I can gleam: –
The forth point is that one should not get suckered into thinking that the type 31 would have the same weapons fit, it is a platform first and the weapons fit will be about how the hull is CUSTOMISED to fit within the current RN weapons inventory, weapons specialist skills, training programs, interoperability within the context of NATO; it is already a survivable platform (as demonstrated on utube) with a blue water capability of 8,690 nm Nautical Miles (Endurance 9.300 NM at 18 knots) at a ballpark of 30 kts, crew 101 up to crew complement number of 165, 4 x MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines 4 x 8200 kW Total kW 32800 developing drive power to 2 x Shafts, displaces 6,645 tonnes with a draught of under 6m or 17 feet

Fifth point: The type 31 is based on the this existing ship hull size, shape, structure, engines / power but there is a lot that could be tailored to suit different customers with different budgets.

Sixth point is that the proposal for the type31 had a low power LaWS laser of 30KWatts; for me this is a driver to get the RN to a place where 500kWatts LaWS systems are capable of taking out hypersonic missiles traveling at Mk10 because it is a stepping stone and it gets us on the first step to acquiring a system that will eventually go way beyond Phalanx or sea ceptor

In other words a type 31 has the potential to become a high end weapons platform, also its has an entry level price which will be cheap albiet missing a high end weapons fit capability.


@Paul, not sure if the future AAW platform will be based on the Type 26. The requirements for the hull and power plant will be different. An ASW platform such as the T26 needs to be extremely quiet, its powerplant will need to sprint and stop very quickly. Whilst a AAW platform needs to be stable and would operate at a constant speed. Much of the development cost in the T26 is in the hull, powerplant and props, whereas in the T45 I would imagine is in the radar/electronic suite. Could you use the T45 hull for a AAW cruiser no problems remove the helicopter hanger and replace with a second VLS for missiles, fixed but an Anti-sub platform to operate in the AAW role seems expensive.
But the idea to have a multi-mission hull and powerplant is in principle a good idea but something tells me to achieve that it would be a vessel possibly in the 7-10,000 tons range and multi hulled with a combined propulsion system of prop and water jet, the water jet for the sprint and stop.


Absolute chaos. What’s going to happen to the workforce and facilities that are going to be needed to build the type 31 as soon as they are finished in such an implausibly short period of time?Its hard to imagine how a nation could even deliberately create these waves of block obsolescence ,wasted surge investments and training. As a lot of these workers are going to have to come from Poland, it makes far more sense to build at least some of the blocks there,where they already have the facilities.We are being governed by idiots.


Why would it makes sense – so they can bring the bits over with them on the journey? the idea of the T31s is to get away from 33yo frigates and expensive MLUs, which is why it’s odd that the design from Team31 focuses on size and upgrade capability. The idea was that we’d just keep on building and selling 2nd hand.


Exports, um, I wonder why no one tried that before?


Because the civil service have the blinkered vision problem, and they are not very good at thinking outside the box in an entrepreneur way. Pinstripes all seem to only think in straight lines, this is why we have lost our royal navy that used to be more than 60 warships just before the Falklands war. They are too busy filing bits of paper and playing with their typewriters to realise that Russia has more than 70 submarines and is flying anti-ship missiles at speeds of Mk10 (Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile)

Glass Half Full

You might also include the potential of extra hulls using T31e as replacement for the MCMV mission but with USV/UUV mission modules. The decision on MCMV according to the NSS is due around 2020. The RN has been working with unmanned vehicles since 2003 and seems to be on a path to make the decision to drop specialist single purpose MCMV. This has the added benefit of providing far greater flexibility in the fleet than dedicated MCMV do.


But would Type 31 exports actually be built in Britain, or outsourced like the Type 26s are being?


I agree T31e is “too selfish” for MOD.

1: If it were to establish 2nd-escort ship builder, building 5 in such a hurry, and leaving future for “hope for export” is nothing good for industry. Industry cannot train/grow their own labor force/engineer, because there is a big risk for firing them very soon.

Why not build it more slowly, so that industry can
– do with more modest labor/engineer man-power “peak”
– can wait for more longer time for export sales.

Yes, it is to replace the 5 T23GPs on time. This means, there are 2 different aims which does not match well.

2: For export, T31e has 2 different types of risks.

A: severe competition with other nations’ industries (Naval, Navantia, Damen, Fincantierri, South Korea, China …). This is well known risk.

B: T31e program is to build “low level warship” in “merchant-ship builders” in “blocks”. In most cases, export customers will surely ask to do the same to their country. OMT (designer), Babcock (prime), and Thales (CMS integrator) can get some job, but most of the hull will be build in the customer nation = labor/engineere increased in ship builders will not be needed.

Calling it “chaos” might be too strong a saying, but I do agree it is far from “well organized”.


The simple answer is to build a minimum of 8 T31 warships, cutting steel at one ship a year. In addition, Canada needs 13 warships, so sell them three T31s to them as well; and then hopefully sell them 10 T26 warships as well.

But recognise that building slower means that shipyard workers will get laid off because BAE or Babcock will not employ dead weight just because the cheques are coming in with big time gaps in between.

Who would you buy a car from, someone who delivers a car in 1-2 years time (like the Italians), or someone who has trained themselves to deliver a car in 5 years time!!!

You don’t get a UK export ship business by learning to build slowly, when the competition is building as fast as they can, in order to acquire as many customers as they can get their hands on!!!


A single shipyard building
– one ship per 2 years
– each needing 3 years to build
may not be bad.

This will use only one dry dock, for all build process = less investment and healthy increase in labor man power.


The Canadians don’t want two separate classes of ship, its why the project is called the Single Class Surface Combatant. They aren’t going to be buying the T31, as it doesn’t fit their needs.

Target markets are Middle Eastern nations and South America, possibly Eastern Europe as well. Countries already operating old RN frigates, who can hopefully be convinced that buying new-build frigates is preferable to acquiring old vessels. Who knows, maybe we’ll do a deal: buy 1 T31, get an old T23 cheap when it decommissions.


Presumably the type 23s will be completely knackered by the time the RN has finished with them,if not before.Also the plan is to strip all the decent kit for the type 26.


Hence why I’m saying offer them as part of a deal for new T31s. Third rank navies could probably get another decade or more of life out of them by not running them as hard as the RN already has. In any case, we either sell them as scrap or we use them as an incentive to buy new exports


Joining an old thread – but its a good one

What would happen to the workforce and facilities after T31 ? – well it depends on who wins.

If Babcock win theyll be assembled at Rosyth and the workforce will then hopefully move on to building FSS.

If BAE win, they’ll be built at Cammels in Birkenhead. My very cynical suspicion is that the facilities will then move on to building the next batch of T26. The Clyde is no longer fit for putpose, its as simple as that. Its gentrified, cramped, too far up river and struggles to produce a simple OPV. There’s a reason BAE haven’t put serious money into it. Swish riverfront apartments and heavy industry don’t really mix.

Of course it’ll be the mother of all political s***storms hence why FSS to Rosyth would make sense as a conslation prize for Scotland


This is all based on 8 type 26 being built and we all know that we will be lucky to get 6 as the defence budget is destroyed by the replacement costs for vanguard submarines and the costs of the Lighting ll .

The real problem is that the type 26 is being built to slowly and in insufficient numbers to be a viable programme and is just another job creation scheme for the Scottish shipyards and the needs of the navy have been disregarded.
The type 31 will be built but I predict the treasury will interfere and we will get hulls with poor equipment fit outs.

We need a proper debate on what we want to do and what we can afford to fund.

We get extremely poor value for the money we spend on equipment because we either don’t order enough or endless change requirements .
The Type 45 is a classic case order 12 cost 6 billion cut to 10 to save money then 8 and then 6 cost 6 billion because no one in defence procruement realised that it was a fixed price contract that BAE where required to build 12 for 6 billion but cutting it to 6 made it very profitable to BAE. When the cut was announced BAE where very quiet about it because there arse has been out of the fire and instead of a loss they had a huge profit.
We have a MOD not fit for purpose and admirals blinded by the QE program leading to a RN being run down to support the white elephant QE program.

£6 billion for a helicopter carriers that may occasionaly carry 6 to 12 f35b if and a big if we buy enough and the RAF release them to the navy.


If the MPs and MOD could learn to build one ship a year, every year (like the Russians), then the cost of the ships would come down. And workers would not be working in a boom and bust shipbuilding program, so they would not be getting laid off every 5 odd years.

Parts and spares procurement would be simpler and easier to plan, thus allowing purchasers to negotiate a favourable price which would be backed up by a forecasted purchasing schedule.

It’s not rocket science, the AMERICANS DO THIS, SO DO THE JAPANESE, strangely enough, before the 1980s, so did the British do this as well. Somebody messed up British shipbuilding by trying to micromanage the shipbuilding industry by making lots of requirement change requests, buggering up or reneging on the requested number of ships – all in the name of reducing costs. The truth is that costs were never reduced, that’s a sales and marketing slogan that if you look at a little history, you will discover that costs were never actually reduced, somebody has been telling lies about their ability to reduce the cost of ships (Ref T45 fiasco – which are still costing us money to put in new engines, and we only got 6 ships for the same price as the originally requested 12 ships, I don’t remember the civil service / MOD / MPs apologising for that one).

James C Schweitzer

A good solution is to continue to build the T31 throughout the 2030’s on a one per year cadence. Some hulls could be available for sale, so all wouldn’t end up with the RN, but with a low cost and lean manning it can also fill the MCM and survey roles with the right packages. Reviewing batches to take up new technology building 20 over two decades creates a very flexible, patrol, survey, MCM and lite frigate force.

Glass Half Full

Good observation. Many seem to overlook the very good chance that dedicated MCMV may go the way of the dodo in favor of UUV/USV mission module based teams working from OPV, frigates and shore. The National Shipbuilding Strategy has that decision point around 2020, presumably when MoD will know exactly what Type31e looks like.


I am worried (if you will forgive the pun) that Arrowhead is ‘dead in the water’. The RN has spent much time and treasure installing a single, common (BAE) Combat management system which is being offered in the Leander concept and not in the arrowhead. The implications for RN is to move away from their stated aim, add additional support and training for a different system and thus additional costs. Unless they do a deal with BEA to supply the common system (why would BAE do that when they are a partner in a rival bid?) I think Babcock may have blown their big chance over this issue.


I think you may find Babcock did try to negotiate with BAe for their combat system, but BAe wanted too much.
You cannot blame the monopoly holder for wanting to retain it.


You’re right buddy. As I said, why would they co-operate? I am rooting for Arrowhead but it may be this single issue that kills it, I’m afraid. If the RN prefer the Arrowhead design then maybe some pressure can brought to bear on BAE by the MOD to play ball. I guess we wait and see.

Glass Half Full

Consider your scenario though. What you are saying is that MoD by standardizing on BAe CMS is forever locked into BAe as ship supplier. There is no way MoD would accept that. Also consider what happens in practice. BAe integrated Thales Tacticos CMS and Smart-S Radar into the Khareef corvette, presumably at the requirement of Oman. Thales could integrate BAe CMS and Radar into Arrowhead.

I’m also sure that MoD knows exactly what BAe kit costs based on current programs so attempts to charge more could seriously backfire. The Type 45 replacement certainly doesn’t have to come from BAe for example.


I agree with you for the most part, but the destroyer replacements WILL come from BAES. Theres no question of that. BAE Systems are the UK “national champions of defence”, from a statement back in the ’05 DIS. More importantly, they build the majority of the equipment used in RN warships, they’re the only high-end warship builder in the country, and the destroyer programme fits in perfectly with the end of the T26 build.
In comparison, Babcock haven’t built anything more major than an OPV in years, and even if they win the T31 contract, the build will be over several years before T46 is scheduled to start building. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make economic sense to try and maintain two separate first-rate shipbuilders, not unless the RN is going to have a significant size increase in the next few decades.

Glass Half Full

To be sure BAES is perhaps the most likely to get the T45 follow on and it does seem to potentially mesh nicely with the end of T26 in the NSS which is probably no accident. However, the NSS was specifically intended to provide more options/competition for MoD procurement and BAES would be unwise in my view to make any assumptions. The MoD may be greatly encouraged in this based on the two T31e proposals from BAES and Babcock. Not helping is that BAES doesn’t seem to have covered itself in glory with production of the Batch 2’s either.

By the time the T45 replacement decision is made Babcock will have had an opportunity with Arrowhead 140 to build and deliver a major warship, following their experience in the assembly of the carriers at Rosyth. A140 may be spec’d as a low end Frigate for the UK but the platform is an AAW frigate/destroyer in Iver Huitfeldt spec. Babcock doesn’t have to own design capability for future ships either, they can partner with BMT and/or Thales. The Thales design won the carrier competition over BAES.

You are assuming T31e will only be five hulls. That assumes 1) no exports and 2) no extra MoD orders to use T31e for MCMV with USV/UUV mission modules and 3) no extra MoD frigate orders regardless of MCMV. The MCMV replacement decision is due around 2020 according to the NSS plan.

The goal of the NSS has been to help develop a shipbuilding industry that commercially can stand on its own feet producing and servicing RN vessels as well as producing and servicing commercial vessels and other commercial marine projects. Consequently the goal is to support a network of shipyards that individually or in consortia can meet that goal. Its not a case of supporting two shipbuilders solely with naval projects.


All valid points, all of which I hope very much come true. I personally am huge fan of replacing our current fleet of dedicated MCMVs with T31s carrying minesweeper drones, but only if that can be accomplished with no degradation in out MCMV capability.

My comment is based on known facts however, not on possible outcomes. As it stands right now, the funding doesn’t even exist for the planned 5 T31s, so while it makes total sense to defence followers to order more hulls, it’s overly optimistic to assume it will happen. Likewise with the MCMV replacement, we just don’t have the information available to know what’s going to happen.

Dream scenario? The T26 build on the Clyde goes off without a hitch, followed by a smooth transition into the T46 build. Meanwhile, Babcock wins the T31 contest with an Arrowhead modified at RN request to feature BAES CMS-1 and Artisan (for the RN ships at least). In addition, the decision is made to replace the 80s vintage Hunt class MCMVs with T31s, resulting in at least another 6 frigates added to the original order. Export orders are also placed for perhaps another 5 vessels, with the build schedule alternating between RN and export vessels. This keeps both yards busy well into the late 2030s.

That’s just escort orders, there will also be orders for RFA vessels, amphibious warfare ships (the Albion’s are due out in 2028 if I’m not mistaken, at which point we shall hopefully replace both with American style assault ships), submarines, patrol vessels, etc. It’s either planning genius on behalf of the MoD, or it’s pure luck, but most of the build schedules actually line up with availability in the correct yards

Glass Half Full

To which I would only add a hope that Cammell Laird is capable of success in winning and building the Solid Support ships, perhaps with blocks also produced by A&P Tyne as done for RRS Sir David Attenborough and/or others. An ability to be commercially competitiveand viable with such a large vessel if achievable would be a significant positive for UK shipbuilding and the NSS strategy.


I am unsure tacticos selection vs bae bms will be a big a problem as many make out – my understanding is tacticos is open architecture and can be flexible in the user interface I am guessing the difference for operators maybe as different as going from an iPhone to Android made to look like an iPhone? If I am wrong I think in order to get in to the market with the uk mod with possible further orders they will provide a full training package/conversion courses. The RAF have very different aircraft and manage ok. I think it would be a small price to pay to break the monopoly and if arrowhead was selected bae may see the writing on the wall and come on board anyway…. better to make some profit rather than none. I don’t think it is something that is beyond the Rn to manage


How much would you bet against a T45 life ex? I wouldn’t bet a penny! I very very much doubt the build on the replacement AAW destroyer will start until the T26 build is over.
This is probably a reasonable plan as the T45 with updates should be good for 30/35 years which puts their replacement in the 2040’s.


Part of the problem is we keep doing mid life extensions instead of ordering and building ships on a regular basis , which leads to skills being lost and when we decide to build we then have exspensive skills gaps.
The astute submarine programme is a classic case of this .
The royal navy wanted to build 2 more Trafalgar class subs to keep the yard busy until the first astute was built but the treasury said no and as a result highly skilled engineers who would had spotted the issue with the astute build where made redundant. And in the end we had to bring in the Americans to sort it out and they where horrified by how the skills base had been hollowed out by treasury short sighted spending target and said in there report the build was comprised by the lack of skilled engineers at all levels.

Paul Bestwick

Start work on the radar replacement for Sampson in the next 5 years, 5 years to devlop. That puts us in the late 2020’s. Design the ship over the next 5 years start production as the type 26 prod run completes around 2036. Use whatever hull best suits. It might even be a T31 derivative, after all the Arrowhead is based off an AAW destroyer. Life extension programmes are not the way to save money in the long run.

Paul Bestwick

The graphic shows the Type 26’s starting every 2 Years, The first 3 are spaced at 18 month start times. If this is continued to the remaining 5 and there is only 18 months between batch 1 and 2 then all T26 should be complete by 2036. Which dovetails with the OOS of the Type 23’s.
Also once the type 31 is introduced, the manning issues of the escort fleet should go away as each T31 should have a complement of approx. 100, whereas the T23 takes approx. 180. As the T26’s are introduced it should get better (approx. 120). From a manpower perspective there should be some headroom, how that fits with the crewing needs of forward deployment I don’t know.
Finally the national ship building strategy advocates that we sell ships before they get to the point of needing mid-life refits and that life extension programmes are avoided. Therefore I expect to see further T31 orders. Hopefully they will have an improved spec and maybe some adjustments to the batch based on the lessons learned in building the first couple. This order would come around 2021/22, maybe later.


Ouch – here is the problem with planners who think that nothing is going to go wrong. Let’s say an RN ship gets grounded off the coast of Australia, what then, buggered and we lose a ship. Let’s try another scenario, let us say the ship’s engine does not like warm gulf water and several ships have to be repaired repeatedly until someone eventually realises that short-term quick fixes are actually costing more money than ripping out and replacing the whole power plant.

I did not even have to invent a single scenario because this is the kind of thing that happens.

Let’s say two ships collide, one oil tanker with an RN ship – opps that’s happened before as well.

The commonsense point is that the lead times, the build times for the T26s are too long and they don’t allow for ships to go unexpectedly out of service, because the civil service / MOD / MPs don’t have that imaginative mindset to predict the unexpected, or to use history as a guide to planning what might happen.

Its YES MINISTER all over again


Ì wonder if its possible that someone might sink a couple of our ships, or maybe even 7 including 4 escorts. It could even be a non peer adversary.

Michael Watson

I have noticed in some of the comments in this subject and others, mentioned about QE Class just being very expensive helicopter carriers, you guys might remember that our government has signed an agreement with the US to put their planes on our carriers. So if we have problems putting any sort of meaningful number of UK planes on, then the US can certainly make up the short full. I do not know the ins and outs of this agreement.


The USMC F35B are configured for a totally different role to the UK F35B .
And you are saying we spent £6 billion on 2 white elephants to give operational control to the yanks? Because if they stick there planes on our carriers then our carriers fight where the yanks say end of story, we might as well let the USN take over the RN .

There are no votes in defence and no one wants to spend any money.
The 2010 SDR has destroyed huge areas of capabilities which we will never get back .

Let’s cut the crap and actually stop pretending to be a blue water navy when actually we are just a coastal defence force.


I take your point, but we are not quite a coastal defence force just yet; as long as some clown does not build any more weaponless OPVs, and we get 8 T31s (not 5) and we get 10 T26s (not 8) and we get a replacement for HMS Ocean, and we learn to commission one ship a year, every year.

Don’t think I’m backwards agreeing with you, this is what the liberals, pacifists and the Russians want you to think.
Its war Scotty, just not as we know it.


Where’s the money coming from?

Keith Sware

Hope folks get this, but there are several parts to answering your question

P1: Ships built locally (Inc. RFAs) pump tax back into the economy via VAT, workers PAYE, parts chain from subsidiary suppliers businesses and they spent their wages locally as well. This accounts for 15+% of the price of the contract. I have read a government document that estimates the pay back from locally built ships as high as 20%. The point is that investing in locally built ships puts money back into the tax coffers and also into the local economy.

for completeness, when you buy foreign kit, there are several negatives to this purchase are in USD and this huts when GBP is unstable – which it Brexit is. Foreign kit hurts the balance of trade, remember that the UK does not self-make money from any natural earners except north sea oil, wind power, wood, London city financial district, manufacturing ASSEMBLY. Foreign kit degrades your local skills base because you lose local jobs. Foreign kit degrades your skills base because research and development no longer takes place if you buy off the shelf foreign kit. Foreign kit degrades your student skills base because no local jobs mean students go elsewhere into other industries. Foreign kit gets local factories / shipyards closed down because they are no longer needed.

so that’s where some of the money will come from, its 15+% of the contract
more to follow

Keith Sware

Hope folks get this, but there are several parts to answering your question

P2: This should be an obvious one. If you can build ships in your own country at an economical price to a good quality, then you can also sell them to foreign customers to bring in extra revenue into the local economy.

Look at the previous post because most of the listed negative points become positive points instead. They become positive for us, and negative for our customers assuming that our customers are losing their skills / manufacturing base that we will be supplying to them.

Furthermore, because we will be furthering the design versions and generations of new kit (for sale), we will be learning and developing newer technology, which in turn will allow us to maintain a technical competitive lead over our competitors. This is because we will be investing in our or R & D and enhancing our own technical talent and skills.

Obviously, this will also give our armed forces a competitive edge which will disincentives countries like Argentina, Spain, Turkey, Russia, … from becoming nasty and thus it will help to reduce / disincentives the threat from opposing forces (historic motivations for nasty actions,. Cyprus, GIB and Falklands).

In addition, this thus improves your balance of trade.

In addition, this earns you either gold or USD from customer sales, which is indirectly profitable especially when GBP is unstable. Because it allows your government to stockpile foreign currency and hedge against currency fluctuations, this is another way of earning cash.

So where does the money come from? Ans: Selling ships and weapons kit to foreign countries as a result of T31, locally built RFAs and other initiatives.

So where does the money come from? you earn foreign currency which is always a good thing on the world currency exchange markets.

I might post some other examples, but hopefully, that’s enough to get folks thinking about why locally built kit is more cost effective and profitable in the LONG TERM


When the Americans want to export defence equipment, set up R & D labs for weapon system concepts (DARPA) and procure equipment for use in their own services, the do it properly by setting up a department that will participate in all the roles required to grow their defence sector.

I would add that the MOD / civil service is not equipped as a department for brokering overseas export orders in the same way that the Americans are. The Canadians could be lined up as another customer for T26 and T31 warships, but Whitehall cannot and should not expect to build warships for Canada and the royal navy without hiring extra workers and taking on another shipyard to build the extra Canadian ships in parallel with the ships already in the queue for the UK navy.


If Babcock win the Type 31s will that allay some of the fears over the order book at Rosyth?

Keith Sware

There is a bigger picture than just Rosyth, no offence meant to any folks working at Rosyth.

First, consider if the UK manages to start reselling ships to foreign countries, just like we used to, in this event, yes, there will be more work for Rosyth to build ships, maintenance and repair for foreign customers.

but, the bigger picture is related to the following list (see later) because we need to improve and even share the incentives across the board. Unless you want a race to the bottom, and to finally end up with a monopoly company, that kills off all the UK competition in the UK and puts all the workers working for UK competitors, on the dole.

sharing the work across the board: –
Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, Troon (acquired in 1978, merged with Ferguson Shipbuilders in 1981 to form Ferguson-Ailsa)
Appledore Shipbuilders, Appledore
Austin & Pickersgill, Sunderland
Brooke Marine, Lowestoft
Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, Birkenhead
Clelands Shipbuilding Company, Wallsend
Falmouth Docks Company, Falmouth
Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow (initially a subsidiary of Scott Lithgow, merged with Ailsa in 1981 to form Ferguson-Ailsa)
Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Company, Goole
Govan Shipbuilders, Govan, Glasgow (incorporating Scotstoun Marine Ltd)
Hall, Russell & Company, Aberdeen
River Thames Ship Repairers, Blackwall (later renamed Blackwall Engineering)
Robb Caledon Shipbuilders, (comprising Henry Robb, Leith and Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Dundee)
Scott Lithgow, Greenock (comprising Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company & Lithgows)
Smiths Dock Company, Middlesbrough
Sunderland Shipbuilders, Sunderland (incorporating William Doxford & Sons, Pallion)
Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Limited, Wallsend (later renamed Swan Hunter) – also incorporating John Readhead & Sons, South Shields, Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company, Wallsend and Grangemouth Dockyard Company
Vickers Limited Shipbuilding Group, Barrow in Furness (renamed Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited – VSEL)
Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston and Portsmouth
Yarrow Shipbuilders (YSL), Scotstoun, Glasgow

Marine diesel engine manufacturers

Barclay Curle and Company, Whiteinch, Glasgow
George Clark & NEM, Sunderland
Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Hebburn
John G. Kincaid & Company, Greenock
Scotts’ Engineering Company Limited, Greenock


The good news is Hammond is talking about resigning. Dishing out paultry sums for defence and the Royal Navy in particular at a time of rapid build up by unfriendly powers is not clever.

Kevin Garrigan

sort meg building T26 it will take 18 years untill the last one is Laid down 18 years i ask you we could of been in a war and lost by then cos we never hard a strong navy then you got the T31 would it be better and faster to share the build thank you

Kevin Garrigan

We should of hard this well be though war is coming am Worrying we dont have NuthShip the once we building will not be Reddy untill the 30’swe need them ships now