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Sea Platforms

Babcock, BMT team as start gun fires for Type 31e programme

25 September 2017

Key Points

  • Babcock and BMT Defence Services have teamed to bid for the UK’s Type 31e frigate programme
  • A RFI to support Type 31e market testing was released on 11 September, with responses due back by 16 October

A first teaming for the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Type 31e frigate programme has shown its hand ahead of industry days at the end of this month.The Babcock Arrowhead 120 frigate design concept. (Babcock) The Babcock Arrowhead 120 frigate design concept. (Babcock)

Babcock and BMT Defence Services revealed their intention to establish a strategic partnership at a photocall event on 14 September at the DSEI 2017 exhibition. Full details of the formal teaming arrangement are still being finalised, but it is understood that Babcock will lead the bid.

Both companies have been working on rival Type 31e candidate designs in the shape of Babcock's Arrowhead 120 and BMT's Venator-110. Their decision to join forces means that one of these two design options will now be ruled out of the running at an early stage.

Forming the centrepiece of a new National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), the Type 31e programme envisages the fast-track acquisition of a globally deployable but affordable vessel geared towards maritime security and defence engagement operations. A ceiling price of no more than GBP250 million (USD337 million) has been set for each for the first batch of five frigates, intended to enter service from 2023 to replace the five general purpose-roled Type 23 frigates.

The BMT Defence Services Veantor-110 frigate design concept. (BMT Defence Services) The BMT Defence Services Veantor-110 frigate design concept. (BMT Defence Services)

As part of a revamped surface fleet, the Type 31e will be tasked for routine security and presence missions such as the fleet ready escort role in home waters; standing tasks in the South Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf; and NATO commitments. This will free up Type 45 destroyers and Type 26 frigates for task group operations or, in the case of Type 26, support of the continuous at-sea deterrent.

The Type 31e design philosophy being promulgated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the RN is of a standard ‘core’ platform offered with a matrix of ‘adaptable’ options to meet potential export requirements.

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