Sea Platforms

Babcock claims UK Type 31e frigate prize

13 September 2019

The Royal Navy's Type 31e fleet will geared towards forward-deployed maritime security, presence and defence engagement operations. Source: Babcock

Key Points

  • Babcock has been declared as the preferred bidder for the UK's Type 31e frigate programme
  • The downselection breaks BAE Systems' monopoly on surface warship building in the UK

An industry team led by Babcock has been selected as the preferred bidder to deliver the UK Royal Navy's Type 31e frigate programme.

Announcing the downselection on 12 September, the company said it will now enter a period of detailed discussions with the UK Ministry of Defence and the supply chain prior to a formal contract award expected later this year.

Forming the centrepiece of the government's National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Type 31 programme calls for the acquisition of a class of five globally deployable general-purpose frigates at an average production cost of GBP250 million (USD308.7 million) per ship. The design, which is geared towards forward-deployed maritime security, presence and defence engagement operations, is also intended to have significant export potential.

Babcock's winning Arrowhead 140 design - developed in conjunction with Thales, OMT and BMT under the banner of Team 31 - is based on the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate platform already in service with the Royal Danish Navy.

Atlas Elektronik UK, Babcock and BAE Systems were in December 2018 each awarded competitive design phase contracts, worth GBP5 million apiece, to mature their candidate design, build strategy and commercial proposals over a seven-month period. Bids for the design and build phase were received by Defence Equipment and Support organisation in late June.

Babcock's shipbuilding plan had originally envisaged manufacture activities being shared out between Babcock at Rosyth, the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast, and Ferguson Marine Engineering on the lower Clyde, with assembly taking place at a central integration site at Rosyth.

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