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Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.

What will be the result of the 'Lighter Frigate' programme?

Programme cancelled, RN down to 14 escorts
51
11%
Programme cancelled & replaced with GP T26
13
3%
A number of heavy OPVs spun as "frigates"
119
26%
An LCS-like modular ship
20
4%
A modernised Type 23
22
5%
A Type 26-lite
65
14%
Less than 5 hulls
21
5%
5 hulls
63
14%
More than 5 hulls
88
19%
 
Total votes: 462

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Gabriele
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Gabriele » 07 May 2019, 21:06

The only shocking thing in all of this is that it took the waste of so much time before something as evident and unavoidable as the fucking Sun was finally acknowledged.
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Caribbean
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Caribbean » 07 May 2019, 21:23

Gabriele wrote:The only shocking thing in all of this is that it took the waste of so much time before something as evident and unavoidable as the fucking Sun was finally acknowledged.

But at least industry has now had to say exactly what it will provide for £250m. I would expect them to be held to that in future
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby CameronPerson » 07 May 2019, 21:49

Is anyone else treating the whole “will be in service by 2023” line with a massive pinch of salt? Im half expecting them to run down the T23 numbers right down before we see T31 in service, or am I being cynical of this brilliantly run programme?

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby dmereifield » 08 May 2019, 00:00

Caribbean wrote:
Gabriele wrote:The only shocking thing in all of this is that it took the waste of so much time before something as evident and unavoidable as the fucking Sun was finally acknowledged.

But at least industry has now had to say exactly what it will provide for £250m. I would expect them to be held to that in future


I think this was probably the whole point of the exercise and that additional monies and GFE would magically become available once the baseline costs were known

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby seaspear » 08 May 2019, 05:43

Is the 250 million capped or is there allowance ? because what 250 gets in 2018 might not in the 2020,s lol

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Caribbean » 08 May 2019, 07:53

seaspear wrote:Is the 250 million capped or is there allowance ? because what 250 gets in 2018 might not in the 2020,s lol

I think that is all part and parcel of the Government accepting the inflationary and exchange-rate risk. They have accepted that costs will rise due to inflation (which is fair, since inflation is largely, though not entirely, generated by Government spending) and will accept inflation-based cost rises in the future. Manufacturers simply putting their profit margin up won't be accepted.
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby SW1 » 08 May 2019, 08:20

This is more and more falling into the usual procurement issues. If they couldnt articulate what was putting cost into type 26 and why a “proper” frigate in type 31 mould was suddenly going to cost 1/4 of the price this was always rooted in fantasy.

This had/has all the hallmarks of anyone but BAE. We get another few years down the line and it will be why did we waste so much money on this.

Ultimately the question is what is getting cut to pay for the increased budget on this program?

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby RetroSicotte » 08 May 2019, 08:23

SW1 wrote:Ultimately the question is what is getting cut to pay for the increased budget on this program?

The strength of the leg to kick the can.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby dmereifield » 08 May 2019, 08:44

SW1 wrote:This is more and more falling into the usual procurement issues. If they couldnt articulate what was putting cost into type 26 and why a “proper” frigate in type 31 mould was suddenly going to cost 1/4 of the price this was always rooted in fantasy.

This had/has all the hallmarks of anyone but BAE. We get another few years down the line and it will be why did we waste so much money on this.

Ultimately the question is what is getting cut to pay for the increased budget on this program?


Perhaps it was planned to be this way, and budgeted as such. Only that the the bidders were not informed of it

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Poiuytrewq » 08 May 2019, 08:47

SW1 wrote:This had/has all the hallmarks of anyone but BAE
Maybe but it's also a vindication of what BAE has been telling HMG for years, namely that a £250m Frigate is an impossibility if built in the UK. A simple analysis of global frigate prices would have proved the same thing but obviously we had to follow due process and rule it out beyond doubt.

Undoubtedly though it's a massive boost for Team31 and the Arrowhead 140.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Ron5 » 08 May 2019, 08:59

From the Financial Times:

The Ministry of Defence has raised the prospect that it may have to pay more than expected for the next generation of Royal Navy frigates, all but conceding that its plans for a fleet of cut-price vessels are unachievable.

The Type 31e frigate — a boon for British shipyards which had formed consortiums to bid to build the five ships — is a cut-price vessel designed with export orders in mind. The ships, which are intended to carry out maritime security, interdiction and other tasks, will replace the Type 23s.

The programme is a key part of the UK’s national shipbuilding strategy but the original procurement process had to be abandoned last summer after the MoD said it had not received enough “compliant” bids.

The competition was restarted at the end of August but the MoD has come under pressure over the modest budget of £250m per ship it has allotted to the programme. Industry executives have warned privately that it would be difficult to abide by that cap.

“If you want a ship that can be deployed in areas where people shoot at you, you cannot get one for that price,” Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysts, told the Financial Times in March.

Sources close to the competition told the FT that while the average price tag of £250m per ship still stood, “the mood music was that there would be more leeway”.

One change, said a source, was that government-furnished equipment for the ships, which was originally part of the £250m price tag, would no longer be included, giving companies greater flexibility.

The MoD said that it intended “to purchase five ships at an average production cost of £250m per ship”. The department, however, had concluded that it must make some prudent adjustment to the cost parameters of the programme to ensure consistency with standard defence procurement practice. The total programme cost will now be determined at the main investment point.

Three teams, led by BAE Systems, Babcock International and Atlas Elektronik UK, have been shortlisted for the competition. The preferred bidder will be announced by the end of next year. The MoD wants the first of the five frigates delivered in 2023.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Ron5 » 08 May 2019, 09:01

Poiuytrewq wrote:
SW1 wrote:This had/has all the hallmarks of anyone but BAE
Maybe but it's also a vindication of what BAE has been telling HMG for years, namely that a £250m Frigate is an impossibility if built in the UK. A simple analysis of global frigate prices would have proved the same thing but obviously we had to follow due process and rule it out beyond doubt.

Undoubtedly though it's a massive boost for Team31 and the Arrowhead 140.


My immediate thought after reading the recent press articles was that this was all about helping Babcock's make the price. Would be typical UK government practice to have one foot on the scales to ensure the "right" team won.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 08 May 2019, 11:36

Wisdom coming in, from all corners:
- of course was planned, how can you plan a project without establishing a "baseline". For far too long, for convenience, the Gvmnt went for Design & Build, where they were sitting at the table (chokkie biccies with tea?), but let the other side establish the (cost) baseline
... and then start "capability trades" off a wrong (cost) baseline. Morons :?:

GFE... what a lovely topic :D > No, let's not start again, but the fact that it now falls outside the cost constraint is of course the strongest possible incentive to use it/ them to the max

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Aethulwulf » 08 May 2019, 18:39

The stories of changes to the T31 budget have at their heart relatively minor but key changes...

1: Exchange rate risk and inflation risk is taken by MOD, not by industry,
2: GFE not included in the total cost.

The first thing this indicates is how the tight the margins are within the T31 programme - for example the bidders are worried that future changes in exchange rates / inflation could push them into the red if they have to manage them from within a fixed programme cost. The message appears to be that they can meet the budget (with a bit of free GFE) based on current estimates of future exchange rates and inflation, but not if reality significantly differs from these estimates. It makes sense for MOD to take on this risk, otherwise industry would require a wider profit margin (and hence reduced T31 capabilities).

As we are now nearing the end of the competitive design phase, the offer to supply GFE for free is also likely to have only a small impact. What GFE are we talking about?

Probably the most likely is the 4.5 inch Mk 8 Mod 1 naval gun. MOD already owns spares in addition to those now fitted to the T23s and 'gifting' them to the T31 programme will not cost MOD 'real' cash, while avoiding the cost of bring a new calibre into service. Some other systems that might be candidates for GFE include the Hammerhead CESM system, Type 2170 torpedo defence system, decoys, and 30 mm MSI ASCG.

The Artisan radar is part of the BAE bid, but not Team 31. I don't think the radar choice for the third bid has been made public. At this very late stage, I doubt any of the bidders will want to change their design to incorporate Artisan. Even the BAE bid will likely only request 3 or 4 Artisan radars as GFE, and still have to buy 1 or 2 new sets for the first 1 or 2 ships constructed.

No one is likely to request the S2050 hull mounted sonar. To overcome obsolesce issues associated with the S2050 sonar and introduce a modern, sustainable architecture with lower through-life costs, in 2014 MOD awarded Ultra Electronics a £27 million contract for the Sonar 2050 Technology Refresh, latterly re-designated Sonar 2150. The contract covered the development and production of inboard/outboard sonar equipment for only the eight ASW Type 23s. Sonar 2150 incorporates a new, modular and fully digitised array, wiring is cut by one-third, reducing electrical supply requirements and making it possible to contain the sonar within a hull-mounted cone of reduced size and weight. Following the RN’s lead, Chile has now also opted to fit Sonar 2150 on its Type 23 frigates. The old S2050 sets on the five GP T23s, with their old 1990's obsolescent technology and increasingly difficult future support, are not going to be attractive to anyone. If HMS are included in any of the bids, fitting brand new S2150 sets, or another make/model, is far more likely.

Pretty much the same goes for the CMS, cabinets and computing infrastructure on the GP T23s. No one is going to take on the huge risk of trying to support this legacy equipment on their new ships.

The underlying message appears to be that some, or maybe all, the bidders need some of this GFE to be supplied for free if they are to squeeze within the £250m per ship budget.

We are now almost at the end of the competitive design phase and each bidder will be required to submit their tender to MOD within the next few weeks. The fact that we are not hearing (as yet) stories of the bidders demanding that the budget be significantly increased is probably a good sign. What we have heard (so far) is the bidders asking for help from MOD in managing future risks and can they have a bit of GFE for free. If that is all we hear, with no further demands over the next month or so, that is probably good news.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Ron5 » 08 May 2019, 19:04

Excellent commentary Mr Athelwolf. Thanks.

Curious to know if you or anyone else has seen anything on the price of the 2150 sonar? and does it require an old 2050 set as a basis?

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Repulse » 08 May 2019, 21:11

Aethulwulf, thanks also, so probably looks in the order of 10-20% difference when the usable kit (not already factored in) is applied and fx/inflationary risk contingencies removed?
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Caribbean » 08 May 2019, 22:24

Ron5 wrote:Curious to know if you or anyone else has seen anything on the price of the 2150 sonar? and does it require an old 2050 set as a basis?

The contract with Ultra Electonics (in Dec 2014) was £27m to upgrade 8 shipsets and support them for 10 years. The implication was that they upgraded the old 2050 sets, but from the little I've found in snippets here and there, it was a fairly drastic upgrade (larger transducers, updated consoles and software, implying upgraded processors etc. etc.)

There was a further £2m contract in 2016 engaging Cohort SEA to provide:

"advice and support for the Sonar 2150; Sonar 2054 Inboard Replacement; Sonar 2087 Technology Refresh Phase 2; Sonar 2093 capability sustainment programme and the submarine acoustic warfare control system"

They provided new transducers to Ultra

Repulse wrote:so probably looks in the order of 10-20% difference when the usable kit (not already factored in) is applied and fx/inflationary risk contingencies removed

As a rough guide 2.5% inflation would add approx. 13% or £32m to the cost of a £250m hull over the 5 years between the first and last hull, so not insignificant when you are probably hoping for a net profit of 8% or so.

Edit: Added some more details about the SEA contract in 2016
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 09 May 2019, 06:18

Caribbean wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Curious to know if you or anyone else has seen anything on the price of the 2150 sonar? and does it require an old 2050 set as a basis?

The contract with Ultra Electonics (in Dec 2014) was £27m to upgrade 8 shipsets and support them for 10 years. The implication was that they upgraded the old 2050 sets, but from the little I've found in snippets here and there, it was a fairly drastic upgrade (larger transducers, updated consoles and software, implying upgraded processors etc. etc.)
Yes, it is very very cheap.

"£27m to upgrade 8 shipsets and support them for 10 years" means £3m per kit at least if it is upgrading existing kits. Is it also cheap when with new build? As, Hull sonar is not "must" from day-1 on T31e, S2050 can be stripped from T23GP after decommission (if not sold for export), and added to T31e as GFE later.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 09 May 2019, 14:55

Aethulwulf wrote:The MoD is also taking on more financial risk related to the project, such as foreign exchange movements and inflation pushing up the cost for bidders.
One notice. I guess this means, foreign exchange "risk" is to be covered by MOD. Good.

But, for "inflation", it is
- only the "risk" (difference to the predicted inflation rate) or
- "the total inflation" (including the part which is fairly easy to predict),
to be covered by MOD?

"Predicted inflation rate" until 2027 can be easily as high as 10%. Which means if the latter is the case, it is virtually increasing the T31e cost by 10% or so. (Of course, this is not for free = in place RN will be needed to ban something else in later phase of the program.)

If it is only the "risk" (difference to the predicted inflation rate), MOD may lose or even gain from it.

Not clear for me.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Repulse » 09 May 2019, 20:24

donald_of_tokyo, agree the transfer of inflation risk is unclear; also interesting that Janes reported it as “Furthermore, the MoD has dropped stipulations for a firm fixed-price design and build contract.” (I cant see beyond the paywall to see if that is clarified).

https://www.janes.com/article/88373/uk- ... rigate-buy

With the RN covering “all” inflation, this could mean that based on annual payments of £250mn per year spread over 5 years at 5% inflation the MOD could pay an extra £200mn.
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Repulse » 09 May 2019, 20:25

Saw this also - nothing interesting in the main text but can’t see beyond the paywall - can anyone else?

https://www.janes.com/article/88411/win ... 1e-frigate
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby chinook88 » 24 May 2019, 02:35


Lord Jim
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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Lord Jim » 24 May 2019, 08:07

Well if we got five of those, especially with the option to fit the multipurpose missile bay, fit a 57mm and two 35mm and I would think the Royal Navy would be very happy. WE might even see a batch two with a more fighty variant later on for a couple more. Now we just need to see more of the competing bids.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby RetroSicotte » 24 May 2019, 08:22

Lord Jim wrote:Well if we got five of those, especially with the option to fit the multipurpose missile bay, fit a 57mm and two 35mm and I would think the Royal Navy would be very happy. WE might even see a batch two with a more fighty variant later on for a couple more. Now we just need to see more of the competing bids.

Curious, why the 35mm and not Phalanx? Seems odd to introduce a new gun for only it.

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Re: Type 31 General Purpose Frigate [News Only]

Postby Tempest414 » 24 May 2019, 08:34

RetroSicotte wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:Well if we got five of those, especially with the option to fit the multipurpose missile bay, fit a 57mm and two 35mm and I would think the Royal Navy would be very happy. WE might even see a batch two with a more fighty variant later on for a couple more. Now we just need to see more of the competing bids.

Curious, why the 35mm and not Phalanx? Seems odd to introduce a new gun for only it.


I would still like to see what a triple 57mm fit would look like as this would cost about the same as 1 new Phalanx


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