BAE Systems and Cammell Laird, the commercial shipbuilder, have unveiled their design for the UK Type 31e general purpose frigate program at the DIMDEX expo in Doha.
The two companies have a teaming agreement to bid for the contract to deliver the frigate. A key part of the Type 31e program is configuring the new frigate and its Combat Management System to be attractive to potential international customers and DIMDEX is the first time BAE Systems is showcasing its proposed design outside the UK.
The design incorporates a flexible mission bay that can be reconfigured at short notice to perform constabulary, disaster relief, maritime interdiction, counter-piracy and joint taskforce operations. With a proposed top speed in excess of 25 knots and a range of more than 7,500 miles, the BAE Systems design is conducive to operations in international waters, including the Gulf. The vessel will be capable of operating both independently for significant periods and as part of a task group.
An enhanced BAE Systems combat system is integrated, with an open, secure, flexible and extensive architecture, enabling adaptation to ever-evolving threats.
BAE Systems’ Type 31e program director Angus Holt said the design builds on the Type 45 as well as the Type 26, currently under production in Scotland.
"[This gives] us the confidence that we are able to offer a highly advanced ship that can be deployed for a variety of purposes around the world”.
Babcock International and naval designer BMT have teamed with an opposing bid. The Type 31 is intended to enter service in the 2020s alongside the more advanced Type 26 frigate, currently being built by BAE Systems and a contender for Australia's Sea 5000 Future Frigate program as the Global Combat Ship.
During an Australian visit last year, the UK Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, Harriet Baldwin, indicated a capability study would begin early this year to fit CEA Technologies’ ‘CEAFAR’ radar to British ships.