Defence expert welcomes latest designs of Royal Navy’s new Type 31 frigate

A CGI shot of what the Type 31 general purpose light frigate could look like Picture: BAE Systems

A CGI shot of what the Type 31 general purpose light frigate could look like Picture: BAE Systems

  • BAE Systems reveals two concept designs of the new ‘lightweight’ warships
  • Former naval officer from Gosport says the frigates will relieve strain on the Senior Service
  • At least five Type 31s will be built on top of eight Type 26 frigates
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IMAGES of two potential designs for the Royal Navy’s new general purpose frigate have today been welcomed by a defence expert.

BAE Systems unveiled what the navy’s newest warship – known as the Type 31 – could look like.

What the Type 31 general purpose frigate could look like.

Picture: BAE Systems

What the Type 31 general purpose frigate could look like. Picture: BAE Systems

The vessels were announced last year as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review as a ‘more affordable’ option.

But the warships came at the expense of five Type 26 frigates, which had been promised by former prime minister David Cameron.

In last year’s SDSR, Mr Cameron cut the number of Type 26s from 13 to eight.

Instead, he revealed the UK would build a ‘new class’ of ‘lightweight, more affordable’ warships, to fill the void.

In this increasingly unstable world the sooner the MoD orders replacement vessels for our overworked and rapidly aging Type 23 frigates the better

Mike Critchley, ex-publisher of Warship World

Now former naval officer and ex-publisher of Warship World Mike Critchley has praised the news but called for urgency in building the frigates.

Mr Critchley, of Gosport, said: ‘The penny has at last dropped with central government and a new prime minister that the navy simply doesn’t have enough vessels to do the jobs Her 
Majesty’s government would wish.

‘Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships have done the job one would normally expect a warship to fulfil – and many annual commitments have been gapped.

‘The inability to properly protect our coasts in peacetime – let alone war – is embarrassing to say the least.’

Mr Critchley said the Type 31s could support ‘less important duties’, reducing strain on the navy.

But he said the new ships could still be a decade away, adding: ‘In this increasingly unstable world the sooner the MoD orders replacement vessels for our overworked and rapidly ageing Type 23 frigates the better.

‘There is no time to lose if ridiculous sums of money are not to be spent keeping very aged vessels in operation.’

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