Babcock announces industry team for Type 31 frigate bid

UK defense contractor Babcock will be leading a team of industry partners in a bid for the Royal Navy’s new £1.25 billion Type 31e general purpose light frigate program, the company announced on Monday.

According to the announcement, Babcock and Thales have joined forces with BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine to form ‘Team 31’.

Babcock will act as the overall program lead, whilst Thales will have overall responsibility for the development of the mission system solution. Babcock and BMT will use their experience in the development of designs for both naval and commercial vessels to produce a Type 31 design.

Babcock said the make-up of the team would  ensure that the economic benefits of the program are shared across the UK. Ferguson Marine on the Clyde, Harland & Wolff in Belfast and the Babcock facilities in Fife and Devon will all have key roles to play, while much of the equipment provided by Thales and others will support jobs across the UK.

“Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine,” Babcock CEO Archie Bethel said.

“Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31. We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create and exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long term value for money,” Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK said.

The defense ministry expects the first ships to be in service by 2023, built under a price cap of £250M each for the first batch of five frigates.

The Type 31 frigate will replace five of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The other eight Type 23s are already set to be replaced by the upcoming Type 26 class.