More countries to buy Type 31 frigate design

Defence company Babcock International has revealed that the firm is in active discussions regarding export opportunities of its Arrowhead 140 concept which was picked for the Royal Navy’s new Type 31 frigate design.

The shipbuilder published the information as part of the financial full-year results. The company’s officials noted:

“We are experiencing significant international interest in AH140, the export variant of our Type 31 frigate, driven by the demand for affordable and flexible naval power. Its modular construction offers a wide range of programme options, including capability (systems), construction and supply chain, and acquisition model – from a basic licence agreement to high levels of build programme participation for Babcock.”

In its report, Babcock emphasized that the digital design and build model for Type 31 is also an important enabler for the UK Government’s recently refreshed 30-year National Ship Building Strategy and positions the firm “well for future opportunities in the UK”.

The announcement comes following the success the company has experienced in Poland and Indonesia. To remind, Babcock secured the first export contract for its Arrowhead 140 concept through a design licence agreement with PT PAL Indonesia (Persero), an Indoensian enterprise that builds and maintains ships for military and commercial use.

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The country pledged to build two frigates based on this design at the Indonesian shipyard.

After that, in March this year, the Polish Armaments Agency selected Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 from three different platform design proposals for future Poland Navy’s frigates. Babcock concluded a set of strategic cooperation agreements with the PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium, which is responsible for the delivery of the project from the Polish side.

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The Arrowhead 140 will have a hull form based on the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates OMT designed for the Royal Danish Navy.

 The vessels are nearly 140 meters long, with a 20-meter long beam and a displacement of 7,000 tonnes. The frigates will be able to meet changing operational needs, ranging from anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electromagnetic manoeuvre warfare and anti-air warfare.

The construction of the Royal Navy’s first Type 31 frigate began last September. The steel-cutting ceremony of HMS Venturer was held on 23 September in Babcock’s facility in Rosyth, Scotland.

Each of the Type 31 (Inspiration-class) ships will be equipped with the Sea Ceptor air defense missile system, a 57mm main gun and two 40mm Bofors, a 4D radar, and carry a helicopter up to Merlin size.

They will also be able to carry the planned persistent operational delivery systems (PODS), a “plug and play box of tricks” carrying drones, autonomous minehunting equipment, a command center for commando raiders, or humanitarian aid.

All five Type 31 frigates are being built by Babcock for £250 million a piece, with the program supporting 1,250 existing jobs on the Forth, a similar number in the supply chain throughout the UK.