The Type 31 frigate in view
Babcock recently released a better quality rendering of the Type 31 frigate design for the Royal Navy. Below is the image annotated with the equipment fit. At this stage, the concept design process is underway with the detailed design phase due to begin in late 2020. This is only an indicative outline which may be subject to further changes.
The most significant observation is the reduction in Sea Ceptor cells from 24 to 12 compared with the CGIs that were published initially. This may constitute a modest cost-saving but seems to be hard to justify, given the loss of capability. This could be part of a strategy to get the ships to sea with baseline equipment fit within the tight cost envelope, with a view to adding capability later (“fitted for, but not with”). The central part of the ship has a considerable capacity and could accept additional Sea Ceptor or strike length Mk 41 VLS cells in future.
For a more in-depth discussion, see the earlier article (September 2019): More details of the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate emerge