The Type 31e frigate candidates compared

This is a basic comparison of the three Type 31e frigate candidates using publicly available information. The consortiums are currently in the Competitive Design Phase, refining these concepts before the winner is selected in late 2019.

It is possible to usefully compare the general design, size, propulsion and performance of the three platforms but the sensor and weapons fit is speculative at this stage. The RN is expected to furnish some of the equipment and is likely to select armament consistent with its existing fleet. All three designs have considerable flexibility in how they are outfitted and can be tailored to suit the budget and preferences of both the RN and potential export customers.

While ‘Team Leander’ and ‘Team 31’ have been more forthcoming about their concepts, AEUK has not published any specific information about how the A-200 will be adapted for the Royal Navy requirements. Details of the A-200 in this comparison are based on the specification of the six existing ships in service with the South African and Algerian navies.

Whatever the merits of the three frigate designs, the industrial situation underpinning the Type 31 and the National Shipbuilding Strategy is concerning. Since the Type 31e competition was launched, the Babcock shipyard in Appledore has closed, Harland & Wolff shipyard was put up for sale by its parent company in December and Cammell Laird have been making redundancies.


The newest MEKO A-200AN frigate El Moudamir, seen on her delivery voyage from Germany to Algeria, May 2017.

CGI image – the BAE Sytems/Cammell Laird Leander

Danish frigate the Iver Huitfeldt, basis for the Babcock Arrowhead 140 concept (Photo: US Navy)

In future articles, we will look more closely at the MEKO A-200 and Iver Hutsveldt frigate designs.