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What are the future frigates for the Royal Navy?

What are the future frigates for the Royal Navy?

HMS Somerset of the Royal NavyType 23 frigates were built for anti-submarine warfare but are capable multi-purpose ships.

Royal Navy Eyes Technological Leap with New Frigates Requiring Half the Crew

Modern Military | Future Arms & Current News

In a groundbreaking move, defense contractor Babcock has announced that the next generation of British frigates, potentially the Type 32, could operate with significantly reduced crew numbers, thanks to recent technological advancements. John Howie, Babcock’s corporate affairs chief, revealed that these futuristic vessels might require as few as 50 sailors, a drastic reduction from current standards.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Howie highlighted the difference between the current Type 31 frigates, which necessitate a core crew of about 105 sailors, and the proposed next-generation vessels. He suggested that the Type 32 frigates, which he refers to as “Type 31 batch two,” could halve this number due to advancements in technology.

The possibility of even further reducing the crew size to below 50 was also mentioned!

Although Howie noted that safety and operational considerations would be paramount in determining the final crewing requirements. The exact role of the Type 32 frigate remains under speculation, with theories suggesting uses ranging from motherships for mine warfare unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to anti-submarine specialists or replacements for the Type 45 destroyers.

The development of the Type 32 frigate comes amid financial scrutiny within the British military. A report last year by the National Audit Office highlighted a significant budget deficit, the largest since 2012, and pointed out the challenges in funding new projects, including the Type 32 frigates.

The design of the Type 32 frigate is said to combine elements of a frigate and a cargo ship. It features gunnery systems, vertical launch systems, laser-directed energy weapon mounts, and advanced sensors on its forward half. The aft section of the ship is designed to accommodate containers, including mission modules, large boat bays, a hangar, a UAV kennel, a Chinook-capable flight deck, and an under-flight deck mission bay with a large stern ramp. This innovative design allows for the holding of up to 20x twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEU) and maneuverability of these containers using SH Defence’s CUBE system.

The Type 32’s length is approximately 130 meters with a displacement of around 6000 tonnes.

HMS Argyll, Royal Navy’s oldest serving type Type 23, off Senegal, in 2013.

The estimated cost per ship, before system integrations, is between £250-300 million. Its propulsion system is a combined diesel-electric and diesel-mechanical (CODED) arrangement, connected to a center-line shaft and supported by two azipods.

This development signifies a major step in the modernization of the Royal Navy’s fleet, focusing on efficiency and technological advancement to redefine naval operations in the 21st century.