Anonymous shot of sailors onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth 041219 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Sea vessels

Type 32 Frigates: What Do We Know So Far?

The Defence Secretary has given some extra details about what the ships will be used for and how soon they will enter service.

Anonymous shot of sailors onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth 041219 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY

The Prime Minister has promised a £16.5bn increase in funding for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) over the next four years.

Boris Johnson went into detail about where the money could go, including a never-before-mentioned Type 32 frigate.

The funding boost to the defence budget marks the first phase of the Integrated Review of the UK’s foreign, defence, development and security policy, which is now due to be published in 2021.

As part of the announcement, Mr Johnson said the increased funding will be used to "restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe", and stated: "We are also committed to the Type 32."

But what is the Type 32 frigate?

Mr Johnson confirmed plans for eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates will continue, with the intention that they will replace the Type 23s in the next decade, however, relatively little is known about the "next generation" Type 32.

What do we know so far about the Type 32 frigate?

Type 32 frigates were first mentioned by the Prime Minister in his statement in November.

The Defence Secretary spoke in greater detail about the programme during a Defence Select Committee session later in the month.

BAE Systems computerised image of future Type 31e frigate CREDIT BAE SYSTEMS.jpg
The Defence Seretary says the Type 32 will "follow a similar track" to the Type 31 programme (Picture: BAE Systems).

Ben Wallace stated: "The Type 32 is obviously not in the next five years... but a commitment to put funding to the next Type 32 programme.

"The Type 32 we hope will come further along from the Type 31 - the Type 31 is only five ships, and the Type 32 will hopefully follow a similar track.

"They will be able to be used for NATO.

"The Navy have requested another class of ship - that's the Type 32.

"If you think of the profile, the Type 23 which will be coming out of service, and some of that will be picked up by the Type 26 and the Type 45s.

"It's about increasing our surface fighting ships, destroyers and frigates."

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said in a written answer to Labour MP Kevan Jones on 30 November that the programme and procurement strategy for Type 32 "will be decided following the concept phase, which has not yet been launched".

Mr Quin added that "further work" is required to develop the operational concept of the Type 32s.

"However it is envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy's capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures," he added.

With the Integrated Review due to be published next year, its findings could perhaps provide more information on the Type 32s.

Cover image: Royal Navy.