Royal Navy looking to ‘increase lethality’ of Type 31 Frigates

In welcome news, First Sea Lord Tony Radakin has stated that the Type 31 Frigates will be ‘fitted for but not with’ the MK41 VLS missile launcher should the warships be required to operate the new surface-to-surface missile system.

During a session of the Defence Committee today, the First Sea Lord said:

“Part of the debate that we’re having is that it’s going to be ‘fitted for’ MK41 launchers but not ‘with’ at the moment. That starts to become part of our lethality debate, particularly around a surface-to-surface weapon and do we extend that programme to include the Type 31.”


The interim surface-to-surface guided weapon will replace the Royal Navy’s existing Harpoon missile capability. The Royal Navy recently set the requirements for a Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon “to ensure they maintain the ability to deter and defeat enemy warships”. A competition is now taking place and on current plans, subject to funding, it is expect bids will be made to provide a solution to SSGW, by mid-2021, you can read more about those plans here.

The Mk 41 Vertical Launching System is a modular, below deck sited, missile launcher system that makes use of silos to launch and store missiles. The UK intends to use it on the Type 26 Frigate.

A Tomahawk missile being launched from the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System aboard United States Navy destroyer USS Farragut

We already knew that the Type 31 frigate would be equipped with the Sea Ceptor missile system and will be equipped with one Bofors 57mm Mk3 and two Bofors 40mm naval guns.

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, stated recently in response to a written Parliamentary question:

“It is intended that the Type 31 frigate will be equipped with the Sea Ceptor missile system and will be equipped with one Bofors 57mm Mk3 and two Bofors 40mm naval guns, in addition to a range of highly advanced weapon and sensor systems.

These include a sophisticated combat system with 4D air and surface surveillance, target indication radar and the capability to operate a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter.”

Recently, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace cut the first steel for the first of the Royal Navy’s five new Type 31 frigates, HMS Venturer.

Hosted at Babcock’s facility in Rosyth, Scotland, where the Type 31 ‘Inspiration class’ ships are being built, representatives from across UK and international industry and public service, witnessed the historic ceremony signalling the official start of the build programme alongside employees and representatives from the local community.

Source: ukdj