As I understand it, the T26/31 development went something like this.
We want 13 new frigates
We shall go with the current model whereby 8 are ASW and the other 5 are 'general purpose' (ie without the really expensive sonar fitted)
To make the frigate more versatile (which will mainly benefit the GP ships) we shall make it big, so that it can have a mission bay and chinook flight deck.
Now the ship is big
Big means expensive (if you lick windows as a hobby)
We aren't going to give you 13 big ships
You can't have your GP ships as big ones
Have a completely different class that we shall also have to design.
Now you have:
- Frigates with the special (GP) features that it probably won't use
- GP ships without the special features, because they're too small
And I absolutely guarantee that the T31 programme in total will cost more than the build price of five FFNW Type 26s.
Anyone care to challenge the above?
Nope, it's what I said months ago. Steel and air are cheap, it's the gubbins that cost.
We face a situation where the GPs lose something that would actually improve their utility - size and space - and still end up costing more.
Well done, everyone, well done.