it all made some sort sense when the dream was we were going to export these by the armful, but alas, the T31e is no longer in anyone’s vision for ‘export’, so here we are, buying a frigate optimised for overseas customers who don’t want it, but not for us.It's still worth examining whether in hindsight some of the specifications make sense no?
The new infrastructure and crew training requirements for a brand new CMS which is bespoke for only one class of vessel seems strange. This is before you think of the maintenance of the software and hardware. We are still building the River 2s, QE and Type 26 and all of them use one supplier and in the long term this lowers through-life costs.
Same issue with commonality for the 57mm and the 40mm on the 31, all of which are unique to the class. Do we even use the 57mm anywhere else in HMF? All this increases the cost of training, support, spares, logistics etc and can make supporting the vessel more difficult in a hot situation.
we could have gone to BAE and bought their stretched B2 OPV. Nearly all the capability, in a design leveraged straight off the proven B2 design with all the cost savings that would have brung. But BAE are now the devil and we were determined to buy anything but BAE.
and as regards the 57mm gun?
totally daft outlier decision. It made more sense to go for the 76mm. It could have been retrofitted to everything with a 4.5“ gun, and all the OPVs were designed to take it too. All the same AAW capability of the 57mm, but with enough bang to be a moderately credible gunfire support weapon. Win-Win-Win. The end of the orphan 4.5, everyone smaller gets a credible gun, commonality across most of the Fleet.
40mm? Only makes sense if they strip off the now rather lost 30mm across the entire fleet and standardise on it. But never mind, it’s not as if the RN decided back in the mid 70’s that the perfect small calibre gun to replace the hand cranked 40mm Bofors it then had by the hundred in service was an automatic radar directed 40mm Bofors. The 45 years later decision to adopt the 40mm automagic Bofors is Holy back to the future Batman.