Arrowhead V Leander – the leading Type 31e frigate candidates compared

The competition for the Type 31e frigate programme is now between two contenders. The BAE Systems/Cammel Laird Leander and the Babcock/Team 31 Arrowhead-140. Here we provide a basic comparison of the two options.

The competitive design phase contracts have been awarded and both designs are likely to evolve further before the Type 31 competition winner is announced in the first quarter of 2019. The chart below shows an overview of the essential characteristics of the two contenders. It should be noted that weapons and sensor fit (in the middle band) are all optional and the final selection may, or may not, include the equipment listed. With a very tight budget of £250M per ship, funding for the weapons fit maybe dependent on how efficiently the hulls can be constructed.

The Arrowhead-140 design announced last month has certainly raised the bar. For some time even before the birth of the Type 31e, there have been those advocating the adoption of the successful Danish Stanflex modular system as the basis for cheaper warships. As a proven, in-service and affordable design, it is even being suggested the Arrowhead could be a contender for the US Navy’s FFG(X) competition. It will be interesting to see if BAE Systems responds with a revised Super Leander, given the ‘on-paper’ inferiority of Leander to Arrowhead-140.


Prepared using publicly available information, June 2018.

from Save the Royal Navy

Author: Jack Nicholson

Hi, I'm Jack Nicholson, but not the one you're probably thinking of right now. I first joined the Royal Navy in 1997 after working in medicine, becoming a medic. I spent 12 years in the ranks and during this time I served in 3 different ships, met a lot of people and experienced even more than I could have dreamed; eventually commissioning as Medical Service Officer. My work has taken me to places far and wide, such as Afghanistan. I enjoy spending my time raising money for charities which help injured war veterans, as this is obviously very close to my heart after seeing so many of my friends go through traumatic ordeals. One of my favourite hobbies is reading, I really enjoy reading non-fiction books in my spare time

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