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Type 32 frigate Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM)

On 19 November 2020 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the biggest investment in the UKs Armed Forces since the end of the Cold War, confirming an injection of 16.5bn over four years. For the Royal Navy, plans for a new Type 32 frigate surfaced. We are going to develop the next generation of warships, including multi-role research vessels and Type 32 frigates. And this will spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK in Glasgow and Rosyth, Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead guaranteeing jobs and illuminating the benefits of the Union in the white light of the arc welders torch. If there is one policy that strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.

The new Type 32 Frigate will be built in addition to the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates in the hopes of bringing the escort fleet up to 24 vessels from its current 19. Early rumors associated the term with an export variant of Type 31, T4X (Type 45 destroyer replacement), the Littoral Strike Ship project (which appears to be abandoned) or even a typo.

Naval News learned from "a reliable UK source" that this is a pre program put in place for budgetary reasons in anticipation of a future potential Type 31 Batch 2. This source added that this potential Type 31 Batch 2 may not necessarily be based on the Type 31 design. RN was hopeful of additional a second batch beyond the 5 Type 31 on order with an aspiration for escort fleet of 24 Frigates & Destroyers.

Speaking 26 November 2020 at the Franco-British Council Defence Conference, the Defence Secretary announced a 184 million investment in the joint Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) programme, which will create new systems to combat sea mines and keep ships and personnel away from danger. The contract will support 215 jobs across the UK at Thales sites in Somerset and Plymouth, as well as in the wider supply chain, including L3 Harris in Portsmouth, Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and Alba Ultrasound in Glasgow. This investment follows the substantial 16.5 billion settlement in the Spending Review for Defence over four years that will modernise the armed forces, reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "This 184 million contract offers a huge leap forward for the Royal Navys autonomous capabilities in the detection and defeat of sea mines. As the Armed Forces puts modernisation at the heart of its future strategy, these systems will protect vital shipping lanes, commercial traffic and our brave personnel from these deadly devices. The programme also underpins a deep and ever-strengthening relationship with France and marks the tenth anniversary of the Lancaster House treaties between our two nations." The Royal Navy is world leader in mine countermeasures, having been regularly called upon to deal with mines and other historic ordnance, left over from the Second World War, around the United Kingdom. In recent times, the UK has been involved in minehunting operations across the world, including the Gulf and off Libya.

Following a successful demonstration phase and trials completed in October 2020, the new contract will produce three sets of minehunting equipment, consisting of: Autonomous vessel a boat controlled and operated from a mother ship/base. Towed sonar a sonar which is towed/dragged behind the vessel to locate ordnance. Mine neutralisation system a remotely operated underwater vehicle which is used once the mine is located to neutralise the device and prevent its detonation.

When used together, these three elements are known as the Primary System. This next-generation mine hunting capability is designed to potentially replace conventional crewed mine hunting vessels, such as the Royal Navys Hunt and Sandown class ships, with autonomous systems. The first equipment sets are due to be delivered in late 2022. It will commence operational evaluation prior to entering service with the Royal Navy.

On 30 November 2020 the Secretary of State for Defence announced further details of the components of a Type 32 Frigate. "The programme and procurement strategy for Type 32 will be decided following the concept phase, which has not yet been launched. Further work is required to develop the operational concept 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."

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Page last modified: 24-09-2021 18:07:05 ZULU