- Feb 20, 2020
As embodied by the RN’s transformation programme, there is a recognition of the increasing pace of global change and the main difference between Type 31 and Type 32 will be to incorporate a decade’s worth of technological advances.
There are no guarantees but logic dictates Type 32 will almost certainly be a development of the Type 31.
The possibility of Scottish Independence also casts a malevolent shadow of uncertainty over any long term discussion about UK warship building.
A combatant fit for the 2040s
Automation and off-board systems are the are two key areas where Type 32 is likely to differ significantly from Type 31. Artificial Intelligence and automation is likely to have a greater role, in the combat management system, navigation systems and maintenance management.
The aspiration for 24 escorts
The Type 32s are intended to strengthen the RN escort fleet with additional ships, not just replace ships being decommissioned, The RN has a long-held ambition to have 24 escorts (6 destroyers and 18 frigates) which it believes is the real minimum required to sustain a carrier strike group at readiness and fulfil its other tasks. Unfortunately, even with the increased defence spending and intention to build a new frigate class, this ambition cannot be realised until at least the late 2030s. Until then forward-deployed OPVs will have to plug the gaps.