The ups and downs of RN warships by class and types

MODIFIED TO CONTINUE TO THE YEAR 2019 AND FROM THEN ONWARDS TO 2030 TO AN UNKNOWN AND AMBITIOUS FUTURE? TO READ AND FOLLOW THIS IMPORTANT UPDATE [ASSUMING YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD THE ORIGINAL TITLE ABOVE] PROCEED TO THIS URL [Click anywhere in the blue underlined text] #In_the_following_Table,_you_will_be_able_to_see_at_a_glance_which_of_the_Type_Numbers_were_considered/used._It_does_not_include_hybrids_like_for_example_the_Despatch_Yacht_HMS_Surprise_which_was_laid_down_as_an_A/S_Frigate_[HMS_Loch_Carron]_then_changed_to_an_AA_Bay_Class_Frigate_[HMS_Gerrand_Bay]_and_finally_completed_as_HMS_Surprise,_or_HMS_Mermaid_[a_design_based_on_a_Type_41_Frigate}__built_as_a_Presidential_Yacht_for_Ghana,_but_the_foreign_purchaser_changed_and_the_finished_product_was_cancelled_by_the_new_incumbent._It_was_used_for_a_short_time_[four_years]_by_the_RN_and_then_sold_on_to_Malyasia.



with mentions of other types/classes of vessels on the way!

This beautiful model of a 1st Rate 120 gun ship introduces this page with other models and pictures below. I didn't serve in her but I did serve in this.......

HMS Eagle in the mid 1950's in broadside mess 5G1

but this is more my type

The ship above, the sailing ship, is a stunner. In fairy tale stories of worth, there is a house out west which is packed full, tens upon tens, of beautiful models of  sailing ships etc, although NOT the warship models shown on this page. Why not visit this beautiful house and its treasures

If someone were to ask you what type of ship[s] you served in, how would you answer?

Would you say, big, small, medium, or would you say carriers, battleships, submarines?

Other options in simplistic terms would be offered to you like, steam, diesel, FFO, sail, paddle and even coal!

The answer might be many and varied and would of course depend on when you served.

If you served in WW2, it could be that you served on a requisitioned paddle-steamer serving as a minesweeper. The RN had lots of these. Assuming, because you are reading this page, that you didn't serve in sailing ships of the line, you could have still served in HMS Reclaim which paid off in October 1979, and she was the last ship in the RN with sails.  She was a Diving Trials Ship and of course had engines also. I remember at Portland, the coal burning RN Fleet Tug HMS Fetlar, a very busy [and smoky] little vessel deployed here there and everywhere.

If you go to this page and have a look at the multi-coloured table showing ships in alphabetical order, you will see a sea of green representing destroyers and frigates. The frigates and destroyers listed form the meat of the following story. Read also the text beneath that table {sea of green!} and beneath the fluttering White Ensign which follows it.

By January 1945 with the outcome of the War more or less known, the British Destroyer Deployment was as follows. Some of these were built in the UK in the closing year of WW1, many in the period 1918-1920, with a reduction in the building programme throughout the 1920's until WW2 became an eventual certainty, which led to much industry in the 1930's. These ships were called destroyers, escort destroyers, short range escorts and long range escorts. A good proportion of them were loaned to Britain under the US/UK 'Lease/Lend' agreement and if not lost in action, returned to the USA after the war and not purchased. Some were ex USN ships and some were purposely built for the European War and were considered to be 'utility ships' or "Woolworth" ships. The important thing here is to note that by the May of 1945, four months on from the date of the table, the vast majority of these ships survived the war and the navy had well over 275 small to medium deep-water ships alone on its books.  All in all, approximately 680 warships and vessels of many different kinds/types flew the White Ensign on VJ day in August 1945.

Number Formation Type Where Stationed Total Number of ships Types of Vessel [Classes]




6 1xG; 1xB; 1xA; 3x V and W



Home Fleet

7 7xZ




8 5xM; 2xL; 1xA



Pacific Fleet

6 6xQ




7 7xHunt



Home Fleet

7 7xCA



East Indies

4 4xN




9 2xI; 1xF; 2xRCN; 2xDutch; 2xPolish


Not assigned




East Indies

4 4xTribals



East Indies

8 8xR




8 8xGreek




3 2x V and W; Ix Old Leader




4 2xK; 2xJ




4 4xHunt




12 7xHunt; 1x V and W; 1x Old Leader; 1xGreek; 2xPolish



Home Fleet

8 8xO




8 8xHunt


Not assigned



Not assigned





21 16xHunt; 5x V and W




7 7xHunt



Home Fleet

8 8xS



East Indies

4 4xT



Pacific Fleet

8 8xU



East Indies

6 6xV



Pacific Fleet

8 8xW



East Indies

4 4xP




7 7xHunt




4 2xI; 1xA; 1xHunt

Submarine Escorts


Home Fleet

2 2x Old S

Rosyth Escort Force



24 2xDutch; 16 V and W; 5x Town; 1x Old Leader

Air Targets


Rosyth and Greenock

9 1xA; 1x V and W; 7x Town

11th Escort



8 8xRCN

Escort Groups


Western Approaches

18 3xEx Brazilian; 2xI; 1xH; 2xF; 1xE; 2xB; 1xRCN; 3x V and W; 1xTown; 2x Old Leaders



Home Ports

9 2xP; 1xA; 1xHunt; 2 x V and W; 2xTown; 1x Old S

Reserve Fleet


Home Ports

23 1xA; 5x V and W; 8xTown; 2 x Old Leaders; 3 x Old S; 2x Dutch; 2x French




4 2x Tribal; 1 x V and W; 1x Old Leader




7 1x Tribal; 1xA; 5xTown




294 Destroyers -

When you served is quite important because there came a watershed which did away with 'old' names [note, not names of ships, and yet to be defined here] and introduced a brand new system. Before mid 1950, the RN had many different types of ships made more confusing by lots of modifications, additions, and trials where any given class of ship might have several "sisters" but not all the same despite being type-cast {see the table below}. So, what happened post mid 1950? The first step was to gather in all Escorts [metaphorically on paper] including modified destroyers, and then to call them all FRIGATES. During the war, a frigate was defined as a vessel with twin shafts and those without [and fewer] were called sloops, corvettes, escorts. No destroyer had more than two shafts, three and above being left to cruisers and above. Now, post mid-1950, a frigate might have one or two shafts. They split this group up into three types and for the first time, gave them a Type Number. First came the anti-submarine type under the heading of TYPE 11 [with rooms for expanding the number which I will call <E>, in this case Types 11 to 19.  Secondly, came the anti-aircraft type called TYPE 41<E> types 41 to 49 and finally the air-direction type called TYPE 61<E> types 61 to 69.  These of course were specialist ships but the fleet had many multi-role ships re-branded {often re-re-branded] as DESTROYERS if they were fast enough to attain and maintain fleet speed and SLOOPS if they couldn't and were slow/slower ships. Overnight, as it were, we had five classes of small to medium sized ships, destroyers, sloops, frigates 11, frigates 41 and frigates 61.  Provision was also made for other Type-numbers e.g., 20<E> and 80<E>, but Type-numbers beginning with 30, 50, 70 and 90 were not used: more of all that later.

At this period too the navy had designed a guided missile cruiser and they were approved ready to be built from the mid 1950's, but the political fall-out from the Suez War {a war we won militarily but lost politically in the eyes of the international community led chiefly by the USA} and the lack of funds from the Treasury dealt them a death-knell. It was not given a Type-number nor a name. See 'Post mid-1950's' in the table below.

A much smaller and cheaper alterative was designed and eventually we got a destroyer called the DLG [Destroyer Light Guided] capable of firing the Sea Slug missile which even by the mid-1950's was almost getting on for "old technology". This is HMS Kent.


 Have a look here at my sister site and specifically at RADAR IN THE AUTOMATED COMPUTER WORLD viz Outfits JZP, JZQ, JZR [ and]   plus  the latter having an excellent view of a Sea Slug missile in flight. In this last file you will also see the operational record of the Sea Slug missile which had many limitations. It ended up by being fired so that the in-flight missile could act as a target for the much newer Sea Dart missile to shoot it out of the skies.

Also at this period a new cheap anti-submarine frigate was a Staff Requirement, and had they been built they would have joined the Type 11<E> listed as a Type 19 - see below.



Well here, one could ask what happened to the rest of the Types in this series, 12 to 18, and did we have that many dedicated anti-submarine frigates? In a moment we will look at a little more depth to answer this question, suffice to say that we have a 12, 13 no [was it considered unlucky?], a 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, so, more or less a full house. Other Types were not as wholesome!

I have told the story of the CVA-01 [the 1965 HMS Queen Elizabeth] on this page THE PROMISED TWO NEW AIRCRAFT CARRIERS and how HMS Bristol, a Type 82 was built but others in the class cancelled. When the ASW Through-Deck Cruisers were ordered, they, just like HMS Queen Elizabeth, needed ships to protect them and the Type 42 was designed for that purpose but as a much less sophisticated ship and weaponry than was the Type 82: it was also much cheaper to build so several of them could be ordered without financial pain. The Type 21 cheap frigate was produced to protect the Type 42 before being relieved by a much more versatile but also a much more expensive Type 22 anti-submarine frigate.  A decision was taken to replace the Type 42 and the Type 44 Sea Dart Mk II destroyer was on the drawing board in an advance state of research.

At the beginning of 1980 when "that man" came to the MOD [the dreaded John Nott Esq] he had plans to destroy the navy by getting rid of the Fearless and the Intrepid and to sell the Invincible to the Australians. The Falklands War of 1982 scuppered his crazy plans, but the Type 44 was sacrificed and lost. However some good came out of the Falklands experience and the Type 23 cheap frigate was strengthened and made more robust, and more importantly, delivered to the navy.

With the re-order of the carriers, this time as CVF-01, the original Queen Elizabeth and CVF-02 the Prince of Wales, a familiar pattern was repeated and followed the line of the Type 82 protecting the original CVA-01; type 42 protecting the Through Deck Cruisers Ark Royal, Invincible and Illustrious, and the Type 45 concept was speedily brought to fruition to protect the Queen Elizabeth and also of course the Prince of Wales when the Type 45's were in the same harbour tied up alongside!

The Type 11 was a conceptual ship and never built but it did lead to the Type 12, a thoroughly acceptable ship and good sea-keeper. The original Type 12 [Whitby Class] spent their near-30 years in service with very few modifications from build.  The Type 12 Modified [Rothesay Class] was much modified to make it into a more rounded anti-submarine frigate, abandoning one A/S Mortar Mk10 to free up space for a flight deck and alterations to the superstructure to give it a hanger and a Wasp helicopter.  It was also given a Seacat missile system. Its hull was so successful that the < E> business I have described above took a hit and the score to that point was the Type 11, Type 12 and Type 12 Modified, which became the hull for the also highly successful frigates, the Leanders. Leanders were Typed as 12's Improved.


The modern Types of ships were largely successful warships and the special manufacturing of the steel to make these hulls meant that the hulls were easy to maintain both by the ships company and by the dockyards. I have hanging in my garage block naval museum a large framed picture of HMS Hermes returning to Portsmouth from the Falklands War. She is a total "rust bucket" whereas, virtually every other ship returned looking like a new ship and this was simply that the old steel in Hermes was difficult to maintain and virtually impossible in her operating environment, this ignoring her size vis-à-vis say of a destroyer.  HMS Invincible looked as though she had just been around the Isle of Wight for a jolly when she returned. It was therefore possible to rebuilt these ships by adding in large sections to accommodate new weapon systems and radars altering at the same time the crews accommodation and comfort factor. This stretching and new suites of weapons left the ships in their original Types and increased their useful operating lives many fold. They became known as Batches and the difference between a Type 42 Batch 1 and a Type 42 Batch 3 could be dramatic; typically Batch 1 displaced 4350 tons and was 410 feet long whereas Batch 3 displaced 5350 tons and was 463 feet long, and extra 53 feet in length.

Now a short break from reading and a time to look at pictures. We start off with a very successful class of Frigate, the Type 12M and its modifications and re-builds.


Note in the aerial view of the whole ship on the right below, that the Rothesay had two anti-submarine Mortars fitted aft. These are shown as groups of white tubes with the forward mortar facing out to starboard and the after mortar facing out to port. In the picture below showing the after part of the ship looking at the port side, you will note that the forward mortar has been removed and the space it occupied has been plated over to form part of the new flight deck. The lattice mast aft was removed and replaced by the hangar [for a small Wasp anti-submarine helicopter] on top of which is small radar aerial, wireless telegraphy transmitting whip aerials siting on top of base tuners, and a twin Sea Cat launcher, an anti aircraft  short range missile weapon. Its positioning created a little more flight deck space. These vessels were excellent seaboats and were formidable submarine hunters using the ships engines to chase and catch the fastest of diesel-electric boats, and the Wasp to see-off high speed nuclear hunter killer boats.


 Rothesay - A Modified Type 12 A/S Frigate converted to a like-Leander.  Eventually, the rest of this after section open space was totally enclosed which formed the Hull {Type 12 Improved} of the Leander Class Frigates - see Cleopatra below.


Alacrity a Type 21 A/S Frigate

Cleopatra - a narrow beam, first generation,  Leander Class Frigate

Londonderry - as second phase Type 12 Frigate with broad funnel

Sheffield a Type 42 Destroyer

Kent - a County Class Destroyer or a DLG [Destroyer Light Guided]


Hermes - Light Fleet Carrier




After this next shot, I have used up all my models so on to pictures.


 A nuclear powered RFA designed by Yarrow and Co Ltd, which we never got!


 Ooops sorry, I have one more model in my Museum but it is too big to photograph in the same way as these have been done. It is of HMS Bristol, the only Type 82 ever built, a class of ship designed to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth [ordered back in 1963 CVA-01], the one we will get around 2016 [CVF-01] and whose protector will be the Type 45 Destroyers. Have a look at this file CIMG7943.JPG showing a small part of my personal naval Museum.  The Union Jack you see covered the coffin of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey and the Ensign once belonged to HMS Ganges. This Admiralty model of Bristol shows all her weapons 4.5 Gun, Ikara, Sea Dart, Mk10 Mortar and Helicopter, and since the ships were to be permanently assigned to the Carriers it was deemed unnecessary to have a hanger.

Warships, once in the water, are easily recognised and type-casted, but what about those which didn't even get off the drawing board though they were serious Admiralty designs for consideration.

In the following Table, you will be able to see at a glance which of the Type Numbers were considered/used. It does not include hybrids like for example the Despatch Yacht HMS Surprise which was laid down as an A/S Frigate [HMS Loch Carron] then changed to an AA Bay Class Frigate [HMS Gerrand Bay] and finally completed as HMS Surprise, or HMS Mermaid [a design based on a Type 41 Frigate}  built as a Presidential Yacht for Ghana, but the foreign purchaser changed and the finished product was cancelled by the new incumbent. It was used for a short time [four years] by the RN and then sold on to Malyasia.

Note this table has been modified in 2019 to reflect the introduction of the Type 26 and the Type 31e

Type Group Images
Click then BACK button
Pre mid-1950's. Individually named ships and classed by ships name [e.g. CA, CO, CH, etc] by class [e.g., Weapon, Battle, Castle, Bay, Loch, Flower, Bird etc etc]  by weapons, size, displacement, propulsion and shafts/screws [speed]. Called destroyers, frigates, sloops, escorts, corvettes, and all employed on multi tasking purposes if needs be although many were specialist ships. The 'power house' was steam using FFO [Furnace Fuel Oil] or coal in some cases, with diesel oil, diesel engines, gas turbine plants and nuclear power, things of the future. -
Post mid-1950's. Normally a list of Types should be sequential, but in this case, the list of Types follows the thought-patterns of the day and the way in which each Type was conceived or approved/abandoned. Between 1949 and 1951 most of the studies involved converting ships to do something they were not designed to do: that, we cover in a moment. At the beginning of 1952 a new type of ship, a guided missile launcher was discussed, with enough power to counter any Russian Cold War threat. This equated to a cruiser having at least two triple launchers. Lessons had been learned from the relatively small  Girdleness engaged on Sea Slug trials, but  the ship was never commissioned as a guided missile ship although the Sea Slug ticked all the boxes at that time as a viable guided weapon. At the end of 1954 plans for a guided missile cruiser were presented to the Admiralty. She was a big ship, at just over 18,000 tons {length 645ft, bean 80ft}, over 6,000 tons heavier than the Tiger Class cruiser, with the capability of speeds in excess of 30 knots. She was planned to have a Sea Slug system with 50 or so missiles, 6" guns [like the Tiger launched in late 1945] and the proverbial Bofors. To crew this ship 1300 officers and men were needed, a staggering amount of crew when compared with the Hood [for example]  with wartime manning and in excess of 40,000 tons who had a crew of less than 1450. All-gun new cruisers were also considered but not progressed with. Almost predictably, this 18,000 tons ship was considered too costly and the plans were torn up. Smaller ships would be much cheaper and fitting a very powerful new gun forward and a Sea Slug launcher aft looked promising. Lots of ideas were proposed and rejected. There was not enough money in the kitty to develop Sea Slug and a new gun all at the same time.  The tried and trusted 6" and 3" guns were ready at the drop of a hat. But to match the aspirations of a guided missile cruiser the gunnery fit would mean many guns, two twin 6" and twin 3" guns resulting in a heavy ship this time at 15000 tons and this the Admiralty willingly accepted, seeking to build two of them in the 1955-56 period. They also approved plans for a new Class of Fast Escort Destroyers and in a moment you will see the significance of that.

The Admiralty went firm on three of the 15,000 ton guided missile cruisers to be delivered Autumn '62, Spring '64 and Autumn '65.

They were never to see the light of day and the Suez War put paid to the whole project which was abandoned in January of 1957.  Soon after, those proposed Fast Escort Destroyers mentioned above were increased in displacement so that they could take the Sea Slug weapon, and from this, sprang the County Class Destroyers, the DLG's [Destroyer Light Guided] with nothing bigger than two twin 4.5" guns mounted forward in conventional 'A' and 'B' turrets.

The Guided Missile Destroyer - County Class. Well, not quite what the navy wanted but they did drag the navy into the guided missile age. It was never assigned a Type Number. Since this was to be the first post war Destroyer of new build, it hugged and stole the limelight. Many options were proffered, each with great merit, and design after design passed over the desks of the Admirals and the Paymasters. I, like so many of you reading this, spent time at sea in these ships [mine, collectively in three ships London, Antrim and Glamorgan totalling one year in all] but many of you 'real' County Class Men, will remember that "warts and all" these were good ships, comfortable, by and large reliable, and most of all, stunningly attractive looking warships with sleek lines that no other navy ever attempted to copy, but yet envied!  Apart from a "small destroyer" carrying a major guided weapon [Sea Slug] these ship were also a lead to the fore, having a conventional steam plants in addition to a gas turbine plant, the idea of the latter, to boost top speeds of the ship. By the Spring of 1957 and after the cancellation of the GMC [Guided Missile Cruiser] the GMD [Guided Missile Destroyer] was a high profile project. By this time, the displacement was 6,000 tons  and had a length of 505 ft with a speed of 31 knots. Irrespective of whether steam or gas turbine the ship's special propellers were designed for a vast reduction in vibration and noise. The main gun remained the twin 4.5" forward whilst two twin 40mm Bofors were also fitted. Eight anti submarine torpedoes and a MK 10 A/S Mortar were fitted aft. Her Sea Slug outfit was to be a meagre 14 missiles with conventional warheads, with a further four with nuclear warheads. As always, problems in design had to be checked and it was show that nuclear missiles could not live side-by-side with anti submarine torpedoes and one or the other had to go!   The deemed necessary A/S Mortar MK 10 had got in the way of a development to introduce the Fairy Ultra Light Helicopter and its associated hangar, and the Mortar had to be sacrificed. Since the ships were to be built to destroyer spec's there was no hull-armour built into the build 'spec or costing's. The need for a helicopter of the Sikorski Type S.55 and hangar was a must thing to have. For the first time ever in naval ship building design, it was decided to raise the main hull by one deck over most the length of the ship. This increased internal space dramatically. The extra space also allowed extra Sea Slug missile to be stored. In June 1958, the Wessex helicopter was introduced to the DLG with appropriate hangar and support/re-fuelling system available. Seven and a half years later after the first studies into the DLG, the Devonshire was completed. The original plan was to build ten of these ships but by this time the Bristol and the GMC were in development. Because of this, the last four DLG's were put on hold. However, because of all the uncertainties doing the rounds, permission was given that two of the last four DLG's could be progressed and built as planned. As stated in the section "Type 82" below, these were the Antrim and the Norfolk. antrim.jpg 

Antrim as built with twin 4.5" in 'A' and 'B' turrets.


Glamorgan with 'A' Turret and 4 Exocets missile launchers on 'B' Gun Deck

Type 10 not used -
Type 11 The original and basic A/S Frigate conversion concept for ex WW2 ships. They were to be an A/S version of the same engines as fitted into the Type 41 and Type 61 [diesels]. However, this would have made them too slow to chase 'modern' submarines so the Type was abandoned. Not part of the Type 11 programme but in 1946 four of the surviving powerful weapons class destroyers [Agincourt. Barrosa. Aisne and Corunna] were made into A/S escort vessels. They gave up one 4 inch gun mount and in its place mounted a double Squid A/S mortar with 20 projectiles. They were in service in 1947 and 1948 and gave valuable experience which assisted in the design of the limited and full destroyer conversions to anti submarine Frigates.

aisne no longer a destroyer now a radar picket.jpg


Type 12 Designed to be built as an Escort Vessel, the Whitby Class emerged as  first class A/S Frigate. There were six of them. The only really visible difference between the 12 and the 12M was in the shape of the funnel, Whitby having a thin scrawny stack and Rothesay having a fat round stack with domed top. However, the Whitby's had their funnels changed to that fitted in the Rothesay Class at a later stage. Designed to have cruising turbines [for escort duties] these were removed at built with the change-over to the A/S Frigate requirement  to give the ship more freedom of speed given her very different role in the Fleet. They were revolutionary ships with innovative designs. Under the fuel tanks were built sea water tanks and as the fuel was used up, sea water was introduced to maintain the fully loaded fuel stability. The Mk VI 4.5 twin gun was a very large turret and required a very large gun bay below decks. This had to be fitted further aft than was normal in a Frigate which also meant that the bridge had to be moved aft, more of less central in the ship.  The result of this was to give the bridge staff a very good ride in rough weather compared to the Type 81 {for example} whose bridge was well forward, and those on the bridge suffered in rough weather. The heavy turret was also tall and wide and had to be set well down in the ship so that the bridge staff could see over the top of the turret. This added to the stability of the ship and further improved its sea keeping ability. The raised bow area lent itself to the fitting of the diesel generator with its exhaust just below the fo'c's'le leaving horrible black marks on the first lieutenant's lovely paint work. In the Type 12 Improved [the Leanders] it was fitted so that it exhausted into the funnel uptakes. The ships had twin rudders set in the slipstream of the two propellers/shafts enabling them to do a tight turn of 3½ times the ships length. They also had large propellers, 12 ft instead of the normal Destroyer/Frigate of 10½ ft, run much slower at 220 rpm resulting in a high quiet speed. Even today, the Type 12 is still considered one of our best ships ever for all round performance, and some of these attributes were designed into the Type 23 Frigate. All Type 12's had a full career, the Torquay and the Eastbourne saying their goodbye's in the very late 1980's, all six of them products of the mid to late 1950's.

Note scrawny funnel

Type 12M [Modified] but only Slightly Modified namely to allow the fitting of the Sea Cat Missile.  This was called the Rothesay Class and was also built specifically as a first class A/S Frigate: in the beginning it was fitted with a 40mm Bofor mounting until much later at the Conversations to Leander Class Specification. Until that time and after the Type 12 had had a funnel change, there was no different in visual appearance between the two Types.. There were nine of them. The typical underwater speed of a WW2 submarine was 7 knots and the Loch Class A/S Frigate was well able to deal with this. As submarines got faster [using two models- the UK Porpoise class in development 17-18 knots and the UK HTP Submarines Explorer and Excalibur 25 knots] A/S Frigates had also to become much faster. For the 'Porpoise' model, ships had to achieve 27 knots and for the 'HTP' model, 35 knots. The Type 12M was designed as a first class A/S Frigate to address the Porpoise model and for the HTP model ships helicopters were introduced in the late 1950's as more than a match for the submarines in speed terms, and much cheaper.  Later on, all nine Rothesay Type 12M's were heavily modified to bring them up to a Leander Frigate specification as explained above. None had the ICS [Integrated Communications System] fitted.
rothesay as built.jpg

 before major modification. See above to modified state.

Type13 not used -
Type14  These ships, known as second class A/S Frigates took over from the Flower Class and the Castle Class Frigates. They were called the Blackwood Class after the first of the Class HMS Blackwood, and HMS Exmouth shown here converted into a gas turbine trials ship, was one of them.

Type15  This was the full conversion from WW2 Destroyer to second class A/S Frigates. Cost £600,000 and time taken 18 months. HMS Undaunted was one of 23 such conversions from many classes of destroyers..

Type16  This was a simple conversion of wartime Destroyers into third class A/S Frigates at a cost of £260,000 taking 10 months. HMS Teazer was one of these.

Type17  By 1950 the realisation of the cold war was fully understood and the international situation deteriorated. 1st and 2nd Class Frigates were expensive to manufacture and took too long, so very cheap and austere ship were wanted, and quickly. Two diesel designs were chosen, one heavy [larger] and one lighter [smaller]. The larger carried a Limbo A/S Mortar, and four fixed torpedo tubes. Four diesel engines gave it a speed of 22 knots. The lighter ship had one Squid and two A/S torpedoes, whilst two diesel engines gave a speed of 19 knots. Both carried a twin and single 40mm Bofor mounting.  Both designs were developed in parallel, the lighter ship to be called a Type 17 A/S Frigate, and the heavy ship a Type 42  AA Frigate. Complications dogged the projects and the Type 17 ended up as a utility steam turbine installed with one boiler and one shaft only with the displacement of a Type 14 Frigate. The Type 42 Frigate had two boilers and two shafts.  The main armament of the Type 42 was initially the 3"/50 Cal supplied by the USA but doubts over its timely delivery forced the Admiralty to mount three single 4" Mk XXV, a development from Vickers. The Type 17 ships were to be named after Firths [Firth of Forth etc] and the Type 42 after precious stones [topaz,  amber etc]. When all the designed were ready and costed with build-yards assigned, the Admiralty cancelled both types of ship and also stopped ordering more Type 14's. -
Type18  Improved Limited Conversion of a Type16. It was also considered that a new Type should be built to replace both the Type 15 and Type 16. The Type 18 could better the Type 15 on price from £600000 down to £400000 and shave three months off the 18 months required to convert. HMS Noble, an 'N' Class destroyer and her three sisters were chosen, as were HMS Troubridge and HMS Savage with several 'Z' class destroyers.  None of these was processed to the end.  It was feared in the Admiralty that there were now too many hulls and modifications to hulls that the Office of Naval Shipbuilding couldn't cope and a much simpler methods of ship building was required. Remember, no computers to help in design work, build work, logistics or administrations for these many complicated options. At this point [late 1953] the Admiralty was on the look out for what became known as the Common Hull Frigate. Following the demise of the Type 17 and Type 42 Frigates, the search was on for a ship which could be built in large numbers [if required] which would be a larger ship than hitherto envisaged, and which during build could either be finished as an AA ship or as a A/S ship, as were the wartime Loch and Bay Classes. The design produced an attractive ship, much like the Black Swan class, but worries abounded about the archaic weapons to be used. When the first hydrogen bomb was exploded by the Americans in the Pacific at Bikini Atoll,  part of the USA Marshall Islands on the 1st March 1954, it was realised by the Admiralty that there never again would be a need or a requirement for the mass production of war equipments, and all plans were dropped and thinking caps were re-donned. Napier.jpg 

A WW2 'N' Class Destroyer HMS Napier. Served with the RAN in WW2

Type 81.  With the Common Hull Frigate Concept now abandoned, the Admiralty decided that it wanted a Frigate which could do all the main three functions required. Remember above, particularly for the Types 12, 15 and 16 which were respectively first, second and third class A/S Frigates. The new ships had to be a third class A/S ship, a third class AA ship and a third class AD ship all rolled into one, quintessentially a "Jack of all Trades but Master of None". Since a Frigate was now [post mid-1950] defined as a singe-role ship, this new vessel had to be called a 'sloop' which was its official category throughout its life. The new ships took the names of Tribes and the Type Number 81.  They were highly successful ships and led the navy in the science of Gas Turbine propulsion long before it was used in the County Class Destroyers.

Type 12 [I] or [I] Type 12 the 'I' meaning Improved. Although Jane's Fighting Ships listed the Leander Class Frigates as Improved Type 12's, the name Leander [Class] was used throughout the navy as its common name or Type. The hull's  were so successful [as were the Type 12's themselves] that looking for better alternatives was totally abandoned for many years. As required and as the years went on introducing new weapons, the as-built Leander's were taken in Batches and modified.

Batch One took the A/S weapon Ikara, The Batches took away guns and other upper deck weapons. Much work was done inside the ship modernising them in every detail and eight Leander's were so fitted between 1970 and 1978 at various Yards the cost ranging between £7.6M and £23M with an average time of three years each. Each ship lost their twin 4.5  mounting and director system [MRS3], their 965 {bedstead} radar aerial/system. This left each ship with two single 40mm Bofors and two quadruple Sea Cat launchers.  All kept their Wasp helicopters.

Batch Two - seven ships -took the anti-ship missile system Exocet. They too lost their forward gun/MRS3 system, and in its place, two Exocet launchers slanting outwards of the fore and aft line to accommodate one quadruple Sea Cat launcher in the middle, were fitted. This was done to minimise the effect each type of missile might have on the other. Two further quadruple Sea Cat launchers were fitted aft, giving three in all. Again two single 40mm Bofors were fitted, and down aft, they removed the A/S Mortar Mk 10 and plated over the deck to make a bigger flight deck to accommodate their new helicopter, the Lynx. This conversion took on average two and a half years costing £13.8M to £47.7M.

Batch Three took the Sea Wolf anti-air missile system in addition to Exocet . The last ten ships built had wider beams than the first sixteen [Juno, in Batch Two was not converted] and were more stable platforms. Because of this, the missile system Sea Wolf could be fitted. To make these ships even more stable they spent several months stripping them of their paint work. In all, they scrapped off 45 tons of paint calculated to be 80 coats. The conversion programme took from 1978 until December 1984 the time on each ship varying between three and four years. The cost was between £60M and £79.7M and this was only for the first five ships in the Batch. The rest were cancelled after having run out of money.  Those converted were the Andromeda, Charybdis, Jupiter, Hermione and Scylla.  Their unconverted sister ships, the Bacchante, Achilles, Diomede, Apollo and Ariadne were all sold to Chile, Pakistan, and New Zealand between 1982 and 1992. In the application of new weapon technology the navy sacrificed the number of ships it had, in effect 'hoisted by its own petard'. All these conversion were undoubtedly expensive, nearly as costly as a new built-ship but the conversions made sure that the weapons got to sea as quickly as possible and this was achieved despite the cost. The ships were so successful that it made the choice of the eventual replacement-Type very difficult for the Naval Staff,  leading to the Type 22.

Euryalus F15.jpg

Euryalus laid down in November 1961. Converted as a Batch 1 with Ikara.

Type 82. First an important short story on why the Type 82 was conceived.

In 1960 the Admiralty were busying themselves designing new carriers to replace the aging Fleet whose lives were predicted to come to an end in 1972 for Victorious; 1973 for Eagle and Centaur; 1975 for Albion; 1975 for Ark Royal and 1980 for Hermes. They planned for four large carriers [up to 60,000 ton] to be in service by mid 1970 and fully operational in mid 1971. The project name for the first of these carriers was CVA-01 later to be called HMS Queen Elizabeth. The 'drawing board' project commenced and went ahead but very soon there were complications with the stretched navy budget and prioritising took control putting back the carriers by 10 months. The main problem was with the building of four Polaris ballistic missile submarines and the money they were gobbling up. By mid 1963 the drawings were put before the MOD for carriers with 30 strike and fighting aircraft, 4 AEW aircraft, 2 SAR helicopters and 5 A/S helicopters. On the 17th July the Board gave their approval for the drawings and the Staff Requirement setting a cost of £58M. Come the 30th July the Government [in Cabinet] reduced the carriers to three. The Admiralty gave the go ahead stating that the Queen Elizabeth should replace the Ark Royal. In April 1964, the RAN got involved and said that it might buy the second of the Class CVA-02. This eased the budget by ordering CVA-01 and CVA-02 in the last quarter of 1966, the other ship CVA-03 following on in a different financial year - the second of the class was to be called HMS Duke of Edinburgh [which might have been HMAS Duke of Edinburgh] and the third ship was never named. There followed many changes involving armaments, armour plating, number of shafts, increased boilers, and even installing doors in the hangar leading onto the quarterdeck so that aircraft engines could be run-up in the hangar, and installing a good sized deck space to starboard of the Island so that aircraft could be moved from forward to aft without disrupting flying ops. Worst of all, almost as a last minute fear, they decided to add lots of armour plating to the hangar, the magazines and the ships sides, the results of which increased the displacement from 53,000 to 54,500 tons. The number of fixed wing aircraft increased to 36 from the original 30. With one or two slight reservations only, in December 1965 everything looked tickerty-boo, but less than one month later the carriers were cancelled.

In the early 1960's, the Type 82 was the ultimate creation of a warship, designed to protect an aircraft carrier from attacks from air, surface, sub-surface and shore artillery. A 'mini' fleet of these potent ships would make Britain the envy of all navies. It was conceived on the notion that it would carry Sea Dart a much cheaper weapon than Sea Slug and one that also could be fitted into Frigates, thus Sea Dart Frigates and Sea Dart Destroyers. Bristol is a Type 82 quite out of sequence Type-wise for a Destroyer but Typed that way because the Sea Dart programme was a Frigate/Destroyer project and not a Destroyer alone programme. Sea Dart could fire two missiles every forty seconds. However towards the end of the development period, it was found to be unreliable because it was based wholly on valve [thermionic] technology and moreover, it would be very cumbersome to RAS fresh missiles whilst at sea, taking, it was calculated, between 20 to 30 minutes for each separate missile. The missiles sheer size stowed vertically in a rotating drum feeding the launcher [172" - 14.5 feet] meant that the host-ship had to be larger than the current operational Frigate, although overall, magazine and launcher took up less space than the Sea Slug system developed from the late 1940/early 1950's. Steam power was fully understood by the ship designers and gas turbines were an untested science. At first, it was intended that the Sea Dart directors, the 909 radars under large radomes and their associated offices one forward and one aft, should be pre-outfitted, crane-loaded onboard and bolted into position [rather like the Communication Satellite systems Skynet 5 and SCOT cabins were in the mid-1970's onwards] but this proved impossible because of radar alignment difficulties. The estimated cost per system in 1962 was £8.4 million when a Leander Frigate only came to £5.25 million.  The Sea Dart study/project led directly to the Type 82 but it also led to new frigates and corvettes to supplement the frigates and this further led to the FLF Project [the Future Light Frigate].  Four Type 82's were planned for the new carrier Queen Elizabeth [as six Type 45's will be built for the new {second time around} Queen Elizabeth - Prince of Wales may never go to sea because of the air assets needed and the crew to man it will not have enough money in the kitty to pay for them. The 82's were seen as carrying on from the DLG's but their armament bettered the DLG's so much so, that the 82 was a very superior class of ship. As well as Sea Dart with 40 missiles, they would carry the latest gun a 4.5" MkVIII, Ikara and an A/S Mortar MK 10 plus the ability to use the ships flight deck as a spare deck for Wasp helicopters - there was no hangar to house her own chopper so she didn't have her own flight. None was needed when permanently working with Carriers. Although going to be steam driven the final plan called for gas turbine technology with the after funnel [for gas turbines] split into two, port and starboard, to ease propulsion-parts replacement. The forward funnel was for steam.

Then, all of a sudden, the project had no real point when in 1963 the CVA-01 was cancelled by Dennis Healey and Harold Wilson. The Type 82 was out of a job!

Bitterly disappointed by the Governments decision, the Admiralty decided that it would go ahead and build one Type 82 as a trials ships for the Sea Dart Project and so they built HMS Bristol. Bristol was a full fit ADAWS ship using a brilliant central computer to coordinate inputs from all weapon sensors and navigation systems. Bristol was to cost £16.25M and subsequent 82's £15.5M each and although a much bigger ship than the DLG's whose complement was 450, Bristol's complement was 380, 70 men fewer. The building costs for the four 82 destroyers could be contained by building in parallel cheap Type 19 Sea Dart Frigates. So, Bristol was laid down in December 1967* and completed in March 1973. More or less as soon as completed, she had a major fire in the autumn of '73 and for many long months her steam propulsion was out of action leaving only her gas turbines.

*At this time also, great consideration was given to building a couple of stretched 82's to replace the ageing Tiger Class cruisers as helicopter ships. There was also an idea mooted and a real desire to build more than the envisaged four Type 82's if Bristol was successful, but in the end, new ships had to be cheaper [and no where near as well armed] as the Type 82. The new ships developed into the Types 42, 22 and 21, with the Type 42 viewed as the poor mans version of a Type 82.


Type19. In the mid 1960's the RN's destroyer/frigate level totalled some ninety ships in all. The Admiralty wanted to maintain these numbers which meant as the ships aged they needed to be replaced. Four new ships per year would be required each serving for at least twenty years. The new ships should each carry the two basic missile systems, Ikara against submarines and Sea Dart against aircraft as the Type 82 [the Bristol] could do.  Four Bristol's a year would have been the ideal requirement but the coffers, as always, weren't full enough to match that aspiration. In the five year period 1971-76, the four-per-year totalling twenty ships would be eight Type 82's and twelve Type 19's. The Type 19's [referred to as "cheap ships"] would have two distinct roles requiring different basic equipments in the mould of 'fitted for but not with'. The peacetime role of fishery protection, anti smuggling/gun running, general police and peace keeping duties, disaster relief, showing the flag, would require the Type to be very fast through the water, have medium-calibre guns, a light helicopter, accommodation for 30 0dd troops, long endurance at 15 knots [at least 5000 miles] sustained top speed of 28 knots with short bursts of 40 knots. For her wartime role, the Type would assist A/S ships in their role and would also have guns of sufficient calibre to perform NGS [Naval Gunfire Support] in bombarding shore targets. In addition, a medium range sonar would be fitted and torpedoes carried for use by a small helicopter. Sea Cat would be fitted. The Type would have a very limited and basic AIO [Action Information Organisation - Ops Room] and EW [Electronic Warfare] fit. Design ideas ballooned and the 'fast speed' requirement even led to thoughts on having  Hovercraft-Frigates which could chase very fast smuggling/gun running small craft into shallow waters, or having a 50+ knots Frigate which would require its own RFA to do the many fuel top up's it would require, plus a whole new investigation into propeller technology. None of these ships were built, the Type 82's after Bristol or the Type 19's, but the ideas and the requirements of cheap Frigates directly led to the approval, build and commissioning of firstly the Type 21 and later the Type 23 Frigates. The requirement of maintaining that Destroyer/Frigate fleet of ninety ships was fast becoming a pipe-dream! -
Type 20. Not used. -
Type21. This ship was quite literally considered to be a new but 'cheap ship' coming from the studies mentioned above for the Type 19. It was based on a ship design made for Iran by Vosper Thornycroft known as the VT Mk 5 all gas turbine ship, and when first mooted, cheap meant built at a cost of £3.5M when a Leander Class [which the Type 21 would replace] was £5M: in the event, by the time Amazon, the first of the 21's was in the water, the cost was £14.4M. The first two 21's [Amazon and Antelope] carried the 4.5" gun forward and carried a small helicopter, the Wasp. Later on they were modified to include the Exocet. The remaining type 21's [6] were all built with four Exocet launchers and the 4.5" gun. Like the VT Mk5, the 21's were fitted with gas turbines, two Olympus and two Tyne giving a top speed of 30 knots. Whilst these ships gave good service to the RN [and later for many more years to the Pakistan Navy] they had a major weakness with their superstructure on 01 deck where superstructure [aluminium] met steel on 1 deck {the main upper deck} in which many cracks were to appear, and which required steel bracings. Apart from the cracks where two types of metals met, the superstructure, made of  aluminium,  preferred to steel  because of its lightness, was vulnerable to heat, although aluminium does not burn. Nevertheless, a severe oil fire reaches a temperature of 920º and aluminium melts at 650º and this became a problem during the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina. Two 21's were loss in action, the Antelope and the Ardent, neither to problems with aluminium. However, the Arrow, whilst alongside and rescuing survivors off the Sheffield, was extensively damaged by the heat of the burning Type 42, and her aluminium structure started to soften [around the 550º mark] and she had to be confined to San Carlos Waters until a steel reinforcing beam could be installed to strengthen her structure. That strengthening was all that was required to keep this Type of ship serviceable and sea worthy for at least twenty five years on from the Falklands War. There was another fault which was a contributory factor when a decision as to whether to modernised the Type 21 was taken, and that was that smoke could pass freely throughout the ship through the bulkheads which were punctured to allow through the ventilation system and the electrical cabling, which amounted to a design fault. So, all the remaining six Type 21's were sold off to Pakistan as a job-lot. Had they been modified they would have carried the Harpoon missile instead of the Exocet missile. One of the picture over to the right shows the ex-Amazon with the Pakistan navy fitted with Harpoon just forward of the bridge.
Ex Amazon.jpg

Ex-HMS Amazon fitted with four Harpoon launchers


HMS Amazon with four Exocet missile launchers

Type 22.  The Type 22 fit required a much bigger ship and costlier ship than a Type 21and was an A/S specialist ship. Fourteen such ships  would be built for the Royal Navy, 10 in Glasgow, 3 in Wallsend and 1 in Birkenhead. However it evolved into being a general purpose Frigate. To help control costs extra Type 22's were built [the more you have the cheaper each becomes] 2 for Australia, 6 for Holland, 2 for Chile, 6 for India, and 2 for New Zealand. It was very much a Leander in more ways that one, especially in its hull, which, with slight tweaking, made it a better sea boat than the Type 12 or the Leander. It might have been a longer hull than that of a Leander, but the restrictions posed by the Devonport Dockyard Frigate Complex ruled that out for the Batch 1 ships. The Types 42 and 22 were roughly of the same size but entirely difference in appearance.  This was caused simply by the weapons they carried and the technology of weapons. The Sea Dart was a large weapon requiring a large storage space and magazine and in the Type 42 all this was up forward were the Sea Dart launcher was immediately aft of the 4.5" gun. This 'bulk' forward, did no favours to the crew as a Type 42 was not a good sea boat. On the other hand, the Type 22 had Sea Wolf, a close-range defence against air attack and submarine pop-up missiles, with two launchers one forward and one aft, and the Wolf missile was much smaller than the Dart missile. Her weight was much better balanced which greatly assisted the stability of the ship. Instead of having a 4.5" gun forward, the Type 22 had four Exocet launchers. The Type 22 had a much bigger hangar and flight deck than did the Type 42.  In common with all new ships in build, gas turbines were the norm. In common with 42's [and other ships] 22's were fitted with the very sophisticated 2016 sonar which could be passively used or actively used for bottom bounce. The almost customary Bofors were fitted [later replaced by 30mm guns]. As part of her A/S fit, the 22's had two sets of triple torpedo tubes for Stingray and a Lynx helicopter although there was room for two Lynx's in the ship. However, although a fine Type of ship, a chance was missed to make them larger so that they could have gone on to live with the new weapon technology which was continuously developing, for example the advanced towed array 2031Z: Towed Array was used in the bigger hulls of the Batch 2 and 3 versions.  Of the build, the first four did not have a main gun [4.5"] and as stated above had a length restriction. The next group [Batch 2 - 6 ships] were 50' longer [the Frigate Complex had been extended by this time] and had guns. Batch 3 [all replacement for the four ships lost in the Falkland Islands] were even longer than Batch 2 but all had the same beam and give or take a few inches the same draught. However their displacements were very different as were their complements. Batch 3 were nearly 1000 tons heavier than Batch 1, and the complements were Batch 1 to Batch 3, 222, 273 and 250. All were gas turbines though with different engines and all achieved the same top speed of 30 knots. In weapon terms Batch 1 and 2 were virtually the same fits but Batch 3 were very different. Gone the Exocet launchers replaced by the re-sited forward Sea Wolf launcher and in came the Harpoon Launchers sited abaft the bridge pointed outboard to port and starboard, the Goalkeeper system CIWS and other small gunnery systems. They kept their 4.5" gun given to Batch 2 ships, and their torpedo tubes. Whilst Batches 1 and 2 could cope with two Lynx helicopters, in the Batch 3's the flight deck was enlarged and strengthened to take a Sea King or a Merlin helicopter.  

Batch 1
Note: No Gun!


Batch 2



Batch 3 Campbeltown


Type 23  The Type 23 was also a "cheap" ship but by now the MOD had started to call "cheap" "light". Nevertheless, this "cheap" ship was very quite, had Radar Echoing Area [REA] fitted manifest in the shape of her single funnel and the sloping sides of the ship, good endurance at moderate speeds, good sea keeping, a flight deck and a hangar for a large Merlin helicopter. All of this was to cost no more that £70M at 1980 prices. The diesel-electric cruising system designed for the Type 25 was fitted along with gas turbines for a speed of 28 knots.  The Type's eventual weapon systems was impressive [although it took some time to complete the modifications after build] and included 8 Harpoon launchers, Sea Wolf for close in self protection, 1 4/5" gun later modified to the Mk 8, 2 x 30mm guns, torpedoes tubes and a Merlin helicopter. This class, also known as the Duke Class is the current backbone of the navy's Frigate Force. Just a pity that there are so few of them and that they are getting old now. The Kent and the Portland were completed 12 years ago and the Norfolk 23 years ago.

HMS Marlborough


HMS Montrose showing close up of her Gun and Harpoon launchers


Type 24   The search for a "cheap" ship must have been wearisome for the naval designers and by the late 1970's, the Type 24 was on everybody's lips. The idea that "cheaper by the dozen" meant more ships and each one cheaper that the previous one. Building to sell was an important issue, for the few that were held back for RN's use were very cheap, and the RN saw in them a useful hull for a towed-array ASW Frigates. The MOD's intention was to give the plans to Yarrow and get them to develop the class/type. It was a tall order from the very beginning and Yarrow altered the design so much, that the RN lost interest in it and thus the chances of international sales was blighted.  The navy wanted the Type 24 to do all that the Type 22 could do, but at three quarters of the cost.  There can be no doubt that had the project come to fruition, the navy would have had a winner on its hands. All, even the MOD politicians, were enthusiastic, but just as the drawing board was being turned into cut steel and keels, the Government 'drew stumps' on the project.     TYPE 24.jpg
Type 25  After the Type 24 was abandoned, hope was pinned on the Type 22 living on as a Type 25. She would be fitted with diesel-electric cruising engines and gas turbines for high speeds and bursts of speed.  All capabilities would meet and match those of a Type 22, but, and once again, the cost this time had to be two-thirds the cost of a Type 22. The 'bean counters' reneged on their agreement and set a new costing which had to be no more than £100M. An impossible order which saw the end of the Type 25. TYPE 25.jpg

I have referred to the Type 23 above which is a well know class of vessel, now much over worked and tired out,  not to mention very expensive to run and operate. It is crying out for a replacement and its design is O L D. The government has agreed a contract of 8 type 26 ships with BAE built on the Clyde, so it is an undisputed build to almost conventional warship standards. The first of the class is due in 2022 and each will replace a Type 23 as they come on line at up to 15 months intervals. Thus [assuming 15 months]  that's 120 months = 10 years meaning that come 2032 all Type 23's will have gone, that last one an ancient OAP and knackered, and the first Type 26 already ten year old by then. Now look below to the Type 31e, 'e' for experiment!   
Not available @ the time of writing.
Type 27  Not used -
Type 28  Not used -
Type 29  Not used -
Types 30 to 39  Not used except now [a 2019 concept]  for a new Type 31e planned-in for future drawing boards.  Look below -
Type 31e. The letter 'e' stands for "exportability.


 This class of ship changes all previous British warship builds [except that the build in sections at various builders,  and then to  ship each section to a central  yard for assembly into the final vessel, a la, HMS Queen Elizabeth] is now to be established, and to start off with,  the experiment is a testing time for the MOD[Navy], for build yards home and possibly international,  taking away from BAE [hitherto the favoured builder] and Scottish Yards the automatic right to build British Warships. At the same time as all this is going on, our RFA's will be built in open competition to be more like merchant ships, easy to sell on the open market when their time comes as an easy to fully convert  into a mercantile cargo carrier.  The Type 31e will also be built from the very beginning with sales in mind, so that the MOD can stimulate UK shipbuilding for foreign navies circumventing in some cases the need for a foreign navy to have to wait until the ships are old and laid-up in a creek ready for disposal. As such, the ships will have a limit on final cost and time 'spec for delivery, limiting the build cost to a maximum of "250 million GBP" and a build/delivery time of twelve months approximately. The contracts will be available to all yards around the UK whether private companies or consortiums and will not necessarily favour traditional yards.   If yards cannot guarantee the delivery 'spec in competition with others, they either don't win the bid or if awarded, penalties start from day one. Life is going to be very tough and for once MOD[N] is going to call the shots by being integrated into the civilian engineering companies and having a call on management decisions. The ships are to be modularised so that subsequently, any size of radar [for example] can be fitted into the ship, say for the Royal Navy, but if sold to a navy using smaller equipments,  templates are already engineered to allow the proper secure fitting of any or all known equipment's, to be sold with the ship. Every single item aboard not secured to the hull can be changed to suit the ship's owner.  Thus, irrespective of who assembles the final build, the ship can be finished as a state of the art, top of the range fully fitted British Type 31e warship, or at the owners request and budget, the same hull and hull fittings but with light weight equipment as a basic Type 31e with several limitations on fighting ability! From this time onwards, think of car productions where the finished same sized shell of the vehicle can cost a few thousand pounds, or much more for the super De Luxe model with many enhancements.

SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS TABLE for a précis on what our future surface fleet is to look like in the next 30 years.

Note:  the two CVF's [Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales] are not included in this table, for they have been so widely talked about [down to hapless CO's losing their company cars in a mean and petulant action]. The MOD[N] has repeatedly said that both vessels will have a 50 year life span with of course several major refits and upgrades, so what this table can offer is difficult to see, and I haven't bothered.

Continue scrolling
, looking for more RED TEXT below.
Not available @ the time of writing.
Type 40  Not used -
Type41   Known as the Cat Class with five ships in the Class. All were commissioned in the late 1950's. Like the Type 61 these ships were the first post war designed-in-detail Frigates and both programmes ran in tandem. The 41's were the heavier of the two Frigates and were AA Ships. The Type had two twin 4.5 inch guns one forward and one aft. The A/S weapon was a single Squid. The hulls and engines of this Type and Type 61 were identical and very complicated resulting in difficulties for the ship builders. The diesel engine installation turned out to be very complicated and demanding  and was originally a high speed v16 diesel engine designed for a submarine. It involved 3 engine rooms. It was configured that each shaft had four diesel with two more diesels driving the generators, ten diesel engines in all.  The 41 had a lesser range than the 61 because it carried less fuel having other spaces taken up for its additional armaments and magazines and could achieve 4500 miles at 15 knots. The Type had originally been designed as a convoy escort and now its speed was very disappointing being well below that required to operate as Fleet units. The Type was well fitted with both radar and sonar equipments. Originally, 11 of the Type were planned in 1953. However, only four were built for the Royal Navy with a further three for the Indian navy. The time taken to build due to their complicated design was anywhere from 3½ to 6 years. The Type proved to be a dead end in design evolution and no more Frigates were built with only diesels for propulsion. Jaguar-01.jpg
Type 42 - Original  AA Frigate - see Type 17 above -
Type 42.  The Type 42 Destroyer was restricted in price and displacement closely following the lines of the later Leander builds called "Broad Beam Leanders" two of which were the Apollo and the Ariadne amongst others, but with gas turbine technology. Penny-pinching was the order of the day down to things like having only one anchor, combined galley for officers and men and armament limited to existing equipments. At one stage 42's were to have either a gun or a sonar but not both but the Admiralty would not accept that! However a desirable close range A/S weapon was denied. At first, the gas turbine technology was an unsure [and a possibly unsafe bet and costly] but after the Admiralty had given their approval to take a type 14 frigate, the Exmouth and fully convert her to gas turbines and thoroughly put her through her paces, there were no longer any doubts: Gas Turbines had arrived. At a stroke fuel consumption was reduced, onboard maintenance was cut, availability was increased and the working conditions in the machinery spaces were improved beyond imagination. HMS Sheffield was to be a small vessel, cheap and with a small crew. She was fitted with two Olympus and one Tyne, the Olympus giving full speed one Olympus to one shaft, and the Tyne was used for cruising speeds. The 42's were fitted with diesel generators to produce electrical power which were continuously on-load and caused many problems. There were other problems too not least in the supply of fresh water for the crew. Other more expensive mistakes were made in design which eventually were rectified by strengthening the hull's of the ships. The 42's were built [note not modified] in three batches, Batch 1 and 2's [10 ships] between the years of January 1970 and February 1978 [laid down dates] in four different yards and Batch 3, [4 ships] between May 1978 and September 1980 [laid down dates] again one ship to each of the four main building contractors. The major difference, and it was a huge difference, was that Batch 3 Type 42's were big ships when compared with their little sisters in the Batches 1 and 2 groups. For example, a 1/2 was 392 ft long with a beam of 47 feet and displacing with full load 4350 tons, whereas a 3 was 434 ft long with a beam of 49 ft and displaced 5350 tons. The Batch 3's were the Manchester, York, Edinburgh and Gloucester. Their armament was comparable across the three batches, with the Batch 3 having more missiles, the Sea Dart extended magazine taking up a great deal of the extra length added. All had 4.5" inch guns forward, Phalanx CIWS rapid fire heavy machine guns, Oerlikon's,  a Lynx helicopter and twin Sea Dart launchers. Three 42's stand out for their fates; the Sheffield [Batch 1] sunk in the Falklands War. Coventry [Batch 1] sunk in the Falklands War and Nottingham [Batch 2] for running aground off Eastern Australia necessitating a piggy-back ride back to the UK for a rebuild. edinburgh batch 3 42.jpg 

Edinburgh Batch 3

Type 43  Whilst not having all the latest technology of a Type 45 Destroyers, this ship, which might have been a few years back, really does look the part, meaning that she looks like a warship. The Types 43 and 44 were to be a follow on for the Types 42, which didn't happen, leaving the poor old 42's still serving long after their sell by date, often for 12 to 15 years. They were scheduled to have the Sea Dart Mk2. With launchers both ends, the helicopter deck and hangar had to go mid-ships. At first the FAA didn't like the mid-ship area of flight operations, but soon got used to the idea. John Nott, that quintessential political Scrooge in the MOD, ruined any chances the Type 43 had of 'slipping into the water' but then again John Nott was hell-bent on destroying the whole navy in 1980, and was second only to General Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina as the naval public enemy number one.  Note the weapons and their dispositions. Boring....boring and yet more boring, but the cost of £200M quite scared the bean counters and minds and endeavours turned to salvaging the project, hoping to secure the same ship but reduced in size and cost, namely the Type 44.  Nott left Government after the Falklands and went back to the City heading up Lazards Merchant Bank.

TYPE 43 ONE.jpg

Type 43 Artists Impression

TYPE 43 TWO.jpg

Type 43 plan view of Artists Impression

Type 44  It must be absolutely boring for me to keep having to tell you that this and that project failed because for the lack of money. The Type 43 failed because Nott did not understand the navy and the provision of warships so he binned the idea. Reducing the size of the ship-Type to create a Type 44 from a Type 43 lost much of its capability although its A/S equipment would remain put. Then the Sea Dart II missile system was cancelled and that spelled the death-knell of the Type 44. -
Type 45  The introduction story found above at the beginning of the Type 82 story, is very relevant to this large Type of ship also. The 45's were designed to protect the new carriers, the first of them being called the CVF-01 and then HMS Queen Elizabeth and the second, CVF-02, and then HMS Prince of Wales. It is sad to reflect that under the 1960's CVA programme, reduced from four carriers to three, but only two were approved to be built, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Duke of Edinburgh, that we still have only two CVF approved to be built, but only one, the Queen Elizabeth can look forward to an active life, taking operational roles turn and turn about with the French Navy and their one and only carrier. The Prince of Wales will sit sulking in some Portsmouth Dockyard backwater and probably be cannibalised for spare parts for "his" mother - can't say for her mother in this case! So much has been written about the Type 45's that it is really pointless adding anything here. There is more 'guff' about this class than the whole of the 1960's navy put together. Apart from her helicopters, I am at a loss as to how they expect to protect carriers against submarine attacks especially when bearing in mind that the Type 45's are not the only "sophisticated" ships/weapons at sea: the Astute class for example, were it to be on the enemy side, would I imagine, be more than a match underwater for the 45's performance above the water. It is possible in the near future that a real or perceived enemy will have Astute-type technology, and certainly within the life span of a Type 45, and there is very little room in such a tight stealth model, to incorporate new weapons and new technology as for generations, other warships have done. Daring.jpg 


Type46  Not used  -
Type47  Not used -
Type48  Not used -
Type49  Not used -
Types 50 to 59  Not used -
Type 60  Not used -
Type 61  Like the Type 41 these ships were the first post war designed-in-detail Frigates and both programmes ran in tandem. The 61's were AD Frigates were the lighter of the two Frigates. The Type had one 4.5 inch gun fitted forward. The A/S weapon was a single Squid. The hulls and engines of this Type and Type 41 were identical and very complicated resulting in difficulties for the ship builders. The diesel engines installation turned out to be very complicated and demanding  and was originally a high speed v16 diesel engine designed for a submarine. It involved 3 engine rooms. It was configured that each shaft had four diesel with two more diesels driving the generators, ten diesel engines in all.  The 61 had a greater range than the 41 because having fewer armaments and magazines it could carry more fuel and could achieve 5000 miles at 15 knots. The Type had originally been designed as a convoy escort and now its speed was very disappointing being well below that required to operate as a Fleet unit. The Type was well fitted with both radar and sonar equipments. Originally, 10 of the Type were planned in 1953. However, only four were built.  The time taken to build due to their complicated design was anywhere from 3½ to 6 years. The Type proved to be a dead end in design evolution and no more Frigates were built with only diesels for propulsion.




Type 62  A conversion programme for WW2 Destroyers into AD Frigates having as weapons, a twin 4 inch mounting, a twin 40mm Bofor and a single Squid. The programme was to start with five surviving 'M' Class destroyers, at a cost of £386,000 each. The full Class Title was recorded as "Aircraft Direction Frigate Limited Conversion Fleet" The radars originally earmarked in 1948 were changed come 1951. The prototypes were to be the Marne [M Class] and the Myngs [Z Class] to be followed by the four remaining M Class plus the intermediate Destroyers  Kempenfelt, Troubridge, Wager, Savage and Ursa. However the new radar could not be fitted onto the intermediate destroyers so they were dropped from the programme. 1954 saw  a radical defence review and four of the M Class were dropped from the programme leaving only the Musketeer as a potential prototype. In September 1955 the new AD Frigate Salisbury [Type 61] was due into Service so there was no need for a trials ships and Musketeer was also dropped from the programme.  So ended the Type 62's. -
Types 63 to 69  Not used -
Types 70 to 79  Not used -
Type 80   Not used -
Type 81  See above -
Type 82  See above -
Type 83  Not used -
Types 84 to 89   Not used -
Types 90 to 99   Not used -
PRÉCIS of the modus operandi of Naval shipbuilding in the UK for the next 30 years from 2019 to 2050 approx.

1.  From the word go the MOD[N] points out that it is the destroyers and frigates  who are the back bone in all aspects of naval operations supporting carriers, nuclear deterrent, combatting pirates, supporting natural disasters, ensuring safety at sea and peaceful passage for all nations in all seas and oceans inter alia, and of course fighting the enemies of the realm. These small vessels are the most likely to be sought for sale by other navies whereas the two CVF's and our nuclear submarine fleet are manifestly not - they are therefore crucially important to support naval ship building in the UK, bringing new and many jobs to UK yards. It will demand the utmost importance to our defence capability with an aim and desire to build the Royal Navy back to strength, whilst  at the same time, adding to our coffers and ensuring a universal friendship with our allies using our ships for a common platform. For the UK it will be a major step change, designed to be fully integrated by the mid 2040's.

2.  The new [step changed] navy with be formed by carrier attack groups with F35 aircraft,  nuclear deterrent [SSBN], nuclear attack submarines [SSN], high-end destroyers and high-end frigates [Types 45 and 26 respectively]  with low-end small frigates, the Type 31e.   The Type 31e can be completed either as a small frigate which I understand can be fitted with a small helicopter and a hangar, off-shore and in-shore minesweepers, patrol vessels, and to whatever customers purchasing  these vessel from new require - a common platform to be found in many foreign navies, and pan-RN doing several jobs.

Small boats commercially available, submarines, maritime aviation and vessels procured  by other government departments,  are not part of this major step change, e.g., customs and boarder control vessels.

To achieve this major ship building step-change, the government has appointed an eminent person called Sir John Parker, who will oversee this post-1920 building concept responsible for all naval surface ship's including design, supply chain [raw material, equipment and systems], manufacture, assembly, integration, trials and acceptance [HAT's = Harbour acceptance trials - and - SAT's = Sea acceptance trials].  Sir John Parker and his department will have far reaching representations, including MOD, the Cabinet and Industry. Apart from supplying the RN with surface ships on time and fully fit for purpose, Sir John will also ensure those UK yards involved will prosper, ensuring employment with competitive remunerations, and that pride in the UK is reinstated on a national basis leading to international confidence in UK's skills and assured delivery on time, defect free.

The Type 31e will be the first ship type ever to be designed at source with exportability in mind.  Everybody gains: the country, the RN, foreign navies, Allied organisations viz, NATO, CENTO, SEATO [with their new names where relevant] industry, employment and pride of purpose.

All ship yards will bid for and get work in competition for build jobs of warships and commercial ships, and will be given reasons for not being awarded the work.

The Royal Navy needs many more vessels, so in the next decade [the 1920's] the government has budgeted  for Sir John Parkers department, Vickers of Barrow the main submarine build contractor and support functions, at the very least, £63 Billion.

In 2015, the government went firm committing itself to at least 19 high-end destroyers and frigates, and to growing that number by the 2030's. Post the introduction of the Type 26 the last of the high-enders, the Type 31e - the small frigate - will be the last type built to serve in the Royal Navy until the Type 26 retires, scheduled for approximately 2053.

None of the Type 26's or 31e's have yet been named [as of August 20th 2019] but we are told that the first Type 26 joins the fleet in 2023.

The Type 31e delivered as a small Low-End frigate, will give the RN increased flexibility whilst maintaining the delivery of smarter functions and responsibilities.

The current end of second decade sees our ship building industry employing approximately 111,000 people in 6800 companies and contributes over £13 billion to the economy. Yards are to be found in the SW, Solent, Northern Ireland, NW and NE England, as well as in Scotland on the Clyde and at Rosyth.  The MOD[N] and the government are keen to expand these areas by competition rather than by patronage.

The UK's expertise in these area's are famous world wide, but under used by the international maritime organisations.

Whilst our yards are known to be fabricators of modular built ships [QE and POW class aircraft carriers] and the 'A' Class SSN's plus SSBN's Trident carrying boat's, currently they are busy attracting defence work from several nations, chiefly, Cammell Laird's are buiding a large  Polar Research ship, Ferguson Marine are buiding two dual-fuel Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, and Babcock contracts with the Irish Navy for four off-shore vessels, whilst the US Coast Guards are waiting for their off-shore patrol cutters, and we must capitalise on this exciting expansion with eager hands-on support from Parliament and the MOD/Maritime Organisations. So a better equipped and bigger navy, more jobs, more money in our coffers and an increasing number of orders.

The Type 31e will have to be automated, cheap to run with a small crew, lower support costs, interchangeability to circumvent defective modules or new and updated equipment's.  Equally, the Type 31e should be run over a shorter service life , and be replaced sooner, selling them off as viable platforms.

All UK industries light or heavy, should be aware of naval requirements, kept up to date by pan-UK directives or discreet forums, by in situ training, with cross pollination  about marine technology, of what is being researched, in trials state, fitted and undergoing trials at sea.  These industries should have full access to government funds and to be encouraged to propose technical innovations of their own to enhance the ship building environment.

From a pan UK ship building  forum the Royal Navy might procure ideal platforms developed for other clients to adapt for naval use, or simply change the color to navy-grey and use it from day one!

As yet a full-fit naval Type 31e specification has not been listed, nor have the multiple permutations possible for the type, but it will be versatile and revolutionary.

I won't be around when Portsmouth harbour is crowded with Type 31e frigates, 31e mine sweepers etc etc., but the proposed step change to increase our flagging navy has to be encouraged and made very welcome.  Good luck to you Sir John Parker.

Time for some more pictures of the ships you will remember.







Salisbury - Type 61 AD Frigate






Good bye and I hope you enjoyed the page.