UK defence contractor Babcock International Group has collaborated with industry partners to jointly bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) new $1.25bn Type31e general-purpose light frigate programme.

Babcock is set to partner with French company Thales Group, Northern Ireland-based shipbuilding firm Harland & Wolff, naval designer BMT Group and marine engineer Ferguson Marine under the initiative.

Babcock chief executive Archie Bethel said: “Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the aircraft carrier alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.

"With a high degree of UK content and the use of innovative technologies, we believe that our approach will deliver real benefits to the UK."

“We firmly believe that our combined skills can deliver an affordable and effective Type31e frigate programme for the Royal Navy and offer something new and exciting in the export market.

“With a high degree of UK content and the use of innovative technologies, we believe that our approach will deliver real benefits to the UK.”

The deal will see Babcock lead the overall Type 31e frigate programme, while Thales will be responsible for developing the missile system and BMT will assist with the design of the navy vessel.

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The UK MoD launched plans for the procurement of the navy’s new Type 31e ships in September last year with the intention of strengthening the UK shipbuilding industry and expanding the British Navy fleet.

Approximately £250m is expected to be spent on each of the first batch of five Type 31e frigates, which are to be built in the UK.

The Type 31e ships are set to enter service by 2023 and will replace five of the current Type 23 frigates.

The new vessels will be deployed to perform a number of roles such as Fleet Ready Escort duties in home waters and fixed tasks in the South Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf, as well as support the UK’s Nato commitments in the Mediterranean.