Thales has achieved a milestone in constructing the UK’s Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates.

The British Royal Navy chose Thales to provide mission systems to the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate in February 2020.

Thales’ NS110 radar is a surveillance system that offers situational awareness capabilities for naval vessels. It provides long-range detection and tracking of air and surface targets, even in adverse weather conditions. The successful factory acceptance test of the NS110 radar is significant for the Type 31 programme, demonstrating the progress in constructing these advanced warships.

A delegation of customers, including Babcock International and the Ministry of Defence, witnessed the successful factory acceptance test. The radar will undergo integration testing before being installed on the Type 31 frigates.

GlobalData’s “The Global Naval Vessels and Surface Combatant Market” report claims that the UK also has ongoing plans to modernize its naval fleet. In this regard, the UK MoD has awarded contracts for five Type 31 general-purpose frigates and eight Type 26 Global Combat Ships, which are expected to replace Type 23 frigates by the mid-2030s.

Speaking about the milestone, Gerben Edelijn, vice president of Thales Above Water Systems, said: “The Type 31 programme is very important to Thales, and we are proud to play such a pivotal role in it. This factory acceptance test demonstrates our commitment to delivery in accordance with specification.”

The Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates are a new generation of warships being built for the Royal Navy. They are designed to provide a flexible, adaptable, and affordable platform for maritime operations, from high-end warfighting to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

James Marques, aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, said the Type 31 would be adaptable in the future, allowing for future upgrades: “If you have a slightly cheaper and easy-to-operate design like the 31, which should come with much off the shelf technology, then it can be used for ‘lighter’ duties like anti-piracy and patrolling. I can imagine, however, it will learn from recent construction lessons and be highly modular with space for later upgrades.” 

Babcock International, the prime contractor for the Type 31 programme, is responsible for the overall design and construction of the frigates. Thales is one of the critical suppliers of mission-critical systems and equipment, including the NS110 radar.

“The success of this milestone is very important to the T31 enterprise. We’re proud to be part of this national endeavour and to be providing mission-critical systems to our customers,” Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales in the UK, stated.