Thales has joined the industry team bidding for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme as part of the country’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The industry team comprises Babcock, BMT, Harland & Wolf and Ferguson Marine, who will collaborate to jointly deliver five Type 31e frigates to the UK Royal Navy for £1.25bn.

As part of Team 31, Thales will have the responsibility of developing the mission system solution for the navy vessels and Babcock will serve as the overall project programme lead.

Thales UK chief executive officer Victor Chavez said: “Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31.

“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.”

“We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create an exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long-term value for money.”

Babcock and BMT will collaborate to design the Type 31e light frigate based on their expertise in designing both naval and commercial vessels.

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In addition, Thales and Babcock are partners in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which has been responsible for the design and construction of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

Babcock chief executive officer 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.

“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.”

In recent trials, Thales has been collaborating with the UK Navy to assess if investments made in submarine sonar systems can provide additional benefits for frontline sailors in surface ships such as the Type 23.