Latest offering for the RN Type 31 frigate

UK Defence Journal

Babcock unveil Arrowhead 120, a contender for the Type 31 Frigate

By George Allison

8 September 2017


The latest offering for the Type 31 Frigate programme is from Babcock, the Arrowhead 120.

The company say Arrowhead is capable of fulfilling and supporting global maritime security requirements and representing defence interests world-wide.

Babcock say they can supply the vessels from its own shipyards or assist with building vessels locally via a technical collaboration.

The Arrowhead design allows for either a single build strategy, using the maximum of pre-outfitting for efficiency, or a cross-site build strategy utilising modules. The latter approach has been successfully adopted by many naval programmes using a technical collaboration model to deliver completed ships at a lead yard.

The company are promoting their claims that they can deliver the whole build package, including licences, design and materials and provide assistance with infrastructure upgrades and construction support if required.


“Our collaborative capability is proven in the success of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. Babcock is a key member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance responsible for the delivery of these ships to the Royal Navy. Similar collaborative work is being undertaken for the US Coast Guard in the development of the design for a new Offshore Patrol Cutter with Eastern Shipbuilding in the USA.”

The vessel is able to host a Medium Calibre Gun options up to 5” for maritime interdiction, self-protection and engagement of surface and land targets. Small calibre weapons up to 30mm calibre can be located in pre-designated upper-deck weapon positions. Provision for up to 8 SSGW and Vertical Launch missiles (SAM/SSGW) up to 16 cells. The option also exists to fit Close-In Weapons System (e.g. Phalanx).


“The baseline Arrowhead design can be configured to meet the broad range of operational requirements and profiles a general purpose frigate will be called upon to undertake.

The Arrowhead design acknowledges operational roles will change through the life of the ship and from mission to mission. Multiple mission bays have been incorporated into the design allowing for rapid reconfiguration and rerole to meet changing operational needs.”

With large re-configurable mission and payload areas onboard, Arrowhead , it is hoped, can provide flexibility across a range of operational roles, from HADRO (Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Operations) to unmanned systems deployment and operation.