The core design of these new ships is called the Type 31 export (T31e) frigate, although there are already questions as to whether the type is a frigate or a corvette. Either way, the proposed price tag (£250 million/$325 million per vessel) makes them attractive to the Treasury, but questions remain over the international market.
So what are the international competitors to Britain’s proposed T31e?
In France, DCNS – now called the Naval Group – will provide a basic frigate (the FREMM class) for around $450 million, as it has done to Morocco.
The Germans can float a similarly capable vessel for around $650 million (the F125 Baden-Württemberg Class Frigate).
The higher-cost end of the European export market comes from Spain and the highly capable, long-range F100 Alvaro de Bazan Class Frigate from the world renowned Navantia shipbuilders.
More comparable with the T31e is Korea’s FFX/F2000/Incheon class.
There are, of course, two other alternative exporters with established designs: Russia and China.