Innovative Features in Britain’s New Frigate

The Brits are planning a new class of frigate, the Type 26, that has some interesting features.

The ship is going to be a close contemporary of the Offshore Patrol Cutter with both the new frigate and the OPC programs scheduled to deliver their first ship in 2020. The Type 26 is expected to displace 5,400 tons full load, so it is about 20% larger than the National Security Cutters and perhaps twice the size of the  OPC. Still some of the thinking might be applicable.


“For propulsion, BAE has opted for a conventional but upgraded hybrid system combining gas turbines for top speeds and diesel generators for a fuel-efficient quiet mode, and these generators will provide significantly higher speeds than those of the Type 23.”

The 4,300 ton Type 23 cruises 7,800 miles at 17 knots so presumably they are talking about 20 knots or more on diesel-electric alone, for this relatively large ship. Like the now 22 year old type 23s, they will replace, the Type 26s’ generators will supply power for both propulsion and hotel services.

Boats, Mission Modules, and Aircraft:

“For greater flexibility of the combat systems, the ship will have an integrated mission bay and hangar, allowing the Navy to more easily deploy varying numbers of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and boats according to the situation.”

The frigate, like many new designs, incorporates provision for reconfigurable space. What they have done differently is make this space adaptable for trade-offs among helicopters, unmanned vehicles (air, surface, and sub-surface), and boats.

Computer Systems:

“This basically means having a single computer system that can support the multiple pieces of software used throughout the ship, rather than installing separate hardware systems and local area networks from each supplier.

“Using blade server technology originally developed for the banking industry to provide reliable, high-power processing, the computing environment will be able to run different “virtual” operating systems to cope with the variety of programmes the ship will use, from navigation to combat management.”

Common hardware sounds like a great idea, but some are already questioning the choice of a Windows operating system.


There are lots of conceptual drawings, a couple of videos, and additional links along with exhaustive comment (over 500) here.

Coast Guard Manned Frigates in WWII

Here is a little article (unfortunately this link is now broken) about an ordinary Coastie’s experience in WWII that, in addition to having a cute dog story, includes reference to a little remembered program that resulted in the Coast Guard manning 75 Tacoma Class Patrol frigates (PFs), beginning in October 1943. These ships were adaptations of the British “River” Class, a design similar in purpose to Destroyer Escorts, but built to merchant standards by the Maritime Commission.

The ships were 2238 tons full load, 304 feet in length, with a 36’6′ beam and 12’8″ draft. They were steam powered and used triple expansion reciprocating engines for 5,500 HP and a speed of 20 knots. They had a range of 9500 nmi at 12 knots. The ships were typically armed with three 3″/50s, two twin 40mms, nine 20mms, a “hedgehog” multiple ASW mortar, depth charges, and eight depth charge projectors (K-Guns).

Twenty-three of the class were converted to serve as weather ships with the aft 3″/50 replaced by a balloon shelter and the crew reduced from 190 to 176. They replaced Coast Guard manned merchant ships that had been providing the service previously.

The battle, with subsequent rescue, referred to in the article, was the Battle off Samar, an inspiring story, worth a look if you are not familiar with it.