Type system of the Royal Navy

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The Type system is a classification system used by the British Royal Navy to classify surface escorts by function. The system evolved in the early 1950s, when the Royal Navy was experimenting with building single-purpose escort vessels with specific roles in light of experience gained in World War II. The original (July 1950) numbering scheme was:

Type 1X were Anti-Submarine (ASW) Frigates (when the numbers ran out in the 1960s, ASW Frigates continued as the Type 2X series).
Type 4X were Anti-Aircraft (AAW) Frigates (this later evolved into the "Destroyer" Type series).
Type 6X were Aircraft-Direction (ADW) Frigates.
Type 8X were Multi-Role ships. An Admiralty Fleet Order defined these ships as "Destroyers" if they could achieve "fleet speed" or as "Sloops" if they could not.[1]

The following Type numbers are known to have been used, or proposed;

Types 11-30, Anti-Submarine Frigates[edit]

  • Type 11 : Diesel powered anti-submarine frigate based on hull of Type 41 / 61. Not built.
  • Type 12 Whitby : Steam powered, high-speed "first-rate" anti-submarine frigate.
  • Type 12M Rothesay : Modified Type 12 design.
  • Type 12I Leander : Improved Type 12, general purpose frigate.
  • Type 14 Blackwood : Steam powered, high-speed, "second-rate" anti-submarine frigate.
  • Type 15 : High-speed anti submarine frigate, full conversion of wartime destroyer hulls of the "R" class.
  • Type 16 : High-speed anti submarine frigate, limited conversion of wartime destroyer hulls of the "T", "O" and "P" classes.
  • Type 17 : "Third-rate" anti-submarine frigate, analogous to wartime corvettes. Design abandoned in 1953. Not built.
  • Type 18 : High-speed anti submarine frigate, intermediate conversion of wartime destroyer hulls of the "N", "S", "T" and "Z" classes (and intended to replace the Type 16. Design abandoned in 1953. Not built.
  • Type 19 : Very high speed (42 knot) gas turbine powered anti-submarine frigate. Design abandoned in 1965. Not built.
  • Type 21 Amazon: General purpose, gas-turbine powered commercially designed frigate.
  • Type 22 Broadsword : Large, gas-turbine powered, anti-submarine frigates.
  • Type 23 Duke : Gas-turbine and diesel powered, anti-submarine frigates. Smaller and less expensive than the Type 22, with similar capabilities. 16 built.
  • Type 24 : Cheap frigate design ("Future Light Frigate") intended for export. In RN service would have served as a towed array ASW ship. Not built.
  • Type 25 : More capable development of the Type 24, designed to have almost the capability of a Type 22 but at only three-quarters of the cost. Much of the thinking, including the diesel-electric machinery, went into the Type 23. Not built.
  • Type 26 : Global Combat Ship : First announced in March 2010, and formerly known as the Future Surface Combatant. Initial orders placed in February 2014.[2]
  • Type 31 : The Type 31 is the proposed General Purpose variant of the Type 26 frigate as set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.[3]

Types 41-60, Anti-Aircraft Frigates/Destroyers[edit]

  • Type 41 Leopard-class : Diesel powered anti-aircraft frigate built on common hull with Type 61.
  • Type 42(i) East coast frigate : High speed coastal escort. Not built
  • Type 42(ii) Sheffield-class : Gas-turbine powered, fleet area-defence anti-aircraft destroyer.
  • Type 43 : Large gas-turbine powered, "double-ended", fleet area-defence anti-aircraft destroyer. Not built.
  • Type 44: A smaller "single-ended" version of the Type 43 intended as a cheaper alternative. Not built.
  • Type 45 Daring-class : Fleet area-defence anti-aircraft destroyer to replace Type 44 project. 6 built.

Types 61-80, Aircraft Direction Frigates[edit]

  • Type 61 Salisbury : Diesel powered aircraft-direction frigate built on common hull with Type 41.
  • Type 62 M class : High-speed aircraft-direction frigate, full conversion of wartime destroyer hulls. Not built.

Types 81-99, General Purpose Frigates/Destroyers/Sloops[edit]

  • Type 81 Tribal : Single-shaft steam / gas-turbine powered general purpose "colonial" frigates.
  • Type 82 Bristol : Large steam / gas-turbine powered fleet anti-aircraft and anti-submarine destroyer. 1 built of 4 initially planned.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ADM 167/135, Admiralty Board Minutes and Memoranda, quoted in Brown & Moore, p.73.
  2. ^ MoD signs £859m Type 26 warship development deal - 20 Feb 15 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-31554494 (accessed 4 Mar 15)
  3. ^ http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2016/02/12/type-31-royal-navy-general-purpose-frigate/80281358/