BAE Systems is promoting the Type 26 frigate in a potential deal with New Zealand.
No decision is likely to be made for a number of years for a ship not likely to hit the water towards the end of next decade, however.
Steve Timms, BAE managing director for naval ships was reported as saying:
“New Zealand is clearly interested”, adding that a deal could involve “two or three” vessels.
New Zealand would join the UK, Australia and Canada in ordering the design.
In addition, the Financial Times reported recently that Boris Johnson, former UK foreign secretary and a favourite to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, told members of the Conservative party in Perth last week that he thought New Zealand would “come in” to the Type 26 programme.
The Type 26 frigate represents the future backbone of the Royal Navy and a massive leap forward in terms of flexibility of surface vessels enjoyed by the service.
The class will replace 8 of the 13 Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE.
The programme has been underway since 1998, initially under the name ‘Future Surface Combatant’. The programme was brought forward in the 2008 budget at the expense of Type 45 destroyers 7 and 8.