The Government have again confirmed the numbers and entry into service date of the Type 31e Frigates.
Earl Howe, The Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lord said in response to a question:
“The National Shipbuilding Strategy envisages that the Type 31e will undertake a broad range of roles currently delivered by the Type 23 general purpose frigate, of which HMS Argyll is currently the first to leave service in 2023. We want the first Type 31e to enter service in 2023, with all five ships delivered by 2028.
The exact dates for the delivery of the Type 31e frigates are yet to be determined so it is too early to release the numbers of ships in service at any one time.”
This comes not long after the previously suspended Type 31e programme, which could see sections of the ships built in Scotland and England, was restarted.
An MoD spokesperson said that a prior information notice has been issued to industry and a new contract notice has been issued.
“We have issued a Prior Information Notice for our new Type 31e fleet and plan to start discussions with industry next week to ensure we do not lose any momentum. There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy. We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set.”
Prior to this official confirmation, a Ministry of Defence spokesman insisted that the project would still be going ahead, hinting that industry will have to refine their bids to meet the price tag:
“This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.”
According to USNI here, an article published recently by Jane’s stated that at least two of the potential bidders had earlier regarded the terms and conditions set by the MoD as unworkable, citing both commercial aspects and intellectual property rights.
“Even if the MoD achieves its stated intention of ‘delivering’ the Type 31e lead ship in 2023, the subsequent sea trials, crew training and work-up could see entry into operational service slipping a year or two.”