It has emerged that the Ministry of Defence are preparing for a ‘major announcement’ about the Type 26 Frigate tomorrow in Glasgow.
Manufacturing of the Type 26 Frigate was initially expected to start in 2016 but steel will now be cut for the first Type 26 in 2017.
The announcement would confirm claims that orders on the Clyde have now increased over what was previously promised with the Clyde building 5 Offshore Patrol vessels, 8 Type 26 Frigates and “at least” 5 Type 31 Frigates.
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 vessel will replace 8 Anti-Submarine Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE. Five general purpose Type 31 Frigates will replace the 5 remaining Type 23’s.
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.
Peter Roberts, Senior Research Fellow for Sea Power and Maritime Studies at RUSI has said referring to the commitment of the government to the Clyde:
“There is going to be a commitment, we see that from the government, of continued shipbuilding orders.”
A MoD spokesperson said:
“The Government is committed to building ships on the Clyde and to the Type 26 programme. Over the next decade, we will spend around £8 billion on Royal Navy warships.
As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, we will build two new (in addition to three already in build) offshore patrol vessels on the Clyde, maintaining Scottish shipbuilding capability ahead of the start of the Type 26 build.
We will also consult with industry and trade unions as part of the national shipbuilding strategy, which will set the UK shipbuilding industry on a sustainable footing for the future.”
The SNP and others had said that any reduction in the number of Type 26 frigates being built on the Clyde would be a “betrayal” of the workforce.
The Type 26 will be an adaptable, powerful and flexible frigate with a wide array of cutting edge sensors and weapons designed to help it effectively and efficiently meet the evolving mission requirements inherent to modern warfare.
All frigates will be built in Scotland.