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.


  1. Whilst this is good news – we really do need a strategy for defence shipbuilding and this needs to be a 50 year commitment to numbers and the workforce.

    I would like to see us have a fleet of 12 Type 26 to replace both the T23 and T45’s and be fully configured. Expect these to cost £800m each and be built at a rate of 1 every 2 years.

    Add to this 12 ASW and 12 GPPF Frigates (Valour /Formidable etc.) and this gives the navy a strategic direction for the next 50 years that gives certainty of orders but allows the RN to order 6 classes of 12 ships each over 50 years, creating a sustainable industry that is capable of gaining export orders.

    The RN also needs a small boat fleet and I see this Being provided by a combination of Safeboats Mk6 (64), Atlas Arcims MHVC (64), CB90 Combat Boats for the Royal Marines (128) and some Pac24 Ribs.

    Subs would be 10 SSN and 4 SSBN built every 25 years and the RFA would have 20 ships every 25 years to include 8 new Assault / Solid Stores ship (K.Doorman class?) that will provide hospital facilities, assault capabilities and act as a mothership.

    Total 50 year ship building plan for the RN could cost £2.5bn p.a and consist of the following:

    (All vessels have a 25 yr lifespan except carriers)
    (Operational fleet size)

    Carriers – 2 (2) – £4bn each
    T26 – 24 (12) – £1bn each
    T31 – 48 (24) – £500m each
    SSN – 20 (10) – £1.5bn each
    SSBN – 8 (4) – £4bn each
    FFT – 16 (8) – £250m each
    JSS – 16 (8) £250m each
    Specialist – 8 (4) £250m each

    144 major naval vessels over 50 yrs.

    Small Ship Fleet

    Patrol Vessel 128 (64). – £10m each
    Assault Boats 256 (128) – £3m each
    MHVC 128 (64) – £2m each
    Pac 24 Ribs 256 (128) – £0.25m each

    768 small vessels over 50 yrs.

    The above moves the RN from a force that is piecemeal and under armed to one with offensive punch and importantly scale. The large increase in small vessels gives the RN an assymetrical capability that it doesn’t currently have and again gives scale and allows for targeted swarm attacks if required. (Note: MHVC will be conducted by any vessel operating the new Mine countermeasures assets that should be ready in circa 5 – 10 years).

    Seems to me we could have 2 or 3 shipbuilding sites with Combat ships being built in Glasgow, Subs in Barrow and Small vessels in Portsmouth or Liverpool. RFA fleet could also be built in any of the surface sites.

    Given where we are with Brexit and the fact that we seem to subsidise car manufacturing, how about investing in something that is as important as this.

    • Interesting. I quite like it. One question. In your fleet there is no place for River-like OPVs? At £10m each your patrol vessels clearly aren’t Rivers (BAE didn’t gouge us so much that the true cost should have been £10m!). What are your £10m patrol vessels? More like the Border Force 42m cutters? Any armaments?

    • Nice wish list and makes sense however never going to happen…… this government – and prior governments to be fair – don’t put any value on a strong navy and haven’t learnt the lessons of the Falklands – until the next ‘Falklands’ flares up and…..

      • @David
        Unfortunately I agree, but David Cameron does have a point, the generals, admirals and air commodores all complain once they have left office and not before.

        We have the worlds 4th biggest defence budget, do not pay our people minimum wage and still don’t seem to have good equipment. Its about time something was done about this. I would prefer to be a danish soldier than a british – at least the Danes give their forces proper equipment and support..

        Best to do something well – than just spending money blindly – kind of symptomatic of GB at the moment really – too much money spent for too little return.

      • Sorry, the other thing is that this is eminently within budget – I have put the costs of the equipment against each line item and in my opinion those costs are 20% higher than they should be (FREMM is £750m, Over Huitfeldt closer to £600m and the Meko’s around £400m, Astutes are closer to £1.2bn perhaps even lower).

        Comes down to really poor management, governance and oversight, as well as a bit of blackmail from BAE and others…

  2. Having a Victor Meldrew moment –
    “I don’t believe it !”
    Long overdue , with Autumn statement
    And Ship building strategy now due
    Some sort of announcement is in the
    Pipeline .
    Hopefully there will be another surprise
    Of ordering more than 8 !!!

  3. I would like to know where all the personnel are going to come from for all of this. Ps I don’t think there is a Nissan subsidy as such, its only been promised if things go wrong.

  4. At last the delays are over and it will be good to see the first Type 45’s order going in.
    We are getting new carriers in service soon,the nuclear subs program is well under way and this really was the missing piece of the rebuilding of the Royal Navy.

    • Yeah. It’ll be a huge relief to get this going (T45 is a typo for T26 I assume). I know many of us worry that the number might get cut even further at some point, a repeat of T45 history when 8 became 6, but at least once the T26 line gets running we can, when in foolishly optimistic mood, have a vague hope that some government might see sense and increase numbers above 8. Until production starts there’s zero chance of that happening.

  5. @julian

    You are correct – no OPV’s – the £10m boat is based on the safeboats Mk6 which is a 26m boat that can do a lot of policing and coastal activity as well as deliver the MHVC kit in OP Kippon if required. The cost the USN paid for these was $6m each.

    The fleet is the end state after 25 year although clearly we can get there in about 10 as a fair amount of these assets are like for like replacement. Minehunters, OPV’s and dedicated assault ships all get the chop in preference to more light frigates using UAV’s (we have just signed a contract to develop) and joint support ships.

    The cost of these assets do not include any aviation as that should come from the RAF budget.

    I have costed maintenance, resources, logistics and facilities for this fleet and it comes in at £9bn p.a. I expect this could be trimmed further once the build economies kick in.

    A Formidable class frigate has a fully loaded crew of 90 (inc aviation) and packs a real punch, compare this with our T45 that until recently was unable to sink a ship larger than a corvette as it did not have any offensive capability (gun will not sink a ship on its own) They now have harpoon, but no LAM, No Torpedoes, No Sonar, its a pathetic state of affairs that a £1bn ship cannot actually fight. This plan corrects that whilst putting our shipbuilding industry back in the game. If we want to sell submarines though we need to develop an SSK design.

    The French do this, so do the germans (take a look at the MEko A200’s sold to Algeria – blinding) – why not us


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