The Prime Minister has confirmed plans to increase the size of the Royal Navy escort fleet to 24 vessels.
During a dicussion following a statement on the publication of the ‘Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy‘, Boris Johnson said:
“In shipbuilding, we will have by the end of this decade 24 frigates as opposed to the 15 today.”
The Royal Navy currently has 13 frigates, it’s safe to assume that the Prime Minister misspoke. Johnson also meant escort vessels rather than just frigates, which would mean an increase of 5 vessels on todays numbers of 13 frigates and 6 destroyers.
Am told by MoD press office that the 24 by end of the decade was actually a reference to surface fleet numbers (apparently PM corrected himself in the house although i havent found where yet)
— Richard Scott (@rich_scott2) March 16, 2021
The Integrated Review confirmed plans for new Type 32 Frigates which will be built in addition to the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates, many had previously suspected that this is part of an intention to bringing the escort fleet up to 24 vessels from its current 19.
Referring to his promise to “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe”, the Prime Minister said last year:
“If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said at the time:
“We’re going to commit to the next generation of frigate the Type 32. We’re going to commit to bringing online the Type 31 and Type 26 Frigates in Scotland.”
According to a press release from the Government:
“The £16.5 billion investment confirms our order of 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31 frigates, commits us to the next generation Type 32, and supports the future solid support ships that will supply our Carrier Strike Group. Whilst this is reassuring news for the defence industry, Defence will not overlook the challenges that are ahead, to continue addressing the savings still required and the efficiencies we need to make.”