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While work on the various components and systems of the Type 26 Frigate is well underway, the Defence Secretary has confirmed work on the hull will start in July.

Andrew Marr interviewed defence secretary Michael Fallon where Fallon discussed the frigate build while talking about the record of his party on defence:

“There are new frigates on the way, to cut steel on in July”

BAE Systems recently awarded further manufacturing equipment contracts to six companies for the Type 26 Frigate. According to a BAE press release, the new contracts include key items such as steering systems, doors, davit system and mooring equipment for the first three ships.

Geoff Searle, Type 26 Global Combat Ship Programme Director, said:

“The progress of our partners in the supply chain is a crucial aspect of making sure we are ready to cut steel on our first of class next summer. Agreeing these contracts now will ensure our suppliers are on track to deliver equipment to Glasgow at the point it is required in the manufacturing phase.”

The press release also states that 33 companies are working with BAE Systems to deliver the Type 26 ships.

The Type 26 Frigate fleet had been repeatedly delayed over huge financial problems, with the MoD lacking the funds to start production and instead opting to build smaller and cheaper Offshore Patrol Vessels in the meantime in an attempt to retain some of the workforce.

Ruth Smeeth, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North asked at a Defence Committee session on the National Shipbuilding Strategy:

“Now we will move on to skills. You stress the importance of the workforce to build capacity in the industry. What are the risks to the workforce of any further delay to the construction of the Type 26?”

Sir John Parker, author of an independent report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy answered:

“Workforces are secured only by workload. I mentioned earlier that BAE obviously have had to reduce the employment in Clyde yards.

The five OPVs have taken up quite a bit of slack but not all of it, so they have got to build back up again to the level of resource needed for the Type 26. If it is contracted this year, clearly it will be another year before that probably builds up to a significant level.”

Michael Fallon told BBC Radio Scotland last year:

“Nobody is shortchanging the Clyde. This is a huge moment for the Clyde; we’re confirming we’re going ahead with the steel cut next summer, earlier than expected.

The first eight will be the Type 26 combat ships. After that, we will be building a lighter frigate and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment.”

The Ministry of Defence has also awarded a £100m contract to deliver the Sea Ceptor air defence missile system for the new Type 26 Frigate. The new ‘Demonstration and Manufacture’ phase contract will support additional design work and allow equipment to be manufactured to equip the entire Type 26 fleet.

21 COMMENTS

  1. “The first eight will be the Type 26 combat ships. After that, we will be building a lighter frigate and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment.”

    Not that I believe a word these people say, or maybe more charitably that the plans they talk about and believe in today will survive further hits to the economy and corresponding budget cuts, but the end of that quote where he says “and we will end up with a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment” is actually a stronger statement than the one that was being made when T31 was first announced. At SDSR2015 the announced plan was to build 8 x T26 plus “at least 5” x T31. There was an aspiration to raise overall escort numbers but “at least 5” could have been met by building just 5 to keep escort numbers constant and fail in what was only an aspiration for an increase. If I read Fallon’s statement correctly that seems to be a commitment to at least 6 T31 since that is the minimum number needed to increase escort numbers.

    Then again, I do note Fallon’s use of “fleet” rather than “escorts” or “frigates”. With 5 x River Batch 2 replacing 4 x existing Rivers that is adding 1 hull to “the fleet” so we could still end up with only 5 x T31 and fulfill Fallon’s statement of “a fleet that is larger than the fleet at the moment”.

    I’m probably over-analysing all of this. At least we now seem to have a date for first steel cut on T26.

  2. “The Type 26 Frigate fleet had been repeatedly delayed over huge financial problems”

    Or design problems, though design problems can be financial ones as well.

    Fallon: “we’re confirming we’re going ahead with the steel cut next summer, earlier than expected”

    No it isn’t. The contract was supposed to be announced end 2014, and then steel to be cut the next year – 2015 not 2017. It’s 2 years late, plus the rest of it.

    Like Julian I’ll believe it when I see it – or hear it!

  3. Names? What will be the names of the Type 26s? My hope is for classic, historic names: Warspite, Valiant, Lion, Renown, Tiger, Defiance, Orion, Endymion, etc… Those are some of the most beloved, successful, historic and heroic names in RN history. Time to bring them back. RN Sailors could use the boost in service pride in the days of poor recruiting.

  4. Late, very late, over budget.
    Too low in numbers. Need 13 not 8.
    The type 26 was supposed to rebuild the RN fighting power, instead we are, yet again, getting a £1 billion per hull expensive capital ship.
    Absolute disaster, the RN in 2008-2009 was told to give up type 45 destroyer hulls 7+8 to help bring into service on time and with adequate numbers the type 26 frigate.
    So we got just 6 type 45s, then history repeats itself and we get a commitment to build just 8 type 26s.
    what a cock up.

    • Agreed Mr. Bell…… and then there is the infamous ‘fitted-for-but-not-with’ fiasco….. I wonder how much kit will actually make it onto the Type 26s considering 10yrs after introduction to service, the Type 45s STILL don’t have all the Gucci kit they were supposed to have…. In fact, you could argue that after next year the Type 45s will have less as Harpoon will be deleted fleet-wide….. utterly, utterly depressing state if affairs….

    • the sad thing is that it has all happened before, witness the cuts in the fleet by labour in the 1970’s, and the coalition recently cutting orders in the t45 and t26 orders.the u.k.’s ability to make cohearrent decisions on the armed services is a national scandal will we see the corbynistas and may ites have the same bravery to cancel the f 35 and build ships instead. selling 72 harriers to the u.s for just£116 million(less than £2 million per aircraft shows the defence procurement department to be as culpable for the mess as the treasury 12 type 45’s cut 6 13 type 26 cut to 8

  5. David. Good points. By GUCCI kit i would think you mean standard armament for warships of this size and class. Royal Navy warships soon will be the only major combatants in the world utterly unable to sink enemy ships with retirement of harpoon without replacement.
    I am just flabbergasted by the fact that this is acceptable to MOD mandarins and Fallon.
    The type 45s should without doubt be fitted with mk41 vl strike cells asap.
    Then get the same for type 26 frigates as well as increase the order for type 26 back upto the planned 13. Tell BAE to get it done but not for £1billion a hull/ each.
    seems BAE cannot build any vessel without it costing well over the odds.

    • another reason for the reduction orders is the u.k forces techno obsession which bumps the total cost of programmes up to the point they can’t be afforded. the whole type 26 programme should be the subject of a full public enquiry.those responsible for their mistakes should be held accountable.

    • By the time the first Type 26 is ready to go so will LASRM and since it will come with a deck launcher as well as be MK41 compatible it is worth waiting on. Harpoon is obsolete and so is the latest upgrade. The plan appears to be to gap the SSM requirement for a few years and then buy off the shelf from the US, same as we do for Tomahawk. It will be worth the wait if all our escort ships can be armed with the same effective SSM in the early 2020s. Type 26 would need to use vls versions of the missile (as no space on deck) and Type 45 and 31 could use deck launchers.

  6. Are the sea ceptors on the type 26 going to be the quad packed vl system so 64-80 missiles available or the same as the vl on type 23s so only 32 missiles available?
    Important to know as standard doctrine is to launch a countering ripple of 2-3 defensive missiles for every inbound target to guarantee defence.

    • I recall that was also SOP with SeaWolf – it was fired in pairs at an incoming threat. Interestingly, in the 2011 Libya op we had a frigate off the coast armed with……. 4 missiles only – I kid you not. Granted, the threat posed was most likely less but somehow, someone saw fit to put the crew in harm’s way without a full complement of missiles. Stranger things have happened on operations and I wouldn’t have wanted to be around if suddenly some old silkworms showed up on radar!! Strongly worded letter anyone???

    • We can’t know for sure until build starts and we see updated models but the latest that we saw had Sea Ceptor single-packed in specialist Sea Ceptor launchers with a bank of 24 single pack amidships and another 24 single-pack forward with the forward area also having 24 Mk41 so that’s a standard Sea Ceptor load-out of 48 plus, if for some crazy reason they wanted to go all Sea Ceptor on a tasking, potentially another 96 from quad-packing the 24 Mk41s up front.

      The sad fact is that the T26 will probably sail, at least for the first few years, with nothing to put in the Mk41s. The even sadder fact is that if that is the case it might well tempt the MoD to “do a T45” on them, fit the T26 for-but-not-with the Mk41s, and then maybe never fit them.

      Personally, as I posted in another thread, the Aussie bid almost certainly requires an all Mk41 silo up front and BAE probably has a design variant for that. I would rather see the RN go that route too, 24 dedicated Sea Ceptor amidships and an all Mk41 silo up front with some quad packed with Sea Ceptor. It would give a higher maximum load-out, more flexibility, and would probably avoid the MoD being able to get away with launching the first T26 with no Mk41 at all.

      • Well said Julian; as you eluded too, we’re now 10yrs into the Type 45s and still no Mk41 or worse still, no rumour or hint of when…..

    • The Sea Ceptor on Type 26 are in 3 separate bespoke (cheap steel tube) launch silos. 1 x 24 cell module aft of the 24 cell MK41 vls and 1 x 12 cell module port side of funnel base and 1 x 12 cell module opposite on the starboard side of funnel base.

  7. Peer through Fallon’s shameless and not so clever spin and the facts are clear for even the most ardent Tory loyalist to absorb:
    1. The programme is already 2 years late rather than somehow “early”, as he claims.
    2. The numbers of T26 have been slashed from 13 to the (currently stated!) 8. The 5 so-called T31 (a cheap street-fighter by comparison) will NOT fill this capability hole. Fallon’s crude attempt at total “Fleet” numbers is a weak sleight of hand that confuses only himself!

    My Opinion (that of a former Director of Surface Combatants) is that the existing programme runs a very high risk of further platform reductions as the economy’s post-Brexit fragility – and the geopolitical consequence of an independent Scotland – both look increasingly likely.

    The BAe bean counters who are ruining (sorry, “running”) this programme should be invited to present their Risk Register plans to the Defence Select Committee for public scrutiny. Particular focus should be placed upon these financial and build yard commitments, as a direct result of Brexit realpolitik.

  8. Re names what about resurrecting the county names
    Cornwall, London, Durham, Glamorgan, Antrim, etc that foster a Link between areas of the country and the RN and might help end the sea blindness our once great maritime nation is suffering from.

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