The news of the steel cutting for the first Type 26 Frigate, HMS Glasgow, was met with remarks by an SNP MP implying only three of the class are to be built.
Douglas Chapman, SNP Spokesperson for Defence Procurement, said today:
“While we welcome today’s long awaited start to cut steel for three frigates, three is clearly not the thirteen promised to the workforce on the Clyde.
Following repeated questioning yesterday the UK government could not confirm the date for the publication of their much vaunted National Shipbuilding Strategy due last year, which would help bring security and clarity to the future of naval Shipbuilding both on the Clyde and at Rosyth.
A key component of a steady stream of work for Scottish Shipbuilding is the new T31e smaller frigate and again yesterday the UK Minister could only say it was still ‘at the design stage’ – where it has been for the best part of two years. It is welcome that the workforce on the Clyde will push ahead of the Type 26 frigate programme. It is absolutely essential that the Clyde retains the skills and experience it has as a world centre of shipbuilding expertise.”
While we do agree that the Government are on the date for the publication of their National Shipbuilding Strategy, our issue here is the implication that only three frigates are to be built.
‘Three is not thirteen’, a contact in the University of Glasgow maths department assures us this is true.
Warships of this size and complexity are ordered in batches. The Type 45 Destroyer was ordered in batches, why should the Type 26 Frigate be any different?
As we predicted before the announcement that the first batch of Type 26 Frigates were ordered, some groups have taken the batch build process to indicate a cut and it’s becoming comical.
Ordering in batches is common for projects of this size around the world and was last seen with the Royal Navy for the Type 45 Destroyers and recent Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Type 45s first batch order was for three vessels just like Type 26.
Additionally, it was recently announced recently that work had started on the fifth of five new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built on the Clyde.
This begs the question, why would a defence spokesperson who has been party to Defence Select Committee meetings discussing this very topic imply that only three will be built? We’ll leave that up to you.