The UK has outlined plans to build the first batch of Type 31e General Purpose Frigates (GPFF) according to the newly unveiled National Shipbuilding Strategy, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced.
According to the strategy, a price cap has been set of no more than £250M each for the first batch of five frigates. In line with standing UK policy on warships, they will be built in the UK.
Construction of the ships will be shared between shipyards around the UK with assembly at a central hub. Cammel Laird (Birkenhead), Babcock (Appledore and Devonport), Ferguson (Port Glasgow), Harland & Wolff (Belfast), A&P (Tyne) are all looking for a possible share in this modest programme.
The Type 31e will be designed to meet the needs of the Royal Navy and with the export market in mind from the beginning. So, shipyards will be encouraged to work with global partners to ensure the vessel is competitive on the export market.
The first ships are set to be in service by 2023.
The option to build the Type 31e frigates in blocks reflects how the biggest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, was constructed. The aircraft carrier was built in blocks by over 10,000 people in six main British cities. She was then assembled in Rosyth, before commencing sea trials in June and arriving in her home port of Portsmouth last month.
About Type 31 frigate:
Type 31 frigate also known as the General Purpose Frigate (GPFF), is a planned class of frigate of the Royal Navy that will enter service in the 2020s alongside the more high-end Type 26 frigates.
Type 31 is intended to be a lighter, flexible and more affordable general purpose frigate compared to Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS).
It is intended that the Type 31 frigate will replace some of the Type 23 frigates.