UK signs £3.7bn deal to procure Type 26 ASW frigates

UK has signed a £3.7 billion contract with BAE Systems to build the first three ships of the new Type 26 class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigates.

Work on the ships will start at BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships’ Govan and Scotstoun yards on the River Clyde in Glasgow this summer, securing 1,700 jobs in Scotland and a further 1,700 in the supply chain across the UK, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.

Plans to build the new frigates were set out in the Government’s 2015 strategic defence and security review, although the project was scaled back from earlier proposals to construct 13 ships. The ships will eventually be complemented by a new general purpose frigate known as the Type 31 which is still early in the design stage.

The Type 26 frigate are the Royal Navy variant of the BAE Systems Global Combat Ship. It will be multi-mission warship designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defense and general purpose operations. The ships will have a crew complement of 118.

They will operate closely with the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines and future aircraft carriers including HMS Queen Elizabeth which was launched from Rosyth last week for sea trials. The aircraft carrier is expected to start its first operational deployment in 2021.

The fleet will eventually replace the current Type 23 frigates  currently deployed by Royal Navy. A total of eight ships are planned and the contract for the second batch of five ships will be negotiated in the early 2020s.

MoD said that Type 26 is ‘the most advanced anti-submarine warfare ship in its class around the world’. MoD is also exploring export opportunities and claimed a ‘strong interest from international customers.

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