Five more Type 26 frigates will be built for the Royal Navy, the Prime Minister has announced. Defense manufacturer BAE Systems has been awarded a £4.2 billion contract to build the five warships, on top of the three already under construction.
The Type 26 is designed for anti-submarine warfare and high-intensity air defense and can be adapted to supplying humanitarian aid during a disaster relief effort.
The new ships will replace the Type 23 vessels currently in operation by the Royal Navy.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: We are investing in our fleet to ensure our Royal Navy maintains its world-leading capability to protect and defend our nation at sea.
This design has already been successfully exported to Australia and Canada, proving itself as a world-class maritime capability, securing thousands of UK jobs and strengthening alliances with our allies.
Supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs in Scotland, and more across the wider UK supply chain, this contract will continue to boost our British shipbuilding industry, galvanizing the very best of British engineering, manufacturing and design.
Responding to the announcement, shadow defense secretary John Healey MP tweeted: We welcome the go ahead for this second batch of world-class Type 26 warships being built in Britain. We now expect the Defense Secretary to deliver them as the threats increase.
But the Defense Secretary has already conceded that the Type 26 program is delayed and over-budget, and since 2010 the Conservatives have cut one in five of the Navy’s surface ships.
Ministers must now place the Navy's Fleet Solid Support ships contract with British shipyards, as Labour in government would do.
The first of the new class of frigates – HMS Glasgow – is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy by the mid-2020s.
The contract will also secure more than 4,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider UK maritime supply chain.
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak declined to commit to boosting defense spending to 3% of GDP – a promise made by his predecessor Liz Truss, as he and the Chancellor look to balance the books. He downplayed concerns by some in the Tory party that ditching the target could be seen as a weakness by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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