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Build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates

Last updated: 09:58am 20 June 2019

Alongside our new Type 45 destroyers, we will build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates and develop our programme for a new class of lighter, general purpose frigates so that by the 2030s we can further increase the size of our fleet.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

As part of their manifesto, the Conservative party promised to build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates to replace the same number of submarine-hunting Type 23 frigates which will be decommissioned. These new frigates are world-class ships, at the cutting edge of modern defence.

It was originally envisaged that the Type 26 would replace the Type 23 like-for-like in numerical terms. However, the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 reduced this number to eight; as opposed to the original thirteen. The remaining five frigates will fall under the new Type 31e/GPFF program.

On 2nd July 2017, the Ministry of Defence announced that the first three ships had been contracted to BAE Systems in a £3.7bn deal. Later that same month it was announced that construction was under way on HMS Glasgow, the first of the three ships. The other two ships have been named HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast respectively.

The contract for the remaining five vessels is expected to be signed in the early 2020s. However, some smaller contracts have already been announced such as the May 2019 deal with General Electric for the ships’ engines. The names of the five ships have also been announced as HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle, HMS Edinburgh and HMS London.

The manifesto pledged that the government would build the eight ships. However, military shipbuilding is an extremely lengthy process and it would be unfair to suggest that the government will build all eight warships in time for the end of this government’s term of office (2022). For example, the Type 45 program from the first day of steel cutting to the last day of commissioning took just over a decade in total.  In this context we shall therefore interpret the manifesto’s pledge simply as a pledge to build and will consider this policy to be ‘in progress’ until the contracts have been announced and building work has begun on all eight ships. Follow this policy for updates.

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