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Develop our programme for a new class of frigates

Last updated: 07:47pm 30 December 2018

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. We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

In September 2017, the government announced its National Shipbuilding Strategy. Part of this plan was to phase in the new Type 31e frigate by 2023, which would replace some of the older Type 23 frigates. The government began looking for companies that could build five Type 31e ships at £250 million each – £1.25 billion in total.

The government suspended this search in July 2018. Insisting that the government would relaunch the bidding process “as soon as possible”, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said:

“There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy.”

Despite this interruption to the procurement process, in December 2018 the government announced that it had “awarded three contracts for the Competitive Design Phase”, the first stage of the design process for the new frigates, and that each winning consortium had also been invited to negotiate for the “Design and Build contract that we intend to place by the end of 2019”.

In the same announcement, the government confirmed its intention to deliver the first ship in 2023 and restated its “commitment to move the programme forward”. This policy is ‘in progress’. If the “design and build” contract is indeed in place by the end of 2019, we’ll be able to move this to ‘done’.  Follow this policy to stay informed.

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