Home » Budget Industry » U.K Ministry of Defence Awards BAE Systems $1.32 Billion for New Royal Navy Ship Class

U.K Ministry of Defence Awards BAE Systems $1.32 Billion for New Royal Navy Ship Class

An artist's rendering of the planned Royal Navy Type 26 Global Combat Ship. UK MoD Image

An artist’s rendering of the planned Royal Navy Type 26 Global Combat Ship. UK MoD Image

The U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a $1.32 billion (£859 million) contract to BAE Systems to develop a new class of frigate for the Royal Navy, the MoD announced on Friday.

The contract will set the stage for the planned 2016 start of construction for 13 Type 26 Global Combat Ship — the planned replacement for the Royal Navy’s existing 1980s-desgined Duke Type 23 frigates, according to a statement from BAE.

“The new contract will include investment in essential long lead items for the ships, shore testing facilities,” read the MoD statement.
“There will also be investment in key equipment for the first three ships – such as gas turbines, diesel generators and steering gear – allowing suppliers to plan, invest and secure their workforce on the project.”

The Type 26s are anticipated to be primary ship in the Royal Navy’s surface fleet as the class begins to come online starting the 2020s.

The design of the 5,500-ton large frigate-sized ships are significantly larger than the 3,600-ton Type 23s and eight will be optimized for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), according to U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World.

The ships will field a vertical launch system for surface to surface and land attack missiles, a BAE 997 Artisan 3-D air surface search radar and have a crew of about 130 sailors.

The ships will likely be built in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is a substantial investment in our shipbuilding industry, safeguarding the jobs of 600 workers in Scotland and many more across the U.K.,” read a statement from U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

Friday’s award follows a 2010 BAE design contract to $195 million design contract to develop the Type 26 concept.

  • RecoveringSWO

    Geez, let’s buy some…

    • Jiesheng Li

      Hardly likely for the USN

    • old guy

      NOPE! Violates the US SWP (shipyard welfare program).

    • Secundius

      @ RecoveringSWO.

      Also Violates the “Jones Act” of 1920…

  • NavySubNuke

    Now this is a frigate! Note to Sec Nav – calling a little crappy ship a frigate does not make it a frigate!
    Of course the UK has to actually build it now – hopefully it comes in a little closer to on-time and on-budget then the Astute

    • gunnerv1

      The word “Frigate” replaced the term “Destroyer Escort” for the rest of the Worlds Navy’s.

  • Danny Kuiper

    I do not think it is a very innovative design……when you compare it for example to the dutch LCF (now already an decade old design) they are more of the same.

    • Ctrot

      Innovative is not a requirement, effective is. The LCS is innovative but not effective.

      • Rob C.

        I’m not against innovation, but that should be kept to one-off prototypes to try work the kinks out for production ships, not lead classes of ship we need quickly. KISS for your smaller combatants is best approach for this. Type 26 is balance ship, frankly better than the Darings since their specialist at anti-air solely, with single 4.5 inch gun as it’s only local means to attack aside from helio.

        Getting the Type 26 right, and being able handle broader units is must. LCS is not intended as frigate, never was. That’s why its getting flack, it a auxiliary combatant doing secondary duties that use belong to family of other types of ships we don’t make anymore.

        • El_Sid

          It’s meaningless to compare T26 with the Darings, it’s a different mission. The Darings have a job to do in air defence, which they do brilliantly, but they don’t belong in the outer ASW screen of a carrier battlegroup. Think of T45 and T26 as the equivalent of Tico and Spruance (in role, not literally in weapons fit. Although it’s worth noting that most T45 now have Harpoon, and they have space for Tomahawk tubes)

          • johnbull

            Good analogy comparing their T45 destroyers and T26 frigates with our Tico cruisers and Burke destroyers in role. Our own navy is behind the 8-ball a bit in getting new classes in the works, particularly in replacing the cruisers which are getting long in the tooth.

      • Danny Kuiper

        Well i am not talking about the LCS, but about the dutch Zeven Provincien class air defense frigate. It is an very solid design with the best radar onboard.

    • El_Sid

      It’s a different mission to the DZP’s, the British have the Type 45 for air defence. The UK needs escorts for carrier battlegroups, and you want your ASW escorts in different places to the AAW ships, so it makes sense to have specialist ASW ships (as the French do with their FREMMs, which are the closest comparison). The UK also has unusual requirements for its general purpose ships, it eg needs more range than most to get to the Falklands (hence 60 days stores versus 45 days for FREMM) , and better sea-keeping to cope with the Southern Ocean.

      The whole point that this is an evolution of the Type 23, almost all the equipment (Artisan, Sea Ceptor etc) will have been in service on upgraded T23 before a single T26 is launched. In theory it’s “just” updating the fabric of the ship with eg a bigger helideck, modern habitability standards and more space for ISO containers/RHIBs/UUVs etc

      Obviously it’s more complicated than that, as this partial order makes clear. With an election coming up followed by a defence review, the original plan was to get a “proper” order in for 8+ ships by now. The fact that BAE and the MoD have failed to sign off a design before the election is a major failure, let’s hope the RN doesn’t get punished for it in November. Looking on the bright side, let’s hope they’re getting the mistakes out of the way in the design phase rather than waiting until the construction phase to discover problems.

  • Ole Salt

    BZ UK MoD, you did absolutely right for the Royal Navy.

  • old guy

    Definitely the result of the Scots deciding to stay in the UK and not opt for independence. Not a bad ship concept, either.

    • El_Sid

      Not really anything to do with Scottish independence actually – the UK has been working on a replacement for the Type 23 for 20 years. The only real influence has been the referendum giving them an excuse not to place an order until after September 2014. That disguised the fact that the design wasn’t ready – but this extended assessment phase has made it clear that it’s still immature when it should have been good to go.

  • disqus_89uuCprLIv

    Perhaps the USN could relearn how to pack a set of lethal punches in a small warship.

    Something besides the LCS (I tend to get pejorative when I see the LCS moniker- so think-tank correct a designator) is in order.

    It is of over-riding importance that the Navy create plans for production of a large class of destroyers ( 5,000 ton ships, not cruisers masquerading as destroyers) and testing the series through construction while not producing dozens. These plans need to be tailored to mass production rather than custom builds. Think Fletcher DDs and the DE classes for construction ease not capability ( in today’s world. )

    The LCS effort goes toward this goal but needs design expansion. It needs in depth comparison of allies’ ship designs with understanding of the tradeoffs they have made for construction, deployment area, proprietary-to-the-country systems, along with strengths of design and construction needs to be begun as an internal Navy effort. The Navy has EDOs capable of leading a program of this sort (with suitable subcontracted support for technical assistance- such as APL/JHU and Penn State for the submarine force) and needs to get out of the rut of contacting for commercial shipyard solutions.

    While getting several commercial solutions to Navy needs, the shipyards expertise, business priorities, construction capabilities and such tend to focus them away from Navy requirements even before warfighting and sea keeping trade offs are contemplated.

    Yes, we need ships now but we also need good buildable plans with requirements established, trade-offs well understood for ships which can be constructed quickly.

    The process must be one of continuing revision to remain in front of threat technology. By this I mean the design must by produced- frozen as of a date- and delivered before the next set of updates are contemplated. But then revised and redesigned to fulfill emergent requirements.
    Aside from the benefits of having well thought through plans, continuous design will allow EDOS to grow with the program and develop an expertise which is in great demand and absolutely necessary to convey Navy needs through from requirements considerations to commissioning.

  • Secundius

    That’s a switch for the Royal Navy, A BAE 70-Pdr. Main Gun (5-inch/127mm/62-caliber Mod. 4) Mk.45 Naval Gun Mount, with LRLAP capable munitions…

  • gunnerv1

    There’s going to be a “Game Changer” moment after BAE Systems develops the Rail Gun for Naval Warfare. Wish I was still “in”, so that I could be assigned to a test platform.

  • Secundius

    Think Defense a British website, talks about mounting a British designed 32-MegaJoule Rail-Gun to the Type 26 class Frigate…

  • Secundius

    Like the Zumwalt class Destroyer, the Type 26 class Frigate. Is All Electric Propulsion system, but it unclear weather it’s uses Azipods or conventional Screw-Shaft propulsion…

  • Secundius

    Also looks like the Type 26 is going to use the Thales SMART-L phase array radar system and not AN/SPY-5 radar system…