MoD announces ‘cut-price’ national shipbuilding strategy

11 Sep 17

The Ministry of Defence has announced plans to commission five frigates for the Royal Naval, capped at £250m each.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon unveiled the ministry’s new cut-price national shipbuilding strategy on Wednesday last week. It will see the vessels built across various shipyards in the UK.

The announcement is part of the government’s commitment to expand the navy by 2030, backed by the MOD’s £178bn equipment plan. It is also meant to rejuvenate the UK’s naval exports.

Fallon said: “This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximise exports and be attractive to navies around the world.

“Backed up by a commitment to spend billions on new ships, our plan will help boost jobs, skills, and growth in shipyards and the supply chain across the UK.”

Production on more advanced Type 26 model frigates began production in July. The price tag for those were roughly £1bn each.

The MOD initially ordered 13 Type 26 warships but that number was later cut to eight following the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Under current plans the new Type 31e general purpose frigates will come into service by 2030.

The government said the option to build the Type 31e frigates in blocks reflects how the biggest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, was constructed.

The £3.1bn aircraft carrier was built in sections by more than 10,000 people in six British cities. She was then assembled in Rosyth, before commencing sea trials in June and arriving in her home port of Portsmouth last month.

Her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, built in the same way, is also now structurally complete and will be officially named in a ceremony on 8 September.

Fallon said the defence budget would increase from £36bn this year to £37bn next year but this comes after a National Audit Office report said the MOD had to find £6bn of efficiency savings over the next decade.

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