The British government has announced plans to build a fleet of new Type 31e general purpose frigates as part of a new national shipbuilding strategy, which it hopes will prompt a renaissance in the sector.
The vessels will be built with a price cap of £250m each for the first batch of five frigates, which are expected to be in service by 2023.
“The Ministry of Defence is committed to building new ships for the Royal Navy through its rising budget and £178bn equipment plan,” explained UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, as he made the announcement.
“The first steel has been cut – at BAE’s Govan shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland – for the first of eight Type 26 frigates, HMS Glasgow. The £3.7 billion contract for the first three, the largest for naval ships this decade, will secure hundreds of high skilled jobs on the Clyde until 2035 and hundreds more in the supply chain across the UK.”
The announcement builds on the government’s promised industrial strategy which intends to revitalise British shipyards and the UK’s maritime supply chains, transform the procurement of naval ships and grow the Royal Navy fleet by the 2030s, boost a skilled workforce and grow the UK economy, as well as encourage the export of British ships overseas.
In line with the block building of ships in different UK cities – such as the building of the HMS Queen Elizabeth for the Royal Navy, the HMS Prince of Wales (which will be officially named in a ceremony later this month), and the building of the RSS Sir David Attenborough – the vessels are likely to be partly built at various yards, then assembled at a central hub.
In order to make the vessels competitive in global markets, especially to other navies, shipyards will also be encouraged to work with global partners.
One of the leading contenders for the new Type 31e frigate – which will be presented at DSEI in London next week – is BMT’s Venator 110 (pictured above).
“This is just the challenge BMT likes and we have been anticipating the T31e for some time,” explains Muir Macdonald, managing director, BMT Defence Services. “Our experience of winning many design competitions gives us a depth of knowledge, from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier and TIDE Class tankers for the UK, to the Logistics Support Vessel for the Royal Norwegian Navy. We believe we can achieve a world-leading, credible design that delivers an optimum balance of warfighting capability and survivability with cost.”
BMT describes the Venator 110 as a flexible and tailorable modern warship, able to provide broad capability – from maritime security to warfighting – at an affordable procurement cost.