THE latest design of the Royal Navy’s next generation of frigates has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.
Images show the basic specification of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, which will replace the navy’s 13 Type 23 frigates from 2020 onwards.
The new design follows earlier CGI drawings which showed the Type 26 with a ‘mission bay’ loading deck at the stern.
But that idea has been left on the drawing board following talks between the MoD and shipbuilder BAE Systems about how to drive down costs of the project.
The Type 26s will be used by the navy in combat and counter piracy operations, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.
The 5,400-tonne ships will be 485ft in length, have a typical ship’s company of 118, with accommodation for up to 190 personnel.
It’s expected that 13 of the vessels will be ordered when the final investment decision is taken in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
In the meantime, further talks now have to take place between BAE and the MoD about where the ships will be built, how much they will cost, and where they will be based.
It’s understood the MoD has £11billion set aside in its budget for new warships - but not all of that cash will necessarily be spent on Type 26s.
The new frigates are expected to feature state-of-the-art sensors, vertical missile silos housing a range of different weapons, a medium calibre gun, a hangar to accommodate a Merlin or Wildcat Helicopter, and a ‘mission space’ for air and maritime drones or additional boats.
Defence minister Peter Luff said: ‘The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come. It is designed to be adaptable and easily upgraded, reacting to threats as they change.
‘I am delighted the programme has been endorsed by the investment approvals committee. The build of these vessels will secure thousands of skilled jobs across the UK, helping to sustain an industrial surface warship capability in the UK after the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.’
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, added: ‘The T26 GCS will be a multi-mission warship designed for joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex combat operations, maritime security operations such as counter piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.’