UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed that the first steel cut for the UK Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) will be held in summer 2017.
The Type 26 programme is a multirole warship development programme jointly undertaken by BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to replace the navy’s Type 23 frigates.
Under the project, eight anti-submarine Type 26 GCSs will be built to focus on three core roles, warfighting, maritime security and international engagement.
Fallon said: “Backed by Britain’s rising defence budget, the Type 26 programme will deliver a new generation of cutting-edge warships for our Royal Navy at best value for taxpayers.
“The UK Government’s commitment today will secure hundreds of high-skilled shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde for at least two decades and hundreds more in the supply chain across Britain.”
As part of the programme, the defence secretary awarded a £100m contract to defence company MBDA to deliver the Sea Ceptor self-defence missile system for the ship.
MBDA will also support design work, manufacture equipment for the entire Type 26 fleet and install the system on the first three ships.
This contract follows a £183m investment in the Maritime Indirect Fire System, the Type 26 frigate’s 5in calibre gun.
The UK MOD is also planning to sign a contract to procure two newly-built offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), which are expected to be delivered in 2019.
Image: First steel cut for the new Type 26 frigates will be held in summer 2017. Photo: © Crown copyright.