The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract worth £859m with BAE Systems for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.
The investment is expected to sustain around 1,700 jobs at sites across the country, including Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Manchester, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Hampshire.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This is a substantial investment in our shipbuilding industry, safeguarding the jobs of 600 workers in Scotland and many more across the UK.
"As part of our long-term economic plan, we’re not just building the most advanced modern warships in the world; we are building the careers of many young people with apprenticeships that will set them up for life."
BAE will use the investment to purchase essential long-lead items for warships and shore testing facilities, as well as key equipment for the first three ships, including gas turbines, diesel generators and steering gear.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in British industry and forms part of our commitment to invest over £160bn in equipment and equipment support over the next ten years.
"As a result, our military will have some of the most impressive and technologically advanced capabilities in the world, from the aircraft carriers and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets to the Type 45 destroyers, Scout armoured vehicles, the A400M and the Astute-class submarines."
Intended to replace ageing Type 23 Duke-class ships from 2020, Type 26 multi-mission warships will be designed to conduct multinational missions, including complex combat operations, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief work.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016, with 13 ships expected to be delivered to the navy. The first will be commissioned after 2020.
Image: Type 26 frigates will replace the UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class ships. Photo: courtesy of the UK MoD.