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20 Sep 2022

Britain spent billions on new frigates in the last five years

Britain spent billions on new frigates in the last five years
Photo: Royal Navy
Originally posted on Naval Today by Fatima Bahtić

The UK has spent billions of pounds on the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, data provided by Alec Shelbrooke, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, show.

Since 2017, approximately £2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) has been spent on the Type 26 frigates. From year to year, the data show that £288.8 million were spent in FY 2017-2018, £464.4 million in 2018-2019, and £507 million in FY2019-2020. 

In the last two years, the costs rose to £572.3 million in FY 2020-2021 and £642.2. million in the fiscal year 2021-2022. The complete costs made during this fiscal year are not available yet, Shelbrooke noted. 

Meanwhile, the UK has cashed £75.4 million for Type 31 frigates in the fiscal year 2019-2020. In the next two years, the costs went up with £199.2 million spent in FY 2020-2021 and £252.6 million in FY 2021-2022, which makes around half a billion pounds (£527 million or $603 million) spent on the new Type 31 frigates.

Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates are being built by UK shipbuilder BAE Systems. The company recently confirmed that the first vessel of the class, HMS Glasgow, is scheduled to enter the water next year. 

BAE Systems received a £3.7 billion contract in 2017 for the construction of the first three vessels. However, the procurement of the Batch 2 Type 26 frigates is expected to happen “in the early 2020s”, according to the UK Government.

Each of the Type 26 units will be equipped with a range of advanced capabilities including the Sea Ceptor missile defense system, a 5-inch medium caliber gun, flexible mission bay, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar and towed array sonar.

Their flexible design will allow the weapon systems to be adapted throughout the lifespan to counter future threats. 

On the other hand, the Type 31 frigates are being constructed by shipbuilding firm Babcock International. The construction of the first of five new Type 31 frigates began in April this year. 

Each of the Type 31s is larger than the current Type 23s they replace but slightly shorter and lighter than HMS Glasgow.

The 26s will focus on anti-submarine warfare – like eight Type 23s fitted with towed arrays – leaving the 31s to carry out patrols wherever they are needed, from conducting counter-terrorism/drug smuggling patrols in the Indian Ocean to helping out in the aftermath of a disaster. All five units are scheduled to be delivered by 2028, the company’s officials recently unveiled.

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