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Defence News 04/07/2017
UK signs up for first three Type 26 frigates

BAE Systems will officially begin production of the first of the UK Royal Navy's new Type 26 frigates later in July after being awarded a GBP3.7 billion (USD4.8 billion) contract by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the programme's manufacture phase.

Signed on 29 June, the long-awaited Batch 1 contract covers the construction of the first three of a planned class of eight ships. The contract for the second batch of five ships is expected to be negotiated in the early 2020s.

A formal steel cutting ceremony for the first of class will occur at BAE Systems' Govan facility on the River Clyde later this month. A pilot block steel cut was previously performed in March this year to test the engineering and planning process.

Intended to replace eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configured Type 23 frigates from the mid-2020s, the 6,900-tonne displacement Type 26 Global Combat Ship has been conceived as an acoustically quiet surface combatant optimised for ASW but also capable of contributing to a wide range of other missions. The Royal Navy had originally planned to procure a further five general purpose variants, but the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) cut these from the programme, committing instead to the acquisition of at least five smaller, cheaper Type 31 general purpose frigates (GPFFs).

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