Two countries will build frigates based on UK’s Type 26 design

Two nations have committed to building frigates based on the Type 26 design: Australia and Canada, according to Annabel Goldie, a Minister of State at the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Illustration; Photo by: Royal Navy

Annabel Goldie from the UK’s Ministry of Defence revealed the information in the form of a response to a written Parliamentary question asked by Alan West, a retired Royal Navy admiral. He asked how many frigates each country ordered and whether the expected level of acquisitions has led to a drop in the unit price.

Goldie noted that both nations will design and build their own variants of Type 26 global combat ships. The frigates are planned to be built at the national shipyards in Adelaide and Halifax respectively. However, she did not want to comment on the price of the units “for reasons of commercial sensitivity”.

The retired admiral also asked whether this will affect the in-service dates of ships planned for the Royal Navy.

“There will be no impact on in-service dates for the Royal Navy Type 26 frigates,” Goldie pointed out.

Three new classes of vessels are scheduled to enter the Royal Navy’s fleet in 2027 and 2028, including Type 26 frigates. Eight Type 26s are scheduled to replace Type 23 frigates, alongside a new class of general-purpose light frigates.

Type 26 frigates will measure 149.9 meters in length and have a displacement of 8,000 tonnes. The first steel on the navy’s next-generation frigate was cut in the summer of 2017.

According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, the Type 26 frigates will be armed with the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW), which will be designed and developed jointly by the UK and France. The weapons are expected to replace the existing Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles.

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Furthermore, the frigates will be equipped with bow and towed-array sonars, plus carry a Wildcat or Merlin helicopter, for submarine-hunting missions.

Royal Navy recently revealed that the first of the eight Type 26 frigates, HMS Glasgow, reached an important construction milestone, while the vessel’s bow was launched in April this year at BAE Systems’ shipyard on the River Clyde.

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The ships are being designed to protect new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers from hostile submarines. They are expected to deal with missions across the full spectrum of Royal Navy operations – complex combat scenarios, counter-piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief.