UK plots construction of five Type 32 frigates at Scottish shipyard

The Royal Navy plans to introduce five Type 32 frigates which could be built at a shipyard in Rosyth, Scotland.

Illustration; Photo by Royal Navy

According to a report published by the UK’s House of Commons Defence Committee, the UK wants to increase the escort fleet (frigates and destroyers) from 19 to 24 in the next period.

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This includes the construction of Type 26, Type 31, and Type 32 frigates. Earlier on, Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, stated that Rosyth would be building Type 32 Frigates in addition to Type 31 Frigates.

“We are committed to building the Type 26 in the United Kingdom; it is under construction on the Clyde. In Rosyth, work is ongoing … to build the Type 31s and the subsequent Type 32s… I intend to make sure that, if not entirely, there is a considerable degree of UK build in that process, subject to tender. I have to be cautious about the contract because the competition is to begin soon—very soon,” the UK’s Defence Secretary stated.

The Type 32 frigates will be designed to protect territorial waters and provide a persistent presence overseas while also supporting littoral response groups, according to UK officials.

More details about a new class of frigates emerged in November 2020, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin writing that the ships will be a platform for autonomous systems. The announcement came after the UK Government unveiled a massive increase in defence spending. The government pledged to increase funding in the range of £16.5 billion over four years to stabilize the defence budget.

Responding to a written parliamentary question, Quin said: “Further work is required to develop the operational concept however it is envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy’s capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures.”

Type 31 frigates, together with Type 26 frigates and fleet solid support ships, are scheduled to enter the Royal Navy’s fleet in 2027 and 2028. UK-based aerospace, defense and security company Babcock International held a steel cutting ceremony for the first Type 31 frigate HMS Venturer in September last year.

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The steel-cutting ceremony for the lead Inspiration-class ship took place in Babcock’s facility in Rosyth, Scotland. The company unveiled a massive Type 31 frigate building hall in December 2020. Robertson Construction was awarded a £31.5 million contract by Babcock to build the module hall. The company has also committed significant orders to local Scottish suppliers for the assembly hall build.