Today’s Portsmouth News carries an article showing what is believed to be a posssible final design for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Frigates.
Apparently the ships are to displace 5,000 tons, will have a top speed of 28 knots, and will have a rear cargo door for launching small boats. They will be crewed by 140 sailors, compared to 180 for the current Type 23 Frigates. The cost is understood to be £400m per vessel – at the moment, the cost will probably skyrocket once BAE systems get to work. BAE hope to start work in 2016, and launch the first ship in 2018. They are needed urgently, as the Royal Navy has prematurely decomissioned its four Type 22 Frigates, and the Type 23’s are ageing rapidly.
The News ‘understands’ that 13 of them are to be built, with eight being based in Portsmouth and five in Plymouth. Expect bleatings from Plymouth based media and politicians forthwith. Of the current 13 Type 23 Frigates, seven are based in Plymouth and six in Portsmouth. Of course, one wonders exactly how many we will get – with almost a decades worth of recession defence budgets to go through, and potentially one or more defence reviews, we will be very lucky to get ten or more.
Notice also that talk of C1, C2 and C3 versions has fallen by the wayside – it seems that we will be getting thirteen identical ships, for cost reasons no doubt. Let’s hope that the Type 26 is more succesful in the export market than some of our more recent shipbuilding efforts. Partnerships have been rumoured with Australia, Brazil and Turkey.
I’m struggling to find much more information, apart from the News article and the relevant page on the Royal Navy website. If anyone finds anything else, I would be very grateful for some links. In particular, I’m sure we would all like to know about weapons systems and electronics. According to the RN web page, they look like carrying a 4.5inch main gun, some kind of vertical launch missile system, a couple of Goalkeeper-looking CIWS, and a very large helicopter pad and hangar. Apart from that, a very clean looking superstructure, for stealth purposes, no doubt.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but they look very much like other contemporary European Frigates with the bow and superstructure looks, such as the Dutch Zeven Provincien and the Norwegian Otto Sverdrup classes, but with aspects of the Danish Absalon corvettes too.