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Or an even better question, “Can the minister please explain why, having been through the process of understanding that delaying and prolonging these ship-build projects ALWAYS results in massive long term over-spends which jeopardises the defence budget as a whole, a decision has been made to extend the build times of the T26 to a stupid degree?”


Is it because there just isn’t the money in the current climate? A bit like someone using Wonga payday loans, thinking about the urgent here and now finances and not the overall cost means paying way over the odds in the long term.


Excellent article and very interesting. It certainly provides food for thought as it does seem absurd that it will take around 8 years to build the ship. As you pointed out, it certainly doesnt look good for BAE to say that it took this long.

Peter Albright

What does it say about us when the Chinese are producing more frigates per annum than we have and it will be 9 years before the next one is in service?


It says we are asleep at the ****ing wheel is what it says

Geoffrey Hicking

Ours may be much more advanced than theirs. Hopefully that is still true. That would at least justify the long delays.


‘Long delays’ and ‘advanced’ is an illogical statement. You can lay this squarely at the feet of The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Spreadsheet Phil.
He seems determined to wreck the chances of selling the Type 26 to either Australia or Canada.
Bring him to the House of Commons and ask him why he has no understanding of the damage he is causing the RN, Exports and warship building in general.
Just add up the cost of the delays caused on a suitably sized sheet of A3 and stick in in front of his nose.
Someone really has to stick it to’ em.


I guess we have to face the facts. The military and defence is not a priority in this country.
Defence procurement is absolutely appalling.

Donald Tosh

Till there’s a crisis??


Atta boy. Somebody has to try and keep these charlatans accountable.


Just imagine if this was wartime….the UK would be screwed if it was loosing ships. The MOD has obviously not learned lessons of WWII and the Fletcher class DDs and the Liberty Cargo ships

Geoffrey Hicking

Indeed. Even if the other side had the same problems, we’d both end up in a WW1 situation with ships that are too precious to be lost.


And this is why there is absolutely no hurry to find a replacement for Harpoon. We simply will not have a ship capable of firing an ASM that can get round our enemies defences until 2027! I strongly doubt the T31 will get mk 41.
It’s a joke and these ships should be built as a matter of urgency to protect our carriers. We are looking at 15 years until we have 3! I thought we would have all 8 not long after that!


And the lead Type 23 is scheduled to be retired in 2023.


“We want 8 and we wont wait” To coin a phrase.
In reality we should have had the first by now and we should have the other 12 (!) on order. We were promised 13; anyone remember?!


Might want to think about that mate, that slogan helped galvanize public support for furthering an already-runious arms race with Germany that led in no small way to the start of the Great War.

That said, it does seem the height of folly to even think of putting carriers to sea without sufficient escort…’Courageous’ anyone?

Bloke down the pub

You’ve made the error of thinking that the purpose of the T26s is to protect our maritime interests around the world , when in fact it is to keep the SNP quiet for as long as possible.


good point, everything is political


just a question, does the t26 have torpedoes or will it rely on helos, i can’t seem to find any reference to specific torpedo tubes, after all its an anti submarine warship?


From what I have read the modern thinking is that if a sub is sufficiently close that you could use a ship launched Torpedoe you are already F***d. The 26 may get some form of rocket launch system.


Not so, a sub will simply get as close as it wants if it knows there are no ship launched torpedoes aboard.


The T23 has tube launched torpedo’s but it’s a pretty outdated and very last ditch system. T26 hasn’t got them as part of the design but vertical launched rocket torpedo’s could be carried in the MK41 which gives much better range and accuracy, however it remains to be seen when or if they will actually be purchased.

Humpty Dumpty

I’d always assumed the Type 26 would get VL-ASROC, although it would make more sense imo to buy the Japanese Type 07 VLA since it has greater range and can be fired from Mk41 cells. That said, I still think it’s worth having side-launched torpedoes on board ships because it’s another layer of defence and weapons like Scutter or SeaSpider/MU90 Hard Kill/SSTD CAT mean that if a torpedo is fired at a ship you have ways of dealing with it other than relying on decoys and evasive manoeuvres.

And on the topic of Mk41, I’d like to see it fitted to the Type 45s when they get their propulsion fixes.


So 19 years to build the planned 8 and hand them over to the RN. Also the eight year build means that they will be cutting the steel for the 6th before the 1st is handed over to the RN. This assumes an 18 month build time. So the question begs is there room for 6 frigates to be at various stages on construction at the same time at BAE on the Clyde? There has to be a way of getting these built in a more timely fashion. Do the Type 23’s have the durability to go out to 2036. This assumes that we get the additional 5 and that they are produced at the same rate and speed as the first 3.


The type 45’s will be on the way out and all sold to Argentina, Brazil or Chile by the time the last Type 26 is even launched.
Its as easy as ABC.


Pakistan should be about ready for a fleet renewal by then!

Mike Barter

BAE should build these ships as quickly as possible.
Then if the MOD doesn’t want them they can be sold abroad off the shelf.
I think once they were built the Admrals would put pressure on the government to get them handed straight over to the Royal Navy.


So would you want the company managing your pension fund to bet it on this business plan? If so I hope you enjoy the bread a water lifestyle in retirement!


Marking time and waiting for a pension is the way to nowhere much.


You are absolutely right about BAE getting a move on with these ships. Everyone seems to be marking time these days. If BAE who can raise money at the drop of a hat really wanted to be in the ship building business they would raise 500m GBP and build one on spec. This is what the French are doing.
Except there Government drops them the cash because that’s how they do it there. They build more ships than required and sell them on. It’s going to make me choke but I think the FREMM will get the USNavy frigate contract.
Meanwhile the MOD/Treasury have been dragging their heels for 4 years before placing the contract for 3. If these 3 ships are over priced now, wait for the price in 19 years time!

Moreover this lagardly build rate sends all the wrong signals to export customers.

With this sort of mentality in either Government or the Treasury or the country as a whole we in the UK are in for a bad time.

Ken Pearson

This will really impress the governments of Australia and Canada! And if they decide to buy the T26 there is always the possibility they will complete theirs before we will.


The reason we have poor equipment is because the government is pumping billions into foreign aid and other money wasting projects. When I was in the RN I can remember Pompey and Guz being rammed with commissioned ships and as many at sea on foreign service. It breaks my heart to see civilians whittling away our sea power.


Well to be fair, these ships are a tad more expensive than those of times past.
They are sized like cruisers, named after cruisers…why not call them ‘cruisers’?


Let’s be realistic the type 31 will never be built and we will get 6 type 26 but not have sufficient crew to send them to sea.
The armed forces have gone past the tipping point , they no longer offer a career path and by 2030 will be a home defence force.

We have more captains than ships , more colonels than regiments and more captains than planes .

We can’t put more than 8000 troops into battle and cannot put more than 7 ships to sea and can just manage to provide 20 planes to support them.
All the figures are there in various studies.

The QE class are a colossal waste of money as to form a battle group would require the recall of various patrols.

Our politicians have lied to the people and the admirals and generals have rolled over to the likes of brown and Osbourne and allowed our defence spending to be cut from 3.25% in 1997 to 1.8% now .

Mike wingfield

To keep people employed is the answer. Nothing to do with minimising costs to the tax payer or offering capability. We have so few ships being built, to maintain a capability we need to spend money at the expense of defence. Yet another reason this country is failing and going to the dogs. Not the fault of the government but the fault of politics.


Any news on the competitive design phase for the T31e?


Is this build schedule a sign of a change in strategy; fewer than 8 Type 26 and more than 5 Type 31?


Not good. No incentive to modernise shipyard facilities and if included in general UK shipbuilding, which this is a large part of it at the moment, our hourly production rate is even worse. There has never been much production increase in warship building in the UK and warship-building does not produce the efficiencies as commercial shipbuilding. Companies have felt safe, almost as if they are still nationalised and do not have to innovate which is so sad to the UK’s shipbuilding potential because if we look at the Ocean (albeit built o 15-20 year life speck), Albion’s and Waves tankers, OPVs and other types (even type 45 ship build bit) in the recent past, the UK can compete and in fact is quite cheap compared to others .

But UK shipyards do not look too different from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s (which in may cases, the layout was dated even back then). You may as well have men on panel lines stick welding, rather than automated robotic panel and unit lines in this Country if quick efficient fabrication and assembly merely stops at a certain point and/or does not make any difference in delivery time.

When Sir John Parker said to not introduce changes but keep with the design and plan, this increase in the time of building is a change and does not keep to the National Shipbuilding Strategy report by Sir John Parker, but merely the National Shipbuilding Strategy Farce policy as the government or rather only the MOD (why the MOD when it was a report on shipbuilding in general) have interpreted this report. A point of interest, HMS Ocean cost £154 million pounds in 1993 (with backwards UK shipbuilding tech) or 210 million pounds 2005. Dokdo from South Korea, a similar but smaller ship (18,000 short tons to HMS Ocean 21,500 long tons (just under short 24, 000 tons) cost 288 million dollars for one ship (from what I can see). At the exchange rate back then (mid-2005), that would mean 176 million quid, compared to 210 million pounds for the bigger British ship built with technology far older than South Korean?! We assume that we are no good at things and always more expensive. Usually double moere than anybody else. We need to modernise, and this latest government inspired thing, is not a good advert for UK shipbuilding. That’s is what gets targetted.


If it was today exchange rate, it would be nearly the same.


For a post Brexit, global trading, Island nation, totally dependent on world trade – 95% of which travels by sea – even to feed her people, a strong Royal Navy is the most vital of the British Armed Forces.

In 1905 the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought, that made all earlier Battleships obsolete, was laid down in October 1905 and Commissioned into the Royal Navy in December 1906.

Joe B

Why are you being disingenuous? You are constantly trying to push a narrative. How about speaking the truth once in a while and people will take you more seriously in future

You have even written an article yourself


I’ll tell you why its 8 years, its something to do with the video where they wanted to get 50% women designing and head engineering its construction and so by sacking off a large amount of qualified people they cut their nose of to spite their face.


Lucky they aren’t building new cruise ships

Humpty Dumpty

Since the Type 26 is meant to be a sub-hunter, it seems odd to me that it won’t have any of the following:
– SeaSpider, MU90 Hard Kill or SSTD CAT
– Scutter
– Arcims or Seagull sub-hunting surface drones
Were any of these systems tested with a view to possibly fitting them to the Type 26?