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Type 26 Global Combat Ship

The new Type 26 Global Combat Ship will replace the Type 22 and 23 frigates in the early 2020s. The first ships to be developed under the Future Surface Combatant program will be known as the Type 26 class. Designed to replace the existing Type 22 and Type 23 frigates, Type 26 will deliver a versatile, affordable capability that can be easily upgraded to ensure it remains at the cutting-edge throughout its service life.

Type 26 is the first of two classes of ships to be built under the Future Surface Combatant program, delivering enhanced anti-submarine warfare capability and enabling a more agile response to a wide range of threats and emergency situations. Both variants will be developed with their potential for export factored into the design from the outset, with the aim of securing overseas orders to spread non-recurring costs and reduce the cost per ship to deliver better value for the MOD and UK taxpayers. This approach will also provide a platform to showcase the capability within the UK maritime supply chain, helping to secure the UK's long-term future at the forefront of the global maritime industry.

The first of the new class was due to enter service around the start of the next decade and by the 2030s around half of frontline Royal Navy personnel are expected to operate on a either a Type 26 or the second variant to be developed under this program.

Type 26 Combat Ship BAE Systems was awarded a four year 127 million contract by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to take forward the program to develop a new generation of combat ships for the Royal Navy. Under the contract, BAE Systems will work in a joint team with the MOD to assess options from the initial concept design in order to develop a detailed specification ready for manufacture.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "Planning for future Defence is crucial. It is our duty to provide key equipment that will ensure the UK is properly prepared to meet its own Defence needs in an ever changing world, and continue to play an important role in maintaining global security. Programmes like the Type 26 not only ensure the Royal Navy continues to have cutting edge capability but also sustain the industry that supports them. The commitments the MOD has made will protect skills and employment, and preserve the industrial capability needed to carry out future programs efficiently, in a way that represents value for money."

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said: "These program announcements are welcome news for the Navy. You simply cannot have an effective Navy without capable Frigates, and the Type 26 combat ship will form the future backbone of the Royal Navy's surface combatant force, alongside the new Type 45 Destroyers. These ships will be highly versatile, able to operate across the full spectrum of operations, from war fighting to disaster relief."

Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems Surface Ships, said: "This is an exciting step in a program that is hugely important not only for the Royal Navy but for the whole of the UK maritime industry. "Type 26 is a key component in sustaining a surface warship capability in UK industry as agreed under the Terms of Business Agreement we signed with the MOD last year. Working in close partnership with the MOD and industry will help to reduce risk and deliver better value for UK taxpayers. It represents a real step change in procurement for defence."

An 80 strong joint MOD and BAE Systems team was established out of Bristol and this will rise to 300 over the next four years, bringing together expertise in all aspects of warship engineering to complete the assessment phase. The first task of the team is to evaluate the main options including capability, operational availability of the ships, exportability features and support optimisation. The program is also timed to address outputs from the forthcoming Strategic Defence Review so that changes to policy will be reflected in the final ship design, ensuring that Type 26 delivers the right capability to support future UK defence.

This is the first major shipbuilding program in the UK in which BAE Systems have been able to fully incorporate bold, innovative principles and technology. Recognising that front end design concept expertise is a scarce resource, BAE Systems have worked in partnership with the UK MOD and our industry partners from the outset of this program as part of a group known as the Naval Design Partnership (NDP). The NDP brings together the very best engineering expertise in all aspects of warship engineering to work towards a common goal. BAE Systems have taken this a stage further, breaking down traditional organisational barriers and have established a joint MOD and industry team, which is collocated in a single building, to work together throughout the design phase. This approach not only delivers greater transparency among those involved, but it also strips out unnecessary costs that can be incurred in a lengthy design process, and drives greater innovation ensuring that all the efforts are 100% focused on developing the very best capability for the customer.

BAE Systems pushed the boundaries of warship design, with a whole host of options being assessed, including:

  • A mission bay, which can embark a wide range of boats, unmanned vehicles and stores for use in disaster relief operations, or to provide additional accommodation
  • A stern ramp, so the ship can recover larger vessels than a traditional davit and can operate in rougher seas
  • Vertical launch silos, capable of carrying a wide range of weapons
  • A flight deck of equivalent size to the Type 45 so it can accommodate a Chinook

The parties involved in the design of the ship will also have responsibility for the build and support of those ships throughout their service lives. This means that during the current assessment phase, BAE Systems can have sensible conversations about implications of how the specification developed now will impact on the ability to repair and upgrade the ship in later life and weigh up the costs and benefits from a whole life perspective.

By November 2010 the assessment phase for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship was not expected to conclude until late 2013, after which the main investment decision will be made and an initial order will be placed.

The White Paper "Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence Review" (Cm 7948), presented to the House on 19 October 2010, explained the Government's intention to make certain changes to the armed forces in order to deliver the force structure we require for the future and to help address the legacy of unaffordability in the defence budget. The MOD is committed to procuring the Type 26 Global Combat ship to replace the Type 23 frigate from 2021 onwards.

  • Future Frigates- Absalon Alternative for C2
  • Type 27 C2 Medium Derivative Vessel

    The Future Surface Combatant C2 Stabilisation Combatant (formerly Medium Sized Vessel Derivative) consists of around eight cheaper vessels - generic frigates of about 4 or 5 thousand tons would meet the policy requirement for operations in support of small-scale stabilisation operations, sea line protection and chokepoint escort. C1 and C2 would replace the Type 22 and 23 classes and may use the same generic 6,000 ton hull. The most pressing need is the replacement of the four Batch 3 Type 22s from 2015. This C2 requirement (formerly the MSVD) could be met by an "off the shelf" purchase of the Franco-Italian FREMM multi-role frigate, or a version of the Type 45 destroyer optimised for ASW and surface warfare.

    In November 2006 Thales revealed some details of its then current thinking for a modular General Purpose frigate, apparently intended for what the S2C2 refer to as the medium-weight or C2 role. A model of the F2020 concept proposed by Thales Naval UK for the FSC C2 role was displayed at DESi in September 2007. The concept has evolved considerably since being first revealed in late 2006. By 2010 planning was underway the Type 26 Global Combat Ships. However, little had been mentioned about the Type 27 C2 Medium Derivative Vessel. If it gets built, it is likley to be a large general purpose Frigate. Some have suggested a design similar to the Absalon Class of the Danish Navy. "Type 26"

  • The Future of the Royal Navy 10 - (Mines Countermeasures and Survey)
  • Mine countermeasures, Hydrographic, Patrol Craft (MHPC)
    FSC C3 - Corvette Patrol Vessel

    By early 2010 the C3 officially no longer exists. There is, instead, a new designation which which includes references to MCM, hydrography & patrol. concept phase activities for a Future Mine Countermeasures/Hydrographic/Patrol Vessel (FMHPV), previously identified as FSC C3, were expected to commence in April 2010.

    The Future Surface Combatant C3 Ocean-Capable Patrol Vessel [formerly the Global Corvette] consisted of around eight smaller ships [approximately 2,000-3,000 tons displacement with a range of 7,000 nautical miles] to replace minesweepers and possibly current patrol ships - they will replace a far greater number of existing vessels across various classes. Eight ships would be primarily roled for MCM as replacements for the current Hunt-class and Sandown-class vessels. Potential longer-term replacements are needed for the three River-class offshore patrol vessels, the Falkland Islands patrol vessel HMS Clyde, and the survey ships HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise.

    In September 2007 VT Shipbuilding, part of VT Group, announced a design concept for the C3 element of the FSC program - a general purpose vessels for worldwide deployment to fulfil tasks including minehunting, survey work and patrol duties. It was suggested at time that that the first of class could enter service as early as 2012, although this seemed very unlikely. In September 2007 VT unveiled its new C3 design at the DSEi exhibition and proposed to introduce the first of the new Class into service as early as 2012. VT utilized the hull of the 99-meter Ocean Patrol Vessel (OPV) it was building for the Royal Navy of Oman to develop the 100-meter FSC solution, although the ship has a larger equipment fit that increases displacement to just over 3,000 tons. In its patrol role, armament would include guns of 76 mm or 30 mm caliber and provision for surface-to-air missiles if required.

    By 2010 the Mine countermeasures, Hydrographic, Patrol Craft (MHPC), formerly known as the ??Future Mine Countermeasures / Hydrographic/Patrol Vessel (FMHPV), project was in the early stages of defining a replacement for the existing Hunt and Sandown specialist vessels, some of the hydrographic vessels, and the patrol vessels. The White Paper "Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence Review" (Cm 7948), presented to the House on 19 October 2010, explained the Government's intention to make certain changes to the armed forces in order to deliver the force structure we require for the future and to help address the legacy of unaffordability in the defence budget. The Sandown and Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessels will remain in service and start the transition to a future capability from 2018 as part of the Mine countermeasures, Hydrographic, Patrol Craft (MHPC) project.

    The current fleet consists of the Sandown-class (single role mine hunting) with the variable-depth multi-mode 2093, and the Hunt-class (sweeping and mine hunting) fitted with the hull-mounted 2193. Current plans seem to point to a single class of vessel about 100m in length and between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes displacement. These will deliver on the MCM, survey and patrol requirements using a range of off board systems like USV's, UAV's and UUV's.

    In the era of constricting naval budgets and high profile land operations, naval forces are striving to ensure sufficient hull numbers and to retain specialist vessel capabilities, whilst also maintaining a regional presence. Under this backdrop, cost-effective capabilities provided by OPVs are enabling these demands to be met.

    In September 2010 engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash was appointed by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to develop user requirements for a proposed new maritime-based system to deliver a future Mine Countermeasures, Hydrographic, Patrol (MHPC) capability. Currently, the Royal Navy delivers this capability through a number of separate classes of vessel. The MoD is now in the process of investigating options for delivering this capability once the vessels go out of service. Working directly for the Surface Combatants Team at the MoD, Frazer-Nash's support ran to the end of 2010 and involved working closely with defence and industry stakeholders to develop a set of User and System Requirements for the new capability.

    Paul Havron, Frazer-Nash's Surface Combatant Business Manager, commented: "The development of user requirements is one of the main outputs of the project's Concept Phase and so will help to inform the MOD's investment decisions. Deriving and justifying the requirements is also critical in determining the eventual path to design and we are extremely pleased to be involved at this early stage. The MHPC project is intended to meet the needs of a range of users, therefore this early concept work is critical to establishing which user requirements can be aligned and what sort of solution can best meet the requirements. This is a challenge that Frazer-Nash is well placed to handle, as we have experience in successfully delivering high level requirements work for the MoD on a number of other maritime projects, including the Type 26 Frigate and MARS Fleet Tanker."

    The Royal Navy requirement's for a single-class Minehunting, Hydrography and Patrol Capability (MHPC) ship is similar to the Spanish Navy's BAM class, which is designed to meet many of these requirements also, including hydrographic research, diver support and submarine rescue on top of their primary patrol and security roles. Austrlian Defence's Project Sea 1180 seeks to replace the RAN's current force of 305 tonne Armidale-class patrol boats, 315 ton survey motor launches, 2,550 ton hydrographic ships and 720 ton Huon-class minehunters with a single class of multi-role Offshore Combatant Vessel (OCV) displacing up to 2,000 tonnes.

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