British Ministry of Defense proposes new shipbuilding plan

A new National Shipbuilding Strategy has been released by British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
By Stephen Carlson   |   Sept. 7, 2017 at 10:15 AM
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Sept. 7 (UPI) -- British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon released a new National Shipbuilding Strategy on Wednesday, which includes a plan to overhaul and expand the overall maritime industry in England.

The proposed strategy is based off of an independent report by Anglo-American PLC chairman Sir John Parker with proposals on how to overhaul the U.K.'s maritime industry and shipyards, grow the Royal Navy by the 2030's, and increase ship exports and the shipbuilding job market.

The strategy calls for the procurement of Type 31e General Purpose Frigates at the price of no more than $300 million each for the initial five frigates. The ships would be built in parts in multiple shipyards before final assembly in a central location, with the first to be in service by 2023.

The plan also looks to seeing the ship being competitive in the defense export market.

"This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximize exports and be attractive to navies around the world," Fallon said.

The proposed model of production will follow along the lines of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was built in blocks in six shipyards for final assembly at a single point. This strategy has been touted as spreading around jobs and manufacturing opportunities.

The proposed Type 31e General Purpose Frigate would be a low-cost light frigate meant as much for export as for bolstering the shrinking Royal Navy. It's potential design is still under consideration with BAE Systems, a major competitor.

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