Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Britain's Ministry of Defense and Royal Navy have launched plans to obtain a new frigate to replace Type 23 frigates now in service.
The project was announced Thursday by Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin and came on the heels of the ministry's announcement of a new shipbuilding strategy.
"A day after we launched the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are taking our first major step towards realizing it by launching the Type 31e program," Baldwin said in a press release.
"It will take the very best of British engineering, innovation and drive to achieve it and, as a nation, we have shown time and time again that we have what it takes to deliver. This program will re-energize a world-leading, vibrant and competitive British shipbuilding industry."
Type 31e frigates, which will be built in a modular process, will perform Fleet Ready Escort duties in home waters, perform tasks in the South Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf, and meet Britain's NATO commitments in the Mediterranean.
The ships will feature a hangar and flight deck big enough for a helicopter and unmanned air vehicles and will be built at a cost of about $326.7 million for five ship.
The first five frigates, due to be in service in 2023, will replace five Type 23 frigates. Eight Type 23 ships are being replaced by Type 26 vessels, the first of which entered construction in July.