Frigates – Small to medium-sized surface escort ships (approx 4,000 tons) and general ‘workhorses’ of the fleet. Used to be primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare but are increasingly used in general purpose roles. The RN now has just 13 Type 23 frigates.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract to design and build the ‘Global Combat Ship’ better know as the Type 26 Frigate to replace the Type 23s. The RN faces a big challenge to keep costs down and produce an effective but affordable design that can be built in significant numbers. Under current plans around 1 ship per year should be delivered from 2020. A minimum of 13 will be need just to replace the existing small frigate force but there remains considerable uncertainty about the number of ships that will be built.