Defence giant BAE Systems in ‘final phase’ of talks over multi-billion-pound deal for five new submarine-hunting ships
- Next PM could sign off the project within months of taking office
- Frontrunner Liz Truss pledging to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP
- Type 26’s purpose will be to counter Russia’s submarine threat in north Atlantic
Defence giant BAE Systems is in the ‘final phase’ of talks over a multi-billion-pound deal for five new submarine-hunting ships, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Britain’s biggest defence firm is already building three Type 26 models at its Govan shipyard in Glasgow under a £3.7billion deal signed in 2017.
But the Government has until now not confirmed details of a new contract for five more of the warships – designed to provide ultra-quiet capabilities in the North Sea.
Threat: Sir Simon Lister, managing director of naval ships for BAE, said Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had created an ‘increased sense of purpose’
The next prime minister could sign off the project within months of taking office with frontrunner Liz Truss pledging to increase defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP.
Sir Simon Lister, managing director of naval ships for BAE, said Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had created an ‘increased sense of purpose’. He added: ‘We’ve been in negotiation with the Ministry of Defence for the last 18 months. There’s an intensity that builds towards the end. We’re in the final phase of that negotiation but it hasn’t yet concluded.’
Asked if Russia’s attack on Ukraine had spurred on the talks, he said: ‘I would say that the Ukrainian invasion has given us all an increased sense of purpose in general.
‘But the intensity of the negotiations was there before.
‘The requirement for this anti-submarine capability pre-dates that Ukrainian invasion and has been felt very strongly in the shipbuilding community and in the MoD for some time.’
The Type 26’s main purpose will be to counter Russia’s submarine threat in the north Atlantic. HMS Glasgow is months away from completing the first stage of its construction, at Govan, expected by the end of this year. It will then be towed by barges out into the deep waters of the Clyde and lowered in. Next it will be fitted out at BAE’s dry dock down the river in Scotstoun.
The next two Type 26s, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, are in earlier stages of construction at Govan. The programme has not been without snags.
Adjusting working conditions during the pandemic and supply chain issues added a year to the timetable.
But HMS Glasgow is still expected to be ready for service by the mid-2020s.
BAE is a major employer on the Clyde, with 3,500 working at Govan and 400 more being recruited as its shipbuilding work is stepped up.