Integrated Review: seven new classes of ships to be built
The Royal Navy says that the 2021 Integrated Review means ‘New ships. More ships. New weapons. New technologies. New missions.’
The review, says the navy, is the most comprehensive in a generation, with far-reaching consequences for defence and will result in a Royal Navy which will grow in both size and reach.
In broad brushstrokes the review means that over the next decade there will be seven new classes of ships being built in British yards, including three classes of frigates: the Type 26, 31 and the new Type 32s.
The shipbuilding programme to expand the surface fleet, means by the start of the 2030s, the Royal Navy will have more than 20 frigates and destroyers, aiming to grow to 24 with the introduction of the Type 32s.
A new ‘multi-role ocean surveillance ship’ will be in service in just three years’ time to protect key underwater communications cables. Equipped with advanced sensors it will carry a number of remotely-operated and autonomous undersea drones to gather information on potential threats lurking in the water and is also intended to support front-line operations, such as in the Arctic.
Huge investment will be made in the Submarine Service, spearheaded by the £31bn Dreadnought programme and nuclear warheads.
The navy says it also means that both aircraft carriers will be operated simultaneously. More F-35 jets will be bought to deliver carrier strike. And new support ships will be built to accompany the task groups on their global deployments.
In the short term it will mean retiring some of the old to pay for the new. HMS Monmouth and, when her deployment in the Gulf is completed, HMS Montrose, will be retired and the money saved redirected into successor programmes.
The greatest change, says the navy, comes with a £1bn investment in mine warfare. Automated and autonomous mine hunting systems will be deployed around the world from next year. As a result, first the Sandown-class MCMVs and the Hunts will be replaced by the end of the 2020s.
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