Instead, the government has found a way to reduce the costs of construction for contractors, hoping that now the deal on 5 ships can be closed by the end of 2019. The first vessel is expected to be ready in 2023.
The UK Ministry of Defence has admitted that it won't be able to receive new budget export-oriented frigates, Type 31e for a set price tag of £250m per vessel, The Telegraph reported, citing anonymous sources in the British government. The newspaper noted that prior to that some naval experts had expressed concern that such an inexpensive ship may become more of liability than an asset for any navy.
At the same time, the ministry didn't scrap the idea of the warship for good. The price tag will remain the same, but now the winning bidder will bear fewer costs due to "government-furnished equipment". The term suggests that the state will provide the contractor with some of the ship's equipment, such as sophisticated software and even weaponry.
The Save The Royal Navy website has suggested that London can use parts of the Type 23 frigate, which are now being decommissioned. However, according to the media outlet, the adaptation of the old ship's systems may take time and the government can't decommission the Type 23 rapidly without replacing them with something else.
According to The Telegraph, Type 31e was designed to be a lucrative option for military exports with the first one expected to be ready in 2023. The original tender for the ship's construction was halted in summer 2018 due to lack of competition.