LONDON --- BAE Systems has told USNI News that it would be “delighted” to enter its Type 26 Global Combat Ship in the FFG(X) future frigate competition – if the Navy scraps the requirement for a proven hull design.
The U.K. shipbuilder has taken a close interest in the small surface combatant program, prompting speculation that the United States might join Britain, Australia and Canada in acquiring versions of the Type 26 platform.
On Thursday, however, as the Navy released a final FFG(X) request for proposals, the company confirmed that it will not be submitting blueprints for the 492-foot, 8,000 -ton Type 26 unless the contest is opened up to designs that have not yet been proven at sea. Such a U-turn is not expected.
“Following a detailed assessment of the US Navy’s requirements for its FFG(X) frigate, program we chose not to participate and will continue to focus on delivering on our commitments to the U.K., Australian and Canadian navies,” a BAE Systems spokesperson said.
“We would be delighted to re-engage with the U.S. Navy should its requirements change.”
The Royal Navy is slated to receive eight City-class Type 26s optimized for anti-submarine warfare, with BAE Systems securing an order worth $4.7 billion (U.S. dollars) for the first three ships in July 2017.
Lead ship HMS Glasgow is now under construction in Scotland. Float-out is expected in late 2021, followed by fitting out, acceptance by the Royal Navy in 2025 and entry into operational service in 2027, according to information provided to Parliament.
Such a leisurely schedule – which has been dictated by funding constraints within the UK Ministry of Defence – means the ship has no chance of demonstrating its capabilities within the timeframe required by the U.S. Navy, which plans to select the FFG(X) detail design in Fiscal Year 2020. (end of excerpt)
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