Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Brazilian Type 26 Frigates

This article by Reuters suggests that the United Kingdom and Brazil are about to sign a defence agreement.

The Financial Times is also reporting this potentially significant export order.

The articles state that Brazil may buy 6 patrol boats and 5 or 6 Type 26 frigates.

While this is very good news for the British defence industry,if it is true (there was recent talk of Brazil buying Italian frigates),it also tells us something about the Royal Navy's future Type 26 frigates.

The contract is said to be for up to £2,900 Million of ships.

Of these,the 6 patrol boats are expected to cost £60 to £80 Million each.

This means the frigates will cost between £2,540 Million and  £2,420 Million.

This gives us a potential price range of between £508 Million and £403 Million for the Type 26 frigate.

Which would seem to confirm the figure of £400 Million each which has been mentioned previously in connection with the Type 26.

The benefits of a longer production run and this reasonable price bodes well for the future of the Royal Navy's frigate programme.

Indeed,£400 Million is just over one third of a Type 45's programme unit cost and just two thirds of the Type 45's production unit cost.

At that price the Royal Navy could have had 16 Type 26 frigates for the cost of 6 Type 45 destroyers.

That Brazil would consider buying these warships before they have even left the drawing board suggests the Royal Navy may have got things very right with the Type 26.

While many British defence procurements cause significant damage to the United Kingdom's economy and at the same time undermine the country's political independence,the Type 26 export order will be of considerable economic benefit and help to sustain the independence of action of the British armed forces,without which they have no reason to exist.

It is politicians who ultimately decide how much money is spent on defence and programmes like this which create jobs and tax revenues are far more likely to generate support than,for example,the decision to buy Chinook helicopters from America rather than Merlins from England.

We shall have to wait for this to be confirmed,and to find out the details but the only potential downside to this is the possibility that those 5 or 6 frigates have been axed from the Royal Navy's future fleet as part of the forthcoming defence cuts.

In which case it could be very bad news indeed.

Nevertheless,we should never forget that it is defence exports such as this which subsidise the massive drain on the public purse which is the British armed forces.


Sven Ortmann said...

Sounds like a new type 21 class to me.

tangosix said...

Hello Sven Ortmann,

it would be nice if they were as cheap and fast as the Type 21s but I hope they don't have their weaknesses.
The Falklands war showed up the limits of the Type 21s hull and weapon systems.

I hope the Type 26 will be more like the Type 23.
They were low cost ships with probably the World's best anti-submarine systems and good enough (though not outstanding) at everything else.

Hopefully the Type 26 will have much longer endurance,larger boats and a more capable multi-role missile system.


Sven Ortmann said...

The type 23 had initially no anti-surface capability better than Skuas.

It was initially helpless against a four stacker!

tangosix said...

Hello Hello Sven Ortmann,

as far as I am aware the Type 23 has always had Harpoons and the 4.5" gun.
They did have problems with their command systems (or lack thereof) initially though.

Even without the missiles,the gun and it's fire control system would be more than a match for any four piper.


Chuck Hill said...

Sven may be thinking of the Type 22.

tangosix said...

Hello Chuck Hill,

I had a feeling he might be thinking of something else.
I thought it might be the Type 45 he was thinking of,they have not got their Harpoons yet.
The Type 22 had Exocets.

Sven has an interesting blog which I might add to my list:


Sven Ortmann said...

My bad.
I was really thinking of Type 22s.
IIRC they were initially "fitted for, but not with" four Exocets.
That's a common problem with many warships, and usually poorly documented in public sources.

JasonS said...

Tango Six,

Would you expect T26 to have Full Integrated Electric Propulsion in that £ 400 million price tag?

tangosix said...

Hello JasonS,

as far as I am aware the Type 26 will have an integrated full electric propulsion systen.

I was expecting their propulsion to be similar to that of the Type 45 but there has been talk of a new system being developed for the frigates.

I forget the details but it might have used different turbines.

Although they are very different ships,the Albion class also have an integrated full electric propulsion and cost a similar amount to the Type 26.

I suspect the Type 45 would also have cost close to £400 Million without it's air defence system.

One of the big benefits of these modern propulsion systems is lower lifecycle costs though it does increase initial costs and also requires a larger ship to carry it.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you don't know what you are talking about. Brasil is in competition between Italy and France for FREMM frigates. They are not going to wait 12 years for MoD to build a class that doesn't even exist on paper.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Anonymous,

it sounds like you don't know what you are talking about.
The defence agreement mentioned in that article was signed on board H.M.S.Ocean.

BAE Sytems today submitted a proposal to the Brazilian government based on the Type 26 frigate: