Global Combat Ship Type 26

Only 35% of the steel required for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates will be sourced from the UK.

It means that 65% of the steel needed for the ships will come from other countries.

By contrast, 94% of the steel used for HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales came from the UK.

The information comes from a written parliamentary question answered yesterday by Harriett Baldwin MP, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement:

“We expect that around 35 per cent of the steel required to build each Type 26 Frigate will be sourced from UK suppliers in Scotland and Scunthorpe; approximately 1,400 tonnes per ship.

"For some grades of plate steel needed for the Type 26 Frigates the combination of thickness, size and flatness specifications means that the steel cannot be sourced in its entirety in the UK.

"Responsibility for sourcing steel for the Type 26 Frigates rests with BAE Systems as the contractor."

Last month, the Government signed a £3.7bn contract with BAE for the first three of the eight vessels.

HMS Forth outside BAE Systems on the River Clyde, Glasgow
BAE Systems on the River Clyde.

BAE Systems confirmed the numbers in a statement today:

"Approximately fifty percent of the value of steel for the first three Type 26 ships will be British; this equates to around 35% of the overall weight."

"The steel we procure must meet the very specific technical specifications for the complex warships we deliver, as well as meet our customers’ needs in terms of availability timeframes and budgets.

"Steel for the Type 26 programme sourced by Dent Steel UK will come principally from mills in the UK and Sweden which can meet the very specific requirements for the warships."

The Type 26 programme requires “thin plate” steel which UK steel suppliers are said to be unable to produce.

BAE is due to start construction on the frigates next week with a steel cutting ceremony in Glasgow.