Future frigate: what the Type 31e could look like. (Image: BAE Systems).
The process to find a contractor to build the Royal Navy's new Type 31 Frigates is to be restarted because of insufficient competition.
The ships were marketed as a lower end, lower cost vessel, but none of the bidders could meet the £250 million per ship target, according to Jane's 360.
The decision has come under fire from Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard, who says the Royal Navy needs more capable frigates: "The programme to buy the Type 31e frigate was supposed to be the Ministry of Defence's new low-cost frigate.
"It was supposed to be the export version.
"To have the MoD pause procurement on that is deeply worrying because the Type 31 frigates come online - they should be in the sea - before the Type 26s.
"The Type 26s are being built - the Type 31s are still nowhere near that."
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told Forces News: "There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy.
"We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set.
"This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace."
They go on to say that restarting the process will ensure the best outcome is delivered.