Royal Navy engine production for Type 26 relocating to France?

The chairman of the UK’s Defence Select Committee is expressing concern that specialist work on the new Type 26 Royal Navy frigates could be hived off to France.

Dr Julian Lewis has written to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, fearing that engine production could be taken away from GE Power in Rugby and given to a French firm in Nancy.

He says Britain could lose its ability to build large engines for the Royal Navy as well as valuable defence contracts.

“There’ll be the loss of the work for highly skilled elements of our defence workforce in this country.

“But it’s far from clear that the work could be done to the same standard in Nancy.

“We believe that the facility we have is unique in this country… We hope it’s not too late to prevent this double loss from occurring.”

BAE Systems was awarded a £3.7bn contract to build the Type 26 frigates in 2017. Eight Type 26s will be built on the Clyde – with each vessel costing up to £250 million.

The ships will specialise in anti-submarine warfare, working closely with the Royal Navy’s Trident nuclear deterrent and the new aircraft carriers.

They will be based at Devonport and are set to first enter service in the early 2020s – replacing the Type 23 frigates.

The Type 26s are expected to continue in service beyond the middle of the 21st century.

They have been named as HMS Edinburgh, HMS Newcastle, HMS Sheffield, HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff, HMS Belfast, HMS Birmingham and HMS London.