Sep. 11, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News
LONDON — BAE Systems began selecting key systems suppliers for the Royal Navy Type 26 frigate program now on the drawing board.
Rolls-Royce, MTU, David Brown Gear Systems and Rohde & Schwarz were unveiled as suppliers on the second day of the DSEi defense show in London Sept 11.
The awards will see Rolls-Royce supply its MT30 gas turbine, with MTU responsible for the diesel engines and David Brown the gear box. Rohde & Schwarz will provide the ships integrated communications system.
The Rolls-Royce MT30 is the same engine as the one that will power the Royal Navy’s two 65,000 ton aircraft carriers now under construction.
BAE’s program director, Geoff Searle, said the suppliers were the first of between 30 to 40 companies expected to be selected for major systems deals on Type 26 by the end of the year.
There are about 70 competitions for Type 26 systems. Final supplier selection for major items will be completed in 2014.
The Type 26 program has been in the assessment phase since 2010 and BAE is now refining the design of the warship.
The Royal Navy is planning to buy 13 Type 26’s with the first of the new warships expected to start replacing the current Type 23 fleet in the early 2020s.
It will be the maritime industry’s single biggest surface warship program once the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are completed late in the decade.
Searle said the Type 26 program is expected to continue through to the 2030s. The warship has primarily a utility role with a bias toward anti-submarine capabilities.
Aside from the firming up of the supply chain, BAE revealed a number of design changes to the 6,000-ton warship. The most significant of those was a switch of the mission bay from the stern of the vessel to a position just behind the helicopter hangar.
The hangar can house a variety of containerised modules of equipment or facilities ranging from mine counter measures to fast intercept craft.
Searle said that moving the mission bay back gave the Royal Navy greater flexibility including possible extension of the hangar space to handle unmanned air vehicles when required.