CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – PRODUCTION OF TYPE 26 FRIGATES – 7 November 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Secretary of State for Defence make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Sir Michael Fallon): My priorities remain the fight against Daesh and implementing our strategic defence review. I am delighted to confirm to the House today that the United Kingdom has been chosen by the United States to become a global hub for maintenance and support services for the F-35 programme. The initial contracts will generate hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue and support thousands of highly skilled jobs. It is excellent news for the UK economy, and for Wales in particular, where the hub will be based.]

Dr Lewis: May I welcome the fact that steel cutting will belatedly begin on the Type 26 frigates in the summer of 2017? However, the fact remains that, for the total of 19 frigates and destroyers to be maintained, each frigate will have to be replaced at the rate of one a year. Will the Secretary of State confirm that if the steel cutting begins in 2017, the first ship will be ready to enter service at the same time as HMS Argyll, the first of the Type 23 frigates, is due to leave service in 2023?

[Sir Michael Fallon: Yes, I can confirm that it is our intention to replace the anti-submarine frigates within the Type 23 force with eight new Type 26 anti-submarine frigates.]