ROYAL Navy chiefs have unveiled the home of eight new warships being rolled out to combat the “increasing threat from Russia”.
Britain’s new Type 26 frigates will be housed at Royal Navy site Devonport Naval Base – ending speculation they will be split between there and Portsmouth.
Pompey is the traditional home of the Royal Navy, and the base of the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Gavin Williamson made the announcement on Monday on board HMS Montrose.
He promised the new vessels will be ready to combat new threats from Russia amid a period of plunging relations between Moscow and London.
Types 26s will be “at the heart of Britain’s fight for a safe world”, Mr Williamson said.
“[This will ensure] that we have the capabilities to deal with the increasing threat of Russia”
The 6,900-tonne frigate is designed for anti-submarine warfare and will enter service by the mid-2020s.
Four already named as HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff, HMS Belfast and HMS Birmingham and they will be part of a new look Royal Navy.
And Britain’s two new aircraft carriers Big Liz and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales will both be in service at a similar time.
Eight of the Type 26s have already ordered from the BAE Systems shipyards on the Clyde.
Mr Williamson said: “We need to make sure the Royal Navy is in the best position to be able to plan for their future.
“These are world-leading frigates. The Royal Australian Navy are also investing in these same frigates because there’s a real clear understanding about the world-leading technology.
“This will play an important part in keeping Britain safe for the future, important in ensuring that we have the capabilities to deal with the increasing threat of Russia.”
Asked whether Russia’s threat had prompted recent announcements of investment to defence, Mr Williamson said: “There is a recognition that the threat from Russia is stepping up, and this is why the commitment to the Type 26 to Devonport is timely at this moment.”
The defence secretary said the £3.7 billion programme would secure the future of Devonport.
After the speech Williamson said the plans would give confidence to the public about the Government’s plans for the base.
The site employs 2,500 people and generates 10% of Plymouth’s income.
“This is a multi-billion pound programme which is going to ensure the future of the base,” he said.
Mr Williamson added: “The largest naval base in western Europe, Devonport is the lifeblood of Plymouth and is as synonymous with this city as it is with our famous Royal Navy.
“Ships have set sail from Devonport’s dock to defend our great nation for hundreds of years, and I can reveal that the truly world-class type 26 frigates will follow in their wake.
“We are living in increasingly dangerous times, with the threats intensifying both on and beneath the water.
” Plymouth should be in no doubt that it will be right at the heart of Britain’s fight for a safer world by homing these formidable warships.”