The Ship Building Myth

The Myth:: Westminster Cut The Number Of Ships To Be Built In Scotland

The Truth:: Westminster Increased The Number, Not Cut It.

This is one of the cybernats favourite myths.

They’ve gone as far as claiming no ships are even being built.

Here’s the real story.

Westminster announced that they’d be building 13 new frigates, to be designated Type 26.

A contract was signed for the first batch of 3 of them.

Starting of that was delayed, so Westminster ordered 5 Offshore Patrol Vessels to fill the gap, and protect the skills and workforce that BAE had on the Clyde.

Those ships have been delivered, and are in service.

[Running Total = 5]

Construction of Batch 1 of the Type 26s was then started.

[Running Total = 8]

This is where the cybernats, and indeed, some SNP politicians come in.

They claim that the contract for 13 ships was cut to 3.

Problem? Of course. There never was a “contract” for 13. That’s not how the MOD work. They always batch order for ships, as later vessels often get upgrades, and systems changes as built.

During this period, the requirements for the Royal Navy changed, and they wanted 8 Type 26 frigates, and 5 Type 31s.

A contract was then signed with Babcock at Rosyth for 5 Type 3 ships. BAE on the Clyde couldn’t have built these ships anyway. They’re at full capacity until the early 2030s building the 26s.

[Running Total = 13]

The contract for Batch 2 of the Type 26 ships was signed in November 2022.

[Running Total = 18]

So rather than cut the number of ships to be built in Scotland, it was actually increased from 13 to eighteen.

On top of that, there’s a contract for a Type 31 variant for Ukraine, plans for 5 Type 32 frigates in the pipeline, and talk of replacements for the Type 45 destroyers being built on the Clyde.

Planned: 13
Contracts: 19
Proposed: 5 frigates and 5 destroyers.

Here's a table showing what's being built.

Graphic courtesy of UK Defence Journal

Had we been stupid enough to vote Yes in 2014, those shipyards would already be closed, and the Royal Navy work moved to England, Wales, or Ireland, as the UK does not build complex warships outside UK borders.