Boris Johnson will today announce which company is the preferred bidder for the contract to build the Royal Navy’s new fleet of Type 31 frigates, after pledging to “bring shipbuilding home”.
The government has committed to buying at least five of the warships, as well as hoping to sell them to other governments.
The Ministry of Defence aims to award the £1.3bn contract by the end of the year.
The first ship is expected to begin sea trials in 2023.
The frigates will be built exclusively in the UK with different elements being fabricated and assembled at various British shipyards.
The Type 31 programme will guarantee at least 2,500 jobs across the country including 150 new technical apprenticeships.
The ships will be fitted with the world-leading Sea Ceptor missile system, as well as being able to operate a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter.
The prime minister said: “The UK is an outward-looking island nation, and we need a shipbuilding industry and Royal Navy that reflect the importance of the seas to our security and prosperity.
“This is an industry with a deep and visceral connection to so many parts of the UK and to the Union itself.
“My government will do all it can to develop this aspect of our heritage and the men and women who make up its workforce – from apprentices embarking on a long career, to those families who have worked in shipyards for generations.
“I look forward to the restoration of British influence and excellence across the world’s oceans. I am convinced that by working together we will see a renaissance in this industry which is so much part of our island story – so let’s bring shipbuilding home.”
The frigate-building programme is part of a wider plan to breathe new life into the UK shipbuilding industry. To that end Mr Johnson has named Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as the new shipbuilding tsar.
Mr Wallace said: “These mighty ships will form the next generation of the Royal Navy fleet. The Type 31 frigates will be a fast, agile and versatile warship, projecting power and influence across the globe.
“The ships will be vital to the Royal Navy’s mission to keeping peace, providing life-saving humanitarian aid and safeguarding the economy across the world from the North Atlantic, to the Gulf, and in the Asia Pacific.”