Options assessed for base-porting of new frigate fleet
DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond has not ruled out the possibility of Plymouth playing host to a new fleet of warships, writes Defence Reporter Tristan Nichols.
During his visit to Devonport Dockyard yesterday to announce a £350million contract to refit and re-fuel the submarine HMS Vengeance, Mr Hammond also spoke about the Future Surface Combatant programme.
The Government is committed to building and launching the new Royal Navy Type 26 fleet.
Last year it announced that the next-generation global combat ship would be made "in the middle of this decade".
Yesterday when asked about base-porting arrangements for the fleet, Mr Hammond said: "We have not made any long-term decisions about the future base-porting of surface ships.
"No decisions have been made. In due course we will look at the options for base-porting the Type 26 combat ships."
City MPs are campaigning for the warships to be based here as Plymouth's fleet of Type 22 frigates were decommissioned last year as part of the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Plymouth now plays host to a handful of warships including some of the Type 23 frigates, helicopter ship HMS Ocean, assault ships HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion, and survey ships.