13:34 GMT28 January 2020
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    Britain has a proud maritime tradition and the Royal Navy was, until the 1940s, the world’s most powerful force at sea. Nowadays it has less ships than the Finnish and Indonesian navies.

    Boris Johnson has agreed to buy five warships - at a cost of £250 million each - for the Royal Navy.

    All five Type 31 frigates will be built in Scotland, securing thousands of jobs and perhaps shoring up the Conservatives’ support north of the border after the recent resignation of Ruth Davidson as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

    The Type 31 is a smaller, cheaper model of the Type 26 frigates which are being built on Clydeside.

    Work will begin later this year on constructing the ships and they will be assembled at Rosyth in Fife, with the first being delivered in 2023.

    ​The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth II, was built at Rosyth but has suffered teething problems since starting sea trials.

    Its sister ship, the Prince of Wales, is due to leave Rosyth for sea trials later this month.

    The Babcock consortium’s Arrowhead 140 design will sub-contract work from the French company Thales and also Ferguson Marine Engineering, a Glasgow shipyard which was nationalised by the Scottish government to save it from collapse recently.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the £1.25 billion order would safeguard 2,500 jobs in the UK which, he said, was "a great shipbuilding nation."

    Mr Johnson said: "What it delivers is high quality jobs for young people - really high-skilled jobs for young people in this country - but also massive export opportunities of vessels that not only help to keep the peace but tackle piracy, help dealing with immigration issues across the seas."

    Babcock’s CEO Archie Bethel said: “Arrowhead 140 has been recognised as offering the best design, build and delivery solution for the UK’s Royal Navy Type 31 frigates. Driven by innovation and backed by experience and heritage, Arrowhead 140 is a modern warship that will meet the maritime threats of today and tomorrow, with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. It provides a flexible, adaptable platform that delivers value for money and supports the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.”

    ​Babcock said it hoped that after completing the order for the Royal Navy it would be able to design and build more of the frigates and export them to other countries.

    Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK said: “With the announcement today that Arrowhead 140 has been selected as the preferred bidder for the new Type 31e frigate, the Royal Navy will join the global community of 26 navies utilising the Thales Tacticos combat management system. Thales already provides the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy and will now provide the digital heart of the UK’s next generation frigates.”

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