donald_of_tokyo wrote:But, MOD decided the delay two times: first time for the 3 River B2s, and secondly for the 2 more. When the "2 more" are ordered, political situation was basically already settled down? So I think the T26 design was really not ready yet.
My apologies, Donald, but unless I'm greatly mistaken, you don't live in Scotland.
I live in Scotland. In fact I live in Glasgow, less than a mile from these shipyards that are building them, and at the heart of the SNPs most fanatical base. The political situation did anything
but settle down up here. In fact it only got worse. There was a time prior to the first B2s that there was a real legitimate chance that the T26 production would need to go elsewhere. The MoD in no sensible way
could commit to building them up here during that period. The survival of this program was on every single leaflet put out to every single household to try and sway people with the promise of big Scottish contracts. I must have gotten 6 different visits and leaflets mentioning the Type 26. The SNP's Independence chance was pipped to win many times, and you don't gamble your warships on a 50/50 outcome.
Only after that referendum in 2014 could they start saying "Okay, now we can look at frigates in Scotland." And by then it was too late. BAE now had the government over a barrel (unproven, but likely) as to the position on the contract, which in no way could have made it easier to draft, and the whole thing was years behind without an agreement made. The delay had left a massive gap in production, and massively overpriced River B2s ended up bought for no reason other than to cover said gap. Then as the "13 ships" promise became "8 + 3 OPVs" they had to order more B2s to make up the leaflet promised "13 ships". (Which had little effect, as most Scots all knew it should be 13 frigates).
After 2014, this only got worse with the the "Yes2" movement. As the EU Referendum neared, it went into absolute fever pitch. It continued to erode confidence over and over. Was Yes2 going to happen? Remember that Sturgeon tried to make it happen, until May turned it down. Again, uncertainty.
Had all that nonsense with the SNP and Westminster's lack of confidence (some justified, some not) not happened, there is a high chance that the contract would have been signed and build started years ago for much less money spent.
And the less said about how much time and money Brexit has obliterated from the government the better.
Totally political issue at its root.
By the way, I do not think T26, if build earlier, shall win the FFX. It may win, but USN historically is not much interested in super quite hull. They have many other things to spend their money. But, yes, as yours are, this is also just my speculation...
It would have had a pretty solid chance given the Australian and Canadian angle, and that's the sort of contract you take great measures
to try and chase. That would have been a defining moment for British shipbuilding if so, even if only building some components.