The Ministry of Defence has admitted it is considering abandoning its promise to build the new type 26 frigates on the Clyde and instead seek an alternative from abroad, the head of Royal Navy has admitted.
It is understood that the MoD is considering the FREMM frigate currently being built by France and Italy as an alternative.
The MoD and BAE Systems are currently negotiating the terms of the contract but are reportedly in deadlock over the cost of the project and last month procurement defence minister Philip Dunne refused to put a date on the signing of a contract despite ministers previously saying it would be completed by the end of this year.
With the MoD and defence contractor BAE in the midst of a dispute over terms of the contract for the frigates there has been speculation the UK could purchase French warships instead and Scotland would lose out on a £4 billion contract while the ship building industry could collapse potentially costing more than 11,000 jobs.
If the Royal Navy goes abroad for warships it will be the first time it has done it in peace time and would break a key pledge made to Scottish voters by the UK government during the referendum that the new frigates would be built on the Clyde.
A spokeswoman for the MoD told the media that no decision has been made yet on the frigate contract and confirmed that the First Sea Lord had reflected the MoD’s current position.
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