Thousands of jobs have been secured for two decades following the award of a £3.7bn contract to BAE Systems for three Type 26 Global Combat Ships.
The new warships will be the first of eight vessels to replace specialist submarine-hunting Type 23 frigates that are currently in service.
Shipbuilding yards on the Clyde will be responsible for building and fitting out the trio, with the first entering service in the mid-2020s.
The work is expected to support and sustain 3,400 jobs in the shipyards and across the supply chain.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “Today there are over 500 submarines in the world operated by 40 navies. As one of the quietest and most potent submarine-hunters of any navy, the Type 26 will have a crucial role to play to protect the nuclear deterrent and our two new aircraft carriers.
“They will also work alongside our international partners to protect and promote the United Kingdom’s interests around the world.”
The Type 26 frigates will be 60ft longer and 2,000 tonnes heavier than their predecessors and will be equipped with bow and towed array sonar, Sea Ceptor air defence missiles and a 5” main gun.
The ships will also be equipped with a mission bay for plug-in containers carrying equipment for specific tasks, such as disaster relief, and a flight deck big enough for a Chinook to land on it.
The UK government committed to eight advanced anti-submarine warfare ships in its 2015 Stategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). The Type 26 programme currently employs over 1,200 people in the UK supply chain, with a number of contracts already in place for the manufacture of major equipment for the first three ships. In total, there are already 33 UK and international companies working in the supply chain to deliver the Type 26 ships.