An important British defence industry think-tank will next week ask the Ministry of Defence to scrap the navy’s pan-European Horizon frigate and replace it with a domestically developed ship.
The UK Defence Forum will say in a report that Horizon, which is to replace the navy’s dozen Type 42 air defence destroyers, is unaffordable and compromises operational requirements.
It will also claim that the craft will not meet the navy’s desired in-service date.
The MoD has already admitted that instead of the original date of December 2002, Britain’s first Horizon frigate will not appear before June 2004.
But the UKDF estimates the likely in-service date could be as late as 2006.
Its report is strongly critical of the project, developed with France and Italy.
UKDF says a British national programme could be cheaper and developed on a ‘fast track procurement route’.
The report says the existing collaborative PAAMS air defence missile system should be kept as the frigate’s core weapon.
It also recommends that use should be made of the best elements of the Horizon programme to which money has already been committed.
UKDF says GEC Marine, the British part of the international joint venture company running Horizon, should be chosen as prime contractor designate of a national programme.
Critical parts of the frigate, like the combat management system, the fully integrated communications system and the electronic warfare system, would then have to be developed by integrated industry project teams to cut development risks.