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According to press reports on 20 May, later confirmed by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), the General Electric plant at Rugby is set to receive an order for power conversion units for the second batch of Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy.

Trades union Unite commented that the order secures the immediate future for the Rugby facility, where over 250 staff are employed. “This world-class workforce, whose skills and expertise has built motors which power all the Royal Navy’s warships, can look forward to working on the second batch of Type 26 frigates,” observed Unite Assistant General Secretary, Steve Turner.

The Chairman of Parliament’s Defence Select Committee, Dr Julian Lewis, wrote to then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in February, expressing concern at an announcement by GE that the factory would close and the work be moved to a site in Nancy, France, by the end of this year. The Committee made the point that construction of large engines such as these embodied skills and knowledge that it was vital for Britain to retain.

The second batch of Type 26 frigates will feature British-built power conversion engines. (Image: Ministry of Defence)

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