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UK confirms it will build six new warships for Royal Marines

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LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) -British defence minister Grant Shapps said he would orderup to six new warships for the Royal Marines, as the government starts to indicate where a recently announced rise in defence spending will be directed.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcedin April that he would lift defence spending to 2.5% of GDP a year by 2030, saying the British arms industry must be on a "war footing" when the world is at its most dangerous since the Cold War.

Shapps said on Tuesday that the new vessels, known as Multi Role Support Ships, will be built in Britain and will help strengthen Britain's amphibious special operations commando force for the battles of the future.

The government had said in 2022 it would build new ships for the Royal Marines.

"It's something we're now able to do because the money's been pledged to defence," Shapps told the BBC.

He will speak at the Sea Power Conference in central London later on Tuesday, where he will also say that two current Royal Marine assault ships, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, will not be scrapped or mothballed before their planned out of service dates in 2033-2034.

The six new vessels are part of a programme of 28 ships and submarines being built or in the pipeline for Britain's Navy, which Shapps said represented "a new Golden Age for British shipbuilding".

BAE Systems BAES.L, Britain's biggest military contractor, and another UK defence company, Babcock BAB.L, are amongst the companies involved in building those 28 ships.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, editing by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton


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