Images show the basic specification of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, a significant milestone in the development of this programme.
The multi-mission warship, which is due to come into service after 2020, will be used by the Royal Navy in combat and counter piracy operations and to support humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.
Since 2010, the MoD has been working with BAE Systems to determine the ship's basic capabilities and baseline design. Now that has been endorsed, the programme can progress to the next part of the assessment phase, which will examine the detailed specifications of the vessel.
With a basic displacement of around 5,400 tonnes, the Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be around 148m in length (the equivalent of around 15 double decker buses), and one of the most advanced vessels in the Royal Navy's fleet. It is expected to feature: vertical missile silos capable of housing a range of different weapons; a Medium Calibre gun; a hangar to accommodate a Merlin or Wildcat Helicopter and a Flexible Mission Space for Unmanned Air, surface and underwater Vehicles, or additional boats; and the most advanced sensors available to the fleet.
The Type 26 Global Combat Ship is one of several projects which will see UK shipbuilding provide world class equipment for the Navy.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said:
"The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come. It is designed to be adaptable and easily upgraded, reacting to threats as they change.
"I am delighted the programme has been endorsed by the investment approvals committee. The build of these vessels will secure thousands of skilled jobs across the UK, helping to sustain an industrial surface warship capability in the UK after the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers."
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord, said:
"The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be a multi-mission warship designed for joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex combat operations, maritime security operations such as counter piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.
"It will be capable of operating independently for significant periods or as part of a task group and will play a major role in the defence of this country for many years."