Within the programme, the UK government agreed to help Ukraine rebuild its navy. Initially, it was speculated that FIAC vessels based on the Vosper Thornycroft-designed Barzan class could be built in the United Kingdom, possibly at the Appledore shipyard. Following that, the UNCEP designated Babcock as Ukraine’s designated prime industrial partner, and they will bring in SMEs to contribute as needed.
According to industry sources, BAE Systems, which had inherited the Barzan design’s intellectual property, was willing to donate it to other UK shipbuilders on an “as seen” basis. However, Babcock deemed the Barzan unsuitable, owing in part to the disadvantages of its aluminium hull. FBM Marine, which was acquired in 2000, had a portfolio of small-medium size fast patrol ship designs under the ‘Protector’ brand developed in the late 1990s. A total of eight FIACs will be built for Ukraine, each of which will be based on a modified and updated 50-meter Protector design (P50-U).
UNCEP is based on UK export finance in the form of a loan to the Ukrainian government and will include British-made equipment as much as possible and Ukrainian and other foreign content as needed. The precise weapon and sensor fit have yet to be determined. Still, the P50-U will likely feature a small-medium calibre main gun, eight canister-launched anti-ship missiles and a lightweight surface to air missile system.