Plans to build the next generation of frigates have been halted - levelling a blow to Rosyth which was expected to work on them.

A team led by Rosyth yard owners Babcock,  had unveiled a proposal for the £1.25 billion Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme just last month.

Called the Arrowhead 140, the design was a contender for the scheme which would see the Royal Navy replace Type 23 frigates with five new Type 31s - until now.

An official spokesperson said there were “insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition”.

The Arrowhead 140 design for UK Type 31e frigate revealed

Babcock and BMT recently signed a cooperation agreement which could see the Type 31e built in Rosyth, Scotland and Appledore, Devon if their bid is successful.

It was understood that the Rosyth/Appledore option was the preferred build and assembly locations It is suggested that work on the next generation of frigates for the Navy has had to be suspended and delayed on the grounds of cost.

READ MORE:  Union warns of new Brexit threat to shipbuilding

The MoD is understood to have ended the original acquisition process, citing insufficient compliant bids for an effective and robust competition.

While moves are under way to develop a new ‘streamlined’ competition, the pause means that the target in-service date (ISD) of 2023 is now in doubt.

SNP Defence spokesman Stewart McDonald MP said that news was "utterly shocking".

HeraldScotland: MP Stewart McDonald has created the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill

He said:‘’Suspending this vital programme on the very last day of parliament is the kind of thing we have grown to expect from this deeply cynical untrustworthy government – but it is still utterly shocking.

"The Ministry of Defence has been unable to answer the most basic questions about the cost of this new Type 31e frigates and today they have had to own up to their own chaotic failures.

‘’This has deeply serious consequences for our naval defence capabilities and the future of the shipbuilding across the UK.

‘’Time after time the Tories make claims about shipbuilding being safe in their hands only for the workforces to be hammered by u turns - lies and broken promises. Today’s reports will be just another hammer blow from the Tories who think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it.

‘’The Scottish Tories need to wake up to the threats to our shipbuilding industry from their own incompetent government and stop dismissing SNP concerns as ' scare mongering' as they do every time I raise them in parliament.

‘’This is proof that yet again on the last day of parliament that the Tories cannot and must never be trusted on shipbuilding.’’

READ MORE:  Anger over £20,000 bill as Navy staff sent to launch of ships built in Korea

Scottish Labour MP for Glasgow North East Paul Sweeney said: "It's clear the MoD price target was unrealistic without putting in place the certainty of the orders being placed with a given consortium, so they could invest and be match-fit to build the ship at that price.

"The industry deserves better than for this story to be sneaked out on the day before recess. It's disappointing that the Secretary of State did not choose to inform the house.

"Just as we have seen with the Fleet Solid Support ships the Government is failing to support our industry and provide the reassurance needed for our shipbuilding industry to invest to be world class. 

"We have a huge opportunity to achieve that with Type 26 being built on the Clyde and Type 31e, yet their adherence to free-market dogma above all else is squandering it; going back to the bad old days of insecure jobs and lack of investment that plagued our shipyards through the 1990s."

It appears that the Type 31e project is not completely dead, as the MoD says it will seek a new “streamlined” competition as soon as possible.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said during the 2016 Holyrood election campaign that the "light frigate order" would definitely be going to the Clyde.

In a statement the MoD said: "Making this decision now and starting a new procurement is the right thing to do to deliver the best outcome. We will present plans for a new streamlined procedure imminently."

The MoD added:  “There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy.

"We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set.

"This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.”

The decision to move to Type 31e came after the MoD undertook a shake up two years ago of how warships will be built for the Royal Navy that aimed to spread the work around the country.

Proposals floated by industrialist Sir John Parker in his review of the sector in 2016 were backed by the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon in a move intended to deliver budget vessels to the British military that are also aimed at being attractive to foreign buyers.

Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Britain were to buy five “Type 31e” general purpose frigates – a cut-price warship – to bolster the Royal Navy’s depleted fleet, with the first one intended to enter service in 2023.

Sir John recommended the new vessels be built at shipyards around the country, using the “modular” system employed to construct the huge Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

This saw giant blocks fabricated at sites around the UK, before being towed to Rosyth in Scotland were they were integrated into the 65,000-tonne ships by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, made up of BAE Systems, Babcock and Thales working with the MoD.

Announcing the plan, the MoD said a £250m-per-ship price cap had been set for the vessels, which were revealed in the last defence review when the Government said it would purchase only eight of the more capable Type 26 frigates, with the Type 31 making up numbers.