Wee skit on thinkdefence about the new vessel: HMS Protector | Think Defence, along with a Scribd doc with the vessel specs. It's an interim measure, though something similar will no doubt be purchased, most lieky with a suitable hanger to take a Merlin.
Ahh, now you see everyone got a little bit giddy with the whole PFI thing (idiotic concept imho, caused more problems and cost more than if it had been doen the old fashioned way). Though tbf the River deal hasn't been a disaster like say ohhh, Hospitals or FSTA for example.
I've said it before, but I tend to passionately believe in some of the things I say, I don't get why the Andy don't ahve a rolling replacement system for boats.
I think I worked out that to maintain the fleet of FFs we have, for their predicted life span, we'd need a new FF every three years. With one sat mothballed or one undergoing sea trials at all times. In this way we'd be able to add bits and bots to the ships as they came on line.
A new classification could be announced once 30 minor or 3 major alterations had been undertaken to the design.