The Type 26 will be the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come”
Peter LuffMinister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology
The MoD has been working with BAE Systems since 2010 to determine the basic design for the ship. Detailed specifications of the vessel will now be examined.
Vertical missile silos for a range of weapons, such as cruise missiles, will be housed on board along with a medium calibre gun.
The hangar on board will house a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter and there will be extra space for unmanned drones, underwater vehicles or other specialist equipment.
Minister for defence equipment, Peter Luff, said: "The Type 26 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."
The current plan is to build 13 of the ships, which are due to start coming into service after 2020.
The Type 26 will replace the 13 Type 23 frigates but the MoD is not giving a precise commitment on numbers until they know the unit cost .
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, says the ship will be used "across the full spectrum of warfare".
He added: "The T26 GCS will be a multi-mission warship designed for joint and multinational operations... including complex combat operations, maritime security operations such as counter piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world."
The concept of the Type 26 was born at the end of the 1990s as the Future Surface Combatant.
BAE Systems was awarded a contract of £127m in 2010 to work on the initial design.
Geoff Searle, BAE's Programme Director, said a team of 350 people have been involved in the work including marine engineers, designers and accountants.
One big change with previous designs is the ship's mission-bay next to the helicopter hangar which will provide extra space for specialist equipment, depending on the operation.
The hangar could house anything from aerial and underwater unmanned drones, to speed boats or containers for humanitarian aid.
The modular design means it will be constructed in sections, possibly at different sites around the UK.
Mr Searle says the design team has also ensured the ship is both cost effective and flexible for other navies.
BAE is already working with a number of countries and Brazil is thought to have expressed an interest in the Type 26.