Prince William today started construction on the UK’s third of eight Type 26 Frigate for the Royal Navy.

In a steel cut ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Glasgow, His Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, set the plasma cutting machine to work on the first plate of steel for the third Type 26 frigate, HMS BELFAST. Minister of State for Defence Baroness Goldie, together with employees and representatives from the Scottish Government, Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence, joined the celebrations.

Sisters HMS Glasgow and HMS Cardiff are already in built, with HMS Glasgow sitting on the hard standing otuside the ship build hall. I was lucky enough to tour HMS Glasgow recently. (Photo below belogn to BAE, not me)

According to a news release from BAE Systems:

“The event marks an important step in the programme to deliver the UK’s latest anti-submarine warfare capability to the Royal Navy, with all three of the first batch of City Class frigates now under construction. The UK-sourced steel plate will form part of a unit which will contain the machinery space for the gearbox and stabilisers of HMS BELFAST.

In recent weeks the first of class, HMS GLASGOW, was rolled out of the build hall into the open for the first time, while progress on HMS CARDIFF continues at pace, with more than 40% of the ship’s units in build at the Company’s Govan shipyard. Led by electrical apprentice, Cara Shannon, and Type 26 Programme Director, David Shepherd, the Duke of Cambridge enjoyed a tour of HMS GLASGOW during his visit, meeting employees in the ship’s operations room and flight deck.”

Click to enlarge.

Minister of State for Defence Baroness Goldie, said:

“Today is a significant milestone for the exciting new Type 26 frigate programme and for Defence. We celebrate and receive great support from our UK shipyards. As a Scot, I am very proud of the skills and expertise of our Scottish shipbuilders here on the Clyde. These new frigates will be equipped with the most advanced capabilities and technologies, enabling the Royal Navy to counter emerging global threats for decades to come.”

Rear Admiral Paul Marshall, Director Navy Acquisition, said:

“It’s been a privilege to witness this important moment in the life of our third Type 26 frigate and I’m delighted that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge was able to come here today to cut the first steel for the future HMS BELFAST. Despite the obstacles of the past year, BAE Systems’ workforce has continued to deliver what will be a world-leading maritime capability that will join an innovative and forward-looking Royal Navy. We are very proud to work closely with industry to realise the immense opportunity that these ships offer to our growing maritime ambition, our international partners and to the whole of the United Kingdom.”

The Type 26 frigate is an advanced anti-submarine warship which will “deliver critical protection of the Royal Navy’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent and Carrier Strike Group”.

Each Type 26 will be equipped with a range of capabilities including the Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a 5-inch medium calibre gun, flexible mission bay, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar and towed array sonar.

BAE add that the flight deck will be able to accommodate helicopters up to the size of a Chinook, while the mission bay can quickly adapt to house containers and deploy manned or unmanned vessels and vehicles.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
32 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DaveyB
DaveyB
26 days ago

That’s really good news.

How have they got round the naming issue of the other HMS Belfast, currently mored up on the Thames?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Naming issue?

Challenger
Challenger
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The current one will be known as HMS Belfast (1938) to make the distinction.

DaveyB
DaveyB
26 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Cheers, that makes sense.

Had a mates leaving do on Belfast. We were only allowed to drink rum. It got very messy and I can’t remember getting back to the Union Jack club.

George Parker
George Parker
20 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I have a vague recollection that UJ Club offer a recovery wheelbarrow service for those “special occasions.” Sadly the hangover is all on you Davey.

Dern
Dern
26 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Not sure why that’s necessary, HMS Belfast was already C35, and between Hull and Pennant numbers you can make it clear which ship is which without resorting to appending the year of construction.

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

plus the ship on the Thames is officially decommissioned

CAM
CAM
26 days ago

 🇬🇧 

Last edited 26 days ago by CAM
Nick C
Nick C
26 days ago

Interesting piece George, it’s good to see the programme is in full swing. Could you enlighten us as to what the milestones for Glasgow are, bearing in mind that she is supposed to be delivered and in service 12 months early. In particular when is she due to go into the water and down the river to Scotstoun for fitting out. It would also be interesting to know if you have any insight into when the contract for the second batch is due to be signed. If Bae are now cutting metal on ship 3 they are already going to… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger
26 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

You’d think the contract will be awarded for the next 5 pretty soon if they intend to keep to a regular drumbeat.

Trevor G
Trevor G
26 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

Good points. As an ex shipbuilder I would be wanting to see the B2 contract certainly within the next 12 months, plus ordering of long lead items starting asap.

DaveyB
DaveyB
26 days ago
Reply to  Trevor G

I take it the B2s will incorporate lessons learned etc from the B1s?

Dern
Dern
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

They’ll be about 10m longer, 5knots faster, have a helicotper deck and upgrade to a 30mm…. oh wait… wrong B2.

Dern
Dern
26 days ago
Reply to  Trevor G

IIRC the order of long lead items like the engines has already begun.

Ron
Ron
26 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

Nick, it looks like that the build rate is the same, it is the in service date that seems to be 12 months early. This makes sense as there is not much new on the T26, the main engine is the MT30 we know how that works, the radar and sonar is the same as the T23 just updated, we know how Sea Ceptor works, the 5in gun from BAE is on ships from other nations so that is not a major issue so the only real testing is of the hull and the Mk41s VLS to see what we… Read more »

Nick C
Nick C
26 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron, good morning. I agree with you on the price, if the ships are using mostly tried and tested kit where does the price come from. Likewise the projected build rate is very leisurely but I suspect that is down to the rate the MOD is paying. I think I saw somewhere that the intention was to fit at least some of the ships with refurbished electronics from the existing ships, although it might conceivably cost more to refurb than to build new. In an ideal world it would be good to see the contract for batch 2 come pretty… Read more »

Geo
Geo
26 days ago

Marvellous….can pace be upped on delivery? Or is it being constrained to meet budget ?

Julian
Julian
26 days ago
Reply to  Geo

We did get the news that the first T26 was ahead of the previously announced schedule so maybe some grounds for optimism re the other 2 from the first batch. I wonder if we might see some benefits from the pandemic here. I am sure that the UK government would like to see a strong rebound in growth over the next few years and it already talks a lot about economic stimulus and “shovel ready” infrastructure projects. Local shipbuilding is a very potent way to deliver a stimulus because all the labour costs for the actual build goes to UK… Read more »

Geo
Geo
26 days ago
Reply to  Julian

True….but the 12mth speed up seemed to be on paper rather than service date. A few more would be nice as would a speed up….lets see if the T31s and T32s come in at pace

Dern
Dern
26 days ago
Reply to  Geo

It’s not in Paper, it’s in steel. The in serivce date is entirely down to the RN’s decision making, and whether they want to use the extra 12 months for more testing, or whether they want to use them to bring the in service date further forwards.

Geo
Geo
26 days ago
Reply to  Dern

A result then if possibly a chance to speed things up….chance not to miss as some of these T23s on last legs and upgrades money wasted.

John renaud
John renaud
26 days ago

It’s great to know let’s hope Russia and China take note we are strong nation and we will not be push around.

Jamie
Jamie
25 days ago
Reply to  John renaud

China is currently building & commissioning a dozen ships a year, We are no threat to China.

Now if we had an extra half dozen Astute SSNs then we’re talking.

Peter
Peter
26 days ago

Big boots to fill.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
26 days ago

With type 32 most likely still able to be decided where to build etc bae will be looking to show they can do a great job. I don’t mind where it’s built and to what design. I imagine nothing is set in stone yet. Rosyth could have export orders to keep them busy

David
David
26 days ago

Please sir! Please!

Can I have some more?

Fitted for and able to go up against… anything.

They will be great looking ships and, yes, yes, children at the back, silence, I still think the USN could be interested; these are well ahead of what the septics are building at the moment.

Bomber
Bomber
23 days ago

Now I’m no expert but these ships seem to be very lightly armed for such large vessels. Where exactly is the A/S weapons and what about anti ship? How many Sea Ceptor launchers etc. When you look at the swarming tactic of Russian jets, how long would one of these ships last in a real punch up?

George Parker
George Parker
20 days ago

George, excellent article, thank you. Can you confirm the number of vertical launch system cells there will be on the RN Type 26 and how that will compare to the number on the Hunter Class destined for RAN service?
Accounts differ as the Australian vessels are the “export” version.
Just how versatile are the Mk 41 cells with respect to types of missiles they can accommodate?
That could be a subject for a new article in UKDJ.

andy reeves
andy reeves
3 days ago

given the size and design features of the t26, i’d sooner see them configured as destroyers, the t45’s are already overused

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 days ago

its all well and government and the treasury, but as often as not the blame really lies at the ministry of defence in particularly the admiralty whose dithering and muddled thinking causes such long delays to building actually being done by which time the cost of inflation has risen meaning the cost drives order numbers down the whole MOD is a shambles, the deadwood should be mercilessly chopped out the concrete desk bound admirals should be given an archer and attached to the border agency. if they don’t like it sack them.