Images show sections of the future HMS Belfast being constructed at the BAE Systems shipyard in Govan, Glasgow.

For the avoidance of doubt, the drone footage was obtained legally by a qualified person in adherence to UK drone legislation and guidance. In addition, the drone is insured, and a flight plan was submitted using drone safety software.

Back in June 2021, Prince William 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.

Click to enlarge.

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. 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.

Here are the images for those not on Twitter or X.

 

 

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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David Owen
David Owen
1 month ago

It’s good to see that the builds are coming on ,I hope the next incumbent government will increase the order for the type 26 ,16 would be good and a lot more type 31s,hindsight is an amazing thing, if they build 2 or 3 a year would that would be a game changer

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  David Owen

I seriously don’t see that happening unfortunately, ignoring even the budget issues, the Navy has too many personnel problems to be doubling their frigate fleet.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugo

Unless they really can cut T32 crew to 50

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I think it’s possible, but it also changes what the vessel is actually capable of. For combat it would absolutely need more assigned to the ship.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

T32 is just a pipe Dream…. there is nothing even remotely set in stone…. just words….. and as for 50 crew for a T31 sized Ship, it might be possible but it won’t be probable.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Core RN crew augmented by reservists?

If T32 replaced Rivers B1’s then I can see it being real -RN needs them….

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like them, I’d like to see a whole load more but i just can’t see it…. It’s a mess, a big unfunded mess, with a big deficit to fill before any additional ships can be realistic…. as for 50 Crew, that’s 50 more than we can manage today even given the reality of having just a handful of T23’s operational. Sunak has just kicked the can down the road, Hunt knows it, Shapps is just paying lip service.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

B1 Rivers are crewed.

A T32 would be a whole load more useful in a fight than a River….

Augmentable core crews are already really a thing….

Frank
Frank
30 days ago

OK mate and yes i know but….. Just look at the Crew Crises on the few Ships we actually have available at the moment….. It’s Dire mate….. Reserves and Stand ins are all well and good but we lack Professionals…… I can’t actually think of or remember a time where we had this lack of Persons……

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

It is very odd as the overall numbers are not that far down.

So it must be very specific trades that are very short?

Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Thank MR Cameron and Osborne. 😕

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Jim

A crew of 50 break that down to 1 in 4 routine at sea and your really pushing it for a ship of that size whoever thought of that probably works behind a desk in Whitehall and has never set foot on an operational warship except for Navy days

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Pushing it even more if someone blows a hole below or on the waterline….add in a fire…the ships lost as it will have sod all damage control parties.

GR
GR
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Fortunately, incoming advances in robotics and AI may mean that crew sizes can be reduced even further in the near future. The UK really needs to start learning hard into those fields because they will be the most important sovereign capabilities in the coming years.

Frank
Frank
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

You state that with no actual facts or proof though….. I’m not actually disagreeing with you, just stating the facts……

GR
GR
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

I am being somewhat speculative in what I am saying but it is based on what I have seen from the absolutely incredible advances in AI and robotics from Openai, Google, Tesla, Boston Dynamics etc. there are already claims that Openai’s Q* has already achieved AGI and sentience but are not willing to go public with this info yet. I think over the next few years we are going to see advances that the average person has no idea are coming. If AI has already reached the stage of AGI and robots can achieve unparalled levels of dexterity it is… Read more »

LongTime
LongTime
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

How is AI and robotics doing Damage Control though? As ultimately that is the biggest limitation on crew allocation, there has to be enough Bod’s to fight a fire and respond to a flooding issue at the same time.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

Not sure I can see a robot making ‘a full English’ in the galley!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Catering is an area where full automation is quite possible.

It is how DC is handled that is more of a mystery to me.

Although I do suspect that various devices will be produced that make some aspects of DC easier. The problem with DC is the level of improvisation that is required with acrows, wedges, pieces of timber, rubber…..you name it you can improvise with it to get a situation under control.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
29 days ago

I go to a cafe or restaurant 2 or 3 times a week and have never encountered any automation at all!

Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

When proposing something new there are often no facts or proof to go on. Until you have tried it … it is just an idea. The Ukrainians had an idea of sinking half the Russian Black Sea Fleet with drones …. we now have some facts and proof. They are cheap and effective and I would be amazed if the RN did not learn a great deal from them. I’m guessing that the T26 & T31 will evolve extensively over time.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

I am no naval expert but I am sure there is a a limit as to how many crew members can be replaced by automation, robotics and AI. The size of ships companies seemingly continues to reduce with each new equipment.

It is hardest for the army to achieve greatly reduced manpower count with new technology. Some advances in reducing artillery crew through automation rather than AI or robotics.

Last edited 30 days ago by Graham Moore
Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The limit I’m afraid is zero. Command decisions, monitoring, fire control etc. can all be either done remotely or via automation, robotics and AI. Naturally none of this will happen overnight and there will be a transition. However ultimately zero is possible – it might not be desirable but it can theoretically happen.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Automation has reduced the size of ships companies in certain narrow and clearly defined areas, such as ammunition handling on-borad ship eg in the QE-carriers.

I don’t see command decisions being made remotely – sort of suggests the Captain is in some shore-based facility! Command decisions should be made by well trained and experienced humans who are at the scene.

Some roles are surely very difficult to de-man. Cooks, engineers/technicians, storemen/supply specialists, writers (clerks) spring to mind but there must be many others.

Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Interestingly the Ukrainians seem to be happy making their command decisions some distance away from the action whilst they are sinking the Russian fleet with their drones so the principal is proven. Captains are part of the decision making which is a human function and most if not all of the humans will be ashore (maybe). The necessity for cooks will be dispensed with when there are no mouths to feed. Engineers / technicians will clearly be a problem however I suspect that there will be a path which means you have a reduced number of specialists aboard but they… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Control of drones has been remote for many years – I recall the RAF had Predator operators based in the USA for many years flying attack missions thousands of miles away. I was an engineer – now we are a problem! You seem to be postulating a totally unmanned ship – these exist now but are small vessels and in narrowly defined roles, such as suicide attack boats. Mine clearance is to soon be unmanned but command exercised and support available from a mother ship. I don’t see carriers and escorts becoming unmanned anytime soon. I recall many predicted the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
29 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

😀Correct I am postulating a completely unmanned ship although I did not, deliberately, give a date. Firstly we are discussing if it is an actual possibility. The motivation for doing so is obvious – if you lose a ship with nobody on board it is just a lost asset. No more significant than a downed missile (or missile platform). Yes Cheques were supposed to go in 1999. Banks got cold feet and decided to let customers do the job for them and let computers do the heavy lifting on cheque processing. Personally I can’t remember the last time I wrote… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

I am not a Luddite, of course, but I am sceptical at how quickly MoD introduces truly revolutionary technology, and how sometimes they choose not to introduce it at all. What could be called truly revolutionary in the past in the UK – TSR-2? Not much else. I was the military staff officer in the Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles Div in RARDE Chertsey in 1990/91. Our R&D was at least 15 years ahead of civvy R&D. One of my responsibilities was to persuade senior army representatives to become interested in our work and to sponsor (not financially) our Technology Demonstrators.… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Emergency resupply of Ammunition is a task set by FOST when rhe ship is in training BOST and COST taking muntions from Point A to Point B is a nesscesity when electrics/ hydraulics fail this takes DC parties and spare hands too accomplish quite a few hands

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine
30 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I’m no naval expert, but I am one in AI. Whilst I am working on a couple of projects for the Royal Navy, I can say that AI is not the be all and end all. Don’t forget it’s just electronic system. You knock out the power on the AI down. Your systems have to recycle when they load by then you’re in trouble. Therefore, you have to build resilience into your systems, especially if you’re using them to control your entire operations. Where AI makes a difference is in the detection classification and categorisation of potential objects. AI can… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

I Realise that AI is not the holkywood version Skynet ? And Spielberg such as Colossus wasnt an Ipad if we invest heavily and our reliance on AI then perhaps any future enemy may look into EMP without a nuclear explosion then everyone’s back to the Stoneage and he with more stones wins this is all theoretical

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
29 days ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

There are thousands of people at DE&S – not everyone will be knowledgable about AI, unsurprisingly.

Mark B
Mark B
29 days ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

They may be clueless but that is what you are there for. It has been thus through the ages. Be patient with them and talk in terms of what naval functionality can be achieved.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

OK, Tommo. Thanks.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

RN ammunition handling was fully automated on 4.5″ from T42 onwards.

Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

Well I am going to agree with you. The military tends to make the same mistakes. They will attempt to fight the next war in the same way as the fought the last.

People will be essential to the RN going forward but they don’t all have to be on the ships all the time. Some can be in bunkers in the UK, some roles can be shared between ships some roles can be automated and so on. Stuff still has to be done but a little lateral thinking is sometimes a good thing ……….

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  GR

FF and DC on-board a ship if electrics have been damaged ain’t going too cut the mustard with Robotics and AI it will be down too the crew too fight fire damage control and having such few personnel could be a disaster

Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I follow your train of thought however the whole point of robotics & AI is they can be trained to do most anything. They can be fire resistant, do not need oxygen etc. etc. Indeed the entire ship could be filled with an inert gas to avoid fire. Sounds really dull but that’s where the future is taking us.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

If you need to double your frigate fleet, then you recruit more manpower. It really can’t be impossible – just needs budget, political commitment and high quality recruiters who can make a good ‘offer’.

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Unfortunately we haven’t got any of those 😅

Mark B
Mark B
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

There is truth in what you say. The problem is the public sector in the UK is obsessed by pay bands. Also is money the issue. I am getting the impression that the youth of today is idealogically opposed to the military.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Pay bands? I think you are right that many youths today don’t want a military career for many fairly obvious reasons. More effort must be made to retain the trained personnel that we have.

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Bring back Naval staffed careers offices should never have been outsourced in the first place

David Owen
David Owen
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Hugo ,your right about that,well we could pray to the Gods of shipbuilding 😆 🤣 😂

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Remember any extra T26 ordered would not be seen until 2035ish if they cannot sort their crewing issues out by then…..

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

There is no plans for additional T26, so no plan to recruit crews for more of them.

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

I know that, I was answering the theoretical question ..could the RN order more T26s..you said the challenge was crews which is why we would not order more..but that’s a null argument because if we ordered more we would have a decade before they were commissioned to get the crews…the integrated workforce plan would be developed to incorporate the number of ships ordered….the reason we will not order more is both capital and ongoing cost control, nothing more nothing less. We could have more escorts ordered if we wished to pay the cost of construction as well as the cost… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Crews is part of the issue, without an uplift it total budget, rather than just an injection for shipbuilding we cannot raise the personnel cap the navy has.
Anyway like you say it’s not happening.

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Indeed to take the escort fleet to 24 in 2035 we would need to see a steady increase in RN establishment over the next decade starting from next year…that means increases in annual budgets not just capital expenditure….and our idiots are not going to do that.

Hugo
Hugo
29 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Well that or extreme autonomy, while it could be down to budgetary issue, another reason for no progress on the T32 could be the research into how low can they go with crew requirements. Like you say thats the only feasible way in which to do it.

Callum
Callum
1 month ago
Reply to  David Owen

Doubling the T26 build flat out won’t happen, not just because of the expense but also the time; even an accelerated build would take up yard space that is nominally going to be needed by the T83.

In a more sensible world, I could see a pro-defence government MAYBE ordering another pair of T26s, maybe even 4 if the defence landscape had improved significantly, but that’s all fantasy and vague hope.

If we’re lucky, T32 will progress at speed and we can get the fleet up to 24 escorts. That’s our best chance for the future.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Callum

Agreed. Sensible and achievable. Or how about getting to the 19 we had and recruiting more people.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

Hello mate. That is where we need to be, methinks- no point in having ships rotting away on the dock.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

We have to be realistic mate. Too many fantasy fleets. The sheer cost of home built, high end kit precludes mass in all areas unless we buy cheaper lower end OTS in certain areas only.
Which I support.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

Agreed there too- I’m not against buying international, particularly in areas where we’re not in the market and not a lot of opportunity to get into it. Heavy lift and attack choppers and strategic airlifters for example- go to the US every time. Small arms, now that we’ve utterly killed that industry here, I’d look at what’s coming out of Europe and the US and make a call. Advanced AD and BMD missile systems, share the load with the French and Italians. But also, revise how we evaluate procurement too, to properly account for the tax gain etc. that you… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago

There are very few areas where you can cheap out on equipment nowadays without comprising fighting ability.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

That “19” currently equates to 15 on paper but more like an operational reality of maybe 8….. Having a whole 24 would be an unbelievable improvement.

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago

But you do have to remember that by the time we could build up the fleet to say 24-28 escorts ( which is where it always should have been for a peace time world) you are looking at the late 2030s so we would have 10-15 years to actually find the crews…so as long as the new orders to expand the fleet came with an integrated workforce plan there would be no problem…the issue is to get to a fleet of 24 escorts in say 2035 ( by building 5 more T31s) and a fleet of 28 for the 2040s… Read more »

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Callum

Agree, 24 escorts and 12 SSN with two carriers and 6 amphibs is quite the force.

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I mean were a long way off 12 SSN, and i question that number with how expensive Aukus subs will be.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hugo
Louis
Louis
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

The chance of 7 Astutes being replaced by 12 SSN AUKUS is next to nothing.

The RN is really struggling to recruit, presumably the submarine service will be hit the hardest as many of the reasons for poor recruitment and retainment are exemplified there.

SSN Aukus will have double the missiles/torpedos to Astute, so trying to justify to the treasury why more than 7 are needed would be very difficult.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Louis

Agreed on every point. 👌

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Actually believe there may be an expansion of SSN AUKUS fleet, to perhaps 9-10 boats, especially if RN maintains a commitment to continual SSN presence in Indo-Pacific theater. The heuristic rule of an average of one third of fleet deployed, would almost mandate nine boats. 🤔

Louis
Louis
30 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

The RN has 8 T26, 5 T31 in order, and 5 River B2s, 2 carriers etc. so the rule of 3 doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for them when ordering vessels.

I just can’t see an increase in submarine hulls above 8. Retainment, recruitment and money are all severely lacking.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Bean-counters and politicians don’t understand the rule of three.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

The reason our RN Astutes are so expensive is because we built so few and the supply has had to survive on Peanuts. 13 down to 12, down to 8, down to 6 back up to 7 when someone pointed out the consequences of doing so. But the cost to develop is the same but was born over just 7 boats. We have to build our own SSN(A) plus the RAN SSN(A) which is over double the number of Astutes and that drives down unit cost. Which is why I am quietly confident that we may not see much increase… Read more »

Louis
Louis
30 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The plan always was for 7 Astutes to replace the 5 Swiftsures and first 2 Trafalgars, with the 5 other Trafalgar’s being replaced by FASM which was cut in the early 2000s. With SSN AUKUS, BAE will have upgraded its facilities at Barrow, and have an experienced workforce. That will bring down costs, as will increased numbers with the Aussie subs of which only the first will be built here, but the rest of the supply chain will benefit. Agincourt cost 1.64b. A boat set of VPM costs ~$560m per boat, which is £440m if SSN AUKUS has 4 sets… Read more »

Defence thoughts
Defence thoughts
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

The RN will disappear within a century, probably about the same time the NHS collapses. Everything increases in cost, and we don’t have the economy to sustain that long term. I am so sick and tired of public commentators failing to connect the dots.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
29 days ago
Reply to  Louis

I’m still waiting to actually see the SSN(A) build strategy and how they are going to get round NPT restrictions.. As for only the 1st one is being built here and the rest in Australia that’s an interesting statement. Is a car built here, when the engine comes from Germany, the seats from Italy and all the Electrics from China ?. So how can Australia “build” an SSN when not only do they have zero Nuclear Industry but cannot handle the HEU. I’m a retired engineer and looking at the investment going on up at BAe Barrow, here on RR… Read more »

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Most people still consider Rolls Royces to be British cars despite them only being assembled here. Of course they aren’t making the reactors, I never said they were. When you say a company is building a house they don’t have to be making the bricks, glass, electrics etc. from scratch, or even installing the electrics etc. RR need more investment as they are making double the reactors. Facilities for the boats also need to be expanded, there are boats sitting alongside waiting for a free dry dock. The dry dock used for the Vanguards refit will remain with them and… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
29 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Preliminary AUKUS plan includes deployment of RN SSN to HMAS Stirling on a rotational basis. Could envision usage of an Oz drydock capability w/in medium term future. For that matter, provided sufficient time and resource investment, USN will eventually resolve submarine infrastructure issues.🤞 Could envision BAES developing partnerships in Oz and US for submarine maintenance. BAES has been awarded significant USN refit contracts, based upon prior performance. 🤔

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Given Australia has never even operated a nuclear power station, the planning permission for a dry dock for nuclear subs would probably make planning and nimbyism in the UK look like a cakewalk so medium-long term seems about right.

The RN won’t be planning on using American dry docks, unless Astutes are forward deployed to Pearl Harbour or somewhere (highly unlikely). The RN might use US dry docks in a specific situation, or interim until we build more facilities here, but they won’t be planning on using them long term.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
29 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Preliminary AUKUS plan includes deployment of RN SSN to HMAS Stirling on a rotational basis. Could envision usage of an Oz drydock capability w/in medium term future. USN will eventually resolve submarine infrastructure issues. Could envision BAES developing partnerships in Oz and US for submarine maintenance. BAES has been awarded significant USN refit contracts, based upon prior performance. 🤔

John
John
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Numbers of people is something that can be potentially turned around quite rapidly if you can get people through the door, but if you have nothing for them to crew then it’s pointless and building more takes ages. I think that trying to use a lack of recruitment to justify cutting equipment is a false economy. If your aspiration is to grow, get the equipment in place first then you can see about filling it.

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  John

The RN has had a recruitment shortfall on average over 20% every year for the last 10 years. Submarine service will be hit the hardest, they can’t even find a replacement for the head of the service.

I’m not arguing for cuts, but to pretend that we could firstly afford to double SSN numbers, and secondly double the crew, is completely delusional.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

lol…… you spelt “Farse” wrong….. BTW, where did you get 12 SSN’s and 6 Amphibs from ? …. was this another after dinner date you had with RR ?

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

6 Amphibs is the current plan for MRSS, 12 SSNs has been thrown around a couple times but that seems less likely.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugo

Unless something big happens to the Defence Budget, I fear that 6 MRSS will remain unattainable, 12 SSNs will never happen either…. the 5 extra and new spec boats would most likely cost @ £10 Billion at todays prices…..

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Perhaps not 6, but there will certainly be some Amphibs made.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugo

To replace the 6 already in today’s fleet though…. so yet another cut…..

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Frank

We don’t actually know how many/if any will be cut so don’t go assuming anything yet.
In addition, Argus is a leftover from long past budgets, no wonder if it gets cut put of replacement. And we’ve already been operating 5 ships for years now with 1 Albion being laid up.
The marine structure today doesn’t really justify 6 vessels in the first place, without additional funding it may be a waste of manpower and money to have several vessels doing nothing.

Frank
Frank
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Yes, Sorry, I’m just a bit Cynical I guess. Still hurting from the T45 Cuts from 12 to 6…. The Selling off of T22 and T23’s and the more recent culling of Ocean, Dili, Hunt’s, Sandown’s and RFA Waves, Forts and also echo and Enterprise…… Apart from that lot, I’m chilled…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Jim believes the plan is to get to 12 SSN with all the expansion underway wrt the AUKUS stuff at Barrow and Raynesway.
I’m sceptical myself for the reasons others have stated.
The 6 amphib I assume are the MRSS that replace 3 Bay, 2 LPD, and Argus.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

I read that Aus is having second thoughts about the whole affordability of the SSNs…. not in my wildest dreams can I see the UK getting 12… the MRSS might be 6 on paper but as you say, they are to replace 3 different current types…..

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

It’s better to replace the ampibs with a standard design, otherwise we have differing availabilitys depending on the number of role specific designs.

Frank
Frank
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Absolutely Yes mate, on that we agree…. I also believe they should be built but I fear Time is ticking on now……

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
30 days ago
Reply to  Callum

May sound daft but acelerating the existing build isn’t really possible due mainly to how MOD fund it. Industry can up the Ante if properly funded and Govan is very well equiped to do so. What everyone has to remember is the New Build Hall is only part of what is being developed the actual process is being automated with hand held terminals far more automationis fabrication etc etc. So we need to wait and let the New Facilties and ways of working embed and then see where economies of scale can be achieved. One Possible short cut would be… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
30 days ago
Reply to  Callum

You’re about right on your assessment. To be honest I think we should be building and ordering new T26 hulls up until the point the T83 is ready to have its first keel laid down…the transition should be seamless…with the first T83 keel laid next to the last T26 being built…if you look at the build schedule for the T26 you can see we have one fitting out and two laid down ( one launching for fitting out in 24). Essentially they are able to lay down one keal every two years at present ( not sure of this will… Read more »

Steve
Steve
30 days ago
Reply to  David Owen

I think more importantly than numbers, the next government will need to sort the weapon fit out. Having mk41 VLS is all well and good, but they are only useful if there is something to put into them.

We really don’t need another fitted for but not with scenario effectively making these frigates less powerful than the ones they are replacing.

Last edited 30 days ago by Steve
Meirion X
Meirion X
29 days ago
Reply to  David Owen

No, not for a few more months.

Last edited 29 days ago by Meirion X
Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 month ago

Somewhere in there, they are also working on HMS Birmingham.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago

Not in this bit they aren’t, what you see in the Block Assembly halls is all HMS Belfast. At present Birmingham will be in fabrication in sub block / section fabrication, so if you look on the other post picture 3 to the left of the Hall you will see a row of buildings beyond a Big Yellow door where fabrication and small assembly is going on.
However some of those assemblies are apparently also being built at CL.
Birmingahm will be the 1st one assembled inthe New Frigate Build Hall.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Will this one be finished in the new build hall?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Nope that starts with Birmingam ! Which is going to be interesting because they are introducing a whole new leval of Technology and Automation to the build process.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Good, that’s what we need across the board in the UK- proper investment in the latest technology and processes. That way, we have a sliver of a chance at getting some foreign military and even commercial orders for stuff- without that we’re always going to be outcompeted by Europe. And I don’t mean this “cheapest possible acceptable solution” stuff like the electric arc furnace in Port Talbot either; that is actually going to reduce the kinds of product that can be delivered, because they can only recycle old material. They’re cutting jobs and making us further reliant on international suppliers… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Don’t think the UK can break into the foreign market for Warships. France, Germany, Italy and Spain seem to get most the builds for that and the rest usually construct their own shipyard rather than using ours.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugo

If we can get good enough, in terms of productivity, there’s no reason why we couldn’t be competitive with German or Spanish yards- it’d more be the challenge of breaking existing clients away from them. I see some opportunities in terms of NZ for their replacement frigates, with a T31 design. Some contracts (see Australia’s latest) often ask for the first couple to be made abroad, and then a transition to domestic build- that would probably be a model that could suit us too. I’m not saying it’d be easy, but it’d be completely impossible without the improvements that ABC… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Perhaps NZ, but the 2nd line Frigate Australia wants may intrest them more, less costly for one.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugo

Well, the current intended price is lower than T26, is it lower than T31 too..!? While the T31 may be physically bigger, I’m not sure how crew size differs… Fair point, it may suit them, but by the time that they’re looking to build/buy in the 2030s, we’re looking at having all of our T31 in the water and operational, Poland will have theirs floating (I think), and I think Indonesia or Malaysia were eyeing up the design as well? That’s not a bad supply chain to be getting savings of quantity on. We could even consider selling our nearly… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Depends what they want. If they require ASW then T31 goes out the window compared to other designs. If they want cheaper patrol frigates then perhaps.

Also the whole idea of selling early and buying new ones is far too big a gamble, not only do you have 5+ years wait for a new ship, but that new ship could also be cancelled at any time. With our low numbers we can’t be trading ships to get shipbuilding deals.

Jon
Jon
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

There’s an ASW version of the T31 design. You don’t wait five years for a ship as you are still building them at one a year. The new ones arrive on the same schedule. Furthermore the idea that a ship on order could be cancelled at any time does nothing to increase risk, as you don’t sell the old ones until you’ve received the new ones. Potential cancellation is an odd assumption to work on. Current ships could also be decommissioned and sold off at any time as we saw with the Type 23s. There is no escaping political whimsy… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Jon

There’s a towed array slapped on a T31, it’s still worse than most other ASW designs.

There’s no money for new ships, therefore no money for a rolling program of replacements.

So essentially, don’t faff around with ships were certain to get and try and get slightly newer ones.

Jon
Jon
30 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Indonesia are already in build and should be floating before Poland.

Louis
Louis
30 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Australias contract is a one time thing as they don’t have the shipbuilding facilities. That will never happen again.

As for steel, EAF can produce high quality steel. The UK is reliant on iron ore imports for BF steel, we have plenty of scrap steel so will be much less reliant on imports for EAF.

Babcocks whole ethos with the T31 is that it can be built by literally anybody, so exports being built in the UK is unlikely.

Last edited 30 days ago by Louis
FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Ummm…er…may depend on definition of foreign sales of warships. Believe T-26 derivative orders w/ RAN and RCN would serve as a patent counterexample. UK PLC may be well served in future, simply by perfecting better ‘mousetraps.’ 🤔

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
29 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Encouraging news so defeatism rules. This is the British way. All is going well when the mockers are put on everything in sight!

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
30 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Makes sense, I can’t see where there would be room to manoeuver large blocks into the new build hall.

CGH
CGH
30 days ago

If I can interject, if the T31 was to have an ASW capability, it would need a different power plant, as the planned one is so noisy that a Submarine in an ocean on the nearest exoplanet could detect it… I’m surprised the government hasn’t already ordered 6 Type 32s. It looks like we’ll have a change of government, so the Tories would get credit for ordering them & Labour would risk criticism by cancelling them. A Type 32 would have to have an ASW capability as Type 31 has none at all. I remember way back, the popular Type… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

Well, we live in the age of drones so I am wondering if Sonar duties could be delegated to some type of UUVs? a bit like deploying sonobuoys but maneuverable and can return to the ship.

Jon
Jon
30 days ago

The Royal Navy have been trialling exactly this. The UUV (or XLUUV as it was called) was the Manta, built by MSubs, and the sonar was a thin-line towed array called the KraitArray, by SEA.

I haven’t come across much public information, but the trials by the Navy’s Maritime Capability team were supposedly successful, and the Navy ordered a larger follow-up UUV called Cetus from MSubs at the end of 2022 for delivery at the end of this year. (If only we could get a full sized sub delivered that quickly!)

Last edited 30 days ago by Jon
Jon
Jon
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

“the planned [engine] is so noisy that a Submarine in an ocean on the nearest exoplanet could detect it”

I haven’t read this from anyone who has heard them or crewed a ship with them. If you have, let me know and I might change my opinion. A grandfather of the design (Absalon class) also has Rolls Royce/MTU 8000 engines and is used for ASW, so it seems the Danish Navy diagrees with your assessment.

Louis
Louis
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

An ASW frigate does not have to be an ultra quiet CODLOG/CODLAG vessel.

T31 can be quietened further, RN chose not to do that, still can be done.

Up until T23 the RN had no CODLAG vessels, the USN still doesn’t, both perform/performed ASW missions.

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

They perform that, but not as well as platforms designed for it. US are currently pretty lacking in ASW detection.

Louis
Louis
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

There are only 26 CODLOG/CODLAG ASW frigates in service around the world, with 6 Navys. Discounting Egypt an Morocco who only have one each and therefore can’t provide a persistent capability, ROKN, RN, MM and MN are the only Navys with 24 combined.

Clearly non CODLOG ships are capable of ASW.

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

I never said they weren’t capable of it. But they are nowhere near as good at it.

We don’t actually know what New Zealand will get but they’ll want something cheap, and there are ships they can get for cheaper and faster than T31.

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

The NZ ships are their major combatants, they will want something capable. T31 can be the most capable GP frigate therefore it stands a good chance, as does the winner for the Aus tier 2 frigate. T31 can be delivered fast for them, Rosyth has nothing to do so will be faster than any other Western European frigate, which are half of the contenders for the Aus frigate, and will be faster than a frigate built in Australia. The only way a frigate could be built faster is if Aus chooses Daegu or Mogami. The original poster said T31 would… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
29 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Again, other propulsion doesn’t make them incapable of ASW, just not as good at it.
And while I wish Rosyth was a fast shipyard, it isn’t, only one that’s slower than it is BAE on the clyde. We are not that good at shipbuilding anymore, or do that much or it. and therefore shipyards aren’t going to overhire for our small orders to make the work go faster, NZ will more than likely have an even smaller order.

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

‘ it would need a different power plant, as the planned one is so noisy that a Submarine in an ocean on the nearest exoplanet could detect it…’ That was the post I was replying to. I was pointing out that was wrong. There are many, very good ASW vessels that aren’t CODLAG. Rosyth is not a ‘slow shipyard’ From nothing it will take them 11 years from T31 being ordered to the last commissioning. That will decrease dramatically as they gain experience. That isn’t slow, B&V or Navantia, the European contenders for the Aussie frigates, could not build them… Read more »

Hugo
Hugo
29 days ago
Reply to  Louis

They’re already over a year slower than the shipyard that built the Iver huidfeldt that they’re based off. Not trying to bash the guys but they’re not breaking any records.
At this point we’re just going in circles. Will be years till new zealend does anything anyway.

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Iver Huitfeldts included significant portions built by Lithuanian and Estonian shipyards, and Rosyth are only a few months slower despite this being their first ship. Mitsubishi has 10 Mogamis to build, Navantia has 5 F110 plus at least 4 patrol corvettes. Naval Group has 8 FTDI and at least 6 patrol corvettes, Hanwha and Hyundai have 9 destroyers and 3 frigates between them, B&V will have other orders, and all of those shipyards bar Naval Group, will have to build 3 frigates for Aus first given NZ will likely pick the same as Aus if it is going lower tier.… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Louis
Meirion X
Meirion X
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Yes, I agree, I am surprised that the USN did not buy T23 IP in mid 1990’s, to build a larger version of T23 frigate, with Mk.41, and Mk.48 2-cell modules for Sea Wolf?

Last edited 30 days ago by Meirion X
Meirion X
Meirion X
30 days ago
Reply to  Louis

“T31 can be quietened further…”

Not without a complete rebuild, and some redesign!

“Up until T23 the RN had no CODLAG vessels…”

The RN had no choice at the time, if it wanted to keep up with advances in Soviet sub tech.

Louis
Louis
29 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

‘ Not without a complete rebuild, and some redesign!’
Wrong

Only 4 Navys have CODLAG ASW vessels. Presumably you also think the USN, JMSDF, PLAN etc. are all crap at ASW.

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

Pretty sure any T32 program if it happens will not have ASW. We seem reluctant to train more than 8 ships for ASW work

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
29 days ago

There isn’t, which I have to say confuses the hell out of me, and what will they use the existing Block Assembly Halls for ?

Darryl2164
Darryl2164
30 days ago

Great to see work progressing on these frigates . I hope the next government see the light and start a rolling programme of ship building for the navy , more frigates and more destroyers will As likely be needed in the coming years . As a layman though could anyone tell me why the phalanx close in defence system isn’t fitted as standard to all RN ships

CGH
CGH
30 days ago
Reply to  Darryl2164

It must be down to Cost. The Type 23 & Type 22s have always been without. The RAM is the most effective, as it homes in on a target, unlike the Phalanx. All an intelligent missile needs to do is constantly move up, down, left or right & Phalanx will miss.
It’s a shame though that we didn’t have Phalanx in the Falklands war. It was fitted to many US warships by 1982. What a difference that would have made on the Type 42s, Atlantic Conveyer, Ardent & Antelope & the Assault Ships….

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

RAM costs a silly amount per intercept, you’d do better with CAMM.
The future seems to be with larger, more accurate autocannon firing smart ammunition, like the Millennium Gun or Bofors 40 MK4.
There are even rounds that act like missiles, such as MAD-FIRES or BAE’s ORKA (not anti missile), where the missile uses canards or bolt controls to aim at the target itself using IR or SAR control.

Hugo
Hugo
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

It wasn’t designed into the first 2 batches of T22, the 3rd had goalkeeper. And the T23 was a small design which was upscale and never really had space or plans for phalanx.

Tommo
Tommo
30 days ago
Reply to  CGH

We did what we could with what we had , then in 83 all of a sudden a whole host of CIWs were made available too the Fleet as the saying goes ” Better late than never ” came at a cost .

Paul T
Paul T
29 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Lessons were learnt very quickly – when HMS Illustrious sailed south to relieve Invincible in 82 she had CIWS fitted.

Tommo
Tommo
29 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Yep we as Flagship handed over too Illustrious early Sept and said wtf are those we had 2x 20mm 7alphas they looked like something out of Star wars

John
John
30 days ago

Almost 3 years since cutting first steel and there doesn’t appear to be too much physical progress on Belfast . These ships are not particularly big so don’t understand why they take so long to assemble . Would be interesting to see what modular build processes they use if any .

Jon
Jon
30 days ago
Reply to  John

They are taking a long time because that’s what the MoD paid for. Deliberately. And not only paid for, but paid a lot extra for. It’s the legacy of the Cameron government and the batch one contract, possibly the worst procurement contract in a very bad decade of defence procurement contracts.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
30 days ago
Reply to  John

Well even if Belfast was in a more advanced stage of build, Right now there would be no room to join her two halves. Hopefully, having the new build-halls will speed up the pace.

John
John
30 days ago

Agreed , the whole current build process is way out of date , also the time taken to join up the two sections outside seems excessive , Cardiff has been sat there for months now , seems no load out date confirmed , supposed to be some time in 2024.

Andrew D
Andrew D
30 days ago

Would be nice to see her along side the old HMS Bellfast one day in comparison ,but of course not out of service 😀

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
29 days ago

Another outbreak of defeatism I see.

AlexS
AlexS
29 days ago

The artillery of Type 26 ships need to be revised, they are no good to deal with drones.

Phalanx is too short range. BAE 5″ is not a good enough AA gun. So it will have to spend limited quantity and expensive CAMM missiles.