The first section of the first Type 26 ‘City class’ frigate HMS Glasgow has been completed in her namesake city.

The Type 26 represents the future backbone of the Royal Navy and eight of the class are planned, starting with HMS Glasgow. The UK Government say they are committed to eight of the type, this was outlined in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The Type 26 programme currently employs more than 1,200 people in the UK supply chain, with a number of contracts already in place for the manufacture of major equipment for the first three ships. In total, there are already 33 UK and international companies working in the supply chain to deliver the Type 26 ships.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord said when the name of the first vessel was revealed:

“The Clyde was the birthplace of some of the greatest fighting ships the world has ever known and so cutting steel there today for the future HMS Glasgow is symbolic of a Royal Navy on the rise once again. 

As an island nation, we are utterly dependent on the sea for our security and prosperity and the City-class names have been chosen for the Type 26 to provide an enduring link between the Royal Navy and our great centres of commerce and industry.

The name Glasgow brings with it a string of battle honours, stretching from the Arctic Circle to the South Atlantic.”

It will be the ninth HMS Glasgow in the Royal Navy’s history, dating back to 1707.

 

46 COMMENTS

    • It’s a bit of a worry, but they need 6 to support the carriers, and it would be unthinkable if there was no specialist anti-sub available for home waters, so really 8 is bare minimal.

      I hope!

      • Biggest threat to UK is subs cutting sea lanes.

        Even though it’s all world leading kit, 8 T-26s, 7 Astutes and 9 P8s is a woefully thin line.

        A dereliction of duty as far as I’m concerned.

        • Spot on. Bare minimum or sub-minimum numbers have no reserves for attrition when they are needed. Capability gaps are insanity.

  1. Perhaps one day there could be 6 type 45’s , 6 type 26, and 8-10 type 31’s.. But of course would like to see all 8 type 26 being built.

  2. Just as Sturgeon decides to wind up the anti-Brexit rhetoric with a piece of fiction, blame Westminster for everything and suggest an ‘IndyRef2’ before the end of the year.

    I am sorry but I can’t help feeling we should not be putting even more British taxpayers into a place led by the anti British SNP that costs us £15 Bn a year to fund their fiscal deficit and 16% more per person in Barnett funding unless we get a written guarantee they won’t keep trying to split the UK. Which will never happen. So …..

    • Hi Chris, Last time I checked, the Scots are still British taxpayers – and the majority of Scots do not support separation from the UK.
      FYI – Scotland has contributed hugely to the success of the United Kingdom; in engineering, science, commerce & industry, defence of the realm etc – and let’s not get us started on 40 years of North Sea oil revenues.
      The “place” you refer to is Glasgow, and the River Clyde – the centre of excellence for
      ship-building in the UK. I can’t think of a better place to build the new generation of frigates! And many Glaswegians are proud that the first in the class for the Royal Navy will be named after our great city.
      Politics is different in Scotland; recent SNP electoral success is largely because the majority unionist vote has been split between Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dems. Last year, unionist Scots began to vote tactically, and SNP fortunes declined.
      Brexit is not a particularly big issue in Scotland; and you really must stop being wound-up by the “Nippy Sweetie” – and try to keep her attention seeking comments in some proportion.

      • Well said Alan. As a Brit of Scots ancestry agree with your comments entirely although I have no problem with those whose views differ from mine and would add that my best friend as a student in the 60’s was a Nationalist and this never interfered with our friendship.
        On subject the real key to success for the Type 26 will be orders from elsewhere-Australia and Canada. If we can spread the fixed costs then affording 8 for the RN should be no problem.

        • Scotland is still family. Unless there is a divorce we’re all British tax payers and I want a balanced economy where all the family see a benefit. That UK govt has shredded defence spending and closed down much English shipbuilding isn’t fault of folks in Glasgow.

          • Agree with you guys, together we are the equal of a France or a Germany, separate we will be the equivalent of a Belgium or a Denmark. It would be madness to break up our island into separate countries. Together we are stronger.

      • Alan, Geoff, Ian – I totally share your Unionist views and family alliterations and because of my patriotism (old fashioned I know) I agree with ‘long may it remain so’.

        I never criticised the quality of shipbuilding on the Clyde (which are not unique as the carriers proved by the way). I am also aware that Scots pay taxes (which the SNP have just increased) but then they do rather better than others in the UK out of the combined UK taxpayer funding do they not?

        But you confuse two issues. If the Scots elect a Government that seeks to destroy the UK, acts to thwart the actions of the UK Government in international treaties (which are not devolved matters) and takes far bigger slices of taxpayer funds in Barnet and deficit funding then it cannot be right to keep putting more taxpayer funds into that region. The UK must ensure equitable spread of the taxpayer spending and at the moment 8% of the UK population are being very well looked after thank you despite that threat to our homeland. And for clarity I am NOT saying we should in any way penalise the Scots for their democratic decision. Its simply a matter of balance in spending.

        Now that doesn’t mean I ‘hate the Scots’ or whatever. I do not. But this is political business at the highest level and Sturgeon must be shown the possible impacts of her actions. If the Scots had voted Indy in 2014 they would be out of the EU, no Type 26 or 31e built there, Faslane would be shut down by now and we would have a half built carrier trapped in Rosyth like some pawn in a Braveheart game of chess. Type 31e must NOT be built in any part of Scotland is my point.

        Worst case scenario how many Frigates should we risk being trapped on the whim of 1/2 Mn Scots voters? This is a boil that will have to be lanced one day. And whatever the outcome it will not be pleasant to see.

        And Ian the fact Portsmouth was sacrificed on the altar of Scottish politics a year before their Indyref vote was indeed NOT the direct fault of Clyde shipbuilders per se. But their jobs were protected and Portsmouth was shut by the THREAT of Independence. And Cameron ran scared. History is now repeating itself. When you appease a bully they (or she) will demand more

          • Ian – Well we agree as I do blame Cameron and I speak as true blue Tory (and therefore a Unionist). Portsmouth was sacrificed to bolster the ‘remain’ vote in Indyref1 and look at the thanks we got for that despicable act

        • Here is a counter view Chris, I am an Englishman who moved to Scotland just after the 2014 Indyref. I was firmly opposed to Scottish Independence as I felt it would make us poorer, divide the nation and generate conflict. Here is the rub, like most people below the age of 45 I am utterly and firmly opposed to Brexit (horrified actually). Call me a Remoaner or a Snowflake I have heard it all before but as far as I am concerned to be stripped of my EU citizenship against my will is abhorrent!

          If there was a Scottish Indyref now I would walk into that polling booth and without a blink of the eye put the cross in the box that says independence for Scotland. Here is the main two main reasons why. One Brexit will make us poorer, divide the nation and generate conflict!

          Two those who are most keen on Brexit like the Tories, Ukippers and the DUP all are happy to wrap themselves in the Union flag whilst gleefully looking forward to punishing the millions like myself who treasured our EU membership. To that end if they want to strip me from my EU citizenship then the only payback I have is to strip the Union from them!

          Does that make sad, certainly. I feel the Union for all its ups and downs has been a positive force but out membership of the EU is also VERY important to me so that is all I have as it stands….I feel pretty bloody minded about it frankly.

          • Voting to break up the country you live in for what? Please tell me what your EU Citizenship gives you that is so important and don’t say freedom of movement. People worked, travelled and studied in Europe before we joined the EEC and they will still be able to do so after we leave or are we facing another Atlantic wall.
            Whilst we are likely to suffer some economic knocks initially after we leave I believe that longer term we shall be better off and happier going our own way but trading with all including Europe.
            Finally, can you remember what a disaster it was that we weren’t joining the euro well many of those same voices including economists, multinationals and politicians are against BREXIT. They are just as unreliable as the twits with that £350m written on the side of a bus.

          • What do you mean “Don’t say Freedom of movement”? For Remainers like myself that is arguably the number one reason! The right to travel, work and live in the EU. Prior to joining the EEC we could do that but it was difficult. It is a RIGHT I take for granted and having it taken away boils my pee!

            “Whilst we are likely to suffer some economic knocks initially after we leave I believe that longer term we shall be better off and happier going our own way but trading with all including Europe.”

            I see no evidence that in the long term we will be better off.

            For me I feel deep pride in being an EU citizen, I have looked hard at some way to get a passport for another EU country but the option is not open to me so for me it is a punishment being inflicted upon me having my EU citizenship taken away in 2019. So yes I would break up our country to spite the hard core Brexiters, UKIPPERS and the DUP.

          • Fedaykin if you are as young as you say you are how do you know it was difficult to travel and work across Europe before freedom of movement. If you have skills people want you will be welcomed it is that simple anywhere in the modern world.
            I believe you have taken the bait of those remainers who seem to think the end of the world is coming. You will still be able to travel, work and live in Europe but sensibly there will be controls for us and the other independent countries of Europe. Just like we have with every other country on the planet. Whilst I am no BREXIT fanatic you also seem to struggle with accepting other peoples points of view because that could effect you but that is what living in a democratic society is all about. Voting a certain way to spite others is hardly the mature actions of a person who can accept or come to terms with this. In your defence if you are young person educated in the UK I am afraid that I have seen a subtle change in our education system, which now expresses the views of the majority as facts and which seems to have lost the ability to encourage debate and healthy questioning. This has been exacerbated by a hysterical media who have the attention span of a gnat. This trend is generating extreme views where neither side wants to listen or debate but instead just stick together with those of a similar view. It is not healthy.

          • Fedaykin
            If you love this EU so much why not move to Europe whilst you have the chance
            We dont leave your promised land for a while yet so you still have time to leave as i think according to you the barriers will be put up and we will be prisoners in our on land and all movement will stop
            Do you honestly think that will happen?
            How about the millions of Brits that holiday in you wonderland will they not be allowed to go to those places
            It would probably ruin the economy of those places and we dont want that to happen as your beloved Europe has destroyed the economy of the once wonderful country of Greece which incidently was the home of democracy which you cant seem to get your head around

          • Fedaykin
            Over 8 MILLION non-Military us citizens live and work abroad. More than 6.6 x as many than the UK and we have never required so perverse an arrangement as the EU. Note the US is only 5 x larger in population. Meaning despite NOT being in something like the EU their are more Americans living and working wherever the economy and their lives take them.
            Really just shows once again that the EU has been a cancer robbing the UK of the flexibility it needed as a Nation and economy.

        • Hi Chris, I always enjoy reading your posts, which are very articulate and well-constructed.
          However, on this occasion, I do feel some of the content is a little bit of an over-reaction, “we risk being trapped on the whim of 1/2 Mn Scots voters? This is a boil that will have to be lanced …”
          You are in danger of acting like an unpaid recruiting Sergeant for Nicola Sturgeon!
          We’re in the era of the “politics of identity”, so it’s hardly surprising that Scottish nationalism has become a factor, or indeed English nationalism – as evidenced by the controversial Brexit vote. But if one believes passionately in the UK, we just need to deal with the situation calmly – and stress the benefits of our United Kingdom for all the people of these islands.
          When friends of mine vote SNP, they’re not doing it to destroy the UK; some are voting against the Labour hegemony in Scotland. Many also believe that a strong SNP currently best represents Scottish interests within the UK. So there are lots of reasons for the rise of the nationalist vote, we just need to keep our response in proportion.
          As regards the issue of public spending in Scotland, this subject is getting rather boring. Scotland has over 30% of the UK land-mass, but only 8% of the population. In Scotland population density is quite sparse, so the delivery of public services is more expensive than in other parts of the UK.
          Scotland certainly does receive more government spending per head of population than the UK average; but so does Wales, and Northern Ireland, and parts of England, indeed even London – one of the richest cities in the world – receives funding 11% higher than the norm. This supposed grievance over funding in Scotland is bogus, and the statistic is meaningless.

          http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN04033

          Let’s get to your real contention, the closure of the Portsmouth shipyard, apparently “sacrificed on the altar of Scottish politics”. I know that the folks of Pompey have a great history in building destroyers and frigates for the navy, and I’m sorry for the loss of the facility. But not that long ago, there was enough work for Scottish and English yards. The closure at Portsmouth is due to cuts in defence expenditure – not Scottish nationalism.
          Brexit is going to create lots of challenges, and we really need to pull together. But I fear manufactured grievances will simply create a Dis-United Kingdom.
          Good to debate with you.

          • I think the way to look at Portsmouth, or Govan, Scotstoun, Rosyth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belfast, Devonport, is to take out any localism or politics, or local employment and workers, and look coldly and ruthlessly at the needs of the RN itself.

            Two-thirds of the surface fleet are based at Portsmouth, including the QEs, there’s logisitics and supply needed, crew facilities including medical, then repair and maintenance. There’s also the infrastructure which was generally identifed a couple of years ago, as being severely deficient and antiquated across all bases of all arms of the forces. Hence base closures and rationalisation which, incidentally looking at it ruthlessly, is doing the putative Independent Scotland a favour in terms of our military spending.

            So the first question in a cash-strapped but theoretically happy UK family is, would shipbuilding also fit into a perhaps overcrowded Portsmouth?

            The second is shipbuilding itself, the first link in the chain of the RN, which to become cheaper and faster and hence from speed of build, cheaper again, needs modernisation, and also improved infrastructure, but perhaps a different type of infrastructure.

            Take the politics and localism out first and look at the solution, then put the politics back in which can affect any plan (but without localism) and see if that gives any different solution.

          • I deliberately missed out refits because that’s a curious thing. People complaon about spending £80 million say on a ship that only cost £150 million in the first place. But at today’s prices that’s £500 million for the sake of argument.

            And in theory at least, if design and flexibility is built in at the shipbuilding stage, refits should be more regular, cheaper, and for more years on new build ships.

            So where do they belong in the future ideal RN – at the repair facility or the shipbuiding one?

          • Fedaykin – As sjb1968 points out at 45 you have only ever known the EEC / EU. And arguably the EU has dominated your working life. I speak as someone who (at 70) has probably been round far too many blocks and owns a box of T Shirts and rather old blue beret.

            Now you make an issue of your ‘EU Citizenship’. Well sorry but as the EU is not an independent nation state it cannot confer ‘Citizenship’ on anyone. (I know it wants to be the United States of Europe but as the Gladiator observed: ‘Not yet. Not yet’). Your ‘EU Citizenship’ derives from your UK Citizenship and only for as long as the UK remains a member. And soon we will not be a member and your ‘EU Citizenship’ will lapse. That is the EU saying that. I, as a Brexiteer, am not taking anything away as it does not actually exist. So maybe stop regurgitating the EU language that talks the Nation talk but is no such thing despite its Anthem, Flag, Court, Parliament and all the rest including 5 Presidents. The UK is THE Nation State here not the EU. Look at that Burgundy passport. Its BRITISH but has to have the words ‘European Union’ on the top. Its like your car number plate. Its British but wears the EU flag on it. Why? You seem very gullible if I may say so. Sorry.

            You moan about the loss of ‘FoM’ from a very selfish point of view as you seem to think YOU will loose something. Living in Scotland where there has been negligible migration (I wonder why?) you will also not have experienced what we (in East Anglia for example) have experienced: High house rents, housing shortages, shortage of school spaces, extra costs to schools for language cover, lower wages and a ‘gang’ attitude within places that take on migrants. And huge pressure on local GPs and NHS hospitals. I can take you to many Cold Stores in Kent where you will never here English spoken. Places that never advertise locally but import labour from Poland (for example). Want an example? Woolworths and Argos in Bedford. Maybe go visit yourself and see the reality. I saw it driving containers out of Felixstowe all over the country.

            And you need to research more if you think being able to work abroad is an EU thing only. I was working in Germany aged 18 in 1965. I got my ‘Eintrittserlaubnis’ from the German Consulate (15 minutes) and then my ‘Arbeitserlaubnis’ from the StadtHalle in the town where I worked (20 minutes). That was 8 years before we joined the EEC. And even then nett migration was just 30,000 PA. In 2016 630,000 new NI numbers were issued to EU nationals……

            I voted for Ted Heath to take us in to the EEC aged 25
            I voted Remain in 1975 aged 28
            I voted Leave in 2016 aged 69
            Why the change? I was asked about the EEC and saw how well a trade deal worked. I was never asked about the EU and have been appalled at the loss of Sovereignty, loss of influence (we joined with 9 and now leave 27) and the costs in money and loss of control. Its a Ponzi scheme where 6 Nations pay for the other 22 and the EU uses QMV to make sure those 22 always support it.

            And if you think Remainers get abused well try being me and abuse I get for exercising my democratic vote.

      • Hi Alan.
        Yes, but it is a problem for the UK defence establishment, but their first priority has to be defence, and the means to get the ships built, and within a budget. But they have to build in that flexibility to relocate if or when neccessary.

        Personally, since the Vanguards and Trident would have to stay on the Clyde for 10 years while a smaller Coulport is built (there’s not the same need as there used to be), and the easier Faslane, having got any neccessary planning and safety permissions, I think a transition arrangement could and would be made along sensible political lines. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. But the defence establishment can’t rely on that, either or both sides of politicians could throw their toys out the pram in the event of a YES vote.

        To be frank and quite brutal, the odds of that happening with Salmond and Cameron were high, I can’t work out what they would be with Sturgeon and May for instance. It depends on how pragmatic they could be and with the current increased saber-rattling, who knows?

        • The last paragraph is a bit ambiguous, I meant with Cameron and Salmond I think both would have been pragmatists, and the chances of an amicable arrangement quite high.

      • As a one resident, the Scvots like taking the micky out of the English and if possible outdoing them in sport; but as for leaving, no chance. They really do have the best of both worlds and are too canny to throw that away for a vague S.N.P. pipers dream.

        Personally, I think the U.K. has to re-think its military stance. What I am seeing is patchy and incoherent; it is also woefully unimaginative thinking. The money required to re-build our national interest (that is what defence is all about) should come from cutting aid to countries that in 2018 can stand on their own feet – or should learn.

  3. I would like to see more than 8 type 26s built. This government need to wake up, fund defence and other public service properly. Put up taxes to pay for a decent sized and resources royal navy.
    We definitely should not be scrapping Albion and Bulwark and there is a clear strategic case for a replacement for Ocean.

    • Mr Bell – I was right with you until your ‘clear case for a replacement for Ocean’. So what clear case is that? And I don’t men in a wonderland of endless money. Right here right now with what we have?

      • Unfortunately there is genuine reasons to get a ocean replacement, and that’s not fantasy fleet talk. But as you suggest in the current economic situation it isn’t a priority.

  4. If we are are talking the minimum sensible fleet size, then in an ideal world we would have :
    9 T45
    9 T26
    12 T31.
    12 SSN’s

    The above, allowing for refits, would give an active surface fleet of approx 21 units, a blend of all three types.
    Plus an active fleet of 9 SSN’s.

    I would base this number also on a T31 design that is a capable all round fleet escort, highly automated, small crew, but not constrained by a too small displacement.
    We must make sure we learn the lessons of the batch 1 T42’s, where too much was packed into a small hull form.

    In my view this is the absolute minimum requirement…

  5. I think we will end up with 13 “Destroyers” (T26 upgraded to full spectrum) and 25 T31 (or their derivatives) – configured for task, 8 MHVC, 8ASW, 8 GPF.

    This gives us a drumbeat of 1 T31 pa and 1 T26 every 2 years in a 25 year lifecycle, with us hopefully selling to allies at year 15.

    This isn’t fanciful thinking if 1. we get our act together 2. Move from the myriad of specialist hulls onto a fleet of 8/9 hull types and 3. start building regularly and to a budget.

    The first rule of exporting is you need a strong domestic market that has economies of scale to bring the costs down to a price point that beats the competition. We have no chance of achieving this without an industrial strategy.

    For the RFA the Tide class seems to be the way to go and I would have 9 FFT and 9 ALV’s (our version of the Karel Doorman Solid Support ship), alternatively it could be 7 and 11 if required.

    For submarines I think 9 and 4 is what we can afford and man – with crew being a key issue here.

    Lastly, we need to sort our fleet of small vessels into order and get some CB90’s (200+), Atlas (200+) Pac Rhibs (100+) and some Safeboat Mk6 (50+) to give us a fleet of fast attack boats that can provide an asymmetric threat if required and conduct varying day to day operations as the norm.

    I know this might seem fanciful – but over 25 years it is circa £3bn per annum and is therefore less than 10% of the annual budget and requires us to retire almost every other type of vessel and utilise unmanned systems far more than we are today, but it is a plan and it is doable.

    Lastly, I dont care where they are built – but we can build T26 in Glasgow, Subs in Barrow, RFA in Liverpool, Small vessels in Devonport or Tyne and T31 across the country.

    I have fully costed this plan and even allowing for £30bn of SSN it still comes in at £3bn pa and for me gives the RN a balanced force that has a fighting edge.

    • What I’m thinking along the lines of is rather than first rate specialised versus numbers of hulls, do both. There’s a current plan, which gives first-rate ships and boats, but not many of them, with the carriers and the deterrent as the first line. That’s underway at the moment, but with the addition of the RFAs to come next, and some sort of replacement for Albion, Bulwark and Ocean, but with multipurpose, and maybe as some have suggested, some incorporation into the RFAs. This takes the plan along to say 2020, with a few years to complete that part.

      Meanwhile there’s a start with the T31e, and perhaps that is more important in that it looks into the future more as you’ve suggested – moving away from the (expensive) specialist hull, to a general purpsoe one. In theory GCS was what that was about, but in the end it got bogged down in just getting they T26 out in a last gasp time for the QEs to replace and improve on the ageing T23s.

      So for cost at today’s prices, 8 x T26 @ £1.1 bn = £8.8 bn, + 6 x T45 at say £1.4 bn = £8.4 bn. That gives 14 specialised hulls at £17.2 bn. Now, if we can get the unit cost to say £600 million each at today’s prices, that gives for the same price, 29 ships – more than double. But the ongoing cost would be a bit cheaper through standardisation, there could be more crew interchangeability and smaller crews, and as long as well adaptable, specialised functions could still be incorporated into a relatively standard hull.

      This is perhaps where the T31e can come in, as a template on how to do this, but on a cheaper version at £250 million which can perhaps be stretched to become the standard for the future class of GP but modifiable hull, to start being in the plan from 2020, and built maybe from around 2026, at 1 and perhaps even 2 a year. Dates subject to E&OE!

      On top of that, I think the RN is already looking at diesel electrics, and indeed, it should, perhaps sacrificing a few of the new class of GP medium to heavy frigate to pay for them. A sub can be a relatively GP warship too.

  6. Hi Dads Army

    I cannot believe that the cost of a T26 is not £1.1bn – that cost must include support and mainntenance for a period of time. I think its probably 800m to build and I think a T31 will come in closer to £400m which would still be a great result.

    Operational and running costs should not be put into the equipment budget in the way they are – they certainly need to be recognised – but I do find it unethical to state it in the equipment budget in a manner that makes it look as if we are buying £178bn worth of kit every 10years – we are not. Its about £70bn on equipment and the rest in maintenance and support (often outsource).

    So if the RN is stating £250m for the T31 lets hope that is build cost only

    • Yes, trying to find out costs is a nightmare. From the RN website in July: “The first of the Royal Navy’s next-generation frigates will be laid down before the month is out after a £3.7 billion order was placed for three Type 26s.” but elsewhere the talk is £1 billion each, so I split the difference. Even the date of order – Fallon I think it was announced it in Novermber but the order was already in – or was it? Politics wants to make the budget seem small so they get it, but the spending large so they get kudos. That’s not even including if they do it by PFI as in the Points. Ho hum. And the price was supposed to be £400 million or £600 million.

      Not to mention – was it 2012 or 2014 prices, 2017 or 2023 prices?

  7. Let’s not forget that it wont include the cost of the helicopter(s) it is meant to carry.

    Frankly if a T26 really is 1-1.3 bn each – we will be better off buying a Huitfeldt or Nansen class Frigate from our Scandinavian friends and at least we can get double the amount.

    Something is just wrong with all of this and I dont subscribe to its BAE etc. As they would have brought the carriers in far cheaper if it wasn’t for government meddling.

    We need to prove we can do this and for me a T26 has to come in around £650m and the T31 around the £400m.

    I am reliably informed by loads of people on this and other forums that the actual hull is relatively cheap to build – around £1m per metre length – so that would be £250m for the T26 and £175m for the 31 at a very conservative level. surely we can kit them both out with a good standard of fit with the remaining funds and bring these in on budget.

    A bit of transparency – even to the various committees looking into this would be welcome.

  8. T,o all of the above, how heartening it is to read (in most cases) sensible debate if our leaders adopted the same attitude towards pragmatism we would not be in the mess were in (I refer to Brexit debate, which I voted for and at 70 year old I have experienced both sides of the coin)
    Keep up those well articulated debates.

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