The second Type 26 Frigate will be named HMS Belfast, the First Sea Lord has announced today.
The previous HMS Belfast was a light cruiser, now operated as a museum ship in London.
Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total with three int he first batch, the contract for the second batch will be negotiated in the early 2020s. Ordering in batches is common for projects of this size around the world and was last seen with the Royal Navy for the Type 45 Destroyers and recent Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Type 45s first batch order was for three vessels for example.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy. These ships will be a force to be reckoned with, there to protect our powerful new carriers and helping keep British interests safe across the world.
The contract is structured to ensure value for taxpayers’ money and, importantly, now designed to protect them from extra bills from project overrun. The investment will secure hundreds of skilled jobs at BAE Systems on the Clyde for the next twenty years, and thousands of jobs in the supply chain across Britain.”
— First Sea Lord (@AdmPhilipJones) September 27, 2017
A recent report also claims that delays in the construction of the Type 26 Frigate have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde.
The recently released report ‘Restoring the Fleet: Naval Procurement and the National Shipbuilding Strategy’, states that:
“It is clear to us that the delays in the construction of the Type 26 have had a negative impact on the development of the workforce on the Clyde.
Apprenticeships are not being offered at the necessary rate, and those currently undertaking apprenticeships are having their skills training disrupted. Furthermore, workers are being required to move from Scotland to Barrow in order for them to undertake meaningful work.
We welcome the efforts made by the trades unions and BAE to retain the workforce during this period of uncertainty, but remain deeply concerned by warnings that further delay could be “catastrophic” for the skills base.”
The UK Government say they are committed to eight advanced anti-submarine warfare ships, 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 – with further announcements to be made shortly.
Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the previous Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939, Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment, and armour. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943 and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944, Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings.