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.”

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.


  1. Generally a good choice.

    If the name is on a commissioned vessel, does it affect the museum ship being able to fly the white ensign?

  2. A question for any submariners out there. If you were being hunted by either a Type 26 or a Merlin which would cause you the most concerns ? Academic ? Well no it’s about relative cost for the same or superior outcome.

      • we’ve thethe whole churchill and swiftsure class along side in devonport and rosyth if they’resea worthy re commission them they wer e n use as recently as the libya operation when they were used to fire tomahawks

      • The ASTUTE Class Hunter Killers is where we should be spending our limited “Defence” budget. The greatest threat to our island nation, as was so effectively demonstrated in two World wars, is our Atlantic maritime trade umbilical. Any pretence that our present FF/DD force could prevent its disruption by any one of a handful of emerging nations possessing a few advanced Diesel electric boats is laughable.
        Carriers are basically tools of offence; their AS ‘choppers will have their work cut out in providing adequate protection for their own essential battle group, never mind the supporting Underway Replenishment Group.

      • merlins are great, but we should be proactive with them, every chopper that flies of an american ship AT ANY TIME is fullyarmed, theres no excuse for losing a ship that wasn’t protected when it could have been. if we don’t use them, why have them? they’re an expensive taxi otherwise.

        • You need to study how RN ASW ops are conducted. The ship and the helo work as a pair. So it’s not an “either/or” it”s a “both”.

          That’s ignoring the fact that on its own the Merlin could only operate within a couple of hundred miles of its airfield. Not many submarines to be found there.

  3. So Guess we are looking at Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, York, Portsmouth and Manchester for the others (select as required).

    just a point that annoys me – there is no need to wait to the 2020’s to negotiate the next batch, get them ordered today and sort it out.

  4. My preferred options for the remaining warships are in no particular order, Plymouth, London, Sheffield, Coventry, Cardiff and Manchester.

    For the proposed T31 class, I would like to see county names used.

  5. Also considered bad luck in naval circles is the number 232, funny bunch those matelots or skates if you wish to use Portsmouth slang.

  6. Merlin on a ocean type ship, best and cheapest way, but the navy need escorts for them to command,so guess what that is what the navy gets,but only a few at a time.

    • the egyptians have decided the mistrals they bought are unsuitable and can’t be used in the role they’re designed for! so maybe the u.k should offer ocean in a swap deal.

  7. I can smell the political naming. All the places that are pissed off with the UK government after brexit. HMS Glasgow for Scotland, HMS Belfast for Northern Ireland. I guarantee that next up are HMS Cardiff for Wales and HMS London for England. HMS London will come in the next batch of three ships because the government wants to be seen putting the other countries first.

  8. According to the MoD press release:

    Whilst the second to be named, HMS Belfast is Ship 3 in the Type 26 programme. Ship 1 is called HMS Glasgow and Ship 2 is yet to be named.

    Why not name them in order?

  9. Pity that the Proud name of Liverpool doesnt make it on the list. But on another note, it would be good to name a couple of them after newly named cities as well

  10. Belfast is a great name for the new ship, seeing all the other suggestions for names for the new T26’s, I have to say as an East Anglian feeling a bit left out. Therefore I’d like to see one of the ships named NORWICH or IPSWICH. As a Norfolk man of course I’d prefer NORWICH!

    • SA80 is part of the layered defences. They managed to miss out the fact that the engineering crew will also be equipped with WD40 which apparently stings if you get it in your eyes and is one of the defences for repelling boarders.

      Was it the Daily Mail that reported on the 5″ gun contract, got very confused about the concepts of length and calibre, and spun the article that we were paying such a big sum of money for a gun “the size of a toothbrush”?

      Can journalism get any worse?

      • Apart from being ridiculous it was quite close to the bone as it reminded me of marines roping GPMGs to the railings of destroyers and frigates in the Falklands. The ships were unarmed then and it looks like we are repeating history with the 26. Having said that ‘attachment of equipment or small arms to external ship furniture or structure can only be carried out by a qualified BAE engineer’, and will therefore require a user requirrement, business case and a full blown PRINCE project.

  11. Why cant we order all 8 now and be done with it. There is a huge risk with ordering in batches that BAE will put the price up. Already paying price close to an Arleigh Burke class destroyer for these vessels.
    Order in batches = batch 1, 3 ships, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff
    Batch 2, 3 ships London, Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh (government will decide which 3 names
    Batch 3 if built, ?? Any chance of a repeat to what we had with type 45 destroyers and we end up with only 6 ships?
    that was my pessimistic side, my positive side my say batch 3= 3-4 ships so we get more than 8 of these powerful ships, names Gloucester,Plymouth, Newcastle, Birmingham.
    we live in hope.

    • Coming from Northern Ireland myself (and that doesn’t imply I am a DUP supporter), this is great news. Despite our troubled past, Belfast is a beautiful city and I for one am glad the City’s name will sail the high seas again on the stern of a Type 26!

  12. Cardiff is clearly next. I guess we want a national buy-in to the RNs future.

    So the next batch ships will be, taking into account only 8 hulls :

    Liverpool or Manchester
    Exeter or Plymouth
    York or Nottingham

    Southampton will miss out or be a 9th hull (if ordered), and if it misses out the first 3 T31s will be Hampshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

  13. We could follow the American example of naming major warships after prominent politicians. Maybe one day you’d see HMS Jeremy Corbyn… an SSBN with no missiles, perhaps…

  14. A total maritime novice here ….

    Two fine Chinese frigates sailed up the Thames today …they look well built and capable vessels . They cost around 180 million pounds each.
    My question… why are we paying in the region of 250million for type 31 frigates? Which seem under armed? The proof being there unsuitable for escorting the carriers.
    If all the type 31 is a global patrol boat…. then wouldn’t the Chinese design and price be better?


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