Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that a new Type 26 Frigate will be named HMS Birmingham.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Three of our nation’s ships have proudly borne the name Birmingham. Those ships won five battle honours. Today, in honour of this great city, we will be naming one of our eight Type 26 global combat ships HMS Birmingham.”

HMS Birmingham is the fourth of the UK’s eventual eight Type 26 frigates to be named, with HMS Glasgow, HMS Belfast and HMS Cardiff the first three to be built. The frigates will begin to enter service in the 2020s.

The MoD said in a release that all the ships are being constructed by BAE Systems on the Clyde in Scotland, where the project is guaranteeing 20 years of work and safeguarding over 4,000 jobs. HMS Birmingham will be part of the second batch of ships to be ordered in the early 2020s.

She will be the fourth ship to be named in honour of the city, with the first being launched in 1913 and playing a key role in the First World War. The last, a Type 42 destroyer, took part in a range of missions including safeguarding international shipping during the Iran-Iraq War and patrolling the Falkland Islands before leaving service in 1999.

78 COMMENTS

    • To find out what the next 26 will be called we’ll have to wait until it’s announced where the Conservative party conference is next year if they are still in government.
      If labour are in power Corbyn will probably hand our defence budget to Hamas and Hezbollah.
      Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and now Birmingham, all big and important British cities, no doubt but what about an HMS London ?
      I know we have Westminster but it isn’t the same.

  1. So in order (with some extra speculation, feel free to add other suggestions):
    1. HMS Glasgow
    2. HMS Cardiff
    3. HMS Belfast
    4. HMS Birmingham
    5. HMS London*
    6. HMS Edinburgh*
    7. HMS Plymouth*
    8. HMS Sheffield*

    • Definately Plymouth but some of the 42`s old names would be good.
      Exeter
      Manchester
      York
      Newcastle
      Coventry
      Sheffield

      Lots to play with really.

        • We could kill two birds with one stone and have HMS Londonderry, that would go down well. Has a naming convention been released for the T31 Frigates? I can’t remember.

          • No naming convention for the Type 31s yet. The most likely options for a name scheme are alphabetical (should technically be E-class after the Darings, but we have survey ships using that convention, so F-class would probably be used) or mythology-based (especially likely if the BAE Leander design is chosen).

      • Plymouth, Truro, Gibraltar, Londonderry (as suggested by BB85, great idea!)

        It would be nice to have a Sheffield/Coventry, but those ships have already been honoured. I’d like to see the T31 frigates receive names from the Falklands (Ardent, Antelope, etc).

        • Gibraltar and Londonderry would be problematic politically.

          Saying that a new dock ship called HMS San Carlos would be amusing.

          • LOL, must not upset the Spanish must we. I mean their behaviour is impeccable when it comes to Gibraltar isn’t it.

          • @ Lusty

            Just to clarify I think Gibraltar would be a fantastic name. The last HMS Gibraltar was never built.

            And the last fourteen or so years of the last HMS Londonderry corresponded with the first fourteen years of the Troubles. But as the ship was already in service when ‘civil strife’ broke out and I think by that time we were beyond upsetting our Republican ‘friends’.

            FWIW I would have preferred the second carrier to be called HMS Eagle.

          • Gibraltar is a fantastic name, I hope it is picked but Londonderry will never be picked and HMS Derry/Londonderry/Doire (as it is being called these days) doesn’t sound right.

        • Ardent and Antelope are unlikely, which is a shame, but another A-class when we already have that theme for the Astutes is unlikely

          • Just to respond to David, I do agree. Gibraltar would be a fantastic name given the current political climate, and would do wonders for strengthening the bond. I do believe we should be able to name our ships after parts of our country or overseas territories despite the protests of the minority.

            As much as I would like ‘Londonderry’ (as it would give two fingers to our Republican ‘friends’), I can’t see it happening. It’ll probably be another English town, Exeter would be nice.

            As for another ‘A’ class, I was merely following the naming format from the ‘Arrowhead’ project; assuming that the lead ship would be ‘Arrow’, with the rest following. It would be a shame if they weren’t chosen; Sheffield, Coventry and Sir Galahad were renewed as names, but Antelope and Ardent were not.

            I’m not a fan of BaE, but their Leander programme would put some historic names back into the fleet.

          • Lusty, you’ve just given me a flash of inspiration. I hadn’t made the connection before, but Arrowhead isn’t just an A-class name. It also fits in a Weapon-class series.

            It’s worth remembering that the individual company names mean nothing. It’s still up to the naming committee. The Arrowhead design could easily end up as HMS Leander

      • That is why we need more than 8 of these warships. Can we order in the Aussie variant which is a much more capable and heavily armed general purpose warship with good quality air defence and surface strike capabilities. Say 8 of the ASA optimised versions and 8 of the more capable Aussie version.
        Come on we should definitely be doing that.

        • So an additional 8 £1bn+ warships, and the only facility that could build them is fully booked for the next 2 decades. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love an additional 8 Type 26 ASW frigates, but there’s not really a need to make them a bit more capable for a extra cost.

          The Hunter only has one real advatage over the T26: better radar, and for an ASW frigate that’s not really a massive deal. The other two minor advatages: ship mounted torpedoes, and technically 8 more strike lengh VLS but it also needs to accommodate AA weapons in those slots, while the T26 has 48 separate Sea Ceptor missiles. So the T26 wins in actual missile capacity, and only loses on hull mounted torpedo tubes, which aren’t particularly useful for modern ASW.

  2. The MoD said in a release that all the ships are being constructed by BAE Systems on the Clyde in Scotland, where the project is guaranteeing 20 years of work

    20 Years to build 8 ships?

      • It takes a long time to superglue all those bolt heads back on ! Has there been any updates on that story and what the hell happened ?

        • You won’t hear anything, BAe took 15m hit but I doubt anyone was fired. Not a big fan of the Leander design but I hope Cammell Liard get the T31 as I think they’ll do great job building them. Shame it wasn’t CL proposing Arrowhead.

    • Blame George Osborne for the slow build rate. The original plan was one a year but the Treasury wanted to minimise year on year expenditure. In the end it costs a lot more because a build rate this slow just isn’t efficient.

  3. Anson, Hood, Vanguard, Indefatigable, Royal Sovereign, Churchill, Ark Royal, Revenge, so many to choose from such a long line of heritage.

  4. Never liked the city names myself.

    I prefer more “fighty” names or mythological ones.

    By comparison the T45 names are great.

    • Agreed, Daniele … I particularly like Dauntless, Dragon and Defender!
      And I’m looking forward to an Agamemnon back in the fleet from the mid-2020s.
      (And I still hope for an Ajax!)

      • If you’re hoping for Ajax to be a submarine, unfortunately the last Astute has already been named HMS Agincourt. However, if we get a new Leander class, Ajax would definitely be high on the list due to the battle honours associated with the name, including Jutland and the River Plate.

      • Exactly Alan. Defender! What a good name. Instead….Birmingham.

        Interesting no London yet Cardiff Glasgow Belfast already as biggest cities for the other nations. Why?

      • I didn’t list Duncan though did I Gunbuster.

        My point in 45 names still stands for the other 5 though.

        Agree worst of the 6.

      • Adam Duncan, admiral in command at the Battle of Camperdown, after Trafalgar one of the Royal Navy`s greatest victory`s.
        I`d say that was `fighty` enough.

        • Warship naming is always a subject for much debate.
          I knew the background of the naming history but of all the T45 names Duncan is the one that attracts the sniggers in the fleet.
          It could be worse …I served on Beaver and Brazen…Brazen had a helo called hussy and the wrens proudly declared themselves as Hussies when serving on board.
          As for the other…the US Navy loved us calling a ship Beaver ” you guys named your ship after p**sy”

  5. How about this for a bit of radical thinking..

    Give the ships a number only and each has 3 crews assigned and the crews have the names.

    So a T26 has a target crew size or 120 personnel and each has 3 crews

    Crew 1. HMS Sheffield
    Crew 2. HMS York
    Crew 3. HMS Leeds

    And you just rotate the guys through cycles to get harmonisation rates to a point where people like gunbusters want to stay (allied to improved conditions and pay of course).

    To man all 8 ships its 2520 sailors, each crew gets 1 x 4 month slot at sea every year and 1 of the 8 is in refit/maintence at any given point in time which means we only need 21 crews. You can even go for a 2+1 configuration of 2 crews that swap 1 on /1 off and a standing training/shore crew for holidays etc and cover.

    Lastly, you just give them their own flag, ships name plaque etc that they take on to the ship prior to deployment. New millennium perhaps time for a new way of doing things…

    • That’s… very radical indeed. Aside from the increase in sailors needed at a time when crewing the fleet is proving difficult, it clashes with the sense of “your” ship that makes big chunks of metal and machine feel like they matter. What you suggest makes for more of a rental mindset.

    • Vice-Admiral Sir Louis Le Bailly in a paper once explored the idea of turning crews into regiments. A ‘returning regiment’ would help to train the ‘deploying regiment’. And the former then would go on to leave, courses, etc. A new (or former) regiment would (re)form would be come the ‘deploying regiment’ and so on.

      I think the current system works really. The USN experimented with USCG manning and it didn’t work very well.

      https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-06/good-riddance-rotational-crews

    • The MCMVs do crew swaps. The ship remains the same only the crew number changes. Its a lot easier that way.

      No need to change the letterheads, BFPO numbers, signal addresses etc…Changing names would be an admin nightmare. Just change the crews

  6. I’ve always fancied an HMS Bognor Regis. We could have a class of warships named after tacky seaside resorts. HMS Weston Super Mare?

    • During WW2 the pier in Bognor was commissioned as HMS St Barbara; the latter is the patron saint of gunners and gunnery. (St Barbara’s is the little church in HMS Excellent,)

  7. HMS Milton Keynes HMS Diversity and HMS Gender Fluidity. Probably all ahead of HMS London. It’s only the bloody capital after all.

    • Don’t forget HMS Peoples Vote, HMS Pride, HMS Cooperate with Gerry Adams.

      Oh and the ever venerable HMS Gosport Ferry.

  8. Im delighted the name Birmingham is to return, city names are a good choice which helps to bond the Navy with the public. However I dont like the way polititans are starting to use the naming process for political means, obviously no coincidence the name Birmingham held back until the party conference( the name was decided along with the previous three). This is a dangerous path to follow as it will have a negative public effect when a particular town or region is out of favour to the incumbent government hence a truly traditional naval name will be overlooked. As an aside, I expect if the Leander project wins the T26 I expect a full range of Greek god’s will follow, not a bad choice as they will remain unpoltical. If Arrowhead win, I would like to see the return of Captain names or big cats.

  9. Disappointing choice. Why are recreating T42 names? (bar Belfast).
    If they want cities why not

    Lincoln
    Salisbury
    Canterbury
    Plymouth
    Lichfield
    Winchester
    Chester

    No not likely. The next will be Manchester Sheffield Liverpool Gloucester. I’ll put next months wages on it. As per the carriers, no imagination again from the Sea Lords.

  10. For the T26’s it would be good to see an Exeter and Southampton back in the fleet. I understand the issue with London as I find it strange but then again Glasgow is not the capital of Scotland. It is also possible that although London is a city it is also technically as far as I am aware in naming terms a county, the last HMS London that I know of was a county class cruiser. So possibly that is the issue.
    I would love to see a Gibraltar also, that would stir things up a bit.
    As for the naming of the T31s there are many routes to go down, Admirals, Battles, Commonwealth Countries etc. The idea of Greek Gods really tickles me a bit imagine an Ajax and Achilles teamed up with Exeter and sent to the Falklands as the South American Squadron. That would be fun.
    I suppose for the T31’s it will be the message we want to convey, will it be one of reuniting old bonds then if so possibly HMS Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Gibraltar and Jamaica could be good for the first five. If named after Admirals then Howe, Anson, Nelson, Rodney and Hood would also be good. As for battles we have so many that we could name a complete fleet after. But I still like the idea of Ajax and Achilles with an Exeter as flag, with Apollo, Arethusa and Aurora for the other three names, sorry folks just my humor.

    • Last HMS London was a batch 2 T22, along with the T22s Sheffield and Coventry replacing the Falklands victims.

      I’d considered that indeed Glasgow is not the capital.

      It is the largest city though. Like London. Like Cardiff. Like Belfast.

      I hope I’m wrong but I fear PC claptrap agsin because if we have a Cardiff Glasgow Belfast we must have a London.

  11. interestingly in recent times MOD have wandered from the traditional warship names, frequently they are adding additional names to established linage, examples being Agincourt to the A class subs, Tyne and Forth to traditional River class escorts, Tideforce to the tide class RFAs, Duncan a traditional Captain name to the Daring class T45, and if course QE and POW, The first time such capital ship names have been used amongst carriers. I think the revival of colony / dominion names would be a bridge too far, politically fraught as who gets named and who is left out? If they are reinstated it will probably be connected to trade deals!! He the new Dreadnought submarines: I think Warspite, Valiant and Courageous would be most appealing.

  12. Bemused that ‘London’ has not been chosen, as that would have been all the capital cities of the UK together.
    As for T31 – how about ‘Fearless’ class

  13. Now that it has been announced that the T26 eill be based at Devonport, I find it quite ridiculous that Portsmouth city council ate kicking up a fuss about ” losing the T26 frigatrs”. 1. They never had them. 2 portsmouth has the lions share: 2 carriers, all the t45, mine hunters, opvs. Yet Devonport only has the Two assault ships,( 1 in reserve) three survey vessels and 8 frigates. Surely Portsmouth can see the benefits of keeping Devonport open and can continue with it’s excellent frigate expertise. There is still enough work for both.

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