Steel has been cut today on the Clyde for the first Type 26 Frigate, HMS Glasgow.
HMS Glasgow will be first of eight City class Type 26 frigates.
BAE Systems was recently awarded a contract by the Ministry of Defence worth £3.7bn to manufacture the first three of the eight Type 26 Frigate fleet.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said today at a ceremony on the Clyde:
“The Clyde has been synonymous with shipbuilding for centuries.”
Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total, 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. We will cut steel on the first ship later this month – a hugely significant milestone that delivers on our commitment to maintain our global naval power. 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.
“Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178bn Equipment Plan, the Type 26 programme will bring vast economic benefits to Scotland and the wider UK. 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.”
Commenting on this important announcement, Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems said:
“The award of this contract is a strong endorsement of the talent and commitment of our employees across the UK and reinforces Glasgow as the centre of shipbuilding in the UK. We are extremely proud to be chosen to design and manufacture vessels that will give the Royal Navy an essential, next generation capability and be a vital addition to its fleet.
“We will continue to invest in our technologies, productivity and people to help us deliver these ships to the highest standards. Today we have five River Class Offshore Patrol vessels at varying stages of construction for the Royal Navy across our shipyards in Glasgow and we look forward to starting manufacture on the first Type 26 ship in the coming weeks.”
— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) July 20, 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.