The hull of the Royal Navy’s second Type 26 Frigate, HMS Cardiff, has now entered construction.

The frigate is being built at the BAE Systems shipyard in Govan, Glasgow and is the second to enter production as part of the £3.7 billion contract, announced by the MoD in 2017.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman 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.”

BAE Systems said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome representatives of the City of Cardiff to our ceremony. The contract for the first batch of three Type 26 ships provides a solid platform to sustain our industrial skill base & ensures the Royal Navy have the ships it needs to protect UK interests.”

Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total with three in the first batch, the contract for the second batch will be negotiated in the coming year. 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.

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Nick C
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Nick C

Are there any recent pictures of HMS Glasgow available? She should be starting to look like a proper ship rather than a series of blocks, even given the leisurely pac of construction.

BB85
Guest
BB85

When is the launch date of Glasgow, I have a feeling is 2023 before it touches water.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

I cant help thinking that while the T26 programme is to be admired,the build rates are so slow,when they eventually enter service they will be bordering on obsolete.

BB85
Guest
BB85

The radar especially. Im hoping the batch 2s with have the seafar 2 radar as some sort of industrial exchange for Australia buying sonar and engines from the UK.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Radar is such a critical area that I’d rather see a next-generation product arising from Artisan/Sampson to keep in-country capability. Artisan/Sampson references are not intended to indicate continued use of rotating arrays, more that we (the UK) already have some world-class back-end processing/analysis capabilities together with the technical expertise required to create them and I would prefer to see that expertise nurtured and built upon plus the quality of the existing product should give us a strong starting point to create something quite special for the next generation. (P.S. I’m assuming you had a typo and meant CEAFAR from CEA… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

As I mentioned in a post earlier, there is a very good reason for having a rotating AESA antenna, which is purely down to the carried top weight. By having a rotating antenna rather than using fixed panels, the rotating antenna can be placed much higher and thus push out the horizon further. The Australian CEAFAR uses a different method to the large SPY/6 panels on the Arleigh Burkes and Ticos. It uses groups of multiple panels spread up the “mast”. This allows them on the Hunter class (T26) to raise the effective height of the fixed panels compared to… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Oh yeah. I’d read, remembered, understood and was grateful for your earlier post. My “…not intended to indicate continued use of rotating arrays…” was not intended to automatically imply any contra-indication for continued use of rotating arrays. I do not have the experience or expertise to express any opinion there so was attempting not to do so. As I was typing my last post I genuinely did consider putting in that clarification but decided not to to keep my post shorter. On reflection I should have been clearer.

Peter tattersall
Guest
Peter tattersall

What a silly comment

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

I’m still surprised in all the publicity shots and data on the T26, that it is only getting the Artisan radar. I’m not knocking the Artisan, well, ok I am. It is yesterdays radar as its a PESA system, not AESA and yes it can track X amount of threats blah, blah. But it has only one antenna face and it rotates only once every 3 seconds. Thus, leaving a rotating blindspot which requires predictive memory tracking. This issue could be mitigated, if it followed the Sampson method of mounting antennas back to back. But it still negates the fact… Read more »

Helions
Guest
Helions

That’s a very good point. With the incredible pace of weapons development ongoing, how will the combat suite of the T26 compare to the latest developments in 2027? The USN has obviously thought about this since they apparently will still be building AB Flight X ships with the latest cutting edge systems according to the latest articles from USNI as opposed to putting money into radical new hull designs. Has HMG made any provisions for this sort of thing is my question? The new FFGX will being coming into the fleet in numbers around that time as well…

https://news.usni.org/2019/08/13/navy-prefers-fielding-revolutionary-combat-capability-through-new-weapons-rather-than-new-hull-designs

Cheers!

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

It’s open architecture so in theory it is upgradeable. It is also my understanding that it uses a lots of fairly simple technology so it should be upgradeable if they get the initial cabling spec right. As that will be the limiting factor (data throughput)

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Lots of current weapon systems talk to each other over a data highway. A T23 has 3 highways for redundancy all travelling bow to stern on different decks, on the keel and port and stbd. Irrespective of the system in the ship they must pass data onto and take it off the highway in a specific way. This is done through a Data Interface unit that is the same for all systems. Each system has a specific “translator ” card that converts system info into data highway info and back again. As long as the data is configured to go… Read more »

Helions
Guest
Helions

Thank you for the excellent explanation G.B.

Cheers!

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

That is my point entirely – till I’m blue in the face. If it ultimately proves cost effective for the richest country in the world, then carry on the same way here i.e. just keep building Type 26 hulls around the UK as the drumbeat and adapt as required over time. Yes, it’s initially expensive and will never be ‘cheap’ nothing worthwhile ever is – most especially where warfighting and lives are concerned. The Type 26 is future-proofed both in size and quietness, and just because not all hulls will be tasked with subhunting (to start with, at least?) that… Read more »

maurice10
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maurice10

Paul T, you are correct about the build rate being slow. In fact, it’s too slow and as a result, there will be a crisis in the making for the RN. The 31’s won’t be much quicker, so the Type 23’s will have to solider on, up to the point that their global capability will be in question? One idea I had sometime back was to build additional Type31’s, but to a much-reduced capability at the time of commissioning. Living quarters, propulsion, radar and helicopter hanger together with an automatic gun, would be the basic kit. Upgrades to achieve full… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

HMS Glasgow should be due to hit the water by the end of 2021. It is the fitting out phase that is slow for some reason, which could be speeded up, complete build is not due until 2026. Any idea why this is so John?
8 Type 26 frigates does not meet the ‘Rule of Three’, 9 would do so!

Pacman27
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Pacman27

I think it’s the rule of 2 now. 1 on 1 off and over a fleet of 8, 2 in long term refit or maintenance. So it looks like we will have 4 available t best. But I could be wrong

Andy
Guest
Andy

The longer we wait the more advanced the kit, as well as the more choices available from Australia, Canada and hopefully the USA

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

HMS Glasgow is planned to be handed over to RN on 2025? Is it further delayed? It is the trials/training within RN, or any other tasks, which make her commissioning on 2027. I also agree making T26 number to 9 is important. I am happy to ban T31 to make this happen. Now RN mans only 12 escorts. Even taking into account the long refit (~20% = 3 hulls without crew), 15 escort hulls are a very good goal, I think. – 15 fully utilized (12 active) all high-end escorts with 5 River B2 VS – 19 escorts in paper… Read more »

Heidfirst
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Heidfirst

still a couple of blocks (I pass along the Clyde Expressway on the opposite side of the river from the Govan yard most days).

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

hopefully without jock spanners tool box blocking the progress

john
Guest
john

We are moving so fast with this build.

andy reeves
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andy reeves

no we’re not, these same yards take 4 years to produce a river patrol boat.

john
Guest
john

Yes you are right i was trying to be sarcastic sorry.

Ross
Guest
Ross

The Type 26s sure are pleasing on the eye

andy reeves
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andy reeves

how come so/ all we see is the computer generated picture we’ve seen for two years

Steve R
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Steve R

Is it definitely 8 ships then? I thought HMG were considering retaining the original 13.

I’d say keep 11 and use the money from the last 2 for 6-9 Type 31s.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Where did you hear that Steve?

Steve R
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Steve R

It was this site actually but I just reread the article and it was an all-party parliamentary group recommending it in a report to the government. My bad!

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I very much think, most of the remaining T23 frigates will be knackered by mid 2030s. Not sure it will be economically viable to further extend T23s lifetimes beyond 2035?
So lets speed up the new builds!

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Makes sense to build 14 and making them all AAW capable. This can be done with a fairly simple radar upgrade. If this cannot be done then we should do 16 with the second batch of 8 replacing the T45. This will be in 2040 onwards.

My preference is for 14 of a super class rather than 2 distinct hulls as we have now. Money saved can go to T31 hulls.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

With such a tiny & therefore brittle escort fleet we can ill afford to have anything but first rate AAW and ASW capable Frigates. Otherwise we are setting ourselves up for disasters in any serious conflict.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Hi Frank I think a T26 with a Sampson Radar would be far more capable than anything we have ever seen. Intrinsically the T26 is a massive step up from the T45 and lessons learned from the T45 are incorporated it really is the best of both worlds. The fact is we need a single destroyer class that can do it all and is high end and a large corvette that can do the rest. By ordering 14 Arleigh Burke style ships we really do increase our capability and with the money saved (£6bn) we can get a fleet of… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

A T26 fitted with the Sampson Radar, will require extensive redesign of the structural of the frigate. Notice the T45 sits high in the water, and a T23 sits low in the water? At times, the stern of the T23 seems to be below water!

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Meirion X Perhaps it would, but I would be surprised if it did given the radar needs of the Canadians and Australians ultimately it is better to spend the money now than later, and its also a lot cheaper than designing a new hull form. Understand there are going to be challenges, but we cannot afford to design classes of 6 from scratch, its one of the reasons our vessels are so expensive. Ultimately – we need to start replacing T45 in circa 10-15 years and the T26 should be the baseline for that, far cheaper and better than any… Read more »

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Meirion x – I’m no expert on ships by any means but the ability to handle increased Top Weight margins is down to the Beam – T45 is 21.2m vs T26 @ 20.8m so they are not that far apart.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

and millions more expensive.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Perhaps Andy, but where do you spend the money, gettting a single class specified properly and building in volume, or designing small classes of ships from scratch.

We need a t45 replacement, and the T26 platform is ideal for its replacement, sooner we bite the bullet the better.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

this issue has been on this board for 5 years at least.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

on the clyde? no chance it took them 4 year to build an opv.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

type 31 is a con it’s not going to happen. the design is still on the back of a fag packet.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

2 new batch 2 type 45’s

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

I can see why Type 26 is proving to be a surprising export success. It offers modular and flexible design suitable for multi-role tasking. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also designed around the Mk41 VLS and is equipped with a large flight deck. Of course, its superior ASW capabilities are crucial to the Australian and Canadian navies because the Russians and Chinese collectively deploy more than eighty modern or fairly-modern attack submarines. Lower tier navies can’t afford to pay a billion pounds a ship. Type 31e should suit them fine providing it has that flexible, modular design and the Mk41… Read more »

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

“I’m glad to see that the MOD has relented on the price point and come to the realization that the Type-31e’s sensor and weapons fit would be inadequate if it were delivered for £250M a copy”

I fear you have been mislead. Type 31 cost is still pegged at 250m average for 5 including all R&D.

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

Ron, I read somewhere that the MOD now realizes the $250M figure was unrealistic and will now fund some of the ships systems (presumably weapons and sensors) separately. I’ll see if I can locate the source and I’ll let you know if I’m successful.

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

Ron, the source for my comments was savetheroyalnavy.org. The article was published on May 8th of this year.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

All that has happened is that the MoD have said they will allow a greater use of government supplied material than they had originality said.

However the cost of such material still has to fit within the 250m limit. And reusing material from decommissioned ships is not free. There’s a significant cost to remove, refurbish, re-warrant and re-install.

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

If you read the article, and the one in the Telegraph from May7th, you’ll change your mind. Of course, that assumes the sources within the MOD used by savetheroyalnavy and the Telegraph are reliable. Of course, I don’t know whether they are. I’m certainly glad things are moving in the right direction; there’s no way you can field a credible frigate for £250M. I think we both know that.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Nick, I must eat some humble pie and admit I am wrong. Apologies.

On July 11, Stuart Andrew in parliament said

“I have been checking throughout the price we have, which is £250 million per ship. We made some initial adjustments to make it tie in with the way we have procured other warships in the past, so we have taken costs such as Government-furnished equipment out of that £250 million.”

Stuart is under secretary at the MoD.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

t31 is a media bluff, it won’t happen.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

> Forgive me if I go off-topic a bit here and point out that the Type 23 fleet spent more than 1,750 days at sea in 2013. Last year, this dwindled to around 750 days at sea (a reduction of about 60%). There is no point to having escort fleet numbers if you don’t have the manpower or inclination to deploy them. Its open information on Parliamentary written answer. You are right. RN “active-escort” is spending 40% less days at sea than in 2010-14. Also, it is well-known that only 12 escorts are manned. In other words, by just regaining… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

Yes, the sea going days of the T23s have been reduced a lot over the past few years, due to the fact that more T23s are in refit or been refitted and waiting for sea trials(2). Reducing the fleet to 15 vessels will create problems in the future when the new vessels will need to go through a cycle of refitts.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

Thanks. Sea going days of T23 is more reduced than just because of LIFEX. IF you see the number, sea-going days of active escorts are 100-120 days nowadays. It was 180-220 days in 2010-2013. #Average is now ~80 days and was 140 days. It is independent issue to the manning shortage. >Reducing the fleet to 15 vessels will create problems in the future when the new vessels will need to go through a cycle of refitts. Partly agree, but does not change the fact that reduced sea-going days and shortage in man-power is much more critical can building hulls. I… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

if we cn built two multi billion carriers with a 50 years service projection, then the same policy should apply for all new builds

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

type 23 fleet?! how many are currently available?

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

I would say 6 T23s are available now, the rest are in LIFEX(3), or refitted waiting for sea trials(2), 2 T23s are waiting for LIFEX.

Julian
Guest
Julian

What would the £250m, or whatever it is increased to if HMG has relented, need to cover though? You (Nick) mention “… the Type-31e’s sensor and weapons fit would be inadequate if it were delivered for £250M a copy.” but if much of that is being cross-decked from T23s which I would hope have by that time been updated to Artisan, Sea Ceptor and presumably other T23 sensors kept appropriately updated for our currently mainline frigates, then wouldn’t some of the most expensive sensors and weapons be mostly excluded from the basic budget? Perhaps that even includes the main gun… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

Julian, The T31 will also need a proper replacement for the Harpoon missile, with total anti- surface capability, which will avoid a need for the Mk. 41 VLS, maybe? Yes, Sea Ceptor a certainly!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

tomahawk should be a stock need in all modern ships, bearing in mind many modern conflicts begin with long range stand off weapons

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

I think its accepted that the Artisan radar from the Type 23s will be used. I think there will be at least three towed-array sonars available, too. Eight available are going to the Type 26 frigates but the MOD purchased three extras (I read this in the publically-available from a defence committee meeting). The scoped requirements for weapons and sensors for Type 31 were very limited – not sufficient to field a credible frigate. I imagine that extra funds would be needed for a Mk41 vls, which an export frigate must certainly have. Perhaps CIWS systems will be extra, too.… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Yeah, but what I was wondering is that if that is the scope for what must be delivered for £250m perhaps that’s partly so that the UK can do the car salesman trick for export sales (“our frigate only costs £250m. Oh, you want electric windows and satnav? That’s extra”). I can certainly see why that baseline spec at a defined price point is crucial for comparing bids and to ensure a price-competitive product which can then be configured up as required by any customer based on what they can afford but maybe due to cross-decking from what will already… Read more »

Albion
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Albion

The good news will be when “The steel for HMS London is being cut”

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

The real good news will be when they say “we’re building all 13 ships as planned.” Sadly I dont think we should hold our breath for that.

T.S
Guest

Yes, and when they allow a rounded fleet with vessels that have overlapping capabilities without fear of selling off one because we can ‘make do’ with the other. And when our ships are armed properly to do what the they need to in the theatre of war. And when they get on top of recruitment by kicking out that god forsaken private company. And when…and when…

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’ll be happier when one is ACTUALLY IN SERVICE

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the better news will be when the clyde has actually built it!!!

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Not for me, exactly, I may be dead. Let me know, though.

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

That’s two started and four more to go.

Sean
Guest
Sean

6 more to go to give 8 T26’s in total

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

I don’t think we’ll get more than 6 x Type 26.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Well the government has already announced the names of all 8 T26’s so it would be an embarrassing U-turn for HMG.

But yes, if say Corbyn became PM then the unordered 5 would probably be cancelled, and the 3 in-build probably converted to unarmed migrant-taxis.
So nothing is impossible…

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

You could be right, because 6 does meet the ‘Rule of Three’, 2 deployed at a time, that is why the RN needs to insist on having 9, which also meets the Rule of Three.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

The PM has been inconspicuous by the absence of extra money for defence, as promised… The T26 will be at the core of the future RN and we need to rebuild the fleet around this capability. 3% GDP ringfenced to defence would be the key for a sustainable and stable long term Royal Navy. We need a 20 year plan to rebuild the escort fleet to 40, with an absolute minimum aim of 30. Raising and retention of personel numbers needs to be accomplished as the bedrock of expansion. (attractive wages, pensions and bonuses), additional and refurbished basing and high… Read more »

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

£ 13.4 billion foreign aid. that’s where our ships should be financed from £200 million to a nation with the regions most booming economy(india. the same amount to pakistan, a nation that hides and harbours the training of terrorists on its soil who would show their gratitude by harming us.millions to the syrian despot killing his people in ways that makes saddam hussein. look like a peace messenger. you couldn’t make this up.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

At this rate I’d be happy with 24 surface escorts; would guarantee at least 8 available at all times and I feel could be done without major funding increase.

6 x T45
10 x T26
8 x T31e
And maybe enough left for an additional Astute.

A 30-ship escort fleet would need substantial extra funding, 2.75-3% of GDP. I’d love to see that but I dont think it will happen. Best we will see is 2.5%.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

another astute? that’s why we’ve no bloody ships £1.4 billion each, is that the best return for such a high outlay? what about re developing the retired swiftsures and trafalgars as diesel boats?

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Would cost a fortune to do that, might as well build new subs from scratch. Also diesel subs are fine for local patrols, in our case direct defence of the UK from any undersea threats, but they’re no good as a submarine escort to a QE taskforce as they have no legs. Expensive as they are, nuclear submarines are the way forward in terms of power projection, which is the way the RN going. A diesel sub loses all pretense of stealth if it has to be refuelled at sea or leave for a friendly port to refuel. And seeing… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Actually Andy, It is almost impossible to see where the MOD actually spends its money as it does not seem to be spent on either people or new equipment. Lets take the RN as an example. It has a fleet of circa 80 (with RFA) so lets say it builds 3 ships every single year, to build those ships and fit out with everything costs £2bn with a further £600m pa going to helicopters, unmanned systems, munitions etc. (We can say a T26/Astute every other year @£1bn + 2 others) and £400m contingency. So we spend £3bn on new equipment… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

The PM is on the election trail albeit an as yet unannounced one. All his poling is telling him that Brexit, policing/crime and the NHS are the 3 highest-polling issues amongst the electorate. I suspect it is unlikely that he’ll say much about defence until after any election because he won’t want to distract from the top 3 for which he is already under attack with affordability questions. Saying anything about increasing defence spending might risk undermining his other messages by giving more potency to those affordability attacks, especially when added to his goal stated during the leadership campaign of… Read more »

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

Very much Agree with You!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i want a reassessment of the number clarified will it go back to the 13?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

lets see if the clyde can pull their fingers out and get on with it. the production ratte on the clyde is abysmal

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

finance the t26https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/north-sea-oil-money-uk-norwegians-fund programme from this;

Sean
Guest
Sean

Socialist propaganda.

Yes the Norwegians were wise to create a sovereignty wealth fund, but any U.K. version would have been all spent on self-aggrandisement projects by Blair/Brown and their attempt to gerrymander the electoral system to import future Labour voters from other countries. In the end they spent anyway, leaving us with a huge national debt.

Yes Norway has a large fund, but EVERY Norwegian I’ve ever come across conplains about the onerous level of taxation in their country, and most seem to spend their holidays shopping in countries with lower levels of VAT.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i’ll believe this political guff when i see one built and in commission