Prince William cuts the steel for UK’s newest warship HMS Belfast

Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, seen here at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Govan on the River Clyde today. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021.

The first steel has been cut for HMS Belfast, the third ship in the Royal Navy’s fleet of next generation Type 26 anti-submarine frigates.

His Royal Highness Prince William officially cut the steel for the UK’s newest warship, at a ceremony held at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde. The steel cut marks the official start of build on the third of eight Type 26 warships.

The steel cut represents an important milestone for the Type 26 programme, the Royal Navy, UK defence and shipbuilding in Scotland. All eight Type 26 frigates will be built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, sustaining around 1,700 jobs in Scotland and 4,000 jobs across the wider UK maritime supply chain.

Defence Minister, Baroness Goldie said:

Today is a significant milestone for the exciting new Type 26 frigate programme and for Defence. We celebrate and receive great support from our UK shipyards. As a Scot, I am very proud of the skills and expertise of our Scottish shipbuilders here on the Clyde.

These new frigates will be equipped with the most advanced capabilities and technologies, enabling the Royal Navy to counter emerging global threats for decades to come.

Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack said:

Scotland is a world leader in shipbuilding and it’s great to see construction of the British military’s latest warship beginning by the River Clyde in Govan.

When complete HMS Belfast – and the rest of the seven strong Scottish built Type 26 fleet – will help protect the UK and our NATO allies 24/7. In the meantime the anti-submarine frigate building programme is boosting our country’s prosperity through the investment and skills footprint defence projects bring.

The Type 26 is an advanced warship whose primary purpose is anti-submarine warfare to protect the Continuous at Sea Deterrent and Carrier Strike Group.

It is equipped with a range of capabilities including the Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a five-inch medium calibre gun, an embarked helicopter, medium-range radar and powerful bow and towed array sonars.

The Type 26 vessels are also designed to reduce environmental impacts with features such as, a hydrodynamically designed hull to optimise fuel efficiency and a diesel engine emissions abatement, which reduces nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions.

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Christopher Gardner said:

Standing in the shadow of HMS Glasgow which has been brought together on the hardstanding, with large parts of HMS Cardiff in construction around us, today’s steel cut for HMS Belfast is another significant milestone in the delivery of the eight-ship Type 26 class, itself part of the wider Global Combat Ship endeavour that we are part of along with Australia and Canada.

This is a proud moment for everyone who has worked so hard on this strategic national programme, which sustains thousands of jobs across the United Kingdom and harnesses all of our skills and knowledge to produce the best possible ships for the Royal Navy.

Its flexible design will also allow its weapon systems to be adapted throughout its lifespan to counter future threats. The development of the Type 26 benefits from the latest advances in digital technologies, including 3D modelling and virtual reality, which ensures the ship’s design is refined earlier in the process.

The design has achieved international export success, with nine Australian Hunter Class and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants based on the Type 26, representing a significant long-term opportunity for all three nations to work together to exploit supply chain efficiencies and interoperability on operations.

The UK’s first three Type 26 ships – HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast – were ordered for £3.7 billion. HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle, HMS Edinburgh and HMS London will form the second batch of Type 26 warships.

HMS Glasgow and HMS Cardiff are already being built in Govan and designed for a service life of at least 25 years, Type 26 will serve in the future Royal Navy surface fleet into the 2060s.


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