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:
Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack said:
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.
Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Christopher Gardner said:
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.