The construction of the UK Royal Navy’s first Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow, is progressing steadily at the BAE Systems’ yard in Govan, Scotland.
Since the end of January, two more sections have been completed, and are ready to be added to the already-joined forward segment of the vessel, while the RN’s traditional paint scheme has been applied to units pieced together in what will eventually be an 8,000-tonne “jigsaw”.
The fore and aft sections are being constructed in two giant halls at Govan, where the various sections are transferred after work on them is complete in the fabrication facility. In the block and outfit hall, it’s the task of engineers to join the numerous sections together – including connecting all the cabling and pipework which runs through Glasgow.
Once fore and aft are finished, they will be moved out of the sheds on huge transporters, joined, the remaining superstructure will be craned into place (such as Glasgow’s bridge and her mainmast), ready for the outwardly-complete warship to be lowered into the Clyde and towed downstream to BAE’s other yard on the river at Scotstoun, where the final outfitting will take place.
The first steel was cut for HMS Glasgow in July 2017 with the ship expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2023.
In July 2017, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a £3.7 billion contract with BAE Systems to build the first three Type 26 frigates, the Royal Navy variant of the BAE Systems’ Global Combat Ship (GCS) design. The vessels are designed as multi-mission warships capable of supporting anti-submarine warfare (ASW), air defense and general-purpose operations.
The vessels are being constructed at BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships’ Govan and Scotstoun yards on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Type 26 fleet will eventually replace the Type 23 frigates currently deployed by Royal Navy and complement the new Type 31 general-purpose frigates, for which a contract was awarded to Babcock International. The Type 26 frigates will operate closely with the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines and aircraft carriers.
Each Type 26 will be equipped with a range of capabilities including the Sea-Ceptor missile defense system, a 5-inch medium caliber gun, an embarked helicopter, medium-range radar, powerful bow and towed array sonars, helicopter-launched torpedoes, and a low-RCS design which makes them extremely difficult for enemy submarines to detect. The ships will have a crew complement of 118.
They will be designed for joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex combat operations, counter-piracy, and humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HAR) missions.
The first two Type 26 ships, HMS Glasgow, and HMS Cardiff are under construction and the third vessel, HMS Belfast, is also ordered. A total of eight ships are planned and the contract for the second batch of five ships will be negotiated in the early 2020s. HMS Edinburgh, HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle and HMS London will form the second batch of Type 26 warships.
The Type 26 design is also selected as the baseline for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)’s SEA5000 Future Frigate Program, and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)’s Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program. The Type 26-based vessels will be known in RAN service as Hunter-class frigates.