The third* of eight new Type 26 City-class frigates being built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems will be named HMS Belfast, the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon has announced.
*Whilst the second to be named, HMS Belfast is Ship 3 in the Type 26 programme. Ship 1 is called HMS Glasgow and Ship 2 is yet to be named.
The announcement was made by Sir Fallon during his visit to Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In July this year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced a £3.7bn order for the first three frigates, which are due to enter service from the mid-2020s. The contract for the second batch of five ships is expected to be negotiated “in the early 2020s”.
“I’m hugely proud that the second name announced of our eight cutting-edge new Type 26 frigates will be HMS Belfast,” said Sir Michael.
“It’s apt to name this ship at the famous site which built the very first HMS Belfast. Thanks to our ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy, this shipyard once again has the chance to be involved in building a British warship thanks to the competition to build a new class of light frigates for our growing Royal Navy”, he added.
The original HMS Belfast, which took part in the Arctic campaign and the Normandy landings, is now a floating museum permanently docked in London. It will now be renamed “HMS Belfast 1938” to avoid confusion.
The first ship of the class was named HMS Glasgow.
About Type 26 frigates:
The Type 26 frigates are the Royal Navy variant of the BAE Systems Global Combat Ship. It will be multi-mission warship designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defense and general purpose operations. The ships will have a crew complement of 118.
They will operate closely with the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines and future aircraft carriers including HMS Queen Elizabeth which was launched from Rosyth last week for sea trials. The aircraft carrier is expected to start its first operational deployment in 2021.
The fleet will eventually replace the current Type 23 frigates currently deployed by Royal Navy. A total of eight ships are planned and the contract for the second batch of five ships will be negotiated in the early 2020s.
MoD said that Type 26 is ‘the most advanced anti-submarine warfare ship in its class around the world’. MoD is also exploring export opportunities and claimed a ‘strong interest from international customers.