A British shipyard has won a £4.2 billion contract to build the second batch of Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy.
Delivering on the ambitions set out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy update earlier this year, the contract awarded to BAE Systems will support 1,700 UK jobs over the next decade at BAE Systems sites in Govan and Scotstoun, Glasgow. .
As part of the contract, BAE Systems has pledged to invest £1.2 billion in the UK supply chain, supporting an additional 2,300 jobs with over 120 suppliers across the UK.
Leading the Royal Navy’s anti-submarine warfare surface fleet, the five new City-class ships – HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle, HMS Edinburgh and HMS London – will join the first three T26s already in construction at Govan – HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast.
Construction of all eight frigates is expected to be completed by the mid-2030s, with the first, HMS Glasgow, entering service by the end of 2028.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:
We are investing in our fleet to ensure our Royal Navy retains its world leading ability to protect and defend our nation at sea. This design has already been successfully exported to Australia and Canada, it has already proven itself as a as a world-class maritime capability, securing thousands of UK jobs and strengthening alliances with our allies.
Supporting thousands of highly skilled jobs in Scotland, and more across the UK supply chain, this contract will continue to boost our UK shipbuilding industry, galvanizing the best in engineering, manufacturing and British design.
Replacing most of the retired Type 23 fleet, the Type 26 frigates will be flexible and advanced warships with anti-submarine warfare as their primary objective, protecting the UK’s continued nuclear deterrent at sea and the Marine Strike Group.
Measuring just under 150m in length – about the length of three Olympic swimming pools – and with a top speed of over 26 knots and a range of over 7,000 nautical miles, the ships will be capable of combating piracy and to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief. .
Carrying the Sea Ceptor missile defense system – capable of destroying air and surface targets at sea – the ships will also carry a five-inch medium caliber gun, an on-board helicopter for specific operations, radar and sonar for navigation expert and tracking opponents.
A flexible mission bay means that ships could also be adapted to carry specific armed forces and equipment tailored to operations. The Mk.41 vertical launch silo will be equipped to allow rapid-fire missile launches.
BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn said:
This contract secures vital British industry and allows us to build on our long history of shipbuilding on the Clyde while continuing to supply state-of-the-art equipment to the Royal Navy over the next decade. It underpins the continued investment we make in the skills, infrastructure and technology needed to stay at the forefront of the maritime industry and to support the UK Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.
To improve construction efficiency, BAE Systems has submitted a planning application for a new 175-metre-long and 85-metre-wide shipbuilding hall at Govan, which will allow the simultaneous construction of two sheltered frigates. This investment will be a major factor in the final five City-class ships costing less and being delivered faster than previous ships.
In the manufacturing supply chain, £248m of work was committed in Scotland, with £16m in Wales and £749m in England.
Vice Admiral Paul Marshall, Managing Director of DE&S Vessels, said:
The award of the contract to manufacture the T26 Batch 2 is another key milestone in the UK’s shipbuilding programme, reaffirming our commitment, alongside our industrial partners, to delivering a highly effective fleet of anti-submarine frigates. for the Royal Navy.
The vessels are designed to reduce environmental impacts and are fitted with features – including a hydrodynamically designed hull – to optimize fuel efficiency and a diesel engine emissions reduction, which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions.
Steel will be cut on the first of the next five ships, HMS Birmingham, this winter, marking the start of the Batch 2 construction phase.