The UK’s future Type 26 frigates are being manufactured by BAE Systems’ site in Govan, Scotland, but also incorporate blocks built from across the country.
The Type 26 programme will deliver a total of eight anti-submarine warfare frigates to the Royal Navy, which will replace, in part, the ageing Type 23 fleet.
Expected to displace around 7,000 tonnes at full load, the Type 26 will be comparable in size to the Type 45 air defence destroyers currently in service.
The industrial effort to manufacture the vessels, with BAE Systems acting as prime, incorporates defence and maritime companies from across the UK. In November 2022 the UK government awarded a £4.2bn contract for the manufacture and delivery of five Type 26 frigates, which followed an earlier £3.7bn deal in 2017 for the build of the first three ships in class.
To this end, BAE Systems has outsourced steelwork fabrication for a limited number of units to support delivery of the Type 26 frigate.
Sites such as A&P Tyne and Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited have contributed to UK shipbuilding over the past decade, including the manufacture of 23 large upper blocks for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, and lower block units currently in production on the Tyne and the Wirral for the Type 26 programme.
In May Ferguson Marine Engineering stated that it had begun manufacture at its Port Glasgow site of the first of three units to be built for HMS Belfast, the third Type 26 frigate currently being constructed.
The phase of work involves fabricating three steel units which, when completed later in 2023, will be transported to BAE Systems’ Govan site ready for assembly as part of HMS Belfast.
The steel cut ceremony for the fourth City-class frigate, HMS Birmingham, took place in April. The first-in-class HMS Glasgow is currently docked at Scotstoun where outfitting continues ahead of delivery “in the mid-2020s”, while construction of HMS Cardiff, HMS Belfast and HMS Birmingham is in progress.