UK-headquartered defence company BAE Systems has confirmed that the first steel will be cut on the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships in Glasgow in summer 2017, subject to final contract negotiations with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Type 26 Global Combat Ship (Image: BAE Systems)

Type 26 Global Combat Ship (Image: BAE Systems)

During a visit to BAE Systems’ shipyard in Glasgow, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Backed by Britain’s rising Defence budget, the Type 26 Programme will deliver a new generation of cutting-edge warships for our Royal Navy at best value for taxpayers. The UK government’s commitment today will secure hundreds of high-skilled shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde for at least two decades and hundreds more in the supply chain across Britain.”

Commenting on this important development Ian King, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “Today’s announcement secures a strong foundation for the next two decades of shipbuilding at our facilities in Scotland. It is a vote of confidence in our employees’ capabilities in the design, construction, integration and commissioning of warships.”

The UK Government committed to eight advanced anti-submarine warfare ships in its 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and has to date invested a total of £1.9 billion in the programme. Manufacturing contracts are already in place for the procurement of major equipment for the first three ships, supporting progress to the full manufacturing programme in Glasgow. To date there are 27 companies in the supply chain working with BAE Systems to deliver the Type 26 ships.

BAE Systems has said that the Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be a world-class anti-submarine warfare ship and will replace the Type 23 frigates. Globally deployable, it will be capable of undertaking a wide range of roles from high intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance, either operating independently or as part of a task group.

Plans are also on track to finalise a contract to build two further Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), which the Government committed to in the SDSR, providing continuous warship production in Glasgow through to the Type 26 programme. The first three River Class OPVs are already under construction at BAE Systems’ facilities in Glasgow. Construction of first of class, Forth, began in October 2014, second of class, Medway, began in June 2015 while Trent began in October 2015.

The OPV design builds on the Royal Navy's existing River Class ships and variants are already in service in Brazil and Thailand. Engineers at BAE Systems have modified the design to meet the requirements of the Royal Navy in support of UK interests both at home and abroad. The new River Class OPVs will be globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol.

By Jake Frith