BAE Systems Naval Ships is moving forward with the manufacture phase of the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme, with production now under way on the second of the planned eight-ship City-class vessels.
Meanwhile, engineering work is ramping up on design derivatives selected to meet the future needs of Australia and Canada. Both variants build on the RN’s Type 26 platform baseline, but have been modified to accept alternative combat systems based on local preferences/requirements, and will be built in-country.
Intended to replace eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-configured Type 23 frigates from the mid-2020s, the 6,900-tonne displacement Type 26 has been conceived as an acoustically quiet surface combatant optimised for ASW operations. Within the RN’s future fleet structure, the Type 26 will be primarily roled for the protection of the Continuous At Sea Deterrent, and the Carrier Strike Group.
The ceremony to mark the formal start of manufacture on the second of the Type 26, to be named HMS Cardiff, was held on 14 August at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the Clyde.
Manufacture work on Cardiff comes two years after steel was cut for first-of-class HMS Glasgow. According to Nadia Savage, BAE Systems’ Type 26 programme director, the lead ship is making good progress.
‘‘Over 75 per cent of the ship’s design is complete, and over half has now been committed to manufacture,’’ she told the DSEI Daily. ‘‘One third of the ship is now in construction, with units erected, fabricated and being outfitted.’’
BAE Systems was in late June 2017 awarded a £3.7 billion contract by the UK Ministry of Defence for the construction of the first three Type 26 frigates.
A contract for the second batch of five ships is expected to be negotiated in the early 2020s.
In June 2018, Australia selected BAE Systems’ Global Combat Ship − Australia design as the basis for its Project SEA 5000 Future Frigate programme. ASC Shipbuilding in South Australia has been acquired by BAE Systems to deliver the Hunter-class Frigate programme. Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia will partner BAE Systems for combat system integration.
Earlier this year, Canada confirmed the selection of a Lockheed Martin Canada-led industry team, using a design based on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, to deliver the next-generation Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). The CSC acquisition projects the construction of 15 ships.