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HMS Glasgow 'jigsaw' comes together in namesake city

HMS Glasgow almost joined at Govan
13 May 2021
Engineers are about to begin the mammoth task of joining the first of the Navy’s new City class frigates together.

The two halves of HMS Glasgow are just millimetres apart by the banks of the River Clyde in her namesake city, ready for the complex job of connecting countless systems, pipes, and cables as well as ensuring the hull and structure aligns perfectly.

It’s nearly four years since the first steel was cut on the first of the eight future submarine hunters.

First the forward block – which contains the bridge, operations room and accommodation spaces – then the after block were carefully moved out of the construction hall at BAE’s Govan yard and on to the adjacent hardstanding.

Also waiting to be added to the ship is the main mast – delivered by barge to the shipyard.

With the three huge ‘jigsaw pieces’ coming together on the south bank of the Clyde, the scale and scope of the Type 26 programme is now clearly visible.

Commodore Stephen Roberts, heading the Type 26 programme for the Royal Navy, hailed the roll-out as a triumph of engineering and effort and an “important milestone in the life of the future HMS Glasgow”.

He continued: “I want to take the opportunity to reflect on this huge achievement, most recently against the incredibly challenging backdrop of Covid-19.

“Seeing the ship take her form in this way is a tangible representation of the scale of the Type 26 programme and I look forward to witnessing the next phase in the delivery of this advanced anti-submarine warfare capability to the future Royal Navy surface fleet.”

It is very exciting to see HMS Glasgow coming together. My team and I are looking forward to the next phase of her build, turning her from a shell into a living warship.

Commander Philip Burgess

The Type 26s will incorporate some of the weapons and sensors from their predecessors – notably the Artisan radar and Sea Ceptor air defence missile – plus new systems and innovations, including a 5in main gun (instead of the long-standing 4.5in) capable of hitting targets 22 miles away, towed array sensors for anti-submarine warfare and a ‘mission bay’ which can hold whatever is required for a specific mission, such as automated minehunters, drones, and humanitarian aid.

At nearly 7,000 tonnes once completed, the City class are considerably larger than the ‘souped up’ anti-submarine warfare Type 23 frigates they will replace.

They’re also 17 metres longer (more than 50ft) yet crewed by just 161 sailors – a good 20 fewer than their predecessors.

Commander Philip Burgess has been involved in the Type 26 programme for the past 18 months and will join HMS Glasgow as her Senior Naval Officer – in charge of the ship until her first Commanding Officer is appointed.

“It is very exciting to see HMS Glasgow coming together,” he said. “My team and I are looking forward to the next phase of her build, turning her from a shell into a living warship.

“We will gradually welcome more of her crew to the Glasgow family as she is brought to life.

“Glasgow and the other Type 26 frigates will be at the cutting edge of anti-submarine capability, but also extremely flexible and diverse ships that will be deployed all over the world. They are modern, capable ships that give their crews really exciting opportunities for the future.”

Of the eight ships in the class – each named after one of the UK’s great cities and all to be built by BAE on the Clyde – the first three have been ordered.

HMS Cardiff is roughly two years behind HMS Glasgow, whilst the first steel on the new HMS Belfast is due to be cut this year.

Pictures: Courtesy of BAE

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