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HMS Cardiff makes her public debut as shipbuilders roll out new frigate

20 June 2023
Roll out the Cardiff!

The second of the Royal Navy’s next-generation submarine hunters today stands loud and proud in the summer sunshine as the Type 26 frigate programme reaches a key milestone.

The imposing fore section of 8,500-tonne HMS Cardiff has been moved out of the construction shed, to be followed at the beginning of July by her aft - ready to forge a whole ship.

So far the sections of the ship have been constructed independently but the moment is close at hand when the two sections are joined – and with them the miles of cabling and pipework running through the vessel – with pinpoint accuracy.

First the bow section, then the aft are moved on to the standing, before being manoeuvred into place. Once joined, there will be further structural work conducted on Cardiff at Govan before she is put on a barge to be floated off and transferred to BAE’s yard at Scotstoun for fitting out, where the lead ship in the class, HMS Glasgow, is undergoing completion.

"The emergence of HMS Cardiff is a very proud moment for everyone involved in her construction. We have now completed all major units of the ship and in the coming weeks our skilled teams will bring the vessel together in preparation for float off next year,” said BAE Systems Naval Ships Managing Director Simon Lister.

“The roll out is further evidence of our solid progress on delivering the Type 26 programme and presents an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievement being made with our colleagues, suppliers, customer and the cities of Cardiff and Glasgow.”

Cardiff will be the last of the 26s to have her sections integrated on the hardstand in the open air.

A new £100m outfitting hall is being built at Govan for the remainder of the class to be largely completed under cover – and hence not victims of the sometimes inclement weather.

When operational, the eight Type 26s will be in the front line of the Fleet’s defence against hostile submarines, replacing the eight existing Type 23 frigates which perform the same duty – only in hulls designed 30 years earlier.

In addition to their primary role, the 26s will be able to fend off air attack with Sea Ceptor missiles, pound targets ashore with a new main 5in gun, conduct disaster relief operations, and be equipped for a range of potential operations courtesy of an adaptable mission bay for hosting equipment such as drones, minehunting technology or Royal Marines raiding teams.

All eight City-class ships have been ordered from BAE with four (Belfast and Birmingham complete the initial quartet) under construction.

Although construction and assembly is concentrated at BAE’s yards on the Clyde, there are some 120 firms and contractors involved in the programme – which will run into the 2030s – supporting well over 4,000 jobs.

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