Construction has begun on a “frigate factory” in Glasgow, Scotland that is capable of building two Royal Navy warships simultaneously under cover. The new build hall, located at the Govan shipyard on the River Clyde, is being built by BAE Systems as part of a £300 million investment in its facilities.
Once completed, it will improve working conditions and prevent shipbuilding from being disrupted by adverse weather conditions.
Stephen Charlick, DE&S Type 26 programme project manager, said: “Providing the capability to construct two Type 26 Frigates within a controlled, weathertight facility will greatly improve the working environment.”
“Quality will also be improved, and each ship will be more materially complete before moving across to the dry dock in Scotstoun for test and acceptance. All of this will culminate in a quicker delivery of the Type 26 frigates to the Royal Navy.”
BAE Systems has won a contract to build five additional Type 26 ships, having secured the £4.2 billion contract from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) last November, following an initial three-vessel contract.
The Type 26 ships are designed for anti-submarine warfare and air defence and are being built to replace the navy’s ageing fleet of 12 Type 23 frigates. The first of the new vessels, HMS Glasgow, left the Govan shipyard in 2022.
BAE Systems stated that all eight frigates will be built in Govan and Scotstoun, sustaining around 1,700 jobs in Scotland and an additional 2,300 jobs across the wider UK supply chain.
Earlier this year, preparation work began at the Govan site, filling in a basin on which the new building will be erected. When completed, the ship build hall, constructed by McLaughlin and Harvey, will consist of 6,000 tonnes of steel and 20,000 cubic metres of concrete. The building will be fitted with two 100-tonne cranes, an additional two 20-tonne cranes and has the capacity to accommodate up to 500 workers per shift.
Simon Lister, managing director of naval ships at BAE Systems, said: “We are the proud custodians of shipbuilding on the Clyde and our talented teams are working hard to build on that legacy to secure Glasgow’s status as a shipbuilding centre of excellence for generations to come.
“Steel was cut on the fourth Type 26, HMS Birmingham, in April this year and work on the first three ships is already well under way.
“First-of-class HMS Glasgow is at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard having complex systems installed, HMS Cardiff is currently being assembled and HMS Belfast is in its early construction phase.”