STEEL has been cut on the second of the Royal Navy’s batch of next-generation anti-submarine frigates.
Defence procurement minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan led the ceremony marking the construction of Type 26 frigate, HMS Cardiff.
The vessel is the second of eight City-class warships, which the Royal Navy has touted as being the most sophisticated frigates ever built.
The fleet will replace the ageing Type 23 frigates and is expected to be based in Plymouth.
They will be critical in defending Portsmouth-based aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales on future deployments.
Speaking at the ceremony at BAE System’s shipyard in Govan, on the River Clyde, Scotland, Ms Trevelyan said the new warships would be a huge boost for British industry.
She said: ‘The Royal Navy's new world-beating Type 26 anti-submarine frigates are truly a UK-wide enterprise, supporting thousands of jobs here in Scotland and across the UK.
‘These ships will clearly contribute to UK and allied security, but also make a strong economic contribution to the country.
‘With 64 sub-contracts already placed with UK-based businesses, there will be new export opportunities for them to tender for through the selection of the Type 26 design by Australia and Canada too.’
Tech firms across the Solent region are expected to be among those involved in the development of critical kit for the warships.
Steve Timms, managing director, BAE Systems Naval Ships, added the cutting of steel on Cardiff was a significant milestone.
‘Today’s steel-cut ceremony demonstrates the significant and positive progress we are making on this hugely complex, sophisticated and important programme,’ he said.
‘The Type 26 ships will be the most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates the Royal Navy has ever had and, together with the five-ship River-class offshore patrol vessel programme, we are proud of the role we play at BAE Systems, alongside many thousands of dedicated people in our supply chain, to deliver this critical capability for the Royal Navy.’
The first three ships, HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, were ordered for £3.7bn, with the second batch of five due to be built later.
Glasgow, the first Type 26, will enter service in the mid-2020s.