HMS Birmingham leads new batch of City Class frigates in £4.2bn deal

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HMS Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Newcastle and Sheffield will join HMS Glasgow, Belfast an...

Mane Defence Team

By Mane Defence Team

HMS Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Newcastle and Sheffield will join HMS Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff to complete the MOD’s £4.2bn order of Type 26 frigates.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace awarded BAE Systems the contract to build the eight cutting-edge anti-submarine vessels, known as the City Class. The massive investment will pour money into British shipbuilding and industry until the middle of next decade.

Learnings from the construction of the first batch, plus a new undercover construction hall and other improvements to assembly facilities, will enable the final five vessels to be built for about two-thirds the cost of the first three and in less time.

The eight Type 26 frigates are expected to last for at least 25 years of active service, into the 2060s. They will replace the eight Type 23 frigates currently on anti-submarine duty (the general duty Type 23s will be replaced by Type 31s, the first currently being built in Rosyth).

Each ship in the City Class will have a Wildcat or Merlin helicopter on board, as well as a 5in medium calibre main gun, a Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a Mk41 vertical launch silo for missile systems, powerful array sonars, and a ‘mission bay’ to carry ‘pods’ for a wide range of operations, from mine warfare and drones to disaster relief.

The City Class vessels will also have the latest green technology to make them as clean and fuel-efficient as possible, minimising their emissions and environmental impact. Their construction will sustain about 1,700 jobs at the BAE Systems yards in Scotstoun and Govan, and a further 2,300 jobs for 120 sub-contractors and suppliers.

Construction will start on Birmingham this winter, and HMS Glasgow, which has been in a standing at Govan for nearly two years, will be moved into the Clyde by a specialist barge. She is due to be operational in 2028.

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