UK’s Royal Navy has achieved some key milestones this year. Not only have HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales set off on their first missions, but two new warship classes are being developed simultaneously. The first next-generation ship of one of these classes has welcomed its first sailors.
The Type 26 ships will replace the Type 23 frigates that have been in service since 1987, and are described by the Royal Navy as “the world’s most advanced submarine hunters.” The first three ships in this class, currently being built, are named after important UK cities: HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff, and HMS Belfast. They will be followed by five more ships, all of them operating from the Devonport Naval Base.
HMS Glasgow is the first of these next-generation frigates to come to life, at BAE Systems’ yard, in Govan. Although its build isn’t complete yet, the submarine hunter is ready to receive its first crew members. The Royal Navy announced that half a dozen sailors have already joined HMS Glasgow.
They will have the important task of creating the “operators’ manual” for the ship, which will include its routine and the best way of working with all of the systems onboard. Like all of the Type 26 frigates, this warship will be equipped with a 5-inch gun and vertical-launch missile silo, plus bow and towed-array sonars. A Wildcat or Merlin helicopter will also join it in its submarine-hunting operations.
HMS Cardiff will soon follow, while the third ship in this next-generation class began construction only a few months ago. It was quite an event, as His Royal Highness, Prince William himself kicked off the building process, by setting the plasma cutting machine on the first steel plate that will become part of the ship.
The other warships that are being built at the same time, will be part of the new Inspiration class. These five type 31 frigates will also be highly versatile, with capabilities ranging from intelligence operations and submarine detection to humanitarian support. The first Type 31 frigate, HMS Venturer, is currently being built in Rosyth.
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