The first of the UK’s next-generation frigates is set to enter the water for the first time.
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HMS Glasgow, the Royal Navy’s first Type 26 City Class frigate, has commenced the “float off” process, which involves a series of complex manoeuvres aimed at relocating the BAE Systems-built ship from Govan shipyard to a barge before the ship is towed down river to a deep-water location in the West of Scotland.
Once the ship has been moved into position, the base of the barge is to be slowly submerged over a number of hours until HMS Glasgow fully enters the water.
Upon completion, the ship is expected to return to BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard further along the Clyde to undergo the next stages of outfit before test and commissioning.
Ben Wallace, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, said the float off represents a major milestone for the Type 26 program.
“We’re continuing to invest in the British shipbuilding industry to maintain the Royal Navy’s cutting-edge ability to defend our nation, while strengthening our partnership with allies,” he said.
David Shepherd, Type 26 program director, BAE Systems, added: “Seeing HMS Glasgow in the water for the first time will be a proud and exciting moment for the thousands of people involved in this great endeavour.
“She will soon transfer to our Scotstoun yard in Glasgow where we look forward to installing her complex systems and bringing her to life.”
Engineers involved in the float off process have been trained to leverage a 3D visualisation suite, designed to facilitate access to a full digital twin of the ship.
The process would also be supported by engineers from Defence Equipment & Support, the MOD delivery agent, and members of the Royal Navy.
BAE Systems commenced construction of HMS Glasgow in 2017, with the second and third ships, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, under construction in Govan.
The program milestone for HMS Glasgow comes just weeks after the UK MOD awarded a £4.2 billion (AU$7.5 billion) contract to BAE Systems for the construction of a further five Type 26 City Class frigates for the Royal Navy.
The Type 26 design is forming the basis for the Royal Australian Navy’s next-generation fleet of nine Hunter Class frigates.