Construction of the second of eight Royal Navy Type 26 frigates has gotten underway with a ceremony on the river Clyde.
The first steel for future HMS Cardiff was cut at prime contractor BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard where the company has already assembled first blocks of the lead City-class frigate HMS Glasgow.
The UK government has so far awarded contracts for the construction of three units in the class.
The procurement of the second batch of frigates will be subject to a separate approval and contract which is expected to be awarded in the early-2020s.
City-class ships will replace the equivalent number of submarine-hunting Type 23 frigates currently in service. They are 60ft longer and 2,000 tonnes heavier than their predecessors, equipped with bow and towed array sonar, Sea Ceptor air defense missiles and a 5in main gun.
The ships are also equipped with a mission bay for plug-in containers carrying equipment for specific tasks, such as disaster relief, and a flight deck big enough to take a Chinook – though the Fleet Air Arm’s Merlin and Wildcat helicopters will be more common.
While the lead ship Glasgow started construction in 2017, it will not start trials before 2025 and enter service before 2027.
The frigates are based on BAE’s Global Combat Ship design which has also been selected by the navies of Australia and Canada. Australia is procuring nine frigates, to be known as the Hunter-class, while Canada is procuring fifteen units.