The Royal Navy’s first Type 26 City Class frigate, HMS Glasgow, has begun the float-off process, which will see it enter the water for the first time.
Over the coming days, the 6,000-tonne warship will undertake a series of complex maneuvers that will move it from the BAE Systems Govan shipyard onto a barge before being towed downriver to a deep-water location in the West of Scotland.
Once in position, the float-off will involve the base of the barge being slowly submerged over a number of hours until HMS Glasgow fully enters the water. The ship will then return to BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard further along the Clyde, where it will undergo the next stages of outfit before test and commissioning.
The BAE Systems engineers involved in the float off of HMS Glasgow have been specially trained using the 3D visualization suite, which gives engineers access to a full digital twin of the ship. They will monitor the ship closely throughout all stages of the process, ensuring that the transition is safely managed. The float-off process will also be supported by engineers from Defence Equipment & Support, the MOD delivery agent, as well as members of the Royal Navy.
The first of eight Type 26 frigates ordered by the Navy, HMS Glasgow, has been under construction since 2017. Powered by a Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine and four MTU diesel generators driving two electric motors, HMS Glasgow will have a top speed of over 26 knots (48 km/h). The ship will have a range of over 7,000 nm (8,000 miles, 13,000 km). In Scotstoun, the ship’s outfit is completed, and the complex systems are set to work before testing and commissioning take place. HMS Glasgow will be delivered to the Royal Navy in the mid-2020s.
The second and third ships, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, are also under construction, with the contract for the final five being awarded this month to BAE Systems. The build process for each ship involves its structure being completed in Govan; skilled teams of fabricators and steelworkers construct the units before they are assembled into the forward and aft blocks, which are joined together before the ship departs.
“HMS Glasgow entering the water for the first time marks a major milestone for the Type 26 program, which supports thousands of highly skilled jobs in Scotland and more across the wider UK supply chain. 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,” said Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence.