The contract sustains more than 4,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider UK maritime supply chain. It also secures shipbuilding at BAE Systems’ facilities in Scotland into the 2030s. Up to £1.8 billion of the new order will be spent in the supply chain, including £1.2 billion with UK suppliers.
The Type 26 is one of the world’s most advanced warships. It is designed for anti-submarine warfare and high-intensity air defence, but can adapt its role quickly to transport high volumes of humanitarian aid and house medical facilities. Three Type 26 ships are already in build in Glasgow, with the first of class, HMS Glasgow, on track to enter the water later this year and be delivered to the Royal Navy in the mid-2020s. The construction of HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast is also underway.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said: “We are investing in our fleet to ensure our Royal Navy maintains its world-leading capability to protect and defend our nation at sea. This design has already been successfully exported to Australia and Canada, proving itself as a world-class maritime capability, securing thousands of UK jobs and strengthening alliances with our allies. “Supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs in Scotland, and more across the wider UK supply chain, this contract will continue to boost our British shipbuilding industry, galvanising the very best of British engineering, manufacturing and design.”
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “This contract secures a critical UK industry and allows us to build on our long history of shipbuilding on the Clyde as we continue to deliver cutting-edge equipment to the Royal Navy into the next decade. It underpins the ongoing investments we’re making in the skills, infrastructure and technologies needed to stay at the forefront of the maritime sector and to support the UK Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.”
The Type 26 programme is a UK-wide endeavour, with more than 120 UK suppliers having already secured contracts linked to the new batch of frigates, including for steering gears in Dunfermline, gas turbines in Filton and maritime LED lighting in Cumbria.
This year, 180 new apprentices joined the 400 already working at BAE Systems on the Type 26 programme. BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business employs 4,500 people across the UK and is recruiting a further 400 trades people as the programme continues to ramp up.
The company is investing approximately £15m in a new Applied Shipbuilding Academy in Glasgow to support the development of the entire workforce, from apprentices through to senior leaders. In addition, BAE Systems has applied for planning consent to start construction on a new shipbuilding hall worth more than £100m to greatly enhance productivity on the Clyde to support the delivery of these eight ships and future orders.
The Commonwealths of Australia and Canada have selected the Type 26 design, which, together with the UK, provide an anticipated 32 ship programme across the three nations. Sharing build and transition into service lessons across all three programmes will benefit all parties in this multinational effort.