20 Aug 12. The latest design of the Royal Navy’s next generation of warships has been unveiled by the MoD. The Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS), a significant milestone in the development of this programme, will sustain thousands of jobs in the shipbuilding industry.
The multi-mission warship, which is due to come into service after 2020, will be used by the Royal Navy in combat and counter piracy operations and to support humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world. Since 2010, the MoD has been working with BAE Systems to determine the ship’s basic capabilities and baseline design.
Now that has been endorsed, the programme can progress to the next part of the assessment phase, which will examine the detailed specifications of the vessel.
With a displacement of around 5,400 tonnes the T26 GCS will be around 148m in length (the equivalent of around 15 double decker buses), and one of the most advanced vessels in the Royal Navy’s fleet. It is expected to feature:
* vertical missile silos capable of housing a range of different weapons;
* a Medium Calibre gun;
* a hangar to accommodate a Merlin or Wildcat Helicopter and a Flexible Mission Space for Unmanned Air, Surface and Underwater Vehicles, or additional boats; and
* the most advanced sensors available to the fleet.
The T26 GCS is one of several projects, including the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which will see UK shipbuilding provide world class equipment for the Royal Navy.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said, “The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come. It is designed to be adaptable and easily upgraded, reacting to threats as they change. I am delighted the programme has been endorsed by the investment approvals committee. The build of these vessels will secure thousands of skilled jobs across the UK, helping to sustain an industrial surface warship capability.”
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord, said, “The T26 GCS will be a multi-mission warship designed for joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex combat operations, maritime security operations such as counter piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world. It will be capable of operating independently for significant periods or as part of a task group and will play a major role in the defence of this country for many years.”
The assessment phase for the T26 GCS is expected to be completed around the middle of this decade when the main investment decision will be made. At this point the budget will be confirmed and orders placed. The MOD’s current planning assumption is for the construction of 13 vessels however, the number of ships to be built will not be confirmed until after the main investment decision.
The T26 GCS programme offers opportunities for an international partnership with nations. Partner nations will be offered a long term partnership with the RN and the UK’s shipbuilding and wider defence industry.