On 16th April, the forward section of HMS Glasgow was brought out of the Ship Block Outfit Hall in Govan shipyard. This photo essay covers this event as the lead vessel of this global programme makes its first steps towards looking like a warship.
The section that has been rolled out is largely just steelwork although some of the lock-out machinery is in place. Lock-out machinery is the large items such as engines and gearboxes that must be fitted as the ship is built up, being too bulky and heavy to be inserted later. There are still vast amounts of internal equipment, pipework and miles of wiring to be put in place, and set to work during the fitting out phase.
Following the roll-out of the aft section, two sections will be joined on the hardstanding before she is floated off and towed down the Clyde to the Scotstoun yard, probably in early 2022. The fitting out phase will be followed by the test and commissioning phase, she is due to be handed over to RN in 2025 and fully operational in 2027.
The dismal pace of delivery is not down to the contractor but is mainly due to the MoD deliberately slowing the project in order to spread the costs over a longer period. It will also ensure a predictable and steady stream of work for the yard. The Type 26 programme will last into the late 2030s and will likely be followed by the construction of the Type 83 destroyers that will replace the Type 45s.
Despite the glacial progress, it is good to see momentum building on this critical project for the RN. The construction of the first Type 26 is effectively a prototype for a project to build up to 32 warships including the Australian Hunter class and Candian Surface Combatant.