The stern block of the first Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow was rolled out of the build hall on 29th April and joined with the forward block. When they are welded together the hull will be structurally complete.
The space limitations at the Govan yard are apparent in this view. Larger vessels, including Type 45 destroyers and RFA Wave Ruler, have been constructed on the site using the inclined slipway. Assuming BAE Systems are selected for the contract, it will be interesting to see if the site has the capacity for potentially much larger Type 83 destroyers that must start manufacture in the 2030s concurrently with the final Type 26s.
Seen in cross section, it shows the ship has total of 7 decks. The bridge is 7 decks up from the bottom of the ship.
Joining the super blocks is a precision operation. They are jacked tight together and KAT welding is used on the outside shell plate to join the hull together. KAT welding machines use a motorised platform for the welding guns that travels along a special track. The internal decks and stiffeners are also welded together. The join does not imply a ‘weak point’ in the ship, if done correctly a weld is as strong as the rest of the metal.
The plastic sheeting appears to be partially covering rubber panels on the lower aft section of the hull. It is possible this is a form of acoustic shielding used to reduce radiated noise from the machinery spaces. Note also the bilge keel and stabiliser fin amidships. The mission bay appears to have temporary frames holding the door in place. The opening on the far right is to accommodate the Torpedo Launch System (TLS), although it is unclear if the Type 26 will have this fitted.
The mainmast will be added shortly and the ship will be floated off and taken down river to Scotstoun for fitting out, either late in 2021 or in early 2022.
(Photos: BAE Systems)