Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Looking good!

Think about the build precision that must be required, to join two blocks this size, lining up the full beam and all decks, in just the thickness of the plate. Also moving and jacking into place with such tight tolerances cannot be easy. I know shipbuilders do this all the time but it’s still impressive.

Nice work too that the blocks are fully painted before bringing them outside. I guess this avoids corrosion so saves on blasting? Looks far more professional than the rusty blocks you see in open build yards.

Last edited 12 days ago by Ben Robins

I’d love to hear when we are going to see something procured to go in the Mk41 VLS or is the plan to sail around with them empty unless and until Perseus is developed in the 2030’s?

Given such missiles are always late (particularly when they are bring designed and built in conjunction with another country which introduces work share as well as technical issues), then if that’s the plan I could see the T26 serving for many years with empty launchers.

I’d have thought we could have made a limited Tomahawk buy from the US so we can free up both of two deployed £1.3 billion apiece submarines up from sitting around in case they need to use cruise missiles and let then concentrate on the ASW and ASuW missions that should be their primary focus.

If we haven’t fired the missiles off by the time Perseus comes along, is there not a reasonable chance of selling the Tomohawks back to the US Navy for their use at a price appropriately depreciated to represent the remaining service life of the missiles and recover some cost?


Yes agree, unfortunately with Glasgow not due to start sea trials until late 25/early 26, the MOD don’t have to make any decisions WRT Mk41 VLS procurement for a few years yet. After all, we don’t know what the Harpoon replacement will be and that’s due in the next year or so!!! Wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for news any time soon!


There is no such thing as Perseus being developed. FC/ASW is not Perseus.


The concept study name is Perseus, the formal project name is the Future Cruise Anti Ship Missle. SO it seems that they are one and the same thing. The concept was first shown back in 2011. No matter what the thing is called the specs are intresting, I like the idea of two effectors, really like the range and Mach 5 and sea skimming. Looks good to me now can we just get them for 2030 and all will be well.


Shouldn’t we move to Mk57 to allow for future growth.


Might it be the case that TLS will find its way onto Type 26 as Type 23 is retired and the launcher equipment can be swapped over.


I see that a contract to maintain and upgrade the TLS fitted aboard the Type 23 frigates was placed recently. This news, together with the visual evidence of what appears to be a TLS hatch shown in the article above, does suggest that the reported death of the surface launched ASW torpedo aboard RN escorts was premature.

I certainly hope so – most/all modern ASW frigate designs do feature this technology so presumably the international consensus of naval option is that this armament retains some value.

Gavin Gordon

Two things from this. Yes, it was certainly obvious that space for manouvering & joining is at a premium. Needs attending to.
And revelation, to me at least, that there is provision for TLS.
Still, lovely vessels.

Trevor G

For my money they are going to be the best looking RN vessels for many years.

Liked the T42 B3 but these will be better.

Supportive Bloke

Yes, the build quality looks pretty good to me.

Certainly a lot better screwed together than T42 BI which marked a bit of a low point in build quality.

For once there seems to be ample provision for armament with Ceptor, Mk41 VLS, 5” gun, auto cannons, deck mounted AShM and Torpedoes plus enough space for decent EW facilities.

Meirion X

I am surprise how that rear sharp turn was made clearing the front of the forward block.

Gavin Gordon

Did a Google Maps check and Govan sure is tight. Significant ostensibly under developed land west towards the tunnel, showing some excavation work at time of photo. What’s going on there and anyrhing to do with Bae, I wonder?

Supportive Bloke

There was a discussion about that the other day.

it was offered that the expansion/frigate factory plan meant backfilling some of the redundant dry dock space.


The “frigate factory” was going to be at Scotstoun – and would have required digging a new covered drydock at a shallow angle to the river.

It’s where the now demolished old covered slipway (last launch HMS Daring) was.

Supportive Bloke


Got that back-to-front clearly.

Gavin Gordon

Scotstoun certainly has the most frontage, so proposed development understandable there, no doubt. Whether you could shift all current facilities at nearby Govan there and still have margin to expand the single site for future demands, I’ve no idea.
Still like to know what the ‘vacant’ land at Govan is reserved for, though. As well as any review on suspended Bae factory plans. Today’s a reminder that the fluid political situation may not help any decision process, but who knows?


Fairly sure BAES only lease the Govan site – happy to be corrected. I doubt it’s reserved land as it’s outside the shipyard boundary.

Supportive Bloke

Many local authorities will reserve land in their master plan.

For instance in Wandsworth the riverside concrete plant (and the one in Fulham) and the waste disposal sites are reserved and cannot be developed because they are critical infrastructures for for access to the river transport corridor – cement plant gets all the ballast in that way and the rubbish goes out on barges.

There are some areas around these sites that are reserved for various reasons.

A lot of LA’s have come to realise that their development plans were pretty unbalanced in getting rid of all urban industrial spaces in favour of flats as this simply increased pressure on public transport. Now are seeing an uptick in UK manufacturing driven by the increasing cost of Chinese manufacturing (they have run out of ultra cheap non slave workforce) and all of the uncertainties created by BRXIT and COVID the remaining industrial space is actually getting quite precious.

So all I am saying is that it is not beyond all reason that it is reserved. But I don’t know if it is.


Two miles from the centre of Glasgow and increasingly gentrified, I don’t think Govan is viable long term, there’s a reason the frigate factory was never built. Ironically it was a similar situation with BAe at Williamstown in Melbourne.


Very nice pictures, thank you.

I found the black rubber looking area particularly interesting. Do any other ships make use of some kind of anechoic tile equivalent from submarines to reduce noise? I wondered for a moment if it might be some previously unmentioned conformal sonar array but it doesn’t look right where the plastic sheeting’s loose.

Trevor G

I initially wondered the same, but you wouldn’t locate a sonar array in an area of turbulence created by the bilge keels and stabiliser fins/


Those are open hull spaces probably to insert big equipment.

Meirion X

I seen a photo of a electric motor being lowered into place in T26 hull, by the overhead crane about 18 months ago.


I think you may be right AlexS, Luke Pollard MP submited the following question in the House of Commons “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the change to the timescale for the Type 26 construction programme of gearbox delays.”


Nope. All the big kit goes into the blocks before they are topped off. Anything else goes in via the shipping/removal routes designed into the ship. The sheets are covering things that need protecting.


Fantastic article, answered all my outstanding questions from the initial photos last week.

Do we know what VLS is being installed for Seaceptor. Surely an EXLS or Mk41 tactical VLS would be a good bet and offer more flexibility

additionally, why wouldn’t we go for the mk57 strike length VLS, again to future proof.

seems to me this is a once in a generation set of decisions being made, and we should try and future proof as much as possible and set the standard.

Meirion X

It will be unlikely that the T26 would be launching 28 Inch diameter missiles from Mk. 57 in the future. Maybe a T83 or even a T45 may do so in future. The Mk. 41 silo arrangement is already a tight fit with 24 cells! Larger cells means, overall number of cells falls.

Even the Mk.57 cells are Not bigger enough to accommodate the proposed ‘Global Strike Missile’.

Last edited 11 days ago by Meirion X

Ceptor VLS for the T26 ..

comment image


Hey Ron5 thanks for this,

Is this essentially using the old seawolf tubes – if so seems a real waste of space considering they can be quad packed in most VLS (inc SeaWolf if we chose to do so).

I would like to see a quad packed solution that we could also use on the T31 as well, understand things cost money, but some basic things are worth spending it on imo.

Supportive Bloke

We do that to death the other day in another thread.

Ron5 does not share mine or DaveyB’s point of view on this. And as none of use are currently testing. Is Iles for T26 well just have to wait for reality to intervene and be the deciding factor!

Meirion X

Sea Ceptor can Not be quad packed in Seawolf cells, only about 8 inches.


EDU magazine reported these mushrooms farms will be those adopted for T26. BAES CG also says so. This 6-cell mushroom is the launcher for T26 and Italian CAMM-ER, as well. We know HMNZS TeKaha and TeMana also adopts mushroom farms.

Surely it is not so densely packed as ExLS, as Canadian navy (and maybe Brazilian) are going to adopt. Even so, many navies adopting mushroom farms suggests it is cheap, lightweight, and cost less for maintenance.

By the way, neither Mk41 VLS nor Sylver was certified for quad-packing CAMM. Stand-alone ExLS and mushroom are the only two systems ever really fired a CAMM.

I also love to see ExLS quad-paked CAMM. But, it looks like cost is the driving factor for now. In other words, on the 5 batch2 T26s and in the mid-life upgrade of the 3 Batch-1 hulls, we can hope for dramatic increase in CAMM number?

Last edited 11 days ago by donald_of_tokyo

The host-ExLS launcher also test-fired a CAMM in 2013.


Thanks, you are right.

The reason I did not mentioned it is, because I’m not sure if Mk.41 is “certified” or not.

  • On 2018, LM/MBDA announced that CAMM is “certified” for standalone ExLS.
  • On 2013, they just say “first launch”.

But, anyway if the interface of ExLS to CAMM is the same among host and standalone versions is the same, it will be not far from certified for Mk.41, I agree.


There is no such thing as old SW tubes. The SW system used machined seatings on the weather deck and on the deckhouse floor to mount the individual SW canisters. There is no “silo” in the same sense as Mk41 or Sylver.

There’s a reason the RN has chosen the configuration that it has and it’s a rationale driven by hi-visibility jackets.

Gavin Gordon

Does the mushroom config allow for better ballistic protection, especially on a vessel?


Not particularly.


By the way, looking at this photo, I cannot stop thinking it to be relatively easy to double or 4-times more in the same configuration.

There are photos of LandCeptor (Sky Sabre)’s launcher, and we know the square (or pyramid-like) top is the top pf the actual launch tube.

Doubling or quadraturing it by not using the round cover (the mushroom), but using something square will be doable. I think it is a minor modification.

If ExLS is not cheap enough for RN, why not design a “Mk.2” launcher of similar concept, from mushroom farms to toast trays (but quad packed) ?

Last edited 11 days ago by donald_of_tokyo
Supportive Bloke

I read these threads in slight disbelief. They never go anywhere near the central issues of WHY RN chose cold launch. They didn’t do it for fun.

If you look at any launch videos on YouTube (other than Ceptor) then you will see that visual rules anything become impossible due to the massive clouds of, quite toxic, propellant burn. This requires a totally cleared deck for the half of the ship where the VLS is located and anywhere downwind.

Compressed gas launch of missiles, as per RN Ceptor, gets rid of this totally. These are therefore more suitable for zero notice launches where the decks have, for instance, not been totally cleared.

You also are not igniting the rocket fuel close to the ship so the issues around a misburn/misfire are, at least partially, mitigated.

There is also no issue with launching through air heated by another launch – the hotter air is less dense and if you launch thought it the missile will tumble towards the less dense air. The problem is at is biggest as the rocket is initially accelerating: of course this is exactly where the problem is at its worst anyway. This limits firing rhythm.

This is potentially more of a problem is the ship is not making way for some reason. This could be a high threat state that arises rapidly when alongside or needing to defend some kind of cross loading STUFT.

I do think that RN and DEiS have made a good call here and the logic certainly stacks up in my mind.


Thank you Supportive Bloke, I have never seen this explained anywhere else before and it makes sense to me. You have made this much clearer for me and I appreciate that!


Hi SB, totally agree its why I wonder why the QE carries don’t have Sea Ceptor. As you say they are cold launched so theres no rubbish going across the flight deck. If we could use the Phalanx mount for Sea Ceptor in the same way as it can use the RIM-116 RAM then we could have a very good independent CIWS for all our combat ships down to the OPV Batch II.


” 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.”

As mentioned before T26/CSC is a 9,400t FLD ship, the same as an Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer with its 96 Mk41 VLS cells, if the future T83 is to be a much larger ship would think class numbers will be same as the T82, a total of one, if not zero.


These days the overall cost of a warship is not primarily driven by its size. Has been true for a few decades now.


The unit cost to add a few more T26 will be less than £1B, I guess £800M or so, in the later phase of the production (excluding inflation).

As such, are we really going to buy 5 (?) T32s? Why not a few more T26s, in place?

T32 needs to add UXVs handling system. If it is in addition to “better than T31” armaments, I won’t be surprised to see its total cost exceeding £3B for 5 hulls. If, T32 costs £3.2B and the unit cost of a T26 hull 9-12 is £0.8B each, we can get 4 T26 in place of 5 T32.

  • “A few more” T26 will reduce the rather tight ASW asset numbers, and add 1st-tier escorts.
  • It will also relax the inefficiency of very slow building. In other words, additional units will make them cheaper, because of improved efficiency.
  • UXV? T26 can do it (to some extent).

A little optimistic I agree, but I think it will be “nearly” 4 hull equivalent. Detail designing and initial build inefficiency cost a lot, more than 1 unit cost, nearly 2, or sometimes even more.


I suspect that the Treasury is assuming the Type 32’s will be as cheap as the Type 31’s. If so, I think they’re in for a surprise. Not a good one. Without competition, they will be a lot more expensive.


Thanks. I am not a supporter for “competition solves everything”. It is just HMG/MOD/RN’s lack of capability to control the cost (many, if not all, of other nations are doing it so so well).

But, yes my point is, if T32 is not good, then just reduce (or ban) it and increase T26. And there are many good things there, simply because HMG is intentionally slowing down its build pace making it inefficient, and increasing its number will contribute making it cheaper.

Last edited 10 days ago by donald_of_tokyo
Supportive Bloke

That depends on how the T31 contract was set up.

It was always clearly flagged that a BII T31 was a possibiltiy and it is mentioned in various press releases and official comments.

So it would not be a total surprise if BII T31 (aka T32) was actually allowed for in the original contract.

You could do an awful to of things up upgrade T31 and it would still less than a third of the price of a T26 (OK for something not as good but good enough for an awful lot of things).

Put it this way it would be surprising if Babckcock messed things up by driving prices up to BAES levels as that would just put BAES back in the frame.


Thanks, partly agree.

1: As I think T26 unit cost = cost to add “9th hull” (much cheaper than its average cost) is around £800M, for me, you are assuming T32’s unit cost be 1/3 of it = will be £266M (including GFXs).

The average cost of the first 5 T31 is £400M (of course including GFXs, in this case CAMM etc.), and thus I guess its unit cost (=to add one more) is around £280-300M.

Thus, I cannot assume T32 to be as cheap as £300M, if armed more than T31 AND ALSO added with UXV handling systems (T31 has very poor USV handling capability, much less than T26 or River B2). Adding UXV handling systems means significant design modification, which will not be cheap.

3: On the other hand, “slightly up-armed T31” (e.g. 12 more CAMM and hull sonar added?) will be possible with £300-330M.

So, if T32 be T31 Batch2 with almost no improvement on USV handling and a little improvement in armaments, I agree it will be as cheap as £300-330M. In this case, 5 T31B2 may cost around £1.7B in total, which is equivalent to 2 T26 if unit cost be £800M, or 1 and 2/3 if £1B each.

Last edited 10 days ago by donald_of_tokyo
Supportive Bloke

Yes you are right I probably should have said 40-50% not 33%.

I’m not sure if the capacity exists to build more T26 given T83?


Thanks. If we require to add “one more hull” to be delivered by 2030 or so, it will not be easy because the building schedule until 2030 or so is almost fixed.

But, if it is by 2036, I think it is doable. This is because the build start (of the 9th hull) will be 7-9 years later and as such re-organizing the schedule is surely doable. And, also because of the learning curve, the actual work load will be reduced by then (while the original plan is to continue 1.5 years drumbeat)

If more is to be ordered, I’m afraid some blocks shall be built elsewhere, CL or even Rothys.

On the other hand, I’m also afraid T83 be delayed a little, so in exchange, the 9th hull could be used to “save the day”…


There’s an interesting Youtube re T26 construction where PMs are identifying processes that can be automated e.g. more welding, one might think that as lessons learned are incorporated, then build time / cost might come down.

Or N-A-B has already been factored in?

Commonwealth Loyalist

Another great article, thank you to Navy Lookout.

I do apologize for my rater negative comments about the earlier one re the new Carrier Strike Group setting off, I musta been in a bad mood at the time. The new revitalized RN is really coming together. The Type 26 looks like an even better design in real life than in earlier computerized depictions. It carries on the tradition of British warships (and planes) looking way better visually than the rest.

As one who seriously studied naval architecture in my spare time during my engineering degrees, as a fantasy career which I never succeeded in joining due to my home country (NZ) not having really serious scope for it (except, as it turns out, in private boating and the America’s cup which were not my interests) I am very impressed.

Of course wondering how much money the RN is really saving by only buying 8 instead of 13, since the announced costs of the Type 31’s do not include a lot of add-ons that might be needed if they are not to be glorified offshore patrol boats. But I am no expert on all that, you guys know all the details. Nonetheless it is a great sign that Australia and Canada are choosing this Type 26 design as the basis for their own ships, the designers deserve some kind of medal.

Long live the RN! As I may have mentioned before, there was an apocryphal meeting between US and British naval flotillas somewhere in the Atlantic after WWII. The US commander signaled “How are things going in the second biggest navy? The British commander signaled back “Great thanks, how are things going in the second best navy?” Tom Clancy for one always agreed, I remember him citing the British as being the one navy the US should be afraid of if it was ever on the other side. Training, experience, strategy and tactics often count for more than weapon fits, so don’t worry the UK is still a maojr force in the world.

Keep up the great work,


Supportive Bloke

Of course wondering how much money the RN is really saving by only buying 8 instead of 13″

I think it is pretty well known that the answer is – not much. The unit price just blew out.

However, it suited the way the UK Treasury wants everything done, according to the cash flow curve, and not according to the net costs. As well as keeping the yard occupied until the T83 comes along – assuming it is next in build.

Which at first sight is bizarre but there is a rationale behind the very strict control which is to prevent lots of project cost blow outs being rolled along as they used to be.

Let’s see what happens with T31 & T32 and hope that it delivers more consistent value – that is the only way these rules could be relaxed for fixed priced no fiddle contracts.