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HMS Belfast: What's in a Name? As Steel Ceremony Takes Place for New 'City' Class Type 26 Frigate

5th July 2021
In Scotland, the Prince of Wales visited BAE Systems’ shipyard in Govan, Glasgow to mark the official start of construction on the Royal Navy’s 21st century warship HMS Belfast, and to see how construction is progressing on as Afloat adds the leadship of the 'City' class Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow. All eight of the class, however will be built on the River Clyde shipyard where also currently under construction is HMS Cardiff. AFLOAT adds the 'Cardiff' class name coincidentally was also used by a previous shipyard owner, Govan Shipbuilders Ltd which completed their fourth and final 'Cardiff' class bulk carrier for Irish Shipping. The final of the 25,000dwt bulk-carrier quartet was launched as Irish Larch in 1973. However, just over a decade later, the Irish state-owned company had gone into liquidation. In Scotland, the Prince of Wales visited BAE Systems’ shipyard in Govan, Glasgow to mark the official start of construction on the Royal Navy’s 21st century warship HMS Belfast, and to see how construction is progressing on as Afloat adds the leadship of the 'City' class Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow. All eight of the class, however will be built on the River Clyde shipyard where also currently under construction is HMS Cardiff. AFLOAT adds the 'Cardiff' class name coincidentally was also used by a previous shipyard owner, Govan Shipbuilders Ltd which completed their fourth and final 'Cardiff' class bulk carrier for Irish Shipping. The final of the 25,000dwt bulk-carrier quartet was launched as Irish Larch in 1973. However, just over a decade later, the Irish state-owned company had gone into liquidation. Credit: Royal Family-twitter

At a shipyard in Scotland, Prince William cut the steel on HMS Belfast, a ship which will form part of a modern fleet serving the UK's Royal Navy for decades to come, reports BBC News.

Pushing down on a button in BAE Systems' Govan shipyard on Glasgow's River Clyde, he set to work lasers which moved across the first steel plate on the £1.2bn Type 26 warship.

The high-tech process is a long way from how its predecessor came into the world.

The keel laying - the starting point for construction at the time - for the first HMS Belfast (see flagship story), which has been moored on the River Thames for the past 50 years, took place in the Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff in 1936.

The ship went on to be involved in some of the key battles of World War Two - including the Normandy landings and the Battle of North Cape.
It later also played a role in the Korean War.

With construction underway on the modern HMS Belfast, why do the two ships have the same name?

To read why and for much more here about the newbuild HMS Belfast, a name as Afloat previously reported, was first unveiled in 2017 by then UK Defence Secretary when visiting Harland and Wolff shipyard.

The Type 26 frigates, which will have the primary purpose of anti-submarine warfare, as the BBC also reported, however will see all eight of the City class built at the River Clyde shipyard.

Published in Shipyards
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Shipyards

Afloat will be focusing on news and developments of shipyards with newbuilds taking shape on either slipways and building halls.

The common practice of shipbuilding using modular construction, requires several yards make specific block sections that are towed to a single designated yard and joined together to complete the ship before been launched or floated out.

In addition, outfitting quays is where internal work on electrical and passenger facilities is installed (or upgraded if the ship is already in service). This work may involve newbuilds towed to another specialist yard, before the newbuild is completed as a new ship or of the same class, designed from the shipyard 'in-house' or from a naval architect consultancy. Shipyards also carry out repair and maintenance, overhaul, refit, survey, and conversion, for example, the addition or removal of cabins within a superstructure. All this requires ships to enter graving /dry-docks or floating drydocks, to enable access to the entire vessel out of the water.

Asides from shipbuilding, marine engineering projects such as offshore installations take place and others have diversified in the construction of offshore renewable projects, from wind-turbines and related tower structures. When ships are decommissioned and need to be disposed of, some yards have recycling facilities to segregate materials, though other vessels are run ashore, i.e. 'beached' and broken up there on site. The scrapped metal can be sold and made into other items.

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