Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird wins slice of £7.9bn project to build eight new anti-submarine Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy. Tony McDonough reports
Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird is to build sections of a new £840m warship for the Royal Navy.
BAE Systems has already started building the first three of the new Type 26 frigates, which are anti-submarine warfare vessels, at its yard in Govan in Scotland. That contract to construct HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast is worth £3.7bn.
Now BAE has also started work on the second phase of the Type 26 programme which will see a further five ships built at a cost of £4.2bn. They are HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle, HMS Edinburgh and HMS London.
These vessels are being built at a lower unit cost for the Ministry of Defence. This is thanks to lessons learned during the first batch and because infrastructure from that phase remains in place.
Workers at Cammell Laird will build units for HMS Birmingham and will then join those units together. It secured the contract from BAE. Cammell Laird’s sister business A&P will also build units for the programme its its yard on the Tyne.
Over the past decade Cammell Laird has established particular expertise in what is described as “block building”. That is building sections of ships that are then transported and assembled at other locations.
Between 2014 and 2016 the Birkenhead shipyard built flight deck hangers and accommodation sections for the new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers.
Mike Hill, managing director of Cammell Laird, said: “Cammell Laird has a long standing history of collaboration with BAE Systems and we are delighted to be working together to deliver the next generation of anti-submarine warfare.”
Specially designed for anti-submarine warfare the Type 26 vessels will replace the Type 23s. The first of the new ships are due to enter service by the end of the decade.
Commodore Steve Roberts, heading the Type 26 programme for the Royal Navy, said earlier this year: “Seeing the next Type 26 start the construction journey is a tangible representation of the success of the programme.
“These advanced anti-submarine warfare ships will provide the Royal Navy with a world-class cutting-edge capability to protect our Nation’s interests well into the future.”
HMS Birmingham will be equipped with the Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a 5in medium calibre main gun, a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter, medium-range radar, powerful array sonars and a Mk41 vertical launch silo for missile systems.
It will also include a ‘mission bay’ allowing the ships to carry adaptable ‘pods’ for wide-ranging operations, such as disaster relief, drones, and mine warfare.
David McGinley, chief executive at A&P Group and Cammell Laird, added: “We have a proud track record when it comes to partnership working and delivering projects of vital national importance.
“Our commitment to the armed forces and our defence capabilities lies at the heart of our business and everything we do.”
Apprentices from both A&P and Cammell Laird have also been working on the project, a point of pride for everyone involved.