Belfast Telegraph

Belfast to be at forefront of UK nuclear deterrent with new warship

By Jonathan Bell

Belfast will be at the forefront at the forefront of the UK's nuclear deterrent.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has unveiled the name of one of the Navy's new warships will be called HMS Belfast.

The new Type 26 frigate is one of the eight of the new City Class of frigates.

HMS Belfast will provide advanced protection for the likes of the UK's nuclear deterrent and Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The Defence Secretary revealed the name at Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff, which built the Royal Navy’s last HMS Belfast, in 1939. It is now permanently moored in the Thames in London and operated by the Imperial War Museum. It will be renamed ahead of the maiden voyage of the new ship.

The new HMS Belfast is set to enter service in the mid-2020s and, along with her fellow Type 26 frigates, will have a truly global reach, protecting the UK’s strategic interests as well as the likes of the UK’s nuclear submarines, and delivering high-end warfighting capability wherever it is needed.

Its flexible design will also enable these capabilities to be adapted to counter future threats, whilst the ships will also benefit from the latest advances in digital technology.

Part of the MOD’s £178bn equipment plan, the three ships being built under the first contract will safeguard 4,000 jobs in Scotland and across the UK supply chain until 2035. The Defence Secretary cut steel on HMS Glasgow, the first Type 26

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: "I’m hugely proud that the second name announced of our eight cutting-edge new Type 26 frigates will be HMS Belfast. She and her sister ships will form the backbone of our Navy well into the 2060s, keeping us safe by protecting the country’s nuclear deterrent and new aircraft carriers.

“It’s apt to name this ship at the famous site which built the very first HMS Belfast. Thanks to our ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy, this shipyard once again has the chance to be involved in building a British warship thanks to the competition to build a new class of light frigates for our growing Royal Navy.”

The Defence Secretary launched the ambitious National Shipbuilding Strategy earlier in the month, and as part of that laid out plans for a first batch of another new class of frigates – the Type 31e.

A procurement process for those ships could see them shared between yards and assembled at a central hub. The warships will be built in the UK, with a price cap of no more than £250m, and will be designed to meet the needs of both the Royal Navy and the export market.

The Defence Secretary has personally committed to visiting all of the UK’s major shipyards in the run-up to industry bringing forward its solutions for the Type 31e class, as he looks to grow the Royal Navy fleet for the first time since World War Two.

Just before the start of the Second World War, the original HMS Belfast was commissioned, having being built at Harland and Wolff shipyard. She went on to support the Battle of North Cape, the Normandy landings and the Korean War. 

The original ship now belongs to Imperial War Museums and is permanently docked in London. Before the new HMS Belfast commissions, the original HMS Belfast will be renamed ‘HMS Belfast 1938’, the year the ship was launched.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “The City class theme has been chosen for the Type 26 frigates in order to reaffirm the bond between the Nation and it’s Navy. We want to honour some of the great centres of industry and commerce in all parts of the United Kingdom, and few cities have such a rich maritime heritage as Belfast.

“The previous HMS Belfast (1938) is one of the most famous ships of the twentieth century, serving at the Battle of North Cape, in the Arctic campaign and at the Normandy landings, and later with the United Nations forces sent to Korea. It is wonderful that she survives today as a museum, but the Royal Navy believes that such a distinguished fighting name deserves to take its place once more in our operational fleet.

"A world leader in anti-submarine warfare, the new HMS Belfast will work with our allies in NATO and around the world to preserve the freedom and security that her predecessor fought so hard to secure.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph