Royal Navy warship to be named HMS Belfast
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has announced that one of the Royal Navy's new warships will be named HMS Belfast as he declared that "huge opportunities" lie ahead for shipbuilder Harland & Wolff.
Speaking at the site where the Navy's last HMS Belfast was built prior to World War Two, Mr Fallon said Belfast's rich maritime heritage was the perfect salute for the anti-submarine frigate.
"It's a name which acknowledges the rich maritime history of Belfast and also recognises the immense contribution that the people of this city made during the Second World War," he said.
"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."
The ship will be one of eight new Type 26 frigates joining the Navy's fleet which are due to enter service in the mid 2020s as part of the government's new National Shipbuilding Strategy.
Mr Fallon said the ambitious project will give Harland & Wolff the opportunity to bid for one or more of the five new general preface frigates that will be commissioned next year as he expressed confidence that the company is ready to seize the opportunity.
"I have been assured by management today that they will seek out this employment opportunity and that they are ready to engage with MoD officials on the likely design of the new frigate," he said.
Mr Fallon confirmed there will be further opportunities for the company to bid for fleet support ships which will service aircraft carriers and larger ships.