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Construction of New State of the Art Shipbuilding Facility Underway in Glasgow

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By Mike Whitaker – 14th November 2023

Construction has begun on a huge new ship build hall that will transform and enhance shipbuilding in Glasgow.

The new ship build hall at the Govan shipyard will shortly begin to take shape now that the basin has been filled and piling has begun. Measuring 170m long and 80m wide, this vast facility will be large enough for two Type 26 frigates to be constructed side-by-side.

Last November, BAE Systems secured a £4.2 billion contract with the Ministry of Defence to build five more Type 26 ships. This builds on the initial contract for the first three vessels and provides confidence to invest in the long-term future of the Glasgow site.

Simon Lister, Managing Director of Naval Ships at BAE Systems, said: “We are the proud custodians of shipbuilding on the Clyde and our talented teams are working hard to build on that legacy to secure Glasgow’s status as a shipbuilding centre of excellence for generations to come.

“This new hall will give us some of the best facilities in the world and completely modernise our approach to shipbuilding. It, alongside the investments already under way to digitise our processes, will ensure Govan continues to be something that the city of Glasgow can be truly proud of.”

The ship build hall, designed by Corstorphine & Wright and HLM, is being constructed by McLaughlin & Harvey. It will consist of more than 6,000 tonnes of steel and 20,000m3 of concrete.

Once complete, the hall will help enable efficient and safe shipbuilding for decades to come with future work unaffected by adverse weather. With two 100-tonne cranes and a further two 20-tonne cranes, the facility is designed to accommodate up to 500 workers per shift.

The hall is a key element of the £300m modernisation and digitalisation of BAE Systems’ shipbuilding facilities at Govan and Scotstoun. Alongside a range of infrastructure and automation improvements, the Company is introducing digital technology such as tablets and kiosk screens on the shop floor to streamline processes.

The Type 26 is one of the world’s most advanced warships. It is designed for anti-submarine warfare and high-intensity air defence, but can adapt its role quickly to transport humanitarian aid and house medical facilities.

Steel was cut on the fourth Type 26, HMS Birmingham, in April this year and work on the first three ships is already well under way. First-of-class HMS Glasgow is at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard having complex systems installed, HMS Cardiff is currently being assembled and HMS Belfast is in its early construction phase.

All eight frigates will be built in Govan and Scotstoun with the work sustaining approximately 1,700 jobs in Scotland with a further 2,300 jobs across the wider UK supply chain.

Stephen Charlick, DE&S Type 26 programme Project Manager, said: “The investment and construction of the New Ship Build Hall in the Govan shipyard is welcome news and will modernise shipbuilding on the river Clyde. Providing the capability to construct two Type 26 Frigates within a controlled, weathertight facility will greatly improve the working environment. Quality will also be improved, and each ship will be more materially complete before moving across to the dry dock in Scotstoun for test and acceptance. All of this will culminate in a quicker delivery of the Type 26 Frigates to the Royal Navy.”

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