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Work has already begun on a new shipbuilding hall at BAE Systems’ shipyard at Govan, Glasgow, after planning permission for the new facility, submitted to Glasgow City Council in 2022, was secured this month (February 2023).

The new hall – which will be around 170 m long, 81 m wide, and 49 m high – will significantly modernise the yard and allow major warships to be constructed indoors, whereas ships longer than 75 m currently cannot be built under cover at Govan and have to be constructed in sections.

News of the planning permission approval was first broken by the UK Defence Journal on 12 February.

Although BAE Systems has not disclosed the total cost of the new facility, it is understood to represent an investment in excess of GBP 100 M. The hall is scheduled for completion by December 2024, a BAE Systems source confirmed to ESD on 14 February.

The Type 26 frigate Glasgow pictured at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard in November 2022, shortly before being loaded onto the barge ready for float-off. (Photo: BAE Systems)

Construction of the UK Royal Navy’s first three Type 26 frigates is currently underway at Govan: Glasgow was launched in November 2022 and is currently fitting out, while Cardiff and Belfast were laid down in August 2019 and June 2021 respectively and are currently under construction. Glasgow is expected to be commissioned in late 2026.

The UK’s second batch of five Type 26 frigates – Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and London – was ordered on 15 November 2022. It is likely that Birmingham will be the first Type 26 to benefit from Govan’s new facilities.

Peter Felstead