DEFENCE giant BAE Systems has hailed a landmark moment for the first in a fleet of eight new warships built on the Clyde. 

HMS The first Type 26 City Class frigate, HMS Glasgow, has begun the "float-off" process, which will see the vessel enter the water for the first time.

Over the coming days, the ship, weighing nearly 6,000 tonnes, will undertake a series of complex manoeuvres to move her from BAE Systems' Govan shipyard onto a barge before being towed down the Clyde to a deep-water location in the west of Scotland.

Once in position, the float-off will involve the base of the barge being slowly submerged over a number of hours until HMS Glasgow fully enters the water.

The ship will then return to BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard further along the Clyde, where it will undergo the next stages of outfit before test and commissioning.

David Shepherd, Type 26 programme director, BAE Systems, said: “Seeing HMS Glasgow in the water for the first time will be a proud and exciting moment for the thousands of people involved in this great endeavour.”

The BAE Systems engineers involved in the float off of HMS Glasgow have been specially trained using the 3D visualisation suite which gives engineers access to a full digital twin of the ship.

They will monitor the ship closely throughout all stages of the process ensuring that the transition is safely managed.

The float-off process will also be supported by engineers from Defence Equipment & Support, the MOD delivery agent, as well as members of the Royal Navy.

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The process is a "more modern, efficient and low-risk" way for a ship to enter the water compared to the previous dynamic launches.

The process is well proven, having been used for the five Offshore Patrol Vessels built by BAE Systems in Glasgow, the last of which was delivered to the Royal Navy in 2020.

HMS Glasgow has been under construction since steel was cut in 2017. The second and third ships, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, are currently in build in Govan.

The Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems a £4.2 billion contract to build a further five Type 26 City Class frigates for the Royal Navy, sustaining 1,400 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider Glasgow supply chain.

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