Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

Royal Navy’s T26 GCS next-gen warship unveiled


August 20, 2012

The Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS) that is due to enter service with the Royal Navy after 2020 (Image: BAE Systems)

The Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS) that is due to enter service with the Royal Navy after 2020 (Image: BAE Systems)

Image Gallery (2 images)

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has unveiled its new multi-mission warship - the Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS). Due to replace the thirteen Type 23 frigates in Britain’s Royal Navy when it enters service in after 2020, the T26 GCS has been in development by the MOD and BAE Systems since 2010 and is intended for use in combat and counter-piracy operations as well as supporting humanitarian and disaster relief work around the world.

Images released by the MOD this week show the basic specification of the ship, which has a displacement of around 5,400 metric tons (5,314 l-ton) and will be around 148 m (485.5 ft) long. These specifications were pared down from the original working baseline of a vessel length of 141 m (462.5 ft) and displacement of 6,850 metric tons (6,742 l-ton) in an effort to reduce costs from £500 million (US$786 million) to £250-350 million ($393-550 million) per ship.

Designed to be one of the most advanced vessels in the Royal Navy fleet, the T26 GCS is expected to feature vertical missile silos capable of housing a range of different weapons, a medium-caliber gun, a hangar to accommodate a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter, a flexible mission space for unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles or additional boats, and the most advanced sensors in the fleet.

"The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come,” said Peter Luff, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. “It is designed to be adaptable and easily upgraded, reacting to threats as they change.”

Now that the ship’s basic capabilities and baseline design has been endorsed, the MOD says the program will progress to the next part of the assessment phase, which will involve the examination of detailed specifications of the vessel.

Source: MOD, BAE Systems

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Oh dear!! It has taken longer to decide the basic functions of this 5,400 tonne vessel than it takes the Koreans to design, build, and commission a 300,000 tonne super tanker. How many thousands of man hours have been spent in meetings to decide on the outline, and at what cost? Is this in any way indicative of the kind of bureaucracy that ensures so few UK government contracts come in on time and on budget? The saddest thing of all is that; with the UK's shipbuilding capability now almost non-existent, and the EU's insistence on open tendering, these ships probably won't be built here.



A Korean super tanker does not need to outmaneuver attacking ships, does not need to defend against wave-height exocet missiles, does not need to have stealth technology, does not need to worry about submarines, does not need to be able to travel at 30 knots , etc., etc., etc.


@SarahM - You are correct in your comments about why a warship is more difficult to design than a tanker. But the ship also has to be built at all to do the things you referenced. And considering the UK's recent mismanagement of projects from the CV program to the Harrier air wing, to changing direction several times (so far) on the JSF, who knows when or if this ship will ever enter production. By 2020, maybe the RN will just decide to rent a French frigate for half the year... Though I certainly hope the cost-cutting measures implemented to eventually result in a design that can be built in the UK, for an affordable price (doubtful), and still result in a design that actually improves upon the Type 23 frigates this class is intended to replace.

Kevin Borecki
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles