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.