An investigation has begun into an alleged incident of sabotage onboard a next-generation Royal Navy warship at a Scottish shipyard.Dozens of cables on HMS Glasgow, which is expected to enter into service in the late 2020s, were “damaged intentionally” according to BAE Systems, the main contractor responsible for the construction and fitting out of the ship. Work has now restarted on the vessel after the discovery of possible sabotage this week.HMS Glasgow, an anti-submarine warfare vessel tasked with protecting the Trident nuclear deterrent and aircraft carriers, is the first of the new series of Type 26 frigates and is being built at the Scotstoun shipyard on the River Clyde in Glasgow.A spokesperson for BAE Systems, Europe’s biggest defence contractor, said: “We immediately launched an internal investigation, alongside our suppliers, and temporarily paused work on the ship to inspect every area of the vessel and ensure our high standards and quality controls are met.“Normal operations have now resumed and an assessment is under way to scope the repairs needed.”The UK Defence Journal, a military news website, suggested that the warship may have been sabotaged by a contractor in a payment dispute. BAE Systems did not confirm any motive for the damage.The investigation’s remit is expected to include identifying those responsible, understanding how the perpetrators were able to carry out their actions and devising measures on how to prevent similar incidents from recurring.More than 60 cables were severed, according to the UK Defence Journal.Approximately 23,000 cables will be installed on HMS Glasgow including ones that transmit data between various systems, equipment and personnel on the ship.The vessel is the first of eight cutting-edge Type 26 frigates being built by BAE Systems in Glasgow. HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast are also under construction.The Type 26 frigate entered the water for the first time at the end of last year to be moved on to a barge at the Govan shipyard, before being moved downriver to Glenmallan on Loch Long.The barge was subsequently submerged, allowing the vessel to float off and be towed back to the Clyde towards BAE Scotstoun, where it is being fitted out and further tested.HMS Glasgow’s flight deck will be able to accommodate helicopters up to the size of the RAF’s Chinook, while its loading bay will be able to adapt to house and deploy vessels, vehicles and containers.There have been eight Royal Navy ships of the name Glasgow from the early 1700s, which between them have earned 10 battle honours.
The new mothership for autonomous mine countermeasures systems @RFAStrlngCastle sails from Devonport this morning to begin sea trials Via P. Smith / @Rockhoppas
The U.K. Royal Navy has revealed details of its intention to fit its two aircraft carriers with assisted launch systems and recovery gear, enabling operations by a variety of fixed-wing uncrewed aircraft and, potentially, also conventional takeoff and landing crewed types. Ambitious in its scope, it’s unclear exactly how much of the program will be fiscally feasible.Currently, the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth class carriers are able to operate short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B stealth jets, as well as helicopters. There have been previous indications that the service wants to at least explore adding different drones to its future carrier air wing. The Royal Navy has now also decided that it will kick off this project with tests of the General Atomics Mojave short takeoff and landing (STOL) drone on one of its two carriers later this year.The latest Royal Navy carrier developments were announced by Col. Phil Kelly, the service's Head of Carrier Strike and Maritime Aviation, at the recent Combined Naval Event 2023 conference, and was reported by Naval News. Col. Kelly confirmed that, under the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) initiative, the Royal Navy is planning to retrofit arrestor gear and assisted launch equipment on its carriers.As currently equipped, the Queen Elizabeth class warships have 'ski jump' takeoff ramps for their STOVL F-35Bs. An earlier idea of installing catapults and arrestor gear during the two carriers' construction and procuring F-35C variants to equip them was turned down on cost grounds, after which the two STOVL-configured carriers were finished and put into service.The new FMAF plan includes Project Ark Royal, which Col. Kelly explained as follows:"We are looking to move from STOVL to STOL [short takeoff and landing], then to STOBAR [short takeoff but arrested recovery], and then to CATOBAR [catapult assisted takeoff but arrested recovery]. We are looking at a demonstrable progression that spreads out the financial cost and incrementally improves capability."In this way, Project Ark Royal (named after the Royal Navy’s last aircraft carrier that was capable of CATOBAR operations), should see the Queen Elizabeth class vessels start to operate drones able to undertake a variety of missions and then increasingly heavier, complex, and higher performance ones. Later on, full CATOBAR capability could also add fixed-wing crewed aircraft, too.Col. Kelly confirmed that the first part of Project Ark Royal this November will see a Mojave drone launched from a Royal Navy carrier off the U.S. east coast. As the Mojave already offers impressive STOL capabilities, no launch and recovery systems will be needed at this point.[continua]