BAE Systems has commenced the float-off process for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) first of eight Type 26 or City-class frigates, named HMS Glasgow.

The milestone marks the beginning of the ship’s next construction phase, which will see HMS Glasgow undergo a series of complex trials.

During the float-off process, the 6,000t vessel will be moved from dry land onto a barge and will be towed to the river Clyde and into deep waters.

The base of the barge will be let to sink gradually until the vessel completely enters the water for the first time.

A team of engineers from BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence’s procurement arm Defence and Equipment Support, along with the RN’s personnel, will closely monitor the entire hours-long scenario to ensure the safe transition of Glasgow into the water.

According to BAE Systems, engineers involved have received special training using a 3D visualisation suite that provides access to a full digital twin of the ship.

The vessel will then be towed back to the company’s Scotstoun shipyard, along the Clyde, where HMS Glasgow will start its final assessments, outfitting, and commissioning.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “HMS Glasgow entering the water for the first time marks a major milestone for the Type 26 programme, which supports thousands of highly skilled jobs in Scotland and more across the UK supply chain.”

The first City-class vessel is expected to enter service with the RN by 2025. Glasgow will be deployed to operate with the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

BAE Systems is currently constructing the next two City-class ships, HMS Cardiff and Belfast, with the contract for the remaining five ships awarded recently.