SHIPYARD bosses are going ahead with plans to build a state- of-the-art frigate factory on the Clyde after the country rejected independence.

Work on the construction of a hi-tech facility costing more than £200million is to go out to tender in a few months' time in the hope Glasgow will be chosen to build a new warship fleet.

Defence giant BAE Systems has stayed silent on the future of its shipyards at Scotstoun and Govan in the run-up to the independence referendum.

But leading politicians in the Better Together camp had repeatedly warned that a Westminster government would never place orders for Royal Navy warships with a "foreign power."

The survival of the Clyde depends on big money warship contracts.

Shipyard workers and apprentices had expressed fears for their future if Yes campaigners had won over the majority of Scots.

But on the day Scotland rejected independence BAE issued a statement.

It read: "We welcome the decision by the Scottish people to remain within the United Kingdom.

"Continued union provides a stable footing and more certain future for our people, businesses and future investments in Scotland."

And officials revealed that companies would be invited to tender for the infrastructure needed to operate a frigate factory at Scotstoun, which will include a 300metre dry dock.

BAE is expected to axe the Govan yard and transfer workers across the river to Scotstoun but now company chiefs claim to be also looking at a frigate factory option.

Design work will not be completed for another few months, with BAE insisting only then will possible construction work be put out to tender in the "early or middle" of next year.

The statement by the shipyard owners was welcomed by the unions.

Kenny Jordan, secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said: "The referendum result is good news for the Clyde. It removes the uncertainty and risk over the future building of warships and means we can look forward to the proposed Type 26 programme."

BAE is hoping to land a contract worth billions of pounds from the Ministry of Defence to build Type 26s - a new class of frigate to replace the ageing Type 23s, which will help sustain almost 3000 jobs on the Clyde.

Meanwhile steel cutting is due next month as both yards prepare to build three offshore patrol vessels costing £20million to be used in anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in waters around Britain and elsewhere.