SHIPBUILDING is considered to be one of the most traditional of heavy industries, laden with nostalgia, conjuring images of an army of workers banging rivets and welding plates of steel.

In Glasgow, the remaining yards are going through the biggest transformation in decades, including steering the old crafts into the digital age.

A new £200 million ship hall is well under construction on land "reclaimed" from the Clyde on the old wet basin site.

And, inside the existing manufacturing shed, a new steel-cutting production line will transform the first stages of building a ship.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

The Glasgow Times was taken on a tour of the BAE Govan yard where the latest Type 26 frigates are being built.

HMS Cardiff is on the hardstand and is expected to be ready for float-off later this year.

HMS Belfast is taking shape in sections in the construction and outfitting hall, and HMS Birmingham is in its early stages after the first steel-cutting last year.

HMS Glasgow, the first of eight in total, is currently at Scotstoun being fitted out.

Simon Lister, managing director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said what is under way is the biggest investment in 40 years.

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He said: “It is a substantial investment.

“We are building a class of ships but we are also rebuilding a shipyard that is fit for the future.”

The biggest investment is the huge new ship hall which once ready, expected to be around the autumn of 2025, will be able to take two Type 26 frigates side by side.

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The building will be 56 metres high, 180m long and 80m wide.

It will have two 100-tonne cranes to lift materials in place and two 20-tonne cranes operating at lower heights.

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A new steel cutting panel production line is being installed in the construction hall.

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Euan Fullerton, head of manufacturing engineering, said: “This is state of the art, world class technology.”

He said it was an “advanced robotic” system automated by programmers on site.

Mr Fullerton added: “We are retraining and upskilling the workforce to use new technology.”

Mark Cosgrove, production manager, said: “We are upskilling instead of bringing in from outside. These are steelworkers.”

The cumulative effect of the investment is that ships will be built much quicker and as a result at a lower cost.

Mr Lister said: “The quicker you built it, the cheaper you built it.”

The time to build a frigate is expected to reduce from 96 months to 60 months.

At the end of the process, Mr Lister said the Royal Navy will have eight new ships, the best in their class.

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He said: “Type 26 is highly equipped for stealth.”

Everything about the ship, he explained, is designed to reduce noise and allow it to “slip through the water efficiently and quietly".

The aim is to give the ships which will be detecting the submarine threat to the UK and NATO a “sonar range advantage”.

The Type 26 project will run into the mid-2030s and the investment is designed to take shipbuilding beyond that.

As well as the infrastructure, BAE is investing in ensuring the yards have the highly skilled workforce needed to build ships, covering a multitude of jobs.

A new Applied Shipbuilding Academy is also under construction in South Street at the Scotstoun yard.

Glasgow Times: BAE academy

It is due to be open this summer ready for the new intake of apprentices in August.

Mr Lister added: “We never rest on our laurels. We are always looking out for what the customer might want next.”