FROM the outside, standing underneath, the ship is a towering presence.

I have had a view of it from across the water at various stages of construction but up close, HMS Cardiff, the second of the Type 26 frigates being built at Govan, is gargantuan.

Deep in the darkness of the belly of the giant vessel, the inside is now taking shape with all the compartments being put in place, from the mechanics that will propel it through the sea, to the living quarters and operational areas soon to be kitted out with the latest state of the art military hardware.

I tried to picture it with the 150 to 200 crew on board doing all manner of naval tasks.  

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Walking through narrow corridors, climbing up and down ladders, stepping over raised doorways, below deck is a labyrinth, with what must be miles of piping and cabling running through the vessel.

While walking below deck, I am reminded of the TV drama Vigil, starring Suranne Jones onboard a submarine, with its maze of corridors, heavy steel doors, confined spaces and tight conditions where not one single inch is wasted.

No photographs are allowed due to security reasons, which is understandable given the ship's purpose.

In the Visualisation Suite in the yard, we are shown the software that had modelled every single component of the ship and calculated measurements to ensure that every piece of equipment can be used by every member of the crew.

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Workers are still getting it ready before it will be moved to Scotstoun later this year for outfitting.

In the gearbox room, a mass of pipes, valves and mechanical equipment understood only by those operating it is under construction.

This will power the ship and like everything else on board has been designed to be as quiet as possible.

Up above is the flight deck, which will be the biggest of any frigates in service, capable of taking a Chinook helicopter.

You can’t help but imagine what it would be like once finished and out at sea.

However Simon Lister doesn’t need to imagine. He has four decades of Royal Navy service where he was a Vice-Admiral before joining BAE Systems as managing director of Naval Ships.

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In the space that will become the mission bay he explains the vitally important role this area will have.

When he talks about commanders able to launch torpedoes from this room, you are struck with the reality of exactly what is being built here on the Clyde.

Mr Lister said flexibility and adaptability are crucial in modern defence and this is what makes the Type 26 the most up to date of its class.

The mission bay can be adapted to take in different pieces of equipment to suit whatever the mission is in what he calls a “plug-and-play” design.

It is difficult to get your head around how something of this size and complexity can come together, built to the exact detailed specifications needed to ensure it can operate effectively in seas around the world.

When Mr Lister and his management team explain later the scale of what the main task is, it starts to become clearer how it is achieved.

He said: “Integration. Seamless integration. That’s our job.”