Capable of delivering cruise missiles, combat helicopters, unmanned hunter-killer drones and a barracks load of Royal Marines into coastal warzones, the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship being built by BAE Systems is set to deliver a platform for unprecedented covert operations while at sea.
Despite weighing about 5,400 tons and measuring a whopping 148 metres (486 feet) long (that’s one and a half times the size of Manchester United’s football pitch), the Type 26 appears merely as a small fishing boat on radar systems. This means that when it becomes operational in 2021, it will be able to traverse the globe without detection and infiltrate the most hostile areas.
The fishing boat-sized radar cross-section comes courtesy of the sleek, low-profile hull, specially angled deck panels, multi-installation radomes and advanced anti-radar/sonar damping equipment. This tech will cloak on-board vertical missile silos, an array of medium-calibre guns and a huge hangar containing both Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.