June 29 (UPI) -- Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, set up the plasma cutting machine to work on the first steel plate for Britain's HMS Belfast frigate, officially beginning its construction, vessel manufacturer BAE Systems said on Tuesday.
The anti-submarine warship, Britain's third, is being constructed at the BAE Systems Shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland, BAE said in a press release.
BAE has been contracted to build three of the modern ships for $4.81 billion, with Britain expecting to build eight of the vessels in all as replacements for retiring components of its current fleet.
Rear Admiral Paul Marshall, Director Navy Acquisition said he was honored to have Prince William cut the first steel for the HMS Belfast, the third of the three frigates.
The celebration was also attended by State Secretary of Defense Baroness Annabel MacNicoll Goldie, the Ministry of Defense, the Royal Navy and staff and representatives of the Scottish Government.
"Today is a significant milestone for the exciting new Type 26 frigate program... We celebrate and receive great support from our UK shipyards," Minister of State for Defense Baroness Goldie said in BAE's release.
According to BAE, the environmental impact of type 26 will be minimal, with reduced nitrogen oxide emissions.
Each ship will be equipped with the Sea Ceptor missile defense system, 5-inch medium caliber gun, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar and towed array sonar. The Type 26 frigate will be able to land the helicopter up to the size of a Chinook on its deck.
The Type 26 Frigate is an advanced type of anti-submarine warship.