The first steel was cut today at BAE Systems in Glasgow for the first of three new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
The £348 million contract will secure over 800 jobs, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Once built, the vessels will be used by the Royal Navy to support UK interests at home and abroad.
The MoD’s chief of defence materiel, Bernard Gray, was at BAE’s Govan facility to launch the construction work.
He said: “I am proud to be able to start production work on this new class of ships, which will maintain the vital UK expertise needed to build the warships of the future.
“This contract, which will benefit the local economy in Glasgow, continues a 200-year tradition of building the nation’s leading ships on the Clyde and will sustain hundreds of jobs across the region.”
Featuring a redesigned flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters as well as increased storage and accommodation facilities, the offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) build on the capability of the Royal Navy’s current River Class vessels.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael paid tribute to the workforce and said: “Scotland is leading the way in building the UK’s warships and this underlines the UK Government’s commitment to the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde.
“I am sure the OPVs will be yet another fine example of the expert craftsmanship of our skilled shipbuilders. Over the coming years we will see the familiar sight of ships coming off the yard and travelling down the Clyde to serve the Royal Navy’s activities across the globe.”
The first OPV, named HMS Forth, is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2017.