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Clyde yards to miss out on first frigate order

Impression of Type 31 frigate

Type 31 frigates: work to be shared out


Clyde shipyards will miss out on an order for the first batch of Type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy.

BAE Systems will partner with Cammell Laird, which will ‘prime, build and assemble’ the vessels at its Merseyside facility while the Clyde will focus on the Type 26 Frigates.

BAE says the move will allow the company to “appropriately support the National Shipbuilding Strategy”

This will also ensure the delivery of the five Offshore Patrol Vessels and the first three City class Type 26 frigates currently on contract, “to time, budget and to the highest quality standards.”

Iain Stevenson, managing director, BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “Type 31e is an exciting and important programme. Our expertise in warship design and engineering, combat management systems and export campaigns means we are in a great position to contribute to the success of this programme.

“We are pleased to be working with Cammell Laird with whom we have a strong and effective relationship, having worked with them on the Carrier and Astute programmes.”

In a statement BAE added: “In response to the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) evolving requirements as outlined in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, BAE Systems will bring together its warship design and engineering capability and combat systems expertise with Cammell Laird, the commercial shipbuilder, in a Teaming Agreement to bid for the manufacture of the Type 31e, an adaptable general purpose frigate.

“BAE Systems is focused on the manufacture and delivery of the two QE Class carriers, the five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) and the first three City class Type 26 warships, as well as continuing to develop and upgrade combat management systems on all Royal Navy ships.

“Taking account of our current and future workload, including Type 26, our shipbuilding capacity on the Clyde will be full until the mid 2030s.”

John Syvret, Cammell Laird CEO, added: “Cammell Laird has very much welcomed the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the Type 31e competition. We will offer a UK warship design, a UK combat system, a UK build and a supply chain with high UK content.

“We will be working with BAE Systems and A&P to deliver certainty, speed and agility on this nationally important project. Cammell Laird is proud to be responding as a Prime Contractor for Type 31e.”

Sir Michael Fallon at BAE Systems

Sir Michael Fallon at the Clyde shipyards


UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said last month that he will invite tenders for the Type 31e vessels rather than place orders with BAE Systems on the Clyde.

This will share out the workload across the UK in accordance with recommendations in the review by former Harland & Wolff boss Sir John Parker.

But SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald has accused the Tory government of jeopardising the future of the Clyde shipyards.

Mr McDonald said: “The Tories cannot be trusted on shipbuilding. We have the skills, the expertise, the infrastructure in Scotland – but what we have also had is years of promises from Westminster – that have been broken.

“A key component of a steady stream of work for Scottish shipbuilding is this new T31e smaller frigate. So, for the suggestion that they will be built elsewhere is of real concern.

“The UK government has form on this. They originally boasted that 13 Type 26  frigates would be built on the Clyde. They then slashed that guarantee to eight.  It has now dropped to three – with the MoD insisting that the remaining five will be built but that negotiations on those contracts will now not start until the early 2020s.”

 



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