Contracts Will Secure Over 700 Shipyard Jobs
British Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew announced on 7 October that the government is committing up to £1 billion (€1.13 billion) to supporting vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and the Royal Navy’s (RN) survey and hydrographic fleet over the next decade. The contracts are expected to secure over 700 jobs at shipyards around the country.
The deal covers 17 ships and will improve how spares, repairs and maintenance are provided. Contracted companies will work on the ships at dockyards around the UK to ensure they are serviced and fitted with the latest equipment and systems, whether they are undergoing a refit, undertaking training or on operations. The agreements followed a competitive tendering process and are expected to be valued as follows:
- Cammell Laird (Birkenhead): £357 million to support the RFA’s FORT- and WAVE-class tankers;
- Cammell Laird: £262 million to support the RFA’s new fleet of four 39,000t TIDE-class tankers;
- A&P (Falmouth): £239 million to support the RFA’s BAY-class landing ships as well as the casualty ship RFA ARGUS and RN ocean survey vessel HMS SCOTT;
- UK Docks Ltd (Tyneside): £150 million to support the survey ships HMS ECHO and ENTERPRISE and the ice patrol ship HMS PROTECTOR.
The deal is expected to deliver savings worth over £100M for defence, with agreements including delivering improved support and greater efficiency in ways such as new support solutions and improved performance targets. The whole contract is underpinned by a robust set of performance measures to ensure continued value-for-money.
In addition to the four already signed, a further three contracts under the Future In Service Support (FISS) programme are expected to be signed within the next year. The news is the latest development in supporting the nation’s military ships, after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) unveiled a new model worth around £1 billion to support the Royal Navy fleet and sustain over a thousand British jobs.
“Through the placing of these contracts and making changes to the way we provide support under this agreement, we will be able to deliver significant financial benefits [….] These include savings expected to be more than £100 million over the course of ten years, as well as improvements in the performance, reliability, safety and sustainability of the RFA and hydrographic fleets,” commented Defence Equipment and Support acting Chief of Materiel Ships, Neal Lawson.