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Babcock has confirmed it is bidding to construct the new UK polar flagship at its shipyard in Appledore, North Devon.

In April 2014, chancellor George Osborne announced that the Government had set aside more than £200 million for a new UK polar flagship. The new ship, which is currently unnamed, will allow researchers to travel deeper into the Arctic and Antarctic, deploy unmanned submarines, operate helicopters and and have extensive onboard laboratories. It is also expected it will service bases in the British Antarctic Territory.

An artists impression of what the ship is expected to look like
An artists impression of what the ship is expected to look like

The new vessel, which will be operated by the Natural Environment Research Council, will be ready for its first science mission in 2019.

Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, discussed the bid prior to his meeting with Philip Dunne, minister for defence equipment, support and technology in late 2014.

“I was able to impress upon the minister and officials that we have in Torridge an extremely precious resource which the Government should do all it can to protect and nurture, and I was delighted that the minister agreed to visit the shipyard in the very near future. I also discussed with the minister how Appledore might bid for the Polar Research Vessel announced earlier this year by the Chancellor, and impressed on him the credentials of this brilliant local shipyard to build the new British ship. I very much hope that the yard will make the effort to win the contract on its merits as Appledore is truly unbeatable.”

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