BAE Systems have scaled back plans to construct a large outfitting hall and is instead investing £100m in the Govan and Scotstoun shipyards on the Clyde.
As we reported in 2014, BAE had originally planned a ‘frigate factory’ on a single site. BAE Systems told STV at the time that they intend to press ahead with developing plans to build a new all-encompassing facility at the site which currently employs more than 700 staff. A BAE spokesman said:
“The first, a single site strategy, involves consolidating all phases of the build process at Scotstoun where a new state-of-the-art complex warship manufacturing facility would be built.
The second, a two-site strategy, involves extending and improving existing facilities at both Govan and Scotstoun.
The construction of a new facility, as proposed under the single site option, would have a longer lead time than upgrading existing facilities as proposed under the two site option, hence the tender process for the single site option has commenced earlier. There are no plans for a loss of jobs with either option.”
However in 2015, BAE cancelled the ‘frigate factory’ plans in favour of retaining both the Govan and Scotstoun yards opting for a large build hall at the Govan site (pictured above).
This has been cut back further still, with the current, much smaller, build hall being used to assemble sections of the vessels which will then be assembled outside in the open (pictured below).
Duncan McPhee, union convener, said:
“BAE is investing in infrastructure which is essential for the Type 26 programme and in facilities for employees which is welcome. However, the investments are not on the scale we had hoped for.
This is not the game-changer it could have been and we have long argued that this is a missed opportunity to provide world class shipbuilding facilities in Glasgow which would have helped us secure future export contracts.
Unfortunately, it still means we are constructing ships outside rather than under cover, which is not the way modern shipyards should operate.”
Chris Stephens, SNP MP discussed the impact this will have on export potential:
“MoD pressure not to invest in the frigate factory, which resulted in the demolition of the covered berth and module hall at Scotstoun, means that the Clyde has constrained capacity. Shipyard reconstruction will unlock significant long term advances and savings for the industry.
It will mean that more orders can be won, not only here but overseas. Investment in that reconstruction will see the full potential of shipbuilding on the Clyde being realised.”
As reported by the Herald, a spokesman for BAE said:
“We are investing in modern technologies, systems, ways of working and our infrastructure as we continue to transform the way we design and build warships.
We are making significant investments in Glasgow and our focus is to design and build complex warships to the highest quality whilst ensuring we deliver value for money for our customer and are well placed to compete effectively for future orders.”
It is understood that this development could impact the export chances of the later Type 31s.