Exports will be central to Cammell Laird and BAE System’s joint bid for the Government’s £1.25billion new-build Type 31e frigate programme, a conference has heard.
The news was announced at a special ‘supplier conference’ organised by Cammell Laird, BAE Systems and the Society of Maritime of Industries on Merseyside which the companies claim involved more than 200 delegates from supply chain companies in the UK and overseas.
The procurement process to design and build five Royal Navy T31e frigates was launched by the Government in 2017 and a key objective of the programme is to attract overseas orders. Cammell Laird is bidding for the tender as prime contractor, in a teaming agreement with BAE Systems, with a warship design known as ‘Leander’. If successful it could see steel cutting beginning on Merseyside in March 2020.
BAE Systems Type 31e Chief Engineer Gavin Rudgley said the design draws from experience of several designs, the Khareef corvettes built for Oman, T45, T26 and the RCB2 OPV built for the Royal Navy.
“The MoD has commissioned the Type 31e as a replacement for the Type 23 in respect of its general purpose capability, global operations, effective warfare and combat suite, reasonable crew capacity, aviation and mission boat capabilities,” he said.
“Maturity, adaptability, affordability and capability are seen as the key ‘win’ themes for the Type 31e programme. It is expected to be around 4000 tonnes and 120 metres in length, accommodating 120 crew. The Navy want to see the vessels operating in Gulf conditions, there’s not a strong emphasis on ice capability or cold conditions, which also fits in well with exports.
The Leander design incorporates much mature engineering and equipment from other programmes such as Type 45, Type 26 and the River Class Batch 2 offshore patrol vessels. The boat bay and mission space is scaled from what has already been developed for the Type 26. And the HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] is based on practical experience, with both Khareef and Type 45. Leander uses the same combat management system being rolled out to Type 23, and also planned for Type 45, Type 26 and the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. It will further feature the 997 radar and Sea Ceptor anti-air missile system now entering service on Type 23 and ordered for Type 26. That drives commonality across the fleet, and provides the MoD with a solution that is already certified in-service, through its safety case, and cyber-assured.”
Cammell Laird’s Type 31e project director Tony Graham told the conference the £250million price tag for the ‘powerful and affordable’ Leander will excite many overseas customers, as it lays plans for a global warship exports division.
“In order to win this competition, we must be better, cheaper and faster than anyone else,” he said. “Fundamentally, we recognised that this ship has to work straight ‘out of the box’,” he said. “Leander is a very practical warship with credibility, a degree of ruggedness and robustness, and delivering low risk lifecycle costs.
We have a global campaign plan for the Type 31e programme and have identified opportunities in more than 20 countries. Our intent is to build a warship export business based on Leander. The MoD has indicated it is willing to sign a business agreement alongside the contract to help industry export the Type 31e. This joint approach between the Government and the Royal Navy producing a proper business plan for exports has never been seen before.”
Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said an overwhelming response to the conference provided a strong endorsement of the aims and aspirations of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to this conference, to the extent that we have had to arrange a second date to ensure that all interested companies are able to attend. I think that this level of interest is a very strong endorsement of the national shipbuilding strategy and its aims and aspirations. We at Cammell Laird are very excited by the opportunity, and specifically the design we have developed jointly with BAE Systems – which we have named Leander.
My message to the conference is that we are open for business, open to new ideas and open to new commercial relationships. We want to hear about what they can do to help us make Leander a national and international success not only for our customer, the Royal Navy, but also for UK PLC.”
The conference heard that the MoD is expected to award the Type 31e contract in March 2019.
Cammell Laird is set to launch a Type 31e website in March 2018 and will issue further details to suppliers shortly to secure quotes before submitting a final tender in the autumn.