The Ministry of Defence has signed a new £177 million contract to support thousands of boats used by the British Armed Forces, according to DE&S.

The Boats In-Service Support (BISS) agreement, negotiated by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the MOD, enables spares, repairs and maintenance for 115 different classes of boat – around 2,200 individual watercraft in total.

“Boats maintained by the contracts provide essential support to the defence of the UK’s security and interests, including craft which support the Continuous At-Sea Deterrent and the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.”

Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

“Our armed forces rely on having the finest kit available and this multi-million-pound contract ensures the thousands of vessels used across the entire British military will be maintained and repaired to the exceptionally high levels demanded by our service men and women.”

According to the announcement, contracts signed under the agreement include:

  • Four contracts with BAE Systems worth a total of £112 million to support Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, British Army, Royal Marines, and MOD Police boats, supporting 55 jobs in Portsmouth;
  • Three contracts with Babcock worth a total of £49 million for support to boats based overseas and to training craft, supporting 27 jobs including those in Bristol, Dartmouth in Devon and Gibraltar;
  • A £4.6 million contract with Griffon Hoverwork to support boats used by the Royal Marines, supporting 12 jobs in Southampton;
  • A £4.3 million contract with Holyhead Marine to ensure the continued availability of boats essential to UK submarine operations, including the Continuous At-Sea Deterrent supporting eight jobs in Holyhead and Faslane;
  • Two contracts with Marine Specialised Technology Ltd, worth a total of £7.6 million, to support diving operations and to maintain inflatable craft.
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whats the point of having the marine engineers branch, if you’re going pay again for someone to do the same job?


I’d like to think most of this money pays for the cost of servicing and replacing the equipment. I have no idea if the figure represents value or not, so long as it guarentees capability so we are not stripping 1,000 boats for parts to support the other 1,000.

Daniele Mandelli

Would be interesting to see a doc with the breakdown of the various classes.


Yeah that would be interesting.

Daniele Mandelli

Simply because there was such an internal document I found on the internet some years ago.

The boats operated by DSF made for interesting reading.

It’s surprising how often the left hand of MoD does not know what the right is doing.


Hopefully this will bring greater visibility and hopefully we can reduce the number of classes.

I wonder how many the new workboats could replace.


Is it not time to develop small attack boats with the capability of taking considerable enemy fire? The latest advances in lightweight armour plus reactive zones would enable the RN to carry out deeper recon. Not necessarily the return of the torpedo boats of WW2, but equiped to be capable of hitting the enemy hard. They must be able to be airlifted and stored on amphibious ships, carriers, and destroyers. These boats should be built in considerable numbers and some of which, based at forward bases in a state of readiness. These new boats would go some way to matching… Read more »


I could see small armoured fast boats armed with some martlet and miniguns launching from a bay patrolling the straits. Quicker to react than a frigate and could patrol in decent numbers

andy reeves

and with the new facility in bahrain, a good number could be forward based.


The Chinese have a mini aegis destroyer, its 15m and 20 tons.


Big fan of light watercraft forces, but I thought the 2 Gulf wars proved that they were very vulnerable in modern warfare. Throwing away a handful of young lives on a forlorn hope is way too costly. Better to use UAVs if it is worth doing.
But the article doen’t support any new initiative, just the upkeep of the many & varied watercradt in military use.


We have over 2,000 military boats? I did not realise that.

andy reeves

the old question returns, how much is a life worth?


Best answer is how much is yours worth to you? Then apply that as a minimum to those of others.

andy reeves

a vessel with offensive capability to outbox an iran type equivalent is a must have, maybe upgrade the archers and get some naval work out of them leaving useful craft like these in the hands of hooray henry’s in the universities is just plain rubbish i’m sure the border force would welcome a hand. i’ve understood why we even have them a well drilled squadron at gibraltar would enable poor old scimitar and sabre a well deserved retirement


My Physics teacher would have loved that wave picture 🙂

andy reeves

i’d be interested in the possibility of firring the new navalised brimstone missile(sea spear onto some of the R.N smaller craft, giving them a real Punch in anti gunboat attacks such as used by iran.