A hastily deleted contract notice has revealed that the European Union planned to assemble a new aircraft carrier on the Clyde, only for the plans to be blocked by the UK government.
A copy of this contract notice can be found below.
If you haven’t noticed the date of publication or the name of the author I’ll save you some trouble, this is an April Fools joke, the reason for this specific topic being chosen is outlined at the end of the article. Also If you’re reading this because someone shared it after the 1st of April, that person doesn’t read the articles they share and you should probably be wary of their posts.
The contract is understood to have been withdrawn temporarily in part due to it referring to Scotland as an independent member state, something the UK government denies is the case and primarily due to an objection lodged by the UK government in relation to the currently proposed Withdrawal Agreement.
The images of the contract notice highlight that this is a new industrial strategy for design and build of a joint European Union aircraft carrier across the EU and appears to make the assumption that Scotland would be considered a European Member state for this purpose, to leverage the shipbuilding facilities in the state.
Speaking to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Scotland, we were told:
“Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and not part of the European Union. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently endorsed the idea of a joint European aircraft carrier. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the politician that succeeded Merkel last year as leader of the governing Christian Democratic Union in Germany, made the proposal in a weekend response to the French President’s proposals for European reform.
In addition, the French Ministry of Defence recently launched an 18-month study for €40 million for the eventual future replacement of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle beyond 2030. It is currently unclear if this is a proposal for a jointly operated vessel or a common class, the latter however appears the least likely due to the cost but it is understood that the intention was for one block to be constructed in every EU member state and shipped to the Clyde for assembly.
Modern shipbuilding makes considerable use of prefabricated sections. Entire multi-deck segments of a hull may be built away from the assembly yard, transported to the building dock or slipway, then lifted into place and assembled into one ship. It is hoped that this contract would have attracted the investment required to construct a new dry dock in Govan.
After speaking to sources from the Ministry of Ministerial Oversight, wishing to remain unnamed, I was told:
“The European Union’s proposal is questionable, especially after they rejected our expressed desire to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. Frankly, we will not be granting the use of the Scottish yards to the European Union and will instead offer the region work on the new Westminster ferry fleet. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.”
Instead of one 70,000 tonne European vessel, the Clyde will now be able to build three 50 tonne British ferry vessels, three times as many ships as promised by the European Union.
BAE, the owners and operators of the Clyde naval yards, say the move by the UK government to block this work will allow them to ‘appropriately support the National Shipbuilding Strategy’ whilst ensuring the delivery of the five Offshore Patrol Vessels and the City class Type 26 frigates currently on contract, ‘to time, budget and to the highest quality standards.’
In a press release BAE say:
“BAE Systems is focused on the manufacture and delivery of the two QE Class carriers, the five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) and the first three City class Type 26 warships, as well as continuing to develop and upgrade combat management systems on all Royal Navy ships.
Taking account our current and future workload, including Type 26, our shipbuilding capacity on the Clyde will be full until the mid 2030s.”
Some commentators have questioned the wisdom of a European aircraft carrier, you can read more about this here.
If you have read this far, you will undoubtedly have noticed that the entire story is a fabrication put together by contributors from various parts of the UK defence community and is simply, an April Fools joke.
Did you also notice that a few well placed Tweets, a few intentionally created rumours and off hand comments were enough to create outrage over this news? People got wound up without any evidence, without any confirmation and without any research of their own. All it took was a handful of people and a fake contract notice.
The purpose of this article, aside from our usual April Fools day joke, is to highlight that reading beyond the headline should be the ‘done thing’ for every article and not only those published today. The real message behind this article is, be careful when you read news online or offline as sometimes it’s entirely false.