More details have emerged about how the new ‘National Flagship’ will operate.
According to a ‘Prior Information Notice’ regarding the upcoming tendering process to design and build the vessel, the Ministry of Defence say:
“On 31 May 2021 the UK Prime Minister announced a new National Flagship for the UK. This Flagship will give British businesses a new global platform to promote their products. The ship, the first of its kind to be built and commissioned by the UK, will boost British trade and drive investment into our economy.
The vessel will be used to host high level trade negotiations and trade shows and will sail all over the world promoting British interests. A typical six month itinerary for the flagship might include docking at a port in a country where a British Prime Ministerial visit is taking place to accommodate parallel discussions between British and local businesses, hosting trade fairs to sell British products to an emerging market and providing the venue for an international ministerial summit or major trade negotiations between the UK and another government.
The ship, the name of which will be announced in due course, will be the first national flagship since 1997 when the HMY Britannia was decommissioned.
However, its role will be distinct from that of any previous national flagship, reflecting the UK’s new status as an independent trading nation and helping us to seize the opportunities that status presents. As well as being a resource for British firms looking to export globally, the ship will also be a tangible manifestation of British ingenuity and shipbuilding expertise.
The Government’s intention is to build the ship in the UK.
This will create jobs, help drive a renaissance in the UK’s shipbuilding industry and showcase the best of British engineering around the world. As well as promoting trade, it is expected that the flagship will play an important role in achieving the UK’s foreign policy and security objectives, including by hosting summits and other diplomatic talks. Construction of the ship is expected to begin as soon as next year and the ship will enter service within the next four years. The tendering process for the design and construction of the ship will launch shortly, with an emphasis on building a vessel which reflects British design expertise and the latest innovations in green technology.
The ship will be crewed by the Royal Navy and is expected to be in service for around 30 years.
The ship will be built in the UK, the design will be open to international competition to ensure that we can procure a world class design. Costs for the construction and operation of the ship will be confirmed following the completion of a competitive tendering process.
The purpose of this PIN is to invite potential suppliers to a period of market engagement prior to the commencement of future competitions for the flagship requirement. The Authority may use feedback from interested parties to further shape its approach and commercial construct. Parties should note that this is an accelerated programme with constrained timeframes and interested parties should be prepared to work in an agile way to ensure timeframes are met.
As part of this engagement the Authority intends to share the following documents with interested parties. – High level technical specification; and – Level 1 procurement plan showing stages and timeframes.”