The new ‘National Flagship’ is to cost £250m and be “in the water by 2024 or 2025″.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was speaking at the National Flagship Engagement Day for industry where he stated:
“Our ambition is for something special, not just a cutting-edge ship, but a truly national flagship. A floating embassy to promote the UK’s diplomatic and trading interests in coastal capitals around the world: hosting high level negotiations, trade shows, summits and other diplomatic talks. A prestigious showcase for UK skills and expertise. Designed to incorporate leading technologies in power, propulsion and practice. Making the most of digital systems and autonomy to support its crew from the Royal Navy. The greenest ship of its kind, environmentally and ecologically advanced, maximising the use of sustainable fuels and materials.
The source for a legacy of regional and national regeneration. Creating more apprenticeships and opening-up more opportunities for a new generation to develop highly skilled, exciting and varied careers in shipbuilding. As such our new National Flagship will be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our upcoming National Shipbuilding Strategy. Now, that may sound whimsical or an exaggeration, but I want to be clear – this is not just a flag ship but a flagship project to showcase to the country and the world just what British shipbuilding is capable of – innovative design, competitive build, quality service.
Underlining our intention to be the country of choice for specialist commercial vessels, yachts and naval vessels, and what we intend to do with this ship. And encouraging more nations to seek out that made-in-Britain stamp. What I want this ship to be is at the vanguard of the 21st Century Shipping technology. British made. A British led design, built by British hands. It is our chance to inspire and to showcase to the world our skills and people, generating jobs and opportunities across our British shipyards.
There has been a lot of reporting around this ship. Not all of it accurate. So let me set out our basic aims. Subject to working through bids, competition and technology, I aim to commission the ship for between £200 and £250 million on a firm price. The competition will run until the end of October. I hope to announce the winners in December. To begin construction in a British shipyard as early as next year and have a ship in the water by 2024 or 2025.”
More details also emerged recently 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:
“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.”
You can read more at the link below.