At least 800 jobs have been protected thanks to a £348 million warship contract to build 3 new patrol ships for the Royal Navy.
The first of the three new vessels are expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2017 with work starting in Autumn.
It is understood that the work (along with the new frigates) will only go ahead in Glasgow if Scotland votes to remain in the union in September due to the UK’s strict legislation and policies relating to the construction of warships in foreign nations. As a foreign state, Scotland would not be eligible for warship contracts that the continuing UK chose to place for national security and defence industrial reasons.
The new ships will be based on the River class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and upgraded with a Merlin-capable flightdeck and will be built at BAE’s Clyde yards. The move comes to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigates begin construction.
The OPVs will be used by the Royal Navy to undertake various tasks including border protection roles, including anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon when announcing the contract, said:
UK warships are only built in UK shipyards. This multi-million-pound contract shows our commitment to investing in new ships for the Royal Navy and maintaining in the UK the expertise needed to build the warships of the future. It will benefit the dedicated workers of the Clyde, their families and the local economy in Glasgow.
This sort of investment by the UK government is vital for the sustainment of shipbuilding in the city and the hundreds of specialist manufacturing and engineering roles that play an important role in providing war-fighting capability for the Royal Navy.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and defence equipment minister Philip Dunne will be visiting the Clyde yards today in order to tour the facilities and meet the employees who will be involved in building the new patrol vessels.
Mr Alexander said:
I am delighted that we will be building the Royal Navy’s new offshore patrol vessels in Glasgow. Today’s announcement continues over 200 years of tradition building the nation’s leading ships on the Clyde. This will also support hundreds of jobs in the region and make an important contribution to the wider UK economy.
The order and construction of the new OPV’s will help sustain skilled jobs on the Clyde over the next few years, ensuring that the yards remain viable and efficient.