It has been reported that BAE Systems has held discussions with operators of its Henderson shipyard about hosting Royal Navy ships deployed to waters north of Australia.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

“When we do have a ship in the region, we will of course exercise that right as Australia does and we’ll be working with Australia on what’s called the Five Powers arrangement to ensure that we learn to exercise together, to operate together as close as possible.”

Director of contract management for BAE Systems Andrew Coxall said the company was preparing for British deployments.

“I had discussions recently with Henderson along the lines of if the navy chooses to send a ship down to that part of the world, what sort of support arrangements would we be able to provide from Henderson.”

BAE Australia chief Glynn Phillips said the signing of the UK Type 26 Frigate contract should provide the Australian government with confidence in the company’s bid.

As quoted in Defence Connect, he said:

“This news is very exciting for Australia as it’s a turning point for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship program. This milestone means the Royal Australian Navy should have full confidence that our offer for SEA 5000 – the Global Combat Ship-Australia – will have the largest growth margins of any ASW frigate in the world and will remain at the leading edge of naval technology throughout its service life.

The potential for concurrent production in Glasgow and Osborne also means the Commonwealth stands to receive full knowledge sharing from a live program through BAE Systems’ best-practice exchange, significantly de-risking SEA 5000.”

BAE earlier welcomed the release of the SEA 5000 Request for Tender for the Royal Australian Navy, intending to offer the Type 26 Frigate as a contender. The defence giant was one of three organisations down-selected to refine their designs for a fleet of nine Future Frigates.


    • I agree, smallest fleet we have had by number of of ships and we are back east if Suez and now the Pacific, we seem to have a policy disconnect with finances.

  1. We’re only building 3, sorry ‘8’ of these vessels. This seems to be a role better suited to the Type 31 in my opinion. And there is still no further news on the Type 31 despite years of being in the ‘design phase’ and no news on the National Ship building Strategy. Very worrying.

  2. Only if an Australian put a gun to my head would i put even the tiniest dot of veggie-mite on my toast, yet that is nothing compared to how thinly spread the Royal Navy is.

  3. Great to see us looking to re- establish closer links with one of our closest Commonwealth allies.
    Perhaps a carrier group will be sent down under in years to come.

    • ‘one of our closest commonwealth allies’ Why don’t we give them another Bay class and be treated to their contemptuous laughter about it again. How much of our defence equipment do they buy again ? This is 2017 not 1917 we need to grow up. We don’t have enough ships to scatter them around the globe and we haven’t had for 50 years.

  4. Well this is a surprise to erm…absolutely nobody

    America decides what our main naval strategy is, from the 1950’s it was to monitor and track Soviet subs in the GIUK gap, that lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union in early 90’s. Our expeditionary capability were sacrificed to hunt for subs, one good thing from that is we now excel at ASW and have world leading kit for the job.

    Now after China’s rise and Americas “pivot to Asia” we have our ambassador in the US saying we are going straight to the East China Sea with our new Carrier and now our ships are going to be “deployed to waters north of Australia”

    I also wonder if sailing through the East China Sea on her first deployment was part of the deal to have American F 35’s on board.

    I just hope the government builds enough capable frigates and the Type 45’s are fixed otherwise a Carrier force with an old type 23 attached and barely a squadron of our own F 35’s on board topped up with US planes is just not good enough.

  5. I love the fact that we are working with our commonwealth allies, but if the government wants the UK to be a global military power and keep deploying ships everywhere then they need to put their money where their mouth is. We simply don’t have enough ships.

  6. This does seem like a bid by the government to get BAE a contract with Australia to sell the them the type 26, which would drive down its costs.

  7. We are a nation whose very existence has always been determined by the sea and who controls it, and over many centuries we have sweated buckets of blood to maintain ourselves as the preeminent naval power in our region and then on occasion, over the entire planet as our very existence depended on our ability to project and enforce maritime power. Times change however and with shifting fortunes and changes in the global socio-economic and political landscapes, our focus needs to change as well in order to realistically serve our maritime interests and unfortunately, this will require a ‘sea’ change in thinking concerning our naval aspirations. Gone are the days when we could field carrier task-groups to patrol the far-flung reaches of the empire. Gone indeed is the empire too. In the comments on this site there is generally a great wailing and a concerted gnashing of teeth when discussing the various classes of frigate that are up for construction at present – Types 26 and 31, as well as quiet and forlorn desperation over the state of the Type 45 destroyers, they are seemingly very good ships yet we are unable to field more than 4 or 5 at a time due to staffing (?) and we actually needed 12 of them. The two new carriers (one at present) are lovely yet if past performance by the government of the moment is anything to go by, there will be inevitable future cuts and staffing problems and this will definitely affect the numbers of the Types 26 and 31 too. Where to then? There is a growing trend in other navies to field well-armed corvettes, why not us too? We could then entertain that most wonderful of British traits – the compromise – as a fleet of corvettes would satisfy those who wish to cut bigger ‘vanity projects’, and also allow us to field a more patrol-ship orientated fleet, as well as give us ships that carry a more useful sting than an OPV. There are several existing designs that would be suitable including the BAE built Al Kareef class and the French Gowind class. The Russian Project 20386-class corvettes are very interesting and capable looking ships but we aren’t mates with the Russians so they are a non-starter…. Those of us who remember a bigger ship based RN will take a while to come to terms with smaller units in our fleet, yet the Types 26 and 31 are most probably not going to be properly armed or acquired in decent enough numbers so why not look into smaller ships?

  8. BAE will only be exporting the design and certain components half of which aren’t even British either. The other half will be Australian like the radar etc. If BAE Australia will be building the ships I will be pretty shocked if they still manage to loose this competition to DCN’s but they probably still will.
    It would be nice to have a common Frigate design across Canada, Australia and New Zealand, especially if it improved crew flexibility where sailors could even serve on different ships to cover crew shortages.


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