Kelvin Hughes has been selected to supply its SharpEye radar system for the new Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessels HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey.
The vessels were earlier described at a Defence Select Committee meeting as ships “the Royal Navy does not want or need”.
Barry Jones, Kelvin Hughes Regional Sales Manager, said:
“SharpEye™ is an ideal choice for these OPV projects. The system provides a 3-in-1 approach with a type approved navigation radar using advanced small target detection, a 2D surface surveillance capability and a helo detection mode to aid rotary aircraft recovery in bad weather; all in one compact radar package.
Its scalable architecture allows it to satisfy the requirements of the smaller patrol boat as a primary radar or as a navigation radar and secondary surveillance radar on a larger warship.”
The first of the five new vessels, HMS Forth, is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2017.
The Offshore Patrol Vessels have been ordered to fill a gap in orders after the second carrier and before the Type 26 frigates begin construction.
It is understood that the Ministry of Defence paid an extra £100 million for new Offshore Patrol vessels in order to satisfy a requirement to pay BAE a minimum of £230 million per year.
A house of Commons Briefing Paper explains the agreement:
“In 2009 the Government signed a 15 year Terms of Business Agreement (TOBA) with BAE Systems and Babcock. The TOBA guaranteed BAE Systems a minimum level of surface ship build and support activity of £230 million a year.
This was judged as the minimum level of work possible to sustain a credible warship-building industry in the UK and thus avoid the delays encountered during the Astute class submarine build caused in part by the loss of skilled staff following the gap between Astute and the Vanguard class submarine build.
If cancelled the MoD would be liable for industry closure costs and compensation to BAE Systems.”
Regarding the cost of the new Offshore Patrol vessels:
“The provisional cost of the new vessels was given as £348 million but because the TOBA required a £230 million a year spend with BAE, the Defence Secretary estimated the additional cost to the MoD of the ships, over and above the payments the MoD would have had to have made to BAE, is less than £100 million.”