GMB, the union for shipbuilders, has welcomed the Ministry Of Defence’s announcement of a contract to build the first batch of the Type 26 Frigate fleet.
The £3.7 billion deal will secure around 1,700 shipbuilding jobs in Scotland and 1,700 further jobs throughout across Britain until 2035.
Ross Murdoch GMB National Officer and interim CSEU Chair, said:
“It is fantastic news that the defence secretary has finally confirmed and signed the contract for the first batch of Type 26 Frigates.
Whilst we understand that it was always going to be announced in batches we look forward to future confirmation on the other five ships.
It is a particularly significant announcement in terms of the timing given the Queen Elizabeth Carrier going out from Rosyth last week to commence sea trials, as it once again reinforces the world class reputation of our UK shipyard workers. This is tremendous news for GMB members in Scotland in particular, but also in the wider context of the supply chain across the UK.”
Warships of this size and complexity are ordered in batches. The Type 45 Destroyer was ordered in batches, why should the Type 26 Frigate be any different?
As we predicted before the announcement that the first batch of Type 26 Frigates were ordered, some groups have taken the batch build process to indicate a cut. They’re wrong.
Ordering in batches is common for projects of this size around the world and was last seen with the Royal Navy for the Type 45 Destroyers and recent Offshore Patrol Vessels.
The Type 45s first batch order was for three vessels just like Type 26 and steel is to be cut on the first ship in Glasgow in the coming weeks.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy. We will cut steel on the first ship later this month – a hugely significant milestone that delivers on our commitment to maintain our global naval power. These ships will be a force to be reckoned with, there to protect our powerful new carriers and helping keep British interests safe across the world.
“Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178bn Equipment Plan, the Type 26 programme will bring vast economic benefits to Scotland and the wider UK. The contract is structured to ensure value for taxpayers’ money and, importantly, now designed to protect them from extra bills from project overrun. The investment will secure hundreds of skilled jobs at BAE Systems on the Clyde for the next twenty years, and thousands of jobs in the supply chain across Britain.”
Commenting on this important announcement, Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems said:
“The award of this contract is a strong endorsement of the talent and commitment of our employees across the UK and reinforces Glasgow as the centre of shipbuilding in the UK. We are extremely proud to be chosen to design and manufacture vessels that will give the Royal Navy an essential, next generation capability and be a vital addition to its fleet.
“We will continue to invest in our technologies, productivity and people to help us deliver these ships to the highest standards. Today we have five River Class Offshore Patrol vessels at varying stages of construction for the Royal Navy across our shipyards in Glasgow and we look forward to starting manufacture on the first Type 26 ship in the coming weeks.”
The UK Government committed to eight advanced anti-submarine warfare ships and “at least” five general purpose frigates in its 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
The Type 26 programme currently employs more than 1,200 people in the UK supply chain, with a number of contracts already in place for the manufacture of major equipment for the first three ships. In total, there are already 33 UK and international companies working in the supply chain to deliver the Type 26 ships – with further announcements to be made shortly.
It’s understood that the build plan for the Type 31 Frigate will follow a similar pattern to that of the Queen Elizabeth carriers and early Type 45 Destroyers in that blocks will be built in yards around the UK and assembled on the Clyde.
Additionally, it was recently announced recently that work had started on the fifth of five new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built on the Clyde.
It is understood that the yards on the Clyde will now build 18 vessels of varying types, instead of the originally promised 13.