Prime Minister Theresa May has hailed a shipbuilding contract worth up to £20 billion between BAE Systems and the Australian government as the biggest Naval defence contract for a decade.
BAE Systems has been chosen as the preferred bidder for the ‘SEA 5000’ Future Frigate competition, with a design based on Britain’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship. It will involve BAE Systems building nine British-designed warships in Adelaide, the first export of a British design for new-build frigates since the 1970s.
Type 26 was chosen over bids from Italy and Spain for the contract.
The government say that the agreement will secure more than 4000 jobs in Australia and also boost Britain’s export economy, with huge opportunities set to arise which the Government believes the specialist knowledge and capability of British firms will be best placed to fulfil.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The sheer scale and nature of this contract puts the UK at the very forefront of maritime design and engineering and demonstrates what can be achieved by UK industry and Government working hand-in-hand.
We have always been clear that as we leave the EU we have an opportunity to build on our close relationships with allies like Australia. This deal is a perfect illustration that the Government is doing exactly that.
And while this is an enormous boost for the UK economy, it will also cement our strategic partnership with one of our oldest and closest friends for decades to come.”
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
“The UK and Australia already enjoy a strong trading relationship worth more than £13 billion a year. Today’s announcement is a further boost to this relationship which will create significant opportunities for companies in both countries to deepen their trading ties.
As an international economic department, we are excited for the opportunities this will bring to both our nations including increased data and information sharing, high-end technology transfer, and collaboration at the cutting-edge of maritime expertise. We look forward to further discussion on future trade through our joint UK-Australia trade working group.”