The Government have revealed that 50% of the steel (by value) for the Batch 1 Type 26 frigates will be British.
The reason for this, according to the government, is that the UK can’t produce the majority of steel types required.
65% of the steel for the frigates by volume rather than value will come from overseas.
Stuart Andrew, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, recently revealed in a response to a written question:
“The Ministry of Defence does not hold a central record of the origin of all steel used in defence equipment projects. This is because steel for our major programmes is mainly sourced by our prime contractors and the supply chains are complex.
UK suppliers have, however, made a significant contribution to the supply of steel for some of our largest defence equipment projects, including 88% of the structural steel for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers and 50% of the value of the steel required for the Batch 1 Type 26 frigates.
The specialist nature of some of our steel requirements means that UK steel producers do not always have the capability to supply our programmes.
This Government is committed to creating the right conditions in the UK for a competitive and sustainable steel industry. It publishes its future pipeline for steel requirements, together with data on how Departments are complying with steel procurement guidance on: www.gov.uk/government/publications/steel-public-procurement.”
BAE explained to the UK Defence Journal recently that the programme requires a considerable proportion of ‘thin plate’ steel due to the nature of the warship.
This thin plate steel cannot be sourced from UK steel suppliers.
A spokesperson told us:
“The steel we procure must meet the very specific technical specifications for the complex warships we deliver, as well as meet our customers’ needs in terms of availability timeframes and budgets. We are pleased to confirm that, following an open competitive bid process, Yorkshire based Dent Steel UK has been selected to source steel for the first three Type 26 ships.
Steel for the Type 26 programme sourced by Dent Steel UK will come principally from mills in the UK and Sweden which can meet the very specific requirements for the warships. Approximately fifty percent of the value of steel for the first three Type 26 ships will be British; this equates to around 35% of the overall weight”.
BAE Systems advises that it ran an open and competitive process in line with UK government legislation and UK companies were invited to bid. Dent Steel UK based in Yorkshire has been selected to supply steel for the Type 26 programme.