Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon paid a visit to A&P Tyne near Newcastle today as part of his nationwide tour of UK shipyards.

He indicated that the yard that could be involved in building a new class of ships for the Royal Navy.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

“It is very encouraging to witness the renaissance of shipbuilding around the UK first hand. Having helped build our new aircraft carriers and the Astute Class submarines, A&P Tyne have the skills and expertise to bid for our brand new class of frigates.

The whole industry is clearly excited about the opportunity to build cutting-edge ships for our growing Royal Navy, which will protect our nation and interests across the world.”

Shipyards across the country have been invited to provide initial high-level proposals to build the initial order of five ships at a maximum average price of £250 million each.

According to a press release, the Defence Secretary was given a guided tour of the Hebburn-based yard which employs 300 workers including 11 new apprentices and boasts the largest dry dock on the north-east coast of England.

“With the commitment to build the Type 31e warships in the UK, A&P have the opportunity to compete for this latest programme to build ships for the Royal Navy.

The frigates will be designed to meet the needs of the Royal Navy, but also with the export market in mind. The Government will work with industry to provide support to become internationally competitive, boosting the UK economy and jobs, while also helping to create a more stable and well-protected world.

Having already paid visits to Cammell Laird in Merseyside, Harland and Wolff in Belfast and Ferguson Marine on the Clyde, the Defence Secretary has carried out extensive engagement with industry in recent weeks.

Sir Michael also visited BAE Systems’ Scotstoun yard in Glasgow for the naming of the latest Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMS Medway, and Babcock in Rosyth for the naming of the second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, in further engagement with UK shipyards.”

58 COMMENTS

  1. “for our growing Royal Navy”

    The cheek, I’ll never vote Tory again for how they’ve run our armed forces into the ground over the last ten years.

  2. the guy is a right idiot always bangs on about our defense budget and how the navy is getting bigger,well could he explain why a load of marines are facing losing there jobs as well as thinking of getting rid of our amphibious ships,Tory governments have done nothing to help or protect our armed forces,the only thing they protect is their own interests like lining their own pockets and giving money we don,t have away to other countries….

  3. I completely echo the sentiment from everyone so far. I also fear the Type 31e has disaster written all over it. Despite what Fallon is spouting, the fact is that it will be a design dictated by the Treasury and not the needs of the RN. We’ve seen this movie before with Types 21 and 42….. In today’s world you have to pay to play and since HMG is not willing to pay, these ships will be nothing more than floating liabilities.

    The constant stream of idiotic and irresponsible cuts and penny-pinching to our Armed Forces truly makes for a very depressing read….

  4. Good Day!
    As regards the Type31e Frigate is there any news on BMT‘s Ventor design?

    I thought this was one of the front runners previously?

    Nick Hamburg

  5. I have little time for Fallon – not 3 months since signing an open declaration that the Govt will never again send our troops into battle with inferior kit, he is presiding over building a warship that does not conform to RN war fighting standards. Whilst I am a big fan of the T31 concept and actually think we should build 1 per year indefinitely. I am concerned that they are the naval version of the snatch land rover.

    There is nothing wrong with the size or fit out of the proposed vessels as they are similar in size to T23’s but they do need to be armoured and armed and dangerous.

    • I love the way you think you are the oracle TH. Whilst everyone else discusses what the best way forward may be in the difficult circumstances we face today, your high and mighty smugness just highlights to everyone what sort of person you are. You might be right on some of the decisions, but it doesn’t take a huge amount of intelligence to realise some hard choices have to made. So stop acting like a bloody no it all, stop talking down to people for hoping to get positive news for the defence of our country. Others on here say similar things to you but deliver it in a constructive non abrasive manner that leads to further discussion. I don’t agree with abuse throwing but I can totally understand the frustration towards you. Seriously, grow up a bit and contribute in a worthwhile way. Or join a more depressive ‘we hate the Uk’ sort of site. Isis have a few on the dark web from what I’ve heard.

    • Well o great Schwami I predict no great sale of ships, a possible move of the RM to the Army and an eventual fleet of 8-10 Type 31, increasing escort numbers.

  6. We’re doomed, doomed. doomed. Facts:-
    Daniele. Navy is growing… in capability, bot not ships.
    Levi. The net loss, so far, since the Tories came to power (seven years ago) is four Batch three Type 22’s that were equipped with obsolescent systems – according to the R.N.
    Andy. Nothing’s happened yet, despite all the speculation.
    Geoff…good name!
    David. Why. there are five pretty good designs and none yet selected.
    Paul and Nick. I don’t know.
    Pacman27. Point taken but let’s see what is proposed. Me. I think I favour Ventor.
    TH…nice to have your predictions with us as always.

    Finally. try voting Labour and get the Corbyn boys and girls and you’ll have nothing to post about.

    • I am a full blown Corbyn supporter and Leftie if you like. However, that does not mean I don’t have full support for a strong military. History has shown us the lessons of being poorly prepared for any eventuality.
      I really doubt Corbyn would leave is defencless. Just because he is a pacifist doesn’t mean he wouldn’t want to be able to be defencless if war came to us. He just doesn’t want to needlessly take war to others, nor do I. I’m sure he recently stated defence spending to remain if labour came to power. Please provide evidence if I’m wrong…

      • Tum it’s SO refreshing to hear a leftie saying what you do.
        I do hope you’re right regards Corbyn but I do fear the worst wuth him, his chancellor who wants the IRA honoured and Diane Abbot who.. .well where to start!

      • I respect your comments Tim. I actually contribute to the Oxford Research Group who try to find other ways of dealing with conflict in the world than war. However, I think any man who thinks he can build a nuclear deterrent force of submarines without their missiles is really not to be trusted.
        Also, pacifism does not include supporting terrorist regimes or groups or speaking up for IRA and the PLO and having meetings with such organisations whilst our guys are being shot at. I wouldn’t trust him on the left any more than I would trust the likes of Gordon Brown on the right.
        For the record I have voted Labour and Tory and God help me. on one occasion UKIP.

        • Reading Mr Corbyn’s body language, mannerisms and general demeanour. I have to say that he would be predisposed to act like a rabbit in the headlights when a true life or death decisions is required to be made. He has constantly demonstrated that without a script or prior knowledge he cannot make a firm decision. This has been frequently shown on impromptu interviews and challenges. As a true pacifist, can he entrusted with the position of PM.
          I’m neither politically biased left or right, but I am biased when the decision to put our people in harms way or not is decided by a person who favours “right on causes against the establishment” and will always curry appeasement over action! I hate to point fingers but, he strikes me as a person who was bullied at school and never found the courage to stand up and face his tormentors.

          With respect to the Type 31e (Corvette) debate, I think the Navy will always struggle to fund an effective frigate, now that Trident is also part of the MOD budget. I am hoping that the ship will be more effective than the earlier Type 21s, but due to budget constraints, I don’t believe it will happen.

    • But it’s not growing in terms of numbers of hulls, which is probably what most people would take it to mean, so it is wrong. Yes, it’s growing in terms of capability, generally I’m quite happy with the way it’s going. It might even be growing in terms of tonnage, I can’t be bothered doing the maths. But in terms of numbers it’s replacements, not new ships, so he ought to be more specific if he wants not to be criticised.

      All it needs is something like “… opportunity to build cutting-edge ships for our increasingly capable Royal Navy”, and job done, no lie.

    • Reply 2. Anyway, with a budget coming up, he’s probably challenging Hammond to prove him a liar by making cuts to the defence budget 🙂

    • Sorry, I dont buy the “growing in capability, not hulls” dogma. What capability, when the MoD keep using the “equipped for but not with” description for the armament of our ships ?? Any confirmation that Harpoon has been reprieved yet ??? When are the T45s getting the Mk41 VLS ? Are we going to get the 1NT Aster30 variant ? They havent even put the Phalanxes on Lizzie despite 10 weeks in port…

      • Of course the Navy is growing in capability. It would be truly scandalous if brand new ships replacing 30 year old ones had inferior capability. A better question would be relative capability and in that the RN is declining even with the new carriers.

        • We need to take the discussion back one step. The fact is that a hull cannot be in 2 places at the same time. So capability cannot completely replace hull numbers. And once you take into account the T45 availability rate…..

  7. Corbyn is a Russian sleeper
    And his best mate MacDonald has admited hes a Marxist
    He will align us with Russia
    Im sure he gets secret payments from the Kremlin (but i have no proof)
    Come on the the MI5 or MI6 look into it before its to late

    • The Security Service have files on them both, was in the news recently.
      However, John Reid was once Defence Sec and was a card carrying Communist once I believe and Jack Straw the Home Secretary also had a Security Service file.

      • With all due respect to the various comments above, so much utter shite has been fed to us by the press whom seem to be able to twist perfectly reasonable beliefs and comments to suite their Tory masters desperately cling to power. Take everything with a pinch of salt until proven by multiple credible sources. He is not a Russian or an IRA supporter, he is just a man who wants to do things in a more honest fair way for society. My only concern is his quietness on defence matters. You can be a pacifist and still want to defend yourself.

        • I don’t trust most of the press either but Tory masters.Come on Tim.
          You are quite right to be concerned about Corbyn’s quietness on defence, and here are some more reasons for him being very quiet.
          He has called repeatedly for the UK to withdraw from NATO and for the former Warsaw pact members to be banned from joining. In fact he has blamed NATO for the Russian Invasion of the Ukraine???
          He is a long term supporter of what was Marxist Cuba, he spoke up for Argentina and refused to back the recovery of the Falklands and more recently congratulated the ex Venezuelan president, presumably for bankrupting his own country.
          Whichever way you look at it the man is not fit to be Prime Minister.

    • Put up your evidence. I thought a Russian sleeper was the trans-Siberian express.

      More fantasy sound-bite brainwashing from HMG spin dept. Just hope reality doesn’t crash in one day when 100s of our boys become casualties due to reckless cuts & lies.

      All our frigates need to be fully equipped & war ready upon commissioning. It’s Russian roulette when “fitted for but not with”.

        • So moving US tanks back to Eastern Europe while demanding that EU countries actually pay for their defense. While also recommitting to missile defense makes President Trump a Russian agent. Well shove that where the sun doesn’t shine.
          Jeremy Corbyn saying that he would leak intel to Hamas to keep America and Israel from bombing them would be disastrous. For the UK only as the us would pretty much cut all sharing of information or resources then. If Corbyn was to say demand Israel give up half it’s land and withdraw diplomatic recognition of its sovereignty.

          The US after seeing Britain making territorial demands in favor of terrorists against a popular US ally would retaliate by recognizing Argentina claims. After all as far as the Senate is concerned their is oil to drill and armaments to sell. All in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine.

  8. I did think the NSS was a good idea, but the union rep on the Clyde did make a good point about being a race to the bottom and shipyards going bust. The modern RN is more capable per hull, like the RAF, but far more compact in numbers, which means less work to go around.

    So rather than competition being a good idea when there’s less to compete for, perhaps the UK does need one or two supported shipbuilders and designers for the future. In which case the NSS would be short-term because of falling budgets, not long-term.

    • The n.s.s. should have said all ships for the navy will be built in Britain, portion them out amongst the British shipyards and invest in making sure the capacity is there ahead of time. This is what Canada done in its n.s.s. Many, many ships for our navy, large ones at that, will be open to foreign competition, that is our national shipbuilding strategy is it? What a joke. Our n.s.s. is just a way of masking the deliberate and organized war against British heavy industry. In spite of their lies what they really want is to keep British shipbuilding tiny and un-competitive.

  9. C’mon everyone, so much negativity! The T31 is still in the very early stages, the final ‘mature’ design that is accepted will likely differ quite a bit from the preliminary offerings seen so far. The design history of the Type 23 is an example. The concept started life as a towed-Array ‘tug’ with little in the way of armament, and evolved into a superb frigate that is the backbone of todays Navy! Yes, some of the T31 equipment fit will be ‘hand-me-down’ from retiring 23’s, but much of this will have been fitted to them during their current mid-life upgrades (Sea Ceptor, ARTISAN for example) and is cutting edge kit. If re-using equipment which has many years of remaining service life makes the Type 31 viable, then that has to be the way forward.

  10. 2 x carriers – one in reserve
    6 destroyers – one in reserve
    6-8 type 26
    5 type 31
    6 SSN
    5 OPV
    6 RFA probably privatised

    A much reduced SSBN presence with constant at sea presence withdrawn

    Marines cut to 4,500 and sent to Army

    Massive reduction in MBTs

    Reduction of F35 order

    • Good God how can a man as self-hating as your self not have just put yourself out of your own misery. Reducing tanks again and reducing aircraft again withdrawing constant Nuclear deterrent. You seem to be to cowardly to do yourself in so you want Mr. Putin or Joe Jihadi to do the whole country in for you so you don’t have to be lonely when you die.

    • 6 RFA? We have 4 new Tankers 2 Wave boats 3 Bay boats Fort Vic Fort Austin and Fort Rosie and Argus. We literally went through a review last year which stated that not only was the RFA cost effective in comparison to the other options but that no merchant company could produce the operational output that is required for the RN by the RFA. Most of RFA tasking is what used to be RN and they couldnt do that without the special position RFA’s take up in the Naval Service. Wherever you pulled your info from it is incorrect.

  11. I think it will all depend on how hard brexit hits us TH. If its goes badly for the economy, then little choice will be had and many of your predictions are likely true.
    If more money comes available in a few years, I would like to see something along the lines of:
    Reinstatement/up arming amphibious attack to modest but highly potent force. Most of this ability can be heavily used for disaster relief so will forfill multiple roles.
    I think there seems to be merit in the single force structure as discussed by more knowledgeable people on site already. Cut top brass significantly in all arms of the forces.
    Invest more in the defence of our home nation, BMD defence, coastal etc.
    Design of a new small but deadly diesel electric sub/drone sub to protect our waters, relieving Astutes for other roles further afield. Procure in the region of 6 – 10.
    Have a slightly reduced number of F35b’s, but obtain several squadrons of the F35a’s to work with our Typhoons.
    Build a small number of potent missile barrage ships (120 plus Mk 41’s) on the T26 Hull to work with our carrier strike to be able to protect against saturation attacks or issue them ourselves. Missiles could be controlled by the T45’s. Our ships currently are far less toothy than many other nations currently.
    Start design competitions in areas such as missiles, rotor/tilt rotor, and heavy armoured vehicles, MBTS etc and look to design, build and export in these areas, as with T31e. We need to start using our fantastic engineering skills and market them properly to subsidise our own requirements in more areas.
    Push forward with cost effective design of 6th gen unmanned attack aircraft to build numbers in home defence fleet of aircraft controlled by F35a’s. Again, market heavily to friendly nations.

    If money remains scarce long term, I don’t feel currently that we have things in place to defend the homeland sufficiently, and that should start taking precedence over strike capabilities. Worst case scenario however.

    • Diesel sub market is already dominated by Japan, Germany, France, Russia, and South Korea. To the point where the US which normally attaches military aid to US products didn’t in the case of the Dolphins bought by the IDF.
      Rotor and Tilt-Rotors from who AugustaWestland has now been wholly eaten by Leonardo. The UK could have had the first deployed tilt-rotor back in the 60s with the Fairey Rotodyne. However when the UK cut buying it from the MOD budget they decided to also keep Fairey from exporting or license producing in the US. Even though the US Army wanted place an order for over 200. To put into perspective the US Army was looking for an aircraft for the then experimental Air-Mobile division. Which would become the Army’s iconic system in Vietnam and would wind up buying the UH-01 order turned into Bell building over 16000 units over the production span.
      Exporting heavy armored vehicles and missiles. Well that requires selling to countries that either have deep pockets or making cheap. The deep pocketed ones are either in bed with the US or Russia/China or they are a country the left likes to virtue signal over. Building cheap well Vickers-Armstrong doesn’t exist anymore and if you think some of the richer countries are unsavory. Well spend some time in Cambodia or the Congo and Sudan.

      The UK cannot maintain two different variants of F-35. Especially at the current or a reduced order amount. There is only a 60-65% parts commonality between the A and the B and a 85-88% between A and C.

  12. The only cut backs should be to the DFIA budget, reduced to zero and pump that £13 billion into (in equal share) NHS, Social care, Education, Defence) that would yield an extra £13 billion a year.
    Then cut / stop pensions escalator why should pensioners get above inflation pay rises when the workers and tax payers in the UK are suffering from wage stagnation?
    Then take a surgical knife to all public services to get rid of the tens of thousands of non jobs in the NHS, Defence, Education, Social services etc.
    Then take a sledge hammer to social security bill, why should a benefits claimant be able to get per household more than a newly qualified and working teacher, nurse, policeman? Answer is simple they should not. So a cap per individual of about £20k rather than £25-28k as at present. This should include all benefits and if an individual cannot afford to sit at home not working, living in a house paid for by the state and having 10 children then they will have to go to work
    problem is a lit of those career benefit claimants are unemployable. They have never done a days work, do not want to work (as too hard and they are lazy) and have zero qualifications.
    The money is there to pay for suitable defence and the NHS and Education and Infrastructure and Social care but we choose to spend our money elsewhere.

  13. With regards type 31 build. Taking a 3-4 year time period between construction starting and in service date means the first batch of 5 type 31es needs to start building no later than 1st january 2019. The first batch needs to be built at a drum beat of one a year to replace the first 5 type 23s leaving service. Not sure the lethargic build programme for the much delayed type 26 is going to help the RN much in this matter.
    The key issue is,that the type 31 has to be as capable as the type 23s leaving service, otherwise what is the point of them.
    so must be 4000+ tons.
    medium gun 114mm or ideally 127mm, sea ceptor quad packed 18 cell, Norwegian antiship missiles + torpedo launcher and a hangar for helo, + ideally mission bay for UAVs, Drones, mini subs, mine clearance bots etc.
    second batch of 5 type 31s will need to follow fairly rapdily on from the first batch with construction rate of one a year upto 2030-2031. Then stop and reasses, there is an opportunity with the type 31 programme to have a common hull undertaking multiple missions, mine clearance drone mothership, mine layer, ASW, ground strike via tomahawk silo and medium gun, anti surface warfare etc. We could use the type 31 hullform to replace all mine warfare, surveillance and survey vessels potentially. This would yield huge savings in the longer term for servicing, repairs, training of crew etc

    • Nowhere near as busy as it could potentially have been. Various orders for British projects have went overseas (oil rigs and windfarms). Half the work for what you can see now is done in Belgium also then shipped over.
      They deliberately give British projects (oil rigs, wind farms, railways, navy, etc.) to foreign companies as part of their organized war being waged against British heavy industry which has been going on for decades, and is still being waged to this day. No other European country is waging war against its heavy industries, we do not want this either.

  14. It is not efficient or competitive to have only tiny shipyards, each incapable of building a larger ship by itself, hundreds of miles apart. This has been done deliberately as part of the organized war against British heavy industry which has been going on for decades, and is still going on to this day. In spite of their lies, they want to keep British shipbuilding tiny and un-competitive.
    This is not the way forward. We have to either enlarge an existing shipyard or build a new one, a large one capable of building large ships on 1 site, preferably an enclosed dockhall.

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