The purpose of this Contract Notice, say the MoD, is to advertise the requirement and invite companies to express their interest to receive the tender for the T31e Frigate.
As announced in the National Shipbuilding Strategy the Ministry of Defence is seeking to procure five new General Purpose Frigates for the Royal Navy for a Firm Price of £1.25 billion, according to the contract notice.
The notice outlines the requirements:
- The T31e will be a General Purpose Frigate, providing an enduring and continuous worldwide maritime security presence in several forward operating areas and releasing other, more complex warships to their primary roles.
- The T31e will carry out various maritime interdiction tasks, such as counter drugs and counter piracy. It will also carry out defence engagement activities, such as port visits and official entertainment, demonstrations of military capability and participation in allied training exercises.
- It must be ready to respond to emergent events, such as natural disasters or evacuation of non-combatants and will routinely carry specialist emergency relief stores in certain operating areas.
- The T31e design will need to be adaptable, providing evolution paths for future capability to enable growth of the destroyer and frigate numbers into the 2030s, and to address export customers’ needs.
The cutting of steel on the first vessel is expected in 2020.
Who are the big bidders?
The first bid team emerged when BAE Systems announced they would partner with Cammell Laird, who would ‘Prime, build and assemble’ the vessels at their Merseyside facility while the Clyde will focus on the Type 26 Frigates.
Cammell Laird would be main contractor with BAE providing design and combat systems. BAE say the move will allow them to ‘appropriately support the National Shipbuilding Strategy’ whilst ensuring the delivery of the five Offshore Patrol Vessels and the first three City class Type 26 frigates currently on contract, ‘to time, budget and to the highest quality standards.’
Iain Stevenson, Managing Director, BAE Systems Naval Ships, commented:
“Type 31e is an exciting and important programme. Our expertise in warship design and engineering, combat management systems and export campaigns means we are in a great position to contribute to the success of this programme. We are pleased to be working with Cammell Laird with whom we have a strong and effective relationship, having worked with them on the Carrier and Astute programmes.”
John Syvret CBE, Cammell Laird CEO, added:
“Cammell Laird has very much welcomed the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the Type 31e competition. We will offer a UK warship design, a UK combat system, a UK build and a supply chain with high UK content. We will be working with BAE Systems and A&P to deliver certainty, speed and agility on this nationally important project. Cammell Laird is proud to be responding as a Prime Contractor for Type 31e.”
In a press release BAE say:
“In response to the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) evolving requirements as outlined in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, BAE Systems will bring together its warship design and engineering capability and combat systems expertise with Cammell Laird, the commercial shipbuilder, in a Teaming Agreement to bid for the manufacture of the Type 31e, an adaptable general purpose frigate.
BAE Systems is focused on the manufacture and delivery of the two QE Class carriers, the five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) and the first three City class Type 26 warships, as well as continuing to develop and upgrade combat management systems on all Royal Navy ships.Taking account our current and future workload, including Type 26, our shipbuilding capacity on the Clyde will be full until the mid 2030s.
BAE Systems has a capable workforce delivering flexible, next generation platform engineering and combat systems’ design, integration and security technologies that Royal Navy crew members can rely on.”
The second bid team emerged when Babcock announced it would lead a team of industry partners in a bid for the new £1.25 billion Type 31e Frigate with work to be undertaken in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.
Babcock say work would be shared across the UK its facilities in Fife and Devon being among the prime locations for building. Ferguson Marine on the Clyde will also be in line for the work.
The build plan for the Type 31 Frigates is expected to 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 at one main location.
Modern shipbuilding makes considerable use of prefabricated sections. Entire multi-deck segments of the hull may be built elsewhere around the UK, transported to the building dock or slipway, then lifted into place and assembled into one ship. This is known as block construction and is far more cost effective. Yards pre-install equipment, pipes, electrical cables and any other components within the blocks, to minimise the effort needed to assemble or install components deep within the hull once it is welded together.
Babcock will act as the overall programme lead, whilst Thales will have overall responsibility for the development of the Mission System solution. The make-up of the team, the company say, will ensure that the economic benefits of the programme are shared across the UK. Ferguson Marine on the Clyde, Harland & Wolff in Belfast and the Babcock facilities in Fife and Devon will all have ‘key roles to play’, while much of the equipment provided by Thales and others will support jobs across the UK.
Babcock CEO Archie Bethel said:
“Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine. We firmly believe that our combined skills can deliver an affordable and effective Type31e Frigate programme for the Royal Navy and offer something new and exciting in the export market. With a high degree of UK content and the use of innovative technologies, we believe that our approach will deliver real benefits to UK plc.”
Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK said:
“Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31. We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create and exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long term value for money.”
Sarah Kenny, BMT CEO said:
“BMT has supported the UK and global maritime sector for decades. As a proud member of Team 31, we are delighted to be shaping the Type 31e programme, and we welcome the opportunity to bring our substantial global engineering experience to bear on this vital UK defence programme. We are confident that the combined Team 31 offering will meet the exacting requirements of the UK MOD whilst creating UK shipbuilding industry momentum and a competitive offering for wider export opportunities.”
Babcock were originally offering the ‘Arrowhead 120 while BMT were offering the Venator 110, the companies now say that they will be exploring both available designs to determine the best possible option. The companies say that new arrangement draws on combined strengths and will deliver ‘innovative, capable, affordable and flexible customer solutions, within a fast changing and increasingly demanding environment’.
As we reported last year, BAE Systems announced a partnership with Cammell Laird, who would ‘Prime, build and assemble’ the vessels at their Merseyside facility while the Clyde will focus on the Type 26 Frigates. If the bid is successful, Cammell Laird would be main contractor with BAE providing design and combat systems.