£287m MoD contract for two war ships ensures 800 jobs on the Clyde

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £287m contract with BAE Systems to construct two more Royal Navy ships that will be built on the Clyde.

The contract will boost the UK’s fleet of next-generation river-class offshore patrol vessels (OPV’s) from three to five ships and will ensure 800 jobs at Clyde shipyard.

The two OPV’s will be floated to Scotstoun in Glasgow after construction to be fitted out.

“This contract will deliver two more modern offshore patrol vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, for the Royal Navy and safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland,” said Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement.

“Protected by a rising defence budget, the OPV programme is an important part of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need.”

HMS Tamar and HMS Spey are expected to be delivered in 2019.

Like the other vessels of their class, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey will carry out counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations, and are expected to be equipped with a 30 mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.

Displacing around 2,000 tonnes, they will have a maximum speed of 24 knots and will be able to sail 5,500 nautical miles before having to resupply.

Tony Douglas, chief executive officer at the MoD’s defence equipment and support organisation, said: “This agreement will deliver two more offshore patrol vessels which the Royal Navy will use to protect the nation’s interest at home and around the world.

“These modern ships will have a versatile flight deck, improved firefighting equipment and greater storage and accommodation than previous vessels, giving UK sailors a decisive advantage on a huge range of operations.”

At BAE’s fabrication yard after announcing the contracts, Baldwin pressed the button which enabled a plasma-cutting machine to cut the first steel for the OPVs.

The vessels, when completed, are designed to meet the requirements of the Royal Navy globally.

The minister said it was a symbol of the MoD’s commitment to safeguarding jobs and securing work on the River Clyde.

About 60 apprentices at the yard are expected to benefit from the contract for the two new ships.

BAE Systems bosses say securing the contract for the two new ships is testament to the capability, skills and dedication of its workforce.

Ian Stephenson, managing director, said: “I am looking forward to seeing both the OPV and Type 26 ships in construction across both our shipyards in Glasgow next year.”

OPV programme director Katie Allan said the apprentices and graduates would be involved in creating warships of the future.

BAE opened a new £15m training academy last week to train apprentices and graduates in what was seen as a boon to the UK’s flagging skills in the sector. 

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