Defence Secretary Visits Appledore Yard as Warship Competition Ramps Up
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Jan 08, 2018)
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson paid a visit to Babcock’s Appledore shipyard this morning, as the company announced further details of its bid to help build a new class of warship.

The Ministry of Defence announced plans to procure a new class of frigates, the Type 31e, as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy which was launched last year. The warships will be built in the UK, with a set price cap no more than £250M per frigate for the first batch of five, with an investment decision to be made at the end of this year.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Visiting a shipyard that has built hundreds of vessels and meeting some of the next generation of apprentice shipbuilders leaves me in no doubt of the current resurgence of UK shipbuilding. The South West is crucial for our military, with a particularly special connection with our Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and it’s good to see Babcock seeking to strengthen that even further with this bid.”

The department has received over 20 expressions of interest from industry with Babcock today announcing it will lead a bespoke team of industry partners, including Thales, BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine in a bid for the new Type 31e.

The MOD spent £810 per person in the South West region last year, greater than any other region in the UK coming in at a total value of £4.4bn. The department’s direct spend in the area is estimated to sustain 30,000 jobs, one in every 70.

Babcock’s Appledore facility has been a particularly integral link in the production of the largest ships in the Navy’s history, with their production of a number of significant ‘blocks’ of the UK’s new aircraft carriers. Separately, the Appledore yard has recently been working to deliver a new class of offshore patrol vessels for the Irish Naval Service.

The Defence Secretary was given a guided tour of the yard and visited some of the 260 staff employed there and met with the apprentices showing their enthusiasm for the potential opportunity to build cutting-edge ships for the growing 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.

The Defence Secretary will go on to visit the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, which is entering its 78th year of training Royal Marines. An average of 1,300 recruits, 2,000 potential recruits and 400 potential officers attend training courses at the centre every year, and the Defence Secretary will meet many of those set to join the Corps.

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Babcock Launches 'Team 31' Bid for New UK Frigate
(Source: Babcock; issued Jan 08, 2018)
Babcock today announced it will lead a bespoke team of industry partners in a bid for the UK Ministry of Defence's (MOD) new £1.25 billion Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme, building on the success of its role within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

Two of the UK's leading defence suppliers – Babcock and Thales – have joined forces with BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine to form 'Team 31' to deliver world-class ships that will drive economic benefits throughout the UK. The highly experienced team will seek to deliver capable, cost-effective and flexible ships to the Royal Navy and, using the team's considerable international reach, maximise export opportunities.

The announcement comes as the UK Government's Secretary of State for Defence; The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP toured Babcock's Appledore facility in North Devon and met with members of its workforce.

Babcock will act as the overall programme lead, whilst Thales will have overall responsibility for the development of the Mission System solution. Babcock and BMT will use their unrivalled experience in the development of designs for both naval and commercial vessels to produce a world-class product.

The make-up of the team 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.

The UK's National Shipbuilding Strategy has ushered in a new and exciting era for naval procurement in the UK. Building on key lessons from the success of the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier programme and the Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Irish Naval Service, the Strategy seeks to maximise UK content, export potential and the cost and programme benefits of a modular build using the breadth of skills and facilities available across the UK.

Team 31's modular build approach will make best use of UK facilities, innovation and skills to deliver a cutting-edge platform that combines capability with value-for-money and advanced technology to afford class-leading levels of availability and operating costs.

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".


For more than a century, Babcock has been trusted to deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering services. We help customers in the UK and around the world to improve the capability, reliability and availability of their most critical assets within the four market sectors of Marine, Land, Aviation, and Nuclear, underpinned by a deep understanding of technology integration, unique infrastructure, and specialist training.

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