Letter to the Chairman of the Committee
from the Minister for Defence Procurement (19 November 2001)
I am pleased to be able to inform you that the
Ministry of Defence has today awarded a contract with an estimated
value of £120 million for the build of an additional two
new Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels, known as Alternative
Landing Ships Logistic (ALSLs), to BAE SYSTEMS Marine at Govan.
These vessels will complete the planned force
of 4 new `Bay Class' ships announced by Geoff Hoon in October
2000. The first two ships in the Class are to be built by Swan
Hunter (Tyneside) Ltd, with the third and fourth being built by
BAE SYSTEMS Marine at Govan to Swan's design.
This is good news for the workforce at Govan.
The contract should sustain 600 jobs at the shipyard and 200 other
jobs in the region until the planned Type 45 construction work
comes on stream in 2003. Work on these vessels should commence
at Govan later this month.
It is also good news for the Royal Navy. All
four vessels are due to enter service by 2005 and will provide
a significantly enhanced amphibious capability for the Joint Rapid
Reaction Force. They will operate in the front line in close support
of the Landing Platform Dock (Replacements), HMS BULWARK and HMS
ALBION, and the Landing Platform Helicopter, HMS OCEAN as part
of the Amphibious Task Group. The ALSLs will also ideally be suitable
for low intensity operations such as peace support and humanitarian
and disaster relief missions.
The ALSLs will enable the UK to capitalise on
its leading position in amphibious capability within Europe and
enhance our close working relationship with our NATO partners.
The vessels demonstrate our commitment to the modern force structure
that emerged from the Strategic Defence Review