Select Committee on Defence Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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

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