Select Committee on Defence Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Chairman of the Committee from the Minister for Defence Procurement (18 February 2002)

  I am writing to let you know that, in accordance with the announcement by Geoff Hoon on 10 July 2001 of the revised shipbuilding procurement strategy for the Type 45 Destroyer, we have now contractually committed to a further three Type 45 platforms. This doubles the number of ships of this class on order. At the same time, the Prime Contractor (BAE SYSTEMS Electronics) has made a legally binding contractual arrangement with the shipbuilders BAE SYSTEMS Marine and Vosper Thornycroft for their work on the six platforms.

  This commitment is wholly in accordance with the revised shipbuilding strategy. Under this contract, the First of Class ship will be assembled and launched at Scotstoun on the Clyde and the focus of design support to the whole Class will remain there, with continuing participation by both shipbuilders. The remaining ships will be assembled and launched at Barrow in Furness. It is planned that Vosper Thornycroft on the South Coast, and BAE SYSTEMS Marine at Clydeside and Barrow in Furness will make and outfit substantial sections of each ship. The yards will continue to build the same sections throughout the programme to increase efficiency.

  BAE SYSTEMS Marine shipbuilding is now benefiting from Type 45 work, together with the first three ASTUTE Class submarines and the order for two Alternative Landing Ships Logistic that was placed in November 2001. The company confirmed in July that, once the construction programme is up and running, the work on the first six Type 45 platforms alone should sustain a steady level of some 1,200 jobs on the Clyde and around a further 900 jobs at Barrow in Furness. I'm sure that you will be pleased with this news which will boost confidence on the Clyde and Barrow.

  Vosper Thornycroft has a defined and significant role in the Type 45 programme and is expected to sign shortly a 125 year lease of part of Portsmouth Dockyard where it will be building sections of each ship. Vospers confirmed in July last year that this work should sustain some 650 jobs in its shipbuilding division until well into this decade. This is excellent news for the South Coast.

  The work now on order allows the UK's warship building industry to make long term investment decisions in a more stable environment. It also preserves the possibility of competition for a number of subsequent programmes.

  This is also excellent news for the Royal Navy as we remain committed to bringing the Type 45 First of Class into service on schedule in 2007. These ships will make an outstanding contribution to the future war-fighting capability of the Royal Navy.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 10 July 2002