British navy mulls new-generation ships


A new generation of Royal Navy ships, designed to meet the UK’s future defence, security and peacekeeping needs, is the focus of a £3.4 million contract awarded to BAE Systems by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Representing a step change for the UK maritime industry, the contract significantly reduces risk in the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) programme by enabling the joint project team to develop a better view of costs, schedules and design at an earlier stage than has been possible with any previous programme.

Designed from the outset with potential export sales in mind, the new vessels will replace existing Type 22 and Type 23 class frigates when they reach the end of their service lives.

Under a 15-year Terms of Business Agreement signed with the MoD earlier this year, BAE Systems will be lead contractor and systems integrator for the FSC programme. The Company will work in partnership with the MoD and key industry partners to develop the business case, concept design and a cost model for the whole life of the programme.

Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Surface Ships business, says the “Future Surface Combatant programme is hugely important not only for the Royal Navy but for the whole of the UK maritime industry.
“Working in close partnership with the MoD and industry from the outset has enabled open and frank discussions about through-life requirements, capability and cost. This will help to ensure cost-effective upgrades, the capability to meet evolving maritime security requirements, and avoid costly late design decisions to deliver value for money for the MoD and the UK tax payer.”

The first of the fleet is due to enter service around the end of the next decade, with around half of frontline Royal Navy personnel expected to operate on an FSC by the 2030s.

They will deliver the enduring surface combatant capability after the existing Type 22 and Type 23 frigates have left service, as an integral part of the balanced fleet required to support the UK’s future defence commitments.

FSC will be the first warship developed in the UK for the Royal Navy, with its potential export factored into the design from the beginning. This will not only deliver better value for the MoD and UK tax payers, but also provides a platform to showcase the capability within the UK maritime industry supply chain and will help to secure the UK’s long-term future at the forefront of the global maritime industry.