Float out of Irish Naval Service OPV Appledore shipyard

Another Royal Navy supplier goes under – the closure of Appledore shipyard

Unable to follow up their success building OPVs for export, and with no other orders forthcoming, last week Babcock made the sad announcement that the Appledore shipyard will close in March 2019. Here we examine the background and potential impacts of this decision.

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MoD awards £1 Billion Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship support contracts

Today the MoD has announced the award of the Future In-Service Support (FISS) contracts worth a total of £1Bn to provide maintenance support for 17 vessels of the naval service. For the RN this is broadly good news, efficiently sustaining a large part of the fleet, strengthening shipyards while offering greater competition and diversity amongst its suppliers. 

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Arrowhead 140 Type 31e frigate candidate

Royal Navy Type 31e frigate programme abruptly suspended – but not dead in the water

on 20th July the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) agency informed UK industry that it has halted the Type 31e frigate programme. Although the objectives were always recognised as being highly challenging, there was growing enthusiasm across UK industry to be involved in the project and this sudden announcement is something of a shock.

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Arrowhead 140 Type 31e Frigate

Babcock announces new Arrowhead 140 design for the Type 31e frigate competition

Today Babcock unveiled the Arrowhead 140, a revised design as their candidate for the Type 31e frigate competition. This new concept reduces some of the potential programme risks as it is based on the Iver Huitfeldt hull form, currently in-service with the Royal Danish Navy.

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Leander concept for Royal Navy Type 31e Frigate

Leander concept for Royal Navy Type 31e Frigate inspires interest from British industry

Cammell Laird and BAE Systems have teamed up to compete for the Type 31e frigate programme with their ‘Leander’ concept. CL will be the prime contractor with BAES providing the design and systems integration expertise. More details of the Leander design have emerged and it appears CL and its suppliers are determined to make a very credible bid. From the RN’s point of view it is encouraging to note there will evidently be stiff competition between CL/BAES Leander and the BMT/Babcock Arrowhead.

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Type 31e frigate Arrowhead concept

Should the Type 31e frigate be reclassified as a corvette?

Plymouth MP, Luke Pollard, suggested last week in Parliament that “the debate around the Type 31e Frigate could be resolved simply if we renamed if from a frigate to a corvette“. This proposal is unlikely to be welcomed by the Navy, the MoD or industrial partners but does raises questions about the Type 31’s capabilities and results from the general confusion over how surface combatants are to be classified.

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