Exports will be central to Cammell Laird and BAE System’s joint bid for the Government’s £1.25billion new-build frigate programme, a conference has heard.
The news was announced at a special ‘supplier conference’ organised by Cammell Laird, BAE Systems and the Society of Maritime of Industries on Merseyside involving more than 200 delegates from supply chain companies in the UK and overseas. Demand was so high that a second event for a further 100 companies has been scheduled for March 28.
The procurement process to design and build five Royal Navy T31e frigates was launched by the Government in 2017 and a key objective of the programme is to attract overseas orders. Cammell Laird is bidding for the tender as prime contractor, in a teaming agreement with BAE Systems, with a warship design known as ‘Leander’. If successful it could see steel cutting beginning on Merseyside in March 2020.
Cammell Laird’s Type 31e project director Tony Graham told the conference the £250million price tag for the ‘powerful and affordable’ Leander will excite many overseas customers, as it lays plans for a global warship exports division.
“In order to win this competition, we must be better, cheaper and faster than anyone else,” he said. “Fundamentally, we recognised that this ship has to work straight ‘out of the box’,” he said. “Leander is a very practical warship with credibility, a degree of ruggedness and robustness, and delivering low risk lifecycle costs.
“We have a global campaign plan for the Type 31e programme and have identified opportunities in more than 20 countries. Our intent is to build a warship export business based on Leander. The MoD has indicated it is willing to sign a business agreement alongside the contract to help industry export the Type 31e. This joint approach between the Government and the Royal Navy producing a proper business plan for exports has never been seen before.”
Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said an overwhelming response to the conference provided a strong endorsement of the aims and aspirations of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to this conference, to the extent that we have had to arrange a second date to ensure that all interested companies are able to attend. I think that this level of interest is a very strong endorsement of the national shipbuilding strategy and its aims and aspirations. We at Cammell Laird are very excited by the opportunity, and specifically the design we have developed jointly with BAE Systems – which we have named Leander.
“My message to the conference is that we are open for business, open to new ideas and open to new commercial relationships. We want to hear about what they can do to help us make Leander a national and international success not only for our customer, the Royal Navy, but also for UK PLC.”
The conference heard that the MoD is expected to award the Type 31e contract in March 2019.
Cammell Laird is set to launch a Type 31e website in March 2018 and will issue further details to suppliers shortly to secure quotes before submitting a final tender in the autumn.