£47m computer contract to look after frigate fleet

Admiral warns the world ‘not to underestimate’ HMS Queen Elizabeth

A contract has been signed to look after the electronic brains onboard a number of Portsmouth-based warships.

BAE Systems sealed the 47m deal to handle the essential combat computer systems onboard the Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates.

Six of the 13-strong fleet of frigates are based in Portsmouth.

The deal will also see the IT systems onboard Royal Fleet Auxiliary's ship Argus, which takes care of wounded service personnel.

The BAE deal will run for seven years, and was branded 'very vital' by BAE's David Leitch.

The director of naval command and information systems said: 'The key thrust is it enables the navy to maintain its combat management systems efficiently.'

Around 35 staff will work on the deal, troubleshooting and updating the software.

They will be spread across Broad Oak and three other sites.

It was signed between the MoD and a newly-created BAE division called BAE Systems Mission Systems, formed out of BAE's old Insyte wing and based at Broad Oak in Hilsea.

The contract will be merged with an existing agreement, signed in September 2009, to look after the computers on the Type 45s.

When combined, the two deals are worth 86m.

The first of the Type 23s was launched in 1991, and the last in 2000.

They will stay in service until replaced by new Type 26 frigates, which are still under development by BAE Systems.

Last month, top Royal Navy officer Commodore Steve Brunton told The News that the MoD would keep the cost of these new frigates tightly under control. The pledge came in the wake of the furore surrounding the cost overruns on BAE's carriers project.