BAE is top of the class in £22m contract win

CONTRACT Portsmouth-based fishery protection vessels, foreground to background HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey and HMS Severn
CONTRACT Portsmouth-based fishery protection vessels, foreground to background HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey and HMS Severn
HMS Queen Elizabeth as she started her second phase of sea trials last month. Photo: LPhot Kyle Heller

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DEFENCE giant BAE Systems has won a £22m contract to look after the Royal Navy’s River-class patrol vessels.

The firm was awarded the contract for the support and maintenance of the four ships, three of which are based in Portsmouth.

BAE Systems has pledged to keep each ship available for operations 320 days a year.

This means they can be at sea as much as possible, fulfilling their duties of fishery protection, environmental protection, search and rescue, and maritime security.

The new contract is a boost to BAE Systems’ extensive maintenance arm, which provides support to the Royal Navy fleet in the city.

Richard Dingley, the fleet services director at BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: ‘This contract award is recognition that our support of the River-class OPVs will be a value for money service.

‘The Royal Navy can be assured that the high ship availability we have achieved over the last 10 years will continue.

‘I am delighted that we have won in competition to deliver this highly-regarded

service.’

BAE Systems has been awarded the contract to maintain the vessels for the next five years.

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems added: ‘This five-year deal secures the project and its associated jobs until 2018 at least, continuing to be part of our essential ship maintenance programmes and ensuring we continue to be the partner of choice for the Royal Navy.

‘BAE Systems was selected on the basis that we are best placed to provide the support needed.’

River-class patrol vessels are used for many tasks including fishery protection and disaster relief operations.

There are four ships – HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey, HMS Severn, and HMS Clyde.

HMS Clyde is the Royal Navy’s Falkland Islands patrol vessel.

BAE Systems currently provides the maintenance and support for much of the navy’s Portsmouth-based fleet.