BAE Systems is '˜confident' in its role in UK shipbuilding

DEFENCE giant BAE Systems is '˜confident' it will continue to play a key role in the UK's naval shipbuilding future.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 11:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:41 pm
HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, at BAE Systems' shipbuilding bay in Portsmouth Naval Base

The comments come after a key report by Sir John Parker called on the government to open up warship construction contracts to other firms, claiming BAE had a monopoly of the industry.

The company employs hundreds of people across its sites in Portsmouth and is one of the key firms operating at the city’s naval base.

As well as playing a key role in upgrading the site in preparation for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s first new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, next year, BAE is also responsible for the construction of the Senior Service’s future fleet.

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A source at the organisation said the firm had a busy build schedule, constructing the navy’s next generation frigate, the Type 26 and Type 31, which will take the company into the 2030s.

Reaction to Sir John’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, a spokeswoman said: ‘As the custodian of the UK’s capability to design and build complex warships, we are confident that we will continue to play a prominent role in the delivery of future UK warships.

‘The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review had a clear ambition to sustain our strategic national warship capability.

‘The commitment to five River Class offshore patrol vessels and eight Type 26 ships protects this capability and our core shipbuilding skills, providing continuous warship production at our facilities in Glasgow into the 2030s.’

The government is due to publish its response and implementation plan on the strategy in spring of next year.

The UK’s defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon thanked Sir John for his ‘ambitious vision of naval shipbuilding’ that would be ‘based on a new era of cooperation’.

In a statement, the former minister for Portsmouth added: ‘This will ensure a strong naval shipbuilding sector and help deliver an economy that works for everyone.’